Hi, I'm Angi
Welcome to my corner of the internet! My passions include travel, photography, books, music, Japanese language and culture, Italian language and culture, and art.

Here at Abbott Lane you'll find my thoughts on these topics and much more. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

February 2021 TBR

January was a really strong month of reading for me, and I'm hoping February doesn't disappoint either. I've decided to be bold and put TEN BOOKS on this TBR! This could be madness, but I won't know unless I try, right? So with that said, here are the books I'm planning to read this month!

Blindsight - Peter Watts

Two months have past since a myriad of alien objects clenched about the Earth, screaming as they burned. The heavens have been silent since—until a derelict space probe hears whispers from a distant comet. Something talks out there: but not to us. Who should we send to meet the alien, when the alien doesn't want to meet? Send a linguist with multiple-personality disorder and a biologist so spliced with machinery that he can't feel his own flesh. Send a pacifist warrior and a vampire recalled from the grave by the voodoo of paleogenetics. Send a man with half his mind gone since childhood. Send them to the edge of the solar system, praying you can trust such freaks and monsters with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing they've been sent to find—but you'd give anything for that to be true, if you knew what was waiting for them. . . .

I've heard mixed things about this one, from rave reviews to someone who literally called it "unreadable." Who knows how this will turn out, but I was in the mood for more space opera and this fits the bill.

City of Brass  - S.A. Charkaborty

On the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, Nahri is a con woman of unsurpassed skill. She makes her living swindling Ottoman nobles, hoping to one day earn enough to change her fortunes. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, during one of her cons, she learns that even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. Forced to flee Cairo, Dara and Nahri journey together across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises and mountains where the circling birds of prey are more than what they seem, to Daevabad, the legendary city of brass.

Okay, embarrassing confession time: I've had this sitting on my shelf waiting to be read since it was released in 2017. Yikes! My issue (I think???) is a complicated relationship with fantasy. It's one of those genres that is completely hit or miss for me, and it makes me rather timid to try them, even if they're not over 500 pages (gulp) like this one. I'm hoping for a winner, and based on the high ratings left by friends on Goodreads who have great taste, I think it will be!

The Warrior's Apprentice - Lois McMaster Bujold

Discharged from the Barrayan Military Academy, Miles Vorkosigan chances on a jumpship with a rebellious pilot and arranges to take over the ship. Events escalate from there, and soon Miles is commander of a mercenary fleet and reinvents himself as Admiral Naismith of the Dendarii Mercenary Army.

Another embarrassing confession: I've started this audiobook twice before in years past and not finished. It's never too late for a third try!

The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds - T.E. Kinsley

London, 1925. With their band the Dizzy Heights, jazz musicians Ivor ‘Skins’ Maloney and Bartholomew ‘Barty’ Dunn are used to improvising as they play the Charleston for flappers and toffs, but things are about to take a surprising turn. Superintendent Sunderland has had word that a deserter who stole a fortune in diamonds as he fled the war is a member of the Aristippus private members’ club in Mayfair—where the Dizzy Heights have a residency. And the thief is planning to steal a hoard of jewels hidden there under the cover of a dance contest. As mutual pal Lady Hardcastle has suggested, Skins and Dunn are perfectly placed to be Sunderland’s eyes and ears—and Skins’s wife Ellie soon lends a hand with a bit of light snooping. But the stakes change dramatically when a mysterious death at the club brings a sinister note to the investigation.

I absolutely adore T.E. Kinsey's cozy Lady Hardcastle mystery series, and this is a spin-off featuring characters from that series. My guess is that this will be a delight!

We Live Inside Your Eyes - Kealan Patrick Burke

In the ruins of an old parking garage, there is an effigy lashed to a pillar. To anyone else, the remains of the woman with the goat skull head is a warning. To a lonely young boy looking for escape, it is a god of salvation. At its feet lay tattered old notebooks, scattered stories, tales of strange encounters, of broken people and monstrous things, and of corrupt hearts and evil minds. In order to complete his transfiguration, the boy must read these stories, but he has no idea the fate that awaits him.

After falling in love with John Lagan's The Fisherman, I was on the hunt for more contemporary horror writers with a literary bent. Burke's name came up again and again, so I decided to give this selection of short stories a whirl.

The Flatshare - Beth O'Leary

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met. After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art. Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet. Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more. But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you've never met.

I'm not normally one for romance novels, but a friend mentioned that she really enjoyed this one and then it popped up as a Kindle Deal of the Day. After seeing how many positive reviews it had, I decided to grab it. It sounds light and cute and breezy, the type of book you'd read on a Saturday afternoon with lots of snacks at hand, which will be a nice counterpoint to a lot of the other books I want to read this month. 

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain - Nghi Vo

The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.

I read the first novella in this series in January, and thought it was beautifully written. I'm excited to continue!

The Nakano Thrift Shop - Hiromi Kawakami

The objects for sale at the Nakano Thrift Shop appear as commonplace as the staff and customers who handle them. But like those staff and customers, they hold many secrets. If examined carefully, they show the signs of innumerable extravagances, of immeasurable pleasure and pain, and of the deep mysteries of the human heart.Hitomi, the inexperienced young woman who works the register, has fallen for her coworker, the oddly reserved Takeo. Unsure of how to attract his attention, she seeks advice from her employer’s sister, Masayo, whose sentimental entanglements make her a somewhat unconventional guide. But thanks in part to Masayo, Hitomi will come to realize that love, desire, and intimacy require acceptance not only of idiosyncrasies but also of the delicate waltz between open and hidden secrets.

Another book I've had sitting on my shelf for awhile, though not nearly as long as City of Brass. This book gets a lot of average reviews on Goodreads, so I'm not sure how I'll feel about this one in the end. But Kawakami is an important contemporary Japanese writer, one I've never read, so I decided to see if I enjoyed her work.

Free Choice + Book Club selection

As always, I've left a couple of slots free. One for a "free" choice (this is more of a psychological trick I play on myself, so that I don't feel "hemmed in" by my pre-selected books), and one for my bookclub's selection, which I won't know for a week or so.

And that's it! I'm excited about this month. It feels like it has good balance and a lovely smattering of things I love and adore. What books are you excited to read this month? Tell me in the comments!