A Sister in Heaven by Andrea Freedman

Children’s Book Review

Title: A Sister in Heaven
Author:  Andrea Freedman
Publisher: Independent
Released: July 26, 2022
Pages: 16
Stars: 4.0

As someone who lost her sister and best friend, to ovarian cancer, at the age of 48, I genuinely appreciate the love, thoughtfulness, and compassion that went into creating this children’s book that speaks to how we can choose to deal with grief.

Andrea Freedman has written a beautiful, uplifting poem in A Sister in Heaven to help young people ages five to ten, deal with the passing of their sibling. If you believe in Heaven, and many parents would encourage their children to believe, this book will undoubtedly help to ease the pain of your loss. It reminds us that our loved ones would not want us to mourn them for a long time, although, in my experience, the grief never truly disappears. It changes us profoundly. But one thing is certain, the love between sisters never goes away.

Andrea says, “After losing my sister about a year and a half ago, I began to think about all the kids in the world who have had to face the death of a loved one, especially a sibling. I wrote this story with the hope of possibly helping even one grieving child out there make sense of a loss and feel just a little less sad.” She has succeeded with her intention.

Although the book is described on Amazon Kindle as “a work of fiction about two sisters, one of whom has passed away,” I would call this book an inspirational poem. However, I am a poet, and that’s how I often see the world.
The standard picture book page count is 32, so this one is short at 16 pages. However, they are 16 colourful pages with lovely digital art by Jim Campbell. In my humble opinion, there are images within the book that could have been chosen for a more striking cover.

A Sister in Heaven can be purchased at the following locations:
In-store only:
Book City, 1430 Yonge St., at Yonge and St. Clair Ave. in Toronto
In-store and online:
Joseph’s Inspirational, #39-2721 Markham Rd., Toronto
Forster’s Book Garden, 266 Queen St. S., Bolton, Ontario
Israel’s Book and Gift Store, 441 Clark Ave., Thornhill, Ontario
E-book version on Amazon Kindle:
Purchases can also be made through the author directly at andrea.freedman@hotmail.com.

How to Write a Bestselling Fantasy Fiction Novel

Write a Bestselling Fantasy Fiction Novel

Fantasy fiction is a genre that has captivated audiences for centuries. From J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” to George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire,” fantasy novels have proven to be some of the most successful and beloved books of all time. If you’re an aspiring fantasy author looking to write a bestselling novel, there are a few key things to keep in mind as you craft your story.

  1. Develop a rich and detailed world. One of the hallmarks of fantasy fiction is the creation of a fully-realized, alternate world. This world should have its own history, culture, and rules. Therefore, it’s essential to take the time to build a rich and detailed world in which readers can fully immerse themselves. This includes creating unique and believable characters and developing a complex political and social landscape.

  2. Create a compelling and relatable protagonist. In order for readers to connect with your story, they need to be able to identify with the main character. This means creating a relatable protagonist with a clear goal or motivation. It’s also vital to ensure that the character has a clear arc throughout the story, growing and changing as they face challenges and overcome obstacles.

  3. Incorporate conflict and tension. A good story needs conflict and tension to keep readers engaged. This can be achieved through a variety of means, including a powerful and menacing villain, a life-or-death situation, or a political struggle. The key is to create a sense of danger and uncertainty that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

  4. Use magic and mythology. Fantasy fiction often relies on magic and mythology to create a sense of wonder and imagination. This can take many forms, from a powerful sorcerer to a magical creature, to a powerful artifact. However, it’s important to make sure that any magic or mythology you incorporate into your story is consistent and believable within the world you’ve created.

  5. Pay attention to pacing. The pacing of a fantasy novel is crucial to keeping readers engaged. A slow-moving story can quickly become tedious, while a fast-paced story can be overwhelming. Therefore, it’s critical to find a balance between the two, introducing new elements and twists to keep the story moving forward.

  6. Edit, revise, and polish. Writing a bestselling fantasy novel is not a one-time effort. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and patience. It’s important to take the time to edit, revise, and polish your story to make sure it’s the best it can be. You should seek feedback from beta readers and consider hiring a professional editor to help you refine your manuscript.

In conclusion, writing a bestselling fantasy fiction novel is a challenging task. However, with hard work, dedication, and a clear vision, you can create a story that will captivate readers for future generations. Remember to develop a rich and detailed world, create a compelling and relatable protagonist, incorporate conflict and tension, use magic and mythology, pay attention to pacing, and edit, revise, and polish your manuscript. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to writing a fantasy novel that will be loved by readers around the world.

Note: Bestselling independent fantasy fiction novelist P.L. Stuart will release his third book, Lord and King, in The Drowned Kingdom Saga later this spring! I can tell you that it is the best volume in the series so far, and he is a world-builder extraordinaire!

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Romance Fiction Book Review

Title: The Little Paris Bookshop
Author: Nina George
Publisher: Large Print Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning
Released: 2015
Pages: 509
ISBN: 978-1-59413-965-9
Stars: 5.0

Monsieur Perdu, the fifty-year-old owner of a book barge called “la pharmacie literaire, the Literary Apothecary in the Port des Champs-Élysées in Paris, has been alone in his austere apartment at number 27 Rue Montagnard for twenty-one years since the death of his —— named amour. He knows his neighbours better than they would ever suspect from their voices and movements in the old building and would do anything he could to help them, especially if they were sad. Moreover, he loves recommending books to his customers, neighbors, and everyone he meets.

Jean Perdu knows there is a book that’s just right for everyone, no matter what they’re going through. To him, books are medicine, and he can diagnose a person’s condition through the gift of transperception: seeing and hearing through most people’s camouflage.

Monsieur Perdu divides his customers into three categories: “those for whom books were the only breath of fresh air in their claustrophobic daily lives,” those who had been lured aboard the barge by the name of the bookshop and who bought any items he sold that weren’t books, and fans of the book, Night, in which the author had written, “about the inner life of men, more honestly than any men had done before.“

Max Jordan, the twenty-one-year-old best-selling author of Night, a book that “millions of women read to find out why men were so cruel to them,” had moved into 27 Rue Montagnard seven weeks before. Perdu believed “he was the positive print of Perdu’s negative.” When Perdu finds Max hiding in his Literary Apothecary, he explains why Max’s book isn’t suitable for everyone, noticing he thinks of him as a son.

Perdu is an expert at reading others, “a literary pharmacist who writes prescriptions for the lovesick. But he does not like to be touched or to give away too much about himself. He finds the cracks in his well-protected façade, slowly expanding as he becomes closer to his sad, mistrustful neighbour, Catherine, whose husband has left her. When she finds a letter addressed to Perdu in a sealed drawer in his kitchen table, and presents him with it, something inside him shatters.

Reading the letter sets events in motion that culminate in a bromantic adventure for Perdu and Max in the barge, Lulu, from Paris down the canals of Southern France, where they discover much about themselves and that the destination is the journey.

Along the way, they meet famous author P.D. Olson and a burly Italian bartender, Salvatore Cuneo, who has been scouring the rivers for his lost love for twenty years. Cuneo joins them on board the barge, becoming their cook, and the three men search for their respective muses.

Not only has Nina George written exquisitely described passages about the settings of Avignon, Bonnieux, and Sanary-sur-Mer in The Little Paris Bookshop, she teases all the senses with her words. She is also astutely aware of love and grief, and her love for her characters is profound. I found this book enormously moving because it reminded me of myself. When Perdu realizes that he has grown old without noticing and lost so much time (not truly living because he protected his heart from loving) that he no longer knew who he was, the hair on my head tingled. Likewise, this book girl, now a fifty-nine-year-old woman whose thirty-year-old memories of love and the hurt it caused, which served no purpose other than to isolate her heart and prevent her from truly living, has had an epiphany but fears it is too late.

All I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember is to go to Paris to enjoy its marvelous art and history, scour its bookshops, drink wine, and eat baguettes and cheese at a café overlooking the Seine. Possibly even finding love there. But now I’m older, poorer, and suffering from autoimmune diseases that will likely prevent me from ever pursuing my dream.

Whatever you do, do not let this happen to you.

Books find us for a reason. We pick them up and know intuitively that we will enjoy reading them, and we do. However, they are no substitute for living life large, in the now, with someone you love.

The Little Paris Bookshop is a love story about the love of friends, lovers, books, adventure, coming to terms with grief, and the metaphors of tango. It is about learning to open your heart again to allow yourself to love. And I loved it! It even contains recipes in the back from the cuisine of Provence and “Jean Perdu’s Emergency Literary Pharmacy” with book suggestions for dealing with various emotions and life issues. So read The Little Paris Bookshop and learn how to relax into the dance of life.

Cover Reveal and Editor’s Review of Lord and King by Bestselling Author, P.L. Stuart

Cover Reveal and Editor’s Review

I am so excited about this book!

Last night, on Blaise Ancona’s Under the Radar SFF Podcast, Blaise went live with an interview with fantasy fiction author and my friend, P.L. Stuart, in which they reviewed Stuart’s books A Drowned Kingdom and The Last of the Atalanteans and they revealed the cover of Stuart’s latest book in the series, Lord and King.

This is not a traditional reader’s ARC review because I am proud to say I was the editor of this book, the third in The Drowned Kingdom Saga by the insanely talented bestselling author, P.L. Stuart. As a fan of the first two books in the series, I couldn’t wait to read the third, Lord and King, and when Stuart asked me to be his editor, I almost cried for joy and gratitude for the opportunity. I have never had so much fun as an editor, and Stuart made my job easy because he’s a brilliant writer.

I may be biased, but I am a fan of this man’s phenomenal storytelling, first and foremost. He is a master and has created one of the most compelling, multifaceted fictional characters ever in the vainglorious Othrun, King of Eastrealm. If you love medieval literature, a fully realized unique world, a complex protagonist, challenging, exciting antagonists, realistic battle scenes, mystery, magic, and fabulous love scenes, Stuart’s books are for you! And I was waiting for that fabulous love scene! Lord and King does not disappoint.

Lord and King is a thrilling page-turner that will keep your pulse pounding and your heart in your throat. The unexpected tragedies Othrun must face, as well as the addition of Queen Undala, who could potentially be the most formidable adversary Othrun has faced to date, make for what I think is the most exciting book in the series so far. And this fan cannot wait to find out what happens next!

Author’s Synopsis of Lord and King

Finally, Lord and King of Eastrealm, Othrun, aims to restore the glory of his drowned homeland, Atalantyx. But dangerous warlords are determined to stop Othrun from rising to further power.

Furthermore, Eastrealm’s ruler must confront internal forces that could tear his new kingdom apart. Embattled Othrun is also devastated by personal tragedy. His belief in his Single God, and his ambiguous guiding spirit, has never been more tenuous.

To fight his enemies, Othrun needs more than faith or his formidable knights. He needs a mage on his side. Is the conniving Queen Lysi, with her divided loyalties and her own designs for Othrun, the ally he needs? Or, are there other mages who can help the beleaguered young king, who he can trust?

And, Lysi is not the only formidable queen Othrun must contend with. An inexorable power, tied to ancient founders of Eltnish civilization, is coming. A legendary ruler, the likes of whom has not been seen for centuries, plans to reclaim what’s owed to her.

She is named, Undala.

Fear for Othrun and anyone else who dares stand in her way.

Othrun is clever, bold, resourceful. Yet, kingship comes with many challenges, including facing the cunning, powerful, vengeful enemies surrounding him, marking him for death. Will Othrun’s reign end on the battlefield, in blood, before it’s barely begun?

Expected publication April 30, 2023