Top Books with Plant Covers #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

It’s actually a freebie. So this week, inspired by a recent read, Wicked Plants by Briony Morrow-Cribbs, I’m going to go with Books with Plants on the Cover (but no plant-related titles).

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These are books that I haven’t read yet. Let me know what you’d recommend!

Clock Dance – Anne Tyler

Unsheltered – Barbara Kingsolver

Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

The Book of Koli – M.R. Carey

The Ensemble – Aja Gabel

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He

Burnt Sugar – Avni Doshi

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong

The Bass Rock – Evie Wyld

Tyler Johnson Was Here – Jay Coles


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 27, 2021)

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Woke up this morning to find that it’s actually raining. What a wonderful way to start a Monday. We’ve been so in need of rain. I know it’s a drizzle and won’t do much to water levels, but it’s better than nothing…

Some things last week:

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It’s been ages since we bought charsiu (roasted pork) and duck.
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The Chinese eatery also has a ton of dim sum
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The kids wanted doughnuts for breakfast…
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Earlier in summer, we joined a tennis club (it also has a swimming pool and very small gym). And what I like about this place is its location, the club is surrounded by redwoods and set against the hills. There are usually horses up on the hills.

Currently…

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Watching:

Reply 1994

It’s so interesting that all the shows in the Reply series (Reply 1997, Reply 1994, Reply 1988 – by the same producer/director and writer of Hospital Playlist) use the same actor and actress for the father and mother roles. The rest of the actors are different. Some make cameos in the other Reply shows.

Listening:

The Flight Attendant – Chris Bohjalian

Eating and Drinking:

Cooking:

It may be a bit chilly and rainy this morning but looks like it’s going to heat up again from Thursday. I guess I might as well make some baked or roasted foods earlier in the week. Maybe a baked rice or baked pasta. And I’ve been wanting to make a potato gratin.

Last week:

I read:

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The Heart Principle – Helen Hoang

How We Fall Apart – Katie Zhao

I posted:

Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin #RIP

Library Loot (September 22 to 28)

Books on My Fall 2021 TBR List #TopTenTuesday

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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

Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin #RIP

It actually felt like autumn this morning. The air was fresh and cool. The fog lingered over the school field. There was a smell of Autumn as I took a walk around the neighbourhood.

Of course it’s all temporary. It’s going to hit 31C later today and it’s already warming up.

But ah, I am glad to be done with summer. Aside from summer produce, it’s not my favourite season.

That’s why I always dive into the spooky reads once September hits. And there have been quite a few so far. Today, I’ve got this book on my mind, although I finished it a few weeks ago.

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Little Eyes – Samanta Schweblin

This defies genre. A story about little toys called kentuki. It comes as a crow, dragon, mole, or bunny. It has cameras for eyes, a motor for rolling around. But the weird part is that a stranger controls it. This person is known as the “dweller”. They use their computers to control the kentuki that’s assigned to them. They get to watch and listen to everything that goes on. The kentuki however can’t speak. But some dwellers and keepers manage to communicate eventually.

The “keeper” is the person who buys the kentuki and brings it home. Or maybe someone gave it to them. I mean, I guess it’s meant to be a cute toy. But really it’s all kind of sinister, the thought of someone watching you and your home through the eyes of this toy.

Schweblin is quite good at convincing the reader about the benefits of being a “dweller”. To see the world in a different way. An escape from your life. Like Marvin, a boy in Guatemala, who’s dwelling in a dragon kentuki in Norway. He’s unhappy, his father is always nagging him, and his mother died recently.

Another is a man who buys the kentuki for his son, as his ex-wife wants it for him. But he develops a strange affection for it. His son, meanwhile, hates it.

I’m not sure why anyone would want to buy a kentuki, knowing that someone is there watching. Maybe it’s because it’s a trendy thing at first? Like, everyone has one so I need to have one too. Or it’s out of curiosity? Or they just like being watched?

Little Eyes is written as a series of vignettes. Sometimes a chapter about one dweller. Another chapter is about a keeper. There are many of them around the world. This style of writing might not suit everyone but I enjoyed having a peek into the various lives of characters. But it felt like it lacked something at the end. It has stayed in my mind ever since reading it though, and unsettled me.

Library Loot (September 22 to 28)

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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! Claire has the link-up this week.

What I got from the library this week:

This cover is adorable! Although it didn’t make me immediately think of magic though. Must be the pastels.

Edie In Between – Laura Sibson

A modern-day Practical Magic about love, loss, and embracing the mystical.

It’s been one year since Edie’s mother died. But her ghost has never left.

According to her GG, it’s tradition that the dead of the Mitchell family linger with the living. It’s just as much a part of a Mitchell’s life as brewing cordials or talking to plants. But Edie, whose pain over losing her mother is still fresh, has no interest in her family’s legacy as local “witches.”

When her mother’s teenage journal tumbles into her life, her family’s mystical inheritance becomes once and for all too hard to ignore. It takes Edie on a scavenger hunt to find objects that once belonged to her mother, each one imbued with a different memory. Every time she touches one of these talismans, it whisks her to another entry inside the journal—where she watches her teenage mom mourn, love, and hope just as Edie herself is now doing. Maybe, just maybe, Edie hopes, if she finds every one of these objects, she can finally make peace with her loss and put the past to rest for good. But this journey to stake her independence from her family may actually show Edie who she truly is…and the beautiful gifts that come with being just a little different.

This looks like a fun spooky read.

The Taking of Jake Livingston – Ryan Douglass

Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.

Yes, a departure from the spooky reads! I had to put this on hold as I had enjoyed Hoang’s previous books.

The Heart Principle – Helen Hoang

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex: he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family, she takes on a role she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.

The kids’ library haul:

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He was eager to read this one.
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Books on My Fall 2021 TBR List #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Books on My Fall 2021 To-read List

Fall takes a while to sink in. September and October tend to still be warm weather days here. So it doesn’t quite feel autumnal yet.

But once September comes around, I pivot to the spooky reads. It’s largely because of Readers Imbibing in Peril, which runs from September to end October, and encourages the reading of all things spooky. I’ve joined this challenge for many years now, and here are some books on my tbr list:

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Let The Right One In – John Ajvide Linqvist

I don’t know why I haven’t read this one. Haven’t seen the movie either. But I keep hearing about it. Have you read this/seen the movie?

How We Fall Apart – Katie Zhao

A YA thriller set at a prep school where one of the students (an ex-best friend) turns up dead.

The Book of Accidents – Chuck Wendig

Something about returning to a rural hometown where creepy things happen.

Ring Shout – P. Djèli Clark

Another new-to-me writer. This is described as a dark fantasy historical novella.

Faithless – Kjell Ola Dahl

A Norwegian police detective. Might not be the best book to start with, as this is book 7 but oh well, maybe it doesn’t matter where I begin?

Clark and Division – Naomi Hirahara

A mystery set in 1944 Chicago, where a Japanese-American family has been released from internment camp.

Black Water Sister – Zen Cho

I love Cho’s writing, a lot of which is set in Malaysia or revolves around Malaysian culture.

The Dark Vault – Victoria Schwab

This combines Schwab’s books The Archived and The Unbound. And perhaps also a novella?

Quiet in Her Bones – Nalini Singh

I read my first book from Singh last month and loved it. This one is a standalone so I’m curious to see how it goes.


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 20, 2021)

Hello, it’s Monday again. How are you? How was your weekend?

We had a nice cool weekend in terms of weather. But as with California weather, the moment it’s officially autumn, the heat goes back up! This week’s going to be a hot one…not looking forward to it.

Some things last week:

The husband was busy this weekend with work stuff so we didn’t do much. Took the kids to play tennis and swim. They wore wetsuits but said it was cold so didn’t stay too long.

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Homemade ramen with fish cakes, spinach, mushrooms
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Got our usual takeout sushi for Saturday dinner

Currently…

Reading:

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We are Satellites – Sarah Pinsker

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A slight departure from RIP-related reading cos this hold came in from the library!

Watching:

Last Thursday was the last episode of season 2 of Hospital Playlist! It looks like there are no plans for a third season!

Meanwhile, I’ve also been binge-watching Reply 1988. It’s by the same director and writer so there are some similarities. Although of course it’s very different. Reply 1988 is set in a neighbourhood in Seoul and revolves around a few families who live there. They have teenagers about the same age. I really appreciate how it’s not just about the teenagers but also their siblings and parents.

Listening:

The Flight Attendant – Chris Bohjalian

Eating and Drinking:

Toast and tea

Cooking:

What to cook this week? Maybe I’ll make some pasta salad. I suddenly feel like eating pasta salad.

I also have some premade laksa paste in the pantry that I need to finish up. That means I need to get some fish cake and bean sprouts from the supermarket.

Last week:

I read:

Leviathan Wakes – James S.A. Corey

Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms – Crystal Frasier

I posted:

Library Loot (September 15 to 21)

Books with Numbers in the Title #TopTenTuesday

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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

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.