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review 2017-04-23 04:12
Beartown
Beartown: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

By: Fredrik Backman 

ISBN: 978-1501160769

Publisher: Atria

Publication Date: 4/25/2017

Format:  Hardcover 

My Rating:  5 Stars

 

This author has a knack for "Best Books To Tug At Your Heart Strings."

Talented storyteller, Fredrick Backman returns following the novella (2016), And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer: (A small book with a BIG message ), with his latest powerful story, BEARTOWN — A Swedish dying hockey town. A town of stories. A town of secrets.

High-expectations. Burdens. Pressures. A town which relies on the sport and its youth to pull them through. Some people have the "bear" in them.

Beartown isn’t close to anything. The town is losing. It has been a very long time since it won at anything. The town slogan, “Beartown Leaves You Wanting More.” The wind, snow, and weather have since wiped out the word “more.”

The ice hockey stands are packed every weekend, even though the team’s achievements have collapsed in line with the town’s economy. A small town with big dreams. A community. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden to carry, for all concerned.

There are also those from the Hollow. Those less fortunate. How do those from different social classes stack up?

“Hockey is both complicated and not complicated at all. It can be hard to understand the rules, challenging to live with the culture, as good as impossible to get all the people who love it not to pull so hard in different directions that it breaks . . . “

This is why everyone hopes that when the team’s fortune improves, the rest of the town will get pulled up along with it. Their motto has been: "Word hard, take the knocks, don’t complain, keep your mouth shut, and show the bastards in the big cities where they are from."

Once upon a time, Beartown Ice Hockey’s A-team was one step above the juniors and second best in the top division in the country. That was more than two decades and three divisions ago, and now Beartown will go up against the best once again. A win means something for the town’s economy. Survival.

“The sport demands only one thing from you. Your all.“

Maya hates hockey but understands her father (Peter)’s love for it. Peter had made it all the way to Canada and the NHL, matching up against the best in the world. He had come home to take over the team. Peter and his wife, Kira (attorney) have their own grief from the past. Does family mean more than sports, a town, a community's survival?

When the star player on the hockey team, whom everyone looks up to is accused of rape, the town is devastated. The guy on the pedestal. Who would dare take him down?

"It’s only a game. It can only change people’s lives. "

A hidden crime. One that could change lives. There are secrets and lies among friends, family, teens, husbands, and wives.

Backman reaches down into the soul and hearts of his characters and the human psyche. He takes his flawed characters to the dark places and brings hope. They become heroes. As with all his books, readers will find themselves bookmarking many passages, with this bold story of friendship and family bonds; ultimately one of redemption. Rich in character and the true meaning of family.

From loyalty, betrayal, and courage.

Backman's writing is lyrical, poignant, and thought-provoking. Highly emotional and insightful; part coming-of-age and a cautionary tale for both parents and teens; the consequences of carrying other’s dreams on our shoulders.

 



Have read all his books and highly recommend each one.
A Man Called Ove
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
Britt-Marie Was Here
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer

 

Best Novella of 2016

A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an early reading copy. (always love his quirky covers). Also purchased the audiobook.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

PRAISE FOR BEARTOWN

“Like Friday Night Lights, this is about more than youth sports; it's part coming-of-age novel, part study of moral failure, and finally a chronicle of groupthink in which an unlikely hero steps forward to save more than one person from self-destruction. A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit, Backman's latest will resonate a long time.”—Kirkus Reviews

 

“Lest readers think hockey is the star here, it’s Backman’s rich characters that steal the show, and his deft handling of tragedy and its effects on an insular town. While the story is dark at times, love, sacrifice, and the bonds of friendship and family shine through ultimately offering hope and even redemption.”—Publishers Weekly

 

“The sentimentally savvy Backman takes a sobering and solemn look at the ways alienation and acceptance, ethics and emotions nearly destroy a small town and young people.”
Booklist

 

 

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 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/Beartown
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review 2017-04-20 18:09
All the Best People/Sonja Yoerg
All the Best People - Sonja Yoerg

Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family's auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.

But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won't reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn't the television. She ought to seek help, but she's terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.

An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.

I thought this book was really beautiful and eloquently written and a fine example of how women's fiction can be literary fiction, deep and moving with a great portrayal of mental illness.


It did take me several chapters to become engrossed in this novel and to get my bearings regarding who was who. Even then I felt I could have stepped away; however, the characters were intricately developed and crafted with each having their own and I thought of them affectionately.


This story has its origins in a real law case and though the rest of it is fictionalised I was impressed by the way that Yoerg set up the effect of the case on the generations to come. Additionally, the setting of Vermont was well done and I felt like this could have been memoir at points.


Classism was portrayed in such an incredible manner. I was fascinated by how we saw it slowly creep through the story to play a huge role, and the way that prejudice was so easily dismissed and explained away. The concept of bad blood coming back later through Carole's illness was so incredibly poignant and ironic, and I loved the way the last twist of information worked against those who'd used the idea.


The connection between Solange and Alison was honestly so sweet. Alison was an absolute delight to read about and was incredibly well-written; I could see aspects of my twelve-year-old sister in her. The way she talked about feeling lonely and forgotten leading up to how she comes to really appreciate her mother was incredibly touching.


Not all characters were 'good' and I appreciated the way this showed all facets of people--the good, the bad, and the ugly. I loved how even when I adored a character, they showed their flaws and did something I wouldn't expect.


Finally, and most importantly, I loved how this talked about mental illness. So often literature does no justice to this very important matter, but this showed how mental illness is real, how it needs to be talked about, and how it is something that we can live with.

Beautiful, beautiful novel. I highly recommend for those looking for a deeper women's lit read.

 

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review 2017-04-17 06:59
The Weight of This World
The Weight of This World - David Joy

By: David Joy

ISBN: 9780399173110

Publisher: Penguin/Putnam

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

Talented storyteller, David Joy returns following his outstanding debut, Where All the Light Tends to Go to rural North Carolina mountains of Appalachia with another dark, gritty Southern noir THE WEIGHT OF THIS WORLD. From flawed and tortured souls, in search of light within the darkness.

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.

In Sylva, NC Aiden McCall, at the young age of twelve, witnessed his dad murder his mother, then turn the gun on himself. A sight which would haunt him for the rest of his life. His worst fear was becoming his father one day.

Growing up in a group home he only had one friend, Thad Broom. Thad had his own past. Aiden had always believed that as time moved on the world would open up, that life would get easier rather than harder.

Hard led to harder. Life had a way of wearing a man down into nothing. The older he got the more complicated the world had become.

With enough money and a fresh start, Aiden and Thad could set things right. However, the housing bubble burst and jobs dried up. Thad was on deployment in Afghanistan when the construction business went to pot.

Those years Thad got to leave Aiden was jealous. But when Thad came back, Aiden was not sure who had it better or worse. If they could only leave the mountains. Aiden thought somewhere like Asheville, Hendersonville, or Atlanta for a fresh start. An opportunity for a better life.

April Trantham, Thad’s mother, had her own problems and past, starting from a young age. When the boys were in high school April inherited six acres and an old run down house and a single wide from the old man George had cancer.

April and Aiden find comfort in one another while Thad is away. Thad returns after a traumatic tour of duty in Afghanistan he is never the same, more damaged than when he left. The three of them want to escape their traumas; however, the weight of the world is heavy around them, and they cannot seem to escape.

. . . “There were so many horrible things they had buried inside themselves, all of the memories that had come to govern their lives. He found himself wishing that he could have been the one to bear it all. He wished that he could have taken all of the bad in this world and piled it onto himself so that he would have been the one to ever know that kind of suffering.”



From drugs, hatred, murder, crime and violence. Thad and Aiden’s drug dealer accidentally kills himself, leaving the two young men with drugs and cash; however, they cannot seem to pull themselves from the darkness. A drug- deal gone, bad.

. . . “Things weren’t okay. Everything wasn’t going to be all right. The world was entirely broken,”

Thad soon realizes that dying was a one-way ticket to judgment and it made no difference whether it came now or years down the road. He would be judged on his way to find redemption.

A mother who had not fully given herself to motherhood and her son, due to her own demons of pain and her innocence stolen. Aiden, trying to forget his haunted past. Did some people deserve to die? People had choices. These three may have more in common than they know.

As in his first book, David Joy skillfully balances the all-consuming brutality and darkness of his characters with the lyrical beauty of his writing. He captures the emotions, the setting, the culture; from crimes, dysfunction, hatred and poison, and struggles of the wounded human spirit, often with limited choices and repeating their own environment.

Told with compassion, from sadness to hope. Fans of gritty Southern noirs/literature and authors Ron Rash, Wiley Cash and John Hart will appreciate this skillfully written tale.

A special thank you to Penguin Putman and NetGalley for an early reading copy. (Also purchased audiobook)

JDCMustReadBooks

David Joy's books are always meant to be read, pondered, and listened to. MacLeod Andrews is a perfect narrator for THE WEIGHT OF THIS WORLD, as he was for Where All Light Tends to Go. Both 5 Stars.

A great Q&A with the Author: Smoky Mountain News
The weight of desire: David Joy releases second book

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/The-Weight-of-This-World
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review 2017-04-14 11:53
THE MAN I LOVE by Suanne Laqueur Review
I love this author's writing style. I read wonderful stories all the time, but the actual craft of writing from this author continues to blow me away.
 
Erik and Daisy meet and fall in love in college. She's a world class ballerina, and he does the technical design. Everything is going wonderful for them. Their romance is perfect. School is great. By all signs, the future is nothing but up, up, up. After a tragedy, it's impossible for them to get back on track. This is the journey of their love and despair and the eventual finding of themselves. It spans many years.
 
I didn't read anything about this story before starting it. Every emotion hit me hard, and I had to ride it out fully. I want to go into detail about all my feels at each point, but I don't want to spoil anything. Just know that you aren't going to want to put it down, but you may have to a few times to wipe your eyes. It's beyond beautiful. It broke my heart at times and overfilled it others. The Man I Love is not to be missed. Exquisite. Moving. Defining.
 
Website:  http://fangirlmomentsandmytwocents.blogspot.com
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Source: fangirlmomentsandmytwocents.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-man-i-love-by-suanne-laqueur-review.html
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review 2017-04-12 02:08
Quickie #Audiobook Review: One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
One Fell Sweep: Innkeeper Chronicles, Book 3 - Nancy Yost Literary Agency,Ilona Andrews,Renée Raudman

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews,
Narrated by Renee Raudman
(Innkeeper Chronicles #3)
Speed: 1.25x

 

My "re-read" of One Fell Sweep in audiobook format was perfection and served to further endear this amazing series to me. Both intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying, the world of Dina Demille and the Innkeepers is wholly unique and fascinating.

 

Ms. Raudman brings to life the essence of each character, giving each his or her own unique and identifiable voice. She captures emotion: excitement, pain, sorrow, desire, madness, in each scene. I love her narrative voice for Dina, mixing her patience with a slight hint of southern charm. The team of Renee Raudman and Ilona Andrews is an auto buy for me.

 

For a more detailed review of the story, please read my original review of the Kindle book: http://twimom227.booklikes.com/post/1506070/review-one-fell-sweep-by-ilona-andrews 

 

My Rating: A
Narration: A+

 

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