#5Books: Books recs and there’s a change in the air….

#5books for the week ending 18 February

Mostly because I’ve spent a week, sneezing my butt off because aircons still think that it’s 40 degrees every day and it’s really not. The office and buses man, I just am not dealing this week. I rocked up to work with my nose peeling and my eyes watering today. We do not do central heating or cooling well here.

(Did you ever hear that offices air cons are set to the comfort level of a guy in a suit? Someone at work casually mentioned that when she saw how cold I was)

I can’t decide if this is a cold or allergies, because I’m taking meds for both and apparently one is working.

I sniffled through my book club meeting on the weekend, and listened to Margo Lanagan, co-author of Zeroes, along with Scott Westerfeld and Deborah Biancotti, was there talking about her work with them and her titles on her own. It fun listening to how Zeroes shifted and changed as they each read each other’s chapters and got better ideas of it for the book as a whole — does that make sense? I hope so!

Then I started sneezing and had to go, so what can you do?

Anyway, books! What do I have this week? THIS:

Throw your arm across your eyes and scream

From the author of Cure for the Common Universe comes a monster-movie-like novel that bravely challenges perceived notions of beauty, identity, and modern voyeurism.

Phoebe Darrow and her mom are lightning rods for monsters.

It seems wherever they travel, they end up fleeing from either flying saucers, flesh-eating plants, blobs from space, or radioactive ants.

Fortunately, Phoebe and her ma can see the man who fills the sky—the one in the bathrobe holding a remote control with a bored expression on his face. Invisible to everyone else, his eyes keep them—and only them—safe by warning them where the next monster will pop up.

All Phoebe wants is to stop jumping from town to town and begin living her own life somewhere like New York or Paris. But when her mom vanishes, Phoebe is left to fend for herself in the small town of Pennybrooke—right where the man in the sky is staring. That’s where she begins to transform…

There’s a man in the sky in a bathrobe, holding a remote in his hand — I read that line and I was like, okay, I need to know how this works out because this line sticks out like a sore thumb (understatement of the year, right?) in a rather interesting YA urban fantasy!

The Wren Hunt

Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.

I saw this recommended on another site, and had to included it because the write-up mentioned that it would remind readers of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series, and you guys, this series was first published in the 1980s/1990s, and after a shitty movie, I never thought anyone would ever mention it again but HERE IT IS. I know, I know I’m gushing someone else remembered my favourite book more than about the actual book so here it is: Ireland, is urban fantasy and I am left with one question: Who is Wren? Or what is Wren that she chased like this?

Finding Georgina

It’s the moment Harper Broussard always dreamed of. Her daughter Georgina, snatched fourteen years ago during a Mardi Gras parade, is standing before her, making cappuccinos behind the counter of Harper’s favorite New Orleans coffee shop. Harper’s ex-husband, Remy, has patiently endured many “sightings” over the years, and assumes this is yet another false alarm.

Yet this time, Harper is right.

The woman who kidnapped Georgina admits to her crime. Georgina, now known as Lilla, returns to her birth parents. But in all of Harper’s homecoming fantasies, her daughter was still a little girl, easily pacified with a trip to the park or a cherry snowball. In reality, she’s a wary, confused teenager who has never known any mother except the loving woman who’s now serving time. Harper’s younger daughter, Josephine, has spent her life competing with the ghost of a perfect, missing sister. Trying to bond with the real, imperfect version isn’t any easier. And though Remy has agreed to give their strained marriage another chance, he and Harper struggle to connect.

Clinging to dreams of reuniting has been Harper’s way of surviving. Now she must forge new ones on an often heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful journey–one that will redefine her idea of motherhood and family.

Alright, look I had to. I Just HAD to. Mothers, daughters, reuniting and everything that happens after… which isn’t picture perfect. There isn’t a happily ever after here.

The Kremlin’s Candidate (Red Sparrow Trilogy 3)

In the final, thrilling installment of the Red Sparrow Trilogy, Russian counterintelligence chief Dominika Egorova and her lover, CIA agent Nate Nash, must find a Russian agent about to be appointed to a very high office in the US government.

With a plot ripped from tomorrow’s headlines, Jason Matthews’s high-powered, seductive third novel not only continues the dangerous entanglements of Dominika and Nate but reveals with chilling authenticity how Russian espionage can place agents in the most sensitive positions of power. The novel opens with Russian president Vladimir Putin planning the covert assassination of a high-ranking US official with the intention of replacing him with a mole whom Russian intelligence has cultivated for more than fifteen years.

Catching wind of this plot, Dominika, Nate, and their CIA colleagues must unmask the traitor before he or she is able to reveal that Dominika has been spying for years on behalf of the CIA. Any leak, any misstep, will expose her as a CIA asset and result in a one-way trip to a Moscow execution cellar. Along the way, Matthews, a thirty-three-year veteran of the CIA and winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, sets vivid, unforgettable scenes in Moscow; Washington, DC; Hong Kong; New York; the Sudan; and Turkey, and introduces two cold-blooded killers: Iosip Blokhin, a brilliant Spetsnaz military officer, and Grace Gao, ravishing Chinese spy, master of Kundalini yoga, and Beijing-trained seductress.

Ultimately, the lines of danger converge on the spectacular billion-dollar presidential palace on the Black Sea during a power weekend with Putin’s inner circle. Does Nate sacrifice himself to save Dominika? Does she forfeit herself to protect Nate? Do they go down together?

This dazzling finale to Jason Matthews’s New York Timesbestselling Red Sparrow Trilogy, called “a primer in twenty-first-century spying…terrifically good” (The New York Times Book Review), confirms the critical acclaim he received for the first two novels, praise that compared Matthews to John le Carré and Ian Fleming. The Kremlin’s Candidate will be published just before the 2018 release of Red Sparrow, a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence, produced by 20th Century Fox.

So, this is the Black Widow movie that isn’t a Black Widow movie, and above is the third book in the trilogy.

I was so curious about this when I first saw it, but am somewhat cautious given how political the book sounds. It sounds like an old school spy thriller and I used to eat them ages ago, but again, I’m not sure if I want to go back. Then again maybe this is a good time/excuse to do it?

Bloody Scotland

Scotland has often been depicted as a land of haunting, misty moors and literary genius. But Scotland has also been a place of brutal crime, terrifying murder, child abuse, and bank robbery. Crime can strike anywhere. From the southern border to the Northern Isles, suspicion and suspense are never far away. Edinburgh, with its reputation for civility and elegance, has often been the scene of savagery; the dark streets of industrial Glasgow and Dundee have protected thieves and muggers, while the villages of coast and countryside hide murderous men and wild women.

Stellar contributors to Bloody Scotland include Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Denise Mina, Peter May, Ann Cleeves, Louise Welsh, Lin Anderson, Doug Johnstone, Craig Robertson, E. S. Thomson, Sara Sheridan and Stuart MacBride explore the thrilling potential of Scotland’s iconic sites and structures. From murder in a Hebridean blackhouse and a macabre tale of revenge among the furious clamour of an eighteenth century mill, to a dark psychological thriller set within the tourist throng of Edinburgh Castle and an ‘urbex’ rivalry turning fatal in the concrete galleries of an abandoned modernist ruin, this collection uncovers the intimate—and deadly—connections between people and places.

Prepare for a dangerous journey into the dark shadows of our nation’s architecture—where passion, fury, desire, and death collide.

I don’t think I will ever forget my first Val McDermid novel, Mermaids Singing, which was my introduction to Tony Hill, criminal profiler and Carol Jordan, the detective in charge of the case that brings them together. Since then, anything with McDermid in it has been worth a second look, but even if she wasn’t in this one, I would have recommended it just for the the title and location alone. That these mysteries and cases revolve around locations is sooooo promising.

If you could read a collection of mysteries revolving around a location, what would it be?



  • Some more good books here I need to add to the wishlist. I saw the Red Sparrow preview last week and I’m interested to see how Jennifer Lawrence pulls it off. I sure hope you are feeling better and I’m glad that at least some meds are helping!

    • Verushka says:

      Did you get a chance to see it yet Barb? I want to see it next myself. And thank you — the incessant rain for the past day and a half hopefully will make life easier for a bit!

  • Sorry you’re not feeling well :-/ Feel better soon! And I’ve seen Wren Hunt around some. It sounds interesting and like something I might like! I am curious too, and I didn’t know it was set in Ireland?

    • Verushka says:

      The review I read said it was, and I was thinking it should have been mentioned on the blurb or made it more obvious. I’m sure that would have gained some interest. Hopefully I start feeling better after some massive rains here — people have been telling me that’s how my allergies will calm down *shrugs* still have to see that in action…

  • All of these books are new to me so I have a lot I can add to my TBR. The Wren Hunt sounds AMAZING!!

  • AngelErin says:

    Feel better V!!! Great recs as always. The only one I’ve heard of before is Throw Your Arm Across Your Eyes and Scream. That one sounds pretty good! 🙂

  • Aw, I hope you feel better soon! Sickness is everywhere around me, so I’m hoping to avoid it! I hadn’t heard of Throw Your Arm Across Your Eyes and Scream; it sounds awesome.


    • Verushka says:

      Thank you! Buckets of rain this past day and a half and conventional wisdom — that is every old wive’s tale — tells me that will settle my allergies. Definitely avoid getting sick, Lauren. It’s not even winter and I’m already blah. The full title of Throw your Arm is just running around in my head and I need to see what it’s all about!! LOL

  • Greg says:

    Okay that description for Throw Your Arms- yeah that’s different! I think I’d want to know more too (heck, I do). Bloody scotland sounds interesting too. Let’s see if I could pick a location for mysteries- well Scotland is a great choice lol. Maybe I’d go with Greek islands or Ireland…

    • Verushka says:

      Oooh, Greg, the Greek Islands, I would definitely read a mystery based there! I want to say I’ve seen a couple of books based in Ireland, mysteries especially, but I’m not entirely sureI must admit! Throw Your Arms is one I’m not going to forget any time soon lol

  • Oh no V! I hope you’re feeling better now. Feeling under the weather is just awful. At least one of the meds was helping… So there’s that!

    • Verushka says:

      People kept telling me rain would settle everything and well, after the incessant day and a half of rain over here, here’s hoping! It’s a little like not feeling 100% for ages, but not being entirely sick at the same time.

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