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text 2016-11-07 02:49
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

By: Fredrik Backman 

ISBN: 978-1501115066

Publisher: Atria 

Publication Date: 6/15/2015 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars 

In MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY, as in his previous novel A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman paints a vivid portrait of the relationship between an older person nearing the end of his or her life, and a young child.

There is much to learn from people at the opposite ends of life. As we also discover in his latest novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, with a boy and his grandfather.

All fairy tales take their life from the fact of being different. The power of storytelling!

“Only different people change the world,” Granny used to say. “No one normal has ever changed a crapping thing.”

Granny has always loved treasure hunts. She does not color within the lines; a total disregard for social niceties. Everyone thinks she is crazy. A trouble-maker. Rip-roaring life is an adventure. A superhero for her granddaughter, Elsa. They both are misunderstood.

“Because all seven-year-olds deserve superheroes. And anyone who doesn’t agree needs their head examined.”

Elsa is seven years old. Not quite eight yet. She is smarter than her years, an old soul. She is different. Her Granny is her best friend and teaches her about life through stories. Her only friend. She does not fit in at school. Intuitive, Elsa, loves her Granny. She is eccentric, her protector, and the one who tells her nightly bedtime fairy tales in their small apartment in the Land of Almost-Awake. (Miamas, Miploris, Mimovas, Wolfheart, the Chosen One, the sea-angel, etc.)

“Grow up and be different and don’t let anyone tell you not to be different; because all superheroes are different.”

With an array of misfits, a neighborhood apartment full of colorful eccentric quirky witty characters. We also meet Britt-Marie (we hear more from in) Britt-Marie Was Here.

“Because if a sufficient number of people are different, no one has to be normal.”

 




Elsa’s parents are divorced and she spends time at both households. Her mom has remarried and currently pregnant. Granny is keeping a secret from Elsa. She has cancer. However, when she dies she is angry and alone, full of emotions. She has left her a treasure hunt.

“Having a grandmother is like having an army. This is a grandchild's ultimate privilege: knowing that someone is on your side, always, whatever the details. Even when you are wrong. Especially then, in fact. A grandmother is both a sword and a shield.”

Now, Elsa is left with the task of delivering her grandmother’s final letters of apology to all other residents of the building—The Monster, a hulking, quiet germaphobe; Alf, a tough-talking, curmudgeonly cabbie; Britt-Marie, the nervous wife of a businessman (Kent), and others—whom she feels she mistreated during her lifetime.

Is there a connection to her granny, her stories, neighbors, and her characters?

Grief, adventure, humor, emotions, and love all collide.Endearing and whimsical fairy tales provide a way to teach children (and adults) some fundamental truths about the world. I listened to the Audiobook and Joan Walker as always, delivers a captivating performance!

Hey, being a boomer, I even enjoy my seven-year-old grandson's company sometimes more than my uptight forty-year-old son. There is a bond, which often skips a generation. Of course, those are the joys of being a grandparent, when life is simpler, and not as structured. We are wise, of course :)

I enjoyed my Fredrik Backman binge read this weekend, making my way through all his endearing and charming stories. This was my last one.

Looking forward to Beartown, coming May 2017 (Atria Books) a poignant, charming novel about a forgotten town fractured by scandal, and the amateur hockey team that might just change everything.

 

 


Interview: Author Fredrik Backman talks to Drummond Moir about his book.

 


Reading Guide

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

About the Author 

Fredrik Backman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, as well as a novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. His books are being published around the world in more than thirty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.  Read More 

 

New York Times  The Man Behind ‘A Man Called Ove,’ Sweden’s Latest Hit Novel

 

 

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/01/05/My-Grandmother-Asked-Me-to-Tell-You-Shes-Sorry
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review 2016-07-24 09:27
If I Could Turn Back Time
If I Could Turn Back Time: A Novel - Beth Harbison

By: Beth Harbison

ISBN: 9781250043818
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  7/28/2015 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Beth Harbison delivers a poignant and witty story of a woman’s journey back to the past, IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME, coming in paperback June 14, 2016 (with a new 83/18 cupcakes adorable cover). Readers will go back to revisit their younger years, for a thought- provoking look at the people in our lives, choices, and questions, of what if.

“Sometimes – some rare times—when a soul has left in its own time, it leaves a love one wholly unprepared. Missing some of the most important lessons that were meant to be shared.”

“Can a soul find it’ way back to communicate in a less subtle way? To remind their loved one of those things they must know in order to find their own fate."

The night before Ramie Phillips; thirty-eighth birthday, she is on a boat (yacht) off the coast of Miami, Florida-- like something you would see on the cover of Conde’ Nast Traveleror other luxury magazine.

She did not grow up rich, In her youth she enjoyed a happy Charlie Brown landscaped middle class life in Potomac, Maryland, close to the DC border. She grew up loving math and her dad was a banker. When she was five her dad taught her about the stock market and how to track a portfolio. He taught her how to invest.

Thanks to her dad, she had a nice little nest egg for herself before she hit it big working with Whitestone, one of the top private equity investment firms in the country.

A daddy’s girl, her Dad died unexpectedly halfway through her college education. He smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, then a stroke. She thought he would be around forever and in her life. He was to be a grand dad. Her mom had always feared his upcoming death. Her mom had a hard time; however, Ramie came through for her investing her life insurance so she could live off the dividends.

Skip to the boating event, as the book opens, with champagne, cocktails, friends and a little too much to drink. Her friend just found out she is pregnant. Here she is, close to forty years old and now she is feeling sorry for herself. Her big birthday bash, had been overshadowed by toasts and congratulations for Lisa’s unexpected pregnancy.

What happened in her life from ages eighteen to thirty-eight?

She knows she is feeling like a baby. Beings selfish. Could she have known her previous partner in crime (herself) might feel a little weird about being ambushed by the news of her total acquiescence to domestication. She knew her friend would never be fun anymore. She tells her she is happy and begins to dwell on her situation. She has a nice life and career, but no personal life. She is not happy. She had been left behind. She had made mistakes.

Soon she dives off the boat and all she remembers is pain, and everything going black.

She wakes up in her childhood room. Dream or not, this was a moment in her life where she would get a second chance, with someone she had loved and lost. However, she is trying to talk about things in the future and her dad is of course still alive. Her mom thinks she is getting ready to go to school.

Now she finds herself back in time to the eve of her eighteenth birthday. Will she be able to change her decisions, and get what she wants from the past for her future?

Harbison always combines wit, emotion, and some tough life lessons. We all wish we could have a redo; and regret many things in our past, and questions of "what if" we had made a different decision, or choices back when,--- how would my life be different today. A journey of a thirty-eight year-old woman with her insight into the future and in her current role as age eighteen.

Thought-provoking! Makes you take a step back and appreciate those in your life. For Fans of In Twenty Years and The Year We Turned Forty as well as time traveling. I am normally not a fan of time travel; however this one was done really well.

For all you wondering why I am just now reviewing this book. I read it last year, and realized when reading an advanced reading copy of her upcoming new book, One Less Problem Without You, (great read), Coming July 26, 2016, was referring back to link to the review, and discovered I failed to write the review. (my bad)!

Quickly did a recap, since still on my Kindle, and even purchased the audiobook, narrated by Orlagh Cassidy for a fun time-travel trip. Guess my review, will be “timely for the paperback”, coming June.

I do not read as much chick-lit, as I did in my younger years; however, always enjoy Harbison’s books. She was initially the one to turn me on to the genre with her funny audiobooks. Always tons of fun, wit, and humor-and much more than fluff –there is depth, life, emotions, and so much more!

On a different note: Would like to take this opportunity to highlight St. Martin’s Press and compliment the team on all the beautiful covers! The Beth Harbison name is branded by her covers, and each and every one pulls you in to her character’s world. They are perfect. A cover can make, or break a book in my opinion, and all St. Martin’s Press’ covers are first-class- one of my favorite publishers.

 

  

Coming in Paperback

June 14, 2016 

If I Could Turn Back Time

Buy the Book 

 

Told with Beth Harbison's wit and warmth, If I Could Turn Back Time is the fantasy of every woman who has ever thought, "If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I'd do things so differently...

 

 

Coming July 26, 2016 

One Less Problem Without You 

Buy the Book 

 

Be sure and move, One Less Problem Without You to the top of your list! (just finished it and "promise" to write my review before Tues. pub date). You will love the Cosmo chic cover, the three gals whose lives connect, a bad guy, teas, and "Diana’s Drinks" with 30-yummy cocktail recipes at the end of the book. Need I say more?

 

 

On a personal note: I think I was meant to go back and re-read this book. Makes you think of your parents. This week received the news my mom (some of you know she has battled cancer for 3 ½ yrs.) -now her body is shutting down, with less than a few months left to live. All of her many friends are saying their goodbyes, and I will be returning home, within the next couple of weeks, from South Florida to NC to spend some time with her and the family. This will be a difficult time- and not sure what lies ahead, as my dad depends on her for everything (they just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary), and his health is poor as well.

This is when we all want "more time", and regrets for all the time we have wasted. As she mentioned this week, even though she has known she has stage IV cancer for years, she kept thinking she was going to beat it, and she would have "more time." Now there is none. This book brought back some special memories and times with my mom, as a teen.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!If-I-Could-Turn-Back-Time/cmoa/555e276f0cf2adc1ad4cf26b
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review 2016-03-11 20:39
What She Knews
What She Knew: A Novel - Gilly MacMillan

By: Gilly Macmillan

ISBN: 006244462X

Publisher: Harper Audio 

Publication Date:12/1/2015 

Format: Audio 

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Gilly MacMillan delivers a gripping psychological domestic suspense debut, WHAT SHE KNEW —A parent’s worst fear and nightmare- a missing child.

Rachel Jenner and her eight-year-old son Ben and their dog, Skittles---an afternoon outing at the Bristol Park. Rachel gets distracted for a brief moment and her son runs ahead. He disappears. She's frantic.

Newly divorced, a photographer has a low self-esteem, and an ex-husband with a new wife. Now the media is displaying her as a bad mother. Judgments flow. From social media to bloggers.

An investigation—alternating perspectives between DI Jim Clemo and Rachel. Rachel is guilt ridden, and Jim blames himself for not solving the case sooner. Intensity builds as the pieces of the puzzle come together.

Character-driven, a case of ordinary people finding themselves in challenging situations. Rachel was more of a victim at the beginning of the novel, worn down from life’s obstacles—however, as the book moves on she gains momentum. Secrets rise to the surface about the past and Rachel is unsure who she can trust. Jim on the other hand is dealing with his own issues.

Engrossing, lyrical, deeply probing, and impressive writing; Full of twists and turns; dark secrets, fear, suspense--a mother’s deep love; the author unravels at a perfect pace, for a gripping psychological suspense debut. Fans of Paula Dalywill delight. An author to follow.

I listened to the audio version and narrators, Penelope Rawlins, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart delivered an intense performance. I read this book a while ago; however, realized after reading The Perfect Girl, failed to write my review.

Highly recommend the British author’s second book, THE PERFECT GIRL, a 5 star gripping psychological thriller!

 

 

 
 
Narrators: Penelope Rawlins, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart
ASIN: B01B263FVQ
Publisher:  Hachette Audio
Publication Date: 3/3/2016
Format: Other
My Rating:  5 Stars  
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!What-She-Knew/cmoa/566a11170cf2bbe8cab42985
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review 2016-02-21 19:20
Bond Street Story
Bond Street Story - Norman Collins

By: Norman Collins 

ISBN: 9781448209972

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Publication Date:  12/31/2015 

Format: e-book

My Rating: 4 Stars

A special thank you to Bloomsbury USA and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Bond Street, really Oxford Street, even so, it was indisputably one of the better stations. Norman Collins delivers BOND STREET STORY, a charming, nostalgic novel of post-war London set in a glamorous department store, Rammell's.

Rammell’s is famous. It has everything. A London department store. You could be clothed, fed, furnished, kept amused, and ultimately buried entirely by Rammell’s. Provided you are in the right income bracket.

Irene Privet, was only seventeen. Still living in the full turmoil of adolescence. Life opened out in front of her down a long corridor of chaos and confusion. She longs for the bright lights of stage.

Readers meet a variety of eccentric characters from Rammell’s—each with their connections, loves, hopes and dreams. From young to old and those in between.

The family From the owners, retired Sir Harry, and his son Eric with his digestive problems, his wife and son Tony -- to the newest salesgirl Irene, daughter of one of the shop-walkers Mr. Privett. Mr. Bloot, the senior shop-walker falls in love and marries. Tony has a fling with the model Marcia and Eric, in straightening this out, assumes Marcia as his responsibility until she pulls a mink bomb -- and it is Sir Harry who, at the end, takes Marcia off everyone's hands.

From life in the fifties— glamour, gossip, romance, intrigue with a cast of charming, and memorable characters. A look at post-war London when life was bustling –from shop girls, typist, cashiers and secretaries who running the show.

Broken down in sections with short chapters:
Book One: Reluctance of a Female Apprentice
Book Two: Love and the Shopwalker
Book Three: private Affairs of a Leading Model
Book four Case of the Missing Budgies
Book Five: Bond Street in Retrospect

A timeless classic lighthearted fictional account, reminding us of the days when at one time or other in our younger years, there was always a job at an upscale department store (which we now call a boutique)--always those in charge. You can feel the buzz and nostalgia—Collins brings the characters to life in a simpler time.

Love the glamorous new cover!

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Bond-Street-Story/cmoa/56ca060e0cf25df9372275e3
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review 2016-01-26 04:24
Pieces of My Mother
Pieces of My Mother: A Memoir - Melissa Cistaro

By Melissa Cistaro
ISBN: 9781492615385
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS (non-fiction)
Publication Date: 5/5/2015
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Coming in Paperback, Feb 2, 2016!  An ideal selection for book clubs and further discussions.

 

A special thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for an ARC exchange for an honest review. Beautiful front cover, which grabs you. 

Please join me **Upcoming Blog Tour Stop Host April 21 for a complimentary Chapter 1 excerpt from Pieces of My Mother.

Melissa Cistaro courageously steps out to deliver a poignant memoir, PIECES OF MY MOTHER, a heartbreaking story, drawn from memory, letters, and early recollections of her own childhood and family trials.

While trying to sort out her troubled family and a mother who left when she was a small girl, she reflects as a grown woman, while looking at her own family, and wonders genetics can spill over and make you question yourself as a mother. Are we destined to repeat our past environment?

Perfect timing as we approach Mother’s Day, to appreciate our mothers, and realize some children do not always have the proper parents—ones to love and protect them, to serve as viable role models for their children. These children grow up always wondering if they were to blame for their parent’s absence, and desperately seek love and validation.

As a child, Melissa sees her mother drive off while her dad informs the family their mother is "taking a break" from everyone and not very forthcoming about the details. They can only hope she will return for their birthday, or possibly a special holiday. However, when she does, is she really there? She and her brothers--Jamie and Eden, alone without a mother.

Now a mother herself, how can she tell her daughter a dark truth, she was leavable and unkeepable. What if there is some sort of genetic family flaw, some kind of leaving gene that unexpectedly grabs hold of mothers like the ones in her family? What if the gene is lying dormant inside of her? What if her own daughter worries she may leave one day?

She pictures her mom, a thousand miles away, and only visiting a few times, while each of the children carried "her leaving" in different ways. She took all the colors with her. She drifted in and out of their lives like live-in sitters, always seeming just out of reach. She wants her own daughter to feel safe and loved, not left the way she has always felt.

Now years later, a mom with children of her own, she finds herself in Washington, as her mother is dying. Her mom has cirrhosis and liver cancer; all the years of drinking have caught up with her. All her fears surface. She is leaving once again. She will only be sixty five in five days and she promises her own family she will be home by New Year’s Eve. Her own family needs her and wants to make sure she WILL return.

Her mom is as mysterious as ever, yet her mother surrounds herself with bits and pieces of life collected; a life she never really knew – the books she loved. Melissa began to fill her own notebooks, only attempting to understand her mom’s leaving, searching for memories that could rescue her. Believing that if she could dig up the goodness in the things that haunted her, there would be a chance she could save her mom, her brothers, her dad, and herself. If she can get the words right, maybe she can keep her alive. She wants desperately to understand a woman who is dying.

As she is going through her mother’s things, she finds folders, letters, treasures, and all the while she recalls the days she was afraid to move to yet another house, for the fear her mom may not be able to find them; if and when, she would come back. Now, letters her mom never sent may provide her comfort and answers. Her mom and dad were both hoarders, coveting treasures and not one of these items will keep her alive. She too suffers from hanging on to things.

However, as she reads her mom’s letters, thirty-six years have passed since she watched the her mom drive away in her baby-blue Dodge Dart, she still wonders what if she had called out to her, would she have stayed? Now she has to make the decision to leave her mom to die, to get back to her own family and a miracle of her own.

A deeply moving complex, honest portrayal of family, of motherhood, yet uplifting and captivating; alternating between Melissa and her mother, we see firsthand how a parent’s choices impact their children’s lives for generations to come with emotional devastation.

 
From regret, understanding, acceptance, to forgiveness; a book of the strong bonds of love and motherhood. What doesn't kill you, will fortunately make you stronger.
 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1133761581
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