Hey guys, so I’m back from a mini hiatus for the past few weeks. I’ve been busy with life stuff, holiday stuff, working on some other projects, and I just got back from Maui on vacation with my family (and my cousin Annie lives there). It was lovely! Lots of verdant green grass and leafy and colorful trees. Definitely a stark contrast from weather in the Bay Area which is pretty rainy and cold right now.
Highlights from Maui
So, some highlights of the Maui trip — we did some Goat Yoga where they stick you in a pen with a bunch of baby goats playing around while you take a light yoga class. It was really fun, but don’t expect to get too much exercise.
One goat decided to take a nap on my yoga mat, which made it a bit tough to do any downward dog or whatnot. I suppose I could have shooed it off, but I didn’t have the heart to do so! Also, a quick Pro Tip — goats prefer higher ground, so if choose a spot that’s even slightly elevated, goats are more likely to come chill with you.
Also we did a great tour of a place called O’o Farms that is all about the whole farm-to-table movement when it comes to food. It’s a working farm where they grow a wide range of crops, and as part of the tour you get to pick some plants and vegetables from their farm where a chef on-site tosses it into a salad and serves it to you as part of a five-course farm-to-table meal.
Really fresh and delicious, plus a great experience for anyone with even a passing interest in farming, gardening or nature in general!
And of course, there’s a lot of great hiking and other outdoorsy-type stuff and water activities in Maui to do as well. I went waterfall rappelling the last time I was in Maui, which was fantastic so and I really recommend it!
Jenn’s Holiday Reading
Of course, now that I’m back home, I’m really eager to dig back into some books! I have pretty ambitious reading plans for over the holidays (don’t we always?) since it’s too cold and wet to go out anyway. Here’s what I’m planning on reading in the next couple of weeks:
(P.S. scroll down to see these books in list form at the end of this post!)
So, high on my list is Toni Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, plus the follow-up book that came out this week (December 3, 2019), Children of Virtue and Vengeance (see it on Amazon). Children of Blood and Bone has been sitting on my bedside table (basically, my shortlist for my TBR) for a few months now, waiting patiently. In addition to being raved about everywhere, these books sound precisely like something I’d like (folklore!). Plus, everyone else seems to have read it and now the sequel is out.
On the topic of sequels, The Iron Season, the sequel to The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker is coming out at some point in the semi-near future, so I’m planning on finally finishing the first book. I started reading it over a year ago and kept getting interrupted with new releases and other more “urgent” stuff, so I’m hoping to sit down and polish it off soon. The release date for The Iron Season keeps getting pushed back though, so I’m guessing I have some time even if I don’t get to it.
Also, because I always feel compelled to toss in a mystery novel here and there, I want to give Lisa Jewell another shot with The Family Upstairs (see it on Amazon). I had lukewarm feelings about the first book of hers I read, Then She Was Gone. But I’m always in need of more good mysteries, so I’m hoping her newest book, released last month, will be more up my alley. We’ll see.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. Mandel doesn’t come out until March 2020 (details here or see it on Amazon), but I got approved for an advanced copy a while ago, and I am very, very excited about it. I loved Station Eleven, so this one is easily one of my most anticipated reads of 2020. The only reason I haven’t read it already is because I know they don’t really like you publishing reviews too far away from the publication date, so I’m trying to hold off on it since I know I’ll want to talk about it.
Otherwise, the read of my reading list is mostly random stuff that I’ve started but want to finish. Becoming by Michelle Obama, How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz, and Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout are all high on my list.
Other stuff I might read if the mood strikes include The Power by Naomi Alderman and The Knife of Never Letting Go (part of the Chaos Walking trilogy) by Patrick Ness.
That’s it for now! As always, I’ll post the reviews once I get to these books!
What It's About: They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared...Publication Date: March 6, 2018
What It's About: After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.
Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are...Publication Date: December 3, 2019
What It's About: ?In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland...Publication Date: April 1, 2013
What It's About: An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here.
Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.
She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions...Publication Date: August 6, 2019
What It's About: From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.
Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia...Publication Date: March 24, 2020
What It's About: In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U...Publication Date: November 13, 2018
What It's About: "She smiled a soft, troubled smile and I felt the whole world slipping away, and I wanted to slip with it, to go wherever she was going... I had existed whole years without her, but that was all it had been. An existence. A book with no words."
Tom Hazard has just moved back to London, his old home, to settle down and become a high school history teacher...Publication Date: July 6, 2017
What It's About: "You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…"
These, heard over the phone, were the last recorded words of successful celebrity-divorce lawyer. Richard Pryce, found bludgeoned to death in his bachelor pad with a bottle of wine – a 1982 Chateau Lafite worth £3,000, to be precise.Odd, considering he didn’t drink...Publication Date: May 28, 2019
What It's About: The iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but also the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.Publication Date: October 15, 2019
What It's About: In THE POWER, the world is a recognizable place: there's a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect...Publication Date: October 27, 2016
What It's About: Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too...Publication Date: May 5, 2008