Blog Tour Review: The Mountains Sing by Que Mai Phan Ngyuen

I’m back with another blog tour and this time it’s for the beautifully written The Mountains Sing by Que Mai Phan Ngyuen.

Special thanks to Kelly at Algonquin Books for asking me to be part of this blog tour!

Goodreads: The Mountains Sing
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 17 March 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction, Cultural

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.

The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English.

Read More »

#WWWWednesday: 04 March

Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Since last Wednesday I’ve managed to finish four books and three of them were four blog tours!

Jack Janson and The Storm Caller by Andrew Marsh ★★★☆☆
I don’t normally read MG books but I am always keen to step outside my comfort zone. I read this for a blog tour and it ended up being more enjoyable than I anticipated! I can definitely see the younger audiences it’s aimed at really enjoying the story and connecting with the characters. It’s a good introduction to fantasy! Check out my full review.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Adapted & Illustrated by Fred Fordham ★★★★☆
This was a very quick read that I finished in a matter of a few hours. It’s a good adaptation of the classic and really brought the story to life. While the art style wasn’t my favourite kind, it very much suited the era of the book and gave it a ‘old school/classic comic feel’. Would definitely recommend it for those who would like to read the classic but don’t have much time. RTC

Havenfall (Havenfall #1) by Sara Holland ★★★½
This was my first book by Holland but I’m keen to check out her other books now. Due to the mystery element this was a much slower paced fantasy than I expected but it was still enjoyable. I kept second guessing who could be trusted, but I’m glad I got the villain right at least! I read and reviewed this as part of the FFBC Blog Tour! Check out my full review.

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai ★★★★★
This book was absolutely stunning. It was such an intimate telling of Vietnam’s history beyond the Vietnam War and from the unique perspective of a northern Vietnamese family. This story is filled with so much tragedy, suffering and heartbreak, but also so much love and hope. The Tran family’s resilience and ability to overcome hardship was inspiring and brought me to tears. I’m part of the blog tour for this book so my review will be coming up (sort of) soon!

Read More »

Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp [45]

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

I started The Mountains Sing on a whim last night as I felt that I needed to take a short break from my YA/fantasy reads before I continue with them in the coming weeks! I spent a good part of Sunday in bed reading the book. I’m learning so much about Vietnam from a perspective that I’ve not read from before. It’s funny because I actually know the author, she and her husband are good friends with my parents, so I think this makes it an even more personal read. It’s very hard (and is making me quite emotional) to read about the cruelties and injustices done but I think it’s certainly important to know.

With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the BanyanThe Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.

The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English.

What are you currently reading?

Read More »

Goodreads Monday – 04 November

We’re back with another Goodreads Monday, a weekly meme started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. This meme invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.

This week’s book is The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. I remember seeing this book mentioned on bookstagram once or twice, but I don’t remember adding it to my shelf in March 2019. The Sympathizer is Nguyen’s debut novel and it was also the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It has an incredible 4.00 rating with 59,400+ ratings and 6,808 reviews! Impressive 😲

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.

Why do I want to read it?

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it but I actually don’t read a wide variety of diverse books, especially those written about and by Asian authors. This isn’t for any particular reason other than I don’t always make a conscious decision to broaden my reading scope and not because I don’t enjoy diverse books/stories. I lived in Vietnam for around three months several years ago and I’ve visited the country often, so it’s not as if I’m ignorant of the country’s history. That said, sometimes I feel like I take that experience for granted by not pushing myself to learn more and it also applies to my own knowledge and experience relating to other countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia. I’m determined to making a more conscious effort to diversify my reads and this book sounds like a gripping and fascinating story that I look forward to trying!

Have you read The Sympathizer or is it on your TBR too? Let’s chat!