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New fictional life-changing journeys

My top picks of February new books are powerful and consuming, full of life-changing journeys. The End of Drum-Time is an epic love story between people of clashing cultures. Someone Else's Shoes is a compelling story about female friendship written by the author of Me Before You. VenCo follows a girl on a journey toward witchy womanhood as she learns of her ancestors' magic. Victory City is one of the most anticipated books of 2023, a medieval story based in India with amazing storytelling. My last recommendation is The Last Kingdom. In this book, Malone and Daniels race against the clock to save Bavaria from global enemies and find the last kingdom― before someone else does.

1. The End of Drum-Time by Hanna Pylväinen

This is a passionate love story set in the 19th century Arctic Circle about Ivvár, a reindeer herder, and Willa, a minister's daughter.

Willa's father attempts to convert the native Sámi reindeer herders to his faith, believing they practiced the devil's magic. The most respected herder, Ivvár's father, experiences a spiritual awakening and joins the church. Ivvár takes guard of the decreasing herd as they migrate north to the sea. Willa rebels against her father's beliefs to join the reindeer herders on their journey.

This book shows an emotional bond between two individuals who, despite their clashing cultures, fall in love as they try to save the life of the Sámi.

The End of Drum-Time explores some of the most complex themes in literature in some of the most gorgeous prose imaginable. Hanna Pylväinen’s novel of cultural collision in the far north is an extraordinary feat of research and imagination by an author who reminds you with every page what fiction can accomplish.” ―Anthony Marra, New York Times bestselling author of Mercury Pictures PresentsReserve

2. Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes

Nisha Cantor goes from riches to rags after her wealthy husband divorces her and cuts off all contact. She refuses to let go of her lavish lifestyle, including her six-inch high Christian Louboutin red crocodile shoes. Unfortunately, Sam Kemp has accidentally taken Nisha's gym bag with those coveted shoes. But Sam doesn't have time to worry about gym bag switches as she struggles to keep her family afloat. When Sam tries on Nisha's shoes, she experiences a burst of confidence and a realization. Sam must change something in her life― herself.

This heartwarming story about female friendship that will have you rooting for Nisha and Sam every step of the way.

"Nobody writes women the way Jojo Moyes does - recognizably real and complex and funny and flawed - which is what makes her novels an auto-buy for me." Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author


3. VenCo by Cherie Dimaline

Lucky St. James learns she will be evicted from the small Toronto apartment she shares with her grumpy but loving grandmother Stella. She is hanging on by a thread when one strange night, a silver spoon calls out to Lucky through a wall, etched with the word SALEM.

Lucky knows about the magic of her indigenous ancestors but has no idea what's in store for her: a network of North American witches who have hidden in plain sight for centuries called VenCo, a very powerful witch-hunter who stalks their every move, and a road trip with Stella to the magical New Orleans to find the final spoon.

In New Orleans, a final showdown will take place to determine if VenCo will rise or remain underground forever.

"Crackling with magic, mystery, adventure, and intrigue, VenCo is a captivating tribute to the bonds of families we are born into and the ones that we create, and a delightful testament to the power of all womankind." Nikki Erlick New York Times bestselling author


4. Victory City by Salman Rushdie

Nine-year-old Pampa Kampana loses her mother during a battle between two kingdoms in 14th century southern India. After witnessing her mothers' death, Pampa experiences a divine encounter that will change the course of history. She becomes the vessel for a goddess. The goddess grants her extraordinary powers and tells Pampa she will create the city of Bisnaga— “victory city”

Over the next 250 years, Pampa Kampana’s life becomes deeply interwoven with Bisnaga, from the creation of nothing into something, to its downfall because of those in power. Pampa does her best with the task the goddess sets for her: to give women equal rights in a patriarchal world. As years pass, with ever-changing rulers, various battles, and shifting allegiances, the fabric of Bisnaga is as complex as ever— with Pampa Kampana in the midst of it all.

One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2023: Time, The Washington Post, The Guardian, USA Today, The Tampa Bay Times, The Week, CNBC, Business Insider, Kirkus ReviewsVictory City is a capacious and sweeping telling in which writing about the past is a way of also staring dead on at the present and historicizing human nature. In the wit and poetry of his prose, Rushdie shows us not only the world we’ve made, but—more importantly—the one we can remake.”Natasha TretheweyReserve

5. The Last Kingdom by Steve Berry

King Ludwig II of Bavaria was a larger-than-life king. He was stripped of his power in 1886 and mysteriously drowned three days later. History says he spent years searching for a new kingdom away from Bavaria. Ludwig desired a safe place where he could rule however he wished. No one knew if he ever succeeded in his quest.

Now Bavaria is in danger. The prince of Bavaria is set on eliminating his brother, the duke, and restoring the Wittelsbach monarchy with him as king. Cotton Malone and his protégé, Luke Daniels, must search for Ludwig's deed that proves he found land for his new reign. The duo races across Bavaria in search of clues in Ludwig's fairytale castles as they battle deadly enemies from across the world ― all to find the last kingdom.

"Berry pumps the veins of history with action-packed adrenaline." The Chicago Tribune


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