Book Launch: The Chai Factor by Farah Heron

Last night my friend and I attended the book launch of Farah Heron’s debut novel The Chai Factor. The rain had stopped and the city was muggy yet we looked forward to venturing out and meeting an author whose book I had enjoyed. (My review can be found here).

The event was in the Kensington area at a small reatuarant with an unusual name: Supermarket. I smiled when I saw the supermarket trolley attached to the wall – definitely unique!

As we stepped into the venue, we noticed that we were a bit early. This posed no problem as we chatted between ourselves and met the author. We slaked our thirst with a cup of tea – chai, of course – and snacked on some sweet potato crisps.

It was a pleasant evening but the highlight for me was listening to a barbershop quartet. Their presence at the launch was intentional as the male character in the novel is part of a quartet. The numbers that were sung by the men took me back to the time I would continuously listen to melodies such as these. I love the Big Band era, and their singing reminded me of this.

My friend and I had a pleasant evening and I look forward to discussing the book with her as one of our buddy reads.

Have you listened to a barbershop quartet before?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

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Books in Blue

While tidying and organising my book shelves, I have had to sift through my books and decide which ones I want to keep for a while longer. I have chosen to keep the books I have enjoyed immensely and feel I will read again. My enjoyment of these books may stem from the storyline, or from the issues that the writer has addressed within the pages.

As I do enjoy reading across genres, the books may range from thriller, to romantic comedy, to contemporary, and even to dystopian. In the future, the same books I am currently keeping may find their way into other homes. In the meantime, I will enjoy their covers on my shelves.

Which books in blue do you own?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge. The theme for the month of July is “blue”.)

Remnant

Standing in front of the carved stone, he remembered when the artist was feted. People would travel from all over the world to see his work and admire his handiwork. Discussions would ensue on the meaning of the pieces and what had inspired him to create them. Then the scandal erupted. He was imprisoned, the many artworks torn down or vandalised. Except for this forgotten piece in the centre of the city. Unnamed, the early work stands proudly surrounded by office buildings. A remnant of a life that was crushed to pieces by the love for a young girl.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post was inspired by Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. The challenge asks for bloggers to write a story in 100 words or less in response to the photo prompt.)

Favourite Read of the Month: June 2019

Book of the month in mid-July. I know – the only excuse that I can give is that I am in holiday mode and I am unable to sit for too long in front of the computer. 🙂 During the month of June I read 10 books in spite of it being a busy time. I was tired and would often come home and read to relax with a cup of warm tea. The last book in June, I devoured in a day as it was the first day of my Summer Break and I wanted to do nothing but read.

Below is the list of book that I read. To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title and you will be able to visit my post:

  1. Anna Bright The Beholder – YA Fantasy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  2. Miriam Toews Women Talking – Women’s Contemporary Fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
  3. Blair Thornburgh Ordinary Girls – Young Adult Contemporary ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  4. Erin Davis The One – Thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  5. Kurt Kirchmeier The Absence of Sparrows – Middle Grade ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  6. Roselle Lim Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune – Women’s Contemporary Fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
  7. Laura Steven The Exact Opposite of Okay – Young Adult Contemporary ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  8. Alisha Rai The Right Swipe – Romance ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  9. Linda Lael Miller The Yankee Widow – Historical Fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  10. Beth O’Leary The Flatshare – Romance ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

During the month of June I read a number of good stories but the one that stood out for me was Women Talking by Miriam Toews. The book was more than just a story but a commentary on the way in which women are treated in a patriarchal society. The novel describes a conversation between women as they decide what to do in response to a number of rapes that had taken place in their community. As I was reading Toews’ writing, so many of the lines in the book struck a place deep in my heart and mind. Women Talking is definitely my Book of the Month for June.

I hope you read as many wonderful stories as I did in June. What was your favourite read? Share your choice, or the link to your post, below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Book of the Month: January 2019

Book of the Month: February 2019

Book of the Month: March 2019

Book of the Month: April 2019

Book of the Month: May 2019

Teaser Tuesday: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Today I am sharing an extract from Pride by Ibi Zoboi. I picked up this Young Adult novel last year when I heard that it was a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I loved reading Zoboi’s perspective. Not only did she incorporate references from one of my favourite classic novels, she also added the viewpoint of a culture far removed from that of Austen’s England.

The novel is set in Brooklyn and is told from the POV of Zuri Benitez, a woman who has pride in her Afro-Latino roots. The wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, the epitome of those who are slowly gentrifying her neighbourhood. Zuri wants nothing to do with the Darcys but as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial shifts into understanding.

“I don’t smile when Mrs. Darcy greets us. Her eyes immediately drop down to our shoes. So I look down too, to see Mama wearing her leopard print platform stilettos that she bought for her fortieth birthday party at a small club in Bed-Stuy. My face gets hot with embarrassment because I knew that this wasn’t the kind of party for those kinds of heels.” (108)

(2018, Balzer + Bray, Harper Collins Publishers)

Pride is definitely worth the read for those who enjoy Pride and Prejudice retellings, or diverse reads.

Do you enjoy reading Pride and Prejudice retellings? 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

Doing Marie Kondo

One of my goals this summer is to do a little clean-up in our home in order to pass on things we no longer use, as well as things I think we will never use. It is amazing how things just accumulate and when you need a particular item, it is always difficult to find. While doing this soul breaking task, I decided to try out an audio-book instead of listening to music. I hoped that the story would relieve the tedium and help the time pass by quicker.

I chose to begin in my bedroom and go through the clothing. I passed on the clothes that no longer fit me to my children – it seems such a long time ago that I was that size. I was pleased that I had kept the clothing, though, for my girls as they loved trying on the old clothes and picking out fashions from over a decade ago. No need to go thrifting when mom’s closet is nearby!

Now my clothing hangs freely in the closet and is so much easier to sort through. I have begun on the folded clothing and have sorted the drawers Marie Kondo style. I am loving it as it is so much easier to find the item you want – and so much more fits in the space.

I do tend to move between sorting our clothing and sorting my books. Yesterday, I worked on a large part of my book stacks. While sifting and purging my books, I switched off the audio CD as I found I could not focus on listening to the story and read the blurbs on books to decided which ones I would keep, or which ones I would pass onto my mom or friend. Yesterday afternoon, I had books strewn all over my bed. I felt disheartened as I was tired and the task felt never-ending but I persevered – I had to so we could sleep on the bed!

Most of my books on now on the shelves – I just need to sort my cookbooks and crochet books. There is still a lot to do in my bedroom, but I am determined for the room to be sorted and organised by the time my summer break is over.

When last did you organise your bedroom?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge. The theme for the month of July is “blue”.)

First Line Fridays: The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley

He struggles to breathe. There’s blood trickling into one of his eyes. His glasses are gone. He can hear the ocean rising to meet him. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. ”

The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley (2019, Simon & Schuster Canada)

I have just started this novel and it promises to be a good one!

Would you keep reading?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to It’s Not Hoarding If It’s Books and her One Line Friday challenge.)

A Coloured Library

I have been colouring my bookish page for a while now and decided this summer I would finish it so that I can complete the project I I have in mind. Last night saw me Netflixing and colouring the last line of the illustrated shelf.

My page is done. Now onto the next step!

What have you been colouring in lately?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to The Escapist Colouring Club. You are welcome to join us and share some colouring work)

A Book and Dumplings

This Summer I am able to spend quite a bit of time with my friend: instead of texting one another about the books we are reading together, we are able to discuss our thoughts face to face. Yesterday, we decided to expand the experience of our buddy read and eat lunch in Chinatown.

We chose to eat dumplings as this food is often referenced in the novel Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim. The dumplings were delicious and we savoured the flavours as our conversation flowed.

Do you enjoy eating dumplings?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge. The theme for the month of July is “blue”.)

Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

I was intrigued by the synopsis of The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary and had read good things about it on social media. The school year was over and I needed some light reading to relax. A romantic comedy seemed to be the perfect solution.

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
 

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

My thoughts:

Imagine sharing a bed with someone – and yet never seeing them! I loved this unique story that in no way felt forced. The friendship between the two flatmates evolves slowly as they get to know one another by notes and through their habits. The magic between the two characters happens even before they meet.

The Flatshare not only has a unique story line, but also characters that grow and evolve as the story progresses. Both Tiffy and Leon, the flatmates, need to come to some realisations about themselves and what they want to do with their lives before they can move forward in committing to a healthy relationship. While reading the story, I could definitely see a message from the writer: finish with your current relationship and work out why it is not working before moving forward into one that is more beneficial to you.

O”Leary has written a lighthearted and heartwarming read that will have you curious and smiling. The writing is fluid and the author has cleverly shown us the basics of getting to know a person. The Flatshare is a rom-com that I will surely read again in a few years when I am looking for an uplifting read that I can peruse in an afternoon.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 59th in my book pledge for 2019)