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#BookReview: The Maid’s Room by Fiona Mitchell #MPBooks

The Maid's Room book coverTitle: The Maid’s Room

Author: Fiona Mitchell

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Genre: Contemporary

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Description: ‘This is where she sleeps. A cupboard. A bedroom. A windowless box.’
Sisters Dolly and Tala have never felt further from home. In the blistering heat of Singapore, they spend their days enabling ex-pats to have lives they could never afford for themselves.
Even though she has little freedom, Dolly can just about live with her job if it means she’s able to support her beloved young daughter back in the Philippines. One day – if she’s lucky – Dolly may even be able to go back and see her.
Tala, however, just can’t keep her mouth shut about the restrictive, archaic rules maids are forced to abide by on pain of deportation. She risks everything to help her fellow maids, who have struggled to have their voices heard for far too long.
In a world where domestic workers are treated so poorly, The Maid’s Room explores how women can come together to change each other’s lives, and be the architects of their own futures.Read More »

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#BookReview: North Face by Matt Dickinson #MPBooks

North Face book coverTitle: North Face (The Everest Files book #2)

Author: Matt Dickinson

Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing

Genre: Young adult (teen) Contemporary, Action

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Description:   Ryan Hart is an 18-year-old adventurer on a mission. To get himself to Mount Everest and check out the truth about the world’s highest peak. Friends have told him dark stories about the mountain, outrageous things that he wants to see for himself.
Just a few hours after Ryan arrives at Everest Base Camp a lethal earthquake strikes. Avalanches pound the glacier, burying Ryan’s climbing buddy and killing many others. A desperate rescue saves Ryan’s friend, but only after a local Tibetan girl Tashi helps with the search.
Stress levels are running high among the climbing teams. The mountain is shut for the season because it is judged too dangerous.
Then a flashlight reveals a clue. Someone is alive, high on Everest’s treacherous north face!
Tashi is convinced it is her 15-year-old brother.
Ryan is prepared to risk everything to help.
Storm clouds gather as they set out on their illegal climb, a do-or-die mission which the local militia will do anything to stop.

My Review:  I really didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did! ‘North Face’ is the second book in ‘The Everest Files’ trilogy and is an exciting read. You don’t have to read the first book to enjoy this one as it works well as a stand alone novel. The story begins with Ryan, an adventurer on a gap year, who arrives at Everest but soon after an earthquake strikes devastating the camp. In the chaos that follows he ends up meeting Tashi, a Tibetan girl who helps him with his friend, but soon it’s Tashi who needs help.

The first chapter of the book is written in the first person and is from Ryan’s perspective but this soon changes to the third person when we hear Tashi’s story. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this book when reading the first chapter. There was a lot of fast-paced action happening when the earthquake hits but I didn’t really feel much of a connection with Ryan’s character yet. It’s only when chapter two starts, where we read Tashi’s backstory, that I began to feel connected and really interested in reading this book.

Tashi’s tale is a fascinating one and once I’d started reading her story I really couldn’t put this book down. Her story begins with her life with her family, leading a nomadic life free in Tibet. But soon the Chinese military show up ruining everyone’s lives, slowly repressing the Tibetan people, and lives. I don’t want to go into the details of what happens but it’s a sad and at times shocking read. I’ve read a lot of books, both fiction and non-fiction, about the freedoms of certain people and cultures being taken away from them, especially during the second world war, but something about reading this book which is set in times today made this all the more shocking.

Apologies for the shadow and out of focus image my camera wouldn’t focus. An example however of the chapter headers.

 

Tashi’s story continues for more than half of the book and eventually reaches the point where she began talking to Ryan. At this point the story switches back to Ryan’s perspective. I didn’t mind this transition at all. It felt natural and I really enjoyed getting to know Tashi and the truth about the authorities repression of her people. I have to admit that it’s the story of what happens to Tashi’s family and her which really drove me to want to read this book. I became completely engrossed in the story and fascinated by the moments of Tibetan culture that are mentioned too.

This book really has a lot of fast-paced action in it although I wouldn’t say that it’s action throughout. Tashi’s parts were slower and more typical of any contemporary novel however what happens on the climb and after is thrilling, especially when there is trouble behind them, during the climb. I don’t want to spoil this part of the story or the ending but there’s a lot more that happens and it was unpredictable right to the end. Even the last moments of action and the last chapter were exciting and I’m surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. It’s made me want to read the entire Everest Files trilogy as there are mentions of something in this story which make me wonder what happened in the first book and what will happen in the next.

Each chapter has a header image which is a beautiful illustration and worth mentioning.  They contain pictures of peacocks, yaks and tigers among other things and it just makes the book all the more special to read.  The descriptions of some of the things that happen to the Tibetan people are a bit disturbing. Though nothing is gruesome it can be a little shocking and there are occasional blunt descriptions of dead bodies and other such things. There isn’t anything offensive though I still wouldn’t recommend this for anyone below teen age. The back of the book has some quick information on where you can find more about Everest and what’s happening with the Tibetan people which is good as this subject has really interested me.

Again a little out of focus the actual image is clearer but a beautiful header image this one of a peacock!!! 😀

 

This book is surprisingly engrossing and a much deeper and important novel than it first appears to be. The descriptions of what’s happening to Tashi, her family and her fellow Tibetans makes this all the more important to read as it’s based in the realities of what is happening today. Although Tashi’s story is fiction, I have no doubt that the author described some of the horrors of what is happening in Tibet today and it makes this such an important read as well as being a really good action story too.

I’d definitely recommend this book to read for everyone teen aged and up and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series to find out what happens!
-Thanks to Vertebrate Publishing for a free copy.


What do you think of this book and series?  Do you like books that highlight cultural and human rights issues?  What about adventure and action novels?  Please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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