Books

The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook by Laura McLively via #NetGalley #Review #Vegetarian

 

Review

Berkeley Bowl Cover

The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook

Recipes Inspired by the Extraordinary Produce of California’s Most Iconic Market

by Laura McLively

Release date: April 17th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook
Recipes Inspired by the Extraordinary Produce of California’s Most Iconic Market
by Laura McLively from NetGalley and Parallax Press in order to read and give an honest review.

Loved this cookbook! It’s nice to bring Californian cuisine to Toronto Canada.  This book was full of amazing vegetarian recipes with unique ingredients, easy to follow instructions, beautiful coloured photographs, and creative seasonal menus.

Although some of the ingredients aren’t found in your average grocery store I was able to find them at a local Asian grocery store. Even if you can’t obtain the ingredients easily, one of the things that impressed me about this book was the fact it gave you a few suitable and easily available substitutions. I was also fond of the fact it categorized the recipes by the type of vegetable you’re using I.e. Leaves; Flower, Seeds and Pods; Spores and Succulents; Stems; Roots and Tubers; and Sweet and Savory Fruit instead of the appetizers, entrees etc.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a culinary adventure! It has something to suit every vegetarians’ taste. With dishes such as Sweet & Sour Tofu with Gooseberries, Indian Stuffed Eggplant and my new favorite dessert, Lemongrass Coconut Ice Cream you can’t go wrong! 

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Books

Book #Review of The Wolf (Under the Northern Sky #1) by Leo Carew (@leocarew1) (#NetGalley)

Review

The Wolf Cover

The Wolf

(Under the Northern Sky #1)

by Leo Carew

Release date: April 1st, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Wolf (Under the Northern Sky #1) by Leo Carew from NetGalley and Orbit/Hatchette Book Group in order to read and give an honest review.

Intense, gripping and an adventure not to be missed.  

When young Roper, son of the Anakim’s Black Lord watches his father slaughtered in battle, he is thrust into the role of leader of the Black Kingdom’s Army and new Black Lord of the Kingdom. When forced to retreat or lose thousands of soldiers he becomes a disappointment and is mocked by everyone in the kingdom.  Their opponents, the Sutherners, after the death of their commander, are left in the hands of Bellamus, referred to by the kingdom as an “upstart” or “nobody”. Both sides fates being left to men who are sorely underestimated and who must prove their worth’s to their kingdoms.

Roper faces opposition at every turn by the Black Kingdom’s fiercest and most decorated soldier,  Uvoren.  Uvoren, feels the kingdoms should be rightfully his and will go to any length to obtain it.  After basic posturing, humiliation and a smear campaign by Uvoren, Roper must find a way to become a hero to his people and gain confidence in himself.  He does everything in his power to not only become a great warrior but to become a great and fair leader to his people.

In his debut novel, Carew does an impeccable job of creating a foreboding frozen northern landscape along with masterfully depicting the lifestyle and culture of the Anakim people who live there. His characters feel genuine, flawed and incredibly believable. Fraught with intriguing political twists and battle scenes that are as vivid as they are powerful this book will keep you engaged in Carew’s world right to the end. The end leaves not on a cliffhanger but open to the next instalment which I for one will be eagerly waiting for.

Although I read urban fantasy and am not a regular reader of Epic Fantasy I loved The Wolf, I found it intense and captivating.  If you enjoy epic fantasy such as George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones this series might appeal to you.

Books

Book #Review of The Bone Curse (Benjamin Oris #1) by Carrie Rubin (@carrie_rubin) (#NetGalley)

 

Review

Bone Curse Cover

The Bone Curse

(Benjamin Oris #1)

by Carrie Rubin

Release date: March 27th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Bone Curse (Benjamin Oris #1) by Carrie Rubin from NetGalley and ScienceThrillers Media in order to read and give an honest review.

Part thriller, part paranormal mystery, this is a fast-paced, well-crafted and brilliantly original novel!

Pragmatic medical student, Ben Oris, is on vacation with his best friend Laurette, a Haitian medical student, when an injury occurs while visiting the Catacombs. Ben possessed by unseen forces accidentally cuts his hand on a centuries-old bone, a cut that puts Ben and all those he holds dear in a life and death battle with evil forces too irrational for his rational mind to believe. Laurette knows that something evil is following Ben but it challenges his logical, scientific mind putting their friendship and lives in peril.

The book weaves a tale through medical anomalies, Haitian Vodou and the bonds of family and friendship which culminates in a heart-stopping conclusion. The characters are interesting, quirky and believable which when combined with an intriguing plot will keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I found this to be unique and captivating and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller with an occult twist. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Carrie Rubin’s next Benjamin Oris book!

Books

Book #Review of Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition by Ann Rittenberg, Laura Whitcomb and Camille Goldin (#NetGalley)

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Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition

by Ann Rittenberg, Laura Whitcomb and Camille Goldin

Release date: February 16th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition by Ann Rittenberg, Laura Whitcomb and Camille Goldin from NetGalley and F+W Media/Writer’s Digest Books in order to read and give an honest review.

If you are an aspiring writer who wants to publish your first book, Your First Novel: Revised and Expanded Edition is a perfect guidebook for you.  Some of the biggest challenges a writer faces often just boils down to a lack of knowledge.  This book is a very comprehensive how-to guide that which walks you through every step of the writing process. From creating a positive mindset, idea creation, POV and dialogue to finding an agent and publishing.  I loved the tone of the book, it was easy to read and comprehend.  The authors offer examples from well known published books to illustrate each section as well as reading lists of other books that focus on that specific aspect of writing. I don’t think they leave any aspect of the writing process out.  Although it leans primarily towards traditional publishing it does feature an informative chapter on self-publishing.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book which I know will become a reference that I will refer to time and again.

Books

Book #Review of #ShadowHunt (Disrupted Magic # 3) by Melissa F. Olson (#NetGalley)

 

Shadow Hunt (Disrupted Magic #3)

by Melissa F. Olson

Release date: February 13th, 2018

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Shadow Hunt Cover


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Shadow Hunt (Disrupted Magic #3) by Melissa F. Olson from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

The last book of the Disrupted Trilogy and the end of Scarlett’s second series picks up immediately after the second book, Blood Gamble left off. Weeks after the events in Las Vegas and the death of Jamieson, another Null she finds out she is pregnant with his child. A rare occurrence, Scarlett is dealing with the aftermath of finding out that after years of believing it was impossible she is, in fact, going to have a baby, the baby of two very powerful Nulls.  Scarlett tries to keep the pregnancy under wraps until she learns more about her options and the consequences of having a null child.  Not knowing who to turn to she sneaks out of town to consult with Maven, an ancient Vampire she feels might be able to give her advice.  Leaving her bargest, Shadow, at home and in the care of Jesse she is on her way, not knowing the danger she is leaving them to face.  Jesse opens the door to an innocent looking visitor which launches an evil plot by Shadow’s former owners, the Luparii who come to retrieve what’s theirs and put their plan into motion. The Luparrii’s see Scarlett as a threat and will do everything in their power to see her destroyed. After her secret is outted, Scarlett teams up with werewolves, vamps, witches and humans to stand with against the magical Wild Hunt which that would ultimately end the world as they know it.

I really enjoyed Shadow Hunt. It gives us a character-driven, fast-paced and complex storyline that you’ll want to devour in one sitting.  I think this, in my opinion, was the best of the trilogy and even though it’s the end of this trilogy I hope we hear from Scarlet and Jesse in the future.

My book Review of Midnight Curse (Disrupted Magic #1) by Melissa F. Olson found here.

Books

#Review of  The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans) by J.D. Horn #UrbanFantasy #Gothic

 

Book Cover King of Bone and Ashes

Review

 The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans) 

by J.D. Horn

Release date: January 23rd, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans) by J.D. Horn from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

The King of Bones and Ashes was the first in a new series from Author J.D. Horn.  Although I haven’t read his first series “Witching Savannah” I have heard good things and was intrigued when I read the description of his new book

The King of Bones and Ashes is a fascinating and suspenseful supernatural story set in New Orleans. This novel has a bit of everything, it is a combination family drama, southern gothic and urban fantasy which although slow to build, keeps you captivated from page one to the very end.  J.D. Horn has graced us with such strong, unique and multifaceted characters you connect with them within the first few chapters.

The story opens during Katrina, then jumps to modern day where we meet three unique and interesting women, three witches to be exact, all of whom are from different families yet connected through their family’s magic. We meet Alice, a girl who has been locked in an asylum for years, Evangeline an owner of a strip club who once dated Alice’s now deceased brother and Lisette the daughter of a famous Voodoo practitioner who has taken over the family’s voodoo shop.  We also meet a great deal of other interesting characters both good and evil (and even feline) who come alive on the page and leave a definite impression on the reader. Perhaps the most mysterious and disturbing character is the creature who haunts Alice, Babau Jean (“the boogeyman”), a childhood legend who becomes very, very real.   When magic appears to be dying and many elder witches are losing their powers these three witches remain as strong as ever. Each of them remains low key and try to hide their abilities but everyone suspects they are more than capable. When Alice’s grandfather, the main patriarch, and head of most powerful coven dies, there is a desperate attempt from the elder witches to usurp his magic.  Murder, mayhem, and secrets come to the surface putting everyone in danger, especially Alice, Evangeline, and Lisette.  Add that to sacred texts, warring witches, feisty felines, bitchy birds and hidden realms and you’re faced with a book to be read with the lights on.

I recommend this to anyone looking for something a little different, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. I’m looking forward to reading the next in this series and now more than ever I’m motivated to check out his Witching Savannah series.

Books

#Review of The Lost Plot(The Invisible Library #4) by Genevieve Cogman #UrbanFantasy #TimeTravel

Review

The Lost Plot (The Invisible Library #4)

by Genevieve Cogman

Release date: January 9th, 2018

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The Lost Plot Cover


I received a complimentary ARC copy of  The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library #4) from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

This is the fourth book in Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series and I have to say it was perhaps my favourite.  Travelling through time and dimensions librarian Irene along with her assistant Kai find themselves in New York City during the 1920’s a time of prohibition, gangsters, and guns.  This time they face their toughest assignment yet, walking a fine line between dragon and fae politics.  When the Minister of the dragons dies a contest to fill the spot requires them to find a rare book. The challenge issued will give the winner power over the land and the contenders both approach Irene for assistance. Dragon politics is contentious at best, and the library has always maintained a neutral stance but when evidence points to the involvement of a librarian breaching that rule, Irene and Kai must find this rogue librarian. They are given carte blanche to investigate but must do so covertly and without the official backing of the library. If they are discovered, the library will deny all knowledge of the mission, leaving Irene and Kai alone to suffer the consequences. When murder and mayhem ensue, raising tensions place Irene and Kai right in the middle as well as putting the library in jeopardy.

I really enjoyed this entry in the Invisible Library series and would highly recommend it. In my opinion, it had it all, wonderful character development, intriguing plot lines and fast-paced action.  My one complaint was a lack of one of my favorite characters, Vale, hoping to see more of him in the next installment.  The Lost Plot also ended with a game-changing situation that has me curious as to where the next book in the series will go.😊

 

Books

#Review of A Mortal Likeness (#Victorian #Mystery No.2) by Laura Joh Rowland

 

A Mortal Likeness

(#Victorian #Mystery No.2)

by Laura Joh Rowland

Release date: January 9th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Mortal Likeness (#Victorian #Mystery No.2) by Laura Joh Rowland from NetGalley & Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

A fast-paced, suspenseful whodunit set in Victorian England, A Mortal Likeness, will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I read and reviewed book one, The Ripper’s Shadow last year and found this one to be just as enjoyable.

In this story, we join photographer Sarah Bain and the disgraced Lord Hugh Staunton after the fallout of solving the Jack the Ripper case. Hugh, short on cash after being disowned by his wealthy family persuades Sarah to open a detective agency. With funds running low they are at the mercy of whichever cases fall in their lap.  While working on a case investigating a philandering husband, they are thrust into a high-profile case which although paying well will throw them into peril at every turn.

The wealthy and influential Gerald Mariner frustrated with the lack of progress by the police in solving the kidnapping of his son Robin Mariner hires them to solve the crime. Broke and in need of cash they accept the case but Sir Mariner has one caveat, they are to tell no one they are working on the case. Although Hugh is nonplussed about it, Sarah is uncomfortable lying to her police constable lover who has been assigned to the case. There also may be connections to Sarah’s supposedly dead father whom she sees in the background of some surveillance photos she’s taken.  Sir Gerald, is convinced that the kidnapping is an inside job and invites them to stay on his estate to investigate. With emotions running high and a killer under the same roof, they are met with hostility and distrust. To make matters worse the other officer on the case had his career damaged on the Jack the Ripper case, partly thanks to Sarah and Hugh, has a vendetta against them and will not rest until he can pin the kidnapping on them.

I thoroughly enjoyed the twists, turns which lead up to a surprising but very satisfying ending. I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who loves a good mystery.

Books

#Review of Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire #UrbanFantasy #ModernFairytale

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Review

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)

by Seanan McGuire

Release date: January 9th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire from NetGalley and Tor in order to read and give an honest review.

Seanan McGuire is definitely one of my favorite fantasy authors. Her books have it all, perfect prose, masterful plots, exciting worlds and engaging characters and the same is true for her Wayward Children series. This dark and whimsical series like all of her work is so well written that it grabs hold of you and takes you twisting and turning into fascinating new worlds. McGuire addresses, race, sexuality, religion, illness, disabilities, mental health etc. and handles it with such nuance.  Her characters are multifaceted and each face personal challenges that so many can relate to.  

The series revolves around students housed at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.  The Home for Wayward Children is a safe haven for children who have traveled to different portal worlds so different from their own. The other worlds are nothing like our world, some are underwater worlds, worlds made of confection, worlds of death, some are logical ones with order and others nonsense worlds, where chaos is plenty and rules don’t apply. Often when the children return to this world they are lost or traumatized, their parents unable to help them and at a loss, send them to the home. Often, these children long to go back, biding their time waiting for the opportunity when the door back reveals itself again or actively searching looking for clues. 

In this story, we hear from characters from the previous award-winning “Every Heart a Doorway” and we get to meet Cora. Cora, overweight and insecure, came to the home from an underwater world where she enjoyed being a mermaid. Cora although worried at first, finds she fits in just fine at the home, each of the students so unique in their own way.  As Cora is getting used to the home, a girl falls from the sky looking for her mother, a former student who had passed away recently.  The group band together to help her embark on a quest to find her mother, through time and multiple worlds, the reader catches glimpses of the group’s experiences as they travel through the different doors. 

I have loved each book in this series and as a series, it is definitely 5-star.  However, I would give this story 4.5 stars only because I found that some things seemed a bit unnecessary and detracted from the story. Information on the logical, nonsense aspects of the worlds as well as Cora’s insecurities kept re-appearing a little too often for me, but reading is subjective and others might not mind it as much.   All in all, this was a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it.  

Books

#Book #Review – Daily #Writing Resilience 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers by Bryan Robinson

 

Review

Daily Writing Resilience

365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers

by Bryan Robinson

Release date: January 8th, 2018

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Daily Writing Resilence


I received a complimentary ARC copy of   Daily Writing Resilience ~ 365 Meditations & Inspirations for Writers by Bryan Robinson PhD from NetGalley & Llewellyn Publications in order to read and give an honest review.

I loved this book and found it to be incredibly motivational. Bryan Robinson’s inspirational book is a daily devotional for writers. Daily Writing Resilience offers a writer 365 days of prompts and advice, sure to help get their creativity flowing. The book is dated containing daily quotes, valuable snippets of wisdom and what the author calls “Today’s Takeaway” which are tips to help any writer be the best they can be.  It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned writer, battling writer’s block or just starting to get your feet wet, I would definitely recommend Daily Writing Resilience to anyone looking for motivation.