This is hands down the most thought-provoking book I have read all year and just may end up in my top three favorites for 2023.
In R.F Kuang’s debut into literary fiction we meet two young female authors: the wildly successful Athena Liu, and the not-so-successful-teetering-on-the-edge-of-ultimate-failure June Hayward. June and Athena are celebrating the success of Athena's novel being picked up by Netflix when Athena unexpectedly and very much so out of the blue….dies. While waiting for emergency services, June comes across the manuscript her "friend" (I use the term lightly) was working on. Then she takes it. She publishes it. And for the first time in her life, she has a national best seller. At the peak of her success, June begins to get social media messages... from Athena. Then, she begins to see her out on the street and can't seem to determine whether she's really alive or dead. If she's alive, June is really in trouble because Athena has the power to bring her success and credibility crashing to the ground.
Kuang gracefully addresses the subject of cultural appropriation in a way that, even months after reading, she still has me thinking about it. She also does an incredible job at creating grey moral areas for her characters. You know what they have done is wrong and inexcusable, but at points, you can't help but feel (confusedly) bad for them.
Sharp, haunting and captivating, this book should be on everyone’s summer reading list.
I going to say it. I am not a nonfiction reader. It’s my Achilles heel when it comes to reading, and if you would have told me that I would be RECOMMENDING and WRITING a nonfiction book review, I would have asked you where the real Maris had gone. Fear not. I did here and truly read a nonfiction book and just plain, down right LOVED it.
Finkle details the life of Stephane Breitwieser who, in the 1990s, over the course of seven years, stole over $2 billion worth of art. We’re not talking the Mona Lisa. He stole smaller, little-known pieces, and he wasn’t stealing them to then sell off to make a profit. He was stealing them because they spoke to him, because he had such an appreciation for them that he simply had to have each and every piece that he took. Breitwieser kept all of his stolen treasures hidden and locked away in the second bedroom of the house he lived in with his mother and girlfriend.
I had to constantly keep reminding myself while reading this book that it was all REAL! Breitwieser comes across as quite an interesting protagonist. For nonfiction and fiction readers alike The Art Thief is a true treasure of a read.
I love myself a retelling of a classic, well-known story especially when it’s a retelling from a seemingly-insignificant, extra character; even more so when that character/point of view is a woman. Rosaline, a character who we hear of but never from in Shakespeare's iconic Romeo and Juliet, is given a voice to tell her side of the tale and what a story she has to tell!
When her mother suddenly passes away from the plague Rosaline is told by her father that she will be sent to a convent to spend the rest of her life as a nun. At just sixteen years old Rosaline with her fierce spirit and lust for life convinces her father to put off sending her for twelve nights. With her days of freedom numbered, Rosaline intends to make the most of her time, starting by sneaking into a party thrown by her family's one true enemy: the Montagues. It’s at this party that Rosaline meets Romeo and is swept off her feet into a love affair with him. As the days of their forbidden romance rush by, Rosaline begins to unravel that Romeo is not who he seems, and when his dangerous affections turn from her to her cousin, Juliet, she sets her mind to saving Juliet from Romeo's wicked ways.
Natasha Solomons brilliantly shines a light on a tale/time where women’s voices were silenced. Rosaline’s story will leave readers with a new belief and understanding for the classic play.
I don’t know how I missed this MASTERPIECE by Blake Crouch, but WOW am I glad that I stumbled upon it! Pines is the first book in the Wayward Pines series (which was made into a TV series that I apparently missed as well, and in true Mr. Crouch fashion, it's a twisty, mind-bending thriller that will leave you thinking, "What on earth did I just read and I NEED MORE!?"
The good news is that there are two other books in the series. (Which I have immediately started reading…because I couldn't stop after book one.) Without giving away too much, Pines begins with secret service agent, Ethan Burke, waking up in a hospital in a town called Wayward Pines, Idaho. He was on his way to the town to investigate the disappearance of two of his fellow agents, when a semi hit the car he was traveling in just outside of town. Ethan soon realizes that he is without his wallet, phone, and briefcase - none of which anyone really seems to be able to tell him where they are. As the days pass, Ethan begins to unravel things that are not quite right in Wayward Pines.
I’ll stop there and just say that not all is as it appears in this book, and it will keep you on the edge of your seat (it will literally happen as you read, and you'll be moving all over the place - it’s impossible not to) until the very end.
This book had me reading it as if my life depended on it. Five pages in and I knew without a doubt that I was going to absolutely LOVE it. It checks off all the boxes. Strong. No. Bad ASS female character, non-stop action and adventure, enemies to lovers romance and dragons, LOTS of dragons. It’s Eragon, meets Game of Thrones with just the right amount of Sarah J. Maas. It’s the quintessential fantasy read for this summer.
Violet Sorrengail has gone her entire life planning to become a scribe. Her plans get derailed when her mother proclaims that she is instead to follow in her family’s footsteps and become a dragon rider. Violet was never meant to be a rider, she’s everything that a rider shouldn’t be she’s weak in body and painfully small. However her mind is sharper than most and she will have to use every ounce of wit and cunning to stay alive in a school that is trying it’s hardest to get her killed, not only in lessons but by her fellow classmates as well. To top it all off she’s the number one target on Xaden Riorsens, the schools most powerful dragon riders list of people to kill, with a family feud that dates back years ago, there’s nothing he won’t do to get his revenge. While battling within the school walls to stay alive an even larger battle is happening outside the safety of the school, where not all may be as it seems and age old enemies just may be allies.
There was no official center of the universe until No Two Persons came along. This book is the bright and shining beacon among which all others revolve. A powerful and mighty testament to how one single story can alter the lives of different people in vastly different ways. As an avid reader, a lover of stories that sweep you away and a bookseller who understands that books truly do have the power to change a persons life, this book spoke to me on so many levels that cannot even begin to be express in one review. Like the book itself each day that I think on it I take away something different from the last. No Two Persons is about a young writer whose first debut novel hits the shelves with huge success. And it is that story contained in her book the ripples out and touches the lives of ten vastly different people in very different ways, from a free diver in Florida seeking the depths calling out to him from the bight blue waters. A widower setting off to become a caretaker for a ghost town. To a young girl trying to get through high school all while hiding the secret that she is homeless and alone. No Two Persons shows us how the power of a book can effect and change people in many different ways.
I read this book in two days. I only put it down on day one because it was getting late, and I'm not a night-owl. But when I laid down, I could not for all the sheep in the galaxy stop thinking about the characters and their story. Needless to say, the first thing the next day, the book was in my hand, I was in my reading chair with my cat on and off my lap, and I finished the book. To say it felt like I was watching a soap opera feels wrong, like I'm calling the story tacky or overly dramatic. It DID feel to me like a soap opera, but done in a tasteful, endearing and raw/real way. My heart sang for the Padavano family and the triumphs and tragedies that they endured over the span of many decades. It’s a story of love, of life and loss, of family and forgiveness. Of what it means to be human. Hello Beautiful is just as its title entails: beautiful.
A modern day Downton Abbey with a twist of Crazy Rich Asians and a hint of Arrested Development. Pineapple Street has wit and charm that will leave readers grinning from ear to ear. I picked up this book after a deep binge of a fantasy series (Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass) and was in need of something completely different to help heal my soul from having no more Maas books to read. This book was the perfect cure! A bright and entertaining read about an upper class, old money family in New York struggling with what we all deal with regardless of our net worth: life. Infused with humor while also tackling topics that are extremely relevant in our world today. Pineapple Street will have you humming along to Cyndi Lauper’s Money Changes Everything and leave you thinking on how money can change things for the better and the worst all at the same time.
Never has the infamous line, “What’s in the box?!” felt more on point for a book. Adelaide Henry is a young black woman, born and raised on a farm in California who sets out to escape her past one morning by setting her family home aflame with the deceased bodies of her parents inside. All she takes with her is a bag and a large steamer case that holds within it the secret that she’s been keeping since birth, a secret that won’t let her escape her past no matter how far she flees. A terrifying and wild ride of a novel that will leave readers in awe of Adelaide and her dark, dangerous, inescapable past. It's a western, historical fiction, and a dash of horror all in one. Lone Women is a powerful tale of what it truly means to be just that, a lone woman, coming to terms with her past and making a life for herself amid a world of monsters and men.
I have never been one to watch scary movies, venture into haunted houses or corn mazes around Halloween, or even go on any kind of amusement park ride that might be slightly spooky. Yet for some reason when it comes to scary books, I’m all in with zero hesitation, and have no clue as to why my fear evaporates when they come in book form. Grady Hendrix is, in my opinion, one of the supreme rulers in scare-your-pants-off-not-sleeping-tonight reads and How to Sell a Haunted House does just that.Louise and her brother Mark have never been close. She lives on the west coast, while Mark has remained in Charleston where they grew up. When their parents suddenly both die one night in a car accident Louise and Mark are thrust together in the aftermath. Among the many affairs they need to set in order is the selling of their parents house, which is a little easier said than done… because the house doesn’t WANT to be sold. And it has other plans for them as well.This book is PACKED full of all the scares, from puppets and dolls with sinister motives to a squirrel nativity arts and crafts project coming to life, it offers up a great horror book to kick off the new year.
The stand-alone prequel to The Priory of the Orange Tree, A Day of Fallen Night is an unstoppable force of feminist magic and might. Meet the three vastly different women of this epic:1- Tunuva. A high-ranking sister of the Priory of the Orange Tree, trained along with her sisters to be warriors and protectors against the Nameless one and his wyrms.2- Glorian. A young princess and heir of the northern kingdom of Inys, struggling with the responsibilities of her birth and country’s religious beliefs, which specifies that only her blood can protect them from the Nameless One's return. Her main duties are to protect her family line and produce an heir.3- Dumai. A commoner, raised her entire life in a temple in the mountains to the east. Her life completely shifts when she learns who her father is and is thrust into a life where she must navigate the ever dangerous politics and schemes of court.When the threat of the return of the Nameless One arises, all three of these women are set on the same path, protecting their world from an evil that threatens to shatter it all.This book is at its core about mothers and daughters and the bonds that they share through love, life and loss. It will delight and devastate in equal measure and have you burning through the pages like wyvern fire, leaving you wishing there were another 500 pages to devour. No worries for those who have not read Priory of the Orange Tree. You can jump right in and read this book. However, I highly urge you to read that one as well since they are both absolutely magnificent!
'Tis the season for spooky and thrilling reads, and Hidden Pictures checks off both of those must haves - especially for October reading. Mallory, a recovering addict fresh out of rehab, secures a job through her sponsor as a nanny for a family who have just moved into a wealthy New Jersey suburb. Right from the start, Mallory hits it off with 5-year-old Teddy and fits in with the Maxwell family, so much so that she is invited to stay in the family's guest house in the backyard. Teddy is sweet and shy with a passion for drawing. He and Mallory spend their days taking walks through the forest, baking, and drawing. But they’re not alone in their adventures.Teddy has an imaginary friend who joins in with them and at times, to Mallory's dismay, seems to have too much say into their activities. One day after a session of drawing, Mallory notices something different about Teddy’s usual sketches of balloons, stick figures and animals. They seem to have taken a sinister turn. Especially the one of a man dragging a woman’s body through the woods. As Teddy’s drawings continue and become more and more detailed Mallory's concern grows, and she begins to worry that the images may in fact be a real murder.
Part horror story, part thriller with a chilling touch of the paranormal, Hidden Pictures is the perfect fit for this Halloween season. AND to take it above and beyond on the creepy scale, Teddy’s drawings are shown throughout the book. This is the touch making this book the one that will have you reading late into the night with a night light ...or two... left on just to be safe.
If you have come into the store and we’ve talked I’ve most likely asked you if you’ve read The Silent Patient (if you haven’t you very very much need to). It’s hands down my all time favorite thriller and has had me on the hunt for other books that have that same jaw-dropping, mind-blowing ending. Daisy Darker does just that!
The Darker family has some DARK secrets; secrets that they would all prefer stay that way, but as we all know, there is no keeping anything secret forever. After many years of estrangement, the entire Darker clan is gathering to celebrate the family matricharch’s 80th birthday. Nana’s home is located on a small tidal island. Once the tide comes in, it is cut off from the outside world for eight hours. Eight entire hours that ensure that every Darker is trapped together under one roof with no way of escape. When the clock strikes midnight on October 31st, Nana is found dead. An hour later, another family member meets their demise. With no way of escape and no phone service or wifi, the Darkers must unearth each of the secrets they’ve been harboring to try to figure out who among them is killing them off one by one before it’s too late. Reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Daisy Darker will keep you guessing until the very end with a conclusion that you won’t see coming.
OH MY GODS IS IT GOOD!
A true work of art. The Marriage Portrait is Maggie O’Farrell’s Masterpiece. Words can only begin to express how absolutely perfect this novel is. Each word, each sentence, each page is masterfully crafted to bring to life a character and a story that will leave readers madly enchanted. As she did in Hamnet, O'Farrell has fired up her time machine, taking us to Florence during the Italian Renaissance, to tell the tale of Lucrezia di Cosimo de' Medici. Lucrezia’s fire, passion and spirit burn through each and every page, compelling readers to root for her from the first sentence to the last.
We follow Lucrezia’s life from her birth as the 5th child to the Duke and Duchess of Florence; a child whose imagination and very being cannot be contained. As a young girl of 13, she finds herself betrothed to the Duke of Ferrara, who was the fiancé of her eldest sister, who has recently passed away. Lucrezia marries him at age 14, only to die suddenly a year later under mysterious circumstances. If you read one book this year, this is that book! If you don’t have time to read, this book is worth making the time for. If you need something to transport you to a different time and place, this is that book. If you need to read something life changing, this is the book to change your life!!
(September 6th can't get here soon enough.)
From the very first chapter, I knew that I was going to absolutely adore and struggle to put down this one. Readers follow the lives of six female descendants of Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America in 1834. We experience the struggles and heartbreak that each of these women went through during drastically different times in history. Through Dorthy, Faye, Zoe, Lai King, Greta, and Afong herself we learn that trauma, like many things in life, is passed down from generation to generation. Dorothy and her young daughter, Annabell,are the most recent descendants of Afong living in the year 2045. In hopes of sparing her daughter from the deep depression that has plagued her her entire life, Dorothy seeks out an experimental treatment called Epigenetics in which patients experience events from their decedent’s past and the tramas that they experienced that have then been passed down/inherited through DNA. As Dorthy experiences more and more memories from her descendants' pasts, she also discovers that a deeply-rooted love is woven throughout all of their lives as well. Dorthy holds not only the key to her and her daughter's futures, but possibly the key to the women’s lives of the past as well. A haunting story that will stick with you, ingrained in your DNA, and be passed through the ages from one reader to the next.
This spine-tingling twist on Mary Shelly’s iconic Frankenstein asks the question, "What really is a monster? and, "Do we all indeed have a monster inside?" Alternating between 1970s events to 2019 events, we follow Lizzy, or as she was known as a child, Violet, on the hunt for her very own monster…her sister Iris.
Lizzy/Violet, grew up loving all things monsters while living with her renowned psychiatrist grandmother and younger brother on the grounds of a highly-acclaimed treatment center. One day her grandmother returns home from the clinic with a young girl who does not speak and has no memory of her past. Her name is Iris, and according to Gran she is to be Violet's and her brother's new sister. Vi and her brother are instantly drawn to Iris and her mysterious past, and as Iris begins to warm up to her new siblings, her past raises questions that will set the course for all of their futures. From this moment forward, Vi and her family's lives will never be the same.
In 2019, we find Lizzy as an acclaimed “Monster Hunter," and famous for her podcast featuring different monster lore from various towns around the country. As she begins to catch wind of local girls going missing at the hands of what people believe to be the fabled monster of their towns, Lizzy begins to piece together that it is indeed a single monster that is taking these girls, and one that she knows all too well; her sister.
This haunting read is packed full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end, and bring you to question whether monsters are born or created.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, especially ones with a strong feminist voice and even more so when they include... DRAGONS! Kelly Barnhill has pulled a Quentin Tarantino (think Inglorious Basterds) and re-written history. One fateful day in 1955, almost 700,000 women in the United States transformed into dragons and took to the skies. The government has been trying to wipe "The Mass Dragoning of 1955" from history ever since.
Alex Green was only a child when The Mass Dragoning occured. Alex lost her aunt that day who sprouted wings, a tail and scales, but her mother, her aunt's sister, did not transform. Be this by choice or some kind of science, the cause for dragoning in some women vs. others is unknown. From that moment on, to speak of "the event," her aunt’s existence, or even dragons in general, is considered highly inappropriate. Alex must navigate in a world where her gender is thought of as inferior to her male counterparts, where even the thought of dragons is forbidden, and where she is told to look down and avoid looking up into the skies above.
This book had me going to my laptop and googling Mass Dragoning of 1955, even though it was just an event in the book, …or was it? Keep your eyes on the skies ladies and gentlemen. Who knows what you just might see flying above?
Kaikeyi is a book that I have been counting down the DAYS to read ever since Alex Ness told me about it last year. I’m over the moon excited to say that it was BEYOND worth the wait!
Focusing on the myth of the Ramayana, Vaishnavi Patel tells this historic tale from Kaikeyi’s point of view. As one of the myth's central villains, and stepmother to the God Rama, this age-old myth is cast in an entirely new light. Kaikeyi is the first born in her family, but because she is not born a man, her twin brother is set to inherit their father's kingdom. When their father banishes their mother from the kingdom, Kaikeyi discovers a gift she never knew she possessed. She can enter into a mental state she calls "the binding plane," where she is able to see the bonds that connect her with all those in her life and in turn, influence the choices/feelings of those she is bonded with. It’s this discovery and this power that sets into motion the epic tale that is the Ramayana! If you don’t know much about Kaikeyi and her role in the Ramayana or about the Ramayana itself, never fear! Vaishnavi Patel does a magnificent job in this retelling, and I would even highly recommend not reading about Kaikeyi and her role before starting this book.
For fans of Circe, Song of Achilles, Ariadne and The Witch’s Heart, it’s another fantastic myth retelling that should live on everyone's bookshelves.
If there is anything that I am a huge sucker for, it's anything mythology based, a beautiful cover, and ketchup… (I just can't say no!) Now that I’m craving ketchup, let's talk about this not-to-be-missed book! I couldn’t put it down, and once I finished it, I instantly wanted to read it all over again. Inspired by a Chinese legend, the Moon Goddess's daughter, Xingyin, sets out on an impossible quest to free her mother from the imprisonment by the Celestial Emperor - she defied him by drinking the elixir of life. Xingyin, whose mother has kept a secret from both the celestial and mortal realm, is forced to flee her home on the moon when a threat arises that could reveal her to all. Thrust into the celestial realm alone, Xingyin takes it upon herself to free her mother of her enchantment no matter the costs. Through luck, she finds herself the companion to Prince Liwei, the son of the very man who has imprisoned her mother on the moon. Years pass as Xingyin learns beside Liwei how to control her magic and fight, excelling especially in archery. In her years training alongside Prince Liwei, a strong bond of friendship is forged between the two, along with a budding romance.
Page-turning non-stop action and twists and turns that just keep coming and coming, will have you reading this book from cover to cover in one sitting! Book one of a dulogugy The Daughter of the Moon Goddess shines brighter than the moon itself and is one that cannot be missed.
I just love a good witch book, and A Lullaby for Witches is the perfect way to kick off 2022: in pure glorious witch fashion! Augusta Podos lands the job of her dreams at Harlowe House, the historic home of a wealthy New England family, located for generations in a small town in Massachusetts. Her first project? Curate a collection from the house’s historical artifacts. When she stumbles upon a vague reference to a woman named Margaret Harlowe from 150 years ago, who seems to have been erased from the family's history, she begins to dig deeper into Margaret's past. What she uncovers may be more dark and sinister than she could have ever imagined. This is a book that will keep you reading from start to finish!
Molly is a maid at an upscale hotel. Molly takes her job very seriously and strives for nothing but perfection day in and day out. Molly has no idea that her life is about to be completely turned upside down.
When cleaning her usual suite for a well-known and long-time hotel guest, she discovers him dead in his room. Being the first one to discover his body Molly is inevitably tied into the investigation of the murder and may just know more than she claims. This book is great for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove.
A murder-mystery-who-done-it, infused with humor and charm.
Calling all fans of Circe, Song of Achilles and Ariadne! With our "Summer of the Myth" window display in full force, it had me hankering to get my hands on a new Greek mythology retelling. Rejoice! I found Daughters of Sparta, and it's the perfect read for that void in your life.
This is the tale of Clytemnestra and Helen, Sparta’s eldest and youngest daughters, as they mature from young girls to women. We follow the choices they make/that are made for them that eventually lead to one of the most epic and lengthy battles in all of history: the siege of Troy. If you’re not familiar with this specific Greek Myth you’re in for a real page-turner. It’s a fast paced read that is absolutely perfect for the end of summer! It will leave you with new knowledge, as well as a craving for even more mythological re-tellings. (See window link referenced above.) I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more and more of these types of books as they are just toooooooo good to be true: history, fiction, suspense, and a bit of romance. Who could ask for more?!
Alright so I’m not going to lie, when I picked up this book I was skeptical of the adventure we were about to embark on together. In my overwhelming excitement to read Anthony Doerr’s much anticipated next novel (after personally waiting for seven agonizing years since All the Light We Cannot See), I was a little put off and confused at the description.. "This sounds nothing like All The Light We Cannot See," I thought to myself. 1400s Constantinople, 2020 Idaho, and a spaceship in the future…. What on Earth or should I say, this galaxy, was I getting myself into? It may sound like all these things can't possibly go together and make sense, but the wordsmith-magician and master-storyteller, Anthony Doerr makes it work. AND THEN SOME!
He connects all three drastically different settings and characters through the power of story, proving that the written word truly transcends time and space by connecting us all: past, future, and present. (Think Canticle for Leibowitz.) This is a book not to be missed, and I have to say it has been my favorite read so far in 2021. With a cast of unforgettable characters and just a hands down beautifully and creatively crafted story, it's one of those books that will stay with you and leave you wanting to read it again and again.
I love and I mean LOVE me a good Western. I try to re-read Lonesome Dove at least once every couple of years (it’s hands down my all time favorite western novel). When I heard a new western was coming out AND was on the Indie Bestseller list, I just had to read it. And man oh man I'm glad that I did! It’s a tale packed full of revenge, payback, vengeance, retribution and even some magic! Set Post-Civil War, Ming Tsu was abandoned by his Chinese parents, adopted, and raised to be a killer. When his wife is taken away from him, and Ming is cast off and forced into a work camp for the rail line, he begins to plot his revenge. Ming marshals a list of all those who have wronged him, and sets out to find and kill each and everyone of them in order to get his wife back. He is joined on his journey by the Prophet, an elderly blind Chinese man who has the power of sight. As the Prophet and Ming set out on their journey, they encounter an unlikely group of traveling companions in a band of circus entertainers who are much more than they seem and are also traveling west. Each page is dripping with revenge at its finest, a perfect read for the summer that will have you wanting to join Ming on his quest for vengeance and ride off into the sunset.
The first daughter is for the Throne. The second daughter is for the Wolf. Those two lines say it all when beginning to describe this wonderful, dark, fantasy novel. Redarys (Red) has the misfortune in life of being born the second daughter. Her twin sister Nevarah (Neve) born first is destined to be queen, while Red is destined to be sacrificed to the Wilderwood and the nightmarish Wolf who dwells there. On her 20th birthday the time has come, and the mark has appeared on Red’s arm signaling that the sacrifice must be made. Her sacrifice is not in vain, for it brings with it hope to the kingdom that the long lost 5 kings who have been trapped by the Wilderwood will finally be released. Without spoiling anything, all is NOT what it seems, and Red quickly learns this upon entering the infamous Wilderwood. The legends and myths that have surrounded her her whole life are a lie: the wolf is not some dark, twisted creature waiting to feast upon her, but a man, and the wood is not as villainous as it seems. With a set of wonderfully developed characters, Whitten takes readers on a dark adventure of good vs evil, darkness vs light, and righteousness vs corruption, all the while managing to twist some romance in there as well. A great read for this summer, and one that will have you counting down the seconds ’til the second book is released.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Martha Hall Kelly’s million-copy bestseller Lilac Girls introduced readers to Caroline Ferriday.
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When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive national bestselling debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.
"The Bestselling Hardcover Novel of the Year."--Publishers Weekly
I LOVE to cook. If my 17-year-old self would have seen me typing these words, she would have thought we were just plain out of my mind. Cooking was never my thing growing up. While my family always sat down at the dinner table each night to eat a home cooked meal, (usually prepared by my dad...sorry mom) the process of cooking was never something that interested me - too much time spent chopping, boiling, juicing and cleaning afterwards when I could be reading!
Having a house/kitchen of my own sparked my interest, and now I can't go a night without cooking something up for dinner. It's become my version of meditation at the end of each day. My go-to cookbook is the Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor by Gina Homolka. At least 2-3 meals per week in our house are pulled from this cookbook OR one of her cookbooks. All the recipes are relatively easy to make, and even better, they are at a lower number of calories which, I kid you not, you can't even tell the difference! They're that out of this world! I've never been a calorie counter, and at this point in life don't think, I ever will get in the habit, but knowing that the recipes that I'm cooking and eating are on the healthier side leaves not only my mind feeling good but my body as well.
Some of my favorite recipes to cook from this book are: Chicken Marsala on the Lighter Side (my boyfriend now refuses to have any other kind of chicken marsala than this specific one, it's constantly in our weekly meal rotation), Make-Ahead Western Omelette Muffins, Coconut Chicken Salad with Warm Honey Mustard Vinaigrette, Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken and Broccoli, So-Addicted Chicken Enchiladas, and My House Salad Filled With Love. You really can't go wrong with any recipe in this book. They're all incredible and will leave your taste buds rejoicing with glee!
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I will always and forever be a fan of historical fiction. I try to devour as much as I can... on top of all the other great genres! From the very first page of Yellow Wife, I was completely enthralled, and I found that I could not stop thinking about it - which to me has always been a sign of a great read!
The book takes place in Virginia in the 1850s. Pheby Delores Brown is living on a plantation with her mother and has been promised her whole life that when she reaches the age of 18 she will be granted her freedom and no longer be a slave. When unforeseen events occur, the promise of Pheby’s freedom is broken, and she is sold as a slave to the owner and jailer of the infamous jail, "The Devil's Half-Acre," a real-life version of hell on earth. Pheby is forced to become the jailer's mistress and raise a family with him while all hopes of her freedom slip from her grasp.
This is a book that will stick with you after it's finished. Every page was a stark reminder of where our country once was, and it is hard to believe that these events truly happened and that people were treated in this horrific manner. It’s a haunting tale that touches on so many emotions from resentment and fright to hate and love. It truly is not a book to be missed.