Hello Bookworms! Despite the unrelenting insanity going on in the world around us, I hope that you are all well, and finding some solace in the fictional worlds of your favourite books, whether they be Fantasy, Science Fiction, Contemporary, or something else entirely. With much of our daily lives changed for the foreseeable future, I have found myself struggling to commit to reading – or to anything really. Instead I have been spending time exploring some of my other hobbies, including photography and painting!
Another big change to my life was the launch of Distance Learning for public schools here in Ontario, which was both a welcome challenge, and a huge learning curve. Teaching Kindergarten online is not something that I ever imagined I would be doing – and yet here I am! Initially, I managed to balance my time between work and “play” (so to speak) relatively well, but as the weeks wear on, I find Distance Learning engulfing more and more of my time – so much so that I have almost completely ceased doing much beyond teaching and preparing to teach. It has been exhausting, to say the least, yet rewarding – as teaching always is.
Well Bookworms, this month has certainly been a month to remember. With much of our daily lives changed for the foreseeable future, I have found myself struggling to commit to reading – or to anything really. Instead I have been spending time exploring some of my other hobbies, including gardening and painting! Another big change in April was the launch of Distance Learning for public schools here in Ontario, which was both a welcome challenge, and a huge learning curve. Teaching Kindergarten online is not something that I ever imagined I would be doing – and yet here I am!
While I didn’t get as much reading done as I had hoped to this month, I did finish The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon! This is hugely exciting, because The Priory of the Orange Tree had been sitting in my to be read box since June 2019. Some other books that I read include The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, The Silvered Serpents (ARC) by Roshani Chokshi, The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, and Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. That being said, I really do have to catch up on my book reviews as well!
Released in North America on March 3, 2020, Havenfall is Sara Hollan’s newest Young Adult Fantasy novel. In Havenfall, Sara Holland has taken the lush fantasy that captured readers in Everless and Evermore and woven it into the real world to create a wholly captivating new series where power and peril lurk behind every door.
Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return. For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle. But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe…
Set to release in North America on June 2, 2020, The Dark Tide is Alicia Jasinka’s debut novel. This gripping, dark fairy-tale fantasy is The Wicked Deep meets A Curse So Dark and Lonely, as worlds collide in a tale about two girls who must choose between saving themselves, each other, or their sinking island city.
DISCLAIMER: Thank-you to Raincoast Books for providing me with an Advance Readers’ Edition of The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinka, in exchange for an honest review.
Every year on Walpurgis Night, Caldellas Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking. Convinced her handsome brother is going to be taken, sixteen-year-old Lina Kirk enlists the help of the mysterious Tomas Lin, her secret crush, and the only boy to ever escape from the palace. Working together, they protect her brother, but draw the Queens attention. When the Queen spirits Tomas away instead, Lina blames herself and determines to go after him. Caught breaking into the palace, the Queen offers Lina a deal: she will let Tomas go if Lina agrees to take his place. Lina accepts with a month before the full moon, surely she can find some way to escape. But the Queen is nothing like she envisioned, and Lina is not at all what the Queen expected. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldellas streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.
Well Bookworms, I write to you from a much different position than I did a month ago, upon the creation of my March 2020 Reading List. To say that the events of the past month were unexpected would be, in my humble opinion, a tad bit of an understatement. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine widespread school closures, emergency measures, and the kinds of heartbreak and catastrophe that are even now shaping our world. And yet, here we are, and I find myself looking towards the little joys and victories in life, rather than focusing on the uncertainties around me.
On March 3rd, 2020, #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas launched her brand-new Crescent City series with its first installment, House of Earth and Blood, which tells the story of half-Fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan as she seeks revenge in a contemporary fantasy world of magic, danger, and searing romance.
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life – working hard all day and partying all night – until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths. Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose – to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach. As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion-one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.
Set to release in North America on June 2, 2020, A Song Below Water is Bethany C. Morrow’s newest YA Fantasy novel. A Song Below Water promises to be a story for today’s young readers – a captivating modern fantasy about black mermaids, friendship, and self-discovery set against the challenges of today’s racism and sexism.
DISCLAIMER: Thank-you to Raincoast Books for providing me with an Advance Readers’ Edition of A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow, in exchange for an honest review.
Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes. But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.
The beginning of a new month means a new reading list, and what an exciting reading list (and month) it is! With only a couple of books left on my To Be Read list (I still haven’t read Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, but… one day, right?), I am definitely excited to get my hands on some of these exciting new releases, and maybe – just maybe – finally have the time to finish all the unread books still languishing in my To Be Read Box!
So, for the first time in forever, this list will be mostly new releases – and, of course, Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, which I may just finally find the time to read over March Break (assuming I don’t have too much school work to tackle)! This list will also, admittedly, be shorter than most, as I have a couple of longer reads on here, and only so much time to read them!
Bone Crier’s Moon, set to release on March 3, 2020, is the newest Young Adult Fantasy novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kathryn Purdie. Bone Crier’s Moon is the first book in a new, high-stakes fantasy duology flush with doomed romance and macabre magic.
Bone Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love. Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love. Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death. Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.