Library Loot (September 15 to 21)

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Wednesday! Link up below or let us know what you got from the library in the comments.

I picked up more books for RIP season!

What I got from the library this week:

Wicked Plants – Amy Stewart

A tree that sheds poison daggers; a glistening red seed that stops the heart; a shrub that causes paralysis; a vine that strangles; and a leaf that triggered a war. In Wicked Plants, Stewart takes on over two hundred of Mother Nature’s most appalling creations. It’s an A to Z of plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend. You’ll learn which plants to avoid (like exploding shrubs), which plants make themselves exceedingly unwelcome (like the vine that ate the South), and which ones have been killing for centuries (like the weed that killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother). 

Menacing botanical illustrations and splendidly ghastly drawings create a fascinating portrait of the evildoers that may be lurking in your own backyard. Drawing on history, medicine, science, and legend, this compendium of bloodcurdling botany will entertain, alarm, and enlighten even the most intrepid gardeners and nature lovers.

How We Fall Apart – Katie Zhao

Nancy Luo is shocked when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan, top ranked junior at Sinclair Prep, goes missing, and then is found dead. Nancy is even more shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends–Krystal, Akil, and Alexander–are the prime suspects, thanks to “The Proctor,” someone anonymously incriminating them via the school’s social media app.

They all used to be Jamie’s closest friends, and she knew each of their deepest, darkest secrets. Now, somehow The Proctor knows them, too. The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor exposes more than they can bear and costs them more than they can afford, like Nancy’s full scholarship. Soon, Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her, too.

I haven’t really seen the series yet. I did watch part of the first episode….until I thought maybe I should read the book first.

The Flight Attendant – Chris Bohjalian (audiobook)

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them–and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police–she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home–Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.

Books with Numbers in the Title #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Books With Numbers In the Title

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This One Summer – Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

The Two Towers – J.R.R. Tolkien

The Book of Three – Lloyd Alexander

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – Judy Blume

The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin

Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Seven Days in the Art World – Sarah Thornton

Fox 8 – George Saunders

Nine Stories – J.D. Salinger

Tales of Ten Worlds – Arthur C. Clarke


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

It’s Monday (September 13, 2021)

Monday again! How was your weekend?

We did some swimming, tennis, and all matters of trying to keep cool during this warm weekend.

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Korean food on the weekend. Fried chicken (including one with that magic cheddar powder). Corn cheese. Two types of kimbap (bulgogi and kimchi).
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Some things last week:

Currently…

Reading:

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Watching:

Reply 1988 on Netflix

Eating and Drinking:

I had sourdough toast with tea as usual. Nothing exciting!

Cooking:

Shepherd’s pie. Korean style noodles. I also need to make some sandwich bread for the week.

Last week:

I read:

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Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin
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The Near Witch – V.E. Schwab

Water Ghosts – Shawna Yang Ryan

Runtime – S.B. Divya

I posted:

The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab

Library Loot (September 8 to 14)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab

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Perhaps it’s appropriate that my first V.E. Schwab book is actually her debut novel. It went out of print a couple of years after it was first published but was reissued in 2018.

In her introduction, Schwab says that this “was a small book, quiet and strange at a time when everything that sold well was loud and vaguely familiar”. It was originally published in 2011. The year of Divergent, The Martian, Ready Player One, Fifty Shades of Grey. Those were definitely loud books. I can see how a quiet book like The Near Witch could get lost in such a world.

And maybe it’s just the time of year to be reading it, or the mood that I’m in. But The Near Witch was just the right read for me at this time. Quiet reading in a quieter house than usual (the kids are back in school after more than a year of distance learning). But it’s also a book about fear. Fear of those who don’t belong. Fear of a stranger who appears in a small town at a time when children begin disappearing.

And Lexi, a girl of the town of Near who is different from the others.

Not right. Not proper.

I enjoyed the fairytale-like feel to the story. A small town on the moor. An insulated, isolated place where everyone knows everyone else. But two sisters who live on the edge of town are thought to be witches.

Schwab is brilliant at creating atmosphere in her book. I felt like I was standing on the moor, the wind sighing. The moor itself is almost like a character in the book, rippling and swaying, keeping secrets, hiding mysteries.

Library Loot (September 8 to 14)

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Wednesday!

Claire has the link-up this week.

I picked up more RIP-related books!

What I got from the library this week:

Creatures of Passage by Morowa Yejidé

With echoes of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Yejidé’s novel explores a forgotten quadrant of Washington, DC, and the ghosts that haunt it.

Nephthys Kinwell is a taxi driver of sorts in Washington, DC, ferrying ill-fated passengers in a haunted car: a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere with a ghost in the trunk. Endless rides and alcohol help her manage her grief over the death of her twin brother, Osiris, who was murdered and dumped in the Anacostia River.

Unknown to Nephthys when the novel opens in 1977, her estranged great-nephew, ten-year-old Dash, is finding himself drawn to the banks of that very same river. It is there that Dash–reeling from having witnessed an act of molestation at his school, but still questioning what and who he saw–has charmed conversations with a mysterious figure he calls the “River Man,” who somehow appears each time he goes there.

When Dash arrives unexpectedly at Nephthys’s door one day bearing a cryptic note about his unusual conversations with the River Man, Nephthys must face both the family she abandoned and what frightens her most when she looks in the mirror.

Creatures of Passage beautifully threads together the stories of Nephthys, Dash, and others both living and dead. Morowa Yejidé’s deeply captivating novel shows us an unseen Washington filled with otherworldly landscapes, flawed super-humans, and reluctant ghosts, and brings together a community intent on saving one young boy in order to reclaim themselves.

Toil and Trouble – Mairghread Scott

Something wicked this way comes.

The three fates—Riata, Cait, and Smertae—have always been guiding and protecting Scotland unseen, indirectly controlling the line of kings according to the old religion. When there is a disagreement between the weird sisters, Riata and Smertae will use men as pawns, and Smertae will direct Macbeth to a crown he was never meant to have.

This re-telling of Macbeth from the witches point of view is brought to life by Mairghread Scott (TRANSFORMERS: Windblade, LANTERN CITY), and illustrated by talented duo Kelly & Nichole Matthews. TOIL AND TROUBLE brings a new and inventive take on the tragedy we all know and love. 

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We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker 

Val and Julie just want what’s best for their kids, David and Sophie. So when teenage son David comes home one day asking for a Pilot, a new brain implant to help with school, they reluctantly agree. This is the future, after all.

Soon, Julie feels mounting pressure at work to get a Pilot to keep pace with her colleagues, leaving Val and Sophie part of the shrinking minority of people without the device.

Before long, the implications are clear, for the family and society: get a Pilot or get left behind. With government subsidies and no downside, why would anyone refuse? And how do you stop a technology once it’s everywhere? Those are the questions Sophie and her anti-Pilot movement rise up to answer, even if it puts them up against the Pilot’s powerful manufacturer and pits Sophie against the people she loves most.

The kids’ loot:

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It’s Monday (September 6, 2021)

It’s Labor Day in the US and Canada, so if that’s where you are, hope you’re enjoying the long weekend.

We had no travel plans, so hung out at home. Played tennis, went swimming, the kids went biking. It was nice and relaxing.

Some things last week:

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The husband made sushi for dinner. Or rather, I prep all the ingredients, and he does all the rolling.
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A visit to the library and a peek at the new arrivals shelves.
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Korean BBQ at home. We also had some bulgogi (marinated thinly sliced beef), rice, lettuce.
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It’s grape season at the farmers market.

Currently…

Reading:

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Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy and The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg

Watching:

Last week, there wasn’t a new episode of Hospital Playlist… sad…

But I finished watching the first season of KDrama Let’s Eat. Which always makes me hungry as they feature some tasty looking foods every episode. It’s a story about a woman who reluctantly becomes friends with her two neighbors and colleagues. She’s a foodie but can’t eat out by herself. The show has its problems, such as the “ugly” character, who is used as fodder for laughter at times.

Eating and Drinking:

For breakfast, toasted homemade sourdough bread and tea.

Cooking:

Something simple like fried noodles, or noodle soups.

Last week:

I read:

Forest of Memory – Mary Kowal Robinette

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion – Margaret Killjoy

I posted:

The Disaster Tourist – Yun Ko-eun

Library Loot (September 1 to 7)

Ham Helsing: Vampire Hunter – Rich Moyer

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

The Disaster Tourist – Yun Ko-eun

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Simple dinner tonight of a salmon, mushroom, spinach miso soup over rice. Also, some kimchi on the side because I love kimchi! 

It’s probably just me growing old but I often crave simple meals like this soup and rice these days. Although in THE DISASTER TOURIST, they mentioned samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) a couple of times and that made my mouth water…😅 

This book isn’t about food of course. It’s about a woman who works in a disaster tourism agency. She surveys disaster areas, turns them into travel destinations. She’s told to go to an area where the tour isn’t doing so well, a remote island with a sinkhole that’s not living up to people’s expectations of a disaster area. 

And turns out that’s because it’s not exactly a disaster area anymore. 

“According to the rules, it’s only possible for you to quit in the middle of a business trip if you die.”

A quick read, although not exactly the thriller the blurb makes it out to be. 

This book takes off in unexpected ways. It touches on capitalism, the dark side of tourism. Towards the end, it veered off toward the surreal. 

Strangely entertaining and thoughtful. 

Library Loot (September 1 to 7)

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Library Loot Day! What did you get from your library this week? Link-up below or let us known in the comments!

I got some books for RIP season. I’ve taken part in Readers Imbibing in Peril for… oh I have no idea how many years now. It’s such fun. Here are some of my previous RIP posts.

What I got from the library this week:

Water Ghosts – Shawna Yang Ryan

Locke, California, 1928. Three bedraggled Chinese women appear out of the mist in a small Chinese farming town on the Sacramento River. Two are unknown to its residents, while the third is the long-lost wife of Richard Fong, the handsome manager of the local gambling parlor. As the lives of the townspeople become inextricably intertwined with the newly arrived women, their frightening power is finally revealed.

A lyrical imagining of what happens when a Chinese ghost story comes true, Water Ghosts is a rich tale of human passions and mingling cultures that will appeal to readers of Lisa See, Anchin Min, and Gail Tsukiyama. 

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion – Margaret Killjoy

Danielle Cain is a queer punk rock traveller, jaded from a decade on the road. Searching for clues about her best friend’s mysterious and sudden suicide, she ventures to the squatter, utopian town of Freedom, Iowa. All is not well in Freedom, however: things went awry after the town’s residents summoned a protector spirit to serve as their judge and executioner.

Danielle shows up in time to witness the spirit—a blood-red, three-antlered deer—begin to turn on its summoners. Danielle and her new friends have to act fast if they’re going to save the town—or get out alive.

The Merry Spinster – Mallory Ortberg

From Daniel M. Lavery comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from his beloved “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series, The Merry Spinstertakes up the trademark wit that endeared Lavery to readers of both The Toast and his best-selling debut Texts from Jane Eyre. The feature become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Lavery’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children’s stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.

Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Lavery’s boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Lavery’s oeuvre will delight in his unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface.

Runtime – S.B. Divya

The Minerva Sierra Challenge is a grueling spectacle, the cyborg’s Tour de France. Rich thrill-seekers with corporate sponsorships, extensive support teams, and top-of-the-line exoskeletal and internal augmentations pit themselves against the elements in a day-long race across the Sierra Nevada.

Marmeg Guinto doesn’t have funding, and she doesn’t have support. She cobbled her gear together from parts she found in rich people’s garbage and spent the money her mother wanted her to use for nursing school to enter the race. But the Minerva Challenge is the only chance she has at a better life for herself and her younger brothers, and she’s ready to risk it all.

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Kids’ loot.

Ham Helsing: Vampire Hunter – Rich Moyer

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It’s hot. So this calls for ice-cream and a fun comic! This is HAM HELSING VAMPIRE HUNTER by Rich Moyer, and it was such a blast! The kids read it first and it looked like such fun that I knew I had to read it too. 

Ham Helsing is on his first assignment, to hunt down a vampire. But the vampire isn’t the one terrorizing the town. So who is? 

The illustrations are delightful. The dialogue is witty. And the characters are great. A vampire with social anxiety. Treasure-obsessed rats. A ninja pig. 

Just brilliant! 

It’s Monday (August 30, 2021)

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Happy Monday!

We made it through the first full week of school! The kids are happy to be back. And I am happy to not have to deal with making sure they’re paying attention to Zoom classes!! I’m so glad schools are open. Of course I still have to make sure they do their homework but that’s been ok so far.

Last week, there were 2 positive Covid cases in the school (although apparently the kids may not have actually been in school at the time). The school district sent an email out to all parents. And supposedly, close contacts were notified. The number hasn’t increased since then, so I guess it means that it’s ok?

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Went out with some friends on Saturday for what the kids called a “mom date”. Our kids all go to school together and all started out in the same kindergarten class so we’ve been friends since then. We had lots of delicious food from this izakaya style place that also had Malaysian food. It was fun to have a night out without kids!

Some things last week:

Currently…

Reading:

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Meddling Kids – Edgar Cantero

Watching:

Season 2 of Full Bloom, that delightful flower competition on HBO Max

Listening:

The new Butter remix

Eating and Drinking:

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Singapore-style peanut pancake, called min jian kueh. It uses yeast and baking soda to create a honeycomb look within the pancake.

Cooking:

Chicken stew

Last week I made chilli and we had it with baked potatoes. The kids loved it. And I wanted to do more stuff with baked potatoes this week too. So I was thinking of trying something from this round up of stuffed potatoes. It made me think of when I was studying in the UK, and one cafe at the university had all kinds of baked potatoes and stuffings/toppings.

Also, the kids decided they’re having more school lunch this week. They tried it out last week for the first time. The verdict? The hot dog was yucky but they loved the brownie. Ha.

Last week:

I read:

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Ham Helsing – Rich Moyer

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Silver Silence – Nalini Singh

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The Disaster Tourist – Yun Ko-eun

I posted:

Library Loot (August 25 to 31)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date