Book Beginnings/Friday 56 Family Trust

Beginning:

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.

56:

The words of Aisha echoed; there was something strange in how they looked at her and then each other, as if trying to telepathically discuss a course of action.

 

 

 

Fridays are for Book Beginnings on Rose City Reader, Friday 56 on Freda’s Voice

 

 

 

Advertisements

Upcoming releases I’m on the fence about #toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

 

 

Upcoming Releases I’m On the Fence About 

An interesting topic this one! Usually I only add books to my Goodreads TBR list that I’m quite certain I want to read

 

Ginger Bread – Helen Oyeyemi

For me this is an Ooh a new Oyeyemi book!” but also, a bit hesitant because her books can be difficult to read. But this synopsis sounds fun!

Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children’s stories–equal parts wholesome and uncanny, from the tantalizing witch’s house in “Hansel and Gretel” to the man-shaped confection who one day decides to run as fast as he can–beloved novelist Helen Oyeyemi invites readers into a delightful tale of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe.

Perdita Lee may appear to be your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druh�strana, the far-away (and, according to Wikipedia, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. In fact, the world’s truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread is Harriet’s charismatic childhood friend, Gretel Kercheval–a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.

Decades later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value. Endlessly surprising and satisfying, written with Helen Oyeyemi’s inimitable style and imagination, it is a true feast for the reader

Omega Canyon – Dan Simmons (March 2019)

I’ve enjoyed some of Simmons books, like The Terror and Hyperion but books set during wartime aren’t exactly books I immediately am drawn to. So we will see

Paul and Erik Haber are Vienna-born brothers who fled Nazi-controlled Europe as Hitler tightened his grip. The first, a physicist who had to leave behind his Jewish wife and child as he escaped, is designing the atomic bomb at Los Alamos; the second is a commando in Britain’s legendary Special Operations Executive working on the top-secret ALSOS Mission to seek out Nazi atomic scientists across Europe.

When Paul is blackmailed by a German agent who wants him to betray America, he sees a slim, dangerous chance for Erik to rescue his wife and son.

Now, as one brother tries to end the war, the other must risk everything to save his brother’s family.

With action ranging from Los Alamos labs to the battlefields of Europe and ruined cities of Germany, Omega Canyon is a story of daring action, brotherly love and the fight for freedom.

Agency – William Gibson (April 2019)

William Gibson! I associate his books with my communications classes in university and haven’t read his works since those many years ago. So I don’t know about this one. Apparently he wrote something five years ago! I didn’t know that either.

In William Gibson’s first novel since 2014’s New York Times bestselling The Peripheral, a gifted “app-whisperer” is hired by a mysterious San Francisco start-up and finds herself in contact with a unique and surprisingly combat-savvy AI.

Bangkok Wakes to Rain – Pitchaya Sudbanthad

On the fence because he’s a new author, that’s all

A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of nineteenth-century Siam. A post-WWII society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting her solitary future. A jazz pianist in the age of rock, haunted by his own ghosts, is summoned to appease the resident spirits. A young woman tries to outpace the long shadow of her political past. And in New Krungthep, savvy teenagers row tourists past landmarks of the drowned old city they themselves do not remember. Time collapses as these stories collide and converge, linked by the forces voraciously making and remaking the amphibious, ever-morphing capital itself


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.

 

 

 

10 additions to my #TBR list

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

 

 

 

So I’ve decided to go via my Goodreads list skipping over some that I had mentioned last week.

The Arsonist – Chloe Hooper

My library doesn’t have much of an Australian authors collection so I may have to see if I can put in a purchase request for this – although it looks like it’s only published in Australia at the moment.

On the scorching February day in 2009 that became known as Black Saturday, a man lit two fires in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, then sat on the roof of his house to watch the inferno. In the Valley, where the rates of crime were the highest in the state, more than thirty people were known to police as firebugs. But the detectives soon found themselves on the trail of a man they didn’t know.

The Arsonist takes readers on the hunt for this man, and inside the strange puzzle of his mind. It is also the story of fire in this country, and of a community that owed its existence to that very element. The command of fire has defined and sustained us as a species – understanding its abuse will define our future.

A powerful real-life thriller written with Hooper’s trademark lyric detail and nuance, The Arsonist is a reminder that in an age of fire, all of us are gatekeepers.

Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves, and the Will to Swim – Alexandra Heminsley

I like swimming so books about swimming always are a plus! This one was via The Captive Reader.

 

Alexandra Heminsley thought she could swim. She really did.

It may have been because she could run. It may have been because she wanted to swim; or perhaps because she only ever did ten minutes of breaststroke at a time. But, as she learned one day while flailing around in the sea, she really couldn’t.

Believing that a life lived fully isn’t one with the most money earned, the most stuff bought or the most races won, but one with the most experiences, experienced the most fully, she decided to conquer her fear of the water.

From the ignominy of getting into a wetsuit to the triumph of swimming from Kefalonia to Ithaca, in becoming a swimmer, Alexandra learns to appreciate her body and still her mind. As it turns out, the water is never as frightening once you’re in, and really, everything is better when you remember to exhale.

 

The Games House – Claire North

The cover of this book hasn’t been revealed yet so this is the German edition

Everyone has heard of the Gameshouse. But few know all its secrets…

It is the place where fortunes can be made and lost through chess, backgammon – every game under the sun.
But those whom fortune favors may be invited to compete in the higher league… a league where the games played are of politics and empires, of economics and kings. It is a league where Capture the Castle involves real castles, where hide and seek takes place on the scale of a continent.

Among those worthy of competing in the higher league, three unusually talented contestants play for the highest stakes of all…

Tailor-Made – Yolanda Wallace

Before Grace Henderson began working as a tailor in her father’s bespoke suit shop in Wiliamsburg, Brooklyn, she established a hard and fast rule about not dating clients. The edict is an easy one for her to follow, considering the overwhelming majority of the shop’s clients are men. But when Dakota Lane contacts her to commission a suit to wear to her sister’s wedding, Grace finds herself tempted to throw all the rules out the window.

Dakota Lane works as a bicycle messenger by day and moonlights as a male model. Her high-profile career, gender-bending looks, and hard-partying ways garner her plenty of romantic attention, but she would rather play the field than settle down. When she meets sexy tailor Grace Henderson, however, she suddenly finds herself in the market for much more than a custom suit

What Language Do I Dream In? – Elena Lappin

My life could be described as ‘five languages in search of an author’. I was born into Russian; transposed into Czech, then German; introduced to Hebrew; and finally adopted by English.’ Elena Lappin was born in Russia. Her parents speak Russian to one another, and to their children. Elena speaks Czech to her brother, but he writes in German and she writes in English. What does it mean to be brought up in family that speaks several different languages, and where all members are writers? Elena Lappin explores what it is to be a writer, what language is, and it’s also a wonderful look at the life of a woman who has moved from country to country looking for a language to think in.

 

Unexploded – Alison MacLeod

I used to live in Brighton so I’m always attracted to books set there

May, 1940. On Park Crescent, Geoffrey and Evelyn Beaumont and their eight-year-old son, Philip, anxiously await news of the expected enemy landing on the beaches of Brighton.

It is a year of tension and change. Geoffrey becomes Superintendent of the enemy alien camp at the far reaches of town, while Philip is gripped by the rumour that Hitler will make Brighton’s Royal Pavilion his English HQ. As the rumours continue to fly and the days tick on, Evelyn struggles to fall in with the war effort and the constraints of her role in life, and her thoughts become tinged with a mounting, indefinable desperation.

Then she meets Otto Gottlieb, a ‘degenerate’ German-Jewish painter and prisoner in her husband’s internment camp. As Europe crumbles, Evelyn’s and Otto’s mutual distrust slowly begins to change into something else, which will shatter the structures on which her life, her family and her community rest.Love collides with fear, the power of art with the forces of war, and the lives of Evelyn, Otto and Geoffrey are changed irrevocably

A Duke by Default – Alyssa Cole

I really liked Cole’s A Princess in Theory, the first book in the Reluctant Royals series! This is the second book.

Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series continues with a woman on a quest to be the heroine of her own story and the duke in shining armor she rescues along the way

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice, and his attraction to her, but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

I quite like the cover of this one

Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages–and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money–more than you’ve ever dreamed of–to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your überwealthy clients.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery–or worse.

Heartbreaking, suspenseful, provocative, The Farm pushes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit to the extremes, and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.

The Far Field – Madhuri Vijay

I can’t remember where I got this recommendation from. Possibly a booklist?

Gorgeously tactile and sweeping in historical and socio-political scope, Pushcart Prize-winner Madhuri Vijay’s The Far Field follows a complicated flaneuse across the Indian subcontinent as she reckons with her past, her desires, and the tumultuous present.

In the wake of her mother’s death, Shalini, a privileged and restless young woman from Bangalore, sets out for a remote Himalayan village in the troubled northern region of Kashmir. Certain that the loss of her mother is somehow connected to the decade-old disappearance of Bashir Ahmed, a charming Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home, she is determined to confront him. But upon her arrival, Shalini is brought face to face with Kashmir’s politics, as well as the tangled history of the local family that takes her in. And when life in the village turns volatile and old hatreds threaten to erupt into violence, Shalini finds herself forced to make a series of choices that could hold dangerous repercussions for the very people she has come to love.

 

Dust – Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

From a breathtaking new voice, a novel about a splintered family in Kenya—a story of power and deceit, unrequited love, survival and sacrifice.

Odidi Oganda, running for his life, is gunned down in the streets of Nairobi. His grief-stricken sister, Ajany, just returned from Brazil, and their father bring his body back to their crumbling home in the Kenyan drylands, seeking some comfort and peace. But the murder has stirred memories long left untouched and unleashed a series of unexpected events: Odidi and Ajany’s mercurial mother flees in a fit of rage; a young Englishman arrives at the Ogandas’ house, seeking his missing father; a hardened policeman who has borne witness to unspeakable acts reopens a cold case; and an all-seeing Trader with a murky identity plots an overdue revenge. In scenes stretching from the violent upheaval of contemporary Kenya back through a shocking political assassination in 1969 and the Mau Mau uprisings against British colonial rule in the 1950s, we come to learn the secrets held by this parched landscape, buried deep within the shared past of the family and of a conflicted nation.

Here is a spellbinding novel about a brother and sister who have lost their way; about how myths come to pass, history is written, and war stains us forever.

Have you read any of these books?


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.

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository, an online book retailer with free international shipping.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

 

#TopTenTuesday: Books I meant to read in 2018

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

 

Oh boy, this could turn out to be a really long post. I mean, just deciding which books that were published last year alone could turn out to be a long one. Not to mention all those books that are lolling about on my bookshelves, probably betting amongst themselves how long it will be before they each get picked up. (“I’ve been waiting here for months”, says one gleefully. “Months?” another scoffs, “try years”.)

Circe – Madeline Miller
Her first book Achilles was a great read!
From the synopsis:
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

 

My Sister the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
Because who can resist that title and that cover?

From the synopsis:
Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

Red Clocks – Leni Zumas
From the synopsis:
In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

How Long ‘Til Black Future Month – NK Jemisin
Love her books! Can’t wait to read her stories.

In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded city of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow south must figure out how to save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story “The City Born Great,” a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis’s soul.

Tell The Machine Goodnight – Katie Williams
Sounds interesting and quirky
From the synopsis:
Pearl’s job is to make people happy. Every day, she provides customers with personalized recommendations for greater contentment. She’s good at her job, her office manager tells her, successful. But how does one measure an emotion?

Wild Milk – Sabrina Orah Mark
Love the cover!
From the synopsis:
Wild Milk is like Borscht Belt meets Leonora Carrington; it’s like Donald Barthelme meets Pony Head; it’s like the Brothers Grimm meet Beckett in his swim trunks at the beach. In other words, this remarkable collection of stories is unlike anything else you’ve read.

 

Happiness – Aminatta Forna
I really enjoyed Forna’s The Memory of Love
From the synopsis:
London. A fox makes its way across Waterloo Bridge. The distraction causes two pedestrians to collide–Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes, and Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist there to deliver a keynote speech. From this chance encounter, Aminatta Forna’s unerring powers of observation show how in the midst of the rush of a great city lie numerous moments of connection.

Call Me Zebra – Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
I’m intrigued by the title

From the synopsis:
Zebra is the last in a line of anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts. When war came, her family didn’t fight; they took refuge in books. Now alone and in exile, Zebra leaves New York for Barcelona, retracing the journey she and her father made from Iran to the United States years ago

The Golden State – Lydia Kiesling
I’m always drawn to books set in CA
From the synopsis:
Keenly observed, bristling with humor, and set against the beauty of a little-known part of California, The Golden State is about class and cultural breakdowns, and desperate attempts to bridge old and new worlds. But more than anything, it is about motherhood: its voracious worry, frequent tedium, and enthralling, wondrous love.

The Parking Lot Attendant – Nafkote Tamirat
From the synopsis:
A mesmerizing, indelible coming-of-age story about a girl in Boston’s tightly-knit Ethiopian community who falls under the spell of a charismatic hustler out to change the world

Have you read any of these books? Which would you recommend?


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.

 

 

 

#AMonthOfFaves – Fave Book Covers

 

A Month of Faves is hosted by GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge

 

WED. | Dec. 26 – Favorite Book Covers From Our Reads This Year – what did you like about each one?

 

There were so many beautiful covers to pick from!

I read some pretty awesome YA novels and just look at these covers! (Just ignore that ‘Love Simon’ “sticker” on Leah)

It was also a great year for adult fiction covers

I quite like covers that Pushkin Press has been putting out for their Japanese books like Ms Ice Sandwich. And I adore this reissue of Two Serious Ladies by Ecco.

In some cases, the cover was beautiful but the book itself was just so-so. I love the vibrant colours of The Music Shop but felt that the book itself lacked vibrancy. The cover of Hazel Wood is dark and intriguing and the story was kind of almost there but not quite.

#AMonthOfFaves – Books worth the hype (and not)

 

 

A Month of Faves is hosted by  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge

WED. | Dec. 5 – #AMonthofFaves Popular Books Worth the Hype (and/or Not Worth the Hype)

I’m not exactly one who reads bestsellers and hyped books, at least I don’t think so. I am never quite sure what ‘hype’ means with books. Does it mean those lists of “most anticipated releases” that get published every so often? Or does it mean that I see it appear on the blogs and Instagrammers that I follow?

I was looking at my Goodreads ‘read’ list for the year and started noticing the number of ratings that each book had. There were the rare ones, like Wonder, that numbered in the 500,000s. And we don’t need to talk about the Harry Potter books which are in the sky high 5 million plus! But anything in the six figures were definitely popular books like Turtles All The Way Down by John Green and Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. In contrast, an excellent book like Mishell Baker’s The Impostor Syndrome only has 445! (Note to self, always put a rating in Goodreads, especially for books like this)

But if I were only to count those in the six figures, I wouldn’t have read many. So instead I decided to go for those books with more than 25,000 ratings. There were some that I read, not that many, but some that surprised me as I had expected more ratings for them, as, to me, they were ‘hyped’. For instance, it felt that I keep seeing the Jackaby series by William Ritter, but surprisingly, just 18,663 ratings, so that means I can’t quite call it ‘hyped’, can I?

Ok, grumblings aside, here are….

Books read in 2018 that were worth the hype!

The Last Black Unicorn – Tiffany Haddish (26,535 ratings)

I listened to the audiobook and it was a lot of fun.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman (254,854 ratings)

Eleanor is such an awkward but endearing character, you can’t help but root for her.

Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood – Trevor Noah (161,674 ratings)

I don’t watch late night TV but I was interested in Noah’s story of growing up in South Africa and it definitely was a fascinating read. His mother was quite a force to be reckoned with! Unfortunately my library didn’t have an audiobook version but I’m sure it would make for a great listen.

Pachinko – Min Jin Lee (80,172 ratings)

Loved this intergenerational saga that begins in Korea and ends in Japan. Such details and lovely writing!

Agnes Grey – Anne Brontë (43,705 ratings)

For a classic, that’s not a huge number of ratings actually. But I really was surprised to find myself liking this short (251 pages) story based on Brontë’s own experience as a governess.

I’ll Be Gone In the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer – Michelle McNamara (56,806 ratings)

Oh man this book, just thinking about it gives me the chills. An absolutely terrifying, well-written true crime book.

 

 

Books read in 2018 that weren’t worth the hype

I don’t think there were really books that made me go “Ugh not worth it!”. So just a couple that made me think that maybe it’s more like, “eh, not for me”. Maybe these books are just more for someone else.

The Cuckoo’s Calling – JK Rowling (400,033 ratings)

A decent enough read, but I haven’t been hooked enough yet to start on the next book in the series…

The Immortalists – Chloe Benjamin (58,632 ratings)

It was an intriguing premise but for me, I kept wanting more of the stories of two of the siblings and wasn’t so interested in the others.

 

Books read in 2018 that I wish had far more hype

I know it’s not mentioned in the prompt but there are so many great books out there that don’t have enough hype.

Everything Here is Beautiful – Mira T Lee (6,634 ratings)

Lee has written an absolutely gorgeous book about two Chinese-American sisters, of mental illness, of immigrants. Read it! Read it!

The Arcadia Project series – Mishell Baker

This urban fantasy series begins with Borderline (3,322 ratings), goes onto Phantom Pains (1,082 ratings), and ends with Impostor Syndrome (447 ratings). Baker creates great settings and very memorable characters – her lead is a double amputee with Borderline Personality Disorder!

Forty Rooms – Olga Grushin (1,060 ratings)

Such a beautiful book – a kind of collection of short stories taking place in different rooms that a woman has lived in over her lifetime.

Death by Dumpling (A Noodle Shop Mystery #1) – Vivien Chien (just 582 ratings)

This was such a cute and fun foodie cozy mystery series set in an Asian mall in Cleveland. I really appreciate the way Chien draws her protagonist, not as your typical successful Asian but instead somehow who’s not done so well – bad breakup, quit her job, moved back in with her parents.

What books lived (or not) up to hype for you this year?

Check out what books I thought were worth the hype (or not) in 2017