Audiobook Review: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer

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Title: Beneath the Haunting Sea
Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer
Genre: YA Fantasy/Mythology
Publication Date: January 9th, 2018
Publisher: Page Street YA
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Can’t you hear it, Talia?
Can’t you hear the waves singing?

Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea.

It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen-Dahr, that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long-forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods’ history–and her own–the more the waves call to her, and it may be her destiny to answer.” (Goodreads)

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Edit: I just finished rereading this but this time I listened to it and thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook. The narrator does a great job of differing the voices and I just loved how it felt listening to the mythology of the gods from the book. It was well done and my thoughts still stand as my original review. Wen is the sweetest cinna-roll ever and I love him!

The only reason I knew this book existed was because of NetGalley and seeing the sequel on there. The sequel sounded interesting and so I decided to request it knowing that I would need to read the first. Usually, this could be a very bad thing. I am glad that it worked out and that I enjoyed this book! It was different than what I thought it would be and I only had a couple minor issues with the book overall.

Talia was a character that had to deal with a lot bad things. I’m not really sure how she managed to stay so strong through it all because I would have been a wreck. Even when things begin to look up, something else happens and she still held her head high. I liked that about her. There were a couple times that I wanted to yell at her and tell her how selfish she was being but I think that everything she was doing was to be expected. She was stubborn and didn’t want to do what others told her to do. I probably would have made the same choices as her, to be honest. My one gripe with her was how she quickly forgave this other girl and laid the blame all on Caiden even though the girl was the mastermind behind what was happening.

As for the other characters, I loved Wen and Caiden. Any book with brothers is a plus for me! They were both different since Wen was quiet and Caiden was bold and very charming. They each had their faults at times and when I thought I knew who I wanted her to be with, the other brother becomes so irresistable! Now, I will say that the relationships in the book can be considered insta-love. Did I hate it? No, because that brother is just so dang charming! (I couldn’t resist it!)

There are other characters that are introduced throughout and the one thing I didn’t like about the minor characters was needing more from a few. Once their plot point had run its course then they were done. There was closure but I am just set in my ways and I needed more!

The book is filled with plot twists that involve love triangles, family drama, and a sea that calls which can drive you to madness. It was easy to get swept away and it made it real hard to put down even when it was time for bed. I will say that the ending was anti-climatic and definitely my least favorite part of the book. I just needed more action or something from someone who was supposed to be quite powerful.

The one thing that really pulled me into this book was the world building. The author did a great job of creating it and adding stories of the old gods to help bring everything together and let the reader understand why it was all so important. As someone who loves mythology, this was perfect!

Overall, this book was enjoyable and I would definitely recommend it!

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E-Arc Review: Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Title: Into the Heartless Wood
Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: January 12th, 2021
Publisher:  Page Street Kids
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the author for sending an e-copy of this wonderful book to me!

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Epic, heartbreaking, and darkly atmospheric, Into the Heartless Wood is the story of impossible love between a monstrous tree siren and a boy who lives at the edge of her wood.

The forest is a dangerous place, where siren song lures men and women to their deaths. For centuries, a witch has harvested souls to feed the heartless tree, using its power to grow her domain.

When Owen Merrick is lured into the witch’s wood, one of her tree-siren daughters, Seren, saves his life instead of ending it. Every night, he climbs over the garden wall to see her, and every night her longing to become human deepens. But a shift in the stars foretells a dangerous curse, and Seren’s quest to become human will lead them into an ancient war raging between the witch and the king who is trying to stop her.” (Goodreads)

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This book is everything I needed from a book by Joanna Ruth Meyer and more! She seriously outdid herself on this one. I mean, I may be bias because we share the same first name but you know. 🤷‍♀️😂

Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to writing a review. This book broke me. I cried multiple times and had to soothe my wounded soul with some very sad emo songs. I literally cried as I read the last 20 pages, ha. It was just so beautifully written and heartbreaking, but also gave me happiness from the last few sentences.

I guess I should finally get into the rest of it after talking about my feelings. Don’t worry, I’m not done with them yet!

“Do you fear the dark? Or only the monster who lurks here?”

The book has two point-of-views: Owen Merrick and Seren aka the monster. I loved each perspective and I will never choose which one I liked more!

Owen Merrick is going through many things at home. He is the caregiver for his two year-old sister and make sure his father gets his job done. Owen also has to make sure that they stay safe from the woods. And yet, he never complains once. There is just so much good about him and I wanted to hug him and never let go.

His father is a astronomer which was so cool! I have not read a book yet with one and I liked that the stars play a role in the plot. There is also a folk tale/myth that involves constellations. It was really intriguing and helped mold everything together.

The father/son relationship in this book is everything. I love that his father cares so deeply for him.

Seren is a tree-siren. So yeah, she is pretty cool. There is so much to her. She wants to be more than what she is. She doesn’t want to do the bidding of her mother. Seren could be seen as a monster but she doesn’t want to be known for that. She is more than her misdeeds. Her growth throughout the book is wonderful and yet heartbreaking.

“Her whole soul was filled with music, mine brimmed with stars.”

There are other side characters that I really enjoyed reading about too. The author does a fantastic job of making a minor character feel like they aren’t. (Rheinallt, I see you! 😍)

When it comes to the antagonists of the story, sometimes you can’t help but feel sorry for one. It doesn’t happen right away but as everything starts to unfold you realize that things aren’t always black and white.

The plot is nothing I have read before. It is quite dark at times (thanks to the sirens and the woods!) but it’s hard to look away from. The writing is beautiful and pulls you in right from the beginning. Once I started reading the prologue I was hooked. It’s hard to fully get into the plot because there is a lot packed in and I would like to refrain from spoilers. I will say that the plot twists were great and they definitely made keep reading.

There is romance but it is slow, wild, and has Owen breaking rules. It’s hard to write about it without getting teary-eyed. It’s not always easy. They don’t know where it will go but yet there is a spark that they hold onto. They won’t let it go out no matter what it takes, even if it involves sacrificing what they truly care about.

“The simple fact of her existence fascinates me. Intoxicates me. As nothing has in all the world except the stars.”

I know that this review is long and it probably doesn’t make too much sense, ha. All you really need to know is that this book is one to read. It is an emotional ride but it is worth the journey.

“Monsters can be beautiful.”

Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons Why I Love Author’s That Share My Name

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Hello, Lovely 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 Reasons Why I Love….. I am always unsure what to do when it comes to making up my own prompt. Luckily, I had an an idea and I am running it! Here goes, Reasons Why I Love Author’s That Share My Name! Now, I have only read books by two authors who share my name but that’s okay because I really like their books and I want to talk about them!

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1.) They share the same name as me. Yes, this is number one. Joanna is not a very common name and when I find others with it then it instantly gives them points!

2.) Brothers. Every good book needs brothers and they write them so well!

3.) They write YA Fantasy. Need I say more? It’s the genre I am always drawn to.

4.) They write so beautifully!

5.) The world-building is always top-notch!

6.) Their covers are gorgeous!

7.) They write about things that intrigue me (One writes mythology and the other has a cool take on WW2)

8.) Their characters really come to life!

9.) They are always so nice and friendly! I have enjoyed my conversations with them.

10.) Did I mention they share the same name as me? 🤣🤣🤣

 

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Have you read any books by an author that shares the same name as you? If not, have you read any of these books?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Book Review: Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

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40046030Title: Echo North
Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer
Genre: YA Fantasy/ Retellings
Publication Date: January 15th, 2019

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“Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart when her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf—the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an ultimatum: If she lives with him for one year, he will ensure her father makes it home safely. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.

In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, each room must be sewn together to keep the home from unraveling, and something new and dark and strange lies behind every door. When centuries-old secrets unfold, Echo discovers a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, the rooms begin to disappear, and Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up, otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.” (Goodreads)

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This was the last book I needed to read by this author! I have enjoyed every one so far and this was no exception.

There are definitely similarities between this one and other Beauty and the Beast or East of the Sun, West of the Moon retellings but, the author does a good job of adding her own unique twists.

Echo is a very strong and brave character. She tries to not let her outer appearance get in the way even though others would call her a monster because of the scars she has. I really enjoyed that this retelling didn’t paint her as a beauty. It added a fresh take on the classic.

Her life has never been easy, not just because of the scars but also because of her stepmother. There was one part where Echo said, “The only monster is you.” and I was like dang! got’em! Haha.

I enjoyed that her father owned a bookstore because I love books. There is also a really cool magical library where you can enter the books! If I had a library like that I’d never leave.

There are many great characters to be found throughout the pages Hal and the wolf. Each one helps Echo in a different way.

The romance part of the book was a little bit of a miss for me as I couldn’t fully latch on to them as a couple but that’s okay. I still liked reading about it so it wasn’t a big loss.

Her world-building is always so fun to read about and I love how she describes everything. Her writing is truly wonderful.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I can’t wait for the next book she writes! If you liked East and West by Edith Pattou then you should definitely check this one out.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

 

WWW Wednesday (4/22/20)

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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?

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Currently Reading:

I am going to be starting West by Edith Pattou today for my audiobook. I finished East a couple months ago so its time to finish up the series! It’ll also complete one shelf of books I own that will be all read, so yay!

I am going to start reading The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski. I just finished the first book last night for the second time and never finished the series so here we are.

Recently Finished:

I finished Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer and enjoyed it! It is a Beauty and the Beast and East of the Sun, West of the Moon retelling.

I also finished The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. Gosh, such an emotional rollercoaster.

Reading Next:

I am actually not sure what I will be listening to. It could possibly be Rogue Princess by B. R. Meyers since I just picked up the audiobook for a cheap price and the book is sitting on my shelf.

I will be reading The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski because I need to finish up that series!

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What is your current read? Are you loving it? Have you read or want to read any that I have listed? Let me know in the comments!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed but Rarely Talk About

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Hello, Lovely 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 Books I Enjoyed but Rarely Talk About. Before writing this out I am literally trying to think, ha. Let’s see what I come up with!

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1.) Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

I really enjoyed this one when I read it as an arc last year! It had the perfect enemies-to-lovers relationship. Plus, it’s a standalone.

2.) The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons

This is seriously such a dramatic book but honestly, I’m here for it. The second book is just as good. Can’t wait for book three!

3.) LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff

This series has been great! It’s different than most books I have read and enjoy the friendship and plot twists that any Jay Kristoff has.

4.) Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Anything by this author is pure gold! This is probably my favorite one. I love the brothers and one of them is so broody!

5.) Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

This sci-fi really surprised me! I wasn’t feeling at the beginning but when it took off I was hooked. I need to finish this series.

6.) Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I know that this one is usually a hit or miss for people but I really liked it. I enjoyed that the relationship didn’t take over the whole book and the main character is so strong.

7.) The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine

A series from my teen years! I never finished it back then so I am slowly making my way through this year. It’s got tons of drama and can be cheesy by oh well.

8.) Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber

Another one from my teen years. This one has been dear to me since back then. I really related to the main character and I still enjoy this one as an adult.

9.) City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

This series! Spooky but oh so good! If you haven’t picked this series up, go do it!

10.) The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

This is a miss for some but I enjoyed this story and the thrill that came with the plot. The ending was so surprisng.

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And there you have it! I liked/loved all of these and would definitely recommend them!

What’s a book you love that you rarely talk about?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors Who Have a Fun Social Media Presence

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Hello, Lovely 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 Authors Who Have a Fun Social Media Presence. I do follow authors on Instagram and I definitely have my favorites who post a lot and add to the community. I’m excited to share my list!

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1.) Amie Kaufman

2.) Jay Kristoff

How can I not put these two? They write amazing books together and I love their presence on social media. You can tell they really adore their fans!

3.) Joanna Hathaway

I have been following Joanna since I read her first book last year. We have talked a bit through DMs and it’s awesome that we both share the same name and I’m from Minnesota where she is currently living. She has a great presence online and shares many things about WW2.

4.) Carla Reighhard

Carla is so sweet! She is an indie author who posts frequently and I love all the corny jokes she shares. We both have a soft spot for Gaston and she will be releasing a retelling for him this year! I am so excited.

5.) Joanna Ruth Meyer

Another author that shares the same name as me! I have read all her books besides one but I have without a doubt I will love it. She shares a lot of her personal life and I think that’s awesome.

6.) Stephanie Garber

Stephanie is always so bubbly in her Instagram stories. I love watching them! Her books are also fantastic and I can’t wait to see what she will write next.

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What author do you enjoy following on social media?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Blog Tour: Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer (Review)

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40778901._SY475_Title: Beyond the Shadowed Earth (Beneath the Haunting Sea #2)
Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer
Genre: Ya Fantasy/Mythology
Publication Date: January 14th, 2020

Thanks to the publisher for the free copy! (I received a copy for reviewing. All opinions are my own.)

*Click the banner for all other tour dates!*

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“It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown.

Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined.

Set in the same universe as Joanna’s debut, Beneath the Haunting SeaBeyond the Shadowed Earth combines her incredible world building and lush prose with a new, villainous lead.” (Goodreads)

Amazon / B & N / Google / Kobo

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ZOqsQQQQ.jpgJoanna Ruth Meyer hails from Mesa, Arizona, where she lives with her dear family, a rascally feline, and an enormous grand piano. When she’s not writing,she’s trying to convince her students that Bach is actually awesome, or plotting her escape from the desert. She loves good music, thick books, loose leaf tea,rainstorms, and staring out of windows. One day, she aspires to own an old Victorian house with creaky wooden floors and a tower (for writing in, of course!)

Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

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This isn’t technically a sequel to Beneath the Haunting Sea as it is more of a companion novel. I still think that you should read BtHS because it’s where we are first introduced to Eda and it really is the driving force for this novel.

I enjoyed the first book and in some ways I loved this book more. I think that there is a lot of good lessons that can be learned if you look between the lines and sometimes they are right at the surface.

Eda is the Empress of half the world. She has everything she wanted but it all came with a price. Even though she did terrible things in the first book and we learn more about those things in this book, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. She loses her parents and everything seems to spiral after that and where love once was, revenge has now replaced it. The one word that always came to mind for her and even the god Tuer, was selfishness. Of course, there was a lot of pride, but it all still boiled down to being selfish. I think that is one reason why she was so relatable. We have all been there wanting it all and more, then reality slaps us in the face. Eda struggles throughout and becomes like an onion. So many layers are removed by the end and then we finally see Eda for the person she truly is.

There are other characters in this book that are just as memorable as Eda. Ileem, who is a prince, and his sister also come from a harsh background of loss. Even though they are related they each deal with grief in different ways. One becomes so consumed by revenge that they will do anything to satisfy their need for it. This can even be seen as a lesson as it is always important to know when finding peace is really more important than hurting more people in the process of seeking revenge.

Just like in Beneath the Haunting Sea, the gods and goddesses are back. Along with that, there are new stories for the ones that are important like Tuer, who is the driving force for the plot. I loved learning about him even though he was super selfish and I just wanted to punch him a couple times. The mythology was interesting and definitely kept me intrigued.

As for the plot, it was fast paced and kept my attention. I didn’t want to put the book down and picked it back up any chance I got. The plot twists were definitely unexpected and had me gasping out loud. The ending was a bit better than the first book and didn’t feel as anti-climatic. I also thought the writing was much better.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. It is such a compelling read told by a girl that had done terrible things but was looking for a way to redeem it all.

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Win a finished copy of Beyond The Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer! (US/CAN Only)

Starts January 8th, 2020 and ends January 22nd, 2020.

Click here to enter giveaway!

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Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

WWW Wednesday (10/22/19)

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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?

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33803113.jpgCurrent Read:

I am currently reading Beyond the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer and I am loving it! Hopefully I can finish it today.

44062010Recently Finished:

I recently finished Novice Dragoneer by E.E. Knight and it was super good! It had its slow parts but I loved the characters and world that was created.

 

 

40778901._SY475_.jpgReading Next:

I will be reading the second book to the book I am currently reading called Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer. Can’t wait to see what the second has in store for me! Plus, its an earc so I can then cross it off of my list.

 

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What is your current read? Are you loving it? Have you read or want to read any that I have listed? Let me know in the comments!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

Recently Acquired: Beyond the Shadowed Earth

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Hello Lovely Bookworms!

I am here with another eARC from NetGalley! I requested Beyond the Shadowed Earth a few weeks ago. I did notice that it was the second in a series and obviously purchased the first one. Both sound amazing and I am hoping to read them either this month or next month.

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40778901._SY475_.jpgSynopsis: “It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown.

Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined.

Set in the same universe as Joanna’s debut, Beneath the Haunting SeaBeyond the Shadowed Earth combines her incredible world building and lush prose with a new, villainous lead.” (Goodreads)

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What do you think of this one? Does it pique your interest? Let me know in the comments!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads