Welcome to What I’ve Been Reading Lately, a feature where I’ll be giving short reviews of what I’m currently reading:
Danny Chung Sums It Up by Maisie Chan and illustrated by Natelle Quek
Eleven-year-old Danny’s life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England. Things get worse when Danny finds out he’ll have to share his room with her, and she took the top bunk! At first, Danny is frustrated that he can’t communicate with her because she doesn’t speak English–and because he’s on the verge of failing math and Nai Nai was actually a math champion back in the day. It just feels like he and his grandmother have nothing in common. His parents insist that Danny help out, so when he’s left to look after Nai Nai, he leaves her at the bingo hall for the day to get her off his back. But he soon discovers that not everyone there is as welcoming as he expected . . . Through the universal languages of math and art, Danny realizes he has more in common with his Nai Nai than he first thought. Filled with heart and humor, Danny Chung Sums It Up shows that traversing two cultures is possible and worth the effort, even if it’s not always easy.
I don’t read a lot of middle grade fiction but so far I’m finding this one funny and enjoyable to read! It’s always nice to take a break from the older fiction reads and read something light and heartwarming and this one does the trick!
All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue
After Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet during her in-school suspension, she quickly becomes the most sought-after diviner at St. Bernadette’s Catholic school. But when Maeve’s ex-best friend, Lily, draws an unsettling card called The Housekeeper that Maeve has never seen before, the session devolves into a heated argument that ends with Maeve wishing aloud that Lily would disappear. When Lily isn’t at school the next Monday, Maeve learns her ex-friend has vanished without a trace.
Shunned by her classmates and struggling to preserve a fledgling romance with Lily’s gender-fluid sibling, Roe, Maeve must dig deep into her connection with the cards to search for clues the police cannot find–even if they lead to the terrifying Housekeeper herself. Set in an Irish town where the church’s tight hold has loosened and new freedoms are trying to take root, this sharply contemporary story is witty, gripping, and tinged with mysticism. (Credit: Walker Books)
Not only do I want to read something magical, but I have to prepare for a certain talk that will be happening later this month. Stay tuned for future news on that!
The Wild Irish Girl by Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan
When Horatio, the son of an English lord, is banished to his father’s Irish estate as punishment for his dissipated ways, he goes off in search of adventure. On the wild west coast of Connaught he finds remnants of a romantic Gaelic past–a dilapidated castle, a Catholic priest, a deposed king and the king’s lovely daughter Glorvina. In this setting and among these characters Horatio learns the history, culture, and language of a country he had once scorned, but he must do so in disguise, for his own English ancestors are responsible for the ruin of the Gaelic family he comes to love.
Written after the Act of Union, The Wild Irish Girl. (1806) is a passionately nationalistic novel and a founding text in the discourse of Irish nationalism. (Credit: Oxford World’s Classics)
As with most classics, this is a slow read, however, so far it has interesting perspective of an outsider’s look on Ireland and how prejudices can be dismantled by just understanding the history and culture of ones that are different from ours.
The Binding Room by Nadine Matheson
Expected Publication Date: July 12
When Detective Anjelica Henley is called to investigate the murder of a popular preacher in his own church, she discovers a second victim, tortured and tied to a bed in an upstairs room. He is alive, but barely, and his body shows signs of a dark religious ritual.
With a revolving list of suspects and the media spotlight firmly on her, Henley is left with more questions than answers as she attempts to untangle both crimes. But when another body appears, the case takes on a new urgency. Unless she can apprehend the killer, the next victim may just be Henley herself. (Credit: Hanover Square Press)
I’ve been waiting so long to dive into this one and so far, I’m liking what I’m reading so far!
What I Plan to Read Next:
Our Dining Table by Mita Ori
Eating around other people is a struggle for salaryman Yutaka, despite his talent for cooking. All that changes when he meets Minoru and Tane–two brothers, many years apart in age–who ask him to teach them how to make his delicious food It’s not long before Yutaka finds himself falling hard for the meals they share together–and falling in love. (Credit: Seven Seas)
The Gifts That Bind Us by Caroline O’Donoghue
It’s senior year, and Maeve and her friends are practicing and strengthening their mystical powers, while Maeve’s new relationship with Roe is exhilarating. But as Roe’s rock star dreams start to take shape, and Fiona and Lily make plans for faraway colleges, Maeve, who struggles in school, worries about life without them–will she be selling incense here in Kilbeg, Ireland, until she’s fifty? Alarm bells sound for the coven when the Children of Brigid, a right-wing religious organization, quickly gains influence throughout the city–and when its charismatic front man starts visiting Maeve in her dreams. When Maeve’s power starts to wane, the friends realize that all the local magic is being drained–or rather, stolen. With lines increasingly blurred between friend and foe, the supernatural and the psychological, Maeve and the others must band together to protect the place, and the people, they love. A thrilling sequel to All Our Hidden Gifts. (Credit: Walker Books US)
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
To solve an impossible murder, you need an impossible hero…
Judith Potts is seventy-seven years old and blissfully happy. She lives on her own in a faded mansion just outside Marlow, there’s no man in her life to tell her what to do or how much whisky to drink, and to keep herself busy she sets crosswords for The Times newspaper.
One evening, while out swimming in the Thames, Judith witnesses a brutal murder. The local police don’t believe her story, so she decides to investigate for herself, and is soon joined in her quest by Suzie, a salt-of-the-earth dog-walker, and Becks, the prim and proper wife of the local Vicar.
Together, they are the Marlow Murder Club.
When another body turns up, they realise they have a real-life serial killer on their hands. And the puzzle they set out to solve has become a trap from which they might never escape…(Credit: Poisoned Pen Press)
Loveless by Alice Oseman
It was all sinking in. I’d never had a crush on anyone. No boys, no girls, not a single person I had ever met. What did that mean?
Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.
As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.
But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.
Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along? (Credit: Scholastic Press)
The Burning Swift by Joseph Elliott
Agatha, Jaime, and Sigrid must unite the people of Scotia and beyond as war comes to the Isle of Skye. But will betrayal and secrecy be their undoing? The epic final installment of the Shadow Skye trilogy.
With the deadly phantom sgàilean defeated, Jaime and Agatha prepare to help their clan reclaim their compound from the treacherous Raasay people. But Sigrid, sent at the behest of Queen Beatrice, arrives with a warning: the kings of Norveg and Ingland have joined forces and plan to march north to annihilate the people of Scotia. The clan quickly turns to the Badhbh and his powerful blood magic. But instead of aiding them, the mage kidnaps Agatha, seemingly as an offering to the kings.
Now Sigrid and Jaime must rally unlikely allies to face a common enemy, even as Jaime finds himself drawn to a boy from another clan. Meanwhile, Agatha garners unexpected support among the Inglish as well as from an animal of Scotian legend, and discovers the extraordinary secrets of her past. Three remarkable heroes unite for the grand conclusion of this rich and exciting series. (Credit: Walker Books US)