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!

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…)

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…)

Happy Canada Day!

Today’s Canada day, so I thought I would take the time to offer a list of my favourite Canadian books as well as two that I’m looking forward to reading for my book club. I always try to make an effort to read Canadian content, and often get requests for Canadian recommendations at work, so here’s my recommended reading list. And I will stay away from Anne of Green Gables despite the fact that it’s one of my favourite books, it just seems a tad obvious to include that here.

I’ve included both fiction and non-fiction, and while not all feature a Canadian setting, they are all by Canadian authors. Happy Canada Day! Hope that you’re enjoying it with a book in hand (as I will be!).

Three Day Road The Blind Assassin Creeps In the Skin of a Lion The Haunting of Maddy Clare

Adventures in Solitude: What Not to Wear to a Nude Potluck and Other Stories from Desolation Sound Lakeland: Ballad of a Freshwater Country The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America