Friday, October 21, 2016

Underneath by M.N. Arzu

I am so excited and happy that this book is out! I first read it when it was a NaNoWriMo draft, and even in its first-draft state, it was a captivating story. Now that it's been properly edited, it's even better!

Underneath is going to appeal to people who like mermaids (sorry, merfolk) but don't really want to read romance. Or is that just me? I hope not. Anyway, Underneath starts when a mermaid is found on the beach. Obviously, this leads to all sorts of craziness because it's the social media age and no one knew that merfolk lived among us.

Caring for the merman (dubbed 'Ray') is Dr. Gwen and her colleagues. I liked them enough. And trying to get the merman (real name: Chris) back is his family - Dad (Julian) and brothers (Matthew and Alex). I adore the family, because of their strong bonds and because the dynamics are just adorable!

Trying to make a big mess - er, get to the truth - is Kate, a news reporter. Her, I didn't like but that is because she's interfering with the rescue attempts and putting all the merfolk in danger!

What I really liked about this book were the characters. I either loved or hated all the characters (there are some baddies that I haven't mentioned). There were no "meh" characters - I was fully engaged in the story, and that helped to make the stakes feel even higher to me.

The ending resolves the problem of Ray/Chris in captivity but it raises a lot more questions. Questions that I really hope will be answered in a future book. Oh, and there's a sort of bonus section where M.N. shares drabbles set in the world of Underneath. Totally worth reading (and totally worth signing up to her mailing list to get more)

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a free and honest review.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cannibalism by Bill Schutt

I started this book before a 1am flight because, I don't know, I subconsciously never want to eat or sleep again (just joking. I did both the whole day).

Cannibalism is a history and an explanation of the act. But don't worry, the author doesn't start with the stomach churning human eating human stuff right away. He starts with the 'lighter' stuff - cannibalism by non-humans.

The book starts by defining the various types of cannibalism - of which I remember two: eating your family members and eating people of your species who aren't related to you. Then it gets defined even further, to things like filial cannibalism (parents eating children or vice versa), cannibalism during mating (turns out the Black Widow Spider has been maligned.

After going through all these decidedly non-humans, the author slowly makes his way back to us.

If I were to generalise, I'd say that the book says that cannibalism tends to be a response to specific conditions (overcrowding, lack of nutrition, etc). Although in humans, there are ritual cannibals. Oh, and grey areas like breastfeeding (if skin cells come off) and I can't remember what else. (For the record, I am in no way justifying cannibalism in the whole 'eat literal human flesh' form)

Although I was really surprised about the fact that ritual cannibalism existed in Chinese culture, especially as an act of filial piety. Then I remembered stories about sons cutting their thighs to feed their parents (though I can't remember from where) and I realised that IS cannibalism 😱

And of course in Western history they had the whole mummies and medicine thing too, which if you think about it is also cannibalism.

And in modern times, there is that while placenta eating trend which if you think about it, can be considered cannibalism too.

So yeah, this book shows that cannibalism does have a lot of grey areas. It's a pretty fascinating look into the history and science behind it.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

P.s. I just remembered one thing that gave me pause while reading. When discussing Holy Communion, the author casually says that "the last supper is one of those seemingly rare instances where even evangelical Christians appear to bend their own rules regarding translation". I found that really ignorant because any thinking person can recognise that the Bible consists of history, poetry (Psalms, Song of Solomon), prophecy, etc and it would be foolish to read everything the same way.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Teaser Tuesday - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Hey everyone! How are you doing?

Right now, I'm reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Thanks to Kailana from The Written World for recommending it! I'm really enjoying it so far(:

My teaser:
"I will add this, though, since I am a mother and we can't help ourselves. A broken heart hurts as badly in wartime as in peace. Say good-bye to your young man well." 

How about you? What is your teaser this week?
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read 
  • Open to a random page 
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine by Tetsu Kariya

Found this in the NLB and immediately got it because I haven't read Oishinbo in English before! The only time I read it, it was in Japanese, and at a manga cafe when I was staying the night, so I didn't make it very far.

Anyway, Oishinbo is a really famous manga in Japan, and it's all about food! Sadly, it's now on hiatus (probably permanent) because the author made a misstep when talking about food from Fukushima.

The plot of Oishinbo is roughly like this: Tozai News wants to create an "ultimate menu" and Yamaoka Shiro and Kurita Yuko (the new girl) are in charge. Yamaoka is fairly lazy, but quite a genius with regards to food. He also has a huge feud with his uber famous father, which results in his dad going to work on the rival "Supreme menu" for the Teito times. Oh, and along the way Yamaoka and Kurita fall in love, get married and have a kid.

But it's mostly about the food. Really.

But to be honest, the plot doesn't really matter because the English translation is an 'a la carte' which means that they ignored the main plot and just translated a bunch of chapters around a theme. In this case, Washoku (Japanese cuisine).

While I enjoyed the plot (I read a few of the chapters in order, so I knew the basics - there is a summary though), the main star is clearly the food. This can be a textbook for Japanese cuisine, though the Japanese manga contains 111 volumes! (Incidentally, that makes it the 8th longest manga ever released)

This particular volume talks about dashi, basic knife skills, the right to be a chef, the pinnacle of technique (cooking sashimi), the soul of hospitality, the ultimate etiquette (chopsticks), the tea master and the strawberry, a real feast (the spirit of gochisou), the principles of Japanese cuisine and tea.

If you're a fan of Japanese food, you'll definitely want to read this. Though it may be a good idea to read this with Japanese food within reach, because this is going to make you hungry.