Friday 23 March 2018

A Book Haul

I've accumulated a fair few books so far this year and I thought I'd share them with you guys in case you fancy getting the book shopping bug too! I'm trying to get my tbr down and buy a bit less but a book here and there can't hurt, can it? It's actually looking like I'm going to need another bookcase soon...

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars and that she is about to encounter the strangest, craziest group of people in existence. 

My first book purchase of the year was inspired by Joce over at SquibblesReads, she has raved about this series and I really trust her judgement. Crazy Rich Asians sounds super fun and I'm excited to get into it. From a quick glance it looks like it's quite involved and has a lot of characters so I think it's going to be one that deserves quite a bit of my time so I'm going to take it with me next week when I go away with my parents for Easter. I always get a lot of reading done over the long bank holiday weekend so this is definitely coming with me!

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden*
The sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale: in a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church. But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods... 

My Friend Fear by Meera Lee Patel*
A mix of personal reflections, inspirational quotes, questions for reflection, and breathtaking watercolour visuals, My Friend Fear asserts that having big fear is an opportunity to make big changes, to discover the remarkable potential inside ourselves.

These two were very kindly sent by publishers and I've actually already read and reviewed both of these books. You can see my thoughts on The Girl in the Tower here and My Friend Fear here.

I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan
Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem is used to being invisible. So no one is more surprised than her when Arif Malik, the hottest boy in school, takes a sudden interest. But Arif is hiding a terrible secret and, as they begin to follow a dark path, Muzna faces an impossible choice: keep quiet and betray her beliefs, or speak out and betray her heart.

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard
Eden McKinley knows she can't count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it's a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with a guy Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. And it's the last person she would have expected. Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie's location, and that's the way it has to stay. There's no way she's betraying her best friend. Not even when she's faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts. As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.

I had a little splurge in Waterstones Piccadilly before the Costa Book Awards at the end of January and picked up these two recently released YAs. I'd heard a lot of buzz about I Am Thunder and was excited to read a book with a Muslim protagonist and I love Sara Barnard so Goodbye, Perfect was an automatic buy for me. I've also read and reviewed these two and you can find out what I thought here.

In the Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott
As Rebecca Stott's father lay dying he begged her to help him write the memoir he had been struggling with for years. He wanted to tell the story of their family, who, for generations had all been members of a fundamentalist Christian sect. Rebecca was born into the sect, yet, as an intelligent, inquiring child she was always asking dangerous questions. She would discover that her father, an influential preacher, had been asking them too, and that the fault-line between faith and doubt had almost engulfed him.

The minute I heard the buzzword 'cult' around In the Days of Rain when looking at the Costa Book Awards shortlist, I knew I wanted to read this book. It was the winner in the non-fiction category and I picked it up from Waterstones Piccadilly right before the awards. Hilariously I also happened to get it in my goody bag at the awards that night, so now I have two copies! I'll be doing a giveaway on Twitter for one of them so keep an eye out for that.

Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton*
Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road. She has no idea how she got there. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance, arrive and she sees her own body that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead. But what is she supposed do now? Then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity - to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time . . .

The lovely Hot Key Books offered to send me this for review and it was kind of giving me Vicky Angel vibes so of course I said yes! It's supposed to be funny and sad with relatable characters and some solid YA sounds right up my street at the minute. Hopefully I'll be getting to this one soon.

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday*
In New York, Alice, a young editor, begins an affair with Ezra Blazer, a world-famous, much older writer. At Heathrow airport, Amar, an Iraqi-American economist en route to Kurdistan, finds himself detained for the weekend. What draws these characters together, and how do their lives connect, if at all?

When the wonderful folk at Granta contacted me about Asymmetry I just had to accept. It sounds like such a gorgeous literary fiction and I love stories where completely different characters have subtle crossovers. It's also not too long which I *love*, I'm all about concise tightly-written narratives. This is a debut and apparently is slightly autobiographical which is intriguing. It's out now!

White Houses by Amy Bloom*
In 1933, President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt took up residence in the White House. With them went the celebrated journalist Lorena Hickok - Hick to friends - a straight-talking reporter from South Dakota, whose passionate relationship with the idealistic, patrician First Lady would shape the rest of their lives. Told by the indomitable Hick, White Houses is the story of Eleanor and Hick's hidden love, and of Hick's unlikely journey from her dirt-poor childhood to the centre of privilege and power. 

Also from Granta, this historical fiction revolves around the relationship between two fascinating women. I love fictional retellings of historical events (e.g. The Importance of Being Kennedy by Laurie Graham) so this sounds right up my street. I also want to read a lot more LGBT+ fiction this year as I just haven't read enough of it, so this fits in nicely. White Houses is out on the 5th of May.


And that's it! I hope you're just as excited as I am for these books and hopefully you'll be seeing some reviews of them here soon. Let me know in the comments if you've read any of them or if there's a particular one you'd like to hear about first!

Books marked with a * were sent to me by the publisher for review consideration, I have not been paid by the publishers to feature any of these titles.

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