Long time no see! And here I am again trying to catch up with my own brain. We had about three weeks there where Xin and I were without internet at home, so I was doing my best to do work/chat to people/generally survive on internet that I got at my parents house, but it was kind of rough. Really brought home to me how much I rely on the internet these days.
I have also had other plans in motion so far, which I may speak about soon. And then I got struck down with some sort of flu virus, which culminated in one of the worst migraines ever. And seems to still be hanging on... Huh.
Anyway, I haven't been posting many book reviews here because I didn't actually receive much to review in January, but I have been really upping my NetGalley game and reading books out of the library, so there is plenty to talk about. I am also back into physical review copies, so expect a few more of those coming soon.
I thought I would just take this opportunity to talk about some of the stuff that I have read and reviewed, even briefly, on either NetGalley or Goodreads. I won't go into too much detail, but let's see what happens, huh?
Mozart's Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt (physical book, bought for myself)
Ah, my first book purchase of the year! This one I read about on someone else's blog and just had to check out. I couldn't find it at my local libraries, so I decided to purchase a copy, and then gave it to my Dad after I finished it, because I think he will enjoy it.
Anyway, this book is partially about what the title says - the starling that Mozart had as a pet for about three years - but also talks about starlings in general, Mozart's life and his music, and also the author's experience with raising her own starling, Carmen, and all of her interesting antics. Part nature writing, part historical facts, part something-like-a-memoir, this book combines so beautifully with the photos included and was a very gentle, quite beautiful read.
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (NetGalley)
This one was getting quite hyped on BookTube, even last year. It looked pretty impressive, and the publisher was pushing it fairly hard, so I decided to check what it was all about. While I didn't really enjoy it as much as so many other people did, I still quite enjoyed my time with it, and really liked the writing style. I loved the ending, too. For me, it was the characters which made it difficult for me to disappear into it - I had some issues with the way some of the characters were presented. This could really just be my own hangup, but it was a big part of my experience and I didn't find the characters very easy to relate to. The slight edge of magical realism in this book is really well written, and I would definitely recommend it if you like historical fiction with a magical twist.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (NetGalley)
Oh my goodness. I don't think I have ever both happy and sad cried so much with another graphic novel. This book is just so gorgeous - both in illustration and in story. The characters feel so real, and the things that happen just... I really have to avoid spoilers here, but let me just say that I loved the representation, I loved the characters, I loved the artwork, and I wish I had a physical copy of this book. (I am not saying much about the story-line because I really think you need to go in not knowing much and just appreciate this gem in all its glory.) Please read.
About That Kiss by Jill Shalvis (NetGalley)
Ah, Jill Shalvis. My go-to contemporary romance author. This book is the fifth novel in the Heartbreaker Bay series, and I am really loving this series. I am not sure anything can top her Animal Magnetism series for me, but this one definitely comes close. This time we follow Kylie and Joe as they try and figure out if a kiss they had actually meant anything, and whether they will be able to pursue a relationship even with their particular emotional hangups. I really enjoyed this addition to the series (though I don't think anything will beat Colbie and Spence's story for me), and I loved the other characters we are introduced to through the main characters. Also getting to see characters who were the focus of previous books always makes me feel like I am going back to a welcoming world that is already comforting to me. Definitely recommend Jill Shalvis' books if you like contemporary romance.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Library)
This book kind of broke me for a while - after finishing it, I found it really hard to settle to reading anything else for a while (and thus also didn't post anything on here very often...). A retelling of the Iliad, this book is told from the perspective of Patroclus, closest confidante of Achilles - the ultimate warrior of his time. Miller's writing in this is so wonderful - descriptive without being cumbersome, and just captures the emotions of Patroclus and Achilles so beautifully. I absolutely loved this book, and I kind of wish I had my own copy to turn back to. Eagerly awaiting Miller's next book, Circe.
And there you have it, friends! Just a few of the things I have read lately. I will be back soon (promise!) with reading wrap-ups for the last couple of months and then, very soon, some book reviews! Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading lately?
Love to all who read!