#5Books: Book recs and a museum

#5Books for the week ending 4 Feb 2018

On Sunday, I got some culture on! I went to an exhibition of Dutch Masters at the Art Gallery of New South Wales called Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age.

These are artists of the 17th Century from Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which when I lived there was under construction… and continued to be under construction for the entire time was there.  There was one floor open as I recall, and I convinced myself that I should wait to find a job and for the construction to be over to spend the money on a ticket to visit *shrugs* Yeah, that worked out well! Given that various parts of Sydney are under construction as well for years now, I think we Australians and the Dutch have at least one thing in common 🙂

The exhibition floor was like a rabbit warren, and very easy to get lost in. I went with a friend of mine, who (the poor thing) while she was in mid-conversation with me had to contend with my going Ooooh, and rushing off as I spy a painting I loved. One that I adored was Jan Davidsz de Heem’s  Still life with flowers in a glass vase, which was a bouquet of colour in among a very dark (colour) exhibition… or it was just bad lighting lol 

Anyway, note to self — go see more exhibitions! But now…

Recommendations this week!

City of Broken Magic

Mirah Bolender’s fast-paced, adventure fantasy debut, City of Broken Magic, features a bomb squad that defuses magic weapons.

Five hundred years ago, magi created a weapon they couldn’t control. An infestation that ate magic—and anything else it came into contact with. Enemies and allies were equally filling.

Only an elite team of non-magical humans, known as sweepers, can defuse and dispose of infestations before they spread. Most die before they finish training.

Laura, a new team member, has stayed alive longer than most. Now, she’s the last—and only—sweeper standing between the city and a massive infestation.

Oh hello, eating magic is something I have definitely not heard of before! And in a magic world, it’s entirely focused on a bunchy of non-magical humans, which is new. Bit puzzling is Laura, the new team member who has stayed alive longer than most…. even though she’s new? Worth a shot though don’t you think?

It Should have been you

A cyberstalked high-school advice columnist takes matters into her own hands to discover the secrets behind her twin sister’s murder in this intense and compelling mystery thriller.
Seventeen-year-old Clara Seibert ghostwrites an advice column for her school’s newspaper. She’s funny, feisty, and cares deeply about making a difference in people’s lives, but her own personal problems threaten to overwhelm her. Five months ago, her twin, Moura, was murdered.

Soon threatening emails start to arrive at her staff inbox. Convinced that her email stalker blames Clara for her sister’s death and is out for revenge, she decides to undertake her own investigation. Can she solve the murder in time to save herself?

This suspenseful page-turner about a complicated sibling relationship is perfect for fans of We Were Liars, Fangirl, I’ll Give You the Sun, and Vanishing Girls. Secrets, lies, brilliantly crafted twists and turns, and a dual mystery will keep readers in suspense until the very last page.

Although primarily a whodunit, this novel also focuses on important social themes high-school teens face. Lynn blends a page-turning mystery thriller with sweet romance and demonstrates the very real effects of grief, rivalry, sexuality, dating violence, and bullying on today’s youth. Clara is believable, relatable, smart, snarky, brave, and conscientious. Her strong teen voice will resonate with a wide audience, and she is a perfect role model for teens who are dealing with similar social issues.

Yup, YA is continuing to impress! If this had been a straight-up whodunit, I’d still be interested in reading it, but as it stands, it’s that last para, that gives the meat of the blurb that has me hooked.

Here we lie

A riveting novel about how the past never stays in the past, from the critically acclaimed author of The Drowning Girls and The Mourning Hours .

Megan Mazeros and Lauren Mabrey are complete opposites on paper. Megan is a girl from a modest Midwest background, and Lauren is the daughter of a senator from an esteemed New England family. But in 1999, Megan and Lauren become college roommates and, as two young women struggling to find their place on campus, they forge a strong, albeit unlikely, friendship. The two quickly become inseparable, sharing clothes, advice and their most intimate secrets.

The summer before their senior year, Megan joins Lauren and her family on their private island off the coast of Maine. The weeks go by, filled with fun and relaxation, until late one night at the end of the vacation, something unspeakable happens, searing through the framework of the girls’ friendship and tearing them apart. Many years later, in the midst of a political scandal, Megan finally comes forward about what happened that fateful night, revealing a horrible truth about Lauren’s family and threatening to expose their long-buried secrets.

In this captivating and moving novel of domestic suspense, Paula Treick DeBoard explores the power of friendship and secrets and shows how betrayal can lead to disastrous, and deadly, consequences.

I reviewed Anatomy of a Scandal last week, and on the surface, I would say this is the American version of that: politics, men who think they are untouchable and  take what they want from women.

The Oracle Year

From bestselling comic-book franchise writer Charles Soule comes a clever and witty first novel of a twentysomething New Yorker who wakes up one morning with the power to predict the future—perfect for fans of Joe Hill and Brad Meltzer, or books like This Book Is Full of Spiders and Welcome to Night Vale.

Knowledge is power. So when an unassuming Manhattan bassist named Will Dando awakens from a dream one morning with 108 predictions about the future in his head, he rapidly finds himself the most powerful man in the world. Protecting his anonymity by calling himself the Oracle, he sets up a heavily guarded Web site with the help of his friend Hamza to selectively announce his revelations. In no time, global corporations are offering him millions for exclusive access, eager to profit from his prophecies.

He’s also making a lot of high-powered enemies, from the President of the United States and a nationally prominent televangelist to a warlord with a nuclear missile and an assassin grandmother. Legions of cyber spies are unleashed to hack the Site—as it’s come to be called—and the best manhunters money can buy are deployed not only to unmask the Oracle but to take him out of the game entirely. With only a handful of people he can trust—including a beautiful journalist—it’s all Will can do to simply survive, elude exposure, and protect those he loves long enough to use his knowledge to save the world.

Delivering fast-paced adventure on a global scale as well as sharp-witted satire on our concepts of power and faith, Marvel writer Charles Soule’s audacious debut novel takes readers on a rollicking ride where it’s impossible to predict what will happen next.

Oh this is COOL! What would you do if you could predict the future: setting up a website and trying to make some money off it? Makes sense. Of course, the author then throws in saving the world, so that chucks everything in the blurb before that point up in the air because before then, Will was out for money. So what changed his mind?

The Fallen

David Baldacci returns with the next blockbuster thriller in his #1 New York Times bestselling Memory Man series featuring detective Amos Decker–the man who can forget nothing.

Amos Decker and his journalist friend Alex Jamison are visiting the home of Alex’s sister in Barronville, a small town in western Pennsylvania that has been hit hard economically. When Decker is out on the rear deck of the house talking with Alex’s niece, a precocious eight-year-old, he notices flickering lights and then a spark of flame in the window of the house across the way. When he goes to investigate he finds two dead bodies inside and it’s not clear how either man died. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s something going on in Barronville that might be the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country.

Faced with a stonewalling local police force, and roadblocks put up by unseen forces, Decker and Jamison must pull out all the stops to solve the case. And even Decker’s infallible memory may not be enough to save them. 

I’ve been reading this since book one, and been captivated by Amos and his memory, and the crew around him. Baldacci seems to have changed gears, in a good way, with Amos if Alex is taking him home, suggesting a level of comfort that comes from a series and characters finding their groove. And I CANNOT WAIT.


  • That exhibition sounds neat!

    The first book does sound interesting. You’re right, that’s different that they chose to focus on non-magical humans in a book about a magical world. But that’s cool! I may have to look more into that one.

    • Verushka says:

      The exhibition was wonderfully neat 🙂 City of Broken Magic sounds interesting bc how do the humans survive magic in this world to be able to fight it (sort of ).

  • So I totally want to check out The Oracle Year and the City of Broken Magic but man, that one doesn’t release until November here in the states – bummer. You are always leading me to the most interesting books!

  • Yay for getting your culture on. Here We Lie sounds good!

    • Verushka says:

      It was wonderfully fun going to the exhibition! I need to keep an eye out to see what else is coming up at the museum! Here we Lie I am busting to get my hands on. I really do think it’s the US version of Anatomy of a Scandal and I WANT it.

  • Angela says:

    I love going to museums – we’re going to try to go to a local one this weekend to see an exhibit on book art!

  • That’s great you enjoyed the exhibition!! 🙂

    Ooh lots of interesting books here. I am definitely curious about The Oracle Year. I hadn’t heard of that one!


    • Verushka says:

      It was such a wonderful birthday present! And me too — i’d love to have some spoilers for the future, but I’m also like: would I want to know???

  • The exhibition sounds like it was AWESOME. Definitely making that note to myself as well…

    Eating magic – sounds pretty cool to me. And maybe since Laura is the last one standing right now she’s stayed alive longer than the rest have? I dunno, but it does sound worth a shot!

    I keep meaning to try that Baldacci series! One day. ?

    • Verushka says:

      I’ve signed up for a newsletter for upcoming exhibitions so I’m hoping more ones like this one come up! I am hoping Broken City is a good one — there’s so much goodness in potential there!

  • The exhibition sounds wonderful! City of Broken Magic sounds really!

  • Oh man… I love museums and going to exhibitions. The sad thing is all the great museums and exhibitions here in Belgium are always in Brussels and I just don’t like traveling there. It’s not super cheap and quite a train ride for me. And the one museum where I live has been under construction as well for years and we don’t know when it’ll open again. They have pretty amazing paintings there. Sorry for the rant! lol But anyway I’m going to have to check out all these books. They look amazing!

    • Verushka says:

      Rant away! Oh no, the construction sounds frustrating!! It was definitely for me when I was in Amsterdam! Where do you live, if I don’t mind me asking Stephanie? My BFF lives in Belguim too, so I’ve been to brussels, but we had to take a train to see it too.

  • AngelErin says:

    Girl, you always have the best recs that I haven’t heard of yet. City of Broken Magic, It Should Have Been You, and Here We Lie sound great! Thanks for sharing.

  • Ande says:

    Great recommendations! The Oracle really caught my eye. Definitely going to have grab this one! Putting it on the list and reserving at the library! Thank you ?
    The exhibition sounds great! What an experience. Hope we get to hear more about it!

    • Verushka says:

      Thank you! The Oracle poses interesting questions doesn’t it? Like would you want to know the future? Sometimes I think I would and other times I wonder…

  • Kelly says:

    The Oracle and It Should have been you sound absolutely brilliant Verushka, especially the latter. I love stories where characters take matters into their own hands and fight back. I’m a fiend for mysteries. Thank you for putting it on my radar darling.

    • Verushka says:

      You’re absolutely right — Clara taking control of herself sounds wonderful, within such a powerful story. I’m so glad you found something you liked here!

  • Oooh, museum visit! I love museums (the cousins of libraries!), and Rembrandt is a fave. I actually recently went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston, which (in)famously had a Rembrandt stolen from it in the 90s. Fun fact, haha. ?

    YES to new urban fantasy! City of Broken Magic sounds awesome, can’t wait to pick up a copy for myself.

    • Verushka says:

      Now that Rembrandt story sounds like it’d make a good book! I am hoping Broken Dreams brings something new to the genre for me with the focus on the non-magic people in the story. I’d love that!

  • Daniela Ark says:

    yup I have to say that City of Broken Magic does sound intriguing with that eating magic thingy!

  • City of Broken Magic sounds amazing! And yes, definitely go see more exhibitions. I always intend to go see ones around here and then get distracted and forget.

    • Verushka says:

      Hee, me too! I signed up for a newsletter to tell me what exhibitions are coming up so I determined to make a go of visiting more this year!! Broken Magic has such an interesting take on a popular genre, so I am hoping it’s worth our time!

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