I normally don’t read fantasy (I’m not sure why as all the books I’ve read in this genre I’ve absolutely loved) but this year I decided to branch out from my usual historical fiction, Agatha Christie, and classic literature reads and explore new genres: fantasy being one of them. I’m so glad I did! Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim was a solid five out of five stars for me!
In the spirit of Mulan, Lim weaves together a whole new and fantastical tale about tailors, scissors, magic, adventure, and much more!
Maia is a poor peasant girl and a exceptionally talented seamstress who will do anything to protect her family. As a woman, she’s not allowed to be a tailor, but when her brothers go off to war and her father’s health decreases, she is faced with keeping his business going.
When a royal messenger summons her father to become the Emperor’s tailor–an honour which because of his failing health, he can no longer perform, Maia disguises herself as one of her brothers and goes in her father’s stead, risking her life if she is found out.
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Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste is a powerful and heart-wrenching debut set during the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974, the demise of Emperor Haile Selessie, and the terrifying military regime that followed.
Alternating between multiple perspectives, this book chronicles the struggles and sacrifices of one family through a diverse and intricate cast of characters and voices.
There is Hailu, a distinguished surgeon at the hospital in Addis Ababa, struggling with his beloved wife’s declining health, the friction between his younger son, Dawit and himself, and his duty as a doctor in a country whose government is brutally torturing and killing its citizens.
When Derg soldiers bring in a severely tortured prisoner and order Hailu to heal the victim so they can torture them some more, Hailu struggles with his conscience and ultimately makes a decision that will put his life in jeopardy.
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Goldengrove devoured my sister every time I closed my eyes.”Woman 99 by Greer Macallister
Goldengrove is a privately owned institution designed for those in need of mental health care. From the outside it appears to be a tranquil, welcoming place for rest and recovery. However, it may not be as healing as it seams.
Set in the late 1880s in a time where many outrageous treatment practices for mental illness were being performed, Woman 99 by Greer Macallister portrays what life was like in a mental health institute or asylum of that day.
Charlotte and Phoebe Smith are two close knit sisters of a wealthy and privileged family in San Francisco. Image is everything to their mother, and they must put on the best front, or risk embarrassing the family name. When the older sister, Phoebe begins to show signs of recurring mania and melancholy, her parents commit her to a nearby asylum run by family friends. Just like that, Phoebe is locked away, cut off from corresponding or visiting with her family, almost as if she wasn’t part of the family in the first place.
Desperate to get her sister back, and believing Phoebe has been wrongfully admitted, Charlotte devises a rash and impulsive plan to get her sister back. She will become a patient of Goldengrove and she will find her sister and bring her home. Feigning despair, Charlotte enters as ‘woman 99’. Now she is only a number, and with her unknown identity she hopes she can locate her sister. However, once admitted, Charlotte realizes its much harder to get out than in.
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My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first.”Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim begins with a startling and intriguing confession drawing readers into the heart of the mystery and legal proceedings of a court case involving charges of intentional arson and murder.
This contemporary legal thriller is set in a rural town in Virginia where an alternate and sometimes controversial therapy called HBOT is being preformed on individuals with diagnoses of autism, cerebral palsy, and infertility.
HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) is a procedure where high volumes of pure oxygen is administered at an elevated pressure in a sealed compartment. While a relatively safe procedure, HBOT can be potentially fatal if fire comes in contact with the oxygen tank–which is the case in this book.
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I just finished The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abie Daré and I’m in awe. This is such a powerful, heart-wrenching book from such an unique and beautiful voice.
Just from turning the first few pages, I had a sense I was going to love this book and my inclination wasn’t wrong. This book amazed me! The books I rate 5/5 Stars are books which on top of being well-written with well developed characters and plot lines, also do something emotionally for me. This was certainly one of them.
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That day, I tell myself that even if I am not getting anything in this life, I will go to school. I will finish my primary and secondary and university schooling and become a teacher because I don’t want any kind of voice….I want a louding voice.”The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
Carefully crafting the world around which forgery thrived, The Book of Lost Names opens a door into the underground world of the 1940s, and gives us a glimpse of what it could have been like to work in the secret cells of the Resistance.
Alternating between 2005 and the 1940s (with the majority of the novel set in WW2) it chronicles how this illegal act became a vital source of resistance work and one of the core means of survival and escape in World War Two.
Eva Traube is a young Jewish Frenchwoman living in Paris and attending university when she is told a shocking and unbelievable rumour: thousands of foreign-born Jews are about to be rounded up in Paris. Although, Eva herself is French, her parents are Polish and could be in danger if these rumours are true. And yet first, Eva doesn’t believe them–they are too horrible, too unimaginably unjust to be plausible until the unimaginable happens.
Continue reading “The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel: Forgery and Survival During WW2”