Wednesday, June 7, 2017

5 Unexpected Books to Add to Your TBR // Vol. II // Bookworm

Recently, I've been thinking about how much fun reading is. If you love to read, then you probably get me on this one. :) More-so I have also been thinking about how a lot of my reading choices have been made based on goodreads, and bookworm friends, and what's popular recently. Sometimes... this is AMAZING! Sometimes though, I wonder what happens to all of those incredible books that fall through the cracks once their popularity window ends. There are so many good ones in the world after all. :)

So here, I am going to share 5 unexpected books for your TBR.

1) A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Plot: In 1906, Mattie Gokey takes a job at the Glenmore hotel. She's poor and has no means to achieve her dreams. When a hotel guest asks her to burn some letters for her and later a body is found in the lake, Mattie learns that there may be more behind the mystery than expected.

My Thoughts: This books is a quick and compelling read. It does a great job of mixing historical fiction and mystery. While it is technically YA, I think it's accessible to adult readers as well. I remember loving it in high school, and I'd really like to re-read it someday. It would work splendidly for Erin's 7.0 "cardinal direction" category. 

2) Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan

Plot: In India, Koly is another 13 year old bride embarking on a journey of an arranged marriage. She leaves home with the prospect of a new, albeit, scary life ahead of her. When she arrives to marry her husband, she realizes she's been terribly mislead.

My Thoughts: Thinking back, this is one of the first books that truly shocked and moved me. I had no concept of arranged/child marriage, Indian culture, or anything else this book deals with when I read it. This book is very short, and I think it speaks to the nature of human spirit and our will to go on. This is a short and moving read, award-winning to boot. I definitely recommend picking this one up.

3) The Queen's Lady by Barbara Kyle

Plot: Honor is abducted as a child for being an heiress, she escapes to be raised by lawyer and scholar Sir Thomas More. As Honor becomes a woman she drawn to court to be a lady in waiting for Queen Catherine of Aragon. As Queen Catherine's relations with her husband Henry VIII grow dangerous, Honor carries letters to the queen's allies in a dangerous game.

My Thoughts: Once upon a time, I told KC that I wanted a "Renaissance" type book. The next Christmas he presented me with this book, and it's sequel. Though they are not technically Renaissance, I read it pretty voraciously. I appreciated the rich historical context, it opened my eyes to how different parts of history occurred. I love how well researched it seems, and how well the author blends historical fiction, with suspense, romance, and intrigue. I need to go back and re-read it and get to the sequel. You know me... so many books. :P I found out upon starting to use goodreads that it is now a series spanning 7 books, all of which are rated at 3.76 and above on GR. That is pretty impressive to me!  

4) Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

About: Set in the 1930's and '40s this book follows Chiyo a young girl who is taken to the city for "a better life". She is sent to a brothel at just 9 years old to train to become a Geisha. With her startling blue eyes, she's likely to be successful. This book really takes you deeply into the world of Geisha. This book is startling, vivid, romantic, and suspenseful.

My Thoughts: This is likely a book that all of you have heard of, and perhaps many of you have read. However, it's been out for a while, and probably isn't on anyone's "radar". This is another book that opened my eyes to a different part of history, and a different culture. Another startling example of children treated as adults. This book is all at once horrifying, inspiring, beautiful, and tragic. I highly recommend if you enjoy historical fiction. I'd very much like to read Geisha, A Life, Mineko Iwasaki's autobiography, she is where Arthur Golden got his information for his novel. I think it would be interesting to read it from her point of view, and from a purely non-fiction stance.

5) The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

About: Lily Owen is growing up in the segregated South. Her mother is dead, and her care taker Rosaleen has been arrested for insulting racists in the town. Lily springs Rosaleen from jail, and they head to a town called Tiburon, South Carolina. Lily aims to discover her mother's past, and is taken in by a family of black beekeepers.

My Thoughts: I have a soft spot for books related to civil rights in the South. I don't know why, especially as they are often hard to read... but this book is one of those for me. The writing is incredibly vivid, and the characters are so interesting and whimsical. I loved every bit of this book. I highly recommend this if you are looking for a good narrative that will tug at your heart. You'll enjoy the fusion of historical fiction, mystery, and whimsy.

**I am thinking of doing occasional posts featuring 3-5 books that I really loved (usually fiction!), but that are maybe not super popular anymore... following a similar format to this post. Maybe titled, "5 Unexpected Books to Add to Your TBR"...? Would anyone be interested in more of those types of posts...?!?! Let me know. :) **

If you could tell me 5 books to read that weren't "on my radar", what would they be?

See Volume I, my all time favorites,  here.



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