Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Series: Winternight Trilogy #1
Publisher: Del Ray
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Source: Publisher

I am going to be honest here.  This is yet another one of those books I picked up to read not knowing a dang thing about it.  I had the ARC and then I received the ARC for the 2nd book, and decided to move it way up my reading list.  I also kept hearing about it.  I was intrigued and wanted to find out why everyone was recommending the book.

The cover is really pretty too.

So it turned out this book is kind of a historical fantasy novel.  You have a girl who lives during the time period where a more Christian based religion is becoming popular in Russia and the old ways are being pushed out.  And it is the pushing out of the old ways that is the basis of the story and what causes a lot of things to happen.

Our main character, Vasilisa, is not a super pretty girl and she is a strange girl  She gets up to mischief a lot and has abilities that not many other have.  Her mother died giving birth to her and eventually her father remarried a women who did not want to be married in the first place.  This causes a lot of problems for is actually a huge factor in what happens in the story.

I am being very vague on purpose.  I don't really know how to describe what goes on in this book without giving away too much and accidentally giving you a spoiler.

But what I can tell you is this, this book reads like a fairy tale.  And it has a lot of fairy tale (especially Russian) fairy tale elements within the story.  It is actually quite a fun and magical read.  I enjoyed it a lot.

I did find that this book read a little slower for me, but it wasn't a bad thing per say.  It was like my brain was taking extra time to process and picture the story as I was reading it so that it got the elements down correctly.

Character wise, I found the priest to absolutely vile.  Katherine Arden wrote him pretty wonderfully.  Actually I think she wrote them all pretty well, but he sticks out the most.  Probably because every time he was mentioned I could feel my skin crawl with repulsion.

And I felt like I kind of learned a bit about Russian fairy tale and lore too, which is always an excellent thing to happen when you read.  Especially when you don't really realize it is happening.

I definitely enjoyed it and I am super happy I made it a priority read.  And I will be reading the rest of the series for sure!

My Rating
4 Stars

This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts are mine and mine alone.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: The Tao of Bill Murray by Gavin Edwards

Title: The Tao of Bill Murray -  Real Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing
Author: Gavin Edwards
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Source: Publisher

I picked up this book thinking "hey I know who Bill Murray is!" and that I have enjoyed the majority of the movies I have seen him in. 

I figured it would be cool to get to know a bit more about the comedic genius that is Bill Murray.

And then...I actually read this book.

The Tao of Bill Murray shares a bunch of stories about Bill Murray over the years.  You learn a little bit about his start in life...but then you learn stories about him.  Things that happened on sets of movies, weird places he popped up and did things, strange adventures, etc.

And yes, some of it was kind of interesting.  And I definitely learned a good bit about Bill Murray.

But that is the problem.  What I learned about Bill Murray changed my perception about him a little bit.  And I really do not think that was supposed to be the intention of this book.

There were many times that it was mentioned in this book that Bill Murray is the kind of guy who does what he wants when he wants and how he wants.  You may want him to show up some where at a certain time, but if he doesn't feel like it, he won't be there.  But that is okay!  Because that is just Bill Murray....and that it is acceptable.  And I personally just found it hard to find that an acceptable trait in a person and felt that it was kind of rude...

And when I read this book, I really didn't want to find my opinion of Bill Murray to change towards the negative direction.  I wanted to continue to think of him as the comedic genius that is a little eccentric.  But that isn't what I got with this book.  And honestly?  I really don't think this was the intention of the author at all!

Personal problem?  Yes, it quite obviously is.  But it really hampered my enjoyment of the book.

But in the end, I did learn quite a bit of random information about him.  I really enjoyed the section about the movies.  There were stories from almost every single movie he has been in or has appeared in.  The exception being (as far as I could tell) the newest Ghostbusters movie.  And it was out already.  It was randomly mentioned in a different story, so I really thought it would have been included.  I did read the ARC though, so if it ended up being included in the final version, please feel free to correct me.

The other part I really enjoyed was the part where it wasn't really just random stories about Bill Murray...which was in the very beginning.  We get a brief description of his life and his beginning, and I found it fascinating and a very good read.

The rest of it...was more or less...stories of things he did, people he surprised, stuff that happened on movie sets, etc.  Sad to say, it got a little boring sometimes.

But I read it.  I learned things.  My opinion of him was changed, sadly not for the better, but maybe it won't be that way for you.

My Rating
3 Stars

This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.