Staff Pick: Michelle on Baba Dunja's Last Love by Alina Bronksy

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Translated from German by Tim Mohr

Octogenarian Baba Dunja returns to live out her final days in her beloved home, a stone’s throw away from the Chernobyl dead zone. Bringing with her a ragtag group of her former neighbours, they make a life for themselves in their village. With the town to themselves and strangely misshapen forest fruit to spare, they have pretty much everything they need and happily while away the days in their idyllic little settlement.

But that all changes when a stranger arrives with a little girl, and their home is threatened with annihilation again.

Pick up your copy at Owl’s Nest Books today, or order it online HERE.

Staff Pick: Judith on The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables by David Bellos

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Did you know that, when allowing for inflation, Les Misérables received the highest advance of any novel ever published? 

In this immensely readable history, David Bellos tells not only the story of how Victor Hugo managed to publish this classic of French fiction while exiled from France, he also points out all the intriguing little details in the clothing, dialogue and references that make this book a perennial classic and a snapshot of French history. 

With the new adaptation from the BBC reviving interest in Les Misérables, Bellos’s analysis makes for a helpful companion to either the original novel or the myriad adaptations of Hugo’s great saga. 

Order your copy online HERE.

Staff Pick: Mike on Days by Moonlight by Andre Alexis

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Alfred Homer, a grieving and heart-broken botanist accompanies his friend, Professor Morgan Bruno, on a road trip through small town southern Ontario in search of a lost Canadian poet. This extraordinary road trip takes the two men through towns with familiar names and otherworldly customs.

A surreal take on the meaning of death, life and God, Days by Moonlight asks the perpetual question: how do we know the things we know are real, and what is real anyway?

Wordfest proudly presents Andre Alexis this Saturday, May 25th at 1:00 pm. Grab your tickets HERE and join us to hear this Giller Prize winning author talk about Days by Moonlight.

Staff Pick: Kristi on The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

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For fans of Kate Quinn’s Alice Network, this is an absolute must read!

The year is 1946 and the Second World War has just ended. Grace Healey, running late for work, decides to cut through Grand Central Station (a place she had vowed never to set foot in again) to make up time. In her rush, she trips over a suitcase, abandoned by a bench. Unable to find its owner, Grace decides to take the bag home with her. Opening it, she finds it full of photographs of women - women who served as radio operators and spies in Occupied Europe during the war. Women who disappeared. Grace decides to find out what happened to these women and is drawn into their stories, stories of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Pick up your copy in store today, or order it online HERE.

Staff Pick: Tina on The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

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The one word that best describes this book: compelling. There are three sisters, raised in seclusion, taught from birth to only rely on their parents; knitted strongly together through the acts of love and horror they are forced to commit for love of each other.

Suddenly, they must decide what is real, and what is the world their parents created, when they find themselves alone in their home with three strange men who have arrived on their ocean shore.

Pick up your copy today in store, or order online HERE.

Staff Pick: Kristi on City of Lies by Sam Hawke

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City of Lies is a true gem of fantasy literature. Sam Hawke has woven a tale so unique and refreshing it was an absolute pleasure to read. The story centers on two siblings. Best friends to the Chancellor’s Heir, they are also his shield: Jovan his proofer, trained to detect and neutralize all types of poison, and Kalina who employs other…skills. When the Chancellor is murdered and the city besieged it will be up to Jov and Kalina to identify the traitors in their midst, before everything they love is destroyed.

This story is so brilliant, so wonderfully written I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen next. City of Lies is the next must-read fantasy epic for any fan of the genre.

Pick up your copy in store today, or order online HERE.

Check out this, and Kristi’s other reviews, on here BLOG.

Staff Pick: Tina on Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

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Between 1920 and 1950 the Tennessee Children’s Home Society changed the face of adoption forever. They turned adoption from a shameful, embarrassing thing to something Hollywood stars and Government representatives were proud to do. They were also stealing beautiful, poor children to do so.

This is the story of twelve-year-old Rill Foss, and her siblings, taken from their poor shanty boat parents and put into the adoption system. The book switches between this time and the time of their future descendants, who are looking for links, and looking for the truth, afraid of what they will find.

A fictional novel, based on true events, this book will keep you turning the page, and contemplating the outcomes of such an event, long after you have turned the last page.

Pick up your copy today, or order online HERE.

Staff Pick: Kristi on Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

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2018 was an amazing year for POC women authors with so many fantastic books coming out. Tasha Suri’s Empire Of Sand is no exception. I’ve been following people on Twitter who follow Tasha, and have been watching the hype for Empire Of Sand build. It was because of that hype that I decided to order the book, and am so glad that I did.

Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor, daughter of an Amrithi woman. The Amrithi are desert people, nomads descended from the daiva, who hold magic in their blood.

Raised as a noblewoman, Mehr is unprepared when her power comes to the attention of the Maha and his mystics. She will need to use every ounce of wit and will she possesses to escape the cruel clutches of a madman.

This is a beautifully written story of inner strength, faith and, above all, hope. I was completely enchanted and swept away with the story as Tasha wove her magic with words. It is a wonderful story set in a world rich in magic and myth. A must-read for all fantasy fans.

Buy Empire of Sand HERE

See this post, and others by Kristi, on her blog HERE

Tina on The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg

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Ten-year-old Doris receives an address book from her beloved father. Soon after, she is torn from her family. She continues to document every important person who comes into her life, logging them carefully into the address book.

Now she is 96 year old, flipping through the pages and remembering every person, where she was when she met them, and how they changed her life. She decides to write down the stories of these people, and how they came to be a part of the fabric of her life, for who she thinks is the last living person in her address book.

Not only is the story of her life intriguing and so very interesting, we discover she still has some living left herself.

Reserve your copy of this amazing title HERE.

Staff Pick: Kristi on Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

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One of my goals in 2019 is to try to read more ARCs and be a bit more up on the new releases of the year. My first book for this goal is Crown Of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto, a Canadian YA author!

Veronyka is a war orphen who dreams of nothing more than to become one of the legendary Phoenix Riders, bonding with a Phoenix of her own and being a great warrior and hero. After a stunning act of betrayal by her sister, Val, Veronyka sets off on her own to find the warriors, convinced that they weren’t all destroyed in the Blood War.

She succeeds, but runs into one little snag…they are only accepting male recruits. So Veronyka becomes Nyk and gets a position in the stables while seeking a sponsor for the next round of recruitment. What could go wrong?

Just her sister suddenly showing up ready to destroy the life and friendships Veronyka has started to build. Just an army of Empire soldiers with orders to destroy the Phoenix Riders once and for all.

I will admit that I had some issues getting into this book. I’m not sure if I was finding the story a little slow, or if I just wasn’t in the right head space when I started (it happens). In any case I pushed through, and am so glad I did. In the second half the book really took off and I very much enjoyed where the story went and the twist at the end. I appreciated the fact that, while the story felt properly completed, it also left a lot open for a sequel. I find that this is always a good thing as YA readers tend to enjoy series more than stand-alone books. This one will definitely be going on my recommendation list once it is released in February 2019. Can’t wait to start handselling!

Crown of Feathers is available starting February 12th! Get your copy HERE!

See this, and Kristi’s other reviews, on here blog HERE

Staff Pick: Kristi on Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

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I follow a bunch of authors I like on twitter. I enjoy their musings on writing, and hope to pick up a tip or two that I can use someday. One of these writers, Mark Lawrence, ran a contest for a signed copy of Red Sister, the first book in his Ancestor trilogy. I won (much to my surprise, as I never win ANYTHING).

I have never been so happy to have had a book fall into my lap. While I knew of the book before this, it hadn’t registered on my radar (I have so many on my TBR pile I’m trying to be selective). I was so wrong to not have picked it up before now. I can’t remember the last time a book left me completely speechless!

Nona Grey has come to the Convent of Sweet Mary, saved from the noose at the last moment, destined to become a Red Sister, a warrior like none other. But greater things are in motion, things that will change the world, and Nona in the centre of them. Will this girl, plucked wild from the Grey, learn to control her own power and become the warrior she is meant to be?

I cannot begin to express my love for this book. The story is amazing and has left me aching for the next book (Grey Sister is available in hardcover, but I have a thing about having books match and so I’m waiting for the mass market edition to come out) so that I can continue following Nona’s story. If you read one great epic fantasy this year, make sure it is Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Buy Red Sister HERE

See Kristi’s original post, and her others, HERE

Staff Pick: Judith on The Secret History of Jane Eyre by John Pfordresher

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The title page of Jane Eyre claims that it is an autobiography, edited by “Currer Bell” the pen name of Charlotte Bronte.

Though Bronte disavowed the novel being about her own life, there are too many parallels to ignore. Charlotte also attended school and was cruelly treated (and the school may have hastened the deaths of her younger sisters Maria and Elizabeth). Charlotte also worked as a governess and fell in love with a married man.

Pfordresher recounts Bronte’s life through the lens of her best known work. This biography would make an excellent pairing with the novel that inspired it.

Staff Pick: Tina on The Great Alone by Kirstin Hannah

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In The Great Alone, PTSD suffering Vietnam vet Ernt Allbright drags his family to a remote corner of Alaska, believing living fresh off the land, with few people around, will cure him of his nightmares and violent outbreaks. However, as winter approaches and the dark sets in, his wife and daughter find themselves in an increasingly dangerous situation.

Alaska itself comes alive in what is essentially a coming-of-age story for the protagonist, Leni. The descriptions are so vivid that you feel as though you are there - which is at times exhilarating and at times terrifying. With a wonderful set of characters, as thoughtful and serious as they are quirky and kind, this book will keep you turning page after page wanting to know what happens to them all. This book, about what it means to belong somewhere, and to someone, will break your heart and lift you up.

Staff Pick: Irene on The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble

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We meet Fran Stubbs, a seventy something woman who is “…already too old to die young and too old to avoid bunions and arthritis, moles and blebs, weakening writs, incipient but not yet treatable cataracts, and encroaching weariness.” This novel is a very skilled mediation on old age but Fran is feisty and continues to enjoy her job with a charitable trust that involves driving to various sites of sheltered housing for the elderly throughout England.

This low-key story with well-drawn characters has its share of tragedy and humour, with a few surprises along the way. The book title was drawn from a D.H. Lawrence poem - “Love on the Farm”.

Staff Pick: Sue on Galore by Michael Crummey

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This novel is part multi-generational saga, part historical fiction, part magical realism. It is set in 18th century Newfoundland and follows two families over the course of two centuries.

Crummey has an amazing facility in capturing the language and atmosphere of the world in the fictional outport of Paradise Deep. From the outset, when a man emerges alive from inside a beached whale the tale only gets more intriguing, compelling and fantastical.

Staff Pick: Kristi on Jade City by Fonda Lee

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The Godfather meets Asia meets magic. Jade City takes us to Kekon, a small island nation struggling to make its way into the 21st century and take its place in the world after years of war and invasion. Run by powerful Green Bone families, Kekon has one thing everyone wants: Jade and the ability to wield its magic. With a new drug making the rounds that allows anyone, even foreigners, to use jade magic and political strife between the Kaul and Ayt families, Kekon is about to be shaken to its very core.

Fonda Lee makes her debut into adult fantasy fiction with this fresh and exciting new world. And don’t forget to watch for book 2 of the Green Bones Saga: Jade War out in hardcover May 2019!

Staff Pick: Sarah on The Power by Naomi Alderman

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How often does a book thrill you? I mean electrify, frighten, excite, and confuse you from the sole of your feet to the top of your head?

Imagine a genetic mutation suddenly activated in every woman and girl, giving them the kind of physical primacy over men that men have always had over women? How would that change the world?

currently available in hardcover. The paperback edition is available for pre-order now, available in stores January 2019.