Anne Z.'s blog

Review: The Expanse Series By S.A. Corey

The Expanse Series began 10 years ago with Leviathan Wakes.  Eight novels later it concludes it’s run with Leviathan Falls just as Prime is releasing the final season of the TV adaptation.  By those measures it’s been a successful franchise.  Should you read it now that it’s finished?

The series is science fiction, but also a political drama dealing with the consequences of humans suddenly finding the technological remnants of a long-dead galaxy-spanning alien race.  This is the core premise of all nine books of the Expanse series.  How would humanity react finding alien technology for the first time?  How would our first interstellar forays go if we were using alien technology we didn’t understand in order to do it?  

Our Personal Favorite Reads in 2021










Sunnflower Sisters: Print - Audio

This Tender Land: Print - Audio

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: Print - Audio

The Witch doesn't Burn in this One: Print - Audio

I Hate you More: Print - Audio

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue: Print - Audio











The Darkness Outside Us: Print - Audio

Any Way the Wind Blows: Print - Audio

Outlawed: Print 

The Grapes of Wrath: Print - Audio

Captive Prince: Print 

I Wish You all the Best: Print - Audio











A Paradise Built in Hell: Print 

Stranger than we can Imagine: Print 

Why Fish Don't Exist: Print - Audio

The Book of Longings: Print - Audio

Diary of a Young Naturalist: Print - Audio

Legends of the North Cascades: Print - Audio

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin - Reviewed by Lisette Pietsch

When your power depends on the sun and the seasons that come with it, what will happen
when unpredictable weather threatens not just the shaders (non magical beings) but the witches
as well? Clara Densmore is an Everwitch, the first one in a hundred years. She is the only witch
alive who can control magic in each season. The fate of nature rests on her shoulders. But
being the most powerful witch comes with a price. Her magic seeks out the people she loves the
most and after the death of someone she loved, she refuses to get close to anyone again. Can
she learn to control her magic or will it continue to take everything she holds dear as the planet
she loves continues to die.
In a conversation with Clara, one of the characters says,“Never let anyone make you feel bad
about the things you’re capable of. Some will insist you step into the shadows to make them
more comfortable. But I’ll tell you a secret: there’s enough light for us all.”
This quote from the book illustrates the beautiful message of accepting who you are to the
fullest and not apologizing for what makes you spark. In dark times never forget, there is
enough light to shine on you.
Rachel Griffin does a breathtaking job of taking you through a journey of self-discovery and self-
acceptance. I love the idea of magic and being something extraordinary. The idea of being more
than can be intoxicating. This book does a beautiful job of showing the things we dream about
can come with burdens yet you should never give up on love and you should never give up on
Whether you are a witch, a human, or anything in between, who you are greatly matters and
there is strength in accepting that truth.

Holiday Hours

Inklings Fall Bestsellers

It has become a little tradition of ours to share with the Yakima Herald Scene readers our Bestsellers at the end of every season. Our fall 2021 list has some great titles in it and many of them have also been read by one or more members of staff. In no particular order, here are the Bestselling books this fall at Inklings:

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (Washington Square Press, $17.00)

"Looking at real estate isn't usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage" (pub. marketing). Sue Domis here at Inklings says Anxious People was 'humorous and definitely entertaining'. It is interesting to see and explore how each individual involved deals with the same situation. None of the hostages are quite what they appear to be but all of them need to be rescued in some way. 

The Book of Hope: a Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams (Celadon Books, $28.00)

Jane Godall and Douglas Abram explore the meaning of being human and of having hope.The book is a discussion between Jane and Douglas where Jane makes an argument for hope during difficult times. The book is somewhat a follow up to Abram's book released in 2016, The Book of Joy, which chronicled a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu- Hope and Joy, two things we all could have a little more of. 

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, $30)

In Cloud Cuckoo Land Anthony Doerr masterfully connects the life of five characters over hundreds of years through their relationship to a book. The book, Cloud of Cuckoo Land, tells the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. As these five characters get introduced to the reader, we learn how Aethon's story impacted their lives.

Fresh Brewed Murder by Emmeline Duncan (Kensington Publishing, $15.95)

In this novel we get to know barista Sage Caplin. Sage has high hopes for her new coffee cart, Ground Rules, until she finds the body of one of her very first customers in front of her cart. There are plenty of suspects, but who committed murder? To makes things worse, one of Sage's own box cutter is discovered as the murder weapon. Mystery lovers and coffee fanatics alike are bound to be enthralled with this story.

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl (Dey Street Books, $29.99)

The Storyteller is Dave Grohl's self-written memoir. In it he let his love of music show from his childhood and his days in the business, primarily with Scream, Nirvana, and the Foo Fighters to today. The memoir is full of love, humor, and it has a good number of behind the scenes stories to keep the reader engaged and entertained. 

I Hate you More by Lucy Gilmore (Sourcebooks Casablanca, $14.99)

This one is for the lovers of dogs, dog shows, and romantic comedy. The book is packed with hilarious scenes involving the main characters and a very untrainable dog. Ruby grew up in the beauty pageant world and left it all behind a long time ago. But when one of the older ladies she cares for asks her to show her Golden Retriever at the upcoming Canine Classic show, she cannot refuse. The dog is hopeless, but when Ruby puts her mind to something nothing can stop her, not even the very handsome and also very infuriating Canine Classic judge, Spencer Wilson. 

Dune by Frank Herbert (Ace Books, $10.99)

It is not surprising at all that Dune, a 1965 sci-fi classic, is once again a bestseller. The new movie based on the book released this past October and as we all book lovers know, the book is better! So it has to be read. Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who moves with his family to the planet Dune and is forced into exile when his father's government is overthrown. "A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics" (

Cooking Healthy by Elaina Moon (Healthy Eats Nutrition, $23.50)

Cooking Healthy was reviewed by a member of staff at Inklings a few weeks ago and we have been selling them faster than we can get them!

"Moon must be commended for putting together such a simple yet elegant cookbook. The “Cooking Healthy Cookbook” is perfect for individuals or families looking for a cost-conscious way to eat healthy, delicious food. Yakima is fortunate to have her expertise." JT Menard

Lastly we have Luke McCain Mysteries #1, #2, and #3 by Rob Phillips (Latah Books, $16.75 and $17.75) and The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie McKesy (HaperOne, $22.99)

These titles have been in our bestseller list since they were released, Rob Phillips first book in 2020, and Charlie McKesy's book in 2019.

If you haven't gotten to it yet, the Luke McCain Mystery series is set in the Cascade Mountains and you will recognize many of its settings. The first book, Cascade Killer, has sold over 1000 copies just here at Inklings. This mystery series is entertaining, fast paced, and therefore a delight to read.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse is one of those titles suitable for all ages and that makes a perfect little gift to just about everyone. This little work of wonder offers inspiration and hope in a time much needed. 

This Christmas give the gift of Books... Signed Books!

"Books invite us to explore distant galaxies, face our fears, find meaning in our lives, unlock our imaginations, and slip inside someone else's skin.

When you give someone a book, you're offering them an entire world." - Author Eliot Peper

To get your gift giving started this year we have Tamara Berry, Lucy Gilmore, and Kristin Vayden signing their books for us this December 11th. 

Tamara Berry is a cozy mystery writer with a humorous flair. Come for the murder, stay for the laughs. The first book in her Eleanor Wilde Mystery series, Séances are for Suckers, focuses on Ellie, a ghost hunter that does not believe in ghosts. Nicholas Hatford III knows very well Ellie is fake, but to appease his mother and get rid of the “ghost” causing havoc in his life, he flies Ellie to deal with his supposedly haunted family’s estate in England. Before all of that though, Ellie stumbles across a dead body. Now she has 2 mysteries to solve, can she?  

Lucy Gilmore writes fun and super funny romance books full of puppies and heartfelt stories. I Hate You More will have you laughing, that is just a fact. And if you love dogs? Even better. Ruby grew up in the beauty pageant world and left it all behind a long time ago. But when one of the older ladies she cares for asks her to show her Golden Retriever at the upcoming Canine Classic show, she cannot refuse. The dog is hopeless, but when Ruby puts her mind to something nothing can stop her, not even the very handsome and also very infuriating Canine Classic judge, Spencer Wilson. 

Kristin Vayden has 5 children to chaice but somehow finds time to write historical romance masterpieces. Fortune favors the Duke is as beautiful as it is sad. Quinn Errington becomes the Duke of Wesley solely because of a tragic accident that took his brother's life, and now he has to leave the life he loves in Cambridge behind and move to London to manage things. Catherine lost her fiancé (Quin's brother) and we find her grieving at the beginning of the book. She slowly comes out of her shell and it turns out she has a very strong and present personality. Through grief and healing (and some other challenges along the way) they find happiness again. 

See you on the 11th! And if you can't come, just order online. All orders placed before the event will be signed. 

This Week's Review!

Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic: How Trauma Works and How We Can Heal From It

Can I let you in on a secret? All of us have experienced trauma in one form or another. Everyone may not speak about it and you may have no idea, but I guarantee that those you love will deal with it at one point in their lives. Many of you reading this have your own story and battle the events that changed your world in an instant. It could be childhood abuse, the sudden death of a loved one, a crippling health diagnosis, a bad car accident, the loss of a job, the effects of addiction, racism, and those are just to name a few. So why is there not more conversation about what is happening to us? Why aren't there more answers, more support, or better solutions being given?

Paul Conti writes so clearly on this issue in his book Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic. Paul has a message to share with the world and it is one that many desperately need to hear. Thankfully the stigma around mental health is beginning to change but there still is a long way to go. So many of us are living our lives being led by the traumatic events that happened and have no idea. We don’t understand why we can’t overcome our struggles but we do know that we don’t want to continue in these toxic cycles. If you want to know how to be better for yourself and those you love, this book will bless you with the gift of understanding. 

I would recommend this book to everyone in your life because we all have things that we need to heal from. Paul will help you pull back the layers of trauma, identify it, and start your journey to becoming a better you. I am grateful for authors like Paul because they are sharing their knowledge with the world to help create a better future for those to come. I really hope that you take a chance and pick up this book, because I think there is something within these pages for all of us. Happy reading friends!

Review by Krystal Griswold 

The Perfect Coffee Table Books for the ‘hard to buy’ friends this Christmas

Plantopedia: The Definitive Guide to Houseplants by Lauren Camilleri and Sophia Kaplan 

Last spring, many of us, myself included, went a little overboard with their houseplant shopping. Spring may be long over, but now we need to keep those babies alive or risk having to buy them all over again next spring. So what better than a coffee table book on houseplants for that friend and/or family member that got a new hobby this year as a Christmas gift? This book has over 130 plant profiles with detailed plant care information, tips and tricks to keep them healthy, and it is absolutely stunning! 


Big Dog, Little Dog by Seth Casteel 

Do you have a dog lover in your life? Or just an animal lover? This is the book for them.

Seth Casteel is an award-winning photographer and the author of the national Bestsellers Underwater Dogs (I have an awesome puzzle made of 4 pictures from that book), and Underwater Puppies. His photographs have been featured everywhere! 

Big Dog, Little Dog is, as the title suggests, a wonderful collection of expertly timed photographs, each featuring two dogs, one big, one small. Through photographs, the book explores the diversity in dog sizes and their relationships to each other. 


The Joy of Watercolor: 40 Happy Lessons for Painting the World Around You by Emma Block

If you're looking for a fun way to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon, this easy to learn watercolor book is for you! I love that it can be shared between the beginner and the advanced painter. Emma Block provides clear instructions on how to paint your own masterpieces, all while giving you encouragement to see the beauty in the ordinary. From flowers, to objects, to people, you’ll be seeing the world through joyful colors as you paint the world around you. Who knows what inspiring art lies within your heart! This book would be a great addition to your book collection or a thoughtful gift to those you love this holiday season. Happy art making to you! 


Black Ballerinas: My Journey to our Legacy by Misty Copeland 

Everything about this book is inspiring; from the stories of triumph contained within its pages to the stunning artwork displayed for the readers to see. Being seen, heard and known is vital to human existence. So many of these powerful women of color had to stand firm in the face of oppression and not give up when the world around them didn’t support their dreams. Because of their courage to fight back, they paved the way for others to experience a better life. Misty Copeland honors those that came before her in a very special way that everyone should read. It is a beautiful tribute to the sacrifices endured and the victories gained from these talented, hardworking, and dedicated women. As you read their stories I hope that it will bring new understandings to your heart and light a fire in you to follow your dreams. 

This Week's Review - Nov 17th, 2021



Cooking Healthy by Elaina Moon

The conventional wisdom is that home cooking is far healthier than eating out or consuming overly processed foods. I think this is generally true, but one thing left out of this assumption is the fact that many cookbooks contain recipes that are overladen with calories and unhealthy ingredients. Evidently the secret to most tasty recipes is sugar and butter, so much butter. If recipes are not unhealthy, they may require an abundance of obscure ingredients or be incredibly time intensive.

Fortunately for the impatient and health-conscious cooks among us, author Elaina Moon’s new cookbook “Cooking Healthy with Elaina Moon” is full of—as you might have guess from the title—healthy recipes that are inexpensive, simple to make, and don’t take long to prep. Moon is a certified health coach and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Central Washington University. Since 2015, she has owned and operated Healthy Eats Nutrition Services in Yakima, where she offers individual health coaching services and leads popular community cooking classes multiple times a month. I attended one of Moon’s cooking classes a few months back and was impressed enough to snag a copy of her newly released cookbook when copies arrived at Inklings Bookshop.

The cookbook contains 78 recipes divided into breakfasts, soups & salads, quick meals, easy sides, comfort foods, everyday sauces, and desserts. All the recipes are plant-based, but most can be easily modified to add the meat of your choice, if that’s your preference. Each recipe contains nutritional information, detailing the number of calories and the amount of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fiber, and sodium contained per serving. Perfect for someone who prefers to count their calories or macros. 

Thus far my favorite recipe in the book is the Indian Red Lentil Soup. The ingredients cost me less than $10 dollars at the grocery store (minus the spices, which will run you more but will also last for many meals), and it took me less than an hour to chop up the vegetables and cook the soup. The result was a warm and tasty soup which complimented the rainy Yakima weather. Best yet, enough leftovers remained to make several more meals.

Moon must be commended for putting together such a simple, yet elegant cookbook. “Cooking Healthy with Elaina Moon” is perfect for individuals or families looking for a cost-conscious way to eat healthy, delicious food. Yakima is fortunate to have her expertise.

Review by J.T. Menard

This Week's Review

The Little Witch Hazel by Pheobe Wahl 

The children’s picture book, Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest, is a delightful and cozy book to cuddle with your kid this winter. The art is what initially drew me into this book; the colorful illustrations are simple, yet striking. It seems reminiscent of Beatrix Potter’s tales and art. If you love the outdoors, living off the land, and anything to do with nature and living in a cottage in the woods away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, you will absolutely adore this book.

The protagonist, Hazel, is a small witch with a bright red, cone-shaped hat who lives in a forest and tends to herself, the land, and her neighbors. Our story carries us through all the seasons, but starts in spring. The forest is refreshing and the flowers are blooming when she finds a large egg and decides to hatch it within her own home. It hatches into an owlet and she helps raise it, soon finding the bird leaving her home. 

Summer comes a time for her to realize that relaxing and taking time to care for yourself is just as important as getting chores done. Enjoying a raft on the river and the racket of being around friends late into the night. Sometimes when life is getting in the way of us doing things we want done, we need to take a step back and give it sometime before starting at it again. 

When autumn arrives, a strange noise is heard throughout the forest. Many of Hazel’s friends have outlandish ideas of what is causing such a ruckus, which makes the forest folk a little scared as they follow Hazel to the noise. The noise turns out to be a new, lonely neighbor. The friends decide to have a nice evening with their new neighbor and share a soup dinner. 

Hazel starts to tend her neighbors’ and friends' health, being a stand-in doctor for them. As she finishes up helping others, it starts to snow. Believing that she can make it through the storm to home, she makes the trekk. As she is starting to feel lonely and lost, a visit from an old friend helps her make it home. 

The heart of this story is a simplistic, community-oriented life, filled with little adages for everyday life and living. People of all ages will find this book charming and heart-warming. A perfect gift for the person who loves rustic beauty for this holiday season. 

Review by Samwise McGinn