This is the second book in the 8th Island Trilogy set. The first one “Above the Star” was amazing. It was a page turner that I could not put down. (Even being a busy mom, I found the time to read that one) “Below The Moon”, is no different. It was a good read from start to finish, and worth the time to read. The characters are well developed, there are a few little side story lines to keep you entertained, and the author is a brilliant story teller. You can really picture this world exactly.
While in “Above the Star”, I felt the mother character was a bit flat, she came to life in this book. I really enjoyed learning more about her and her past. It made her so much more relatable. And I loved her always wanting to “chat” with Ella on topics that most teenagers don’t want to talk to their mom about. Their relationship was very much a real life mother-daughter relationship. Even in the alien world, even with the challenges that they are facing, even with plotting against a king. They are very down to Earth. Loved reading them bicker back and forth
Lets talk about the best Mexican food side of all time. It’s the refried beans. Who is with me? We specifically pick which restaurant we get take out food from, based on the beans. It’s all about the beans (well and the tortillas but that is a post for another time). Making amazing refried beans use to be really hard, and time consuming. Lets be honest, who got time for that? I certainly don’t. With this hack, you can make restaurant quality refried beans in your insta pot. Thats right insta pot refried beans.
Who is with me, this kitchen gadget is the best thing since sliced bread (oh you want to make that too, check out this post for the easiest bread recipe ever). I must admit, I am a bit of “collector” of the insta pots. We have them in all kinds of sizes. For the house, and for the RV. This thing makes cooking so easy. If you don’t have yet, I would HIGHLY recommend that you get one pronto. You won’t regret it.
Now there is a big debate, do you soak beans or not. Personally I soak them, because I really feel that it makes the beans easier to mash after you cook them. I know of a lot of people that don’t and their beans turn out just as amazing as these. The preference is completely up to you. IF you choose to soak them, I just do a quick soak. Put the beans in a bowl of hot water and cover. Leave it for about an hour or up to 5 hours, really makes no difference. If I remember I do it in the morning and let it soak all day. BECAUSE the kids get excited knowing that mom is making beans for dinner and they tend to behave better knowing that it is coming with dinner. But if you don’t remember till sometime after lunch, no sweat.
Lets talk about home made, straight from the oven bread. Is there anything better? In my world, there is nothing better. The house smells amazing all day long, the payoff for the wait is amazing, and it is a little piece of heaven right there on the table. If you can even get it where it is still a little warm, oh thats the stuff that dreams are made of. Well, here is an amazing, easy, no kneed bread that will wow even the harshest of critics (the kids I mean).
I love carbs, not even going to try to hide that. I love them them in all forms: pasta, rice, cereal. But my favorite is hands down bread. Sourdough, French, Italian, that super dark that you can get at “fancy” restaurants; there is yet a bread that I don’t love. When it is warm, right out of the oven; simply perfection. But who has time to make home made bread every day? And who even knows HOW to make bread right out of the oven? Yes, some of us fancy bread making machines. Those are great and make lovely home made bread; but it is still not that fresh out of the oven bread.
This was something that I really wanted to learn to do. With the world as it is, I have some extra time on my hands. (You know when not trying to entertain four little human beings, or keep them from killing each other while stuck at home too) Time though. Who has the time? Where do you start to learn? Well, my wonderful amazing neighbor must have heard my thoughts. She brought me over a lovely, hot, fresh loaf of bread for our dinner one night. I was in love!
This bread is so easy to make. It doesn’t take all day to make. You won’t be spending hours kneeding the dough. And you will have a perfect, lovely loaf of bread for your dinner table. (Best part, is this actually makes 4 loaves, so you will have bread ALL WEEK by making it once)
Okay, so who out there is a busy mom who doesn’t have time to pee let along read a young adult book. (My hand would be going up here) Above the Star is the first book in the 8th Island Trilogy, and let me tell you it did not disappoint. Totally worth the time to devour this.
This book, is one that grips you right from the start. I must admit that once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. Seriously read the entire book in about 2 days. I immediately fell in love with Ella, she is very much your typical 14 year old girl. Lots of sass, eye rolling and conflict with mom, but all done in a way that she isn’t disrespectful. Her mother was one, that took me a few chapters to really relate to. However, as her story and side was revealed; she is certainly someone that you can understand her struggles.
This book is very much the magical adventure of Narnia meets a feel good family story. I love the new world that the author, Alexis Marie Chute, was able to create. Her ability to create all of these characters, and a completely different world was gripping. There was never a question of what Jarr-Wya looked like, or the journey that the characters have taken. It was detailed enough to really paint the picture, yet open enough for you to put your own touches on the place, it was wonderful for the imagination.