Category Archives: Review Copy

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

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Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

Lucky Us – This might be the most pointless story I have read in recent months. It is not that there is no good story line, but Amy Bloom makes a mess out of the post war era and story of Eva – child abandoned by her mother.

Eva is left off by her mother at her father’s place without even a good bye, and she meets her half sister Iris there. Iris persuades Eva to elope to city to pursue an acting career and later their father finds them and they all starts living together. Some unfortunate circumstances destroy Iris’s plans and they relocate to another city to try their luck elsewhere. They take up odd jobs and continue life while Eva nurses ambition of going to college. Then unfortunate circumstances turn things around.

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The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

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The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks.

One day, Simon receives a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookseller; it has been sent to him because it is inscribed with the name Verona Bonn, Simon’s grandmother. Simon must unlock the mysteries of the book, and decode his family history, before fate deals its next deadly hand.

~description from goodreads

I believe I had some misunderstanding when I started this book. I got confused between the titles Dept. of Speculation  and The Book of Speculation. I had read some good reviews of the former and promptly requested this book for review. Long after reading half way through this book and finally abandoning it did I realized my mistake and I totally don’t regret abandoning this one.

The Book of Speculation starts as a story of a librarian who gets sent an antique book with his grandmother’s name in it and about the mystery behind the presence of her name in it. Later it just turns into a dark and gloomy mystery related to an old house, a traveling circus, his sister who read tarot cards and people who hold their breath under water.

I am not into tarot cards and the story seems to be revolving around it. And it was turning dark and gloomy as I read further. Finally I didn’t see a point in pursuing my effort further and left it.

Verdict: Not for me

Science of Parenthood by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel, Jessica Ziegler

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Science of Parenthood book cover

Genre:Entertainment, Comics & Graphic
Release: Nov 2015
Publisher: She Writes Press
Source: Netgalley

Just when you thought you couldn’t laugh any more at the follies, foibles and faux pas of modern parenting, along comes Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, to set you laughing all over again. Based on the authors’ popular blog, which uses real scientific principles to lampoon parenting SNAFUs, this illustrated gift book drills deeper into biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics to offer up tongue-in-cheek “explanations” for the ludicrous situations otherwise capable adults find themselves in as a result of reproducing. Utilizing flow charts, diagrams, infographics and their signature cartoons, the ladies of Science of Parenthood endeavor to answer such mystifying questions as Why do children grow up so fast, yet Candy Land drags on so slowly? Why must children sleep perpendicular to any adults laying down with them? How many tequila shots does it take to get through an episode of Caillou? It’s been said (by Norine and Jessica actually) that raising kids defies all reason, logic and most of the laws of the universe. Anyone who’s despaired of showering, sleeping or excavating their living room from layers of plastic toys will find Science of Parenthood a hilariously enlightening read.

~description from goodreads

Science of Parenthood was a book that I wanted to enjoy a lot and really expected myself to enjoy considering that I have a toddler and pre-school kid. I expected to relate to the book quite well considering the newness of the experience called parenthood.

I should say that I could relate to many things in the book, but I did not find it as entertaining for a book. There are a serious of chapters which looked like a series of blog-posts converted to have some semblance of a book.

There are illustrations, flowcharts, diagrams etc spread across the book which are quite funny. I was reading this book on a Kindle with its black and white tones  and that brought down the effects of these illustrations. I realized that much later, but then never bothered to look at them on my mobile using the Kindle app.

Overall a funny read about parenting though there were times when I thought the author(s) were trying hard to be funny.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

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The Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendBroken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town.

~Description from goodreads

There is something charming about books about books and book stores. That is what made me request this book for review on netgalley and I was not disappointed.  If you have read ‘The Collected Works of A J Fikry’, you will recall the joy you might have experienced when you were reading that book. I will not compare The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend to the Fikry book ( I love to call it like that) because that is a book which is utterly close to my heart for some unfathomable reason ;) The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend did not evoke any such strong feelings in me, but I still liked it a lot.

Writing an unconventional story around books, a laid back town in rural America and love is what Katarina Bivald has attempted in this book. I should say that the romance part was quite predictable, but then romance was not the only theme in this book and I enjoyed the book as a whole.

Sara as the central character is a sweet lady and I kind of liked her from the beginning. Amy’s character is known only from her letters and from what her friends talk about her. Then there are other characters like Tom, Grace, Caroline, George,John etc and the author has dedicated a few pages for their character development and to tell their stories, which makes the book a more interesting read.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is the story of some sort of growing up for Sara, when she explores a world beyond books and the transformation of a town when they embrace their unusual tourist with open arms. This book is bit of a chick-lit, but there is a lot more to this story that it would be unfair to categorize it so.

There is something compelling about this book that I was very much tempted to take a day off work and finish this one. Since that was impossible on that day, I just read the book whenever I could spare a minute (literally).

Final verdict: A charming book about books and bookstore!

Rating: 4.25/5