Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale

25489134.jpgTitle: The Bear and Nightingale

Author:  Katherine Arden

Series: Winternight trilogy #1

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Release Date: January 10th, 2017

Rating: ★★★☆

A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

This book won’t be for everyone. It is a quiet sort of story, half a fairytale and half a historical tale. It cares more about ambience and character than a speedy plot. I ended up really enjoying, but not quite falling into its spell.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale”


WWW Wednesday #1

Time to change things up a bit!

From now on, I’ll be participating in WWW every Wednesday. I rarely get to talk about the books I don’t review, which is kind of sad. This is the perfect way to showcase those sorts of books without having to be as thorough as I like to be when reviewing. Also I’m such a mood reader that this is the closest thing you’ll get to seeing a TBR on my blog.

So, in case you don’t know: WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by  MizB at A Daily Rhythm, and now found at Taking on a World of Words. It is made up of three questions (or Ws) are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So let’s dive in.


I’m halfway through The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. It’s one of those books that is just so objectively good in every way that sooo many high fantasy books I’ve read recently are retroactively paling in comparison. The conversational voice works surprisingly well for a book as dark as this. My only complaint is that it’s a bit emotionally taxing to read, not only for its themes of oppression but also its descriptions of disaster. Having lived through two damaging earthquakes last year, I have to say I was left with a knot in my stomach after reading a certain chapter. I guess that also speaks to how evocative the writing is.



6782468I’ve just finished An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire, the third book in the October Daye series. The jump in quality between the first two and this one is huge. I’m glad I had patience with the first two, because they’re not bad books, and they do a well job setting up the characters. But here McGuire plays around with Fae lore in a genuinely original way. The stuff with the candle is just brilliant and oh-so-creepy. Also there was a car chase scene which is just hilarious. This one was definitely a lot less tell-y than the previous too, and I can’t wait to continue. I probably won’t be doing full reviews for these, so they’re kinda the reason why I wanted to do this meme.



28449047Confession… I sort of already started the audiobook of Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (look at me! being all responsible about the series I start). To be fair, I was traveling so I had a long train ride so I listened to like the first two hours, but I was traveling… A lot of things were happening then, so by now I’ve now lost the thread of the story and need to get back into this world. I really enjoyed The Diviners, and I’ve heard this book is even better to many people, so I’m excited. Also I’m dying to know what everyone’s powers are! (Also I don’t know which of the two covers I hate more whyyyy).


#notall Book Tag

This tag was created by The Orangutan Librarian, as was the lovely graphic. It’s all about the books that are exceptions to rules, like the dreaded love triangle or the very tiresome chosen ones. As I’ve said before, I don’t think tropes are inherently bad or good; they’re the building blocks of all stories at the end of the day. It’s a matter of execution. A talented writer can do wonders with even the most tedious tropes. Although, let’s be real I kind of love to generalize, it’s nice to have a tag specifically to remind us that there are no hard rules to good writing.


The redesign might hint less of what a punch in the gut this book is, but I adore that the bikes and planes make an appearance.




I remember having been incredibly frustrated with the pace of Catching Fire, the book. And yet the movie works wonders without having altered much of the material. Magic.



Books about the Power Of Friendship TM will be the death of me. I just love when the driving force is friendship rather than romance.




The angst in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is unbelievable and yet it totally works. Bonus points for doing the instalove thing twice for, like, the same couple.




Was there ever any other answer than The Infernal Devices? No one is a dick because there is soooo much love between all three parties. The OT3 of my soul.




Starr’s parents in The Hate U Give are actually fully realized characters with a lot of flaws of their own. This doesn’t keep them from being excellent parents.




I don’t want to go deep into whom I considered the villain of Vicious. Not only would it make for a long post but also spoil this amazing story. Sooo let’s leave a simple THIS WHOLE FREAKING BOOK.




Deathless is a deconstructive take on fairytales, so I really love how it portrays its protagonist, Marya, the girl chosen to be the bride of the eponymous character.



Ahhh, it’s so nice when it happens.



I really, really like historical fiction, but I just cannot like a Sepetys book and I tried twice. I just don’t jibe with her narrative priorities… and don’t think her writing is as beautiful as people say sorry.




Might Celeste Ng be the author that gets me to dive into contemporary literary fiction? I guess will have to wait and see, but needless to say Everything I Never Told You was one of my favorite reads of the last year.

If you feel like doing this too, be sure to tag me or leave a link on the comments!


100th Post!!!

Wow, this is officially my 100th post on this blog!

That might seem like a low number considering I created this blog in May 2016. My main struggle has always been consistency, so I’m proud to have gotten this far! Ever since I created this blog I’ve gotten to interact with fellow book lovers, approved for ARCs, found amazing books I never would have read otherwise, aaaand had fun thinking more critically about what I read. It was good decision.

In this post I want to both showcase a few of my favorite posts that I’ve written and talk about my goal moving forward.


Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I Love The Raven Cycle — My second post on this blog and a love letter to one of my favorite series ever. I had so much fun coming up with different reasons, and to this date they tell you a lot about what I look for in books. This was also my most viewed post for the looooongest time.

Mini-Review Round Up: WWII edition — I loved doing themed review round-ups and this was one of my favorites. Watch awkwardly trying to review a classic before I realized that wasn’t going to work lol.

What I’ve Been Reading: Highlights — My first post back after a months-long, unintended hiatus! I got to discuss a bunch of books I loved as well as reignite my love for blogging.

Book Review: The Female of the Species — I read and reviewed this within the span of a day, which was tons of fun. Oddly I find that the easiest books to review are the ones I only liked, instead of loved or hated, as was the case with this one. The review was fun and interesting to write, to this day I’m proud of it.

How I Outline My Novels Part 1 | Part 2 — This was one of the first true writing post I ever dared post. It helped understand my own process better, and it was fun to post screenshots of how messily I outline. Also I think these are the longest individual posts I’ve done so far… no wonder I had to split them in two.

Top Seven Book Recs for Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans — I got to talk about two things very dear to me: books and Buffy! As I’ve said, BtVS is still probably the most formative piece of media I’ve consumed. It shaped my tastes so much! I think that my favorite books still reflect that… eight year later.

Book Review: They Both Die at the End — This one will always hold a special place because it was the first ARC I was granted! And it was one of my most anticipated books of the year. Although the book didn’t dazzle me, I had that wonderful feeling associated to it.

Beautiful Books: NaNoWriMo edition! — My introduction to my current WIP was both fun and illuminating to write. I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted it to be, but putting it down and actually saying it out loud (metaphorically) did wonders. Whenever I feel stuck (and I’ve gotten stuck a lot), I can fall back on this post to remind me why I want to tell this story.

blogging goals

1. Consistency

My blog always does better when I’m posting consistently, who would have known? Although I know I’m going to be busier this coming semester I really want to try post around three times a week. And I need to master the art of bulk-writing to help haha. I think my schedule of TTT and tags at the beginning of the week, reviews on Fridays and miscellaneous or writing posts on the weekend has been working well (when I’m not travelling or otherwise occupied) so I going to aim to stick to it.

2. Be more engaged with the community

I’m painfully shy, so actually commenting on others’ posts makes me reeeally nervous. I want to be better about this though because you are all putting A+ content out there and I want to talk about books. My blogging experience so far has been quite solitary, so I want to change that.

3. Other social media

For someone who spends a lot of time on twitter and goodreads, I rarely interact with people there. So yeah, this is the year I get into Book Twitter and actually befriend people on goodreads. If I say it here then it has to become true, right?

So from now on, you can find on both Twitter and Goodreads.

4. More critical posts

It’s so easy to get swept up by memes (and I like writing those), but the English major in me wants to write more essay-like posts, maybe centering on tropes or what I think makes for a good story. I don’t want to write closing-reading analysis or anything (I already write enough of those for uni), but something a bit more critical and with more breadth than my personal reactions… I tried doing this once, after reading Illuminae, but I kind of just stopped after that. Idk, let me know what you think in the comments.

5. Step up my blogging game

As you may or may not have noticed, I changed my theme and layout into something I hope is more aesthetically pleasing. I am also trying to get a hang of graphics because I think they make things more eclectic/easier to read. So bear with me while I get a hang of this, because I now it’s one of the aspects of blogging I got lazy with before.

6. Not confine myself to YA

I’ve been thinking of how only two books of my top ten were YA, even though they still make the bulk of what I read. I’m not about to stop reading the genre, not when there are a ton of amazing (and mostly female) fantasy writers, but I don’t know if I can keep calling this a YA book blog. I don’t have it in me to be a pure Romance blog, or YA blog, or Fantasy blog like others manage (and I do love those sort of blogs don’t get me wrong). So, I’m sorry if that doesn’t cater to everyone’s tastes but this is going to be a My Weird Reading Tastes blog and I won’t feel guilty for including books of wildly different genres like I used to.

And with that I am done! Have you fallen prey to the same things I have after blogging for a while? Are posts that make you insanely proud and glad that you blog? If so link them below because I’d love to check them out!

Book Review: The Cruel Prince

img_3604Title: The Cruel Prince

Author: Holly Black

Series: The Folk of the Air #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Release Date: January 2, 2018

Rating: ★★★½

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

This book is dark, lush, and brutal, all that it promised and more. It was just what I needed as it builds and builds.

The beginning is kind of your typical YA with the school-like setting (but in the fae world). You have your classes, bullies and pranks. The plot is not quite as entrancing as the second half of the book. Black uses that time to do some really solid character work, though, which is absolutely necessary for how the rest of the book unfolds.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Cruel Prince”