BookMail: The Rest of the Series

I love receiving bookmail – especially the unexpected kind. Jessie Kwak, an independent author that I read and review for, launched the two final books of her science fiction series during the pandemic. The borders between the US and Canada were closed so I knew she would be unable to send me review copies.

This week I received a brown package that made me grin from ear to ear – the two final books in the Bulari series. Jessie’s kind gesture means that this month I will be able to binge read the rest of the story and find out what happens to the characters that I have grown to love.

And aren’t the covers gorgeous? I adore the artwork on the covers of this series.

What was the last book that you received in the mail?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Trent’s Weekly smile and Becky’s Square Challenge)

A Thriller TBR

October is the perfect time to open the thrillers I have on my TBR stack.

Most of the books in my stack are new releases. I look forward i particular to reading Gilly MacMillan’s new novel as I have enjoyed reading every story she has written. in addition, Karin Slaughter is another of my favourite authors.

Are you picking up any thrillers this month? If so, which one are you going to read first?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

TBR: September 2020

This month I am hoping to read five books over the weekends and when I get back home from work. I haven’t been too ambitious with my TBR stack this month as school starts this week and the first few months back are filled with deadlines.

The two nonfiction titles should be perfect for this month as they are easier to put down than fiction. There is a book I am waiting for that I pre-ordered and I am sure to read that one (a sequel to a novel I loved!). The start of school has been set back by a few days so I may be able to fit that one in as well.

How many books do you have in your TBR for September?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

TBR: August 2020

I have decided to keep my TBR small for August: I have a couple of e-books, a few books from July’s TBR which i will try to get to, and these beauties. School starts up again in September so I know I will be spending a lot of time getting ready for the new school year – especially as I didn’t have a chance to clean up at the end of last year!

How many books do you have in your TBR for August?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Currently Listening: The Switch

Currently I am listening to The Switch by Beth O’Leary while starting a new crochet project. I am now working on an afghan for my cousin (remember my yarn haul of a few weeks ago?)

The story I am listening to centres on Leena and her grandmother Eileen. Ordered to take a two month long sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother’s house. Once there, the two women decide to switch lives for the period: Leena takes over her grandmother’s life while Eileen, a 79 year old woman, goes to London to look for love and a change of pace. Stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected – ad leads them to learning more about themselves.

I am enjoying this 2 POV narration that is spot on. The narrators of the novel are perfect for the two generations of women in the story – their voices sound their age! I cannot stop listening as the storytelling just draws me in. I loved The Flatshare and I am enjoying The Switch just as much. Beth O’Leary has done it again in that she has created a relevant story for today’s times that is so different to the other stories out there.

What are you currently listening to?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This audiobook is the 105th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

Friday Feature: Serenity Harbour by RaeAnne Thayne

One of the titles I picked up from the library is by one of my favourite romance writers, RaeAnne Thayne. Serenity Harbour had been on my wishlist for a while and I thought now would be the perfect time to pick it up and read it.

The story takes place in Haven Point and centres on two characters named Bowie Callahan, a computer tech millionaire, and Katrina Bailey, a schoolteacher.

Bo is struggling to look after his young half brother, Milo, while settling into a new job. Kat is willing to help him with the care of the child because working with Milo will give her the money to get closer towards her goal of adopting an orphaned girl.

I enjoyed this read that hints at autism and special needs children. I also enjoyed the personality of all the characters – it made the story more enjoyable to me. Serenity Harbour was a perfect read for me this past week as it was not too intense and ended with a positive note.

Have you read any titles by ReaAnne Thayne?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novels was the 101th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

Book Review: Under Currents by Nora Roberts

My hold for the audiobook Under Currents by Nora Roberts came in and I eagerly began listening to it. This title had been on my TBR list and I thought that listening to the story instead of reading the text may help me put a dent into my list.

Format: Audiobook

Narrator: January LaVoy

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery

Blurb:

Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. Strangers—and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake—see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Zane and his sister know the truth: There is something terribly wrong.

As his father’s violent, controlling rages—and his mother’s complicity—become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, days until he can escape. He looks out for little Britt, warning her Be smart. Be careful. In fear for his very life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine, while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hide away.

When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the façade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good to triumph—and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves… 

My Thoughts:

The audio version of this book was fantastic and I really enjoyed listening to LaVoy as she performed the story. The accents for the different characters were spot on and the emotions were perfectly pitched. I think the audio added another dimension to the story and increased my enjoyment of it.

Under Currents explores a sensitive topic – that of domestic violence. We see the affect of violence on both a child and a spouse. Even though the topic is a difficult one, Roberts explores it with sensitivity. I like that the story ends with a sense of hope even though I know, realistically, that domestic violence doesn’t always end happily.

Roberts is a master at creating the perfect pace to keep a reader’s interest. The story also had a good mix of serious topics, mystery, and romance. The characters are varied and true to life and I enjoyed listening to the connections that they made with one another. I always enjoy reading the contemporary fiction novels by Nora Roberts and this one did not disappoint.

I give this audio novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novels was the 58th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

Diverse Reads: The Book of Negroes

I am horrified to hear of what is currently happening in the US and the steps that have been taken to silence voices. World-wide people have struggled and sacrificed for decades so that they can be heard – and in a few moments all the progress that has been made is taken away. We need to respect the voices of the disempowered; we need to listen to what they are saying.

I ask myself what I can do as an ordinary person living an ordinary life. I can listen and respect the experiences of those different to my own. I can pay attention to the voices of the disempowered. I can read the stories written by those whose lives are disimilar to my own. I can speak up when comments and actions are made to disrespect the experience of those living without ingrained privilege.

Reading fiction is one way in which to explore the voices of those that are often submerged in society. Experiences described by authors of colour can give an insight into a life different to our own. When I was growing up, these reads were not available. Now, however, the shelves in the bookstores are slowly showcasing stories written by authors of different races and culture.

Today I share with you a powerful story written by a Canadian author: The Book of Negroes. Lawrence Hill gives voice to those who were forced from their home country in West Africa and sold as property. The novel centres on the story of Aminata Diallo from the time she was captured, sold into slavery in the United States, and fought for freedom. This powerful novel not only brought tears to my eyes, but it made me think on the slave trade and the far-reaching consequences of this moment in history. Hill writes Aminita’s story with empathy and brings the experience of the woman to life. This is a novel that I have recommended to others to read; and it is one that will always have a place on my bookshelf.

What diverse read has resonated with you?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

TBR: June 2020

During the month of June I plan to read a few more of the books that have been on my shelf for over a year. With both the library and the book stores closed, I have been slowly whittling down the books on my TBR shelf.

In addition to these, my plan is to finish reading the Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas which I began in May. If I have time to read more, I will pick up a novel as dictated by my mood. June is the month for report cards so I will see how many titles I am able to enjoy.

What do you plan to read in June?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Currently Reading: Throne of Glass

On Friday I began the first novel in a series I am reading with a group of people on Instagram. The Throne of Glass series is a young adult fantasy set of books that was written by Sarah J. Maas. This series is continuously referred to in the Bookstagram community and I decided I needed to read and enjoy it as well.

The first book in the series is titled Throne of Glass.

As expected with a series, I did not get to know too much about the characters in the first novel. However by the end of the book, I did want to know more about them – so much so that even though I said I would read the series with others, I could not wait an entire week to begin the next novel in the series. Today saw me opening the pages to the next book: Crown of Midnight.

I suspect I will continue on with the series until I am done – especially as I have all the books on my shelves. My interest in the story has been peaked and I am looking forward to reading the rest. I don’t feel too guilty about not waiting for the others in my group as I know of one other who is also reading ahead.

What are you currently reading?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020