The Orchard by Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry

The Orchard

Four teens in the 1980’s are all living in the last days of the USSR. However, none have the exact same experiences.

Told by Anya, whose parents have a dacha and an apple orchard and food to eat. Best friend Milka has nothing but an abusive step-father and whatever she can find to eat. Together with their friends, Trifonov and Lopatin, they make the best of the situations they are in. They may fight and bicker but they have each other’s back.

There is a heavy influence going on with Chekhov and his The Cherry Orchard. Anya’s parents talk of the collapse of the government and how bad things are going to be and have been since WWII. There seems to be a great divide in this country. Those who have it all and those who don’t. Even after the fall, there is so much more food and luxuries, however, only a few can afford them.

When an unspeakable event turns their lives upside down their friendships fade. Anya will move to the US and marry a good man and not return for 20 years. And when she does, not much has changed, just the players.

This was a very good story. Fiction, but not. Russia is such a secretive place and we know very little firsthand about life there. And they have their perceptions of other countries as well. This beautiful book made me laugh, it made me cry and I would read it all over again. These women were strong and made something out of nothing. I was very impressed.

NetGalley/March 15th, 2022 by Ballantine Books





The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden (Book 3 of THE WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY)

This is the third book of the Winternight Trilogy that began with The Bear and the Nightingale followed by The Girl in the Tower and this one carries on the beautiful and tragic tale of Vasya and the Winter King, Morozko.

We have been through many trials with our brave heroine, Vasilisa Petrovna, a girl. Yes, that’s correct she is still a girl, which only makes the heroic and terrifying deeds she does more incredible.

Things are not good in Russia. After what happened in Moscow the people are ready to throw her to the wolves. She must be a witch and she must die. Vasya is alone. Even her cousin, the Grand Prince doesn’t know what to do with her.

The Winter King has traded his freedom for hers and now his demon twin is reeking havoc on the world. Feeding on chaos and death, manipulating the weak religious priest and intent on ridding the world of humans. Even the unseen, magical creatures are afraid.

Vasya doesn’t know who to trust or to believe. But if she is to save her family and her country as well as the Winter King, she must be braver than ever and listen and learn as the country prepares to go to war with the Tatars.

So much weight on the shoulders of one girl.

I have loved these books so much. First, Arden is a genius with covers. They pull you in to a world of fairy tales and magic in the most beautiful of languages. Arden is pure genius at storytelling.

Very Well Done! *****

Netgalley/DelRay January 09,2019

 

 

 

 

The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden RELEASE DAY!

It’s release day for this beautiful, moving story!  A Must Read!

The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel by [Arden, Katherine]

The story takes us to Northern Rus’.  Where winter is about 8 months long and not everyone survives. At a time when old gods mixed with the new. A tale of bitter, cold winters, long nights huddled by the fire listening to old fairy tales. Tales of Frost, the winter demon. The king of winter who came in the cold, dark night to take the naughty children away.

Marina, wife to Pyotr and mother of his children, wants another child. A daughter, like Marina’s mother. A powerful woman that few really knew but many spoke of. Marina also has some power, but not like her mother and she will have her powerful daughter, even if it means she loses her life.

Vasilisa, a motherless child, is different from her brothers and sister. She sees things. She talks to the small gods of the house, the forest and the lake. She is not afraid of the cold, or the thick forests that surround her home.

When her father takes another wife, one who also has the power of sight, and then a priest of the new gods arrives in the village, Vasilisa’s life and the lives of the entire village will change. As the new gods try to push out the old, something cold and cruel is waiting. Something that needs the powers that Vasilisa has to break free from his prison. Something that needs for the people to forget the old gods.

Will she choose the right path for her? Will she be able to convince her people of what she sees?

This story, based on fairy tales was one of the best things I have read in a long time. For a debut novel, it is an extraordinary. The writing was superb. The descriptions and the characters were all spot on. I’ve already read it twice. Ms. Arden definitely knows how to tell a story and I for one am hoping there are more to come!

When I first saw this book in the Penguin Random House sneak peek at books coming out in 2017, I wanted it. From the cover to the description, I knew I wanted this book. And I was thrilled to receive an ARC copy from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an honest review. Thank You!

Book Release January 10 2017.