Thursday, January 31, 2019

Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

Speak No Evil
by Uzodinma Iweala
narrated by Prentice Onayemi, Julia Whelan

Find out more about this book and author:
Goodreads
BookExcerpt

Published: 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Literary, LGBTQ
Hardback: 224
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
The snow starts to fall just before Ms. McConnell’s Global Literatures class.

A revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences.

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he’s a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer—an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders—and the one person who seems not to judge him.

When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.


My two-bits:

This was an unfortunate tale of the African American plight in America with a Nigerian perspective in regards to racism and sexuality. Although one has a feeling of what is coming in this story, the impact hits hard.

~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of the Tournament of Books 2019 (here)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Blog All About It: First


EAT: first visit to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Scrumptious.

I tried:

"Just Try It" croissant
House-made pastrami, pickled onions, pickled oranges, manchego cheese, pumpkin seeds, fennel seeds

Cruffin (croissant and muffin mashu-up)
Toffee Crunch Cream
A butter cream folded with crushed toffee.


READ: first library book to hook me into reading

Don't Call Me Katie Rose
by Lenora Mattingly Weber
-YA | Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5


READ: first book by Tommy Orange - and it's a hit!

There There
by Tommy Orange
-Literary
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5
Fierce, angry, funny, heartbreaking—Tommy Orange’s first novel is a wondrous and shattering portrait of an America few of us have ever seen, and it introduces a brilliant new author at the start of a major career. -Goodreads

~*~

* part of the Blog All About It Challenge (here)

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn

The Jane Austen Project
by Kathleen A. Flynn

Find out more about this book and author:
Goodreads
BookExcerpt
Website
Blog
Twitter

Published: 2017
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Jane Austen theme
Paperback: 384
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
What kind of maniac travels in time?

Perfect for fans of Jane Austen, this engrossing debut novel offers an unusual twist on the legacy of one of the world's most celebrated and beloved authors: two researchers from the future are sent back in time to meet Jane and recover a suspected unpublished novel.

London, 1815: Two travelers—Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane—arrive in a field in rural England, disheveled and weighed down with hidden money. Turned away at a nearby inn, they are forced to travel by coach all night to London. They are not what they seem, but rather colleagues who have come back in time from a technologically advanced future, posing as wealthy West Indies planters—a doctor and his spinster sister. While Rachel and Liam aren’t the first team from the future to “go back,” their mission is by far the most audacious: meet, befriend, and steal from Jane Austen herself.

Carefully selected and rigorously trained by The Royal Institute for Special Topics in Physics, disaster-relief doctor Rachel and actor-turned-scholar Liam have little in common besides the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in. Circumstances that call for Rachel to stifle her independent nature and let Liam take the lead as they infiltrate Austen’s circle via her favorite brother, Henry.

But diagnosing Jane’s fatal illness and obtaining an unpublished novel hinted at in her letters pose enough of a challenge without the continuous convolutions of living a lie. While her friendship with Jane deepens and her relationship with Liam grows complicated, Rachel fights to reconcile the woman she is with the proper lady nineteenth-century society expects her to be. As their portal to the future prepares to close, Rachel and Liam struggle with their directive to leave history intact and exactly as they found it…however heartbreaking that may prove.


My two-bits:

I found this to be a fun ride into the past with Jane Austen.

Different Jane Austen novel themes and interactions come into play as well as romance.

However, time travel has its consequences (which may not be so fun).

~*~

* part of Romanceopoly (here)

* part of Backlist Reader Challenge (here)

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 1.26.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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

~*~

HAPPY THINGS:

1. Library visits

2. Homemade carrot soup

3. Tarot cards with Mucha illustrations


~*~

Library: part of this year's Tournament of Books (here)

Call Me Zebra
by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
-Contemporary
Goodreads

The Dictionary of Animal Languages
by Heidi Sopinka
-Historical
Goodreads

The Golden State
by Lydia Kiesling
-Literary
Goodreads

The House of Broken Angels
by Luis Alberto Urrea
-Literary
Goodreads

The Parking Lot Attendant
by Nafkote Tamirat
-Literary, Africa
Goodreads

America Is Not the Heart
by Elaine Castillo
-Historical
Goodreads


AND watched: in theatre - nominated for the Oscar's 2019

Capernaum (2018)
Capharna├╝m (original title)
Director/screenplay: Nadine Labaki
Screenplay: Jihad Hojeily, Michelle Keserwany, Georges Khabbaz, Khaled Mouzanar
Stars: Zain Al Rafeea, Yordanos Shiferaw, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole
-Drama, Lebanon | imdb | my rating: 5

While serving a five-year sentence for a violent crime, a 12-year-old boy sues his parents for neglect.

LOVED this beautifully made film. The kids were wonderfully played and portrayed.

Shoplifters (2018)
Manbiki kazoku (original title)
Director/writer: Hirokazu Koreeda
Screenplay: Hirokazu Koreeda
Stars: Lily Franky, Sakura And├┤, Mayu Matsuoka
-Crime, Drama, Japan | imdb | my rating: 5

A family of small-time crooks take in a child they find outside in the cold.

LOVED this too! Life living on the fringe.

The Favourite (2018)
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writers: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
Stars: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz
-Biography, Comedy, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.

OH, the costumes, setting and quirkiness makes this an enjoyable one. The dance scene, ha!

~*~

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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

So Lucky by Nicola Griffith

So Lucky
by Nicola Griffith

Find out more about this book and author:
Goodreads
BookExcerpt
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Published: 2018
Publisher: FSG Originals
Genre: Literary, LGBTQ
Paperback: 180
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
It came for me in November, that loveliest of months in Atlanta: blue sky stinging with lemon sun, and squirrels screaming at each other over the pecans because they weren't fooled; they knew winter was coming.

So Lucky is the sharp, surprising new novel by Nicola Griffith―the profoundly personal and emphatically political story of a confident woman forced to confront an unnerving new reality when in the space of a single week her wife leaves her and she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Mara Tagarelli is, professionally, the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation; personally, she is a committed martial artist. But her life has turned inside out like a sock. She can’t rely on family, her body is letting her down, and friends and colleagues are turning away―they treat her like a victim. She needs to break that narrative: build her own community, learn new strengths, and fight. But what do you do when you find out that the story you’ve been told, the story you’ve told yourself, is not true? How can you fight if you can’t trust your body? Who can you rely on if those around you don’t have your best interests at heart, and the systems designed to help do more harm than good? Mara makes a decision and acts, but her actions unleash monsters aimed squarely at the heart of her new community.

This is fiction from the front lines, incandescent and urgent, a narrative juggernaut that rips through sentiment to expose the savagery of America’s treatment of the disabled and chronically ill. But So Lucky also blazes with hope and a ferocious love of self, of the life that becomes possible when we stop believing lies.


My two-bits:

An individual story of the struggles and fight with a disability. Somewhat sad but inspiring story.

~*~

* part of the Tournament of Books 2019 (here)

* part of Romanceopoly (here)


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 1.19.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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

~*~

HAPPY THINGS:

1. Internet connection at the new place ;-)

2. Staying home from work on a stormy day

3. Mushrooms - treat for the eyes and eats


~*~

Bought:

The Master Key
by Masako Togawa
translated by Simon Grove
-Mystery, Thriller, Japan | Goodreads

PART of my face-to-face mystery book club, Foreign Intrigue Book Club (here).


Freebie: from a nearby Little Free Library

Lady Cop Makes Trouble
(Kopp Sisters #2)
by Amy Sewart
-Historical, Mystery | Goodreads

DO I dare read this before reading the first in the series?


Library: part of this year's Tournament of Books (here)

A Terrible Country
by Keith Gessen
-Contemporary, Russia
Goodreads

The Mars Room
by Rachel Kushner
-Literary
Goodreads

Milkman
by Anna Burns
-Literary, Ireland
Goodreads

So Lucky
by Nicola Griffith
-Literary, Thriller, LGBTQ
Goodreads

Speak No Evil
by Uzodinma Iweala
-Literary, LGBTQ | Goodreads

Warlight
by Michael Ondaatje
-Literary, Historical, War
Goodreads

STARTED reading this and got sucked in!


~*~

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

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman

The Italian Teacher
by Tom Rachman
narrated by Sam Alexander

Find out more about this book and author:
Goodreads
BookExcerpt
Website
Facebook

Published: 2018
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Historical, Art, Italy
Hardback: 352
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
Seated in a copper bathtub, Bear Bavinsky dunks his head under steaming water and shakes out his beard, flinging droplets across the art studio.

Rome, 1955

The artists are gathering together for a photograph. In one of Rome's historic villas, a party is bright with near-genius, shaded by the socialite patrons of their art. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast, masculine, meaty canvases, is their god. Larger than life, muscular in both figure and opinion, he blazes at art criticism and burns half his paintings. He is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot.

From the side of the room watches little Pinch - their son. At five years old he loves Bear almost as much as he fears him. After Bear abandons their family, Pinch will still worship him, striving to live up to the Bavinsky name; while Natalie, a ceramicist, cannot hope to be more than a forgotten muse. Trying to burn brightly under his father's shadow - one of the twentieth century's fiercest and most controversial painters - Pinch's attempts flicker and die. Yet by the end of a career of twists and compromises, Pinch will enact an unexpected rebellion that will leave forever his mark upon the Bear Bavinsky legacy.

What makes an artist? In The Italian Teacher, Tom Rachman displays a nuanced understanding of twentieth-century art and its demons, vultures and chimeras. Moreover, in Pinch he achieves a portrait of painful vulnerability and realism: talent made irrelevant by personality. Stripped of egotism, authenticity or genius, Pinch forces us to face the deep held fear of a life lived in vain.


My two-bits:

This story got into the truth and consequences of the people involved in an artist's life.

It also tackles the questions of what makes an artist and what/who influences artist in a painful and truthful way.

~*~

* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of the Tournament of Books 2019 (here)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Tournament of Books 2019

Morning News Tournament of Books
Rooster Award for best fiction
15th edition
sponsored by Field Notes and Powell's
details | daily

Each weekday in March, starting March 6, 2019, 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.

That time of year 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:

Call Me Zebra
by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
-Contemporary
Goodreads | my review: DNF

Census
by Jesse Ball
-Literary, Dystopia
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 4

The Dictionary of Animal Languages
by Heidi Sopinka
-Historical
Goodreads | my review: DNF

The Golden State
by Lydia Kiesling
-Literary
Goodreads | my review: DNF

The House of Broken Angels
by Luis Alberto Urrea
-Literary
Goodreads | my review: DNF

The Italian Teacher
by Tom Rachman
-Historical, Art, Italy
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 4

The Mars Room
by Rachel Kushner
-Literary
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

Milkman
by Anna Burns
-Literary, Ireland
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

My Sister the Serial Killer
by Oyinkan Braithwaite
-Mystery, Thriller, Africa
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

The Overstory
by Richard Powers
-Literary, Environment
Goodreads | my review: DNF

The Parking Lot Attendant
by Nafkote Tamirat
-Literary, Africa
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

So Lucky
by Nicola Griffith
-Literary, LGBTQ
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 4

There There
by Tommy Orange
-Literary
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

Warlight
by Michael Ondaatje
-Literary, Historical, War
Goodreads | my review| my rating: 5

Washington Black
by Esi Edugyan
-Historical, Canada
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5


Play-in round books:

America Is Not the Heart
by Elaine Castillo
-Historical
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

Speak No Evil
by Uzodinma Iweala
-Literary, LGBTQ
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 4

A Terrible Country
by Keith Gessen
-Contemporary, Russia
Goodreads | my review | my rating: 5

~*~

WINNER: My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama

Six Four
by Hideo Yokoyama
translated by Jonathan Lloyd-Davies

Find out more about this book and author:
Goodreads
BookExcerpt

Published: 2017
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Japan
Hardback: 576
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
Snowflakes danced through the evening light.

Six Four. The nightmare no parent could endure. The case no detective could solve. The twist no listener could predict.

For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter's kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.

For the 14 years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police's apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as Six Four. They would never forgive the authorities their failure. For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case.

He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he'd known what he would find.


My two-bits:

Mystery was more on the inner workings and politics of the police station in which the main character works.

It was interesting to see how the Six Four case tied in and the connections of all the people involved.

~*~

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

* part of Backlist Reader Challenge (here)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Blog All About It 2019

Blog All About It 2019
Blogging Prompt Challenge
(details)
hosted by The Herd Presents
January to December 2019

Each month there's a different prompt that you can interpret as you'd like then create a blog post around it.

I like how this challenge is open to interpretation and flexible on timing.

The Prompts:

Jan- First: my post
Feb- Pink: my post
Mar- Luck: my post
April- Sweet: my post
May- Bloom: my post
June- Risk: my post -tba
July- Heat: my post -tba
Aug- Sky: my post -tba
Sept- Crunch: my post -tba
Oct- Shiver: my post -tba
Nov- Thankful: my post -tba
Dec- Twinkle: my post -tba

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 1.12.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

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

~*~

HAPPY THINGS:

1. Goodbye to the old and Hello to the new

2. Organizing the new apartment

3. Encountering rainbows


~*~

Library:

The Italian Teacher
by Tom Rachman
-Historical, Art, Italy | Goodreads


AND watched: on Netflix

To All The Boys I've Loved Before (2018)
Director: Susan Johnson
Screenplay: Sofia Alvarez
Based on book by: Jenny Han
Stars: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish
-Drama, Romance, YA | imdb | my rating: 5

A teenage girl's secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.

JUST as entertaining as the book version. The close-up footage style was done well.


AND watched: in theatre

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Anthony McCarten, Peter Morgan
Stars: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy
-Biography, Drama, Music | imdb | my rating: 5

The story of the legendary rock music band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid (1985).

GREAT performance by Rami in telling us part of Freddie's story.

Stan & Ollie (2018)
Director: Jon S. Baird
Writer: Jeff Pope
Stars: John C. Reilly, Steve Coogan
-Biography, Comedy, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

Laurel and Hardy, the world's most famous comedy duo, attempt to reignite their film careers as they embark on what becomes their swan song - a grueling theatre tour of post-war Britain.

WONDERFUL friendship story as well as historical bit on the Laurel and Hardy team.


AND watched: on DVD

Bitter Melon (2018)
Director/Writer: H.P. Mendoza
Stars: Jon Norman Schneider, Patrick Epino, Brian Rivera
-Comedy, Crime, Drama, Filipino American | imdb | my rating: 5

Bitter Melon is a "home for the holidays" dark comedy where a Filipino-American family plots to kill an abusive member.

DARK yet humorous piece on family dealings.


~*~

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

Thanks for stopping by :-)
 
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