Review: With the Fire on High

Title: With the Fire on High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Indigo Preview 2019
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain—and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life—and all the rules everyone expects her to play by—once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Review:

Emoni Santiago is a senior in high school, with a two-year-old daughter to care for. Her grandmother, who raised her, is also helping look after her daughter. Emoni has had to make tough decisions in her life, but she knows she’s meant to be in the kitchen. When she learns that her school will be offering a culinary arts class, Emoni doesn’t think she has time for it, despite dreaming of working in a kitchen one day. Emoni also doesn’t think she can afford the trip to Spain that will be included in the course. Throughout her final year of high school, Emoni must decide if she follows her dreams or follows the rules she’s set out for herself.

Emoni had to face unique challenges throughout this story. She had been raised by her grandmother, since her mom died when Emoni was born and her dad lived in Puerto Rico for most of the year. She also had a baby following her freshman year of high school. Since people would often look down on her because she was a very young mother, Emoni had a thick skin and didn’t let many people into her inner circle.

All of the reviews I’ve read for this book mention the food. This is definitely a book that will make you hungry. All of the food described sounded so delicious, from sweets to savory dishes. Do not go into this story with an empty stomach because it will make you hungry!

With the Fire on High was a beautiful modern novel!

Thank you Indigo for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Have you read With the Fire on High? What did you think of it?

Review: Outlaws (Royal Academy Rebels #2)

Title: Outlaws (Royal Academy Rebels #2)
Author: Jen Calonita
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Young Readers
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The second installment in a brand-new series from Jen Calonita, set in the world of Fairy Tale Reform School! Not everyone born royal is meant to rule… 

After being banished to the Hollow Woods following their discovery of Headmistress Olivina’s secret villainy, a note from an ally urges Devin and her friends to go in search of Red Riding Hood, who they believe can help them figure out what to do next.

Instead, they come across a troupe of fairytale vigilantes, including a former Royal Academy princess, Robin Hood, a pirate named Corden, and more. Alongside their new vigilante friends, Devin and her crew come up with a plan to expose the truth about Olivina to all of Enchantasia, or risk their homeland falling under villainous rule once and for all…

Review:

After Devin and her friends were banished from the Royal Academy after discovering that Headmistress Fairy Godmother Olivina is a villain, they escape to the Hollow Woods. They’re instructed to find Red Riding Hood, who will help them. They end up meeting some other vigilantes who eventually begin working with them to reveal the secrets of the Royal Academy. Devin and her friends have to figure out the smartest way to expose the truth of Olivina before their home of Enchantasia is destroyed.

This fairytale themed story was fast paced and concise. Though there are a lot of characters in the main cast, they’re each distinct and well developed. They all have a fairytale background, and some even have dark secrets that they’re hiding.

There was only one problem I had with this book, but I didn’t count against it in my rating though I thought I should mention it. I read a digital copy of this book from the library, and it had many typos and mistakes. I know there are often a couple of mistakes in a book, but there were many spelling and punctuation errors. It’s especially important for a children’s book to have correct spelling and punctuation, because they are just learning to read. A spelling error can completely change the meaning of a sentence, which even confused me a couple of times. Spelling errors are one of my biggest reading pet peeves, particularly in books for young readers.

Outlaws is a really good fairytale themed story.

What to read next:

Heroes by Jen Calonita

Flunked by Jen Calonita

Other books in the series:

Have you read Outlaws? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – October 14

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Last Magician meets The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy in this thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy following a young woman who discovers she has magical powers and is thrust into a battle between witches and wizards.

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night #1)

Title: The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night #1)
Author: Kylie Lee Baker
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 12, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

Review:

1800s: Ren Scarborough is half British Reaper and half Japanese Shinigami. Reapers and Shinigami collect souls when a person is ready to die. Since Ren is half Japanese living in London, her British Reaper family and community doesn’t recognize her as one of their own. After two centuries of living like this, Ren decides to travel to Japan to find her true identity as a Shinigami. Her half-brother, and only true friend, Neven, travels around the world with her. When they arrive and meet the Japanese goddess of death, Ren is given a seemingly impossible mission, to hunt dangerous Yokai demons, that will finally give her the acceptance she has always craved.

This was an intense and wild story. Ren and Neven encountered many demons and creatures from Japanese folklore. Ren had learned about some of the demons in her studies of her culture, but some of them were not the same as the tales. Both the British and Japanese soul collectors had their own methods of doing their job, so Ren had to get used to a whole new system. Though Ren felt like an outsider at home in England, Neven became an outsider in Japan, since he didn’t speak the language and didn’t look like the residents. It was an interesting look at if it’s harder to be born as an outsider and never know any differently or if it is easier to choose to live in a culture as a visible outsider.

The ending of this story was intense and fast paced. It left me wondering if the next book will be about Ren, based on where the story left off. I’m really curious to see what the next book in this duology will be about.

The Keeper of Night is a great book with Japanese folklore.

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

About the author:

Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.

Have you read The Keeper of Night? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – October 13

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong. The expected publication date is November 16, 2021.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Shanghai is under siege in this captivating and searingly romantic sequel to These Violent Delights, which New York Times bestselling author Natasha Ngan calls “deliciously dark.”

The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.

After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on the warpath. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.

Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right—even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.

Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all. Shanghai is already at a boiling point: The Nationalists are marching in, whispers of civil war brew louder every day, and gangster rule faces complete annihilation. Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to combat monsters and politics, but they aren’t prepared for the biggest threat of all: protecting their hearts from each other.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Happy Pub Day – October 12

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker

Frankie and Bug by Gayle Forman

Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan

The Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni

Thronebreakers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Ferryman by Claire McFall

The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta

Any Sign of Life by Rae Carson

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

What books are you most excited for this week?

Top Ten Tuesday – Favourite Settings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is Favourite Settings both times and places. Here’s my list:

1. London

2. Victorian Era

3. Small Town

4. Boarding School

5. October

6. Toronto

7. Tudor Period

8. December

9. A Castle

10. The Woods

(All book covers from Goodreads)

What’s your list of books on your Top Ten Tuesday?

Review: Witches of Brooklyn (Witches of Brooklyn #1)

Title: Witches of Brooklyn (Witches of Brooklyn #1)
Author: Sophie Escabasse
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Contemporary
Publisher: Random House Graphic
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

There’s a new witch in town! Life in Brooklyn takes a strange turn when Effie discovers MAGIC runs in the family. 

A middle-grade graphic novel adventure filled with magical hjinks for fans of Phoebe and Her Unicorn and Making Friends

Effie lost her mom.

Lost her home.

And now she has to live with two strange aunts who she’s never met before.

Life in Brooklyn takes a strange twist for Effie as she learns more about her family and herself. With new friends who will do whatever they can to be there for her, a cursed pop-star, and her new magically-inclined family — Effie’s life is about to get interesting.

Review:

When Effie’s mother dies, she’s sent to live with her mom’s half sisters. None of them are happy with the situation, but they will have to learn to live with it. However, when Effie’s favourite pop star shows up at the house in desperate need of a cure for a curse, Effie learns that her aunts are witches. Then, Effie’s own magic begins to shine through. Her life takes an exciting and unexpected turn.

This story reminded me of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Effie was sent to live with her two aunts, just like Sabrina. Effie also didn’t know about her aunts’ magic or the powers she would develop, like Sabrina. Sabrina the Teenage Witch is one of my favourite characters so I loved this similarity.

Witches of Brooklyn was a fun middle grade graphic novel! I’m excited to read the next one.

What to read next:

Witches of Brooklyn: What the Hex?! by Sophie Escabasse

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

Other books in the series:

  • Witches of Brooklyn: What the Hex?!

Have you read Witches of Brooklyn? What did you think of it?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – October 11

This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I just finished:

This weekend I finished Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading Outlaws by Jen Calonita.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books?

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – October 10

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 7 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?