Library Checkout: October

Happy Halloween!  Thanks Shannon for letting me post about my ongoing library addiction with this check-in.  I officially am out of room for my library stack – I need an intervention. I’ve been on a light reading kick. I need to step up my serious books to go with my non-fiction for November.

Checked-Out Read:

  • Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
  • Overruled by Emma Chase
  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West – EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS IMMEDIATELY!
  • The Princess & The Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh – thanks to Emma at Miss Print for this review These pictures were gorgeous, the story was great and it sparked some fun conversation about myths and Mexico in my house
  • The Night Gardener by Terry Fan

Checked out To Be Read

  • The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe by CS Lewis – if I can pry the kid away from the damn Rainbow Fairy books we’ll keep going
  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – I’m afraid to start almost!
  • The Green Road by Anne Enright
  • My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg – YAY
  • The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
  • Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
  • Love, Loss and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

On-Hold – Clearly the kid needs a library card

  • The Bad Beginning: Book the First by Lemony Snicket
  • The Princess and The Pony by Kate Beaton (thanks again Emma).  There were tears at my house when the library lost our first hold
  • Hilary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls are Born to Lead by Michelle Markel
  • Princess in Black by Shannon Hale
  • Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
  • The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
  • The Mothers by Brit Bennett – only #62 this could be worse

What’s on your library shelf this month?

 

Review: A Change of Heart

A Change of Heart, Sonali Dev

Published September 27th 2016 by Kensington

Paperback, 352 pages

Source: e-ARC from NetGalley

28439392Dr. Nikhil ‘Nic’ Joshi had it all—marriage, career, purpose. Until, while working for Doctors Without Borders in a Mumbai slum, his wife, Jen, discovered a black market organ transplant ring. Before she could expose the truth, Jen was killed.

Two years after the tragedy, Nic is a cruise ship doctor who spends his days treating seasickness and sunburn and his nights in a boozy haze. On one of those blurry evenings on deck, Nic meets a woman who makes a startling claim: she received Jen’s heart in a transplant and has a message for him. Nic wants to discount Jess Koirala’s story as absurd, but there’s something about her reckless desperation that resonates despite his doubts.

Jess has spent years working her way out of a nightmarish life in Calcutta and into a respectable Bollywood dance troupe. Now she faces losing the one thing that matters—her young son, Joy.  She needs to uncover the secrets Jen risked everything for; but the unforeseen bond that results between her and Nic is both a lifeline and a perilous complication.

I give Sonali Dev a ton of credit just for the premise of this book.  It is extremely brave to start out by murdering a character that was so great in your last book – The Bollywood Bride.  I think it was pretty brave to make Jen a less than perfect character.  Jen’s perspective is told in very brief snippets of her journal entries and she’s not all warm and fuzzy as one might expect a newlywed to be.  This this contrasted sharply with Nic’s crushing grief and memories of his beloved – again a really bold route for a romance.  So we find Nic trying to drink himself to death on a cruise ship  2 years after her murder when Jess comes and tries to snap him into action to find Jen’s killers in India.  

Honestly the truth of Jess’s story was pretty easy to figure out and once I knew what was coming I just couldn’t get past it.  Also as much as I liked Jess, to be truthful I didn’t want Nic to get past it either!   The poor guy was suffering enough and I was anticipating some painful moments when he found out why she was really there.  That kept me from feeling all the love between Nic and Jess the way I was meant to.   Based on the other reviews I’ve seen though I’m in the minority here – maybe maybe I just need lighter overall when I’m feeling like a romance?  Romance reading is an total escape for me so I need happy.  This was busy with sexy romance, mystery, and past heartbreaks and other readers are loving it.   

I do hope Dev continues with the Bollywood books in the way that I’m guessing because I like her characters and I like seeing the interaction between books.  I will absolutely read whatever she writes next!  I’m going to have to reread The Bollywood Affair though to get back to my own original Sonali Dev love affair.

Thank you Kensington and NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review! 

2016 TBR Challenge: I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith

Published: 1948

Source: Chicago Public Library

31122Through six turbulent months of 1934, 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain keeps a journal, filling three notebooks with sharply funny yet poignant entries about her home, a ruined Suffolk castle, and her eccentric and penniless family. By the time the last diary shuts, there have been great changes in the Mortmain household, not the least of which is that Cassandra is deeply, hopelessly, in love.

Ok so I’m basically failing at our self made 2016 TBR Challenge.  But if I’m going down without reading those 10 books, at least I picked up I Capture the Castle.  This was just a delightful read.  I almost felt like I was a kid meeting Anne Shirley for the first time again. Or Emily Starr and the letter bills that she filled with her writings.  So if you enjoy either of those LM Montgomery heroines you should definitely pick up I Capture the Castle.  

Yes, Cassandra’s family is kind of ridiculous, but they have a lot of charm.  I kind of wanted to poke her father and hug her stepmother – but I still enjoyed them all!  Maybe I didn’t love how things played out between Cassandra and her sister, though that could be simply because my sister is my favorite and I couldn’t do those things!  This was a short, sweet and sometimes silly read.  Definitely one I needed this year.  If you need a book to put a smile on your face leading into November I definitely recommend this one.  I just spotted Primary Colors on my bookshelf – now more than 10 years waiting to be read. Maybe that will have to be my next challenge attempt for a swing in the opposite direction…

Just Couldn’t Finish: The Devourers

The Devourers, Indra Das

Hardcover, 306 pages

Published July 12th 2016 by Del Rey

Source: e-ARC from NetGalley

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On a cool evening in Kolkata, India, beneath a full moon, as the whirling rhythms of traveling musicians fill the night, college professor Alok encounters a mysterious stranger with a bizarre confession and an extraordinary story. Tantalized by the man’s unfinished tale, Alok will do anything to hear its completion. So Alok agrees, at the stranger’s behest, to transcribe a collection of battered notebooks, weathered parchments, and once-living skins.

From these documents spills the chronicle of a race of people at once more than human yet kin to beasts, ruled by instincts and desires blood-deep and ages-old. The tale features a rough wanderer in seventeenth-century Mughal India who finds himself irrevocably drawn to a defiant woman—and destined to be torn asunder by two clashing worlds. With every passing chapter of beauty and brutality, Alok’s interest in the stranger grows and evolves into something darker and more urgent.

Shifting dreamlike between present and past with intoxicating language, visceral action, compelling characters, and stark emotion, The Devourers offers a reading experience quite unlike any other novel.

The description for the Devourers is certainly correct that this book is dreamlike.  At first I was entranced. Alok meets a stranger standing outside a party and feels like he’s in a dream himself and I was drawn right in.  The story begins as kind of spellbinding and then the details became violent, gritty and honestly just too gross for me.  

I was ready to get into the idea of Indian werewolves – or many multicultural werewolves as it appeared to be going – but the darkness and the rape just overwhelmed me honestly.  The cover is beyond gorgeous and this book is getting rave reviews so maybe this was just a miss for me.  The Devourers promises quite a story and an emotional one at that, just be ready for really visceral reactions as you’re reading.

Thank you so much NetGalley and Del Ray for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest opinion.  

It’s Monday: What Are You Reading?

So last week I decided to finally read A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.  Basically I’m not broken for fiction, especially fantasy.  If you didn’t listen to me when I loved A Court of Thorns and Roses then listen now!  I just don’t know where to turn so for this week I’m going to stick to nonfiction and go for a totally different genre when I’m ready for fiction.  

Last week was also my 10 year wedding anniversary and my husband and I went to The Girl and The Goat to celebrate.  I’m still in recovery from the meal.  My first reading inclination was to follow this meal with rereading Sweetbitter for the restaurant experience – but see the above ACOMAF issue; so I started Generation Chef: Risking it All for a New American Dream by Karen Stabiner.  I’m really enjoying how Stabiner is unfolding the opening of a new New York Spanish-style restaurant, even though I’m going into work hungry after reading.  I just checked The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction by Neil Gaiman out from the library again so hopefully I’ll finish this time before it has to go back to the library.  I also have Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West which I’ve seen nothing but raves about.  All good options for my broken book heart. 

When I’m ready for fiction I think I’m going to pick up A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – reviews like The Gilmore Guide to Reading have me ready to love this.   I might also be ready for some fabulous Flavia de Luce in Thrice The Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d.  Eva at The Paperback Princess enjoyed this one and I can’t wait to see what else Flavia gets into. 

I really wanted to love The Devourers by Indra Das but something about the violence has just put me over the top.  I think I have to call it a DNF.  

What are you reading this week?  Thanks to The Book Date for hosting this check-in!

Review: Wonder Women

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors and Trailblazers Who Changed History, Sam Maggs

Published October 4th 2016 by Quirk Books

Hardcover, 240 pages

Source: ARC from Publisher

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Ever heard of Allied spy Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim woman whom the Nazis considered “highly dangerous”? Or German painter and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, who planned and embarked on the world’s first scientific expedition? How about Huang Daopo, the inventor who fled an abusive child marriage only to revolutionize textile production in China?

Women have always been able to change the world, even when they didn’t get the credit. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs introduces you to pioneering female scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors—each profile a study in passion, smarts, and stickto-itiveness, complete with portraits by Google doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to present-day women-centric STEM organizations.

Basically Sam Maggs has found the way to my feminist non-fiction book nerd heart with this delightful book of portrayals of awesome women.  I was totally head over heals when Maggs referred to German mathematician and physicist Amalie Emmy Noether as “a total BAMF from the beginning”.  I love non-fiction that is just fun to read on top of being full of great information.  Wonder Women doesn’t take itself too seriously even while dealing with seriously amazing moments in history.  Each “chapter” is no more than 4 pages so you’re getting information but are definitely left wanting to know more.  

I hadn’t heard of the majority of the women Maggs features in Wonder Women which was really cool too.  Marie Curie is obviously amazing – but I liked that she got a paragraph versus Bessie Coleman who had a section to herself.  Side bar – Is it just me that wanted to know more about Bessie Coleman  everytime I drive to O’Hare?  It can’t be just me right?  

Maggs gives us women from all over the world which was great – every time period, every religion, sexual orientation.  I can’t imagine how much research she had to do to go far back into women’s history in places like China and India.  So I will say Maggs must be a BAMF herself!  Wonder Women is funny and witty and tells the story of every kind of woman.  I want to put a copy into the hands of all the smart ladies I know!

“It’s made to believe

Women are same as Men;

Are you not convinced

Daughters can also be heroic?

Wang Zhenyi

Thank you so much Quirk Books for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review!

Library Checkout September 2016

LibraryCheckoutBig

This move at least forced me to not hoard my library books because I was so afraid of losing them!  However, instead I’ve lost my kindle which is really a terrifying feeling.  I have such good ebooks checked out and I can’t get to them!  

Checked Out and Currently Lost Ebooks

  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (yes this is because I also can’t find the hardcover I preordered.  Shut up)

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Checked Out Currently Reading

  • The Traitor’s Wife: The Woman Behind Benedict Arnold and the Plan to Betray America by Alison Pataki (meh)
  • The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis. The kid is up and down on this so far. I will make her love it! 
  • The Cartel by Don Winslow – I’m not reading this but my husband is. He’s obsessed and in love. So if Mexican cartels are your thing this is apparently highly recommended!  I don’t think I can do the violence he’s describing personally though it sounds excellent.

Checked Out Read – These are August too

  • The Sight by Chloe Neill 
  • Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel – Check out this review at the Gilmore Guide to Books but I really enjoyed this! 
  • Apprentice in Death by JD Robb (perfect post move read)

Holds

  • Love Loss and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi  (Thanks Sarah for the reminder!)
  • Overruled by Emma Chase
  • My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (I’m 17th in line and might not be able to handle this wait! But if I buy it will I just lose this too?)
  • The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
  • The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton – this has been in transit since May. I’m slightly worried that the kid will never get to read about the pony that toots too much again. 
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Returned Unread – Too many good things to list. It’s kind of sad. I’ll just put them back on my list and pretend August/September never happened! 

Thanks Shannon at River City Reading for this check-in! What’s on your library shelf this month?