Jun 27, 2021

My Grape Year by Laura Bradbury: Armchair Travel and Romance: Sunday Salon

 rom-com memoir set in a French vineyard in Burgundy.

Title: My Grape Year by Laura Bradbury

September 23, 2015, Grape Books

Genre: YA, rom-com, travel memoir

And this is only the beginning. There are others after this book, making it a series of at least 8 books! Laura first travels to France as an exchange high school student, nearing 18 years-of-age, hoping for adventure and romance. She lands up staying with four different families during a year in wine making Burgundy. 

I have only just started Book 1 but it satisfies my armchair travel inclinations, and the writing is so delightful, I'm sure I'll be reading the rest of the series, in due time.

Currently also reading: 

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu, January 28, 2020, Pantheon Books 
Genre: contemporary Asian fiction, multicultural
Setting: USA

It's a funny book full of Asian stereotypes the author is trying to debunk. 
Willy Wu describes himself as Generic Asian Man dreaming of being Kung Fu Guy.

That's how he is seen, except by his mother who tells him, Be more.

Lots of chuckles. Am looking forward to reading on. 

Someone should write Generic Asian Woman. That should bring just as many chuckles. 

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Jun 20, 2021

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

 Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Intellect having "heart"

Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found.  A very much anticipated new book this year from Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro, the novel is set in a dystopian-like society, where Artificial Friends, computerized individuals or robots, are available for sale and purchased as companions to lonely teenagers. 

Klara is bought by Josie, a teen with a serious illness, who chose her specifically to become her artificial friend. At home, Klara sets out to try to save her charge, Josie, from succumbing to her illness and to find a way to have Josie restored to full health and life. 

The novel shows us empathy, love, hope, and sacrifice among the characters and especially from Josie's Artificial Friend, Klara, who seems more real than ever, even though only using her mind for her objective commentary and observation of her limited world. 

The book leaves you wondering if Klara's intellect and objective mind shows that doing what's beneficial for her charge Josie is a rational thing and not just an emotional response? 

Klara and the Sun did bring tears to my eyes.  Another mesmerizing novel from Ishiguro. 

Currently reading:
And now for a completely different book that I am enjoying.

A longtime fan of this antiques mystery series, I've started reading and getting hooked on Jane Cleland's new novel, Hidden Treasure . 

Josie Prescott, owner of an antiques store, is asked to find a lost trunk belonging to Maude, the previous owner of the Victorian house Josie and her husband have just bought. Set on the New Hampshire coast, the mystery has already hooked me into the case of the lost trunk and the significance of its contents. 

Another great read, found at the library, is Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, a book of short interconnected stories that I am really liking. The setting is an old fashioned coffee shop and the stories are about the customers who are featured in four long stories. 

I have finished the first story, a romance in which the coffee shop becomes a magical world for one new patron, and am looking forward to the next three stories. 

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Jun 14, 2021

The Jetsetters: Sunday Salon

 Found at the library and finished reading:

The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward, March 3, 2020, Ballantine Books
Genre: family drama, contemporary fiction

I give a five to any book that has me in tears! And this one did, in several parts. A European cruise from Athens to Barcelona alters the relationship between 70-year-old Charlotte and her adult children, Lee, Cord, and Regan. It also reveals secrets and resolves family issues that had made them a dysfunctional family.

Well written, with interesting descriptions of Greece, Italy, and Spain to please armchair travelers, and an unusual story for the romance and family-drama loving reader. Well worth reading.

Finishing up: 
Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim
The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Jun 7, 2021

It's Monday: New Novels by Asian Americans

 More Asian-American and Asian-Canadian authors are surfacing with light romantic comedies and cozy mysteries. On my TBR list:  


Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim, August 4, 2020, Berkley

Genre: romance, comedy

Setting: Paris

Ever since she can remember, Vanessa Yu has been able to see people’s fortunes at the bottom of their teacups.... To add to this plight, her romance life is so nonexistent that her parents enlist the services of a matchmaking expert from Shanghai. 

Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines by Jennifer J. Chow, November 10, 2020, Berkely
Genre: light mystery, cozy    Setting: Los Angeles

When a local teacher is found dead, LA’s newest pet groomer Mimi Lee finds herself in a pawful predicament—with her younger sister’s livelihood on the line. She sets out to solve the crime and save her sister. 

(See my review of the author's first Mimi Lee mystery, Mimi Lee Gets a Clue.) 

Meme: It's Monday: What Are You Reading? 

Jun 5, 2021

Sunday Salon: the Humorous and the Serious

 Asian rom-com, set in Southern California, with the Chinese-Indonesian community. 

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto, April 27, 2021, Berkley Books 

Genre: romance, contemporary Asian American fiction
Setting: Southern California
Source: library

Five stars for inventiveness in character and plot and for a humorous and entertaining book about a Chinese-Indonesian young woman who must fend off her "interfering" but loving aunts in order to find true love in her choice of career and love life. When Meddelin later becomes entangled in an accident that looks like a murder, the aunties come to the rescue to save their niece. Their antics carry the day. 

No surprise that the book is slated to be made into a Netflix movie!


On a much more serious note, here is a book from Saichek Publicity, a very candid memoir that comes with a warning that it contains possible triggers as it describes violence, childhood abuse, rape, etc. 

Brain Storm by Shelley Kolton, MD, January 2, 2021, FLR Press
Genre: memoir

Brain Storm is the heartbreaking account of a mind, fragmented and broken, ultimately made whole by one woman's incomparable strength and courage. (publisher)

"You will not emerge unchanged from Brain Storm. It is a harrowing, hallowing experience and a triumph of the human spirit" - Robin Morgan, bestselling author of Sisterhood is Powerful, former Editor-in-Chief of Ms. Magazine.


On the mystery side, I am re-reading Of Mutts and Men, a quirky but fun novel about Chet, a canine, and his companion in crime solving, Bernie Little, who comprise the Little Detective Agency.

Of Mutts and Men makes for light humorous reading as we follow Chet's thoughts and observations, a dog's point of view,  as he helps Bernie solve mysteries and find and bring "perps" to justice. 

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month: Four Novels

For  Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month   (May),  I'm posting my book reviews by several Asian American novelists. The f...