Books That Caught Our Eye

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DragonLegendsAt Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received.

Every Wednesday we will each share two books that caught our eye from that week’s Mailbox Monday.

We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.

Serena

29 Gifts by Cami Walker @ Marsha’s Bookshelf.

At age 35, Cami Walker was burdened by a battle with multiple sclerosis, a chronic neurological condition that made it difficult for her to walk, work, or enjoy her life. Seeking a remedy for her depression after being hospitalized, she received an uncommon prescription from an African medicine woman: give to others for 29 days.

29 Gifts is the insightful story of the author’s life change as she embraces and reflects on the naturally reciprocal process of giving and receiving. Many of Walker’s gifts were simple – a phone call, spare change, a Kleenex. Yet the acts were transformative. By day 29, not only had Walker’s health and happiness improved, but she had created a worldwide giving movement.

The book also includes personal essays from others whose lives changed for the better by giving, plus pages for the reader to record their own journey. More than a memoir, 29 Gifts offers inspiring lessons on how a simple daily practice of altruism can dramatically alter your outlook on the world.

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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo @ The Infinite Curio.

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Martha

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center found at An Interior Journey.

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about courage, hope, and learning to love against all odds.

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s a total pro at other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to give up her whole life and move to Boston, Cassie suddenly has an emergency of her own.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew—even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the infatuation-inspiring rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because love is girly, and it’s not her thing. And don’t forget the advice her old captain gave her: Never date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…and it means risking it all—the only job she’s ever loved, and the hero she’s worked like hell to become.

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt and healing tour-de-force about the strength of vulnerability, the nourishing magic of forgiveness, and the life-changing power of defining courage, at last, for yourself.

“This sounds like a story (maybe a romance?) I would like.”

——–

Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler found at vvb32 reads.

From the screenwriter of the Netflix Original viral hit, A Christmas Prince, comes another heartwarming holiday story about a beautiful Grinch who’s determined to get her dream job even if it means spending a week at a Christmas Camp where she discovers an unexpected love.

Haley Hanson’s idea of the perfect Christmas is escaping to the Caribbean to work so she can avoid all the traditional Christmas distractions. Over the years, she’s sacrificed her personal life to climb the corporate ladder at a prestigious Boston advertising agency. Now she just needs to land a coveted Christmas toy company account to make partner. But first, her boss, Larry, thinks she needs a holiday attitude adjustment, so he ships her off to a Christmas Camp at Holly Peak Inn to help her find her Christmas spirit.

Arriving at the charming mountainside inn, Haley meets the owner’s handsome son, Jeff, and feels an instant spark, but resists the attraction, refusing to be distracted from her goal of doing all the required Christmas tasks as fast as possible so she can get back to work.

At first Haley struggles with all the traditional Christmas Camp activities. It’s not until she finally allows herself to slow down, live in the moment, and let Christmas back into her heart, that she begins to grow closer to Jeff. But when he finds out Haley’s come up with a plan to help his dad save the struggling inn while he’s been trying to convince his dad to sell it, their relationship takes a serious holiday hit. Now it will take the magic of the season to bring these two hearts together.

“I think I need a few light Christmas reads soon. This one actually sounds like a Hallmark Christmas movie story.”

Leslie

The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2019 by America’s Test Kitchen at BermudaOnion’s Weblog.

The best of the best–including recipes, tastings, and testings–of 2019, all compiled into one must-have collection from America’s most trusted kitchen.

A carefully curated collection–in full color for the first time–of ATK’s best recipes of the year, selected from the hundreds of recipes developed for Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines and for new books such as The Complete Make-Ahead Cookbook, The Complete Slow Cooker, Nutritious Delicious, How to Roast Everything, Just Add Sauce, The Perfect Cake, and Multicooker Perfection. This year’s edition offers a wide array of fresh, foolproof recipes like Chinese Pork Dumplings, Shrimp Po’ Boys, Braised Brisket with Pomegranate, Cumin, and Cilantro, Thai Grilled Cornish Hens with Chili Dipping Sauce, and Roasted Lobster Tails. And we didn’t forget about dessert! From Easy Holiday Sugar Cookies and Lazy Strawberry Sonker to Coconut Cream Pie and Blackberry-Mascarpone Lemon Cake, this collection will satisfy every sweet tooth.

All of this year’s ingredient and equipment tastings and testings are here, too. Want to find out which high-end blender makes the grade? Wonder how we selected our top supermarket turkey? Curious to know which roll of paper towels really gets the job done? For the answers to these questions and more, look no further than The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2019.

“I Love America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks!”

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Pete the Cheeky Parakeet by Cheryl Lee-White at Gemma’s Book Nook.

When Pete the Parakeet’s favourite person goes on holiday without him, he’s left behind with the rest of the family. The trouble is, none of them like him! Pete has been mean to everyone, and now he finds himself with no one to play with.

Pete’s family are willing to give him a second chance – if he can change his ways. Will Pete realise that being the bird with the bad attitude won’t get him anywhere?

Don’t miss this light-hearted, fun story, which carries a message for young readers about the importance of friendship and compassion. Pete the Cheeky Parakeet will bring lots of laughter and learning to story time!

“It’s nice to see a children’s story featuring birds even if it is a cranky parakeet! Although most of my parakeets are nice.”

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Mailbox Monday

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Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

We have a blizzard going on, I have leaves to be raked, and it’s still November! Well, I guess they will wait until spring now. I had to haul out the snowy mailbox photo a few months early. Even places with good weather are having bad weather this year.

Other than weather, hope everyone had a good week. Tell us about your new books by adding your Mailbox Monday post to the linky below:

Be sure to stop back later this week for Books That Caught Our Eye.

Books That Caught Our Eye

3 Comments
DragonLegendsAt Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received.

Every Wednesday we will each share two books that caught our eye from that week’s Mailbox Monday.

We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.

Martha

The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge found at Gemma’s Book Nook.

Part ghost story, part Nordic thriller – this is a twisty, tense and spooky YA debut, perfect for fans of CORALINE and Michelle Paver.

Martha can tell things about a person just by touching their clothes, as if their emotions and memories have been absorbed into the material. It started the day she fell from the tree at her grandma’s cabin and became blind in one eye.

Determined to understand her strange ability, Martha sets off to visit her grandmother, Mormor – only to discover Mormor is dead, a peculiar boy is in her cabin and a terrifying creature is on the loose.

Then the spinning wheel starts creaking, books move around and terror creeps in . . .

“The title and cover caught my eye and then the blurb showed my name! What’s not to like?”

——–

A Year of Living Kindly: Choices That Will Change Your Life and the World Around You by Donna Cameron found at Rose City Reader.

Being kind is something most of us do when it’s easy and when it suits us. Being kind when we don’t feel like it, or when all of our buttons are being pushed, is hard. But that’s also when it’s most needed; that’s when it can defuse anger and even violence, when it can restore civility in our personal and virtual interactions. Kindness has the power to profoundly change our relationships with other people and with ourselves. It can, in fact, change the world.

In A Year of Living Kindly―using stories, observation, humor, and summaries of expert research―Donna Cameron shares her experience committing to 365 days of practicing kindness. She presents compelling research into the myriad benefits of kindness, including health, wealth, longevity, improved relationships, and personal and business success. She explores what a kind life entails, and what gets in the way of it. And she provides practical and experiential suggestions for how each of us can strengthen our kindness muscle so choosing a life of kindness becomes ever easier and more natural. An inspiring, practical guide that can help any reader make a commitment to kindness, A Year of Living Kindly shines a light on how we can create a better, safer, and more just world―and how you can be part of that transformation.

“As Gilion said, this does sound like a good book to start the New Year.”

Serena

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell @ Sam Still Reading.

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost …

In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky.

He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

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The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen @ Fiction Books.

From the bestselling author of The Tuscan Child comes a beautiful and heart-rending novel of a woman’s love and sacrifice during the First World War.

As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.

When he is sent back to the front, Emily volunteers as a “land girl,” tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. It’s here that Emily discovers the long-forgotten journals of a medicine woman who devoted her life to her herbal garden. The journals inspire Emily, and in the wake of devastating news, they are her saving grace. Emily’s lover has not only died a hero but has left her terrified—and with child. Since no one knows that Emily was never married, she adopts the charade of a war widow.

As Emily learns more about the volatile power of healing with herbs, the found journals will bring her to the brink of disaster, but may open a path to her destiny.

Leslie

Becoming by Michelle Obama at An Interior Journey.

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

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Drops of Cerulean by Dawn Adams Cole at Book Dilettante.

A story of love, loss, and reincarnation.

Spanning the years 1930–2014, Drops of Cerulean chronicles the lives of Ilona, the daughter of a Greek restaurateur, who marries into a prominent Houston family; her son, Cadmus, who becomes a professor and then moves into a retirement home after his husband passes away; and Delphina, an anxiety-ridden woman with a mysterious recurring dream.

Ilona and Cadmus have a falling out when Cadmus is a young man, and before they are able to reconcile, Ilona dies. Cadmus is plagued with guilt and feels responsible for the death of his mother. Two worlds collide when, years later, Delphina comes to understand that she had been Ilona, Cadmus’s mother, in her previous life. Well written and engaging, Drops of Cerulean deals with topics such as socioeconomic class, LGBT rights and acceptance, rebirth, and past-life regression.

Mailbox Monday

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Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day here in the US, and Friday is the official start of the holiday shopping season. I will be relaxing and reading after my dinner; no crazy shopping for me, except maybe on the internet.

Hope everyone had a good week. Tell us about your new books by adding your Mailbox Monday post to the linky below:

Be sure to stop back later this week for Boo

Books That Caught Our Eye

2 Comments
DragonLegendsAt Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received.

Every Wednesday we will each share two books that caught our eye from that week’s Mailbox Monday.

We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.

Serena

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton @ Silver’s Reviews.

The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez–her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost.

As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future–but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything–not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart…

“This sounds interesting. I like immigrant stories, especially ones that occur during times of significant societal change.”

Martha

On the Same Page by N. D. Galland found at BermudaOnion’s Weblog and Book Dilettante.

Martha’s Vineyard has two distinct “personalities”—one characterized by its tanned and polished summer people; the other represented by the small-town, salt-of-the-earth year-round residents. The island even has two newspapers, each appealing to its distinct readership. Over the years, an intense rivalry has grown between the two papers; in fact, neither paper will work with writers who have any relationship to the other paper.

Johanna Howes is a Vineyard girl who left the island at the age of eighteen and never looked back. She went to college on the mainland and moved to the Big City to start a career as a journalist. Now she’s returned to take care of her aging Uncle Hank. As neither paper can pay her enough to live on, she creates a false identity so that she can write for both papers at once. Often this means writing the same story twice, coming at it from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Before long, Johanna finds herself caught up in a messy Island political situation. A wealthy, seasonal resident is suing the town government for the right to land his private helicopter on his property. When Johanna agrees to go for a cup of coffee with the handsome man she meets at a zoning board meeting, she has no idea that she has just made a date with Orion Smith, the wealthy off-Islander who is causing all the ruckus. And what he doesn’t know is that Johanna has been assigned by both Island papers to cover the story.

Scrambling to keep her various identities straight and separate from each other, Johanna desperately tries to find a graceful way out of the mess she’s created. But doing so will likely get her into trouble or cause her to lose her writing gigs…not to mention jeopardize her chance at a budding romance with a man she’s doing her best not to fall for.

“My undergraduate program was Journalism so this romantic comedy about a journalist caught my eye.”

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Better off Thread (Embroidery Mystery) by Amanda Lee found at Lori’s Reading Corner.

Santa finds himself in a stitch of trouble in the tenth in the series from the national bestselling author of The Stitching Hour…

Marcy is busy helping her customers make hand-crafted ornaments at her embroidery shop, the Seven-Year Stitch. But despite the yuletide bustle, when her friend Captain Moe asks for her help, she can’t refuse—especially when the favor is to play the elf to his Santa for sick children at a local hospital. Despite the ridiculous outfit, Marcy finds herself enjoying spreading cheer—until the hospital’s administrator is found murdered.

Although the deceased had plenty of people willing to fill her stocking with coal, evidence pins the crime on Moe. Now it’s up to Marcy, with the help of her police officer boyfriend Ted and her Irish Wolfhound Angus, to stitch together the clues to clear Moe’s name—before someone else winds up crossed off Santa’s list for good…

“The cover on this cute cozy mystery caught my eye on NetGalley as well as MM

Leslie

National Geographic Kids: Fly with Me at Savvy Verse & Wit.

Enchanting stories, lyrical poems, stunning photography, and fascinating science fill the pages of this treasury celebrating the amazing world of birds.

This thoughtful and beautifully curated collection of our flying, feathery friends highlights the role birds play in human life from centuries ago to present day. While it’s beautiful, it’s also full of valuable real science about these wondrous creatures. From history and behavior to spotting and photographing, there’s sure to be something for every bird fan in your flock. Young birders will learn all about migration and the importance of habitat conservation. They’ll find stories about bird rescues and fun facts about the fastest, strongest, and tiniest fliers. They’ll also discover the best bird nests, sweet songs to sing, ways to listen for and identify the birds around them, and more. Paired with stunning art and photography and beautiful design, this treasury is sure to become a classic for bird enthusiasts of all ages.

Fly with Me was created to help celebrate Year of the Bird, National Geographic’s 2018 initiative to bring awareness to the plight of birds around the world.

“I can’t pass up a bird book!”

Mailbox Monday

3 Comments

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! I can’t believe we are approaching the end of the year. It’s not even Thanksgiving here in the US and I am already getting advertisements in the mail for Black Friday, and the stores have their Christmas displays up. Ugh, holiday creep!

Hope everyone had a good week. Tell us about your new books by adding your Mailbox Monday post to the linky below:

Be sure to stop back later this week for

Books That Caught Our Eye

3 Comments
DragonLegendsAt Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received.

Every Wednesday we will each share two books that caught our eye from that week’s Mailbox Monday.

We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.

Serena

Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking @ Under My Apple Tree

Stephen Hawking was the most renowned scientist since Einstein, known both for his groundbreaking work in physics and cosmology and for his mischievous sense of humor. He educated millions of readers about the origins of the universe and the nature of black holes, and inspired millions more by defying a terrifying early prognosis of ALS, which originally gave him only two years to live. In later life he could communicate only by using a few facial muscles, but he continued to advance his field and serve as a revered voice on social and humanitarian issues.

Hawking not only unraveled some of the universe’s greatest mysteries but also believed science plays a critical role in fixing problems here on Earth. Now, as we face immense challenges on our planet—including climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and the development of artificial intelligence—he turns his attention to the most urgent issues facing us.

Will humanity survive? Should we colonize space? Does God exist? These are just a few of the questions Hawking addresses in this wide-ranging, passionately argued final book from one of the greatest minds in history.

Featuring a foreword by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for playing Stephen Hawking, an introduction by Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne, and an afterword from Hawking’s daughter, Lucy, Brief Answers to the Big Questions is a brilliant last message to the world.

“Hawking has always fascinated me, so this appeals to me.”

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BEASTIE BOYS BOOK by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz @ BemudaOnion

A panoramic experience that tells the story of Beastie Boys, a book as unique as the band itself—by band members ADROCK and Mike D, with contributions from Amy Poehler, Colson Whitehead, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, Luc Sante, and more.

Formed as a New York City hardcore band in 1981, Beastie Boys struck an unlikely path to global hip hop superstardom. Here is their story, told for the first time in the words of the band. Adam “ADROCK” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond offer revealing and very funny accounts of their transition from teenage punks to budding rappers; their early collaboration with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin; the debut album that became the first hip hop record ever to hit #1, Licensed to Ill—and the album’s messy fallout as the band broke with Def Jam; their move to Los Angeles and rebirth with the genre-defying masterpiece Paul’s Boutique; their evolution as musicians and social activists over the course of the classic albums Check Your Head, Ill Communication, and Hello Nasty and the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits conceived by the late Adam “MCA” Yauch; and more. For more than thirty years, this band has had an inescapable and indelible influence on popular culture.

With a style as distinctive and eclectic as a Beastie Boys album, Beastie Boys Book upends the typical music memoir. Alongside the band narrative you will find rare photos, original illustrations, a cookbook by chef Roy Choi, a graphic novel, a map of Beastie Boys’ New York, mixtape playlists, pieces by guest contributors, and many more surprises.

“Ever since I saw this on CBS This Morning, I’ve wanted it. Loved this band as a kid.”

Martha

When Stars Go Out found at Library of Clean Reads

The dawning of a new order casts a shadow across a whole nation. GRO, the government’s Great Reorganization Operation, is turning American society upside down as it seizes teenagers and throws them into compounds across the country. Behind the speeches and programs, a darkness stirs. Reed can feel it. Taken from his home and dropped into the compound of “The Hill” in central Virginia, he can’t escape the feeling that evil hangs over him night and day, watching his every move. Something is preying upon the teenagers of the Hill. An entire city lies paralyzed under the iron fist of a shadowy government agency and its cruel police force. Spies lurk among the crowds of frightened teens, ready to pounce at the first sign of dissidence. Fear keeps a choking hold on every soul–almost.

When he makes a new friend, Reed begins asking questions and stumbles upon a different side of this dark reality–a world of secrets where the light still lingers and hope burns in the hearts of a few. It’s a strange world where everyday teens are fugitives playing a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse with the secret police. But it’s fascinating, thrilling, and it all seems to revolve around a single figure–one man–who ties Reed’s parallel lives together. Though dangerous to be around, this man seems to hold the answers Reed needs to make sense of the insanity around him. But he is being hunted, and the secrets in his past may be darker than anything else that haunts the Hill.

Caught in a crossfire of warring ideals, Reed faces an agonizing choice and a single path of escape–but is it worth what it will cost him?

“This fits in with the dystopian/Christian genres that I like.”

——–

The Priestess and the Dragon by Nicolette Andrews found at ScaredyEngines End of Line Library

An arrogant dragon. A smart mouthed priestess. The fate of the world depends on them working together.
We’re doomed.

Suzume’s life was perfect. That was until she was exiled. Living in a remote mountain shrine, couldn’t get any worse. At least that’s what she thought before she awakened a dragon. Because when she frees the Dragon, she catches fire. But she doesn’t burn.

The Dragon, Kaito, has been trapped for five hundred years. Now he wants revenge. Suzume may not be able to control her new-found ability, just yet, but she’s willing to fake it, if it will get her back home.

With new powers come dangerous enemies. Someone wants Suzume dead. Her powers have made her a target. And getting back her old life will not be as easy as she thought.

A power-hungry monster is out to destroy the world. And they are the only ones who can stop it. But can they learn to work together before it’s too late?

Start the adventure today and watch the sparks fly.

“The cover caught my eye and the blurb makes it sound like a fun adventure.”

Leslie

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames at Silver’s Reviews

For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella’s childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents—moments where ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. Even Stella’s own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted.

In her rugged Italian village, Stella is considered an oddity—beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from life’s harshest realities. But she also provokes the ire of her father Antonio: a man who demands subservience from women and whose greatest gift to his family is his absence.

When the Fortunas emigrate to America on the cusp of World War II, Stella and Tina must come of age side-by-side in a hostile new world with strict expectations for each of them. Soon Stella learns that her survival is worthless without the one thing her family will deny her at any cost: her independence.

In present-day Connecticut, one family member tells this heartrending story, determined to understand the persisting rift between the now-elderly Stella and Tina. A richly told debut, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a tale of family transgressions as ancient and twisted as the olive branch that could heal them.

“When I saw the story began in Italy, it caught my eye. Plus it has a lot of the plot elements I look for in a novel.”