NPR’s Book Concierge (374 books!)
Fri. | Dec. 8 – 3 Popular Books Worth the Hype #AMonthofFaves
Oops a few days late with this one.
The Book of Dust – Philip Pullman
I know there have been some mixed reviews and I wasn’t entirely that into Lyra as an infant but I really loved being back in that setting. Daemons!
A cute and fun YA romance read. Now if they’d just turn it into a movie.
Jane, Unlimited – Kirstin Cashore
I had fun with this book – a sort of “choose your own adventure” of sorts, with multiple possibilities and endings. Also, a main character who makes umbrella art. I loved this one. About the hype though? I don’t know.
Not worth the hype
Angel Catbird – Margaret Atwood
Was it because it’s Atwood that I was expecting more (a whole bloody lot more) than this? Yes yes of course. But I think even if this was by an unknown writer, I would have expected more. It was just too simplistic and it made me feel like she hasn’t seen how complex storylines and characters in well-written comic series can be (like Saga). Anyway, I think because it’s Atwood that I even gave Volume 2 a try. I can safely say I am not reading that series anymore.
Needs more hype
I don’t know if there’s very much hype about these books but whatever, they are great reads and they need more hype!
All the Rivers – Dorit Rabinyan
It’s only got 909 ratings on Goodreads so that’s a bit on the low side. This book, written by an Israeli writer, is about a relationship between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. She’s in New York for just six months and it’s a chance meeting with this man but can it work? Can it last? Lovely and thought provoking.
Cork Dork – Bianca Bosker
What a fun nonfiction read. I was constantly having to disturb the husband with a newfound fact about the wine world or sommeliers or fine dining. And that to me is what makes nonfiction enjoyable. Learning new things. But it was also very personable (it is after all her discovery and journey, learning about wine and the world of sommeliers) and it made me want to keep reading and reading.
The Strays – Emily Bitto
I loved this Australian novel set in the Melbourne art world (my review here) but haven’t really seen that much about it online – or perhaps I just am not aware of book hype these days…?
Top Three Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books (Does a character eat something you’d love? Or maybe the book takes place in a bakery/restaurant that makes yummy things? You could also talk about 10 of your favorite cookbooks if you don’t read foody books.)
Sugarbread- Balli Kaur Jaswal
Chilli crab. Tofu with peanut sauce. Chinese vegetables with plump stalks and juicy leaves. Hainanese chicken rice with sweet soy sauce and ginger chilli. Noodles – both thick and thin – with fish cake and pork balls. Red-hot South Indian curries served with sticky bread and milk tea. Durians, longans, rambutans for dessert. Chendol. Ice kachang.
Delicious! – Ruth Reichl
She had fed me a fluffy cloud, no more than pure texture, but as it evaporated it left a trail of flavour in its wake.
“Lemon peel,” I said, “Parmesan, saffron, spinach.” She held out another spoonful, and this time, at the very end, I tasted just a touch of something lemony but neither lemon nor verbena. It had a faint cinnamon tinge. “Curry leaf!”
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
“What a marvellous smell!’ answered Grandpa Joe, taking a long deep sniff. All the most wonderful smells in the world seemed to be mixed up in the air around them — the smell of roasting coffee and burnt sugar and melting chocolate and mint and violets and crushed hazelnuts and apple blossom and caramel and lemon peel.”
With so many thrillers/crime novels out there, it seems to be getting more difficult to create a unique protagonist, a different storyline.
But I must say that The Lost Ones opens with an intriguing premise. An early morning phone call. A meeting with some strangers at a cafe. Nora Watts, cautious, suspicious, because of her line of work and her own experience.
A married couple meets her to tell her their daughter is missing.
That Nora's daughter is missing.
The child she gave up for adoption as a newborn 15 years ago has disappeared. The police define her as a chronic runaway and can't be bothered. Her adoptive parents reach out to Nora as a last hope.
And Nora is suited for this kind of thing. She works as a receptionist/researcher for a private investigator. She has an ability to tell when people are lying – which obviously helps her in her line of work.
She also has a painful and violent experience in the past which has contributed to her inability to trust anyone – not her employees nor her sponsor – with the whole truth.
Nora at first is reluctant to be involved with this case – it digs up too much of her past. But she soon realizes that she's not the only one looking for Bonnie.
Nora is quite a character. She's got skeletons in the closet – perhaps more like demons than skeletons – and she's tough. She's the kind of person who doesn't give a damn what you think of her. She steals from a woman who is only just being kind to her. She's cold towards almost everyone except her beloved dog. And surprisingly – although on hindsight, maybe it's not surprising – violent.
And Kamal's Vancouver setting reflects that too. I've never been to Vancouver but have always thought of it as a picturesque, very wet city. So Nora's far more gritty and dirty version of Vancouver is intriguing, and completely apt.
The story is rather convoluted – perhaps a little too hard to believe at times – but it offers a rather exciting and thrilling read if you can suspend belief for a bit and sink into it. And that I did, and it was for an invigorating read, filled with all the grey and damp of Vancouver. It made me long to read this in chillier temps, snuggled under a comforter with a steaming hot cup of tea.
Strangely it is titled "Eyes Like Mine" in the UK.
I received this book from its publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for a review.
Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far
I am terrible at this kind of post! How to pick??? Especially since I’ve read 118 books so far.
I decided to just run through my list of books and see what stands out. I’ll try to break it up into some categories…let’s see!
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces – Isabel Quintero
I’m not much of a YA reader but loved this spunky determined Gabi
So glad I read this coming-of-age story set in Sri Lanka.
Captain Marvel – Kelly Sue DeConnick
I love DeConnick’s Captain Marvel!
Spider Woman – Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez
Coincidentally, Spider Woman is Captain Marvel’s best friend!
The Dollmaker – Harriette Simpson Arnow
This classic really surprised me. Loved it.
Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t
I started with a few in mind then looked up some lists on Goodreads for more. And there are just so very many series out there that I want to read! Let me know which you’ve read and enjoyed.
Cainsville by Kelley Armstrong (I love her Women of the Otherworld series but haven’t read her other books)
Cover Theme Freebie: literally anyyyything about covers
I’m not very good with freebies to be honest! Anyway, after some consideration, I’ve decided to go with “classics done right” – that is, beautiful redesigned covers for classic lit. In other words, book covers I have been drooling over….
F Scott Fitzgerald collection by Penguin Classics
Virago Modern Classics Designer Collection
Penguin Clothbound Classics
Vintage Classics Woolf series
Puffin in Bloom – I own three out of four (except for the Anne of Green Gables – I’ve got the version below)
Penguin Drop Caps
Which ones have you been eyeing?