Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne

My 9 year old Gemma.
 Thanks Gem, I don't think I would have come across this book !
My daughter, who is 9, brought this book home from the school library and was about to take it to bed to read. I looked at the front cover and asked her if she knew what the book was about. She answered that she didn’t, and I read the blurb on the back. When I read it I knew that she would have no comprehension of what she was reading as Nazi Germany and the Holocaust were not something that we had discussed in our family with our children. I immediately asked if I could read it first, she was happy with this and went off to read Billie B Brown.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas tells the story of Bruno who moves from Berlin to “Out-With”. His father has a very powerful job and Bruno has even met the “Fury”.  When Bruno moves to “Out-With” he meets a boy who has to wear striped pyjamas, and who lives behind a big fence. Bruno is quite jealous of this boy as he has many other boys to play with, while Bruno has no friends on his side of the fence. The two boys meet daily to chat, and Bruno, as an innocent child, never questions why his friend is so dirty, and begs for food. Bruno fancies himself an explorer so when his friend’s father goes missing behind the fence, Bruno asks for a pair of pyjamas so he can sneak under the fence and help his friend find his father.  The ending is just tragic. I would definitely recommend this book as a haunting read, telling an abhorrent story through innocent children’s eyes.

Busy Chick’s Highlight – Bruno tells his friend he is quite jealous of his armband (with a star on it), which has a star on it. He complains that his Dad has a great armband too, it is red with a great black pattern on it. Why or why can’t he have an armband.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Death Comes to Pemberley – Author P.D. James

“Pemberley “, I hear you ask ? Yes Pemberley, estate of Mr Darcy, home now of 6 years to Mr Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet (now Mrs Darcy). These much loved characters are revived by P.D. James and Pemberley is the centre of a murder mystery, starring the dastardly Mr Wickham. Jane Austen’s style of writing is almost recreated, with the only thing missing her astute, humourous and sometimes cruel characterisations and dialogue that always managed to highlight and exaggerate the faults of those characters she did not favour.  However many favourite characters are back and the mystery unravels intriguingly.

Busy Chick’s Highlight – If you were a Pride and Prejudice fan, but not a purist, I think you will enjoy spending time with the characters again. The final solution to the murder mystery certainly has its twists and turns.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Author Deborah Rodriguez

This novel starts with the shocking treatment of Yasmina, a young Afghan widow, who is stolen to repay her Uncle’s debt. Her rescue begins the story of five women who are linked by the coffee shop in Kabul, but are bound forever by their experiences of love in a country where women struggle daily.  The author’s story is also intriguing and inspires this work of fiction. Post 9/11 Deborah begs to be allowed to go to Afghanistan with a group of Doctors to help the people. The trouble was Deborah was a hairdresser. She later opened a Beauty School in Kabul, where women were given skills and a place of friendship. The women that Deborah met and their stories inspired this novel where friendship disregards danger.

Busy Chick’s highlight – Yasmina finally sees herself as a person of worth, both with her sewing and in finding a man who can love her.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

I Came to Say Goodbye – Author Caroline Overington

Fat has been rejected by her mother, bullied by school mates, set herself up with a deadbeat, become a mother twice with tragic consequences and suffered a monumental breakdown. Why then are her father and older sister writing a letter pleading to a judge to help them? This book speaks in the voice of Fat’s father and older sister and is absolutely riveting. A great Australian author.

Busy chick’s highlight – I didn’t realise that I was crying over the last three pages until my husband questioned me !

Sunday, 15 January 2012

So What if I’m Broken – Author Anna McPartlin

A tragic story that somehow makes you laugh. Tom’s wife goes missing, however the real story starts when he meets Jane, Leslie and Elle in an elevator. The cast of characters all have dark areas in their life yet the Author has given them a great sense of humour and as a reader you really warm to the characters. Jane looks after everyone, including Rose her alcoholic mother, Elle is an artistic genius with a very dark side and Leslie has watched her entire family die of cancer. All these stories combine to make heart-warming reading. If you are a fan of chick lit then this is a book for you.

Busy chick’s highlight – Rose, Jane’s mother has some hysterical lines.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Matilda is Missing – Author Caroline Overington

After reading this book I rushed straight to the library to borrow Caroline’s book I Came to say Goodbye. Matilda is Missing is written in the voice of a Grandfather, not Matilda’s Grandfather, but the husband of Pat Harrison. Pat hates her “baby” son’s wife, but loves her Grandsons. When her son and daughter-in-law split, Pat is delighted but not so happy about the lack of contact with her grandsons. Barry, Pat’s husband has to be the voice of reason in what becomes a very bitter situation. Coincidentally, Barry is called on by an old friend, who happens to be a Family Court Judge, to review papers and tapes regarding Matilda, another child who is the victim of a bitter divorce. This book would be a great one for book clubs if your book club is up for some controversial and passionate discussion. It comes with discussion questions in the back.

Busy Chick’s highlight – love the line from Pat when she is telling her husband what a catch their son is. “He’s got a job. He’s got his Westpac Supersaver.” Another emotional highlight is the tapes Brian listens to regarding the custody of Matilda.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Great Book App

I love the iphone and ipad app I Read it Now. It allows you to track, rate and even makes notes about the books you have read. You can upload cover images from the net or take your own cover photo. You know how you are browsing through the library, bookshop or net and think "Have I read that?" Well with this app you can check. Also helpful in recommending books to friends!