All posts filed under: Recommendations

Review: White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht

“I am a haenyeo. Like my mother, and her mother before her, like my sister will be one day, her daughters too – I was never anything but a woman of the sea. Neither you nor any man can make me less than that.” This novel captivated me in a way I really wasn’t expecting. I had been looking for some more Korean-based WWII lit since I my disappointing affair with Pachinko left me gasping for a story I could connect with more easily. If you had similar feelings towards Pachinko, read on my friend, because White Chrysanthemum could end up being the story you’ve been searching for. ______________

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“When I was twelve, my parents had two talks with me. One was the usual birds and bees. […] The other talk was about what to do if a cop stopped me.” This book should be required reading. Not for schools, for everyone. The premise is simple but powerful, the characters are every day people but they are excellently written. The message is one we’ve heard a million times before but we still haven’t heard it enough. The story follows sixteen-year-old Starr, a private-school student who has always felt out of place. At school, she is one of the few black students. Back in her neighbourhood, she is mocked for going to school outside the area – with white people nonetheless. Although she feels like she lives in two different worlds, she’s determined to prove to herself that both of her lives can co-exist.

Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

“Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.” Celeste Ng’s second novel is the kind of contemporary fiction you can enjoy even if you’re not a regular reader of the genre, it seems. A close-knit family tale with secrets and the theme of love at the center, Little Fires Everywhere is an enticing read with fiercely real characters and a poignant plot. Shaker Heights is a nice, law-abiding American suburb. At the heart of it is Elena Richardson, journalist and mother of four, whose placid and rule-following nature mirrors the novel’s setting. She’s the type of person who does everything she is supposed to, and her distaste for those who don’t is palpable. She’s an interesting person to follow, especially when Mia Warren and her illegitimate daughter Pearl rock up into the neighborhood and rent a small apartment from the Richardsons. The lives of the two families cannot help but intertwine, pleasantly at first, but it …

Review: The Girl With Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson

“Maoshan isn’t like other traditions. We are ghost hunters, spirit mediums, and exorcists. When creatures out of nightmare trouble Chinatown, people come to the Maoshan for protection. With paper talismans we drive away the spirits, with magic gourds we imprison them, with peachwood swords we destroy them. People fear those who live at the border of the spirit world. They say a hold of death taints us. They might be right.” This book was everything I didn’t know I wanted; a proper little gem picked up on a whim just because the literary Gods smiled upon me one evening. I did not expect to get so into it, but when your protagonist is a martial arts expert with astral projection abilities who can see into the depths of the supernatural underworld of 19th century Chinatown in San Francisco…I don’t believe it’s possible to go wrong. Xian Li-Lin is a Daoshi priestess; it is her job to exorcise spirits from the streets of Chinatown. She has strong martial arts skills and is gifted with her peachwood sword, …

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

If you’re not a fairly hardcore survivalist junkie, you may find this book a bit dull. If you’re not excited to the point of near physical arousal by clever and intricate ways the human mind can wrestle with survival in a difficult situation, then this book’s not for you.Lucky for me, I happen to adore that shit. Hardcore survivalism? Interesting and different location. High stakes, excitement, a protagonist that makes the Book Boyfriend list? You’re spoiling me.   The Setup “Ares 3. Well, that was my mission. Okay, not mine per se. Commander Lewis was in charge. I was just one of her crew. Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be “in command” of the mission if I were the only remaining person. What do you know? I’m in command.” It’s so fantastic to stumble on survivalist fiction with a very different setting. More often than not it’s either the traditional desert island location or the ever-trendy post-apocalyptic dystopia. Don’t get me wrong, I love that shit, but …