One Side of a Firing Squad | Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Title: Romanov
By: Nadine Brandes
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Pages: 352
Release Date: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Summary from Goodreads: From the author of Fawkes comes a magical take on the story of Anastasia Romanov.

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

Review: How excited are you to pick up this book? You wont be disappointed. A magical retelling of Anastasia based in historical facts, a wonderful twist to a story that has captivated the world for generations. 

What I really loved about this book was the deep rooted plot in actual history. If there was no magic element at all I would still be drawn to the dark story of the Romanov's and the terrible last days they had to endure. The hope, the fear, the pain. It was all intertwined into a wonderful journey. 

There was one thing that I didn't like, I know, just one. The first half of the book touched on the magical element, but didn't really dive into it. I waited and waited for something magical to happen, but really nothing spectacular occurred. The magic that was there, was slow and took forever to conjure. 

Even without the magic, the story was still worth the read. I dove in with both feet and couldn't put the book down. Four out of Five stars.   

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Mortal and Magic | Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

Title: The Winter of the Witch
By: Katherine Arden
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 336
Release Date: January 8th, 2019
Publisher: Del Rey

Summary from Goodreads: In the stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, following The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya returns to save Russia and the spirit realm, battling enemies both mortal and magic.

Review: WHAT! This book was an epic journey into the realm of magic and midnight, a fantastic twist to what we already love. Our favorite heroin Vasya is on the run as a supposed witch, after she saved the people of Russia. She knows that the battle isn't over though, and must find a way to return to her brother's side to save the ones she loves. 

I really enjoyed this third book in the series. In true Katherine Arden fashion, we get a nice mix of Russian history and fantasy. We cry and rejoice as we follow Vasya through her trials and as she struggles to o what is right, even though it could cost her everything. 

The only thing I didn't like was the slow nature of the middle of the book when Vasya was in the midnight realm. It was still interesting though, and kept me involved in the story. I gave this book a solid four out of five stars.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

What I'm Reading This Week | #WeeklyMenu Week #276

Hello Monday, long time no see... Not... We are back. Another Monday and another week. I hope your Thanksgiving was amazing, filled with lots of family and friends. We had a great day. Lots of food, lots of Family. The boys did amazing, even for all their struggles. No major problems to report.

I read a lot of great books over the holiday. Make sure you stay tuned for the reviews and the November wrap up. There will be a lot of good stories to sink your teeth into, so don't go too far now, you hear?

Of course, I'm excited for this weeks book. I've actually already started it because I couldn't wait to read it. White Stag by Kara Barbieri. The main character lives with Goblins and has to learn their ways or die. It's actually very interesting. Check the full synopsis here at Goodreads

Ok, lets get to this weeks menu. I know you all want to eat and so do I.







Leftovers Night

Both Whales and Men | And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

Title: And the Ocean was our Sky
By: Patrick Ness
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 160
Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Walker Books

Summary from Goodreads: With harpoons strapped to their backs, the proud whales of Bathsheba's pod live for the hunt, fighting in the ongoing war against the world of men. When they attack a ship bobbing on the surface of the Abyss, they expect to find easy prey. Instead, they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself...

As their relentless Captain leads the chase, they embark on a final, vengeful hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of both whales and men.

Review: Can you find a more bizarre book? Reading this was like flipping Moby Dick on its head. A strange world where the whales are the main characters and they are in a battle with the men above. You would think that this wouldn't work, but it does. There is something so alluring about this book that I was excited to read another page and another page. I devoured this book.  

And Betrayal | Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve

Title: Mortal Engines
By: Philip Reeve
Genre: Dystopian 
Pages: 373
Release Date: September 1st, 2004
Publisher: Harper Collins US UK 

Summary from Goodreads: "It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea."

The great traction city London has been skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, the sinister plans of Lord Mayor Mangus Crome can finally unfold.

Thaddeus Valentine, London's Head Historian and adored famous archaeologist, and his lovely daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes toward his heart, saved by the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice. Racing after the fleeing girl, Tom suddenly glimpses her hideous face: scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring back at him. "Look at what your Valentine did to me!" she screams. "Ask him! Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!" And with that she jumps down the waste chute to her death. Minutes later Tom finds himself tumbling down the same chute and stranded in the Out-Country, a sea of mud scored by the huge caterpillar tracks of cities like the one now steaming off over the horizon.

In a stunning literary debut, Philip Reeve has created a painful dangerous unforgettable adventure story of surprises, set in a dark and utterly original world fueled by Municipal Darwinism -- and betrayal.

Review: Ever since I found out that this book was going to be a movie, I absolutely had to read it. This was a premise that I had never heard of. A dystopian that spoke of people who lived on moving cities. Cities in the sky and on the sea. I love that! 

The book takes some amazing twists and turns, bomb shells and revelations you don't see coming. The characters are awesome and colorful. They beg to be read. I couldn't put this book down and finished it in two days.  

What I'm Reading This Week | #WeeklyMenu Week #275

It's.... Monday! And its Thanksgiving week. The kids are off school all week for conferences and break so I got my shopping done early so I don't have to leave the house wit those little turkeys today. Some times its just easier to stay home.

I've been reading some really awesome books this last week that I'm excited to share with you, but for this weeks read, I got my hands on a copy of The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden that I know we are all dying to read. I can't wait to blast through this one. This is going to be EPIC! Review to come.    
This weeks menu is going to be a little different because of Thanksgiving, but I'm sure you all already have your meals planned out for that day. We are BBQing the Turkey for the big family gathering and I'm making a few sides for my husbands smaller family get together. Its going to be a great day of eating and good company. Enjoy giving thanks with those around you! 







Leftovers Night

Outlaw King | Movie Review

Title: Outlaw King
Genre: Historical
Release Date: November 9th, 2018
Rating: 7.1/10 IMDB

Summary from IMDB: A true David v Goliath story of how the great 14th Century Scottish 'Outlaw King' Robert The Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English army.

Review: I had high expectations with this movie since there was so much hype around it. Outlaw king is based on the true story of Robert the Bruce, the man who came after William Wallace and attempted to liberate Scotland from the tyranny of the English. He sacrificed his, home, his land and his family, in a heroic game to claim the Scottish throne.  

You know a good movie when it makes you feel something. Joy or pain, hate or love, this movie made you feel it all. Toward the end of the movie, I began to put myself in the shoes of The Bruce and start to think, what have you done? This choice that you made has killed half your family and imprisoned your wife and daughter. How will you get yourself out of this one. Well, as all good stories do, the tides turn and the ending leaves you hopeful. 

Loved this movie. It was packed full of action. Watch yourself though, there is nudity and sex and lots of gore, so its not for the faint of heart.

Even if it Costs Her Everything | The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine

Title: The Blood Spell
By: C.J. Redwine
Genre: Fairytale Retelling
Pages: 400
Release Date: February 12th, 2019
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Summary from Goodreads: Blue de la Cour has her life planned: hide the magic in her blood and continue trying to turn metal into gold so she can help her city’s homeless. But when her father is murdered and a cruel but powerful woman claims custody of Blue and her property, one wrong move could expose her—and doom her once and for all. The only one who can help? The boy she’s loathed since childhood: Prince Kellan.

Kellan Renard, crown prince of Balavata, is walking a thin line between political success and devastating violence. Newly returned from boarding school, he must find a bride among the kingdom’s head families and announce his betrothal—but escalating tension among the families makes the search nearly impossible. He’s surprised to discover that the one person who makes him feel like he can breathe is Blue, the girl who once ruined all his best adventures.

When mysterious forces lead to disappearances throughout Balavata, Blue and Kellan must work together to find the truth. What they discover will lead them to the darkest reaches of the kingdom, and to the most painful moments of their pasts. When romance is forbidden and evil is rising, can Blue save those she loves, even if it costs her everything?

Review: Oh snap! I think this is my favorite book in this series. Talk about Cinderella retelling, this has to be one of the most unique ways to tell the tail of a nobody who marries a prince. There are witches and vampires and magic and the whole shebang. I loved every aspect of it. 

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

This book was so awesome I gave it my Blogger's Choice Award!

What I'm Reading This Week | #WeeklyMenu Week #274

Why does it have to be Monday again? The kids don't have school today and I still have to do my grocery shopping and all the house work. Today sucks for me. I'm going to make this short, because the boys are already going crazy.

This weeks book is going to be Mortal Engine. I saw a movie trailer and as I usually do, I look to see if there is a book that the movie is based off of. This movie is coming out in December, so I thought I would get a head start. This week's menu is going to be amazing. Enjoy! 







Leftovers Night

Dinner and a Book | Chicken Salad and Drums of Autumn

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you know that I am a huge fan of food and cooking. My husband and I cook most meals together and I plan my weekly menus and share them here on my blog. My husband and I have also been known to share a good read. The last book we read in tandem was Read Player One. That was such an epic read, we both loved it. It was a race to see who could finish it first, lol. If you haven't read it yet, please do. You will not be disappointing.

With the release of Outlander season 4, I've been dying to pick up another book in the series and dive right in. Along with this large chunky read, a great meal is all you need. But since the book is so heavy, you might need a light meal to balance it out. My friends over at Jen Reviews has shared a wonderful Citrus Chicken Salad that I am dying to make. It seems like the perfect meal to sit in the light of the window and read Drums of Autumn. I mean, check out that photo. Delicious!!!!

The salad works well with the autumn feel of the book because of its more rustic vibe with the sweet potatoes and cranberries. Its almost like a thanksgiving salad that you can share with your family this holiday season.  

And make sure you pick up Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon and join the millions of fans that can't seem to put this series down.

In this breathtaking novel, rich in history and adventure, #1 New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon continues the story of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser that started with the now-classic novel Outlander and continued in Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager. Once again spanning continents and centuries, Gabaldon has created a work of sheer brilliance. 

What if you knew someone you loved was going to die? What if you thought you could save them? How much would you risk to try?

Claire Randall has gone to find Jamie Fraser, the man she loved more than life, and has left half her heart behind with their daughter, Brianna. Claire gave up Jamie to save Brianna, and now Bree has sent her mother back to the Scottish warrior who was willing to give his life to save them both. But a chilling discovery in the pages of history suggests that Jamie and Claire's story doesn't have a happy ending.

Brianna dares a terrifying leap into the unknown in search of her mother and the father she has never met, risking her own future to try to change history . . . and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past . . . or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong. 

7 Books Every Child Should Read

My youngest son is finally at the age where he really loves to be read to. We've been doing a lot of it the last few weeks. I think its because his kindergarten teacher reads to him every day, and he has found the joy of hearing a good story and going on an adventure.

A lot of the books I've been reading him are books from my childhood, but there have been a few books that are new to me, but still so good. Check out these seven books that you need to read to your child.


I think my favorite was the giving tree, but Green pants was my son's favorite. Do you remember these books? What was your favorite?