Book Review: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

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BFS –> Paris

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5 disco balls

Published: February 6, 2018 by Algonquin Books
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Family Life

I started this book in Belfast, brought it with me to Paris and Avignon, and wound up finishing it in Nice. I could say that this book is quite the world traveler.

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Nice, France

I am tardy to the party in reading this book; mainly due to the fact that love triangles make me uncomfortable and I try to avoid them like the plague. What forced me to read this – and thank goodness for it because I was missing out – was my book club’s August pick.

Three’s Company? More like three’s a crowd. 

The 1+1+1=3 equation is as follows: Andre and Celestial are childhood best friends, Roy and Andre are college friends, Roy and Celestial meet through Roy. VoilàRead More »

Reading Challenge: High School Reading Redo

September is right around the corner and can be known as Back to School Month. The start of school can vary based on location, but typically by September students are parked at their desks counting down the days until their next summer vacation. Well at least that was what I was doing. I certainly didn’t have the time to focus on required reading and often resorted to Cliff Notes. I needed my time to…I actually don’t remember but I just know my free time was not spent reading.

The adult me doesn’t even know that person: you can’t pry a book out of my hands nowadays. To rid myself of the guilt of not doing my homework I am going to spend the month of September reading the books I was supposed to read back in school (over twenty years ago). I only hope this makes my former English teachers – or English teachers everywhere – proud! If only I had my teachers emails, I would finally submit proper book “reports.”

Join or follow my progress through the hashtag #HSReadingRedo. Read from my list below or create your own. I would love to hear of your participation so come back an drop a comment below with your book “report” links!

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Saturday Spotlight: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Introducing Saturday Nite Reader’s weekly meme: Saturday Spotlight! Each Saturday I will spotlight a book I have read or am currently reading; and, of course what I think is special about it. I invite you to participate as well! Just link back to my weekly post and don’t forget to add your spotlight link in the comment section for all to see. Happy Sharing! XO, Nikki

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This Week:
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Published: August 3, 2017 by Apollo (first published February 7, 2017 by Grand Central Publishing)
Category: Historical Fiction, Cultural
National Book Award Finalist for Fiction (2017); Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Historical Fiction (2017); Reading Women Award for Fiction (2017); Litsy Award for Historical Fiction (2017)

img_1275While in Paris, I had to visit the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore. There were so many books to choose from and I wasn’t sure which one I was going to buy: I wish I could have purchased more than one but I already overpacked my suitcase. Being in Europe and seeing the different book covers was burning a hole in my pocket; that darn suitcase saved my bank account.

While browsing I picked up this version of Pachinko and thought it was absolutely stunning. After that, the choice was easy. I mean just look at it and that inside cover, woah.

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Books throughout Belfast, Northern Ireland

I am on vacation from August 10 – 19th and can finally check Paris off my bucket list! I am enjoying my time away, but wanted to pop in quickly and share a few photos from my time in Northern Ireland. 

Prior to heading out on holiday, I was working in my Belfast office for the week. I packed way too many books, so I decided to take them with me around town and share a few spots I hit up during my stay. I used the hashtag #booksthroughoutbelfast on Instagram to chronicle my week.

Seven days in Belfast and I finished Tied to Deceit by Neena H. Brar, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, and started An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. I may not get to all the books I packed but they enjoyed traveling throughout Belfast with me. What was not enjoyable was that they definitely weighed down my suitcase – but its what we do for the love of books, right?! Enjoy!

Saturday Spotlight: The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

Introducing Saturday Nite Reader’s weekly meme: Saturday Spotlight! Each Saturday I will spotlight a book I have read or am currently reading; and, of course what I think is special about it. I invite you to participate as well! Just link back to my weekly post and don’t forget to add your spotlight link in the comment section for all to see. Happy Sharing! XO, Nikki

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This Week:

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

Published: August 13, 2013 by Doubleday (edition shown published July 10, 2018 by Picador)
Category: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism

Earlier in 2018 I read author Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life and it destroyed me. I still talk about this book: its so fresh in my mind. It probably doesn’t help that I created a Spotify playlist called All the Feels that were songs that reminded me of scenes from the book, and that I listen to it almost every day. But, I digress…

img_0968On a worktrip to Belfast, Northern Ireland, I stopped by Waterstones bookstore and had to grab a copy of the UK paperback version of A Little Life. It’s a different cover therefore it needs to be added to my collection: I already have the US paperback and hardcover versions. Since books are home decor then it’s okay have more than one copy of the same book – or at least that is what I tell myself.

While in the fiction section, I came across Yanagihara’s first novel The People in the Tress and of course I had to get that one too. They compliment each other so well don’t you think? Like, you can’t have one without the other. If the writing is anything like A Little Life, than I know I will love it.

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Book Review: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

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3.5 disco balls

Published: March 7, 2017 by Riverhead
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy
Man Booker Prize Nominee (2017); Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Fiction (2017); National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee for Fiction (2017); Andrew Carnegie Medal Nominee for Fiction (2018); Folio Prize Nominee (2018); Kirkus Prize Nominee for Fiction (2017); Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2017); Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize Nominee for Fiction (2017)

This book is deep dude.
But, in all seriousness, author Mohsin Hamid did an exceptional job at conjuring up my inner psyche and putting it to work. The first half of this book I was sucked in and kept stopping and thinking “wow, what would this be like for me?” and even more so “this is all too relevant and that is scary.”Read More »

Book Review: Tied to Deceit by Neena H. Brar

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just chilling at the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland

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3 disco balls

Published: August 4, 2018 by Penguide Books
Category: Mystery, Domestic Thriller

Synopsis: On a drizzly August morning, the inhabitants of the hill town of Sanover, Himachal Pradesh, wake up to the shocking news of the murder of the exquisite, secretive, malicious, and thoroughly immoral Devika Singh.

As Superintendent of Police Vishwanath Sharma begins to sift through the hidden secrets of Devika Singh’s life, it becomes evident that everyone who knew her seems to have a clear-cut motive for killing her.Read More »

Saturday Spotlight: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Introducing Saturday Nite Reader’s weekly meme: Saturday Spotlight! Each Saturday I will spotlight a book I have read or am currently reading; and, of course what I think is special about it. I invite you to participate as well! Just link back to my weekly post and don’t forget to add your spotlight link in the comment section for all to see. Happy Sharing! XO, Nikki

img_0886This Week:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Published: June 21, 2003 by Scholastic, Inc.
Category: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction

It was 2001, or around that time, that I discovered the HP series. I wasn’t much of a leisurely reader. I was still in college and barely wanted to read any of my textbooks let alone a book for books sake. But, I found myself devouring Books 1 – 4 over the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. I had caught up just in time to preorder Book 5: The Order of the Phoenix (my copy shown above).

I will not come to finish The Order of the Phoenix. I was in the middle of reading it when someone asked me if I got to the part where…(well I won’t ruin it for you, the way someone ruined it for me!) After receiving that spoiler, I never picked up the book again. Fast-forward around 15 years later and I still have yet to finish the infamous, popular HP series. I couldn’t even watch the movies for the books I did not read, because I didn’t want the books to be ruined for me (when I eventually started them again).

img_0885I’ve had the book sitting on my bookshelf all the time and just recently opened it to discover my bookmark still in its rightful place: I made it to the start of Chapter 21 (half-way through)!

Now the dilemma, do I re-start where I left off, at the beginning of ‘The Order of the Phoenix’, or restart the whole series because its been too long?

My answer: restarting the whole series over again! I need to reacquaint myself with the characters and the inner workings of Hogwarts. Heck, I still don’t even know which HP House I would be in! Now to just find the time…(the struggle of a book blogger)

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Blog Tour: The Afterlife of Walter Augustus by Hannah M. Lynn

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This is my first blog tour and what a fun book to kick off the first of hopefully many more.

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3.5 disco balls

Published: July 12, 2018 by Amazon Digital Services
Category: Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal

Normally fantasy and paranormal are not my reading jam, but there was something about the synopsis to The Afterlife of Walter Augustus that piqued my interest right from the start. I had this feeling that Walter Augustus was going to be like Ove (from A Man Called Ove) and I needed to see if I was right. I mean, who doesn’t just love Ove?

Walter Augustus is dead. He is living in the interim until no one remembers him anymore; then he can clear over to the other side and be with the rest of his family. Walter is very close to crossing that threshold when Letty will ruin everything. Letty is alive. Letty is about to be haunted: is she going crazy or are there really such things as ghosts?Read More »

Audiobook Review: Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

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5 disco balls

Published: March 6, 2018 by HarperAudio
Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi & Julia Whelan
Length: 6 hours 21 minutes
Category: Literary Fiction, LGBT

I have been on an audiobook roll lately and hope to keep up the momentum. I am one who prefers to read an actual book, but likes to listen to audiobooks during my drives (or to make doing chores more bearable). There have been a few times where I felt that I had a better experience listening rather than reading and this here is one of them!

Narrator Prentice Onayemi starts the first part of this book and he was absolute perfection. I felt as though I was listening to Prentice – as Niru – tell me his story; as if I was grabbing coffee with him and we were engaged in a conversation. He made Niru real, lent a voice to his story and his family. My goodness was this story beautifully written: there is no doubt that author Iweala is extremely talented. 
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