20 Recipes Kids Should Know by Esme Washburn, Calista Washburn (photographs)

Title: 20 Recipes Kids Should Know
Author: Esme Washburn, Calista Washburn (Photographs)
Published: April 2, 2019

The perfect book for children, this fun and engaging cookbook is written and photographed by a pair of young sisters for budding chefs.

Whether they're helping stir cake batter or producing their own YouTube cooking channel, kids of all ages are getting
increasingly busy in the kitchen. This cookbook features twenty classic recipes that are fun, healthy, adaptable, and easy to prepare. From banana bread and the perfect grilled cheese to breaded chicken and apple pie, each recipe is written in a clear, accessible style that young cooks of every level will be able to follow. The author is a young chef whose love of cooking developed from her own family's food traditions like baking popovers with her grandmother and Sunday-night pizza making. By teaching kids basic recipes that can be adapted in endless ways, this book is the perfect launching pad to finding their way around the kitchen--or launching their own cooking careers.

So my son who loves to read, also loves to cook. So when I saw the opportunity to try out this cookbook. We were for sure on board. We tried a couple different recipes and plan on trying more. I will continue to post when we make anything out of the book because it's fun!! I loved how easy the book is to read and the recipes are for him to follow. Plus it just taste good!

So here is a little taste (ha sorry I love puns!) of when we made the pizza. Which even though ours came out looking a little weird, it tasted AMAZING.

Have to prep your ingredients

This was the first time either of us was going to use a dough hook. As strange as that sounds, it was pretty exciting in our house.

Following the directions

This is after we let the dough rise. Then we needed to form our pizza portions.

So our first attempt. We learned some valuable lessons of what not to do. Like next time, prep the pizza when it's on the pizza stone already. I don't have a giant pizza spatula to transfer it.

This one came out more like pizza bread. Again these attempts still tasted amazing!

Just like the picture right???

So if you are looking for a cookbook for your kids and want to get them into cooking, this is a great book to do so. My daughter has zero interest but she gave this recipe two thumbs up and they are excited about when we can make it again.

Cloak of Night by Evelyn Sky Cover Reveal

Synopsis for CLOAK OF NIGHT, the sequel to CIRCLE OF SHADOWS by New York Times bestselling author Evelyn Skye:

After the devastating Ceremony of Two Hundred Hearts, Sora, Daemon, Fairy, and Broomstick are truly alone in the fight to save their kingdom. Empress Aki is missing, and everyone else who could help them is a prisoner to the Dragon Prince’s mind control.

At least Sora understands what they’re up against. Or so she believes, until she overhears the Dragon Prince bargaining with the god of war for immortality and learns that ryuu magic may be a more insidious danger than she realized.

Suddenly, the stakes are higher and even more personal for Sora—not only must she stop a seemingly indestructible Prince Gin, but she must also unravel the secrets of ryuu magic before it is too late for nearly everyone she loves.

And as Sora, Daemon, Fairy, and Broomstick face dangerous obstacles at every turn, the greatest challenge may be discovering who they truly are, and what, if anything, they are capable of.

Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan

Title: Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon
Author: Mary Fan
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: June 11th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

When a powerful viceroy arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a young thief steals the River Pearl for himself.

Knowing the viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.

With incredibly vivid world building and fast-paced storytelling, Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is great for readers who are looking for something fresh in epic fantasy.

I loved Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon. What an interesting and unique story.

First off I loved the main character Anlei. I know I’ve said in previous reviews how much I enjoy an imperfect character. Anlei is strong and resourceful and a great asset to her village but she also can be very selfish and closed off. She mentions her difficulty of making friends but it’s partly because she struggles to think beyond herself. At the same time though, she is very loyal and considerate. She wants fame and recognition but she also has the ability to asses someone else's situation. Instead of rushing headfirst into being a hero, she considers how this can help the person and herself both out. As the story progresses I think she really starts to see this in herself as more of a flaw instead of something to be proud of. That doing something heroic can mean something more to you than the fame that comes with it. I just really loved her character.

Tai is also a great character. I loved the way he banters with Anlei and is able to push her buttons. I think he sees more to her than even she sees. He respects her abilities and treats her like an equal. Which I think is something that she craves being more interested in adventuring instead of settling down and getting married. Plus he’s got that mysterious thing going for him. Who is this Tai.

I loved the story and I felt that it was fast paced. I think Mary Fan could have spread over another book if she really wanted to but I also think it’s perfect as a standalone. Although I wouldn’t mind seeing other adventures, if not even Anlei and Tai in the same world. Perhaps Anlei’s sister. I do love a story that takes you on an adventure that isn’t what it seems, just to bring you back around to look at things in front of you in a new angle. I also really enjoyed the lore that went along with the world as well as has that perfect Steampunk flare. Flying Mechanical Dragons! Again it would be interesting to see some more parts of this in other books. How many real Dragons are there? What were the other artifacts being collected?

I really enjoyed this book and it’s the perfect blend of things that I needed in a standalone Fantasy.

Side note. It didn’t matter to me how Mowang was described. I kept picturing him looking like the demon on the cover of my brothers Dungeons Master Guide D&D book.

Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil.

Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.

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Prize: Win a copy of STRONGER THAN A BRONZE DRAGON by Mary Fan (US Only)
Stars: 11th June 2019
Ends: 25th June 2019

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The Chosen by Taran Matharu

Title: The Chosen (Contender #1)
Author: Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: June 4th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Introducing an epic new trilogy from Taran Matharu, author of the New York Times–bestselling Summoner series.

Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.

Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.

But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.

The Chosen was a really interesting story. At first I thought of it as a little Maze Runnerish but then it quickly morphed to really messed up amusement park history ride.

We have a group of boys who are dropped on, what appears to be, another planet. They don’t know why they are there and what they are supposed to do but find themselves grappling with some scary obstacles. Not only that, it appears to be a land of last in time history. I really liked that aspect about it. They find random artifacts and people that had been thought to be long lost. Even dinosaurs make their own appearance. One of the characters mentions Jumanji and I can see that vibe now too. Ha ha.

Cade is the main character. I don’t generally gravitate towards a male lead but I thought Cade’s character was definitely likeable. He’s the character we know the most and even though we get insight into the other characters a little bit through the how Cade has interacted with them. I don’t think we really do more than brush their surfaces. Cade however is smart and resourceful. He might not be the strongest guy on the block but he knows how to use what abilities he has to give him an advantage. I also thought the flashbacks in the beginning to the months leading up to when they are taken was an interesting way to set up his character. You see how some of his actions took him from point A to point B in his character.

I did like the side characters, I don’t really want to get into the ones that I liked the most because I don’t want to give too much away. Also the ending was interesting. Of course I wasn’t sure what I was expecting so it wasn’t disappointing or surprising, it was more like ohhhh that’s what is happening here.

Since the book is shrouded in a little bit of thriller mystery I don’t want to give to much away. I did enjoy it and I have always felt Taran Matharu’s writing is paced well to keep a story moving. Something interesting is always happening.

Taran Matharu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series, which has been translated into 15 languages and has sold over a million copies. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for writing during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.

Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.

Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’ and sharing his work on Wattpad.com. The shared sample of the story went viral, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months. Taran went on to launch his professional writing career, and has never looked back.

His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey, Forlaget Forar in Denmark and Unieboek in the Netherlands.

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Shadow and Flame by Mindee Arnett

Title: Shadow & Flame (Rime Chronicles #2)
Author: Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 4th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

From acclaimed author Mindee Arnett comes the thrilling conclusion of the stunningly epic, action-packed, and romantic fantasy adventure about a powerful girl possessed of strange magic, the outcast prince she loves, and the kingdom that has torn them apart.

Kate and Corwin are on the run, desperate for allies in a new world of war among the kingdoms of Rime. As the book opens, Kate suffers a massive loss, one that will shape the struggle for freedom of all wilders and magic folk—that is, if Kate can learn to control her own power.

Shadow and Flame is a book that definitely delivers on it’s follow up to Onyx and Ivory. I loved the story of Rime in the first book and that continued on into this book.

Oh my poor heart!! So many things that just, ugh, my poor heart.

So I love Kate as a character. There is nothing I like than a character who is not perfect! Kate has to make so many choices and even though she thinks she is doing the right thing, is she really. I like that Signe is there to challenge her conscience. Especially in her wilder magic abilities which happens to be mind control. There are times when Kate thinks she is using it for good but is taking away people’s choices. This is something she really struggles with and struggles with understanding.

What I also love about Kate is that she is so strong. There are times when she wants to fall apart but she pulls herself together and decides this is not the time. She knows she has to get threw some things even if she is not feeling it.

Corwin is another interesting character because he is truly kind and wise. He’s not perfect either of course. He has a drive through and often realizes that the lives of many must take precedence over his own feelings.

The plot of the story is great. It both brings things from the first book but also manages to stay fresh as new problems arise. I love the way the two book interlock together for the full story. The world building and the way the Gods/Magic system work is really interesting. We are still able to learn new things that make sense to learn at a later date. It’s not like, why is that suddenly in here. The progression was well executed.

I hate mind control though. Oh my gosh, I always get upset when I’m reading about people’s wills being taken away. Ahhh. It also makes me speed through a story because it’s like how do you get out of this. For me I consider this the worst monster a character can face.

Familiar side characters have returned and we get more of their stories as well. Some of course gut wrenching because we are talking about war.

I have a great love for the Rime Chronicles and I loved Shadow and Flame.

YA Author of THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, a contemporary fantasy coming March 5, 2013 from Tor Teen (Macmillan) and AVALON, a YA sci-fi thriller coming Winter 2014 from Balzer+Bray (HarperCollins). Represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. Addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space.

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Prize: Win a signed copy of SHADOW & FLAME and ONYX & IVORY by Mindee Arnett and swag (INT)

Start Date: 4th June 2019
End Date: 18th June 2019

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The Beholder by Anna Bright

Title: The Beholder (The Beholder #1)
Author: Anna Bright
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 4th 2019
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings

Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

I found The Beholder to be an addictive read and I also found Selah to be an interesting MC. One who really truly grows as the story progresses.

I liked Selah as a character. Mostly because I didn’t like Selah at times but as the story moves along we see her really finding herself. She is definitely a little more naive in the beginning and willing to go along with plans without question but as she experiences different things in the world we see her start to truly stand up for herself and question what is going on around her. She really needs to make a choice in the end and it involves looking at the world more than your small part in it.

I had my suspicions about England immediately and they were not unfounded. I’m guessing I read too many fairy stories myself ha ha but the reasoning was interesting. Also there was a part about it that made my heart sad, simply because I’ve learned confronting and dealing with things immediately is best practice. So I was frustrated but also understood being controlled by emotions at the time. I do however love how the crew came to her aid whens he needed them most and how they supported her. I did really like Bear though.

Then we moved on to Norge and get acquainted with Torden and his millions of siblings. This kingdom is really interesting for its own reason but again we see Selah really grow. She wants to get back to her father so she takes finding a husband in stride. I did really like Torden and even though it felt like things were happening too fast. I didn’t like the way she bounced from Bear to him. I really enjoyed the friendship that blossomed first and I almost wish it had stayed at that level. Selah does not have a large family like Torden does and how she acclimates to it is another learning experience for her. Again when she needs them the crew rallies around her and is so supportive.

The Beholder and crew itself is almost like another destination on Selah’s trip and I loved how kind some of the crew members are. They have their own secrets and especially Lang. Who I’m not exactly sure where his character is going but he definitely intrigues me but they try to make Selah’s mission come first. They are understanding of how she feels about her father and his health. Her concerns over her Step-monster.

Of course there is the mysterious Imperiya with Baba Yaga at the helm that we haven’t had a chance to fully dive into yet as well.

I loved how different fairytales and folktales are a part of the story. Little tidbits her and there that connect it. Whether it be a name or a hammer or a small tale. I also loved how each section has tidbit of a different story. I did at times find some of the names confusing, just trying to keep in my head who was who and where they were.

I really liked the story and there was a lot to turn over in my brain when I finished reading. I enjoyed making the connection of the different characters and different stories. I also just really like seeing Selah grow. I was content with her decision in the end. I can’t wait to see where the journey takes them next.

I believe in woods, mountains, highways, cobblestones, roller coasters, dancing, concerts, cherry Pop Tarts, books, and magic.
When I'm not reading or writing on my couch, I'm dragging my husband off on an adventure, communing with Salem (my kitten/spiritual familiar), or causing trouble at One More Page Books, where I work.

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