Katherine Arden

Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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3 out of 5 stars to The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, the first in a fantasy and historical fiction series about Russian fairy tales.


Why This Book
I ordered this online many months ago based on the description I’d read in Goodreads. Then a friend of mine, Valerie, was planning to read it. We decided to do a buddy read together earlier this month.

Plot, Characters & Setting
A Russian girl loses her mother and her place in a family. She meets strange creatures who no one else can see. Her father remarries to provide her with a mother figure, then has more children. Something happens in the background where there is a war between religions, people and culture. It’s a battle to maintain your village and your family, but also to connect the past with the future.

Approach & Style
I read the paperback version over a two-week period. It’s 312 pages or 28 chapters long. Chapters are about 10 to 12 pages, told in third person.

It had absolutely beautiful imagery and lyrical prose. You truly feel transported to a new world full of complex characters, interesting plots and high imagination.

There is a lot of great history and views on religion, politics and royalty. You believe you are in Russia dealing with true occurrences and fantastic situations.

The language was too confusing for me, often leaving me wonder what was real and what was fantasy. I’m not normally a fantasy reader, so it might have been partially my fault.

Names on the characters change a bit too often, which made it slightly difficult for me to recall who each person was.

Final Thoughts
I had been in a reading slump and was working on the final chapters of my own book. I might have been distracted while reading this one. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. I think it’s a strong book, and for that, I settled on a 3 rating. It is good, just not the right match for me.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.


365 Challenge: Day 111 – Winner

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Winner: a person who gains victory


We’re all winners! Even if you don’t know why. Today marks the beginning of the seventh month of 2017; some consider it the official second half of the year’s beginning. Technically, given the way the days break down each month, we truly don’t begin the second half of 2017 until Monday, July 3rd, which means that today’s post can’t be about beginnings. It can be about endings, though, right? Two things ended yesterday… the polls I launched last month… so let’s get to them:

Book Bucket List Choice

In the middle of June, I opened a poll to help me choose which book from my Book Bucket List I should read in July. Polls closed last night and the winner is:


I will purchase the book in the next few days, and once it arrives, I’ll confirm the dates I plan to read it — tentatively set to the third week in July. Anyone want to buddy read with me?

Many thanks to everyone who participated. And when I begin the book, I’ll open a new poll for the book you’d like me to read from my Book Bucket List in August.

Next Book I Will Write

In early June, I opened a poll to help me choose what I should focus my attention on for a next novel — see post here. Based on everyone’s input, I closed the poll last night and verified the winner is: Father Figure. A description is listed below.

  • Amalia Graeme, sheltered and abused for most her life in Mississippi, longs to escape her difficult family and small hometown in 1984. When her older brother returns with his best friend by his side, Amalia is tempted to have her first experience with a boy that summer. As they head off to college for her first year and his senior year, she begins to learn about life and love, battling her loss of innocence with a new attraction she’s developed to an older professor. After she suffers a few personal tragedies, Amalia is forced to head back home, uncertain how to handle the permanent impacts on her life and future. No matter where she turns, someone or something always takes away the possibility of her hope to find happiness and to escape.
  • Brianna Porter is a typical angst-ridden teenager living in New York City in 2004, struggling to choose a college, build confidence in herself and interpret intimidating and growing feelings for her best friend. But for Brianna, these paralytic decisions all stem from desperately needing to meet the father whom her mother refuses to discuss, before she can accept her own identity and determine her life purpose. When her best friend suggests hiring a detective, and they stumble upon her mother’s old journal, Brianna learns a shocking secret about her father, rocked by a truth that could completely change both their futures. It may be too late to deal with the impacts of unleashing a history that was meant to stay buried for many reasons. When it leads to someone’s death, Brianna must come to terms with the choices she’s made and what is left of her own future.


I am going to start putting together a detailed outline and timeline next week. I will keep everyone updated with a weekly post on how the plans are going.

Based on a few conversations with some very smart people, I’m re-thinking how much content I will post each week from the actual book / novel / chapters. You’ll still have an opportunity to read about the plot and characters, but I may not post every chapter. I might ask for a few beta readers who’d be willing to read offline and provide feedback.

More to come with the first official post to occur the weekend of July 7th thru 9th. Thank you to everyone for voting, commenting and advising.


So that’s why this is about winning! And moving on to the next half of the year beginning on Monday, Jul 3rd. How about you? Any winners or losers out there this weekend? Any plans for your upcoming second half of 2017?


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.