Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms

Reviewed by Sarah Graves- Henry Larsen Public School

A riveting story about a heavily divided land on the brink of war, Falling Kingdoms is a thrilling drama. Lucia, Magnus, Cleo and Jonas all deal with several issues in the countries Auranos, Paelsia and Limeros, where tensions run extremely high. The characters are dispersed among the three countries, but soon cross each others’ paths in the wake of war, forcing them to face their varying dilemmas. In this grief-stricken land filled with treachery, poverty, sorcery, secrets and yearning, everyone clashes already, not knowing the horror that is to fall, and much sooner than expected. The main cause for the conflict, the one that no one seems to see, is the inequality. It could be seen as a modern representation of the injustice in the world today or a flashback to the times when all was dark, but it’s up to you to decide.

This book was one of the most enchanting books I have ever read; a new twist at every chapter made for a hard-to-put-down read. It is a very intense book indeed, putting you almost in tears one second and smiling to your ears the next. A true teen novel, it incorporates serious modern issues, history, magic and intense drama. The book has different points of view, making you side with all and no characters. A very engaging read, it gives you a real point of view, genuinely changing your opinion every page and helping you connect with the characters. As you can imagine, it results in a wonderfully climactic novel that will leave you fearing what comes next, puzzling the possibilities and wanting even more.


Harry MacKay Signing “Church Rebel With A Cause” on Saturday, April 5

churchrebelLocal author Harry MacKay will be in the store on Saturday, April 5 from 12:00 to 2:00 to sign copies of his newest book Church Rebel With A Cause.

From the jacket:

“This raw and riveting fictionalized memoir lays bare the state of Christianity in the turbulent 1960s, when society re-evaluates its beliefs about morality, love, sex, and spirituality. Scott Lively, a United Church of Canada minister in Toronto North, preaches The New Morality (love, then do as you like). Soon he is labeled “The Sex Cleric” and is called to account by his congregation.

This book will appeal to spiritual seekers who may be disinterested or uncomfortable with the institutional church. Activists interested in social justice will also be attracted to the narrative.”

We hope to see you all here!

Qais Ghanem Launch on Thursday, April 3 from 5:00-7:00pm

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00011]Local author Qais Ghanem will be here on Thursday, April 3 from 5:00-7:00pm to launch his new novel Forbidden Love in the Land of Sheba – a story of conflict, crime and corruption.

From the jacket:

“Fifteen-year-old Hana has a crush on twenty-year-old cousin, Farook. But he leaves Yemen to study medicine in Scotland. Her parents force her to marry another cousin, twice her age, a selfish, abusive criminal involved in arms’ sales and gang rapes. Ten years later, Hana’s life changes dramatically when Farook opens a clinic next door.”

Qais will also be available to sign copies of his previous Qaisnovels – Final Flight from Sanaa and Two Boys from Aden College – as well as his non-fiction works – From Left to Right and My Arab Spring, My Canada.

We hope to see you all here on Thursday!

Snacks and refreshments will be served.

Rick Houle Signing New Mystery “Affable Scavengers” on Saturday, March 29 from 1:00-3:00pm

AffableScavengersPaperback3Local mystery author Rick Houle will be in the store on Saturday, March 29 to sign copies of his new novel, Affable Scavengers. The signing will run from 1:00pm to 3:00pm and Rick will also be available to sign copies of his first mystery novel, Vein Storm.


New Mystery Thriller from Rick Houle – Affable Scavengers

“Hard to play detective when they see you coming a mile away.
A young mom searches for her best friend who’s been missing for two weeks.
Her mission becomes a horrifying experience. A twist on Canada’s tragic
Highway of Tears, Affable Scavengers is a tense, terrifying page turner.”

Available at Books on Beechwood. It will soon be available online.
Come to the book signing on Saturday, March 29. Two dollars from every book
sold will be given to the Ottawa Food Bank.

Nikita Kiriloff Signing “Voice of Translator? But No, Interpretor” on Thursday, March 20 from 5:00-7:00pm

Local author Nikita Kiriloff will be in the store on Thursday, March 20 from 5:00-7:00pm to sign copies of his new book Voice of Translator? But No, Interpretor.

Nikita Kiriloff is one of Canada’s most successful and long-standing Russian/French/English interpreters. His career spans from Trudeau to Harper and from Gorbachev to Putin. His book includes a forward by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien.

Coffee and snacks will be available.

We hope to see you all here on Thursday!

“Lives of the Family” by Denise Chong

livesoffamilyDenise Chong is a first-rate reporter who lives with her family in Ottawa and has written three books before this current Lives of the Family.

In this one she writes intimately of the Chinese who immigrated to towns in Canada to escape perilous times in China, that include the war with Japan and the Communist takeover. She concentrates on the Chinese who came to Ottawa, and smaller towns such as Perth, rather than the Chinatowns of centres like Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal.

The result is an up-close look at these quiet, brave people who usually ran cafes or the local laundry. They were often sending money back to China, to help bring other members of the family to Canada. It meant working almost full-time. During the 20’s and 30’s of the last century, there was no Chinese radio, or TV, or cinema. They turned to each other for company, although the book also tells of the kindness and sympathy from Canadian neighbours when they realized the situation.

By 1975, the Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre (OCCSC) had opened and Chong acknowledges their help in writing this book, which also has photos of the families as they got started. Chong’s earlier books are: The Concubine’s Children, The Girl in the Picture and Egg on Mao. Chong quite often gives talks in Ottawa. She gives and unusually vivid picture of the Chinese who live here.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

“Dancing Fish and Ammonites” by Penelope Lively

dancingfishPenelope Lively is a beloved British writer of fiction, and children’s literature, with the Man Booker prize and numerous awards piled up for her 80 years of production.

Dancing Fish and Ammonites is what she calls a memoir and then qualifies it to “the view from old age.” It is unusual for a writer to share so intimately the things that made her write. One reviewer says: “Her candor is refreshing, and reminds us that you don’t have to lie to yourself to live life finely until the end.”

Lively was born in Egypt where her father was posted. An only child, she later faced a lonely boarding school in England. Very early on she had and interest in archaeology, and her title refers to fossils picked up on a beach in Dorset. She turned to writing however and this book tells of the events “by which she felt most fingered,” i.e. the Suez Crisis, the Cold War, the seismic change in attitudes of the late 20th Century.

She includes her happy marriage, her children, and finally her turning to books and reading for companionship. The end of the book tells us of six objects she had picked up and kept by her as a part of her history. She lives in London.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

February Best Sellers

There’s a promise in the air that Spring will eventually come. (perhaps more quickly for me as I will soon escape to the Caribbean for a couple of weeks). February is often a slow month for the Bookstore but this year was particularly poor so we look forward to March. The best-sellers list –given below-is shorter than usual. An interesting characteristic of the bookstore is that we sell such a wide variety of books that best-sellers do not dominate our revenues. With the issue of the paperback version of The Orenda in mid-month, Joseph Boyden’s story of life among the Hurons at the time of the early European contact surged back to the top of the list. Margaret MacMillan’s remarkable history of the years before the First World War (frightening when we compare with the Ukraine and even Syria today) is still on the list. An unusual item is poetry –Redshift by Patrick White, the former Ottawa Poet Laureate.  This was the subject of a special author event at the store in mid-February. The poet has since died and there was an eloquent obituary column by Robert Sibley in the Ottawa Citizen of March 3rd.

We’re upgrading the equipment at the store; for example, new computers that will be faster and less prone to problems. We hope the migration will go smoothly but please be patient if there are any issues with the transition. There is also a new portable, lighter weight credit card reader.

We are negotiating for a special shipment of books-about a thousand- that will go on sale later this month as part of our Book Bargain Month. The details are not yet finalised but we expect to announce it here soon. Watch this space for details.

Some of you regularly use our on line bookstore (store.booksonbeechwood.ca) for browsing and ordering books but it is underutilised. There is also a terminal in the store that displays the site. You can search for books or authors, see what is in stock, what is already on order and what you would need to “special order”. You get brief descriptions of each book and author. You can save your own lists of books for future reference. You can browse by category, examine lists of national bestsellers or look for forthcoming titles and see their publication dates. It is a great resource for booklovers. You can order on line for in store pick-up or arrange delivery.

I intend to start a new review feature called “Teen Reads” on our website. We have a good selection of books in stock in the Section called “Youth” at the bookstore but we would like to encourage more interest. The new book reviews will be carried out by teenagers (we reserve the right to do some editing). We have a resident reviewer to start with but we invite submissions from others. They should be no more than 350 words, say one paragraph about the book –or series-and one paragraph on the readers reaction and recommendation.  This would make a class good project for English teachers! Send the best results to us and we will give credit to authors and their schools. Send any submissions to peter.dawson@iridian.ca.

Our Bestsellers for February

1.       The Orenda                                        Joseph Boyden                  Fiction

2.       Imposter Bride                                  Nancy Richler                     Fiction

3.       It’s not Luck                                        Eliyahn Goldratt                Economy

4.       Redshift                                               Patrick White                     Poetry

5.       Dominion                                            C.J. Sansom                        Fiction  

6.       Life after Life                                     Kate Atkinson                    Fiction

7.       The Last Indian Summer                   Robert Lalonde                Fiction

8.       Winter in Madrid                              C.J. Sansom                        Fiction

9.       The Woman Upstairs                      Claire Messud                   Fiction

10.     David and Goliath                            Malcolm Gladwell            Psychology

11.     The War that ended Peace          Margaret MacMillan         History