Book Review

Book Review: The Second Blind Son (The Chronicles of Saylok) by Amy Harmon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Amy Harmon
Publisher: 47North
Release Date: July 20th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An insidious curse is weakening the Norse kingdom of Saylok, where no daughters have been born in years. Washing up on these plagued shores is Ghisla, an orphaned stowaway nursed back to health by a blind cave dweller. Named for a mysterious god, the boy, Hod, is surrounded by prophecy. To Ghisla, he’s a cherished new friend. To Hod, the girl is even more so. For when Ghisla sings, Hod can see.

Unable to offer safe shelter, Hod urges Ghisla onward to become a daughter of the temple, where all the kingdom’s girl children have been gathered. But because of a magical rune, the two cannot be separated, no matter the time or the distance.

Now, subject to a ruthless king, Ghisla enters a desperate world of warring clan chieftains and catastrophic power struggles. Who among them can be trusted is unknowable. So are the sacrifices Ghisla and Hod must make to defeat the cursed forces that could destroy a kingdom and the fated bond between two souls.

A lost girl and a blind boy discover their greatest strength is their bond with each other in a beguiling fantasy by the New York Times bestselling author of The First Girl Child.

THE TENSION.

I’m sure I mention this every time, but it needs to be said. Amy Harmon is eternally one of my all time favorite authors and I auto-buy everything she writes. I was giddy to get more stories from Saylok and I devoured this book. It’s fantastic on audio if you’re interested in that format!!

I LOVED the story between Hod and Ghisla. Young teens who met and then their story took off in all sorts of new directions. The pacing of the aging is great. I didn’t feel too much time was spent in any one age group as they got older and the tension between them only became thicker. It was all so incredibly romantic and tender. I’m still swooning over Hod. It’s one of those epic love stories.

One minor aspect I didn’t love was how much of the first book, The First Girl Child, was written alongside. There’s a LOT of Bayr and Alba’s love story too. It wasn’t bad, I was just hoping for more of an entire focus on Hod and Ghisla. I didn’t love moving back and forth between the stories (Even though the narrators are always Hod or Ghisla).

The mythology and Viking aspects make the setting come alive. Along with Harmon’s writing that is always gorgeous and enchanting you forget the characters aren’t real. Being transported back to Saylok is the exact kind of escape I look for in a fantasy.

Absolutely another win for Harmon and I will be waiting for her next book!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to brief open door, and some closed door scenes
  • Violence: war scenes, physical altercations, murder
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: sexual assault, loss of parents, ableism, bullying

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Unknown Beloved by Amy Harmon

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 413 pages
Author: Amy Harmon
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: April 19th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the bestselling author of Where the Lost Wander and What the Wind Knows comes the evocative story of two people whose paths collide against the backdrop of mystery, murder, and the Great Depression.

Chicago, 1923: Ten-year-old Dani Flanagan returns home to find police swarming the house, her parents dead. Michael Malone, the young patrolman assigned to the case, discovers there’s more to the situation—and to Dani Flanagan herself—than the authorities care to explore. Malone is told to shut his mouth, and Dani is sent away to live with her spinster aunts in Cleveland.

Fifteen years later, Michael Malone is summoned to Cleveland to investigate a series of murders that have everyone stumped, including his friend and famed Prohibition agent Eliot Ness, now Cleveland’s director of safety. There, in a city caught in the grip of a serial killer, Malone’s and Dani’s paths cross once again.

Malone is drawn to Dani and her affinity for the dead and compassion for the destitute. It doesn’t take long for him to realize that she could help him solve his case. As terror descends on the city and Malone and Dani confront the dark secrets that draw them together, it’s a race to find the killer or risk becoming his next victims.

Thank you to the author for an eARC.

ALL THE STARS.

I am forever attached to Harmon and her writing magnificence. The beauty and portrayal of the nuances of every aspect of her stories is immersing and impossible to turn away from. The moment this dropped onto my kindle I read it was quickly as I could as once again, I have nothing but good things to say.

AH THE ROMANCE. If you love a good age gap romance, this one is for you. I looooved the way that Dani and Michael came together. Through learning about each other’s backgrounds, to the slow forced proximity of their situations. And at last to the clashing of their souls has love took them under. It was everything subtly beautiful I love in a romance. I constantly needed more of them because each interaction pulled at my heart and while I loved Dani and Michael separately, I also loved the way they stood together.

The gritty murder mystery throughout was definitely hard to read in the dark at times. A bit gruesome and will keep you on your toes. I constantly was waiting for the other foot to drop and for the those final throw down scenes to ramp up my heartrate. Don’t worry, IT HAPPEEND. I liked the conclusions that were brought through to the end to tie up things for a book (even with the author’s note at the end explaining creative differences for the sake of the story).

This review is already a lot longer than my usual because I can’t STOP. I loved everything about this story. Amy Harmon writes historical romances like no other.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Fiction Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: med/high blood and gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, gruesome depictions of murder, dismembering, gun violence, murder/suicide

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 348 pages
Author: Amy Harmon
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: April 28th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.

The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

LOVE ON THE TRAIL.

I am in awe of Harmon’s writing and how amazing this love story was. And on the Oregon Trail! What a unique setting y’all. I was incredibly impressed with the flow and build of this book. The writing is beautiful and well-paced. I am reminded with each of her books how much I love this author.

This romance comes off a bit more fast paced than I typically love, but the historical setting and writing really made me fall in love with Naomi and John as they fell in love. Naomi is strong, brave and a widow at 20. Her singular goal is helping her family cross the nation to a hopefully brighter future in California. I enjoyed her personality and mindset. She knew exactly what she wanted and made those wishes known. John was stoic and quiet. The perfect contrast to Naomi. He was searching for a place to belong and found his home with her.

While this is mostly a romance I was enthralled by everything else happening around them. My heart continually leaped and panicked throughout this book because Harmon doesn’t shy away from history. She has clearly well researched this time period to bring this story to life. Naomi and John (+Naomi’s family) definitely do not have it easy and it was hard to pull out all the good things that did happen to them. This was a hard read, especially when you stop to appreciate all the travelers and Native Americans went through as their world began to change through exploration.

It’s difficult to fully express my love for Harmon’s writing and her ability to weave together an ending that always makes me tear up. There’s learning moments, powerful connections, undeniable bonds and a faith in the characters that you can deeply feel. Where the Lost Wander isn’t a sugarcoated romantic tale. It’s raw, poignant, and utterly wonderful in all of its lows and its highs.

I also took a chance to read the Author’s Note at the end and loved it as well. I like to read these (especially for historical fiction) to see what artistic choices the author chose as well as what inspired the story. This one in particular was inspired by some of Harmon’s husband’s ancestors. It really brought home how deeply she felt for these characters (some being based on real people) and how much she wanted to write a story involving them.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, make outs, a few very little detail fade out scenes
  • Violence: physical, guns, arrows
  • Trigger warnings: some racist remarks about Native Americans, sexual assault, rape (ch. 17 – a few paragraphs with little detail)

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Auto-Buy Authors

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Lots of authors to choose from today! I love seeing everyone’s answers because they’re SO MANY AUTHORS out there. It’s great to look into new authors and support as many as possible. I’m also counting authors I read from the library because I know that sometimes that is a version of “auto-buy” and it’s how I can read more too. Requesting a purchase from your library is a great option!

These are a handful of some of my favorite authors (with a book or two I love by them):

Sarah J. Maas


Amy Harmon


Brandon Sanderson


Leigh Bardugo


Danielle L. Jensen


Colleen Hoover


Tahereh Mafi


Tricia Levenseller


Mary E. Pearson


Brené Brown   

Are any of these authors on your auto-buy list? What’s an author not on mine that’s on yours? Lets talk in the comments!

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