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Review: Every Watering Word by Tanya Manning-Yarde

July 31, 2018
Every Watering Word, Tanya Manning-Yarde, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Wasteland Press on September 27, 2017
Format Read: Paperback Edition (126 pages)
Genre: Poetry/ African American Lit/ Own Voices
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Author Request
Rating: THREE POINT FIVE STARS
Every Watering Word
~Amazon~
This collection of poetry is an ensemble of many themes. Every Watering Word encompasses poetic rumination about women’s self-discovery; stories about coming of age; explorations of sex, sensuality and eroticism; epiphanies gleaned from motherhood and marriage; the structure and impact of racial and gender oppression; the trials, tribulations and triumphs experienced by love; the inheritance of jazz music and honoring the Black Christian tradition while exploring underlying tensions.

VERDICT:

 Content Warning: Abuse, Violence, Sexual Descriptions, Rape

REVIEW:

This was an awesome collection of poems ranging from types of oppression to intimate moments of
physical and mental self reflection.  I really enjoyed the wide range of topics that the author covered. There is so much to enjoy and ponder about throughout this collection of poems. The writing was great and engages you the whole way through. I specifically enjoyed the poems highlighting the courage and bravery black people have to continue persevering in a society where they face so much tragedy. This author is skilled in succinctly stirring emotion through her art.
The dreams of brown mothers 
murmur and hunt 
for the void of dark blue/ the
forgotten/untrue/disbelieved
pocket/ where their male kin and children
are snatched captive/ to rehearse again/the
breaking of bones and bloom
to fit
unnatural untimely graves/
earth unearthed too early/too soon.
The poems are categorized into sections which helped create a good flow for the reader. There are poems that describe the problematic ways  the black church was established. It made me think hard about the cultural depth of the black church and how it includes the tragedy of slavery.  While I enjoyed most of the collection there were some poems I didn't quite grasp. That may have been a personal observation, so I recommend giving this collection a chance to move you and offer radical revelations.
returning to the original premise
of what is love
it stems from one original promise. 
i risk believing in you 
past all consciousness.
Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy poetry on hard hitting topics
- are interested in the artistic expression of black history
- want to think more deeply about gender oppression and sexual freedom

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tanya Manning-Yarde
Tanya Manning-Yarde, Ph.D, is a writer and former educator from New York City. A graduate of Rutgers University and University at Albany, she recently worked as a copy editor and contributing writer for Bronze Magazine. She is a freelance blogger for the annual Montclair Film Festival in Montclair, NJ as well as blogger for personal website (tmychronicles.wordpress.com). Prior to pursuing a career as a writer, she was a high school English/Language Arts teacher, Assistant Professor, Instructional Coach and an educational consultant. Her poems have been published by Literary Mama, Memoryhouse and Random Sample Review. She published her first book, Every Watering Word, through Wasteland Press. Inspired by her dissertation titled Literacy as Contextualized Action and homeschooling her two sons until school age, she is also writing articles about literacy and homeschooling. She is also writing a new poetry collection.
WEBSITE
TWITTER
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Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

July 30, 2018
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Published By: Grand Central Publishing on November 14, 2017
Format Read: Paperback Edition (500 pages)
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Family Saga/ Japan Lit
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Purchased
Rating: FOUR STARS
Pachinko
~Amazon~  
Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.

So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity. 

VERDICT:

Content Warning: Domestic Abuse, Torture, Racism, Violence

REVIEW:

Full of heartbreak, struggle and perseverance this book taught me a lot about family and identity. We follow Sunja's family as they survive war, poverty and discrimination because they are Korean. Throughout this family drama I learned about the animosity between Korea and Japan that led to wide spread discrimination against Korean people. The author did a great job of developing characters to root for. Sunja has two sons Noa and Mozau they each have different approaches to life but have limited options for employment because they're Korean. The hardships this family faces as refugees who are trying to make a place for themselves was heartbreaking.

Finally it is imagined as a community, because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship.  Ultimately it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly die for such limited imaginings.
-Benedict Anderson
The intimate details of marriages and desperate times jumped off of the page, and engaged me as if I was apart of the family. The only issue I had while reading is the pacing. Some of the scenes and important changes for the family would happen really fast with little explanation. While others were very detailed and drawn out. Despite the uneven pacing I learned more about Korea and Japan then I ever had, so it was a great read for me. There are some disturbing descriptions of violence but nothing was over the top or added just for shock value.
"Pay attention: The ones who pay the shit tax are mostly people born in the wrong place and the wrong time and are hanging on to the planet by their broken fingernails. They don't even know the fucking rules of the game. You can't even get mad at 'em when they lose. Life just fucks and fucks bastards like that."
While the Story slowly changes point of views through generations I enjoyed having male and female perspectives of major events that happened in the book. The deep seated animosity between Koreans and Japanese continues throughout generations. Sunja's family has different ways of coping with being outcast and limited because of where they were born. Everyone had to find ways to survive and while I didn't agree with some character's choices I understood how morality can be twisted and grey. This book highlighted the deep costs and trauma that racism and religious persecution can cause. There are wonderful characters and gems that everyone can relate to and learn from.

Recommended for Readers who
- can enjoy slow paced historical fiction
- want to learn more about Korean and Japanese history
- can handle intimate descriptions of detrimental and deep seated racism

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Min Jin Lee, Pachinko, InToriLex
Min Jin went to Yale College where she was awarded both the Henry Wright Prize for Nonfiction and the James Ashmun Veech Prize for Fiction. She attended law school at Georgetown University and worked as a lawyer for several years in New York prior to writing full time.

Lee has spoken about writing, politics, film and literature at various institutions including Columbia University, French Institute Alliance Francaise, The Center for Fiction, Tufts, Loyola Marymount University, Stanford, Johns Hopkins (SAIS), University of Connecticut, Boston College, Hamilton College, Hunter College of New York, Harvard Law School, Yale University, Ewha University, Waseda University, the American School in Japan, World Women’s Forum, Korean Community Center (NJ), the Hay Literary Festival (UK), the Tokyo American Center of the U.S. Embassy, the Asia House (UK), and the Asia Society in New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong. In 2017, she won the Literary Death Match (Brooklyn/Episode 8), and she is a proud alumna of Women of Letters (Public Theater).

From 2007 to 2011, Min Jin lived in Tokyo where she researched and wrote Pachinko. She lives in New York with her family.
WEBSITE
TWITTER
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Sunday Post #15 July 29, 2018

July 29, 2018
InToriLex, Sunday Post, Weekly Feature
Sunday Post is a Book Blog Meme hosted at the Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a post used to summarize what has happened on your blog for the past week, and preview what's next.

LAST WEEK

COMING SOON

Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Review: Every Watering Word by Tanya Manning Yarde

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

July Wrap Up & August TBR

Book Scoop July 27-  August 3, 2018

LIFE LATELY

I'm happy I didn't haul any books this week, because my book shelf's are pretty packed. I finally finished Pachinko by Min Jin Lee which I enjoyed but was very slow paced until the end (took me almost two months to read). I'm hoping to finish The Book of M by Peng Shephard, and Suicide Club by Rachel Heng this week. 

Work was pretty busy this week, but I was happy I was able to get back on a posting schedule. I'm really excited HBO is going to send me a promotional Doll House for the TV Adaptation of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. I won't get it until Mid-August but I can't wait to show it off when I do.

How did your reading go this week?
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Review: The Poppy War (Untitled #1) by R.F. Kuang

July 28, 2018
The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang, InToriLex, Book Review
Published By: Harper Voyager on May 1, 2018
Format Read: Hardback Edition (544 pages)
Genre: Fantasy/ Historical Fiction/ Adult
Series: Book One of Untitled Series
Source: Purchased
Rating: FOUR STARS
The Poppy War
~Amazon~
When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

VERDICT:

Content Warning: Graphic Violence, Rape, Child Death, Genocide, Drug Use & Addiction

REVIEW:

This book hooked me immediately. Rin is a head strong protagonist who works really hard to ace the Keju exam and get away from her adoptive family. Her family is trying to force her into a strategic marriage, so the Keju becomes her way out. Rin gets into Sinegard, a prestigious military school, where she has to learn martial arts to compete against peers that have been learning it their whole lives. At Sinegard she makes friends and foes. Rin is outcast because she is from a poor background but she repeatedly shows natural talent and develops supernatural abilities to help her survive. The character development and action was great so I was rooting for Rin and company. Unfortunately Rin has to put her new skills to use far too soon when the Nikara Empire has to go to war.
"You must conflate these concepts. The god outside you. The god within. Once you understand that these are one and the same, once you can hold both concepts in your head and know then to be true, you'll be a shaman."
The fantasy elements are slowly introduced as Rin is immersed into a war where  people are killed indiscriminately. The descriptions of blood and violence was plentiful but disturbing at times. War is hell and this book does not shy away from that at all. Rin has to learn how to control her shaman abilities through the use of poppy to connect with her god. But allowing a god to use you comes with the risk of madness and wide scale destruction.  The pacing and action kept me engaged, but I wanted to know more about the 12 Warlords who rule provinces of the Nikara empire. The political conflict between the Warlords and Empress that rules Nikara was teased at but the details will hopefully emerge more in the series.
"Destiny is a myth. Destiny is only myth. The gods choose nothing. You chose."
I really enjoyed the plot, characters and world building in this book. However towards the end of the book I felt that the pacing and story wasn't as strong. There was a lot of things left unexplained and I really wanted more of the story lines to have been resolved in this book. I don't want to get into issues with certain characters because that would lead to spoilers  Despite my interest tapering off towards the end of the book, it was still a great read. This will be a series I'm interested in continuing and I know most readers will find something here to enjoy.

Recommended for readers who:
- enjoy military fantasy with a strong female lead
- appreciate historical fiction with action and mythology
- can deal with mature topics and graphic descriptions of death
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

R.F. Kuang, InToriLex
I immigrated to the US from Guangzhou, China in 2000. I have a BA in International History from Georgetown, where my research focused on Chinese military strategy, collective trauma, and war memorials. I’m a 2018 Marshall Scholar, and I’ll be heading to the University of Cambridge this fall to do my MPhil in Chinese Studies.

Writing-wise, I graduated from Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2016 and attended the CSSF Novel Writing Workshop in 2017. My debut novel, The Poppy War, is the first installment in a trilogy that grapples with drugs, shamanism, and China’s bloody twentieth century. I really love corgis, drinking nice wines I know nothing about, and rewatching The Office!
WEBSITE            TWITTER
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Book Scoop July 13- July 27, 2018

July 27, 2018
InToriLex, Book Scoop, Weekly Feature

HEADLINES



LINKS TO CLICK



Books Where Poetry and Politics Overlap  

7 Audiobooks for Summer Travel

BOOK RELEASES

I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé by Michael Arceneaux
I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé, Michael Arceneaux, InToriLex
I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé
~Amazon~
In the style of New York Times bestsellers You Can’t Touch My Hair, Bad Feminist, and I’m Judging You, a timely collection of alternately hysterical and soul‑searching essays about what it is like to grow up as a creative, sensitive black man in a world that constantly tries to deride and diminish your humanity.

It hasn’t been easy being Michael Arceneaux.

Equality for LGBT people has come a long way and all, but voices of persons of color within the community are still often silenced, and being black in America is…well, have you watched the news?

With the characteristic wit and candor that have made him one of today’s boldest writers on social issues, I Can’t Date Jesus is Michael Arceneaux’s impassioned, forthright, and refreshing look at minority life in today’s America. Leaving no bigoted or ignorant stone unturned, he describes his journey in learning to embrace his identity when the world told him to do the opposite.

He eloquently writes about coming out to his mother; growing up in Houston, Texas; that time his father asked if he was “funny” while shaking his hand; his obstacles in embracing intimacy; and the persistent challenges of young people who feel marginalized and denied the chance to pursue their dreams.

Perfect for fans of David Sedaris and Phoebe Robinson, I Can’t Date Jesus tells us—without apologies—what it’s like to be outspoken and brave in a divisive world.
Sanctuary (Sanctuary #1) by Caryn Lix
Sanctuary (Sanctuary #1), Caryn Lix, InToriLex
Sanctuary (Sanctuary #1)
~Amazon~ 
Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows. 
The Future Will Be BS-Free by Will McIntosh
The Future Will Be BS-Free, Will McIntosh, InToriLex
The Future Will Be BS-Free
~Amazon~
In this terrifyingly timely tale for fans of The Eye of Minds, a teen and his group of friends find themselves on the run after using a genius lie-detector contraption to expose their corrupt government.

In a Putin-esque near-future America, the gifted and talented high school has just been eliminated, and Sam and his friends have been using their unexpected free time to work on a tiny, undetectable, utterly reliable lie detector. They're all in it for the money--except Theo, their visionary. For Theo, it's about creating a better world. A BS-free world, where no one can lie, and the honest will thrive.

Just when they finish the prototype and turn down an offer to sell their brainchild to a huge corporation, Theo is found dead. Greedy companies, corrupt privatized police, and even the president herself will stop at nothing to steal the Truth App. Sam sets his sights on exposing all lies and holding everyone accountable.

But he and his friends quickly realize the costs of a BS-free world: the lives of loved ones, and political and economic stability. They now face a difficult question: Is the world capable of operating without lies, or are lies what hold it together?
 How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
 How to Love a Jamaican, Alexia Arthurs,InToriLex
How to Love a Jamaican
~Amazon~
“There is a way to be cruel that seems Jamaican to me.”

Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret—Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Sweeping from close-knit island communities to the streets of New York City and midwestern university towns, these eleven stories form a portrait of a nation, a people, and a way of life.

In “Light Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands,” an NYU student befriends a fellow Jamaican whose privileged West Coast upbringing has blinded her to the hard realities of race. In “Mash Up Love,” a twin’s chance sighting of his estranged brother—the prodigal son of the family—stirs up unresolved feelings of resentment. In “Bad Behavior,” a mother and father leave their wild teenage daughter with her grandmother in Jamaica, hoping the old ways will straighten her out. In “Mermaid River,” a Jamaican teenage boy is reunited with his mother in New York after eight years apart. In “The Ghost of Jia Yi,” a recently murdered international student haunts a despairing Jamaican athlete recruited to an Iowa college. And in “Shirley from a Small Place,” a world-famous pop star retreats to her mother’s big new house in Jamaica, which still holds the power to restore something vital.

The winner of The Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize for “Bad Behavior,” Alexia Arthurs emerges in this vibrant, lyrical, intimate collection as one of fiction’s most dynamic and essential young authors.
Did I miss anything in the book world this week?
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Review: What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah

July 24, 2018
What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Riverhead Books on April 3, 2018
Format Read: Paperback Edition (240 pages)
Genre: Short Story/ Fantasy/ Sci-fi
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Purchased
Rating: FIVE STARS
What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories
~Amazon~  
A dazzlingly accomplished debut collection explores the ties that bind parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends to one another and to the places they call home.

In "Who Will Greet You at Home," a National Magazine Award finalist for The New Yorker, A woman desperate for a child weaves one out of hair, with unsettling results. In "Wild," a disastrous night out shifts a teenager and her Nigerian cousin onto uneasy common ground. In "The Future Looks Good," three generations of women are haunted by the ghosts of war, while in "Light," a father struggles to protect and empower the daughter he loves. And in the title story, in a world ravaged by flood and riven by class, experts have discovered how to "fix the equation of a person" - with rippling, unforeseen repercussions.

Evocative, playful, subversive, and incredibly human, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky heralds the arrival of a prodigious talent with a remarkable career ahead of her.

VERDICT:

Content Warning: Violence, Domestic Abuse, Trauma, Child Abuse

REVIEW:

I have been blessed by a master storyteller and I am grateful. There is so much beauty and hard realities in these stories. Through the use of magical realism and fantastical elements, characters inner turmoil are made physical. The characters are memorable and refreshingly flawed, so each story feels like a friend's you a secret. I enjoyed each and every story, they all held suspense, surprises and descriptions of family trauma. In most short story collections there are some that may not be right for the reader, but I enjoyed each one in this collection.
"This starts another argument between husband and wife, mild at first, but then it peppers and there us this thing that distance dies where it subtracts warmth and context and history and each finds that they're arguing with a stranger."
Besides the awesome prose, imagery and realism the author's unique experience and culture was incorporated. Windfalls is a story about a mother and daughter who live off of settlements they receive from slip and fall lawsuits. The story is told from the daughter's perspective and as she grows up the ugliness of this lifestyle becomes more pronounced. What it Means When A Man Falls From the Sky is a story about how mathematicians have figured out a formula to fix the effects of trauma and grief. The results of this in a future world separated by class are not what it seems, and the story left me thinking about it for a long time. Life would be so much simpler if there was a actual fix to trauma.
"Girls with fire in their bellies will be forced to drink from a well of correction till the flames die out."
The theme of women and girls as autonomous and powerful despite their circumstances runs throughout these stories. The stories cross continents include future technology and incorporate African culture. I am astounded by this author's talent and will happily read anything that she creates.

Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy memorable short stories
- like reading about diverse characters and trauma
-enjoy fantasy and magical realism elements

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Lesley Nneka Arimah, InToriLex
Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up wherever her father was stationed for work, which was sometimes Nigeria, sometimes not.

Her work has received grants and awards from Commonwealth Writers, AWP, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and others. She currently lives in Minneapolis.

WEBSITE
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Review: Honeybee by Trista Mateer

July 23, 2018
Honeybee, Trista Mateer, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Central Avenue Publishing on May 1, 2018
Format Read: Paperback Edition (160 pages)
Genre: Memoir/ Poetry/ LGBTQ
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Giveaway Win
Rating: FIVE STARS
Honeybee
~Amazon~ 
You will meet people in your lifetime who demand to have poems written about them. It’s not something they say. It’s something about their hands, the shape of their mouths, the way they look walking away from you. Honeybee is an honest take on walking away and still feeling like you were walked away from. It’s about cutting love loose like a kite string and praying the wind has the decency to carry it away from you. It’s an ode to the back and forth, the process of letting something go but not knowing where to put it down. Honeybee is putting it down. It’s small town girls and plane tickets, a taste of tenderness and honey, the bandage on the bee sting. It’s a reminder that you are not defined by the people you walk away from or the people who walk away from you. Consider Honeybee a memoir in verse, or at the very least, a story written by one of today's most confessional poets.

VERDICT:

 Content Warning: Heartbreaking Growth

REVIEW:

These poems were laced with a intimacy only a friend sobbing in your arms could convey.  Honeybee is about loving someone dangerously and dealing with what happens after. The author describes falling in love and all of the joys that brings. Her relationship was everything until her Honeybee decided that Christianity and societal norms meant it wasn't. While reading these poems I remembered my own experiences of heartbreak and felt relieved while reading that those feelings of despair has dissipated with time.
"I want things that you disapprove of and you want things that I cannot give you."
The poems are simple but impactful. This volume included polished thoughts, handwritten feelings and illustrations throughout. Poetry is hard to rate, but any prose that makes you feel, remember and think is worth your time. Love is universal so there is something in these poems for everyone.
Shedding

Giving my things back:
I am too heavy to carry
under the
weight
of all this new happiness.

I was as close as skin to you once.
 Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy modern poetry
- can deal with intimate musings on love
- aren't afraid to revisit their own heartbreak

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Trista Mateer is a writer and poet from outside of Baltimore, who could be living anywhere by the time you read this. She believes in lipstick, late nights, and cheap air fare. Known for her eponymous blog, she is also the author of three collections of poetry.
WEBSITE
TWITTER
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Sunday Post #14 July 22, 2018

July 22, 2018
Sunday Post, InToriLex
Sunday Post is a Book Blog Meme hosted at the Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a post used to summarize what has happened on your blog for the past week, and preview what's next.

COMING SOON

Review: Honeybee by Trista Mateer

Review: The Poppy War (Untitled #1) by R.F. Kuang

Review: What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah
Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

Book Scoop July 13-  July 27, 2018

BOOK HAULED

You Have Me to Love, Jaap Robben, Sunday Post, InToriLex
You Have Me to Love by Jaap Robben
World Editions
(OUT September 4, 2018)

LIFE LATELY

This past week I have been battling a Sinus Infection, I'm at 70% normal now but that has meant little to no reading or writing. I have enjoyed still seeing everyone participate in a number of #readathons that have kicked off on Twitter. 

I finished Poppy's War by R.F. Kuang but didn't enjoy how it wound down. I'm still plowing through Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, I'm realizing I should have DNF'ed it, but I'm in too deep now. The Book of M by Peng Shephard is great I'm over half way through and I'm excited to finish it soon. I will be starting Suicide Club by Rachel Heng, which I've read great reviews for. I'm hoping for a great reading and blogging week.

I binged The Sinner TV show while sick, it was great and suspenseful. I am getting into the HBO Sharp Objects show, although I haven't read the book. Amy Adams and the Cinematography in this is fantastic so I'll be watching.

How did your reading go this week?
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Book Scoop July 6- July 13, 2018

July 13, 2018
InToriLex, Book News, Links, New Releases
Her Pretty Face, Robyn Harding, InToriLex
Her Pretty Face
~Amazon~ 
The author of the bestselling novel The Party—lauded as “tense and riveting” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Miranda—returns with a chilling new domestic drama about two women whose deep friendship is threatened by dark, long-buried secrets.

Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.

A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.

Until she meets Kate Randolph.

Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart…because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunick. And she’s a murderer.

In her masterful follow-up to The Party, Robyn Harding spins a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, asking the question: Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?
I'm Not Missing by Carrie Fountain
I'm Not Missing, Carrie Fountain, InToriLex


The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela, Sahm Venter (Editor), Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela (Foreword)
The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela, Sahm Venter, Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, InToriLex
The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela
~Amazon~
Arrested in 1962 as South Africa’s apartheid regime intensified its brutal campaign against political opponents, forty-four-year-old lawyer and African National Congress activist Nelson Mandela had no idea that he would spend the next twenty-seven years in jail. During his 10,052 days of incarceration, the future leader of South Africa wrote a multitude of letters to unyielding prison authorities, fellow activists, government officials, and, most memorably, to his courageous wife, Winnie, and his five children. Now, 255 of these letters, many of which have never been published, provide exceptional insight into how Mandela maintained his inner spirits while living in almost complete isolation, and how he engaged with an outside world that became increasingly outraged by his plight.

Organized chronologically and divided by the four venues in which he was held as a sentenced prisoner, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela begins in Pretoria Local Prison, where Mandela was held following his 1962 trial. In 1964, Mandela was taken to Robben Island Prison, where a stark existence was lightened only by visits and letters from family. After eighteen years, Mandela was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison, a large complex outside of Cape Town with beds and better food, but where he and four of his comrades were confined to a rooftop cell, apart from the rest of the prison population. Finally, Mandela was taken to Victor Verster Prison in 1988, where he was held until his release on February 11, 1990.

With accompanying facsimiles of some of his actual letters, this landmark volume reveals how Mandela, a lawyer by training, advocated for prisoners’ human rights. It reveals him to be a loving father, who wrote to his daughter, “I sometimes wish science could invent miracles and make my daughter get her missing birthday cards and have the pleasure of knowing that her Pa loves her,” aware that photos and letters he sent had simply disappeared.

More painful still are the letters written in 1969, when Mandela—forbidden from attending the funerals of his mother and his son Thembi—was reduced to consoling family members through correspondence. Yet, what emerges most powerfully is Mandela’s unfaltering optimism: “Honour belongs to those who never forsake the truth even when things seem dark grim, who try over and over again, who are never discouraged by insults, humiliation even defeat.”

Whether providing unwavering support to his also-imprisoned wife or outlining a human-rights philosophy that resonates today, The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela reveals the heroism of a man who refused to compromise his moral values in the face of extraordinary punishment. Ultimately, these letters position Mandela as one of the most inspiring figures of the twentieth century.
What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan
What We Were Promised, Lucy Tan, InTorilex
What We Were Promised
~Amazon~
After years of chasing the American dream, the Zhen family has moved back to China. Settling into a luxurious serviced apartment in Shanghai, Wei, Lina, and their daughter, Karen, join an elite community of Chinese-born, Western-educated professionals who have returned to a radically transformed city.

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