One of the things I love about Jojo Moyes is how easily she can transport me into her stories. As a fan of the Me Before You series, I was excited to explore her other characters. This book was just as sweet as the rest. I grew attached to each character, despite how short most of the stories were. Because of the short length this book is easy to pick up and put down - perfect for busy days. It will leave you with that perfect balance of feeling satisfied with the conclusion, but still wishing for more.
Intriguing biography of one of America's founding fathers
I've always been a fan of history, so when the musical Hamilton came to Broadway I was obsessed, to say the least. When I found out the musical was based on the biography written by Ron Chernow I just had to read it. I was not disappointed. The book goes into a lot more detail about the ups and downs in the life of Alexander Hamilton and how he came to be one of America's greatest founding fathers.
Madame Chiang Kai-Shek (Soong Mei-Ling) is perhaps one of the most interesting individuals in recent history. Her father immigrated to the United States with nothing and returned to China as a successful businessman. His daughters married distinguished Chinese leaders (Sun Yat-Sen and Chiang Kai-Shek). Mei-Ling was well-educated and attended college in Georgia (and therefore spoke fluent English with a Southern accent). As the First Lady of the Republic of China, Mei-Ling took part in numerous diplomatic missions with a measure of skill and tact that her husband couldn't match. She was a key figure in 20th century Sino-American relations and is worth reading about!
This is the best book I've ever read, hands down. Written in a lyrical, lilting prose that reads almost like a song, this story moved me. It's a classical and modern myth rolled into one. Kai Ashate Wilson's voice is so indescribably singular that you have to read it for yourself to appreciate it. At it's heart this is a story of love and a world set very far from this one. I will spend the rest of my life trying to find a book to match it and may fall short.
Our narrator is Korede, a homely nurse who will do anything for her sister, Ayoola, who just happens to be a serial killer. This brutal book has sharp observations about human nature and the relationships between siblings. Ayoola is wicked and sociopathic, and her sister is the same, but in very different ways. It's dark, hard and mean...and I loved it!
Kevin Smith's first Batman epic, Cacophony, is exactly what one might expect from a Kevin Smith story. The Joker sets the tone of the book almost immediately with the heavy use of crude humor. Fans of Smith will likely continue on happily while others may dismiss the book right then and there. However, if you can see past the surface of mature material, there is a truly unique story underneath. Smith successfully portrays a new villain from Batman's rogues gallery while simultaneously exploring the relationship between The Joker and Batman with a refreshing perspective. The combination of Smith's writing and Flanagan's impressive artwork brings everything a Batman fan wants to the table. The closing moments of the book feature an intimate conversation between Batman and The Joker that is sure to stick with any reader for some time. Smith's unique, refreshing outlook on our beloved Caped Crusader should be a welcomed addition to any Bat-fan's library.
While this book is many things (including an epic adventure on a galactic scale), what made this book a treasure for me was the description of the generation ship that carries the characters to their destination. The ship is broken down into sections and each section constitutes a whole new biome complete with appropriate weather patterns and wildlife that our characters get to explore and call home. Just like here on Earth, each biome has it's own people and cultures, living out their lives very much like their counterparts on their home planet. Also fascinating is Robinson's description of the ship's day to day functioning, it's AI system, and the way it's propulsion systems work. As the citizens of this interplanetary ark make their way to what they hope is their new home, you experience their highs and lows alongside them as they troubleshoot their interpersonal and mechanical issues. If you find yourself daydreaming about what it'd be like to wander through an entire world contained within a spinning metal wheel, this book is for you!
Susan Trinder is an orphan raised by thieves. When she gets the opportunity to make big money and escape her underprivileged life, she goes for it. The catch is she has to leave her comfort zone, pretend she's someone she isn't, and make a wealthy heiress fall in love with her partner in crime, Richard, so that he can claim her fortune. What happens when the wealthy heiress and Susan quickly become close friends, very close friends? Soon, Susan begins to realize that nothing is what it seems. With love, mystery, major twists, and an unexpected ending, this is a wild ride of a story. There's also a mini series and a beautiful film by Park Chan-Wook called The Handmaiden based on the book, where every frame in this film is a piece of art! Also, the soundtrack to the film is amazing!
Terry & Neil wrote a book together...it has to be the most brilliant thing ever written.
If you need to know what the zodiac symbol of Earth is, if you like to laugh, are a bit dark and twisty, this is your book. Easily this is in my top 4 books. It covers good and evil, middle management, and the antichrist as part of the day in the life of two friends. It is going to be made into a TV movie, and about time too. My only complaint is that I got to a part so good I needed to share it, and call a friend and read the brilliance to them, but it was 3am. One of the main characters would have loved my calling a bestie at that time, it's that kind of book.
The Shopaholic books are consistently fun and predictable, starring Becky Bloomwood and her typically cringe-worthy spending antics. While in the past I have been frustrated by her complete lack of character development and her selfish habits, I was pleasantly surprised to see her grow and learn this time. After she is dared by her husband to wear every item of clothing she owns before buying more, Becky is determined to prove that she is not the shopaholic he claims her to be. At the same time, she is desperately trying to host the flashiest, most fabulous surprise birthday party without him finding out. She also has a 2 year old who won't stop buying coats online and throwing tantrums that get them banned from shopping centers. Becky has a lot to tackle in this installment and it was a blast tagging along. If you have made it this far through the series, you will be very pleased to continue. Becky's adventures will make you laugh and feel better about your own spending habits.
Cooking, and baking especially, has a reputation for being complicated. Books and shows that imply you have to spend hours working to make something fancy. The funny thing is, that's not necessarily true. Christina Tosi has chronicled her time working in a few different kitchens in this book and has detailed some of her best recipes, tips, and tricks. You want to make a cake but don't feel confident about frosting it perfectly? She's got you. You want to make something that feels like your grandmother made it? Yep, that's in here too. You want to make an ugly pie that tastes so good you dream about it months later? Oh yeah...and I'm sill dreaming about that pie. The recipes in here are easy to follow and well-explained and the end results are pretty flawless. Some of the ingredients are harder to find, but that's because Tosi likes to think outside the box, and I love that! Don't be afraid, try out some new techniques and make some new things. You'll probably find a new favorite!
Life sucks and then you die, but you should read this before that happens
Life sucks and then you die. For 23-year-old Tommy OBrien, his life really sucks. He finds out he has terminal cancer and gets laid off all in the span of a week. What will his family do for money after he's gone? Well Tommy has plans for that. Plans that involve robbing a bank. Tag a long for the ride won't you?
In a world of Witches and Wizards, the lines are drawn clear in the sand: keep to your corner and the world doesn't shift from the back of the World Turtle...and it definitely doesn't go spinning, screaming into the abyss. Too bad no one made those lines clear to Esk, a young girl bestowed with the magic of a Wizard; man's work. It will take all the = Witchy strength that Granny Weatherwax has, along with a belabored Wizard Staff with too much responsibility, to bring Esk under control and bring the world back into order..if they can.
When Sabriel receives an urgent message from her father calling her back from her safe school life over the Wall, she must cross over to a world very different than what she knows. She journeys to a half remembered culture with a dangerous charter magic taught to her by people who barely believed in it's source. For magic does travel far past the Wall and death itself stalks her steps as she follows the path of her father. It was his task, and now her own, to put the dead back where they belong. Like the memory of a dream from childhood, Garth Nix's Sabriel is a wonderful mix of classic fairy tale and chilling horror.
In this subtly magical world, there is a beekeeper named Mirasol. Her kingdom is going through several changes following the death of two of their leaders, and to everyone's surprise, the humble and unknown Mirasol is chosen for one of the newly open positions. She is vastly out of her depth, but she is determined to prove she is worthy of the job, so she studies and pours all her energy into becoming the best Chalice the kingdom has ever had. She has a special connection to the bees that she raises and they help her in her efforts to heal the divides between her neighbors. The story is interesting and compelling, but the feeling of the book is so comforting that it seems like the manifestation of a warm cup of tea with some honey drizzled in.
This book broke my heart, but in the best possible way.
Never Let Me Go is very loosely the story of three children who grow up at a boarding school with all the classic cliques, drama, and turmoil that includes. But there is also a very subtle, yet pervasive and sinister feeling that haunted me as I was reading and not until much later in the book did I understand what is was and why; I got it once the children had grown up and learned for themselves the gravity of their fate. This book broke my heart, but in the best possible way. Ishiguro's books are often subtle, unique, genre-bending and are absolutely beautiful, perfect gems.
The scope of this story is immense and the pacing seemed slow to begin and yet, after I understood the stakes of the adventure that lay ahead for our main character, I was enthralled. A young woman finds some old papers in her late father's belongings that indicate he had been researching the history and mythology of Vlad the Impaler, the basis for the legend of Dracula. She finds herself on the same path her father had traveled years before, and she becomes as obsessed as he had been. Why have so many scholars been researching this one man for so many years? Could the myth of Dracula be real? Kostova blends the feel of a historical novel with the pace and suspense of a modern mystery. I found myself as obsessed with the truth behind the legend as the characters in the book were.
by Murakami, Haruki/ Gabriel, Philip (TRN)/ Gabriel, J. Philip
This story is wild
This story is wild. Kafka Tamura is our main character and has run away from home. Nakata is a veteran whose mind has been permanently damaged by war. These two are inextricably drawn together and end up on a quest to solve several mysteries, but that doesn't even begin to cover the scope of this book. Without being campy or losing any of its gravitas, there are talking cats, fish falling from the sky and philosophical prostitutes. I can neither fully explain what this book is about, nor recommend it highly enough.
This is the first book in a series based on the classic Arthurian legends. Our main character, Terence, is not a part of any of the original myths, but gives us a fun and quirky look into the lives and times of these immortal heroes. Terence becomes the squire for Sir Gawain, one of Arthur's most famous knights, and goes on many quests and adventures. There are many classic characters including Arthur himself, Merlin, the Lady of the Lake, and many more. There are sword fights, romances and more than a few hilarious encounters with a magical sprite. I have come back to this series, and this first book in particular, several times throughout my life and it is always a fun, heartening experience.
Think twice before you try to use a man's conscience against him.
Gavin Guile is the most powerful man in the empire; he is Prism, High Priest, and emperor...and he has an illegitimate son, Kip, that he is just now finding out about. This story is rife with magic (which manifests as visible, tangible colors), political unrest, and discontent over his son's sudden jump in status and seeming inadequacy for his new position. The plot has so many surprises that I really should have stopped trying to guess what was going to happen next. Incredibly suspenseful and compelling, Brent Weeks is officially one of my favorite fantasy authors of all time.