Monday, 19 March 2018

Recipe Review: OhMyVeggie's Tempeh Hash with Brussel Sprouts

Tempeh Hash with Brussel Sprouts - what could be better? Its completely vegan, healthy and you probably have many of the ingredients already.

As most of you know, I am a recipe and Pinterest junkie, creating many of my meals using recipes from cookbooks and pins. Rarely do I experiment and whip up an amazing recipe without instructions and an ingredient list (except my Crock-Pot Chicken Barley Soup).

Which brings me to the point of this post.

Last week I tried a new online recipe, "Tempeh Hash with Brussel Sprouts" by Oh My Veggies, and oh was it delicious!

If you have not heard of them, Oh My Veggies is a vegetarian food blog with a focus on easy recipes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. They also won an award in 2017 for Healthline Best Blogs vegetarian category. Not only do they provide great recipes but they also offer information for new vegetarians and sell their own e-book!

Whenever I make a trip to the grocery store I usually make a list with meals I want to make in mind. I choose a couple new recipes to try and "Tempeh Hash with Brussel Sprouts" caught my eye. It was vegan, it had ingredients I like and I never cook with brussel sprouts so it was a good change. 

To see my grocery haul from that week read my post Loblaws Grocery Haul.

Making the recipe from Oh My Veggies instructions was easy. Though I did have to learn how to shred brussel sprouts.

When reading the ingredient "2 cups shredded brussel sprouts" I thought "do I need a cheese grater"?! Having never shredded them before I had no idea what the technique was. Thankfully google, the knower of all things, answered that question for me.

To shred brussel sprouts you first remove the woody hard ends and outer leaves. Then you cut the sprouts in half and slice them the way you would an onion. The layers will separate and you will be left with shredded brussel sprouts! 

Or if your kitchen is well equipped you could just use a food processor...but I didn't have one. 

Tempeh is also a really interesting ingredient to cook with. If your not vegetarian or don't make a lot of meatless meals, you probably know what tofu is but not tempeh.

Tempeh is a soy product, like tofu, but the difference between the two is tempeh is fermented whole soybean. The process of fermentation binds the soybeans into a cake form. The taste is slightly nutty, unlike tofu which is flavourless.

I love cooking with tempeh. It looks like tuna...but its tempeh.

I loved "Tempeh Hash with Brussel Sprouts" and I believe you will too. Whip it up and give it a try and let me know if you enjoyed it too!

You can even go check out Oh My Veggie for more recipes like it and drop a comment about this recipe. Bloggers love getting feedback.

Have you tried any new online recipes last week? Share them in the comments below! I'm always looking for recommendations.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

10 Things Every Millennial Woman Should Know by 30

In less than a month I am leaving my 20s and entering my 30s! I am so excited!

I have this grand idea in my head that your first ten years of adult life are for experimenting and making mistakes while you figure out what you want. By 30 you should have an idea about who you are, what you want out of life and be taking strides in that direction.

Boy was I wrong.

My life is far from perfect. I am a college graduate with huge amounts of debt and no income. I also struggle with mental illness, which makes everything 10x harder.

A lot of women, like me, are guilty of comparing our lives to other people. Also, our parents and grandparents had everything figured out in their early 20s so why didn't we?

Maybe its because we're (the dreaded word)... millennials? It is no question that our generation faces unique challenges that previous generation didn't have to think about. 30 is the new 20!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and/or make a purchase. These clicks help me keep this site running. I appreciate the support!

  1. You still might not have life figured out - that is okay!

    There is a lot of pressure in your 20s to figure out what career path you want to pursue, land a job in that field and settle into your life. For some people this seems to come to them easily and for the rest of us we're wandering through life seemingly without purpose - maybe working in a job we don't really like, spending our entire 20s getting an education or couch surfing. But as the late J. R. R. Tolkien wrote in a poem:

    "Not all those who wander are lost"

    If by chance, you have reached your 30s and you are still finding your way - that is okay! What matters is that you are experiencing life, trying new things, finding out what works for you, making mistakes and moving forward. 

  2. You can do whatever you want

    By your 30s you have probably come to the realization that you can do whatever you want. Most of us have finished our higher education by this point, we are chalked full of skills and the world is our oyster.

    As millennial women, we have many more choices than our female ancestors had. If you want to be a career woman - go for it! Married - all the power to you! The point is that by 30 you are an adult woman, in charge of your own life with the resources to do whatever you choose with it. Go forth and leave your print on the world.

  3. Life is fluid

    As you have probably found out by 30, progression in life is not linear. I have personally learned this and can attest to it.

    I finished highschool and did what most young adults do, I attended a university to obtain a bachelors degree (B.A. in History). The expected progression of the program is to have completed your credits after 4 years, however, as most students soon find out - it can be difficult to do. I ended up doing my B.A. between 2007-2014! I struggled with balancing school and life as well as dealing with mental health issues in my third year. But I finished my degree, because I am not a quitter and that was the progression of things - you finish your degree.

    After I graduated university, with a B.A. in History, I found myself with very little options in terms of applying what I learned. I could write a darn good research paper analyzing indentured servants and slaves in the Chesapeake, South Carolina and Georgia from 1620-1775 (which I did), but I had no practical workplace skills. University had failed me in that aspect. The solution - college!

    The choice to complete a 3-year Advanced Ontario College Diploma in Museum Studies was part interest and part searching for the skills (a.k.a. the door) needed to enter the professional workforce. I excelled here and completed my diploma within the expected time.

    By this point I am 29 years old, with a degree in history and a diploma in museum studies. According to the ideal progression of adulthood I should be working in my field by now. However, our perception of these milestones in life is misled. These milestones do not happen at specific ages, within certain time limits, etc...  

    By 30, most millennials have experienced this, much to their parents disappointment. Life's progression is not linear, its fluid.

  4. The power of networking and surrounding yourself with savvy people

    By 30 you realize the importance of networking and surrounding yourself with savvy people who will enrich your life. Each connection has the potential to teach you something new, open opportunities, and/or support you in other ways.

    Meeting the right person can open doors and lead to opportunities. In your early 20s, you see your friends all the time and your career goals are less important. By the time you reach 30, friendships have evolved as priorities change, you may see each other less and only the truly enriching friends stick around. New friendships evolve from work relationships, networking events and professional/personal development functions.

  5. The freedom of forgetting toxic people

    The same can be said about letting go of toxic people who do not enrich your life in some way. We have all had those friendships where the thought about seeing that person gives you a headache but you put the effort in out of guilt or obligation. Maybe they demand to much of your attention, the support is one-sided, they try and change you, or are overly critical.

    If your friendship with this person is not adding some form of value to your life than you need to forget about them and move on. It is easier to spot these relationships and act on it by 30.


  6. Nobody has the right to tell you what resides in your own heart

    You are the driver of your life. By 30, you have a stronger sense of independence as you have a better understanding of yourself. You are aware of what your heart desires and it is best to ignore the griping of societal or familial pressures, because you are not living your life for them.

    I am a huge believer of following your gut and instincts. In most instances, your instincts will lead you in the right direction. Your instincts know what will make you happy in life. So go for it and don't let the naysayers bring you down!

  7. Sometimes you don't succeed at what you originally set out to accomplish

    Failure is a part of learning. We leave highschool with an image in our mind about what our life will look like from then on. We visualize milestones and idealize how easy it will be to achieve those huge moments in life. However, sometimes things don't pan out that way.

    I attended college so that I could gain meaningful employment in one of the many museums in Ottawa. It has not been that easy. My focus has changed from trying to convince people to hire me to creating my own employment through my blog and art. I was not successful in what I originally set out to accomplish but I have been guided in another promising direction that works for me.

    If you don't succeed at first, try looking at it a different way and it may show you the answers!

  8. A different kind of success will find you

    As I am turning 30 in less than a month, one thing I am coming to terms with is the fact that I spent 2007-2017 (10 years!) in higher education and I don't have much to show for it.

    At 30, it is easy to look at what your expectations were for yourself and see yourself as a failure if you did not meet them. However, success can come in many forms. For me it is finding a new passion and purpose in blogging and art, with the potential of replacing full-time income, while dealing with mental health issues. To do that is a success in life and i'm very proud of myself.

    Life is tough, find every little success and make it a celebration.

  9. You are accountable for your situation

    As expressed in this post, you are in charge of your life, which means by 30 you are also accountable for how your living it. For some success seems to come easily and others it is more difficult. I find this especially true if you are introverted as I am.

    Networking, getting out there and making yourself known, is not a skill introverted people have easily. Instead we prefer to work behind the scenes, quietly and in our own worlds (check out Susan Cain's book "Quiet" to understand more about this personality type). Couple that with mental health issues and its a disaster. I'm not going to lie and say I did everything I could to get a job in my field, because I have not, I am not a social butterfly and could have taken more social opportunities to meet other professionals. But I prefer to stay home and read a good book and work on my hobbies. I am totally accountable for the way my life is right now - but I am okay with that.

    I recently listened to a panel of successful women, which was shown live on Facebook on International Womans Day. One of the speakers was talking about the struggles of introverted women to be heard and succeed. She mentioned many of us introverted women have found huge success behind our laptops making money from blogging. This inspired me so much. I am going for it and taking accountability for what happens next - good or bad.

  10. You are doing okay

    Lastly, if you are 30 and struggling with your milestones, pressure from society, friends and family to be "productive", or feel yourself that you have failed - I want to tell you that you are doing okay! Progress is not linear and we need to stop comparing our lives to the lives of others.

    The millennial generation has been stereotyped as lazy and entitled, however, I disagree with that. We are encouraged to get higher education to obtain a meaningful job, accrue huge amounts of student debt and then enter a workforce in which there is high competition and low wages. If you are 30 and are waiting for your moment, that is completely normal and you will eventually figure it out.

    You are doing okay.

    What advice do you have for 30ish millennial women that was not mentioned in this post? Lets start a discussion! Comment below!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Top 20 Books To Get Excited About This Year!

2018 is already off to a great start. We're already three and a half months into March, I can't believe it! Winter is coming to an end and we're starting to see the weather warm up, soon the outdoors will be a little more hospitable to us.

Being holed up for the winter in our warm and cozy homes has one advantage though - it is the perfect time to pass the time reading! With Spring approaching, I thought I would share with everyone my list of books being published this year that I can't wait to read (while getting some vitamin D).


Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and/or make a purchase. These clicks help me keep this site running. I appreciate the support!

Marilla Of Green Gables: A Novel Marilla Of Green Gables: A Novel
"A bold, heartfelt tale of life at Green Gables . . . before Anne: A marvelously entertaining and moving historical novel, set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and the choices that will open her life to the possibility of heartbreak—and unimaginable greatness.

Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother had died in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth Izzy Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables."

The Woman In The Window: A Novel The Woman In The Window: A Novel
"A twisty, powerful Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house. It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . . Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems. Twisty and powerful, ingenious and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock."   

Girls Burn Brighter: A Novel Girls Burn Brighter: A Novel
"An electrifying debut novel about the extraordinary bond between two girls driven apart by circumstance but relentless in their search for one another.

Poornima and Savitha have three strikes against them: they are poor, they are ambitious, and they are girls. After her mother''s death, Poornima has very little kindness in her life. She is left to care for her siblings until her father can find her a suitable match. So when Savitha enters their household, Poornima is intrigued by the joyful, independent-minded girl. Suddenly their Indian village doesn''t feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond arranged marriage. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend. Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India''s underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle.

Alternating between the girls'' perspectives as they face ruthless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within."

The Great Alone: A Novel The Great Alone: A Novel
"Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America''s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents'' passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights'' lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt''s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska-a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature."

Educated Educated
"For readers of North of Normal and Wild, a stunning new memoir about family, loss and the struggle for a better future.

Tara Westover was seventeen when she first set foot in a classroom. Instead of traditional lessons, she grew up learning how to stew herbs into medicine, scavenging in the family scrap yard and helping her family prepare for the apocalypse. She had no birth certificate and no medical records and had never been enrolled in school.

Westover’s mother proved a marvel at concocting folk remedies for many ailments. As Tara developed her own coping mechanisms, little by little, she started to realize that what her family was offering didn’t have to be her only education. Her first day of university was her first day in school—ever—and she would eventually win an esteemed fellowship from Cambridge and graduate with a PhD in intellectual history and political thought."

Sadness Is a White Bird: A Novel Sadness Is a White Bird: A Novel
In this lyrical and searing debut novel written by a rising literary star and MacDowell Fellow, a young man is preparing to serve in the Israeli army while also trying to reconcile his close relationship to two Palestinian siblings with his deeply ingrained loyalties to family and country.

The story begins in an Israeli military jail, where—four days after his nineteenth birthday—Jonathan stares up at the fluorescent lights of his cell, and recalls the series of events that led him there.

Two years earlier: Moving back to Israel after several years in Pennsylvania, Jonathan is ready to fight to preserve and defend the Jewish state, which his grandfather—a Salonican Jew whose community was wiped out by the Nazis—helped establish. But he is also conflicted about the possibility of having to monitor the occupied Palestinian territories, a concern that grows deeper and more urgent when he meets Nimreen and Laith—the twin daughter and son of his mother’s friend.

From that winter morning on, the three become inseparable: wandering the streets on weekends, piling onto buses toward new discoveries, laughing uncontrollably. They share joints on the beach, trading snippets of poems, intimate secrets, family histories, resentments, and dreams. But with his draft date rapidly approaching, Jonathan wrestles with the question of what it means to be proud of your heritage and loyal to your people, while also feeling love for those outside of your own tribal family. And then that fateful day arrives, the one that lands Jonathan in prison and changes his relationship with the twins forever.

Powerful, important, and timely, Sadness Is a White Bird explores one man’s attempts to find a place for himself, discovering in the process a beautiful, against-the-odds love that flickers like a candle in the darkness of a never-ending conflict.

Sharp Sharp
Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm - these brilliant women are the central figures of Sharp . Their lives intertwine as they cut through the cultural and intellectual history of America in the twentieth century, arguing as fervently with each other as they did with the sexist attitudes of the men who often undervalued their work as critics and essayists. These women are united by what Dean terms as sharpness, the ability to cut to the quick with precision of thought and wit, a claiming of power through writing rather than position.

Sharp is a vibrant and rich depiction of the intellectual beau monde of twentieth-century New York, where gossip-filled parties at night gave out to literary slanging-matches in the pages of the Partisan Review or the New York Review of Books as well as a considered portrayal of how these women came to be so influential in a climate where women were treated with derision by the critical establishment.

Mixing biography, literary criticism, and cultural history, Sharp is an enthralling exploration of how a group of brilliant women became central figures in the world of letters despite the many obstacles facing them, a testament to how anyone not in a position of power can claim the mantle of writer and, perhaps, help change the world.

Unbury Carol: A Novel Unbury Carol: A Novel
"Carol Evers is a woman with a dark secret. She has died many times . . . but her many deaths are not final: They are comas, a waking slumber indistinguishable from death, each lasting days.

Only two people know of Carol’s eerie condition. One is her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and—when she lapses into another coma—plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her . . . alive. The other is her lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie. When word of Carol’s dreadful fate reaches him, Moxie rides the Trail again to save his beloved from an early, unnatural grave.

And all the while, awake and aware, Carol fights to free herself from the crippling darkness that binds her—summoning her own fierce will to survive. As the players in this drama of life and death fight to decide her fate, Carol must in the end battle to save herself.

The haunting story of a woman literally bringing herself back from the dead, Unbury Carol is a twisted take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page."

I Felt a Funeral in My Brain I Felt a Funeral in My Brain
"How do you deal with a hole in your life? Do you grieve? Do you drink? Do you make out with your best friend? Do you turn to poets and pop songs? Do you question everything? Do you lash out? Do you turn the lashing inward?

If you're Avery, you do all of these things. And you write it all down in an attempt to understand what's happened -- and is happening -- to you.

I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain is an astonishing novel about navigating death and navigating life, at a time when the only map you have is the one you can draw for yourself."

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel Of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton My Dear Hamilton: A Novel Of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton
"From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. In this haunting, moving, and beautifully written novel, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A founding father’s wife...

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…"

Macbeth Macbeth
"He's the best cop they've got. When a drug bust turns into a bloodbath it's up to Inspector Macbeth and his team to clean up the mess. He's also an ex-drug addict with a troubled past. He's rewarded for his success. Power. Money. Respect. They're all within reach. But a man like him won't get to the top.

Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, Macbeth starts to unravel. He''s convinced he won't get what is rightfully his. Unless he kills for it."

Tiffany Blues: A Novel Tiffany Blues: A Novel
"New York, 1924. Twenty‑four‑year‑old Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall.

But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson.

As the summer shimmers on, and the competition between the artists grows fierce as they vie for a spot at Tiffany’s New York gallery, a series of suspicious and disturbing occurrences suggest someone knows enough about Jenny’s childhood trauma to expose her.

Supported by her closest friend Minx Deering, a seemingly carefree socialite yet dedicated sculptor, and Oliver, Jenny pushes her demons aside. Between stolen kisses and stolen jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together in a desperate moment, that will threaten her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life."

The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein
"Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her caregiver, and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness."

Varina Varina
"Sooner or later, history asks, which side were you on? In his powerful new novel, Charles Frazier returns to the time and place of Cold Mountain, vividly bringing to life the chaos and devastation of the Civil War.

Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history—culpable regardless of her intentions.

The Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south on their own, now fugitives with “bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit.”

Intimate in its detailed observations of one woman’s tragic life and epic in its scope and power, Varina is a novel of an American war and its aftermath. Ultimately, the book is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences."

The Mars Room: A Novel The Mars Room: A Novel
"It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision."

The Death of Mrs. Westaway The Death of Mrs. Westaway
"Harriet Westaway—better known as Hal—makes ends meet as a tarot reader, but she doesn’t believe in the power of her trade. On a day that begins like any other, she receives a mysterious and unexpected letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but she also knows that she can use her cold-reading skills to potentially claim the money.

Hal attends the funeral of the deceased and meets the family...but it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and that the inheritance is at the center of it. Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time."

Give Me Your Hand Give Me Your Hand
"A mesmerizing psychological thriller about how a secret can bind two friends together forever...or tear them apart.

Kit Owens harbored only modest ambitions for herself when the mysterious Diane Fleming appeared in her high school chemistry class. But Diane''s academic brilliance lit a fire in Kit, and the two developed an unlikely friendship. Until Diane shared a secret that changed everything between them.

More than a decade later, Kit thinks she's put Diane behind her forever and she's begun to fulfill the scientific dreams Diane awakened in her. But the past comes roaring back when she discovers that Diane is her competition for a position both women covet, taking part in groundbreaking new research led by their idol. Soon enough, the two former friends find themselves locked in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse that threatens to destroy them both."

Clock Dance Clock Dance
"Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life.
In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother''s sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother, yet the prospect is dimming. So, when Willa receives a phone call from a stranger, telling her that her son's ex-girlfriend has been shot, she drops everything and flies across the country to Baltimore.

The impulsive decision to look after this woman and her nine-year-old daughter will lead Willa into uncharted territory--surrounded by eccentric neighbors, plunged into the rituals that make a community a family and forced to find solace in unexpected places."

Killing Commendatore Killing Commendatore
"An unnamed thirty-something portrait painter, abandoned by his wife, becomes caretaker of the home of an aging famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When the younger man discovers an unknown painting in the attic, entitled Killing Commendatore--a painting that takes its cues from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni--he also discovers clues about Amada, his family and their involvement in a violent and failed plot to kill a Nazi leader in Vienna.

As the painter slowly learns the truth, he is equally consumed by the story of a wealthy and mysterious neighbor, Menshiki, in what is, according to the author, a clear homage to The Great Gatsby. The painter becomes obsessed with Menshiki''s doomed love affair, the young girl who might be his child and a stone-lined underground space in the nearby woods where Buddhist priests were once buried alive.

This pit becomes a portal into another world, a surreal place where the figures from Killing Commendatore take form to guide our narrator on an epic journey. Ambitious and haunting, tactile and surreal, preoccupied with questions about trauma, art and the creative process, Killing Commendatore moves between the known world and a complex underworld."

Warlight: A Novel Warlight: A Novel
"From the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The English Patient: a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.

In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself--shadowed and luminous at once--we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings' mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing?

A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn't know and understand in that time, and it is this journey--through facts, recollection, and imagination--that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time."

If you made it this far I am impressed! Are there any books coming out in 2018 that didn't make my list and you plan on reading?

Comment below!
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