The Last Queen of India by Michelle Moran

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACategory: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Cultural: India
Author: Michelle Moran
Alternative title: The Rebel Queen

The Last Queen of India is a historical fiction novel following the life of a woman warrior who is part of the elite personal guards of the Rani of Jhansi. The novel is set in Jhansi, in India at the cusp of colonialism by the British. The Rani of Jhansi is revered and admired historical figure in contemporary India and she is known for her valour and her fight against the colonial rule in India.  Continue reading

Human Acts by Han Kang

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACategory: Historical Fiction, Translated Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Cultural: Guangzhou, South Korea
Author: Han Kang, Translated by Deborah Smith

I read the Vegetarian a couple of months ago and whilst it was very disturbing and twisted, I could still appreciate it for what it was and I gave it a 4 star rating. In comparison, Human Acts in my opinion, is much more accomplished as a novel and is extremely socially significant.  Continue reading

Strange Heart Beating by Eli Goldstone

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACategory: Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
Author: Eli Goldstone

‘I wanted someone at the funeral to tell me about the life she lived before I knew her. In that way, I thought I could continue knowing her, could continue with the journey that we had started. I’d simply take a detour, I thought. I’d go backwards.’

I finished reading Strange Heart Beating over the last two days, Continue reading

A magical, imaginative stroke of pure genius

Category: Magical Realism, Fantasy, Short stories
Rating: 4/5
Author: Kij Johnson
I read most of this collection back in May, and finished the last 2 stories in June. Kij Johnson interweaves fantastical elements like talking animals, aliens and spaceships, journeys of discovery and transformation, Japanese myth, stories within stories, some of which are common tropes in contemporary fantasy/sci fi.
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The Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACategory: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Author: Allison Amend

This book was such a pleasant surprise! Enchanted Islands follows the story of Frances Conway, starting from her childhood all the way till she is very old. I absolutely loved this charming, emotional, honest and far from ordinary life of Frances Conway. Right from her childhood in Duluth to her adolescent years in Chicago to Nebraska, to Galapagos Islands for most part and finally to San Francisco, its such an incredible journey that doesn’t skip a beat. Continue reading

Sometimes a river song by Avril Joy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACategory: Novella, Contemporary Fiction, Coming of Age
Rating: 3.5/5
Author: Avril Joy

Sometimes A River Song by Avril Joy is a beautiful novella set in a river boat community in Arkansas in the 1930s, which I felt was really unique setting. Most of the narration is from the perspective of a young girl, Aiyana, who grows up in the river boat community. She has a very troubled childhood, an abusive, incorrigible,  
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The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACategory: Short stories
Rating: 4/5
Cultural: Nigeria
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda is an author, I knew I’d admire from the first book I pick up. I started with her short story collection as I felt like reading something that I could flit in and out of, and I really enjoyed it.

Her stories touch on such diverse & important topics including race, culture, feminism, what it really Continue reading