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If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha – Blog Tour

I was so pleased to be invited to join this blog tour because I was really intrigued by this first novel from Frances Cha. The book follows Kyuri, Miho, Wonna and Ara who all live in the same Seoul office-tel, that’s basically a building with a mix of small apartments and commercial properties.

If I Had Your Face plunges us into the mesmerizing world of contemporary Seoul – a place where extreme plastic surgery is as routine as getting a haircut, where women compete for spots in secret ‘room salons’ to entertain wealthy businessmen after hours, where K-Pop stars are the object of all-consuming obsession, and ruthless social hierarchies dictate your every move.

Navigating this hyper-competitive city are four young women balancing on the razor-edge of survival: Kyuri, an exquisitely beautiful woman whose hard-won status at an exclusive ‘room salon’ is threatened by an impulsive mistake with a client; her flatmate Miho, an orphan who wins a scholarship to a prestigious art school in New York, where her life becomes tragically enmeshed with the super-wealthy offspring of the Korean elite; Wonna, their neighbour, pregnant with a child that she and her husband have no idea how they will afford to raise in a fiercely competitive economy; and Ara, a hair stylist living down the hall, whose infatuation with a fresh-faced K-Pop star drives her to violent extremes.

When I first stated reading I wasn’t sure if I really liked any of the characters, they seemed really unlikable. But the more I read, the more the layers behind them were peeled back and we learn about their background and history. And they’re all drawn to make huge decisions some of which will leave you completely blindsided by their viciousness.

I was really intrigued to learn more about South Korea. The last book I read that was set in South Korea was The Vegetarian, which I also recommend but is quite different. But I hadn’t realised that South Korea is the plastic surgery capital of the world. Cosmetic surgery is a big topic for Kyuri and Sujin and it was eye opening to read their conversations.

“If I Had Your Face” is seriously a one or two sitting book. It is compulsive reading! You will be dragged into their world by your shoulders and not want to leave until the very last page. Also the cover art is just perfect and beautiful with a woman’s face split surrounded by the vines of a passion flower. This sums up the main themes perfectly.

I was supplied me with a copy of the book in return for an honest review. Contains Amazon affiliate links which help support this site.

Books! Company Town – Madeline Ashby

A kick-ass heroine, disturbing vision of the future and a twisty plot are the key ingredients of this gripping sci-fi thriller.

 

Oh Company Town, you nearly broke me. I was expecting an engrossing sci-fi action thriller with a kick ass protagonist, I was not expecting the emotional hit of lead character Hwa’s back story. I don’t want to give too much away but it totally blind sided me. It’s nearly a week since I finished reading the book and it’s still with me.

I love a good kick ass heroine and Hwa of Company Town is one of the best. In a world where nearly everyone has “edited” away their imperfections,  she’s one of the few entirely organic people left. Hwa has Sturge-Weber syndrome and because of that has a vascular birthmark running down one side of her face and body. She lives with the constant threat of seizures but her “stain” also messes with surveillance cameras and people’s enhanced vision meaning that her face is rarely truly seen. She’s working for the Union as a body guard for sex workers when she’s hired by the Lynch family who’ve recently bought the town sized oil rig where she lives. Their youngest member, Joel Lynch, is receiving death threats but when Hwa’s friends are targeted by a serial killer she has to balance her job with trying to catch a murderer.

Ashby’s future is particularly disturbing because it doesn’t seem so far fetched. There are people who want to live forever, endless surveillance, bodily enhancements like “muscle regimes”, one of which comics fans may enjoy seeing is called “Liefeld” and food subscription services for those who can afford them.  It’s a fantastic read. Oh and I loved Dr Mantis the AI medic with his six limbs and attempts at a bedside manner.

Hwa is so kick ass, she is steely and resourceful and I wish this book wasn’t a stand alone because I’d really like to read more of her. In the acknowledgements Ashby says that she has published two stories set in the same world in different anthologies and I hope to track those down soon. There’s also a Company Town playlist if you want to check  it out. It’s the first of Ashby’s books that I’ve read, which in hindsight is sad as I already own vN. I want to read that this year.

Company Town by Madeline Ashby is published on May 17th.

Disclaimer – I received a digital galley of Company Town in return for an honest review. 

14th Blogiversary!

Oh poor neglected blog. It’s about eighteen months since I last posted.

So a little catch-up: I’m still knitting, but not as much as I used to. I have an inprogress cowl from before Xmas that I haven’t picked up since then. What I am doing though, is reading. I’ve been taking part in the GoodReads yearly challenges for the last few years and last year read over 100 books. This year I’ve challenged myself to read 40 books. So far I’ve read 14 but whether I’ll reach my goal remains to be seen but since I read all of The Expanse series, most of which are over 500 pages long, perhaps I’ve actually read twice as much 😉

I got to spend Christmas and the New Year in New England in the USA. Eric’s from there and his parents invited me to stay for the holidays. The time flew by. I did buy some local yarn while I was there and many books. Oh and there were blueberry pancakes!  🙂

More later…honest…

Post Card from the Edge…

Wish you were here?

This is where I am at the moment, in the midst of the madness that is National Novel Writing Month. The word widgets aren’t ready yet so I can’t put up a count of my words just yet but yesterday I got up to the 11k word mark. Today the words just aren’t coming so it’s time to have a break for a bit!

In hippety hip news on Friday I had an MRI scan along with an arthrogram – basically they injected a dye into my hip joint before the mri. Not the greatest experience but at least it’s done and dusted now. Not sure when I’ll get the results but should be within six weeks. I hope.

There’s also been some knitting going on as well as some reading 🙂 But more on that in a later post I think. Now, I must eat something!

 

My Blue Arbour

I love the colour blue in a garden and when Doug said he wanted to get me an arbour for my birthday, I knew exactly what colour I would paint it.

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It’s been a work in progress for a while. The staining, with one of Cuprinol’s garden shades, took ages and we still missed little bits. It also didn’t help that just as we were getting to the last of the painting, the heavens opened and it poured down with rain. Rain that washed sections of blue off 🙁

We hoped to assemble it the same weekend but yet again, the weather went against us. The wind was pretty bad and it would have been a nightmare to errect. But yesterday it all went together. It took a few hours and was hard work, even though Doug did the really hard bits and I held things in place.

It still needs more stain and to have some grass brushed off it and then a base to stand on but aside from all that I think it’s beautiful. I did a double take when I looked out of my window and saw it this morning while making tea. 🙂 It’s going to be the perfect place to relax, knit, read or surf on my netbook. I expect my cat Emma will be fond of it too 🙂

KnitCast – episode 32 where I meet Mags Kandis and chat about her new book Gifted, the love of making stuff, colour and Frieda Kahlo is now online. I’m also giving away a copy of Gifted. For the info head on over to Knitcast.com 🙂

Books, books, books

Just a small sampling of some of my books

I sorted through some of my books yesterday and found a few shelves worth to give away, not the ones above though! I felt so guilty looking at some of them, because so many are unread. If I like a particular author I will buy as many of their books as I can. This means that I have a lot of unread books. Of the ones you can see in the picture I’ve read all of the Armistead Maupin books, most of the Alice Walkers and a fair few of the Alice Hoffman and Alice Munro. And yet today while sorting in another room I see my Alison Lurie novels, my Marcia Mullers, Sue Graftons etc.  Sometimes I find it hard to find time for knitting, how am I going to make time for reading?

I’m not quite sure yet but it must be done.