Book Reviews

New ARCs and Reviews!


I got my hands on some incredible ARCs this month and I’ll be reviewing them soon. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by how many books I need to read each month from ARCs that I get sent, but this month has been slow. Yet, the few books I’ve gotten seem to be of some incredible quality. I’d rather get just a few books that are worth it, than 27 books that are mediocre. Here are a few I’ll be diving into this month!


The 34928122 (1)first one I plan on reviewing is Artemis by Andy Weir! Weir wrote The Martian, which was really an amazing book to read. It had a really science centered take, yet still managed to keep you guessing from one minute to the next. Because of that, I can’t wait to pick this up today and devour it. I’m hoping Weir is able to enchant me a second time around. I am a bit worried that because Weir’s style was so science based in his debut novel, that this book may not have the pull that his first one had. But, that remains to be seen and I will give Artemis a fair shake, at the very least. Artemis is due for release November 14th, 2017.


30288282The next book I received an ARC of is The Immortalists by Chloe Bejamin. I’ve never read any of Benjamin’s work, though this one seems promising. It’s about four people who are told the day that they will die and explores what people might do or not do with this knowledge. Set in 1969, it isn’t as mystical as I usually like but has enough magic in it to definitely draw me in. The Immortalists will be released on January 9th, 2018.



I was sent an ARC of The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden along with these and I’ve The Girl in the Toweralready reviewed it here. I was initially worried that having a sequel wouldn’t pan out well for Arden, but after completely tearing through this book, you’ll see how I really felt about it in the review. The release date for this one is December 5th, 2017.




If you want to hear me rant about books in 140 characters or less follow me here on Twitter. I’m bound to say something slightly ridiculous but probably wildly entertaining.

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

The Girl in the Tower

ARC was given to me by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Girl in the Tower is Book 2 in The Winternight Trilogy with The Bear and the Nightingale being the first book in the series written by the incredible Katherine Arden.

Vasya, no longer a child but a tall, graceful, wild woman, has fled her forest country home for fear of whispers of those in her village. Whispers turning bolder and more menacing, accusing her of being a witch. The death of her father still looms over her and questions she cannot answer for fear of being called mad, or worse, beg her to leave everything she knows in search of adventure and the wild.

Dressed as a boy, she mounts her steed, Solovey, given to her by Death himself, and heads out into the world to live the life of a Traveler. On the way, she learns that the evil that plagued her village has seeped its way into the far corners of the countryside, burning villages and taking girls at every chance. Vasya, along with the Grand Prince of Moscow and her own brother, Sasha, must try and rid the land of this evil. All the while, the secret of Vasya’s gender, while known to her brother, is kept from everyone else, lest she is sent to a convent, married off, or worse – killed for her lies and immodesty.

This sequel surprised me in the best way. Usually, books in a series don’t get much better than the very first installment, but Arden was able to surprise me with a much better book than it’s predecessor. I wouldn’t necessarily call these books “action-packed”. That’s not a bad thing at all. I was genuinely intrigued and constantly on edge, even without every scene including a sword fight or a brawl. Each line had a pull and a tense edge that kept me turning every single page out of mere necessity. I had to know what would happen. I desperately needed to see this thing through.

I worried for Vasya as much as I admired her. I cursed her along with her family and her elders when she made rash judgments, just as I whooped and cheered for her pushing away the bonds of a role that she never asked for. Yet again, the setting in this novel is another game entirely. The cold world Arden sets is as much a character as Vasya, her brother Sasha, or even Morozko, the frost-demon and Winter King.

I’ve never been one for a romance novel, and The Winternight Trilogy definitely wouldn’t fit into that category at all, but there is a romance that I felt really put a jolt in my heart. It made me care so much more than I imagined I would. And truly, if there ever was a love story in this book, it’s the love story between the cold land of Rus’ and the people that live within it. The domovoi and the people it tries to look after, even when they can do little but fade in the wake of new god and icons.

It’s almost hard to imagine that these two books are Arden’s first novels. They read so wonderfully and every word drips myth and legend. Every page speaks of the old world and sets you so firmly within it that you can feel the rattle of your bones in the frigid country. I cannot wait to see what the third and final book has in store. Although, I am fairly certain that Arden will break my heart, but leave me glad for the tale, nonetheless.


Have you guys read anything recently that blew away your expectations?

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale

My rating :5 stars

I started this book off pretty hesitant. Mostly because I’d been told by so many people how great it was, just to turn around and hear from someone that they didn’t like it at all. I’m so glad I finally decided to pick it up and give it the chance it deserved.

I don’t really do reviews that go into the plot of a book, mostly because by the time I get around to reviewing a book plenty of people have done that already. But honestly, trying to describe the plot of this particular book takes away the magic from a first reading. The Bear and the Nightingale is what one can only describe as sort of an ethereal book. Time passes in the blink of an eye on the page and you feel sort of swept away by it all.

The characters were interesting, but Vasya, or Vailisa, shone brightly among each one. Katherine Arden has a way of writing a specific setting so well that you truly feel like you’re there. You can feel the cold and the wet. You can feel the desperation.

I will say the first 25% of the book takes a little while to get through. It isn’t that the book is unenjoyable, but you wonder what the plot is and where everything is headed. This book is unlike anything I’ve really read before, so I have a hard time classifying it or stacking it up against things I’ve loved in the past. All I can say is that I really adored it, and I’m really excited that I got my hands on an ARC copy of the next book in the series The Girl in the Tower: A Novel.


Have you read The Bear and the Nightingale yet? Planning to? Let me know in the comments!

Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole: Conquer Your TBR Part 3


It’s time for another Down the TBR Hole! Where I take my Goodreads “to-read” list, and I rip it to shreds in the hope that by the end of a few months, my TBR pile will be much more manageable. You can find my first post on this here. This was, of course, started by none other than Lia at Lost in a Story and has already helped my to-read pile tremendously. I clear out 10 books with every post so let’s get started!

The Rules:

Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
Repeat every week until the entire list has been filtered.

Books on the Chopping Block:

tbr1Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke (Added September 16, 2015)

This happens to be quite a collection of YA short stories, and while I initially thought it would be a good fit for me, I think I’m a bit overwhelmed with other anthologies that I’d rather be reading instead of this one. VERDICT: GO


The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington (Added September 17, 2015)TBRshadow

This is a fantasy debut novel that has a ton of cool world-building ideas. I don’t see myself throwing this one out for the fact that I’m too excited to try it. VERDICT: STAY



TBR3Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Added September 17, 2015)

Okay, I have no excuse for not having read this book yet. The movie was incredible. I love Neil Gaiman’s writing. For some reason, I just hadn’t gotten around to picking it up. Seeing as it’s an extremely short read (almost novella sized) I think I’ll keep it around for a bit. VERDICT: STAY


Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman ( Added September 17, 2015)tbr4

Yet again, no excuse. I just finished up Neverwhere, so now seems like as good a time as any to read this sort of follow-up. VERDICT: STAY



tbr5The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman (Added September 17, 2015)

This has already been made into a movie and released and I STILL haven’t read it. I haven’t seen the movie with Alicia Vikander and Micheal Fassbender, but I still want to read this book. It’s about a couple, very much in love, who do something terribly wrong to have a child. I gotta find out. VERDICT: STAY

Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near (Added September 17, 2015)tbr6

Come on. Look at this cover. I know, I know, that shouldn’t matter. But fairytales? For wild girls? With this cover? And a very nice score on Goodreads? Yeah, sorry, I cannot take this off my TBR. VERDICT: STAY



tbr7The Giver by Lois Lowry (Added September 17, 2015)

You would have thought that a 26-year-old would have read this book by now. I mean, it’s only required reading everywhere. Usually, I don’t put much stock into what “everyone” has read because it just adds pressure for me to read things that I might not be interested in, but I do still want to read this one. VERDICT: STAY


Speak by Laurie Anderson (Added September 17, 2015)tbr8

Yet another book that I should be scolded for not having read. It deals with the rape of a teenage girl and her journey towards speaking up for herself. While I’m very glad this kind of book exists, I think I’m gonna have to pass. VERDICT: GO


tbr9The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (Added September 17, 2015)

I think I read half of this book years ago and something came up and I forgot about it. I know it’s good stuff and my Kid Fiction heart can’t let it go. VERDICT: STAY


The Princess Bride by William Goldman (Added September 17, 2015)tbr10

Okay, so this is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time, but I never read the book. I know there’s a quote floating around on the internet that goes “The only book that is a pleasure to read out loud is The Princess Bride”, so now I’m going to have to force my girlfriend to listen to me read it to her. VERDICT: STAY



Welp, looks like I’m getting rid of a grand total of TWO books this time around. Okay, so some TBR clean ups are less successful than others. But I would put this in the “win” category because now I’ve been reminded of some stellar books that I want to pick up.

Until next time,


Book Reviews

Mystery Blogger Award


I was nominated for The Mystery Blogger Award by Lexie from Reading in the Wings. I’m pretty new to blogging but she shares my love of Harry Potter so you can’t go wrong with that! This award was created by Okoto.

The Rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  • Share a link to your best post(s).

Three Things About Me:

  1. I have two black and tan miniature Dachshunds. One is long haired and the other is short haired. They are my world, along with my girlfriend.
  2. I have a weird addiction to bags. Not purses, I don’t own a single purse. But bags. Like bookbags. I am in LOVE with them and own way too many.
  3. The local library in my town is my favorite place to completely unwind and just chill out. Way better than a coffee shop, in my opinion.

Questions From Reading in the Wings:

Who is your favorite author?

Hmmm.. I would normally go with J.K. Rowling or some of my childhood favorites, but I’m going to have to go with James S. A. Corey for now. He writes the incredible Expanse series that’s some of the best Science Fiction I’ve read in a decade.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?

Most likely Ellen Page. We have a very similar sense of humor, both queer, and I think she’s absolutely adorable.

If you could be any animal for a day, which would you choose?

Probably a cat. I would love to know what it’s like to have that kind of balance and speed. I can’t imagine anything cooler since I have no desire to fly.

Which character would you like to bring to life?

Probably Mia from Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. She’s such a genuine character. Very dark, very lethal, and I would love to hang out and learn from her.

What was the last book you read?

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden


My Questions for Nominees: 

  1. What is a book that you can read over and over again?
  2. What is your least favorite book you’ve read?
  3. Where is your favorite place to relax and de-stress?
  4. What is your favorite thing to buy other than books?
  5. Coffee or tea?

My Best Posts:

Book Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

I nominate Captains Quarters, Marianna Reads, Novelladdict, Tiana the Book Raventheorangutanlibrarian, Bookstooge, Amanda @ Literary Weaponry, MiRakelBooksshihtzusandbookreviews, and Howlin Books!

Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole #2 Conquer Your TBR

It’s time for another Down the TBR Hole! Where I take my Goodreads “to-read” list, and I rip it to shreds in the hope that by the end of a few months, my TBR pile will be much more manageable. You can find my first post on this here. This was, of course, started by none other than Lia at Lost in a Story and has already helped my to-read pile tremendously. I clear out 10 books with every post so let’s get started!

The Rules:

  • Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Repeat every week until the entire list has been filtered.

Books on the Chopping Block:

tbr1Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke (Added September 15, 2015)

I’ve got this huge copy in my living room and I know for a fact I still want to read it. I can’t even say I can pin this books true genre down, which is probably another reason I’m dying to read it. Gotta do it. VERDICT: STAY



Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card (Added September 15, 2015)tbr2

Orson Scott Card has been touted as a pretty problematic dude, but even knowing that I’m a huge fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy and there is much to learn from the genre from Card. It’s okay to have problematic author favs, just remember to read critically! Ender’s Game is lauded in the SF community as a must read. VERDICT: STAY


tbr3Anna Dressed in Blood – Kendare Blake (Added September 15, 2015

I completely forgot this book existed, so I had to go do the Googles and see what genre it was even in. HORROR. Okay, I’ve recently gotten very into supernatural Horror and have just a few on my To-Read lists. My streak isn’t great today, but I’m gonna have to keep this one around. VERDICT: STAY


Sabriel – Garth Nix (Added September 15, 2015)tbr4

This is a series I’ve wanted to read for far longer than the date it was added to my Goodreads. I’m pretty sure the main character is asexual, so that would also be an interesting read. Not to mention the Fantasy. Oh, how I adore fantasy! It’s also got really good ratings across the board (which I always take with a grain of salt, but hey, 4.17 ain’t half bad). VERDICT: STAY


tbr8The Good Neighbor – A. J. Banner (Added September 16, 2015)

This book is in the Thriller category and got abysmal reviews. I’m not usually one to abandon a book to read based off of review alone, but I’m trying to cut down here and this is as good a reason as any other. VERDICT: GO



Seraphina – Rachel Hartman (Added September 16, 2015)tbr5

I love kids books. This is a thing that I like. At 27 I adore children’s books with a passion. Most of them are far more complex than adults give them credit for. Seraphina is a kids book that has dragons, and honestly, I’m here for that. VERDICT: STAY



tbr9Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – John Berendt (Added September 16, 2015)

This is one of those that I’ve heard a ton of people talking about, but never really saying a whole lot about what it is. Mostly I’ve heard bits and pieces about how wonderful the prose was, but for me, the prose isn’t what makes a novel great. As much as it pains me, I should probably just hack this one off my list. VERDICT: GO


The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson (Added September 16, 2015)tbr6

I’ve actually started and stopped this book several times, and that alone tells me that it’s a good time to take it off my Goodreads TBR. VERDICT: GO



tbr7Kushiel’s Dart – Jacqueline Carey (Added September 16, 2015)

This book is a hefty 900 pages, which I’m prone to love, and this is no exception. People either loved or hated this book, as it encompasses many uncomfortable topics – prostitution being one of them. I’m going to keep it around, seeing as I do already own a copy. VERDICT: STAY



The Demon King – Cinda Williams Chima (Added September 16, 2015)tbr10

This one is very much a fantasy book. It starts off with a guy who has cuffs on his arm that are definitely magicked. They grow as he grows and he can never get them off. Cue finding out that the cuffs belonged to a very evil and dangerous man- yes, sorry, keeping this one. VERDICT: STAY



I only got rid of 3/10 this time around. Sigh. But I suppose that progress is progress and some is better than none. Are you guys cleaning out your TBR lists? What new books have you added? Let me know down below in the comments! I love talking books with everyone.

Until next time,


Book Reviews

Book Review – Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance 

I thought about not reviewing Hillbilly Elegy on my book blog, because I felt it didn’t warrant the effort. That’s not to say I didn’t like this memoir/political book, but more to say that I have some deep seated attachment to it in a way that would be hard for me to explain.

See, J. D. Vance and I shared similar upbringings and similar situations. I, thankfully, had a rock solid father figure and was constantly in church (which, like Vance, I later fled from as fast as I could), but all these things set me up for some sense of stability that was juxtaposed by my addicted mother, my devout Christian family that drug me across the coals, and the poverty that we mucked around in for most of my life.

Vance tells a powerful story of growing up poor and white in the Rust Belt, which is eerily similar to growing up poor and white in the Bible Belt. What is most interesting is that the few times Vance mentions black people, he admits that poor white people were very much like poor black people. And he noted that the Welfare Queen made you think of an overweight black woman leeching the system, when in reality, all the people leeching from the welfare system that he personally knew were all white.

But that was it. He barely mentions race after that fact. Which shouldn’t be surprising, this book is about poor white Appalachia. Not poor black. I think his intent was noble, but his execution was sloppy. He comes off as a nice guy, but the nice guy who shows that he picked himself up by his bootstraps and did what he had to in order to leave his poverty stricken life.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a ton to gain from this read. Vance makes many valid points about growing up poor and white. The disparity between the upper class and the lower class. Violence in a southern home that is never seen up close unless you’ve truly been in it. He talks about drug use and how addiction tears families into pieces, but much more subtly than you could imagine.

He spoke at length that the racism in his family stemmed from proud people who looked at a poor black family and saw themselves staring right back, and it hurt.

He talked about the strange parallels of a tough group of hillbillies that just couldn’t get it right. How they would help a stranger without thinking, but never could help themselves.

It wouldn’t be fair to say Vance’s book wasn’t nuanced, because it was. But what irritated me the most was that for all his memoir spoke of the myriad of problems that poor white people face, he never did have a single answer for how to pull them out of that poverty. Never struck home on the fact that many poor people didn’t have the opportunities that he did. And the few times he hinted at that fact, he just as quickly glanced away.
He talked about a boy at the end who was just a hungry kid, and that the kid would never have a chance if it wasn’t for people like Vance in his life. It just never jived with the “tough it out and work hard for the American dream” thing that he put out. He contradicted himself at almost every single turn.

It DID help me understand more of Donald Trump’s rise to power, although he never mentions Trump at all. And he more than once said that he didn’t understand Republicans nature to blame their woes on Obama who, in his own words, was an intelligent man, a wonderful father and successful. He pointed out that all these things made Obama seem like the foreigner that rumors made him out to be. Obama may not have been from the Middle East, but he certainly wasn’t anything like these poor white people. And while Obama faced his own adversities, that was long before the American people saw him on TV every night.

I would suggest picking this up and giving it a read. I highlighted much of it because a lot of it did resonate with me personally, even if I disagreed with some of Vance’s conclusions.