Stacking the Shelves (#16)

It’s not such a surprise that I’ve added relatively fewer books to my TBR this month, since it is a bit of a shorter month anyway. Usually I save Stacking the Shelves for the very end of the month, but I somehow doubt I’ll be adding too many more books in the next four days alone, although you never know! The routine has already been a little thrown off anyway  because there was a Top 10 Tuesday topic in January asking for recent additions to my TBR too, but I’ve added quite a few books that I think are worth mentioning. This month, I added about 45 books to my TBR, which is actually probably one of the smaller numbers I’ve added in a single month in a long time. It’s a little intimidating to think about that actually, since I often add close to 100 books per month, but read somewhere between 12 and 15 per month.

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week. It is hosted by TyngaReviewsand ReadingReality

1) Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

41716679I actually added this one to my TBR in January and meant to add it to my last Stacking the Shelves post, but somehow forgot to include it. I added it to my list because I read Jean Kwok’s Girl in Translation, and I loved it! This book is due out in June, and it is about two sisters and their mother, who are Chinese immigrants, after the disappearance of the eldest daughter, Sylvie, who vanishes after flying to the Netherlands to visit their sick grandmother one last time. Her sister Amy decides to retrace Sylvie’s steps to try and figure out what happened to her, and discovers that Sylvie had secrets that reveal a lot more about her family than Amy ever imagined. The synopsis reminds me a tiny bit of Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, which I also loved, and in general I tend to enjoy books that involve family dynamics and family secrets. This one sounds like it will be very interesting, and I love how it also incorporates the immigrant angle, since that was something I found very strong in Girl in Translation. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to squeeze this one in this year, but I’m really looking forward to reading it.

2) The Chai Factor by Farah Heron

40402362This is another book that I added to my list at the end of January, and it is also due out this June. I found it while browsing upcoming contemporary releases, and it sounded like an interesting story. This book is about a 30-year-old woman named Amira who has promised herself that she will not date until she has finished her grad school thesis. She plans to work in the quiet basement of her family’s home, only to discover that the space has been rented out to a barbershop quartet who needs to rehearse for a competition. Amira quickly clashes with Duncan, one of the members of the quartet, but when she realizes she is attracted to him, she questions how it can work when he doesn’t understand her or her culture. It’s surprisingly hard to find books that deal with interracial relationships, so that alone is a reason for me to pick this one up. I also often enjoy stories about people who are very different learning to get along, and hate-to-love relationships in general, so this sounds like something I would enjoy.

3) The Risk of Us by Rachel Howard

38357168I found this one while looking for books to fulfill a challenge prompt requiring a book about a non-traditional family. It is a relatively short book, at just over 200 pages, about a 40-year-old woman who wants to become a mother, and she and her husband take in a foster child named Maresa. Although they love Maresa, she is a troubled child and approaching the age where it becomes very difficult for children to be placed in homes. The couple needs to decide whether they can be the kinds of parents Maresa seems to need, as the time comes for them to finalize the adoption. To be honest, the fact that this book is so short puts me off a bit since 200 pages does not really seem like enough time to develop such a complex story. I’m still willing to give it a try since I have not read many books that have to do with the foster system, although it is a very important topic that does not seem to receive nearly enough attention. I have also a review that commented that the unnamed narrator is very similar to the author’s own real life, although I’m not entirely sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I’m definitely interested in seeing more reviews of this one when it comes out in April before I decide how much I want to read it.

3) Bloom by Kevin Panetta

29225589I feel like I’ve been seeing this book absolutely everywhere lately. At first I wasn’t so sure about whether I wanted to try it, but the more I started to see other vloggers talking about it, the more it won me over. It is about a teenage boy named Ari who works at his family’s struggling bakery, but wants to quit his job and move to the city with his band. While interviewing people to replace him, he meets Hector, and a relationship begins to bloom between them. To be honest, I can’t even remember why I wasn’t sure I’d want to read this one at first, because it sounds absolutely adorable! This book is a graphic novel, which is something I’ve really started to enjoy more and more over the years. I used to assume that graphic novels would be confusing or disjointed, and although they sometimes are, I’ve found so many that I really love. One of my goals for the year is to read more graphic novels, and this one could be an option. It is not currently in my challenge plans, but I wouldn’t mind squeezing it in.

4) This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell

35129210I found this book while looking for more contemporaries to add to my TBR, and this one sounded like it could be a lot of fun. It is about a woman named Essie whose private e-mail ranting against her boss (who also happens to be her boyfriend’s mother) was accidentally sent out to everyone. The e-mail costs her not only her job, but also her boyfriend who she was living with. Essie decides to move to another town, where she meets some interesting new people and gets the chance for a fresh start. Jill Mansell has written a ton of books, but I had never heard of her until I stumbled across this book. There are quite a few of them that sound interesting, but I think I’ll try this one before adding any more to my TBR, especially because contemporary romance is not always a genre that I enjoy. I need to be in the right mood to really appreciate these kinds of stories, but they can also be so much fun to pick up. I was drawn to this one specifically because of the whole e-mail angle, although looking into it a bit, it seems that it is a very small part of the overall story.

5) The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais

42771975This book caught my attention immediately because I recognized the ASL sign for “friend” on the cover. I’ve always been interested in ASL and learned a few signs myself through my work with adults with special needs, but not nearly enough to have a full conversation. This book is a YA contemporary about a girl named Maya who is Deaf, and who has moved across the country in her senior year, where she now needs to attend a hearing school. Although Maya has never considered being Deaf a disability, she is surprised to realize that it is not viewed that way in her new school, and also is suspicious when the student president decides to learn ASL to talk to her. As their feelings for each other grow, and an opportunity to receive a cochlear implant comes up, Maya needs to decide how to stay true to herself and the kind of life she really wants for herself. This book sounds so interesting! I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that had a protagonist who was Deaf, and I think it will be a very interesting perspective. This book is slowly creeping into my most anticipated books for the year, but it is not out until August so it will be quite a while before I can get to it!

6) The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

40723753I discovered this book while searching for Victorian and neo-Victorian book options for one of my reading challenge prompts. It is set in 1826, where Frannie Langton is a maid accused of murdering her employers. On trial for their deaths, Frannie must tell her story for the first time, beginning with her life in Jamaica and the cruelty of the sugar plantations before she was sent to London. This book intrigued me because it seemed so different from anything else that I’ve read recently. I’ve seen several reviews comment that this book also addresses slavery in a unique way compared to other books. I’m always interested in books that take on familiar topics in new and different ways, especially for topics such as slavery which often seem to focus on the same kinds of narratives. This book is due out in early April, so I’m definitely interested in finding out more about it. I’ve recently started to add more historical fiction in general to my TBR, and this one seems like it could be a great place to start. I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction, but found myself reading  too many that focused on similar stories or periods of history that I already knew quite well. I think this book could push me out of my comfort zone a bit, while still being close enough to the kinds of books I already know that I enjoy.

7) Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas

36120308I read Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas and I really enjoyed it, although it was a bit jarring since I expected a social media-focused contemporary, and did not expect the sci-fi elements at all. I currently have all of her other books on my TBR as well, although I’ve been a tiny bit hesitant to pick them up even though I at least have a better idea of what to expect from them now. Wild and Crooked is her latest release, due out in June, and it is the only one of her books that does not seem to have any sci-fi. To be clear, I’m not against sci-fi at all, it was just a bit of a shock since at the time I read Because You’ll Never Meet Me, it was not tagged as such. This book is about a girl named Kalyn who is forced to return to Samsboro, Kentucky, where her name is only associated with the brutal murder her father committed as a teenager. She meets a boy named Gus, who is  known as “the kid whose father was murdered” or “the disabled kid” due to his cerebral palsy, and the two form a deep friendship until their families’ pasts come to light. This sounds like a very interesting story and, as far as I can tell, is one of the rare books to focus on a platonic friendship instead of a romance. I’m definitely intrigued, and very interested in giving this one a chance.

8) Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron

40096728I found this book while browsing upcoming releases for this year, and I was intrigued by the title and the cover art. It is about a boy named Brody who feels misunderstood by everyone around him, until he meets Nico, who brings him to a Narnia-like world called Everland that opens up once a week for Nico and his friends. Brody feels at home there and enjoys his weekly break from his struggles to fit in, but when the door to Everland starts to vanish, he is forced to decide which life he really wants. I tend to find anything Narnia-esque pretty intriguing, and this one is no exception. This book is expected out in mid-May, and there hasn’t seemed to be too much buzz around it yet. I’m very interested to find out more as we get closer to the release date, but it sounds like a really intriguing concept. I love how there have been so many books lately that have been a bit of a play on Narnia without directly retelling those stories, especially things like Every Heart a Doorway. I’m very interested to see which direction this story takes.

9) Her Daughter’s Mother by Daniela Petrova

43303105There definitely seems to be a trend toward family member terms in titles lately, but this one caught my attention right away. This book is about a woman named Lana, who is pregnant using an egg donor. Although she was never supposed to meet the donor, Lana sees Katya on the subway and decides to follow her, fascinated by the person who made it possible for her to have her child. When a chance encounter leads to them becoming friends, Lana is happy to have the distraction from her recent breakup with the father of her child, until Katya goes missing and Lana seems to be the last person to see her alive. Lana is determined to find out what happened to her new friend, and aside from making herself a suspect in the process, she also finds that digging into Katya’s past changes everything she thought she knew. This book sounds like such an interesting domestic thriller. I’ve seen it compared to The Perfect Mother and The Wife Between Us, which are both at the absolute top of my TBR for this year. It also reminds me a bit of The Girl on the Train, which I really enjoyed. This book is not out until mid-June, so I’m not sure when I’ll have the chance to read it, but it sounds very interesting!

10) The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

41393171I found this one recently while looking at upcoming contemporary releases, and it sounded so cute! It is about a woman named Tiffy who was recently dumped and needs somewhere to stay, but is struggling to find something she can afford. When she meets Leon, a palliative care nurse who works nights and only uses his flat during the day, it seems like the perfect setup. They decide to share the flat, and soon start to connect through the Post-It notes they leave for each other. This sounds like such an adorable story, and I found it interesting that Tiffy and Leon would choose Post-It notes instead of texts or e-mails. I love stories where characters connect through letters or messages in general, so this one definitely sounds like something that I would like. I also tend to love any kind of unconventional romance story, and although the relationship itself doesn’t seem particularly unusual, the circumstances definitely are. I can’t wait to give this one a try!

11) The Rumour by Lesley Kara

40126422For some reason, it was the cover art that first drew me to this book, although I’m not exactly sure why. It is about a single mother named Joanna who hears a rumour that a woman who has been released from prison after serving time for a brutal crime is now living in their town under a new identity. Trying to fit into the community that she recently moved to herself, she shares the rumour, which quickly spreads and spins out of control. This sounds like such a fascinating concept, and exactly the kind of thriller I tend to enjoy. It reminds me a bit of Big Little Lies in terms of how it combines “playground politics” with a bigger story, touching on the very interesting topic of the rights of a person who served their time, and the attitudes people have toward those who were (or may have been) convicted of a crime. This book came out right at the end of 2018, although I had not heard of it at all until recently. It is another book that I’m very interested in picking up, but it may be a while since it is not currently available through my library.

12) The Classroom by A.L. Bird

40570884I found this one while looking for more thrillers to add to the many that I already have on my TBR. It is about a woman named Kirsten, whose 5-year-old daughter Harriet was conceived through IVF, and who is worried about sending her daughter off to school for the first time. Her teacher, Miriam, should be trusted to keep the children safe, but has a plan of her own for Harriet. What really caught my attention about this book was the line in the synopsis that said “Harriet knows not to speak to strangers, but her lovely new teacher isn’t a stranger at all.” I thought that was an especially chilling line because it really brings home the idea that many (if not most) cases of harm to a child involve people that they know, not strangers. I also don’t think I’ve ever read a book where a teacher was in such a role, and that alone was enough to interest me. I found it interesting since this seems a bit different from other thrillers that I’ve read, and it seemed like a really intriguing premise.



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