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Nyxia

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Nyxia Scott Reintgen Crown Books
Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.
Forever.
Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.
But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.
     I was trying to remember the last time I read delved into the YA genre because it feels like it's been forever. It was before school started, so th…

Death at Thorburn Hall

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Death at Thorburn Hall Julianna Deering Bethany House Publishers
Drew Farthering finds a new mystery on his hands when he arrives at Thorburn Hall in Scotland for the 1935 British Open. His host, Lord Rainsby, asks Drew to investigate a suspected embezzler--then dies in a suspicious accident the next day. However, the house is full of guests with potential motives. Can Drew discover the killer among them?
     I've been putting off writing this review because I'm in the middle of preparing for finals and my brain is mush and basically at the "what even is words?" stage, so writing anything has been a struggle, even if it's just a book review.

     But in that craziness, it was nice to sit down and read a pleasure book, which is what the Death at Thorburn Hall was. I love old-fashioned mysteries, and a book like this was just what I needed. My main complaint with this one was that I didn't think the plot picked up until nearly the end; it was hard for me to get…

The Austen Escape

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The Austen Escape Katherine Reay Thomas Nelson
After years of following her best friend’s lead, Mary Davies finds a whimsical trip back to Austen’s Regency England paves the way towards a new future.
Mary Davies lives and works in Austin, Texas, as an industrial engineer. She has an orderly and productive life, a job and colleagues that she enjoys—particularly a certain adorable, intelligent, and hilarious consultant. But something is missing for Mary. When her estranged and emotionally fragile childhood friend Isabel Dwyer offers Mary a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in Bath, Mary reluctantly agrees to come along, in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways. But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes that she lives in Regency England. Mary becomes dependent on a household of strangers to take care of Isabel until she wakes up.
With Mary in charge and surrounded by new friends, Isabel rests and enjo…

Lady Jayne Disappears

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Lady Jayne Disappears Joanna Davidson Politano Revell
When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano's stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

     I feel torn about this book because while not every aspect of it won me over, there were quite a few things I genuinely loved. This novel w…

A Dangerous Legacy

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A Dangerous Legacy Elizabeth Camden Bethany House Publishers
Lucy is determined to keep working as a telegraph operator at a news agency, even though the arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith threatens her position. When she discovers Colin's shocking secret, she agrees to assist him if he helps her find her family's stolen inheritance--not realizing that the trail leads into a web of treachery, danger, and conspiracy.
     This book had a lot of what I love about Elizabeth Camden's novels. Her historical settings are always absolutely fabulous, because she actually delves into what was going on politically and culturally in ways that relates to the characters. This book tackled telegraph system, mental asylums, the Panama Canal, early 20th century plumbing... I mean, it was great. And I did really like the mystery. As far as plot goes, it was an A.

     However, I didn't always feel that way about the characters. I liked them at first, but as time went on some of their decisio…

What We See in the Stars

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What We See In The Stars Kelsey Oseid Ten Speed Press
     This book had so much more information than I was expecting. I thought it would be more of a children's picture book for some reason, and while the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, this book would please any adult who wants to learn about astronomy. I took an astronomy class at college last semester, but we didn't study the constellations very much, and I loved how this book went through the myths surrounding each of the best-known ones. My favorite section was the one on the planets, though- I especially loved how it mentioned the naming themes for their moons and geographical features. (for instance, Uranus's 27 moons are all named after characters from Shakespeare! How did I not know that?)

     Of course, there are signs of the current times, with the obligatory jab at the "anti-intellectual" medieval Europeans (when will people discover you can praise one culture's accomplishments without i…

Queso!

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Queso! Lisa Fain Ten Speed Press
A fun, full-color look at everyone's favorite cheese dip, with history, tips, facts, and 50 recipes from beloved food blogger Lisa Fain, "the Homesick Texan." 
Queso (aka chile con queso) is a spicy, cheesy, comforting cult favorite that has long been a delicious addition to any party, barbecue, or family gathering. This appealing and accessible book features a mix of down-home standards and contemporary updates, from historical, regional, and Mexican quesos to vegan and dessert quesos, including Chile Verde Con Queso, Squash Blossom Queso Fundido, Fajita Queso, Cactus and Corn Queso Poblano, Frito Salad with Queso Dressing, Pulled Pork Queso Blanco, and Sausage Queso Biscuits. Whether you're relaxing with friends, having a few people over to watch the football game, or entertaining a hungry crowd, queso is the perfect party food for good times. 
     Who doesn't like cheese? I'm certainly a fan, and queso, with all its gooey go…