"The Mapmaker's Daughter" by Katherine Nouri Hughes, courtesy of NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media. This is a work of Historical Fiction. It is set in the 16th century and tells of the life of Nurbanu, wife of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, The story jumps back and forth between Nurbanu, on her deathbed, telling her life story and different episodes in her life. (Apparently there is, or will be, a television series about her that has come out recently or will be coming out soon. Since I don't watch a lot of tv, this doesn't mean a lot to me.)
This book was interesting but I just couldn't get into it. Many of the names of the sultan's family are very close (or even the same, if they were named after another relative). I found myself getting confused about who I was reading about and what time that part of the story was taking place. I will say that there was a guide to who the people were but I found that I didn't really check with that since I was reading a digital copy. If I had a paper copy, I think I would've frequently been flipping back to that page and maybe it would've helped.
If you are interested in the Ottoman Empire and have some experience with some of the events of this time period, you may really like this book. I just don't have much background information about those times and places and didn't find myself as interested as I thought I would.
"Love and Other Consolation Prizes" by Jamie Ford- another book courtesy of NetGalley and Ballantine Books. I really liked this one. It's about a Chinese boy who was sold by his mother and brought to the United States. This is another book that switches between the present and the past. In the present time, Ernest's daughter has discovered that there was once a child who was raffled off at the World's Fair, 50 years ago. After some investigating, she thinks that this child may have been her father. She approaches him and asks him if she has permission to tell his story in an article. The story in the past talks about his journey and experiences from China to the US, his time before the fair and the high class brothel he ends up at after the raffle. I don't want to spoil any of this book (but if you had any specific questions, I would be willing to answer them privately.) This book was just released in the US on 9/12. Go get yourself a copy.
This is another book I read with David over the summer. It's a Massachusetts Children's Book Award winner. This book is listed as a 4th grade level, but I felt the subject matter was pretty heavy. My kids are pretty innocent and possibly a bit naive, so I was a little surprised to be reading something that seemed so raw emotionally to one of them. Ada is a young girl, who was born with a clubfoot, growing up with her younger brother and her mom in a 1 room apartment. The relationship between Ada and her mom is bad. Ada has not been taken care of medically or emotionally and that is pretty firmly established right away. (It was the first time I've seen my son genuinely sad for a character while reading a book.)
When war threatens London, Ada's younger brother is going to be sent to the countryside to avoid the bombs. The mother hadn't really thought to send Ada too. Ada overcomes quite a few challenges and basically sneaks out with her brother. The evacuees get sent to the countryside and chosen by all of the volunteers; all except Ada and Jamie. They are brought to a woman named Susan Smith, who hadn't been planning on taking in any children. As the story progresses, you learn how the war has affected the community, see relationships develop and begin to see Ada discover her own strength and worth. What happens when mom comes back into the picture? You're going to have to read it to find out.
It is a very powerful book. Although there were parts that David was obviously upset by, it was a redemptive book and we both enjoyed it quite a bit. There is a second book, The War I Finally Won, that is coming out in October. (I applied for it on NetGalley. I hope we are chosen to review it). David and I are both looking forward to reading what happens next for each character.
This is a book that I began reading in March of last year and apparently put down for some reason. It relays the story of Michael Morton, who was wrongly convicted of murdering his wife in 1986. After serving 25 years prison, DNA testing proved his innocence. I appreciated the honesty of the author. Many of his emotions- his feelings when he realized his son didn't really remember the times that he lived at home, how it's easy to become hardened in prison, the struggle to keep hope when everything seems against you, how positive words can breathe life into someone, the curiosity of driving down the highway after not being outside for years, what you appreciate when you really pay attention to your senses when your freedom is not compromised. This is not a topic I regularly read about and it has made me more likely to read more books that are similar.
You're almost there. Told you I'd been reading a lot.
"As You Wish" is another ARC from NetGalley and Sourcebooks. It's about a town in Nevada where everybody in the town gets granted 1 wish on their 18th birthday. Some people wish for love, some money, others popularity or beauty. The lead character, a boy named Eldon is stumped about what he should wish for. He has tons of ideas of what would be helpful to wish for- possibly money for his family or a solution for his sister Ebba who is brain-dead after being hit by a car. The problem is that he has observed how wishing has ruined the lives of many of the people he knows. With a little help from his friends and his principal, he examines some of the previous wishes that have been made in town and makes his decision.
I liked this book. It was creative and I liked Eldon. (He reminded me of some of my students.) This book will be released in January of 2018.