#5Books: Book recs and that time I discovered how charming Ed Sheeran was

#5Books for the week ending 18 March 2018

Last year, just after Adele came over, tickets for Ed Sheeran’s concerts this year came on sale. I fully admit to being on a high after Adele, which is why I said yes to going with friends to see his concert. Fast forward to last week and I am reminded I have tickets.

Woops!

Nosebleeds as it turned out, but it turned out to be so much fun — I know like all his biggest hits and not much else — mind you, like a couple of  days before is when I started listening to those ones on Spotify. So as you can imagine I wasn’t expecting much.

And I wasn’t expecting him to be sooo charming! It was only him on stage, and his guitars and giant screens behind him that looked like they were from his Myspace page. I’m not even kidding. At one point, in one of his love songs there were hearts drifting across him on the screens.

He’s a very energetic performer, jumping around the stage — he made sure to tell everyone he was live, save for some backing music from a guy at the base of the stage. Apparently after a performance at Glastonbury there were doubters that he performed live.

It was a fun night — and a fun concert, I must admit. Have you seen him in concert? What are you favourite Ed Sheeran songs? My favourites are Nancy Mulligan because it’s about his grandparents and that is TOO cute! Oh, and Castle on the Hill.

For my recs this week

The City of Lost Stars

The fate of New Orleans rests in the hands of a wayward grifter in this novel of gods, games, and monsters.

The post–Katrina New Orleans of The City of Lost Fortunes is a place haunted by its history and by the hurricane’s destruction, a place that is hoping to survive the rebuilding of its present long enough to ensure that it has a future. Street magician Jude Dubuisson is likewise burdened by his past and by the consequences of the storm, because he has a secret: the magical ability to find lost things, a gift passed down to him by the father he has never known—a father who just happens to be more than human.

Jude has been lying low since the storm, which caused so many things to be lost that it played havoc with his magic, and he is hiding from his own power, his divine former employer, and a debt owed to the Fortune god of New Orleans. But his six-year retirement ends abruptly when the Fortune god is murdered and Jude is drawn back into the world he tried so desperately to leave behind. A world full of magic, monsters, and miracles. A world where he must find out who is responsible for the Fortune god’s death, uncover the plot that threatens the city’s soul, and discover what his talent for lost things has always been trying to show him: what it means to be his father’s son.

Gods (and the death of one), games and monsters –– how can I go past that? Throw in a street magician, with an actual power — that mind you plays into the effects of Katrina in a way I didn’t expect, and I am seriously 100% thrilled that this release is around the corner.

Girl Made of Stars

“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”

Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex and best friend since childhood, Charlie.

As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.

Another timely YA novel, IMO. I will never not be pissed at people who talk YA down and not once acknowledge the kind of topics it’s tackling — because lets face it — consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault are just some of what kids these days are dealing with.

The Shimmer 

How do you hunt a killer who can go back in time and make sure you’re never born?

A police pursuit kicks Sergeant Jack Redding of the Florida Highway Patrol and his trainee, Julie Karras, into a shoot-out that ends with one girl dead and another in cuffs, and the driver of the SUV fleeing into the Intracoastal Waterway.

Redding stays on the hunt, driven by the trace memory that he knows that running woman–and he does, because his grandfather, a cop in Jacksonville, was hunting the same woman in 1957.

Redding and his partner, Pandora Jansson, chase a seductive serial killer who can ride The Shimmer across decades. The pursuit cuts from modern-day Jacksonville to Mafia-ruled St. Augustine in 1957, then to the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1914.

The stakes turn brutal when Jack, whose wife and child died in a crash the previous Christmas Eve, faces a terrible choice: help his grandfather catch the killer, or change time itself and try to save his wife and child.

The Shimmer is a unique time-shifting thriller that will stay with you long after its utterly unforeseen and yet perfectly diabolical ending.

Anyone remember Frequency? The movie with Dennis Quaid? That’s what this reminds me of — LOVED that movie. I think this book goes across some interesting timelines and cities, don’t you?

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy

The Family Fang meets The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry in this literary mystery about a struggling bookseller whose recently deceased grandfather, a famed mathematician, left behind a dangerous equation for her to track down—and protect—before others can get their hands on it.

Just days after mathematician and family patriarch Isaac Severy dies of an apparent suicide, his adopted granddaughter Hazel, owner of a struggling Seattle bookstore, receives a letter from him by mail. In it, Isaac alludes to a secretive organization that is after his final bombshell equation, and he charges Hazel with safely delivering it to a trusted colleague. But first, she must find where the equation is hidden.

While in Los Angeles for Isaac’s funeral, Hazel realizes she’s not the only one searching for his life’s work, and that the equation’s implications have potentially disastrous consequences for the extended Severy family, a group of dysfunctional geniuses unmoored by the sudden death of their patriarch.

As agents of an enigmatic company shadow Isaac’s favorite son—a theoretical physicist—and a long-lost cousin mysteriously reappears in Los Angeles, the equation slips further from Hazel’s grasp. She must unravel a series of maddening clues hidden by Isaac inside one of her favorite novels, drawing her ever closer to his mathematical treasure. But when her efforts fall short, she is forced to enlist the help of those with questionable motives.

This almost sounds like cozy mystery, or quirky mystery but Goodreads has it tagged as a mystery thriller, so it’s a little bit more hardcore than a cozy — it’s possibly the cover that throws me, I think. Hazel sounds wonderfully curious, and beloved if she’s the only one her grandfather sent the letter to, and the family at large though is one I would like to know more about — dysfunctional geniuses? YUP.  Clues in her favourite novel, and a secret organisation?…Okay, this might be more thriller than I thought it was.

If We Had Known

A literary tour de force from the acclaimed author of The Blessings-a riveting new novel about one of the most urgent crises of our time.

One August afternoon, as single mother Maggie Daley prepares to send her only child off to college, their world is shattered by news of a mass shooting at the local mall in rural Maine. As reports and updates about the tragedy begin to roll in, Maggie, an English professor, is further stunned to learn that the gunman had been a student of hers. Nathan Dugan was an awkward, complicated young man whose quiet presence in her classroom had faded from her memory-but not, it seems, the memories of his classmates.

When a viral blog post hints at the existence of a dark, violence-tinged essay Nathan had written during Maggie’s freshman comp seminar, Maggie soon finds herself at the center of a heated national controversy. Could the overlooked essay have offered critical red flags that might have warned of, or even prevented, the murders to come? As the media storm grows around her, Maggie makes a series of desperate choices that threaten to destroy not just the personal and professional lives she’s worked so hard to build, but-more important-the happiness and safety of her sensitive daughter, Anna.

Engrossing and provocative, combining sharp plot twists with Juska’s award-winning, trademark literary sophistication, IF WE HAD KNOWN is at once an unforgettable mother-daughter journey, an exquisite portrait of a community in turmoil, and a harrowing examination of ethical and moral responsibility in a dangerously interconnected digital world.

Asks some interesting questions, don’t you think? Looking back at something, it’s easy to say someone should have known from an essay or whatever it is that a kid was a danger to others. But is every dark essay an example of a kid who is a danger to others? Mind you, when something goes viral, it isn’t always true either.

19 Comments

  • I’ve also been eyeing The City of Lost Fortunes for a while and am planning to share it in an upcoming post! It does sound great, doesn’t it? New Orleans and gods and magic!

  • Wow, this sounds incredible. You saw Ed’s concert? Lucky you 🙁 I too want to see him singing live someday. I love his songs!
    And from you recs, The Girl Made of Stars is definitely on my list to read. I am so hoping for the price of that book to go down 😀

    • Verushka says:

      He is such a wonderful live singer AND performer in general. And hoenstly, I never would have picked it if I hadn’t gone to his concert lol!

  • Jen Mullen says:

    Ed Sheeran seems so genuine–so it is more than his music that appeals to me. 🙂 The City of Lost Fortunes is the one that I’m most interested in. I’m more in need of fantasy than reality at the moment!

    • Verushka says:

      That is exactly it about Ed — he’s so genuine. It’s why he was able to do an entire performance on his own without a band and have the audience eating out of his hands IMO

  • Oh, I love Ed Sheeran. I’m glad you loved the show! He’s great live, and I really want to see him again. I’ve only seen him once but it was back when he was an opening act so I got to meet after and everything and that was lovely.

    If We Had Known sounds interesting – one dark essay doesn’t necessarily mean anything, so you can’t really judge someone on that.

    And ooh The Shimmer sounds great.

  • Kelly says:

    I love Ed Sheeran! It’s a bit weird when he tries to rap but can’t win them all I suppose. I was desperate to see him and Bruno Mars but unfortunately we don’t have the money for concerts too often. I seen a few clips on Youtube and the concert looked incredible, he seems like such a humbled performer. Girl Made of Stars is most definitely a conversation that young adult needs and needs to keep highlighting. I dare say that a far majority of readers are female teens and we need these books to highlight what girls and transgirls face out there in the world. I will never not champion YA for much the same reason, I needed these books as a teen and will support the industry who places these books in the hands of the next generation of kids <3 <3

  • I really like Ed Sheeran but haven’t attended a concert in ages. In fact, I don’t even remember the last person I saw. Glad you had fun though. Now on to the books. Seriously, you are killing me woman! I just added all 5 of these to my wishlist. Got any extra time to share 🙂

    • Verushka says:

      Ha! I was about to ask you the same thing, because I feel like I’m Gollum collecting all these shiny things, but how am I ever going to find the time to read them all! You though are POWERING through some serious reading recently!

  • I saw your pics from the concert, they were amazing! The time shifting thriller, The Shimmer, sounds like something I would definitely pick up! Thanks for sharing it, I will be adding it now. 🙂

  • Oh my gosh, The Shimmer sounds amazing! It’s going straight on my wishlist because time travel!!

  • Lucky you! We need pics of Ed. I am curious about a few of these. I love the NOLA setting for the dystopian and time travel in Shimmer.

  • Sorry, don’t know any Ed Sheeran songs and probably wouldn’t recognise any! Don’t much like Adele either I’m afraid! Give me some 80’s music or some good rock stuff!

  • Thanks for the recs! Sheeran sounds like a sweetie. Every time I hear him speak in an interview he reminds me of a sweet little teddy bear. Glad to hear his concert was excellent! I can’t even remember the last concert I attended it was so long ago. My husband & son go all the time but I don’t want to see anybody bad enough to spend that kind of $.

  • Girl Made of Stars is one that I’ll be reading soon. I’m a big fan of Ashley Herring Blake’s writing and I have a feeling that this one may be her best yet.

  • I’m glad you enjoyed Ed Sheeran’s show! I saw him not last time, but the time before that when he came to Australia. I absolutely adored it. I went with someone who only knew his top hits as well and she ended up having a blast. I adore how he does his shows, with just him and his instruments. It’s amazing. One of my favourite songs by him is Give Me Love.

    I have head a lot of good things about Girl made of Stars, and my interest is definitely piqued.

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