Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tournament of Books 2018

Morning News Tournament of Books
Rooster Award for best fiction
14th edition
sponsored by Field Notes and Powell's
details | daily -not yet available

Each weekday in March, starting March 7, 2018, two of the books below will be read and considered by one of our judges (also listed below). One book from the “match” will be chosen to advance, with the judge required to explain in detail how he or she came to their decision. Then the judge’s decision is evaluated first by our official commentators, then by you, the Rooster fan, wherein you politely and respectfully describe how your heart was broken and your mind inflamed by such erroneous arrogance. And the next day we do it all over again.

I am always excited to see the announcement of the shortlist for this annual tournament. So far, I read one last year and some are already in my tbr pile. Per usual, I plan to read as many as I can before the March event.

The Shortlist:

The Animators
by Kayla Rae Whitaker
-Contemporary, Art, Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

The Book of Joan
by Lidia Yuknavitch
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Dear Cyborgs
by Eugene Lim
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

The End of Eddy
by Édouard Louis
- LGBTQ, France
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Exit West
by Mohsin Hamid
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: 4

Fever Dream
by Samanta Schweblin
-Horror, Thriller
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Goodbye, Vitamin
by Rachel Khong
-Humor, Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

by Emily Ruskovich
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

The Idiot
by Elif Batuman
-Historical, Coming of Age, Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Lincoln in the Bardo
by George Saunders
-Literary, Historical
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Lucky Boy
by Shanthi Sekaran
-Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Manhattan Beach
by Jennifer Egan
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

by Min Jin Lee
-Historical, Japan, Korea
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Savage Theories
by Pola Oloixarac
-Humor, Spain
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Sing, Unburied, Sing
by Jesmyn Ward
-Literary, African American
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

So Much Blue
by Percival Everett
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Stephen Florida
by Gabe Habash
-Literary, Coming of Age, Sports (wrestling)
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

White Tears
by Hari Kunzru
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

And the winner is…

revealed in April

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

The Last Mrs. Parrish
by Liv Constantine

Find out more about this book and author:
Facebook | Instagram
Pinterest | Twitter

Published: 2017
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Hardback: 400
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
Amber Patterson was tired of being invisible.

Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

My two-bits:

With unlikable characters this is a doozy of a story. It is one of those in-for-a-wild-ride thrillers that kept me hooked to the end.

It gets you thinking of what women want. And, why. And, really?


* part of Reese Witherspoon's Book Club (here)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Whitefly by Abdelilah Hamdouchi

by Abdelilah Hamdouchi

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2016
Publisher: Hoopoe Fiction
Genre: Mystery, Africa, Middle East, Morocco
Paperback: 144
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
The rain let up around three o'clock.

The traffickers. The drug dealers. The smugglers.

They know what it takes to get a gun into Morocco, and so does Detective Laafrit.

When a fourth corpse in three days washes up in Tangier with a bullet in the chest, Laafrit knows this isn't just another 'illegal' who didn't make it to the Spanish coast.

As his team hunts for the murder weapon, Laafrit follows a hunch and reveals the killer at the heart of an international conspiracy.

A fast-paced crime thriller from the Arab west.

My two-bits:

This was a quick mystery read that introduced a relationship between Morocco and Spain. Got a sampling of the underworld via detectives.


* part of Books, Inc. Foreign Intrigue Book Club (here)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Happy Release: Comfort Food by Julia Chen

Comfort Food
by Julia Chen
-Food, Recipes
Release date: February 13, 2018

There's nothing quite like Comfort Food to put a smile on your face and a feeling of contentment in your stomach.

Chef Julia Chen is passionate about feeding people; from the students in her university kitchen to guests and family at home.

From recipes that are as simple as a sandwich to as technical as a fruit cake, she knows the importance of creating delicious meals that are full of flavour and which always have budget in mind.

Her recipes include easy to make classics and mouth-watering family favourites, using easy to find products that are fresh and economical.

Fun, fast, indulgent and nurturing, there's a time and a place for Comfort Food in every kitchen.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

by Nidhi Chanani

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2017
Publisher: First Second
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Paperback: 176
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
Priyanka! Watch out for that tree!

Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions―the topic of India is permanently closed.

For Pri, her mother's homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she’s ever dared and find the family she never knew.

In this heartwarming graphic novel debut, Nidhi Chanani weaves a tale about the hardship and self-discovery that is born from juggling two cultures and two worlds.


My two-bits:

Loved this adventure that is told in mostly black/grey tinge and vibrant color panels when "traveling" via pashmina.

Themes covered include family history and relationships as well as and travel to India.


A Junior Library Guild Selection 2017
Amazon Top Twenty Children’s Book of the Year 2017
Amazon Best Book of the month December 2017
Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017
Texas Maverick Graphic Novel 2017
Northern California Indie Bookseller Association Long-List Title

Lovely Books and Things - 1.13.18

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)


Instead of a new year's resolution, I decided to join in on the phenomenon of choosing One Word for this year --> FOCUS.

After putting all the holiday decorations away, I got into rearranging furniture and clearing up clutter. This got me inspired to create a cozy reading corner in the dining room. The cat seems to like it too as he takes over when I am not occupying the seat.

Current happy things:

1. Rosca de Reyes with a cup of creamy coffee - went to the Mission district to hunt a small one down for twelfth night. I was successful at the third bakery.

2. Radio Atlantic and The Atlantic Interview podcasts (details) - I started listening to these weekly stories last year and enjoy getting a bit of news from it. They are part of The Atlantic magazine.

3. Reading corner



Braving the Wilderness:
The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
by Brené Brown
Amazon | Goodreads

REESE Witherspoon's book club January pick. This is one I would not normally gravitate towards. It will be interesting to see how I like it.

Author event:

Book Passage, Corte Madera hosted a conversation and Q&A between authors Karen Joy Fowler and Chloe Benjamin on the release of The Immortalists. Part of Chloe's research was learning a lot about magic.

The Immortalists
by Chloe Benjamin
-Literary, Magical Realism
Amazon | Goodreads

For Review:

After We Fall
by Melanie Harlow
-New Adult, Romance
courtesy of Romance Read-of-the-Month Club -Thanks!
Amazon | Goodreads


Calendar Girl
by Audrey Carlan
January - Goodreads | February - Goodreads | March - Goodreads

SET of three stories in this one.

OTHER things (kinda book-related):

Bout of Books 21
hosted by Bout of Books
January 8 to January 14, 2018 (details)

PARTICIPATING in this as it a short term challenge that looks like fun. Go check out my Jane Austen inspired book spine poetry ;-)

AND binge watched: on viki

Legendary: (2018)
Making of a K-pop Star
Stars: Alex Christine, JRE
-Kpop, Competition, South Korea | viki | my rating: 4

Her mad dance skills shot her straight to the top of the dance competition of “Rising Legends: Season 2,” a K-pop audition show sponsored by Soompi and Cube Entertainment. Now Alex Christine is on her way to Seoul, South Korea, to begin her journey to find K-pop fame.

“LEGENDARY: Making of a K-Pop Star” is a Viki Original series that follows Alex Christine as she travels from her hometown in Oklahoma to Seoul, South Korea, to experience the K-pop star treatment for the first time. You’ll be able accompany her on a complete tour of Cube Entertainment, watch her official audition for the agency, see her practice and record her debut song and dance choreography. Alex Christine also gets a complete makeover from the hottest Korean salon and participates in her first photo shoot with the Hallyu magazine “KWAVE.” Accompanying her on the experience of her life is JRE, a popular YouTube K-pop fan.

The special series will culminate with Alex Christine shooting the official music video and debuting her first single “Strike It Up”! Don’t miss a minute of this exciting series and learn all the behind-the-scenes events that lead to the debut of a new K-pop star! Making special guest appearances are such influential people as “Produce 101” stars Jang Moon Bok and Seong Hyun Woo, f(x)'s Amber, The Ark's Euna Kim, 24K's Cory, UP10TION, and the international taekwondo demo team K-Tigers.

FUN to see this transformation. But, really wanted to see this for one of my fave YouTuber, JRE.

AND binge watched: on AmazonPrime

Good Girls Revolt (2015)
tv series, season one
Creator: Dana Calvo
Stars: Genevieve Angelson, Anna Camp, Erin Darke
-Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

A look at the personal and professional lives of employees at an American news magazine in the late 1960s.

PICKS up where the Mad Men tv series leaves but with a mainly female oriented perspective. Not too crazy about the fashion in this time period. But the groovy vibe is present.

AND watched: in theatre

The Shape of Water (2017)
Director/Writer/Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro
Screenplay: Vanessa Taylor
Stars: Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Shannon
-Adventure, Drama, Fantasy | imdb | my rating: 5

In a 1960s research facility, Elisa, a mute janitor, forms a relationship with a mysterious aquatic creature.

BEAUTIFUL horror love story with a sexy beast ;-)


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently


Friday, January 12, 2018

All the Tomorrows by Nillu Nasser

All the Tomorrows
by Nillu Nasser

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: November 6, 2017
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Genre: Literary, Women's Fiction, Marriage, India
Rating: 4

Zombie sighting:
His hands rose, zombie-like towards her, as if he couldn't resist touching her.
-chapter 35

First sentence(s):
The sun hung like a molten pendant on the horizon as Akash rolled away from his sleeping wife.

Sometimes we can't escape the webs we are born into. Sometimes we are the architects of our own fall.

Akash Choudry wants a love for all time, not an arranged marriage. Still, under the weight of parental hopes, he agrees to one. He and Jaya marry in a cloud of colour and spice in Bombay. Their marriage has barely begun when Akash embarks on an affair.

Jaya can't contemplate sharing her husband with another woman, or looking past his indiscretions as her mother suggests. Cornered by sexual politics, she takes her fate into her own hands in the form of a lit match.

Nothing endures fire. As shards of their past threaten their future, will Jaya ever bloom into the woman she can be, and will redemption be within Akash's reach?

My two-bits:

This story sweeps you up into an Indian family drama with a melancholy tinge. It was interesting to learn about various ways of life in Bombay especially in regards to street living.


* review copy courtesy of author

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Our Shared Shelf 2018

Our Shared Shelf
aka Emma Watson Book Club
Details | Goodreads



Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race
by Reni Eddo-Lodge
-Feminism, Race, Politics
Amazon | Goodreads

March/April: tba

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Happy Release: The Snow Job: The Great Game by Jenni Ferchenko

The Snow Job:
The Great Game
by Jenni Ferchenko
-Contemporary, Russia
Release date: February 1, 2018

When young associate Katya Kuznetsova loses her job at Lehman Brothers in London, she takes up a new investment banking role in Moscow, Russia. Determined to succeed, Katya finds herself trapped by her lifestyle.

At the same time she tries to prove her self-worth but subconsciously engages in self-punishment, including ever more destructive sex, alcohol and drug abuse.

Eventually, things get out of control, leading to the dreadful consequences Katya is trying to fix, humiltating herself and losing everything she owns; but she finds something, which was always there, she just couldn't see it, something priceless...

Monday, January 8, 2018

Bout of Books 21

Bout of Books 21
hosted by Bout of Books
January 8 to January 14, 2018
signup | details | daily
#boutofbooks @boutofbooks

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 21 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

TBR pile: updated 1/13; 9am

by Nidhi Chanani
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

All the Tomorrows
by Nillu Nasser
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

The Last Mrs. Parrish
by Liv Constantine
Amazon | Goodreads | my review



Monday 1/8
Introduce yourself

adventurous, curious, whimsical, book loving soul

Tuesday 1/9
Share your 2018 reading goal(s)
#boutofbooks #2018goals

1. read a book a week
2. stay on track with Reese Witherspoon's book club
3. visit a new (to me) bookstore once a month

Wednesday 1/10
Book spine rainbow

Thursday 1/11

Friday 1/12
Newspaper headlines

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Baby daddies, #Timesup

Saturday 1/13
Book spine poetry

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend
(but encountered)
Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict
(oh, whoa is me)
Lies Jane Austen Told Me
(about him)
Me and Mr. Darcy
The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy
(so I, in pursuit)
Seducing Mr. Darcy
(had I known)
Mr. Darcy's Obsession
(his heart was for another)
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart

* yes? is from Cozy Classics: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Sunday 1/14
Leave a book review

SEE links with above books for reviews.


* found out about this challenge from fellow blogger, the bookworm

Reese's Book Club 2018

Reese's Book Club

I have been enjoying Reese Witherspoon's Book Club posts on instagram since last July and finally decided to join. Below is the book list of selections since July which I will catch up on this year.


Loved this list of reading goals and plan to take it on for mine.


Braving the Wilderness:
The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
by Brené Brown
Amazon | Goodreads


The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Amazon | Goodreads | my review

This is the Story of a Marriage by Ann Patchett

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu