Top 5 Wednesday T5W
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Top 5 Wednesday: Side Ships

This week’s topic is Side Ships. Relationships in books that do not include the protagonist.

Needless to say, this list wil contain Sp – sp -spooooiiiileeers.. so if you’re not up for that, I’m sorry. Not all of my picks are actual couples, some are just people I want to see end up together…

Jane and Mr. Bingley – Pride and Prejudice

pride and prejudice jane bingley

Ugh, they’re so cuuuuuute… Of course I like Elizabeth and Darcy but Bingley is so charming!! I still prefer moody and broody but this is side ships we’re talking about so…

Marianne and Colonel Brandon – Sense and Sensibility

sense and sensibility Marianne and Brandon

Staying on the Austen train. What an amazing couple are they!? I have to admit, I’ve only seen this movie adaptation so Alan Rickman is forever my Colonel Brandon. He just watched over her and took care of her. I was so happy when they ended up together.

Wylan and Jesper – Six of Crows

six of crows wylan jesper

Because their relationship grew so perfectly and they were endgame and I just loved them so, so much!

Azriel and Elain – A Court of Wings and Ruin

acowar elain azriel

Although they’re not a couple, I still ship them. It will probably never happen because of a certain mating bond.. but I loved these two together. I certainly love Azriel as a character and the way he was around Elain, how she let him in. *sigh*

If there had been some more Lucien in the last book, I might have picked him but they didn’t do him justice in ACOWAR. So Azriel and Elain it is.

And just for fun:

Loki and Darcy – Thor/Avengers

tasertricks loki darcy thor avengers

I know this will never happen. They never even met (as far as I can remember.. it’s been a while). But ow my god, imagine the sass… It would be perfection… Can’t we make this happen? Please? Pretty Please? I love me some Tasertricks!

 

#T5W, Books

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite SFF Cover Art

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey and is hosted by Samantha.

All information can be found here.

Today I share with you some of my favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy book covers. I rarely ever buy books based solely on the cover but these once I absolutely adore.

A Natural History of Dragons ( a memoir by Lady Trent) – Marie Brennan

a natural history of dragons lady trent marie brennan

“You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

I haven’t read these books yet but the moment I saw them online, I knew that I had to have them. The story also really appeals to me.

The Melancholy of Mechagirl – Catherynne M. Valente

melancholy of mechagirl catherynne M valente

Science fiction and fantasy stories about Japan by the multiple-award winning author and New York Times best seller Catherynne M. Valente. A collection of some of Catherynne Valente’s most admired stories, including the Hugo Award-nominated novella “Silently and Very Fast” and the Locus Award finalist “13 Ways of Looking at Space/Time,” with a brand-new long story to anchor the collection.

I’m not sure if this is a book I actually want to read. I’m not very good at story collections. But this cover is absolutely stunning!!

Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

book_review_six_of_crows_leigh_bardugo22299763

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

I love the covers of these two books (I liked the content too by the way). I love how the feathers shape the towers and the blood on Crooked Kingdom’s cover. It’s all in the details. The maps inside are also pretty great. The hardcover’s even have colored pages. Unfortunately, I don’t own those. *sad face*

The Gracekeepers – Kirsty Logan

the gracekeepers kirsty logan

As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, sending the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.

Words cannot describe how much I love this cover. It’s so whimsical. This is another one of those books I’m forever hesitating to buy. I’m not even sure why… The story sounds fascinating. If only I could buy ALL the books…

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

het nachtcircus dutch cover erin morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

This is the Dutch cover of The Night Circus. I got a copy like this for my birthday when I was still working at the bookstore. I had been obsessing over it ever since we had received the promotional information. Needless to say, I loved it although I do think I would have loved it more if I read it in English. I found spelling errors and because it was translated into Dutch-Dutch and not Flemish-Dutch (there’s a difference but I’ll explain some other time) I remember getting annoyed with the words they chose.
Anywayssss… All that has nothing to do with the cover of course… I’m still in love with it :).

 

Top 5 Wednesday T5W
#T5W, Books

Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Would Make Good Video Games

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey and is hosted by Samantha.

The Passage - Justin Cronin

The Passage – Justin Cronin

North America is unrecognizable, a wasteland. Forty million infected humans, known as virals, stalk the continent. In a fortified mountain compound in Southern California, a handful of human survivors—descendants of children evacuated from the city of Philadelphia in the last days of the epidemic—somehow carry on. It has been years since the citizens of First Colony have seen anyone from the outside world; as far as they know, they are the last people alive on the continent. But time is running out for them. The life-saving lights that protect the Colony are dimming as the batteries that power them lose their charge. Despair has taken hold; many have given up. Some, gripped by terrifying dreams, have resorted to taking their own lives.

Then, from out the wilderness, someone new appears, a teenage girl. Dirty, traumatized, dressed in rags and apparently unable to speak, she is befriended by a group of four young people—Peter, Alicia, Michael, and Sara—who attempt to unravel the mystery of her origins. A computer chip embedded in her neck reveals part of the story: Her name is Amy, and she is almost a hundred years old.

Wouldn’t this be great? You set out to find a cure for this virus that is terrorizing the world. There’s danger around every corner, Virals are hunting you down.
Wait.. maybe this would be too creepy for me…

uprooted

Uprooted – Naomi Novik

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

I see this as a linear storyline. You get the story as you go along. I chose this one for the atmosphere. It would be beauuuutiful!

Also, did you know that Warner Bros bought the rights and Ellen Degeneres is producing the movie?

book_review_six_of_crows_leigh_bardugo

Six of Crows/ Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

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.

Choose which character you want to be and get updates of what the other characters are doing while you do your part. Once again I image beautiful scenery and stunning graphics. I’d compare it to an Assassin’s Creed sort of thing.

The Martian - Andy Weir

The Martian – Andy Weir

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Find your way across the endless Martian plains or die of starvation. Use parts to build yourself a way off the planet. I’d play that game… 🙂

Neverwhere Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

Richard Mayhew is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancee. Then one night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her–and the life he knows vanishes like smoke.

Several hours later, the girl is gone too. And by the following morning Richard Mayhew has been erased from his world. His bank cards no longer work, taxi drivers won’t stop for him, his landlord rents his apartment out to strangers. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He has fallen through the cracks of reality and has landed somewhere different, somewhere that is Neverwhere.

For this is the home of Door, the mysterious girl whom Richard rescued in the London Above. A personage of great power and nobility in this murky, candlelit realm, she is on a mission to discover the cause of her family’s slaughter, and in doing so preserve this strange underworld kingdom from the malevolence that means to destroy it. And with nowhere else to turn, Richard Mayhew must now join the Lady Door’s entourage in their determined–and possibly fatal–quest.

That last word.. ‘quest’ that’s exactly why this would make a great game. London Below would make a great world and just think about how amazing it would be if you could just walk around in London and go through a door which takes you to Neverwhere.

Review

Book review: Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo ****

When you can’t beat the odds.
Change the game.

22299763

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

This is the sequel to Six of Crows although for me it was just a continuation because I started Crooked Kingdom as soon as I finished the first book.

These books are just so much fun. They succeed in making you forget everything around you and taking you away to this different world where magic is Grisha power and danger is lurking behind every corner.

Crooked Kingdom is a masterpiece when it comes to twists and turns. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something goes wrong and everything changes. Kaz has been the leader of many cons in the past but his planning here is just mind-blowing.

Speaking of Kaz, I felt like his character was less present in this book. There was a lot of Inej and a lot of the others in terms of character development and background story. We finally learn how Wylan ended up with the group, which made him so much more likeable. Add Jesper to the mix and it was perfection. Although I still love Kaz and Inej and even Nina and Mathias, I just really enjoyed reading about Wylan and Jesper.

So I ended up liking all the characters, which doesn’t happen very often.

The story, like I said, is full of twists and turns and the finale was so brilliantly written! It left me feeling sad that it was over. I would gladly read more stories set in the Grishaverse.

The old characters, from the Shadow and Bone trilogy, who showed up during these two books, may indicate that there is still room for more storytelling. They now have more connections, to Ketterdam and Kaz, so Leigh Bardugo can take this anywhere she wants. I would love a book where we follow The Wraith!

Finishing this book meant that I completed my Goodreads challenge. This will be the last book I finished in 2016. I already started a new one, but I’m only 40 pages in so it will be the first book I finish in 2017. I’m looking forward to the new year and I hope you are too.

Love

Ellen

Books, Review

Review: Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo ****

No mourners.
No funerals.

book_review_six_of_crows_leigh_bardugo

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 

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

I made the right call in buying Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom at the same time. The moment I finished the first book, I picked up the next.

This is the story of Kaz and his group of criminals who attempt an impossible heist. They are to break someone out of the most secure prison in the Grisha world. The journey to the Ice Court was more fun than the actual heist but I flew through this book so fast that I couldn’t bring myself to care.

The one thing I really had to get used to were the Dutch names. I know a Joost and I know a Heleen (she’s one of my best friends and had a good laugh when I told her about Tante Heleen of the Menagerie). I understood the names of the bridges and canals and it all made me think of Amsterdam so that’s what Ketterdam looks like to me. There were a couple of moments where the Dutch words took me out of the story but eventually I got used to it and I found it comforting in a way.

What this book (and every book in the Grisha verse for that matter) does really well is remember to give the characters ups and downs. Nothing is too easy, nothing ‘just happens’, they have to work for their achievements. Things go wrong and they have to adjust their plans. This gives the characters room to grow.

All the main characters have a story to tell. Their history is told throughout the book. It makes them believable, solid. It doesn’t happen very often that I like ALL the characters. There’s Kaz, the mastermind who happens to walk with a cane. Inej is a super spy, her knives are named after saints. Nina can affect people’s feelings, her own feelings are… complicated. Matthias is a prisoner. Jesper a sharpshooter and Wylan is… Wylan. Out of the six main characters, I liked Kaz and Inej best but it’s a close call to make. They are all different and all amazing.

Right now, I’m about a quarter into the second book, Crooked Kingdom, and I already know I’m going to like it as much as this one.

Why four stars and not five? It didn’t take my breath away. It was really, really good but not mind-blowing.

Maybe Crooked Kingdom will achieve what Six of Crows did not.
Fingers crossed! It’s looking good so far.

Love

Ellen