The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

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The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes intrigued me in so many ways. I was immediately drawn into the story from the very first sentence! A girl who has no hands – extremely sad. A girl whose hands were cut off purposely by someone else – horribly tragic and frustrating. Minnow’s hands were taken from her just because she didn’t want to marry someone who already had eight wives. When Minnow was five, her family joined a religious cult lead by a prophet named Kevin. Therefore, they were known as Kevinians.

This compelling story has so many different facets, so once I started reading it, I had a hard time putting it down. The cult life, Minnow’s anger and confusion, the sadistic prophet, Jude and his struggles, Minnow’s escape and first confrontation with a city dweller, and the forensic psychologist Dr. Wilson and his affect on Minnow. This book is inspiring with the message that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or believes, it only matters what you think!:)

Blonde Eskimo

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Thanks to NetGalley and SparkPress for the arc of Blonde Eskimo by Kristen Hunt! A light colored Eskimo in modern times finds out about her ancestry and the power she holds. She also discovers the uniqueness of her power. The story would flow better if told through Neiva’s point of view instead of third person and sometimes alternating points of view. I enjoyed the journal entries which all are in first person and Neiva’s point of view.

Neiva moves to Alaska and lives with her grandmother. Her parents have left on a trip and want Neiva to finish high school in Alaska. She is not used to her surroundings and is also struggling with everything that happens on her seventeenth birthday and after! Strong characters, I especially like Nate and his personality, and the mythology make this an interesting read.

Pure Soapmaking

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Thanks to NetGalley and Storey Publishing for the arc of Pure Soapmaking by Anne-Marie Faiola. This book is full of detailed directions, precautions and illustrations making it a must have for anyone interested in soap making! I have thought about soap making in the past and was interested in reading this book to see how difficult making soap would be. It isn’t as easy as I thought it would be and there are real precautions that need to be taken to make soap safely, but after reading this book I really want to dive in and try to make my own natural soaps. All ingredients and supplies needed are listed and notes on how to adjust recipes are also included, as well as how to make a safe work space. Great hobby book!

Jackaby

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Thanks to Algonquin for the free book of Jackaby by William Ritter! This Sherlock Holmes style story has a supernatural twist, which just adds to the fun! On page 55, Jackaby gets “socked” in the face by a woman because he made a harmless statement. I laughed out loud at this! The humor continues throughout the entire book and is placed appropriately so it doesn’t interfere with the suspense of the mystery.

I love that Abigail Rook is the narrator of the story. Abigail is impressively independent, especially in the 1890’s setting. I enjoyed the letter at the end of the story immensely. In this letter, Jackaby dictates to Abigail his request for the police to return his tuning fork. A long winded explanation later, Abigail includes a small note, unbeknownst to Jackaby. The note simply states, “Please return Jackaby’s tuning fork. He’s getting more obnoxious than usual.” The fork is returned that very evening with a note attached, “I completely understand.” Jackaby mistakes the note for understanding of the importance of the fork, but Abigail knows the truth. I am not doing the humor in this book the justice it deserves. Read it and enjoy it for yourself:)

The Jack of Souls

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The Jack of Souls by Stephen C. Merlino is the beginning of a new fantasy series that should please the fans of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy! The story begins with Harric trying to survive his mother’s curse and it just becomes more interesting from there. I enjoyed the varied lifestyles and history of each of the characters. Caris gets along with horses better than with people, Harric struggles against the memory and “haunting” of his mother, the immortal beings deal with eccentricity and gluttony and several other characters add to this mix. Delightful fantasy that is well paced! I am looking forward to the rest of this series!