Arc Review: The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

Title: The Wolf and the Woodsman
Author: Ava Reid
Genre: Adult Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Mythology
Publication Date: June 8th, 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Rating: 3 stars

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review.

“In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.” (Goodreads)

Since I’ve liked books by both authors mentioned in the blurb on Goodreads (Katherine Arden and Naomi Novik) I decided I wanted to give this book a try. The blurb for it also sounded promising as well.

There are a lot of things I enjoyed about this book. The use of mythology was refreshing from others I have read as I can’t recall ever reading a book about Jewish Mythology. It was also interesting from a historical perspective as the author blended in Hungarian History. Both of these topics I know nothing of so I can’t comment on them besides from a readers perspective.

In the beginning of the book we are introduced to Évike who is 25 years-old and known as a wolf-girl. She is a pagan to those who don’t share the same beliefs as those in her village and ever year the Woodsmen who work for the king come and take one wolf-girl away. Her mother was taken ten years before and so Évike was raised by the village táltos. Not only has she struggled with that and not knowing her father, she also is barren when it comes to the magic of their gods. I can’t say that I connected with Évike but I did admire her determination and forgiveness. She also remained calm in a lot of situations I wouldn’t have been.

The plot is filled with religion, politics, and can be on the darker side at times. There is a hint of romance but it is very minor and it didn’t really add anything to the story for me. I felt that their progression was quick and then it just died off for angst and inner turmoil from the characters.

The pacing at times can be a bit off and this is probably why I lost interest at times to read.

Overall, this was good. I had my issues with it but I can see many readers liking this one especially if they are a fan of lyrical prose writing.


Book Review: A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

Title: A Deadly Education
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: September 29th, 2020
Publisher: Del Rey

“I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life.

Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans.

I don’t need help surviving the Scholomance, even if they do. Forget the hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts, I’m probably the most dangerous thing in the place. Just give me a chance and I’ll level mountains and kill untold millions, make myself the dark queen of the world.

At least, that’s what the world expects me to do. Most of the other students in here would be delighted if Orion killed me like one more evil thing that’s crawled out of the drains. Sometimes I think they want me to turn into the evil witch they assume I am. The school itself certainly does.

But the Scholomance isn’t getting what it wants from me. And neither is Orion Lake. I may not be anyone’s idea of the shining hero, but I’m going to make it out of this place alive, and I’m not going to slaughter thousands to do it, either.

Although I’m giving serious consideration to just one.” (Goodreads)

This has been a long awaited read for me! I am finally finished and I can sigh with relief…just kidding! That cliff hanger at the end is going to leave me questioning everything. But alas, we must continue on with this review, haha.

To me, this wasn’t like anything I have read by this author before. I read and loved Uprooted and thought Spinning Silver was okay but this one just felt so different but in a good way.

The title promises a deadly education and it doesn’t disappoint. From crazy monsters in the dark to psycopath students who want to feed off you, this school doesn’t have the best survival rate but it does make for an interesting story!

From the very beginning, Galadriel or El for short is introduced and she has it out for a guy named Orion Lake who happens to be the hero she never wanted. She is rude to pretty much everyone and maybe evil like some people think but she doesn’t let that stop her.

Throughout the book she comes out of her shell more and more. I liked to see her progress and her realization that even though people may seem one way on the outside, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have their own struggles.

The relationship that her and Orion have is a pretty interesting one. I wouldn’t say that its enemies-to-lovers because she is the one doing all of the hating, haha. He does save her quite a bit and it was fun to read the sarcasm that spewed from El! Whatever they have between them is very slow and by the end you just want them to get it all out there.

The pacing for this book can be seen as slow with a lot of information being thrown at us from the beginning but I didn’t mind it. Some books lack with setup, especially when it comes to the magic system, but this author gives us everything we need to know.

The plot wasn’t what I expected in some ways but I liked where it took me. It was filled with interesting plot twists and many tense moments.

Overall, I enjoyed this one and I am looking forward to the sequel. The cliffhanger gave me a giant unanswered question and I am going to be dying for the answers!

Book Review: Shadows Rising (World of Warcraft #17) by Madeleine Roux

51068649Title: Shadows Rising (World of Warcraft #17)
Author: Madeleine Roux
Genre: Fantasy / MMORPG
Publication Date: July 14th, 2020
Publisher: Del Rey

synopsis header
An all-new official prequel novel to Shadowlands, the next expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s legendary online game World of Warcraft

“The Horde is nothing!” With those infamous words, Sylvanas Windrunner betrayed and abandoned the Horde she vowed to serve. The Dark Lady and her forces now work in the shadows as both the Horde and Alliance, including her own sister, Alleria, race to uncover her next move. Struggling to shoulder the crushing weight of leadership, King Anduin entrusts the void elf and High Exarch Turalyon to uncover Sylvanas’s whereabouts.

The Horde now stands at a crossroads. The various factions form a council, leaving the mantle of warchief to rest. Thrall, Lor’themar Theron, Baine Bloodhoof, First Arcanist Thalyssra, and many other familiar faces rise to this new challenge. But the threats are numerous, and the distrust runs too deep.

When the council is derailed by a failed assassination attempt on Talanji—the Zandalari queen and a key ally—Thrall and the rest of the Horde leaders are forced into action. They empower the young troll shaman Zekhan, still grieving the loss of Varok Saurfang, with a critical mission to aid Talanji and help uncover the rising threat against her.

Meanwhile, Nathanos Blightcaller and Sira Moonwarden have been tasked by the Dark Lady with a terrifying gambit: to kill the troll loa of death himself, Bwonsamdi.

As Zekhan and Talanji work to save Bwonsamdi, their journey will be a key turning point in bolstering the Horde against the coming darkness and finding themselves along the way. Failure to save their allies and the trickster god will surely doom them—but through success, they may rediscover what makes the Horde strong.” (Goodreads)


As someone who has played this game from the beginning and have loved the lore surrounding this game, this book was a big letdown to say the least.

I was expecting to learn more about anything when it came to the next expansion or again just anything at all but this book did not keep my attention. It’s taken me around 5 days just to finish it. I just ended up skimming through most of the last half.

There was little to none character development, with some getting more than others. This probably has to do with the shortness of the book and the multiple point-of-views. Relationships seem to be blossoming but that was also lacking. Although, I’m not a fan of the relationships in the first place. They feel pushed and read like fan-fic.

Many of the characters seemed out of character as well and did not correlate with who they are/have been in game.

A part of me really isn’t surprised by my not liking of this book because it seems most of the time Blizzard tries to ruin their own lore anyways. 🤷‍♀️

Overall, I liked a few parts but not enough to say I even liked the book or thought it was fine. It’s definitely not necessary to read before the next expansion as you won’t learn much.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

E-Arc Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


53152636._SX318_SY475_Title: Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Gothic
Publication Date: June 30th, 2020
Publisher: Del Rey

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
“From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel, a story about an isolated mansion in 1950s Mexico — and the brave socialite drawn to its treacherous secrets.

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and has an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.”(Goodreads)

This cover is one of my favorites of the year. The blurb had me very curious and I was lucky enough to get my wish granted on NetGalley.

It’s hard to figure out what to expect when it comes to a book like this. The plot was nothing I would have ever imagined and the twists were ones I didn’t see coming at all. The author weaved so many different strings to create this intricate plot that had me utterly disturbed but also intrigued the further I got into the story. (The first 50% or so was slow going for me as I had a hard time really connecting with the characters or plot.)

Noemí is strong-willed and even though it’s not always the best trait to have, it really worked in her favor for this. I’m not sure how she coped with any of the things that were going on because I would have been in breakdown mode like her cousin.

The gothic house is filled with many people and all of them, besides Francis, are just strange. The more you get to know certain characters, the more you start loathing them. They each have a part to play and sometimes their part isn’t what it seems.

There is a tad bit of romance but it does not take up much of the plot. I did like the relationship between the two characters and thought that it molded nicely into the rest of the plot.

Overall, this was everything that a gothic novel should be. It may have taken me a bit to get into but the ending was worth the wait.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)