#5Books: Book recs and an update that isn’t really an update

#5Books for the week ending 15 April 2018

Mostly because life is carrying on!

It’s been a full on weekend with my aunt, cousins and their kids over to stay for the last couple of days before they head to Melbourne. So many kids, and two dogs — one of whom is having a tough time being bullied by the other, who in turn is anxious bc my sister and husband were away for a bit of the weekend, and he saw the suitcase and of course, he got cranky.

We’re a complex family.

I got some downtime over the weekend and was able to write and watch John Krasinski in 13 Hours while answering questions. I don’t really know what the movie was about, but there’s JK looking might fine and I realised I could work with that.

Which brings me to: A Quiet Place — who’s watched? OR who is going to watch?


Heroes search for happiness, villains plot revenge, and nothing is as easy as it once seemed. Gretel suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, an orphan girl questions Rumpelstiltskin’s legacy, a monster cat searches for a child to eat, and the pied piper realizes stealing a hundred and thirty children may not have been his smartest idea.

Fairy tales have endured for centuries even though—or perhaps because—their conclusions are often more unsettling than satisfying. In Unspun, eleven storytellers come together to challenge and explore a few of those classic tales. Unexpected twists are sure to provoke both thought and laughter.

Gorgeous illustrations by Ruth Nickle accompany each piece.

Stories in the Anthology:
“Heart of a Thief” by Chris Cutler (Jack and the Beanstalk)
“Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter” by Ruth Nickle (Rumpelstiltskin)
“Tsar Vislav, Tsarina Vislav, and the Firebird” by Sarah Chow (Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf)
“Tatterhood and the Prince’s Hand” by Katherine Cowley (Tatterhood)
“The Little Mermaid” by PJ Switzer (The Little Mermaid)
“Ásthildur and the Yule Cat” by Sarah Blake Johnson (The Yule Cat)
“Perfectly Real” by Robin Prehn (The Princess and the Pea)
“The Pied Piper’s Revenge” by Scott Cowley (The Pied Piper)
“Ethical Will” by Kaki Olsen (The Nutcracker)
“Breadcrumbs” by Jeanna Mason Stay (Hansel and Gretel)
“Spring’s Revenge” by Anika Arrington (Snow White)

There are plenty of books out there like this, but I am recommending this one because of two things in the blurb I haven’t seen before: Gretel is suffering from PTSD and the Pied Piper’s realization that he has 130 kids to take care of. Which you know, you’d think might have been on his mind before he stole the kids 🙂

Sophia of Silicon Valley

Sharp, dramatic, and full of insider dish, SOPHIA OF SILICON VALLEY is one woman’s story of a career storming the corridors of geek power and living in the shadow of its outrageous cast of maestros.

During the heady years of the tech boom, incorrigibly frank Sophia Young lucks into a job that puts her directly in the path of Scott Kraft, the eccentric CEO of Treehouse, a studio whose animated films are transforming movies forever. Overnight, Sophia becomes an unlikely nerd whisperer. Whether her success is due to dumb luck, savage assertiveness, insightful finesse (learned by dealing with her irrational Chinese immigrant mother), or a combination of all three, in her rarified position she finds she can truly shine.

As Scott Kraft’s right-hand woman, whip-smart Sophia is in the eye of the storm, sometimes floundering, sometimes nearly losing relationships and her health, but ultimately learning what it means to take charge of her own future the way the men around her do. But when engineer/inventor Andre Stark hires her to run his company’s investor relations, Sophia discovers that the big paycheck and high-status career she’s created for herself may not be worth living in the toxic environment of a boys-club gone bad.

I’m still learning how to work like a man: put your hand up for things even if you’re not a perfect fit, and basically be okay with winging it is a big thing. I can’t do everything perfectly – that’s the best description of why I am recommending this. Life isn’t like Sophia’s by any means, but goodness, sometimes it can be, I think

Who’s who when everyone is someone else

In the offbeat style of Wes Anderson, a hilariously charming novel about a heartbroken man trying to redeem himself by championing forgotten books.

Fleeing heartbreak, an unnamed author goes to an unnamed city to give a series of lectures at an unnamed university about forgotten books…only to find himself involved in a mystery when it turns out the professor who invited him is no where to be found, and no one seems quite sure why he’s there.

This sounds so quirky,  doesn’t it? I want to see where it goes. I might be asking for trouble and possibly get annoyed, but yeah the blurb got me good.

The Captives

The riveting story of a woman convicted of a brutal crime, the prison psychologist who recognizes her as his high-school crush—and the charged reunion that sets off an astonishing chain of events with dangerous consequences for both

As an inmate psychologist at a state prison, Frank Lundquist has had his fair share of surprises. But nothing could possibly prepare him for the day in which his high school object of desire, Miranda Greene, walks into his office for an appointment. Still reeling from the scandal that cost him his Manhattan private practice and landed him in his unglamorous job at Milford Basin Correctional Facility in the first place, Frank knows he has an ethical duty to reassign Miranda’s case. But Miranda is just as beguiling as ever, and he’s insatiably curious: how did a beautiful high school sprinter and the promising daughter of a congressman end up incarcerated for a shocking crime? Even more compelling: though Frank remembers every word Miranda ever spoke to him, she gives no indication of having any idea who he is.

Inside the prison walls, Miranda is desperate and despairing, haunted by memories of a childhood tragedy, grappling with a family legacy of dodgy moral and political choices, and still trying to unwind the disastrous love that led to her downfall. And yet she is also grittily determined to retain some control over her fate. Frank quickly becomes a potent hope for her absolution—and maybe even her escape.

Propulsive and psychologically astute, The Captives is an intimate and gripping meditation on freedom and risk, male and female power, and the urges toward both corruption and redemption that dwell in us all.

It seems that Frank and Miranda are both captives in this doesn’t it – she of prison and he of their past by the looks of it? Going by the last line, the book is taking on a lot, and I hope it delivers – because who is power in this story is an interesting question.

Lying in Wait

From the international bestselling author of Unraveling Oliver, an “unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page” (The Irish Times) about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly revealed.

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.

For fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn, this novel is a “seductively sinister story. The twists come together in a superbly scary denouncement, which delivers a final sting in the tail. Brilliantly macabre”

So I must say I did not expect the son to be thrown into what at first sounded like a husband and wife domestic noir sort of thriller. I actually don’t know what to expect now that I know Laurence is involved, but thinking about thatt line, coming from his mum? Yeah, I want to know how this *family* deals with this dead body.


  • Jen Mullen says:

    I’m interested in Unspun. Fairy tale re-tellings usually intrigue me, and I’d like to know how the Pied Piper managed all of the kids in that pastiche!

  • Captives, Unspun and Lying in Wait all sound pretty awesome. That Pied Piper tale sure sounds like horror to me – that many kids! I do plan on seeing The Quiet Ones when it is available to rent. However, my husband found the ending on YouTube one night and was watching the clip and I ended up walking in on it without knowing what it was – now I’m spoiled! Bummer. Still, it looks good and I’m hearing good things.

  • I thought Unraveling Oliver was okay, so I am a bit curious about Lying in Wait. I definitely want to read Unspun though. That sounds awesome.


  • Lying in Wait sounds like one I would certainly enjoy!

  • I am so interested in A Quiet Place. I have only heard good things. I am so interested in Sophia of Silicon Valley. Thanks for sharing these!

  • Greg says:

    Glad you got some down time. 🙂 And Lying in Wait looks awesome.

  • Kelly says:

    I’m really looking forward to seeing it but waiting until I’m not still thinking about the preview where someone added farting sounds, it’s not the type of movie you can sit there giggling at. I don’t want to have one of those awkward moments.

    I love the sound of The Captives, it sounds like an incredible psychological power play and it’s been a while since I’ve read something that will leave me mentally exhausted. Thanks for putting it on my radar Verushka and hopefully you get some much needed rest after the family moves on <3

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