#5Books: Book recs

#5Books for the week ending 24 March 2019

It’s getting darker sooner, and cooler as well, and autumn seems to be around the corner. Dammit.

Yes, it’s early to get my grouch on, but that first moment when you notice the weather changing to cooler always just sticks with me.

Anyhoo, enough of the weather — because I 100% can go on about the incessant rain we’ve been having — and here are some book recs instead.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme

In the next striking and vibrant standalone novel by the critically acclaimed author of Allegedly and Monday’s Not Coming, Tiffany D. Jackson tells the story of three Brooklyn teens who plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he is still alive.

Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.

Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.

Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.

Despite my best intentions I haven’t yet got to Tiffany D. Jackson’s previous works and I am kicking myself because of that. But I am also entirely looking forward to this. The friends, their relationship to each other and the desire to prove their friend’s talent — and who can’t relate to wanting to take care of their friend’s memory like that? The secrets though are intriguing. What are they hiding?

Murder Once Removed 

S.C. Perkins’ Murder Once Removed is the captivating first mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster uses her skills to solve murders in both the past and present.

Except for a good taco, genealogist Lucy Lancaster loves nothing more than tracking down her clients’ long-dead ancestors, and her job has never been so exciting as when she discovers a daguerreotype photograph and a journal proving Austin, Texas, billionaire Gus Halloran’s great-great-grandfather was murdered back in 1849. What’s more, Lucy is able to tell Gus who was responsible for his ancestor’s death.

Partly, at least. Using clues from the journal, Lucy narrows the suspects down to two nineteenth-century Texans, one of whom is the ancestor of present-day U.S. senator Daniel Applewhite. But when Gus publicly outs the senator as the descendant of a murderer—with the accidental help of Lucy herself—and her former co-worker is murdered protecting the daguerreotype, Lucy will find that shaking the branches of some family trees proves them to be more twisted and dangerous than she ever thought possible.

Okay, bear with me, this is going to get weird: So ages ago I read Michelle McNamara’s I’ll be Gone in the Dark, and then Listened to the Audible show about the GSK’s capture, of which ancestry sites play a large part. And I got to wondering what’s in my ancestry but I’m half convinced it’s just going to be South Africa + Indian. But I still wonder — do you? Have you done a genealogy test or wondered what’s in your genes?

Basically that’s why this intrigued me.

Who knows what lies in people’s family trees right? 


A captivating and powerful exploration of the opioid crisis—the deadliest drug epidemic in American history—through the eyes of a college-bound softball star. Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a visceral and necessary novel about addiction, family, friendship, and hope.

When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there.

The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.

With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue.

But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.

It’s the YA perspective on this drug problem from what is just an injury that could happen to anyone that makes me want this.

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune 

Lush and visual, chock-full of delicious recipes, Roselle Lim’s magical debut novel is about food, heritage, and finding family in the most unexpected places.

At the news of her mother’s death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn’t spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco’s Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She’s even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant’s fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around–she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

“Vivid and lyrical with a touch of magic.”–Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient

How wonderful and heartwarming does this sound? Just reading this made me smile.

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph

Perfect for fans of Nina LaCour and Nicola Yoon comes a novel about first love and family secrets from Stonewall Book Award winner Brandy Colbert.

Dove “Birdie” Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she’s on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past…whom she knows her parents will never approve of.

When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family’s apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded–she’s also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she’s known to be true is turned upside down.

Long buried secrets are like the watchword for me when it comes to a blurb. But Birdie, glorious Birdie who is focusing on her studies to the exclusion of all else is someone to relate to. 

What books are you looking forward to this week?


  • Jen Mullen says:

    Murder Once Removed appeals to me. Different family members have studied the genealogy of our family (Scots/Irish). My grandchildren, however, may be more interested because two have a French father- and his parents are French and Italian. My other daughter is married to a man whose mother is Filipino, and that granddaughter is 1/4 Filipino. 🙂

  • I really like Fall but I can certainly understand where you’re coming from. Winter is not my friend. I really am curious about Let Me Hear a Rhyme and Birdie Randolph so onto the wishlist they go!

  • Our weather is almost finally turning warm. I can’t wait. I just started Natalie Tan!

  • We’re finally getting slightly better weather. We’ve been getting a lot of rain but at least it isn’t as dark out anymore. Makes me feel so much better. ^_^

  • Lark says:

    We’re just finally entering spring where I live and I’m so grateful for the sunshine and the melting snow! Winter was very long and very cold and I’m glad to be done.

  • Sam@wlabb says:

    I actually have three of these on my TBR. Natalie Tan is a definite, since I have a copy, but also because it sounds like the kind of romances I crave. Jackson’s and Colbert both write incredible books and the premise for each of these sounds like a winner to me.

  • Angela says:

    I will never get used to the fact that as you head into fall, we’re starting spring! I love fall, but I also love the way everything just warms up in spring.

  • V!!!! It’s been forever. AGAIN. And I’m sorry. I guess life just ran away with me and I have fully been meaning to get back on track but I just haven’t got there yet… Plus. You know me. We travelled! Ha ha.

    ANYWAYS, I am trying my best to be more consistent with the blogging and I feel like I’ll get there if I persist.

    SO! Yes, Winter is definitely coming! I woke up the other day to full on mist and coolness out my window and I KNEW that the season is changing. Rapidly. I’m glad you guys are getting some rain though – it would be good if it could spread out a bit to central western Queensland! Desperate out there.

    ANYWAYS, hope you are doing well otherwise and I look forward to catching up a bit soon.

  • Lily says:

    Heroine def looks like it might be worth the read. I’ve heard little about the rest 😀 but lots of titles worthy of some attention!

  • Sorry to hear that your weather is taking a turn for the worse. We’re just finally moving into spring here so the days are getting longer. I feel like my mood lifted almost immediately so can definitely understand you feeling grouchy as you move in the opposite direction.

    I’m in love with the cover for The Revolution of Birdie Randolph and the synopsis sounds great too.

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