Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

Hello! It’s Tuesday and you know what time it is…Top Ten. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, Jana every week, they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. Rainy day reads to me are books that draw you in fast. They are books that feel like an old friend, they are books that make me wonder. So here are 10 books that did that for me:

The Winter Sea (Slains #1)

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley 

Love this author. Her books pull me in and take me away. I love that she incorporates historical facts into each of her stories. This one is sure to be a fantastic rainy day read for anyone.

 

 

 

 

Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1)

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Who said zombies aren’t cool? This book captures your interest from the start and the structure of the story with a letter from the main character and her daughter starting each chapter keeps you coming back for more.

 

 

 

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1)

 

 

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Books, libraries, magic, strong female with a sexy sidekick/secondary character is the answer to rainy day woes. This is the start to a really fun series. I have been taking my time with this series. I have only read two so far but really enjoy them.

 

 

The Sun Is Also a Star

 

 

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

A love story that takes the course of a day sounds crazy right but it really works with this story that also glimpses into the world of immigrants and deportation. A fast ride for a gray rainy day!

 

 

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)

 

 

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Good science fiction and fantasy always pulls me in with a sense of wonder. This first book in a trilogy is really easy to immerse into. The characters are interesting and the possibilities keep you guessing.

 

 

Land of Shadows (Detective Elouise Norton #1)

 

Land of Shadows by Rachel Howzell Hall

Just read this last month and wow, loved it. It’s a crime fiction but with a kick-ass black female detective. Something you rarely see in books or film. Eloise “Lou” is so smart and the story is so compelling. It is a fantastic start to a series. I have already bought the next book so I can go hang out with her and her partner to solve another case.

 

Rainy Day Sisters (Hartley-by-the-Sea #1)

 

Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt

I read this so long ago. But it is one of those stories where the main character has to put distance between her life to find herself and a hottie in the process. Couldn’t put it down.

 

 

 

The Wedding Date

 

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Read this a few months ago and I don’t read much romance but this one pulled me in and never let go. I could not look away from this crazy romance. It was a debut book and I already bought another book by this author because she writes this stuff that good. Nothing like a little “steam” to chase away the gloom of a rainy day!!

 

The Salaryman's Wife (Rei Shimura #1)

 

The Salaryman’s Wife (Rei Shimura #1) by Sujata Massey

This is an auto-buy author and this began with this debut novel when it came out in 2000. I can’t believe it is almost 20 years ago I read this book. This was the start to an amazing series that brings you into the life of a Japanese American Rei who teaches English in Japan while also dealing in antiques. You learn so much in each book about different aspects of Japanese culture and the characters are fantastic. Many who re-appear in future books in the series. Once pulled into this series, you will forget it’s raining.

Kindred

 

Kindred by Octavia Butler

This was my introduction to this incredibly talented writer who went on to become one of the greatest science fiction writers. Unfortunately her life was cut short and we are left with her amazing books. This book was her debut novel and it pulls you in in a different way. It’s main character travels back and forth in time. It hits you with hard realities of slavery and keeps you coming back to find out what happens next. Don’t let the slavery deter you from such a rich experience. You won’t know it’s raining once you open the pages of this gem.

Happy reading!

Belinda

 

Belinda’s Book Nook Book Review: American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

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Title: American Spy
Author: Lauren Wilkinson
Copyright: February 12, 2019
Genre: fiction
Format: book
Pages: 304

 

Summary (from Goodreads):

It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club, and her career has stalled out; she’s overlooked for every high profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Thomas is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent.

In the year that follows, Marie will observe Thomas, seduce him, and ultimately, have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American.

Inspired by true events–Thomas Sankara is known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”–this novel knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance. This is a face of the Cold War you’ve never seen before, and it introduces a powerful new literary voice.

About the Author (Lauren Wilkinson):

Lauren Wilkinson

 

Lauren Wilkinson earned an MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University, and has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was a 2013 Center for Fiction Emerging Writer’s Fellow, and has also received support from the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Lauren grew up in New York and lives on the Lower East Side. American Spy is her first novel.

My Thoughts:

I pre-ordered this book as soon as I saw it come up on Goodreads. I was intrigued by the idea of a black female spy. I have read and enjoyed mysteries with black female sleuths but never read any book about a black female spy. The main character Marie Mitchell is an FBI intelligence officer. The book jumps back and forth through time and at first I found it jarring but quickly adapted. I like how Wilkinson used the form of a letter from Marie to her children to tell the story. It was a good way to help the story unfold.

Wilkenson also included the biases Marie faced within the FBI and how it prevented her from advancing her career. I think there are common challenges for black people when choosing to work for law enforcement whether it is a police officer, FBI or CIA agent. Working for the police force or other agencies of authority definitely presents black people a double bind in which a difficult situation in which, “whatever action you decide to take, you cannot escape unpleasant results.” Because historically as well in the present many conflicting actions are taken against people of color by law enforcement. So for a minority, particularly a black and brown person it presents these troubling challenges.

Another aspect I really liked was that Wilkenson sprinkled historical facts throughout the story. One in particular was the mention of Fred Hampton of the Black Panther and the FBI’s involvement in his murder. This is a history I know very little but this book has really peaked my interest to learn more. One such fact that she included was how often black protest groups or activists would be declared “communist enemies” in order to justify the FBI’s infiltrations and actions against the groups.

The book speaks also to the complexity of using black agents in African countries to assist the CIA’s objectives. It made me think about how easily we justify military intervention in other countries. There were so many things to think about during and after reading this book. Which I think is a good thing to become more aware and critical of the events happening involving our country.

I would give it a 4 1/2 stars and shy of 5 stars because of the abrupt ending and I look forward to her future books.  So glad I was able to read this book.

Happy Reading!

Belinda

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Spring 2019 TBR

Hello! It’s Tuesday and you know what time it is…Top Ten. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, Jana every week, they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. I looked at this week’s challenge and definitely knew I could do this one since I have so many books I own and haven’t read!

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Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

 

I love her books and once again she has created a historical fiction that has excited me to learn something new to me – the Haenyeo (female divers) of the Korean province of Jeju. It sounds like a fascinating history and I know once I read the book I will be all over the internet to learn more about this important part of history. I pre-ordered this book once I found out about it and I have already received it so it will be read this spring for sure.

 

 

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The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden

I can not remember I heard about this author but she has popped on my radar and I look forward to reading a sci-fi, fantasy novel set in South Africa with a band of unlikely characters trying to save the world.

 

 

 

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Mayhem & Mass (A Sister Lou Mystery) by Olivia Matthews

I love sneaking cozy mysteries into my reading time. Especially between heavier books. But I am so excited to read this because it is a cozy written by an african-american author. She has already written several books in the series so I have a wonderful list to continue once I read this one.

 

 

 

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Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

I bought this book to go add to my social justice library that I am collecting for myself. I look forward to reading this book to learn more and I am particularly interested as a black woman to read a book that presents multiple ways race, gender, and class affect the oppression of black women, and how they subsequently navigate in this world. I am sure I will find it quite affirming.

 

 

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The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

I absolutely loved reading The Wedding Date which was Guillory’s debut novel. It was a really fun contemporary which is a genre I haven’t read in a long time. It was so enjoyable that I picked up this second book. It’s not the a series but if she writes the way she did in the first, I will gobble it up fast!!

 

 

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Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

I am late to game with this author. I first heard about her over 4 years ago and still have read any of her novels. My husband bought this one for me on my last birthday and I can’t wait to jump in to it. It’s one of my favorite genres, historical fiction so I got to get to it. This one is set in the French Quarter in New Orleans, a place I have had the pleasure of visiting so it will be fun to revisit.

 

 

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Tumbling by Diane McKinney-Whetstone

Bought this book a couple years ago. I absolutely love the cover. I own two books by this author but haven’t cracked one open. This year would be a great year to do that.  A family drama set in Philly in the 1940s and 50s, that focuses on a couple on the brink of splitting when something unexpected arrives to change the tides. Sounds like I need to read it for sure.

 

 

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The Martian by Andy Weir

Oooo, don’t let my husband see this post. I know I have a good man because I told him to read this book when it came out and when this book first came out and he did. Then the movie came out and he said he would wait for me to read the book and then watch it with me. Well hello!! I still haven’t read it! So I need to step up and get on it.

 

 

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A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney

A young adult fantasy inspired by Alice in Wonderland with a black female protagonist sounds like fun. Sign me up!

 

 

 

 

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Bought this end of last year, sounded like an interesting historical fiction mystery set in 1862 and the present. I hope this author can deliver a ride like Susanna Kearsley does in her books. If so, it will be a win!

 

 

Happy reading!

Belinda

Belinda’s Book Nook: March Mystery Madness

It’s that time of year again. March Mystery Madness has begun. For the past few years I been participating in a reading challenge for the month of March. For the entire month, you are encouraged to read mysteries. This year they have prompts to make it more challenging.

The prompts are:

1 Old – Could be a book that is really old, or old-fashioned like an old cozy crime.

2 Again – Could be something you re-read or maybe the word again is in the title.

3 New – Could be any book new to you or a new release.

4 Borrowed – Could be a book borrowed from the library or a friend, etc.

5 Blue – The book could be colored blue, the title could have the word blue in it, or blues music.

Optional bonus – Read a mystery that features a wedding or wedding preparations.

I like the prompts but I have already grabbed some options from my shelf as you can see in the pictures so I will see if any fit in with the prompts. I definitely have old, new and borrowed. I don’t have time to re-read books so I know that one is off the table for me. For me I just like the idea of reading mysteries all month. Right now I am listening to an audio mystery called, “Murder in G. Major and I started a book I borrowed from the library called, “Land of Shadow (A Detective Elouise Norton Mystery).  So I will update you on what I read in early April. Feel free to suggest a mystery if you read one you like.

Happy reading!

Belinda

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