Caturday Reads: New Release Thriller, Mystery, & Japanese-American Literature

Happy Saturday morning, my friends! I hope that your week was kind to you and this weekend shall bring tidings of rest and recuperation. This is going to be only one of a handful of Saturdays that I have left before Uni begins (yes, I have big news with respect to this! Stay tuned for it!), and I’m going to spend it in a similar fashion to how I spend all my other free weekends: in full-blown lazy potato mode. With cats!

This week was eventful in a sad-face kind of way for me, and because I was a stressed mess for a couple of days, I went to the library and checked out 5,000ish books (relatively speaking…kinda). I was lucky enough to find some popular new releases, so I grabbed those suckers before any of the other patrons. Typically, I don’t read new releases so soon unless they’re Asian literature or lesser-known authors from the SFF genres (i.e.: sci-fi and fantasy). But if Boss Man is gonna rain kitty cats upon my cat-obsessed face, who am I to say no?

For this week’s Caturday Reads, I have six books total to share. Three of which I have begun, and the other three that I hope to read and finish by next weekend! Half of them are library loot titles and the other half is from my own personal collection that I’ve been meaning to get through more productively this year. Thus far, I have broken even with my progress. (Ha! That’s wishful thinking, don’t listen to me.)

Once I’m done, I’ll drop reviews for them on Le Blog and let’cha know if they are worth the deep dive of mental energy. Anyhoo, check ‘em all out below, y’all.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong: A collection of essays by Cathy Park Hong that takes a plunge into what it truly feels like to be an Asian-American person during the modern-age (i.e.: Trump-era and pre-Covid) and how we are made either invisible or a source of fetishization by Western society. [Library book]

I have read two essays so far and I can safely say, with full fucking confidence that this is the best collection of essays I have ever read! I can’t wait to talk about this in more detail during a review once I’m finished. In the meantime, if you’re searching for nonfiction ethnic studies books to read that are highly accessible and brilliantly engrossing, go grab a copy of Minor Feelings.

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James: As typical of James’ narrative style, this crime mystery alternates between two time periods: 1977 and 2017. During the former era in Claire Lake, Oregon, the state was rocked by the murder of two men, which were deemed the Lady Killer Murders. A suspect was arrested, however, upon her acquittal, she retreated into solitude. Fast-forward forty years, and we meet a young woman that runs a true crime blog in her off-time, spurred on by a childhood abduction attempt. One day by chance, she meets the Lady Killer Murders suspect and asks for an interview. To her surprise, the formerly accused says yes. As they meet at Beth’s mansion (accused), the young woman gets closer to this supposed killer even as the discomfort and creepiness begins to sink into the very hollows of her bones. [Library book]

I’m only a couple of chapters into this, but I feel like this is finally the book that will make me give James another five-star-equivalent rating. While I have liked her other works after The Broken Girls, none of them have truly wowed me the way that that specific novel did. This one has fantastic atmosphere and intrigue so far and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I shall be shocked and smitten by its end.

Echoes: A Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories edited by Ellen Datlow: This humongous brick of a book (800+ pages total) is a short story collection of supernatural horror tales authored by some brilliant contributors of the genre, including but not limited to: Richard Kadrey, Alice Hoffman, Indrapramit Das, Stephen Graham Jones, and much more. [Library book]

I only began this last night and it seems like the narratives shall vary across subgenres and time periods, which is supremely exciting to me. With my recently acquired taste and obsession for the horror genre—specifically supernatural horror—I feel that this shall become one of the few anthologies that I will adore with all my heart, or damn near close to it at the very least.

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka: Otsuka’s last book, The Buddha in the Attic, released in 2011, and it cemented her as one of my favourite contemporary writers. Now, eleven years later she’s got a new title on the shelves. The story follows swimmers that are strangers who share only their love of swimming, bound by routines of morning and afternoon laps. But when a crack appears in the bottom of the pool, they are cast into an unforgiving world without comfort nor relief. [Library book]

I cannot believe I found an available copy of this novel. It has been completely off-the-shelves at the libs all year (it released in February); it’s one of my most-anticipated for 2022.

The Family Plot by Megan Collins: The psychological thriller follows Dahlia. She was raised in a secluded island mansion that was isolated by her crime-obsessed parentals. When she was sixteen her twin brother disappeared and it was something she never got over. After several years away, Dahlia returns to the house upon her daddy’s death, where the family find another body buried in their father’s plot—her lost twin, Andy’s, with an axe splitting the skull wide open. [Owned book]

That premise and a sweet sale at my hole-in-the-wall bookstore made The Family Plot irresistible to me back in March. Since I’ve been starving for the dark, fucked-up, and horrific, I’m hoping to start and finish this treat (*fingers crossed*) within the week.

Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher: The eighth instalment in Butcher’s urban fantasy series, The Dresden Files, it revolves around wizard man, Harry Dresden. After receiving an interesting job title in the seventh instalment, Dresden now has to deal with the tattooed and pierced daughter of an old friend, who’s grown up and ready to wreak havoc as her boyfriend seems to be the only suspect in a supernatural assault to give horror flicks a run for their moolah.

I had mixed feelings about the last book, but Thomas is utterly enticing to me. Plus, I’m curious to see whose daughter show’s up on Dresden’s doorstep or doorstep-adjacent. Plus, seeing him fumble through any encounters with attractive females is pretty hilarious. Guy has no game. Well… very little game.

That does it for my weekend and upcoming weekly reading shenanigans. I shall now bid you adieu as I crawl back into the comforts of my fluffy blankets, fluffy kitties, and big ass bricky books. Please, enjoy these heart-melty photos of Sir Odin Fluffington finally acclimating to being a part of this kooky kitty club. Keep reading and keep otakuing, y’all!

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