Friday, January 19, 2018

The Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery

The Scent of Rain
by Anne Montgomery

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Published: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Treehouse Publishing Group
Genre: Social & Family Issues, YA
Paperback: 386
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
Rose Madsen couldn’t risk staying out much longer. She still felt the paddle blows—what her mother called “appropriate corrective measures”—from the last time she’d disappeared for too long.

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl--Rose--running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father's age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?


My two-bits:

This is a peek into a Fundamentalist Mormon community that exposes the unsavory side. Different perspectives are presented with its cast of characters. The two main young adult characters spark an eventual change with their youth and strength.

This story generates thoughts on cults and their leaders.

~*~

* review copy courtesy of author

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

Mrs. Fletcher
by Tom Perrotta

Find out more about this book and author:
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Published: 2017
Publisher: Scribner
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Hardback: 320
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
It was a long drive and Eve cried most of the way home, because the big day hadn't gone the way she'd hoped, not that big days ever did.

From the bestselling author of The Leftovers and Little Children comes a penetrating and hilarious new novel about sex, love, and identity on the frontlines of America’s culture wars.

Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, “U R my MILF!” Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life—serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night—Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called MILFateria.com, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence.

Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan—a jock and aspiring frat boy—discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night.

Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.


My two-bits:

Interesting look at a single mother's empty nester experience.

A sort of coming of age story for both mother and son during the next phase in their lives.

Sex and sexuality are topics explored.

~*~

New York Times bestseller

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tournament of Books 2018

Morning News Tournament of Books
Rooster Award for best fiction
14th edition
sponsored by Field Notes and Powell's
details | daily -not yet available

Each weekday in March, starting March 7, 2018, two of the books below will be read and considered by one of our judges (also listed below). One book from the “match” will be chosen to advance, with the judge required to explain in detail how he or she came to their decision. Then the judge’s decision is evaluated first by our official commentators, then by you, the Rooster fan, wherein you politely and respectfully describe how your heart was broken and your mind inflamed by such erroneous arrogance. And the next day we do it all over again.

I am always excited to see the announcement of the shortlist for this annual tournament. So far, I read one last year and some are already in my tbr pile. Per usual, I plan to read as many as I can before the March event.

The Shortlist:

The Animators
by Kayla Rae Whitaker
-Contemporary, Art, Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

The Book of Joan
by Lidia Yuknavitch
-Dystopia
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Dear Cyborgs
by Eugene Lim
-SciFi
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

The End of Eddy
by Édouard Louis
- LGBTQ, France
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Exit West
by Mohsin Hamid
-Literary
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: 4

Fever Dream
by Samanta Schweblin
-Horror, Thriller
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Goodbye, Vitamin
by Rachel Khong
-Humor, Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Idaho
by Emily Ruskovich
-Mystery
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

The Idiot
by Elif Batuman
-Historical, Coming of Age, Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Lincoln in the Bardo
by George Saunders
-Literary, Historical
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Lucky Boy
by Shanthi Sekaran
-Women's Fiction
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Manhattan Beach
by Jennifer Egan
-Historical
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Pachinko
by Min Jin Lee
-Historical, Japan, Korea
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Savage Theories
by Pola Oloixarac
-Humor, Spain
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Sing, Unburied, Sing
by Jesmyn Ward
-Literary, African American
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

So Much Blue
by Percival Everett
-Humor
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

Stephen Florida
by Gabe Habash
-Literary, Coming of Age, Sports (wrestling)
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

White Tears
by Hari Kunzru
-Literary
Amazon | Goodreads | my review: tba

And the winner is…

revealed in April

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

The Last Mrs. Parrish
by Liv Constantine

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Published: 2017
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Hardback: 400
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
Amber Patterson was tired of being invisible.

Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.


My two-bits:

With unlikable characters this is a doozy of a story. It is one of those in-for-a-wild-ride thrillers that kept me hooked to the end.

It gets you thinking of what women want. And, why. And, really?

~*~

* part of Reese Witherspoon's Book Club (here)


Monday, January 15, 2018

Whitefly by Abdelilah Hamdouchi

Whitefly
by Abdelilah Hamdouchi

Find out more about this book and author:
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Published: 2016
Publisher: Hoopoe Fiction
Genre: Mystery, Africa, Middle East, Morocco
Paperback: 144
Rating: 4

First sentence(s):
The rain let up around three o'clock.

The traffickers. The drug dealers. The smugglers.

They know what it takes to get a gun into Morocco, and so does Detective Laafrit.

When a fourth corpse in three days washes up in Tangier with a bullet in the chest, Laafrit knows this isn't just another 'illegal' who didn't make it to the Spanish coast.

As his team hunts for the murder weapon, Laafrit follows a hunch and reveals the killer at the heart of an international conspiracy.

A fast-paced crime thriller from the Arab west.


My two-bits:

This was a quick mystery read that introduced a relationship between Morocco and Spain. Got a sampling of the underworld via detectives.

~*~

* part of Books, Inc. Foreign Intrigue Book Club (here)

 
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