Library Loot (July 31 – August 6)

badge-4Library 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.

 

 

 

Claire has the link-up this week.

Another week, another library loot. And another new library! This one is in the Vivocity mall near Sentosa Island. It just opened earlier this year and what a lovely view it has. It’s the largest library in a shopping mall in Singapore and it has nice kids, teen, and adult sections. There are also several stations for reading of digital newspapers and magazines. Interestingly, the teen and adult sections are manned by volunteers.

Lots of books being returned. The libraries in Singapore use RFID technology so you don’t even need to scan barcodes when checking out and returning books. The checkout machines can scan up to eight books at one go!

 

It was really crowded when we went to check it out after meeting friends for lunch on a Saturday afternoon.

Since I’m in Singapore, might as well read a book by a Singaporean writer!

Sofia’s father has been missing for seven years, and her controlling mother doesn’t understand her. She attends a good school and lives in a nice Midlevel flat, but she’s always felt like something was missing. When she unlocks the gateway to a whole new utopia, the truth comes crashing down around her—about her stratified society, her scientist parents, and her own existence.

 

 

 

Scythe – Neal Shusterman

I’ve been interested in this book for a while and finally borrowed it. There are 3 books in the series – not sure if it’s 3 books only or are more coming?

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

 

The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin

One of those books that many people seem to have read in childhood, but something I’ve not read.

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger – and a possible murderer – to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead… but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

 

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

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Library Loot (July 24 to 30)

badge-4Library 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.

 

This week’s library loot comes to you from Singapore where the libraries are huge and beautiful and operate every day from 10am to 9pm (unlike the confusing schedule back in the Bay Area where Monday-Tuesday the library only opens at 1, Wednesday at noon, Thur-Fri at 11. Or something like that).

This library is the one nearest my in-laws’ house and is located in a huge government-built multistorey complex which houses tennis courts, fitness studios, swimming pool, medical centre, gym, indoor sports courts and more.

The library has two floors in this building and serves the Bedok area in the east. Singapore is a small country but it has 26 public libraries and a main National Library.

Happy Library Loot Day!

Here’s the link-up for the week

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good – Helene Turnsten

– An elderly lady has accommodation problems
– An elderly lady on her travels
– An elderly lady seeks peace at Christmas time
– The antique dealer’s death
– An elderly lady is faced with a difficult dilemma

Maud is an irascible 88-year-old Swedish woman with no family, no friends, and…no qualms about a little murder. This funny, irreverent story collection by Helene Tursten, author of the Irene Huss investigations, features two-never-before translated stories that will keep you laughing all the way to the retirement home.

Ever since her darling father’s untimely death when she was only eighteen, Maud has lived in the family’s spacious apartment in downtown Gothenburg rent-free, thanks to a minor clause in a hastily negotiated contract. That was how Maud learned that good things can come from tragedy. Now in her late eighties, Maud contents herself with traveling the world and surfing the net from the comfort of her father’s ancient armchair. It’s a solitary existence, but she likes it that way.

Over the course of her adventures—or misadventures—this little bold lady will handle a crisis with a local celebrity who has her eyes on Maud’s apartment, foil the engagement of her long-ago lover, and dispose of some pesky neighbors. But when the local authorities are called to investigate a murder in her apartment complex, will Maud be able to avoid suspicion, or will Detective Inspector Irene Huss see through her charade?

The Poet X – Elizabeth Acevedo

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

 

The cover caught my eye

The Electrical Venus – Julie Mayhew

In a lowly side-show fair in eighteenth-century England, teenager Mim is struggling to find her worth as an act. Not white, but not black enough to be truly exotic, her pet parrot who speaks four languages is a bigger draw than her. But Alex, the one-armed boxer boy, sees her differently. And she, too, feels newly interested in him.

But then Dr Fox arrives with his scientific kit for producing ‘electrickery’ – feats of electrical magic these bawdy audiences have never seen before. To complete his act, Fox chooses Mim to play the ‘Electrical Venus’. Her popularity – and the electric-shocking kisses she can provide for a penny – mean takings are up, slop is off the menu and this spark between her and Fox must surely be love. 

But is this starring role her true worth, or is love worth more than a penny for an electrifying kiss?

An intoxicating and atmospheric coming of age story set in the filth and thrill of a travelling show during the height of the Georgian Enlightenment

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

Library Loot (July 17 to 23)

badge-4Library 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. Let us know what you got from your library this week!

 

Here’s my loot!

 

 

I spotted this on the New Arrivals shelves in the children’s section and loved the cover!

 

To Night Owl from Dogfish by Meg Wolitzer and Holly Goldberg Sloan

From two extraordinary authors comes a moving, exuberant, laugh-out-loud novel about friendship and family, told entirely in emails and letters.

Avery Bloom, who’s bookish, intense, and afraid of many things, particularly deep water, lives in New York City. Bett Devlin, who’s fearless, outgoing, and loves all animals as well as the ocean, lives in California. What they have in common is that they are both twelve years old, and are both being raised by single, gay dads.

When their dads fall in love, Bett and Avery are sent, against their will, to the same sleepaway camp. Their dads hope that they will find common ground and become friends–and possibly, one day, even sisters.

But things soon go off the rails for the girls (and for their dads too), and they find themselves on a summer adventure that neither of them could have predicted. Now that they can’t imagine life without each other, will the two girls (who sometimes call themselves Night Owl and Dogfish) figure out a way to be a family?

 

This is a comic from the children’s section – the kids were grabbing their selections and I saw this one and liked the look of the illustrations.

 

Pandora’s Legacy – Kara Leopard, Kelly Matthews, Nicole Matthews

The Panagakos family are descendents of Pandora, their family tasked with protecting Pandora’s box and capturing the monsters that have escaped over the years. When Charlie, Janet, and Trevor accidentally break the box, it’s up to the three of them to fix it before their family finds out…or worse…

What starts out as a typical family vacation to Grandma and Grandpa’s house quickly erupts into supernatural mystery and peril when three siblings accidentally break an old, mystical jar hidden deep in the woods. As magical monsters pour out of the fractured relic and run amok, Charlie, Janet, and Trevor must find a way to capture all of the creatures in order to save their family—and potentially the entire world—before it’s too late.

 

 

We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

 

 

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney #TLCBookTours

 

 

 

 

 

Think Grumpy Old Men. In a nursing home.

Well, at least one of the old men is grumpy.

And that is Joel Monroe, who is in his 70s and held ‘prisoner’ at Hilltop Nursing Home. His roommate Miller, who has been in a coma, dies, and Joel, still grieving for his wife, whose bed Miller had taken over, is overcome with grief.

It doesn’t help that the nursing home has stuck him with Frank de Selby, a former soap opera actor who is full of questions, rather flamboyant and optimistic. Joel is determined not to like this new roommate but once he gets to know the real de Selby (real name Frank Adams), he realises that while they are very different people, he quite likes Frank.

Frank shares that his family has left him alone after learning that he’s gay. Joel reveals that he has been thinking of killing himself.

Sharing secrets and escaping the nursing home to get a pint in a bar and these two roommates become great friends, the kind that seem as if they’ve known each other forever.

I loved how different the two men were from each other. And how they learnt from each other and grew, in their own way.

The Great Unexpected is a charming and amusing read, a poignant tale of friendship and ageing.

 

For more information about Dan Mooney and the book, check our his author website, like him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, look at the book’s Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

 

Thanks to  TLC Book Tours and publisher Park Row Books for sending me a copy of this book.

Library Loot (July 10 to 16)

badge-4Library 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 everyone!

 

I feel like I haven’t read fiction by Japanese writers for a while. So here is one.

Where Europe Begins – Yoko Tadawa

Where Europe Begins presents a collection of startling new stories by Japanese writer Yoko Tawada. Moving through landscapes of fairy tales, family history, strange words and letters, dreams, and every-day reality, Tawada’s work blurs divisions between fact and fiction, prose and poetry. Often set in physical spaces as disparate as Japan, Siberia, Russia, and Germany, these tales describe a fragmented world where even a city or the human body can become a sort of text. Suddenly, the reader becomes as much a foreigner as the author and the figures that fill this book: the ghost of a burned woman, a woman traveling on the Trans-Siberian railroad, a mechanical doll, a tongue, a monk who leaps into his own reflection. Tawada playfully makes the experience of estrangement — of a being in-between — both sensual and bewildering, and as a result practically invents a new way of seeing things while telling a fine story.

I found this book in a climate fiction list and thought it sounded a bit different.

South Pole Station – Ashley Shelby

Do you have digestion problems due to stress? Do you have problems with authority? How many alcoholic drinks do you consume a week? Would you rather be a florist or a truck driver?

These are some of the questions that determine if you have what it takes to survive at South Pole Station, a place with an average temperature of -54°F and no sunlight for six months a year. Cooper Gosling has just answered five hundred of them. Her results indicate she is sufficiently resilient for Polar life.

Cooper’s not sure if this is an achievement, but she knows she has nothing to lose. Unmoored by a recent family tragedy, she’s adrift at thirty and—despite her early promise as a painter—on the verge of sinking her career. So she accepts her place in the National Science Foundation’s Artists & Writers Program and flees to Antarctica—where she encounters a group of misfits motivated by desires as ambiguous as her own. There’s Pearl, the Machiavellian cook with the Pollyanna attitude; Sal, an enigmatic astrophysicist whose experiment might change the world; and Tucker, the only uncloseted man on the continent, who, as station manager, casts a weary eye on all.

The only thing the Polies have in common is the conviction that they don’t belong anywhere else. Then a fringe scientist arrives, claiming climate change is a hoax. His presence will rattle this already imbalanced community, bringing Cooper and the Polies to the center of a global controversy and threatening the ancient ice chip they call home.

A winning comedy of errors set in the world’s harshest place, Ashley Shelby’s South Pole Station is a wry and witty debut novel about the courage it takes to band together, even as everything around you falls apart.

 

 

After reading Ruth Reichl’s Save Me the Plums, I’ve been wanting to read DFW’s essay on lobsters which she discusses in her book.

Consider the Lobster and other essays – David Foster Wallace (audiobook)

Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a funny bone? What is John Updike’s deal, anyway? And what happens when adult video starlets meet their fans in person? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in essays that are also enthralling narrative adventures. Whether covering the three-ring circus of a vicious presidential race, plunging into the wars between dictionary writers, or confronting the World’s Largest Lobster Cooker at the annual Maine Lobster Festival, Wallace projects a quality of thought that is uniquely his and a voice as powerful and distinct as any in American letters.

Contains: “Big Red Son,” “Certainly the End of Something or Other, One Would Sort of Have to Think,” “Some Remarks on Kafka’s Funniness from Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed,” “Authority and American Usage,” “The View from Mrs. Thompson’s,” “How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart,” “Up, Simba,” “Consider the Lobster,” “Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky” and “Host.”

 

The kids’ loot:

 

(Well usually here I’ll put up a photo of the kids’ library haul but we haven’t been to the library yet this week and are supposed to go this afternoon. So I’ll update it later with a photo!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

Books read in June

In June, I traveled far and wide via my reading!

Some places I explored in books were Tahiti, Alaska, Korea, Germany, India, and some were set right here in California.

Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword – Henry Lien
Moon Rush – Leonard David
The Professor – Charlotte Bronte
Save Me the Plums – Ruth Reichl
Unmarriageable – Soniah Kamal
My So-Called Bollywood Life – Nisha Sharma
The totally awesome Hulk. Vol. 1, Cho time  – Greg Pak
Kid Gloves: Nine months of careful chaos – Lucy Knisley
Tiare in bloom – Celestine Vaite
The Siren Depths – Martha Wells
If You Leave Me – Crystal Hana Kim
The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey
The Aftermath-  Rhidian Brook
The Proposal – Jasmine Guillory
Sadie – Courtney Summers
A Fire Story – Brian Fies

Library Loot (July 3 to 10)

badge-4Library 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 first Wednesday of July! And to those in the US, happy Independence Day tomorrow!

 

 

We spotted Pete the Cate posing for photos outside the library!

The boys reading while I browsed the adult fiction shelves.

Claire has the link-up this week.

Here’s what I got from my library:

I think I came across this via the Dublin Literary Award longlist – the cover art stood out!

The Invisible Life of Eurydice Gusmao – Martha Batalha, translated from the Portuguese by Eric M B Becker

Euridice is young, beautiful and ambitious, but when her rebellious sister Guida elopes, she sets her own aspirations aside and vows to settle down as a model wife and daughter. And yet as her husband’s professional success grows, so does Euridice’s feeling of restlessness. She embarks on a series of secret projects – from creating recipe books to becoming the most sought-after seamstress in town – but each is doomed to failure. Her tradition-loving husband is not interested in an independent wife. And then one day Guida appears at the door with her young son and a terrible story of hardship and abandonment. The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is a wildly inventive, wickedly funny and keenly observed tale of two sisters who, surrounded by a cast of unforgettable characters, assert their independence and courageously carve a path of their own in 1940s Rio de Janeiro. A deeply human and truly unforgettable novel from one of the most exciting new voices in world literature.

Black Widow Vol 1: SHIELD’s Most Wanted – Mark Waid, Chris Samnee
They wowed you with Daredevil, now the Eisner Award-winning team of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee take Black Widow to new heights -by forcing her to go on the lam!
Natasha has a lifetime of secrets, and when some of the darkest ones are made public, nobody is safe. As S.H.I.E.L.D. turns on its once greatest asset, she seeks out her own answers in a knockdown drag-out tale of action and espionage! But will the Widow’s hunt for the Weeping Lion send her back to the one place she never wanted to go? And, when a S.H.I.E.L.D. funeral makes the assembled top brass an attractive target, it’s lucky for them that the Black Widow is still on their side, even if they aren’t on hers.

 

Isn’t that just a gorgeous cover?

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.

 

The kids’ loot:

 

(The 6yo wanted to make sure his new flip-flops were in the photo. He wants you to know that there are sharks on them).

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).