It is no secret that I love Amy Harmon. Her books always move me, and they are never formulaic. They are each unique, delving into new genres, new time periods, new characters…and I’m always blown away. So, maybe you should join the Amy Harmon wagon with me. Let me try to convince you with her latest book–a fantasy.
The Second Blind Son
This is the second book in the Chronicles of Saylock series, featuring Hod and Ghisla. Hod is a blind boy who has been raised in a cave by one of the temple Keepers. He has learned the power of the runes and his mentor, Arwin, wants him to return to Saylock someday to save it from wicked King Baanrud. But when Ghisla washes up on the beach by his cave, Hod nurses the poor girl back to health and comes to love her. When she sings, he can see. But his mentor says she blinds him to everything else, and sends her to the clan Leok to be given to the Temple as one of the clan’s daughters. She becomes Liis of Leok, but stays in contact with Hody through a soul rune. As time passes, it seems the fates are against them ever coming together. As their lives become entwined with Princess Alba and Bayr’s, the temple boy from book 1, life gets super interesting. And frightening.
As with all of Amy Harmon’s books, this one is an emotional ride. I experienced the hopelessness, and the spirit of not giving up, even when life is hard and miserable. I experienced heartache, longing, fear, and all the senses through blind Hody. It was a spectacular journey, with a soul-satisfying ending. Love this world, and loved these characters so much!
I have two great historicals that I wanted to spotlight today. One is set in the 50’s-60’s during the Cold War in Post WWII Berlin and the other is set in the rural outback of Kentucky in the early 1900s. Both kept me riveted from page one to the end.
The Slow March of Light by Heather B. Moore
This story followed the life of US Army soldier Bob Inama in the early 60’s. He’s stationed in Germany and tasked to be a spy against East Germany right before the Berlin wall becomes more permanent. It also follows a fictional character’s journey (based on real events), Luisa Voigt, as she and her father move to West Berlin and she starts working for the underground in her nurse position to help desperate people escape East Berlin, including her grandmother. It’s a crazy story, and very inspirational (especially the ending). Very informative about how the aftermath in Berlin worked almost 2 decades after WWII.
This was a beautiful tale set in the Kentucky backwoods in 1937. The federal government (through first lady Eleanore Roosevelt) starts a traveling library run by women around the country to get books to those who live in rural areas who don’t have access to schools or libraries. In the small town where this is set, Margery, a single, headstrong half-Cherokee woman, heads up a group of very different ladies to take books throughout the woods on treacherous horse paths each day. Alice is Margery’s opposite, a delicate Englishwoman who just came to America as Bennett Van Cleve’s new bride. But her monotonous, tense marriage (with her father-in-law living under the same roof) has left her feeling mutinous, so she volunteers to help the Packhorse Librarians to escape her tomb of a house. As she and the other women learn to navigate the wilds of Kentucky and make connections with the those living off the grid, they learn more about themselves and what they’re capable of as well.
I couldn’t put this book down. When I read the synopsis, I thought it sounded kind of boring. But there is nothing boring or tedious about this book. It was brilliantly written and had such complex, heart-achingly gorgeous character arcs and some cool twists that keep the story always pertinent and riveting, that it was super hard to stop reading to get normal duties accomplished. I loved each of the women featured. It shows them in their weakness and how they gain strength and unity as fellow sisters through their hardships and trials.
This celebrity romance by Sariah Wilson was pretty fun. Some parts seemed implausible to me (like the misunderstanding that tears them apart at one point), but the author did a good job at the end making you semi-believe it could happen. It wasn’t my favorite Sariah Wilson book, but I still enjoyed it a lot. She always does a great job at immersing you into the Hollywood lifestyle.
Juliet Nolan, our heroine in this one, is helping out her best friend by being a seat-filler for a Hollywood award’s night (so the venue looks at full capacity on camera). She ends up being assigned to sit next to Noah Douglas, the heartthrob bigtime actor that she’s been in love with since junior high. But when he talks down to her, thinking she’s a stalker, she tells him she’s never heard of him before and tries to knock his ego down a peg or two. The two get further tangled up later when she ends up at his house to wash his dog (she’s a dog groomer).
Don’t miss this new one by Jenny Proctor. Love Unexpected releases today and it was one of my favs. Here’s the blurb:
A famous boss. A secret identity. And a hilarious road trip to love.
Yes. Yes, Rosie does have a crush on Isaac, her YouTube-famous boss.
Does she ever talk to him?
Absolutely not. Crippling social anxiety can do that.
But Rosie is nothing if not tenacious. Ignoring her friends’ advice to just talk to him already (Nope, that’s way too hard), she instead opts to pursue a virtual relationship with Isaac using a secret identity.
Here’s another fun Scottish highlands romance by Nichole Van.
This story features Lady Charlotte and Dr. Alex Whitaker in a forbidden romance that will have your heart aching. Alex learns that he is next in line for the marquess-ship of Charlotte’s father’s estate who has died. But her sister’s husband, a second son of a duke, has received management of the estate until the title can be sorted out. He wants it for his son, which would mean he keeps managing it as his son is only three years old.
It’s a messy situation, to say the least. The house of lords demands that Alex—who doesn’t want anything to do with the title—come look at his holdings before he makes a final decision. He wants nothing more than to wash his hands of the whole ugly business for the three days he must be there and then get back to Scotland and his medical practice.
This cute book by Jennifer Peel had all the feels. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it (like all of her books). Here’s my 5-star review:
This is such an awesome, heart-tugging, fun story. Jake and Kasie are married and dropping their only child off to college. They married right after graduation senior year and Kasie has felt distance between her and her husband for a while now. She knows he regrets her roping him into a marriage he never wanted. He didn’t get to love the one he wanted, so he loved the one he’s with. She suggests they separate, since he doesn’t really love her anymore. He doesn’t argue, which breaks her heart even more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You all know how much I love Jennifer Peel’s book. Her latest is no different. I keep falling in love with each new book she releases and think it will be my new favorite…until her next one. Ha ha. I didn’t know what to think when I saw this title. My first thought was: “Ew. Blood?” I wondered if it would be a vampire book, but nope! All’s Fair in Love & Blood is a solid contemporary romance. Here’s the blurb:
They are both out for blood, but could it end in love?
Scarlett Armstrong and Kane Hudson have a tangled past involving not only their families but their own failed love affair. Now, eight years later, to make things more complicated, they’re both in the running to become the next CEO of Scarlett’s family’s business, Armstrong Labs, a privately held blood plasma company. It all comes down to who presents the best business plan to the board of directors.