Tag Archives: YA Fantasy Books

Book & Tea Review: Heart of the Curiosity by H.L. Burke

A book with heart, and a hearty tea

I’ve been in a reading slump for a while now. I don’t know whether I’ve just been busy with my new fall releases, or if it’s the social/political/health climate, or what. But I finally finished a book!

I chose this one because H.L. Burke writes fun and snarky characters, and I figured it would keep my interest until the end. And it definitely did. So today I have a book & tea review for you; keep reading to see which tea I chose to go with it and why!

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📖 The book: Heart of the Curiosity by H.L. Burke

Key points:
🌇 Awesome world building
👥 Great characters
🎭 Theater
🪄 Magic
⚙️ Steampunk
🥐 Pastries
🐌 Snails

Having read this author before, I knew I was going to be in for a fun yet heartfelt tale. And it was set in a theater, with characters who can do magic? Sign me up.

Leo and Muse find a home in The Curiosity Theater, their respective “knacks” (little magics) giving them jobs as a dancer (Muse can levitate) and a professional audience member (Leo can influence other people’s emotions).

When the theater becomes in danger of closing after a tragedy, their livelihoods, their home, and their happiness are all threatened.

Leo is a great main character, her scruples about using her knack on other people an excellent point of character development. And her love of pastries… Comes close to her growing love for another certain someone at the theater.

There are so many interpretations of what the title could really mean as you read the book; there is so much heart in this story and these characters. I definitely found myself actually smiling the last two chapters.

Where do the snails come in? I’ll let you read it to find out!

“Yes, people need food and shelter and goods and services, even buttons, but they need art as well. They need to smile and laugh and cry and see ideas expressed in ways that make them think and feel. They need The Curiosity, or at least what it stands for.”

– (Paxton) H.L. Burke, The Heart of the Curiosoty

☕ The tea: Rooibos Lemon Cloud by Adagio Teas

Tea choice inspired by the somewhat magical pastry shop that Leo frequents, this tea has a bold rooibos flavor with the right amount of creamy lemon. Great hot in this cool weather!

I’m careful not to oversteep this tea, because as with most rooibos teas, the hearty rooibos will overpower any flavor if left too long. I also like to use my disposable tea bags, because, again, the rooibos flavor can get intense, and I’m far too lazy to clean my usual teamaking stuff with soap everytime I use it!

The only thing this tea could be wanting is maybe some lemon peels for added flavor and vibe. But it’s a great decaf tea for anyone who likes lemon, with a hearty rooibos base.

Book Spotlight: Ashen by H.L. Burke

Today I’ve got a closer look at a brand new book by H.L. Burke: Ashen. It’s a Cinderella retelling with a unique perspective that I’m excited to share with you!

Stealer of warmth, bringer of death. What if Cinderella had a secret that kept her locked away?

Unable to make her own body heat, foundling Lizbete survives in the tavern kitchen, drawing warmth from the fires, the sun—and sometimes, other living beings. Her days are spent cooking alongside the tavern owner and avoiding the suspicious gazes of the villagers in her small northern town. While she quietly longs for the handsome Brynar, she knows she has no chance with the mayor’s son, even if he invites her to the First Frost festival.

When sudden earthquakes strike Brumehome, blame falls upon Lizbete, and not even her friendship with Brynar can protect her. She finds shelter in the dangerous caverns of nearby Ash Mountain. There she discovers mysterious people with her same ability to draw heat—and a fiery doom in the mountain that slowly awakens with every quake.
Now the festival Lizbete thought to avoid is her only chance to warn the villagers. Yet even with Brynar at her side, can the strange girl dubbed the Ash Lizard hope to save the town that fears her?

A rugged YA Cinderella retelling set in a fantasy world with light steampunk elements.


You can get your own here:

Amazon Nook Signed Paperback

About H.L. Burke

Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic. Her obsessions include dragons and tales about inner beauty and character overcoming extreme circumstances. Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.  

Connect with her here:

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Book & Tea Review: The Cruel Prince and Dragonfruit Dream

Today I’m reviewing another book and tea pairing!

📚The book: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
🍵The tea: Dragon Fruit Dream by Adagio Teas

📚
The Cruel Prince is an exceptional story that draws you in just like getting tricked into a bargain to go into the land of Faerie! I could not put it down, and I have really been meaning to get the rest of the series.

I hadn’t read anything by Holly Black since reading Tithe as a teenager. I remember it being one of my favorite books.

I was fortunate enough to meet Ms. Black at a convention in February (one of the last public things I’ve gotten to go to! So glad I went) at Boskone in Boston.



The characters of The Cruel Prince are complex and I really enjoy that a lot of them are morally grey. The fae characters are very grey, and though they can be dark sometimes, I think it’s “realistic”, as realistic as writing fae can be.

I can’t wait to read the next one and see where all the scheming goes!

It pairs nicely with Dragonfruit Dream tea, an intoxicating fruit herbal tea from Adagio Teas.

I picked it because it has these cute little apple pieces which reminded me of the sweet fruit of the realm of faerie. It makes a great iced tea, and I used my Teavana Teamaker to steep it in.