Book Review | The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: January 10th, 2017
Publisher: Del Rey
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“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.” (Goodreads)

I am writing a review for this one because apparently I didn’t write one when I read it for the first time in 2018! The book did love up to my love for it so that’s okay. I’ll enjoy writing this.

The book is told from multiple point-of-views with Vasilisa getting the most page time but that’s because she is the main character of this story. She is very strong willed and will do everything in her power to not conform. She is a wild and free spirit and I love that about her!

This book has other important characters, like a priest. I will say that I forgot how much I disliked him when he entered the village and started meddling haha. I do kind of feel bad for him because of circumstances and I don’t think I felt that way with my first read. He really thought he was doing what was right. As usual, I love the family bonds even if they are strained at times but I know that the sequel will deal with them a bit more.

Another favorite character besides Vasilisa is the one and only Morozko! When he is on page I feel a bit giddy. There is just something about him. Although quite standoffish in ways, you can tell he has a warm spot in his icy heart.

The folktales and stories really shine through in this book and I love learning about all of the little creatures that inhabit the world. The setting easily draws you in and makes me wish for colder weather, although I’d hate to deal with it for long.

Overall, this was a fantastic audiobook and I loved diving back into this world.


WWW Wednesday | 9-21-22

Hello, My Lovely Bookworms!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and is now hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

It consists of answering these three questions:

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

My audiobook is The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston and Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau. Both are pretty decent so far!

My current ebooks are House of Beating Wings by Olivia Wildenstein and One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig. I haven’t had time to read but am really wanting to get back to them!

I will also be buddy reading The Serpent and the Wing of Nights by Carissa Broadbent with my sister.

  • Married by Wind by Angela J. Ford ⭐⭐
  • Daughters of the Dawn (Ria & Rani #2) by Sasha & Sarena Nanua (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐

My next audiobook has not been picked yet, haha. I have nothing from the library at the moment so we will see!

I will also be reading Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston and A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw.


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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Reads with Romance! (Love Freebie) | 2-8-22

Hello Bookworms!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Today’s prompt is Love Freebie so I have come up with, Favorite Fantasy Reads with Romance! I am really excited for this and I can’t wait to share my picks with you. I know I have shared some of these before but it’s because I like them so you get to them again, haha.

1.) The Dark Shores Series by Danielle L. Jensen

2.) The Caraval Trilogy by Stephanie Garber

3.) The Bone Charmer Duology by Breeana Shields

4.) The Bridge Kingdom Series by Danielle L. Jensen

5.) The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

6.) Glass Alliance Trilogy by Joanna Hathaway

7.) The Traitor’s Circle Trilogy by Erin Beaty

8.) An Ember in the Ashes Quartet by Sabaa Tahir

9.) Mortal Engines Quartet by Philip Reeve

10.) Uprooted by Naomi Novik

What’s a fantasy book you have loved with romance?

Let me know in the comments below!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Audiobook Review: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Title: The Fellowship of the Ring
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Genre: Adult Fantasy / Classics
Publication Date: July 29th, 1954
Publisher: George Allen & Unwin
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.” (Goodreads)

I’m not sure why I ever put this off for so long! As a fantasy lover I probably should have already started this but at least I can now say that I have, haha. The audiobook was so so good and definitely gave me the push I needed for this series.

The audiobook narrator did such a fantastic job of bringing each character to life. It was easy to differentiate between the characters. His Gollum is really good! I also liked the added bonus of familiar music from the soundtrack of the movie as well as sound effects.

It’s been a long time since I have seen the movie so listening to this felt like a fresh start. I had forgotten many details over the years. I enjoyed my time getting to know these characters once again and the struggles they would soon face. My favorite character was Tom Bombadil, haha. He is such a wild and hilarious guy with his singing. He definitely was the comedic relief for a couple scenes when it came to the hobbits and their traveling.

Frodo has a lot of pressure on his soldiers when it comes to the ring and what he must do with it. It’s easy to see the pull that the ring has on those around it. Not everyone falls victim to it’s lust but when they do it gets interesting. The power of the ring reminds me of the choices that we face and the one ugly voice telling us to pick the wrong way. Some are stronger than others but we must learn to overcome.

I’m not going to lie, even though I knew the outcome for Gandalf it still had me teary-eyed. He is the glue that holds them together as well as the one that pretty much has the plan. This is another one of those things that reminded me of life. We try to plan out every detail to make sure everything goes smoothly but there will always be obstacles no matter how hard we plan. I liked seeing the eight come together as best as they can with Aragorn trying to take over Gandalf’s spot. Aragorn is definitely much better of a character in the book than the movie in my opinion.

Legolas, my cute little elf, he hasn’t done much yet but I do like the banter that has already started between him and Gimli. It was one of my favorite things from the movie. I can’t wait to see how they both progress in the next book.

There are so many other things that I loved about this book. There are messages throughout that I liked picking out and thinking about as the audiobook went along. Not much has happened with the orcs but they are coming and I am ready!

Overall, I loved this one. I can’t wait to start the next book!

Audiobook Review: Cry of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga #3) by Morgan L. Busse

Title: Cry of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga #3)
Author: Morgan L. Busse
Genre: Chrisitan Fiction / Fantasy
Publication Date:  February 4th 2020
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

“Lady Selene Ravenwood has come into her full power as a dreamwalker just as the war with the Dominia Empire begins. Working with the other Great Houses, Selene and Damien use their gifts to secure the borders and save those devastated by the war. But conflict, betrayal, and hatred begin to spread between the Great Houses, destroying their unity as the empire burns a path across their lands. At the same time, Damien Maris starts to lose his ability to raise the waters, leaving the lands vulnerable to the empire’s attacks.

The only one who can unite the houses and restore her husband’s power is Selene Ravenwood. But it will require that she open her heart to those who have hurt her and let go of her past, despite the one who hunts her and will do anything to stop her power.

Will Selene survive? Or is she destined to fall like the dreamwalkers before her?” (Goodreads)

I have finished another series!

This is going to be my year to get my list down of series I can actually finish.

The stakes are at an all time high as war is starting to break out as the empire closes in on the houses. Lady Selene is doing her best to remain strong when secrets arise and she has to put her trust in people who had wanted to see her house fall before. I definitely can understand why she would have doubts. It’s hard to trust people in general but when their houses have been in charge of backstabbing you, I mean who can really blame her?

She is also learning more about the light and trusting him to do what’s best in her life. The light does have a big impact on her and her mother at the end. I wasn’t really expecting the ending about in this case, I’m glad there was a redemption arc because it parallels the second chances we get as christians.

The plot is filled with action and great plot twists that keep everything going. I also liked that the ending wrapped everything up and we get to know what happened to the main characters.

Overall, it was an enjoyable series and I’m glad I finally finished it.

E-Arc Review: The Garden of Promises and Lies (Found Things #3) by Paula Brackston

49127440Title: The Garden of Promises and Lies (Found Things #3)
Author: Paula Brackston
Genre: Historical Fiction / Fantasy / Time-Travel
Publication Date: November 3rd, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ecopy to review!

synopsis header
The third installment of a bewitching series “brimming with charm and charisma” that will make “fans of Outlander rejoice!” (Woman’s World Magazine).

New York Times 
bestselling author Paula Brackston’s second novel in the Found Things series, Secrets of the Chocolate House, was called a “time-swapping romance [that] will please fans of Alice Hoffman” (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with a third book, The Garden of Promises and Lies.

As the bustle of the winter holidays in the Little Shop of Found Things gives way to spring, Xanthe is left to reflect on the strange events of the past year. While she’s tried to keep her time-traveling talents a secret from those close to her, she is forced to take responsibility for having inadvertently transported the dangerous Benedict Fairfax to her own time. Xanthe comes to see that she must use her skills as a spinner if she and Flora are ever to be safe, and turns to the Spinners book for help.

It is then that a beautiful antique wedding dress sings to her. Realizing the dress and her adversary are connected in some way, she answers the call. She finds herself in Bradford-on-Avon in 1815, as if she has stepped into a Jane Austen story.

Now in Xanthe’s time, Fairfax is threatening Xanthe into helping him with his evil doings, and demonstrates all too clearly how much damage he is capable of causing. With Fairfax growing ever more powerful, Xanthe enlists the help of her boyfriend Liam, taking him back in time with her. It is a decision that might just ensure she prevails over her foe, but only by putting her life—and his—on the line.” (Goodreads)

When I requested this I didn’t realize it was a series so off I went to get the audiobooks from the library! Although the first book didn’t truly grasp my attention, the series gets better as it goes on and this book was hard to put down!

I am not usually one for historical fiction but what draws me to this series is the time-traveling. It adds that bit of fantasy I need and the author does a great job of mixing it into the plots of each book.

This book starts off where the second left off. It’s a series that needs to be read in order otherwise the issues between Fairfax and Xanthe will not make sense.

Xanthe is still very brave in her endeavors and will do anything to make sure Fairfax doesn’t gain the power he seeks. She definitely puts herself in harms way but luckily this time she has Liam to help out. I was a little hesitant about her and Liam but there relationship grows stronger as he learns more about her gift and wants to be there for her when she tries to help make things right in the past.

I really liked the plot for this one and it has been my favorite out of the three books. It is packed with action that kept me turning the pages (obviously digitally 😂). It was interesting to see how everything would play out with Fairfax and I do enjoy him as a villain. He reminds me of the boiler hat guy in Meet the Robinsons.


That ending though! Why do authors have to make such wild cliffhangers that I will need answers for! It’s just not fair. 😢

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. If you are into Historical Fiction and like time-travel then this would be perfect for you! I will now wait impatiently for the next book and contemplate what will happen, ha.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Goodreads Monday (10/19/20)

Hello Readers!

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.


Title: Twisted Ever After
Author: Various Authors
Genre: Fantasy / Anthologies
Publication Date: December 10th, 2019
Publisher: The Otherworld Publishing

synopsis header

“Enjoy the classics you love but with a new twist.

Fourteen authors bring you a beloved fairy tale story, each one adding their own gothic, sci-fi, paranormal, and creepy twist.” (Goodreads)


I know of one author that contributed to do this anthology. Plus, I love retellings so this should be perfect!

Does this one sound like something you would read?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

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!

Goodreads Monday (10/5/20)

Hello Readers!

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.


Title: Deeplight
Author: Frances Hardinge
Genre: YA Fantasy / Mythology
Publication Date: October 31st, 2019
Publisher:  Macmillan Children’s Books

synopsis header

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meets Frankenstein in Frances Hardinge’s latest fantasy adventure
The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever? When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he’s becoming a monster—and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him?” (Goodreads)


I saw this one a few times last year and definitely am still intrigued by it. The cover is just so cool! Maybe I can get to it this month since it mentions Frankenstein.

Does this one sound like something you would read?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Goodreads Monday (9/21/20)

Hello Readers!

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.


Title: Cathedral of Bones
Author: A.J. Steiger
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publication Date: February 16th, 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins

synopsis header

A stunningly imagined world, page-turning thrills, and a pair of unlikely heroes on an epic quest make this unique and immersive dark fantasy—from acclaimed author A. J. Steiger—perfect for fans of Holly Black and Kelly Barnhill.

Simon Frost lives in a curious place, where magic is used by the very best Animists to do wondrous things—like call upon imps, wraiths, and all manner of monsters to right wrongs, deliver justice, and accomplish feats no human could achieve.

Simon Frost is not one of those Animists, though he’s been trying to become one for years. 

When a plea arrives from a distant hamlet, preyed upon by an abominable monster, Simon sees the opportunity to finally prove his worth.

But upon arriving in the tiny village, Simon finds not just a monster but a key to his past—and a pathway into an unbelievable future.” (Goodreads)


I saw this cover on Netgalley and immediately requested. It just looks so good! I hope it is at least, haha.

Does this one sound like something you would read?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)