Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Sunday Salon and 3 Books to Sink Your Teeth Into...

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's the one day of the week we virtually connect to one another to talk about, what else?... BOOKS! Last week we explored Manga during Chick with Books Manga Week and I hope you've discovered some interesting reading! This week it's back to some great fiction. Here's what's on my nightstand and on my wishlist...

Secret of A Thousand Beauties by Mingmei Yip... Set against the vibrant and intrigue-laden backdrop of 1930s China, Mingmei Yip's enthralling novel explores one woman's defiant pursuit of independence. Spring Swallow was promised in marriage while still in her mother's belly. When the groom dies before a wedding can take place, seventeen-year-old Spring Swallow is ordered to become a ghost bride to appease his spirit. Under her in-laws' protection, she will be little more than a servant, unable to know real love or bear children. Refusing to accept her fate as a "bad-luck woman," Spring Swallow flees on her wedding day. In the city of Soochow, Spring Swallow joins a community of renowned embroiderers. The women work for Aunty Peony, whose exquisite stitching once earned her the Emperor's love. But when Aunty Peony agrees to replicate a famous painting--a lucrative assignment that will take a year to complete--betrayal and jealousy emerges within the group. Spring Swallow becomes entangled in each woman's story of heartbreak, even while she embarks on a dangerous affair with a young revolutionary. On a journey that leads from the remote hillsides around Soochow to cosmopolitan Peking, Spring Swallow draws on the secret techniques learned from Aunty Peony and her own indomitable strength, determined to forge a life that is truly her own.

One of my favorite authors is back with her 5th novel set in the land of China. I am so lucky to have an ARC for this and I am diving in head first. Her books always have beautiful settings, wonderful plots, intrigue, folklore, great characters and have a good bit of humor in them. Mingmei Yip never fails to trap me in the pages of her books. Secret of A Thousand Beauties will be available Nov. 25th from your local bookstore. Keep your eye out for a review from me soon.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters... It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants,  life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the 'clerk class', the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

I started reading a sample of this and had to go out and buy the whole book. Sarah Waters is a wonderful writer. In The Paying Guests, the pace seems slow, but it isn't really, it's delicious. I felt I was slowly devouring the pages like a piece of decadent chocolate cake. Look for a review coming soon for this one too!

The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith ... Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave, characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love. Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her. Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.

The storyline of this book seems a lot to digest, but it sounds so interesting. To see how these two girls grow up virtually together and yet separate because of their differences in birth. This is a time period seems interesting too and I can't wait to see how North Carolina is portrayed. On my TBR list.
Weekly Recap... If you missed last week on Chick with Books, you missed Manga Week! Here's all the Manga we covered in just one week...

Last Sunday, Oct. 5th... Discovering the World of Manga... All about what Manga is, how to read it and where to find it.

Monday, Oct. 6th, Memoir Monday... A memoir about an American girl named Jamie Lynn Lao, and how she traveled to Japan to become an assistant to a Mangaka, or an artists assistant helping to draw and put out a Manga series. A behind the scenes look at how Manga are made.

Tuesday, Oct. 7th, What's So Cute About Manga... All about Cute and 2 Cute Manga's you've got to try.

Wednesday, Oct. 8th, A Review of the Manga Series called Ooku: The Inner Chambers by Fumi Yoshinaga... This is historical fiction with a dystopian take on Japanese history. LOVE this series! The women and men switch places in this series and it is so interesting. Think Shogun with women.

Friday, Oct. 10th, A Review of the Manga Series called Battle Royale by Koushun Takami and Masayuki Taguchi... Before The Hunger Games there was Battle Royale. Amazing Story, Graphic and Beautifully drawn this is a must read... if you can get through it.

Saturday, Oct. 11th, One Shot Manga's and 3 You Should Read Now... You don't need to always read a series of books to enjoy Manga. One Shots are stories that are complete in one book.

So, there's the recap of what we talked about all last week... Now lets add some more fun Manga to that (follow the links to learn more...)

Oh! My Goddess by Kosuke Fujishima, xxxHolic by CLAMP,  Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi, Emma by Kaoru Mori (Victorian England), Midnight Secretary  by Tomu Ohmi (Vampire Romance Manga), Uzumaki by Junji Ito (Horror Manga).

So as we put down our Manga, what good books have you picked up this week?! Share them here! I'd love to know what's on your nightstand. And if you did you get a chance to check out some Manga, I'd love to know what you thought!

Happy reading... Suzanne


Vicki said...

I've never read Manga, but might give it a try.

All three of your books are new to me.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Vicki!
You know Manga is just fun, unless you read something darker like Battle Royale or Doubt. Picking up one of the series doesn't obligate you to read any further either, usually the story ends, but leaves a little hanger if you want to go on. Let me know if you try it, I'd love to hear what you think!

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