What I’m Reading: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I had this book on my shelf for about a year before my mother told me that she had read it and that she liked it. As a library technician, my mother knows books. So I knew I should pick it up and read it soon, and I’m glad I did.

The Bear and the Nightingale takes place in historic Russia and is full of folk and fairy tales. It consumes you, bringing you into the past and a deeply detailed life of a family struggling to survive the winter. Before reading this book, I vaguely remembered the tale of the Bear and the Nightingale from my childhood love of fairy tales, and I think I thought that this book would be as simple and straightforward as a five-page fairy tale, but it was much more intricate than that.


I love the characters, especially Vasya, the strong heroine. But the book was slow to start and took me a good fifty to seventy pages to get immersed in, but once I was over that hump, the book flew by. I can’t wait to read the next one (I just have to wait for my mom to finish with it first!)

Have you read The Bear and the Nightingale?

5/5 Stars


What I’m Reading: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Young Adult Book Review: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte is a young adult fantasy (with a little bit of tech), about a girl who ends up embroiled in a plot to kill the four queens of the land.

From the start, this book was a bit different than the other young adult fantasy books out there because of the little bit of tech thrown in, which I found interesting. But for me, this book was an up and down read, I really liked the beginning, which was promising, felt a bit lost in the middle, and liked the near ending, and wasn’t sure quite what to think about the ending.


Four Dead Queens certainly kept me on my toes. I’m pretty good at guessing plot twists, but I didn’t quite guess these ones correct, which is always a nice surprise. This is also a stand alone fantasy, which can be hard to find (and sometimes it’s so nice to read just one book, don’t you think?).

I loved the maps in the book, but wish that the main characters would have traveled a bit further a field. I mean why have elaborate maps in a fantasy book if the characters aren’t going to journey to these far off lands? Still, it was a worthwhile read for me, as it’s nice to find a fantasy with a bit of mystery.

3.5/5 stars.


A Reader’s 2019 Goals

On the way into my day job this morning, I was listening to the radio. One of the DJ’s was talking about some research that said we shouldn’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but make a reverse bucket list, in other words, we should write down all the things we’ve already done that we’re most proud of, and this will help us see where our interests lie, and maybe also give us confidence to tackle new, or future, bucket list items (at least that is what I think the point was anyway). I usually set my new goals in September, since this feels more natural after twenty some years of school. But one goal I do set in January is my reading goal (thanks to GoodReads and their fabulous tracking app).

First Book to Read in 2019, will be followed by 59 more!

When I wrote my reverse bucket list, I was surprised to feel disappointment that I couldn’t add any big reads to my list. In 2018 I started Don Quixote with the goal of finishing it, but I didn’t get it done. I also, year ago, started War and Peace and read half of it before falling off the train. I really do want to read these books (and finish them!), and writing my reverse bucket list helped me find what was missing. So, in 2019, my goal is to finish Don Quixote as part of my reading goal.

In 2018, I managed to finish 62 books, so I set my 2019 goal at 60. In 2018, my goal was only 50 books because I wanted to get more writing done, but I couldn’t stop reading, so this year I increased my goal back up to 60 books. As I’m over half done Don Quixote, I don’t think having such a large book on my list will slow me down much, and a lot of the other books I want to read this year are rather slender.

So, here’s to another happy year of reading. Did you set a goal? How many books do you want to read in 2019?


What I’m Reading: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Young Adult Book Review: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

I was really looking forward to reading Carve the Mark since I enjoyed reading Divergent, though, in all honesty, I didn’t enjoy Divergent all that much. To me, the Divergent series pales in comparison to the Hunger Games.


Carve the Mark is a Fantasy-Science Fiction, almost Star Wars like with its mythical current force and closely aligned planets that may or may not take some time to travel between (I’m not sure, this wasn’t really clear).

I’ll admit, I had a few pet peeves with this book, one being that I feel like so many people who have never habituated in really cold climates just don’t understand cold climates. Anyway, there was something about Carve the Mark that I like, though I didn’t love it.

The characters were strong, the world was interesting (not quite as much as Star Wars), but inevitably I felt there were questions that I had no answers to, and that always bugged me, mostly in regards to how the current makes sense. Overall, I’d give Carve the Mark 3/5 Stars, but maybe that was because I had higher expectations because of Divergent.


No Time to Read?

I have been too busy lately. I haven’t finished the book I began last week and I still have 9 books to go on my GoodReads goal. With only four weeks left to read them. This is leaving me wondering how I’m going to fit it all in. I have a bunch of half-read books, which I’m hoping means I’ll be able to wrap up all nine this month. Between that and some shorter selections and a major cutback on television, I just might be able to do it. Meanwhile, I went browsing at a rather large bookstore when i was out of town, and found all these delicious displays. This will have to be my motivation for finishing up the books already waiting on my shelves! Which books look good to you?



And just as good as books: the mug display 🙂


Happy Reading!


YA Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Obviously I’m going through my book journal from 2012. City of Bones is a young-adult classic. I read this back in it’s ‘hay-day’, before it got turned into a movie and then a Netflix TV show (neither of which performed well). Here’s what I thought of the book:

Associate Link

I borrowed this book from a friend, who bought it based on Amazon’s #1 rating. My friend wasn’t impressed with the book, and maybe her telling me that biased my own opinion a little bit. I didn’t find Clary to be a deep character. She doesn’t seem to have any interests beyond Simon. Though she occasionally draws, her art doesn’t come across as being important to her. Clary has no girl friends, which would have added to the depth of the story. Some parts of the novel were pretty transparent, and others seemed far-fetched (if you’ve read it you probably know what I’m talking about).

I gave City of Bones 3/5 stars. I went on to read the next two books in the series, but haven’t been interested enough to continue reading this world. I know some people absolutely love it, but I guess it just isn’t for me. I’ll be writing more about other books I’m currently reading this week.


J. E. Hunter is the author of the Black Depths Series. The books can be found on  Amazon,  Kobo,  iBooks,  Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

What I’m Reading: Charmed by Michelle Krys

I posted a while back about reading Hexed, which I loved. I moved onto Charmed right away. I finished a few days back, though I was hoping to finish sooner but being sick and busy and going back to working 80% hours at my regular job didn’t equate to a quick read.

Charmed (associate link) was as charming as the first book in this duology. I was really hoping there would be more books in Krys’ series, but it doesn’t look like there is. Though she does have a brand new realease that just came out this week, which I might have to check out because I love her writing style.


Charmed was a fast paced as Hexed, and brought me deeper into the Witch Hunter’s world. Indigo was smart and sassy, and most of the time she didn’t rely on boys to save her (that is one of my pet peeves about some heroines). Indigo learns more about her magic in book two, and the stakes are just as high. If you love witchy books about teens, then pick up this book, you’ll love it.

4.5/5 Stars