Book Review: Soy Sauce for Beginners by Kirstin Chen

“Gretchen Lin, adrift at the age of thirty, leaves her floundering marriage in San Francisco to move back to her childhood home in Singapore and immediately finds herself face-to-face with the twin headaches she’s avoided her entire adult life: her mother’s drinking problem and the machinations of her father’s artisanal soy sauce business.

In the midst of increasing pressure from her father to remain permanently in Singapore—and pressure from her mother to do just the opposite—Gretchen must decide whether she will return to her marriage and her graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, or sacrifice everything and join her family’s crusade to spread artisanal soy sauce to the world.”

I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited without really thinking much about it. It’s not the kind of book I’d usually pick up but this book was pleasantly surprising.

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Book Review: By Ash, Oak and Thorn by Melissa Harrison

“Three tiny, ancient beings – Moss, Burnet and Cumulus, once revered as Guardians of the Wild World – wake from winter hibernation in their beloved ash tree home.

When it is destroyed, they set off on an adventure to find more of their kind, a journey which takes them first into the deep countryside and then the heart of a city.

Helped along the way by birds and animals, the trio search for a way to survive and thrive in a precious yet disappearing world.”

By Ash, Oak and Thorn made me want to frolic through nature with its magical writing and whimsical world.

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Book Review: The Warlow Experiment by Alix Nathan

“The year is 1793 and Herbert Powyss is set on making his name as a scientist. Determined to study the effects of prolonged solitude on another human being, he advertises for someone willing to live in his cellar for seven years in return for a generous financial reward. The only man to apply is John Warlow, a semi-literate farm labourer with a wife and six children to support. Cut off from nature, Warlow soon begins losing his grip on sanity while above ground, Powyss rapidly becomes obsessed with Warlow’s wife, Hannah.

The experiment, a classic Enlightenment exercise gone more than a little mad, will have unforeseen consequences for all included. In this seductive tale of self-delusion and obsession, Alix Nathan has created an utterly transporting historical novel which is both elegant and unforgettably sinister.”

I had this book on my Amazon wishlist for months and when I spotted it on a shelf at my local library, I knew I had to grab it.

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Book Review: Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin

Snow and Rose didn’t know they were in a fairy tale. People never do….

Once, they lived in a big house with spectacular gardens and an army of servants.

Once, they had a father and mother who loved them more than the sun and moon.

But that was before their father disappeared into the woods and their mother disappeared into sorrow.

This is the story of two sisters and the enchanted woods that have been waiting for them to break a set of terrible spells.”

Snow and Rose is an endearing retelling of the Grimms’ “Snow White and Rose Red”. It focuses on the theme of family which feels like a good choice considering this is middle grade fiction.

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Book Review: The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

“Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.

But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.”

As I was reading this book, I kept notes on my phone for this review because I just have so many feelings and thoughts. A few were good thoughts, but mostly it was just things that frustrated me.

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Book Review: I Am Ill With Hope by Gommie

In 2019, poet-artist Gommie created a project where he walked around the coast of England and Wales in 365 days with nothing but a tent, some basic supplies and some pens.

He wrote poems and sketched them in his Moleskine diary to share the stories and experiences based on conversations with locals.

Gommie did all this in the search for hope during increasingly hard times.

I was lucky enough to recieve an advance readers copy of this book.

I Am Ill With Hope is a beautiful book that’s full of poems, illustrations and art that really helps you feel connected to the people that Gommie meets along his travels. Each page feels like you get to really experience other people’s lives.

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Book Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

‘Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.’

A book that is completely in-verse was completely out of my comfort zone. Yet, I found myself reading Clap When You Land. If I can read through this book without feeling overwhelmed by the poetry then so can you. And believe me when I tell you, you should give this book a go.

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The Habit Tracking App That Keeps Me Motivated ♡ Streaks App Review

I came across this app by accident. I wasn’t looking for a new way to track my habits or even create new and better habits, but finding this app was such a happy accident.

I’ve tracked my habits on and off for many years now. Habit tracking has motivated me and kept me going through many hard parts of my life. But my issue with habit tracking is that it always felt like an extra task that I had to go out of my way to complete. This is why I’m grateful for my happy accident with the Streaks app.

While watching a YouTube video about the best apps for an Apple Watch, I heard about Streaks. I can’t remember which Youtuber it was but they were saying about how easy it is to use and how it being on your Apple Watch just makes habit tracking so simple.

Well, I was hooked on the idea from there.

I headed over to the App Store and sure enough, it was there and it was pretty cheap too. I’m not usually one to pay for apps when I can find a similar app for free, but I took a gamble and I’m glad that I did.

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Top Four Books To Read This Halloween

Halloween is nearly here which can only mean one thing… it’s time to read some spooky books!

Obviously, Halloween means other exciting things too like scary movies, lots of sweets and trick or treating, but the best part of it all is books, so let’s focus on that.

I’m an absolute wuss. This doesn’t change when it comes to the books I read either. But when Halloween comes around, I’m always inclined to pick up something that’s a little bit more on the creepy side than my usual book choices.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to dive head first into the horror section.

This post will only have one true horror book. I could have gone wild and added more, but that’s just not my thing. I like a spooky book that will put me in the Halloween mood, not a book that will give me nightmares for the next year.

So, if you’re into extremely scary books, this probably isn’t the post for you and I’m sure another blogger will have written a great post more suitable for you. But if you’re into mildly creepy books, then read on.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This book gets a lot of mixed reviews, but in my opinion, it’s great and the perfect Halloween read. It’s a book about ‘peculiar’ children with a vintage twist. With the fascinating vintage photos there to add to the story, it really makes the reader feel gripped and spooked.

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