Thursday, May 13, 2021

Where Is Your Bookmark? (Wormholes, Prince Charming with a Twist, Mystery/Thrillers by AAPI Authors on my TBR pile)

At the moment, my bookmark is in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarer #1) by Becky Chambers, which won my May TBR poll. Thank you again to all who voted! I have not made much progress in the novel, sadly, but that has more to do with lack of reading time than anything else. It has been one of those weeks when I would rather be reading, but work and other obligations (but mostly work) keep getting in the way. 



A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence of the book they are reading and say what they think. Hosted by the amazing Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.

As she woke up in the pod, she remembered three things. First, she was traveling through open space. Second, she was about to start a new job, one she could not screw up. Third, she had bribed a government official into giving her a new identity file. None of this information was new, but it wasn't pleasant to wake up to. [opening paragraph of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet]
My initial thoughts: I like that the author jumps right in with introducing the reader to Rosemary--and what a hook! Doesn't it make you immediately want to know why she is using a false identity? Who is she running from and why? These are questions I must have answered! 



A weekly meme in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading. Hosted by the wonderful Freda of Freda's Voice.



"Kizzy!"

Kizzy ducked her head down. She pressed the clicker strapped to her wrist, turning down the volume of the nearby thump box. "'Sup?"

Jenks quirked an eyebrow. "Do you have any idea what this song is?"

Kizzy blinked. "Socks Match My Hat," she said. She went back up into the ceiling, tightening something with her gloved hands.

"Soskh Matsh Mae'ha. It's banned in the Harmagian Protectorate." 

"We're not in the Harmagian Protectorate."

"Do you know what this song's about?"

"You know I don't speak Hanto."

"Banging the Harmagian royal family. In glorious detail."

"Ha! Oh, I like this song so much more now." [excerpt from page 56 of  The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet]

My initial thoughts: This is a bit longer of an excerpt than I usually share, but breaking it up just didn't seem right. Besides, I think it gives the reader a glimpse into Kizzy's character. I love Jenks and Kizzy, the ships engineers. (I also couldn't help but think of all those times I get song lyrics wrong--and those songs are in English so I have no excuse!)

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space-and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe-in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.
 [Goodreads Summary]

Does The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet sound like something you would like to read? Or perhaps you have read it--what did you think?  

Originally a feature called Last Year I Was Reading created by Maria from ReadingMaria
I liked it enough to continue on my own, but have tweaked it
 to feature Five Years Ago I Was Reading. 
(I would have gone back ten, but I read so little in 2011)

One of my favorite book blogging memes is the My TBR List poll, which is hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading, not only because sometimes I need that little push to help clear off some of the TBR books languishing on my shelves, but also because I enjoy getting you involved in helping me decide what that book should be. It seems fitting that the book I featured above is this month's May winner of the monthly poll, and the book I was reading this week five years ago was another May TBR List winner.

Five years ago I at this time I was reading Charming by Elliott James, the first in his Pax Arcana series, featuring John Charming, a modern day version of the Knights Templar fighting monsters. High in action, wit, and obviously charm, I really enjoyed Charming. I had a hard time putting this urban fantasy novel down. 

Have you read Charming? What were you reading five years ago today? 


Connect Five Friday is a weekly meme where readers share a list of five books, 
read or unread, or bookish things, that share a common theme. 
Hosted by the  Kathryn of of Book Date.

In celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month, I thought it would be fun to feature books by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander descent for the month.  Not all of these authors are American nor are their books all set in the U.S. Earlier in the week, I shared my thoughts on Arsenic and Adobo  (Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. Manansala, which features a Filipino-American heroine, and so today I thought I would list five mysteries/thrillers currently on my TBR shelves waiting to be read: 

Mimi Reads Between the Lines
 (A Sassy Cat Mystery #2) by Jennifer J. Chow
When a local teacher is found dead, LA’s newest pet groomer Mimi Lee finds herself in a pawful predicament—with her younger sister’s livelihood on the line.

Mimi Lee is on top of the world. She has a thriving pet grooming business, the sweetest boyfriend, and a talking cat to boot. When she arrives at the elementary school where her sister Alice works, she's expecting a fun girls' night out—but instead finds a teacher slumped over in her car, dead.

Alice was the last one to see Helen Reed, which instantly marks her as the prime suspect. Unable to sit quietly and let the authorities walk all over her sister, Mimi starts snooping and talks to Helen’s closest contacts, including one jumpy principal, a two-faced fiancé, and three sketchy teachers. With the help of her sassy but savvy cat, Marshmallow, and a cute kitten named Nimbus, the clock’s ticking for Mimi to get to the bottom of yet another case before her sister gets schooled.
[Goodreads Summary]

Murder in Old Bombay
by Nev March
In 1892, Bombay is the center of British India. Nearby, Captain Jim Agnihotri lies in Poona military hospital recovering from a skirmish on the wild northern frontier, with little to do but re-read the tales of his idol, Sherlock Holmes, and browse the daily papers. The case that catches Captain Jim's attention is being called the crime of the century: Two women fell from the busy university’s clock tower in broad daylight. Moved by Adi, the widower of one of the victims — his certainty that his wife and sister did not commit suicide — Captain Jim approaches the Parsee family and is hired to investigate what happened that terrible afternoon.

But in a land of divided loyalties, asking questions is dangerous. Captain Jim's investigation disturbs the shadows that seem to follow the Framji family and triggers an ominous chain of events. And when lively Lady Diana Framji joins the hunt for her sisters’ attackers, Captain Jim’s heart isn’t safe, either.

Based on a true story, and set against the vibrant backdrop of colonial India.
[Goodreads Summary]

Seven Years of Darkness
 by You-Jeong Jeong, translated by Chi-Young Kim
A chilling psychological thriller about how far some will go to maintain control--and exact revenge

When a young girl is found dead in Seryong Lake, a reservoir in a remote South Korean village, the police immediately begin their investigation. At the same time, three men--Yongje, the girl's father, and two security guards at the nearby dam, each of whom has something to hide about the night of her death--find themselves in an elaborate game of cat and mouse as they race to uncover what happened to her, without revealing their own closely guarded secrets.

After a final showdown at the dam results in a mass tragedy, one of the guards is convicted of murder and sent to prison. For seven years, his son, Sowon, lives in the shadow of his father's shocking and inexplicable crime; everywhere he goes, a seemingly concerted effort to reveal his identity as the reviled mass murderer's son follows him. When he receives a package that promises to reveal at last what really happened at Seryong Lake, Sowon must confront a present danger he never knew existed.

Dark, disturbing, and full of twists and turns,
Seven Years of Darkness is the riveting new novel from the internationally celebrated author of The Good Son. [Goodreads Summary]

Take It Back
(Zara Kaleel #1) by Kia Abdullah
A shocking, twisting courtroom thriller that keeps you guessing until the last page is turned.

The Victim: Jodie Wolfe, a physically flawed 16-year-old girl accuses four boys in her class of something unthinkable.

The Defendants: Four handsome teenagers from hard-working immigrant families, all with corroborating stories.

The Savior: Zara Kaleel, a former lawyer, one of London's brightest legal minds, takes on this case. She believes her client, even though those closest to her do not.

Together, they enter the most explosive criminal trial of the year, where the only thing that matters is justice for Jodie. But this time justice comes at a devastating cost.
[Goodreads Summary]

Death by Dumpling
 (A Noodle Shop Mystery #1) by Vivient Chien
Welcome to the Ho-Lee Noodle House, where the Chinese food is to die for. . .

The last place Lana Lee thought she would ever end up is back at her family’s restaurant. But after a brutal break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, she figures that a return to the Cleveland area to help wait tables is her best option for putting her life back together. Even if that means having to put up with her mother, who is dead-set on finding her a husband.

Lana’s love life soon becomes yesterday’s news once the restaurant’s property manager, Mr. Feng, turns up dead―after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee. But how could this have happened when everyone on staff knew about Mr. Feng’s severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy? Now, with the whole restaurant under suspicion for murder and the local media in a feeding frenzy―to say nothing of the gorgeous police detective who keeps turning up for take-out―it’s up to Lana to find out who is behind Feng’s killer order. . . before her own number is up.
[Goodreads Summary]
Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?

 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be sure and tell me what you are reading and are up to!

© 2021 Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Waiting to Read Wednesday: Death in Bloom / Talk Bookish To Me / History Is All You Left Me


The New
Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by the marvelous Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss upcoming release we are excited about that we have yet to read.


Death in Bloom
(A Flower House Mystery #1) by Jess Dylan

Release Date: May 25, 2021 by St. Martin's Press
The first in a sweet and colorful cozy mystery series from Jess Dylan, Death in Bloom introduces flower shop owner Sierra Ravenswood.

At the Flower House, every rose has its thorn . . .

Sierra Ravenswood is the new part-time employee of the Flower House, a flower shop in Aerieville, Tennessee. It's true she didn't expect to be back in her hometown at twenty-eight-years-old, but after her dream of making it as a singer in Nashville crashed and burned, she's just grateful to have found a soft place to land.

Because, after all, Sierra firmly believes in being optimistic and positive about life, so she's sure she won't have to work at the Flower House forever. But things take a decidedly negative turn when a customer drops dead in the middle of her new bouquet-arranging workshop at the store. When it's discovered he was poisoned by a snack at the event, everyone at the workshop, including Sierra, is on the suspect list. To make matters worse, her boss has gone AWOL and left the store to her for the cost of one dollar, leaving Sierra in charge of both his store and his high-energy Corgi puppy, Gus.

The town is on edge, and Sierra knows that murder is something that an upbeat attitude and a bouquet of sweet-smelling roses can't fix. She's determined to figure out whodunit, before anyone else in town meets an untimely reason for needing funeral flowers.
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: A new cozy mystery series to try! I love the flower shop setting--and a corgi! 


Talk Bookish to Me
by Kate Bromley

Release Date: May 25, 2021 by Graydon House
Inspiration can come from the most unlikely - and inconvenient - sources.

Kara Sullivan’s life is full of love - albeit fictional. As a best-selling romance novelist and influential Bookstagrammer, she’s fine with getting her happily-ever-after fix between the covers of a book.

But right now? Not only is Kara’s best friend getting married next week - which means big wedding stress - but the deadline for her next novel is looming, and she hasn’t written a single word. The last thing she needs is for her infuriating first love, Ryan Thompson, to suddenly appear in the wedding party. But Ryan’s unexpected arrival sparks a creative awakening in Kara that inspires the steamy historical romance she desperately needs to deliver.

With her wedding duties intensifying, her deadline getting closer by the second and her bills not paying themselves, Kara knows there’s only one way for her to finish her book and to give her characters the ever-after they deserve. But can she embrace the unlikely, ruggedly handsome muse—who pushes every one of her buttons—to save the wedding, her career and, just maybe, write her own happy ending?
[Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: I think the title and cover say it all, but the description doesn't hurt either. This sounds like a fun romance with a bookish theme.


Does either of these books interest you? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to reading?
 

The Old(er) 
I have an embarrassing number of unread books sitting on the shelves in my personal library. Carole of Carole's Random Life in Books has given me the perfect excuse to spotlight and discuss those neglected books in her Books from the Backlog feature. After all, even those older books need a bit of love! Not to mention it is reminding me what great books I have waiting for me under my own roof still to read!


History Is All You Left Me
by Adam Silvera
(Soho Teen, 2017)
OCD-afflicted Griffin has just lost his first love, Theo, in a drowning accident. In an attempt to hold onto every piece of the past, he forges a friendship with Theo's last boyfriend, Jackson. When Jackson begins to exhibit signs of guilt, Griffin suspects he's hiding something, and will stop at nothing to get to the truth about Theo's death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin's own version of the truth—both in terms of what he's willing to hide and what true love means. [Goodreads Summary]
Why I want to read this: History Is All You Left Me came in one of my LitBox subscriptions I received years ago, featuring authors of color. I have heard great things about Adam Silvera's work, and so was excited to receive this novel. I just need to read it now . . . 




Have you read History Is All You Left Me? Does this book sound like something you would like to read? 


© 2021, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Bookish Mewsings: Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala / The Arrangement by M. Ravenel

My name is Lila Macapagal and my life has become a rom-com cliché. ~ Opening of Arsenic and Adobo 

Arsenic and Adobo
 (Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. Manansala
Berkley, 2021
Crime Fiction/Cozy; 336 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala is one of my favorite cozy mysteries of the year. Lila Macapagal finds herself the prime suspect when an ex-boyfriend, a food critic, ends up dead after eating at her Tita Rosie's restaurant. The business had already been struggling, the landlord is ready to kick them out, and the dead man's cruel reviews had not helped any. Aided by her best friend and her nosy auntie network, Lia begins her own investigation into who would kill her ex and why. 

I am so happy to see more cozy mysteries being published that feature people of color these days, this one featuring a Filipino-American and her family. I took to Lila right away. She was betrayed by an ex-boyfriend (not the food critic) and has returned to her hometown recover. She is smart and funny, and makes a pretty good amateur sleuth. She grows as a character over the course of the novel, something I really appreciated. I also liked that the author did not shy away from touching on racism and living between two different cultures. Obviously given this is a cozy mystery, these issues are not explored in great depth due to the type of book this is, but it is enough and, I believe, necessary. The author fits them very naturally into the story being told. 

I enjoyed spending time with Lila, getting to know her friends and her aunties. She has a strong support network that obviously are very loyal to each other. The mystery itself was well-crafted, the characters and their relationships complex, and I loved the author's wit throughout. I look forward to reading more of this series in the future. 

Challenges Met: Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge & Spring COYER Challenge

*                        *                          *

I peered through the slats of the blinds covering the glass on my office door and watched the dark, brooding man in the hallway. ~ Opening of The Arrangement


The Arrangement (A Plainclothes Tootsie Mystery #1) by M. Ravenel
Chikara Press, 2021
Crime Fiction/Historical; 206 pgs
Source: From the author for an honest review

Even before the author offered her book for review, I knew I wanted to read it. Historical mysteries are among by favorites, add in a female detective in a male dominated field, and I was sold. The Arrangement is the first in M. Ravenel's A Plainclothes Tootsie Mystery series, set in 1975 New York City, and I can already say I am a big fan. In this first installment, Tootsie Carter takes on the job of finding a missing wife and soon finds herself drawn into the darker side of the boxing world, which includes murder, racketeering, and kidnapping.

Tootsie is a former police officer turned P.I., who wanted to do more than just work desk duty. She is more than capable of solving crimes and facing down criminals. She is not easily intimidated and is quite resourceful. I loved her sense of humor. And I could totally relate to her love for Tootsie Rolls (I still haven't tried a Tootsie Roll Milkshake, but I am dying to!).  

M. Ravenel does a good job of putting the reader right into the time and place of the setting. Both the character's and author's love for Dick Tracy were evident throughout the mystery, which added to the noir feel to the novel.  I really enjoyed reading The Arrangement, which was entertaining on many levels--from the characters to the mystery itself. I was not sure what direction the author was going to take me, but I was along for the ride every step of the way. I look forward to reading more books in the series. 


© 2021, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Weekly Mews: Happy Mother's Day & the Usual Update

I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer and The Sunday Salon (TSS) hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz  where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking It's Monday! What Are you Reading? hosted by Kathryn of Book Date where readers talk about what they have been, are and will be reading.



What I Am Reading: I am reading Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng, which I am quite enjoying. I am very invested in each of the characters' lives--Junie, Momo, Cassia and Dawn. Mouse and I started reading Cindy Callaghan's Just Add Magic this week. My daughter has seen the TV series multiple times now--we figured it was time to read the book.   

Earlier in the week I finished reading Black Water Sister by Zen Cho and Ashley Weaver's A Peculiar Combination (Electra McDonnell #1) by Ashley Weaver. Both were great reads.

Next up will likely be this week's TBR poll winner, which I look forward to reading. I am also considering picking up Happy Endings by Thien-Kim Lam.
 

What I Am Watching: My family and I are still working our way through the final season of Angel. We took a break a couple of nights from that to catch up on The Masked Singer and Assembled: The Making of the Falcon and the Winter Soldier. We have not watched much outside of that this week.

Off the Blog: It was a busy week both at work and on the home front with dance, Girl Scouts and musical theatre. On Thursday, Mouse and I took part in the kick off of the Girl Scout's Becoming Me program, which was inspired by Michelle Obama. Thousands of Girl Scouts from across the country and world logged on for the virtual event and were able to hear Michelle Obama speak. From friends and our own experience, we were all a little disappointed it was not more interactive, but given the scope of the event, I suppose we should not really be surprised. Just the same, Michelle was as inspiring as ever. I may have been a little more excited about the event going in than my daughter, but I think she enjoyed herself in the end. Friday was Mouse's regular Zoom Girl Scout troop meeting where the girls began working on a jewelry journey badge after finishing up a scribe one. Today (Saturday) is a full day of dance and rehearsals for Annie, plus a dance booster club meeting. Afterwards we are getting together with one of Mouse's dance friends and her parents for a backyard dinner and socially distanced (and masked) playdate. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and mother figures out there! My daughter and husband surprised me with flowers and a balloon yesterday, a little early present. I love them. I have no special plans for the day. I imagine it will be much like our usual Sunday--our one day of the week to really rest. I feel like we've all earned it!

My Mother's Day Flowers


Tell me what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? How was your week? Do you have anything planned for this next week?


Thank you for helping me decide what book from my TBR collection I should read next: 

My TBR List is hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st Saturday of every month, I will list 3 books I am considering reading and take a poll as to which you think I should read. I will read the winner that month. My review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise). 



Thank you to everyone who voted in May's TBR List Poll! It's always fun to see which book gets the most votes. I plan to read all three of these books at some point, but next up will be The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers. It won with 14 votes. Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim got 6 votes and The Map of Time (Trilogía Victoriana #1) by Félix J. Palma, translated by Nick Caistor. Thank you again for voting! 


I hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy Reading!

© 2021, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Where Is Your Bookmark? (Bookmarks / What I Was Reading Then and Now / TBR Love)




A weekly meme where readers share the first sentence of the book they are reading and say what they think. Hosted by the amazing Gillion Dumas of Rose City Reader.

The train that was delivering Junie to Trout River was just pulling out of the station and gathering speed, and already the compartment was filling up with cigarette smoke and the gregarious sound of sunflower seeds being cracked open. [opening of Swimming Back to Trout River]


A weekly meme in which readers share a random sentence or two from page 56 or 56% of the book they are reading. Hosted by the wonderful Freda of Freda's Voice.


She didn't need to look at the titles on the shelf to know which ones to take out. As she reached for them, she discreetly nudged a few backward so that they fell into the crevice between the bookshelf and the wall.

She put the small stack on a chair. 

The ringleader took a quick survey of the titles.

"Shred them," he said. [excerpt from 25% of Swimming Back to Trout River]

I am currently reading Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng and am about a third of the way in. The opening sentence gives us a glimpse of what the train ride was like for Junie as she traveled to Trout River, but it does not reveal much about the story, does it? While the opening takes place in 1981, the second excerpt takes us back to 1966 during China's Cultural Revolution to what was probably a common scene during that time period. As someone who values books and what they represent, I appreciate the character's small act of rebellion and can only imagine how she feels when she is told to destroy the books she does hand over.

A lyrical novel set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution that follows a father’s quest to reunite his family before his precocious daughter’s momentous birthday, which Garth Greenwell calls “one of the most beautiful debuts I’ve read in years.”

How many times in life can we start over without losing ourselves?

In the summer of 1986 in a small Chinese village, ten-year-old Junie receives a momentous letter from her parents, who had left for America years ago: her father promises to return home and collect her by her twelfth birthday. But Junie’s growing determination to stay put in the idyllic countryside with her beloved grandparents threatens to derail her family’s shared future.

What Junie doesn’t know is that her parents, Momo and Cassia, are newly estranged from one another in their adopted country, each holding close private tragedies and histories from the tumultuous years of their youth during China’s Cultural Revolution. While Momo grapples anew with his deferred musical ambitions and dreams for Junie’s future in America, Cassia finally begins to wrestle with a shocking act of brutality from years ago. In order for Momo to fulfill his promise, he must make one last desperate attempt to reunite all three members of the family before Junie’s birthday—even if it means bringing painful family secrets to light.

“A beautifully written, poignant exploration of family, art, culture, immigration, and most of all, love,” (Jean Kwok, 
New York Times bestselling author of Searching for Sylvie LeeSwimming Back to Trout River weaves together the stories of Junie, Momo, Cassia, and Dawn—a talented violinist from Momo’s past—while depicting their heartbreak and resilience, tenderly revealing the hope, compromises, and abiding ingenuity that make up the lives of immigrants. [Goodreads Summary]
Does Swimming Back to Trout River sound like something you would like? What are you reading right now?
Originally a feature called Last Year I Was Reading created by Maria from ReadingMaria
I liked it enough to continue on my own, but have tweaked it
 to feature Five Years Ago I Was Reading. 
(I would have gone back ten, but I read so little in 2011)

Five years ago this week I was finishing reading A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi. I have read several of the author's books and enjoyed each of them. This particular novel follows two very different women, a well off woman who wants desperately to have a baby of her own but is unable to stay pregnant, having had multiple miscarriages, and the Indian surrogate they hire through a clinic in India who is trying to make ends meet to support her family. The author doesn't shy away from exploring issues of economic disparity and questioning whether clinics like the House for Happy Mothers is exploitation. The author's attention to the cultural, social and economical differences and the emotional impact on both parties was right on target.


Have you read A House for Happy Mothers or another book by Amulya Malladi? What were you reading five years ago?


Connect Five Friday is a weekly meme where readers share a list of five books, 
read or unread, or bookish things, that share a common theme. 
Hosted by the  Kathryn of of Book Date.

In celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islander Month (AAPI), I thought it would be fun to feature books by authors of Asian descent for the month.  Not all of these authors are American nor are their books all set in the U.S. Here are five currently on my TBR shelves waiting to be read: 


The Mermaid from Jeju
 by Sumi Hahn
In the tradition of Yangsze Choo's Night Tiger and Min Jin Lee's Pachinko comes a magical saga that explores what it really means to love.

In the aftermath of World War II, Goh Junja is a girl just coming into her own. She is the latest successful deep sea diver in a family of strong haenyeo. Confident she is a woman now, Junja urges her mother to allow her to make the Goh family's annual trip to Mt. Halla, where they trade abalone and other sea delicacies for pork. Junja, a sea village girl, has never been to the mountains, where it smells like mushrooms and earth, and it is there she falls in love with a mountain boy Yang Suwol, who rescues her after a particularly harrowing journey. But when Junja returns one day later, it is just in time to see her mother take her last breath, beaten by the waves during a dive she was taking in Junja's place.

Spiraling in grief, Junja sees her younger siblings sent to live with their estranged father, Suwol is gone, the ghost of her mother haunts their home--from the meticulously tended herb garden that has now begun to sprout weeds, to the field where their bed sheets are beaten. She has only her grandmother and herself. But the world moves on without Junja.

The political climate is perilous. Still reeling from Japan's forced withdrawal from the peninsula, Korea is forced to accommodate the rapid establishment of US troops, and her grandmother, who lived through the Japanese invasion that led to Korea's occupation understands the signs of danger all too well. When Suwol is arrested for working with and harboring communists, and the perils of post-WWII overtake her homelands, Junja must learn to navigate a tumultuous world unlike anything she's ever known. [Goodreads Summary]

Well-Behaved Indian Woman by Saumya Dave
From a compelling new voice in women's fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams.

Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little "writing hobby." But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran's life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist, but her engagement to her high school sweetheart.

Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband's demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children's sake. It isn't until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she's spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she's let herself slip away.

Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she'll never be able to fix---or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it's needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden. [Goodreads Summary]

The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim
Margot Lee's mother, Mina, isn't returning her calls. It's a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous invisible strings that held together her single mother's life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.

Interwoven with Margot's present-day search is Mina's story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she's barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.
[Goodreads Summary]

 


Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim 
Become enamored with the splendor of Paris in this heartwarming and delightful story about writing one’s own destiny and finding love along the way.

Vanessa Yu never wanted to see people’s fortunes -- or misfortunes -- in tea leaves.

Ever since she can remember, Vanessa Yu has been able to see people’s fortunes at the bottom of their teacups. To avoid blurting out their fortunes, she converts to coffee, but somehow fortunes escape and find a way to complicate her life and the ones of those around her. To add to this plight, her romance life is so nonexistent that her parents enlist the services of a matchmaking expert from Shanghai.

The day before her matchmaking appointment, Vanessa accidentally sees her own fate: death by traffic accident. She decides that she can’t truly live until she can find a way to get rid of her uncanny abilities. When her eccentric aunt, Evelyn, shows up with a tempting offer to whisk her away, Vanessa says au revoir to America and bonjour to Paris. While working at Evelyn’s tea stall at a Parisian antique market, Vanessa performs some matchmaking of her own, attempting to help reconnect her aunt with a lost love. As she learns more about herself and the root of her gifts, she realizes one thing to be true: knowing one’s destiny isn’t a curse, but being unable to change it is.
[Goodreads Summary]

Before the Coffee Gets Cold (#1) by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
What would you change if you could go back in time?

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer's, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .

Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?
[Goodreads Summary]

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? I hope to feature more genre-specific novels by authors of Asian descent on my TBR over the next three weeks, so stay tuned! 


Every Friday Coffee Addicted Writer from Coffee Addicted Writer 
poses a question which participants respond on their own blogs within the week (Friday through Thursday). They then share their links at the main site and visit other participants blogs.
Do you collect bookmarks? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

 

I have a nice collection of bookmarks--ones I picked up at bookstores I have visited or those I could not resist buying because I couldn't resist. There's also those that I have been given as gifts. So, not so much a formal collection as a good mix of bookmarks I have gotten here or there over the years. I have ones made out of cardstock, ribbons, crochet, wood, metal, postcards, old tickets, or magnet clips. I have homemade ones (my favorite being one my daughter made me for Mother's Day years ago). Some have tassels or charms attached. There's never lack of a bookmark around my house. I probably have 50+. And yet I still often use receipts, post-its, and scrap paper I find lying around. Go figure. 

A sampling of my bookmarks

What about you? Do you collect bookmarks?

 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be sure and tell me what you are reading and are up to!

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