Publisher: Scribner

#BookReview Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward @jesmimi @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA #JesmynWard #LetUsDescend #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward @jesmimi @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA #JesmynWard #LetUsDescend #SimonSchusterCA Title: Let Us Descend

Author: Jesmyn Ward

Published by: Scribner on Oct. 3, 2023

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

Let Us Descend is a reimagining of American slavery, as beautifully rendered as it is heart-wrenching. Searching, harrowing, replete with transcendent love, the novel is a journey from the rice fields of the Carolinas to the slave markets of New Orleans and into the fearsome heart of a Louisiana sugar plantation.

Annis, sold south by the white enslaver who fathered her, is the reader’s guide through this hellscape. As she struggles through the miles-long march, Annis turns inward, seeking comfort from memories of her mother and stories of her African warrior grandmother. Throughout, she opens herself to a world beyond this world, one teeming with of earth and water, of myth and history; spirits who nurture and give, and those who manipulate and take. While Ward leads readers through the descent, this, her fourth novel, is ultimately a story of rebirth and reclamation.

From one of the most singularly brilliant and beloved writers of her generation, this miracle of a novel inscribes Black American grief and joy into the very land—the rich but unforgiving forests, swamps, and rivers of the American South. Let Us Descend is Jesmyn Ward’s most magnificent novel yet, a masterwork for the ages.


Review:

Haunting, poignant, and impactful!

Let Us Descend is an atmospheric, moving tale that sweeps you away to North Carolina during the mid-1800s and into the life of Annis, a young woman of mixed race trained by her mother in more than just servitude who, after being sold one year after her beloved Mama, is forced in chains on a gruelling march from the rice fields she’s only ever known to the sugar plantations of New Orleans where with a little help from the spirit world beyond she endures extreme hardships and brutal savagery until she can find an opportunity to finally slip free.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, scarred, and strong. And the plot is an exceptionally enthralling tale about life, loss, strength, bravery, hope, survival, violence, injustice, racism, slavery, and death, all interwoven with a thread of the supernatural.

Overall, Let Us Descend is an enchanting blend of historical facts, powerful fiction, and heart-wrenching emotion that does a wonderful job of reminding us that even under the most cruel and barbaric conditions, humanity can be incredibly resilient, compassionate, and kind.

 

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 Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and has received the MacArthur Genius Grant, a Stegner Fellowship, a John and Renee Grisham Writers Residency, the Strauss Living Prize, and the 2022 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. She is the historic winner—first woman and first Black American—of two National Book Awards for Fiction for Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017) and Salvage the Bones (2011). She is also the author of the novel Where the Line Bleeds and the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Media for a Just Society Award. She is currently a professor of creative writing at Tulane University and lives in Mississippi.

Photograph by Beowulf Sheehan.

#BookReview The Most Secret Memory of Men by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr (translated by Lara Vergnaud) @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA #MohamedMbougarSarr #TheMostSecretMemoryofMen #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Most Secret Memory of Men by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr (translated by Lara Vergnaud) @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA #MohamedMbougarSarr #TheMostSecretMemoryofMen #SimonSchusterCA Title: The Most Secret Memory of Men

Author: Mohamed Mbougar Sarr

Published by: Scribner on Sep. 26, 2023

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 496

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

A masterful coming-of-age novel and a gripping investigation into the life of a mysterious author who disappeared without a trace, by the first writer from sub-Saharan Africa to be awarded France’s prestigious Prix Goncourt.

Paris, 2018. Diégane Latyr Faye, a young Senegalese writer, discovers a legendary book published in 1938 titled The Maze of Inhumanity . No one knows what happened to the author, T.C. Elimane, once referred to as the “Black Rimbaud.” After he was accused of plagiarism, his reputation was destroyed by the critics. He subsequently disappeared without a trace.

Curiosity turns to obsession, and Faye embarks on a quest to uncover the fate of the mysterious T.C. Elimane. His search weaves past and present, countries and continents, following the author’s labyrinthine trail from Senegal to Argentina and France and confronting the great tragedies of history.

Alongside his investigation, Faye becomes part of a group of young African writers in Paris. They talk, drink, make love, and philosophize about the role of exile in artistic creation. He becomes particularly close to two women: the seductive Siga, keeper of secrets, and the fleeting photojournalist Aïda.

But throughout, a question persists: will he get to the truth at the center of the maze?

A gripping detective novel without a detective and a masterpiece of perpetual reinvention, The Most Secret Memory of Men confronts the impact of colonialism and neo-colonialism, the holocaust in Europe, dictatorships in South America and the Caribbean, genocide in Africa, and collaboration and resistance everywhere. Above all, it is a love song to literature and its timeless power.


Review:

Evocative, compelling, and complex!

The Most Secret Memory of Men is a captivating, immersive tale that takes you into the life of Diégane Latyr Faye, a young Senegalese writer living in France who, after stumbling across a controversial novel that affects him deeply, The Labyrinth of Inhumanity, decides to unravel the mystery and the scandal that caused the novel to be quickly pulled from shelves shortly after its release in the late 1930s and it’s author seemingly missing without a trace.

The prose is lyrical and rich. The characters are multilayered, inquisitive, and determined. And the plot, using stories within the story, is an astute, coming-of-age tale about life, loss, friendship, family, secrets, self-identity, curiosity, racism, infamy, culture, love affairs, literature, and the importance of finding one’s own voice.

Overall, The Most Secret Memory of Men is an atmospheric, philosophical, insightful tale by Mbourgar Sarr that does a beautiful job of highlighting the inherent struggles faced by writers and by those whose lives are continually and irrevocably changed due to colonization and political upheaval.

 

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 providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Mohamed Mbougar Sarr

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1990. He studied literature and philosophy at L’École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris. Brotherhood, his first novel, won the Grand Prix du Roman Métis, the Prix Ahmadou-Kourouma, and the French Voices Grand Prize. The president of Senegal named him a Chevalier of the National Order of Merit. In 2021, he won the Prix Goncourt for The Most Secret Memory of Men, becoming the first author from sub-Saharan Africa to win the award and one of the youngest at only thirty-one years old. The novel was also longlisted for the National Book Awards in the category of Translated Literature.

Photograph © DR

#BookReview The African Samurai by Craig Shreve @cg_shreve @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA #CraigShreve #TheAfricanSamurai #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The African Samurai by Craig Shreve @cg_shreve @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA #CraigShreve #TheAfricanSamurai #SimonSchusterCA Title: The African Samurai

Author: Craig Shreve

Published by: Scribner on Aug. 1, 2023

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

Set in late 16th-century Africa, India, Portugal, and Japan, The African Samurai is a powerful historical novel based on the true story of Yasuke, Japan’s first foreign-born samurai and the only samurai of African descent—for readers of Esi Edugyan and Lawrence Hill.

In 1579, a Portuguese trade ship sails into port at Kuchinotsu, Japan, loaded with European wares and weapons. On board is Father Alessandro Valignano, an Italian priest and Jesuit missionary whose authority in central and east Asia is second only to the pope’s. Beside him is his protector, a large and imposing East African man. Taken from his village as a boy, sold as a slave to Portuguese mercenaries, and forced to fight in wars in India, the young but experienced soldier is haunted by memories of his past.

From Kuchinotsu, Father Valignano leads an expedition pushing inland toward the capital city of Kyoto. A riot brings his protector in front of the land’s most powerful warlord, Oda Nobunaga. Nobunaga is preparing a campaign to complete the unification of a nation that’s been torn apart by over one hundred years of civil war. In exchange for permission to build a church, Valignano “gifts” his protector to Nobunaga, and the young East African man is reminded once again that he is less of a human and more of a thing to be traded and sold.

After pledging his allegiance to the Japanese warlord, the two men from vastly different worlds develop a trust and respect for one another. The young soldier is granted the role of samurai, a title that has never been given to a foreigner; he is also given a new name: Yasuke. Not all are happy with Yasuke’s ascension. There are whispers that he may soon be given his own fief, his own servants, his own samurai to command. But all of his dreams hinge on his ability to protect his new lord from threats both military and political, and from enemies both without and within.

A magnificent reconstruction and moving study of a lost historical figure, The African Samurai is an enthralling narrative about the tensions between the East and the West and the making of modern Japan, from which rises the most unlikely hero.


Review:

Evocative, suspenseful, and intense!

The African Samurai is a captivating, immersive, tragic tale that sweeps you away to Africa, India, and Japan in the late sixteenth century and into the life of a young African boy who, after being purchased by Portuguese mercenaries and forced to fight in the Indian wars finds himself on Japanese soil where he manages to ascend from a simple soldier to a revered samurai under the command of infamous warlord, Oda Nobunaga.

The prose is vivid and rich. The characters are haunted, scarred, and vulnerable. And the plot is an absorbing tale of all the hopes, fears, sacrifices, struggles, abuse, treachery, and violence faced by those taken, sold, and enslaved against their will.

Overall, The African Samurai is, ultimately, a story about strength, bravery, hope, heroism, survival, power, savagery, violence, ancient Japanese culture, and the unimaginable horrors and injustices of slavery. It’s an atmospheric, compelling, insightful tale by Shreve that does a beautiful job of highlighting his impressive research and considerable knowledge of this renowned iconic figure, Yasuke, who was the first and only samurai to ever be of African descent.

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 providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Craig Shreve

Craig Shreve was born and raised in North Buxton, Ontario, a small town that has been recognized by the Canadian government as a National Historic Site due to its former status as a popular terminus on the Underground Railroad. He is a descendant of Abraham Doras Shadd, the first Black person in Canada to be elected to public office, and of his daughter Mary Ann Shadd, the pioneering abolitionist, suffragette, and newspaper editor/publisher who was inducted posthumously into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in the United States. Craig is the author of One Night in Mississippi and a graduate of the School for Writers at Humber College. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Photograph by Jay Crews Photography

#BookReview Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See @Lisa_See @SimonSchusterCA @ScribnerBooks #LadyTansCircleofWomen #LisaSee #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See @Lisa_See @SimonSchusterCA @ScribnerBooks #LadyTansCircleofWomen #LisaSee #SimonSchusterCA Title: Lady Tan's Circle of Women

Author: Lisa See

Published by: Scribner on Jun. 6, 2023

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

The latest historical novel from New York Times bestselling author Lisa See, inspired by the true story of a woman physician from 15th-century China—perfect for fans of See’s classic Snowflower and the Secret Fan and The Island of Sea Women.

According to Confucius, “an educated woman is a worthless woman,” but Tan Yunxian—born into an elite family, yet haunted by death, separations, and loneliness—is being raised by her grandparents to be of use. Her grandmother is one of only a handful of female doctors in China, and she teaches Yunxian the pillars of Chinese medicine, the Four Examinations—looking, listening, touching, and asking—something a man can never do with a female patient.

From a young age, Yunxian learns about women’s illnesses, many of which relate to childbearing, alongside a young midwife-in-training, Meiling. The two girls find fast friendship and a mutual purpose—despite the prohibition that a doctor should never touch blood while a midwife comes in frequent contact with it—and they vow to be forever friends, sharing in each other’s joys and struggles. No mud, no lotus, they tell themselves: from adversity beauty can bloom.

But when Yunxian is sent into an arranged marriage, her mother-in-law forbids her from seeing Meiling and from helping the women and girls in the household. Yunxian is to act like a proper wife—embroider bound-foot slippers, pluck instruments, recite poetry, give birth to sons, and stay forever within the walls of the family compound, the Garden of Fragrant Delights.

How might a woman like Yunxian break free of these traditions, go on to treat women and girls from every level of society, and lead a life of such importance that many of her remedies are still used five centuries later? How might the power of friendship support or complicate these efforts? Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a captivating story of women helping other women. It is also a triumphant reimagining of the life of a woman who was remarkable in the Ming dynasty and would be considered remarkable today.


Review:

Vivid, captivating, and insightful!

Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is an intimate, absorbing, multi-generational story that sweeps you away to fifteenth-century China and into the life of Tan Yunxian, a young woman born into an aristocratic family whose life is destined to only include an arranged marriage, the agony of bound feet, and multiple childbirths to ensure a male heir, that is until she loses her mother and is sent to live with her paternal grandparents, both practising physicians, whose love for medicine leaves her with a desire for more out of life including the ability to help those in need and to practice medicine on women from all walks of life.

The prose is lyrical and expressive. The characters are layered, vulnerable, and resourceful. And the plot is a beautifully written, moving tale about life, love, familial relationships, heartbreak, loss, desperation, courage, hope, expectations, traditions, medicine, and the power of female friendships.

Overall, Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a compelling, evocative, illuminating tale by See that I absolutely loved and has just the right amount of intrigue, culture, colourful history, and palpable emotion to be the perfect choice for all fans of the historical fiction genre.

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 Lisa See

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea WomenThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneSnow Flower and the Secret FanPeony in LoveShanghai GirlsChina Dolls, and Dreams of Joy, which debuted at #1. She is also the author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. See was the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California and the Historymaker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

Photo by Patricia Williams.

#BookReview Closer by Sea by Perry Chafe @perrychafe @SimonSchusterCA @ScribnerBooks #CloserbySea #PerryChafe #SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Closer by Sea by Perry Chafe @perrychafe @SimonSchusterCA @ScribnerBooks #CloserbySea #PerryChafe #SimonSchusterCA Title: Closer by Sea

Author: Perry Chafe

Published by: Scribner on May 23, 2023

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 272

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

From the writer and producer of the hit TV shows Republic of Doyle and Son of a Critch , a poignant coming-of-age debut novel about the mysterious disappearance of a young girl and the fragility of childhood bonds, set against the backdrop of a small island community adapting to an ever-changing landscape.

In 1991, on a small, isolated island off the coast of Newfoundland, twelve-year-old Pierce Jacobs struggles to come to terms with the death of his father. It’s been three years since his dad, a fisherman, disappeared in the cold, unforgiving Atlantic, his body never recovered. Pierce is determined to save enough money to fix his father’s old boat and take it out to sea. But life on the island is quiet and hard. The local fishing industry is on the brink of collapse, threatening to take an ages-old way of life with it. The community is hit even harder when a young teen named Anna Tessier goes missing.

With the help of his three friends, Pierce sets out to find Anna, with whom he shared an unusual but special bond. They soon cross paths with Solomon Vickers, a mysterious, hermetic fisherman who may have something to do with the missing girl. Their search brings them into contact with unrelenting bullies, magnificent sea creatures, fierce storms, and glacial giants. But most of all, it brings them closer to the brutal reality of both the natural and the modern world.

Part coming-of-age story, part literary mystery, and part suspense thriller, Closer by Sea is a page-turning, poignant, and powerful novel about family, friendship, and community set at a pivotal time in modern Newfoundland history. It is an homage to a people and a place, and above all it captures that delicate and tender moment when the wonder of childhood innocence gives way to the harsh awakening of adult experience.


Review:

Atmospheric, mysterious, and immersive!

Closer by Sea is a captivating, poignant tale that sweeps you away to Perigo Island just off the coast of Newfoundland and into the life of twelve-year-old Pierce Jacobs as he spends one summer in 1991 hanging with friends, making a little extra money cutting out cod tongues and selling them to tourists, saving up everything he can to repair his late father’s fishing boat, coming to grips with the disappearance of a young girl he slightly knew, and secretly investigating the old, reclusive stranger he’s sure had something to do with why she seemingly vanished without a trace.

The prose is rich and expressive. The characters are inquisitive, fearless, and impulsive. And the plot is an astute, compelling tale about life, loss, friendship, family, secrets, curiosity, adventure, guilt, death, grief, marine life, mother nature, self-identity, and first crushes.

Overall, Closer by Sea is ultimately a beautifully written coming-of-age tale interwoven with a thread of mystery that does a remarkable job of delving into the complex dynamics that exist between childhood friends and is a wonderful reminder of just how complicated, challenging, memorable and emotional growing up can truly be, especially when doing so in a small island community where everyone knows everyone else.

 

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 Perry Chafe

Perry Chafe is a Canadian television writer, showrunner, producer, and songwriter. He is a cofounder and partner in Take the Shot Productions. Perry was the cocreator, showrunner, and head writer for the TV series Republic of Doyle, which ran for six seasons on the CBC, and an executive producer and writer for the Netflix/Discovery series Frontier, starring Jason Momoa. In addition, he was an executive producer and writer for Caught, a CBC limited series based on Lisa Moore’s award-winning novel of the same name. He is currently a writer and producer on the hugely successful CBC series Son of a Critch. Born and raised in the small fishing community of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, he now lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Closer by Sea is his debut novel.

Photograph by Maureen Ennis

#BookReview The Foundling by Ann Leary @annleary @SimonSchusterCA @ScribnerBooks #AnnLeary #TheFoundling

#BookReview The Foundling by Ann Leary @annleary @SimonSchusterCA @ScribnerBooks #AnnLeary #TheFoundling Title: The Foundling

Author: Ann Leary

Published by: Scribner on May 31, 2022

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good House, the story of two friends, raised in the same orphanage, whose loyalty is put to the ultimate test when they meet years later at a controversial institution—one as an employee; the other, an inmate.

It’s 1927 and eighteen-year-old Mary Engle is hired to work as a secretary at a remote but scenic institution for mentally disabled women called the Nettleton State Village for Feebleminded Women of Childbearing Age. She’s immediately in awe of her employer—brilliant, genteel Dr. Agnes Vogel.

Dr. Vogel had been the only woman in her class in medical school. As a young psychiatrist she was an outspoken crusader for women’s suffrage. Now, at age forty, Dr. Vogel runs one of the largest and most self-sufficient public asylums for women in the country. Mary deeply admires how dedicated the doctor is to the poor and vulnerable women under her care.

Soon after she’s hired, Mary learns that a girl from her childhood orphanage is one of the inmates. Mary remembers Lillian as a beautiful free spirit with a sometimes-tempestuous side. Could she be mentally disabled? When Lillian begs Mary to help her escape, alleging the asylum is not what it seems, Mary is faced with a terrible choice. Should she trust her troubled friend with whom she shares a dark childhood secret? Mary’s decision triggers a hair-raising sequence of events with life-altering consequences for all.

Inspired by a true story about the author’s grandmother, The Foundling offers a rare look at a shocking chapter of American history. This gripping page-turner will have readers on the edge of their seats right up to the stunning last page…asking themselves, “Did this really happen here?”


Review:

Simmering, shocking, and insightful!

The Foundling is an intriguing, immersive tale that sweeps you away to Pennsylvania during 1927 and into the Nettleton State Village for Feeble-minded Women of Childbearing Age, where women who are supposedly dim-witted or sexually loose are sent to be incarcerated often for trivial reasons only to endure emotional and physical abuse, excessive workloads, forced sterilization, meagre basic necessities, and often vicious, unwarranted punishments.

The prose is smooth and sophisticated. The characters are naive, vulnerable, and resilient. And the plot is a compelling tale about life, loss, love, heartbreak, courage, hope, manipulation, corruption, ethics, morality, racism, and abuse of power.

Overall, The Foundling is a gripping, enlightening, somewhat disturbing tale by Leary that does a remarkable job of highlighting her incredible knowledge and research into this horrifying time in history that included extreme prejudice, the repression of women, a vast gap between the rich and poor, and unimaginable support for the eugenics movement.

 

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 Ann Leary

Ann Leary is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels, THE CHILDREN, THE GOOD HOUSE, OUTTAKES FROM A MARRIAGE, and the memoir, AN INNOCENT, A BROAD.

Her work has been translated into eighteen languages and she has written for numerous publications including Ploughshares, NPR, Real Simple and the New York Times. Ann’s Modern Love essay, “Rallying to Keep the Game Alive,” was adapted for the Amazon Modern Love TV Series and stars Tina Fey and John Slattery. THE GOOD HOUSE was adapted as a motion picture starring Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline and recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Her new novel, THE FOUNDLING will be released on May, 31, 2022.

Ann and her husband Denis Leary live in New York.

Photo by Scott M. Lacey.

#BookReview When You Are Mine by Michael Robotham @michaelrobotham @ScribnerBooks #WhenYouAreMine #MichaelRobotham #ScribnerBooks

#BookReview When You Are Mine by Michael Robotham @michaelrobotham @ScribnerBooks #WhenYouAreMine #MichaelRobotham #ScribnerBooks Title: When You Are Mine

Author: Michael Robotham

Published by: Scribner on Jan. 4, 2022

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 368

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Scribner

Book Rating: 9/10

In this page-turning psychological thriller from an author who Stephen King called “an absolute master,” a young female police officer faces danger on all fronts—from a clever victim of abuse, her colleagues on the force, and even her own mobster father.

Philomena McCarthy is a young, ambitious police office with the elite Metropolitan Police in London. When she responds to a domestic violence call, she finds the victim, Tempe Brown, trying to protect her abuser, a married man named Darren Goodall, a decorated Scotland Yard detective afraid of no one. As Philomena pursues the case against him, she not only encounters resistance from her police force colleagues but also becomes dangerously entangled with the victim—who is not at all whom she appears to be—much to the increasing endangerment of herself and Henry, her fiancée.

Complicating matters is Philomena’s estranged father Edward McCarthy, a powerful man who has built a criminal empire along with his brothers. Philomena has long tried to pursue her career as a police officer without her father’s involvement, but as she falls under suspicion of stalking and harassing Goodall, her father becomes involved.

As the situation escalates, Tempe’s sinister maneuvers further entangle Philomena in a web of secrets, corruption, and murder, putting Philomena’s impending marriage, career, and very survival in jeopardy…​

Spellbinding, suspenseful, and filled with complex characters that could be heroes or villains, Robotham has crafted a smart and propulsive thriller that’s impossible to put down.


Review:

Unpredictable, creepy, and brilliantly paced!

When You Are Mine is a sinister, psychological thriller that introduces us to Philomena McCarthy, a young police officer who, after responding to a domestic callout, finds her life turned upside down when she befriends the victim who seems to be an obsessive pathological liar, arrests the offender who turns out to be a decorated detective with corrupt friends in very high places, and ultimately needs some help from the one man, her gangster father, she never wanted to rely on to not only save her career but potentially save her life.

The prose is taut and intense. The characters are vulnerable, secretive, and suspicious. And the well-crafted, menacing plot builds nicely to create the perfect amount of tension and suspense as it unravels all the questionable personalities, duplicitous motivations, manipulative actions, and parasitic relationships within it.

Overall, When You Are Mine is an intricate, tight, satisfying thrill ride that had just the right amount of twists, turns, and surprises to keep me thoroughly engrossed from start to finish. It’s the first novel I’ve read by Robotham, but I can guarantee you it won’t be my last.

 

This book is available on January 4, 2022.

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

           

 

 

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

 

About Michael Robotham

Michael Robotham is a former investigative journalist whose psychological thrillers have been translated into twenty-three languages. In 2015, he won the prestigious UK Gold Dagger for his novel Life or Death, which was also shortlisted for the 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel. Michael has twice won a Ned Kelly Award for Australia’s best crime novel for Lost in 2015 and Shatter in 2008. He has also twice been shortlisted for the CWA UK Steel Dagger in 2007 for The Night Ferry and 2008 with Shatter. He lives in Sydney with his wife and three daughters. His recent novels include When She Was Good; The Secrets She Keeps; and Good Girl, Bad Girl.

Photo by Tony Mott.

#BookReview Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA @librofm #CloudCuckooLand #AnthonyDoerr #Librofm

#BookReview Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA @librofm #CloudCuckooLand #AnthonyDoerr #Librofm Title: Cloud Cuckoo Land

Author: Anthony Doerr

Published by: Scribner on Sep. 28, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction

Pages: 640

Length: 14 hrs 51 mins

Format: ARC, Audiobook, Paperback

Source: Libro.fm, Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople in a house of women who make their living embroidering the robes of priests. Restless, insatiably curious, Anna learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds a book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. This she reads to her ailing sister as the walls of the only place she has known are bombarded in the great siege of Constantinople. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, miles from home, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the invading army. His path and Anna’s will cross.

Five hundred years later, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno, who learned Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. She has never set foot on our planet.


Review:

Magical, memorable, and uniquely beautiful!

Cloud Cuckoo Land is a creative, moving, enthralling novel that sweeps you back and forth from the fifteenth century to the 1950s, to the present day and beyond and introduces you to five people whose lives are inexplicably impacted and changed based on their appreciation and love for an ancient manuscript, written by a Greek scholar, about a shepherd whose greatest desire is to escape to the sky.

The writing is eloquent and expressive. The characters are adventurous, inquisitive, and intelligent. And the compelling plot is an intricately woven, epic saga that touches on life, solace, innocence, sacrifice, imagination, survival, morality, and the power of the written word to guide, teach, fascinate, entertain, instil hope, and at its base level transcend time and space to entwine us all.

Cloud Cuckoo Land is another large novel by Doerr, with over 600 pages, but it is so remarkably immersive, affecting, and well written that before you know it, the story is finished, and you’re yearning for more. As some of you may know, I’m not a huge fan of science fiction, so I was a little worried at the start, but after receiving both the audio and paperback versions of this book and being able to enjoy them both, I can honestly say that this is one of the most enthralling novels I’ve read in a long time, and I was blown away by how effortlessly this novel transitions between the three distinct storylines and how powerfully moving and impactful it turned out to ultimately be.

This novel is available on September 28, 2021.

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

              

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada & Libro.fm for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr is the author of All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Alex Award, and a #1 New York Times bestseller. He is also the author of the story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won five O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

Photo by Ulf Andersen.

#BookReview The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See @Lisa_See @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See @Lisa_See @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA Title: The Island of Sea Women

Author: Lisa See

Published by: Scribner on Mar. 5, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

A new novel from Lisa See, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and family secrets on a small Korean island.

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story—one of women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them—The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.


Review:

Poignant, absorbing, and impactful!

The Island of Sea Women is a heart-wrenching, pensive tale that sweeps you into a country ravaged by Japanese Colonialism, WWII invasion, American occupation, rebellion, oppression, political upheaval, and economic instability.

The story is set on Jeju Island from the 1930s to present day and is a generational tale of friendship, grief, sorrow, guilt, history, family, culture, courage, loss, hope, sisterhood, as well as the responsibilities, life, and indomitable spirit of the haenyeo.

The prose is vivid and eloquent. The characters are diligent, resilient, brave, and authentic. And the plot is a skillfully crafted read that moves seamlessly from past to present as it unravels all the personalities, struggles, atrocities, dangers, motivations, and complex relationships within it.

The Island of Sea Women is truly a perfect blend of historical facts, compelling fiction, and palpable emotion. It’s a beautifully depicted, fascinating, heartbreaking, unforgettable tale that does a remarkable job of highlighting See’s incredible knowledge and passion for a time and place that is often unknown, forgotten or overlooked.

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 providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lisa See

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea WomenThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneSnow Flower and the Secret FanPeony in LoveShanghai GirlsChina Dolls, and Dreams of Joy, which debuted at #1. She is also the author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. See was the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California and the Historymaker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

Photo by Patricia Williams.

#BookReview Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce @ajpearcewrites @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce @ajpearcewrites @SimonSchusterCA Title: Dear Mrs. Bird

Author: A.J. Pearce

Published by: Scribner on Jul. 3, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

A charming, irresistible debut novel set in London during World War II about an adventurous young woman who becomes a secret advice columnist—a warm, funny, and enormously moving story for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Lilac Girls.

London 1940, bombs are falling. Emmy Lake is Doing Her Bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent seem suddenly achievable. But the job turns out to be typist to the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.

Mrs Bird is very clear: Any letters containing Unpleasantness—must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant letters from women who are lonely, may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men and found themselves in trouble, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write letters back to the women of all ages who have spilled out their troubles.

Prepare to fall head over heels with Emmy and her best friend, Bunty, who are spirited and gutsy, even in the face of events that bring a terrible blow. As the bombs continue to fall, the irrepressible Emmy keeps writing, and readers are transformed by AJ Pearce’s hilarious, heartwarming, and enormously moving tale of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and ordinary people in extraordinary times.


Review:

Spirited, poignant, and moving!

Dear Mrs. Bird is an intriguing tale that takes you back to the streets of London during WWII and into the life of Emmeline Lake a cheery, optimistic, young woman who after finding herself inadvertently working on the advice column for Woman’s Friend magazine takes it upon herself to begin secretly doling out guidance to those on the home front seeking advice for “inappropriate topics”.

The prose is comical and light. The characters are plucky, sympathetic, and real. And the plot is an engaging, perfectly paced tale about life, loss, self-discovery, friendship, tragedy, heartbreak, uncertainty, hilarious misunderstandings, good intentions, meddling, and the realities of war. 

Overall, Dear Mrs. Bird is a delightfully heartwarming, wonderful debut for Pearce that does an exceptional job of highlighting the incredible impact war had on the personal lives of those it touched both at home and away and the significant roles and contribution of women during those dark times.

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 providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About A.J. Pearce

AJ Pearce grew up in Hampshire and studied at the University of Sussex. A chance discovery of a 1939 women's magazine became the inspiration for her ever-growing collection and her first novel Dear Mrs Bird. She now lives and writes in the south of England.