Friday, November 14, 2014

Review: Lost and Found

Lost and Found
by Brook Davis

Why did you choose this book? I was surprised with an ARC from Penguin First To Read!
When did you read this book? October 2014
Who should read this book? readers who enjoy 'quirky'
Source: Penguin First To Read
Here is a synopsis of Lost and Found from Penguin First To Read

Millie Bird (aka Captain Funeral), seven-years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her red, curly hair. Her struggling mother leaves Millie in a local department store and never returns.

Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, has not left her house – or spoken to another human being – since she was widowed seven years ago. She fills the silences by yelling at passers by, watching loud static on the TV and maintaining a strict daily schedule.

Karl the Touch Typist, eighty-seven, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife's skin. Now he types his words out into the air as he speaks. Karl is moved into a nursing home but in a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes.

A series of events binds the three together on a road trip that takes them from the south coast of WA to Kalgoorlie and along the Nullarbor to the edge of the continent. Millie wants to find her mum. Karl wants to find out how to be a man. And Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was.

They will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself experience sadness just might be the key to life.

My Review

I was surprised with an ARC of this book by Penguin through their First To Reads program.  Unfortunately this one was not for me. The story did have its funny moments and its sweet moments, but it was a bit too ‘weird’ for me. (Others might say it is ‘quirky’!)

MIllie is a little girl who records ‘Dead Things’. The first was her dog, who was hit by a car, and not too long after, her dad. Soon after, her mother abandons her, and Millie goes in search of her mother. Along the way, she meets a widower, Karl the Touch-Typist, and Agatha Pantha, a widow.

While the book had it’s entertaining moments, much of it was unrealistic and unbelievable. Karl escapes from a nursing home, apparently with no one noticing or searching for him. The trio commits many ‘crimes’ with no consequences. And though there is an epilogue, it leaped so far into the future that I really didn’t feel there was much resolution, as I didn’t know how the characters got there!

However, even though I didn’t really enjoy the book, I do think there may be value for a book club. All three main characters are dealing with loss and grief, and the author mentions in her notes that she wrote this while grieving her mother. A good book club discussion would definitely add to the experience of this book! If you enjoy quirky, give it a try!

My Rating:  ★★     2 Stars

I received an advanced review copy of this book through the Penguin First To Read program in return for an honest review.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: The Perfect Mother


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine in which we spotlight upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Perfect Mother
by Nina Darnton
Expected Publication Date: November 25, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads

When an American exchange student is accused of murder, her mother will stop at nothing to save her.

A midnight phone call shatters Jennifer Lewis’s carefully orchestrated life. Her daughter, Emma, who’s studying abroad in Spain, has been arrested after the brutal murder of another student. Jennifer rushes to her side, certain the arrest is a terrible mistake and determined to do whatever is necessary to bring Emma home. But as she begins to investigate the crime, she starts to wonder whether she ever really knew her daughter. The police charge Emma, and the press leaps on the story, exaggerating every sordid detail. One by one, Emma’s defense team, her father, and finally even Jennifer begin to have doubts.

A novel of harrowing emotional suspense, The Perfect Mother probes the dark side of parenthood and the complicated bond between mothers and daughters.

Why I am waiting....
I just saw this one on a WoW last week and knew I want to read it! It reminds me a little of the Amanda Knox story in Italy.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday Memes: The Underground Girls of Kabul

Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where you can share the first paragraph, or a few, of a book you are reading or thinking about reading soon.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Today I am spotlighting The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg

An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl.

In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh(literally translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child – a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom.  

The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents’ attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults.

At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America’s longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere.

Opening Paragraph

PROLOGUE

    The transition begins here.
    I remove the black head scarf and tuck it into my backpack. My hair stays in a knotted bun on the back of my head. We will be in the air soon enough. I straighten my back and sit up a little taller, allowing my body to fill a larger space. I do not think of war. I think of ice cream in Dubai.
    We crowd the small vinyl-clad chairs in the departure hall of Kabul International Airport. My visa expires in a few hours. A particularly festive group of British expatriates celebrate, for the first time in months, a break from life behind barbed wire and armed guards. Three female aid workers in jeans and slinky tops speak excitedly of a beach resort. A piece of black jersey has fallen off a shoulder, exposing a patch of already tanned skin.
    I stare at the unfamiliar display of flesh. For the past few months, I have hardly seen my own body.

My Teaser

    On the way home, Mehran falls asleep on her father’s shoulder, as the task of driving is turned over to a firefighter with droopy eyelids. Mehran has a few more years before the life of an Afghan woman begins. For now, she is on the side of privilege.
page 91

So...what do you think? Is this one you would pick up? Leave a comment below!
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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Six Degrees of Separation:


It’s time for another Six Degrees of Separation! Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly meme, hosted by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman, which normally runs on the first Saturday of the month. The main idea of this meme is to form a chain of books by linking something they have in common, kind of like forming a word ladder with common letters, and everyone begins their chains with the same book. Other than that, there are no set rules. You get to make your own!

This month, we are starting with We’re All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. I haven’t read this one, or even heard of it before, but when I saw the cover, the first thing I thought of is A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith. This is a classic, and I’ve seen the movie many times, but I’ve never actually read the book. I guess you could say reading this classic is on my ‘book bucket list’.

Another classic that I have never actually read, but have seen the movie or play many times, is The Crucible by Arthur Miller. I first saw a tv version when I was a kid, and it has stuck with me, leading to a bit of an ‘obsession’ on the Salem witch trials!

When I first read the synopsis of The Fever by Megan Abbott, I was immediately reminded of The Crucible. Though it doesn’t involve the Salem witches, or at least I don’t think it does (I haven’t read it yet!), it is a story of mass hysteria and the effects on the community, much like The Crucible.

From The Fever by Megan Abbott I am jumping to The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Abbott because the authors have the same last name! Kate has written two historical fiction novels and I’ve enjoyed them both! She has a new one coming out early next year, and I will be reading that one also.

Speaking of her next novel, A Touch of Stardust (same author…) is due out in February. I have already added it to my ‘must read’ least! This is another historical fiction novel, this time set in Hollywood in the ‘golden age’. I’m looking forward to crossing paths with Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in this one!

Another novel set in the ‘golden age’ of Hollywood is American Blonde by Jennifer Niven. I won this one from the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. I was drawn to the cover with the gorgeous Hollywood starlet! The golden age of Hollywood seems to be a popular theme right now, and I am loving it!

So there it is...my chain. From We’re All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler to American Blonde by Jennifer Niven. And since I get to make the rules,this month I am stopping with a chain instead of making a circle!

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