canadian author

Teen Drama & Magic Potions in “Flannery”

26113800.jpgFlannery by Lisa Moore
Groundwood Books: May 1, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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Flannery Malone is sixteen years old and she’s been in love with Tyrone O’Rourke since she was a little girl. Sadly, this love is unrequited. However, things start looking up when Flannery is paired with Tyrone on their entrepreneurship assignment. Together, they have to create a product, a product that up until this point there has been no desire on the part of consumers to actually own (apparently this is the basis of being an entrepreneur). Tyrone suggests that he and Flannery make magic potions for their assignment; after all people will be willing to spend their money on a magic solution “Especially if they start to believe in it” (p. 52). The funny thing is that people do start believing in Flannery’s potions. Now, if only Flannery had a magical solution to solve the problems in her own life. (more…)

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Not Stepping Into These Woods: “Empire of Night”

21480854Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
HarperCollins: April 7, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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Empire of Night is Kelley Armstrong’s second book in her Age of Legends trilogy, and it’s a book that leaves me anxiously awaiting the final installment’s publication.

Empire of Night picks up soon after the events of the previous book, Sea of Shadows. Moria and Ashyn are more or less prisoners in the opulent court of the Emperor. Both young women are frustrated at the Emperor’s lack of action on behalf of the missing children of Edgewood. However, soon both Moira and Ashyn are able to strike out and discover the truth when they are sent by the Emperor to discover what Alvar Kitsune has done with the missing children.  (more…)

Lyrical & Timely: “The Language of Secrets”

25530959Language of Secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan
St. Martin’s Griffin: February 2, 2016
Genre: Mystery
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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The Language of Secrets is the second of Khan’s Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak mystery series. After really enjoying the first book, The Unquiet Dead, I was eager to pick up the follow-up. Language of Secrets is just as compassionate and nuanced as the first book, partly because it hits so closely to home for Khattak. Not only is Khattak a Muslim investigating a group suspected of terrorism, his younger sister has just become engaged to the man purported to be the cell’s leader.

Assisting Esa is his partner, Rachel Getty. For Rachel, the case is not so emotional and she’s able to view the suspects with a more objective approach, providing some much needed balance to their investigative process. As part of the investigation, Rachel goes under cover at the mosque where the suspects of the cell appear to have met. It’s when Rachel starts interacting with the suspects that readers start to see the same vulnerabilities that Esa exhibits, and this makes both of them better investigators. (more…)

The Unquiet Dead

22545465The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Minotaur Books: January 13, 2015
Genre: Mystery
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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The Unquiet Dead is a mystery set in Ontario, Canada. Esa Khattak is the director Canada’s Community Policing Section, which investigates minority-sensitive cases. Aided by his partner, Rachel Getty, Esa is called out to an apparent suicide that, at first blush, seems to have nothing to do with the type of work that Esa and his division examine. However, it soon becomes clear that Christopher Drayton is not the man he claimed to be and his hidden past may have gotten him killed. (more…)

The Stylishly Thrilling “Wolf Winter”

21413846Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck
HarperCollins: January 27, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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“Wolf winter,” she said, her voice small. “I wanted to ask about it. You know, what it is.”

He was silent for a long time. “It’s the kind of winter that will remind us we are mortal,” he said. “Mortal and alone” (p. 107).

Wolf Winter is a historical thriller set in 1717 Sweden and what a stylish read it is. Maija, her husband, and her two daughters, Frederika and Dorotea have moved to the Swedish Lapland from Finland, having traded properties with a family member. Soon after arriving, Frederika and Dorotea find a man dead near a marsh. The settlers want to believe that it was an animal attack but Maija is convinced that it was murder and sets out to prove her point, only to have the settlers tell her that there is something evil on the mountain. (more…)

Another Great Gamache Outing: “The Nature of the Beast”

24586590The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny
Minotaur Books: August 25, 2015 (Mystery)

I’d go there again!
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Since discovering the French Canadian village of Three Pines and Inspector Gamache this year, Louise Penny has been a go-to audiobook companion for my long commute. This latest installment is another wonderful addition to the series, proving that life after retirement is not as uneventful as the former Chief of Homicide would like.

Following the events of Long Way Home, Gamache and his wife have more-or-less settled into a quiet life in Three Pines. Trips to the Bistro, socializing with friends, reading good books – it’s an idyllic existence (but since this is Three Pines, this is likely not to last). The contentment is ended when a nine-year-old boy, known for telling tales, is murdered just after announcing to a crowd of people/suspects that there is a big gun in the woods, a big gun with a monster on it. Convinced that the boy just might have been telling the truth, Gamache assists his old team and confronts his dawning awareness that he needs to come to a decision about his own life: what comes next? (more…)

Book Adventures Weekly: Issue 28

Seven things the mainstream media gets wrong/doesn’t tell about Native Americans.

For a dose of reality in the imaginary, take a peek at these images that show what superheroes would look like with average bodies.

This interview with acclaimed author Elena Ferrante, on the themes in her novels and why she chooses to use a pen name, sort of makes me want to read her books, even though they’re not my type.

Seanan McGuire is one of my new favorite urban fantasy authors. Tor offers a free read of her “Midway Relics and Dying Breeds.”

You’ve probably heard about it by now, but here’s the Smithsonian’s report of the loss of Baalshamin in Palmyra. As old as the temple itself (or older), the willful destruction of the “threat” of oppositional ideologies still hurts. H

Here’s a lengthy and fascinating interview with Canadian author Alice Munro.

That’s all for this week, fellow adventurers! Check back in a week for the next installment of bookish and not-so-bookish news.

Book Adventures Weekly: Issue 23

This week’s list is slightly more random than most…

A hilarious sketch about the pitch for PBS’ Wishbone.

In archaeology news, a shipwreck was accidentally discovered off North Carolina.

I AM NEVER SURFING IN SOUTH AFRICA. Never ever.*

This might make a good based-on-a-true story: Two brothers search for the remains of 57 Irish immigrants who disappeared in Pennsylvania while working on the railroad. One of them, Catherine Burns, will be reburied in her hometown in Ireland.

CBC lists 12 Canadian writers to watch (read?) in 2015.

Writer, founder, and editor of Urban Native Magazine, Lisa Charleyboy, shares her top three indigenous summer reads. None of them are any of the genres we review here, but if you’re looking for something different…

If you’re crafty, have a few old books you no longer want, and don’t care about “ruining” books, PopSugar has some clever ideas for transforming old books in to pretty things.

*After this post was published, I learned that the United States is actually more dangerous than South Africa, with more attacks and more fatalities. So, I’ll need to more closely examine the beaches I want to surf…

We Have Life Off: “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”

18170143An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
Little, Brown & Company: October 29, 2013 (Non-Fiction)

I’d go there again!
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This one’s a bit of a departure for me and I would have never picked it up had it not been recommended to me by a coworker. Yes, I’ve gotten more interested in nonfiction since reading more of it as a moderator of my previous job’s non-fiction book club, but An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth was not something that I would have thought to be of interest to me. Science. Yikes!

I was surprised with An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, it wasn’t rife with difficult scientific jargon. It offers a simple story, albeit an unlikely one. (more…)

Dragons in Canada: “The Story of Owen”

16068956The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston
Carolrhoda Books: March 1, 2014 (Young Adult; Fantasy)

My rating: Outstanding Adventure vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

Before the Thorskards came to Trondheim, we didn’t have a permanent dragon slayer. When a dragon attacked, you had to petition town hall (assuming it wasn’t on fire), and they would send to Toronto (assuming the phone lines weren’t on fire), and Queen’s Park would send out one of the government dragon slayers (assuming nothing in Toronto was on fire). By the time the dragon slayer arrived, anything not already lit on fire in the original attack would be, and whether the dragon was eventually slayed or not, we’d be struck with reconstruction. Again.

Needless to say, when it was announced that Lottie Thorskard was moving to town permanently, it was like freaking Mardi Gras (p. 1).

The Story of Owen is an absolutely brilliant YA fantasy. It was smart, original, and entertaining and leaves you looking for more from bard-in-training, Siobhan, and her dragon slayer, Owen Thorskard.

Siobhan is your average high school student. She gets good grades and is intent in her focus on music composition, determined to get into a good musical school. However, all of Siobhan’s career aspirations change when her rural town of Trondheim gets it’s very own dragon slayer.

Owen Thorskard’s very famous family has moved to Trondhiem following his aunt’s retirement. Officially, it’s Owen’s father that is the town’s dragon slayer, but really it’s a family affair. Of course, the arrival of the Thorskards in Trondheim has the small rural community in an uproar. Siobhan doesn’t expect to be involved in any of it, but all that changes when she happens to meet Owen on his first day at her high school. Suddenly Siobhan finds herself right in the middle of dragon slaying with her very own job to do. Siobhan is called to be Owen’s bard, the teller of his heroic feats. But there’s much more to it that simply telling a good yarn, Siobhan has also been recruited because of Owen’s aunt’s determination to change the world of dragon slaying. They want to return to the ways of old, move away from the commercialized and privatized career that dragon slaying has become.  (more…)