February 9, 2019: ‘The Oyster Thief’ by Sonia Faruqi/A Review


‘The Oyster Thief’ is Sonia Faruqi’s debut novel concerning the value of marine life, and what could happen if huge corporations violate precious underwater commodities. It’s a story spoken through two main characters. Coralline, a young mermaid living in the underwater world of Meristem, who is engaged to be married. Izar Eridan is the son of Antares, head of Ocean Dominion, a corporation that seeks to destroy the ocean’s beloved coral reefs and precious marine life. Coralline has passions in life, yet feels bound to rules and restrictions within her controlling mother. This pull toward normalcy is disrupted as a tragic oil spill, triggered from one of Izar’s ships, wreaks havoc in Coralline’s world, sickening her younger brother Naiadium. She then goes on an adventure to seek out a legendary elixir to heal him.

Izar, meanwhile, discovers suspicious events leading up to the oil spill disaster. These events seem to lead to the answers of his personal origins. His journey leads to a shocking revelation, yet he abruptly awakens in the ocean as a merman, suffering what he feels is a vicious attack. He then runs into Coralline, and he learns about her quest for the legendary elixir. He then joins Coralline to claim the cure (secretly for himself) in order to restore his human nature.

I deeply enjoyed reading The Oyster Thief. The character development with Coralline was quite significant. She grows from a woman who fears breaking rules due to the opinions of many into a strong person who ventures out to claim what is rightfully hers. She endures quite a change in character, as great obstacles get thrown into her path. Izar goes through quite a change in character himself, as his mindset as a big corporate conglomerate shifts dramatically as his mindset of the underwater world shifts dramatically due to Coralline sharing with him the ways of ocean life.
I also enjoyed reading about the underwater would of Meristem. Sonia Faruqi beautifully wrote about an ocean world that co-existed beautifully with the land of Menkar. Since there were two parallel perspectives throughout the novel, we have a dual viewpoint of Coralline’s life of these ocean communities, and Izar’s life above ground and his ocean ‘quests’.

It was also quite lovely to read about the relationship between Coralline and Izar. Their origin stories were destined for their paths to never cross: Izar was raised to run Ocean Dominion; and Coralline, a mermaid, represents everything that Izar stands against. It takes Izar’s transformation as a merman, combing the waters with Coralline and her muses (known as bonded sea animals), that opens Izar’s mind to the beauty of ocean life and its inhabitants. As the book progresses, their friendship deepens, creating a love triangle that sends both Coralline and Izar into their own personal conflicts. I will say that the third part of this novel was filled with many emotional scenes, as Coralline and Izar’s quests lead to their dramatic conclusions.

Sonia Faruqi wrote a very captivating debut novel, and I look forward to reading more tales from her in the future.

(5/5 stars)

Trigger warning: ‘The Oyster Thief’ contains a scene describing sexual assault.

Professional Reader

‘House of Salt and Sorrows’ by Erin A. Craig/A Review

‘House of Salt and Sorrows’ by Erin A. Craig is an adaptation of the Grimm’s Fairy Tale ‘The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces’ (also known as ‘The 12 Dancing Princesses’). This story is due for release on August 6, 2019. I received an ARC of this novel through Net Galley, and the synopsis intrigued me: a wealthy Duke enduring the mysterious loss of a daughter year after year. I never read the fairy tale before taking on this story, but I decided to read the story based on the paranormal aspect.

‘House of Salt of Sorrows’ is set in Salann, an island territory in the world of Arcannia. Each territory follows its own deity based on the climate of the area (the residents of Salann worship Pontus, a god akin to Poseidon. The story follows the perspective of Annaleigh, who is now second in line to her father’s inheritance, due to the eldest daughters suffering tragic, unexplainable deaths. Annaleigh sets out to solve the mystery of her sisters’ deaths, and encounters disturbing elements of paranormal occurrences along the way. Her youngest sister endures quite descriptive images of paranormal activity, yet Annaleigh doesn’t acknowledge these signs until she is in the throes of her journey. She finds herself racing to discover the origin of her family’s dilemma before any further losses take place.

I loved how descriptive the death and violence were in the book. I enjoy reading books with tragic elements, and I was pleasantly surprised that I read this inside a YA novel. I love a good tale with mystery and paranormal elements.

‘House of Salt and Sorrows’ is a very good story, and I am thankful to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for giving me an eARC!

Professional Reader

New Book Releases in February 2019

I always found February to be a very special month: my birthday and my anniversary both fall around this time. New book releases make February extra special for me!

Here are some titles coming out next month:

The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons #1) by Jenn Lyons
Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn’t what the storybooks promised. Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins. Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin is not destined to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it.
(February 5, Tor Books)

  Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel—gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé. During the summer of 1950, Forugh’s passion for poetry takes flight—and tradition seeks to clip her wings.
(February 5, Penguin Random House)

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

  American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant, but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out, she’s overlooked for every high-profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Sankara is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent.

(February 12, Random House)

January 28, 2019: My February TBR List

Here are the stories I plan on reading for the month of February:

See the source image
  • The Oyster Thief by Sonia Faruqi – I intended to read The Oyster Thief this month, yet I needed to wait for my local library to carry the selection. Now that I received word that it’s present, I can finally go through it and see what it’s all about!
See the source image
  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo – This is the third novel in the Grisha series. Alina’s journey against the Darkling comes to a conclusion.
  • Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay – This novel is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. I received this ARC from NetGalley.

Professional Reader

My First NetGalley ARC

Yesterday I began reading my first book from NetGalley, House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. The story follows a young woman named Annaleigh, who attempts to uncover the reason why her sisters are dying one after the other. I’m about a quarter of the way into the book, and I enjoy the amount of paranormal scenes that are in this book. I’m looking forward to reading more and see what direction this story takes.

NetGalley provides reviewers ARC’s (Advanced Reader’s Copies) in eReader format only. This does not bother me, since I enjoy reading books in both physical and digital forms. Since I’m waiting for a copy of The Oyster Thief to become available in the library, I enjoy this NetGalley selection to keep me busy.

Professional Reader

Currently Reading Book Tag

I came across this book tag through BookHookedNook‘s page. It looked like a fun tag to complete!

How many books do you usually read at once?
Just one book at a time for now. My current work schedule is too hectic for more than one!

Do you ever switch bookmarks when you’re partway through a book?
No, I stick to the same one.

Where do you keep the book(s) you are currently reading?
On the desk, and in my purse when I head to work.

What time of day do you spend the most time reading?
I read during the evening. Once in a while I read during my break at work, if there’s time.

How long do you typically read in one sitting?
It depends, between 1-2 hours.

What position do you mainly use to read?
Sitting at my desk, or in bed.

Do you take the book you are reading everywhere you go?
During the week, sure!

How often do you update your Goodreads progress on the book you’re currently reading?
I update my progress once a day.

Have a good evening everyone! I’m off to read some Siege and Storm!

My TBR list for January

Now that 2019 is underway, I want to share my TBR list for the remainder of January. While I know that half of the month is now gone, I would still love to share what I want to take on after I finish ‘Shadow and Bone’. Since it appears that we’re going to be snowed in this weekend, I’ll have plenty of time to enjoy my books!

I only have two books listed in my TBR pile for this month:

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo 

This is book #2 in the Grisha trilogy. Since these books are going to be adapted into a series on Netflix, I wanted to read the books to have an idea of what the characters were all about. From what I understand, only the first book of the trilogy is going to be adapted, but I still want to read all three books anyway.

  The Oyster Thief by Sonia Faruqi 

‘The Oyster Thief’ is an underwater tale that centers around a valuable ocean ecosystem. I placed a request for this book at my local library earlier this month, as they didn’t have the novel available. I’m looking forward to receiving the notification that the Faruqi’s book is finally in.

Professional Reader

Reading ‘Shadow and Bone’ by Leigh Bardugo

I began reading ‘Shadow and Bone’ by Leigh Bardugo over the weekend. I’ve been hearing all about this story and ‘Six of Crows’ being picked up for a Netflix series, and so many people have been expressing their excitement over this news. Since I have yet to read Bardugo’s Grishaverse series, I decided to pick up Shadow and Bone at the library.

I’m about a quarter of the way in, and so far I’m liking what I’m reading. I enjoy the ‘magical training school’ plot line…along the lines of Harry Potter, yet the trainees are older. The main character is certainly enduring a life altering experience. I hope to get in more reading by the end of the evening. My work schedule complicates things!

‘City of Ghosts’ by Victoria Schwab/A Review

‘City of Ghosts’ by Victoria Schwab is a paranormal tale with adventure, told through the eyes of a girl blessed with the gift of communicating with spirits. This story follows Cassidy Blake, an 12 year old girl with the gift of crossing over to the world of the dead, called the Veil. She is able to travel to this world after a near death experience a year earlier. Cassidy travels to Edinburgh, Scotland with her parents, ‘paranormal experts’ in writing (yet they have little awareness of ghosts) who film a show called ‘The Inspecters’ based on their successful books on ghost phenomenon. As her parents venture into popular, ‘spooky’ tourist sites within Edinburgh, Cassidy embarks on her own adventure through the Veil with Jacob, her close friend (and ghost). It is through these excursions that Cassidy becomes enlightened about her gift, and discovers some shocking surprises along the way.

     ‘City of Ghosts’ is a Middle Grade novel, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. I do love reading paranormal stories, and this story pushed my interest.  I also appreciated the fact that this book felt like an ‘older’ book in many aspects. The scenes where Cassidy gets better attuned with venturing into the Veil pulled at my heartstrings. She holds a strong connection with the spirit world, and it was fulfilling to witness Cassidy’s journey as she discovers their strengths and weaknesses. This leads to a marked piece of advice from Lara, a girl Cassidy meets in Scotland (who holds a special gift of her own): ‘We’re meant to cross (the Veil), because we have a job to do on the other side’. It was also refreshing to see Cassidy have a genuine platonic relationship with Jacob, who serves as her loyal companion along her adventure through Scotland. Their paranormal discoveries in Edinburgh lead to the beginning of a deeper awareness in Cassidy’s gift.

     I hope to see more of Cassidy’s growth in her abilities as she travels to other destinations with her family. It will be interesting to see hers (and Jacob’s) character development as the months move forward in her journey.  

Rating: 4/5

January 8, 2019: Bookish Thoughts

I’m about halfway through ‘City of Ghosts’ by Victoria Schwab. It’s a pretty good story…although it’s a ‘middle grade’ novel, t has enough paranormal activity to keep me interested. I hope to be done reading it by this weekend.

I want to pick up ‘The Oyster Thief’ by Sonia Faruqi next. It’s not available at my local library, so I made a request for them to carry it. I should hear for them in a couple weeks. Hopefully they’ll carry it. I love frequenting my library.