Adventure within a dark fantasy world!
Thanks to NetGalley and Margaret K. McElderry Books for the opportunity to read and review Splendor and Spark by Mary Taranta!
North is on a path he doesn’t necessarily want but feels that he has to be on. Faris and Cadence are prisoners still. Bryn seems to be gaining everything she wants, power and to be queen. Cadence adores Bryn and she shows nothing but disdain for Faris. Faris struggles to let her sister be until she finally gives in to the fact that letting Cadence make her own choices is the right thing to do. North striving to find his father becomes more and more complicated. North and Faris lose much but learn a lot and, as their wisdom grows, they understand what they need to do to accomplish their goals, North with his father and Faris finding a place where she belongs. The world building is descriptive and thorough while the characters are dynamic. I especially like Alistair because he fascinates me and I want to know more about his background and past experiences. 4 stars for this dark fantasy adventure!
Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta jumps into an intense storyline. Right from the beginning, I was hooked! Faris and Thaelan live completely different lives in opposite areas of the kingdom. Faris and her sister Cadence live in poverty while Thaelan is a member of nobility. Thaelan and Faris are in love and want to run away so they can be together. Faris and Cadence are pretty much on their own because of their dysfunctional father and deceased mother; a mother that stabbed Faris in the chest, trying to kill her years ago. Cadence and Thaelan are captured while they are trying to escape, the two of them receive horrible consequences. Faris is offered a job to earn money to buy Cadence’s freedom. The job offer comes from the kingdom’s executioner and his betrothed, Princess Bryn. Things become a bit confusing when Bryn and Faris are captured and the “owners” change hands a couple of times. Once that’s settled, the situation begins to clear up again. Bryn and Faris end up riding with North, a mysterious young man with secrets of his own. The relationships sparkle and the world frightens in this dark, dreary fantasy made up of magic that cripples and sometimes completely transforms. A range of emotions surrounds the storyline and tragedy, intensity and brutality sum up the characters’ lives. Deeply dynamic, Shimmer and Burn is waiting to pull you into its world! 5 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Storey Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Girls’ Home Spa Lab by Maya Pagan! A wonderful collection of self-care advice, tips and recipes for pre-teen girls, teenagers and women of all ages. Simple directions make this guide helpful and the projects doable, from sleep masks to foot cream! A must have book for teens everywhere, 5 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the opportunity to read and review Plague Land Reborn by Alex Scarrow!
The story opens with Leon’s father when the plague hit New York, two years earlier and alternating with the present from Leon’s point of view. The virus has gained strength and intelligence while absorbing human bodies and their memories. Tom continues to search for Leon and Grace while working with the government to rescue survivors of the virus. I don’t want to give anything away but I will say that the virus has evolved enough to mimic animals and humans; humans that people recognize, making discovering the virus even more difficult. The creepy factor kept me interested and I was curious about Tom and his children’s futures. 4 stars!
Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper opens with a marvelous introduction that grants the reader insight into the author’s imagination and I’m instantly pulled into the story within the first two pages. Simon, Jane and Barney are with their parents visiting Great Uncle Merry when they discover an old manuscript that possibly tells information about King Arthur. The siblings are afraid to tell their parents about the manuscript, fearing that they might get in trouble. Instead of confiding in their parents, they tell Great Uncle Merry (GuMerry). He reads the manuscript to them and explains the danger of others who are searching for it and explains how important this manuscript and map is. The siblings go on a quest with their Great Uncle Merry, working together to discover hiding places and thwarting danger along the way, 4 stars!
I received a pdf of Top 80 Keto Pressure Cooker Recipes by Ellen Branson!
The Keto basics are covered right off and then recipes, recipes and more recipes! Recipes are written to easily make the foods in your pressure cooker, saving time! I appreciate the list of foods to eat: leafy greens, dairy products, and fruits and foods to avoid: grains and sugary foods, which simplified the Keto diet. I also appreciate the pressure cooker directions and tips. Each recipe begins with a photograph,clear ingredients list, preparation directions, nutritional facts and serving size. Recipes are categorized, including a section on soups, snacks, meats and vegetarian and more. Helpful and yummy 😋, 5 stars!
I received a pdf of Keto Cookies by Ellen Branson per author request to read and review honestly.
Keto Cookies is a short, sweet cookbook of all things cookie! Less than 60 pages, packed full of sweet treats ideas that follow the Keto diet. Cookies become a little more difficult to make when following the Keto diet because some of the ingredients required are ingredients that I don’t normally have on hand, like almond flour or Stevia (an artificial sweetener). Each recipe has a photograph included and the most fun recipe in the entire book is chocolate bacon cookies! I also learned what Erythritol is, a sugar alcohol. Great recipes for everyone interested in the Keto menu, 5 stars!
Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down! So good, I actually read it twice already!
Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Book Group for the opportunity to read and review Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart!
Serina and her family await Signor Pietro to make his choice of one of the community’s young women who will travel to Bellaqua, join others from different provinces, and vie for the opportunity to be a Grace for the royal Heir. Sera’s mother is thrilled when she’s the one who’s chosen, but her siblings Nomi and Renzo seem to feel otherwise. Sera’s unsure how her father feels. Sera has learned to be happy with the lack of options given to women in Viridia but Nomi openly hates the idea.
The Heir, Malachi, chooses three Graces every three years. This will be his first year of choosing Graces. The Superior has forty Graces and everyone assumes he will step down and let the Heir rule Viridia. At the ball, Nomi wanders into a palace library and notices a beautiful copy of the book Renzo taught her to read with, when they were younger. Reading is forbidden for women but Nomi loves to read. She slips this book into her clothes and as she’s going back to the ball, runs straight into the Heir and his younger brother Asa. The Heir demands to know what she’s doing and she coyly answers that she was using the restroom and if he needs it she points to where it is. Nomi can’t fathom how she could have been so rude to the Heir and she’s sure she’s going to be sent home. Sera is the only young woman the Heir dances with at the ball. He makes his decision afterwards, choosing two women and then Nomi instead of Sera! Grace and Fury is fast paced and full of intrigue! This magnificent book twists and turns with suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat! Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. Fantastic writing, unique storyline and intriguing characters make Grace and Fury a must-read- 5 stars!
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir is an amazing sequel! On the run, Elias and Laia work together to evade capture. Helene undergoes intense, brutal interrogation but her father makes a bargain with Marcus, the Emperor, to free her. Elias ends up poisoned, so he and Laia travel to Raider’s Roost for medicine. Elias is in and out of consciousness while Laia fights to keep him alive as they travel for help. Helene has been summoned and given the order to hunt down Elias and then execute him publicly. Helene takes her chosen and trusted Masks and Harper, the commandant’s spy, as the Black Guard to search for Elias. As the story progresses, the suspense builds and I don’t want to give anything away because the suspense makes this great story even better. Each character reveals a back story and, with so many twists and surprises, the book is hard to put down. Complex characters and dynamic storytelling mixed with the author’s descriptive writing makes an intense, interesting sequel! 5 stars!
These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch is a pirating adventure full of conspiracy! The prologue introduces our three main characters: Ben, Lu and Vex. Chapter One starts six years later when Ben and Vex are nineteen and Lu is seventeen. Ben is royalty, Vex is a pirate and Lu was a warrior, now turned politician. Lu and Vex work together to find a missing diplomat and settle the peace in their country. I enjoy the personalities of Lu, Vex and Nayeli, who is part of Vex’s crew. I never really felt empathy or interest for Ben until his friend Jakes shows him the truth about the kingdom. After that moment, twists pop up and I couldn’t stop reading until I finished the book! These Rebel Waves contains characters with depth and humor. They were very fun to read about and I’m looking forward to the sequel, These Divided Shores. 4 stars!