Day: September 24, 2018

Book Review: My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

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I am usually good at knowing my ability to read a book in a genre other than ones I normally read. I’m not much of a fantasy or science-fiction guy. I loved Harry Potter, The Time Machine, Lord of the Rings, and Thursday Next, but when there’s a lot of room for wiggle in the structure, I’m less inclined to like it. It could be an amazing book, but it just doesn’t work for me as I question the boundaries and the influx of species I don’t understand. I never expected to find that in a Fredrik Backman novel… I read four of his others and just went on a splurge to order copies of everything he’d written. When I perused the description for My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, I went “uh oh” but continued on. About ten percent in, I knew I was going to struggle.

It’s not a fantasy book, but at least 50% of the story is based on metaphors and allegories where Backman tells us about the relationships of a kooky cast of characters who share residence in a large building full of apartments. Elsa is the 7-turning-8-year-old main character who’s been given a series of notes from her recently deceased and supposedly crazy grandmother. Through Elsa’s eyes, and her grandmother’s imagination, we learn some history and some current happenings that tie everything together. Her grandmother created a fantasy world of people and places to help teach Elsa a different way of looking at the world both near and afar.

In many aspects, the story is hilarious and adorable. When it sticks to real-life situations, I laugh and cry. When it tries to show the theory of how people relate to one another thru made-up places and monsters, I’m lost. It’s a bit of an immediate thing…. I hear/see the words about another creature or planet, and something sinks inside me. In movies, I love it. But in books, I usually do not. I also struggled at times because of the simplicity in some of the writing. While Elsa’s vocabulary is quite skillful, and her ways of dealing with people are more mature than most adults I know, the short and terse structure at times overwhelmed the plot for me.

So… my lesson is to be careful when going on a binge to read all the works from an author you love. While this hasn’t caused me to drop my opinion of Backman, it made me realize a story needs to work on all levels and elements to truly move or impact me. In this one, the fantasy took me out of the normal love I have for Backman’s style and character development to the point I found myself skimming way too often. I committed to reading it, and I did, but I probably only digested about 2/3 of the content because it just wasn’t keeping my attention.

I’m still gonna read more of his work and recommend him to others. Just not this book unless the reader is unlike me and loves the fantasy components. Given the good parts were a 5 for me, and the bad parts were a 1 for me, I settled on allotting 3 stars which in my world is still a good book. I recognize the skill and talent enough to say it’s a solid read with a select audience. Kudos to anyone who loved it, I wish I could be more open-minded in some of the genres I don’t often find interesting. Maybe one day!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

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I’m starting to get a little sad… this book, Banana Cream Pie Murder, is the 21st of 24 cozy mystery novels written in the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke. I’ve only got three more left! I was awarded the next two via NetGalley, and I’ll need to buy the last one when it’s released this fall… then I’ll have to wait months. Oh no! I’ve managed not to read any spoilers on what’s happened in the next three books, nor share anything too big in my reviews to ruin it for others, but based on the way this one ended, with the first major cliffhanger ever, I’m worried! Is it all a sham? Oh no!
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In this caper, Hannah’s newly married after finally choosing one of her three suitors throughout the series. She picked the least likely one, and something tells me that there’s a reason for it in the future books. As she settles into married life, she asks the basic questions: Do I have to cook dinner for him? Should we tell each other everything? Will he put me first always? Interesting ideas… I mean, I get she comes from a town where many of the women look at it as their responsibility to cook their husband’s dinner, so I don’t take any offense to it (nor should others as this is representing something ‘traditional’ from the past — not necessarily correct or something to promote as good, but still… it fits with the series and character type. On the flip side, she also says “I’ll do what I want with my own time, I’m not tied to the hip with him.” At least she stood up for herself there!

That said… the mystery was good up until the finish. Talk about a dark horse coming in to be the killer in the last 2 chapters. The process of elimination for other suspects was clever and good as usual, but I did feel a tad bit gipped in the end. Hmm… why is GR telling me gipped isn’t a word? Oh well… back to the review. I’d have liked to see something a little stronger, but the rest of the book was hilarious and fun to watch all the character development. Delores found the body this time. Michelle is turning out to be the best sister ever. The mayor is the scapegoat for everything. And wow… where is this police force? Always missing until Hannah’s caught the killer. Ha!

Can’t wait for more… it’s my self-indulging silly and entertaining fun! 🙂

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.