A little more of The Library of Lost and Found

My favourite read so far this month is definitely The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. (You can read my review here.) The extract I have chosen to share with you describes the main character, Martha, and the current state of her home:

“Bin bags and other boxes lined the floor in here, too, all neatly labeled. All contained her parents’ things, or stuff that didn’t have a home, or jobs she had taken on and hadn’t given back.

Feeling daunted by the size of the task facing her, Martha wrapped her arms across her chest. She wondered if Gina had glanced inside the room when she used the bathroom. Her cheeks flushed as she imagined what her nana’s carer might describe her as. A hoarder? A bit strange? Can’t let go of the past?

Could any of those be true? (p213-214, Harlequin, 2019)

The quoted words give you a hint that the novel is so much more than what a reader would expect.

What do you think of the extract I shared? Would you pick up the book?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

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A Poem by Julie McIsaac

I was fortunate to win a giveaway for National Poetry Month held by Wolsak & Wynn Publishers. I chose to receive the poetry collection written by Julie McIsaac.

Many of the pieces encourage me to think – about what has been written, and about how the poem reflects my own experience. I share one of the pieces with you:

“They took the bus downtown and when they arrived they sat next to a great fountain. They threw pennies in and made wishes. Then they clipped their hair and planted it in the dirty weeds that sprouted through the concrete next to where the fountain was built. They made more wishes. They thought future. She said nothing. (p14, Wolsak & Wynn, 2018)

The pieces in this collection are definitely raw and to the point. I still have many to read and know that they will not be easy reading.

What do you think of the extract I shared?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

Confessions of a Tinderella by Rosy Edwards

Confessions of a TinderellaIt was a long time ago that I was on the dating scene: going out with men who were essentially strangers in the hope of finding that one person to spend the rest of my life with. I remember the awkwardness of getting to know one another, the dates that did not quite match up to expectations, and the effort put into getting to know another person.

Confessions of a Tinderella by Rosy Edwards peaked my interest. Not only because the story is about dating, but because it describes dating using the app Tinder. I had heard many stories about my son’s Tinder dates, and I thought it would be fun to read about someone else’s experience. The novel describes Rosy Edward’s  experience with the dating app and the men she meets through her use of it. My teaser describes her meeting with one of the first men she meets:

“Overall, he bears a good to his photos; his looks are not the problem. The reason I want to go home at ten past eight is because I don’t fancy him. I knew it from the minute I saw him and I can’t imagine I’m going to change my mind before I’ve finished my drink. I don’t find Elliot engaging; I don’t feel any sexual chemistry and I don’t think we have anything in common beyond the fact that we’ve both seen all of The Sopranos. I’m sure that one day he’ll meet a fellow mariner (mariness?) and they will sail off into the sunset together, tweaking their booms and cleets as they go. The received wisdom is that you’re supposed to ‘know’ when you meet The One and I think the same is true when you don’t.” (p 31, Penguin Random House UK, 2015)

The novel was hilarious as the main character, Rosy, moves from one date to another. I found myself chuckling not only at the experiences of this woman in search of The One, but also at the tongue-in-cheek humour of the writer. I enjoyed this novel immensely and have set it aside for my girls to read this summer.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

The Magdalen Girls by V.S.Alexander

The Magdalen GirlsI had heard of the Magdalen girls before and that they were affiliated to the Catholic Church, but I had not read about them. When browsing the new titles in the library catalogue, I came across The Magdalen Girls by V. S. Alexander and did not hesitate to put it on hold because I was curious.

The story in the novel takes place in Dublin, Ireland in 1962 within the gated grounds of the convent of The Sisters of the Holy Redemption. The convent is one of the city’s Magdalen Laundries, an institution set up by the Catholic Church to help reform girls and women. Once places of refuge for women in trouble, these laundries evolved into grim workhouses with strict and severe regimes where women toiled without respite. Some inmates were “fallen” women – unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals – . but most were ordinary girls whose only sin lay in being too pretty, too independent, or in tempting the wrong man. Many of these women were forced into these institutions by the Catholic Church and families who did not want the girls living with them.

Alexander’s story centres around Teagan Tiernan, a sixteen year old who is sent to the Laundry by her family when her beauty provokes lust in a young priest. At the convent, Teagan befriends Nora Craven, another girl who has been sent to the workhouse by her family. The girls are stripped of their freedom and dignity, given new names and denied contact with the outside world. The Mother Superior, Sister Anne, inflicts cruel and dehumanizing punishments on the girls in the name of love. Nora and Teagan find an ally in the reclusive Lea, a current resident who helps them endure their stay. Together they think of an escape plan.

My teaser comes from the beginning of the novel on Teagan’s first day at the convent:

“She instinctively raised her hands to her head. She hadn’t thought about losing her hair, but it made sense after seeing the Magdalens at breakfast. She stroked the blonde strands, which were soon to be gone, cropped close to her head like the other girls. She was a prisoner. In history class, she had read about people who were held in World War II camps. They had been robbed of their identities and their possessions. She shivered at he thought. Much like those prisoners, she was dependant on The Sisters of the Holy Redemption, her captors, for her food, clothing and shelter – until she could escape. The notion smoldered inside her. Escape. But Sister Mary Elizabeth was right about some things. It would be impossible to walk out of the convent. She would have to plan an escape, carefully and intelligently, waiting for the right time.” (p57, Kensington Books, 2017)

I enjoyed this well-written novel from start to finish. A story of friendship between three girls is woven into the historical facts of this time period. I kept hoping that Teagan, Nora and Lea would survive their experiences. And kept thinking that I am thankful not to be living in the 1960s in Dublin as a Catholic girl. Reading this novel informed me a little more about the Magdalen laundries in Ireland as well as giving many hours of reading enjoyment. If historical fiction is your preferred read, you will enjoy this sincere and compassionate story.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

Close Enough to TouchWhile browsing through the list of new books in our library, I came across Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley. The blurb intrigued me. A story about someone who is allergic to people and cannot be touched? A scary thought.

The novel centres around the character Jubilee Jenkins, a woman who has a rare condition (she is allergic to the human touch). After a nearly fatal accident, she becomes a recluse. Her mother’s death forces her to leave her home and find a job. This she does at the local library where she begins to interact with people.

My teaser is near the beginning of the book. Her mother has died and Jubilee wishes to go to her mom’s funeral.

“My shoulders begin shaking as my laughter mutates into crying. 

I’m not going to my mother’s funeral. Lenny will wonder where I am. Anything my mom’s told him over the years about my being a bad daughter will be confirmed.

And while all of that is troublesome, another thought floats on the periphery of my brain, waiting to be let in. A terrifying thought. A thought that I realize maybe I’ve known deep down but haven’t wanted to admit to myself. But it’s hard to deny it when I’m leaning against the front door inside my house, unable to slow my heart or stem my tears or stop my body from shaking. 

And that thought it: Maybe there’s another reason I haven’t left my house in nine years.

Maybe it’s because I can’t.” (p 18-19, Gallery Books, 2017)

This novel was captivating and had me rooting for Jubilee. My heart ached for her as she fell in love and was unable to touch him as she wished to. There were many poignant scenes in this story; scenes which were beautifully written. This romance story is definitely not ordinary. I enjoyed reading this novel and would recommend it for anyone who is looking for a romance novel with a difference.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

It Started with Paris by Cathy Kelly

After reading Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly, I knew that I had to read another of her novels. I went online and put on a hold for another of her stories – It Started with Paris. I was not disappointed and enjoyed this novel as much as the previous one I had read.

The story begins with a proposal on the Eiffel Tower and continues in Bridgeport, Ireland. We read about Leila, who is nursing a broken heart; Vonnie, a widow and exceptional cake maker; and Grace, a divorced head teacher.

My teaser is a reflection made by Grace. I chose this quote as what was written in her voice reflects some of what I believe myself:

“When she herself had been a junior infants teacher, over twenty-seven years ago, Grace could recall looking at each one of those little faces as if they were the country’s hope for the future. Happy and fulfilled adults, the best mothers and fathers ever, good-hearted people, even captains of industry and enthusiastic entrepreneurs. She’d seen it all in them, and she still did. People who thought differently did not make the best teachers.” (p25-26, Orion Books, 2014).

I enjoyed reading the lifelike experiences of the characters in this novel. I cheered for some of the characters, and was satisfied when certain decisions were made. I would recommend this read to those who enjoy reading true-to-life stories. And I will browse my library’s catalogue to see if any more books by Cathy Kelly are available.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

Woman of God by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

During the weekend, I picked up a book at the library. The title, woman of God, intrigued me as did the blurb on the inside of the sleeve: “St.Peter’s square, Rome. White smoke signals that a new Pope has been chosen. Is it possible that the new Pope … is a woman?” The idea of women as priests, and even as a Pope, excites me. It is an event I would love to see in a world that has been dominated by men for centuries.

In this novel by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, the story centres on Brigid Fitzgerald. Brigid is a woman who, in spite of a difficult childhood, graduates to be a medical doctor. As a doctor she works on healing those in war torn Sudan. As her life moves along, she becomes more involved in the Catholic church.

My teaser comes from the beginning of the book and describes one of her experiences in Sudan while the hospital she worked at was under attack:

“I yelled, “Sabeena! Help me!”

She had her hands full. The girls were with her. Bullets were flying. I wasn’t sure that she had even heard me.

I said to Father Delahanty, “I’m going to help you up. You have to help me get you to your feet. Grip my forearm.”

But he didn’t do it.

He was losing so much blood. He was going into shock. And then he said in a whisper, “It’s been two weeks since my last confession.”

“You have to get up,” I said. I was frantic.

“I must confess.”

I sat back down beside him and held his hand. I wanted to fall on his chest and cry, but I contained my sobs and tried to keep my voice even. “Tell me,” I said. (p 60-61, Little Brown and Company,  2016). 

I am enjoying this book and its unusual subject matter. The topic certainly makes a person think.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly

Front CoverDuring my visit to the library this week, I picked up a novel by an author (Cathy Kelly) I had not read before. The cover attracted my attention, as did the title Between Sisters. The byline encouraged me to check out the book: Without a mother, there was only one way to grow. Together.

The story centres around a group of women: the sisters Cassie and Coco, their grandmother Pearl, and Elsa (a daytime TV therapist). The sisters were abandoned by their mother when young and raised by their grandmother. Their abandonment affects them in their adulthood in ways they have yet to acknowledge.

The teaser is an extract in the voice of the grandmother, Pearl, when she is reflecting on the past:

“And if she told them the truth, she’d have to tell them the whole truth. And they might look at her with loathing if she did that. Cassie was always saying Peal was an amazing woman. If the truth came out, about what she hadn’t done for their poor mother, Cassie certainly wouldn’t believe that anymore.”  (p47, Orion Books, 2015)

Even though I am only about a quarter way through this novel, I am enjoying the story. My curiosity has been aroused as the writer shares little tidbits of information as I read along.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

 

Unsouled by Neil Shusterman

This weekend I completed the third book in the Unwind Dystology by Neil Shustermand: Unsouled. The book was as riveting as the previous offerings in the series. The experiences of Connor, Lev, Risa, Starkey, and Cam kept me glued to the pages and wanting more.

Cam, the rewound boy, is plotting the downfall of the organisation that created him in order to show Risa how he truly feels about her but he does have trouble remembering what it is like to feel human.

”He has mastered all of his answers – even to questions that are intentionally belligerent and incendiary. 

‘Admit it – you are nothing but a kit-car,’ one heckler says during his appearance at MIT. ‘You’re just a model put together from parts in a box. How can you call yourself human?’

Cam’s response to questions like this is always tactful and puts the heckler in his or her place. 

‘No, I am more like a concept car,’ Cam tells the man, without any of the animosity with which the question was asked. ‘The sum of the imaginations of all the experts in the field.”’ (p95, Simon & Shuster, 2013)

The question he often asks himself is whether he is human, and whether he has a soul. A question which the reader moves towards answering.

Once I completed this book, I had to crack open the next one in the series. This series is definitely one to put on your TBR list.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

Teaser Tuesday | BooksAndABeat.com© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl On The Train (US cover 2015).pngMy neighbour received a copy of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins as a gift. After she had read it, she insisted that I do so. I had heard about this novel and had read reviews about it on blogs. Comments and reviews had been positive and, as a result, I looked forward to reading the story.

And it did not disappoint.

The story may seem mundane – about a girl travelling on a train. She watches from the window a couple who seem to have the perfect relationship. A couple around whom she weaves imaginary names and lives.

“The train is rattling along, we whip past Jason and Jess’s place, they pass in a blur of evening sunshine. Sometimes, not often, I can see them from this side of the track. If there is no train going in the opposite direction, and if we are travelling slowly enough, I can sometimes catch a glimpse of them out on their terrace. If not – like today – I can imagine them.”  (p5, 2014, Penguin Random House).

Then she sees something shocking which she cannot keep to herself. The choices Rachel (the protagonist) makes, and the things she does, leads her to eventually discovering the truth of what she had seen.

When I began reading this story, I was not sure whether it would be my type of story. But, as I turned the pages, I became engrossed in the story. Hawkins reveals each piece of information slowly which leaves the reader guessing. With each reveal, the predictions the reader makes is changed.  And what one assumes is a mundane story becomes something more.

This read is definitely one I would recommend, especially for it unpredictability.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

Teaser Tuesday | BooksAndABeat.com© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)