Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:
- What are you currently reading?
- What did you recently finish reading?
- What do you think you’ll read next?
Why not join in too? Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!
Stella by Takis Würger, translated by Liesl Schillinger (ARC, courtesy of Grove Press and Readers First)
In 1942, Friedrich, an even-keeled but unworldly young man, arrives in Berlin from bucolic Switzerland with dreams of becoming an artist. At a life drawing class, he is hypnotized by the beautiful model, Kristin, who soon becomes his energetic yet enigmatic guide to the bustling and cosmopolitan city. Kristin teaches the naïve Friedrich how to take care of himself in a city filled with danger, and brings him to an underground jazz club where they drink cognac, dance, and kiss. The war feels far away to Friedrich as he falls in love with Kristin, the pair cocooned inside their palatial rooms at the Grand Hotel, where even champagne and fresh fruit can be obtained thanks to the black market.
But as the months pass, the mood in the city darkens yet further, with the Nazi Party tightening their hold on everyday life of all Berliners, terrorizing anyone who might be disloyal to the Reich. Kristin’s loyalties are unclear, and she is not everything she seems, as his realizes when one frightening day she comes back to Friedrich’s hotel suite in tears, battered and bruised. She tells him an astonishing secret: that her real name is Stella, and that she is Jewish, passing for Aryan. Fritz comforts her, but he soon realizes that Stella’s control of the situation is rapidly slipping out of her grasp, and that the Gestapo have an impossible power over her.
As Friedrich confronts Stella’s unimaginable choices, he finds himself woefully unprepared for the history he is living through. Based in part on a real historical character, Stella sets a tortured love story against the backdrop of wartime Berlin, and powerfully explores questions of naiveté, young love, betrayal, and the horrors of history.
The High-Rise Diver by Julia von Lucadou, translated by Sharmila Cohen (eARC, courtesy of World Editions via NetGalley)
Big Sister is watching you.
Riva is a “high-rise diver,” a top athlete with millions of fans, and a perfectly functioning human on all levels. Suddenly she rebels, breaking her contract and refusing to train. Cameras are everywhere in her world, but she doesn’t know her every move is being watched by Hitomi, the psychologist tasked with reining Riva back in. Unquestionably loyal to the system, Hitomi’s own life is at stake: should she fail to deliver, she will be banned to the “peripheries,” the filthy outskirts of society.
For readers of The Handmaid’s Tale, The Circle and Brave New World, this chilling dystopia constructs a world uncomfortably close to our own, in which performance is everything.
Links from the titles will take you to my reviews
The Northern Reach by W.S. Winslow
Nick by Michael Farris Smith
The Garden of Angels by David Hewson
Dangerous Women by Hope Adams
London, 1841. Two hundred Englishwomen file aboard the Rajah, the ship that will take them on a three-month voyage to the other side of the world. They’re daughters, sisters, mothers – and convicts. Transported for petty crimes. Except one of their number is a secret killer, fleeing justice. When a woman is mortally wounded, the hunt is on for the culprit. But who would attack one of their own, and why? Based on a true story, Dangerous Women is a sweeping tale of confinement, loss, love and, above all, hope in the unlikeliest of places. (Review to follow 4th March)
Masters of Rome (Rise of Emperor’s #2) by Gordon Doherty & Simon Turney
Their rivalry will change the world forever.
As competition for the imperial throne intensifies, Constantine and Maxentius realise their childhood friendship cannot last. Each man struggles to control their respective quadrant of empire, battered by currents of politics, religion and personal tragedy, threatened by barbarian forces and enemies within.
With their positions becoming at once stronger and more troubled, the strained threads of their friendship begin to unravel. Unfortunate words and misunderstandings finally sever their ties, leaving them as bitter opponents in the greatest game of all, with the throne of Rome the prize.
It is a matter that can only be settled by outright war… (Review to follow 4th March for blog tour)
What Cathy (will) Read Next
A Lifetime of Men by Ciahnan Darrell (ebook, courtesy of the author)
Tolan has always let her mother have one secret – how she got that scar on her face – playing along with her mother’s game of inventing outlandish tales to explain the wound away. But when she finds a manuscript on her mother’s computer that promises to reveal the true story, Tolan only hesitates for a moment before curiosity compels her to read on.
She’s hoping for answers, but instead, she finds more mysteries tucked away in her mother’s past. Her mother appears to be associated with Bo, a feisty photojournalist who flies to Cuba in pursuit of a story and becomes embedded with Castro’s rebels, but Tolan can’t quite work out their connection. She’s more clear about the relationship between her mother and Michael, a man twelve years her senior. They bond over their shared outcast status, and their friendship quickly becomes intimate, but the relationship antagonizes the self-appointed moral watchdogs in their small town, who start to convert their threats into action. Tolan is pretty sure that Michael is her father. Her mother told her he died years ago, but the book suggests their story had a different ending.
Almost overnight, everything Tolan thought she knew about herself and her family has changed. She wants answers, but to find them, she risks destroying her closest relationships.