The Songbook of Benny Lament

Ah! I always love me an Amy Harmon book. And her latest, The Songbook of Benny Lament, touched and changed my heart in all the best ways. If you’ve never read one of her books before, you should. They are ridiculously amazing!

This book transported me into a different place and time. It’s set in the early 60s in a New York neighborhood run by the mob. Benny Lament (Benito Lomento) wants nothing to do with his family. Family means secrets. Family means being owned. Family means murder, corruption, and nothing good in his mind.

His life revolves around his music since he’s made a name for himself writing songs for big name artists. But when his father makes him come listen to a black girl named Esther Mine sing in a ghetto bar in another neighborhood, he is captivated against his will. But what he learns from his dad about Esther Mine’s birth parents makes him want to leave her alone. The woman can only bring trouble into his life. But Benny can’t get her voice out of his head, and though he runs from fate, it’s going to catch up to him.

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Fantasy by KM Shea

A reader recently told me she really enjoyed all of KM Shea’s fantasies, so I gave this author a try…and I have really liked her so far. I haven’t read a ton yet, so I’m no expert on all her books. But the Hall of Blood and Mercy series has been super fun and intriguing. Here’s the blurb for the first book–Magic Forged.

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I’m one scrappy wizard. As someone with barely a flicker of magic, I’ve spent my life being mocked and surviving fights with bullies. But when my parents die in an accident, and I find myself responsible for our whole wizard house and family, I know my usual tactics aren’t going to cut it.

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Fun Fantasy

I have a thrilling fantasy series to spotlight today. Well, I’m only going to spotlight the fourth book in the series, but if you haven’t read a Brandon Sanderson book, I highly recommend you fix that error in your life. Rhythm of War, like the other books in this series, is very long and has complex world building and plot and character growth…but it was such a fulfilling ride! So, here’s my official review of it.

Rhythms of War by Brandon Sanderson

Holy chasmfiend! This book tore my heart out. These books are literal genius at work. Yes, they’re as long and emotionally torturous as the chasms in the Shattered Plains themselves (which you’ll know about if you read them), but if you work your way through them, you grow like the characters do…and my, my, my is there a TON of growing for the characters in this book. This book was brilliant as well because it made me like (or at least respect) one of the main villains by understanding her inside and out. That is the gift of pure genius. This book delved deeply into mental illness (depression, multiple personality disorder) as several characters are suffering from these issues from horrific events that happened earlier to them. I felt the author did a spectacular job showing what mental illness looks like and feels like…and also how to deal with it.

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