One of my 2018 reading resolutions was to read more of different genres of books, and for that to happen I needed to read less over hyped YA, like way less YA. Somehow in 2017 I jumped on too many band wagons when it came to YA books, and 80 percent of the time I got burned.
Obviously with me reading less YA genre (specifically less of over-hyped YA), the books I do pick to read must go through a tough screening process, in other words I just became much pickier with the reads. In 2017 I'd just pick a book because it was quite popular without even properly researching it much. Well, no more.
Life is too short to read mediocre books.
So here are some of the most popular YA books that are making the cut (or already made the cut) in 2018.
1. Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman - read this one already and loved it! This book put Shusterman on my favorite authors list.
2. Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman - read this one already, and thankfully the sequel didn't disappoint. It was just as good.
3. Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo - currently re-reading. Still superb.
4. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo - will re-read next, probably.
5. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1) by Julie C. Dao - won this on Goodreads giveaway while ago, I think I might give it a go this year, see if it's as good as its cover pretty.
6. The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken - been seeing this one on my Goodreads a lot, and it really sparked my attention.
7. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi - this has been making a splash on Goodreads lately. It just came out, and people are going crazy over. Let's hope it's not another hype train. The book enticed me with its African heritage.
8. My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand - cannot wait for this as I adored My Lady Jane.
9. The Thief (The Queen's Thief #1) by Megan Whalen Turner - read this already and have never been bored by a book before. total snooze fest and a waste of paper, unfortunately.
10. Killer (Pretty Little Liars #6) by Sara Shepard - yeah yeah, I know. But PLL is like junk food for me, although the last book was pretty boring so I'm just trying to see if I should abandon the series completely.
So far this is the list of YA books I either read already or planning to read in 2018. The list is not definite, as I constantly add things to my TBR list. The rest of my time will be focused on reading lots of women fiction, historical fiction and fiction set in different countries - such as Asia, Sweden and Iceland. Also, hopefully on working on my own book.
“Opinions were for other people. It was fascinating how upset they got about them.”
Having been quite disappointed in my last Moriarty read (Truly Madly Guilty) I was very pleased with Three Wishes.
I think this was her debut novel, and man it was good. Probably the funniest one I've read by her. Sure, her other books also have lough out loud moments, but this one was loaded with them.
Also, Moriarty needs to write more books because I have only two to go before I've read all of her works. I've just had such a craving for women fiction this year, particularly Liane Moriarty's women fiction . It's only March of 2018, but I've already read 3 of her books.
“You're having one of those days of accumulating misery when you argue violently with someone in a position of power: a bank teller, a dry cleaner, a three-year-old.”
I don't know why recently I've been having such craving for women fiction. Maybe because I'm getting closer and closer to being thirty, and her books usually focus on women of that age. Maybe because I cannot get enough of family drama, social life problems, infertility, motherhood, relationships and anything else that life throws at women in her books. But I inhale simply inhale her books.
“The year Lyn turned twenty-two someone switched her life over to fast-forward and forgot to change it back again. That’s how it felt.”
The story follows three women, in this case triplets, and their lives - husbands, kids, family relations. Most of Moriarty's books follow this patter, and in some cases it does gets repetitive, but this book felt fresh for some reason. Maybe because it was her first work, when she found her style. Maybe because the way the story was told brought different perspectives, I don't know, but it was very, very enjoyable.
Surprisingly I enjoyed all of the characters in this book, all of the female characters at least: Gemma, Lyn and Cat - all brought something to the table that I could either relate to or just learn from. Gemma was probably my favorite though.
Three Wishes deals with grief, separation, siblings relations, divorce, infertility and many more issues. I loved how Moriarty never pulled her punches and always wrote things that I thought myself at times, but was too shamed to admit them. She painted her characters real and flowed, and I loved that. There was no magic solution, no over the top happy ending - it was just life.
(yay for bargain priced books)
I don't know what I was expecting from this book, but it definitely wasn't what I thought it would be.
“I felt so full of love for everything. But at the same time, I felt so hung out to dry there, like nobody could ever understand. I felt so alone in this world, and so loved at the same time.”
For starters the formatting was very different - the whole novel is comprised of letters, emails, random conversations and did bits of news paper articles. I definitely didn't except that. However I also feel that the format brought a lot of interesting perspectives to the story and with that a lot of dimension.
The novel kept my attention quite well, except maybe somewhere in the middle I got just a tiny bit bored, because one of the chapters contained a super long "magazine article" that I just wasn't that into. It was very important to the story, but it was written in a very dry manner.
“I'm not too good when exposed to people”
Bernadette was eccentric, unsociable and quirky and I was there or it! The book characters like those are the sunshine of my existence, sure she was no Eleanor Oliphant, but she was still pretty entertaining. The plot took a great turn somewhere a little bit past the half of the book and I absolutely loved how some things have fallen into place.
Overall this was a very quick, entertaining and pretty funny of a read. There was a lot of heart in it too. I think this novel would be perfect for the hot summer day, as some events do take place in cold Antarctica, so the readers can cool off, at least in their minds.
I have really mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I really enjoyed it and couldn't put it down, but on the other hand I had many issues with it.
I enjoy Moriarty's writing immensely, and this is my 4th book by her. I only have 3 to go I think before I'm finished with all of her works. She writes with a punch, with truth and with hilarity. The situations that her characters get into are both incredulous and very real. Every book is like an immersion into somebody else crumbling world, and I love every minute of it.
“No one warned you that having children reduced you right down to some smaller, rudimentary, primitive version of yourself, where your talents and your education and your achievements meant nothing.”
Truly Madly Guilty features an array of the most unlikable characters I've ever met in one single book. At first I tried to pick who I liked the most, but in the end I ended up picking the ones I hated the least.
At first I thought I identified with Erika, but as the book progressed I found it very hard to even be able to stand her. In the end I was left feeling neutral about her, she wasn't so horrid after all. I enjoyed Tiffany a lot until something about her was released and to me it was a double no-no. First she lied about it and then what she did was just so humanly unethical I lost all my sympathy for her. The only character I liked and enjoyed were Dakota and Oliver.
I also really didn't like how the neighbor's story played out. It felt like what happened to him was just a punishment for being a grouchy old man, although he had all of the reasons to be one. That really left a bad taste in my mouth.
What I didn't like the most of all was how Holly's arc was handled. I definitely didn't see how keeping quiet and not doing anything about it would be good for a child development? What happened and how it was handled was so totally wrong.
Also plot wise the book kept dragging its feet like no other. It honestly could have been at least 100 pages shorter and nothing would have been lost. I get that the author wanted to build suspense leading up to the main event, but when the main event did happen I was underwhelmed because of all of that suspense let me to believe that something even bigger was coming.
This was an entertaining read, but I feel like the characters didn't learn much from their mistakes, and some mistakes were covered up completely, thus I feel like as a reader I didn't get anything worthy out of the book, except some entertainment and some witty and hilarious dialogs. And some absurd characters with their absurd habits and kinks.
Definitely my least favorite of Moriarty's books, but I still kind of enjoyed it somehow, and definitely will read more of her.
If you me then you know that I am a big FRIENDS fanatic. And if you don't know me, well now you know something about me. One of the things I adored the most about the show was how you could see at least one of the friends reading a book in almost every episode. What an excellent way to promote reading!
I know that a "Rory-reading-challenge" has been quite popular in the bookish world, but since FRIENDS is my favorite tv-show I have decided to participate in "Friends-reading-challenge", of sorts. There are many lists floating around internet of all the books mentioned on FRIENDS, and here I am about to make yet one more. This list does not contain ALL of the books (I omitted majority of books that were visible only by their cover, but not mentioned, as well as a couple of others). I called this a challenge, but it's more of a goal to read those books over a large period of time. Hopefully a year, or two.
I have made notes on books that I have read already, or books that I have and plan to read soon.
A PDF file of all the books for your convenience at the bottom of this article (without my notes).
Please comment if you have read or own any of these books. Also feel free to participate. I have provided season and episode numbers, in case you wish to revisit those episodes for yourself.
1. Yertle the Turtle, Dr.Seuss (SEASON 1, Episode9 : The One Where Underdog Gets Away)
2. The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, Milan Kundera (SEASON 1, Episode 18 : The One With All The Poker)
3. The Hobbit, J.R.R Tolkien (SEASON 2, Episode 19: The One Where Eddie Won't Go) - Read this already. ✔
4. Flowers Of Evil, Charles Baudelaire (SEASON 3, Episode 12: The One With All The Jealousy)
5. The Shining, Stephen King (Own it, started it a long time ago, then got too scared. I should put it in a freezer) and Little Women, Louisa May Alcott (own it, haven't read yet) (SEASON 3, Episode 13 : The One where Monica And Richard Are Just Friends)
6. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck (SEASON 3, Episode 21 : The One with Chick And A Duck)
7. The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams (SEASON 4, Episode 6: The One With The Dirty Girl)
8. The Lord Of The Rings (series), J.R.R. Tolkien (SEASON 4, Episode 9: The One Where They're Going To Party) - (Read this already. ✔ )
9. Flowers For Algernon, Daniel Keyes (SEASON 4, Episode 19: The One With All The Haste) - (Read ✔ )
10. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (read it already. ✔ ) and Jane eyre, Charlotte Bronte (read✔) (SEASON 5, Episode 9: The One With Ross' Sandwich)
11. Chicken Soup For The Soul, Jack Canfield (SEASON 6, Episode 14: The One Where Chandler Can't Cry)
12. 1984, George Orwell (this one was a very subtle reference, but I want to read it so I am including it) (SEASON 6, Episode 24: The One With The Proposal)
13. What To Expect When You Are Expecting, Heidi Murkoff (this book was referenced multiple times, so obviously I will read it when the time comes) (SEASON 8, Episode 9: The One With The Rumor)
14. Love You Forever, Robert Munsch (SEASON 10, Episode 4: The One With The Cake)
15. Ernest Hemingway (SEASON 10, Episode 8: the One With The Late Thanksgiving) Not a specific book, but Chandlers mentions Ernest as his favorite author (although he can't name any of his books) so any book by Hemingway would do.
16. A Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez (SEASON 3, Episode 5: The One With Frank Jr). In this episode you can see Chandler sleeping with this book on his chest (look very closely :) ).
17. Anthem: An American road Story, Shainee Gabel and Kristin Hahn (SEASON 4, Episode 5: The One with Joe's New Girlfriend) Not mentioned, but you can see Rachel holding this one, very clearly (it was a planned book advertising for a friend).
As you can see, from my very few checkmarks, I still have a very long way to go on the list.
FREE download of the list (pdf. format)
I hope this was informative, if you wanted to join on a challenge, or if you were just wondering about some of the books mentioned on 'Friends'.
“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”
Can I say anything that hasn't been said already of Jane Eyre? I don't think so, but I will anyway.
I think it's kind of funny how Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane to be the way she was just to prove to her two sisters that main characters don't have to be beautiful, or even pretty to be engaging. She certainly was as strong minded and progressive as a woman could ever been in early 1800.
“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”
Did I have expectations going into Jane Eyre? I think I did. I didn't know that much about the plot, or the book itself, except that it was a book that I just needed to read. I honestly think that I loved it before I even read it.
Reading classics for me is a whole experience, it's not just the book - it's the words, the tone, the atmosphere. It's never the ending result, but a journey. It's not like I can just go on Twitter and let Charlotte know how much I enjoyed her book, as I could with modern authors. She's long gone and all we have of her is her books, her words. So the only way we can communicate with her is by reading her novels, and to me that just sounds magical.
“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”
Did I like every thing and every choice made in the book? Of course not - because of this I had to take some time to reflect and think about the rating for the book. When I was reading it I definitely saw it as a total 5 star read, however, sometimes towards the end it slipped down to 4 stars, but when I was done I was back up to 4.5. However, as I slept on it - I decided that it was definitely and unabashedly a 5 star read and what was I even thinking? Too much information, I know, but that was my thought process.
“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour ... If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?”
I loved the flow of the novel and I loved that it was written as an autobiography, I actually didn't know that before I stared reading. Jane's childhood made me red with rage - her horrible cousins and Mrs. Reed was one of the most vile characters I've ever had the displeasure of knowing. When Jane left for school I was scared that things would be just as bleak for her, if not bleaker, but we did see some happiness and sunshine and I was glad. When she finally met the ever-famous RochesterI didn't know what to think, I just couldn't read him! He was angry, and passionate and randomly happy - definitely a bipolar sort of fella. But no matter what he did, or didn't do I just couldn't bring myself to dislike him! Sure, he was a pig at times, and the most insensible of creatures, but still my heart went out for him.
“I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong! He made me love him without looking at me.”
I knew the big twist, I got spoiled of it by some other book (can you imagine that?? I was so pissed - the book was Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, I read it a while back, and she just dumped that information unabashedly, like "ohhh I'm spoiling the finest novel ever written no big deal". Just because it's a classic, doesn't mean that everybody has read it!). Anyway. While I didn't much (at the moment) approve of Jane's decision I loved what it brought to the plot.
I found it eye opening to see, how if you are all alone in the world - nobody wants to take you in. Novels often make lone travelers, or orphans so romantic and heroic, but in reality people are repulsed by them, and almost never want to help - and nobody freely invites a stranger into the house. I loved the honestly with which it was depicted here.
Even though I never warmed up or forgave St. John, the ending made my heart happy (although if I may, I do think that it focused a bit too much on John - I didn't care to know of him at all.)
Jane Eyre is definitely one of my absolute favorites now. Now I have left to read a book by the third sister (Anne) so I can start loving this literally family fully and completely.
Once in a while I like to post something different besides book reviews.
Today I'd like to share a few of my favorite and most relatable quotes from various books. Some of those books are my absolute favorites, while others just had a passage or two that really spoke to me.
“She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
“I simply didn't know how to make things better. I could not solve the puzzle of me.”
― Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
“I find lateness exceptionally rude; it’s so disrespectful, implying unambiguously that you consider yourself and your own time to be so much more valuable than the other person’s.”
― Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
“My hair was mousy brown, parted in the center, straight and not particularly thick. Human hair, doing what human hair does: growing on my head.”
― Gail Honeyman, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
“It was like standing at the end of everything.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone
“It was love that made each touch feel like redemption and each kiss feel like rebirth. Not lust. Not pleasure. It was love that created joy.”
― Amy Harmon, From Sand and Ash
“I didn’t want to be taken care of. I wanted to run away from all the men who sought dominion over me, who thought they could own me, imprison me, use me, cut me.”
― Amy Harmon, The Bird and the Sword
“I definitely wasn’t cold. I was liquid heat. I was terror and curiosity and denial disguised as indifference.”
― Amy Harmon, The Bird and the Sword
“Why love the woman who is your wife? Her nose breathes in the air of a world that I know; therefore I love that nose. Her ears hear music I might sing half the night through; therefore I love her ears. Her eyes delight in seasons of the land; and so I love those eyes. Her tongue knows quince, peach, chokeberry, mint and lime; I love to hear it speaking. Because her flesh knows heat, cold, affliction, I know fire, snow, and pain. Shared and once again shared experience.”
― Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes
“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
“Oh, HONESTLY, don't you two read?”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
“Nature doesn’t care if we feel so heavy we might sink into the ground and never be able to pull ourselves out again.”
― Francesca Zappia, Eliza and Her Monsters
“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand.”
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
“I decided that maybe we left each other alone too much. Leaving each other alone was killing us.”
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
“Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom
It is no secret that I adore Any Harmon's books. I read them for emotions, I read them for outstanding characters and I read them because they give me hope. Hope in good books and hope in humanity in general.
This International Women's Day I wanted to share some of my favorite female characters from Harmon's books, as I think that each and every one of them has qualities worthy of being a role model.
(from top to bottom)
1. From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
“They can take our homes, our possessions. Our families. Our lives. They can drive us out, like they've driven us out before. They can humiliate us and dehumanize us. But they cannot take our thoughts. They cannot take our talents. They cannot take our knowledge, or our memories, or our minds"
Eva Rosselli might be one of the strongest women I ever read about. Eva is a jew in a nazi
ridden Italy - every breath she takes is illegal, every word she says could have her end up in gestapo, or worse.
Through every challenge and every agonizing decision Eva's guiding force is love. Love for her family, love for her ancestry, love for the man that cannot love her back.
She never despairs nor she ever gives up - even when everything looked the bleakest, Eva was able to push through. I loved her character because of how bold and determined she was. Both at life and at love. Life kept throwing punches at her, but she kept fighting because she knew that giving up was never an option.
2. Making Faces by Amy Harmon
“It's hard to come to terms with the fact that you aren't going to be loved the way you want to be loved.”
Fern is an underdog - she knows she's not that pretty, and she accepts it because there's so such more to life than pretty faces and perfect bodies. I adored her character for two reasons: her unconditional love for her cousin and her brazenness when it came to her feelings.
Fern takes care of her cousin Bailey with gentle love and motherly affection. If ever there was the most selfless character - it's Fern. Bailey is paralyzed from neck down, but there isn't a place where Fern would go without him - they are best friends and their love will transcend through generations.
I also loved how forward Fern was with her love. She fell in love with Ambrose and that was that. Everybody knew how much she loved him, but she never shied away, never denied anything, even if she knew that he would never love her back. It was very refreshing to see a female character so sure of her feelings.
3. The Bird and the Sword (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #1)
“I didn’t want to be taken care of. I wanted to run away from all the men who sought dominion over me, who thought they could own me, imprison me, use me, cut me.”
Amy Harmon is great at writing diverse, believable and strong women. The main heroine, Lark, is mute by a curse throughout most of the book. What she lacks in vocal ability she makes up for in courage, grace and stubbornness. I loved her character the most out of all of the books I've read by Harmon, and I've read a lot.
Lark reminds me a little bit of Jane Eyre in her looks, small like a bird, invisible from the first glance but radiant once you get to know her.
And just like Jane Eyre Lark found her passionate love, so did Lark, and she never bent to it, but took it on her own terms. The romance was absolutely beautiful. Lark was proud and strong-willed and king Tiras was even more so. Together they clashed and burned - and the result was dazzling. You can practically feel the love from the pages of this book. Love that is strong and gentle at the same time. A love that you know will last forever.
I also really enjoyed how the title of the books is a play on words that changes later as the plot unfolds - I thought it was so very clever.
4. Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon
“But sometimes in my reading I would discover new insights or have seemingly profound thoughts that would change my way of thinking.”
The main thing you need to know about Josie Jensen is that she is a true bookworm. And to a bookworm like myself, that is like sweet dripping honey. She is intelligent, but she also has the purest heart and the gentlest soul. Josie's life wasn't easy and this novel really develops her character from a little girl, who missed half of her childhood, into a selfless woman who is always and foremost ready to serve others.
I related to Josie on such a deep level that she immediately shot up to number 2 of my "all time favorite female characters list". Josie loves to garden - she loves to feel the soil below her toes and she loves too cook with all of her fresh vegetables - if that's not an image of me, I don't know what is. If Josie Jo was a real person she would have been my best friend.
5. The Song of David (The Law of Moses #2) by Amy Harmon
“The most intimate thing we can do is to allow the people we love most to see us at our worst. At our lowest. At our weakest. True intimacy happens when nothing is perfect.”
Millie is a stripper. Millie is a sister. Millie is brave and confident and blind. Once again the diversity shines in Harmon books. What I love the most is that the characters deficiencies never hinder their soul - what they lack they always make up for in tenfold with their character.
The book is not told from Millie's point of view, so we don't see that much of her, but what we do see is absolutely beautiful. We see the world from her point of view- we get to experience it - touch it, taste it, hear it. Even if her eyes are blind, everything else in Millie is alive and blooming.
I definitely recommend all of these books - each has something unique and beautiful to offer. Do yourself a favor - get to know Eva, Fern, Lark, Josie and Millie. You won't regret it.
Well, it has been awhile since a book made me so angry.
This was such a drastic change from Persepolis 1, I couldn't believe I was reading about the same person!
- I really, really loved Persepolis 1. It was poignant, heartbreaking and educational. It had a smart, intelligent and strong heroine, who asked the right questions and had a heart in the right place.
- I don't know where that person went in Persepolis 2, for instead there was a girl who lost all of her morals and kept making horrible life decisions. Again, and again and again, And it would have been fine, we all are humans, but the thing is - in the book I didn't feel like she learned or took anything from her hardships at all. If I wanted to see people making bad choices and becoming vegetables due to their drug addictions, I'd just watch TV.
I can definitely applaud Marjane for her honesty, and for putting all of her flaws out there, but I also don't understand the point of it? What lesson was she trying to teach? Persepolis 1 contained history - I learned so much about Iranian people, the revolution, the oppression. But in this book, there was very little of that. It was mostly about her growing up and trying to fit in, which for her meant to do everything that everybody else did. And I just couldn't comprehend how a girl, who was raised to be so smart and educated, could make any of those decisions.
On the back cover of the book, there's a praise that says :
"Every revolution needs a chronicler like Satrapi
Well, if chronicling a revolution means describing how many drugs she used, how many cigarettes she smoked, how many parties she went to and how everybody else around her was horribly unfair to her and how she, and only she was the victim - then I don't want to know about that kind of revolution.
What made me the most angry was how she portrayed herself as a victim every single time. Sure, her life wasn't easy, or pretty - but it was because of her own bad decisions. She wanted everybody to pity her for her life, while she was the one of the few who escaped the war. She was sent to Europe to better her life, but instead she buried it.
I also couldn't stand how demeaning she was to other people - she criticized everybody - some she called fat behind their back (the first time she saw her new landlord she called her fat and a horse face, just because the woman was unattractive - sure, the woman turned out to be mean, but it doesn't give you right to judge and laugh at ones appearances), some she judged because of their lack of intelligence, some she judged because of their looks. And the worst part came, when she purposely lied and condemned that poor man on the street to save herself. I've never read about a most selfish person.
Also remarks like "if there were more fun things to do, I'd never have read as many books as I did" and "the first marriage is just a reversal before the second one" just didn't sit well with me. If you are writing a book, then don't say that books are the last resort, only if you have nothing else better to do - no self respecting bookworm will agree with you. And just because your marriage didn't work, doesn't mean that you have the right to come up with generalized statements like that.
Being progressive in ones thoughts doesn't mean that you have the right to be demeaning to other people's thoughts.
There were few things that I liked - I liked some of her views on the world and how she explained some of the ridiculous customs and rules that were, and still to this day burden the women of Iran.
I should have dnf'd it, I know, but it was slow at work and it was the only book I had with me so I just kept plowing through it.
I still absolutely recommend Persepolis 1, but this second edition didn't teach me anything.
Here are some books that I recently got: two of them were sent to me by Bethany House Publisher's for review, one I bought Barnes and Novel, and the rest are thrift store finds.
I love finding books at thrift stores - often I find ones I've been eyeing at book stores for a full price, but get it there for 99 cents instead. I usually shop at Goodwill. You can't beat that!! 90 percent of books there are in mint condition - so they are truly treasures.
And I turn to Barnes and Noble when I absolutely need something - and they never fail, with their quick and free shipping.
1. Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis
(Barnes and noble buy)
A repackaged edition of the revered author’s moving theological work in which he considers the most poetic portions from Scripture and what they tell us about God, the Bible, and faith.
I recently read C.S.Lewis short autobiography and it re-sparked my interest for his books. Especially his theology books, as I really enjoyed The Screwtape Letters, and really am curious to see what this book brings to me.
2. The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun (The Happiness Project #1) by Gretchen Rubin
(thrift store find)
2018 is a year of reading new things -more non fiction included, so I was very happy to pick this up. I've never heard of this before, but I feel like this would be like reading somebody's diary while they are trying to better themselves.
Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.
3. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
(thrift store find)
During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
I've been eyeing this one for a while - so of course seeing it a Goodwill I just had to pick it up.
4. The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) by Tana French
(thrift store find)
In The Trespasser being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she's there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she's getting close to the breaking point.
I know this ill ike the 6th book in the series, but hey, maybe one day I will get there, right?
5. A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green
(Bethany house publishers)
A book I received from Bethany House Publishers for review. It was published only a while ago, in the beginning of February 2018, and it has very high ratings on Goodreads so far, so I am actually very intrigued.
Vivienne Rivard fled revolutionary France and seeks a new life for herself and a boy in her care, who some say is the Dauphin. But America is far from safe, as militiaman Liam Delaney knows. He proudly served in the American Revolution but is less sure of his role in the Whiskey Rebellion. Drawn together, will Liam and Vivienne find the peace they long for?
6. Deadly Proof (Atlanta Justice #1) by Rachel Dylan
(Bethany House Publishers)
Another book I received from Bethany House Publishers for review.
In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.
Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower's allegation and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer.
4/5 stars (but more like 3.75/5 I think)
“Now that I look back, I don't know why I was so stressed about it all this time. Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.”
This was good, but to be honest it could have been so much better. The beginning was a little bit slow, somewhere by the end it got pretty boring and the actual ending was way too overdone on this whole happy ending thing.
The beginning felt very middle grade-ish, and while I am fully aware that this is a middle grade book, from the hype that it stirred I was expecting something quite heartbreaking. But for a good while it lacked the depth that I desired, and I even thought about dnf-ing it for that reason. Things did pick up though and suddenly I found myself very much into it, especially when new perspectives were introduced. My favorite point of view to read from was Via's.
“The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they've died. They're like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made of stone, they're made out of the memories people have of you.”
I really enjoyed author's ability to take characters which the reader found unlikable and spin their life stories in a way that would warm up the reader to them right back up. August was the main "wonder" of the book, but it felt nice to see other people's lives and how, even though they were considered fully "normal", their lives still were a crumbling mess.
One big regret I have on the behalf of the book is that it didn't feature August's parent's POV's, and I longed to see those. I wanted to see how they coped with everything too. And I think that would have been very beneficial for young readers who read the book - they would get a glimpse into their parents' feelings and would be able to understand them more.
There were also few threads that didn't go anywhere or didn't get fully unraveled, so in a way it felt like I didn't get closure on some things. I was also a bit put off by that ending - it just felt too forced, too happy, too "Disney-like". It was especially odd because the whole book was realistic and raw, and them bam - a big huge happy rainbow at the end - it just did't feel real.
I would still definitely recommend this book, whether you are an adult or a child - I think that all ages can greatly benefit from reading abut the life and wonders of August Pullman.
“It's like people you see sometimes, and you can't imagine what it would be like to be that person, whether it's somebody in a wheelchair or somebody who can't talk. Only, I know that I'm that person to other people, maybe to every single person in that whole auditorium.
To me, though, I'm just me. An ordinary kid.”
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
March is a National Women's History month, and also the International Women's Day is coming up on March 8th. Because of this I wanted to comprise a list of books to read in order to celebrate this month.
I will start with the books that I personally read and enjoyed and thus absolutely recommend. I tried including different genres, from classics to historical fiction, to romance novels - so everybody can find something they like.
1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.
But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. What is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?
Jane Eyre is more than just a passionate love story, it is a story of free will, wild spirit and resilience of one incredible woman. Charlotte Bronte narration is at its best in this worldwide known novel.
2. Burial Ritesby Hannah Kent
Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, Burial Rites evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
Burial Rites is a story of prejudice people hold against a branded woman, a story where one mistake can mean life of death. There's no happy ending, no just resolution - it is heartbreaking and enraging in its injustice, and it's a must read.
3. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. All this means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of a quirky yet lonely woman whose social misunderstandings and deeply ingrained routines could be changed forever—if she can bear to confront the secrets she has avoided all her life. But if she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.
4. The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty
Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.
All of Moriarty's books are about women, and she does a beautiful job making her characters relatable. I chose Hypnotist's love story to recommend because it's a little bit different than her other books. It's a book about finding yourself, and finding love - and trying to merge those things together. A perfectly crafted, funny yet very reflective read.
5. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
(coming of age)
Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.
However, I only recommend Persepolis 1, and not the second one, as that one turned out to be the biggest dissapoointemnt of the year, or ever even.
6. The Bird and the Sword (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #1)by Amy Harmon
The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.
My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.
But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?
The Bird and the Sword features one of the strongest female protagonists - brave, independent and fierce, who you can't help but to root for throughout the whole book.
7.Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon
(contemporary, inspirational romance)
When Josie Jensen, an awkward 13-year-old musical prodigy, crashes headlong into new kid Samuel Yazzie, an 18-year-old Navajo boy full of anger and confusion, an unlikely friendship blooms. Josie teaches Samuel about words, music, and friendship, and along the way finds a kindred spirit. Upon graduation, Samuel abandons the sleepy, small town in search of a future and a life, leaving his young mentor behind. Many years go by, and Samuel returns to find his old friend in need of the very things she offered him years before. Their roles reversed, Samuel teaches Josie about life, love, and letting go.
If you aren't into fantasy, here is another Amy Harmon's book, this one is a contemporary romance. Amy Harmon knows women and the human soul, like no other. Another fierce and willful heroine to add to your list. I know I did.
Here are some books that I haven't read myself yet, but I thought would be appropriate. Some of these are my personal picks, and some I've seen circulating around for many years as suggestions to read on International Women's Day.
8. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...
Haven't read this myself yet, but it's literally on every "to read" list - so I included it as well.
9. Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1)by Elizabeth Wein
Oct. 11th, 1943 - A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.
Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.
10. The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel's mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel's salvation is their maid Adelle's belief in her strengths, and her deep, life-long friendship with Jestine, Adelle's daughter. But Rachel's life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father's business. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Fréderick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.
11. The Surrogate by Louise Jensen
Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.
But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.
And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.
As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…
12. Wicked Like a Wildfire (Hibiscus Daughter #1) by Lana Popović
(young adult fantasy)
All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.
But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?
13. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited, while he struggles to remain indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.
14. The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth
A novel about three generations of midwives (a woman, her mother, and her grandmother) and the secrets they keep that push them apart and ultimately bind them together
THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?
15. Purple Hibiscusby Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
When Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili’s father sends her and her brother away to stay with their aunt, a University professor, whose house is noisy and full of laughter. There, Kambili and her brother discover a life and love beyond the confines of their father’s authority. The visit will lift the silence from their world and, in time, give rise to devotion and defiance that reveal themselves in profound and unexpected ways.
This is a book about the promise of freedom; about the blurred lines between childhood and adulthood; between love and hatred, between the old gods and the new.
I must have read a different book than everybody else had because I cannot for the life of me comprehend how this book has won any literal awards.
As an avid fantasy reader I can tell you that this book is as close to a "riveting fantasy novel" as flour is to being a spice.
Why flour you ask?
Beuase it reminds me of this book - dry, bland and boring.
And I really tried to tie this book all of the chances I could. I wanted to dnf it after 30 pages, but:
1. I was told that it gets much better as the book goes on. It didn't.
2. I was told that series get much, much better. I still have to see that for myself. One day.
3. I scored 4 books from this series at a thrift store for dirt cheap in mint condition, so I wanted to give it a chance before I donate all of them back and forget I ever wasted my time on them.
But Iryna, what about that awesome twist at the end?
I'm sorry, but that twist? I guessed "the twist" pretty early in the beginning of the book. I'm not saying that I'm Sherlock Holmes (okay sometimes I pretend I am), but after reading many fantasy books that twist is not so twisty anymore - pretty standard trick, if you ask me.
I can sum up about 85 percent of this book in few sentences.
Gen (main character) whines, Gen is tired, Gen is hungry, Gen is being a smart mouth, Gen is hungry, Gen is tired, Gen is hungry. The words "I'm hungry" and "so I took a nap" were probably said at least 20 times. If you are looking for the world's most annoying fiction character, you may stop now. Gen got the prize (in my eyes at least). The rest 15 percent were taken up with all the action that this book decided to throw at us and some political intrigues. By that point I just wanted it all to be just over so I could move on with my reading life.
The book is a 280 pages, and it took me 9 days to read it. 9 days! Why? Because I was so unbelievably, out of my mind, ripping my hair out - bored.
Was the twist at the end worth the 200 pages of redundancy and absolutely nothing happening? No, no it was not.
I know I sound very bitter right now, but I was genuinely excited for this book. And it let me down, big time. I hated the first person narrative, and I loathed Gen as a narrator even more. Side characters were bland, world building was okay at best and the plot didn't go anywhere till the last 30 pages.
Despite all of this I will (not soon, but sometime) continue with the book 2. I didn't suffer through this for nothing, I will see for myself if the series do indeed get better. My hopes are very low though. Lower than low.
Also I looked ahead and book 2 is written in third person, which is an improvement because I don't like first person narration fantasy, BUT who writes first book in first person and then switches to the third person? Who does that? Why?
“An arrogant head of state gives permission to all nature of hate as long as it feeds his ambition. And the unfortunate truth is, people devour it. Society gorges itself, and rots. Permission is the bloated corpse of freedom.”
I think I've found another favorite author. I had a feeling after I've read Scythe, but I wanted to read his second book to make sure that it wasn't a fluke, and it wasn't.
I love Shusterman's writing style, I applaud his ability to twist and turn a story and I admire his ideas and thoughts that he puts out in his books.
If I may recommend, I would definitely advise that you purchase the Barnes and Noble exclusive edition (if you are able) because Shusrteman's commentary made the book even better. We got to go behind every chapter and see the logic and the heart behind his creations. I love how he lets his characters drive his show, and I loved how honest he was in his commentary.
I think I liked Scythe just a tiny bit better than I did Thunderhead. Not because Thunderhead was weaker or anything, but because Scythe literally blew my mind with its turns and twists. I was able to guess some of them in Thunderhead, which I was quite proud of.
“It’s my pleasure to be your displeasure.”
Thunderhead managed to seamlessly introduce new characters, and while I didn't care much for Munira, although I am sure she will be much more important in the next book, I loved Greyson from the very first pages. His story arc was the most interesting and the most tragic in the book, I even found myself wanting Greyson to have more page time, because I grew to like him so much.
Just as in Scythe I found myself enjoying "journal entries" between chapters very much. This time we got to be inside of Thunderhead's "head" and see it get progressively more and more human in its thoughts and later in its actions.
The ending was both action packed and epic, and normally I really dislike cliffhangers, but this time I didn't mind. I just cannot wait for the next book to come out.
This is singlehandedly the best used bookstore haul I've ever did. And man, I am so proud. The most expensive books here were 2$, the rest were 50 cents. So here are my books and short explanations about them.
I'm trying to broaden my horizons and read different books and different genres - hence the array of very different books here, and the absence of ya genre (as I'm trying to sty away from it in 2018).
1. Memoirs of Geisha by Arthur Golden
A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction - at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful - and completely unforgettable.
2. The high mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel
In Lisbon in 1904, a young man named Tomás discovers an old journal. It hints at the existence of an extraordinary artifact that—if he can find it—would redefine history. Traveling in one of Europe’s earliest automobiles, he sets out in search of this strange treasure.
Thirty-five years later, a Portuguese pathologist devoted to the murder mysteries of Agatha Christie finds himself at the center of a mystery of his own and drawn into the consequences of Tomás’s quest.
Fifty years on, a Canadian senator takes refuge in his ancestral village in northern Portugal, grieving the loss of his beloved wife. But he arrives with an unusual companion: a chimpanzee. And there the century-old quest will come to an unexpected conclusion.
The High Mountains of Portugal—part quest, part ghost story, part contemporary fable—offers a haunting exploration of great love and great loss. Filled with tenderness, humor, and endless surprise, it takes the reader on a road trip through Portugal in the last century—and through the human soul.
3. The tiger's wife by Tea Obreht
Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Téa Obreht, the youngest of The New Yorker’s twenty best American fiction writers under forty, has spun a timeless novel that will establish her as one of the most vibrant, original authors of her generation.
In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself.
But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.
4. Snow falling on cedars by David Guterson
Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric -a masterpiece of suspense-- one that leaves us shaken and changed.
Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award 1995 and the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award
San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man's guilt. For on San Pedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries--memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo's wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched. Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense-- one that leaves us shaken and changed.
5. The good earth by Pearl. S. Buck
This tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall.
Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.
6. Year of wonders by Geraldine Brooks
When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna's eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a "year of wonders."
Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history.
7. The queen of subtleties by Suzannah Dunn
Anne Boleyn and Lucy Cornwallis: queen and
confectioner, fatefully linked in a court
rife with intrigue and treacheryShe was the dark-eyed English beauty who captivated King Henry VIII, only to die at his behest three years after they were married. She was both manipulator and pawn, a complex, misunderstood mélange of subtlety and fire. Her name was Anne Boleyn.
In The Queen of Subtleties, Suzannah Dunn reimagines the rise and fall of the tragic queen through two alternating voices: that of Anne herself, who is penning a letter to her young daughter on the eve of her execution, and Lucy Cornwallis, the king’s confectioner. An employee of the highest status, Lucy is responsible for creating the sculpted sugar centerpieces that adorn each of the feasts marking Anne’s ascent in the king’s favor. They also share another link of which neither woman is aware: the lovely Mark Smeaton, wunderkind musician—the innocent on whom, ultimately, Anne’s downfall hinges.
8. Mind's eye by Hakan Nesser
Håkan Nesser is firmly established as one of the world's bestselling crime novelists. And now the novel that introduced Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is available for the first time in English.
The swift conviction left Van Veeteren uneasy: Janek Mitter woke one morning with a brutal hangover and his wife dead in the bathtub. With only the flimsiest defense, he is found guilty and imprisoned in a mental institution. But when Mitter is murdered in his bed, Van Veeteren regrets not following his gut and launches an investigation into the two murders. As the chief inspector delves deeper, the twisted root of these violent murders will shock even him.
9. A window refined by Kim Cano
On a cold Valentine’s Day in Chicago, Amy White, a young widow who lost her husband to cancer, visits the cemetery and makes an unsettling discovery: a bouquet of fresh daffodils lying in front of her husband’s grave.
Curiosity grows into obsession as Amy searches for the stranger who left the flowers, while keeping her activities a secret from her live-in mother and seven-year-old son. The search leads to an unusual friendship that transforms her world and redefines her life.
10. Emma Brown by Clare Boylan
When Charlotte Brontë died in 1855, she left behind twenty pages of a novel that signaled her most compelling work since Jane Eyre. One hundred fifty years later, Clare Boylan has finished Brontë’s novel, sparking a sensational literary event. With pitch-perfect tone that is utterly true to Brontë’s voice, Boylan delivers a brilliant tale about a mysterious young girl, Matilda, who is delivered to a girls’ school in provincial England. When everything about the girl’s wealthy background turns out to be a fiction, it falls to a local gentleman, Mr. Ellin, and a childless widow, Isabel Chalfont, to begin a quest for her past and her identity that takes them from the drawing rooms of country society to London’s seamiest alleys. With all the intelligence and pathos of the novel’s originator, Boylan develops Brontë’s sketch of a girl without a past into a stunning portrait of Victorian society with a shameful secret at its heart.
Freelance BETA reader.