Golden Tresses of the Dead

I tend not to be a series continuer. Duologies, trilogies I do manage to finish. Maybe because I know that there it is, that’s the end, I can read that and be done with it. But when it comes to series with many books, like Laurie R Kong’s Mary Russell series, or the Outlander series, I tend to take my time with them. And to be honest, sometimes I forget about them, distracted by all the shiny pretties that publishers keep churning out and bookstagrammers keep posting beautiful photos of.

But somehow this series by Alan Bradley is something I always remember to pick up. And not terribly far from its publication date either.

In this tenth book, Flavia has two cases to solve. One involves a finger found in her sister’s wedding cake. Yes, Feely is getting married. As a result we don’t see very much of her – or Daffy really. Instead it’s become the Flavia and Dogger show with a side act of Undine, Flavia’s cousin, who apparently knows quite a bit about automobiles.

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The case itself was interesting enough and I loved having more of Dogger and getting to know the snarky Undine but I did miss that banter among the three sisters. But as always, it was a delight to jump into a new mystery with Flavia, severed finger and all.

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Library Loot (February 27 to March 5)

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 Wednesday! I actually have physical books borrowed from the library this week. Gasp!

Claire has the link-up this week

The Night Tiger – Yangsze Choo

 

I loved The Ghost Bride when it came out all those years ago. And was excited to hear that Choo has a new book out!

 

 

When 11-year-old Ren’s master dies, he makes one last request of his Chinese houseboy: that Ren find his severed finger, lost years ago in an accident, and reunite it with his body. Ren has 49 days, or else his master’s soul will roam the earth, unable to rest in peace.

Ji Lin always wanted to be a doctor, but as a girl in 1930s Malaysia, apprentice dressmaker is a more suitable occupation. Secretly, though, Ji Lin also moonlights as a dancehall girl to help pay off her beloved mother’s Mahjong debts. One night, Ji Lin’s dance partner leaves her with a gruesome souvenir: a severed finger. Convinced the finger is bad luck, Ji Lin enlists the help of her erstwhile stepbrother to return it to its rightful owner.

As the 49 days tick down, and a prowling tiger wreaks havoc on the town, Ji Lin and Ren’s lives intertwine in ways they could never have imagined. Propulsive and lushly written, The Night Tiger explores colonialism and independence, ancient superstition and modern ambition, sibling rivalry and first love. Braided through with Chinese folklore and a tantalizing mystery, this novel is a page-turner of the highest order.

The Wedding Date – Jasmine Guillory

I keep hearing good things about this book!

 

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

Witch Boy – Molly Ostertag

In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

 

 

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). 

Top Places In Books I’d Like to Visit #toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Places Mentioned In Books That I’d Like to Visit

 

 

Willy Wonka’s factory in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Every candy lovers’ dream! For me I would be happy just to see the chocolate river. Oh and the square sweets that look round.

The Library of the Neitherlands from The Magicians series by Lev Grossman

As long as I don’t have to be bound by contract to serve the library for a billion years, I would be delighted to visit and go read someone’s life stories.

 

Rivendell from the Lord of the Rings series

Sigh. It would be quite the sight wouldn’t it?

Pemberley from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Luckily one can indeed visit Pemberley, or rather the house used in the 1995 BBC TV series, which is Lyme Park in Cheshire.

 

 

The Oasis in Ready Player One

Well maybe the version after Parzival and gang win.

What about you? What are some places in books you’d like to visit?

 


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.

 

 

 

Library Loot (February 20 to 26)

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!

Hope you all are having a great week! It’s actually been a sunny week here in the Bay Area. Chilly still but sunny. Can’t wait for it to be warm enough for outside reading!

The Calculating Stars – Mary Robinette Kowal

Claire’s post reminded me of this new series by Kowal and I’m excited to borrow it!

A meteor decimates the U.S. government and paves the way for a climate cataclysm that will eventually render the earth inhospitable to humanity. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated timeline in the earth’s efforts to colonize space, as well as an unprecedented opportunity for a much larger share of humanity to take part.

One of these new entrants in the space race is Elma York, whose experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too – aside from some pesky barriers like thousands of years of history and a host of expectations about the proper place of the fairer sex. And yet, Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions may not stand a chance.

PS I Still Love You – Jenny Han

I recently watched the Netflix movie (it was cute) and thought that I should read the rest of the books!

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

 

 

The Perfectionists : How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World – Simon Winchester (audiobook)

This is the year of me listening to more audiobooks! I’ve listened to six audiobooks (all nonfiction) so far!

The revered New York Times bestselling author traces the development of technology from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age to explore the single component crucial to advancement–precision–in a superb history that is both an homage and a warning for our future.

The rise of manufacturing could not have happened without an attention to precision. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in eighteenth-century England, standards of measurement were established, giving way to the development of machine tools–machines that make machines. Eventually, the application of precision tools and methods resulted in the creation and mass production of items from guns and glass to mirrors, lenses, and cameras–and eventually gave way to further breakthroughs, including gene splicing, microchips, and the Hadron Collider.

Simon Winchester takes us back to origins of the Industrial Age, to England where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production: John Wilkinson, Henry Maudslay, Joseph Bramah, Jesse Ramsden, and Joseph Whitworth. It was Thomas Jefferson who later exported their discoveries to the fledgling United States, setting the nation on its course to become a manufacturing titan. Winchester moves forward through time, to today’s cutting-edge developments occurring around the world, from America to Western Europe to Asia

 

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). 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I loved with <2000 Goodreads ratings

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

 Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

(links are to Goodreads)

 

The Lost Garden by Li Ang (26 ratings)

This book by Taiwanese author Li Ang was originally published in 1991 and this edition, translated from the Chinese, was published in 2015. My thoughts here

The Perfect Egg by Aldo Buzzi (63 ratings)

I read this in 2007 and rated it 4 stars. It’s a short read with various essays on food.

Flight by Oona Frawley (77 ratings)

I wrote in my review: Flight takes time to get into. But when you do get into it, it is a gem. It is a story about feeling lost, both within the world and within themselves. It is unsettling, it is emotional. It is a thoughtful story that makes you examine your own life, your own situation, and where you belong

Read the rest of my thoughts here

Naming Monsters by Hannah Eaton (81 ratings)

A really interesting graphic novel about a teenager dealing with the death of her mother

The Old Garden by Hwang Sok-yong (124 ratings)

I wrote in my review: “The Old Garden is essentially a just-out-of-prison story. A political prisoner,  Oh Hyun Woo, is released after twenty years and he discovers how much life has changed on the outside. It’s not about learning about new technology that kind of thing. But a reflection on how South Korea has changed over the years. Hyun Woo also discovers that the woman he loved is dead, but he finds her letters and paintings and learns about her life in the past twenty years.”

Read the rest of my review here

The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen – Atossa Araxia Abrahamian (134 ratings)

A great quick (162 pages) nonfiction read about citizenship and globalization. A rare nonfiction read which felt like it could have been longer.

The Fourth Star: Dispatches from Inside Daniel Boulud’s Celebrated New York Restaurant by Leslie Brenner (139 ratings)

A great read for anyone interested in the restaurant scene. Read my review here

 

 

 


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.

 

 

 

Family Trust by Kathy Wang

This book appealed to me for several reasons.

– it’s set in the San Francisco Bay Area and perhaps more importantly, not just the city itself but also the rest of the Bay Area. Don’t get me wrong, I like the city (well parts of it at least), the husband works there and all, but we live in the East Bay and it’s nice to see other parts of the area talked about.

– it’s a story about East Asian immigrants. They are originally from Taiwan, as are many of those in the Bay Area and I’m always interested in stories about immigration, particularly from Asia.

Also it opens with a whopper of a first sentence.

“Stanley Huang sat, naked but for the thing cotton dressing gown crumpled against the sterile white paper in the hospital room, and listened to the young doctor describe how he would die.”

He’s been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and this is the story of how he and his family deal with it.

He has a son, Fred, Harvard Business School grad, who’s been trying to make it big in the fintech industry but hasn’t quite yet. His daughter Kate is doing well at a well-known Silicon Valley company but is struggling with the balance of home and work. Also something seems to be up with her husband who is trying to get his start-up going.

Then there is their mother, Stanley’s ex-wife, Linda, perhaps a less-than-usual Asian woman of her time, one who continued working for decades, and yes, even divorced her husband. She’s even been thinking of dating again!

“What was one supposed to say, when one’s now-ex-husband of thirty-four years was struck with such a diagnosis?”

Stanley’s current wife Mary is 28 years younger than him. She’s a former waitress and has devoted her new life to caring for Stanley but now with Stanley dying, his family is suspicious of her motives.

For Stanley has often hinted at his riches – in the millions! Who deserves it more, the one who’s been caring for him in recent years? His children? Linda is determined to make sure her kids get their fair share.

Family Trust is a Silicon Valley story. It is also an Asian family story. It is also an American story. It’s a story about the pursuit of success, about money, about family obligation. There probably will be Crazy Rich Asians comparisons but as someone not a fan of that series, let me just say that Family Trust is better. Its characters are complex yet relatable, its observations of Silicon Valley life and family relationships are astute and witty. A great debut!

Honestly, Linda has some of the best lines.

“The woman likely didn’t even think she spoke English, regarding her as just another sexless Asian dotting her periphery – someone who could be ignored at will, like a houseplant.”

 

And here’s another – apparently there are differences according to where you landed up as an immigrant.

“Everyone knew that the best Chinese immigrants of their generation were settled in California, and mostly in the Bay Area. There were some in Los Angeles, but then you ran the risk of ending up with some sleazy import/exporter. And Linda had no intention of being matched with some grocery store operator in, say, Reno.”

 

“She knew exactly how Americans saw women like the Mercedes driver – as indistinguishable from herself. An Asian lady consumed with the creation and consumption of money, who neglected to hug her children. Why did white people like to pick and choose from cultures with such zealous judgment? Of course they just loved Szechuan cuisine served by a young waitress in a cheap cheongsam, but as soon as you proved yourself just as adept at the form of capitalism they had invented? Then you were obsessed. Money crazed. Unworthy of sympathy.”

Library Loot (February 13 to 19)

badge-4

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 you guys! How is it Wednesday again? That sure was a speedy seven days.

Claire has the link-up this week

Some things I was excited to see at the library this week…

This Black History Month display of books by women writers

This stack of books a random kid aged about 11 or 12 plonked down at the table I was sitting at. He then went to get more books! At another table this brother and sister (looked about 9 to 11) sat with a big stack of comics.

It was enough to make me feel that the kids today are alright. At least these kids were.

What I got from my library this week:

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told – Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman (audiobook)

I’m excited to get my hands on this one! Of course the hold came in when I was finishing up another audiobook (Heavy) and in the middle of another (How to be a Good Creature) – Heavy has quite a bit of words unsuitable for young ears so I only listen to it at night when the kids are asleep. And of course there’s no way to renew The Greatest Love Story because the updated Libby app is very good at letting me know that there are 17 people waiting for it – ie, renewals are not going to happen. And I really want to listen to this instead of reading it. Because it’s Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman!

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).