4 out of 5 Stars

As with all aristocracy. The beauty is only skin deep but the betrayal is through and through..

In a society where the Firstborn is the Aristocracy, the Secondborn are the labour workers and soldiers and the Thirdborn is unheard of and the parents of such are killed on discovery.

“We, the firstborns, must rule. It is our birthright to sacrifice our own for the protection of the Fates. It is an honor for secondborns to serve as champions in this proud tradition—to give their lives to their Fate and to the call of service.””

The Secondborn daughter of the Sword (the Matriarch of this society) Roselle Sword, awaits her Fate on her Transition Day.

“The destiny of our once-great nation lies in the palms of our hands, and never more than today—Transition Day.” I’m unable to suppress a shudder. Transition Day. I’ve heard the words often over the eighteen years of my life. It’s the stuff of nightmares, what people say when they want to scare you: one day soon you’ll become a stranger to the people you love. A picture in a frame. I’ve always known today would come. I thought I’d be ready for it. I’m not.”

When she is put into the lowest position in the Infantry, she knows that her life will never be the same.

“Tiny brown holographic swords project from the lapel of my new, dirt-colored uniform. Tropo. I try not to wince. The emblem denotes the lowest secondborn rank in the military, the mark of the infantry—the expendables. My throat constricts.”

She will be following orders from now on. She will be trained, told how to wear her hair, when to eat and when to sleep. But, things aren’t always as they seem. The system is corrupt and there are people out there who wish to change the Political field. But, who do you trust? The “Gardeners” of the “Rose Garden Society” who want to take down Roselle’s brother so she can step up to become the Sword? Hawthorn, how has been by her side and seems to want to help her? Her Mother? Or is no one who they say they are…

““It outlived its usefulness, so it was killed. There’s something to be learned in that.”

“Never outlive my usefulness?”

“Never, ever trust the pack.””


“Dune growls low. “You don’t have to do this,” he says bitterly. “Roselle’s still too young. She’s not ready for war!”

Othala sobers. She narrows her eyes at her assembled staff. “Leave us.” Clara and Emmitt nearly bump into each other in their hurry to the door. I turn to follow them out.

“Stay, Roselle,” Dune commands.

I hesitate, looking to Mother for confirmation. She remains silent until the others have left, closing the bronze doors behind them, then whirls to face Dune. “It’s done,” she says, sneering.

“You can undo it,” Dune insists. “You can save Roselle.” He is rigid with barely suppressed anger, except for one hand, which twitches near the sword sheathed at his waist. My eyes widen. I know his aggressive posture well. It’s the stance he uses before he attacks.

“You underestimate her,” my mother replies. “She’s resilient and capable of surviving whatever is thrown at her. She has my blood.”

“You will spill her blood!” Dune’s sand-colored eyes narrow. He takes a menacing step toward Mother. My response is automatic. I move between the Clarity and my mentor, as I’ve been trained to do. My hand rests on my own sword’s hilt. I face Dune, my warning unmistakable. “You see?” Dune flicks his hand toward me. “She wants only to protect you, Othala. You have nothing to fear from her. She would never harm you or Gabriel. She loves you both.”

“And you care for her,” Mother hisses. She walks around the golden silk settee, putting it between her and us. Dune grinds his teeth. It’s an accusation I don’t fully understand.

“Of course I care for her. Roselle has been my student since she could crawl!” He rubs his hand over the short, dark stubble of his new beard. “I have always treated her with the utmost respect.”

“Yes, you two are quite close. She looks at you like a father.”

“You and I both know how little interest her own father has taken in her.”

Othala waves her hand as if to dismiss my father from the conversation, or maybe from her life. “Kennet is not one to form attachments. But you treat her as if she were your own daughter. You’ve taught her everything you know about being a leader, a fighter, someone who could maybe one day be the commander of this Fate?”

“I’ve tried to prepare her for any eventuality.”

My mother grips the back of the settee, her bejeweled fingernails digging into the fabric. “You’d just need to get rid of anything that stands in her way, wouldn’t you?”

Dune rubs his eyes, for a moment looking older than his thirty-eight years. “So, this is revenge against me! My decision to end my personal relationship with you, Othala, has nothing to do with Roselle.”

“It has everything to do with her, Dune. You’re her mentor. We both know that if something were to happen to Gabriel and me, she’d be The Sword.” A snarl twists my mother’s lips.

My hand, still on the silver handle of my sheathed sword, grows damp. Dune meets my eyes, and his soften. “Your daughter has no idea what you’re talking about, Othala. She’s a student of chivalry. Her only thought is how to win your love, not steal your power.”

Mother’s blue eyes look upward. “Even if the thought never crossed her mind, she’s still too dangerous, Dune. I have to protect Gabriel. He will rule the Fate of Swords one day, not her. It’s his birthright.””

What a great read! It’s full of action, drama, suspense and mis-direction. Nothing is ever as it seems! I have said before that I’m not a HUGE fan of YA. I enjoy them, but they really have to be done well. This was DEFINITELY one that was done well! It has the feel of “The Hunger Games” or “The Divergent Trilogy” but I found all of the characters very likeable! I thought that Roselle was way more likeable than Katniss Everdeen. She was strong and level headed, and with Society the way it way, even though she grew up around the Aristocracy she spent her time training to be the Secondborn she would always be.

She’s thrown into this life where she’s hated by everyone because she was High born and everyone watched her growing up thinking they knew who she was. She doesn’t fit in with the Firstborns, and the Secondborns do not accept her. It’s a lonely existence. But, she is strong enough to step up, take a leadership role and change the tides of the times. She could be the one who wins the War.

I HIGHLY recommend this book and I can’t wait to get to the rest of them!!

Secondborn is Best Served With 

A Three Ingredient Rose Cocktail

So, my antibiotics are complete which (to me) means that I’m back on the wagon again!! Off the wagon?? Well, I’m going to have a drink!! Lol! For Roselle and the Rose Garden Society, I figured that a Rose Cocktail would be fitting! And with Spring on it’s way ….*fingers crossed* we’ll soon be sipping these on our back patio’s!! *wishful thinking*

rose cocktail rachel ray

So, I got this Recipe from Rachel Ray and I just had to try it and dream of spring…


  • 2 cups store-bought lemonade
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 bottle Rosé wine


  1. Pour the lemonade into an ice cube tray and freeze.
  2. Cut the stems from the strawberries and place them onto a parchment-lined sheet tray. Freeze.
  3. To serve, place a few lemonade ice cubes and a couple frozen strawberries into a big wine glass and top with some chilled rosé.
  4. CHEERS!!

Love Letters to the Dead

love letters

3 out of 5 Stars

One Art

BY Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Laurel receives an assignment in English class to write a letter to a dead famous person, but what starts as a school assignment turns into a way for a young girl to sort through her grief over the loss of her sister.

Through writing to such famous people as Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland, Heath Ledger, and River Phoenix; famous people who had taken their own lives, she tries to sort through her thought on why her sister, May, did the same.

It is a story of grief and growing-up as Laurel goes through the trials of facing a new High School, making friends and dealing with the aftermath within her family after the death of her sister. Her mother leaves her father and herself, unable to face the loss and blaming herself for not being able to see it coming. But, what really did happen to May? Does Laurel know more than she’s letting on?

love letters quote

love letters 3

There were some beautiful quotes in this book and I thought that the reality of a girl in Laurel’s position receiving this assignment really would help them sort through the conflict within themselves. I feel that other’s would enjoy this book more than I did, as I always have a hard time investing in books written in the voice of a young teen as it always seems way too angst ridden to me.

Laurel is always worrying too much what everyone else thinks about her (yes, I understand that this is a normal teenaged mentality) but, it gets a little annoying with her worrying all of the time.

“The only things I know about high school are from May. On my first day, I went into her closet and found the outfit that I remember her wearing on her first day—a pleated skirt with a pink cashmere sweater that she cut the neck off of and pinned a Nirvana patch to, the smiley face one with the x-shaped eyes. But the thing about May is that she was beautiful, in a way that stays in your mind. Her hair was perfectly smooth, and she walked like she belonged in a better world, so the outfit made sense on her. I put it on and stared at myself in front of her mirror, trying to feel like I belonged in any world, but on me it looked like I was wearing a costume. So I used my favorite outfit from middle school instead, which is jean overalls with a long-sleeve tee shirt and hoop earrings. When I stepped into the hall of West Mesa High, I knew right away this was wrong. The next thing I realized is that you aren’t supposed to bring your lunch. You are supposed to buy pizza and Nutter Butters, or else you aren’t supposed to even eat lunch. My aunt Amy, who I live with every other week now, has started making me iceberg lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches on kaiser rolls, because that’s what we liked to have, May and I, when we were little. I used to have a normal family. I mean, not a perfect one, but it was Mom and Dad and May and me. Now that seems like a long time ago. But Aunt Amy tries hard, and she likes making the sandwiches so much, I can’t explain that they aren’t right in high school. So I go into the girls’ bathroom, eat the kaiser roll as quickly as I can, and throw the paper bag in the trash for tampons.”

I do like the slow build up dealing with what brought May to take her own life and the way that Laurel tried to deal with it, I liked the glimpses into May’s life and seeing her through Laurel’s eyes.

Laurel idolized her sister even if May’s life was far from perfect, it was perfect to Laurel. You almost had yourself hoping that Laurel wouldn’t try to follow her sister in suicide just to mimic her life.

Love Letters to the Dead is Best Served with A “New Years Punch”

new years punch

So, as I love to take recipes from the books themselves when I can… this was an interesting one! Laurel and her under-aged friends have a New Year’s Eve party together and they make punch. It was meant to be with “Cinnamon Aftershock” as that’s what they drink throughout the book,


But, it is not available in my area! So, I had to make do with something else that was cinnamon flavoured! I went with Dragonheart which is a cinnamon vodka made by Forty Creek. You can use whatever you can get your hands on though!


  • 2 oz Cinnamon Alcohol (Aftershock, Dragonheart, Goldshlager, etc.
  • 6-8 oz Apple Juice
  • a couple drops of red food colouring
  • Cinnamon sticks


  1. Put ice in a cocktail shaker
  2. Add Alcohol, apple juice and food colouring
  3. Shake for approx. 20 seconds
  4. Pour and garnish with cinnamon stick
  5. CHEERS!!

Feel free to leave out the food colouring if you wish. I was just making the drink authentic to the one made in the book! Lol! But, it really holds no purpose! The drink is ACTUALLY very good though! The cinnamon alcohol makes it taste more like a cider!

Also, If you would like to actually make it a punch just throw all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir it up a bit. Just let the cinnamon sticks float in it for flavour!