I’ve been hearing so much about The Reading Rush (happening from July 22-28), I figured that I should give it a shot. Even though I don’t have a Booktube channel, I love taking part in readathons in general. I’ll blog about my progress throughout the week.
Here is my TBR list for The Reading Rush:
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
In their remote mountain village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. For the Akha people, ensconced in ritual and routine, life goes on as it has for generations—until a stranger appears at the village gate in a jeep, the first automobile any of the villagers has ever seen.
The stranger’s arrival marks the first entrance of the modern world in the lives of the Akha people. Slowly, Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, begins to reject the customs that shaped her early life. When she has a baby out of wedlock—conceived with a man her parents consider a poor choice—she rejects the tradition that would compel her to give the child over to be killed, and instead leaves her, wrapped in a blanket with a tea cake tucked in its folds, near an orphanage in a nearby city.
As Li-yan comes into herself, leaving her insular village for an education, a business, and city life, her daughter, Haley, is raised in California by loving adoptive parents. Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins. Across the ocean Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. Over the course of years, each searches for meaning in the study of Pu’er, the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for centuries.
A powerful story about circumstances, culture, and distance, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond of family.
In 1992, Gabriel, ten years old, lives in Burundi in a
comfortable expatriate neighborhood with his French father, his Rwandan mother
and his little sister, Ana. In this joyful idyll, Gabriel spends the better
part of his time with his mischievous band of friends, in a tiny cul-de-sac
they have turned into their kingdom. But their peaceful existence will suddenly
shatter when this small African country is brutally battered by history.
In this magnificent coming-of-age story, Gael Faye describes an end of
innocence and drives deep into the heart and mind of a young child caught in
the maelstrom of history.
I’m at Chapter 52 at ‘We Hunt the Flame’. I don’t know why this book is taking me so long to read through, because I really enjoy it! It involves a young woman names Zafira, masquerading as a man in order to restore peace. She goes on a quest to obtain an artifact which will restore magic to the world of Arwiya. The story is told in two perspectives: Zafira and Nasir, known as the Prince of Death, yet he wants no part of this title.
Both Nasir and Zafira are handling the task with avenging the deaths of someone dear to their lives. Their approach to relationships are cold and aloof, yet their hearts long for a deeper connection to life. Nasir wishes to be free from the moniker of an assassin, while Zafira longs to be free from hiding her femininity in order to be taken seriously. As I get more involved in the story, I’m hoping to see a breakthrough in their journeys.
This wrap-up is very underwhelming, since I only completed two books this month. I very much wanted to read sooo much more (I was looking forward to reading Lisa See this month!), but June has been a stressful mess of job transitions and wedding planning. The drama of these two factors have not lessened by any means, so I’m thrilled that I completed reading anything! My poetry page was also pretty dismal this month. I can count the number of poems written this month on one hand. Stress really does a number on creativity!
I read one Children’s Literature book, and one Adult novel. Both books are fictional works. The genres were Middle Grade and Historical Fiction.
I received Time After Time through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I loved reading this story centered within a slice of New York City life in the midst of tension and tragedy. Throughout the story, Joe and Nora navigate their relationship while enduring the effects of World War II. Since I enjoy reading anything involving New York City, I dove right in. Even though this novel was set in the 1930s, it brought back memories of me travelling through Manhattan and The Bronx while living there. Rating: 4/5 Stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads): On a clear December morning in 1937, at the famous gold clock in Grand Central Terminal, Joe Reynolds, a hardworking railroad man from Queens, meets a vibrant young woman who seems mysteriously out of place. Nora Lansing is a Manhattan socialite whose flapper clothing, pearl earrings, and talk of the Roaring Twenties don’t seem to match the bleak mood of Depression-era New York. Captivated by Nora from her first electric touch, Joe despairs when he tries to walk her home and she disappears. Finding her again—and again—will become the focus of his love and his life.
Nora, an aspiring artist and fiercely independent, is shocked to find she’s somehow been trapped, her presence in the terminal governed by rules she cannot fathom. It isn’t until she meets Joe that she begins to understand the effect that time is having on her, and the possible connections to the workings of Grand Central and the solar phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, when the sun rises or sets between the city’s skyscrapers, aligned perfectly with the streets below.
As thousands of visitors pass under the famous celestial blue ceiling each day, Joe and Nora create a life unlike any they could have imagined. With infinite love in a finite space, they take full advantage of the “Terminal City” within a city, dining at the Oyster Bar, visiting the Whispering Gallery, and making a home at the Biltmore Hotel. But when the construction of another landmark threatens their future, Nora and Joe are forced to test the limits of freedom and love.
Delving into Grand Central Terminal’s rich past, Lisa Grunwald crafts a masterful historical novel about a love affair that defies age, class, place, and even time.
I fell in love with Wish the moment I viewed the cover. Who doesn’t love a deep bond between a child and her furry friend? In the novel, Charlie is struggling to come to terms with being removed from her dysfunctional family, living with her loving aunt and uncle in Colby, North Carolina. As Charlie reluctantly endures daily life within a quiet community, she slowly realizes that ‘Home’ can be discovered in the most unlikeliest of areas. This book also tackles the uncomfortable topic of neglect in a tasteful manner for younger audiences. Rating: 4/5 Stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all.
Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald Length: 416 pages Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance Source: Acquired from NetGalley Publisher: Random House Publishing Group Series or Standalone: Standalone
**I received Time After Time through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review**
I really enjoy stories that focus on New York City in earlier times. When I came across ‘Time After Time’ on Net Galley, I was so happy to learn that this tale focuses on New York between the 20s and 40s. Time After Time begins during the mid 1930s in Grand Central Terminal. It follows a man named Joe Reynolds, a hard working leverman who ensures that the trains in the terminal run smoothly. Joe encounters a young woman named Nora Lansing, who appears strikingly out of place in her demeanor and appearance, in a lovely way. Joe is taken by her immediately, yet when he tries to walk her home in Turtle Bay, she mysteriously disappears. Their encounters are similar in several occasions, which occur on the same time of year. After some investigating, Joe learns about a chaotic subway accident in the 1920s that hold strong significance in Nora’s life. The story then goes into Nora’s earlier years in Paris before returning to New York City, as well her life over the 30s and 40s with Joe, as they navigate their new life with one another. Their desire for each other is tempered, as the reality of America’s involvement in World War II makes Joe and Nora realize that change is constant, and a normal part of life. Grunwald also creates a active tapestry of life in Grand Central Terminal. She vividly portrays the ‘city within a city’, with Joe and Nora frequenting the shops, restaurants and lodgings that’s a stone’s throw away from commuter life. My memories of Grand Central Terminal still walk through my mind regularly, although I moved out of the area a few years ago. I recall how busy the terminal was each and every day, as well as the beauty of the star-lit ceiling, and the famous clock in the center. Grunwald also describes the changing landscape of terminal as the war enters the American landscape, as many men and families enter the metropolis, entering a major point in their lives. Time After Time is equally moving and intense, as this story follows two people coming to grips with their identity within a changing world. I really appreciated this window of a reimagined New York City life, and the love two people share within it.
I discovered ‘Wish’ while searching for another story at a local department store. When I walk into this location, the first stop I always head to is the large table of books that’s on display. It’s usually a mix of new releases and titles that have been out for a while. I didn’t come across what I was searching for, but my eyes fell on a cover with a young girl with an adorable dog. Being a dog lover, I immediately fell in love with the book cover! I made a note of the title, and reserved a copy at the library. ‘Wish’ by Barbara O’ Connor is about a young girl named Charlie, reluctantly placed to live with her aunt Bertha and Uncle Gus in Colby, North Carolina. Charlie feels very bitter and resentful about being removed from her home in Raleigh, despite the fact that her father is incarcerated and her mother was deemed unfit to care for both her and her sister Jackie. The peaceful, countryside surroundings is a world away from Raleigh’s city life, yet Bertha and Gus go to great lengths to make Charlie’s life as comfortable as possible. She also reluctantly befriends a classmate named Howard, a studious child who gets ridiculed due to his manner of walking, yet never lets that interfere with his life. The story describes Charlie’s journey in socializing with new friends and community members while experiencing the internal struggle of missing her family. She goes to great lengths to make wishes whenever she comes upon a treasured color, a certain animal, or the first star in a twilight sky. Charlie hides her pain with anger, yet Howard expertly finds a bridge to communicate her fears so clearly by describing a ‘clothesline of troubles’ that everyone tends to in life. O’Connor refers to this phrase frequently in this story as Charlie learns how to trust Bertha and Gus, Howard and his family. Charlie also discovers a stray dog near her home that she names Wishbone. Like Charlie, Wishbone also endures a journey to trust Charlie and her loved ones. Over time, Wishbone and Charlie experience the joys of good company, while uplifting one another. The story of Wishbone is a small piece of Charlie’s journey in her growth, yet the family and friends in her Colby community teach her that a loving home is not a distant dream. ‘Wish’ by Barbara O’ Connor is a Middle Grade children’s book (appropriate for children ages 8-12), so if you’re seeking a story for children about community, strength through struggles, and loving animals, then this book is for you. It was a very endearing read!
The first weekend of June brought some unexpected stress, some cuteness, and some welcomed reading!
The stressful part was due to wedding planning. I’m getting married in August, and communicating with family members (especially ones in the wedding party) can be a challenge. I picked up one of the items I needed for the big day though, so that alleviated some aggravation!
I relieved some of the stress by attending the Buffalo Watch in Readington, NJ. There was a hayride to view the bison and calves, and some baby goats. I got to hold one of these goats yesterday. He was 3-4 weeks old!
My reading for the first week of June consists of two stories that aren’t on my TBR list (of course)! One is an eARC, and the other is an adorable library read.
The first book is called ‘Time After Time’ by Lisa Grunwald. It’s set in New York City in the 1930, in Grand Central Terminal. It follows the lives of Joe and Nora. A love story of sorts, following their paths once a year. It’s quite interesting how the author lays out the inner society Grand Central Terminal contains. I received this eARC through NetGalley. This book will come out on June 11, so I’ll make sure to have my review ready. I really love what I’ve read so far!
I’m also reading an endearing story called ‘Wish’ by Barbara O’Connor. ‘Wish’ is a Children’s story (Middle Grade), following the life of Charlie. She is 11 years old, sent to live with her Aunt Bertha and uncle Gus in Colby, North Carolina. Charlie’s home life is unstable (her father currently in jail, while her mother is unfit to raise her two daughters on her own). Charlie feels very displeased and resentful about being displaced from her home, yet her aunt and uncle, and other kindred spirits, teach Charlie toward the virtue of patience. From what I’ve read so far, it’s a very uphill struggle!
That’s all for now, but I’ll be back in a couple days with my progress. Happy reading!
I read ‘The Gilded Wolves’ as part of May’s Asian Readathon. After completing this book, I sat with it for quite a bit. There was so much thought-provoking content with regards to the world building and cultural context in 19th century Europe, so I want to make sure my words came through clearly.
‘The Gilded Wolves’ by Roshani Chokshi takes place in Paris in the year 1889. It is a world influenced by magic, its rules heavily monitored through the Order of Babel. Four Houses (groups) exist within France, with one group rendered into inactivity. The story begins with a theft, a powerful House leader left without her treasured piece of jewelry. It is up to Severin, a wealthy hotel atelier, to gather his group of close companions to regain this treasure. Severin was once guaranteed his inheritance into the inactive House Vanth, and his work in regaining this piece will guarantee his lineage.
One thing that I really appreciated from reading ‘The Gilded Wolves’ was that all of the main characters reflected different regions of the world. Chokshi painted a lovely picture of the supporting characters, each representing a different region of the world. She also describes the discrimination each character faced in their path to success One member faced hardship due to racism, while another battled her struggles in social settings. Although it wasn’t stated, her condition was strikingly similar to one living with autism. It was refreshing to see a character represented in such a positive way.
The world building was very extensive in ‘The Gilded Wolves’, and this was contributed towards the magical system. Everything was ruled under Forgery (solid and liquid objects manipulated into the creator’s liking), and Chokshi illustrates both the positive uses of Forgery, and implementing it to break a person’s will (I still cringe when thinking about the Phoebus Helmet!). While these guidelines were many, I loved learning about this magical system, and how it relates to the Houses working in harmony.
‘The Gilded Wolves’ was a very thought-provoking read, and it lead me to truly care about the characters as they went deeper into their adventure. It makes me curious as to what their next excursion will bring in the sequel!
For the month of June, I’m going to continue reading Asian themed novels. I received two new books as I was taking on the Asian , and just never got to them in time! My reading pace is just THAT slow, lol!
These are the books I’m planning on reading during June. I may add on as the month progresses:
Synopsis: People lived because she killed. People died because he lived.
is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed
forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death,
assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the
sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would
be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish
him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the
kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.
Synopsis: Drawn by a fascination with Egypt’s rich history and culture, Peter Hessler moved with his wife and twin daughters to Cairo in 2011. He wanted to learn Arabic, explore Cairo’s neighborhoods, and visit the legendary archaeological digs of Upper Egypt. After his years of covering China for The New Yorker, friends warned him Egypt would be a much quieter place. But not long before he arrived, the Egyptian Arab Spring had begun, and now the country was in chaos.
In the midst of the revolution, Hessler often traveled to digs at Amarna and Abydos, where locals live beside the tombs of kings and courtiers, a landscape that they call simply al-Madfuna “the Buried.” He and his wife set out to master Arabic, striking up a friendship with their instructor, a cynical political sophisticate. They also befriended Peter’s translator, a gay man struggling to find happiness in Egypt’s homophobic culture. A different kind of friendship was formed with the neighborhood garbage collector, an illiterate but highly perceptive man named Sayyid, whose access to the trash of Cairo would be its own kind of archaeological excavation. Hessler also met a family of Chinese small-business owners in the lingerie trade; their view of the country proved a bracing counterpoint to the West’s conventional wisdom.
Synopsis: In their remote mountain village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. For the Akha people, ensconced in ritual and routine, life goes on as it has for generations—until a stranger appears at the village gate in a jeep, the first automobile any of the villagers has ever seen.
The stranger’s arrival marks the first entrance of the modern world in the lives of the Akha people. Slowly, Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, begins to reject the customs that shaped her early life. When she has a baby out of wedlock—conceived with a man her parents consider a bad match—she rejects the tradition that would compel her to give the child over to be killed, and instead leaves her, wrapped in a blanket with a tea cake tucked in its folds, near an orphanage in a nearby city.
As Li-yan comes into herself, leaving her insular village for an education, a business, and city life, her daughter, Haley, is raised in California by loving adoptive parents. Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins, and across the ocean Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. Over the course of years, each searches for meaning in the study of Pu’er, the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for centuries.
What better way to enjoy the care-free beach days and long, relaxing nights than curling up with a favorite book! Here are some new titles coming your way for the month of June.
The following descriptions are from Simonandschuster.com:
Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.
Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.
But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?
Dr. Robert Hart, Sag Harbor’s just-named Man of the Year, is the envy of his friends and neighbors. His medical practice is thriving. He has a beautiful old house and a beautiful new wife and a beautiful boat docked in the village marina. Even his wayward son, Jonah, is back on track, doing well at school, finally worthy of his father’s attentions. So when Jonah’s troubled college roommate, Nick, needs a place to stay for the summer, Hart and his wife generously offer him their guest house. A win-win: Jonah will have someone to hang with, and his father can bask in the warm glow of his own generosity.
But when he begins to notice his new houseguest getting a little too close to his wife, the good doctor’s veneer begins to crack. All the little lies Robert tells—harmless falsehoods meant to protect everything he holds dear—begin to mount. Before long, he’s embroiled in a desperate downward spiral, destroying the lives that stand in his way. It’s only the women in his life—his devoted office manager, his friends, his wife—who can clearly see the truth.
Can Mimi undo the mayhem caused by her baking in this contemporary-fantasy retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
Mimi Mackson comes from a big Indian American family: Dad’s a renowned
food writer, Mom’s a successful businesswoman, and her three older
siblings all have their own respective accomplishments. It’s easy to
feel invisible in such an impressive family, but Mimi’s dream of proving
she’s not the least-talented member of her family seems possible when
she discovers a contest at the new bakery in town. Plus, it’ll start her
on the path to becoming a celebrity chef like her culinary idol, Puffy
But when Mimi’s dad returns from a business trip, he’s
mysteriously lost his highly honed sense of taste. Without his help,
Mimi will never be able to bake something impressive enough to propel
her to gastronomic fame.
Drawn into the woods behind her house by
a strangely familiar song, Mimi meets Vik, a boy who brings her to
parts of the forest she’s never seen. Who knew there were banyan trees
and wild boars in Massachusetts? Together they discover exotic
ingredients and bake them into delectable and enchanting treats.
But as her dad acts stranger every day, and her siblings’ romantic entanglements cause trouble in their town, Mimi begins to wonder whether the ingredients she and Vik found are somehow the cause of it all. She needs to use her skills, deductive and epicurean, to uncover what’s happened. In the process, she learns that in life, as in baking, not everything is sweet. . . .
The following titles are from penguinrandomhouse.com
Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.
In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves – and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.
Now eighty-nine years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life – and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. “At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time,” she muses. “After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.” Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.
The end of Silence was supposed to create a better world for future
generations. But trust is broken, and the alliance between Psy,
Changeling, and human is thin. The problems that led to Silence are back
in full force. Because Silence fixed nothing, just hid the problems.
This time, the Psy have to find a real answer to their problems–if one exists. Or their race will soon go extinct in a cascade of violence. The answer begins with an empath who is attuned to monsters–and who is going to charm a wolf into loving her despite his own demons.
Brooklyn middle-schooler MaKayla can only
think about one thing–taking her double Dutch team all the way to the
National Jump-off at Madison Square Garden. That is, until her mother
breaks the news. Kayla has to spend the summer at her aunt’s house in
North Carolina while her parents work out their problems . . . or decide
to call it quits.
Kayla does not feel at home in the South, and
she certainly doesn’t get along with her snooty cousin Sally. It looks
like her Jump-off dreams are over.
Hold the phone! Turns out, double Dutch is huge
in the South. She and Sally just need to find two more kids for a team.
And a routine. And the confidence to stand up to the double Dutch divas
who used to be Sally’s BFFs. Time to show those Southern belles some
I know, I’m about a week late in posting my OwlCrate, but I’m so glad it’s here! It did not arrive late, my crazy schedule just has me exhausted, and this month has been pretty busy for me! I’m happy to show you all my OwlCrate items for May!
Receiving ‘We Hunt the Flame’ was a pleasant surprise, since I pre-ordered a copy of Faizal’s debut novel last month. So I ow have two copies of her debut novel! This is a wonderful addition to my list for Asian Readathon, as it will be the novel I will take on as May comes to a close. I’m very much looking forward to diving in!