#Friday56 – Six Crimson Cranes

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim. I was blown away by the magical storytelling in this refresh of The Wild Swans! The attention to detail in descriptions was exquisite and I particularly love Kiki the sentient origami crane which was one of my reasons for choosing this part of my Friday 56 extract today!

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


A fine, silvery-gold thread of magic rushed out of my lips and twisted across the bird’s wings before settling there, as if stitched onto the paper. Then her wings flapped once. Twice. And she lifted, circling my face.
“Kiki!”

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

You can check out my full, spoiler-free review of Six Crimson Cranes here.


Drop me a comment below or connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

Biblioshelf Musings – Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim. Sometimes you start a novel and know immediately that you are going to absolutely love and devour it – Six Crimson Cranes was one of those books! It completely transported me into a world of utter magic and fairytale.

Thank you to the publishers Hodder and Stoughton and the author Elizabeth Lim for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I didn’t manage to finish reading the whole e-ARC before it was archived but I was so thrilled when an exclusive edition of Six Crimson Cranes arrived in my July Fairyloot box – it has the most beautifully detailed cover and the sprayed edges feature the six cranes and Kiki the origami crane! It’s a work of art and I love it so much!


Book: Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Genre: Fantasy / YA
Publication Date: 8th July 2021
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 454
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.

My Musings

Elizabeth Lim’s voice and storytelling style conjured up a whole world in my head which I found fascinating. From the mountains, forests, rivers and seas, from Iro to Gindara and the dragon realms and islands in between there was always a new landscape to get completely immersed and lost in. It’s definitely one I’m adding to my bucket list of fictional worlds that I need to travel to.

I enjoyed that this was more than just your average retelling of The Wild Swans. I’m more familiar with the Grimm version (The Twelve Brothers) but I enjoyed the way that the author stayed true to the Anderson fairytale by weaving it into a stunning narrative then filling it up with extra characters and additional plot points. There was plenty of action, drama and complicated obstacles for the characters to overcome. The whole narrative exuded a magical quality, almost like lots of little moments from my favourite Disney movies all weaved together like golden threads intermittently throughout.

Shiori’s character initially came across to me as quite childish and naïve, everything she was supposed to be as a Princess living a fairly sheltered life – but then following the curse and the hardships she faced, her character was given the space to grow and mature. By the end of the novel I was championing her due to how much she had evolved through all of her trials and tribulations. Kiki, the sentient origami crane was so adorable that I had to have a go at creating some of my own!

Seryu the dragon shapeshifter was so fascinating and I’m excited to hopefully explore a bit more of the Ai’Long Realm in the next book. Takkan’s role in the story brought a little bit of romance which I was completely here for, but I’m being a little sceptical of a potential love triangle appearing in the sequel… I could be barking up the complete wrong tree though so I guess I’ll have to wait for book 2 to find out!

Several years ago, I remember reading a Chinese proverb about how an invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. As a big believer of fate and divine intervention etc. I was so taken by this idea and here, in Six Crimson Cranes, Elizabeth Lim incorporated it so beautifully into her storyline that it made me love this book even more. All of the magical elements and events relating to the threads of fate and Shiori’s weaving of the starstroke were so vivid that it definitely appealed to all of my reading tastebuds!

Just on a personal note, I found the ending to be slightly drawn with regards to one particular character. I appreciate that it was setting up for a sequel but I was way more interested in the outcome of the narrative between Raikama’s and Zairena’s characters because I found them so intriguing and hope we get to see them later in the series.

Overall, Six Crimson Cranes is one of my new favourite fairytale retellings. Elizabeth Lim’s story manages to exude mysticism, drama and folklore from every page. Stunning!


Find out more about this book here:

NetGalley | Publisher Website | Amazon | Waterstones | Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Author’s Twitter: @LizLim | Author’s Website

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf | Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

#Friday56 – Can You Sign My Tentacle?

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien – a beguiling, unique collection of poetry which merges together a hybrid mix of contemporary hip-hop and folklorian Lovecraft monsters in a fun fusion of science-fiction and poetry. On the surface, it offers an entertaining, comedic chronicle; however, between the lines it offers something much more meaningful and profound.

Thank you to the publishers Interstellar Flight Press and the author Brandon O’Brien for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


She’s read enough lifetimes to feel just as
old as he does.
In the small spaces between lines of
postmodern poetry
he can count entire continua
clashing for a chance to sound.

From: The One – Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien

You can check out my full, spoiler-free review of Can You Sign My Tentacle? here.


Don’t forget about the Virtual Launch!

Interstellar Flight Press are holding their first ever Virtual Book Launch for Can You Sign My Tentacle? It’s a free event on Zoom so check out the details below if you’re interested!

Here’s the details! Sign up via Eventbrite to join us.

Date: August 20th at 6:00pm EST / 5:00 PM CDT

Online via Zoom/Eventbrite

You will receive info from Eventbrite on how to access the event after you register. This event is FREE to attend.

Drop me a comment below or connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

Zodiac Sign Book Tag

Howdy Bibliofriends,

I was browsing the book blogosphere the other day, when I came across this fabulous Zodiac Sign Book Tag over at And On She Reads and knew that I just had to do it! I wasn’t actually tagged but I’ve been needing to start my tagging game again.

I absolutely love the zodiac and am so into star signs and horoscopes! I read mine daily from Oscar Cainer (nephew of the fabulous Jonathan Cainer who sadly passed away several years ago). His readings are so spookily accurate that I had one of those in-depth charts drew up and everything. I am a typical Taurean bull – sometimes stubborn and argumentative but also stupidly loyal, generous and laid-back at the same time.

The Rules:

  • Link back to the creator, Just Dreamland – their blog has been taken down but they may still be active on Pinterest.
  • Link back to the person who tagged you! Thanks you And On She Reads ☺️
  • Answer all the prompts.
  • Use the original graphics and credit the creator (I couldn’t find them!)
  • Tag at least 5 bloggers and provide links to their blogs.
  • Name your Zodiac sign!
  • Don’t forget to add #ItsAZodiacThing tag.
  • Enjoy!

The Prompts:

ARIES: A wild and powerful book, compelling from start to finish. Every page intoxicated your heart with incredible imagery.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow – Alix’s writing just created this intoxicating atmosphere in my brain from the very first page; it’s a stunningly written book.

TAURUS: A heart-wrenching story of a forbidden love that could tear a family apart

Romanov by Nadine Brandes – a Bolshevik soldier and a Romanov princess… this one definitely had me reaching for the tissues!

GEMINI: A book that is cheeky, quippy, and witty

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – I laughed so much during this book. It appealed to my sense of humour so much.

CANCER:A bittersweet book that spoke to your sensitive heart

The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue by V.E. Schwab – This book! 💗💔💗 I adore Addie and Henry, I’m still not really over that ending to be honest!

LEO: A book with drama, love, fancy wear, and hope

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller – As soon as I read this prompt, this was the first book to pop into my head. The attention to detail on the dresses and the sassy attitudes of the characters was brilliant.

VIRGO:A tender story of self-love, self-determination, self-discovery, perseverance, romance, friendship, and family

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – I mean, that’s a pretty big list of things to have in one book and LOTR seems to have all of them in buckets!

LIBRA: A book that has a remarkably refreshing and frank outlook on life. One of the realest books you’ve ever read.

Remember This When You’re Sad by Maggy Van Eijk – A memoir which is so honest and moving. It was so powerful and really put some of my own issues into perspective.

SCORPIO: A book with a good plot twist. A book that is psychologically thrilling and emotionally chilling, and haunted you from the first page to the last.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince / Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
OR
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This prompt was tricky. Those final two Harry Potter books had my head in an absolute spin so that’s the plot twist part – but then Gone Girl fulfils the psychologically thrilling, chilling and haunting vibes.

SAGITTARIUS: An adventurous, summer read

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

I hear summer and I immediately think of the beach, therefore I first thought of Beach Read by Emily Henry – which, whilst being a great summer read, I wouldn’t consider it my type of ‘thrills and spills’ adventure so my other choice would have to be Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. I love the whole treasure/clue hunting vibe.

CAPRICORN: A book that has everything to do with friendship

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I love the way the Crows all stick together, I don;t think there’s any way they would have pulled off half of their stunts had their friendship not been as strong.

AQUARIUS: A quirky and unique book

Pretty Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatten – It’s one of those ‘choose your own path’ books. I only ever found this one for adults so it’s definitely unique on my shelves!

PISCES: A book that bewitched and enchanted you with its lyrical words, and transmuted your imaginative mind

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – One of my all time favourite authors. His writing just transports me to another dimension. It’s beautiful!

I’m not great at tagging people but if you’re reading this and want to give it a go then consider yourself tagged!!

Do you believe in star signs? What are some of your favourite books featuring stars and planets? As always, drop me a comment below to chat!

Have a great week Bibliofriends!

T xx

Biblioshelf Musings – Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien – a beguiling, unique collection of poetry which merges together a hybrid mix of contemporary hip-hop and folklorian Lovecraft monsters in a fun fusion of science-fiction and poetry. On the surface, it offers an entertaining, comedic chronicle; however, between the lines it offers something much more meaningful and profound.

Thank you to the publishers Interstellar Flight Press and the author Brandon O’Brien for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Book: Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien
Genre: Science Fiction / Horror / Poetry
Publication Date: 20th August 2021
Publisher: Interstellar Flight Press
Pages: 75
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Cthulhu meets hip-hop in this book of horror poems that flips the eldritch genre upside down. Lovecraftian-inspired nightmares are reversed as O’Brien asks readers to see Blackness as radically significant. Can You Sign My Tentacle? explores the monsters we know and the ones that hide behind racism, sexism, and violence, resulting in poems that are both comic and cosmic.

My Musings

What initially drew me to read Can You Sign My Tentacle?
Well first off, the title alone piqued my curiosity; then to discover that this was the work of a Caribbean author who has composed a strange blend of SFF, horror and poetry, I just had to open that cover and dive straight in.

Despite being a self-proclaimed SFF fan, I’ve never read any Lovecraft so I had no idea of the meaning behind the Cthulhu references until much later on. That being said, I feel this enabled me to approach O’Brien’s collection with a wholly open-mind.

O’Brien does not shy away from tackling some of the big themes of racism, sexism and violence, but through this unusual mix of varying genres, his messages tend to pop out and command your attention in a way that may be much less fun or remarkable in traditional prose.

There are some wonderful phrases and language. As a bit of a logophile, I was struck by the beautiful and bizarre range of vocabulary that Brandon utilised across his writing.

Notably in The Metaphysics of a Wine, In Theory and Practice, the concoction of academia-style concepts mixed with the celestial, paranormal-esque commentary of being lost in the throes of dancing captivated me. Other poems such as The One, Lovecraft Thesis #3 and Time, and Time Again were particular favourites.

The Author’s Note at the end (along with a little help from Google) helped me to understand how O’Brien’s use of the eldritch genre brought Can You Sign My Tentacle? to life. It tied together some of the loose connections that I hadn’t grasped from my initial reading and clarified the Lovecraft references along with the author’s influences and inspiration for writing this collection of poems.

I really, really like this book. It’s different, it’s highly entertaining yet meaningful at the same time. The poems are curious and provocative. The whole theme of the collection and ideas behind the Cthulhu/Lovecraft mix are totally original and have taught me something new; not just about the medley of Science-Fiction and Poetry as genres, but about the over-inflated concept of self-importance and that nobody or nothing is infallible.

In a world where cancel culture seems to be increasingly (somewhat shockingly) normalised, O’Brien’s narrative seems to challenge this notion and turn it on its head. Just as Lovecraft was undoubtedly a talented writer who has done much to shape the SFF genre, O’Brien shows that rather than ‘cancelling’ or criticising his creative legacy, we can turn his prejudices into a weapon and opportunity for education and awareness. He shows that we can learn from past denigrations and champions how today’s society can shift away from the attitudes, mistakes and short-sightedness of those who came before us.

I went into Can You Sign My Tentacle? looking for something a bit on the offbeat, peculiar side – I came out of it with something undoubtedly more meaningful. O’Brien is truly a voice to be celebrated. He has written such a thought-provoking, original masterpiece with a trailblazing message which will stay in my mind for a long time to come.


About the Author

Brandon O’Brien is a writer, performance poet, teaching artist and game designer from Trinidad and Tobago. His work has been shortlisted for the 2014 Alice Yard Prize for Art Writing, the 2014 and 2015 Small Axe Literary Competitions, and the inaugural Ignyte Award for Best Speculative Poetry. His work is published in Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, Reckoning, and New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean, among others. He is the former Poetry editor of FIYAH: A Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction.

Virtual Book Launch

Interstellar Flight Press are holding their first ever Virtual Book Launch for Can You Sign My Tentacle? It’s a free event on Zoom so check out the details below if you’re interested!

Here’s the details! Sign up via Eventbrite to join us.

Date: August 20th at 6:00pm EST / 5:00 PM CDT

Online via Zoom/Eventbrite

You will receive info from Eventbrite on how to access the event after you register. This event is FREE to attend.

Find out more about this book here:

NetGalley | Publisher Website | Amazon | Waterstones | Goodreads | Author’s Twitter

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf | Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

#SixforSunday – 2021 Books on my TBR!

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends!

August’s Six for Sunday theme is 2021 Books! I missed last week’s prompt about Favourite 2021 Reads So Far but yesterday I posted about this year’s favourite reads as ice cream flavours that kind of fits right?! You can out that post here!

This week we are listing 2021 Book releases which are on our TBRs. I could so easily do 60 of these rather than just 6 so this was a really tricky one this week!

For those who don’t already know, Six for Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Steph over at A Little But A Lot. July’s theme is ‘Sounds of Summer’ which I am living for at the minute – bring it on! 


2021 Book Releases on my TBR!

  1. She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
    I received a gorgeous special edition of this in one of my recent book subscription boxes. I know I keep harping on about it but it’s giving me such good vibes that I can’t wait to read it!
  2. The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
    This is another book I’ve had from one of my subs. I have read so many good things about it and I’m really intrigued by the Indian inspired world.
  3. Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko
    I feel like I have been waiting for this sequel for so long! I’m dying to return to the world of Aritsar after the ending of Raybearer although thankfully the wait is nearly over!
  4. House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas
    I can’t help but get swept away into the worlds of Sarah J Maas’s books – I’m so curious as to where this sequel will go (and if it’ll beat War and Peace on the page count!).
  5. The Hawthorn Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
    I binge-read the first in this series in one day. I’m such a nerd for any kind of clues/treasure hunt style plot line. The ending of the first one wasn’t quite as I anticipated but I’m still keen to see how the story concludes.
  6. Rainbow in the Dark by Sean McGinty
    I saw this plugged as The Wizard of Oz meets Ready Player One (one of my all-time favourites EVER!) and immediately add this onto my TBR. It’s supposed to be out on August 10th but I haven’t heard too much about it around the book socials so I’m keeping my eyes peeled to get my copy!

What 2021 books are on your TBR? Are you anticipating the start of a new series or are you hoping for some sequels and story conclusions?
As always, leave your links below to your own posts or drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

2021’s Most Memorable Reads (so far!) as Ice Cream Flavours

Happy Saturday everyone!

Summer is the perfect time of year for one of my all-time favourite foods – ice cream! Not gonna lie, I could probably eat ice cream at any time of the year but there’s just something nostalgic about hearing the tinkling melodies of the ice cream van or basking in the sunshine outside an ice cream parlour with your friends.

In a town not terribly far away from where I live, there is a place called Hoorays and they do the most magnificent variety of home-made gelato – there’s practically a flavour for every day of the month; we’re talking Lemon Drizzle, Blueberry Cheesecake, Bubblegum, Snickers, Unicorn, Pistachio – you name it, they’ve got it! They even change them regularly to fit in with different events and holidays!

My inspiration for this post came from an article that Penguin Books did in one of their latest newsletters called What you should read, according to your taste in ice cream. Whilst they focus on the complete range of ice creams and lollies you could buy from a Mr. Whippy van, I decided to match my most memorable reads of 2021 (so far!) to some of my favourite ice cream flavours. Here’s what I came up with!

Eton Mess – Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

And boy was I a mess after finishing this one! At times sweet, at times sour and with a whole riot of berries and sugar in-between, the rollercoaster this book took me one is totally reminiscent of this dessert-turned-ice-cream-flavour.

Bubblegum – The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

Just like the amusement of trying to blow the biggest Hubba Bubba bubble, The Authenticity Project was fun, fun, fun – there’s so many endearing characters in this heart-warming, laugh-out-loud story.

Rum and Raisin – These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden

A grown-up flavour for a grown-up, edgy read. Rum is one of my favourite spirits: dark, spicy and rich – just like the world building and complex character personas within this book.

Chocolate – Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Comforting yet decadent and a firm-fan favourite, just like the stunning empire of Aritsar in Raybearer. I adored Jordan Ifueko’s tale and all of the nods to African folklore and mythology. I’ve already pre-ordered the sequel, Redemptor, and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happens next!

Salted Caramel – The Favour by Laura Vaughan

Deliciously smooth yet with a salty undercurrent, this flavour immediately reminded me of the unreliability of Ada’s character in this mysterious and gripping read.

Phish Food – Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

One of my all-time favourite flavours and just like I could binge-eat the whole tub, I could totally binge-read my way through the Strike novels. With chocolate, caramel, marshmallow and tiny choccy fishies you never know what you’re getting with each spoonful and these crime novels always have me guessing the different twists and turns right until the very last page!

Blood Orange Gin – The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Gin sorbets are definitely the new flavour on the block. Fresh, bold and zingy just like the world of constructs and bone magic in Andrea Stewart’s fascinating series. I’m totally championing the female STEM representation too!

Pink Grapefruit – The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

I can’t eat pink grapefruits raw as I find them way too bitter, but I adore Hooray’s mouth-watering Pink Grapefruit ice cream. Fruity but packed sass and bite just like the awesome, fiery female leads in The Gilded Ones.

Lemon Sorbet – A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

Refreshing but also sour, this flavour gives me major Nesta vibes!

Mint Choc Chip – Lore by Alexandra Bracken

Just as mint and chocolate go lovingly hand-in-hand, Greek Mythology and a deadly competition come together seamlessly in this adventurous, contemporary read.

Raspberry Ripple – The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

That tangy raspberry ripple winding it’s way through smooth, creamy vanilla makes me think so much of the duality of Mikey’s character as he goes from schoolboy to fierce drag-queen in this iconic book.

Vanilla – How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black

Sometimes, you just can’t beat the originality of vanilla. Returning to Elfhame in Holly Black’s follow up to her Folk of the Air series felt like coming right back home to the world of the fae.

Stracciatella – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Omg, this story! 💗 Those little flecks of bitter, dark chocolate running throughout velvety, vanilla gelato made me think about all of the harsh realities and poignant issues this book raises and how they are flecked throughout each of our lives.

That’s a wrap! Did you agree with my flavour and book combos? Which is your most memorable read so far of 2021 and what type of ice cream would you pair it with? Feel free to drop me your favourite reads and flavours below!

Happy weekend Bibliofriends!

T xx

#Friday56 – These Violent Nights

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden. This 3-part story set in a fantastically dystopian version of Earth introduces us to a memorable band of characters as they seek to repair a tear in the universe and bring two warring communities together.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


He was the first Suriia she’d ever met who acted… almost human.
Not sure what to make of the strange encounter, Thorn spent a few minutes testing the locks on the windows before she wandered into the bathroom. She’d never been able to take a hot shower that wasn’t filled with panic at the thought of being caught and killed.

These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden

You can check out my full, spoiler-free review of These Violent Nights here.


Drop me a comment below or connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf |Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

Biblioshelf Musings – These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden – a gritty, adult fantasy with a cast of characters that break apart but rejoin together in an epic, sweeping conclusion. I would really like to thank Rebecca for sending me a complimentary copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.


Book: These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: 31st March 2021
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 484
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Once upon a time, inhabitants of another world tore a hole through the universe and came to Earth. They called themselves Suriias, and rivalled humans in knowledge and skill with one great exception: they had magic.

War followed. Humanity lost. And three hundred years later, humans are on the brink of extinction.

Orphans Thorn and Thistle live in hiding. They are the last of their families, the last of their friends. They scrape by, stealing to survive and living on the streets or hiding in sheds. But even under the brutal regime of the Suriias, there are places where humans can mingle in secret with magical sympathisers, and one night Thistle gets an unexpected offer of marriage from a Suriia with high standing and friends in all the right places. For Thistle, it’s a chance at safety and comfort; for Thorn, it’s a chance to find the ones who killed her parents.

And so the pair move into the capital city of Courtenz. An urban monstrosity of magic and might, false friends and flying cars, drones and death tolls, the new city promises a fresh start – and new love – for both.

But if there’s one thing Thorn knows for certain, it’s that dreams can swiftly turn into nightmares.

My Musings

I sometimes find that I read so many Fantasy novels that fit into the YA age bracket that I can often end up putting myself into a bit of a rut and end up crying out for something just a little more on the dark side…
Well readers, These Violent Nights was it.

Earth has been torn apart by a War involving humans and supernatural beings who came to Earth from Salfar via a Tear in the dimensions of the universe. At the start of the novel, we are introduced to the fascinating, magically-built world of Courtenz with its metropolitan vibes, modern skyscrapers and technologically advanced Coach travel. In this world there is no place for humans; they are outcasts, kept as slaves or treated as the dregs of society. We really begin to feel the segregation of humans through the eyes of Thorn and Thistle who struggle to keep themselves alive and hidden.

As Thorn and Thistle’s world collides with their Suriia enemies, the first part of the novel showcases Thorn’s animosity towards Kol and Nithin and her mistrust of their true intentions. It drives the plot forward as she sets out to try and track down those responsible for her parents’ death whilst also attempting to find a new group of humans to band together with and escape the magical hell she has found herself caught up in.

From the diverse range of Suriia backgrounds and abilities, to the harrowing levels of violence and segregation between the humans and magic-bearers, there was plenty of complex world-building and plot politics to get stuck into. I enjoyed that the differences of the Frai, Vrykos, Ghuls (amongst others) was explained alongside the backdrop of information about how the world came to be as it is now. There was lots to take in, but not too much that it overwhelmed the action within the story.

The structuring of the novel is quite different to other stories I’ve read before. At times, the narrative felt like it was three linked novellas forming as one complete story arc. As the end of Part One rolls into Part Two we get left on a cliffhanger then introduced to an entirely new cast of characters as the story veers away from Thorn’s viewpoint. The reader gets to experience a new group of Suriia and human characters who live in a different part of this strange, dystopian Earth Crunden has created. In Lucien’s part of the world, humans pose more of a resistance and threat to the magic-bearers and this new story dynamic keeps the whole novel fresh and action-packed – all the while wondering what and where we are going to be taken next.

By the time Part Three begins, characters from both preceding parts collide. We get to see the aftermath of that cliffhanger at the end of Part One whilst also benefitting from a greater understanding of the world and circumstances of the groups of characters that dwell within it from explanations within Part Two. The final part of the novel brings the world of Salfar to the fore and provides a more traditional fantasy element than the previous parts of the story. It seeks to tie up the loose ends which came before it and supplies a neatly wrapped up conclusion (with some pretty, sneaky twists along the way)!

This three part plot was a bold way to structure the novel and even though it initially felt a little strange to leave one set of characters behind completely, it really paid off in the final climax of the novel as plots and conspiracies merge back together with both Suriia and humans now fighting for a common cause.

Overall, These Violent Nights is a dark, gritty and edgy adult fantasy novel which, as its title suggests, is packed with a ferocious wildness and complex, multi-layered plot. It’s most compelling element for me is how poignant the divide between Suriias and humans could so very easily be transposed into today’s real world issues: race, gender, vaxxed and unvaxxed… As my mind probably read way too deeply into that element of the story (too much Twitter doomscrolling!), the unsettling feeling which the novel invoked in me was exactly the type of vibe I was looking for after reading many fluffily-wrapped up happy endings.

Ultimately, underlying all of that segregation, revolution and warfare, These Violent Nights brings about an immensely memorable and strong group of characters to champion. Characters who overcome their personal issues and fight to craft out a world they truly believe in. A cast who sacrifice and compromise, who break down their barriers, who overcome their differences, all with the aim of trying to bring about a more understanding, hopeful and harmonious future for all… and that’s got to be something worth fighting for, isn’t it?


Why Should I Read This?

For a dystopian future Earth which could easily be reminiscent of today’s segregated societies.
For the intriguing design structure of the three-part narrative.
For an originally crafted fantasy world and magical beings.

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Goodreads | Author’s Website |

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf | Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

The Wrap – July 2021

Howdy Bibliofriends!

The Summer Holidays are finally HERE! I’ve already had about 2 weeks off and it has been so nice to catch up with myself, my life, my housework and… my reading!

Life Update

In my last update I was counting down the days until I finished at my place of work, which I have now left. It felt like a weight off my shoulders to hand those keys back and walk out the door for the final time. I’ve been able to catch up on some much needed housework and clearing a few things out which has put me into such a great headspace that I’ve really been missing. My usual horsey trips and cinema trips are back in full force so normality seems to be on the up!

The rest of this Wrap Post follows my usual format (Past Reads, Current Reads, Upcoming Reads, Films/TV, Music/Podcasts, Pokemon Go) so feel free to skip any irrelevant parts!


What I’ve Been Reading

In July I finished reading These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden. Rebecca sent me this towards the start of 2021 and it is a multi-layered fantasy which branches off in two directions before converging again into one storyline and ending. It was so nice to read something quite dark and adult after lots of YA reads. I’m currently writing the review which should be up in a couple of weeks.

The second book I finished this month was The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. Being in verse form I was desperate to read this as I’m a bit of a fan about things like that. I found the whole symbology of the flamingo really intriguing and can’t wait to write my review.

#CurrentlyReading

I’m currently reading Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim. I was lucky enough to receive an e-ARC of this from NetGalley but didn’t manage to get more than 5 chapters in before it was archived. Thankfully, a stunning exclusive edition of this same novel arrived last week in one of my books subscription boxes so I can finally finish the story. I’m excited to see what happens to Shiori and her brothers.

I got myself into a great habit of listening to audiobook whilst I would get ready for work but as it’s the holidays now this routine hasn’t been as frequent. I purchased Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami whilst it was on special offer so I’ve been plowing my way through that whenever I’m out in the car. Listening to Murakami via audio is so much easier than when I tried to read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, I love Murakami’s style but sometimes it just doesn’t sink in when I read it myself!

Upcoming Reads

I always get to Summer and think about the entire bookshelf of novels I’m going to tick off my TBR… it almost never happens so I’m trying not to give myself a ‘goal oriented’ list this month – it’s bad enough Goodreads telling me I’m still 7 books behind schedule! 🙈

I do want to try and get as much reading in as possible though. Similarly to Six Crimson Cranes I also had the e-ARC for She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan but again couldn’t read it before it was archived… and again – thankfully a gorgeous special edition of this also came my way via one of my book subscriptions. That’s definitely on my priority list this Summer.

I have a review request from Brittany Willows for her Urban/YA Fantasy novel Bloody Spade and I am also part way through graphic novel series called Fiery Crown by Charles Cutting which I’ll be making real efforts with over this Summer. Watch this space for these reviews!

Other books which are pretty high on my TBR list are:

Dune by Frank Herbert (which I am hoping to read before the movie comes out).
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline (I have been waiting to give this book my complete, undivided attention)
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

What I’ve Been Watching

I’ve tried to really curb by TV time this month to get some more reading time in – it seems to have been working so far but I am now hopelessly addicted to this series of Love Island. It’s one of those guilty pleasures that I find so bad but so good at the same time!

At the cinema this month we’ve been watching:

  • Freaky – cheesy horror with a great correlation to the film Freaky Friday (which I have a bit of a soft spot for).
  • Black Widow – Loved this! felt so good to be watching a Marvel film again and I love Scarlett Johansson’s character so I’m glad she got her own movie.
  • Old – This was a definitely a horror with a difference. I didn’t quite know what to expect but the plotline was unique and intriguing.
  • Escape Room: Tournament of Champions – I am a huge fan of Escape Rooms! I caught the first film of this series on Netflix during the lockdown and it quenched my first for not being able to participate in a real-live one. I just had to catch the sequel on the big screen and it did not let me down! It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s definitely mine!
  • Jungle Cruise – This was such an awesome film! One of my favourites of the entire year! Slightly long perhaps for the storyline but it was so funny and the scenery gave me total wanderlust vibes.

What I’ve Been Listening to

Not much other than my audiobook of Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

Pokemon Go Update

This month we finally had Go Fest! I spent the entire weekend just walking round my village catching Pokemon and raiding – it was great for my step count! 😂 I do love it when they host big events like this but they do tend to completely monopolise your time. I got a pretty decent shiny haul thought and the legendary raids day helped me to fill some gaps in my dex.

July’s Shiny Haul
Skarmory x2
Skorupi
Ralts
Slakoth
Aron
Audino x2
Alomalola x2
Kricketot
Roggenrola
Tangela
Snivy
Eevee
Rayquaza
Galarian Ponyta (with Meloetta hat)

My Trainer Code: If any fellow Pogo players want to add me, my trainer code is: 8327 7170 2277


And that’s a wrap! How are you all doing? What are you looking forward to this August – do you have any special holiday or reading plans? What are the upcoming book/film releases that you’re looking forward to the most?

As always, drop me a comment to chat! ☺️

T xx