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Book Recommendations: March/April

Chosen: A Dystopian Novel (The Immortal Ones Book 1) Silver is chosen as the winner of the immortal lottery, and it's not a good thing. Chosen lives somewhere between The Handmaid's Tale and Hunger Games, yet manages to be a definite MEH. Part of the reason we've read these tropes a thousand times, and there isn't a single original twist. Above all Silver is seriously annoying. Her MO is to ask questions that don't need asking. And then she repeats Every. Single. Question. Example: "Here is the Pillar where we work" "Pillar?" "Yes." "Work?" "Yes, we work." Nine times out of ten Silver berates herself for asking such probing questions. The world-building was rote, and the characters were fairly cardboard. I won't be returning for Book 2.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. inherited his assassinated father's piercing blue eyes and Brahmin style, earning a reputation as the nation's foremost environmental activist and lawyer - the "toxic avenger" - battling corporate polluters. But in this, the most revelatory portrait ever of a Kennedy, Oppenheimer places Bobby Jr., leader of the third generation of America's royal family, under a journalistic microscope.

If you were looking for a reason not to vote for RFK Jr., this book will give you many. The book is fascinating, and I devoured it. It is a tragic story that is almost Shakespearian. Unlike Shakespeare's Henry V, however, there is no "Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!" moment . . . Nor do we get a "Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York" moment. It's a dark tale that reinforces the old adage that money doesn't buy happiness. RFK Jr's access to a trust fund supported the life of a junkie who drifted from one self-imposed, self-destructive crisis to another. The awful burden of being named after his father was an albatross around his neck.

A broody fae king bent on revenge meets his match in the book-loving witch, Addison Thornrose. This grumpy/sunshine witch romcom features a ballroom dance complete with frilly gowns, a magical bookshop, a tight-knit family, sisterhood, and of course, the promise of true love. It's the first in a series of stand-alone romances.

It's Bridgerton for Witches. OK, there are a couple of plot holes that you can drive a bulldozer through. Her descriptions of getting turned on by the broody fae king are only a couple of steps above the constant Oh, my! in Fifty Shades of Gray. But it's a fun read. And I like the idea of the kind of magic that can drop you in the middle of a book. (Yep, that's what happens in the magical bookstore in How to Fake It.) It's not a long read, but it's enjoyable. I say go for it.

Maren Winter is a world-renowned restaurateur who has built an empire. No one heeds the whispers of her retirement more closely than her three daughters, all in service to their mother’s legacy.

A cutthroat culinary legacy up for grabs in a darkly witty novel about a family on the edge makes this novel King Lear for Foodies. The family dynamics are some of the best, and the description of food and life in a kitchen are compelling. It also provides some real insights into how female empowerment can go off the tracks. The ending didn't exactly tie things up properly, but it was a fun read, particularly if you know people who are chefs or work in the service industry.

WINGS OF INK is an epic romantic fantasy with enemies-to-lovers, arranged marriage, slow-burn spice, and a magical world filled with mysteries and monsters.

The writing was bit choppy at times, but the concept was intriguing enough to keep me reading. The world-building definitely needed more work, and the protagonist was a bit whiney and uncertain for someone who was supposed to be a badass female pirate. I wished for more chemistry between the love interests, because it was predictable. Nonetheless, it was a fun, weekend read. I will probably not read the second book.


The Pageant is government-sponsored. If you're lucky enough to be chosen, participation is mandatory. Aggressive competition is allowed, even encouraged.

And then there's the prize. . .

Dallas Black, otherwise known as The Dark Prince, will propose to the winner. Dallas is the son of King Black, who won the last world war and governs the new settlements.

The novel follows a familiar story trope: female commoners are "summoned" to a pageant in which the winner will marry the heir to the throne and eventually become queen. Plenty of details of fabulous clothes and food. The plot twist is that the royal family are vampires. The story is fairly predictable and doesn't stray from the trope, which makes it an easy, but MEH read. I might have given it 4 stars for being well-written, but I hate cliffhangers that aren't particularly cliff-y. The story just stops and says basically "get the next book." I'm not invested enough in the characters to do that.

A multi-generational witchy saga of magick, mystery and family secrets. Maggie Maddockis a wilder—a natural born witch who cannot control her powers. She and her sisters were trained in the old ways of magick and deemed the generation destined to save the world. After years of absence, Maggie and her witchy sisters return to their enchanted home, only to discover Dark Root has lost its magic.

The characters were well-developed, and the magic was plausible. It works as a stand-alone novel or as the intro to a series. Although it has the standard tropes: the witch who doesn't recognize her own power, the small magical town, and a supernatural foe, the author brings a fresh POV to those things. I raced through the book in one weekend and will definitely read the next book.

One of NPR's Best Books of the Year: This darkly funny and provocative novel reimagines classic fairy tale characters as modern women in a support group for trauma.

First of all, let me say Adelmann is a superb writer. I was hooked on the first page and stayed hooked until the end. Loved all the twists and turns. You'll recognize some of your favorite fairy tales in a new, realistic setting. The heroines are unique and well-drawn, and you'll learn what really happened in those old tales, how it affected the female characters, and how they're coping (or not) now. If you've ever participated in a support group, you'll recognize the dynamics. . . with a twist.

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