Book Review: Tantric Coconuts by Greg Kincaid

Tantric Coconuts by Greg KincaidTantric Coconuts: What it is about

From the publishers: “Free spirit Angel Two Sparrow—artist and musician extraordinaire—is having trouble making ends meet.  On the verge of desperation, she inherits her crazy Aunt Lilly’s bookmobile and half-wolf named No Barks, and dreams up yet another life plan. Painting her business card on the side of the van, Angel and her trusty companion set off on a pilgrimage across America hoping to jump-start her new profession: Native American Spiritual Consultant.

Traveling in the other direction, Ted Day and his trusty Irish Terrier-mix Argo are on a much needed vacation (and in need of spiritual nourishment). When he leaves Kansas, Ted can’t image how far from his sleepy law office that old silver and black Winnebago 32RQ Chieftain will take him.

Two lives (four if you count the canines) collide (literally). Once the dust settles, Ted and Angel find themselves enamored.  Sensing that something bigger and more profound has been set in motion, the couple embarks on a wild road trip, detouring into some rarely traveled corridors of the human soul. Very soon, it becomes clear that nothing will ever be the same for these travelers, their dogs, and, heck, the world at large, too. “

Tantric Coconuts: What I thought

This book was more spiritual/religious than I had anticipated. I may not have read it if I’d realized. And that would have been a pity.

This was such a fun book! I loved the main characters, the slightly chaotic Angel who only wants the best for other people, and Ted, the very stern lawyer, who wasn’t in the mood for a holiday at all, but still.

It takes a bit of time for Ted to defrost, but when he does, he becomes a pleasant person who is willing to learn whatever Angel is happy to teach him. And that is a lot. In two weeks’ time, he learns all about the different levels of religion, on a kind of maturity scale. Most people get stuck at a low level and believe things quite differently from people at the highest levels (who are mainly enlightened people). Ted is a quick student and soon understands most of what he’s being taught. Angel gets help from a catholic priest, a Buddhist, and a Muslim.

For all that I care about religion (not at all), I loved reading about the different levels (it was a concept I had not heard of before), and more generally, about Angel and Ted’s travels. The writing is very easy going with some of the explanations about the levels being a little harder to follow. It’s a very accessible, friendly book.

 


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 296

First published: 2014

I got this: for review from my Dutch Random House rep

Genre: contemporary fiction, spirituality, religion

 

Book Review: The Home Place by Carrie La Seur

The Home Place by Carrie la SeurThe Home Place: What it is about

From the publishers: “The only Terrebonne who made it out, Alma thought she was done with Montana, with its bleak winters and stifling ways. But an unexpected call from the local police takes the successful lawyer back to her provincial hometown and pulls her into the family trouble she thought she’d left far behind: Her lying, party-loving sister, Vicky, is dead. Alma is told that a very drunk Vicky had wandered away from a party and died of exposure after a night in the brutal cold. But when Alma returns home to bury Vicky and see to her orphaned niece, she discovers that the death may not have been an accident.

The Home Place is a story of secrets that will not lie still, human bonds that will not break, and crippling memories that will not be silenced. It is a story of rural towns and runaways, of tensions corporate and racial, of childhood trauma and adolescent betrayal, and of the guilt that even forgiveness cannot ease. Most of all, this is a story of the place we carry in us always: home.”

The Home Place: What I thought

The publisher compares this book with A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash and The House Girl by Tara Conklin, which I enjoyed both, so I was keen to read this book. While I’m not quite sure about the comparison with the latter, I enjoyed The Home Place a lot.

Alma comes back “home” after her sister has died. Is it an accident? Really, Alma wants to go back to her busy life in the big city but there’s also her sister’s daughter. There isn’t really anyone suitable around who can take care of her. They spend some time on the Home Place, the old farm house where no one of the family have lived for a while.  But are they safe there?

Alma finds herself looking into her sister’s death and discovering things she’d rather not know. It’s an almost-thriller (I wasn’t on the edge of my seat at any time) that gently evolves. It was enjoyable but it finished too fast for me. I guess that’s a good sign.

 


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 261 (ebook)

First published: 2014

I got this: for review from Netgalley/HarperCollins

Genre: contemporary fiction

 

Two-weekly Reading Roundup

The last two weeks

Not much reading done! I’ve been to a 2-Day business course (given by the famous Brian Tracy) and learned to FOCUS on what’s important. And reading is becoming that less and less. And… no reading, not much blogging!

.

Books I finished in the last TWO weeks: 3

The Home Place by Carrie la SeurSnow White by Donald BarthelmeHaal meer uit je dip [Get More Out of Your Bad Turn] by Marisa Garau

 

The Home Place by Carrie La Seur. A woman’s never-do-well sister has died. Was it really an accident? A book full of family secrets. 4 stars

Snow White by Donald Barthelme [review in Dutch]. A crazy book about a modern-day Snow White who lives with seven men but is waiting for her prince. 4 stars

Haal meer uit je dip [Get More from Your Dip] by Marisa Garau [review in Dutch]. About how mindfulness can help you when you’re in a dip. I’m not, but I found it useful anyway. 4 stars

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Other books I reviewed

Longbourn by Jo BakerWhere'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria SempleHet Boschhuis [The Bosch House]  by Pauline Broekema

 

Longbourn by Jo Baker. Behind the scenes at Pride and Prejudice: the servants’ tale. 4.5 stars

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. A fun read about the disappearance of a mother. 4.5 stars

Het Boschhuis [The Bosch House] by Pauline Broekema [review in Dutch]. A fictionalised family history. Too detailed, too disconnected. DNF.

 

Planning to read next

Alles hiervoor by Andre PlatteelTantric Coconuts by Greg KincaidMr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store by Robin SloanDark Eden by Chris BeckettMambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok

 

What are YOU reading this week?

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Book Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria SempleWhere’d You Go, Bernadette?: What it is about

From Goodreads: “Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.”

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?: What I thought

An easy going book. It consists of a number of emails, notes and diary entries by people who deal with Bernadette in some way or another.

In most of the book Bernadette herself is present. She’s involved in many situations. No-one in her little town likes her and her husband thinks she’s going crazy. I got a impression about Bernadette that I kept having to adjust. That was nicely done.

The different pieces in the book are alternated with the diary of the daughter, Bee, who is actually the most important person in the book. She is a very intelligent teenager but lives her own live. From her diary it becomes clear that she doesn’t have a clue what’s really going on.

The neighbors are awkward people but Bernadette gets the blame for everything that goes wrong. People gossip about her, especially her neighbor and the neighbor’s friend, who is also the secretary of Bernadette’s husband.

Eventually, Bernadette goes missing and Bee and her father undertake an adventurous trip in order to try and find her back, almost against all odds.

I loved this crazy book with mad neighbors, an unlikely holiday, a psychiatrist who’s totally out of line, an Indian virtual assistant, and much more.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)

Number of pages: 330

First published: 2012

I got this: bought myself

Genre: contemporary fiction, humor

 

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