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Joined 1 year, 2 months ago

Mysteries and histories, mostly. Even better if both. Also into fantasy, foraging, cookery, and art. MG, YA, and NA all good.

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lastblossom's books

2024 Reading Goal

20% complete! lastblossom has read 20 of 100 books.

Ashley Rodriguez: Rooted Kitchen (2024, Crown Publishing Group, The) No rating

A variety of recipes and beautiful photos great for a beginning forager looking for what to do with their harvest.

No rating

With more and more people foraging, it's natural to also want to know what to do with the foods one forages. Most foraging guides offer brief suggestions and guidelines, but Rooted Kitchen takes it a step further by providing actual recipes, along with a handful of tips on best harvesting practices. It's also got some genuinely gorgeous photos. The book is divided by season, making it easy to find the ingredient you want to showcase. Recipes range in difficulty, with something in here for every skill level. Most dishes are pescatarian, but include notes on vegetarian and vegan alternatives. If you or a friend has jumped into foraging and want to know what to do with everything you've harvested, this is a great place to start.

Thanks to NetGalley and Clarkson Potter for an advance copy. All thoughts in this review are my own.

Ann Liang: A Song to Drown Rivers (2024, Pan Macmillan) No rating

Xishi’s beauty is seen as a blessing to the villagers of Yue—convinced that the best …

An emotional ride featuring a clever protagonist that absolutely sticks the landing.

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I finished this book a while ago, but I had to sit with my thoughts for a while because they are many. Like the lead character, this book is beautiful and clever and ambitious and tragic, and I found myself caught up in it the whole way through. Espionage tales are tricky, but this one really fulfills is promise, with a lead character who is absolutely cunning, and I love every move she makes. Pacing can be a bit hard to follow in some places, with large portions of time passing quickly in a way that makes me feel a TV show would convert it into a quick musical montage. The parts where it slows down to really detail the character interactions are by far the best parts, and I was surprised at how delicate and tender some of the emotions are. If the description of the book seems even …

Christy R. Harrill: The Blood Vier (2022, Rose Hollow Press) No rating

Taryn wants nothing to do with the father who abandoned her. She bolts at her …

Fast-paced plot with a lot of action pieces, but doesn't give the entire cast enough space to shine.

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Dang this one moves FAST. As in, it feels like the plot of the first two books in a trilogy have been smooshed into a single book. Our titular blood vier shows up to vie for a position as her role suggests, leaving me to expect a book's worth of training, tests, sinister plot hooks, and a slowly developing relationship with the other leads. Instead, we race past the actual vying portion and jump straight into what comes after. On the one hand, I appreciate that the author didn't lock all the big action pieces away for the next book. On the other hand, I feel like I didn't get to know the cast nearly well enough before they went on their big adventure, leaving me to play catchup as the plot unfurls. The second POV character gets so much less attention than the first that part of me wondered …

Ryan Graudin: The Girl Who Kept the Castle (2024, HarperCollins Publishers) No rating

Wizard West was dead for nearly an entire day before he noticed. And it is …

Part cozy fantasy, part magical adventure, and entirely fun.

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Oh, this one was fun! I enjoy stories about royalty and chosen ones as much as the next reader, but I especially love a story about the workers who keep the wheels turning behind the scenes. Faye is exactly that - overworked and overlooked, she's smart, competent, and a genuine pleasure to read. Detail's about her daily life spark the imagination, with quick but clear world building, and plenty of magical creatures and plants to fill the world. It would be downright cozy if not for the kingdom-ending threat creeping around the edges of the story. And Faye knows this too, as she has to find a way to defeat the Shadow Queen sometime between gardening, cleaning, and covering up for the Wizard West's untimely death. It's a big adventure for a small girl, but she rises to the occasion. Supporting cast are all fun as well, with a talking …

Sophie Kim: The God and the Gumiho (2024, Hodder & Stoughton) No rating

Supernatural mystery, and romance featuring lots of banter between a grump and a smart ass.

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I feel like I grouse about this for every book written like this, but it gets me every time. I do not get along with third person present tense. I don't know why, but it kills immersion for me, and it took me a couple tries to really get into this one. That being said, I liked what I found once I finally settled in. You've got mystery, a ton of drama, and two strong leads who provide plenty of banter for fans of animosity-to-love relationships. The author is clearly channeling k-drama energy for this part, and I love it. Kim Hani is a very fun read, and I delighted in all her smart ass antics. Seokga is a great moody boy, although I admit there was far less trickery than I would have expected from someone who's a literal trickster god. His passion for coffee is excellent, though. I …

Django Wexler: How to Become the Dark Lord and Die Trying (2024, Orbit) No rating

Snappy and fast-paced meta-commentary, with a surprising amount of heart. There's also a heavy dose of Adult stuff.

No rating

"Irreverent" might be the word here. At least, it certainly starts that way. The blurb says Groundhog Day, but the whole time I read it I kept thinking Re:Zero (an assumption that is confirmed by the author's notes in the back). For those of you not into anime, think Live Die Repeat with Tom Cruise. The hero Davi dies violently and often, until the only thing she has left is cynicism and anger. Her foray into becoming the Dark Lord starts as a lark born from frustration and a desire for novelty, but it quickly turns into more as she gets closer to her goals, and further from her old lives. Most reviews will probably say this book is very funny, very crude, or both. (It's both.) But for something as snappy and flippant as this, it also has a surprising amount of heart, with Davi's hurt melting into care …