Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: 

Young Adult, order Fantasy

Pages: 

465 pages

Part of a Series?:

1st in the Six of Crows series

Release Date: 

September 29th, price 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

My Review:

Leigh Bardugo has created yet another masterpiece that completely blows my mind. Its not just a great YA novel and its not just a great fantasy novel…its just a great book period. She created this incredible world in the Grisha trilogy, and made it so that it was one of my favorite series, period.

Then she goes and continues in this world, and she opens it up even more. She’s already created this beautifully complicated but addicting world, and she opens it up and it is so easy to just fall into it. This new place is so different than Ravka and what we were used to with Alina but it also feels familiar, like you’re stepping out of Ravka and traveling the rest of the world. That’s how great Leigh is at writing, that’s how fantastic she is at world building. World building is the one thing that I struggle with the most and its a HUGE part of why I admire Leigh so much.

But I also love how much more she opens up her world, and its more than just it taking place in another country. We get so close to Alina in the Grisha trilogy but in this book, there are six characters, so different from each other and yet they all have to work together in order to make this incredibly impossible thing work. Leigh’s ability to create such rich and interesting characters in the same book and make them all insanely likable and yet you kind of want to wring their necks too…I love it.

I never know what to say about Leigh’s books because I always just feel sort of socked in the stomach after I read her books. In a good way, of course. She’s just such an incredible writer. She tells amazing stories with these compelling characters and sometimes you feel like you could get lost in what’s going on, but it also is so easy to be a part of. Give it a few pages, you get yourself centered in the story and then bam! You’re there, you’re involved and literally can’t stop reading. She blows my mind. I throw myself at her feet. I could only hope to write as well as she does.

And she’s my friend. That part blows my mind too. I’m friends with someone who writes incredibly amazing books, YA or not, fantasy or not, just straight up these books ARE so good and I’m already addicted to this characters (Inej = life) and I can’t wait to read more!

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Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Tuesday Top Ten – Underrated YA Book Series

So I was  browsing around Facebook yesterday when I came across a Buzzfeed article about the 29 Underrated YA Book Series. Of course I had to click on it.

And while I love several of the choices on that list, no rx I thought, try I should do my own list. There are GREAT series on there, but a lot of them aren’t what I would call underrated or unnoticed. Percy Jackson? Huge. HUGE. And they got two movies. Infernal Devices? Again. HUGE. All Souls? Incredibly popular and not YA right? I don’t know to be honest, I haven’t read them. I know they aren’t shelved with YA. The Chicken Soup series? Didn’t everyone have those when I was in middle school/high school? And so on.

So that brings us to today’s Tuesday Top Ten…my favorite YA series that just don’t get enough attention. Which is why I’m talking about them. So they get more attention. Because I’m just awesome that way.

Let’s do this.

Oh, I’ll add one more thing. All of these get GREAT reviews, and have received an abundance of praise and accolades and all the huge reviewers and all that love them. By “underrated” I mean, by the masses that tend to enjoy YA. The people that don’t much more than Hunger Games and Divergent and that sort of thing.

Moving on…

10. The Across the Universe Trilogy by Beth Revis

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I love love love this series. Beth Revis takes humanity, sticks them on a space ship and gets them lost for centuries. Humanity has basically all but disappeared on this ship until one of the humans who was supposed to be frozen until they arrive at this “new” earth awakes…and chaos and romance and all sorts of things erupt. Its fantastic. There is just SO much about this series that is so good. I have a hard time finding people who have read it and I get so excited when I do!

9. The Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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So JLA was on this BuzzFeed list, but with the Lux series. That series, the Wait for You series and the Dark Elements series…they’re all fairly popular. They are the ones that I feel like people talk about when it comes to JLA. But my absolute favorite of her series is hands down The Covenant series. SO freakin good! Alex and Aidan are hot as hell, they have a steamy and intense and fun romance, and their world is chaotic and full of action and drama and …more intensity. And its Greek mythology with a new twist and I love every single bit of it.

8. The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

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Meg Cabot is not exactly underrated but she has so many series that often times some of them get lost underneath the ones she’s really known for like The Princess Diaries. This is one of my absolute favorites by her. It has ghosts! And a girl who likes to beat them up when they don’t want to cooperate. And a super hot Spanish ghost that’s a really great kisser. Its just awesome. The entire series is just SO flippin good. Meg manages to write this amazing paranormal romance that also makes you laugh again and again and again.

7. The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

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This series was actually on the list and it was one of the few that I really agreed should be on this list. I first picked up this list when my ex told me to pick out a book and I thought the cover was beautiful and then I proceeded to consume the entire series in a matter of days. Its so beautifully written and it has everything you could want in a book. It has romance and action and politics and action and humor and discovery and uncertainty and god…everything. I can’t speak highly enough of this series. Its legitimately one of my favorites ever.

6. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

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UGH. God. This series. I’m meeting Libba for the first time this weekend at YALL West, and I legit can’t handle that kind of pressure. I’m going to cry or something. I actually accidentally picked up the second book first (whoops) but rectified and continued on to enjoy this beautiful trilogy. It takes place in Victorian English countryside at a boarding school that is hiding all sorts of secrets. Its so dark but funny at the same time and its full of a new kind of magic and I love every bit of it. I need a re-read of this soon actually…

5. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Series by Rae Carson

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Let’s put it this way: I would not drive all the way to Vegas (about a 4 to 5 hour drive) just to meet her for one day if I didn’t think this series was that amazing. What makes this great is that its this sort of Chosen One story but the Chosen One is the last person you’d expect. Elisa is fat and uncertain and unsure and you kind sit there and think, her? Really? But its just so great. And the world building and the magic and the evolution of the main character throughout the three books…my little book loving heart just can’t handle the beauty of this trilogy.

4. The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

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There WAS a series by Tammy on the list but I chose this one for a huge reason: its the first series of the epicness of the Tortall world. The one they chose is the third one and kind of…spoils the first two series for sure. haha. Plus let’s face it…Tammy has a handle on this YA fantasy since the early 80s and just not enough people are reading her. She’s amazing. Her writing, the characters she creates, the way she manages to keep the world of Tortall alive after so many decades…its impossible not to absolutely love her. This series is about a girl who disguises her gender for YEARS in order to become a knight, and then basically does whatever the hell she wants once everyone finds out. YES. I want to shove all of her books down all of your throats. Sorry. Not really.

3. The Airhead Trilogy by Meg Cabot

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Why, yes, I did pick two Meg Cabot series. This is another one that kind of disappears when it comes to Meg. But its legitimately my favorite. Besides Princess Diaries. Because its just SO weird and bizarre and I love it. Em Watts dies…but not really. At the same time as her body dies, supermodel Nikki Howard as a brain aneurysm. Doctors save her life by implanting her brain into Nikki’s body, but she has to live her life as Nikki and no one can know that she was once Em. Its seriously the most bizarre thing ever, especially once you realize there’s so much more to it than meets the eye. And its just straight up hilarious.

2. The Unremembered Trilogy by Jessica Brody

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The finale of this trilogy just released less than two months ago and I’m still reeling from it. I can barely express my emotions about it. Sigh. Anyway. This is a series that’s absolutely incredible and seriously does NOT get enough credit. I want to see more of those purple books in people’s hands. Seriously. I can’t even explain how great this trilogy is. Its like…Bourne Identity but with a super badass girl instead of Matt Damon and it has superhumans called Ex-Gens and time travel and cool technology and romance and action and its just amazing. There are not nearly enough people reading it and you guys need to be reading it. Now. Go.

1. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

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I love Leigh from the bottom of my heart to the tip top of my head all the way to my little toes. She’s AMAZING and her series just proves that. She has had SUCH success with it, but its nothing to the extend that a ton of people know about it and I want to change that. Her trilogy is perfection and its such a great example of how AMAZING YA fantasy…and YA in general…can be. She’s a terrific writer and a fabulous storyteller. This is another series that needs a re-read soon because now all I can think about is how much I love these books!

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Tuesday Top Ten-Best YA High Fantasy Series

I was browsing around Tumblr this morning, medical like I do (because how do you start a day without spending some time on Tumblr) and I saw a post talking about YA high fantasy and it had SO many of my favorites. I was trying to think of something to write for the Tuesday Top Ten today and it just presented itself to me so easily.

I must admit, thumb as I wrote this list, I discovered TWO things: One, I really need to read more high fantasy (recommend some, please!) and two, I am majorly biased on one particular author…but that’s okay.

10. The Beka Cooper Trilogy 

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Books: Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff

Beka Cooper is the ancestor of George Cooper (who is massively important in Pierce’s first series, which, duh, is on the list), and she joins the Provost Dogs, which is basically like a police force. As the books go on, she becomes one of the most prominent and well trusted of the Dogs, solving crimes and taking down criminals. The story is told in diary form, which was a new thing for Tamora Pierce.

Its awesome. Anything Tammy does is basically magic, but what I love about this is you know how history plays out after this already. Her first four Tortall series all take place years after this so you know the direction its going in, but its still so fun. I think that Tamora Pierce has a wonderful way of writing fantastically strong characters but sometimes we convince ourselves that Daine and Kel and Aly are only able to have their stories because of all the things Alanna accomplished in the first series. But telling Beka’s story really tells us that women had a lot more power, and possibility in the past until obviously something went wrong. Plus these stories are so different than the others. Beka has to prove herself, not really as a capable woman, like the others, but just a capable person in general. And the crimes she solves, the mysteries that unravel are all so fun.

9. The Immortals Quartet 

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Books: Wild Magic, Wolf Speaker, Emperor Mage, The Realms of the Gods

Daine is trying to escape her home country of Galla, where she was treated as a pariah, an abomination for the “sickness” she believes is inside her. When she is brought on as an assistant horse handler on the way to Tortall, she discovers that she’s not crazy, but she has a rare bit of magic in here called wild magic, which gives her the ability to communicate with animals, heal them and even shape shift. Under the tutelage of the realms most powerful mage, Numair, she learns to control her magic and when her new home in Tortall is threatened by immortal creatures, she must learn to use her powers to help save her home and her friends.

I mean, can you really go wrong with this book? There’s magic and animals and cute boys and kissing and battles and its a GREAT series. Tammy blew my MIND with this one. I love Daine because before Daine, we had Alanna, who was great but didn’t get to be a girl as often because she was pretending to be a boy, so Daine was awesome. I loved when she was able to give up her dresses for breeches, and when she discovered she could heal animals. I love that we see old characters from Alanna’s series and I love the whole idea of these immortal creatures like spidrens and centaurs and stormwings. Daine’s story is absolutely fantastic.

8. The Protector of the Small Quartet 

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Books: First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight

In Kel’s book, the law has been changed and girls can go out for their knighthood, instead of hiding their sex the way Alanna does in her series. This is the moment that Kel has been waiting for but its tainted when the king grants her permission to come to the palace to try, under the condition that she have a probationary year, something no boy has. Not only does Kel have to prove herself as a knight, but that she belongs there amongst the boys.

What I love about Kel’s story is that it seems like it could be a repeat of Alanna’s story but it most definitely is not. Kel has a whole new adventure to go through. Alanna had to prove herself, yes, but everyone thought she was a boy. Kel is a girl, and on probation and has to work even harder than all the boys do. On top of that, her page master treats her differently and her fellow pages tease her, and play jokes on her, all to try and get her kicked out. I think Kel’s story is sometimes easier to relate to than Alanna’s. I like how it starts off with Kel being bullied and being angry that she and others are getting bullied and turns into a larger story when Scanra comes chopping at the Tortall borders. Kel always wants to take down the bullies, no matter how big or small, and I love her story.

7. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy 

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Books: The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, The Bitter Kingdom

Elisa was born with a godstone in her belly button, marking her as a chosen one, to do amazing things in the world. However, Elisa feels so much less than a chosen one. She’s massively overweight, not pretty, and constantly in the shadow of her older sister. When she is married off to a neighboring kingdom’s king, who is devastatingly handsome, she doubts she’ll ever reach her supposed amazing potential. Then she is kidnapped, by revolutionaries, and she suddenly sees how much more she is capable of and what she really could accomplish.

The first thing that caught me about this book is that Elisa is fat. Straight up, Elisa is fat. I love that. Do you know how often we get YA heroines who are fat, especially in novels like this? We just don’t. Even though Elisa loses weight through out the series, she remains a bigger girl and I think that’s important. Elisa is a strong, strong, incredible female character but its more than a physical strength. She’s incredibly smart, clever and she figures out exactly what she needs to do, with bumps all the way. Its all about coming into yourself, and coming into what people expect of you, and just doing the best that you can with what you are given and its just incredible. I dragged my dad, boyfriend and brother four hours to Las Vegas just so I could meet Rae Carson.

6. The Throne of Glass Series 

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Books (so far): Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire 

Celaena is a former deadly assassin, sent into the dark work prisons. She is caught trying to escape and is chosen by a stranger to be a contestant, part of a tournament to choose the next King’s Champion. If she succeeds in winning, she will have to work for the King, whom she hates, for a period of time and then she can earn her freedom. She agrees and comes to the palace to compete but then people start disappearing, dying, being sabotaged in the contest and Celaena fears that she could be next. Add in the handsome and charming prince Dorian and the equally handsome and strong captain of the guard, Chaol, and you have a recipe for trouble.

 Sarah J. Maas blew my mind with this series. I had seen it all over the place for so long and I finally purchased it and was so incredibly glad when I did. The one thing that really jumps out at me of this series is the incredible world building of it. It is deep and complex and has a whole history to it, which is beautiful. A really good high fantasy novel will have that, and this book definitely accomplishes that. Add in the fact that there’s Dorian and Chaol and its so hard to figure out which one you like more, because they’re both so different…and you’re just so addicted to the story. But the kicker of the series is Celaena, who is a fantastic main character. I love that she can kill a person easily, almost in her sleep, but also loves to curl up with a good book and is so incredibly loving and caring.

5. The Song of the Lioness Quartet 

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Books: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hands of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant

Alanna and her twin brother, Thom, are unhappy with their futures. Thom is all set to go to the palace to train as a knight, when he wants to go and learn to hone his magical Gift and become a powerful sorcerer. Alanna is to be sent to the convent, to be trained as a lady, to return home and find a husband, when she wants to become a knight. They switch places, and Alanna heads to the palace as Alan, disguised as a boy in order to earn her shield. Alanna has to work hard, doing all that she can to earn her shield, while trying to hide the fact that she is a girl.

This book series is incredible and what truly blows my mind about it is that it was written back in the 1980s. People think that the idea of a strong female character is a new phenomenon because of Hermione and Katniss and Tris but the original strong YA female character is definitely Alanna. She disguises herself as a boy for YEARS. Do you know how hard that would be? Not only does she have to work hard to become a knight, which is a trial all in itself, but she has to do it pretending to be a boy. She has to pretend that she doesn’t get her period, or breasts, and that she doesn’t having feelings for boys. She can’t undress herself in front of them. Its all so hard. But she fights hard and earns everything that she gains and its just SUCH a great series. Its a must, an absolute must for any lover of YA.

4. The Grisha Trilogy 

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Books: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising

Alina Starkov is an orphan, earning her way through life, and struggling to find where she fits in. She’s working as a mapmaker, getting by and trying to ignore that her best friend, Mal, is handsome, popular with the ladies, and an incredibly good tracker. One day, as their crossing the Fold, a desolate bit of land, she saves Mal’s life, by using a power that she never knew she had. She has been labeled the Sun Summoner, a rare Grisha classification, able to produce light from within her. Suddenly, she is whisked away by The Darkling, the most powerful of the Grisha, and her power becomes the center of her existence.

The first I met Leigh Bardugo was at the Ontario Teen Book Fest. She was on a panel and the moderator said something about strong female characters not existing when the authors were younger and Leigh immediately says “Uh, duh, Alanna?” and I knew immediately that I needed to read her book. I bought Shadow and Bone that day and I’ve been massively in love with the Grisha trilogy since then. I just read the last one a few weeks ago when it was released and I’m just so in love. Leigh is an incredible writer and a beautiful storyteller. She has magic, and power, and politics and romance and humor and so much all in one series and its just brilliant. I really haven’t read a series like this before and I doubt I will ever read one like it again.

3. The Seven Realms Series

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Books: The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Grey Wolf Throne, The Crimson Crown

Raisa is the princess of her queendom, being bred every day to be the queen. She is royal by blood on her mother’s side, and has tribal blood from her father’s side and after spending time with her father and his people, she returns to the castle, restless and ready to do more. Her mother, on the other hand, has been taken in by the High Wizard, in a world where wizards are not to be trusted, and Raisa begins to fear what her mother will do. She starts sneaking out of the palace, getting to know her queendom, hoping to become the best queen that she can be. Han is a former thief, turning away from his criminal ways, in order to support his mother and younger sister. When he steals a wizard’s amulet one day, trouble begins to follow him and leads him into finding the truth about where he came from and what sort of powers he holds in himself.

THIS SERIES. I picked it up on a whim, really, just out of nowhere, and coincidentally, a few days before the final book was released. I literally read the four of them in a period of about five or six days and I have no regrets. Cinda Chima is absolutely brilliant. She reminds of Tamora Pierce a bit, and she just builds a great world. The Seven Realms is just so incredibly real and I love both the main characters so much and I couldn’t wait until the two of them met up together. Raisa is fun, and brave, and sassy, and strong and Han is sarcastic and fearless and reckless and caring and I just love the both of them so much. There’s mystery and intrigue and magic and you can never really figure out who the bad guy is and the books are full of surprises until the very end. There’s action one moment and then steamy makeout scenes the next and I seriously canNOT get enough of these books.

2. The Daughter of the Lioness Duology 

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Books: Trickster’s Choice, Trickster’s Queen

Aly has lived in the shadow of her parents for her entire life. Her father is the King’s spymaster and her mother is King’s champion, and the first female knight in over a century. Her godparents are the king and queen, the wildmage and the realm’s most powerful mage, the captain of the King’s Guard and more. Her brother is studying to be a sorcerer and her twin has gone for his knighthood. What Aly wants more than anything is to be a spy,  but her parents do not approve. She is kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery at the nearby Copper Isles, to the Balitang family. There she discovers a rebellion brewing, the dark skinned raka wanting to take their country back from the light skinned luarin. Before she knows it, she’s wrapped up in it, doing everything she can to protect the Balitang girls, who could become the countries’ future rulers.

I’m rare in liking this series by Tammy the most but I must admit that I am quite biased. This is the first series that I actually read by Tammy. I picked it up when I was about 15 years old because it mentioned pirates and I was obsessed with pirates at the time. Obviously pirates were NOT essential to the story but I legitimately found one of my favorite books of all time. Aly is incredible and so different than Alanna, Daine and Kel. She doesn’t have magical powers like Daine, though she has the Sight. She isn’t a fighter like Alanna and Kel, though she can fight. Instead she’s absolutely clever. She knows the way of politics and the underground spy world. She knows the minds of people and how to trick them and how to get them to do the things she wants them to. Plus I loved the rebellion of it, of the people rising up. Its…easily my favorite book (tied with Goblet of Fire).

1. The Harry Potter Series 

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Books: You know

I’m not going to do a summary for this one because, duh. I’m pretty sure most people know what this is about and if you don’t…have you been living under a rock for all these years? Seriously?

I know this one is weird on this list because its kind of…is it full fantasy? Its kind of contemporary at the same time? I consider it high fantasy though. Also, is it YA? I’ve always sort of considered it YA but a lot of people say it’s children. SO that’s weird. But either way, its my favorite of all time. I do not have five HP tattoos, a personalized HP license plate and much more for nothing. This series is one of the most incredible series to ever be written and there is literally no other book that can make me feel the way these do. They have everything I could possibly need. They provide escape. They have taught me so many lessons of life. They make me laugh and cry. They make me question everything. They have brought me friends. They have an incredible world built and the story is beautiful and complex and exciting from the first page to the last.

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Book Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

14061957Genre: 

Young Adult, sales  Fantasy

Pages: 

417

Part of a Series?:

The finale book in the Grisha Trilogy

Release Date: 

June 17th, stuff 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble (Exclusive Edition)

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, diagnosis 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.

My Review:

While this review will not contain any spoilers from Ruin and Rising, I cannot guarantee there will not be spoilers for Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. 

Dear Ms. Leigh Bardugo,

I have been waiting over a year for this book to come out. When I first read Shadow and Bone, I could not believe that such a book could even exist. It was a beautiful blend of fantasy, power, politics, romance and so much awesome. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Siege and Storm and that book blew my mind anymore.

When I headed out to your release event for Ruin and Rising, I had high hopes, dreams, expectations, apprehension, and so much more when I picked up my copy. I’ve read finale books in series recently that have been disappointing, have left me wanting more. I had high faith in you, Ms Bardugo. I believed that you could do this.

I got home, wanting to crack up the book right away but you threw such an awesome launch party that I immediately crawled up into my comfy bed and went to sleep. When I awoke the next month, I immediately reached for my book and spent the next few hours wrapped up in the world of Grisha and Ravka.

The first thing I thought of when I finished the novel was, wow. The second thing was…this is how you finish a trilogy or a series. This is exactly the kind of feeling that I want to be left with when I finish a series that means as much to me as this one does. I felt sad, and happy and bittersweet and overwhelmed but satisfied. I was so utterly and perfectly satisfied with the way that this series ended. It literally could not have gone any different than it went.

What you did right was this: you wrote the ending that we both wanted and didn’t. There were things that I wanted so badly and it happened and it made me happy. There were things that happened that I wanted to curse at, but felt right in the story. You knew how to make the right sacrifices, knew each direction that the characters were going in. Each ending felt right, perfect. Nothing felt forced. It seemed like the natural ending for each person. It made sense. I was happy for some, heartbroken for other but I was so satisfied.

Did I mention how incredible you are at writing fantasy? It blows my mind how you can create this beautiful, complicated world and make it feel so real and so addicting. Every moment in Ravka is important to me, and everything feels like its this whole different world. That’s the beauty of really great fantasy. You believe it. There’s nothing about it that feels fake or forced. Ravka is real and every character in this book is so real. I care so much about all of them. You’re an incredible writer. I could only hope to write like you one day. You are such an inspiration.

You can write action, you can write tension, you write beautiful romance, and you write politics and you write scary scenes and you do it all so well. All of these weave so well together into 400 pages of pure awesome.

Basically, thank you. Thank you for writing this book. Thank you for the entire series. It is incredible from the very first page to the very last page. All three books make so much sense together, flow perfectly, and tell a beautiful story. You left us with an epic cliffhanger in Siege and Storm and brought us in, answered our questions, wrapped up our story, and left this reader feeling incredibly satisfied. Its hard to let go of these characters but I’m anxious for anything and everything you write in the future because if they are even a fragment of what the Grisha Trilogy, and Ruin and Rising is, I know they are going to be epic.

Sincerely,

One Super Stoked and Happy Reader :)

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Fierce Reads Tour Kicks Off in San Diego!

Yesterday was another epic author event under the belt for me, viagra 40mg down at Mysterious Galaxy for the first stop of the Fierce Reads Tour.

This fall Fierce Reads tour features authors Gennifer Albin and Ann Aguirre, what is ed with Jessica Brody and Leigh Bardugo as special guests.

Now, I’m already quite familiar with Jessica and Leigh. I mean, when Jessica Brody tweets you because she saw that you were interviewed in the CBS interview with Cassandra Clare, that’s pretty awesome. Jessica is the author of several contemporary YA novels, like My Life Undecided and The Karma Club, and the Unremembered trilogy, with a sort of Bourne identity storyline but with a kickass girl and a hot guy. Can’t deny that one can you?

Leigh Bardugo is the author of Shadow and Bone, and Siege and Storm, following the story of Alina Starkov in this immense and dark fantasy world, who finds out she has special powers and must be taken under the wing of the mysterious Darkling in order to learn them.

Gennifer and Ann are new authors to my ever growing list. Gennifer writes a sort of fantasy-dystopian where girls called Spinsters literally weave the reality of the world on looms. I just bought the first book of Ann’s trilogy, but I’m very excited to dive into it.

Authors at Fierce Reads

The adventure getting to Mysterious Galaxy was super fun, with my friends Cassandra, and Sylvia from FanGirlFeeels, and when we got there, I was SO happy to be there! I enjoy meeting authors and I love Mysterious Galaxy. They are such fun indie bookstores and they’re great. The authors had arrived at the same time, and both Jessica and Leigh said enthusiastic hellos to myself and to Sylvia, and thanked us for driving to see them.

Fierce Reads Books

The event was SUCH a blast. I already knew that Jessica and Leigh were super fun to meet. Each one of them has their own brand of humor, and I always have such a great time with their events. Add in Ann and Gennifer and it was literally a laugh fest the entire time. Seriously, I swear I want to be an author just to hang out with these super cool ladies. I was literally laughing, with a little bit of tears, every time they were talking. This was the first stop of the tour, and I know that the rest of the stops are going to be just fabulous, because they obviously have a fun and awesome chemistry going on.

Leigh Bardugo

All the authors shared a lot about writing, and about their books. I always love coming to these things because I feel like I get wonderful insight to the authors’ books and I also get priceless writing advice, which is always helpful to me. I gobble up all possible writing advice, anything to help keep me motivated and inspired.

Gennifer Albin

They also addressed the sort of controversy and issues going on with Allegiant. Each author sort of agreed that readers have the right to react as they please, but the reactions can be dealt with in other manners. Ann said she knows that not everyone is going to love her book, but she’d hope they wouldn’t bring it to her front yard. Leigh was extremely passionate about it, and said she would hope that readers understood where authors are coming from when they are writing their novel, and that they’re going to write the novel they set out to write. She also said that expressing all those emotions, like hate and anger, won’t change anything so its a waste of time. I liked what Jessica said, that love and hate come from the same place, and you know you’re doing something right if you get either of those.

Jessica Brody

I’ve also learned from these authors that the second and third books were harder to write. Gennifer Albin said that her first book seemed like a breeze to her, but the second one was a lot harder. Both Leigh and Jessica lamented over their third books, and jokingly called Jessica’s third book “stupidly awesome.” Ann talked about the difficulties of having a successful first book, and translating the story and the audience into the second and the third book.

Ann Aguirre

I found that SO interesting. She really explained how each of her books in her trilogy sort of represented something different: the first book was the quest, the second book was the emotions and building of relationships, and the third was the war. I really bought into that, and I really loved it. I’m writing a standalone sci-fi so I’m not frazzled at how to fit all of that into one book. But I thought it was a good way of thinking of it, and its something I’m definitely keeping in mind!

Then came meeting the authors, which is always fun because you get to interact with them, and I’ve gotten to know Jessica and Leigh, we’ve bonded and can joke with each other. When my friend Cassandra met Jessica Brody, she was like “you came with these clowns?!” and I couldn’t stop laughing. But she was extremely helpful with writing tips, and I’m going to be checking out this book called Save the Cat and creating a book bible for my sci-fi book. I’m going to start working on that now!

Lastly, I LOVED talking to Gennifer about Harry Potter and Doctor Who. She had the cutest Doctor Who lunch box/purse thing, and I showed her my Doctor Who tattoo and she was so excited about it, and she was like “I need to get my Deathly Hallows tattoo” and I just held out my other wrist, and she laughed, and was like “You stole all my tattoo ideas!” I love author bonding ;)

Here is all the awesome swag/signed books I got!

Fierce Reads Bag

Signed 52 Reasons Book Signed Crewel Book Signed Enclave Book Signed Fierce Reads Poster

OH! And of course I had Gennifer and Ann sign my poster of writing advice :) Check out what they had to say!

Gennifer and Ann Writing Advice

I also was really stoked to meet one of my followers, Kayla, who is the blogger over at The Thousand Lives. We talk a LOT online, especially about books, and it was her VERY FIRST book event. You can read about her experience here, and I am so glad to have met her IRL and to be part of her first author event experience!

Last night was just the first stop of their tour (they’re in Albuquerque tonight), and there are SO many more stops. Check out this link to find out if they’re coming near you. You definitely do NOT want to miss out!

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Handmade Fandom Merch!

One thing that is really awesome about books and fandoms and all that is the stuff that comes out of that: fan art, this fan fiction, information pills fan merch, all of it. I love the creativity that pours out of people when they read these books or watch these shows. I seriously admire it. I just tend to drool over fictional characters, and curl up in a ball and cry when the authors torture us with sad parts and cliffhangers.

But, really, I admire so much the amount of awesome that comes from fans. I think its fantastic and I love to admire things like that and I love to BUY things from all these cool people.

And I know a few people, personally, who are part of this, and a couple people who I don’t know personally but I want to talk about anyway.

So I’m going to talk a bit about some shops where you can buy some really cool, handmade things, based on some of the fandoms we love!

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Ellie’s Quirky Creations

The first person that I am going to feature is my own mother, Ellie, who runs Ellie’s Quirky Creations. 

Ellie’s Quirky Creations mostly focuses on custom made dolls, of various people in different fandoms. She has made several Harry Potter characters, the 10th and 11th Doctors, and more. She does custom orders, of course, and I’ll let you in on a secret: She’s working on some TMI dolls! Check out some pictures!

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Amy Pond and the 11th Doctor

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Severus Snape

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Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Severus Snape.

She takes custom orders, and ships internationally and her dolls are absolutely awesome. They are made with sturdy fabrics and are super durable. I have a Luna Lovegood, Amy Pond and 11th Doctor and they are constantly on my bed, being tossed around and they are in perfect condition.

She also dabbles in other crafts as well, such as handmade wreaths (her Angels one is to DIE for), and cosplay costumes as well!

Check out her Facebook page for more pictures and how to order!

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FanGirlFeeels Fangirl Design

The next person I am featuring is Sylvia from FanGirlFeels, who just started her own shop, FanGirlFeels on Etsy!

So far, Sylvia is working on over the shoulder bags, with fandom symbols, but she hopes to expand to more, because she is incredibly talented. Check out some of the Divergent bags she has already worked on!

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Dauntless bag

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Amity bag. My personal favorite but I could be COMPLETELY biased because I’m Amity ;)

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Erudite, Candor, Amity and Dauntless. She also has Abnegation bags available as well.

All of these are handpainted and handsewn and are WONDERFUL. I can’t wait to get my hands on them. Each one is individually made, and super sturdy and can hold a good amount of stuff! She also ships internationally as well!

You can check out Sylvia’s Etsy Store, and look out for more things from this creative girl coming soon!

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Bittersweet Stories Designs

Next, I am featuring Natasha and Delilah of Bittersweet Stories Designs!

Natasha and Delilah are BIG fangirls, with some serious creative awesomeness. They mostly are working Mortal Instruments bags, with custom fabric, as well as custom Divergent fabric as well. I know they also are working on blankets and all sorts of super cool things. Check out some pictures!

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Handmade TMI bag, featured on their site. (Photo credit to Bittersweet Stories Designs)

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Divergent fabric (credit/photo to Bittersweet Stories Designs)

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my good friend Victoria from Novel Reality, with her handmade bag.

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myself with my handmade TMI bag (photo credit to Bittersweet Stories Designs)

These girls are fantastic, and their bags and some seriously high quality. They are a little pricier than others you may find, but they are unique and they are worth it. I can tell this bag is going to last a VERY long time. I also love that they take the time to design each bag individually, that they send “proofs” of the design before making it, and all of that. They are amazing!

Check out their website here, and also their Facebook page! Don’t be afraid to contact these awesome ladies for their custom designs! They even gave some of their custom work to Cassandra Clare, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lily Collins and Kevin Zegers!

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SugarDukes Magical Sweets

The next person I am going to feature is my friend Suzanne, and her company is Sugardukes Magical Sweets!

Suzanne gets her inspiration from the Harry Potter series and makes her way across the country, building up her business and coming up with new products all the time! She has the traditional Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, Sugar Quills, but also fun ones like Dill Pickle Barrels (like root beer barrels; they’re delicious!), Sugar Plums and Ticklish Pears. Check it out!

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Sugar Quills

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Sugar Plums. THESE ARE SO GOOD! I love these!

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Ticklish Pears! Also super delicious!

She makes appearances often at Los Angeles Dumbledores Army events, and at the various Harry Potter conventions, like Misti-Con and this weekend’s Leaky Con!

You can check her out on Facebook and Etsy!

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Hebel Design

The next person being profiled is Viviane Hebel of Hebel Design.

Vivi might be very familiar to you, especially if you are a fan of The Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices series, The Lux Series, the Grisha trilogy, the Lynberg Legacy, The Syrena Legacy and more. She works with jewelry mostly, but also bookmarks, keychains and more. Its hard to choose what photos to share but here you go!

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Faerie ear cuffs for the Modern Faerie series by Holly Black

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Customizable bookmarks :) Mortal Instruments is shown

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Quote bracelet featuring a quote from the Lux series

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My own personal Clockwork Princess pendant that was given to me by Cassandra Clare :)

There is SOOOO much more on that website. Vivi does absolutely beautiful work and each piece is made so well. Her stuff is absolutely gorgeous, I can’t even begin to describe it. Her stuff is a little pricey but I’m telling you, its worth it, definitely. Her stuff is made super sturdy and for long wear. I wear mine quite often.

Definitely check out her site for more pictures, because you want to get your hands on some of this awesome work.

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Karen Hallion

The last person I am going to feature is my favorite fan artist, Karen Hallion.

Karen Hallion’s claim to fame tends to be her Disney/Doctor Who mash-ups, but she also does a lot of Disney, Doctor Who and other fandom in Art Nouveau style. She does prints, paintings, cards, stationary, stickers, and you can get her shirts on various sites like TeeFury, etc, if you pay attention. Here are some examples of her art.

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Art Nouveau of Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite

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Note card with a Doctor Who and Nightmare Before Christmas mash-up

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Art Nouveau bookmark of The Princess Bride characters, Buttecup and Wesley

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One of the MANY Disney Princess and Doctor Who mash-ups, this one featuring Cinderella. My favorites are the ones featuring Belle and Rapunzel!

You can check out her Facebook page here, and her Etsy page here. She also travels a lot to various different conventions so look out for her :) Also! If you check Day of the Shirt daily, you can catch her designs on various sites, if you look carefully as well!

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I hope you enjoyed checking out all this super cool, handmade fandom merchandise. All of these are super fantastic, made well, and are super creative and beautiful. I hope you all are able to buy some of these!

If you, or someone you know, has their own shop set up, please contact me, send them my way! I would love to feature them, and I’d probably love to buy their stuff too!