Books Released in February 2019
The month of February sees the publication of seven books that will be added to my reading list. Four out of those seven are being released today. Here is a look at them, color me excited!
The Hundred Wells of Salaga by Ayesha Harruna Attah. Aminah lives an idyllic life until she is brutally separated from her home and forced on a journey that turns her from a daydreamer into a resilient woman. Wurche, the willful daughter of a chief, is desperate to play an important role in her father’s court. These two women’s lives converge as infighting among Wurche’s people threatens the region, during the height of the slave trade era at the end of the 19th century. Set in pre-colonial Ghana, The Hundred Wells of Salaga is a story of courage, forgiveness, love and freedom. Through the experiences of Aminah and Wurche, it offers a remarkable view of slavery and how the scramble for Africa affected the lives of everyday people.
More Than Words by Jill Santopolo. Nina Gregory has always been a good daughter, a good girlfriend. Raised by her father, owner of New York City’s glamorous Gregory Hotels, after her mother’s death, Nina was taught that family, reputation, and legacy are what matter most. And her boyfriend Tim, thoughtful, kind,and honest, not to mention her best friend since childhood, feels the same. But after Nina’s father passes away , she learns he may not have practiced what he preached. As her world falls apart, Nina begins to question everything she thought she knew and to see the men in her life — her father, her boyfriend, and unexpectedly, her handsome and attentive boss, Rafael — in a new light. Soon Nina finds herself caught between the world she knows and loves, and a passion that could upend everything. More Than Words is heartbreaking and romantic novel about grief, loss, love, and self-discovery, and how we choose which life we are meant to live.
I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella. Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people. So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees – she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches a business card. But Fixie laughs it off – she’s never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she? The Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself – but she’s love for Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson. It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club, and her career has stalled out; she’s overlooked for every high profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Thomas is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent. In the year that follows, Marie will observe Thomas, seduce him, and ultimately, have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American. Inspired by true events–Thomas Sankara is known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”–this novel knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance. This is a face of the Cold War you’ve never seen before, and it introduces a powerful new literary voice.
Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad. A house in Bangkok is the confluence of lives shaped by upheaval, memory, and the lure of home. A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of nineteenth-century Siam. A post-WWII society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting her solitary future. A jazz pianist in the age of rock, haunted by his own ghosts, is summoned to appease the resident spirits. A young woman tries to outpace the long shadow of her political past. And in New Krungthep, savvy teenagers row tourists past landmarks of the drowned old city they themselves do not remember. Time collapses as these stories collide and converge, linked by the forces voraciously making and remaking the amphibious, ever-morphing capital itself.
The Body Myth by Rheea Mukherjee. Mira is a teacher living in the heart of Suryam, a modern bustling in city India, and the only place in the world the fickle Rasagura fruit grows. Mira lives alone, and with only the French existentialists as companions, until the day she witnesses a beautiful woman having a seizure in the park. Mira runs to help her but is cautious, for she could have sworn the woman looked around to see if anyone was watching right before the seizure began.
Mira is quickly drawn into the lives of this mysterious woman Sara, who suffers a myriad of unexplained illnesses, and her kind, intensely supportive husband Rahil, striking up intimate, volatile and fragile friendships with each of them that quickly become something more. A moving exploration of loss, Mukherjee delivers an intense and unexpected modern love story as Mira reconciles reality with desire.