Category: Sunday Meme

Sunday Series Review: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Today Kim is reviewing The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. This was yet another series she enjoyed! 

Books in the Series:
Shadow and Bone
Siege and Storm
Ruin and Rising


Shadow and Bone
Published: June 5, 2012
358 Pages

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Siege and Storm
Published: June 4, 2013
432 Pages

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Ruin and Rising
Published: June 17, 2014
422 Pages

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.


Kim’s Rating of the Series: 4 Stars

Kim’s Review:

I am such a huge fan of Leigh Bardugo; she is a flippin genius! I first read the Six of Crows duology and fell in love. (My review is here). I found the Shadow and Bone trilogy at Books a Million for cheap so I got all 3 books. They sat on my shelf for quite a while, mostly because I didn’t want to somehow tarnish my love for the Grishaverse. But, I read Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Bardugo and she didn’t disappoint . . . So I dove in.(My review of Wonder Woman: Warbringer is here).

I’ll start with my limited bit of criticism. At first, I felt like I was missing something. Had I not read Six of Crows, I would have been completely lost. That was a bit disappointing to me. I also felt like the stretches between the action got a little slow. Unfortunately, a little teenage drama was thrown in to try to fill some empty spaces and that got annoying. However, neither of those things ruined the series. All the crazy action was unpredictable and scattered throughout.

I liked the characters pretty well. Alina was not the most likable but she grew and matured through each story. Mal was great! He was mostly supportive and very interesting and quite the badass!  I think my favorite of everybody was Sturmhond . . . But I can’t say much because I don’t want to give anything away! 🙂 The general plot was similar to many other books in YA, but Bardugo added enough unique detail to keep it from being conventional. I was happy with the resolution of the series and I ended up wanting to go straight into Six of Crows again. I like the continuity of the Grishaverse without the same story being told over and over again.

Overall, I really liked this trilogy. It’s a great introduction to the world of Grisha and I’m very excited to see the new things Bardugo is writing!

Purchase Links for the Series:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Short Story Sunday: The Scientist by Andrés Cruciani

Short Story Sunday is back! This is where I review a short story/novella. I love short stories (as long as they are well written) but I don’t think they get enough attention. The reviews for short stories can be difficult to write because of the ‘shortness’ and not wanting to give anything away!

Today’s short story is The Scientist by Andrés Cruciani:

Author: Andrés Cruciani
Published: January 1, 2019
9 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: March 7, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Short Story Description:

The Scientist is the tale of a woman who believes one must suffer to achieve greatness.

Jessica’s Review:

If you want a dark and disturbing short story that is under 10 pages, then The Scientist is for you. From the beginning Cruciani pulls us into the scientist’s life.  She is determined at all costs to become a great scientist and for that to happen she must be miserable, as all scientists need great misery in their lives. She goes to the utmost extremes to become miserable.

The descriptions are crystal clear.  I could picture our scientist as she was doing what she did throughout the story. You will wonder how far our scientist will go to become miserable so she can therefore become great…  Then you read it! 

Special thanks to the author Andrés Cruciani for sending me a copy to read and review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author:

 After graduating from Cornell, Andrés Cruciani earned a Master’s in Education from Brooklyn College and an MFA from The New School. He has been a teacher for 15 years and has taught writing at FIT and the Hispanic Center for Excellence at Albert Einstein College among other places. Andrés has had numerous pieces nominated for awards and published in The Westchester Review, Pamplemousse, Green Mountains Review, and Welter among other magazines. He served as editor for LIT magazine and is the current senior editor of Brooklyn Aikikai Journal. He recently founded Toho Publishing. When not writing, Andrés trains in Aikido. You can learn more about him at andrescruciani.com.

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Sunday Series Review: The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin

Today Kim is reviewing The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin. She enjoyed this series!

Books in the Series:
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
The Evolution of Mara Dyer
The Retribution of Mara Dyer


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Published: September 11, 2011
456 Pages

Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.
There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer
Published:
October 23, 2012
545 Pages

Mara Dyer knows she isn’t crazy. She knows that she can kill with her mind, and that Noah can heal with his. Mara also knows that somehow, Jude is not a hallucination. He is alive. Unfortunately, convincing her family and doctors that she’s not unstable and doesn’t need to be hospitalised isn’t easy. The only person who actually believes her is Noah. But being with Noah is dangerous and Mara is in constant fear that she might hurt him. She needs to learn how to control her power, and fast! Together, Mara and Noah must try and figure out exactly how Jude survived when the asylum collapsed, and how he knows so much about her strange ability…before anyone else ends up dead!

The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Published: November 4, 2014
470 Pages

Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.


Kim’s Rating of the Series: 4 Stars

Kim’s Review:

I have been wanting to read this trilogy for years, and finally, I got the whole series for Christmas! I couldn’t wait any longer, so I read Mara Dyer as soon as 2019 hit. I mostly enjoyed this trilogy. It wasn’t so much creepy as it was intense. I found myself sympathizing with Mara, she had to go thru some pretty horrible stuff, and overall, I was impressed with how she handled everything. There were a couple of typical idiot teenager things, but those didn’t bother me. I am constantly astounded by how dumb teens think adults are . . . HA! A majority of the time, if teens would just go to their parents, the problems would be solved!

To be fair, not all of Mara’s problems were that simple, so I let her off the hook! I really loved Noah, but even he fell into that “oh I love you and I’ll always love you” thing that teens are famous for. He was a strong character and he showed a lot of maturity and helped Dara out quite a bit. The story absolutely wouldn’t have been the same without him. Jamie was easily my favorite character of the whole series! He cracked me up and without him, the story wouldn’t have worked! He brought a realistic and even skeptical perspective that made everything more believable.

Unfortunately, I cannot give 5 stars to the series. The first two books got 5 stars each, but Retribution only got three. The ending was so anticlimactic! There were loose strings that were never addressed and almost no closure. I was really disappointed! The journey was far better than the destination. And this series had everything going for it! The pacing was perfect! The story just flowed from one book to another. But the ending ruined it . . . so sad! I would definitely save this series for older teens; some mature elements. But would recommend this series to anyone looking for an intense, psychological read, just skip the ending! 😀

Purchase Links:
The Mara Dyer Trilogy
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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