A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas tells the story of nineteen-year-old Feyre (pronounced fA-ru).  She is the youngest of three sisters, living in a small shack with their father. Their mother died eleven years ago when they were still well off. Since then, their father has been somewhat crippled and the family has lost everything. Feyre hunts and takes care of the family when no one else will. The eldest sister Nesta is a snooty brat and Elain, the middle sister, doesn’t seem to think herself capable but she’s much kinder than Nesta. Unknowingly, Feyre kills a High-Fae. He looked like an oversized wolf and she felt like her family could benefit from its pelt. A large beast shows up at Feyre’s family home looking for retribution and offers her the choice of death or to live in Prythian with the High-Fae. She chooses to live. It takes two days to get to the beast’s home and Feyre is treated as a guest. Tamlin, the shape shifting beast, makes sure to care for Feyre’s family so she won’t worry about their welfare. He also changed their memories of Feyre being taken into something pleasant. Eventually, Feyre becomes comfortable in Tamlin’s home and they build their acquaintance into something more. The faerie world is being threatened and Tamlin worries about Feyre’s safety, so he sends her home. Trouble compounds from that point. This is a love story, reminiscent of a Beauty and the Beast fairytale, with strong characters. I especially like Rhysand with his cunning, clever personality. A wonderful beginning to a riveting fantasy series, 5 stars!

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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Riveting historical fiction!
Thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for the opportunity to read and review Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young! Eelyn goes to battle with her fellow clansmen and is saved by Iri, her brother that died five years ago. Iri fell in battle and everyone thought he had died. He fell into a ravine that his clan couldn’t get down into, but the Riki clan that they were fighting managed to get to him, save his life and help him heal. Eelyn discovers this after she followed Iri and was captured by Fiske from the Riki clan. Now she’s facing being sold to a different clan because the clan she’s with doesn’t know what to do with her. Fiske ends up buying her so no harm comes to Eelyn. Fiske and his family are the people who saved Iri, who has become part of their family and has vowed himself to the Riki clan. A world opens up to Eelyn as she sees that the two clans are alike and they both have an extremely dangerous, terrorizing common enemy. Sky in the Deep brings the lifestyle of Vikings up close and personal and allows the reader to see and feel their thoughts, reasoning and family bonds that made the Vikings formidable. 5 stars for the insightful story of love, loyalty and beliefs of the Vikings!

STEAM Play & Learn by Ana Dziengel

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Creative entertainment!
Thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing for the opportunity to read and review STEAM Play & Learn by Ana Dziengel. This is a wonderful book filled with twenty projects, ranging from easy to difficult and all geared towards science, technology, engineering, art and math. Fun and helpful illustrations bring this project book to life and the detailed instructions are perfect! I love the STEAM applications and notes following each project. A must-have book for anyone wanting a little creative entertainment in their lives- 5 stars!

Wintersong and Shadowsong by S. Jae Jones

Wintersong review:

Suspenseful fantasy at its best!
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review Wintersong by S. Jae Jones!
The beginning section, entitled Overture, beautifully explains the story of Elisabeth and the Goblin King. Elisabeth lives with her two siblings, mother, father and grandmother running an inn for their living. Papa drinks too much and that leaves Mother to take care of everything and everyone, with Elisabeth’s help. Josef is the youngest and musically talented. He plays the violin with Elisabeth as his accompaniment. She composes music and plays the piano while Josef helps bring her music to life with his violin. Kathe is the middle child, with beauty and a happy, bright demeanor. Kathe is captured by the Goblin King and Elisabeth must find her before the next full moon or all is lost. Little does Elisabeth know how much she must sacrifice if she’s truly going to save her sister. Suspenseful fantasy at its best, 5 stars!

Shadowsong review:

Beautiful prose and loyal, loving characters!
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review Shadowsong by S. Jae Jones!
At the onset, the author warns about content being possibly triggering due to the addressing of the issues of self-harm, addiction, reckless behaviors and suicidal ideation. Resources are also given to help. These issues have been a part of the author’s life and reality. This has given her a true understanding of these topics.
The characters reveal themselves in more than one way. Elisabeth, her brother Josef, sister Kathe and Francois, Josef’s accompaniest and friend, travel to Venice after being summoned by an unknown benefactor. The story takes place during the height of classical music. The family has a curse that some call insanity. They see goblins, the Goblin King and kingdom. The siblings are separated by the benefactors, the Count and Countess take Elisabeth and Josef to Snovin Hall for their safety while Kathe and Francois are sent away. Both parties don’t know what has happened to the other pair and are deeply concerned for them. I love the story of the wheelwright, with his loss, supposed madness and death. Beautiful writing that truly showcases the author’s work. Beautiful prose and loyal, loving characters make this story interesting and the dark danger makes it exciting. 5 stars!

All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan

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Sad, harsh, funny and enlightening all at the same time!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan. After reading the synopsis, I thought the story would be harsh and depressing. It’s both of those with a bit of humor added into the mix. It’s almost a desperation humor and a way for the main character, Ronney to deal with his rough life. He’s fifteen and pretty much like a parent to his younger sister Mina, who’s extremely smart. Their mother holds a job and brings home a paycheck but she’s deeply depressed. Their father flubbed a suicide attempt and only has use of one of his arms. He’s depressed and mostly hangs out in his bedroom. Ronney helps with home repairs and his little sister’s homework. He’s in love with his best friend but she’s dating his other best friend, Jello. Ronney’s life is full of complications and he’s barely dealing. The zoo animals are set loose and Jello wants to safari and do a photo shoot with all of the loose animals he can find. This adds comic relief to the story and also danger. The story is sad, harsh, enlightening and funny all at the same time, 4 stars!

Little Boy Lost by J.D. Trafford

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Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford tells the story of a lawyer, Justin Glass, who is down on his luck, gets a visit from a young girl looking for her missing brother, willing to pay for his help with a jar full of change. He asks around and eventually discovers that the missing brother is part of a mass grave full of many murdered young men. All of the victims were criminals in one way or another and the perpetrator seems like he could be some sort of vigilante. In the meantime, Justin gets an awesome paralegal, Emma. She’s from Bosnia and was a certified lawyer there. Since she knows about the legal system, she gets Justin and his office in tip top shape.
While helping with this case, he’s dealing with being a single parent and feeling helpless when he discovers that his daughter is being bullied. Dealing with the murder case, he seems to be doing more investigating than the law enforcement is. With the help of his paralegal and her close-by relatives, Justin Glass is able to solve the mystery but this puts his life in danger also. A strong cast of characters and a suspenseful mystery that tugs at the heartstrings, 4 stars!

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

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Interesting mystery!
Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Children’s Publishing for the chance to read and review The Leaving by Tara Altebrando!
The story opens with the anticipation of people returning after being gone for eleven years, alternating between various points of view from the teens returning, individually and as a group, and their family members. Six kindergarten students were taken and five returned eleven years later with absolutely no memory of where they’ve been. Investigators and search parties found no evidence eleven years ago to help find the children but now, with the returned teens help and a few others, the investigation is making progress. The Leaving tells a tale of “what if?”, while addressing a controversial topic. 4 stars for this interesting mystery.

Hypertufa Containers by Lori Chips

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Thanks to NetGalley and Timber Press for the opportunity to read and review Hypertufa Containers by Lori Chips. Hypertufa containers or troughs are made from cement, peat moss, perlite and fiber mesh and they are frost-resistant and meant to bring miniature alpine plants up close for better viewing. Photos and detailed instructions and information give everything needed to create your own hypertufa containers. The only thing missing is your imagination and supplies! A list of categorized plants is included along with a glossary and zonal information. Helpful and creative-4 stars!

Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton

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Magical historical fiction!
Cinderella is the Queen and is in possession of the dress that holds magic. Her stepsisters have married into a rival kingdom and Cinderella sends her most trusted servant on a mission to protect the dress. Time moves forward to the servant’s descendant granddaughter during World War II, Kate Allen. Kate Allen lives with her brother Floyd and their mother. Mr. Allen is in Europe, during the war, protecting art. Floyd joins up and goes to basic training and eventually over to Europe after the war is over. Their great aunt and uncle arrive at the Allen’s apartment with a mysterious trunk that holds a precious secret. I love Shonna Slayton’s writing style and how she mixes true historical facts into a fairytale story. The complicated story line brings many dynamic characters together to tell a Cinderella tale within the awesome World War II setting. I am anxious to read Cinderella’s Shoes, the sequel to this book worth a magical 5 stars!

Addiction, Procrastination and Laziness by Roman Gelperin

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AddictionProcrastination and Laziness by Roman Gelperin. The first third of the book relates certain experiences that we can all relate to and involves the scientific side of procrastination. The next part focuses on motivation, which I was the most interested in reading. Motivation seems to be based on pleasure versus displeasure of the action and consequences involved. Strategies are given to help with motivation, such as The Power of Habit and Association and Controlling our Environment. The experiences are recapped and the conclusion sums it all up with the fact that each of us is different with different backgrounds and insecurities and talents and skills. These factors all contribute a part of why we might procrastinate in certain situations. We all need to reflect on these factors in our own lives and apply what we learn about ourselves to help accomplish goals we’ve set. 3.5 stars for a simple guide for conquering procrastination.