Fantasy

#BookReview A Short Walk Through a Wide World by Douglas Westerbeke @SimonSchusterCA #AShortWalkThroughAWideWorld #DouglasWesterbeke #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview A Short Walk Through a Wide World by Douglas Westerbeke @SimonSchusterCA #AShortWalkThroughAWideWorld #DouglasWesterbeke #SimonSchusterCA Title: A Short Walk Through a Wide World

Author: Douglas Westerbeke

Published by: Simon & Schuster Canada on Apr. 2, 2024

Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue meets Life of Pi in this dazzlingly epic debut that charts the incredible, adventurous life of one woman as she journeys the globe trying to outrun a mysterious curse that will destroy her if she stops moving.

Paris, 1885: Aubry Tourvel, a spoiled and stubborn nine-year-old girl, comes across a wooden puzzle ball on her walk home from school. She tosses it over the fence, only to find it in her backpack that evening. Days later, at the family dinner table, she starts to bleed to death.

When medical treatment only makes her worse, she flees to the outskirts of the city, where she realizes that it is this very act of movement that keeps her alive. So begins her lifelong journey on the run from her condition, which won’t allow her to stay anywhere for longer than a few days nor return to a place where she’s already been.

From the scorched dunes of the Calashino Sand Sea to the snow-packed peaks of the Himalayas; from a bottomless well in a Parisian courtyard, to the shelves of an infinite underground library, we follow Aubry as she learns what it takes to survive and ultimately, to truly live. But the longer Aubry wanders and the more desperate she is to share her life with others, the clearer it becomes that the world she travels through may not be quite the same as everyone else’s…

Fiercely independent and hopeful, yet full of longing, Aubry Tourvel is an unforgettable character fighting her way through a world of wonders to find a place she can call home. A spellbinding and inspiring story about discovering meaning in a life that seems otherwise impossible, A Short Walk Through a Wide World reminds us that it’s not the destination, but rather the journey—no matter how long it lasts—that makes us who we are.


Review:

Poignant, hopeful, and creative!

A Short Walk Through a Wide World is an immersive, evocative tale that sweeps you away to Paris during 1885 and into the life of nine-year-old Aubry Tourvel who, after throwing her beloved wooden puzzle ball into a well, becomes inflicted with a mysterious disease that seems to only be healed by never staying in one place for more than a few days and thus begins a lifetime adventure that sees her looping the globe multiple times while experiencing such wondrous things as fishing in Greece, love on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and the joy of perusing unimaginably vast libraries where time and space don’t even exist in order to stay alive.

The prose is vivid and rich. The characters are vulnerable, conflicted, and burdened. And the plot is a enigmatic, absorbing tale of life, love, loss, family, friendship, self-identity, magical realism, solitude, and joy.

Overall, A Short Walk Through a Wide World is a mystifying, impactful, hopeful debut by Westerbeke that combines a contemplative imagination with the magic of the supernatural to weave a heart-tugging, bittersweet tale steeped in an abundance of loneliness, optimism, tenderness, and pain.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

             

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Douglas Westerbeke

Douglas Westerbeke is a librarian who lives in Ohio and works at one of the largest libraries in the US. He has spent the last decade on the local panel of the International Dublin Literary Award, which inspired him to write his own book.

Photograph by Roan.

#BookReview The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard @SimonSchusterCA #TheOtherValley #ScottAlexanderHoward #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard @SimonSchusterCA #TheOtherValley #ScottAlexanderHoward #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Other Valley

Author: Scott Alexander Howard

Published by: Scribner on Feb. 27, 2024

Genres: Fantasy, General Fiction, Science Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A literary speculative novel about an isolated town neighbored by its own past and future

Sixteen-year-old Odile is an awkward, quiet girl vying for a coveted seat on the Conseil. If she earns the position, she’ll decide who may cross her town’s heavily guarded borders. On the other side, it’s the same valley, the same town–except to the east, the town is twenty years ahead in time. To the west, it’s twenty years behind. The towns repeat in an endless sequence across the wilderness.

When Odile recognizes two visitors she wasn’t supposed to see, she realizes that the parents of her friend Edme have been escorted across the border from the future, on a mourning tour, to view their son while he’s still alive in Odile’s present. Edme––who is brilliant, funny, and the only person to truly see Odile––is about to die. Sworn to secrecy in order to preserve the timeline, Odile now becomes the Conseil’s top candidate, yet she finds herself drawing closer to the doomed boy, imperiling her entire future.


Review:

Intricate, unique, and thought-provoking!

The Other Valley is a clever, absorbing tale that takes you into the life of Odile, a young girl who has her life turned upside down when she accidentally glimpses people visiting from the east who are living twenty years in the future, one of her close friends suddenly dies, she destroys her chances of becoming a member of the influential Conseil, and she must decide whether she will risk her life to go twenty years in the past and enter the duplicate valley to the west to alter the one tragedy that changed so many lives forever.

The prose is raw and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, conflicted, and inured. And the plot is a mysterious, immersive tale of life, love, loss, family, friendship, self-identity, power, security, control, duty, desperation, and magical realism.

Overall, The Other Valley is a gripping, pensive, speculative story by Howard that did a beautiful job of incorporating a creative storyline, what-if fiction, and an atmospheric setting into a compelling coming-of-age tale full of reflection, friendship, and first love.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Scott Alexander Howard

Scott Alexander Howard lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, where his work focused on the relationship between memory, emotion, and literature. The Other Valley is his first novel.

Photograph by Veronica Bonderud

#BookReview Inheritance by Nora Roberts @StMartinsPress #InheritanceNovel #TheLostBrideTrilogy #NoraRoberts #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview Inheritance by Nora Roberts @StMartinsPress #InheritanceNovel #TheLostBrideTrilogy #NoraRoberts #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers Title: Inheritance

Author: Nora Roberts

Series: The Lost Bride Trilogy #1

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Nov. 21, 2023

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Pages: 419

Format: Hardcover

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 9/10

Inheritance is the first in The Lost Bride Trilogy by #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts―a tale of tragedies, loves found and lost, and a family haunted for generations.

1806: Astrid Poole sits in her bridal clothes, overwhelmed with happiness. But before her marriage can be consummated, she is murdered, and the circle of gold torn from her finger. Her last words are a promise to Collin never to leave him…

Graphic designer Sonya MacTavish is stunned to learn that her late father had a twin he never knew about―and that her newly discovered uncle, Collin Poole, has left her almost everything he owned, including a majestic Victorian house on the Maine coast, which the will stipulates she must live in it for at least three years. Her engagement recently broken, she sets off to find out why the boys were separated at birth―and why it was all kept secret until a genealogy website brought it to light.

Trey, the young lawyer who greets her at the sprawling clifftop manor, notes Sonya’s unease―and acknowledges that yes, the place is haunted…but just a little. Sure enough, Sonya finds objects moved and music playing out of nowhere. She sees a painting by her father inexplicably hanging in her deceased uncle’s office, and a portrait of a woman named Astrid, whom the lawyer refers to as “the first lost bride.” It’s becoming clear that Sonya has inherited far more than a house. She has inherited a centuries-old curse, and a puzzle to be solved if there is any hope of breaking it…


Review:

Unique, captivating, and romantic!

Inheritance is a dramatic, mysterious tale that takes you into the life of Sonya MacTavish, a hardworking graphic designer who, after finding her fiancé cheating and learning she has inherited a mansion from her father’s twin brother no one even knew existed, moves into the stately home in Maine only to discover that it is haunted by a generational curse cast in 1806 that will take not only the help of the dashingly handsome Trey to break but also all the friends she can muster.

The writing is smooth and effortless. The characters are kind, tolerant, and endearing. And the plot is a captivating tale of life, love, friendship, family, intrigue, desire, temptation, attraction, supernatural phenomenon, romance, and danger.

Overall, Inheritance is a creative, atmospheric, brilliant start to the new Lost Bride Trilogy by Roberts that I absolutely devoured and highly recommend.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including Come Sundown, The Obsession, The Liar, and coming in December 2017, Year One -- the first book in The Chronicles of The One. She is also the author of the futuristic suspense In Death series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview The Land of Lost Things by John Connolly @jconnollybooks @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA #JohnConnolly #TheLandofLostThings #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Land of Lost Things by John Connolly @jconnollybooks @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA #JohnConnolly #TheLandofLostThings #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Land of Lost Things

Author: John Connolly

Series: The Book of Lost Things #2

Published by: Atria Books on Sep. 19, 2023

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Pages: 368

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

The redemptive power of stories and family is revealed in New York Times bestselling author John Connolly’s atmospheric tale set in the same magical universe as The Book of Lost Things.

“Twice upon a time—for that is how some stories should continue…”

Phoebe, an eight-year-old girl, lies comatose following a car accident—a body without a spirit. Ceres, her mother, can only sit by her bedside and read aloud the fairy stories Phoebe loves in the hope they might summon her back to this world.

But an old house on the hospital grounds, a property connected to a book written by a vanished author, is calling to Ceres. Something wants her to enter, to journey to a land colored by the memories of childhood, and the folklore beloved of her father—a land of witches and dryads, giants and mandrakes; a land where old enemies are watching and waiting…

The Land of Lost Things.


Review:

Magical, memorable, and fresh!

The Land of Lost Things is a creative, moving, adventurous novel that takes you into the life of Ceres, a young mother who, after her daughter is involved in a tragic accident that leaves her in a coma and struggling for life, finds herself spending her days reading out loud the fairy tales her daughter once loved until a visit to an old property on the grounds sends her to another world, Elsewhere, where the crooked man once reigned, the fae hide patiently in wait, the dwarfs diligently work, the giants are friends to some and foe to others, and where Ceres will have to fight all kinds of wickedness to find her way back to the light and her ever-sleeping daughter.

The writing is eloquent and expressive. The characters are resourceful, dependable, and fearless. And the plot, using stories within a story, sweeps you away into an engaging, action-packed, heartfelt tale about life, loss, friendship, family, power, heartbreak, parenthood, tragedy, action, loneliness, danger, the magic of books, and love.

Overall, The Land of Lost Things is a unique, immersive, fantastical tale by Connolly that is a beautiful reminder that life is a story, and whether it’s short, long, light, dark, filled with joy or filled with pain, it always has spirit and hope.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

             

 

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About John Connolly

John Connolly is the author of the #1 internationally bestselling Charlie Parker thrillers series, the supernatural collection Nocturnes, the Samuel Johnson Trilogy for younger readers, and (with Jennifer Ridyard) the Chronicles of the Invaders series. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

#BookReview Cruel Seduction by Katee Robert @katee_robert @SourcebooksCasa #KateeRobert #CruelSeduction #DarkOlympus #SourcebooksCasa

#BookReview Cruel Seduction by Katee Robert @katee_robert @SourcebooksCasa #KateeRobert #CruelSeduction #DarkOlympus #SourcebooksCasa Title: Cruel Seduction

Author: Katee Robert

Series: Dark Olympus #5

Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca on Aug. 8, 2023

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Book Rating: 8.5/10

He was my enemy. My lover. My husband.

And the one man I swore by all Olympus I would destroy.

Aphrodite has never flinched at getting her perfectly manicured hands dirty, and she’s not about to start now—even if that means marrying Olympus’s enemy number one, the new Hephaestus. She has a wicked plan to keep her deadly new husband off-balance, seducing the one person he seems to care about most in this world: Pandora, a woman as beautiful as she is sweet.

Two can play the seduction game, however, and Hephaestus is all too happy to put his new wife in her place. Her ex, Adonis, seems like he’ll do the trick. It doesn’t hurt that he’s gorgeous in the way of fallen angels, either.

The only problem with using seduction as a weapon? Hearts are all too quick to get involved. With Hephaestus and Aphrodite trading venomous strikes that feel a whole lot like foreplay, lines become blurred and emotions entangled. But a broken heart may be the least of their worries. With unrest in Olympus reaching new heights, these bedroom games may have deadly consequences for themselves, their city, and everyone they’ve come to love.


Review:

Action-packed, tantalizing, and risqué!

Cruel Seduction is an alluring, edgy tale that features the beautiful, seductive Aphrodite who, after having no choice but to give up her own wishes to do what she must as a member of The Thirteen, finds herself in the precarious position of having to marry the one man she’d rather kill than wed, Hephaestus, saying goodbye to the only man she’s ever truly loved, Apollo, and restraining her ongoing attraction to a woman who is totally off limits, Pandora.

The writing is passionate and enticing. The characters are stubborn, vulnerable, and demanding. And the plot is a scorching tale full of friendship, family, danger, deception, attraction, romance, scheming behaviour, and spicy (MF/MM/FF) sex scenes.

Overall, Cruel Seduction is a tantalizing, dramatic, sexy addition to the Dark Olympus series by Robert that has all the elements you look for in a mythological retelling and more with its heat, danger, fantastical elements, sexual tension, and happy-ever-after ending.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

       

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Katee Robert

Katee Robert is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Entertainment Weekly calls her writing “unspeakably hot.” Her books have sold over a million copies. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, children, a cat who thinks he’s a dog, and two Great Danes who think they’re lap dogs.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview How to Be Remembered by Michael Thompson @mcwthompson @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #HowtoBeRemembered #MichaelThomas #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview How to Be Remembered by Michael Thompson @mcwthompson @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #HowtoBeRemembered #MichaelThomas #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: How To Be Remembered

Author: Michael Thompson

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Jun. 27, 2023

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy

Pages: 368

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

On an ordinary night in an ordinary year, Tommy Llewellyn’s doting parents wake in a home without toys and diapers, without photos of their baby scattered about, and without any idea that the small child asleep in his cot is theirs.

That’s because Tommy is a boy destined to never be remembered.

On the same day every year, everyone around him forgets he exists, and he grows up enduring his own universal Reset. That is until something extraordinary happens: Tommy Llewellyn falls in love.

Determined to finally carve out a life for himself and land the girl of his dreams, Tommy sets out on a mission to trick the Reset and be remembered. But legacies aren’t so easily won, and Tommy must figure out what’s more important – the things we leave behind or the people we bring along with us.


Review:

Charming, thought-provoking, and optimistic!

How to Be Remembered is a charged, moving tale that takes you into the life of Tommy Llewellyn, a young boy whose life is irrevocably changed every year on January 5th when after he falls asleep, anything that’s not touching or physically on him is lost forever when the universe resets and anyone who ever knew, cared or loved him forgets he ever existed.

The prose is smooth and sweet. The characters are complex, troubled, and resilient. And the plot is a compelling tale of life, loss, love, family, friendship, secrets, survival, loneliness, and the importance of having someone to love.

Overall, How to Be Remembered made me think, made me teary, and resonated with me long after the final page. It’s a poignant, immersive, beautiful tale by Thompson that combines exceptional character development with the magic of the supernatural to weave a heart-tugging, bittersweet tale steeped in an abundance of heartbreak, tenderness, and hope!

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Michael Thompson

Michael Thompson has been a journalist, producer and media executive for the last fifteen years. He now co-owns a podcast production company called Fear and Greed – home of Australia’s most popular business podcast. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two young children, two cats and his beloved lawn. How to Be Remembered is Michael’s first novel.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview Chain of Thorns by Cassandra Clare @cassieclare @SimonSchusterCA #ChainofThorns #TheLastHoursTrilogy #CassandraClare #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Chain of Thorns by Cassandra Clare @cassieclare @SimonSchusterCA #ChainofThorns #TheLastHoursTrilogy #CassandraClare #SimonSchusterCA Title: Chain of Thorns

Author: Cassandra Clare

Series: The Last Hours #3

Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books on Jan. 31, 2023

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Pages: 800

Format: Hardcover

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

James and Cordelia must save London—and their marriage—in this conclusion to the Last Hours series from author Cassandra Clare.
Chain of Thorns is a Shadowhunters novel.

Cordelia Carstairs has lost everything that matters to her. In only a few short weeks, she has seen her father murdered, her plans to become parabatai with her best friend, Lucie, destroyed, and her marriage to James Herondale crumble before her eyes. Even worse, she is now bound to an ancient demon, Lilith, stripping her of her power as a Shadowhunter.

After fleeing to Paris with Matthew Fairchild, Cordelia hopes to forget her sorrows in the city’s glittering nightlife. But reality intrudes when shocking news comes from home: Tatiana Blackthorn has escaped the Adamant Citadel, and London is under new threat by the Prince of Hell, Belial.

Cordelia returns to a London riven by chaos and dissent. The long-kept secret that Belial is James and Lucie’s grandfather has been revealed by an unexpected enemy, and the Herondales find themselves under suspicion of dealings with demons. Cordelia longs to protect James but is torn between a love for James she has long believed hopeless, and the possibility of a new life with Matthew. Nor can her friends help—ripped apart by their own secrets, they seem destined to face what is coming alone.

For time is short, and Belial’s plan is about to crash into the Shadowhunters of London like a deadly wave, one that will separate Cordelia, Lucie, and the Merry Thieves from help of any kind. Left alone in a shadowy London, they must face Belial’s deadly army. If Cordelia and her friends are going to save their city—and their families—they will have to muster their courage, swallow their pride, and trust one another again. For if they fail, they may lose everything—even their souls.


Review:

Intense, action-packed, and thrilling!

Chain of Thorns is a suspenseful, gripping tale that takes us back to Edwardian London and into the lives of the most powerful Shadowhunter families in existence as they join forces to use their knowledge, weapons, and special talents to once and for all conquer demonic magic and vanquish Belial, the Prince of Hell, for good.

The prose is brisk and tight. The characters are multilayered, dependable, and fearless. And the plot is a riveting tale full of twists, turns, angst, loyalty, duty, heartbreak, danger, family, friendship, love, sizzling tension, tormented pasts, and supernatural abilities.

Overall, Chain of Thorns is an imaginative, passionate, epic, fantastical novel by Clare that is bursting with soul-searching dilemmas, sizzling romance, dangerous quests, and complex, intriguing characters. And while it’s a little bittersweet to say goodbye to this amazing cast of characters I’ve come to be invested in over these last three novels, it is nevertheless a superb ending to a fabulous series that I highly recommend and will undoubtedly miss.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

       

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare is the author of the #1 New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Shadowhunter Chronicles. She is also the coauthor of the bestselling fantasy series Magisterium with Holly Black. The Shadowhunter Chronicles have been adapted as both a major motion picture and a television series. Her books have more than fifty million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and three fearsome cats.

Photo by Kelly Campbell.

#BookReview A Curse of Queens by Amanda Bouchet @AuthorABouchet @SourcebooksCasa #AmandaBouchet #ACurseofQueens #kingmakerseries #kingmakerchronicles #SourcebooksCasa #Sourcebooksfiction

#BookReview A Curse of Queens by Amanda Bouchet @AuthorABouchet @SourcebooksCasa #AmandaBouchet #ACurseofQueens #kingmakerseries #kingmakerchronicles #SourcebooksCasa #Sourcebooksfiction Title: A Curse of Queens

Author: Amanda Bouchet

Series: The Kingmaker Chronicles #4

Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca on Oct. 4, 2022

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Pages: 496

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Book Rating: 9/10

Discover an all-new adventure in USA Today Bestselling author Amanda Bouchet’s thrilling, white-hot fantasy series, The Kingmaker Chronicles!

The queen has been cursed, and no one knows who’s behind the plot to threaten the realm’s fragile peace. Desperate to help, Jocasta hatches a plan to find Circe’s Garden, a fabled island where she hopes to discover an antidote. But she can’t do it alone. She needs the strong arm and unflinching bravery of the warrior she’s loved since childhood—her brother’s right-hand-man and captain of the guard, Flynn of Sinta.

Together they can do the impossible. Yet with treachery brewing on Mount Olympus, one thing is clear: Thalyria and its new royals are still pawns in an epic game of power—one that might end in a War of Gods.


Review:

Complex, adventurous, and enthralling!

A Curse of Queens is an action-packed, seductive tale that takes us into the life of Jocasta, King Griffin’s younger sister and small-town healer who, after discovering the possible solution to the curse that binds her sister-in-law Queen Catalia and threatens overall peace in the kingdom, embarks on a treacherous journey to Circe’s Garden with the help of the one man who doesn’t seem to realize just how much he owns her heart, the talented and reliable captain of the guard, Flynn of Sinta in the hopes of finally discovering the magical antidote that could save them all.

The prose is brisk and tight. The characters are multilayered, fearless, and dependable. And the plot is a thrilling tale full of twists, turns, duty, danger, destruction, heartbreak, family, friendship, violence, tormented pasts, and unconditional love.

Overall, A Curse of Queens is a creative, passionate, epic fantastical novel by Bouchet that is brimming with dangerous quests, soul-searching dilemmas, sizzling romance, and complex, intriguing characters that once again kept me immersed and entertained from the very first page and is the perfect addition to the Kingmaker Chronicles series that I’m pretty sure I will never get enough of.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

           

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Amanda Bouchet

Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England where she spent much of her time tromping around in the woods and making up grand adventures in her head. It was inevitable that one day she would start writing them down. Drawing on her Greek heritage for the setting and on her love of all things daring and romantic for the rest, her debut trilogy, The Kingmaker Chronicles, took form. She writes what she loves to read: epic exploits, steamy romance, and characters that make you laugh and cry.

Her first novel, A Promise of Fire, won several Romance Writers of America chapter contests, including the Orange Rose Contest and the paranormal category of the prestigious Golden Pen.

Amanda is a French master's graduate and former English teacher. She lives in Paris, France with her two bilingual children who will soon be correcting her French.

Photo by Richard Beban.

#BookReview The Storyteller’s Death by Ann Dávila Cardinal @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheStorytellersDeath #AnnDavilaCardinal #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview The Storyteller’s Death by Ann Dávila Cardinal @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheStorytellersDeath #AnnDavilaCardinal #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: The Storyteller's Death

Author: Ann Dávila Cardinal

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Oct. 4, 2022

Genres: Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

From International Latino Book Award-winning author Ann Dávila Cardinal comes a gorgeously written family saga about a Puerto Rican teenager who finds herself gifted (or cursed?) with a strange ability.

There was always an old woman dying in the back room of her family’s house when Isla was a child…

Isla Larsen Sanchez’s life begins to unravel when her father passes away. Instead of being comforted at home in New Jersey, her mother starts leaving her in Puerto Rico with her grandmother and great-aunt each summer like a piece of forgotten luggage.

When Isla turns eighteen, her grandmother, a great storyteller, dies. It is then that Isla discovers she has a gift passed down through her family’s cuentistas. The tales of dead family storytellers are brought back to life, replaying themselves over and over in front of her.

At first, Isla is enchanted by this connection to the Sanchez cuentistas. But when Isla has a vision of an old murder mystery, she realizes that if she can’t solve it to make the loop end, these seemingly harmless stories could cost Isla her life.


Review:

Nostalgic, memorable, and intriguing!

The Storyteller’s Death is a captivating, mysterious tale that takes you into the life of Isla Larsen Sanchez, a young eight-year-old girl who, after being sent by her mother to Puerto Rico for the summer while her father is terminally ill, continues to happily spend every summer there with her extended family until things take a little turn when at eighteen she begins to have visions of events that have happened to her deceased ancestors in the past, and when those stories begin to turn violent long-buried family secrets that some would prefer to stay hidden will finally need to be unearthed and confronted.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are multilayered, conflicted, and curious. And the plot is a compelling blend of life, loss, love, family, friendship, secrets, surprises, heartbreak, culture, community, magical realism, and resentments.

Overall, The Storyteller’s Death is a hopeful, immersive, multi-generational saga by Dávila Cardinal that reminds us that when it comes to family life is a combination of all the messy, challenging, heartbreaking, complicated moments, as well as all the lovely, wonderful, touching times that happen in-between.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ann Dávila Cardinal

Ann Dávila Cardinal is a novelist and Director of Recruitment for Vermont College of Fine Arts where she also earned her MFA in Writing. She comes from a long line of Puerto Rican writers, including father and son poets Virgilio and José Antonio Dávila, and her cousin, award-winning fiction writer Tere Dávila. Ann’s first novel, Sister Chicas, was co-written with Jane Alberdeston Coralin and Lisa Alvarado, and was released from New American Library. Her next novel, a horror young adult work titled Five Midnights, was released by Tor Teen on June 4, 2019. The story continues in Category Five, also from Tor Teen, released on June 2, 2020. Ann lives in Vermont where she cycles, knits, and prepares for the zombie apocalypse.

Photo Credit: Carlos Cardinal

#BookReview The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen @MeganBannen @orbitbooks #TheUndertakingofHartandMercy #MeganBannen #OrbitBooks

#BookReview The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen @MeganBannen @orbitbooks #TheUndertakingofHartandMercy #MeganBannen #OrbitBooks Title: The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Author: Megan Bannen

Published by: Orbit Books on Aug. 23, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy

Pages: 448

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Orbit Books

Book Rating: 9/10

Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.

After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most – Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares – each other?


Review:

Heartwarming, humorous, and unique!

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is a sweet, action-packed, enemies-to-lovers romance that takes you into the lives of Mercy Birdsall, a kindhearted undertaker who finds herself inadvertently attracted to an infuriatingly rude marshal while also falling for her anonymous pen pal, and Hart Ralston, the lonely, hardworking drudge slayer who longs for something more than just his job working day and night to protect the outside world from the magical creatures and devious souls of Tanria.

The writing is playful and tender. The characters are quirky, hesitant, and endearing. And the plot is an adventure-filled tale of life, loss, heartache, expectations, familial drama, mystique, chemistry, attraction, witty banter, humorous mishaps, supernatural characters, and love.

Overall, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is a creative, charming, uplifting tale by Bannen that I absolutely adored and was a true delight to read with its highly entertaining storyline and abundance of precious characters I couldn’t help but root for.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

Thank you to Orbit Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Megan Bannen

Megan Bannen is a former public librarian whose YA debut The Bird and the Blade was an Indies Introduce Summer/Fall 2018 pick, a Summer 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List pick, and a Kirkus Best YA Historical Fiction of 2018 pick. While most of her professional career has been spent behind the reference desk, she has also sold luggage, written grants, collected a few graduate degrees from various Kansas universities, and taught English at home and abroad. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband and their two sons.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.