Shelf Control #218: Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

cropped-flourish-31609_1280-e1421474289435.pngTitle: Rooftoppers
Author: Katherine Rundell
Published: 2013
Length: 286 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

“The beauty of sky, music, and the belief in ‘extraordinary things’ triumph in this whimsical and magical tale” (Publishers Weekly) about a girl in search of her past who discovers a secret rooftop world in Paris.

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck that left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive—but “almost impossible” means “still possible.” And you should never ignore a possible.

So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian, threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, they takes matters into their own hands and flee to Paris to look for Sophie’s mother, starting with the only clue they have—the address of the cello maker.

Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers—urchins who live in the hidden spaces above the city. Together they scour the city in a search for Sophie’s mother—but can they find her before Sophie is caught and sent back to London? Or, more importantly, before she loses hope?

Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials series, calls Rooftoppers “the work of a writer with an utterly distinctive voice and a wild imagination.”

How and when I got it:

I bought a copy several years ago, thinking it would be a good choice to read with my son. He didn’t bite, though, and I never ended up reading it on my own.

Why I want to read it:

I don’t remember how this book came to my attention, but I remember reading about it somewhere and thinking that it sounded like a sweet and magical adventure — and the fact that Philip Pullman recommends it doesn’t hurt a bit!

What do you think? Would you read this book? 

Please share your thoughts!

__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/25/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

This is a first for me — I attended a Zoom wedding!

Sunday was the original wedding date, then the couple decided to cancel about a month ago in light of the health crisis, and then decided to go forward and include friends and family via Zoom! The bride and groom and their parents were present, the rabbi officiated via Zoom, and they had a few other close family members present, plus about 120 Zoom logins. It was actually so sweet!

What did I read during the last week?

Beach Read by Emily Henry: Really enjoyable love story with a light touch. My review is here.

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner: Austen-inspired historical fiction set in post-war England. My review is here.

Pop culture & TV:

Netflix kept me busy every night! First, my son finally convinced me to jump on the Tiger King bandwagon…

So weird, So disturbing. But so hard to look away from!

On a lighter note, I decided that now would be the perfect time to go back and watch a show I see through to the end:

I watched season 1 of Jane the Virgin back when it aired, and really liked it… so why didn’t I keep up with it and continue watching? Probably just too much TV, too little time. Anyway, I’ve picked back up with season 2, and I’m loving it. It’s so over the top, and that what makes it so much fun.

Fresh Catch:

I had some Amazon credits, and naturally had to spend them all immediately:

Hurray for book mail! I’ve already read Chosen Ones, but really wanted my own copy, and can’t wait to read the rest!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson: This is fun! I probably wouldn’t have stumbled across this book on my own, but then I read Reading Tonic’s review, and just had to give it a try.

Now playing via audiobook:

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor: The sequel to Akata Witch, which I really loved. Sadly, I was so slammed with work this week that I only managed to get outside for walks a couple of days, and that means I barely had chances to listen to my audiobook. I’m making progress, but sloooooooowly.

Ongoing reads:

Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire: If I had a dollar for every time I’ve mentioned that I’m not a short story reader… well, I’d have a lot more dollars than I do now! Laughter at the Academy is a story collection from one of my favorite authors, so I can’t NOT read it. But knowing how I tune out if I read too many short stories in a row, I’ve decided to take a slow but steady approach, and I’m trying to read just one or two stories each day. And so far, these are excellent! Content warning, though — Seanan McGuire loves to write about world-ending diseases, so now is kind of a freaky time to be reading some of these. Still, I’m delighted to be reading this book finally (I bought it last fall), and I’m just a wee bit proud of myself for sticking with it!

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: Why is this still on my ongoing reads list? I’m now five chapters behind, and I don’t see myself getting any closer to catching up with my book group’s reading schedule any time soon. But… I’m just not ready to walk away completely!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #217: The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M. Harris

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

cropped-flourish-31609_1280-e1421474289435.pngTitle: The Blue Salt Road
Author: Joanne M. Harris
Published: 2019
Length: 215 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

An earthly nourris sits and sings
And aye she sings, “Ba lilly wean,
Little ken I my bairn’s father,
Far less the land that he staps in.
(Child Ballad, no. 113)

So begins a stunning tale of love, loss and revenge, against a powerful backdrop of adventure on the high seas, and drama on the land. The Blue Salt Road balances passion and loss, love and violence and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless, wild young man.

Passion drew him to a new world, and trickery has kept him there – without his memories, separated from his own people. But as he finds his way in this dangerous new way of life, so he learns that his notions of home, and your people, might not be as fixed as he believed.

Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.
 

How and when I got it:

I bought a copy last year.

Why I want to read it:

This is a slim little hardcover book, and on my copy, the cover design is in silver, not white. So eye-catching! I just happened to be at my favorite bookstore one weekend and saw this book in the window, and felt completely drawn to it. I love folk tales and fairy tales, and a story about a selkie sounds just about perfect.

What do you think? Would you read this book? 

Please share your thoughts!

__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/18/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

Work, work, work. Who said remote work was relaxing? Apart from getting to wear sweatpants all day, every day, I swear I’m more stressed working remotely than I ever was in my actual office.

But yeah, the sweatpants will be hard to give up when and if we finally return to on-site work.

And hey, here’s my puzzle for the week! Cute, right?

Sorry for the glare — it’s  super-detailed bookstore, with really adorable and funny book titles and all sorts of adorable little details. (I’d try to get a better picture, but I already took it apart.)

What did I read during the last week?

If It Bleeds by Stephen King: Fabulous collection of four novellas. My review is here.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane: My book group’s book for May (and yes, I finished on time!). My review is here.

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski: Terrific audiobook! A must for Witcher fans — my review is here.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

Ha ha, made you look! Season 5 of Outlander ended last week, so this was my first week since February without a new episode to watch. I guess it’s time to say good-bye for now and settle in for the next long Droughtlander.

Other TV watching:

I had fun doing a binge-watch of Dead to Me, season 2. Maybe not quite as funny and surprising as the first season, but still really enjoyable, and it left me wanting more.

I wrote up my thoughts on the season finale of Survivor: Winners at War, here.

Fresh Catch:

Two exciting new books this week:

My awesome daughter sent me this book for Mother’s Day! It’s gorgeous.

And… after finishing If It Bleeds (as a library e-book loan), I really felt like I needed my own copy, and luckily, I had an unused Amazon giftcard sitting on my desk just begging for some attention! The book arrived on Friday. The cover image (above) looks kind of flat-orangey, but in person, it’s got a bit of a gold glittery-ness to it. Very cool. (Also, I hadn’t noticed until I had the book in my hand that the cat face actually has a rat instead of a nose, and now I wish I’d never seen it! Eek.)

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Beach Read by Emily Henry: I’m LOVING this book. I tore through about half today, and stopped only because (big surprise) I needed to get some work done.

Now playing via audiobook:

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor: The sequel to Akata Witch, which I really loved. I’m just getting started, but it’s great so far!

Ongoing reads:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: I was within one chapter of being all caught up with my book group… and now I’m three chapters behind again. Boo.

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #216: The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

cropped-flourish-31609_1280-e1421474289435.pngTitle: The Fade Out: The Complete Collection
Author: Ed Brubaker (author) and Sean Philips (illustrator)
Published: 2018
Length: 360 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

A bold new paperback edition of the Eisner Award-winning graphic novel―now finally collecting the entire story in a single edition!

An epic graphic novel of Hollywood in the early days of the Blacklist, THE FADE OUT tracks the murder of an up-and-coming starlet from studio backlots to the gutters of downtown Los Angeles, as shell-shocked frontman Charlie Parish is caught between his own dying sense of morality and his best friend’s righteous sense of justice.

A picture-perfect recreation of a lost era, THE FADE OUT is an instant classic from the bestselling team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, who are joined by acclaimed color artist Elizabeth Breitweiser.

How and when I got it:

I bought a copy about a year ago.

Why I want to read it:

It’s been a while since I’ve read a graphic novel (or featured one as a Shelf Control pick). A family member recommended this to me last year — she swore it was one of the best graphic novels she’s ever read. My reading habit when it comes to graphic novels is really almost exclusively sci-fi/fantasy, but given the rave review, I thought I should give this one a try. It does sound good, and I liked the illustrations when I quickly paged through it.

What do you think? Would you read this book? 

Please share your thoughts!

__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/11/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

Wishing all the moms out there a happy Mother’s Day! My family treated me to a nice breakfast, fun phone calls, and a walk… which is about all we can do during these social distancing days. I enjoyed it all!

What did I read during the last week?

Of Literature & Lattes by Katherine Reay: The follow-up novel to The Printed Letter Bookshop. Enjoyable and warm. My review is here.

Defy or Defend (Delightfully Deadly, #2) by Gail Carriger. So much fun! My review is here.

Past Prologue by Diana Gabaldon and Steve Berry: An Outlander-adjacent story collaboration. And yes, Jamie Fraser makes an appearance, making this short story a must-read for all Outlander fans.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

Season 5 of Outlander ended Sunday night. And now Droughtlander begins again. Right after watching, I wrote up my reaction to the season finale. It was a really difficult episode, and I found it hard to talk about.

Outlander, episode 512, “Never My Love” — my reaction post is here.

Other TV watching:

Anyone else watch Netflix’s Hollywood ? It’s so… different from what I expected, and really, really interesting. I watched the whole thing over the weekend (only seven episodes). Patti Lupone’s fabulous performance is a highlight, but really, there’s a lot to take in and enjoy.

Fresh Catch:

No new print books this week… although my Kindle library is growing by leaps and bounds, thanks to all the random price drops that have come my way over the past few weeks.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

If It Bleeds by Stephen King: I’ve read three of the four stories in this collection. Loving it so far! I think I’m going to need to buy myself a copy once I return this one to the library.

Now playing via audiobook:

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski: The audiobook narrator makes these stories so much fun.

Ongoing reads:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: Woo hoo! I made a big effort this week, and now just need to read one more chapter to catch up to my book group!

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #215: Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

cropped-flourish-31609_1280-e1421474289435.pngTitle: Autonomous
Author: Annalee Newitz
Published: 2017
Length: 303 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Autonomous features a rakish female pharmaceutical pirate named Jack who traverses the world in her own submarine. A notorious anti-patent scientist who has styled herself as a Robin Hood heroine fighting to bring cheap drugs to the poor, Jack’s latest drug is leaving a trail of lethal overdoses across what used to be North America—a drug that compels people to become addicted to their work.

On Jack’s trail are an unlikely pair: an emotionally shut-down military agent and his partner, Paladin, a young military robot, who fall in love against all expectations. Autonomous alternates between the activities of Jack and her co-conspirators, and Elias and Paladin, as they all race to stop a bizarre drug epidemic that is tearing apart lives, causing trains to crash, and flooding New York City.
 

How and when I got it:

I bought myself a copy over a year ago, when I had an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my pocket.

Why I want to read it:

I mean… it just sounds amazing, right? A pharmaceutical pirate traveling in a submarine? A military robot who falls in love? A mystery drug epidemic? And whoa, a drug that “compels people to become addicted to their work”? *shudder*

This book sounds quirky and exciting and so much fun! I need to make it a priority!

What do you think? Would you read this book? 

Please share your thoughts!

__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 5/4/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

Another week. What is there to say? Working hard (at home, of course)… but at least we had a good few days of sunshine, so I was able to get in some long walks and feel the fresh air on my face!

Oh, and I started a new jigsaw puzzle — first one in a while. It’s making me happy.

What did I read during the last week?

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay: Uplifting novel with a bookstore setting — always a plus! My review is here.

Educated by Tara Westover: I listened to the audiobook of this memoir, and was completely fascinated by it. My review is here.

The Last Emperox by John Scalzi: An awesome wrap-up to a terrific sci-fi trilogy! My review is here.

Read but not reviewed:

Long Story Short by Lisa Brown: Lisa Brown’s 3-panel book review comics used to appear in the book section of my local paper (back when the paper still had a book section, which it no longer does…). Anyhoo, I always enjoyed these literary comics, so I thought I’d treat myself to the newly released book version. It’s fun, but I have to be honest and say that I’m a little mad at myself for spending money on this, when I’m trying to budget my book buying. I flipped through it in about 20 minutes, and now I’m done. Some of the comics are very clever, others made little impression. I think this would be a great gift for a booklover, but I’m not convinced I needed to buy it for myself. Moving on.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling: Yes, I’ve read the tales plenty of times already, but this is a new Audible production, featuring HP cast members such as Warwick Davis, Jude Law, Jason, Isaacs, and more. The audiobook is short (1.5 hours), and includes Dumbledore’s commentary on each story. Totally fun way to experience these “classic” tales all over again!

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

Season 5 of Outlander is almost over. As usual, I wrote up my thoughts on this week’s episode:

Outlander, episode 511, “Journeycake” — my reaction post is here.

Next week is the season finale!

Other TV watching:

Never Have I Ever on Netflix is sweet, funny, touching — a must-watch! And it’s only 10 half-hour episodes, so it’s easy to gulp down over a couple of days.

And… I watched Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Mixed feelings on this one. I binged all of GG’s seven seasons during the past year, and loved the characters and the story so much (except for certain parts and occurrences that I’d prefer to ignore). A Year in the Life takes place ten years after the regular series, and while it was great to see these beloved characters again, it also made me sad. Sad to see how much older everyone is, sad to see that life hasn’t turned out perfectly for everyone, and sad because of certain losses that have occurred. (Also, sad to see some body-shaming going on, which just is not in good taste, but that’s a different kind of sad!). I’m really glad I watched, but I’m left with some dissatisfaction too, and wish there could be more!

Fresh Catch:

My signed copy of Defy or Defend arrived! Thank you Gail Carriger and Borderlands Books! I’m so excited to start this!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Of Literature & Lattes by Katherine Reay: After finishing The Printed Letter Bookshop, I just had to start this book, which is set in the same small town and has many of the same characters. I’m at about 50%, and it’s charming.

Now playing via audiobook:

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski: I was feeling the need for a little more Witcher in my life right now. These audiobooks are so much fun!

Ongoing reads:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group is reading two chapters per week. I managed to read a little more, but I’m still six or seven chapters behind.

Past Prologue by Diana Gabaldon and Steve Berry: Also in book group, we’re doing a group read of this short story featuring the King of Men (Jamie Fraser).

So many books, so little time…

boy1

Shelf Control #214: Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

cropped-flourish-31609_1280-e1421474289435.pngTitle: Sheltering Rain
Author: Jojo Moyes
Published: 2002
Length: 451 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You, the basis for the major motion picture, comes the touching, unforgettable story of three generations of Irish women faced with the fundamental truths of love, duty, and the unbreakable bond that unites mothers and daughters.

Estranged from her mother since she ran away from her rural Irish home as a young woman, Kate swore a future oath that she’d always be a friend to her daughter, Sabine. But history has a way of repeating itself, and Kate now faces an ever-widening chasm between herself and her daughter. With Sabine about to make her own journey to Ireland to see the grandmother Kate abandoned, Kate is left wondering how they ever made it here, and what she can do to close the gap between them. 

For Joy, seeing her granddaughter is a dream come true. After the painful separation from Kate, she’s looking forward to having time with Sabine. Yet almost as soon as the young woman arrives, the lack of common ground between them deflates her enthusiasm. And when Sabine’s impetuous, inquisitive nature forces Joy to face long-buried secrets from her past, she realizes that perhaps it’s time to finally heal old wounds.

How and when I got it:

I picked up a copy at a library sale.

Why I want to read it:

I’ve read a lot of Jojo Moyes books — but I think there are about five or so of her earliest books that I haven’t read yet. And apparently, this was her very first novel! She’s such a terrific writer, always finding just the right balance between plot and emotions. I love mother-daughter stories, so this sounds like a great choice for me. And then, maybe I’ll work my way through a few more of her books too!

What do you think? Would you read this book? 

Please share your thoughts!

__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

The Monday Check-In ~ 4/27/2020

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

We had a pretty goofy family Zoom this week — the first one we’ve managed to pull off. It was fun and silly, and just so nice to see everyone’s faces, even from far away.

What did I read during the last week?

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix: Loved it. My review is here.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: I’m in love with this book! Why didn’t I read it years ago? My review is here.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor: Really enjoyed this audiobook, and can’t wait to listen to #2! My review is here.

Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally: Wonderful YA. My review is here.

I also had one DNF this week:

Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida: DNF’d at 20%. It was just so dumb. I couldn’t take it a second more.

Pop culture — Outlander, season 5:

Season 5 of Outlander is getting close to the end!

Outlander, episode 510, “Mercy Shall Follow Me” — my reaction post is here.

Only two episodes left this season!

Other TV watching:

I finished Sex Education. Loved it — bring on season 3!

Fresh Catch:

Ooooh. My copy of The Last Emperox arrived! This is the 3rd book in the Interdependency trilogy (my reviews of books 1 & 2 are here and here). So excited to read the conclusion!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

I started reading Of Literature & Lattes by Katherine Reay, and then realized that it’s the follow-up to her previous book, The Printed Letter Bookshop, which I haven’t read. So… I’m detouring back to the first one, before I return to the second!

Now playing via audiobook:

Educated by Tara Westover: Okay, so I’m only about two years behind everyone else! I’m glad to finally be experiencing this powerful memoir. I’m about halfway through the audiobook — it’s great.

Ongoing reads:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: My book group is reading two chapters per week. I’m still about six chapters behind… but slowly, slowly making an effort to catch up.

Past Prologue by Diana Gabaldon and Steve Berry: Also in book group, we’re doing a group read of this short story featuring the King of Men (Jamie Fraser).

So many books, so little time…

boy1