Tag Archives: Short Story

Mini-Reviews: Sherlock Holmes | The Sign of Four, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

MINI REVIEWS

I went on a Sherlock Holmes kick around the holidays (yes, I know I’m quite behind with my book reviews) and I ended up grabbing a few audiobooks for some quick and fun reads! Sherlock Holmes novels are some of the few classics I truly enjoy and the audios were on sale and cheap! I really enjoy how clever these books are and they’re also quick!


Mini-Reviews: Sherlock Holmes | The Sign of Four, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Blue CarbuncleTitle: The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Arthur Conan Doyle
Publishing Info: November 30, 2009 by Audible Studios
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 14, 2016

As a dense yellow fog swirls through the streets of London, a deep melancholy has descended on Sherlock Holmes, who sits in a cocaine-induced haze at 221B Baker Street. His mood is only lifted by a visit from a beautiful but distressed young woman - Mary Morstan, whose father vanished ten years before. Four years later she began to receive an exquisite gift every year: a large, lustrous pearl. Now she has had an intriguing invitation to meet her unknown benefactor and urges Holmes and Watson to accompany her. And in the ensuing investigation - which involves a wronged woman, a stolen hoard of Indian treasure, a wooden-legged ruffian, a helpful dog and a love affair - even the jaded Holmes is moved to exclaim, 'Isn't it gorgeous!'

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I’m not sure if I was too distracted for this (which I was), but I just really didn’t click with it. Whereas I picked up on the writing techniques with A STUDY IN SCARLET, I either didn’t pick it up here or just wasn’t in the mood for it with THE SIGN OF FOUR. Surprisingly (for not having read much Sherlock Holmes yet), the “telling” style continues with this novel and there’s a unexpected amount of recounting stories instead of witnessing action. I love the characters as I always do but this story wasn’t a hit for me.

I also just didn’t find this story line as intriguing as I had with A STUDY IN SCARLET. I think it felt a little more “out there” and I felt some disconnect with the end game. It didn’t quite hold its appeal for me but I do always love Watson dearly. I honestly barely remember what happened (although I’m writing this months later) except for the parts that I remembered were a little strange. This one just wasn’t a stand-out for me at all, and I was really bummed because I had become so convinced that I adored all of Sherlock Holmes because I enjoyed A STUDY IN SCARLET so much and I enjoy so many adaptations so it’s kind of a let down to feel so meh about this one. I guess I need to keep reading and see if the styles change any as the mysteries continue!


Mini-Reviews: Sherlock Holmes | The Sign of Four, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Blue CarbuncleTitle: The Red-Headed League (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes #2) by Arthur Conan Doyle
Publishing Info: November 30, 2009 by Audible Studios
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 13, 2016

In The Redheaded League, Holmes is engaged upon two seemingly unrelated cases, a daring bank robbery and the disappearance of a pawnbroker's assistant. Using minute details of the small mystery, he is able to solve the larger one. "Depend upon it," says Holmes to Watson in A Case of Identity, "there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace." Holmes is as fascinated by the story of a common young woman whose groom has vanished on the way to the altar as he has been by the woes of kings. He sharpens his powers of detection by putting together scattered facts to form a powerful and unexpected accusation. Holmes tells Watson about one of his first cases, The Musgrave Ritual; one that helped make him famous. Two servants of an English nobleman disappear. By following a trail of obscure clues left behind in an old parchment, Holmes discovers the crown of a former King of England.


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THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE was just a quick, short story but it was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed the quick and concise mystery and it was a little silly in theory but of course, it all works out in the end. I like that it was wrapped up so quickly and I think I enjoy the Holmes short stories more than the full-length novels in that respect. Whereas THE SIGN OF FOUR felt a little dragged out, THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE was obviously zippy due to its short length. Even though it was also a little silly, it was also just more fun in nature.

Mini-Reviews: Sherlock Holmes | The Sign of Four, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Blue CarbuncleTitle: The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes #7) by Arthur Conan Doyle
Publishing Info: December 6, 2012 by Audible Studios
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 26, 2016

In this holiday-themed short story, Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson, follow the trail of a lost hat and a Christmas goose through the streets of London and into a rapidly expanding mystery.


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Another quick Holmes adventure via audio for my car ride to work. A perfect little holiday novella for the day after Christmas was a fun and festive ride. I’m starting to notice that all Holmes stories have a bit too much “tell” to them where either Holmes reveals everything through a narrative or the culprit tells all at the end, so it’s not as much fun as having some more things revealed bit by bit, but I always do love the clues jam-packed into a story that only Holmes can point out. This one was fun with holiday theme at the right time and I actually did like the Holmes reveal a bit more in this one since it was such a short story.

Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the Ants

MINI REVIEWS

I’ve somehow fallen extremely behind on book reviews (that’s life!) so I’m combining a few audiobook reviews into one post today! Life has been so busy that I’ve been finishing way more audiobooks lately than I have print copies — but I’m always a fan of audios! Here are a few thoughts on 738 DAYS by Stacey Kade, TRICKY TWENTY-TWO by Janet Evanovich, WE ARE THE ANTS by Shaun David Hutchinson.


Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the AntsTitle: 738 Days by Stacey Kade
Publishing Info: June 7, 2016 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 7, 2016

At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.
Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.
Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he's sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.
To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?

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I was in need of a new audiobook when I started 738 DAYS and it seemed the most appealing choice out of my current selection! I had heard a lot of good things about it and although I wasn’t feeling any of my options, this one seemed to be my best bet for my mood at the time. I hadn’t realized it was so realistic/contemporary (I thought it was going to be more thriller/action — ah, the curse of going in mostly blind) but I did enjoy the book! Since I wasn’t in the mood for a serious contemporary novel, I ended up getting a little eye-rolly at some of the mushy parts (it was my own fault!) but 738 DAYS was a really well put together novel.

I thought the characters were quite realistic. I liked the array of emotions from Amanda. I could easily see how the trauma of her past still affected her — and likely would affect her for a long time or even the rest of her life — and yet she was determined not to to get stuck from it and have that trauma hold her life back. I loved her strength and determination. It was nice to see that gusto and not have her be too gung-ho or the type that constantly refuses someone’s help just so she can do something herself. There was a great balance of growth and seeing that moving past this wasn’t easy. I also really liked Chase and that we met him in his days of redemption. I think it’s easier to like a character when the bad stuff is in their past versus watching them go through the periods of self-destruction. It’s easier to distance yourself from that negative side and it was really nice to see Chase already in the process of that change to be a better person. He and Amanda really just clicked together and I liked how easy that relationship felt. I’ll admit that since I was thinking it was a bit more thriller (oops) that I wasn’t really excited about the romance at first (I know, I know, that’s what the whole book was ABOUT) but the great thing is that it totally grew on me. To swing me from not thrilled to totally loving it says a lot!

I’d say this is more of a New Adult title (given age range and sexual content I wouldn’t say it’s YA) and if you’re hesitant about reading New Adult given some of the more cheesy titles that have previously given it a bad name, this is a great place to start! It’ll definitely be one of my New Adult recommendations for people looking to try some.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS | 738 DAYS had dual narrators for the two main characters. Andrew Eiden voiced Chase and Shannon McManus voiced Amanda. I didn’t really like Shannon’s voice much but it wasn’t enough that I actively disliked it (which has happened in the past and I’ve turned an audiobook off). Her voice is high and clear, very feminine, but it has kind of that Valley Girl intonation that bothered me a little bit. I did like Andrew Eiden’s voice but I still wasn’t overly in love with his narration. I’d say a solid 3.75 – 4 stars for the narration on this one.


Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the AntsTitle: Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: November 17, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 19, 2016
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1), Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24), The Heist (Fox & O'Hare #1)

Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.
Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks.
As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.


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I am loving that the Stephanie Plum books are coming back around to being actual stories that I care about and not just throw-away, silly novels. TRICKY TWENTY-TWO actually had the characters addressing serious issues. We hear talk of marriage and serious commitments, and not in just the silly way of how the characters are usually afraid of commitment or Stephanie’s caught up between Morelli and Ranger. I loved that things got a little deeper and the characters became more real again and not just caricatures of themselves.

The plot was better too! Less crazy, wild animals and more actual cases, bringing that sense of mystery back to the book and not just a silly thriller aspect. I do love these books — they’re fun, familiar, and the audios are SO quick. I’m really glad that they’re coming back around and keep me excited for more! For a while I was starting to grow tired of them (not like I’d quit them!) but I’m really happy that I’m getting that faith back in the series.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS | As usual, Lorelai King was a lot of fun! I think she’s really good at all of the different voices (and there are a LOT of distinct ones) and she really brings these books to life. I don’t think I’ve read Stephanie Plum book in print for maybe ten books (or more!) because they’re just so much fun on audio and somehow they go by so quickly!!

Mini-Reviews: Recent Audiobooks | 738 Days, Tricky Twenty-Two, We Are the AntsTitle: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Publishing Info: January 19, 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 26, 2016

There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.
Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.
What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.
But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.
The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.


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I hadn’t picked up WE ARE THE ANTS for a while because truthfully, I was afraid of the whole “abducted by aliens” thing. While I will agree that it is a big part of the book, it’s not a main portion of the action. Henry does believe that he keeps getting abducted and that he has the ability to save the world or let it be destroyed but it’s more about the question of his decision than it is about the aliens.

The book is a lot deeper and a lot more realistic fiction than I thought it would be too! Obviously aliens had me believing it was sci-fi but it was really more of Henry’s story, what he was going through since his boyfriend’s suicide, the bullying that’s occurring in his life, and his relationship with his family. It was a heart-achingly beautiful novel, quite realistic and really thought-provoking. It was darker than I had anticipated but there was also a wonderful balance of humor to ease that darkness a little bit. Shaun David Hutchinson did an amazing job and really brought me into a book I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own (alien abduction is really just a turn-off for me) and I like how that whole idea was incorporated into the book! I was poignant, original, and very well-written.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS | Gibson Frazier was a really good narrator! This is the first time I’ve ever listened something he’s narrated (I have a tendency to listen to my favorites) and he was really great! Sometimes a little monotone but I also think that was a bit of the character so I’m not sure if it was him or Henry. I liked how well he seemed to fit the character and I really enjoyed him in this book. Sometimes I did wish for more emotion but I’d be interested to listen to more from him.

Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell

I happen to have read two novellas/short stories from Brandon Sanderson recently and I decided to combine them into one set of mini-reviews! I grabbed the audio of PERFECT STATE  and SILENCE FOR SHADOWS IN THE FORESTS OF HELL in a recent Audible sale and managed to squeeze them in between full-length novels. Then I immediately ran to read MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY after finishing THE BANDS OF MOURNING because A) that series is addicting and B) I always want more answers and backstory to the Mistborn universe! Below you’ll find some brief thoughts on each.


Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: March 31, 2015 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 25, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

God-Emperor Kairominas is lord of all he surveys. He has defeated all foes, has united the entire world beneath his rule, and has mastered the arcane arts. He spends his time sparring with his nemesis, who keeps trying to invade Kai's world.
Except for today. Today, Kai has to go on a date.
Forces have conspired to require him to meet with his equal—a woman from another world who has achieved just as much as he has. What happens when the most important man in the world is forced to have dinner with the most important woman in the world?

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PERFECT STATE was a lot of fun! I really liked the whole concept of “meta fiction” (I recently discovered this term!) in which the main character is essentially playing out their life through a simulated world (think The Matrix or even a VR world like in READY PLAYER ONE). PERFECT STATE follows the story of Kai who is the ruler of his own (fictional) world and now the time has come for him to interact with other actual humans and do his duty to reproduce in order to keep the population going.

These quick novellas from Sanderson are always so hard to rate! I know his amazing world-building and I always go into these novellas excited to read more Sanderson and I’m left wanting so much more! I could easily read a whole novel or series about this world and these characters! It would have been a fantastic series if that were the case. It’s classic Sanderson through and through — great world, witty characters, interesting intersection, creative twist. I loved the characters and I wished I could have spent more time in all of these different worlds!
I also really loved the combination of fantasy and sci-fi. It was really neat to see the two collide like that! I’ve really enjoyed everything that Brandon Sanderson has written, no matter the genre, and I will keep reading everything that crosses my path!


Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: January 26, 2016 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Amazon
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 4, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

Mistborn: Secret History is a companion story to the original Mistborn trilogy.
As such, it contains HUGE SPOILERS for the books Mistborn (The Final Empire), The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. It also contains very minor spoilers for the book The Bands of Mourning.
Mistborn: Secret History builds upon the characterization, events, and worldbuilding of the original trilogy. Reading it without that background will be a confusing process at best.
In short, this isn’t the place to start your journey into Mistborn. (Though if you have read the trilogy—but it has been a while—you should be just fine, so long as you remember the characters and the general plot of the books.)
Saying anything more here risks revealing too much. Even knowledge of this story’s existence is, in a way, a spoiler.
There’s always another secret.


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MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY was incredibly mind-blowing. I can’t really say TOO much about it because it’s incredibly spoilery for those who haven’t read MISTBORN yet or even those who haven’t finished THE BANDS OF MOURNING yet. This short story takes place just after the rush of events as MISTBORN is ending and continues to span throughout the rest of the original trilogy, setting things up for the Wax & Wayne era.

Sanderson’s world building is astounding. I love that he’s been compiling this story little by little as he’s been writing the series and finally shared it in this novella. I agree that it may have been too much to mix in with the series chronologically and I was happy to read this all from one POV!

Honestly? I got a tad lost in the middle. Well, not lost but I just have a hard time adapting to new ideas/places/people without enough anchors to hold me to an original character/story. Maybe I’m just not well-versed enough in the Cosmere? But I was having a bit of a hard time wrapping my brain around some of the sections in the middle just because we’re dealing with such higher forces (without giving any spoilers away) and a nearly new concept which I would have loved to spend more time with! Could be that these things/concepts/whatever also appear in other Sanderson books that I just haven’t read yet and that’s why I’m not picking up on it as much! Truly, the things you find out in this short story are so amazingly fantastical that I actually want to re-read the whole series and have MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY in hand so I can read them on the same timelines. I also want to go back and read sections of this again so I can really grasp what’s going on. Some things did  seem to be tied to other books set in the Cosmere so I really need to read those soon!!

There were some amazing moments between original Mistborn characters that just totally warmed my heart and really put a happy ending on everything. I loved tiny glances at different POVs (especially Kelsier’s) as scenes from the endings of MISTBORN, THE WELL OF ASCENSION, and THE HERO OF AGES appear in the novella. I loved seeing some of my favorite characters and getting even more answers as to what happened to them and exactly how things played out since we get a different perspective here.

Always a joy to read, some MIND-BLOWING knowledge that has me dying to pick up more books (not like that was an issue anyway. I already have reads planned out!), but now I can’t believe how long I’ll have to wait for new Mistborn books! AHHH!

Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: December 3, 2013 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 7, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

When the familiar and seemingly safe turns lethal, therein danger lies. Amid a forest where the shades of the dead linger all around, every homesteader knows to follow the Simple Rules: "Don't kindle flame, don't shed the blood of another, don't run at night. These things draw shades."
Silence Montane has broken all three rules on more than one occasion. And to protect her family from a murderous gang with high bounties on their heads, Silence will break every rule again, at the risk of becoming a shade herself.


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I think this is one of my favorite Brandon Sanderson novellas to date. (Though I think LEGION is right up there but in a totally different way.) SHADOWS FOR SILENCE IN THE FORESTS OF HELL (whew, that’s a long title for a short book) was instantly engaging for me! It took just a minute or two before I figured out who the focus of the novella was (you know me — I don’t re-read synopses before starting a new book) and then once I was there I was totally there. It was a short story but I was instantly captivated. Although it’s set firmly in the Cosmere, the characters and setting actually really reminded me of Patrick Rothfuss’ THE NAME OF THE WIND — which I also adore — and so I think that familiarity (even though totally unrelated) really helped me get a feel for things quickly which is something that I do have issues with sometimes in novellas.

The characters, action, and plot were all great! As usual with a short story, I was left wanting so much more world-building and backstory but in the sense that I was interested and invested, not that it was lacking. I felt like I had a nice grip on the concept of what was happening and the characters were interesting and showed a nice depth.

I think if you’re interested in picking a novella of Sanderson’s this is one I’d highly recommend on starting with! The audiobook was also great (and cheap) and it was perfect for a little change of pace between full-length novels.


Are you a big Sanderson fan? Have you read any (or all) of these? I can’t get enough of the Mistborn books!!

My True Love Gave to Me – Various Authors

My True Love Gave to Me – Various AuthorsTitle: My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins
Publishing Info: October 14, 2014 by St. Martin's Press
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 16, 2014
Related Posts: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you're going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers (Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler and Kiersten White), edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins.  Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there's something here for everyone.  So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy.  You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love. 

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I love that these authors got together to put MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME out into the world. There are definitely some of my favorite authors’ works in here (Rainbow! Gayle! Stephanie!)  and I had soooo much fun reading all of these short stories (although some I wished would go on forever)! It’s hard to review a collection of short stories so I’ll just say a few things on each one of them!

MIDNIGHTS BY RAINBOW ROWELL

Sigghhhhh. Dreamy sighhhh. I just love Rainbow Rowell’s writing. Something about it just stirs up all of the butterflies in me and just feels so wonderful and comfortable and makes me feel like I’m coming home. MIDNIGHTS was a story about the New Years Eves that Mags and Noel share and their story just hit all the right places for me. I wished there could have been SO much more of this short story. It was truly perfection.
Rating: 5/5

THE LADY AND THE FOX BY KELLY LINK

I’ve never read anything by Kelly Link before so I had no idea what to expect, plus I think it’s REALLY hard to follow Rainbow’s beautiful story. THE LADY AND THE FOX was interesting but it had a weird feel for me… Like it was almost old and new all at once. I think this story could have been better (for me) if it was longer because I needed to really bury myself in some of the details and backstories a bit. Rainbow’s I wished could go on forever because I loved it and this I wished could go on longer because I just needed a bit more story to make that connection!
Rating: 2/5

ANGELS IN THE SNOW BY MATT DE LA PENA

I really, really liked this story! It was very different from the first two and I loved how the two characters — Shy and Haley — came together. I really liked Shy and really felt for him being away from his family and everything that was going on with his family during this holiday season. I really connected with this one (another one I wish there was more of!) and it was really interesting to get to know his character. I loved the male voice and I just really enjoyed this one a lot. And fresh snow! Sigh. It always gets me.
Rating: 4/5

POLARIS IS WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME BY JENNY HAN

This story was really cute. It definitely had a feel between Elf and The Santa Clause! The main character Natalie was adopted by Santa, lives at the North Pole with the elves, and has a crush on one of them. They don’t believe her when she says she’s kissed a real human boy before. The story is just sweet, very fun, and I love how it captures the spirit of Christmas and makes a YA story out of elves & Santa!
Rating: 3.5/5

IT’S A YULTIDE MIRACLE, CHARLIE BROWN BY STEPHANIE PERKINS

Oh, Stephanie. How does she alway write such wonderful and poignant stories? I just loved this one and everything it was about. The little romance was adorable and I loved how everything came together. It’s so funny because I never expect to find such deeper meaning in such short stories but yep, sure enough. Steph has it in there. Loved this one! Loved how it ended too.
Rating: 4.5/5

YOUR TEMPORARY SANTA BY DAVID LEVITHAN

This was definitely a little bittersweet but I loved the sentiment behind it. It was really interesting to see the family dynamic unfold in such a short story and I really would have loved to read more of this one too. Each person is not without their flaws and it was really great to see this cross-section of characters come together to keep a little girl’s dream of Santa alive, all the while trying to hold together their own dreams.
Rating: 4/5

KRAMPUSLAUF BY HOLLY BLACK

Man, I loved this one. I personally haven’t read KRAMPUS but my besties Alyssa & Amy have (and love it) so I was happy to read a little piece of Krampus through this short story. Krampuslauf was all about friendship, loyalty, and honor – including a little traditional Krampus justice. I loved the touch of magic and the feeling that there really can be magic in the world if you’re open to believing.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE, SOPHIE ROTH? BY GAYLE FORMAN

How very Gayle. I just love how she brings so many things together in one story so effortlessly (or maybe it just seems effortless). Gayle’s stories always seem to follow the vein of finding your true self and being happy with what you are, who you have, and where you want to go. So many times I’ve related to these things and I love the college setting for Sophie Roth. It’s such a big starting point for so many people to go and truly start becoming who they really are.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

BEER BUCKETS AND BABY JESUS BY MYRA MCENTIRE

A cute little story with Southern charm about a troublemaker and a pastor’s daughter. I really enjoyed this one (though always thrown off by a female author writing a male POV when I don’t expect it! Still love) and it was a riot to see Vaughn the perpetual mischief-maker try to bring together a Christmas pageant. I also love that not everything is what it seems in this story… Lots of ideas that your assumptions about people or what you see on the surface is not quite what a person’s character is truly about.
Rating: 4/5 stars

CHRISTMAS, CA BY KIERSTEN WHITE

Oh, I loved this story. I half-expected this to have another hidden magical meaning (like real elves or a real Santa) but it was definitely more just a story of the characters making the magic for themselves. I really loved seeing these small-town characters start to find their way, and somehow all of these Christmas stories end up being the main character finding out that what he/she thought ran far deeper than they thought. It was so heart warming and really very dynamic for me. I could just picture myself in Christmas, CA.
Rating: 4.5/5

STAR OF BETHLEHEM BY ALLY CARTER

That was such a sweet story. I love the Ally Carter feel to it and how much fun! The concept was great and I loved the way it ended. The setting was wonderful (I love books set in the middle of nowhere) and I absolutely loved the characters – from “Hulda” to Ethan to Aunt Mary. I think this was one of my favorites! I just wanted to read an entire book and I was even already picturing it as a movie haha!
Rating: 4.25/5

THE GIRL WHO WOKE THE DREAMER BY LAINI TAYLOR

Wow, this was wonderful. It actually took just a little bit to get into but I really, REALLY ended up loving it. It had a bit of a Daughter of Smoke and Bone feel (well, that’s all I’ve read by Laini Taylor) and yet still very much original. I loved Laini’s writing and I absolutely adored where this story went. It was such a beautiful tale and I really just dreamily sighed at the end of it. Outstanding.
Rating: 4.5/5

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Anthologies. I actually haven’t read many anthologies! Usually the novellas or short stories I read are part of a series and that’s why I pick them up. I love that these were all bound up together and even more so, that the authors took the time to team up for this.
Left Me Wanting More: Flow. Some of the stories didn’t really flow well from one to the next. I mean, of course that has to do with personal taste as well, but it was really hard to go from kicking it off with Rainbow Rowell (LOVED that one) into Kelly Link (sorry Kelly) which had a very, very different feel and totally different focus all together. I think they could have been arranged a bit differently to give the overall collection a better flow.

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

This collection was so much fun. I really loved getting twelve different Christmas stories and I wished some of them could have gone on for much longer! It’s the perfect book to read bit by bit during the holidays.

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BOOKS LIKE MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        top ten clues you're clueless       stardust

Fortnight of Fright 2014: Short Story – “The Hole” (Michelle from Unraveling Books)

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Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2013

Two years ago, Alyssa (Books Take You Places) and I really bonded over our mutual love of Halloween and came up with the idea for A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT: a two-week long event celebrating everything Halloween and horror-related! We decided to bring it back again for the third annual Fortnight of Fright event, this time along with Amy (Tripping Over Books), so this event is brought to you by all of the gals from On the Same Page!

Today, Michelle from Unraveling Books wrote a short story called “The Hole”! It’s lots of fun and quick read so I hope you enjoy her Halloween short!!


“The Hole”

    “Shh, he’s coming!”
“Ow! Timmy you’re stepping on my foot!”
“Anna be quiet. We have to scare Conor this time! On the count of three. 1, 2, 3…NOW!”
Anna and Timmy threw the closet door open and yelled “BOO!”
“Really? That’s the best you two could come up with?”
“Ugh, we’re never going to be able to scare you!” exclaimed Anna.
“I know,” Conor said with a smirk. “Come on, it’s time to go to the pumpkin patch.
Timmy and Anna followed Conor downstairs to his parents’ car waiting out front.
“Alright kids, buckle up!” said Mr. Davis.

     “Ooh look at this one!” Anna yelled from across the patch. “Conor, Timmy come look!”
The boys run over and find Anna holding a pumpkin the size of her palm.
“Anna, you called us all the way over here for that?” asked Conor with disbelief.
“Look how cute it is!”
“Oh my God, I’m going back. Call us if you actually find a REAL pumpkin.”
“Yeah. I’m with him.” Timmy said and followed Conor.
After twenty minutes, the place began getting more crowded so Anna headed closer to the trees surrounding the pumpkin patch. When she got there, she noticed Timmy, too.
“Hey, any luck?”
Timmy just stared at the trees.
“Timmy?” Anna tried again.
“Let’s go in here,” he finally said.

“Ok, hold on. Hey! Conor! Conor! Come with us!”
Conor ran over.
“What’s going on? Where are we going?”
“In here,” said Timmy.
After about five minutes, they came to a run down looking house and right there in the front were three of the largest pumpkins they had ever seen.
“Whoa! Awesome!” exclaimed Conor. “Look at these!”
The three kids ran to the pumpkins.
“Timmy, how did you know to come in here?”
“I don’t know. It just felt like I should.”
“We need to find something to cut them off their vines,” said Conor.
The three kids walked around the house and found a shed in the back. Walking in, they found all kinds of tools, including a giant pair of gardening shears.
“Perfect.” Conor grabbed the shears and they all walked back to the front of the house. Timmy picked up the first vine pulling it tight so that Conor could cut it. Once the vine was cut, the two boys started pushing the first pumpkin out of the way. But then suddenly as they were pushing the second one, a vine reached out and wrapped itself around Timmy and yanked him to the ground!
“Ahhh! Guys help! HELP!”
“Anna, grab Timmy’s hand and help me pull him!”
The ground suddenly opened up and Anna screamed and let go of Timmy’s hand.
“ANNA! GRAB TIMMY’S HAND!”
But Anna just stood there screaming as Conor’s grip loosened from the strength of the vine pulling on Timmy.
“Conor, please don’t let go!”
“I’m trying Timmy but I’m not strong enough.”
     Suddenly another vine reached out and grabbed Conor, and the hole in the ground shot out a bright light. The light was so bright that Anna covered her eyes, but when she opened them, her friends were gone.
Scared, Anna turned around to run back to the pumpkin patch, but right in front of her was the pumpkin they had cut loose earlier and this time it had a face with an evil grin.
“What in the-“
The pumpkin let out a loud roar, the wind picked up and next thing Anna knew she was flying in the air, trapped like she was in a twister. The hole opened back up and then she was thrown in the hole, joining Conor and Timmy.

    “Wow, kids those pumpkins look great! Where’d you find them?”
“It’s a secret, Mr. Davis.”
Mr. Davis laughed. “Okay, well let’s get these in the trunk and then tonight we can carve them.”
The pumpkins were loaded into the trunk and everyone piled into the car.
“Guys, how come you all look a little orange?”
“Because we used to be pumpkins but we took Conor, Timmy and Anna, sucked them into a hole in the ground and took over their bodies. We’re not even human.”
“You kids and your imagination.”


Thanks, Michelle! What a fun little story! I hope you all enjoyed it and also importantly, I hope you have a great Halloween! Thanks for making this year’s Fortnight of Fright just as great!

Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (#0.1) & Little Knife (#2.6) – Leigh Bardugo

Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (#0.1) & Little Knife (#2.6) – Leigh BardugoTitle: The Demon in the Wood (The Grisha # 0.1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: August 18, 2015 by Macmillan
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 22, 2014
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

Before he ruled Ravka, before he was the Darkling, he was just a lonely boy with an extraordinary gift. In this prequel story to the New York Times-bestselling Grisha Trilogy, Leigh Bardugo takes us into Ravka's mysterious past, when Grisha lived as fugitives and the Darkling took his first steps on the path to power. Discover new territory in the Grishaverse, as well as two chapters from the soon-to-be-released Six of Crows.

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THE DEMON IN THE WOOD was one of the short stories I was most anticipating. While I love Leigh Bardugo’s Ravkan folk tales, I’m sure we were all dying to know more about The Darkling!

I think the thing I loved the most about this short story was of course, more information about The Darkling, but also seeing that point in his life where things really started to turn for the worst… We find out quite a few things in the epic conclusion that is RUIN AND RISING, but this delves a little bit more into the story of how he became the way he is and I love that it makes me a little bit more sympathetic to him. All evil villains have to have a reason WHY they’re evil, right?

I really loved the character interaction. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I heard that it was a Darkling short story and I felt like the characters featured and what we learned about them was just perfect. I also really enjoyed getting to know more about the origin of the First Army and the order of the Grisha. We know it was something that The Darkling started but didn’t know how the Grisha ended up where they are.

As always, I want more because I just can’t get enough of this world but this short story provided answers and rounded out characters even more than they were. All-around enjoyable and entertaining!


Grisha Novellas: The Demon in the Wood (#0.1) & Little Knife (#2.6) – Leigh BardugoTitle: Little Knife (The Grisha #2.6) by Leigh Bardugo
Publishing Info: June 24, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Read for free on Tor.com
Genres: Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 26, 2015
Related Posts: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Grisha Novellas: The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5), The Taylor (The Grisha #1.5), The Too-Clever Fox (The Grisha #2.5), Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1), Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2), Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), Six of Crows (The Dregs #1), , Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

In this third Ravkan folk tale from Leigh Bardugo, a beautiful girl finds that what her father wants for her and what she wants for herself are two different things. It is a companion story to the third book of the Grisha Trilogy, Ruin and Rising, and the stories “The Witch of Duva” and “The Too-Clever Fox.”

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LITTLE KNIFE, I think, is my favorite Ravkan folk tale yet. I just loved how it felt like a short fairy tale or a fable and every time I read one of these, I just cannot praise Leigh Bardugo enough for her world building skills. Each tale shows a little history of Ravka and also seem to tie back into the most recent book and I always feel like each one makes Ravka seem more like a real place. These short stories just make it exist.

The Ravkan folk tales don’t allow as much in terms of character development but I feel like you can pluck out lessons here and there that directly correlate to a scene or a situation in the books. A character has learned that lesson or reference that folk lore or been to that place — it really just ties everything back together into one solid world.

If you haven’t read any of these shorts or folk tales, I highly recommend them if you’re a big Grisha fan!

Annabel (Delirium #0.5) – Lauren Oliver

Annabel (Delirium #0.5) – Lauren OliverTitle: Annabel (Delirium #0.5) by Lauren Oliver
Publishing Info: December 26, 2012 by HarperCollins
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 26, 2012
Related Posts: Requiem (Delirium #3), Before I Fall, Vanishing Girls, Panic

Lena's mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery—a ghost in Lena's past. Until now. Discover her secrets in Lauren Oliver's brilliant original digital story set in the world of New York Times bestsellers Delirium and Pandemonium. Lena Halloway's mother, Annabel, supposedly committed suicide when Lena was only six years old. That's the lie that Lena grew up believing, but the truth is very different. As a rebellious teenager, Annabel ran away from home and straight into the man she knew she was destined to marry. The world was different then—the regulations not as stringent, the cure only a decade old. Fast forward to the present, and Annabel is consigned to a dirty prison cell, where she nurtures her hope of escape and scratches one word over and over into the walls: Love. But Annabel, like Lena, is a fighter. Through chapters that alternate between her past and present, Annabel reveals the story behind her failed cures, her marriage, the births of her children, her imprisonment, and, ultimately, her daring escape.

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It’s a short story so I’ll just give some quick thoughts!

So far, I’ve loved these little short stories that give us more info about the characters in the Delirium trilogy. When I read HANA, I was left wanting a bit more from the story but reading ANNABEL kind of filled in some gaps and made the whole trilogy that much richer. Not only do we get to hear about Lena’s mother Annabel before Lena was even born, but we also get a little bit more background on the new set of rules and regulations surrounding the cure and how society is changing once and for all. I thought it was great to see how similar Lena and her mother are yet they’re still two very distinct characters.

As always, I love Lauren Oliver’s writing. The beauty of it just touches me and makes me dive head first into the story. It gave me a little taste of her writing again before I’m able to pick up REQUIEM, and if you’re wondering, NO I did not read the REQUIEM teaser at the end. If I start that, I’m just going to want more. I’ll wait (I’m)patiently for a copy!

character_breakdown1Annabel: Annabel is fierce and strong, making decisions for herself and not just going with the flow like the rest of the world. I loved her determination and her spirit. Lena is truly her mother’s daughter! I really think this little piece of Annabel will really help shape the rest of the series.
Conrad: YES, we even get to hear more about Lena’s dad! I actually found this to be one of the more interesting points of the novel and how Conrad and Annabel ended up being together when she was not cured and he was. Very great addition.

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Buy it!

If you like the DELIRIUM trilogy, I would recommend this novella. I really love learning more about the backgrounds of these books as well as meeting old characters to create a new story. This one was fascinating!

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Ba(n)d Romance (a short story) – Sarah Billington

Ba(n)d Romance (a short story) – Sarah BillingtonTitle: Ba(n)d Romance by Sarah Billington
Publishing Info: August 13, 2012 by Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 5, 2012

    Jordan thought she and Paul were forever. Then she found out about Missy: Paul’s other forever.
Now it’s the night of the sophomore dance. Jordan’s on stage with her band, Paul’s text bombing her and Missy’s in the audience with murder on her mind. Unfortunately, it’s not Paul in Missy’s sights.
Another short and sassy story from Sarah Billington.

Breaking It Down Further: Jordan and her friend Wyatt are about to perform in their band for the sophomore dance, but all the while, Jordan is getting texts and calls from Paul, her ex-boyfriend. Why is he her ex? Oh yeah, he’s been seeing other girls. Missy, to be exact. Missy who’s a no-nonsense, about-to-punch-Jordan-in-the-face kind of girl. Now Jordan has to face her nerves to perform and successfully avoid Paul and Missy to have a successful night! 

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I really just adore this cover! Great choice.

This was a really cute and quick short story! Thankfully I never had this type of experience in my day, but I’m sure we’ve all had something similar (like seeing your crush (not boyfriend) with another girl).

I know it was a short story, but I almost wish there was just a liiiiittle bit more so we could get to know more about Jordan. She seemed like a really good protagonist and one I’d be happy to read about! I’d actually like to read a whole novel about her little high school drama!

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4/5 stars

This was really cute! I enjoyed it quite a bit. I wish there was a BIT more story to get to know the characters more but I had fun reading this!