Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Review

I knew going into Shadow and Bone that I would love it. Ninth House was the first book I have ever read by Leigh Bardugo. I connected so well with her writing that I could not imagine not loving the rest of her work. I was not disappointed.

Shadow and Bone is the story of Alina Starkov. She is in Ravka’s second army. One day, while in the Shadow Fold, her friend is attacked an it unleashed a power that had long laid dormant. The Darkling, the head of the Grisha, whisks her away to court to train her. However, there is a dark secret that Alina is just beginning to discover.

When I first start the plot was slow-building, but it was so worth it. When I started writing my notes I said that the romance was sudden and obvious. I found out later that nothing is as it seems. The book tool a sudden turn and turned into something completely different.

I am so ready to see what happens next. I like that it is based on Russia folklore. I have not read any Russia based fantasy so it is interesting to me. It also helps fill the void that completing the Throne of Glass Series left. Don’t get me wrong. It is its own unique story, but it had similar vibes. If this series continues to be as good I think it is safe to say that Leigh Bardugo may be a new favorite author of mine.

Recipe Taste Test: Cookies for Santa

My husband and I had a marathon present wrapping session tonight. I decided it would be fun to bake some cookies to snack on. This recipe is yet another one out of the Sweet Cravings cookbook. I can’t help it. I am obsessed with this cookbook. There are so many dessert options. There are basic recipes that every baker should master, but there are also fun new recipes to try. Tonight I stuck with a personal favorite chocolate chip.

I will be the first to admit I love to cookie dough from a tube. It is so easy for when you have a craving. However, for Thanksgiving, I bought way too many chocolate chips. Chocolate Chip cookies were my solution. This recipe was so easy. In about 15 minutes my dough was mixed up and ready to go. This recipe makes about 16 cookies. It took a while to bake them because my oven and cookie sheets are slightly small so I had to do them in batches. It only took 12 minutes to cook each batch though. This recipe was a win for me. The more I cook from this book the more I love it. I highly recommend it for my fellow bakers.

The Night Country by Melissa Albert Review

I have mixed feelings about this one……

I read The Hazel Wood last October and liked it. I thought it was a standalone so the sequel shocked me. Thank you to Netgalley for giving me an arc in exchange for my honest review. Let’s discuss.

Alice is back from the Hazel Wood and things have changed. Alice is trying to live a normal life but the Hinterland keeps calling her back. Suddenly, the Hinterland survivors are being targeted by a murderer who seems to have a goal in mind. Alice tries to solve this murder while protecting her own life. Meanwhile, Ellery Finch goes on an adventure of his own while trying to make his way back to Alice.

I will admit I stayed confused for over half of the book. It seemed disjointed so it was hard for me to have a clear grasp on what was happening. When the events finally came together it made a little more sense. At first I could not figure out the point of the novel at all. Some events felt random and unnecessary. When Alice confronted the man from her story without provocation I thought it came without warning. I thought it might end up crucial later but it didn’t.

Now that I have gotten my negative thoughts out let’s discuss the positive parts. It was atmospheric so even though I was confused I still felt like part of the world. The fairy tale parts were so much fun. I felt like I was reading a Grimm’s Fairy Tale. Alice worked in a bookstore and there were some really humorous parts to that. The writing was lush and descriptive. I really enjoyed the characters even though Alice is a little self-centered. It is a decent read and I do plan to buy a physical copy because the cover is gorgeous.

Hunting Prince Dracula Review

After reading Beloved, I decided to jump back into my comfort zone. I picked up Hunting Prince Dracula because it has been on my shelf for a year. I was hesitant to pick it up. I have read Stalking Jack the Ripper. While I enjoyed it I had a few problems with it.

After the events of Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas set out to Romania to go to a well known forensic school that just happens to be located in Dracula’s castle. While there, several murders happen making locals fear that Dracula is back from the grave. Audrey Rose and Thomas quickly get on the case and uncovers secrets hidden in the depths of the castle.

I am happy to report that I enjoyed this one so much more than the first. In the first one Audrey Rose annoyed me. She had the “I am not like other girls” trope and it was present on almost every page. Obviously she is not like other girls she is studying forensics in the Victorian era. Neither were common practices so it wasn’t necessary to be told that much. Thankfully it was more subtle in this one. Audrey Rose and Thomas both had much needed character growth. The mystery was also more complex. It is also set in December and has a very wintery atmosphere that is perfect to read right now. I look forward to picking up the next book in this series.

Beloved by Toni Morrison Review

Beloved is not a book I would normally pick up. I was gifted it through a Halloween swap on Litsy. I am glad I received it because it proves if you pick up something out of your comfort zone you might actually like it.

This story follows Sethe, an escaped slave who settles in Ohio with her mother-in-law. Eighteen years later she still has horrible memories of Sweet Home, the farm she once worked on. If that isn’t enough to deal with her new home is haunted by the ghost of her nameless baby. All that was engraved on her tombstone was Beloved.

I was horrified by this story. It is brutal. It is a hard book to read. But that is the point. Going through Sethe’s memories was heart wrenching. Slowly we find out why her baby died. When it was revealed my heart stopped.

This is the most horrifying novel I have ever read and it’s not technically even categorized as horror. Toni Morrison’s writing is brilliant. She makes you experience memories that aren’t even yours. I believe this is a book that everyone should read. It is ground shaking.