Library Loot December 26 to January 1

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.

It’s the last few days of 2018! Happy almost new year! Here’s to many more library visits and books – and don’t forget to come by and post your links.

We haven’t been able to visit the library this week but the virtual library is ALWAYS OPEN. Thank goodness!

So here’s what I borrowed this week:

Just one ebook! I have so many more that I’m still reading!!

I loved Ghost, the first book in this series and can’t wait to read this one.

Patina, “Patty” Jones is the fastest girl on the Defenders track team. A newbie to the track team, Patty must learn to rely on her family and teammates as she tries to outrun her problems. She runs to show the kids that taunt her at her fancy new school that she’s going to be someone some day. She runs for her fellow newbie teammates to make them proud. She runs to show her little sister Maddy how to be strong and brave. And she runs for her mother, who can never run again. Patty is out to prove herself, but when the pressure becomes too much, can she outdistance it? This is the second book in the Track series about a fiery group of kids who have a shot at the Junior Olympics, but have a lot to prove first- to one another, and to themselves.

We still have the previous week’s library books but I borrowed a extra few ebooks too.

What did you borrow from your library this week?

Here’s the link-up!

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Library Loot December 19 to 25

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.

As we head into the last weeks of the year, I feel like I need to play catchup with all the 2018 publications that I’ve missed out on! Is that you too?


From Twinkle with Love – Sandhya Menon

I quite enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi so I’ve been looking forward to this!

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories to tell – if only the world would listen. So when nerdy classmate and fellow film-obsessive Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a film for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle can’t wait.

The chance to showcase her artistic voice? Dream come true. The opportunity to get closer to longtime crush, Neil Roy – aka Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come even truer.

When Twinkle receives an email from a secret admirer – the mysterious ‘N’ – she is sure it’s Neil, finally ready for their happy ending. The only problem is that, in the course of their movie-making, she has found herself falling for Sahil – the wrong brother.

Twinkle soon realises that resistance is futile: the romance she’s got isn’t the one she scripted… But will it be enough?

The Pisces – Melissa Broder

There’s something about that cover that is just weird and attractive at the same time.

Lucy has been writing her dissertation for nine years when she and her boyfriend have a dramatic break up. After she hits rock bottom, her sister in Los Angeles insists that Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Staying in a gorgeous house on Venice Beach, Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety – not in the Greek chorus of women in her love addiction therapy group, not in her frequent Tinder excursions, not even in Dominic the dog’s easy affection. Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship, and Lucy’s understanding of what love should look like, take a very unexpected turn.

Warlight – Michael Ondaatje

In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself – at once both shadowed and luminous – Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, and it is this journey – through reality, recollection, and imagination – that is told in this magnificent novel.

I also borrowed a new audiobook for the kids to listen to in the car.

The kids’ loot:

Have you read any of these books? What did you get from your library this week?

The link-up is over at Claire’s blog this week!

Library Loot December 12 to 18

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.

Hello! And welcome to Library Loot!

As Claire mentioned last week, I’m the new co-host for Library Loot. If you’re new to my blog, hi there! Thanks for coming by! Hope you’ll have a look around.

A little bit about myself, I’ve been blogging for quite a while now, and I’ve been a fan of the library since I was a little girl. I’ve had library memberships in 3 different countries so far – Singapore (where I was born and grew up), the UK (where I did graduate school), and now in the US where I live. I have two boys, aged 5 and 7, and they love going to the library too!

Here’s my library loot this week:

I love cookbooks but I don’t love lugging them around when I already have two big tote bags full of kids’ books. So while I don’t really love e-cookbooks, sometimes they’re all I can manage. I’ve been wanting to check out Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, and also, I am a big fan of Smitten Kitchen! I own her first cookbook and wanted to see what was in this one.

My hold for this book came in. This book won the Kirkus Prize for fiction and while I am not a fan of the cover, I am intrigued by the synopsis.

An offbeat office novel turns apocalyptic satire as a young woman transforms from orphan to worker bee to survivor

Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. With the recent passing of her Chinese immigrant parents, she’s had her fill of uncertainty. She’s content just to carry on: She goes to work, troubleshoots the teen-targeted Gemstone Bible, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend.

So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York. Then Shen Fever spreads. Families flee. Companies halt operations. The subways squeak to a halt. Her bosses enlist her as part of a dwindling skeleton crew with a big end-date payoff. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost.

Candace won’t be able to make it on her own forever, though. Enter a group of survivors, led by the power-hungry IT tech Bob. They’re traveling to a place called the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers?

A send-up and takedown of the rituals, routines, and missed opportunities of contemporary life, Ling Ma’s Severance is a moving family story, a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale, and a hilarious, deadpan satire. Most important, it’s a heartfelt tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.  

Kids’ loot:

What did you get from your library this week?

Library Loot December 5 to 11

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.

I’m so thrilled to let you all know that I’m the new co-host for Library Loot! The lovely Claire from The Captive Reader has been helming it for a while now and I’m really excited to be t. I’ll be hosting next week, so please see her post for the details!

Also, hello! Hello to you new readers and subscribers, thanks for popping over here to check out my blog. A little bit about me – I love libraries and visit our local library with my two boys (ages 5 and 7) every week. We borrow lots of books – chapter books for the 7yo, beginning readers and picture books for the 5yo. As a result, my tote bags are full of kids books and my shoulders are aching. So pretty much all the library books I get for myself these days are ebooks via the Libby app!

Meanwhile, here’s what I got from the library this week.

The Cloud Roads – Martha Wells

I’ve heard of Wells’ Murderbot series and that’s on my tbr list but when I saw the cover of this one, I just wanted to start with this.

Moon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself… someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn’t tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power… that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony’s survival… and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save himself… and his newfound kin.

A Princess in Theory  – Alyssa Cole

Reading romance novels is quite a new thing for me. I had long turned my nose up at them, but I’ve since found some really smart writing, great characters, and fun reads. I enjoyed Cole’s An Extraordinary Union and was curious about this one.

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

 

 

Some holds came in for me just this morning!

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal

I’ve enjoyed Jaswal’s other stories like Sugarbread and Inheritance, both which are set in Singapore. So I’ve been looking forward to reading her latest.

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a “creative writing” course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.

Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.

As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s “moral police.” But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.

 

Normal People – Sally Rooney

Silly me, I had started this book a few months ago, then somehow my library ebook was due and I didn’t realize that, and of course it disappeared from my Libby app! I know you can do that Airplane Mode thing, but well, I just forgot. Surprisingly there was quite a bit of a wait on this book so I only just got my grubby hands back on it this week.

 

Connell and Marianne both grow up in the same town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. But they both get places to study at university in Dublin, and a connection that has grown between them despite the social tangle of school lasts long into the following years.

Sally Rooney’s second novel is a deeply political novel, just as it’s also a novel about love. It’s about how difficult it is to speak to what you feel and how difficult it is to change. It’s wry and seductive; perceptive and bold. It will make you cry and you will know yourself through it.

Books from previous weeks

 

I’m still listening – and enjoying – this audiobook

And I’m also working on Stay With Me

What did you get from your library this week?

Library Loot

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader 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.

It has been er, well, two plus years since I did a Library Loot post. I used to do them weekly! And then I’m not quite sure what happened. I still do borrow tons of books, perhaps even more than ever now with the kids. I don’t borrow so many physical books for myself these days – lugging around 20+ kids books is back-breaking enough that I can’t imagine adding more for myself. Plus it’s so much easier to borrow books using Libby. It’s right there, instantly. But Libby doesn’t have many e-comics so I still do borrow physical copies of comics when I can remember to check the catalogue! Oh and also audiobooks!

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae (audiobook)

I’ve been meaning to have a read of her book, but hey the audiobook is narrated by Rae herself, might as well!

Synopsis: Being an introvert in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. But when Issa Rae, the creator of the Shorty Award–winning hit series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” is that introvert—whether she’s navigating love, work, friendships, or “rapping”—it sure is entertaining. Now, in this debut collection of essays written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself—natural hair and all.

Blue Monday (Frieda Klein #1) by Nicci French

To be honest, not sure why I requested it! But oh well, it’s always fun to try a new-to-me author.

Synopsis: The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when a picture of his face is splashed over the newspapers, psychotherapist Frieda Klein is left troubled: one of her patients has been relating dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew.

Detective Chief Inspector Karlsson doesn’t take Frieda’s concerns seriously until a link emerges with an unsolved child abduction twenty years ago and he summons Frieda to interview the victim’s sister, hoping she can stir hidden memories. Before long, Frieda is at the center of the race to track the kidnapper.

But her race isn’t physical. She must chase down the darkest paths of a psychopath’s mind to find the answers to Matthew Farraday’s whereabouts.

And sometimes the mind is the deadliest place to lose yourself.

Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

The Dublin Literary Award 2019 longlist was out recently  and it reminded me that there are so many books I haven’t yet read. So I’m trying to slowly amend that….

Synopsis: Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

Kids’ loot

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan

In the first chapter of this book, I learn a surprising fact about China – it has one standard time zone, despite it spanning five geographical time zones! How confusing is that?

Luckily this book, despite its interweaving stories of an expat family, a long-lost brother, and a housekeeping staff-turned-ayi, isn’t confusing at all.

Sunny is from rural China. She works as a maid cleaning rooms and serviced apartments at a hotel in Shanghai. Her name isn’t Sunny of course – it’s just a name tag she picked out of the bin, finding something that seemed right about the name, although she couldn’t even read it herself.

“Chinese names were too difficult for foreign residents to pronounce and carried too much meaning to be revealed to the Chinese speakers. When characters in a name were combined, they produced a complex of feelings and images. That was no good; the best thing for a housekeeper to be was forgettable. Better to take on the blankness of American names.”

One of the apartments that Sunny cleans belongs to the Zhen family, an expat family returned to China after a decade in the US. Lina and Wei have had a long history, having been betrothed since they were young. Wei works long hours at his advertising job, Lina is one of the many taitais in the hotel – “ladies of luxury who could not be called housewives because, aside from cooking the occasional meal, they did no housework at all”.

Wei’s long-lost brother Qiang, contacts them out of the blue after 22 years, and comes to visit. What exactly does he want? Why did he disappear all those years ago? And it turns out that Qiang and Lina have had a history of their own.

I’ve read quite a few books by Chinese authors but this one is written from a very different perspective of a returning Chinese family. Their move from China to the US and then back to China was such a contrast – from a young couple with no money to spare, entertaining themselves by wandering into drugstores and looking at all the goods on display and not being able to buy anything, to becoming a well-off expat family living in a fancy apartment, owning Rolex watches and expensive jewelry. It was a bit hard to like Lina though, although I felt like we had plenty in common in that I am an immigrant to the US myself and while Singapore isn’t such a huge contrast from the US with all its shopping malls and what not, there were all these very “American” things that fascinated (and sometimes frustrated) me. Like the way our first apartment had an open kitchen and this combination cooker hood/microwave over the stove – how was one to get rid of all the cooking smells if that was all?

“American kitchens weren’t designed for wok use, Lina complained. She had tried the American recipes and decided people here didn’t know what real cooking was. All that boiling and baking? Those were safe ways of preparing food. Oil was meant to be splattered on walls, the wok lid held in front of your body like a shield. Cooking, she said, was an act of love and creation. Danger should be somewhere in the mix or it didn’t count. You had to put yourself on the line; you had to sweat. Chinese cuisine required more energy and a higher flame.”

What We Were Promised is a story of contrasts. Sunny’s qunzu fang, a room she shares with five others and which reeks of boiled cabbage and urine vs the large and luxurious jasmine-scented Lanson Suites she cleans. The silk factory where Lina’s father worked vs the skyscraper in which Wei’s office is located. Rural vs city life, rich vs poor.

In case you can’t tell by now, I loved this book and I am just so excited to see what else Lucy Tan writes.

Is it too late to join #NonFictionNov ?

 

 

 

 

Week 1: Your Year in Nonfiction So Far (Hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness)
Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

 

So far this year I have read 15 nonfiction books, 9 of which were audiobooks. That may sound like a decent number, but it’s really not, as it’s only 7.5% of my total so far this year! And as for why most of them are audiobooks… I don’t have a long commute and when I’m in the car with the kids (that is to say, a good part of my day) I let them listen to audiobooks of their choice (current fave is the Wings of Fire series). I listen to audiobooks when I’m taking a walk and prefer to listen to nonfiction books, which are easier to pick up again after some time away. Oh and in the past year or so I’ve been crocheting and audiobooks are the best thing to crochet with.

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

In terms of my nonfiction reading, I read mostly memoirs and a few science nonfiction. My favourite nonfiction is I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong, which really opened my eyes to the fascinating world of microbes! As for favourite memoir, it’s hard to pick really! I enjoyed Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, partly because it was set in South Africa, and Shaun Bythell’s Diary of a Bookseller, a sweet and funny read by the owner of Scotland’s largest secondhand bookshop.

Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?

I really don’t read as much nonfiction as I want to but I think in the past couple of years I’ve been more attracted to science-related nonfiction.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus

What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Book recommendations! And also inspiration to read heaps more nonfiction! I’m currently on the look out for a true crime read, in order to finish the Popsugar challenge!

Thanks for reading! And feel free to throw all kinds of nonfiction reads my way.