ARC REVIEW: Deadly Betrayal – by OMJ Ryan

Title: Deadly Betrayal
(Detective Jane Phillips #4)
Author: OMJ Ryan
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: November 22nd 2020
Publisher: Inkubator Books
Finished reading: November 15th 2020
Pages: ?

“Now she wondered if she had been spared each of those times because her fate was to die in the place where she had been born: Hong Kong.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Inkubator Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been following this series ever since the first book came out last year, and Deadly Betrayal is already Detective Jane Phillips book number four… And without doubt another action-packed and entertaining ride! Technically you might be able to read this one as a stand-alone, but I don’t recommend it as you will be missing out on character background that might make it harder to understand the dynamics between the different characters. The case itself stands on its own though, and Jane Phillips and her team without doubt have another intriguing case on their hands.

The first thing that stands out in Deadly Betrayal is that this time around we don’t just stay in Manchester and its surroundings. Oh no, we get to travel all the way to Hong Kong for a few chapters as well! I really liked how this aspect of the investigation was incorporated into the plot and the descriptions and personal connection to Jane Phillips really made that setting come alive for me. And such shocking scenes too! The whole possible Triad connection in general managed to raise this story to the next level for me, and really gave the story an original touch.

These books always read superfast and Deadly Betrayal is no exception. This is one of those detective series where it’s best to clear your schedule, as you won’t even notice hours have passed until you reach that final page and stare at the clock. You won’t find a boring minute in Deadly Betrayal as it is packed with suspense, danger as well as your typical murder investigation. I had a brilliant time following Jane and her team as they try to get to the bottom of what is going on… And there is no doubt that this story ends with a bang too.

As for the characters… I’m still a fan of both Jane and her team. They are easy to like and their banter is a nice contrast with some of the heavier and action-packed moments of the story. Fox is still enormously frustrating though, and the story ends with a hint a different irritating character is going to be coming back in the next book… Overall, the plot and writing made up for those minor frustations though.

In short, if you enjoy the detective thriller genre and like your stories fast, suspenseful and action-packed, this series will always provide you with an entertaining ride.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #187 – Get A Life, Chloe Brown (DNF) & Such A Fun Age

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a YA romance and a contemporary… The first, Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert, I sadly ended up DNFing as the sexy scenes were just WAY too crude and explicit for me. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid turned out to be a great read though, and I understand why so many people seem to love it.


Title: Get A Life, Chloe Brown
(The Brown Sisters #1)
Author: Talia Hibbert

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: November 5th 2019 
Publisher: Avon
Finished reading: November 5th 2020
Pages: 366
DNF at 45% (165 pages)

“When it comes down to it, everything we feel is in our head.”


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Okay… I’m not sure what happened here. Or actually I do. I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again! I was in the mood for some romance, and Get A Life, Chloe Brown sounded like such a fun read, so I thought I had hit the jackpot when I started reading it. I connected to the writing and characters almost immediately. The snarkiness, the humor, the flawed and intriguing characters… I really enjoyed getting to know both Chloe and Red better, and I really thought I was well on my way to adding a new author to my romance list. But then… BOOM!! The first crude and WAY too explicit sexy scene showed up. I can normally tolerate them if they are not too explicit and I’m enjoying the rest of the story (which I was), but there was just something about the crude way of describing the scene that literally made me gag. Still, I decided to give the story another go, as I felt a connection to especially Chloe and wanted to know more about her. I tried to overcome that scene and it seemed to be working, up untill… BOOM!! Another even more crude and explicit sexy scene showed up that had all the signs of being even longer, and I just couldn’t bring myself to keep reading or even skimming to the end of the scene. Why not even skimming? I figured it wouldn’t be the last scene as there was still more than half of the story left, and I seriously felt like vomiting already. Ugh, this was most definitley not the story for me. *shudders* It’s such a shame, because I was really looking forward to spend more time with Chloe and Red… But it is what it is I guess. If you can stomach some serious adult content and enjoy the genre, you will probably have a great time with Get A Life, Chloe Brown though. Personally, I’ve decided to stay away from Talia Hibbert‘s books for now even though I did love her writing, character development as well as her sense of humor.


Title: Such A Fun Age
Author: Kiley Reid

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: December 31st 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Finished reading: November 8th 2020
Pages: 320

“I don’t need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like… happens.”


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There has been so much hype around this title and to be honest I was a bit hesitant to pick it up myself as hyped books and me don’t tend to get along all that well… But I’m glad I did pick up Such A Fun Age in the end, as I understand why it has been receiving so much praise. I’m definitely in love with the writing style, which made the story so damn readable! I literally finished it in less than a day, unable to pace myself or to stop reading… Racism is such an important topic and this story shows us so well that it is so easy to seemingly do the right thing for all the wrong reasons. I never did warm up to Alix, but I LOVED Emira and Briar together. Both won over my heart immediately and made it really easy to care about what was happening in the story… Lighter moments are mixed with heavier topics, and I definitely enjoyed how the story ended. If you enjoy a well written contemporary with interesting characters and a powerful message, Such A Fun Age is without a doubt worth reading.


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ARC REVIEW: Breathe Your Last – by Lisa Regan @bookouture

Title: Breathe Your Last
(Detective Josie Quinn #10)

Author: Lisa Regan
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Detective
First published: December 9th 2020
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: November 6th 2020
Pages: 350

“If they knew what I’d done, I’d probably go to prison. If I went to prison, I wouldn’t be able to play my little game. Where would be the fun in that?”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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We all have our series we cannot wait to get back to, those characters and settings that feel like old friends every time you have the pleasure to return to when you pick up a new installment. The Detective Josie Quinn series is exactly that for me. I’ve been a fan of this detective series ever since I read the first book back in 2018, and I’ve devoured every single sequel since then. This series is known for its lightning fast and action-packed plots, and I can definitely recommend clearing your schedule as it will be really hard to stop reading once you’ve read the first chapters. These books are highly addictive and simply exhilarating!

While technically you could read Breathe Your Last as a stand-alone, I would suggest reading the books in order as you will be missing out on significant character background otherwise. And trust me, you will be missing out on hours and hours of detective thriller entertainment in the first place! Breathe Your Last has once again a very interesting plot as well as developments on a personal level for Josie Quinn. It might not be all too credible to have that many criminals and serial killers running around in the small town of Denton, but I’m not complaining as it means more Josie Quinn adventures to enjoy! Things can be said about the credibility in general, but I personally don’t mind as I’m always too busy turning those pages and having fun.

We get to see the story unfold both through the eyes of Josie and the killer. The chapters with the killer’s POV were particularly interesting, as I always appreciate an opportunity to get a glimpse inside the head of a serial killer. The plot was another interesting one, and you will find yourself on the edge of your seat as the case starts to develop. It definitely won’t be easy to guess the identity of the killer early either! You will also find a healthy dose of action and suspense, and I confess at one point towards the ending my heart nearly stopped and I suddenly wanted to throw my kindle at the wall… Trust me, you will know exactly what I’m talking about as soon as you reach that point in the story. I really liked how everything was wrapped up though, and I’m already looking forward to the next one. What a read!

If you enjoy a well written, fast and action-packed detective thriller series that just keeps delivering, you should definitely find the time to schedule a meeting with Josie Quinn. This is without doubt one of my favorite detective series, and Breathe Your Last is another winner!


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YVO’S SHORTIES #186 – We Were The Salt Of The Sea & Anxious People

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! Today is translated fiction day with two translations… The first, We Were The Salt Of The Sea, somehow sadly didn’t work for me at all, but I absolutely loved my time with Anxious People. No surprise here, as I adore everything Fredrik Backman writes in general…


Title: We Were The Salt Of The Sea
(Enquêteur Moralès #1)
Author: Roxanne Bouchard

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: 2014
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 25th 2020
Pages: 300
(Originally published in French: ‘Nouse étions le sel de la mer’)

“Sometimes all we want is for time to stop catching up with us.”


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Okay… I’m not sure what happened here, but I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again? I’m still surprised as I’ve never had an Orenda miss before and fellow bloggers seem to love We Were The Salt Of The Sea… But somehow this story just didn’t seem to work at all for me. It might just have been the wrong time for me to pick up this story, but the fact this that I really struggled with both the writing style and plot in general. Somehow, I was never able to connect to the writing, and the catch phrases of some of the characters (‘Heee’ and ‘Christ in a chalice!’) REALLY got on my nerves after a while. Instead of making it easier to recognize the characters, it only made me like both the characters and the story considerably less… Always a complication but even worse in a mostly character-driven story. And as much as I loved the setting and the many descriptions of the sea, the plot was a bit all over the place for me as well. On top of this, We Were The Salt Of The Sea also included one of my mayor pet peeves: cheating. I never react well to this element and although this is a personal reaction, it made me dislike Morales considerably. It didn’t really help improving my reaction to the story in general either… All in all We Were The Salt Of The Sea definitely wasn’t my cup of tea, but most people do seem to enjoy it a lot better so don’t give up on my account.


Title: Anxious People
Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: April 25th 2019
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: November 3rd 2020
Pages: 336
(Originally written in Swedish: ‘Folk med ångest’)

“Anyone can nurture a myth about their life if they have enough manure, so if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, that’s probably because it’s full of shit.”


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This was easily one of my most anticipated releases this year and I simply couldn’t wait to pick it up… I know that I am a bit biased when it comes to Fredrik Backman‘s books, but I absolutely adored every single minute I spent with Anxious People. There is just something about his writing and humor that is a match made in heaven for me and this newest story has once again shown me why he is one of my absolute favorite authors. He is an absolute master in creating flawed and strangely likeable characters, and we have another fantastic cast in Anxious People. True, there are a lot of different characters in play here, but each is so unique that it is really easy to keep them apart… And they all add there little something to the plot too. I liked the structure of the plot, with different POVS mixed with police interviews with the different witnesses. You are kept in the dark along with the police officers about what really went on inside that apartment, and I thought that the different twists and the hidden identity of the bank robber was cleverly done. Humor and heavier elements are blended perfectly, and I found myself snickering more than once along the way. Fredrik Backman‘s characters have once again won over my heart and this is hands down one of my favorite stories I have had the chance to read this year.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #184 – The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue & The Girl In The Tower

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a historical fantasy edition with The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab and The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden.


Title: The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue
Author: V.E. Schwab

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
First published: October 6th 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Finished reading: October 23rd 2020
Pages: 448

“He may be a sun, but she is a shining comet, dragging their focus like burning meteors in her wake.”


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Fangirling alert coming in!! I know that I’m a bit biased when it comes to this author… I basically adore anything Schwab writes, and I have been eagerly anticipating The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue. Especially knowing how much Addie’s story means to the author in the first place… I was afraid my expectations would be set too high, but I shouldn’t have worried as I literally devoured each and every single page. I knew I was going to love this story as soon as I first met Addie… She is a force to be reckoned with, and so easy to warm up to! The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue is part historical fiction, part supernatural fantasy and part romance, all combined together into what is without doubt one of my 2020 favorite books. The story switches back between the past and 2014, always told from Addie’s POV.  A dual timeline can always go both ways for me, but somehow in this case I loved both equally and this probably has a lot to do with Addie’s constant presence. We have her past, starting in late 17th century and early 18th century France and later jumping to different times in history as the years go by. We see Addie develop over time, learning to live with her curse and thriving against all odds. Then we have the present, where both Addie and Henry will win over your heart without fail. The writing is simply glorious, and somehow the slower pace actually did me a favor and made me slow down to fully savour each sentence. I do get why some people might find this story too slow or overlong, but I personally treasured every single minute I got to spend with Addie. Say hello to a new all time favorite!


Title: The Girl In The Tower
(Winternight Trilogy #2)
Author: Katherine Arden

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
First published: December 5th 2017
Publisher: Del Rey
Finished reading: October 31st 2020
Pages: 383

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other; each way will have its bitter with its sweet.”


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I’ve been meaning to read this trilogy for so long now… So after finally reading and loving the first book a few weeks ago, I decided to pick up the sequel while memories were still fresh so I could actually try to finish a series in a timely matter for a change. Once again I had a fantastic time with this medieval Russian story filled with folklore and magic! True, I did enjoy the first book a tiny bit better than The Girl In The Tower, but that same magic of the first book was still there, and I already can’t wait to pick up the third and final book after that ending.

The descriptions once again truly made the setting come alive for me, and I love how the author incorporates not only Russian history, but also Russian folklore and culture into her story. It really makes this trilogy stand out for me, that’s for sure. I do have to say that I found the pace to be a tad slower in this sequel, and the plot a tiny bit less intriguing, but getting to meet up with Vasya again most definitely makes up for it. My love for her character has only grown since the first book, and there are some interesting developments in this sequel that make me wonder what the final book has in store for us. This trilogy is quickly turning into a new favorite!


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ARC REVIEW: Across The Green Grass Fields – by Seanan McGuire

Title: Across The Green Grass Fields
(Wayward Children #6)
Author: Seanan McGuire
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: January 12th 2021
Publisher: Tor.com
Finished reading: October 2nd 2020
Pages: 208

“Anything with enough brain to know itself as an individual will reach out to others, looking for other eyes with which to see the world.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Tor.com in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been a fan of the Wayward Children series ever since I read the first book back in 2018, and each new installment has been a most-anticipated release without fail. I simply couldn’t resist reading Across The Green Grass Fields almost as soon as my request was approved… I was THAT excited to have this title hanging out on my kindle months early. I most definitely didn’t expect to have mixed feelings about this newest installment though… But it is what it is I guess.

Across The Green Grass Fields is already book number six of the series, but it can be read as a stand-alone perfectly as it only contains new characters. The whole magic behind the ‘door to a different world’ is quite easy to understand without the background knowledge of the previous books, so you wouldn’t have any difficulties understanding the idea behind this story. That said, I did prefer the previous books over this one, so maybe reading them in order is worth it anyway? Across The Green Grass Fields is by no means a bad read, but I just felt that spark of the previous installments was missing here.

I do have to say that I loved having an intersex main character; something I haven’t come across often during my years reading. Regan makes for an interesting character and I liked seeing the contrast between her situation in the ‘real’ world and the Hooflands. That said, I felt that the first part set in the real world dragged on for too long, and the pace was considerably slow there. Especially considering that this is a short story in the first place, and I would have loved to have more focus on the fantasy world. I understand that it was important to give Regan a background without just throwing in the intersex element and be done with it, but it took me a long time to properly warm up to the story with the way this first part was narrated.

I enjoyed the idea behind the Hooflands, with the centaurs, unicorns, kelpies and other creatures. As always, the worldbuilding of the fantasy world the main characters find themselves in is my favorite part of the story, and I would have loved to see even more background. It was interesting to see how the centaurs lived and took Regan in as one of their own, but again it felt a bit slow going and the final part considerably abrupt and quite an anti-climax. Was I surprised by the final twist? Yes. But I can’t say that the ending was exactly all that satisfying.

As a whole, Across The Green Grass Fields was sadly my least favorite Wayward Children story by far to this date… Between the slow parts, abrupt ending and too much focus on the ‘real’ world, the elements I did enjoy (including the worldbuilding of the Hooflands and Regan’s character) just didn’t make up for it. This might just have been me though, as most people did seem to love this story so far.


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BLOG TOUR EXTRACT: The Coral Bride – by Roxanne Bouchard #extract #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours

Hello and welcome to my stop of the The Coral Bride Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. Today, I will be sharing an extract of the second Detective Morales book set in Canada. Originally written in French and expertly translated by David Warriner, in The Coral Bride Roxanne Bouchard returns to main character DS Joaquin Moralès as he once again struggles to conduct a proper investigation without interference. Curious already? Let’s look at the summary before we continue to the extract itself…

What an introduction! It sounds like our main character will have his hands full once again… The sea theme seems to be a trademark of this series, and will again play an all important role in the plot. Are you ready for more? Below an extract to entice you further…

EXTRACT Continue reading

ARC REVIEW: Shadow Sands – by Robert Bryndza @amazonpub

Title: Shadow Sands
(Kate Marshall #2)

Author: Robert Bryndza
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: November 3rd 2020
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: October 21st 2020
Pages: 310

“There was something very lonely about being around people who didn’t have to hide their emotions.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been a fan of Robert Bryndza‘s thrillers ever since I read the first Erika Foster book back in 2016, and his newest Kate Marshall series is quickly turning into a favorite too. I loved my time with the first book Nine Elms last year, and I have been eagerly anticipating the sequel for a long time… And now I’ve had the chance to read Shadow Sands, I’m happy to say that it turned out to be everything I hoped for and more. His books are just so damn readable! Highly addictive, fast-paced, dark and suspenseful… Shadow Sands will take you on another exhilarating ride.

I’ve learned in the past to clear my schedule before starting one of Robert Bryndza‘s books, because I’m never able to stop once I start reading the first page. Shadow Sands was no exception to that rule! As soon as I started reading, I found myself racing through those pages, unable to pace myself as I wanted more and more and more. Unputdownable definitely applies here! There is just something about his writing that is highly addictive; combine that with one of my favorite genres (crime thriller) and a solid plot and you have the perfect recipe for a successful story.

Talking about the plot: Shadow Sands has another winner. With the main character Kate Marshall being a lecturer and impromptu private investigator rather than a detective, this series gives us a fresh perspective. I do love my detective thrillers, but both Kate and Tristan take this story to the next level by investigating without the resources a police investigation has. Shadow Sands starts with a bang when Kate discovers a body while diving with her son, and the pace never slows down as she soon realizes something dodgy is going on. We have the mystery around the body she found, the disappearance of one of their colleagues as well as personal developments of multiple characters… And even Peter pops up again.

Shadow Sands uses a multiple POV structure, where we not only get to follow main character Kate, but also other important characters such as Tristan, Magdalena and even the killer… This structure is used to add suspense, hide certain plot twists and secrets as well as slowly reveal the truth about it all. The twists are well done and I didn’t guess the killer until just before the reveal, and I’m always happy when a story actually manages to mislead me. Shadow Sands isn’t afraid to go dark and twisted, so definitely brace yourself for some properly disturbing scenes… There is plenty of suspense and action too, and this story will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

If you like your crime thrillers fast, action-packed, dark and suspenseful, Shadow Sands is a great pick! You can technically read it as a stand-alone, but you will be missing out on a significant amount of character background so I wouldn’t advice it. Plus, both books are absolutely worth reading in the first place! I’m already looking forward to the next one.


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ARC REVIEW: Black Coral – by Andrew Mayne

Title: Black Coral
(Underwater Investigation Unit #2)
Author: Andrew Mayne
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: February 16th 2021
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: October 24th 2020
Pages: 317

“My point is that we like to shove things into convenient boxes, even when we know they won’t fit.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’m always in for a solid detective thriller and after highly enjoying my time with the first book of the Underwater Investigation Unit series earlier this year I just couldn’t say no to reading the sequel. The Florida police diver angle had me immediately intrigued, and after an intense and action-packed first book, I had high hopes for an entertaining second round… And Black Coral turned out to be exactly the exhilarating dose of action and detective thriller I was desperately craving!

One of the things that makes this series stand out is the fact that it isn’t just your average detective thriller. The main character Sloan McPherson is a police diver and not your typical detective, and on top of this she has a very colorful family background. She is a strong, stubborn and resourceful woman and she is definitely one of the reasons this story works so well! Especially with her not being afraid to think outside the box and follow her instinct even if it means stepping on important toes or facing danger. Following Sloan is a guarantee for hours of entertainment and action-packed reading!

You can technically read this as a stand-alone, although you won’t be able to understand the character background and dynamics fully… So I would personally advice reading these in order. That said, I loved the diving angle in Black Coral, which is an element that really makes this series stand out for me. On top of this, we have a serial killer hunt and lots of action, danger and suspense involved… What more to wish for?! I did enjoy the first book a tiny bit more, but as a whole there is no denying that this was a very satisfying thriller read. If you like your thrillers fast, action-packed and exhilarating, this is definitely a series to put on your radar!


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YVO’S SHORTIES #181 – The Boy On The Bridge & The Bear And The Nightingale

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a YA edition… The Boy On The Bridge is a dystopian prequel of an all time favorite The Girl With All The Gifts, and it was entertaining but not as good as the other story. And I still can’t believe it took me this long to pick up The Bear And The Nightingale, but I definitely understand the love for this series now!


Title: The Boy On The Bridge
(The Girl With All The Gifts #2)
Author: M.R. Carey

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: May 2nd 2017
Publisher: Orbit
Finished reading: October 3rd 2020 
Pages: 456

“He had already learned to read, but now he learned the pleasure of stories which is like no other pleasure—the experience of slipping sideways into another world and living there for as long as you want to.”


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I LOVED The Girl With All The Gifts back when I read it four years ago, and I’m still not sure why it took me this long to pick up this sequel set in the same world… The bright orange cover called my name once again the other day, and I finally gave in. And even though I didn’t love The Boy On The Bridge as much as the first book, it most definitely satisfied my dystopian cravings! This story can be easily read as a stand-alone, as I have to be honest here and say I had forgotten about the details of the first book beyond Melanie and I didn’t encounter any issues along the way. The Boy On The Bridge is more focused on the science and quite a bit slower, but the dystopian world makes for an interesting setting and Stephen is without doubt the star of the show. It was really easy to warm up and love his character, and I loved the dynamics between him and Rina too. They are definitely the main reason I enjoyed this story, together with Stephen’s observations and discoveries along the way. If you enjoy a good dystopian story and don’t mind a sometimes slowish pace and a lot of science talk, The Boy On The Bridge is probably a good match.


Title: The Bear And The Nightingale
(Winternight Trilogy #1)
Author: Katherine Arden

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
First published: January 7th 2017
Publisher: Del Rey
Finished reading: October 8th 2020
Pages: 336

“I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed to me.”


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I still can’t believe it took me this long to finally pick up this trilogy… I’ve been meaning to ever since it was first published since I kept seeing raving reviews, and I’m definitely kicking myself for waiting this long now. I can understand the love for this trilogy after reading The Bear And The Nightingale, because I ended up having a fantastic time with this story. The historical setting in Russia, the Russian folklore, the magic, the characters, the writing, the plot… There is so much to love in this first book of what I already know will be a favorite trilogy, and it was everything I could have hoped for and more. Especially the Russian folklore references were fantastic, and I loved how they were incorporated into the story. Vasilisa makes for a brilliant main character, and I loved learning more about both her and the rest of her family. The magical elements were very well incorporated as well, and I loved how the historical and fantasical were balanced. On to book number two it is as soon as I have time!


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