This month we sat down to review five of the best books in our stores, from tales of the war-torn Middle East to modern Dublin and every spot in between. If you’re into fiction, it’s just a matter of picking your favourite genre and diving right in!
If you loved The Kite Runner, Hosseini’s debut novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns is bound to be a much-loved addition to your bookshelf. If you’re new to his work, count on being amazed and touched by a tale of friendship, war, loss and fate set against the struggles faced by Afghanistan across the later half of the 20th century.
At a young age, Mariam is married off to the widower Rasheed. The marriage soon turns into an abusive trap as all the man seeks is a vessel to replace his dead son. Down the street from the couple lives the girl Laila; she is separated from her lover as the war intensifies, then orphaned as rockets rain down upon their street. Laila becomes part of Rasheed and Mariam’s family, as the older woman’s fellow wife. While their relationship begins in bitterness, the two women forge a bond that makes them not just friends or sisters, but something akin to mother and daughter. When past sins finally catch up with the household, Mariam takes a risk that changes not just both their lives, but that of their descendants.
Power and suspense drives every page, along with Hosseini’s foreshadowing, skilful use of language, and larger-than-life characters that practically leap from the page. A Thousand Splendid Suns is woven through with the power of a mother’s love and the great sacrifices women make for their families, whether the ties are through blood or bond. While Kite Runner was a story of sons and fathers, its spiritual sequel is certainly driven by mothers and daughters; from the estranged to the devoted, the bitter, the shrewd and the unjaded. It is their acts, their sacrifices and their love, or even the memory of love, that ensures others might survive; it is their love that transcends a simple story to affect an entire world.
A Thousand Splendid Suns gets full points from us, and we’re thrilled to have it in stock for all fans of historical fiction, strong female characters and prose to thrill and enthrall.
HOW TO FALL IN LOVE by Cecelia Ahern
Christine Rose is a great believer in self-help books, owning shelves of them herself. But there are situations that all the books in the world can prepare you for…like when you cross a bridge and find someone threatening to jump. In this case it’s Adam Basil, two weeks shy of 35 and ready to end his life. In a desperate attempt, Christine strikes a crazy deal: she bets that she can show him life is worth living before his next birthday.
It is, of course, a job with a very tight deadline. The two embark on wild escapades, grand romantic gestures and late-night outings. Christine thinks Adam is slowly falling back in love with life, but could that be the only thing happening?
How To Fall In Love is, of course, chick lit at its finest, and readers will appreciate the journey as much, if not more, as the result. The romance builds at a slow burn, and Ahern weaves this sweet tale with her trademark wit and aplomb. Affirming and tender, we found this book ideal for both romantics and (perhaps) even those slightly jaded by romance!
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR by Jeffrey Archer
There’s trouble afoot in the Barrington shipping company as it prepares to launch its new luxury liner, the MV Buckingham. Chairman Ross Buchanan is forced to resign and Emma Clifton wants to replace him, but there’s a puppet candidate waiting in the wings. There’s still more to handle with deadly car accidents, engagements (and outside interference), and a new player in the form of Cedric Hardcastle, the bluff Yorkshireman who takes his place on the board of Barringtons with his own very specific visions for the future. Only one thing is certain as the Clifton clan marches head-first into the swingin’ 60s: their lives are about to change forever.
Intrigue abounds in the fourth instalment of The Clifton Chronicles. Thrilling and suspenseful, readers will be enthralled by a deftly crafter tale of love, revenge, ambition and betrayal from Archer’s pen. A must for Jeffrey Archer fans, and a definite pick if you live for professional drama and gripping multi-generational epics.
THE APPEAL by John Grisham
A Mississippi jury returns a damning verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply. The company then appeals to the state’s Supreme Court, whose nine judges can either approve or reverse the verdict. With their money, power and some shrewd manoeuvring, buying a friendlier face on the Court is an easy matter.
So begins Grisham’s latest political and legal thriller in several years, inspired by real-life cases as are many of his works. What starts out as a web of intrigue and deceit becomes a sobering look at how greed and business corrupt the electoral and judicial systems. Grisham’s straightforward, uncomplicated writing frames a bold, complex story with shocking twists to be discovered. Few readers will be able to put this book down after it’s sunk its hooks in. Will the appeal succeed, or ultimately fail? There’s only one way to find out.
Fans of legal thrillers will enjoy this 2008 classic, packed with suspense, twists and turns right up to the final pages. It’s also available on our online store, so you can get it shipped straight to your doorstep!
THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT by Amy Tan
Amy Tan’s novels have often dealt with the relationships between mother and daughter, often with the added identity crises born of immigration and the generation gap. The Valley of Amazement is no different, describing the lives of two women connected by a single painting.
It is 1912 in Shanghai. Violet is the daughter of Lulu Minturn, American madam of the city’s most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Qing dynasty is overturned, the two are separated and Violet is forced to become a “virgin courtesan”. Over the course of the book we see Violet fall in love, get married, and lose her daughter, and delve into the American past of Lulu, whose search for penance leads to an unexpected reunion.
If Asian literature is your thing, we recommend this sweeping epic of two women that spans over forty years and two continents. Tan weaves an intimate, historical and passionate yarn that portrays the lives of two very different women and how they are, eventually, drawn back together.
Seek out all five of these titles for your shelf at big discounts, only at Malaysia’s friendly neighbourhood bookstore, BookXcess! We’ll be waiting to say hello at Amcorp Mall and fahrenheit88. 😉