Library Loot (May 26 to June 2)

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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! Did you get anything from your library this week?

Here’s my loot:

Tweet Cute – Emma Lord

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Afar – Leila del Duca

Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astrally project to other worlds, unintentionally possessing the bodies of people light years away. 

Inotu, her inquisitive brother with a penchant for trouble, finds himself on the run after he’s caught eavesdropping on an illegal business deal between small town business tycoons and their cyborg bodyguard. When Boetema accidentally gets someone hurt while in another girl’s body, the siblings are forced to work together to solve the problems they’ve created on their planet and others.

Nuclear Winter 1 – Caroline Breault

Nothing’s rougher than a Canadian winter . . . except maybe one that never ends! 

It’s been nine years since an accident at a nuclear power plant plunged Montreal into an eternal winter; the city is now blanketed 365 days a year in radioactive snow. But life goes on for folks like Flavie Beaumont, a mail courier on snowmobile who’s carved out a pretty normal life for herself, despite mutant crushes, eclectic urban fauna, and unrelenting meteorological events of unprecedented force. It turns out surviving nuclear winter is hard . . . but it’s possible surviving your twenties is even harder! 

It’s Monday (May 24, 2021)

Happy Monday! Oh we are almost at the end of May already…The kids have just a couple of weeks of school left!

How was your weekend?

We had originally planned to visit Singapore in summer. But the situation in Asia has gotten worse in the past few weeks. So we canceled our plans. So unfortunately, we won’t be seeing our families for yet another year…

Hopefully we can go back next year!

Meanwhile, I have to figure out what the kids will be doing in summer.

Some things last week:

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A hot morning for playing tennis with friends. I took this photo while outside with my younger one – the only shade was outside the court under the trees. He said he was too hot and wanted a break.
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Farmers market haul.
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Since we can’t go back to Singapore, we had to go satisfy our need for some Singapore-style Hainanese chicken rice.
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And the kids wanted pizza so we got from our favourite pizza place. It so happens to be an South Asian pizza place. So we had a half paneer masala.

Currently…

Reading:

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The Avant-Gardes – Carly Usdin, Noah Hayes

Watching: The Veronica Mars movie. I had been browsing HBO Max and this was one of the movies that was leaving the streaming service. Somehow I hadn’t seen it before?? Which is interesting as I loved the series!

Listening: No books, just music.

Eating: Homemade waffles. I made plenty of extras yesterday. Some for the freezer. And some for today.

Drinking: Tea

Cooking: I want to make some pad thai. And maybe some beef rendang.

Last week:

I read:

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Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

I posted:

Library Loot (May 19 to 25)

Complete Sentence Book Titles #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 (May 19 to 25)

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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 haven’t seen the movie yet but it looks really good. Is it a good idea to read the book first? I have no idea.

Nomadland – Jessica Bruder

The inspiration for Chloé Zhao’s 2020 Golden Lion award-winning film starring Frances McDormand.

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older adults. These invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in RVs and modified vans, forming a growing community of nomads.

Nomadland tells a revelatory tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy—one which foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, it celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of these Americans who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive, but have not given up hope.

Sounds like a fun read although the first few Goodreads reviews seem a bit meh? We’ll see!

Heiress Apparently – Diana Ma

The first book in an epic and romantic YA series following the fictionalized descendants of the only officially recognized empress regent of China

Gemma Huang is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from Illinois, having abandoned plans for college to pursue a career in acting, much to the dismay of her parents. Now she’s living with three roommates in a two-bedroom hovel, auditioning for bit roles that hardly cover rent. Gemma’s big break comes when she’s asked to play a lead role in an update of M. Butterfly filming for the summer in Beijing. When she arrives, she’s stopped by paparazzi at the airport. She quickly realizes she may as well be the twin of one of the most notorious young socialites in Beijing. Thus kicks off a summer of revelations, in which Gemma uncovers a legacy her parents have spent their lives protecting her from—one her mother would conceal from her daughter at any cost. 

What did you get from your library this week?

Complete Sentence Book Titles #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Book Titles That Are Complete Sentences

All of these books are from my TBR list. Have you read any?

This Book Betrays My Brother by Kagiso Lesego Molope
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph – Brandy Colbert
Freedom is Space for the Spirit – Glen Hirshberg
I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf – Grant Snider
The Thirty Names of Night – Zen Joukhadar
Tiny Moons: A Year of Eating in Shanghai – Nina Mingya Powles
Who Put This Song On? – Morgan Parker
Stand Up, Yumi Chung! – Jessica Kim
This Is King of an Epic Love Story – Kheyren Callender
The Stars Are Legion – Kameron Hurley


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 (May 17, 2021)

So this whole, oh if you’re vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask, thing is a bit premature, isn’t it?

I don’t know about you, but I won’t be giving up my mask any time soon. As you may know, I’m fully vaccinated. But my kids are 10 and under, so they aren’t able to get vaccinated yet. And we don’t know yet when that will happen. So as long as they’re not vaccinated, I’m still going to wear my mask, and still take precautions.

I know this “off with the masks” thing is about encouraging more people to get vaccinated but ugh, it’s way too early. Look what’s happening in so many countries in Asia!

Some things last week:

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The kids wanted zhajiang mian. We also ordered some shrimp fried rice, xiaolongbao, and shrimp and prawn dumplings (they’re purposely fried together like that). I made a tofu noodle salad as well.
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Also, this is the kids’ new favourite ramen place. Because of this butter miso ramen. I was heating up the soup so this is before I poured any soup. Also, the plastic part is how they separate the ingredients from the noodles. You just slide the ingredients on top of the noodles when you’re ready to eat.
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We finally went to the farmers market again! And hooray they had cherries and (giant) strawberries. There were some stone fruits like nectarines and peaches but they didn’t really look at their best yet. So maybe in a couple more weeks?

The cherries were sweet and so were the strawberries, in case you’re wondering. It was nice to see the farmers market bustling again. And you’re actually allowed to touch the produce now. I especially appreciate that they still enforce masks.

Currently…

Reading:

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Watching:

I finally decided to watch Falcon and the Winter Soldier. So far I’ve seen the first two episodes. And it’s pretty good so far. I like that we see some of the other characters from the Marvel movies, like Zemo, Rhodey, Sharon Carter. And that we get to know Falcon’s family.

Listening: No books, just music.

Eating: A slice of lemon, blueberry, almond flour cake. It’s an Ottolenghi recipe (Recipe here).

Drinking: Tea

Cooking: I might make a slow cooker bolognese this week. I’ve not tried it on the slow cooker before, so I’m just curious to see how it goes.

Last week:

I read: The Mermaid from Jeju by Sumi Hahn

I posted: Crying in H Mart – Michelle Zauner

Library Loot (May 12 to 18)

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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

Crying in H Mart – Michelle Zauner

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I couldn’t stop reading this book despite its sad topic. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner is so honest and emotional. Zauner writes about losing her mother to cancer. And how she turns to cooking Korean food to help overcome her grief and connect with her mother.

(H Mart, if you’re not familiar is a chain of Korean supermarkets. It’s the largest Asian American grocery store chain. They just opened a branch in SF a few months ago, but there isn’t one near me, so I haven’t been before!)

This book was devastating and yet so readable. Her conversational narrative felt welcoming despite the heavy topic. 

And the food. Oh. As someone living far away from my country, I could identify with the way food triggers all kinds of emotions for her. It’s not as easy to find good Singapore food though, so I have to make do with what I can get. 

What a read, truly.

Library Loot (May 12 to 18)

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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!

Don’t forget to link up or comment below. We’d love to know what you picked up from your library this week.

I finally went to the second floor of the library! They moved the adult fiction up there (it’s also where the nonfiction has always been). The last time I went into the library, I had just popped in to grab some kids’ books.

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Here’s what I got for this week’s Library Loot.

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White Ivy – Susie Yang

Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, she is taught how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops by her immigrant grandmother. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, where her dream instantly evaporates.

Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when she bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.

Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners and weekend getaways to the Cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.

Filled with surprising twists and offering sharp insights into the immigrant experience, White Ivy is both a love triangle and a coming-of-age story, as well as a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.

Brave Chef Brianna – Sam Sykes

To prove herself as a great chef, a young woman sets up a restaurant as the sole human in a city full of monsters.

Brianna Jakobsson has big cooking dreams, and when her ailing restaurateur father poses a challenge to his only daughter and fifteen sons, she seizes the opportunity. She’s going to have the best restaurant around and earn the family empire. Thing is, the only place she can afford to set up shop is in Monster City. Her menu is full of weird delicacies, her kitchen is run by a half-bird harpy, and her dining room is filled with skeleton businessmen. Add on the nefarious Madame Cron, some highly competitive siblings and Brianna’s plate is literally . . . full.

Brave Chef Brianna from writer Sam Sykes (Munchkin) and artist Selina Espiritu explores one woman’s incredible journey to realize her dreams in the unlikeliest of places. Welcome to Monster City!  

The Breakaways – Cathy G Johnson

Quiet, sensitive Faith starts middle school already worrying about how she will fit in. To her surprise, Amanda, a popular eighth grader, convinces her to join the school soccer team, the Bloodhounds. Having never played soccer in her life, Faith ends up on the C team, a ragtag group that’s way better at drama than at teamwork. Although they are awful at soccer, Faith and her teammates soon form a bond both on and off the soccer field that challenges their notions of loyalty, identity, friendship, and unity.

The Breakaways is a portrait of friendship in its many forms, and a raw and beautifully honest look into the lives of a diverse and defiantly independent group of kids learning to make room for themselves in the world. 

The kids’ loot:

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I used to love reading Asterix when I was a kid! So when I saw this in the kids’ graphic novel shelves, I had to pick it up for the boys.

What did you get from your library this week?

It’s Monday (May 10, 2021)

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For Mother’s Day, I felt like having Indian-Pakistani food. So many yummy things. Three vegetable curries, tandoori fish and chicken and lamb chops! Also garlic naan and plain naan.

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The boys made me some cute bracelets!
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Hope you all had a lovely weekend and here’s to a great week ahead!

Currently…

Reading:

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Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

Watching: The husband and I watched Tenet over the weekend. It was very action-packed and mind-bending with its whole time entropy and backwards thing. But as I thought about it more, I realized that Nolan (who wrote and directed it) forgot about the emotions part of it. I really like his other movies like Memento, Inception, Interstellar. But as I thought more about it, while those movies also play a lot on time and memory, there was also emotion.

If you haven’t seen any of these shows, don’t read any further!

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Those three other movies were so much about lives lost and memories of loved ones. And that wanting to stay with a lost memory of a person who’s not there anymore. There was feeling and emotion and relationships.

Tenet was a lot harder. I think you can’t have the Protagonist be any more than that because his whole journey has, in a sense, just begun. And because of the play with time, there is difficulty bringing in anything more in terms of background and details about him.

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Eating and Drinking: I had a slice of sourdough toast and a goat milk brie.

Cooking:

It’s going to be a much warmer week from today onwards! We will be hitting the 30s (Celsius) and while that number may not seem very high (Singapore is always in the highs of 30+), I feel that in CA because there’s so little (almost no) cloud cover, once you’re in the direct sunlight it’s so much hotter than 30.

Last week:

I read:

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Peaks and Bandits – Alf Bonnevie Bryn

Loveboat, Taipei – Abigail Hing Wen

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) – Patricia Briggs

Crying in H Mart – Michelle Zauner

I posted:

Library Loot (May 5 to 11)

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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 (May 5 to 11)

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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.

It’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the US. And with the exception of one Canadian writer, these books are all by Asian Americans.

Here’s what I got from the library this week.

Crying in H Mart – Michelle Zauner

In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.

As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band–and meeting the man who would become her husband–her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.

Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.

I took Kerry’s literary matchmaking quiz on her blog and this was the result! Luckily one of the libraries had this ebook available.

Accidentally Engaged – Farah Heron

Reena Manji doesn’t love her career, her single status, and most of all, her family inserting themselves into every detail of her life. But when caring for her precious sourdough starters, Reena can drown it all out. At least until her father moves his newest employee across the hall–with hopes that Reena will marry him.

But Nadim’s not like the other Muslim bachelors-du-jour that her parents have dug up. If the Captain America body and the British accent weren’t enough, the man appears to love eating her bread creations as much as she loves making them. She sure as hell would never marry a man who works for her father, but friendship with a neighbor is okay, right? And when Reena’s career takes a nosedive, Nadim happily agrees to fake an engagement so they can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams.

As cooking at home together brings them closer, things turn physical, but Reena isn’t worried. She knows Nadim is keeping secrets, but it’s fine— secrets are always on the menu where her family is concerned. And her heart is protected… she’s not marrying the man. But even secrets kept for self preservation have a way of getting out, especially when meddling parents and gossiping families are involved.

Loveboat, Taipei – Abigail Hing Wen

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart? 

This series has been on my TBR list for a while now!

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street – Karina Yan Glaser

The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.

It’s Monday (May 3, 2021)

Happy Monday! And oh hey, it’s May already.

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Good news! I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine yesterday afternoon. Here’s the required photo, taken by my 10yo. This time we did it in a CVS pharmacy, about a half an hour drive, so we didn’t need to do the 3.5 hour drive down to Central CA like we did the first time!

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Made some laksa from a premade paste. I didn’t have the right noodles, so I just used the fresh egg noodles I was trying to use up.

 

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Made some tangzhong bread – oops, one of those rolls of dough was a bit bigger than the others

 

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We had celebratory steak frites on Sunday. Don’t worry, we shared that ribeye.

 

Currently…

Reading:

The Mermaid from Jeju by Sumi Hahn

Watching:

Together with the kids, I watched The Mitchells and the Machines. It’s a really fun family movie!

Listening:

Ok. I really ought to go figure out a new audiobook to download….

Eating:

A mocha croissant from Paris Baguette

Drinking:

Tea

Cooking:

I just realised that I may have the ingredients to cook a simplified version of sayur lodeh. It’s a popular dish in Singapore, essentially a coconut curry with vegetables. Usually it’s cabbage, green beans, tofu, carrots. There are some spices to use and a rempah or spice paste to make. Here’s a recipe. Usually it’s eaten with rice and as part of a multi-course meal known as nasi Padang.

In Singapore, when you go to a Nasi Padang place, there’s all kinds of delicious cooked foods, some curries, some fried foods, and you just pick a few things that you’d like and they put it on a plate with rice for you. I always pick sayur lodeh as it’s one of my favourites.

Last week:

I read:

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Anna K by Jenny Lee

Class Act by Jerry Craft

The Inland Sea by Madeleine Watts

I posted: Library Loot (April 28 to May 4)

Top not-quite animals #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