Tag: books

The Love Story of W.B. Yeats and Maud Gonne Review

The Love Story of W.B. Yeats and Maud GonneTitle: The Love Story of W.B. Yeats and Maud Gonne

Author: Margery Brady

Genre: Nonfiction

Series: n/a

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: Set in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this romantic tale unfolds against a background of political unrest and tenant agitation in Ireland. The poet William Butler Yeats in a central figure in the Irish literary revival, while Maud Gonne, a political activist, is passionately involved in the struggle for Irish independence. But this is not a dissertation about Yeats’ work, nor is it about the history of the day or the political involvements of Maud Gonne. It is a love story, containing some of the most poignant poems ever written.

The Love Story Of W.B. Yeats and Maud Gonne by Margery Brady Elaine Howlin Books Blog bookstagram photo
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance

Review:  First of all, how pretty is this book? Very!

This book chronicles the relationship between W.B. Yeats and the inspiration behind many of his poems, Maud Gonne. I wouldn’t go as far as to call their story a love story because it seems to be pretty one-sided but it’s a very interesting story.

I learnt a lot about these fascinating people and the turbulent time in Irish history that they lived in.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository 

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Synopsis from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

November Wrap Up

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5)Racing Hearts Box Set 1: First HeatSpinning SilverA Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1)Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1)Endless Knight (The Arcana Chronicles, #2)Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles, #3)Image result for chimes at midnight audiobookThe Winter Long (October Daye, #8)Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War IA Christmas CarolOnce Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane, #12.6)The Bite Before Christmas

I mentioned in my November TBR that I wanted to read more fantasy this month and I definitely managed it. I barely read anything else! I read Poison Princess for the group read in My Vampire Book Obsession and got totally sucked into the world and devoured the next two books as well. I’m trying to pace myself now and wait till closer to the release of the final book in the series next year.

Nonfiction November was happening this month too but I didn’t manage to read anything for it. I very much enjoyed my little fantasy binge though.

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Audiobooks

Image result for Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa DareDo You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare ★★★★☆

Historical Romance

Very enjoyable historical romance with a mystery thrown in for good measure. The story follows Charlotte (who has crossed over from Dare’s Spindle Cove series to Castles Ever After) who attempts to warn Piers (who has crossed over from Dare’s Castles Ever After series to Spindle Cove) of her mother’s scheming ways but instead they end up entangled in a scandal and a mystery.

 

Image result for a night to surrender by Tessa DareA Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare ★★★☆☆

Historical Romance

This is the first book in Dare’s Spindle Cove series and it’s a bit lacking. It’s not as well written as her later books but works fine as an intro. The story follows Susanna who essentially runs a safe haven for women who are sick of society or don’t blend well into it and Victor who finds himself saddled with a position in the area.

 

Image result for spinning silverSpinning Silver by Naomi Novik ★★★☆☆

Fantasy

I had super high expectations for this one that it didn’t quite meet but it was still a very good book. It’s a retelling of the Rumplestiltskin tale but with a lot more going on. My main issue with this was the number of points of view. There were a few occasions where I wasn’t sure who was speaking and it took me out of the story for a bit while I figured it out. The story closely follows Miryem who is a money lenders daughter that gains a reputation of being able to turn silver into gold which attracts the attention of this fairy being and Irina who’s father is scheming to marry her off to a tsar who isn’t quite what he seems.

 

Image result for chimes at midnight seanan mcguireChimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire ★★★★★

Urban Fantasy

This is the 7th book in McGuire’s October Daye series and it was fantastic! This book follows Toby trying to deal with the goblin fruit problem when she receives a serious amount of backlash from the Queen of the Mists. One of my favourite things in this book is the mystical library they visit to do research. Magical libraries are the best!

The Winter Long (October Daye, #8)The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire ★★★★★

Urban Fantasy

Fantastic again! This book picks up some plot points from the first book and expands on them. I can’t really mention what happens in it without spoiling so much of the series but it’s great!

The Bite Before ChristmasThe Bite Before Christmas by Lynsay Sands ★★★★☆

Paranormal Romance, Short Story

I actually only read the first story The Gift by Lynsay Sands from this because the story from Jeaniene Frost that’s included is ahead of where I am in the Night Huntress series. The Gift is a sweet fluffy kind of story following vampire Katricia and chief of police Teddy. They both get snowed in over Christmas while staying in a mountain cabin.

Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War ILast Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb ★★★★★

Historical Fiction

This was fabulous. It’s an epistolary novel consisting of letters and telegrams between friends and lovers during World War 1. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and made me shed a few tears at the end. I just loved it. The story focuses mainly on the romance between Evie and Thomas. Thomas has gone off to fight while Evie stays home and writes a column about the war from a woman’s perspective.

Once Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane, #12.6)Once Upon a Christmas by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★☆

Historical Romance, Short Story

This is another fun fluffy read for Christmas. Adam Rutledge is travelling with Grandmother to the country for Christmas when their carriage breaks down and they are stranded in the snow. They take refuge in Sarah St. John’s home while they have several guests visiting for the holidays.

A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ★★★★☆

Classic

You must know this story!! It’s a pleasant read but one I’m so familiar with I can’t say that it stirred anything in me… It’s just a nice story to read.

 

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eBooks

Image result for racing hearts first heatRacing Hearts: First Heat by Ruth Gowan ★★★☆☆

Contemporary Romance

I received a copy of this collection in exchange for a review. Each one centres on a different couple in the world of rally racing. The stories were good but the writing was lacking especially in the first book.

 

Image result for poison princessPoison Princess by Kresley Cole ★★★★☆

Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia

I LOVE Kresley Cole but I had been putting off reading her YA series cause I just couldn’t see her writing YA. Her books are very mature normally but she really makes it work here. We do get her usual alpha male stuff but I’m totally fine that 🙂 Poison Princess is the first book in The Arcana Chronicles which is about a group of teenagers that each represents a card from the major arcana in tarot in a battle to the death after an apocalyptic event. With this book, we follow mainly Evie and Jack in the days before the flash and 6 months later when the world is completely different and Evie discoveries she has strange powers.

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via Wattpad

 

Image result for endless knightEndless Knight by Kresley Cole ★★★★★

Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia

Book 2 in Cole’s Arcana Chronicles picks up immediately after Poison Princess and we get a lot of world expansion in this one especially with the other Arcana characters. We learn a lot about Death in particular. There’s a definite love triangle in the series from this point but it isn’t annoying.

 

Image result for dead of winter kresley coleDead of Winter by Kresley Cole ★★★★★

Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia

Book 3 in the Arcana Chronicles and the love triangle gets annoying but I still loved this book. I really got invested in the characters and oh my god the cliffhanger at the end of this!!! I’m trying to pace myself with the books from here though or I will go insane waiting for the final book to be published.

 

Image result for red queenRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard ★★★★☆

Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia

Red Queen is the first book in Aveyard’s Red Queen series. It’s YA dystopia about a future earth where certain humans have developed silver blood and powerful abilities. Regular red-blooded humans still exist but they are subservient to the silvers. We follow Mare, a red, who discovers she has an ability and is taken by the silver king to conceal her true identity from the people. She finds herself caught up in a world of political intrigue on the cusp of a red rebellion.

I enjoyed this way more than I expected to as well. This always happens me with YA I have got to stop saying I’m not a fan of it cause I almost always end of enjoying the books!

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard ★★★☆☆

Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia

This book picks up directly after Red Queen. I was a bit disappointed with this one. I found it be even more predictable than the previous book and it felt like mostly filler. In this one Mare discovers how far reaching the Red Guard actually is and she looks for more people like her to join the fight.

 

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What did you read this month? Did you take part in Nonfiction November?

 

The Nightmare before Christmas Tag

 

Making Christmas, making Christmas
Is so fine
It’s ours this time
And won’t the children be surprised
It’s ours this time

I found this tag on Motherbucker Blog (such a good name!)


 

Related image Sally – A book with a character who loves someone so much and actually gets them in the end

Well, a lot of romance books would fit this one. Since it’s Christmas I’m going to go with a Christmas book, An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne. This is a really sweet friends to lovers Christmas romance about a girl who is told by a psychic that she has already met the man she will be with forever so she assumes it’s one of her exes. Turns out it’s her best friend who’s madly in love with her!

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An Ex for ChristmasShe’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.

Get the book: Amazon 


Image result for Jack Skellington gifJack – A book with a character who longs for more

I’m not entirely sure how to interpret this one. I’m taking it as someone who feels like there’s something missing from their life so I’m picking Touch the Dark by Karen Chance. This is the first book in Chance’s Cassie Palmer series which is about a clairvoyant young woman who becomes the supernatural world’s chief seer. I picked her for this one because she lost her family at a very young age and ended up alone and on the run from a vampire mob boss. She’s left feeling distanced from human connection and loving relationships and she strives to change this as an adult.

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Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer, #1)Cassandra Palmer can see the future and communicate with spirits-talents that make her attractive to the dead and the undead. The ghosts of the dead aren’t usually dangerous; they just like to talk…a lot.

The undead are another matter.

Like any sensible girl, Cassie tries to avoid vampires. But when the bloodsucking Mafioso she escaped three years ago finds Cassie again with vengeance on his mind, she’s forced to turn to the vampire Senate for protection.

The undead senators won’t help her for nothing, and Cassie finds herself working with one of their most powerful members, a dangerously seductive master vampire-and the price he demands may be more than Cassie is willing to pay…

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


Image result for zero nightmare before christmas gifZero – a book with a loyal sidekick

I could really say Cassie Palmer for this one too cause she has a very loyal ghost sidekick which is the perfect answer for this one but I’ll pick another book. Ok, I’m going with Storm Born by Richelle Mead. This is the first book in Mead’s Dark Swan series which is an urban fantasy series that centres on the fae. The main character, Eugenie Markham, is a powerful shaman working as a mercenary. Her sidekick isn’t exactly loyal but he obeys orders. She has enslaved a demon to do her bidding who swears he will decapitate her the second he’s set free but, hey, he does what he’s told. For now.

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Storm Born (Dark Swan #1)Just typical. No love life to speak of for months, then all at once, every horny creature in the Otherworld wants to get in your pants…

Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. Mercenary, yes, but a girl’s got to eat. Her most recent case, however, is enough to ruin her appetite. Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy—one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie’s first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it.

Now Eugenie is a hot target for every ambitious demon and Otherworldy ne’er-do-well, and the ones who don’t want to knock her up want her dead. Eugenie handles a Glock as smoothly as she wields a wand, but she needs some formidable allies for a job like this. She finds them in Dorian, a seductive fairy king with a taste for bondage, and Kiyo, a gorgeous shape-shifter who redefines animal attraction. But with enemies growing bolder and time running out, Eugenie realizes that the greatest danger is yet to come, and it lies in the dark powers that are stirring to life within her…

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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Image result for oogie boogie gifOogie Boogie – A book with a wicked villain

Ok, I was going to pick a demon or some other devilish bad guy for this but I’ve decided to go with Written in Red by Anne Bishop. This is the first book in Bishop’s The Other’s series which follows the mostly preternatural residents of the Lakeside Courtyard. In the world of this series, supernatural creatures are dominant over humans which the humans are not too happy about. This series really shows just how wicked and cruel people can be especially when they’re hungry for power.

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Written in Red (The Others, #1)As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others. 

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


Image result for nightmare before christmas gifHalloween Town – A book with a weird or creepy theme

Oh, my god, I live by weird and creepy! It took me a while to pick something for this but I settled on The Lesser Dead by Christopher BuehlmanThis book is set in 1970’s New York and follows a group of vampires who live in abandoned subway systems under the city. It’s horror, not urban fantasy and has some of the creepiest vampires I’ve come across. They are vampire children that terrorize the vampires already in the tunnels.

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The Lesser DeadThe secret is, vampires are real and I am one.

The secret is, I’m stealing from you what is most truly yours and I’m not sorry—

New York City in 1978 is a dirty, dangerous place to live. And die. Joey Peacock knows this as well as anybody—he has spent the last forty years as an adolescent vampire, perfecting the routine he now enjoys: womanizing in punk clubs and discotheques, feeding by night, and sleeping by day with others of his kind in the macabre labyrinth under the city’s sidewalks.

The subways are his playground and his highway, shuttling him throughout Manhattan to bleed the unsuspecting in the Sheep Meadow of Central Park or in the backseats of Checker cabs, or even those in their own apartments who are too hypnotized by sitcoms to notice him opening their windows. It’s almost too easy.

Until one night he sees them hunting on his beloved subway. The children with the merry eyes. Vampires, like him…or not like him. Whatever they are, whatever their appearance means, the undead in the tunnels of Manhattan are not as safe as they once were.

And neither are the rest of us.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


 

Related imageChristmas Town – a book that left you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside

This one has to be The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. It gave me all the warm fuzzies! It’s sweet and funny and has such a perfect happily ever after ending. If you’re ever feeling glum, pick it up!

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The Hating GameNemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


Synopsis and book cover from GoodreadsImages via Giphy

November Book Haul

This is probably my biggest book haul. In October I took part in an event called Secret Vampire in My Vampire Book Obsession which is basically Secret Santa but we play at Halloween and call ourselves vampires. My Secret Vampire lived in the US so it took a while for the books to arrive and they missed my October Haul but do not fear I will show you all of the awesome books she sent me now. I also received an ARC from Harper Collins Ireland and I visited a few more second-hand shops.


From My Secret Vampire

Sparrow Hill Road (Ghost Roads, #1)Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross—a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn’t ask Rose what she thought of the idea.

It’s been more than sixty years since that night, and she’s still sixteen, and she’s still running.

They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her.

You can’t kill what’s already dead.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


Final GirlsFinal Girls by Riley Sager

First there were THREE.

The media calls them the Final Girls – the infamous group of survivors that no one wants to be part of.

Then there were TWO.

But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances, Sam shows up unannounced and angry.

Can there only ever be ONE?

All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


BelindaBelinda by Maria Edgeworth

The lively comedy of this novel in which a young woman comes of age amid the distractions and temptations of London high society belies the challenges it poses to the conventions of courtship, the dependence of women, and the limitations of domesticity. Contending with the perils and the varied cast of characters of the marriage market, Belinda strides resolutely toward independence. Admired by her contemporary, Jane Austen, and later by Thackeray and Turgenev, Edgeworth tackles issues of gender and race in a manner at once comic and thought-provoking. The 1802 text used in this edition also confronts the difficult and fascinating issues of racism and mixed marriage, which Edgeworth toned down in later editions.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


The Turning (Blood Ties, #1)The Turning by Jennifer Armintrout

I’m no coward. I want to make that perfectly clear. But after my life turned into a horror movie, I take fear a lot more seriously now. I finally became Dr. Carrie Ames just eight months ago. Then I was attacked in the hospital morgue by a vampire. Just my luck.

So now I’m a vampire, and it turns out I have a blood tie to the monster who sired me. The tie works like an invisible leash and I’m bound to him no matter what I do. And of course he’s one of the most evil vampires on earth. With my sire hell-bent on turning me into a soulless killer and his sworn enemy set to exterminate me, things couldn’t get much worse–except I’m attracted to them both.

Drinking blood, living as an immortal demon and being a pawn between two warring vampire factions isn’t exactly how I’d imagined my future. But as my father used to say, the only way to conquer fear is to face it. So that’s what I’ll do. Fangs bared.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Vampires and WerewolvesGrimm Fairy Tales: Vampires & Werewolves by Pat Shand and Mark L. Miller

Collect the Unleashed tie-in stories that feature Roman putting down the werewolf packs, and Liesel Van Helsing taking the fight to the vampires on their path to send these monsters back to the Shadowlands! Collects Grimm Fairy Tales: Vampires #1-3 and Grimm Fairy Tales: Werewolves #1-3.

Get the book: Book Depository


Audible amazon Harry Potter collection

Harper Collins Ireland

One Minute LaterOne Minute Later by Susan Lewis

It’s takes one minute to change everything…

Vivienne Shager has it all. A highflying job. A beautiful apartment. Friends whose lives are as perfect as her own. But on the afternoon of her 27th birthday, Vivi has a heart attack.

Now Vivi’s life shrinks back to how it begun, as she moves back to the small seaside town she grew up in. With her time running out, there is one thing she wants to know the truth about.

Some secrets are best left in the past…

Thirty years earlier, Shelley’s family home, Deerwood farm, bursts full of love and happiness. But one family member has hidden a secret for all these years. Until Vivi comes home demanding answers, and it takes just a moment to unravel the lie at their heart of their lives…

Preorder the book: Amazon | Book Depository


November Book Haul Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowin_

Second-Hand Shops

'Tis; a Memoir‘Tis by Frank McCourt

The sequel to Frank McCourt’s memoir of his Irish Catholic boyhood, Angela’s Ashes, picks up the story in October 1949, upon his arrival in America. Though he was born in New York, the family had returned to Ireland due to poor prospects in the United States. Now back on American soil, this awkward 19-year-old, with his “pimply face, sore eyes, and bad teeth,” has little in common with the healthy, self-assured college students he sees on the subway and dreams of joining in the classroom. Initially, his American experience is as harrowing as his impoverished youth in Ireland, including two of the grimmest Christmases ever described in literature. McCourt views the U.S. through the same sharp eye and with the same dark humor that distinguished his first memoir: race prejudice, casual cruelty, and dead-end jobs weigh on his spirits as he searches for a way out. A glimpse of hope comes from the army, where he acquires some white-collar skills, and from New York University, which admits him without a high school diploma. But the journey toward his position teaching creative writing at Stuyvesant High School is neither quick nor easy. Fortunately, McCourt’s openness to every variety of human emotion and longing remains exceptional; even the most damaged, difficult people he encounters are richly rendered individuals with whom the reader can’t help but feel uncomfortable kinship. The magical prose, with its singing Irish cadences, brings grandeur and beauty to the most sorrowful events, including the final scene, set in a Limerick graveyard. –Wendy Smith

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


On Canaan's SideOn Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry

From the Man Booker short-listed author of The Secret Scripture comes a magnificent new novel that is the story of twentieth-century America.

Sebastian Barry returns with the extraordinary story of Lilly Bere, the youngest daughter of the Dunne family. Forced to flee Ireland with her fiancé as a teenager under threat of death from the IRA, Lilly discovers herself in America. Her rich and tragic life takes her from Chicago, where her fiancé is brutally murdered, to Cleveland where she marries and finds happiness even as she survives the Great Depression and World War II. Joyfully pregnant at forty-three, Lilly moves to Washington, D.C., her husband mysteriously disappears, and she finds work as a cook for one of the most prominent families in the country. Lilly follows the family to Bridgehampton, New York, and there she brings up her son, Ed, who at eighteen is called up to Vietnam and vanishes on his return to America. Mr. Nolan, a close friend, is dispatched to find him and returns from the Smoky Mountain wilderness not with Ed but with Ed’s young son, Bill, whom Lilly will raise and adore until tragedy strikes.
Told in the first person as a narrative of her life over seventeen days, On Canaan’s Side is the heartbreaking story of a woman whose capacity to love is enormous and whose compassion, even for those who have wronged her, is extraordinary.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


WinterWinter by Ali Smith

The dazzling second novel in Ali Smith’s essential Seasonal Quartet — from the Baileys Prize-winning, Man Booker-shortlisted author of Autumn and How to be both.

Winter? Bleak. Frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone, so the old song goes. The shortest days, the longest nights. The trees are bare and shivering. The summer’s leaves? Dead litter.

The world shrinks; the sap sinks.
But winter makes things visible. And if there’s ice, there’ll be fire.

In Ali Smith’s Winter, lifeforce matches up to the toughest of the seasons. In this second novel in her acclaimed Seasonal cycle, the follow-up to her sensational Autumn, Smith’s shape-shifting quartet of novels casts a merry eye over a bleak post-truth era with a story rooted in history, memory and warmth, its taproot deep in the evergreens: art, love, laughter.

It’s the season that teaches us survival.
Here comes Winter.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


AutumnAutumn by Ali Smith

Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. That’s what it felt like for Keats in 1819. How about Autumn 2016? Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic, once-in-a-generation summer.Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand-in-hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever.
Ali Smith’s new novel is a meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means. It is the first installment of her Seasonal quartet–four stand-alone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as the seasons are)–and it casts an eye over our own time. Who are we? What are we made of? Shakespearean jeu d’esprit, Keatsian melancholy, the sheer bright energy of 1960s pop art: the centuries cast their eyes over our own history making.
Here’s where we’re living. Here’s time at its most contemporaneous and its most cyclic.
From the imagination of the peerless Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in time-scale and light-footed through histories, a story about aging and time and love and stories themselves.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


Eligible (The Austen Project, #4)Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

This version of the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


Chocolat (Chocolat #1)Chocolat by Joanne Harris

When the exotic stranger Vianne Rocher arrives in the old French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique called “La Celeste Praline” directly across the square from the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock. It is the beginning of Lent: the traditional season of self-denial. The priest says she’ll be out of business by Easter.

To make matters worse, Vianne does not go to church and has a penchant for superstition. Like her mother, she can read Tarot cards. But she begins to win over customers with her smiles, her intuition for everyone’s favourites, and her delightful confections. Her shop provides a place, too, for secrets to be whispered, grievances aired. She begins to shake up the rigid morality of the community. Vianne’s plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate éclair?

For the first time, here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance, emerging as an agent of transformation. Rich, clever, and mischievous, reminiscent of a folk tale or fable, this is a triumphant read with a memorable character at its heart.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository


The Thirteenth TaleThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once the imposing home of the March family – fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, Charlie, her brutal and dangerous brother, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House conceals a chilling secret whose impact still resonates …

Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield’s past – and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has the house been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic author Vida Winter? And what is it in Margaret’s own troubled past that causes her to fall so powerfully under Angelfield’s spell?

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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Pan’s Labyrinth Novel in 2019

Imaginative director Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) and author Cornelia Funke (Inkheart series) have joined forces to bring us a novel inspired by del Toro’s 2006 movie Pan’s Labyrinth. The hardback version of the book Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun is due for publication 2nd July 2019 and will feature artwork from Allen Williams.

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“Set in 1940s Spain, “Pan’s Labyrinth” was released in 2006 and tells the story of Ofelia, whose pregnant mother has married a sadistic army captain and is sent to live with him in a remote mill at the edge of a dark forest. As her mother grows ill and her stepfather’s brutality is revealed, the boundaries between fantasy and reality, dream and waking, fairy tale and horror are eroded.” – The Bookseller

Get the movie: Amazon

“[Pan’s Labyrinth] demonstrates what I believe to be true: that fantasy is the sharpest tool to develop and unveil all the miracles and the terrors of our reality. It is both political and timeless, a rare achievement in storytelling. My life has often given me reason to believe in magic.” – Cornelia Funke

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Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the FaunPan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun

Oscar winning writer-director Guillermo del Toro and New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke come together to transform del Toro’s hit movie Pan’s Labyrinth into an epic and dark fantasy novel for readers of all ages, complete with gorgeous and haunting illustrations.

This book is not for the faint of heart or weak in spirit. It’s not for skeptics who don’t believe in fairy tales and the powerful forces of good. It’s only for brave and intrepid souls like you, who will stare down evil in all its forms.

Inspired by the critically acclaimed film written and directed by Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro and reimagined by New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke, this haunting tale takes readers to a darkly magical and war-torn world filled with richly drawn characters like trickster fauns, murderous men, child-eating monsters, courageous rebels, and a long-lost princess hoping to be reunited with her family.

Perfect for fans of the movie and readers who are new to del Toro’s visionary work, this atmospheric and absorbing novel is a portal to another universe where there is no wall between the real and the imagined. A daring, unforgettable collaboration between two brilliant storytellers.

Expected publication: July 2nd 2019 Preorder from Amazon

Pan's Labyrinth book Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

Sources: Bookstr | The Bookseller Synopsis from Goodreads