Showing Posts From: Reading

13 Aug, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

 

Finished In the Last  Week

 

What Am I Reading?

 

Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.

Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.

Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.

Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.

When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:

What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?”

 

What Am I Listening To

 

Nashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, twelve have rejected or refused to vote, and one last state is needed. It all comes down to Tennessee, the moment of truth for the suffragists, after a seven-decade crusade. The opposing forces include politicians with careers at stake, liquor companies, railroad magnates, and a lot of racists who don’t want black women voting. And then there are the ‘Antis’–women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fearing suffrage will bring about the moral collapse of the nation. They all converge in a boiling hot summer for a vicious face-off replete with dirty tricks, betrayals and bribes, bigotry, Jack Daniel’s, and the Bible.

 

 

 

 

 

11 Aug, 2018

A Recipe for Disaster

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading A Recipe for Disaster A Recipe for Disaster by Belinda Missen
on August 7, 2018
Genres: Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher
Setting: Australia

Life’s not always a piece of cake…

Meet Lucy, master wedding cake baker, idealistic school canteen crusader, and someone whose broken heart just won’t seem to mend…

Lucy is quietly confident that she has made the right choices in life. Surrounded by friends and family in a small town by the sea, Lucy can easily suppress the feeling that something is missing from her life.

But when a blast from the past arrives in the form of her estranged husband, international celebrity chef Oliver Murray, Lucy’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble beneath her like overbaked meringue.

Is Oliver’s return all business or is it motivated by something more?

A Recipe for Disaster starts long after most love stories would have ended, proving it is never too late to offer someone a second slice of cake or a second chance.

Perfect for fans of Carole Mathews, Mhairi McFarlane and Carrie Hope Fletcher.

Goodreads

Second chance romance stories are not my favorites.  I figure if you broke up before there was probably a good reason.  Especially if you break up for the incredibly stupid reason that the couple in this book did.  They are both chefs.  She’s a pastry chef.  He gets a job offer in Paris.  She decides to stay at home in Australia because there is no work for her.  As a PASTRY CHEF.  IN FRANCE…

At this point I was muttering to myself about agreeing to review this book, but the book surprised me.  There wasn’t a magical fix to the relationship as soon as her estranged husband reappeared. She is still insanely jealous of what he’s been able to do.  He is still prone to running over everyone else’s thoughts and feelings in pursuit of what he wants.  They can’t communicate at all about anything other than food.

They both need to grow up and decide if their relationship is more important than their businesses.  Can they work together and have professional disagreements without it hurting their personal relationship?

This book turned out to be deeper than I expected from the first few chapters. It shows that life is messy and complicated and that you need to learn to work through it to get what you want.

 A Recipe For Disaster Full Tour Banner
 

07 Aug, 2018

Are Book Bloggers Out of Touch with Publishing?

/ posted in: Book DiscussionReading

I started thinking about this when I read the charts of what was selling on Amazon.  I hadn’t heard of most of the books.  I feel like I’m pretty immersed in book world.  Why wasn’t I hearing about any of these super popular books on blogs?

Here’s what is on the New York Times Best Sellers list as I write this.

Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 8.58.28 AM

I hadn’t heard of any of these books.  Has anyone read these?  Has anyone seen a blogger discuss them?  Honestly, I love Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series but I had no idea this was out. 

This is the nonfiction list.

Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 8.58.46 AM

Ok, first of all, this is bloody terrifying. The first two books are pro-Trump screeds? Not good. 

Educated looks good and David Sedaris is funny but again, I hadn’t heard of these books before looking this up. 

So why is this?

  1.  Bloggers are so immersed in bookdom that we see the mid-list books that sound amazing and head for those.
  2.  Do these fall under “guilty pleasure” reading?  I don’t like the term but you know what I mean.  I’ll read the Silva eventually because I’ve read the rest of the series but I won’t blog about it.  That’s mostly because it is number 2 million or something in the series so it is hard to talk about and have it make any sense to people who don’t know the series. 
  3. Are there other reasons I’m not thinking of?

 

06 Aug, 2018

The Bespokist Guide to London

/ posted in: Reading The Bespokist Guide to London The Bespoke Society: A Guide To... London by Jeremy Liebster
on April 1st 2018
Pages: 121
Published by Acorn Independent Press
Format: Paperback
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

"Sparse... some glaring omissions" - FoodPorn London

"Only page 23 is of mild interest" - http: //www.londonpetlover.com

"Wow!!! A genuinely bespoke city guide!!!" - Tommy Sponge, Chairman, The Bespokist Society

One of the most curated city guides ever created. As the first travel book produced by the hugely influential Bespokist Society, this handy guide takes you to a London you've never seen: a London of challenging Etruscan restaurants, edgy branding parlours, emoji hotels and hidden Icelandic communities; a London where 8-ply toilet paper is a thing.

On the way, meet an eclectic band of inspiring Londoners - from scriveners to socialites via urban wordsmiths and coffee preachers - and see why London is now the global epicentre of Bespokist consciousness, community and culture.

Goodreads

This is a tiny book that packs a punch.  Even if you’ve never been to London, if you’ve lived in a place inhabited by hipsters, you will understand this book. 

In this guide you will find out about the latest and greatest restaurants that require you to make all your own food.  You will find out about bicycling groups that never end.  You will find tailors that use only archaic tool and refuse to discuss a price.

This is a book that you can dip in and out of instead of reading like a story.  This is a good gift book for anyone who is taking themselves a bit too seriously.

02 Aug, 2018

The Daughter of the River Valley

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Daughter of the River Valley The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwall
on July 17th 2018
Pages: 329
Series: Cornish Tales #3
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Published by Choc Lit
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

Cornwall, 1861

Beth Jago appears to have the idyllic life, she has a trade to earn a living and a cottage of her own in Cornwall’s beautiful River Valley. Yet appearances can be deceptive …

Beth has a secret. Since inheriting her isolated cottage she’s been receiving threats, so when she finds a man in her home she acts on her instincts. One frying pan to the head and she has robbed the handsome stranger of his memory and almost killed him.

Fearful he may die, she reluctantly nurses the intruder back to health. Yet can she trust the man with no name who has entered her life, or is he as dangerous as his nightmares suggest? As they learn to trust one another, the outside threats worsen. Are they linked to the man with no past? Or is the real danger still outside waiting … and watching them both?

Goodreads

This novel explores the dynamics of people from different classes.  Beth Jago lives outside a mining town in an cabin in a valley.  She lived with her grandfather who recently died.  Since then she has been receiving eviction notices.  She is dealing with this by ignoring them until the threats become physical.

Many historical romances are about the English gentry but they don’t explore the often unsavory ways these people made and maintained their fortunes.  This book looks at the motivations of the men who own the mines that the area depends on to survive.  Closing a mine can look good on paper when you don’t care about the welfare of a town built around it.

I appreciated the fact that this heroine is allowed to make her own choices in this novel.  She is able to prove to herself and others that she is able to provide a living for herself.  It was important to her to know that she was going to choose to marry because she wanted to live with that man instead of marrying because it was an economic necessity.  I believe this is one of the few historical romances that include characters in such extreme poverty that going into a workhouse at several points in their life is required.   I’m finding that I like historical romances that feature working class main characters or other marginalized characters that don’t often feature in traditional historical romances.

There is a storyline about an adult mentally disabled man that will be disturbing to some readers.  I don’t think that it is unrealistic for the time but it will be upsetting to modern readers.

This is the third book of a series but works as a standalone novel.

The Daughter of River Valley Full Banner

01 Aug, 2018

August 2018 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading

Welcome to August 2018 Foodies Read

You guys did a good job navigating the sometimes confusing new Inlinkz format.  We had 20 links.  The winner of the drawing is Mark.

He won:

  1. A $10 Amazon gift card if in the U.S.
  2. A book of their choice (up to $10) from Book Depository if international

Foodie Reads News

10 Books about Food to Add to Your Home Library – I’ve read Hippie Food and it was good.  I know Milk has been reviewed here but the rest are new to me.

The Guardian’s list of the 20 Best Food Books from 2001-2017 – Agree or disagree?

Washington Post’s Best Summer Cookbooks


Link up your reviews of books about food – fiction, nonfiction, and cookbooks are welcome. 



31 Jul, 2018

July 2018 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

It was another slow month for me but the books that I did read were mostly really good.

 

The books were:

  • 3 nonfiction
  •  2 audio books
  • Set in England, Bangladesh, New Zealand, in the ocean, made up places, and the U.S.

The authors were:

  • 5 unique white women, 1 Native American woman, 1 African American woman, 1 Bangladeshi man, 1 Maori man, and 3 white men

Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

I added New Zealand this month.

 

 


 

27 Jul, 2018

West of the Revolution

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading West of the Revolution West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776 by Claudio Saunt
on July 6th 2015
Pages: 288
Genres: History, Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Setting: United States

In this unique history of 1776, Claudio Saunt looks beyond the familiar story of the thirteen colonies to explore the many other revolutions roiling the turbulent American continent. In that fateful year, the Spanish landed in San Francisco, the Russians pushed into Alaska to hunt valuable sea otters, and the Sioux discovered the Black Hills. Hailed by critics for challenging our conventional view of the birth of America, West of the Revolution “[coaxes] our vision away from the Atlantic seaboard” and “exposes a continent seething with peoples and purposes beyond Minutemen and Redcoats” (Wall Street Journal).

Goodreads

American history gets all excited about 1776 without ever considering that for most of the continent the fight with the English wasn’t the main news.

Alaska

The Russians were running the fur trade.  I was interested in the description of the final destination for these furs in the trade capitals of central Mongolia.  They moved all the way from Alaska to present day northern California.  

California

The Spanish got all excited about the Russians being on the northern California coast.  They were convinced that there was a river running from the interior of the continent to the Pacific because based on European geography there should be.  If the Russians had the coast and could find where the river emptied then they could go upstream and control the interior.  The Spanish didn’t want that so they set out to explore everything and claim it for Spain.  

Badlands

I was super skeptical of the claim that the Lakota “discovered” the Badlands in 1776.  First of all, they have origin legends that involve the Badlands.  Second, how did no one trip across this large area previously?  Turns out there was skullduggery afoot.  The Lakota moved west and pushed the people living in the Badlands out in 1776.  They later claimed to have “discovered and settled” the area because “discovered and settled” was working well as an excuse for land grabs by white people.  Good try.  I respect the legal ploy but unfortunately white people are only too comfortable with double standards.

This section also covers other tribes in the middle of the continent.  It gives background on the Osage tribe and their dealings with multiple European powers.  That is great background to Killers of the Flower Moon.  

I had never heard of the extensive trade between natives of Florida and people in Cuba either.  


This book covers a lot in the short period of time.  Because of that it felt like it was hitting highlights of some areas of history that aren’t talked about much, but if you wanted to know a lot about something specific, you’d need to find another book.  It leaves a lot of loose ends where you don’t know what happened next.  

I listened to the audiobook of this and I wasn’t a fan.  The narrator was pretty monotone.  This is a book heavy with dates and names and I would mentally drift off as the narrator droned on.  

Use this book as an introduction to this time in history but don’t expect it to tell you the whole story.

26 Jul, 2018

Baker Thief

/ posted in: Book ReviewFoodies ReadReading Baker Thief Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault
on June 26, 2018
Pages: 424
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Owned

Adèle has only one goal: catch the purple-haired thief who broke into her home and stole her exocore, thus proving herself to her new police team. Little does she know, her thief is also the local baker.

Claire owns the Croissant-toi, but while her days are filled with pastries and customers, her nights are dedicated to stealing exocores. These new red gems are heralded as the energy of the future, but she knows the truth: they are made of witches’ souls.

When her twin—a powerful witch and prime exocore material—disappears, Claire redoubles in her efforts to investigate. She keeps running into Adèle, however, and whether or not she can save her sister might depend on their conflicted, unstable, but deepening relationship.

---------------BAKER THIEF is the first in a fantasy series meant to reframe romance tropes within non-romantic relationship and centering aromantic characters. Those who love enemies-to-lovers and superheroes should enjoy the story!

Goodreads

I picked this up because it combined a baker and a fantasy mystery.  There really isn’t as much baking content as I would have liked because Claude the baker is off being a superhero and keeps needing to close the bakery.

What I Liked:

  • This is a fantasy world based in a French worldview.  The author is from Quebec and it shows in the French blended into this story.  I don’t know that I’ve seen another book where this is so well combined.  Place names, official titles, etc are French.
  • There are witches in this world but they have been driven underground by persecution in the fairly recent past.  Nonmagical people think they are safe now because witches are gone.  Witches are not gone.
  • The main character is Claude/Claire.  They are genderfluid.  Generally, he is Claude during the day when he is baking and Claire at night when she is a thief.  That schedule of genders was working well until recently when Claude is starting to regret not being comfortable working during the day as Claire or spending the night as Claude depending on which gender feels most comfortable at the time.
  • It tackles issues relating to aromanticism and asexuality.  There are several characters at different places on the spectrum of aromanticism and asexuality so you don’t get a single point of view of these topics.  It shows how aromantic people have relationships which is important if readers aren’t familiar with this aspect of queerness.
  • The rest of the cast is also very diverse.  Many genders, sexualities, disabilities, and races are represented.  It is also very good at body acceptance of various sizes of people.

Things that are slightly off:

  • This isn’t the author’s fault but there is a major part of the plot that is very similar to part of the plot of Witchmark.  I loved that book so much and I read it first, so what should have felt like a surprising plot point felt like, “Oh, this again?”  The books came out about just about the same time so it is just a coincidence but it decreased my enjoyment a bit.

Things that I’ll probably get yelled at on the internet for criticizing:

  • Sometimes the supporting characters were very awkwardly introduced.  The author was working hard to include characters from many different backgrounds which is good but it turned every character introduction into a descriptive list.  It is a case of telling the reader instead of showing the reader through the character’s actions.  For example, you wouldn’t necessarily be told when being introduced to your new boss what her sexual orientation was or that she was polyamorous.  Maybe you would see pictures on her desk or it would come up in conversation later.  
  • Sometimes the plot seemed to be set aside in order for a lesson about identity.  The worst instance of this was when Claire ran into a burning building, past a female-presenting witch who was setting the place on fire, and into a room where other witches were being held captive, in order to rescue them.  The witches inside ask their friend is ok.  Claire refers to her as “Fire girl” in her explanation.  At that point, she is informed that the witch is agender and not a girl.  My thought reading that passage was, “This is why conservatives laugh at us.”  You are being rescued from a building that is literally on fire.  You were trapped and needed a person with super strength to get you out.  Now, while the fire is about to drop the whole ceiling on you, you take the time to admonish your rescuer for misgendering a person they literally saw in passing.  Run first – then figure out the proper pronouns of strangers you’ve never spoken to.  This book sometimes felt like an educational tome on identity more than a fantasy story.  That’s fine if that was the author’s goal but I would have liked to see both aspects blended together more seamlessly. 

 

25 Jul, 2018

Unfit to Print

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Unfit to Print Unfit to Print by K.J. Charles
on July 10, 2018
Pages: 145
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Love & Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Setting: England

When crusading lawyer Vikram Pandey sets out in search of a missing youth, his investigations take him to Holywell Street, London’s most notorious address. He expects to find a disgraceful array of sordid bookshops. He doesn’t expect one of them to be run by the long-lost friend whose disappearance and presumed death he’s been mourning for thirteen years.

Gil Lawless became a Holywell Street bookseller for his own reasons, and he’s damned if he’s going to apologise or listen to moralising from anyone. Not even Vikram; not even if the once-beloved boy has grown into a man who makes his mouth water.

Now the upright lawyer and the illicit bookseller need to work together to track down the missing youth. And on the way, they may even learn if there’s more than just memory and old affection binding them together...

Goodreads

I read this book immediately after A Gentleman Never Keeps Score.  The two fit together nicely because they share the theme of sexual abuse/exploitation of teenage boys due to poverty.

Gil is a bastard child of a rich family.  When his father died, his older half-brother cut off his education and funds.  In order to survive he was a prostitute.  Now he runs a bookstore that sells pornography, which is illegal.

Vikram is a lawyer who takes some pro bono cases in London’s Indian community.  He knew Gil at school where they bonded over being the only dark-skinned people.  He has always wondered what happened to his friend when he suddenly left school but no one would answer his questions.  Vikram is investigating the disappearance of an Indian teen who worked as a prostitute.  The only clue is a studio photo that the boy’s parents had.  There is no way he could afford to have bought it.  Vikram guesses he may have been modeling for erotic photographers and was given the formal portrait as partial payment.

There is a bit of over the top serendipity in the main characters meeting.  It is like, “I’m searching for this lost boy because it reminds me of my former best friend who went missing.  I’ll go to this bookstore.  Oh, look!  There is my missing best friend.  Imagine that!”

Vikram wants to renew his friendship with Gil but has a very hard time accepting the world Gil lives in.  He is uncomfortable with the life his friend was forced to lead while he continued his comfortable life in school and university.  Gil is cynical about Vikram’s desire to help people because in his life he hasn’t seen many people with that motivation.

This is a novella but there is a good amount of character growth in it.  It was interesting to find out all about the Victorian pornography trade.  I haven’t seen that as a basis for a romance before.  

24 Jul, 2018

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading A Gentleman Never Keeps Score A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian
on July 10th 2018
Pages: 384
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Love & Romance
Published by Avon Impulse
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Setting: England

Once beloved by London's fashionable elite, Hartley Sedgwick has become a recluse after a spate of salacious gossip exposed his most-private secrets. Rarely venturing from the house whose inheritance is a daily reminder of his downfall, he’s captivated by the exceedingly handsome man who seeks to rob him.

Since retiring from the boxing ring, Sam Fox has made his pub, The Bell, into a haven for those in his Free Black community. But when his best friend Kate implores him to find and destroy a scandalously revealing painting of her, he agrees. Sam would do anything to protect those he loves, even if it means stealing from a wealthy gentleman. But when he encounters Hartley, he soon finds himself wanting to steal more than just a painting from the lovely, lonely man—he wants to steal his heart.

Content Warning from Author: This book includes a main character who was sexually abused in the past; abuse happens off page but is alluded to.

Goodreads

It is not strictly necessary to read the first book in this series to understand this book but it helps to gain understanding of the family background.  Hartley is the oldest brother.  He tried to make a prosperous life for his brothers by attaching himself to a rich man who was interested in him.  At the time Hartley was a teenager and the relationship was abusive.  At the beginning of the book, he has inherited his abuser’s house in London.  Relatives of the abuser let details of the relationship out and Hartley is now shunned in society.  He is living in a house where most of the servants have left because of the scandal.  He is dealing with the psychological aftermath of an abusive relationship.  

I love Cat Sebastian’s writing.  Her plots are original and include people and situations that aren’t often seen in traditional historical romances.  Sam is a black man who formerly was a boxer.  He is trying to make a living running a pub but he is being harassed by a policeman who is convinced that there are illegal boxing matches in the bar.  His brother wants to marry a woman but she is stalling.  She tells Sam that she once posed for a naked painting for a rich man.  She doesn’t feel right marrying a respectable man when that painting is still out there somewhere.  Sam decides to track down the painting to steal and destroy it.  The trail leads him to Hartley’s house because it was painted for his abuser.  

This book highlights found family.  Hartley assembles a rag tag staff of people from London’s underworld who have nowhere else to go.  His valet is a former male prostitute.  The valet brings home a cook/maid who was thrown out of her house for being pregnant.  Slowly he realizes that piecing his life back together doesn’t mean that it has to look the same as it did before.  He looks to rebuild his ability to trust and love that was severely damaged in his previous relationship.  He needs to deal with the anger he has about being forced to prostitute himself for his family, who are uncomfortable with him now because of it. 

I love all the characters in this story.  The author does a wonderful job of making them each well-drawn, three dimensional people.  No one is just a side character there to advance the plot.  I’m looking forward to the next installment of this series.

23 Jul, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

 

Finished In the Last  Week

 After a rolicking reading week last time, I was back to just finishing one book.

 

 

I have an excuse this time though.  On Saturday, we had my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party.  It turned out to be a big shindig.  I didn’t get a final turnout but we were expecting about 75 people.  People came in from all over the U.S.  They all kept congratulating me on being able to pull off a party of that size and getting all those people there.  This confused me.  I literally sent one group message to any relatives I’ve friended on Facebook and followed that with a mailed invitation.  That was the extent of my involvement in who showed up.  It was all of them to decided to book plane tickets and come. 

I spent the day monitoring the food and explaining who people were.  Since it was both my mom’s and dad’s side of the family, people would sidle up and try to figure out if other people were distant relatives they didn’t remember or if they weren’t related to these people at all.  My dad’s family was made up of 9 kids with over 30 years between the oldest and youngest.  So many nieces and nephews are younger than uncles, etc.  To outsiders it looks like generational chaos, so I was fielding all the “Now, which ones are your dad’s brothers?” questions.

And, you know what is coming up this week?

via GIPHY

Yep, Thursday night!

 

What Am I Reading?

Adèle has only one goal: catch the purple-haired thief who broke into her home and stole her exocore, thus proving herself to her new police team. Little does she know, her thief is also the local baker.

Claire owns the Croissant-toi, but while her days are filled with pastries and customers, her nights are dedicated to stealing exocores. These new red gems are heralded as the energy of the future, but she knows the truth: they are made of witches’ souls.

When her twin—a powerful witch and prime exocore material—disappears, Claire redoubles in her efforts to investigate. She keeps running into Adèle, however, and whether or not she can save her sister might depend on their conflicted, unstable, but deepening relationship.”

 

 

What Am I Listening To

 

 

Whales are among the largest, most intelligent, deepest diving species to have ever lived on our planet. They evolved from land-roaming, dog-like creatures into animals that move like fish, breathe like us, can grow to 300,000 pounds, live 200 years and roam entire ocean basins. Whales fill us with terror, awe, and affection–yet we know hardly anything about them, and they only enter our awareness when they die, struck by a ship or stranded in the surf. Why did it take whales over 50 million years to evolve to such big sizes, and how do they eat enough to stay that big? How did their ancestors return from land to the sea? Why do they beach themselves? What do their lives tell us about our oceans, and evolution as a whole? Importantly, in the sweepstakes of human-driven habitat and climate change, will whales survive?

Nick Pyenson’s research has given us the answers to some of our biggest questions about whales. Nick’s rich storytelling takes us to the cool halls deep inside the Smithsonian’s priceless fossil collection, to the frigid fishing decks on Antarctic whaling stations, and to the blazing hot desert of Chile where scientists race against time to document the largest fossil whalebone site on earth. Spying on Whales is science writing at its best: an author who is an incredible, passionate writer, at the forefront of his field, on a topic that invokes deep fascination.”

 

 

 

 

19 Jul, 2018

Trail of Lightning

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Trail of Lightning Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
on June 26th 2018
Pages: 287
Series: The Sixth World #1
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Published by Saga Press
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Setting: Arizona

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.

Goodreads

I’ve been excitedly waiting for this debut novel ever since I read Rebecca Roanhorse’s story, Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience.

The book did not disappoint.

When most of the world flooded, the elders raised a magical wall around Diné land.  The gods and mythological beings are back.  Some people are manifesting clan powers.  Maggie’s clan powers make her a powerful monster killer.  She was taken in and trained by a mythological warrior after a tragedy until he left her a year ago.  Now she is a deeply emotionally damaged monster hunter for hire.

Now she is on the trail of monsters that she has never seen before.  They are wiping out whole towns.

This book reminds me a lot of the early seasons of the TV show Supernatural, if the lead was a no-nonsense Diné woman driving a 1972 pickup.  There are different groups of monster hunters.  There is even a safe house/bar/weapons depot/first aid station run by a older black woman and her children.

I loved a scene in a nightclub where Maggie is able to see the patrons as embodiments of their clan powers.  That is the type of imagination that I love to see in books.

The ending is magnificent and just a little bit of a cliffhanger.  I’m looking forward to the next book in 2019.

(There is a lot of graphic violence depicted including violence against children so if that bothers you a lot you might want to skip this one.)

18 Jul, 2018

Witchmark

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Witchmark Witchmark by C.L. Polk
on June 19th 2018
Pages: 272
Series: Witchmark #1
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Published by Tor.com
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family's interest or to be committed to a witches' asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans' hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.

Goodreads

I heard about this book on Twitter and was intrigued by its cover.  I didn’t really know what it was about when I picked it up.  I laughed when I realized that it is basically about treatment for war-induced PTSD.  I was reading this during a week when that was a frequent topic of conversation at my house and now my fantasy books were chiming in too.

The world building in this book is extraordinary.  It is vaguely steampunk.  Horses and bicycles are the main modes of transportation.  The super wealthy have some cars.  Just reading about the system of bicycle transportation was fascinating and shows how much the author thought about how the world would work.

In this world some of elite are mages who control the weather.  Other mages have different talents but they are bound against their will to weather mages to be used as an auxillary power supply for their magic.  Miles has healing magic.  He knew he was going to bound to his sister so he ran away and joined the army.  Now he is a psychiatrist working in a veteran’s hospital and dealing with his own PTSD and that of his patients.  He doesn’t want to use his powers because either:

  • He would be found by his powerful family and bound – or
  • People would think he was a low-born witch and he would be incarcerated in an asylum

His carefully planned secret life starts to unravel when a poisoned witch is brought to him by a stranger.  The witch knew who he was and now the stranger does too.

There is so much going on in this book. 

  • There is a very sweet m/m romance with fade to black sex scenes.  (Thank you very much!  I want more romance books without sex scenes please!) 
  • There is the mystery of what the dying witch knew and what he wanted Miles to do about it. 
  • There is the drama with Miles’ family. 
  • There is an usual increase in the number of veterans committing violent acts when they come home.  Can Miles figure out the cause of that?
  • There is hatred from Miles’ colleague who suspects he is a witch and is trying hard to prove it.

This is the start of a series.  I’m looking forward to reading future installments.  Come for the magic.  Stay for the unfortunately-too-realistic treatment of post-war veterans. 

17 Jul, 2018

The Vanished Child

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Vanished Child The Vanished Child (Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery #4) by M.J. Lee
on February 23, 2018
Genres: Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher
Setting: England

Every childhood lasts a lifetime. On her deathbed, Freda Duckworth confesses to giving birth to an illegitimate child in 1944 and placing him in a children’s home. Seven years later she went back but he had vanished. What happened to the child? Why did he disappear? Where did he go? Jayne Sinclair, genealogical investigator, is faced with lies, secrets and one of the most shameful episodes in recent British history. Can she find the vanished child?

Goodreads

This is the fourth book in this series of mysteries solved by a genealogical researcher.  I hadn’t read the previous ones but I didn’t have any trouble following this book.  I do think this is an interesting angle for a mystery.  I love watching genealogy shows on TV and researching my own family history.

This book hits hard on one of my push button issues – the horrific treatment of unmarried women with children at the hands of Christian churches.  I spent my whole time reading this book muttering to myself about how abusive the church is and how it always seems to be coming up with new ways to be awful.  It was not unusual for unmarried women to be separated from their children because it was considered better for the children to be raised elsewhere away from their immoral mothers.  This book looks at the practice of shipping English children to Australia to be trained as domestics and laborers.  Yes, it was considered better for them to be raised as virtual slaves than to stay with their mothers.  People were told they were orphans and they wanted to believe that so they dismissed the children when they talked about having mothers at home in England.

The whole book is pretty heartbreaking but it highlights some British history that isn’t well known.  If you want to continue your outrage after this one, check out the movies Philomena or The Magdalene Sisters.  The first one is sad but has funny moments.  The second is just deeply horrifying.

The Vanished Child Full Tour Banner

16 Jul, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

 

Finished In the Last  Week

 This is the first week in a long time where I’ve felt like myself in terms of reading.  I had a run of good books that kept me engaged instead of letting me drift off to something else without ever settling in.  Now I have lots of reviews to write.

 

 

 

What Am I Reading?

 

I saw this mentioned on Twitter and had to try it since the ebook was free.

 

When Thomas Khatt awakens to the magical world following the sudden, violent death of his elderly Archmagus neighbor, he doesn’t get the standard package of awesome power combined with a hero destiny. Nope, he trades his thumbs in for a tail, tawny fur and four feet with a very low co-efficient of friction on linoleum. His destiny as one of three talking mountain lions in the magical world? To be sold at auction and bonded to some pimply faced apprentice for life.

Thomas would rather eat dirty kitty litter.

Armed only with an impressive set of chompers and buckets of snark, Thomas faces off against a lightning-bolt throwing granny and a sexy union recruiter as he desperately tries hold the threads of his old life together. To stay off the leash he’ll have to take advantage of the chaos caused by the Archmagus’ death and help the local Inquisition solve his murder. A pyromanic squirrel, religious werewolves, and cat-hating cops all add to the chaos as Thomas attempts to become the first Freelance Familiar.”

 

What I DNFed

This was about a quilt and the family that made it including the enslaved people who they owned.  It was supposed to be about northern slave society.  I was supposed to learn stuff.  I started getting annoyed by the author’s daydreaming instead of research.  She’d go on and on imagining what a person’s life was like.  Literally, each sentence would start with “Imagine”.  Imagine her going to the market.  Imagine her trading her vegetables.  Imagine her talking to her friends.  Imagine me starting to bang my head against the steering wheel.  But I shut it off in disgust when she was talking about the death of a toddler.  He had multiple head injuries.  His father was a doctor and tried some blisters before he died.  She went off imagining how if the child had lived he would have always associated pain with relief and blah, blah, blah.  Also she said that women are sometimes referred to as “hoes” because of the farm tools instead of the real story where it is short for “whore.” All credibility gone.

 

What Am I Listening To

 

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her brilliant husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her with serious injuries. What was a gal to do? Rhoda packed her bags and went home. This wasn’t just any home, though. This was a Mennonite home. While Rhoda had long ventured out on her own spiritual path, the conservative community welcomed her back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda’s good-natured mother suggested she date her first cousin—he owned a tractor, see.) It is in this safe place that Rhoda can come to terms with her failed marriage; her desire, as a young woman, to leave her sheltered world behind; and the choices that both freed and entrapped her.

 

 

 

 

10 Jul, 2018

Eat The World – New Zealand

/ posted in: FoodReading

Our country this month for Eat the World is New Zealand.  My first thought about New Zealand cuisine was lamb.  Obviously that was not going to be on the menu so my second thought was kiwi.

Of course, kiwis aren’t originally from New Zealand.  They are Chinese in origin and were called Chinese gooseberries until the 1960s when farmers in New Zealand decided to rebrand them to draw attention to their new exports.  I decided to honor this marketing coup but when I went to the store the only kiwis I could find were packaged like this.

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New Zealanders better watch out.  The Californians are trying to outmaneuver them.

Since watching the Great British Baking Show I’ve been in the mood for a trifle.  I am not ambitious enough to want to make my own cake.  I would totally disappoint Mary Berry with my lack of knowledge between Genoise and Victorian and all other things I thought were just called cake.  I’m not too proud to just use a regular old store bought angel food cake for easy of assembly.

Kiwi-Strawberry Trifle

Ingredients

Kiwi Curd

  • 14 oz can Coconut Cream
  • 5 Kiwis - peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

Strawberry Cream

  • 14 oz can Coconut Cream
  • 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 5 Strawberries - pureed

1 premade Angel Food Cake

Instructions

Make the Kiwi Curd

  1. Combine coconut cream and kiwis in a high speed blender until smooth.

  2. Remove 1/4 cup of mixture and mix in a small bowl with the cornstarch.

  3. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Heat to just below a boil.  The mixture should thicken and form a ribbon when spooned across the surface.


  4. Remove from heat for 15 minutes.  Taste and add more maple syrup if needed. 

  5. Transfer to glass bowl.  Place plastic wrap across the surface to prevent a film from forming.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours.

Make Strawberry Cream

  1. Refrigerate a can of coconut cream overnight.  Place metal or glass bowl and beaters in freezer for 10 minutes before using.


  2. Combine coconut cream and powdering sugar in chilled bowl.  Mix in strawberry puree.  Store in refrigerator until used.

Assemble Trifle

  1. Layer section of angel food cake, then kiwi curd, then strawberry cream.  Repeat as desired.

20180701_125341.jpg The kiwi curd is a pale yellow color. You could add food coloring if you wanted it to be more green like the fruit.

My trifle making skills are not exactly up to par.  I put a round section of angel food cake in the bottom of a little glass.  I ever so carefully spooned in the set curd.  However, my angel food cake wasn’t perfectly the size of the glass and some curd slipped down the outside.  I’d have been judged to be messy and not a good presentation on The Great British Baking Show.  It tasted good though.

20180701_174914.jpg


Check out all the wonderful New Zealand dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Evelyne: New Zealand Lolly Cake
Juli: Hokey Pokey Ice Cream
Camilla: Baked Fish Fritters + Wild Sauvignon
Amy: Kiwi Burger
Wendy: Kiwi Pavlova


For my New Zealand book, I read

Eight-year-old Kahu, a member of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, fights to prove her love, her leadership, and her destiny. Her people claim descent from Kahutia Te Rangi, the legendary ‘whale rider.’ In every generation since Kahutia, a male heir has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir, and the aging chief is desperate to find a successor. Kahu is his only great-grandchild — and Maori tradition has no use for a girl. But when hundreds of whales beach themselves and threaten the future of the Maori tribe, Kahu will do anything to save them – even the impossible.

This was a frustrating book for me to read.  The chief is so hateful to Kahu just because she is a girl.  I spent the whole book just wanting to smack him.  I loved his wife though. 

09 Jul, 2018

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

 

Finished In the Last 2 Weeks

 

 

 

What Am I Reading?

 

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family’s interest or to be committed to a witches’ asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans’ hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.

 

What Am I Listening To

 

“When we think of slavery, most of us think of the American South. We think of chattel slavery, of back-breaking fieldwork, and of cruel and inhumane treatment on plantations. We don’t think of slavery in the North, nor do we think of the grueling labor of urban and domestic/house slaves. Rachel May’s remarkable book explores the far reach of slavery, from New England to the Caribbean, the role it played in the growth of mercantile America, and the unbreakable bonds between the agrarian south and the industrial north in the antebellum era—all through the discovery of a remarkable quilt.”

 

 

 

 

05 Jul, 2018

Rapid Fire Book Tag

/ posted in: Book DiscussionReading

1 – E-Book or Physical Book?

E-books always and forever.  I know some people think this is blasphemy.  It won’t be the only time I’ll probably be taking the unpopular opinion here.  But I hate clutter and face it, stacks of books are clutter.  Plus, I love carrying only my ipad and having a huge library at hand.  It is the best thing for a mood reader.

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2 – Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback.  I don’t like books that are too heavy and cumbersome when I’m trying to read.

3 – Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

Online, obviously because I like e-books but I also don’t really enjoy the whole book store experience.

4 – Trilogies or Series?

Series.  So many trilogies seem like they should only be one or two books long and the rest is filler to pad out three books.  If there is enough story for a series, I prefer that.

5 – Heroes or Villains?

Heroes, I guess but I don’t have strong feelings on that one.  I do like it when the bad guys win if it is done well.

6 – A book you want everyone to read?

The FrescoThe Fresco by Sheri S. Tepper

“The bizarre events that have been occuring across the United States — unexplained “oddities” tracked by Air Defense, mysterious disappearances, shocking deaths — seem to have no bearing on Benita Alvarez-Shipton’s life. That is, until the soft-spoken thirty-six-year-old bookstore manager is approached by a pair of aliens asking her to transmit their message of peace to the powers in Washington. An abused Albuquerque wife with low self-esteem, Benita has been chosen to act as the sole liaison between the human race and the Pistach, who have offered their human hosts a spectacular opportunity for knowledge and enrichment.But ultimately Benita will be called upon to do much more than deliver messages — and may, in fact, be responsible for saving the Earth. Because the Pistach are not the only space-faring species currently making their presence known on her unsuspecting planet. And the others are not so benevolent.”

I love, love, love this book and want everyone to read it.


7 – Recommend an underrated book?

InkInk by Sabrina Vourvoulias

“What happens when rhetoric about immigrants escalates to an institutionalized population control system? The near-future, dark speculative novel INK opens as a biometric tattoo is approved for use to mark temporary workers, permanent residents and citizens with recent immigration history – collectively known as inks. Set in a fictional city and small, rural town in the U.S. during a 10-year span, the novel is told in four voices: a journalist; an ink who works in a local population control office; an artist strongly tied to a specific piece of land; and a teenager whose mother runs an inkatorium (a sanitarium-internment center opened in response to public health concerns about inks).”

This is being rereleased this fall because it is so timely.

8 – The last book you finished?

The Queen's GameThe Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman

 

 

 

 

9 – The Last Book You Bought?

Baker ThiefBaker Thief by Claudie Arseneault

“Adèle has only one goal: catch the purple-haired thief who broke into her home and stole her exocore, thus proving herself to her new police team. Little does she know, her thief is also the local baker.

Claire owns the Croissant-toi, but while her days are filled with pastries and customers, her nights are dedicated to stealing exocores. These new red gems are heralded as the energy of the future, but she knows the truth: they are made of witches’ souls.

When her twin—a powerful witch and prime exocore material—disappears, Claire redoubles in her efforts to investigate. She keeps running into Adèle, however, and whether or not she can save her sister might depend on their conflicted, unstable, but deepening relationship.”


10 – Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

I use everything as bookmarks. I’ve probably tried to use a cat’s tail before but they are fickle.

11 – Used Books: Yes or No?

Absolutely!

12 – Top Three Favourite Genres?

Fantasy, Historical fiction, and Nonfiction

13 – Borrow or Buy?

Borrow

14 – Characters or Plot?

I’m all about the plot. I can’t stand books where nothing happens.

15 – Long or Short Books?
16 – Long or Short Chapters?

I’ll answer these together because I don’t have a preference for either.

17 – Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

I’m not sure what made me think of those. They are all African but I’m not sure that is the connection that my brain made.

18 – Books That Makes You Laugh or Cry?

This one snuck up on me and made me cry in several places. I’m not a crier.

19 – Our World or Fictional Worlds?

I can do both but a well done fictional world is a thing of beauty.

20 – Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Always

21 – Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

I don’t tend to notice covers because you don’t always see them on e-books. I do pick up library books because of the colors on the spines though.

22 – Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

TV. You have more time to tell the story.

23 – A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

Forrest Gump

24 – Series or Standalone

I love urban fantasy series that go on forever but I also like a good standalone.

01 Jul, 2018

July 2018 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading

Welcome to July 2018 Foodies Read

You guys were reading and reviewing maniacs in June.  We had 29 links.  The winner of the drawing is Amy.

She won:

  1. A $10 Amazon gift card if in the U.S.
  2. A book of their choice (up to $10) from Book Depository if international

Foodie Reads News

The New York Times recommends foodie books for the summer

74 Fantastic Great British Bake Off Cookbooks From Contestants and Judges

Anthony Bourdain’s Literary Legacy in 13 Books

8 Non-Cookbook Food Books to Read This Summer


Link up your reviews of books about food – fiction, nonfiction, and cookbooks are welcome. 

Some people are having trouble with inlinkz new interface. If it says that you need to verify your email, check your spam folder for the email. Sorry for the trouble.

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