Archenemies (Renegades #2) by Marissa Meyer

archenemies

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they’re each other’s worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.

Archenemies (Renegades #2) by Marissa Meyer
Published November 6, 2018, 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Format: e-book; 560 pages
Young Adult / Fantasy
Also By This Author: Renegades, The Lunar Chronicles Series (including Stars Above)
Goodreads | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

Originally this series was set to be a duology instead of a trilogy, so when Marissa Meyer announced that she was extending her series into three books, I was really excited! I love the worlds and characters Marissa Meyer creates, so of course I wanted to see more.

The Renegades and the Anarchists are two polarizing groups of prodigies–humans with supernatural abilities. The Renegades are society’s leaders, politicians, and role models. They enact laws and maintain the peace in Gatlon City. The Anarchists are a group of terrorists who were driven underground after the defeat of their leader, Ace Anarchy.

Ace’s niece, Nova (alias Nightmare), has a special mission: to infiltrate the Renegades from the inside. Fueled by her desire for vengeance against the council members she holds responsible for the deaths of her entire family, Nova has earned herself a respectable reputation as a quickly rising Renegade. But now she finds herself in an endless battle with her conscience. She wants to fight for her Anarchist allies while also defending the genuinely honorable Renegades, like Adrian.

Adrian has his own secrets. As the son of the most famous Renegades, Adrian takes his responsibility as a model citizen of society very seriously, except for when he transforms into the Sentinel, his second alter-ego and a wanted vigilante. Adrian has done some questionable things as the Sentinel, but all in the pursuit of Nightmare, whom he believes knows his mother’s murderer. In Archenemies, Adrian and Nova’s secret identities are threatened to be revealed while the Renegades roll out a morally questionable weapon and the Anarchists hatch a plan to restore their power in society.

The moral argument surrounding the Renegades’ new weapon was one of the most interesting and engaging parts of the novel, the full effects off which won’t be felt until the third book. While I wish there had been more at stake in Archenemies. I’m still looking forward to the end of the series! I have no theories about how Marissa Meyer is going to wrap this plot up, so I’m interested to see what’s in store for Nova, Adrian, and the rest of the prodigies.Although I was initially excited about a trilogy, I do see how the series could have probably been contained into two books instead of three. There were times when the plot dragged on a bit, and overall this book was less suspenseful than Renegades, as it focused more on the characters’ inner battles instead of physical fights between the Renegades and Anarchists. It was still an intriguing novel that I had a hard time putting down, especially towards the end when things start to really happen. I just wish there had been more at stake in Archenemies. I’m still looking forward to the end of the series! I have no theories about how Marissa Meyer is going to wrap this plot up, so I’m interested to see what’s in store for Nova, Adrian, and the rest of the prodigies.

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The Delphi EffectRed Risingimg_1833

The Delphi Revolution (The Delphi Trilogy #3) by Rysa Walker

A psychotic killer hijacked her mind and her body. She’s taking them back.

Eighteen-year-old Anna Morgan is on the run from the very government project that created her abilities. Now they seek to weaponize the gift she doesn’t want and can’t control: the invasion of her mind and her body by spirits, some of whom have their own unusual powers. Her latest “hitcher” is a former top Delphi executive. Unlike Anna’s previous guests, this one has taken over, and he’s on a personal mission of revenge.

The target is Senator Ronald Cregg, a corrupt, power-hungry presidential candidate. One of Delphi’s creators, he’s now manipulating the public into believing “psychic terrorists” are a scourge to be eliminated. There’s only one way to stop him, but Anna draws the line at murder.

Pulled into a dark conspiracy, Anna struggles to reclaim her body, mind, and soul as she and the other Delphi psychics join together to fight for their right to exist.

The Delphi Revolution by Rysa Walker
Published October 9, 2018 by Skyscape
Format: Netgalley e-book; 528 pages
Young Adult / Paranormal Fantasy / Science Fiction
Also By This Author: The Delphi Effect, The Delphi Resistance, Timebound, Time’s Edge, Time’s Divide
Goodreads | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥

Thoughts

After a climactic ending to The Delphi Resistance, I was very much looking forward to the conclusion to Rysa Walker’s Delphi Effect series. I had so many questions and curiosities after the second book! When I started The Delphi Revolution, I was a bit confused because there is a noticeable jump in time from the ending of book two to the start of book three. I actually ended up rereading The Delphi Resistance thinking I had forgotten how it had ended; but no, book three starts abruptly without a quick recap of previous events. Instead, Anna is having unexplained blackouts weeks after her run in with Graham Cregg, and there seems to be some distance between Anna and the rest of the characters.

Eventually, the gaps are filled in, the characters continue their quest to take down Senator Cregg, and the plot thickens. A lot of the supporting characters that were introduced in the previous two books have a deeper role in The Delphi Revolution. Unfortunately, there was a lot more telling than showing in this final installment. The first two books in this series also have thick, political storylines, but there seemed to be so much summary in The Delphi Revolution that it was hard to stay connected to the plot at times. The ending was unfortunately anticlimactic for this very reason, and much of the suspense was lost overall.

One thing I did enjoy about the series overall, and wished that there could have been more of, was the fantasy side of the story. I loved the special abilities of the “adepts”, and the scenes where they were more present and spotlighted were the most enjoyable for me.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy novels with thick political plot lines, especially concerning government conspiracies.
…you’re a fan of paranormal fantasy and sci-fi.
…you are looking for a new thriller or series to dive into.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Delphi Revolution in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts are my own!

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Although you might not have realized it from my blogging habits–or lack thereof–from 2018, last year was a whirlwind. I’m finally in a place emotionally, physically, and mentally where I’m able to return to blogging regularly, but before I start posting reviews again, I wanted to share the highs and lows from 2018 as well as my goals and dreams for this new year.

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Goodbye, 2018!

♥ The biggest, most life-changing thing that happened last year? I had a baby! This is also the main reason for my unannounced blog hiatus for most of 2018. In December we welcomed our second son, Finn, and he is perfect and fully loved by us all.

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However, just like with my first pregnancy, this time I also suffered from depression and anxiety. Both are thieves of joy, as anyone with depression and/or anxiety can tell you. I was prepared for it this time, but that didn’t make it any easier; it just encouraged me that it would end at some point, probably at the end of my pregnancy. So for approximately 9 months I was only able to push through a handful of books, not really fully enjoying them; I forced myself to blog a couple of times; mostly I sat on the couch or cuddled in my bed and watched tv or period dramas (at least the depression didn’t steal binge watching from me). But good news: at the end of it all, I was blessed with a beautiful baby boy and a renewed love for reading (since the delivery I have read 7 books!), so I can officially say that my reading slump is over.

♥ In September, after visiting Oregon for my sister’s wedding and hosting my in-laws at our home in Wilmington, NC, we were hit by the devastating and frustratingly sluggish Hurricane Florence. Our coastal city had already reached our average annual rainfall amount before Florence hit, and then she just sat there for DAYS, flooding our city and my house. We had to be emergency evacuated in a boat by FEMA and the Fire Department. 

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My street the day after the flash flood caused by Hurricane Florence. We are near the end of the street, not pictured here, where the water levels were higher. When we were evacuated, the only part of our mailbox that was above water was the very top of the post.

With 18″ of water infiltrating our house (40″ in the garage), we had to completely gut and repair the first floor. Thank God for our second floor, and for the fact that we were here, even though we had to be evacuated, because we were able to save a lot of our belongings. I also thank God for my husband, who, on top of working overtime at work every week, also spent hours every day gutting, cleaning, organizing and packing up salvaged belongings, pulling up floors, installing drywall, installing new floors, and basically becoming a handy-man overnight so that we could be back in our house before Finn arrived. 

With help from our friends, family, and church communities both here and in France, my husband was able to finish the major repairs necessary for us to move back into our house the week of Thanksgiving. There is still much to do. Between Christmas, having a baby, hosting our family, and having the stomach flu (everyone except Finn, thankfully), we still need to unpack several boxes and install cosmetic aspects of our house, like the baseboards and the new back door. But it’s all part of the process! The important thing is that we have a house that is clean and habitable. 

♥ Between prenatal depression and hurricane-induced anxiety, one significant thing I focused on in 2018 was my mental health. A couple of weeks before Hurricane Florence hit, I started seeing a counselor, who diagnosed me with general anxiety. That was nothing surprising, but having a name for it gave me some power over it. I haven’t been able to go to counseling since Finn was born, but I have noticed that I don’t get anxious as much over things that are beyond my control. When I do get anxious (like I did when me, my husband, my toddler, and my family who was staying with us got the stomach flu the week we brought Finn home from the hospital), I focus on relieving that anxiety in a healthy way. Usually that’s by praying and singing comforting worship songs over my situation.

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Welcome, 2019!

♥ What’s my number one goal for this year? Declutter my life! I’m sure most (nearly) 30-year old moms have this new year’s resolution, but in my case it’s also part of our hurricane recovery process (I promise that’s the last time I include the h-word in this post; I’m tired of hearing it as much as you probably are). As I unpack and organize our belongings, I stop and ask myself, “Is this necessary? Do I love it?” If the answer is no, the item is either donated or trashed. I still have a ways to go before my whole house is decluttered, but every little step is progress and each time I get rid of something it brings me a sense of peace. Plus, it’s nice opening the kitchen cabinet and seeing only the mugs I actually use and enjoy.

♥ This year I’ve decided to read what I want. I didn’t originally plan it this way, but it also goes along with my decluttering resolution. In the past I’ve filled a lot of my time reading books I didn’t love; sometimes they were review books, sometimes they were classics I felt I had to read. I’ve also spent a lot of time reading books that were fluffy, meaningless reads, which is ok sometimes, but this year I’m ready for a change. Maybe it’s part of getting older or having more kids: I’ve realized how little time I have to read and I want to spend that time reading really good books. I also want to focus on reading one, maybe two books at a time, as opposed to the two to three books I normally read at once. I know that most people only read one book at a time, but I’m a restless multitasker when it comes to reading, especially when I’m reading a slower-paced book.

♥ While Finn will be sleeping in our bedroom for the next few months, eventually he and his older brother will be sharing their bedroom, so one of my goals this year is to fix up the nursery. It’s currently a woodland creatures theme, but we plan to modify it a little to give it a Peter Pan/Neverland theme. I’m so excited about this, and I hope my boys enjoy it too! I’ll be sure to share pictures when their lost boys’ hideout is complete.

♥ This year I’m also aspiring to focus on hospitality. After being blessed by the hospitality and generosity of our friends over the past few months, I’ve been encouraged to deepen those qualities in my own life. I’ve noticed how greedy I can be with my time and resources, and I’ve been feeling a desire to change that.

♥ Lastly, and what I anticipate will be the hardest goal to achieve this year: I’d like to finally finish the first draft of my novel. I started writing it over a year and a half ago and I have not been very persistent. It’s a mental struggle, but I hope to overcome it and get my story written down, even if only I ever read it. 

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I’m looking forward to another year of growth! From last year’s experience, I know that being stretched isn’t necessarily a comforting idea, but it does produce stronger character and a clearer perspective in the end.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4

It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will. – Anne of Green Gables

What are your resolutions for this year?

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin – Audiobook Review & Giveaway

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm has delighted readers for over 100 years. Published in 1903, when girls were inevitably depicted as pretty, gentle and proper, Rebecca Rowena Randall burst onto the scene of children’s literature. Sent to live with her prim and proper Aunt Miranda, who is expecting her much more demure sister, Rebecca is a “bird of a very different feather”. She has “a small, plain face illuminated by a pair of eyes carrying such messages, such suggestions, such hints of sleeping power and insight, that one never tired of looking into their shining depths…” To her Aunt Miranda’s continual dismay, Rebecca is exuberant, irrepressible, and spirited – not at all “proper” or “demure”. She wins over her aunt soon enough, and the whole town, and thousands of readers and listeners everywhere.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Published 2017 by Post Hypnotic Press (Originally Published 1903)
Format: e-audiobook; 8 hours, 11 minutes
Classics / Young Adult
Also By This Author: The Bird’s Christmas Carol, Mother Carey’s Chickens
Goodreads | Audible
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

Surprisingly, I had never heard of this novel until very recently, which shocks me because it’s the type of classic young adult novel that I usually gravitate towards. I was also pretty surprised at the similarities between this novel and L.M. Montgomery’s novels Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon, especially since Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was published several years beforehand.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm follows the journey of Rebecca Randall as she leaves her family home to live with her two polar opposite aunts. When Rebecca arrives, she is rather plain and unbecoming, but her personality and imagination are quite the opposite. Her guardians, especially Aunt Miranda, do their best to raise Rebecca into a respectable young lady. If you’re familiar with L.M. Montgomery’s most iconic heroine, Anne Shirley, then you will probably notice the similarities between her and Wiggin’s Rebecca Randall, although I would argue that Rebecca is a milder mix between Anne Shirley and Emily Starr, another one of Montgomery’s heroines.

My favorite aspect of Wiggin’s novel was Rebecca’s character growth. She reigns in her temper and impulsive reactions fairly quickly, and her adolescent mistakes become fortuitous opportunities, such as when she sells a large amount of soap to Adam Ladd. She also possesses a pure heart and genuinely cares about others.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy novels with fierce, unconventional heroines.
…you appreciate the traditions and values of small town, early 20th century life.
…you are a fan of novels like Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery.

Audiobook Review

I previously listened to (and loved!) the first three Anne of Green Gables novels which were produced by Post Hypnotic Press, so I was looking forward to listening to their adaptation of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Ann Richardson’s performance did not disappoint! She brought a liveliness to the characters that was enjoyable and engaging. I especially love listening to classic novels on audiobook, and I would definitely listen to another one of Ann Richardson’s narrations :)

Ann-Richardson-headshot.jpgAbout the Narrator: Ann Richardson has been narrating for major publishers as well as independently published authors since 2008, happily giving voice to classics such as “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” (Kate Douglas Wiggin), “Greenwillow” (B.J. Chute), and Zane Grey’s “Riders of the Purple Sage”. Her narrations have been awarded AudioFile Magazine’s Earphones Awards, as well as having been finalists in the Voice Arts Awards in 2016 and 2017. In her spare time Ann is a volunteer narrator for Learning Ally (formerly Recording For the Blind and Dyslexic), and speaks to author groups and at writers’ conferences about the process of making an audiobook.

Giveaway!
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Giveaway: 3-Month Audible Membership

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And stop by the tour page to check out other blogger’s reviews for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm :)

DisclaimerI received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Post Hypnotic Press. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

Summer Reads and Mini-Reviews

Hello, and happy Saturday! Today I’m sharing some of my favorite recent reads with you.

Are you a fan of seasonal reading? I always seem to prefer certain genres or story lines during specific seasons. In the fall, I tend to read classics, especially the brooding and Gothic ones. In the winter, I find myself cosying up to historical romances. During the spring, I love to read L. M. Montgomery novels, or anything that makes me feel alive and in love with everything. And during the summer, I usually binge young adult novels or humorous romances.

Here are some of my favorite recent summer reads:

Tell Me Three ThingsTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

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Synopsis: Shortly after her mom passes away, Jessie moves to a new town, where her school is full of bullies, her new stepmom and stepbrother aren’t very hospitable, and where loneliness threatens to choke her. The only person who seems to understand is a mysterious online penpal named Somebody Nobody, who quickly becomes Jessie’s lifeline as she copes with grief and high school.

My Thoughts: This novel is full of dark and light bursts of emotion. The penpal aspect is fun and intriguing, and Jessie is a realistic teenager, easy to relate to whether or not you’ve experienced grief like she has. Although the book opens with Jessie battling through the black holes of loneliness and grief, it ends will some uplifting feelings that left me with heart eyes for days.

Can You Keep a SecretCan You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

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Synopsis: Emma has a huge heart, a lot of secrets, and a big mouth, which unfortunately shows itself when she’s overcome with terror. During a particularly turbulent plane ride on the way back from a disastrous business trip, Emma spills all of her most embarrassing and hilarious secrets to the stranger sitting next to her. The plane is surely going to crash, so who cares, right? But then the plane lands safely and the stranger, who now knows the most private details of Emma’s life, turns out to be her boss (the CEO, actually).

My Thoughts: This book is dangerous to read in public, and not for the reasons you might suspect. You will laugh out loud until you cry. I did this so many times, my husband kept giving me strange looks. This book is hilarious, and has some great messages about being proud of who you are, knowing what you deserve, and not giving a crap about what others think of you.

The Hating Game.jpgThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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Synopsis: Lucy hates her coworker Joshua. He’s her exact opposite in every way: he’s uptight, unlikable, and critical of everything Lucy does. The two of them play these subtle and petty games with each other, and Lucy can never seem to get an edge over her nemesis. So when Lucy and Joshua are up for the same promotion, Lucy decides to change her strategy. But soon Lucy starts to discover that hating someone can feel a lot like being in love with them.

My Thoughts: This book is real steamy, so if that’s not your cup of tea, this book is probably not for you. The office rivalry/romance makes this book a quick page turner, and Lucy’s character development is admirable. Joshua will surprise you, but you may also be rooting for Lucy to slap him. I adored Sally Thorne’s writing style; it made this book so much more than another chick lit romance.

Finding AudreyFinding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

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Synopsis: Audrey suffers from social anxiety disorder and depression. After being traumatically bullied at school, she can no longer leave the house or make eye contact, hence the dark sunglasses she wears even around her own family. But then her brother’s friend Linus starts writing notes to her and soon he challenges Audrey with little dares: go to Starbucks, make foot contact with someone, ask a stranger directions to the circus. It’s not long before Audrey feels ready to reenter the real world, despite her therapist’s warnings of doing too much too fast.

My Thoughts: Sophie Kinsella is officially one of my new favorite authors. Audrey’s home life will crack you up, and the sensitive way she covers mental disorders will also soften your heart. The characters in this novel were all so lovable (especially Linus), and I’d love to be a fly on the wall during one of Audrey’s mother’s freak outs.

The Only Thing Worse Than MeThe Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson

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Synopsis: Trixie and Ben are lifelong enemies, academic rivals, and intellectual equals (although don’t bring that up–it’s a sore point). It’s their senior year and neither of them wants to be outranked by the other. So when their best friends start dating each other, forcing Trixie and Ben to hang out together, it seems impossible that they will ever act civilized in each other’s company. Until one of them overhears a huge secret that changes everything.

My Thoughts: I didn’t realize until a few chapters in that this is a nerdy YA retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, my favorite Shakespearean comedy. There is plenty of witty banner, disguises, and mischievousness occurring both on and off the page that will keep you entertained. My only problem with this novel was a lack of suspense (which is really just because I loved the webseries adaptation Nothing Much To Do and how it handles the big scandal. I can’t help comparing it to every other retelling).

Interview with Alison Walsh, Author of A Literary Tea Party

If you saw my review from earlier this week about my favorite new cookbook, A Literary Tea Party, you can imagine how excited I am about today’s blog post: an interview with the author, Alison Walsh!

A Literary Tea Party

Alison Walsh first began cooking as a way to stretch her post-college paycheck, and it quickly grew into her blog, Alison’s Wonderland Recipes. Every month, Alison features a different classic novel on her blog, with a new recipe each week inspired by the Book of the Month. Currently, Alison is a mother and private tutor by day, and a wild food enthusiast by night. A Literary Tea Party is Alison’s first book.

How did you first get into baking?
I first started cooking when I graduated from college. Money was tight, so I used a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook I got for free to stretch my grocery budget. Even though it started out as purely practical, I wound up loving the cooking process. I found it really relaxing, and I loved that it could double as a creative outlet.

Are you a fan of any baking shows or other cookbooks?
I love the earlier seasons of the Great British Bake Off. Mary Berry is the greatest.

How did you choose which novels to create recipes from?
I love the classics. So for my blog, I think of what classic book I want to read, then I make a list of foods in the book as I read it. If there are enough to make a meal and I’m excited to do it, then I cook them up! For the cookbook, I created updated versions of recipes from my blog (plus some brand new ones) that I thought would work best in a tea time scenario.

Which of the recipes in this cookbook was the most fun to create? The most difficult?
The Cyclone Cookies from Wizard of Oz were fun to experiment with. They’ve got a unique look, and I enjoyed taking the time to perfect the recipe. The Turkish Delight was by far the most difficult. At first I had issues with the candies losing their shape after setting. Then my new version fused to the pan no matter what I used to grease it! I went through several variations, and I’m happy to say I love the version in the final copy. It was SO satisfying to finally figure it out!

What’s your favorite book?
That’s a tough one! I don’t know that I have one specific favorite. If I do, it’s definitely something by Agatha Christie!

What snacks do you like to keep beside you while you’re reading?
A mug of tea for sure. If I’m really on top of things, I’ll make some madeleines to go with it. If not, I have toast or Belvitas—anything I can share with the baby. He gets mad if I don’t share!

Do you have plans for any future books or cookbooks?
Nothing official yet, but I’ve got some ideas!

Now for my favorite question: If you were hosting your own literary tea party, which characters would you invite?
I LOVE this question! Jo March for sure. Then Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot…or maybe Sherlock Holmes? And Gandalf.

Thank you, Alison, for taking the time to answer these questions. If you haven’t already, please go visit Alison at her blog, Alison’s Wonderland Recipes. And look out for A Literary Tea Party in bookstores and online this week. Alison is also hosting a giveaway for her cookbook! Click here for all the details.

But before you go, tell me who you would host for your own fictional tea party? I’d love to have tea and sweets with Anne Shirley, of course, as well as Catherine Morland (I’d really just love to see her and Anne meet). I also think it would be fun to have Jules Verne or H.G. Wells stop by. The conversation sure would be interesting :)

A Literary Tea Party by Alison Walsh

A Literary Tea Party

Tea and books: the perfect pairing. There’s nothing quite like sitting down to a good book on a lovely afternoon with a steaming cup of tea beside you, as you fall down the rabbit hole into the imaginative worlds of Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, and Sherlock Holmes…

But Fire up your literary fancies and nibble your way through delicate sweets and savories with A Literary Afternoon Tea, which brings food from classic books to life with a teatime twist. Featuring fifty-five perfectly portioned recipes for an afternoon getaway, including custom homemade tea blends and beverages, you will have everything you need to plan an elaborate tea party.

Accompanied with photographs and book quotes, these recipes, inspired by the great works of literature, will complement any good book for teatime reading and eating.

A Literary Tea Party by Alison Walsh
Published June 5, 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing
Format: Netgalley* e-book; 160 pages
Cookbook
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

If you are a bookworm with a particular love for classics and you also enjoy cooking and/or baking, this cookbook is for you! It is very rare that I find a new book and read it in the same day. I have a bad habit of buying great books and then sitting on them for months (or even years!) before actually reading them. But when I came across A Literary Tea Party, I could not get it onto my Kindle fast enough. I read through all 50+ recipes in one afternoon and felt so inspired to host a tea party, or just spend an entire weekend baking.

Honestly, the fact that these recipes are inspired by several of my favorite literary stories and characters was enough to get me to read it. But I also found a lot of enjoyment in making a few of these delicious recipes. I like to bake, but I am in no way a talented baker. It’s just something I enjoy doing. So I picked two easier recipes and one that was slightly more challenging, and I loved every literary-inspired moment!

The first recipe I made was for these Blackberry Lemon Sweet Rolls from A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

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This was the first time I ever used yeast to make bread (except for maybe one time during 8th grade Home Ec), and it felt complicated at first, but overall I think I did well for a novice. This recipe is kind of messy, due to the jam and sticky dough, and overall I thought the rolls were slightly dry and maybe a little dense, but that could be my fault and not the recipe’s. I will definitely be making these again sometime, because they were a good breakfast bun that pairs wonderfully with a warm cup of tea.

The second recipe I tried was also for a muffin (I should have branched out with a savory recipe, but I can’t help that breakfast foods and sweets are my favorite things to bake!), an Arctic Trail Coffee Muffin from White Fang by Jack London.

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I did take a few liberties with these, namely using french vanilla instant cappuccino mix because I didn’t have regular instant coffee mix, using pumpkin pie spice instead of a ginger-nutmeg-cinnamon combo, and adding walnuts (because I love walnuts in my baked goods). This recipe was super quick and easy, and I loved spreading the recommended maple butter on top. My son also ate his weight in these muffins for a mid-morning snack/second breakfast (he is a hobbit baby).

The final recipe I tried (at least so far!) was for Dark Chocolate Earl Gray Lavender Truffles from “The Naval Treaty” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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I’ve never made truffles before, but these were much easier than I had anticipated. This recipe calls for a whole tea bag of Earl Gray mixed with some chopped lavender buds, but I just used a Lavender Earl Gray tea blend my sister recently brought me from Portland. This tea is yummy, but can be super fragrant, so I only used about 1 1/4 tsp. of tea leaves. I probably could have used a tad bit more of the tea, since the lavender flavor was very mild, but I didn’t want to risk putting in too much and having soap-flavored truffles. These truffles were a little messy, but they came out super cute and I would love to make them again for a tea party or coffee date :)

Overall, I think this cookbook is the perfect gift for the special bookworm in your life, or something you should treat yourself to if you are a whimsy literature lover. There are some simple sandwich recipes as well as more complicated cakes and candy recipes, and even if you aren’t a fan of tea, there are tea alternatives (there is a raspberry cordial recipe I am going to make for when Season 2 of Anne With An E premieres on Netflix!). I have bookmarked at least 30 more recipes I really want to try, including some savory ones that would be perfect for the fall.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own!