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Razorland #1.1 (Secret Heart)

Fierce Reads: Kisses and Curses

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A fabulous collection of short stories from your favorite Fierce Reads authors, perfect for fans and new readers!

Beloved of readers and booksellers, our Fierce Reads program has garnered tons of enthusiastic fans since its inauguration in 2012. Now, the authors you know and love are coming together in one book! With standalone short stories from a handpicked set of FR authors, this fabulous collection will include a mix of original content and popular favorites, and will often feature characters or worlds from existing Fierce Reads books. Extended, personal introductions from each author will make this a must-buy for fans as well as a fantastic portal for engaging new readers with the program. With a wide range of genres and subject matter, there will be something here for everyone!

Marissa Meyer • Glitches
Marie Rutkoski • Bridge of Snow
Jennifer Mathieu • Dynamite Junior
Anna Banks & Emmy Laybourne • Monster Crush
Courtney Alameda • Fixer
Jessica Brody • Unstolen
Ann Aguirre • Secret Heart
Lish McBride • Death & Waffles
Lindsay Smith • Krisis
Katie Finn • Deleted Scenes
Caragh M. O’Brien • Tortured
Nikki Kelly • Blue Moon
Gennifer Albin • The Cypress Project
Leigh Bardugo • The Too-Clever Fox

390 pages, Paperback

First published May 12, 2015

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Lauren Burniac

3 books7 followers

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5 stars
79 (15%)
4 stars
114 (23%)
3 stars
187 (37%)
2 stars
84 (17%)
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30 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 84 reviews
Profile Image for Nicole.
1,381 reviews
February 21, 2017
Kisses and Curses does not have a fixed theme and instead is filled with novellas from the contributing authors' series.

I liked that each author talks about their journey to writing books, why they do it and give a short intro into the short story featured.

As per my usual, I will comment and rate each each story individually.

Glitches by Marissa Meyer
(#0.5 Lunar Chronicles)
5/5 stars

Anyone who has read this series would love to read a short story set in this world. I like how I got an insight into how Cinder felt being introduced to her new family. Andddd her first impression on Kai. Epic. Seeing how warm Peony was to her stole my heart and understanding why Adri and Cinder have a strained relationship allowed me to sympathize. It was heartbreaking to have Garan taken away though. But this story sets things up for future books. I really enjoyed it.

Bridge of Snow by Marie Ruthoski
(#0.5 The Winners Curse)
4/5 stars

This occurs before the Winners Curse novel but it did not really matter to me. I liked the idea of a mother telling her smart beyond his years son a compelling story which lead to a life lesson. As always the author's writing impresses.

Dynamite Junior by Jennifer Mathieu
3.5/5 stars

I knew the main character here was represented in the book The Truth About Alice but I was actually more fascinated with Alice than Carmen despite this novella being focused on her. I felt sad for her family but did not really connect with her. This could have been any old typical high school story.

Monster Crush by Anna Banks and Emmy Laybourne
3/5 stars

This story is special. It is not a novella from a book published by either author but instead was written through a twitter back and forth by them. It seemed very impromptu and not in a good way. I found it cute but rather unrealistic.

Fixer by Courtney Alameda
3.5/5 stars

Apparently this is from book called Shutter. I notice alot of the stories in this anthology are from the perspective of the main character's love interest aka the guy of the story. This one was pretty good considering I have not read the book, it gave me a quick look into the world without making me confused. It also packed tons of emotions into just a few pages which I could feel my heart softening to.

Unstolen by Jessica Brody
3/5 stars

The premise actually fascinated me but this novella only served to give m a brief view into the main character's love interest, Zen and a pivotal scene where he takes her memories from those who have stolen them. It gave me a hint that Seraphina was not normal. Just an okay read for me.

Secret heart by Ann Aguire
4/5 stars

This one occurs in book 1 or the Razorland series. It is nice to see things from Fade's pov. I love that he fell for Deuce so early on and this novella shows the reader how he deals with it.

Death and Waffles by Lisa McBride
3.5/5 stars

A rather good intro into the full length novel. Even though the main character, Matt seemed boring, I was fascinated with Ashley and her job as Harbinger.

Krisis by Lindsay Smith
4/5 stars

Whoa, this was exciting and the premise good. I am interested to read Sekret because who can say no to story set in Russia during the Cuban Missile Crisis and teenagers with psychic powers who can turn the tide of the war? I Hope Larissa and Ivan get a happy ever after though.

Deleted scenes from Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn
3/5 stars

Now because this is not a novella and more a collection of scenes taken out from the main novel, it seems to lose the appeal because it is very disjointed. But then I still found myself enjoying the scenes, especially the pizza one even though the plot is rather cliche.

Tortured by Caragh M O'Brien
3.5/5 stars

I have always been fascinated with dystopian so reading the author's introduction immediately perked me up. Despite the novella being short and not revealing much I was still fascinated to find out more. About what had happened to the world, how people coped and who Gaia was. She seemed important.

Blue Moon by Nikki Kelly
2.5/5 stars

I could not get into this at all. It was very confusing. At first when the author introduced the world I was fascinated but then I read the novella and my interest turned to confusion. By the end of it, I did not want to know more.

The Cypress Project by Gennifer Albin
4/5 stars

I guess this is abit of a prequel to the Crewel Series. I was intrigued by Lucy, Joshua, the romance, the sci-fi aspect of it. The WWII setting was nice as well. Funny because I have seen Crewel around but never gave it a chance but perhaps I should.

The Too Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo
3.5/5 stars

This is folk tale set in the world of the Grisha Trilogy. It does not relate to any of the characters but it was nice. In a kind of bed time story kinda way if you like them a little dark. It felt like there was a moral to the story though.

I love some of the short stories as I already read the full novels like Cinder, Winner's Curse and Enclave. Especially Glitches because I adore the Lunar Chronicles. One thing I notice is that a lot of the stories are novellas from full length books and mostly from the guy's pov, guy is almost always main character's love interest so reader gets tons of talk on how he adores girl, would do anything for her, how strong and brave she is multiple times. It gets a bit annoying to say the least.

Some of stories I could not get into because I did not read the books so I could not understand the characters(Death and Waffles, Unstolen and Dynamite Junior) but some made me want to read the books(Krisis, Fixer, The Cypress Project, Tortured). Overall a satisfying collection of YA novellas that have a variety of genres to please everyone.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,184 reviews15 followers
January 11, 2016
The description on Goodreads says that this collection is "perfect for fans and new readers." I disagree. This is not a collection for new readers, but for those already fans of one or more of the authors. Most of the stories in the collection are set in the existing worlds created by the authors, and many read like prologues. (There is even one "story" that is actually a few deleted scenes from a book by the author.) Beyond that, expect major spoilers.

I think that if you are already a fan of one of the authors listed, and you would like to read an additional snippet, you may very well enjoy the collection, but I didn't, as I'm generally not one for deleted scenes or extras.
Profile Image for Completely Melanie.
579 reviews377 followers
August 7, 2018
This is 14 short stories from 15 different authors. Most of the short stories were insights into a certain aspect of another book or series most of which I hadn't read. The first story was called Glitched and it was a Cinder story by Marissa Meyer. Because I had read that book, I really enjoyed this story. There were a couple of stand alone stories in here that I also enjoyed. All in all, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read all the books attached to these stories. Because of that, I do plan on keeping this book and probably rereading it in the future after I have had a chance to read the books that go with it.
Profile Image for Quirkyreader.
1,505 reviews43 followers
May 13, 2016
This was a very fast and fun read. It will greatly appeal to those who like light horror and sci-fi. Also, it is very clean. So it is safe for a tweenager to read it.

The last story impressed me the most. It is called "The Too Clever Fox" and it is by Leigh Bardugo. I have always been fascinated by trickster stories when the trickster is a fox.

Read this one aloud with family and friends and enjoy some well crafted stories.
Profile Image for C. (Ocean of Sunflowers).
105 reviews36 followers
June 8, 2017
Honestly, I haven't even read Enclave yet. I only have the copy of Secret Heart and was curious to read this and have a glimpse of Razorland Trilogy. I have read Fade's thoughts, for Deuce, specifically. And damn those unspoken words made me melt. My heart was continuously fluttering. If given a chance, I would very much likely to read the trilogy. If only I had a copy, I literally would. Fade's a sweet and gentle guy. Deuce's a fierce and independent girl. I needed more of them to subside these fluttering feelings.
Profile Image for Stephanie Roxane.
298 reviews2 followers
October 8, 2018
I originally was going to do a mini review on each story, but honestly feels like a waste.

Most of these stories were not good. I DNFd a few of them.

Most of these stories were sort of companion stories to books I’ve never read and this made them really super confusing and irritating. Nowhere on the book does it say that every story is a deleted scene from another work.

I liked Glitches, the Cypress Project, and Death and Waffles and the Leigh Bardugo story which I’ve previously read in Language of Thorns.
Profile Image for Darcy.
12.2k reviews419 followers
August 29, 2017
This review is based only on the story by Ann Aguirre.

I liked this little secret glimpse we had of Fade's feelings for Deuce. But I think the best part of this was the introduction by the author. I loved her tale of how she started writing as a kid, how hard it was for her as an adult and how she finally sold her first story.
Profile Image for Cori Reed.
1,135 reviews379 followers
September 6, 2017
Unfortunately although there are a few stories in the collection I quite enjoyed (the stories by Marissa Meyer, Marie Rutkoski, Leigh Bardugo and Nikki Kelly all kept my attention), the rest left me feeling a bit "meh." Also, the story by Anna Banks and Emmy Laybourne was literally a Tweeted back and forth between then and it's a SASQUATCH ROMANCE. Um, no thanks! It was real bad.

So...seek out the stories by the authors I mentioned maybe, but the rest I give a hard pass.
Profile Image for Taina.
58 reviews1 follower
April 24, 2017
3.5. I was expecting it to be so many short stories. I didn't really enjoy of some of them just started off in the middle of some of the other books that the author had written. For me, they got better as they moved along. The last one was my favorite.
43 reviews1 follower
July 17, 2015
I really hated that this book, that is filled with "short stories," even exists. It's not short stories - it's practically outtakes and add-ons to books that the contributors already written, so you need to have some prior knowledge or something. As far as I know, some of the "short stories" in there have already been published separately from this compilation of stuff, so I question why those stories are even there in the first place.
Profile Image for Cara (Wilde Book Garden).
993 reviews57 followers
August 21, 2022
Apparently this averages out to about 3.41 stars, but it feels closer to a 3 so that's what I'm giving it.

Lots of lackluster stories here, but a few I enjoyed. And I'm very excited to have finally read Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski (I didn't even realize it was in this collection until I was starting the book!) and to have finally read this collection - pretty sure it's one of the oldest books on my TBR.

I also think it was kind of a weird concept for an anthology? all the stories are connected to one of the author's books / series, and while they did their best to give enough context to enjoy the story as a standalone it didn't always succeed.

And just taste-wise, I'm not a fan of dystopian and am very picky about sci-fi, so the fact that so many of both genres were in here was also a bummer.

Glitches: Plague
Bridge of Snow: References to war and violence
Dynamite Junior: Bomb
Monster Crush: Animal death, violence
Fixer: Grief, violence, blood, guns, cutting
Unstolen: References to: torture, PTSD
Death & Waffles: Grief, cancer, brief suicidal thoughts
Krisis: References to nuclear bombs and war
Tortured: References to torture, family separation
Blue Moon: Poverty, grief, sexual harassment
The Cypress Project: Grief, World War II, murder, human experimentation
The Too-Clever Fox: Animal death and cannibalism, hunting, references to incest
Profile Image for Justine.
1,418 reviews68 followers
April 2, 2020
Okay so this is your normal anthology. I did like the added little bio about the authors and where their short stories come in before the story. But like any anthology you like some you don’t like some. A couple of the stories I have already read which is annoying because I paid for them then realized they were in this book that I already own ahha. Some of the stories I liked I want more, others seemed too long as it was haha. The most confusing part was there was no theme to the stories. They were all genres and I couldn’t pick out the common denominator. Based on all of this stuff I gave it a 3 stars because I didn’t hate it but didn’t love it.
Profile Image for Maria.
664 reviews45 followers
March 21, 2018
This was different.
Being a new reader to all of the authors, I figured this would be a nice way to familiarize myself with their work as I've only read one Bardugo (Wonder Woman) and and currently reading one Meyer (Renegades) but this book of short novellas is really intended for readers who are already engrossed with the authors books as 8/10 of these novellas involved within those very worlds and characters and me not knowing them, was left out and feeling "meh".

With that said though, the writing was good and on others better. I was interested to look into new authors(to me anyway) and the novellas are to blame for that.

I really enjoyed reading "Monster Crush"(harkens to oddball convos with my bestie), "Secret Heart", "Death & Waffles", "The Cypress Project", and "The Too-Clever Fox"
Profile Image for Dana.
710 reviews40 followers
December 27, 2021
Wow I read this back in September and didn't log it? Shows you how crazy September was.

They were okay. The stories I was most excited for (Marissa Meyer and Leigh Bardugo) were ones I've already read. The others were okay but needed the context of the novel they were pulled from.

Overall... meh.
Profile Image for Sharon Mariampillai.
1,985 reviews87 followers
May 20, 2017
This was short novella. I did think it was interesting to understand the scene from Fade's perspective. However, I think it was also a bit pointless because it did not give any other insights to what happened during that part.
Profile Image for Lizzy Seitz.
Author 1 book15 followers
November 23, 2019
Glitches-5 stars
Bridge of Snow- 4 stars
Dynamite Junior- 4 stars
Monster Crush- 5 stars
Fixer- DNF
Unstolen- 3 stars
Secret Heart-DNF
Death and Waffles- 4 stars
Krisis-DNFed I’m really not a fan of historical fiction
Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend Deleted Scene- DNFed even though it’s by my favorite author Morgan Matson. If I read the book I might come back and read it
Tortured- DNFed because I haven’t finished the series it’s a part of and didn’t want the spoilers
Blue Moon-DNFed hate the writing style
The Cypress Project-DNFed felt too much like short stories written into a longer story
The Too-Clever Fox- 3 stars

Average Rating- 2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lauren.
3,320 reviews122 followers
Want to read
May 3, 2018

Glitches by Marissa Meyer (#0.5 Lunar Chronicles) - 3 Stars

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. In Glitches, a short prequel story to Cinder, we see the results of that illness play out, and the emotional toll that takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch…

It was interesting to see how Cinder came to be part of the house and I liked the little introduction to Iko.

Bridge of Snow by Marie Ruthoski (#0.5 The Winners Curse)

Dynamite Junior by Jennifer Mathieu

Monster Crush by Anna Banks and Emmy Laybourne

Fixer by Courtney Alameda

Unstolen by Jessica Brody

Secret heart by Ann Aguire

Death and Waffles by Lisa McBride

Krisis by Lindsay Smith

Deleted scenes from Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

Tortured (Birthmarked #1.5) by Caragh M O'Brien - 4 stars
I liked this little tidbit from Leon and what the readers find out after birth marked. He really does seem to care what happens to Gaia.

Blue Moon by Nikki Kelly

The Cypress Project by Gennifer Albin

The Too Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo
107 reviews
March 13, 2016
Aside from the short-story my Marie Rutkoski (Bridge of Snow), and maybe two others, the collection of stories wasn't all that wonderful.

Marie Rutkoski's short-story was absolutely magical.
Profile Image for Danielle.
622 reviews44 followers
July 8, 2015
This was a great anthology, and not only did I get to read some stories by authors I already love, I was also introduced to some new ones who I will certainly seek out! Of course, there were some stories I was less than impressed by, but on the whole they were quite good.
Profile Image for kiki .
130 reviews
June 19, 2016
I admit I did not finish all the stories, but I finished all the stories written by authors that I am familiar with. (which was approximately 60%)
My favourite (out of all the ones I read) was by The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo.
Profile Image for Gapeach.
505 reviews23 followers
November 8, 2016
Not the greatest, couldn't get into many of them. They felt like romance rather than the curses they were supposed to incorporate. Mainly just plugs for the authors.

Profile Image for Desiree.
1,001 reviews25 followers
December 18, 2018
NOTE: When I average out the ratings for all of the stories I actually completed, it comes to a 3.16, so I almost gave this book three stars. However, that would've been completely ignoring the 5 stories I didn't read because they didn't stand on their own outside their series. I feel like that should reflect on this anthology.

Short story collections should not require the reader to read a bunch of other books just to understand what is going on, unless they are written by the same person and specifically marketed as stories taking place in one world i.e. Stars Above, by Marissa Meyer, which is a collection of short stories taking place in the Lunar Chronicles Universe.

I purchased this anthology because there was something about the cover that was intriguing to me. I also liked the title. I assumed that this would be a collection of romance stories, mostly in the fantasy genre. I was also excited when I saw some of the names contributing to this anthology: Marissa Meyer, Leigh Bardugo, Ann Agguire, etc.

Unfortunately, I was very disappointed by this collection. First of all, almost none of the stories are original at all. They're all connected to the author's previous works. This works in a couple of cases (I liked Leigh's story about the too-clever fox, which I'm assuming made its way into Language of Thorns) and the stories by Jennifer Mathieu and Lish McBride worked as stand-alone stories, even though they were loosely connected to other series that I hadn't yet read.

It honestly ends up feeling like a money grab by the publishing company, as most if not all of these stories already existed before the anthology was compiled.

I'm going to give a rating for each story, beginning with my favorite of the bunch and working my way down to my least favorite.

First of all, there were 5 stories that I skipped over. I haven't read the series that these stories came from, and many of them took place in the middle of the series and followed important characters in the series. A couple of the series were familiar to me, but I'd never had the desire to read them, so why would I want to read a short story that jumps into the middle of the series?

1. Fixer by Courtney Alameda - I haven't heard of this series before. Apparently this author leans toward the horror genre, which is not something I tend to reach for, so I doubt this will ever be something I will come back around to.

2. Unstolen by Jessica Brody - Now, this one actually sounds intriguing to me. A girl is on a plane when it crashes and she is the only one who survives. Apparently it ends up being a mystery/suspense type series, so I'm interested in maybe checking out the series, but this snippet takes place during the other books and I want a little more foundation before jumping in.

3. Deleted Scenes by Katie Finn - I don't know if the series this comes from is for me. It seems like it's geared toward very young teens, which I am most definitely not. Also, as the title suggests, this story is literally a deleted scene from a book that I haven't read. I don't know how well it will hold up on it's own, and I don't feel the need to read it for that reason. Perhaps if I go back and check the series out. We'll see.

4. Tortured by Caragh O'Brien - I actually own the Birthmarked trilogy, which this story is connected to, but I haven't been able to get through it. I tried listening to it on audiobook once but it couldn't hold my interest. I am going to try one more time and make a decision about it once and for all. If I do read it and enjoy it, I'll come back and read this story. If not, I won't.

5.The Cypress Project by Gennifer Albin - This takes place in the world of the Crewel trilogy. It appears to be a prequel to that series that shows the point where our world diverged and went toward the world in that series. I know that this is a prequel, but I haven't heard great things about the foundational series, so I don't think I will be reading this.

Okay, now on to the stories I actually read. Again, from my fave to least fave:

5/5 The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo - I love her writing and I love this story. I haven't read Language of Thorns yet, but I would assume that this story makes it in there and I kind of want to buy Language of Thorns just so I can read it with illustrations. This had the perfect blend of whimsy and moral that you get from traditional fairy tales.

4/5 Glitches by Marissa Meyer - This is a prequel to Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles. I really enjoy this series and this little glimpse into Cinder's first weeks with the Lihn's was great. I feel like even someone who hasn't read the Lunar Chronicles would enjoy this. It stands on its own, which cannot be said of all of these stories.

4/5 Death and Waffles by Lish McBride - I haven't read the books that this story comes from, but this story stands on its own as well. I never felt like I'd just been dropped into the middle of a story with no context. Even though you don't know exactly what is going on at first, it becomes clear very quickly and there is some backstory given. I liked the whimsical, yet serious nature of the story, and I thought the author did a wonderful job balancing something that could be on the macabre side. I want to read more by this author.

3.75/5 Dynamite Junior by Jennifer Mathieu - I haven't read the book this story is inspired by. It does take place in the middle of the novel The Truth About Alice. I've heard of this book before but I was wary of picking it up because of what I perceived as slut-shaming. However, after I read the author's note, I realized that her book is absolutely not promoting that kind of behavior at all and now I kind of want to pick it up. The one thing I will say is that the writing seems a bit on the simplistic side. But I would read a book about Carmen and her struggles. I would read it right now.

3.75/5 Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkowski - I have read the Winner's Curse trilogy and wasn't really a fan. And I have to say, I feel like maybe I might want to give the series one more shot. This was actually pretty good. I liked the folklore that is woven into this. It was similar to the Leigh Bardugo story in that way even though it wasn't a straight-up fairy tale. And the last couple of paragraphs actually hurt my heart. It was the only time throughout this anthology that I got emotional at all.

3.5/5 Krisis by Lindsay Smith - I have seen the book Sekret here and there but never picked it up. This short story takes place a year before the book and follows different characters, which I appreciated. I actually thought this was pretty interesting. I haven't read many books taking place during the cold war, and even though this particular series contains paranormal elements, I'm still interested in checking it out after reading this short story.

2.5/5 Blue Moon by Nikki Kelly - I honestly don't remember what happened in this story and I just read it a couple hours ago. It just did not stick with me at all.

2/5 Secret Heart by Ann Agguire - I've read Agguire's Razorland trilogy. Twice. I know there is a fourth book, but I was not interested in the slightest by the synopsis. This short story isn't even a story. It's retelling a scene from the perspective of Fade, the male protagonist. It's boring and it's unnecessary.

0/5 Monster Crush by Anna Banks and Emmy Laybourne - WTF. The most shocking thing about this awful story isn't the fact that it was actually published by a legit publishing company. It isn't even the fact that it is a sasquatch romance (Yes, you read that correctly. No, I'm not kidding. Yes, I wish I was.). To me, the most shocking part of this utter drivel of a story is that it took TWO authors to spew it out. I'm just floored that anyone thought this was a good idea. First of all, Sasquatch. Romance. Now, I would've been fine if they wanted to do some sort of Beauty and the Beast thing with a Bigfoot as the Beast. That could actually make sense, especially if they were going to set the story in the Pacific Northwest. I could get that. But this was a take on Sasquatches that was just a big mess. Um...spoilers ahead...

In this dumpster fire, sasquatches supposedly used to be human, and they turn other humans by kissing them on the mouth. Just the mouth. Apparently they can kiss them anywhere else on their bodies and everything is hunky-dory, but one peck on the lips immediately turns the other person into a sasquatch--but only during the day. At night they get to be in their human form--but only for a little while. Over time they lose 'human hours' until they are fully sasquatch.

It's so freaking stupid. I just...can't.

Aside from that, there is also the fact that this is insta-love at it's most cringey. There is a reference to Disney Princesses and how she understands how the could fall in love in one night. At one point, they even reference the term 'insta-love' saying how much they hate it but oh well!

The final nail in the coffin for me is the structure. It is literally just the two authors, texting lines of the story back and forth to each other. I don't know if this is legitimately how they wrote this story, but the gimmick didn't work at all. It made the entire thing seem very lazy to me. Actually, that is the perfect word for this. Lazy. And like I stated previously, I was astounded that this was a selection for publication in ANY book, newspaper, magazine, ezine...whatever. It's bad. I do not feel any urge to pick up anything from either of these authors.

Honestly, this anthology annoys me more and more as I think about it. It isn't marketed as 'short stories set in the world of your favorite series!' If it was, I probably wouldn't have purchased it in the first place, but I definitely would've paid more attention to the authors included to see whether or not I'd read a majority of their books.

Anyway, rant over. I don't recommend this anthology unless you've read a majority of the books by these authors.
Profile Image for Danielle.
396 reviews64 followers
October 2, 2017
Glitches - 4 Stars
Previously read, still a good introduction to the world. I think it's really necessary before Cinder, actually. It answers a lot of my questions about her family and how she got where she is.

Bridge of Snow - 3 stars
The story was okay. It didn’t didn't tell me much about the characters or the world; it’s a pretty tenuous link to the Winner’s Curse series, but the actual fairy tale of how stars got into the sky was very pretty. I wouldn’t seek out the actual series based on this story.

Dynamite Junior - 3.5 stars.
The Truth About Alice is one of my all time fave contemporaries. This companion was good but confusing. There are a lot of time skips and Mathieu tried so hard to obscure the secret of Jorge that I had trouble with the pacing. I’m glad she dropped Carmen as a potential POV, but I’m also glad to meet her here.

Monster Crush - NR
Haha, no. Not with that formatting.

Fixer - 3 stars
I wish they wouldn’t include stories in these collections that require you to have read the series already. This was fine, gave me some insight into the world of reapers and Hellsings and zombies, but since I don’t know the characters? *shrug* No emotional resonance.

Unstolen - 2 stars
The main character of this series is named Seraphina and she has purple eyes.

Secret Heart - NR
Why is this even here? It’s one scene, rewritten. It’s six pages. I think Ann’s intro is longer. I can’t rate something that can’t be more than a hundred words.

Death & Waffles - 4 stars
This is what I want in a tie in short story. It stands alone but makes me want to read the Necromancer series. It’s funny and sad and introduces the world, but doesn’t overstay. Ash seems like a really cool character.

Krisis - 4 stars
Sekret never held any appeal to me, but I really liked the writing of this story. As with Death & Waffles, a self contained story that made me long to know the larger world. Good job, I’ll add Sekret to my TBR.

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things To Mend Deleted Scenes - 2 stars
Finn was just desperate to spoil the reveal in this book, huh. Good job, editor.

Tortured - NR
Intro warned for spoilers and I haven’t read Birthmarked yet. Shame, I loved Vault of Dreamers and this was one of the stories I was looking forward to. I’ll just have to move the series up the ole TBR.

Blue Moon - 0 stars
This story opens with a quote from one of my least favorite comics of all time, the masturbatory wankfest that is Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum. So we’re off to a great start and it just goes downhill. The writing is terrible. Skimmed, found nothing I wanted.

The Cypress Project - 3 stars
A prequel to Crewel, which I anticipated so highly and ended up not liking at all. I never continued the series, so this was actually good to confirm a theory I had re:”the War” and the worldbuilding timeline. I’ve read one other short story set in this world and it was better. Lucy and Joshua were fine, but the story didn’t need four POVs.

The Too-Clever Fox - 4.5 stars
Hey look, the story I borrowed the anthology for. Loved this take on Little Red Riding Hood. I have a slight quibble with the end, which keeps it from a full five stars, but Bardugo did a great job building the world and making it feel Russian/Ravkan in a really short space.
Profile Image for Katherine.
2,577 reviews7 followers
April 29, 2016
I was pleased with this find for two reasons. One, I enjoyed most of the stories, which I has not happened for me with anthologies in quite a while. As well, this anthology had short stories connected to many series' that I have been interested in but uncertain about, and this was the perfect way to test out my interest in them. In addition, the personal talks by each of the authors before the stories really gave a look into their own lives and motivations and I found that this changed how I felt about some of the stories in the most fascinating of ways.

Due to the nature of this book I find it best to review story by story as really, each one is so individual, and deserves its own review.

Glitches- Marissa Meyer 5 stars
A story about Cinder first meeting her new family. This was fascinating as it setup the relationships that we come to know in the series as well as introduce each of the characters and their motivations. It was also intriguing to meet Cinder's step-father (as we never see him in the series) as well as the 'creation' of Iko. Great way to start into the series and a very good read.

Bridge of Snow- Marie Rutkoski 5 stars
This one fascinated me, being told as one of the old stories of the creation of the stars. In the original fairy tales things are always more tragic and more fraught with dangers and lessons. Yet, I found that I have always gravitated to these more, especially if done in the right way, as I don't always need the perfect HEA. This story delivers that in spades, as it also seems to be the precursor for a story that will not be particularly happy in and of itself. The tale is well told and has the proper amount of involvement from the characters themselves as well as a wonderful weaving of the story within the story. An excellent read.

Dynamite Junior- Jennifer Mathieu 4 stars
This was good, interesting, just a little bit lacking dropping it down by that one star. A girl with a past moves to another school, but to find out that everyone there is knocking down another girl for what has happened to her. It was an interesting look at high school and how word of mouth and accusations can work against a person in that microcosm of society as well as out in the larger world. I enjoyed it and it made me interested in the larger story but I also find myself wishing there was just a bit more about our protagonist and who she became.

Monster Crush- Anna Banks & Emmy Layborne 2 stars
This has got to be the one nope of the entire anthology and it's really by grace of the chosen delivery. A story written for a twitter contest and kept in that form, it felt rushed and ridiculous being delivered at 140 characters a time between alternating authors. I agree that they did accomplish what they set out to do- it was proof that a Sasquatch romance could be written. I just wish they has redone it for this book so that it was actually well written.

Fixer- Courtney Alameda 3 stars
This was an interesting one in that it was the only one set from a horror series. It was also from the perspective of a boy who is in a world where being weak in the face of what he had seen would not be supported so he is slowly cracking under the face of that and under the fact that his girlfriend is shattering into pieces herself. The only thing that dropped it down a star for me is that I felt it did not give a good look into what the series would be like as it did not actually spend too much time with the character that would end up being the protagonist. The world was definitely well built and the incident upon which it is predicated is fleshed out in horrifying and fascinating detail though, so I would be willing to check out the series regardless.

Unstolen- Jessica Brody 3 stars
Now this was an odd one. Set within the series rather than before it, I felt at times that I was missing things as I read it. Obviously I was a this was based from deeper within the series so there are already things I was supposed to know that I simply did not. I was pleased that even with that the story captivated me and I wanted to know more about the series that it had come from, wanted to learn about these two characters puller apart again and again and the type of world they were living in.

Secret Heart- Ann Aquirre 3 stars
Once again this was a story set within the book; in fact this story is apparently just a scene told instead from the perspective of the opposite character of the protagonist. I found it interesting because I did not know the story and I liked to see the way that he thinks: I believe that even after reading the series I will be happy to have seen the way that he thinks. However, when it is just a scene and not a new story I find that I can't give it much more than just 3 stars.

Death and Waffles- Lish McBride 5 stars
Not going to lie; this story is the entire reason that I bought this book. I fell in love with McBride's stories after reading Hold me Closer, Necromancer; I proceeded to read all of the connected stories that I could. When I found that I could not find this story I sought out where it was and immediately bought this book. I was not disappointed to do so- the entire book could have been worth this story in my very biased opinion. Told from the POV of Ashley's childhood friend (Ashley is from the Necromancer series) it gave an idea of what her job is as a psychopomp and someone seeing what she does. But more important, as with any bit of her series, it was about the people....and it made me laugh and cry. Can't loose with that!

Krisis- Lindsay Smith 3 stars
Following a girl with predictive abilities based upon choices, it is set within the Cuban Missile Crisis and her role within it. More than that, it is really a romance. I liked this story for it was sweet and simple, and it showed someone choosing life in a time when that was never an easy choice. It set up an interesting world and it had a wonderful balance of complexity with simplicity.

Broken Hearts, Fences, And Other Things to Mend
Deleted Scenes- Katie Finn 4 stars
Coming into this story having never heard a single thing about it, as well as this being deleted scenes rather than anything new, I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it! While these scenes were obviously enmeshed within the book they had this spark to them that made me so interested in the characters and has me very game to read this series.

Tortured- Caragh M. O'Brien 2 stars
This is a bit of a bias in the other direction- I have already tried reading a book from this story and couldn't get into it, so I found myself distant from this story. It was written fine and seemed interesting but.....not for me.

Blue Moon- Nikki Kelly 5 stars
Wow, this one deeply intrigued me. Between the dream, the interactions of the characters, the hint of the supernatural without the further information......oh I was hooked. This was just an indescribable one that you absolutely have to read.

The Cypress Project- Gennifer Albin 4 stars
Just a well thought out setup and interesting world. I loved the characters and the slow and believable relationships and reactions. I was just irked by the POV; I found that sometimes it did not flow well and was not obvious who it was following at the time. I hope the series is more clear than that as the story did catch me well enough that I really do want to read on to see what happens.

The Too Clever Fox- Leigh Bardugo 5 stars
Once again, a reworking of a fairy tale in the most fascinating of ways. It was too bad that I guessed the ending....until it turned out that I didn't not quite. And what happened exceeded my expectations. This was a beautiful reworking and I loved both the message and the way the characters worked- believable and entrancing.

I think the take away from all of this is that this is a wonderful anthology and well worth your time!
Profile Image for SR.
1,644 reviews48 followers
June 24, 2017
The stories are fine - although I didn't read all of them, as the authors noted when a short/deleted scene/excerpt would spoil the main books. The authors' notes/explanations are generally clever. I got a good sense of who I want to read: Rutkoski, Mathieu, Alameda, McBride, Smith, O'Brien, Brody. Less impressed with Kelly, Finn, Aguirre, and Banks/Laybourne (although their short was adorable), and of course it's too late to regret reading Albin.

(Although the prequel short she contributed did show that I'm right in scientist-namedrop being outright wrong in the fictional implementation of reality construction and manipulation relying on string theory, considering that the first elaboration of any theory representing physical forces specifically as oscillating strings was published by Nambu, Nielsen, and Susskind in 1969, a good fifteen years after namedrop had kicked it. In the first half of the '40s, physics was either the Manhattan Project or defending your honor regarding your choice not to be at Los Alamos. Or, as Einstein was doing, trying and failing miserably to convince politicians and generals that nuclear armament would be an unqualified disaster. Which latches neatly into the short by Lindsay Smith as a prequel to Sekret...)
Profile Image for Katie.
189 reviews6 followers
November 15, 2017
2.5 stars - disappointed.

Most of these stories are part of already established speculative fiction or fantasy universes, rather than standalone works. I was only familiar with one author, so I think I missed out on some of the pleasure of more deeply exploring a world I've spent time in before.

I did enjoy the lengthy introductions from each other, sharing how they started writing their series and how these stories fit in.

Fave stories:
- The too-clever fox (Grishaverse) (4)
- Tortured (hurt/comfort) (3)
- Death and Waffles (compelling characters, cute) (3.5)
- Glitches (high-tech Cinderella retelling) (3.5)
- Bridge of Snow (thoughtful fairy tale with a sweet mother-child frame) (3)
- Dynamite Junior (compelling contemporary realistic fiction) (3)

I looked into reading the series those stories were from, but based on reviews, I don't think I'd love them and my to read list is already long! I'll just stick to Leigh Bardugo.

Besides the stories named above, I'd give the rest of the stories 1 or 2 stars (based on my subjective enjoyment). Without sufficient background on the characters or worldbuilding, I didn't care about them, and some of them had characters and/or writing that just turned me off too.
Profile Image for Brittney.
609 reviews50 followers
October 8, 2018
Well this anthology was a let down. I know it's kind of older, but seriously who thought to include stories set in other book was a good idea. Some of these were really confusing because of this. Eventually Stephanie and I just decided to start dnfing stories. Which was an amazing decision that we don't regret. This anthology is a gracious two stars only because of a few stories.

Ratings of individual stories:
Glitched by Marissa Meyer 3.5 stars
Bridge of Snow by Mare Rutkoski 4.25 stars
Dynamite Junior by Jennifer Matthieu 0/5 stars because this is shit
Monster Crush by Anna Banks and Emmy Laybourne 2 Stars
Fixer by Courtney Alameda (dnf)
Unstolen by Jessica Brody 2 stars
Death and Waffles by Lish McBride 4.25 stars
Krisis by Lindsay Smith (dnf)
Deleted Scenes from Katie Finn (skipped because the book is on my tbr so I’ll read this after)
Tortured by Caragh M. O'Brien (dnf)
Blue Moon by Nikki Kelly (dnf)
The Cypress Project by Gennifer Albin 1.5 stars
The Too-Celver Fox by Leigh Bardugo 5 stars (read before in Language of Thorns)
Profile Image for Ceri.
11 reviews2 followers
March 13, 2021
It was interesting to find this book had a variety of genres. I discovered new authors. Sampled short stories from series I have yet to read, and also ones that I haven't heard of. Some were enjoyable to read and had me wanting to read the rest of the series, while others, such as the bizarre social media collab just bored me. I didn't even finish that one. The story itself didn't hook me. And the way it was written simply bothered me. They take it in turns to write 1-3 sentences at a time, and it was just jumping between two people with completely different writing styles.

I think this anthology is good for those who are already familiar with these authors, but if you're like me and looking for new authors and series to read, then this may be worth reading. Just don't expect to like them all, but it's personal preferences.
I'm sure some of these stories are free to read on websites or subscribing to newsletters, so you may not even have to purchase the book to read from particular authors.
Profile Image for Brittany.
Author 9 books61 followers
September 6, 2020
So, I was really looking forward to reading this anthology because it sounded like an anthology I would really enjoy. Unfortunately, I did not. Around 130 pages I stopped reading. The first five stories didn't really do anything to make me want to keep going through this anthology. It's called Kisses and Curses and I was expecting more paranormal elements and romance and so far there was hardly any. I really don't see any point in continuing an anthology where no story really sticks out. I wanted something new from Meyer, but if I remember correctly I'm pretty sure I read Glitches in one of the Lunar Chronicle books so it was nothing to me and I felt disappointed because I love her work and wanted something new. The rest of the stories were just weird and this book just didn't live up to my expectations.
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