#5Books: Book recs and I am the night

#5Books for the week ending 10 Feb 2019

I’ve started watching I Am the Night — a new episode airs every week on an Australian streaming channel here.

So, the show is about the Black Dahlia murder, wrapped up in a young girl’s (Fauna Hodel) search for her past and a journalist’s (Chris Pine) determination to prove that a gynecologist is responsible for the murder — said gynecologist is also Fauna’s grandfather.

It’s set in the 1960s and I have to admit the first two episodes have their moments, but they’re dragging along considerably as it focuses on setting up the characters: Fauna is biracial but can easily pass for white. She leaves home to go to LA to find her grandfather, who we have not seen much of just yet. He is this figure looming in the background, in the middle of excessive parties and a voice on the other end of the phone for Fauna.

Jay, the journalist, believes he’s involved in the Black Dahlia murder, and years ago Hodel it seems was tried for the murder. The witness that Jay still believes will prove Hodel’s guilt — and is Fauna’s mother. Who’s dead. So I am waiting for Jay and Fauna to meet, and it is taking far too long — which yes, it’s only two episodes in, and I am trying to remember that.

Fauna is however a mixed bag of a character. She’s a young girl, at odds with the world around her — and is looking for a place where she can fit. Where she does not have to be the ‘other’. But … she’s somewhat boring thus far. Possibly because she’s still trying to get in touch with her grandfather and ‘white’ family.

The other thing that’s interesting is that when Pine plays Kirk and most of his other roles in fact, I always think of him as being so young, but here his character is jaded, a recovering addict and trying very hard to reclaim some sense of pride in his work and his investigative instincts. I would not mind watching a series about that character investigating stories every week.

We’ll see how long I last keeping up with this.

Who else is watching this show? What do you think of it?

In the meantime: book recs!

Between the Lies

The truth is hiding between the lies.

A page-turning psychological thriller with twists that keep the reader guessing until last page, this addictive read will be loved by fans of Shari Lapena’s A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE and Liz Lawler’s DON’T WAKE UP.

What would you do if you woke up and didn’t know who you were?

Chloe Daniels regains consciousness in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She doesn’t recognise the strangers who call themselves family. She can’t even remember her own name.

What if your past remained a mystery?

As she slowly recovers, her parents and sister begin to share details of her life.
The successful career. The seaside home. The near-fatal car crash.
But Chloe senses they’re keeping dark secrets – and her determination to uncover the truth will have devastating consequences.

It creeps me out to think about someone waking up and not knowing who to believe — especially if they say they’re your family. Are they even her family? Should the question be who is Chloe and what has she done that she can’t remember — and that everyone is keeping secrets from her about?

Upon a Burning Throne

From international sensation Ashok K. Banker, pioneer of the fantasy genre in India, comes the first book in a ground-breaking, epic fantasy series inspired by the ancient Indian classic, The Mahabharata

In a world where demigods and demons walk among mortals, the Emperor of the vast Burnt Empire has died, leaving a turbulent realm without an emperor. Two young princes, Adri and Shvate, are in line to rule, but birthright does not guarantee inheritance: For any successor must sit upon the legendary Burning Throne and pass The Test of Fire. Imbued with dark sorceries, the throne is a crucible—one that incinerates the unworthy.

Adri and Shvate pass The Test and are declared heirs to the empire… but there is another with a claim to power, another who also survives: a girl from an outlying kingdom. When this girl, whose father is the powerful demonlord Jarsun, is denied her claim by the interim leaders, Jarsun declares war, vowing to tear the Burnt Empire apart—leaving the young princes Adri and Shvate to rule a shattered realm embroiled in rebellion and chaos….

Welcome to the Burnt Empire Saga

The Mahabharata is one of those stories/tales my grandmother told me about growing up, though if you ask me if I remember any of it, I couldn’t say for sure but I do remember the act of her talking to me about it, if that makes sense? Anyhoo — inspired by an Indian epic, and a girl with a demon lord father? Yeah, I need this in my life.

The Bird King

Set in 1491 during the reign of the last sultanate in the Iberian peninsula, The Bird King is the story of Fatima, the only remaining Circassian concubine to the sultan, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker.

Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

Okay, I actually want to read this because the author, G. Willow Wilson is the co-author of the Ms Marvel series, and while I may not be a consistent reader of comics, Kamala Khan has stuck with me. Of course, the jinn, and the time and era of this does add to my interest too. 

Donna has left the building

From the beloved, New York Times bestselling author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress comes a hilarious, timely, and big-hearted new novel about rebuilding life in the face of disaster.

Forty-five-year-old Donna Koczynski is an ex-punk rocker, a recovering alcoholic, and the mother of two teenagers whose suburban existence detonates when she comes home early from a sales conference in Las Vegas to the surprise of a lifetime. As her world implodes, she sets off on an epic road trip to reclaim everything she believes she’s sacrificed since her wild youth: Great friendship, passionate love, and her art. But as she careens across the U.S. from Detroit to New York to Memphis to Nashville, nothing turns out as she imagines. Ultimately, she finds herself resurrected on the other side of the globe, on a remote island embroiled in a crisis far bigger than her own.

Irresistibly funny, whip-smart, and surprisingly moving, Donna Has Left the Building spins an unforgettable tale about what it means to be brave—and to truly love—in a tumultuous world.

I like Donna. I like that she’s trying to get her shit together and ends up somewhere else entirely. And then throw in the crisis in the end, and I am like: Okay Donna, you got this.

Her Daughter’s Mother

She befriended the one woman she was never supposed to meet. Now she’s the key suspect in her disappearance. For fans of The Perfect Mother and The Wife Between Us comes a stunning psychological suspense debut about two strangers, one incredible connection, and the steep price of obsession.

Lana Stone has never considered herself a stalker–until the night she impulsively follows a familiar face through the streets of New York’s Upper West Side. Her target is the “anonymous” egg donor she’d selected through an agency, the one who’s making motherhood possible for her. Hungry to learn more about her, Lana plans only to watch her from a distance. But when circumstances bring them face-to-face, an unexpected friendship is born. In Katya, Lana finds a welcome distraction from her painful breakup with her baby’s father, and someone whose zest for life is irresistible. Until, a week later, Katya goes missing–and Lana might have been the last person to see her before she disappeared. Determined to find out what became of the woman to whom she owes so much, Lana digs into Katya’s past, even as the police grow suspicious of her motives. But she’s unprepared for the secrets she unearths, or their power to change everything she thought she knew about those she loves best…

I had to read the title twice over before it finally sank in what this book is about. I am intrigued about the idea of a mother who meets her baby’s egg donor because never did I expect a book about two characters like this. Interesting characters and unexpected premise = promising a book, hopefully. 

That’s it from me! What books are you looking forward to this week?



  • The Mahabharata used to be on late at night in the UK and I saw bits and pieces of it-it looked interesting. That was many years ago and I remember nothing about it though! I do like demons in my books…

  • I haven’t gotten into that show but almost started watching it. The Walking Dead came back on last night and I really wish they would end it because it’s probably the only way I’ll stop watching it even though it’s not as enjoyable as it once was. I’m seeing Upon a Burning Throne everywhere it seems.

  • Jen Mullen says:

    I seem to be a sucker for novels with a character awakening with no memory of family, friends, or events leading up to amnesia! It definitely does have the CREEP factor to have to take someone else’s word about your own life. So, yeah, I’ll be adding Between the Lies to my list.

  • Elle says:

    I am a huge True Crime lover. I didn’t even know there was a show based on the Black Dahlia murder. Thank you for showing me something else to be obsessed about for a while. I just watched the Ted Bundy Netflix documentary and it was amazing. I think out of all the books, I’d want to pick up Upon a Burning Throne. I love books that sound intense like this. Also, it would be nice to see references to a different culture I haven’t read about before!

  • I’ve not tried that show yet but it sounds interesting, so hopefully the pace will pick up soon.

    Great book recs this week. I loved The Wife Between Us so I’m especially intrigued by Her Daughter’s Mother. It did take me a while to wrap me head around that title though, lol.

  • Sam@wlabb says:

    Donna Has Left the Building caught my attention because of the Elvis reference (I love the King), and it sounds fabulous to me.

  • Angela says:

    Chris Pine never seems to age! We haven’t started watching that show, but it seems like everything else is on some sort of hiatus, so we might end up starting it!

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