#5Books: It’s beginning to feel a lot like Xmas…

#5Books books recs for the week ending 181216

I’m in the home stretch to break for Christmas, and God it can’t come soon enough. Anyone else find themselves at the point of looking at the week ahead with a lot of dread and wondering just how on earth you’re going to get through it?


In other news, I am currently rewatching Haven, like season 1. I miss Nathan’s dad. His cantankerousness is something that could have played off well with Audrey and Nathan. I like Duke, I feel like he’s a bit of a walking cliche in the beginning, but they all are to some extent, it’s just his bad boyness was just so… obvious.

I did try watching The OA on Netflix as well and very quickly lost interest — the first episode was trying too hard to be wohoo, look at me I’m different from everything else on Netflix. I know, I have weird reactions to things, but Britt Marling’s character isn’t interesting and more frustrating. I guess though, that’s the beauty of streaming — you can get all your answers in a binge watch, the show just has to ask the questions that keep you interested in going.

Anyone else like having familiar shows as background noise? No one else understands my need to have that familiarity going while I’m doing other things. Hm. What are your top background noise, familiar shows?

But, here there be recs …

First up, I have a book about grief and superpowers. And with that I’m going to add when it comes to grief, yeah, sometimes some superpowers like this one would definitely be welcome.

Then there’s the story of a woman and her father, who she loved and hated, and now has to capture. I read this in the middle of work and I swear, I felt my widen and I went ohhhh before I remembered you know, work.

Third, involves the daughter of assassins. Because that’s what you need after you read a book about grief and superpowers. And does the cover not bring to mind the phrase: Pretty in Pink.

Fourth is the story of a young black boy, the mother who loves him and leaves him, and his white adoptive parents who love him too, and lie to him.

And last, is the story of an Australian summer, on a farm, with more than a dash of Pride and Prejudice thrown in. Me like!


How are you supposed to deal with grief? With the loss of a loved one? I still don’t know. I know grief stays with you, it might grow dull as time passes but it’s always there. That’s how it is for me. Whatever or however you experience it, don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re doing it the wrong way. And don’t let anyone tell you wishing for a superpower like stopping time shouldn’t be something you shold be thinking about — God knows, that would’ve come in handy for me. But what does it mean for Luke? A brother left behind in Hold when his sister dies. He knew she was dying, that’s what hospice care is about. So how do the superpowers come in? I love the idea behind this, I love the honest-to-goodness truth in wishing time would just stand still when you’ve lost someone.

The Marsh King’s Daughter 

The Marsh King’s Daughter is a Hans Christian Anderson story too, but the only similarity to that in this book is that the Helena, like Helga in the fairytale, is the product of a mother and a man who abducted her, a survivalist. Thing is, he was her father and she loved him, when he was just her dad. When he became the man that kidnapped her mother, she realised the truth about him. But I don’t know, does that change that he was her father? I’m curious to see how the author tackles this relationship. Helena has been hiding her secret for years, and she’s built the kind of life she’s always wanted. But then her father escapes prison, and she realises that she’s only the only one that can find him because, you guessed it, he’s returned to the marsh where he kept her and her mother and where she grew up. This book. This BOOK. It got to me. Big time. Possibly because I just finished 738 Days, which is about a girl who survives her abduction… and man. I was a bundle of emotions already and then I found this and I WANTED IT. 

Pretty Fierce

Kaia is the daughter of trained assassins, who go missing leaving Kaia behind. She spends a year in hiding, trying to be normal — but what about her parents? The blurb doesn’t mention them in the year she spends hiding, only that she happens to feel normal with a boyfriend, Oliver. That right there smacks of something that might irritate me alot, because as you know a girl always needs a boy to be anything these days… I’m going to stop right there and focus on the next para in the blurb, which says she goes on the run when someone comes for her, and she shows off her badassness to Oliver. And then goes on the run. With him. Of course, the next line is about Oliver protecting Kaia, at which point, I have to wonder how he’s going to protect the daughter of assassins. … Did I just talk myself out of liking this book? I don’t know. I’m going to leave this here to digest, but what do you think? Am I being too harsh?

Everybody’s Son  

This is a book written by an Indian American author, Thrity Umrigar, famous for her stories about what it is to be Indian American. But this is the story of Anton, who is black, and abandoned by his mother who is a crack addict, before the police find him. His foster parents are David Coleman, a judge, and his wife Delores who have lost their son when Anton comes into their lives. David uses his connections to make Anton’s placement with them permanent, but years later, when Anton finds out the truth, everything comes crumbling down. How does Anton come to terms with what David did? With Juanita’s addiction? And, the latter half of the blurb, that focuses on the future, when Anton grows up, doesn’t mention her, but she must be there right? Everything about this blurb breaks my heart, but potential for characters here sounds lovely, right?

Summer at Mount Hope

By Rosalie Ham, author of The Dressmaker, this is the story of Phoebe and her family who live on a farm in Victoria in the 1890s. Lilith, her sister, is determined to find a husband, and yes, at her mother’s urging — remind you of anyone?? Meanwhile, Phoebe is quite happy making friends and living her life. However, circumstances change — her father dies? — and she find herself in the position of needing a husband. And while this is going on, pastoralists, squatters and of most interest to me, suffragettes come to their corner of the world. I feel like this is going to be filled with gorgeous characters, and I like Phoebe — I like that she thinks for herself, and while I don’t like that she’s forced to find a husband, I like what that can mean for her character. 

I’m going to say that Pretty Fierce is the only one I’m of two minds about here. Nods. What about you? What do you think?


  • I’m with you and I may give Pretty Fierce a try eventually. I SOOOOO am not ready for Christmas but I guess it’s going to happen no matter what. I love the holiday and since I am almost always off between Christmas and New Year’s, I find myself liking that part of Christmas even more – the time after when you can relax (and read 🙂 We got everything decorated yesterday (I had some out but not all and the tree wasn’t up yet) and it looks nice and I love it but all the work! I also made chocolate covered pretzel rods last night and even though they turned out nice and I love them, I hate melting the colored chocolate and the various sprinkles I used went EVERYWHERE. Here’s hoping we both find some peace this week!

    • Verushka says:

      I’m at the point Barb, where I don’t care if we’re all set for it or not, I just want it hereeeee. I may or may not be actually scratching out the days on my calendar lol YAY for getting the decorations done in time, not to mention the chocolate covered pretzel rods YUM. Think they’ll make it to Christmas??? 🙂 And, IA Barb, here’s to a peaceful week… somehow!

  • Angela says:

    Great picks this week! These sound like some good reads. I think Summer at Mount Hope is the one I’m most drawn to.

    Here’s hoping this week goes fast – I can’t wait for Christmas!

    • Verushka says:

      Summer at Mount Hope surprised me with how good it actually sounds — the the pride and prejuidce won me over 🙂 And YES, here’s to a quick week!

  • Greg says:

    I tried The OA and I’m two episodes in, and I don’t know WHAT”S going on with that show. I’ve kinda lost interest too. Haven I think I watched the first episode once- a long time ago. I was sorta ambivalent- should I keep going? I am intrigued… and as for background stuff, this might sound funny I always liked having the weather Channel on in the background. I don’t have cable anymore, but when I did I thought the Weather Channel was very relaxing. 🙂

    I like having mood or ambient music as background too. Do you ever listen to Hearts of space or anything like that?

    • Verushka says:

      Can I say how relieved I am that you said that? I’ve read glowing review after glowing review and I don’t get it at all. I think you should keep going with Haven. It’s keeps up with it’s procedural format, but it’s really in season 2 that they start building the bigger arcs around Lucy, Audrey and Nathan AND Duke too.

      The weather channel doesn’t sound funny at all! Is it because it’s all familiar in a way? I haven’t heard of Hearts of Space before — what is that?

  • Thanks for sharing! I love these posts – I always seem to find new titles.

    Sometimes I just like quiet, but I don’t really mind familiar shows as background news sometimes. 🙂


    • Verushka says:

      I feel weird without something in the background — having typed that out, I realised how WEIRD that sounds too! AND YAY for finding new titles!

  • We’re about to stop for Christmas and I can’t wait. I feel like I need a complete reset for next year in so many aspects of my life!

    Hold sounds pretty awesome and I’ll be checking it out some more on GR and seeing if I should add it to the ever growing TBR!

    I’ve seen Pretty Fierce around and it intrigues me but I’m not sure if I REALLY want to read it or not?

    Summer at Mount Hope sounds great too!

    Thanks for pointing these out. 🙂

    • Verushka says:

      Oh I TOTALLY hear you about needing a reset for next year. SIGHS.

      HOld I feel will break my hear, but yeah, with Pretty Fierce, I still haven’t made up my mind about it. I hope you get try Hold or Summer at Mount Hope!

  • Lola says:

    I don’t like background noise in geneal. I prefer quiet, although sometimes we have some music on in the background, but having the tv on just distracts me. If I want to watch sometimes, I just go and watch that, but it doesn’t work for me as background noise. These all sound like interesting books.

    • Verushka says:

      Thanks Lola, I’m glad you enjoyed the recs! And I understand what you mean about background noises being distracting — it can be like that. I got to liking background noise when I lived alone in Toronto. That’s how it became comfortin g having somehting on in the background.

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