I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about it on here, but for those of you who don’t know, I’ve been working in my local libraries since October last year. I love a lot of things about working in the library, and of course, one of the main perks is being surrounded by books all day.
The only problem (not really) is that I’m constantly being tempted by the books on the shelves, and so often leave work with an armful of books from all genres. I’m not going to go through all of them because that would make for an enormous post, but I’m going to dive into some of my most recent borrows.
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
This is an adult science fiction space opera that I first heard about over on Thoughts on Tomes’ channel and was totally intrigued. It’s a blend of obviously sci-fi, but crime noir as well, which I’m always down for. I’m very new to the science fiction genre, and in true Abby fashion, I’ve decided to jump straight into a seven-book series with each book being over 500 pages each. I don’t know what to do with myself, either.
I’m actually currently reading this beast. I’m 100 pages in and I’m definitely hooked. I’m having to stop myself from abandoning this post and picking it up right now, but I’m going to be strong and ignore the urge.
Believe Me by JP Delaney
Believe Me is an adult crime thriller that I’d heard amazing things about when people were returning it to the library, so I slipped it onto my ticket instead of back on the shelf. At the time of me writing this, this is my most recent finished read and whoaaa, I don’t know what to say.
The book follows an aspiring actress called Claire, a Brit living in New York. For extra money, she looks to cash-in-hand jobs that won’t flag up the fact that she doesn’t have a green card, and so legally work in America. The job she settles on is for a private investigating firm, where she is hired by women to meet with their husbands in bars, to test their fidelity.
But when one of these women ends up dead the night Claire meets with her husband, suspicion falls on both Claire and the man. Claire is then hired by the police to use her skills to lure the husband into a confession, and everything goes from there.
I was completely hooked throughout this whole book. Everything from the writing style, to the deeply developed characters and twisty plot, was just great. I do think the 60-70% mark dipped a little, but the first half and the ending were brilliant.
Warnings for a lot in this book, notably violence towards black women. I’m going to go more into it in my review, but just bear that in mind if you decide to pick it up.
The Girl Before by JP Delaney
Because I enjoyed Believe Me so much, I nabbed JP Delaney’s other thriller The Girl Before off the shelf before it was swiped up. Honestly, these books are hardly ever on the shelf because they are so popular with our customers in all the libraries I work at.
This book follows Jane as she is given the chance to live in her dream house designed by an ‘enigmatic’ architect, as long as she follows a long list of rules. Once she starts living in the house, she realises that the house’s previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there. The blurb goes onto say that ‘Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession’.
The premise of this book really grabbed me and I hope I enjoy it as much as JP Delaney’s previous book. They seem to write psychological obsession extremely well, so I have high hopes.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
I’m so excited about this one.
For uni, one of my recent assignments was to analyse short stories from around the world, with cultural encounters as the central theme. One of these stories was the first two chapters of The Joy Luck Club.
Those two chapters were incredible and had me immediately ordering in a copy to the library. The story follows two generations of Chinese women: four women who fled from China in the 1940s and the daughters they raised in America. The four women meet every week to gossip, eat, play mah-jong, and tell tales of the past. They call the meeting the Joy Luck Club.
When June’s mother dies, she takes her place in the Joy Luck Club, and begins to delve into her family’s past, including the two sisters June had, who were left behind in China as babies.
I don’t know much more than that, but I know when I finish Leviathan Wakes, I’m hopping straight over to this one. It’s such a classic, too, and I can’t wait to read it.
Run, Riot by Nikesh Shulka
This is a middle-grade book following Taran and her twin brother, Hari who have to move into a tower block when they fall onto rough economic times. When they start noticing boarded-up flats, and glossy fliers for expensive apartments, they don’t think much of it – until Hari is caught up in a tragedy, and they are forced to go on the run.
I think this is a book about police brutality and gentrification, set in the UK, which isn’t a common theme in UK kidlit (which is a whole issue that deserves its own discussion).
I’m looking forward to this one. I know it’ll be a tough read at times, but I’m sure it will have a lot of heart, and is very needed in the UK kidlit scene.
The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue
I picked this one up purely for Emma Donoghue, whose book Room, I really enjoyed.
This middle-grade book follows nine-year-old Sumac Lottery, whose large family consists of four parents, seven children, and a menagerie of pets. Sumac’s grandfather arrives after setting fire to his own house, and resents having to join his son’s ‘weird’ family , but had nowhere else to go.
Sumac takes it upon herself to help him find a home where he truly belongs.
I picked this one up for a nice light, easy read with a big heart, and that will make me smile, which I’m sure it will achieve.
Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi
I’ve heard amazing things about Helen Oyeyemi and have her short story collection What is not Yours is not Yours on my TBR shelf. I definitely should have picked up that book before borrowing this one, but I was weak a few minutes before closing one night and I just had to pick it up.
This book is influenced by the use of gingerbread in fairytales and children’s, e.g. Hansel and Gretel and the Gingerbread Man. Our two main characters are Perdita Lee, a seemingly normal British schoolgirl, and her mother Harriet, who is trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy.
The blurb states that the book ‘follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, where gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value. There’s a whole lot going on in the story, which seems to have a strong magical element that I’m so excited for. I also can’t wait to finally read some of Oyeyemi’s writing.
That’s everything I have out from the library at the moment! What have you picked up recently?