Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

fire and heistRating: 3.5/5

Genre: YA, fantasy

First published: 2018

Author: Sarah Beth Durst

Synopsis: Leading your first heist is a major milestone in Sky Hawkin’s family—even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It’s a chance to gain power and acceptance within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated—especially when you’re a wyvern, a human capable of transforming into a dragon.

This book was such a pleasant surprise for me. I did a “read a chapter to decide if I’ll keep these books” kind of thing a while back and this was one of the books that I was thinking to unhaul because I thought I wouldn’t like it. But I ended up keeping it and really enjoying it. It’s a pretty light fantasy, I’d say it’s more of a contemporary than a fantasy, but it was so quick and fun. I really enjoyed the characters, I enjoyed the romance which rarely happens especially in contemporaries for me. I just genuinely had a fun time with this book.

The plot was fairly generic. There wasn’t anything massively surprising about it, but it was still enjoyable. It was predictable, but not boring. I love heist stories and while this wasn’t the most ingenious and elaborate heist ever, I had a good time with reading it. The writing style is I think where a lot of the enjoyability of the book comes from. It’s really funny, it’s a first person narration and I really liked the main character. Another thing that happens very rarely in YA contemporaries for me. But I really liked her, she felt like an actual person and she was funny.

It’s also very short and fast paced. It’s the kind of book you can easily read in one day. there was I would say more focus on friendship and family relationships than there was on the romance, which spoke to my soul and is probably why I enjoyed the romance as much as I did. I love seeing family and friendship dynamics in books far more than I like seeing romance ones, especially in YA where every single one feels the same.

So yeah, very pleasantly surprised. Glad I gave it a shot before unhauling it and if you’re looking for a fun, fast, fantasy-ish but more contemporary book, give this one a try.

A Guide to Short Fantasy Books for a Level 3 N00b

So you’ve graduated both my Noob’s guide to fantasy and Noob’s guide to high fantasy? You’re ready for more you say? You’re ready for the next level. But you take a look at all those chunky fantasy books and those 7 book long series and you feel overwhelmed? It’s okay. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I’m here to save you with some nice, short fantasy books. So have a seat. Relax. I got you.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

howl's moving castle

This is such a beloved story. Studio Ghibli made it even more so. You’ve probably seen the anime. If you haven’t I do recommend it. But we’re here to talk about books. Whether or not you’ve seen the anime, I think you’ll enjoy this book. It’s a sweet, fun, charming story. And it’s short. Barely over 300 pages. If you’re a bit intimidated by fantasy, this just what the doctor ordered.

Temeraire by Naomi Novik


This one’s for all you historical fiction lovers out there. This is a series that takes place during the Napoleonic wars. With the notable difference of dragons. This first book is amazing, it’s so sweet and funny and full of action. Again, pretty short. Under 400 pages, so it’s fast paced, easy to read and not too heavy on the fantasy. I feel like this is a perfect entry book for historical fiction lovers into fantasy and for fantasy lovers into historical fiction. And if you’re new to both, then even better. This book will broaden your horizons.

Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

fire and heist

Speaking of dragons and of broadening horizons, this one is for you contemporary lovers. Imagine a fun, not too angsty, but still angsty, charmingly written contemporary. Take all the beloved elements of that: cute romance, some great friendships, some school drama, some family drama. Then add some dragons to it and you’ll get an idea of what this book is like. I admit, I am not the biggest fan of contemporaries. So I was expecting not to love this when I picked it up. But I ended up loving it. It’s just so much fun to read. It’s very fast paced and also barely over 300 pages, so it’s super quick to read.

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

the colour of magic

If you want something short (less than 300 pages!) and satirical. Full of whimsy, imagination and lots of action (and giant turtles of unknown sex). Then this is the book for you.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik


If you’ve been reading this post and thinking to yourself “Pfft, I may be new to fantasy, but I’m not that new to it. I’m ready for more. I’m ready for something a bit heftier, a bit more complex.” Or maybe you’ve been thinking “But Romana, I’ve already read all of those! What do I do now?!” I got you. Don’t worry. Try Uprooted. It’s a bit longer, about 450 pages. But it’s a standalone. The magic is a bit more complex. There’s more fantasy elements. But it’s such a beautiful story with a rich, fairy-tale atmosphere that’ll suck you right in.

April 2019 Wrap Up

I read 7 books in April, which is not too bad especially considering I didn’t really read anything for good chunks of the month. Although one of the books I only finished in April and I didn’t really have that much left of it and most of the books I read were shorter than my usual reads.

The Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie


I finally finished this book. I’d been reading it for a while and had kind of been neglecting it because I wasn’t really in the mood for it. but I finally finished it. I had maybe 150-200 pages left of it. I’ve now completed the series, I even have a series review for it. Check me out, being productive! The first book is still my favourite and I think this is actually my least favourite of the series. It’s a bit too long and I feel like it could have been streamlined a bit without anything being lost. It was still really good, I would say 3.75-4 stars.

The Martian by Andy Weir


I had been putting this book off for so long. Every time I thought about buying it and reading it, I just didn’t really feel it. But I went with a couple of friends on a charity shop spree and I found it for like a ridiculous price. I think it was like 50p or something stupid. So I bought it. And I really wanted to read something that had no romance in it and this was the only thing that really qualified. So I picked it up and I read it in one day. It was so addictive and so much fun. I’m so glad I read it. It’s so funny, I really liked Mark, which is good cause he’s more or less the only character. I loved his ingenuity and as a scientist, I loved seeing his basically survive with science. I loved every second of it. 5/5 stars.

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel


The conclusion to this series was finally released in paperback, which is what I’d been waiting for since I have the first two books in paperback too. I absolutely loved this series, it’s probably one of the best sci-fi series I’ve read recently and I jumped into it off the back of The Martian, so I was really in a sci-fi kick. The second book is still my favourite in the series I think, but not by much. I’ve also reviewed the series, if you want to know more of my thoughts. 5/5 stars

The Dark Vault by V. E. Schwab


This is a bind-up of The Archived and The Unbound. They were recently re-released in this format since the originals are out of print, so I finally got them and read them. I counted this as two books, because it is two books, but my edition is just one volume. This was good, it’s not my favourite Victoria Schwab book. The story concept is really cool as her stories usually are, but having read so many of her more recent books, I could tell this was one of her earlier works. It’s not as well written as some of her other books. It was still really enjoyable, I liked the characters for the most part and the plot was fast paced. I flew through all 600+ pages of it in like 2 days. There were some love triangle vibes going on, which I just hate that trope. I feel like in the case of this series, it was used more as plot device rather than to create tension, so it didn’t get too annoying, but I still just really hate that trope. 3/5 stars

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence


This was probably my most anticipated book of the year, definitely for the first half of the year. I started it as soon as the audiobook got released. Well, I pre-ordered the audiobook. I listened to this whole series on audio and they’re amazing. The narration is so good. I found out after getting it that they almost changed the narrator for this last one, but ended up delaying the release in order to keep her and I’m so glad they did. I would have cried if they’d changed her. Anyway, this was just as fantastic as the other books in the series. I can’t even decide which is my favourite in the series, they’re all so good. This has become one of my favourite series. 5/5 stars. I also have a series review if you want to know more of my thoughts.

Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst


This was such a pleasant surprise for me. I actually only finished it yesterday, so technically I didn’t finish it in April, but I only had like 2 chapters left, so I’m counting it. I got this in a Fairy Loot and was just feeling very meh about it based on the synopsis and just the overall vibe of the book. And then I decided to try a chapter of some of my TBR books (you can check out my post about that) to see how I feel before getting rid of them. And I’m glad I did, because I ended up really enjoying this. It was fun, fast paced, there were dragons and heists and it was just a lot of fun. It was somewhat predictable, but that didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed it. 3.5/5 stars.

Overall, I had a pretty good reading month. I enjoyed all the books that I read and I read quite a lot.

Trying a chapter of my TBR books

I saw this done on booktube and thought it was a very good idea for whittling down my TBR. It’s now got to a point where I have over 70 books on my physical TBR. A lot more than 70 actually. I’ve gotten better at being selective about what books I buy, but I have now accumulated a fair number of books from Fairy Loot. Now, I love Fairy Loot, but the books they include have been a bit hit and miss. So I’ve decided to go through the Fairy Loot books that I have not read yet and try a chapter and decide whether I want to keep them or not. I have 7 books.

Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton


I gave this 3 chapters, not just one. And I don’t think I’m going to keep it. I suspected I wouldn’t love it based on the synopsis and what I read convinced me. It seems like it’s going to be a very typical YA fantasy that I’ve seen 100 times before. The magic reminds me strongly of one of the Grisha types of magic. All in all, I just don’t see myself enjoying this very much. It would probably be a 2 star read for me and I just have too many books to read to waste my time.

Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye


Reading the synopsis of this, I was intrigued and I hold to that after reading the first chapter. It seems to have a really cool setting and a really cool magic system from what I could tell. Also, it has some positive blurbs from several authors whose work I’m a fan of. So I’m keeping this one.

Viper by Bex Hogan


Definitely keeping this one. I hadn’t read the synopsis of this, but after reading the first chapter, I am intrigued. It seems pirate-y.

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson


This one is an ARC and it won’t be published until July. I’m not sure about this one. On the one hand, giant elemental crows… on the other hand… another story of a princess being forced to marry someone blah blah blah. I’ll sit on this for a while longer, but realistically I won’t read it.

Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst


This was honestly such a pleasant surprise. Definitely keeping it! I hadn’t read the synopsis, so I knew only vaguely that it’s something to do with dragons. But it’s about were-dragons, aka people who turn into dragons. And it seems to take place in modern day. Also I really enjoyed the MC’s voice. Very funny.

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer


I have to say I was expecting this one to be in the discard pile. It’s a dual perspective, so I gave it two chapters, one for each character and I think I’m going to keep it. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling and I really love beauty and the beast. but more than that, I liked the take on the beast’s curse. Also, the female MC has cerebral palsy, which is interesting although I didn’t like her voice that much.

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber


This sounds pretty cool and I enjoyed the first chapter, so I will keep this one as well. I’m actually surprised I’m enjoying so many of these!

Nocturna by Maya Motayne


I was intrigued by this from the start. A Latina-inspired setting! After reading the first chapter, I am definitely interested in reading it.

I thought I’d end up getting rid of more of them, but I’m glad that most of them appeal to me and I’m now more motivated to pick them up than I was before. So I will probably be doing this again in the future. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought of them.