The Girl In The Tower (The Bear and the Nightingale #2) Book Review

I read The Bear and the Nightingale earlier this year and fell in love with the story within the first few paragraphs, so when I heard that there were two more books coming out, I watched and waited patiently for the release of the second book. Sure enough, I found The Girl In The Tower on Netgalley and was approved for it. You can see my review of the book below.

The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden

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Blurb: The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop. – Goodreads

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (December 5, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1101885963
  • ISBN-13: 978-1101885963

My Review

Brave Vasya, older and wild as ever, is faced with a choice to either marry or live in a convent as a nun. Neither choice seems applicable to her and she would rather die riding in the frozen wintry forest than be stuck living a life that doesn’t fit her. She’s been deemed a witch and questions still loom regarding her father’s death. Vasya needs to discover who she is and as she embarks on a journey alone with her horse Solovey against Morozko’s wishes, she takes risks, experiences danger with violent bandits, witnesses burned and destroyed villages, meets the Grand Prince, and even reunites with family. Only time will tell if she’s made the right decisions and the commitment may be more than she can bear.

This second installment has more action and adventure, the addition of new characters, and clues that offer insight to some of the events in the first book. It’s just as enchanting and a little darker than the first. I enjoyed the characters and relationships, especially Vasya’s relationship with Morozko and her horse Solovey. When I first began reading, I felt as though I was right back in the first book again and had to remember a few of the characters. It doesn’t take long to pick up and as Vasya’s traveling begins, there’s no telling what will happen next and the book is far from predictable.

The Girl In The Tower is written in the same enchanting prose as The Bear and the Nightingale and I did enjoy it, but it didn’t captivate me as much as the first. As this book closed with an unexpected ending, I’m even more excited for the third. 4 ****

I’d like to thank Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book to read and review.

Star_rating_4_of_5

 

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Q&A with Author Nicholas Kotar & My Book Review for The Song of the Sirin + Signed Paperback GIVEAWAY!

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Last week while on Goodreads I happened to see a blog post by Nicholas Kotar regarding his new book release The Song of the Sirin. I read the blurb and decided to dive right in. After reading I was able to ask Nicholas Kotar some questions about his new book, being an author, and what he’s doing now. You can see my book review for The Song of the Sirin, and the Q&A with Nicholas Kotar below.

You can enter the giveaway for a free SIGNED copy of The Song of the Sirin at the bottom of the page.

 

35479763 Blurb: An evil omen clouds the sky. A song of lore returns. Can one man’s quest save the world?

Voran can’t help but believe the rumors. As blight ravages the countryside and darkness covers the sun, the young warrior of Vasyllia hears of an ancient spirit that devours souls. He feels powerless to fight the oncoming devastation until a mythical creature entrusts him with a long-forgotten song. Legend has it that such a song can heal the masses, overthrow kingdoms, and raise humans to divine beings…

Armed with the memory of the song, Voran must hunt down a dark spirit before it achieves its goal of immortality. His quest takes him through doorways to other worlds and puts him on a collision course with seductive nymphs and riddling giants. With each step of the journey, the strength of the villainous spirit grows, as does Voran’s fear that the only way to save his world… is to let it be destroyed.

The Song of the Sirin is an epic fantasy retelling of the Russian fairy tale Prince Ivan and the Grey Wolf.

  • Series: Raven Son (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Waystone Press (June 26, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0998847909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0998847900

 

My review

 

*This review may contain a few very mild spoilers*

Fantasy isn’t one of my favorite genres and when it comes to epic fantasy’s like The Song of the Sirin, it takes me extra time to read it along with some concentration. After reading the blurb for this one and finding out that it was inspired by a Russian fairy tale, I couldn’t resist. I rushed to Amazon and picked it up at sale price. I believe it was an exceptional reading choice for me.

The story begins with Voran and Lebía, a brother and sister living  in Vasyllia. Their father Otchigen and mother Aglaia have vanished and no one knows where they are. Some say Otchigen vanished after killing many people and stories abound claim him to have beaten his wife Aglaia. Voran doesn’t know what to believe, but he trusts in his heart that his father didn’t commit these crimes. He meets a pilgrim in the wilderness and discovers that everything may not be how it seems.

“You surprise me, young Voran,” said the Pilgrim. “How quickly you pierce to the heart of things. Whatever happens, my falcon, do not forget this. Vasyllia is everything. You must never let Vasyllia fall. She is everything.”

Voran begins to realize that Vasyllia is on the brink of destruction and he’s told that he must locate Living Water to save Vasyllia. At this point, everyone in Vasyllia and the outer lands is in danger. The Covenant Tree is fading, the Sirin sings for Voran, and the adventure unfolds…

There’s so much going on in the story and I was thoroughly surprised throughout the entire book. Even with each chapter having an excerpt from other tales, there was no way I could predict what was ahead. Every chapter had something new happening with separate plots taking place. New characters and events come into the story and they literally leave you aghast. The plot and the characters were so complex with a few of my favorites being Voran, Tarin, and Leshaya. Nicholas Kotar writes beautifully and his writing is very detailed and descriptive. With that said,  I have to admit that there were times when I found the reading to be a tad difficult. I ended up with 235 notes and highlights by the time I was done. This may not be a book that you sail through quickly, but it’s very enjoyable to take the time and relish in the beautiful prose.

Overall, I enjoyed the book very much. This epic fantasy has a lot of what fantasy readers expect including shapeshifters, giants, wolf-like monsters, weird creatures, good and evil, magic, and mystery. The ending was heartwarming for me which was not expected with the events that were taking place throughout the book. I’m definitely going to recommend this one and I’m looking forward the other installments.

Anyone who enjoys fantasy will love this book. 4.5*****

Star_rating_4_of_5

 

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Wednesday’s Breakfast and a Book – Nicholas Kotar – Cassandra Fear – Piña Colada

This week I have a simple smoothie recipe along with some exceptional books to share!

With yesterday being July 4th, I wound up eating a few uncured hot dogs, and while they may be a little healthier than standard processed hot dogs, I always feel like I need to cleanse myself the day after like I’m suffering from some sort of hangover. So, this morning I’m having a smoothie and I’ll have raw food and juices the rest of the day. giphy.gif

I was able to find a few beautiful pineapples over the weekend and they’re ready to cut, so I decided on a Piña Colada smoothie! The only issue is that I don’t have any coconut milk on hand. My problem with canned coconut milk is that the majority of brands you find on the market have sulphites and I have a serious allergy to them. You will find sulphites in many foods including frozen foods, dried fruits, dried coconut, bottled lemon juice, grape juices, and pickled foods. They occur naturally in wines and some other fermented foods as well. You can find organic coconut milk that doesn’t have sulphites, but I make it easy. I buy shredded coconut that doesn’t contain sulphites and use that to make the milk. I’ll show you how to do this first in case you’re in the same situation as me.

For homemade coconut milk you will need:

  • Shredded coconut
  • Water

Yes! I’m dead serious. You don’t need anything else. Here’s the kind I use.

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Bob’s Red Mill makes a shredded coconut that doesn’t contain any sulphites. It’s not organic. Here’s the one I get on Amazon. It comes in a pack of 4 for under $12.

Measure out a cup of coconut and add it to 1 cup water in the Vitamix.

Blend it until smooth. Add in another 2-3 cups of water and reblend.

There’s your coconut milk!

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If you want to drink the milk alone, I’d add in a little honey. Also, put it through a nut milk bag to strain it. You can see how to use the nut milk bag on my previous post HERE.

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