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

Currently Reading: Crescent City

I have read a lot of good things about Fantasy author Sarah J. Maas – all of them good. Recently she has released the first novel in an Adult Fantasy series she has written and when I saw the stunning cover, I knew I had to purchase it and immerse myself in the story.

I am 200 pages into this 800 page novel – and it is starting to get interesting. I suspect I will soon be unable to put this one down.

What are you currently reading?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Currently Listening: Wand Fasted

Currently I am listening to a novel I have previously enjoyed: Wand Fasted by Laurie Forest. My intention is to listen to all of the audiobooks of the series before the next book is available in June.

I am enjoying this revisit of a story and characters that I have previously enjoyed.

What are you currently listening to?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Book Covers

As part of my participation in the bookstagram community on Instagram, I often take pictures of book covers. I take these pictures outside sometimes so that the background to the book may look a little interesting.

I take these photos no matter what the weather:

Sometimes I take them at home and surround them with silk flowers:

Or I place the book next to my potted plants and pair it with a snack,

a candle,

or even a drink.

Sometimes I photograph the book with only the potted plant accompanying it, showing off its green leaves

and sometimes its flowers.

From time to time, I pair a book cover with some of my students’ work:

Recently I have taken to listening to audiobooks during the social isolation period and have even shared these tops with the community.

I enjoy opening the covers of the books I read and often try to think of ways in which I can show off the work created by the artists who designed them.

Do you enjoy looking at book covers?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge. During the month of April, we are challenged to share photos featuring #squaretops)