“It would be easier to be a criminal fairly prosecuted by the law than an Indian daughter who wronged her family. A crime would be punishable by law rather than this uncertain length of family guilt trips.” p. 29
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal.
William Morrow, HarperCollins, New York, 2017.
Realistic fiction, 298 pages + 14 pages of extras.
Nikki is a modern British girl, but financial troubles lead her back to the gurdwara, where she takes on a job teaching English classes to widows at the community center. Kulwinder is working hard to be accepted as an equal by the male leaders so she can advocate for other women, especially the widows who have little voice in the community. Both run afoul of the conservative group the Brothers, who feel it’s their duty to keep rebellious women in line.
Before we get to the book itself, the reaction people had to this cover was intriguing. Everyone seemed to assume it was very raunchy. Even at the cash register, this book merited a double take and pursed lips as I purchased it together with our normal family groceries (although no kids were with me). People had so many surprised or negative reactions that eventually I hid it in our room rather than face more awkward conversations.
Despite the title, this is not proper erotica. It’s highly literary, dark, yet comedic, with elements of the mystery and thriller genre along with a touch of romance and some steamy scenes. Or rather, it’s a book that’s likely to get typecast but difficult to classify.
Favorite fiction reads of 2017, from picture books to adult novels.
Yup, I’m not posting this until well into 2018. In 2017 I reviewed 98 books (plus 10 board books) and so many of them were so good. It took me a month just to narrow it down this far… I just love all the books!
Brilliant artwork, yet the execution of this elementary school mystery flummoxed me.
Katie Fry, Private Eye: The Lost Kitten by Katherine Cox, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton.
Scholastic, New York, 2015.
Mystery, 32 pages.
Lexile: 450L .
AR Level: 2.2 (worth 0.5 points) .
Katie Fry loves to solve mysteries. This may be the first book starring her, but it’s not her first mystery. She’s solved the mystery of the early bedtime and found the lost glasses! Now there’s a lost kitten. Can she solve this new mystery too?
Two girls, each living with extended family for the summer, find a book entitled The Exquisite Corpse, surprisingly blank until one writes in it. Then the book itself starts filling in a story, a story which has interesting ties to the real world, a story which both girls are anxious to read the ending to.
I generally dislike books with two narrators. Often one is stronger than the other, and the author struggles to give them equal screen time while keeping our interest in the story. However, when this method works, it can be very strong.
Highly Unusual Magic starts with Kai, who is staying with a quirky older woman, a distant cousin whom she calls Aunt. Leila is visiting relatives in Pakistan alone and realizing that she doesn’t speak the language, and knows little about Islam although her family is nominally Muslim.
“School was over and the summer morning stretched ahead like a soft, sweet piece of bubble gum.” p. 1
The Buried Bones Mystery (Clubhouse Mysteries #1) by Sharon M. Draper, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson.
Aladdin, imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, New York, 1994, my edition published in 2006.
Elementary/middle school mystery fiction, 94 pages + excerpt from book two.
AR Level: 4.3 (worth 2.0 points)
NOTE: Previously published under the title Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs.
Rico and his three best friends have nothing to do this summer now that the closest basketball court is ruined. So they’re going to start a club, first building a clubhouse. But then they discover a mysterious box, and something important turns up missing. What could be going on?
This book was something of a leap of faith for me. I had never read a book by Sharon Draper before, although several were on my TBR list. So many of her novels have come so highly recommended, that I went ahead and ordered this book in hardcover, sight unseen. I’m so glad, because I foresee it getting a lot of use.
If you have or know a child between 2nd and 5th grade, go out and get them this book.
The Case of the Missing Trophy by Angela Shelf Medearis, illustrated by Robert Papp.
Scholastic, New York, 2004.
Elementary mystery, 135 pages.
AR Level: 4.0 (worth 3.0 points)
NOTE: This book is a sequel to The Spray-Paint Mystery, but has no spoilers for that book.
Cameron is so excited about the upcoming science fair. He can’t wait to be in fifth grade so that he can participate and maybe win the trophy back to his school for another year. The only thing more exciting is solving mysteries like his dad. But it’s no mystery why Cameron is always losing and forgetting things – it’s not easy shuffling between two houses each week now that his mom is back in Austin, Texas. Cameron’s spent so much time staring at the trophy in the display case, now it’s up to him and his three best friends to figure out where the trophy disappeared to!
I grabbed this book from the library because of the cover, blurb unread. Honestly I’m finding so many wonderful new-to-me authors this way, I nearly feel like I should choose all of my books based on the diversity of the cover. So I wasn’t aware this was a sequel. However, it doesn’t matter. The previous case is referenced a few times, but no details are given, adults just state that the case was solved last year.