Mini Book Review: The Six Deaths of the Saint by Alix E. Harrow

The Six Deaths of the Saint (Into Shadow #3)
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Pub Date: 15 November 2022
Genre: Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)


The Saint of War spares the life of a servant girl so she can fulfill her destiny as the kingdom’s greatest warrior in this short story of love and loyalty by New York Times bestselling author Alix E. Harrow.

Always mindful of the debt she owes, the girl finds her worth as a weapon in the hand of the Prince. Her victories make him a king, then an emperor. The bards sing her name and her enemies fear it. But the war never ends and the cost keeps rising—how many times will she repeat her own story?


War and everything that comes with it (blood, brutality), death of a child (briefly recounted)

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Book Review: Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Goodreads: Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology #1)
Publisher: Tordotcom
Published: 18 June 2019
Genre: Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads. When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

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Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini – #BookReview

Goodreads: Sea Prayer
Genre: Fiction, Poetry, Short Story, Picture Book

A short, powerful, illustrated book written by Khaled Hosseini in response to the current refugee crisis, Sea Prayer is composed in the form of a letter, from a father to his son, on the eve of their journey. Watching over his sleeping son, the father reflects on the dangerous sea-crossing that lies before them. It is also a vivid portrait of their life in Homs, Syria, before the war, and of that city’s swift transformation from a home into a deadly war zone. Impelled to write this story by the haunting image of young Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed upon the beach in Turkey in September 2015, Hosseini hopes to pay tribute to the millions of families, like Kurdi’s, who have been splintered and forced from home by war and persecution.

A short but impactful read. Hosseini knows how to tug on readers’ heartstrings even in a book as short as this one! This touches upon on issue that will remain relevant in many years to come!

Sea Prayer isn’t so much a book as it is actually a heartfelt prayer. One that has undoubtedly fallen off the tongues of the countless thousands who have fled their communities, homes and families to avoid war, death and destruction, for a chance of survival in an unknown land. This story was inspired by Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who died when his family fled across the sea. That little boy whose body washed upon the shore in 2015, and whose image was splashed across newsfeeds all over the world for months, that called desperate attention to the refugee crisis.

It’s so easy for us watching from thousands of miles away to feel sadness, frustration and despair when hearing/reading/watching the news about the war and refugee crises taking place in parts of the world the majority of us have never been to, and most likely never will. It is easy to think that we can understand the plight of these families based on what we’re fed, but really, imagining what it’s like to be forced to flee the only life you’ve known just to ensure that you and your family stay alive? That’s a different kind of fear. In this short story book filled with beautiful illustrations, Khaled Hosseini, with his ability to transport and immerse readers into foreign worlds with his words, was able to give us an idea of what the fear might be like. But he not only captures the fears, but the beautiful memories and the hopes.

“But that life, that time,
seems like a dream now,
even to me,
like some long-dissolved rumor.

First came the protests.
Then the siege.

The skies spitting bombs.

These are the things you know.” 

This is a heavy book. It literally took me 5 minutes to read this but within those 5 minutes, Hosseini was able to evoke in me feelings of hope, sorrow and despair. Of course, my eyes were no longer dry. He paints a vivid picture of a bustling city life and the war torn communities that suffer the consequences of the actions of those filled with greed, hatred and pride. Often times we become so desensitized to the news we hear every day that we forget these people who are fleeing and suffering have stories of a life just the same as you and me. They are not just a large group of people with nowhere to go. Each and every refugee that makes it across that sea is not just another number to add to the growing masses. Every refugee is human. With all the bad news that makes it to our screens every day, sometimes I think we forget that they are people who each have their own story; and this is simply one of them.

Short but impactful, this book feeds into a dialogue that will continue to be relevant for many years to come. Khalid Hosseini will donate all proceeds from this book to the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to help fund lifesaving relief efforts to help refugees around the globe.

Have you read Sea Prayer? What did you think of it?
Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid – #MiniBookReview

Goodreads: Evidence of the Affair
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Short Story

Dear stranger…
A desperate young woman in Southern California sits down to write a letter to a man she’s never met—a choice that will forever change both their lives.

My heart goes out to you, David. Even though I do not know you…

The correspondence between Carrie Allsop and David Mayer reveals, piece by piece, the painful details of a devastating affair between their spouses. With each commiserating scratch of the pen, they confess their fears and bare their souls. They share the bewilderment over how things went so wrong and come to wonder where to go from here. Told entirely through the letters of two comforting strangers and those of two illicit lovers, Evidence of the Affair explores the complex nature of the heart. And ultimately, for one woman, how liberating it can be when it’s broken.

I’ve had this sitting on my Kindle for a while now and only realized yesterday that it’s a short story. So, feeling in a bit of a restless reading mood, I decided to start it on a whim and I’m so glad that I did!

This story is written in the form of letters between Carrie Allsop and David Mayer. Carrie reaches out to David after finding letters from his wife to her husband, and what follows is a sad and sweet correspondence between the two, as they turn to and support each other in the after of this tumultuous discovery. Through their exchanges, Reid manages to not only display but also evoke a wide range of emotions. These letters are filled with heartbreak and defeat, insecurity and longing, but also with hope, passion and love. Carrie and David were such compassionate characters and my heart really went out to them. They were just regular people with relatable lives who found themselves in one of the worst situations, and it was hard not to feel invested in them despite only spending a short time together.

“It is funny the crazy things our brains make up to save us from the truth.”

As someone who has been in a relationship with a cheating partner and finding out through text messages, some of the emotions displayed on the page felt like a shot right to my gut and tore my heart open again. Reading the hurtful words was a little bit like dejavu and helped me really identify with the raw and real heartbreak and confusion that these two characters face.

“It was just easier to consider the possibility that he’d changed his entire personality overnight than it was to believe that he would cheat. But he’s the same Ken I’ve always known and loved […]. It’s just that he’s capable of things I never knew.”

Carrie’s revelation in her last letter, while surprising, wasn’t all that shocking and it added a nice victorious twist to the story. I’m glad that it ended that way because if it had continued then I felt it would’ve just become too messy. As it was, the ending felt incredibly freeing and like a weight had been lifted!

With Evidence of the Affair, I’m once again reminded why Reid has a firm spot on my list of auto buy authors. I continue to be amazed with her simple yet powerful and evocative writing style. It’s another win for me!

Have you read Evidence of the Affair? Loved it? Hated it? Meh about it? Leave a comment below and let’s chat books (and TJR!) 🙂