review

Book Review: Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Posted on

Author Fredrik Backman is in my TOP 5 writers of all time. I’ve read 4 of his books now, and they always have a profound impact on me. I’m hoping to finish reading them all this year which is why Britt-Marie Was Here made it to my September TBR. If you’re familiar with his work, it’s a combination of ‘A Man Called Ove’ and ‘Beartown’ in terms of the love of sport, the human condition’s intensity, and the desire for a different life. All in all, I gave it 4.25 stars as it was better than a 4 but I couldn’t round up to a 5 on this one.

27406704

Britt-Marie is in her early 60s and has left her husband, Kent, after she caught him cheating on her via the other woman taking him to the hospital as he had a heart attack. Although she’s independent, Britt-Marie has been cared for too long by others to know exactly how to survive on her own. She succeeds on many levels when she moves to a town, Borg, not too far away from home to get her first outside-of-the-home job since she was a waitress right after high school and right before marrying Kent. In Borg, life is basically listless, scarce, and penniless. It’s been hit by a financial crisis and no one has money for anything. Britt-Marie does her best to find a way to make the move to a new job and a new residence something positive, but it doesn’t go very smoothly at first. In time, she evolves into a more open-minded individual, yet her core beliefs remain stalwart. She’s ornery but lovable, kind but too direct, thoughtful but not very worldly. It makes her human like the rest of us.

Backman’s style is usually on-point when it comes to connecting with his readers. This book is no exception; however, there were several sections with either translation issues (it wasn’t originally written in English) or a purposed attempt to write in a different manner from what he’s shown us before. Examples include frequent repetition of words or phrases that it became too obvious. Was it intended or just the translation — I’m not certain, but it caused me to stumble a fair number of times. Another concern was a general casualization (yep, I’m making up words) of some characters where I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to root for them or ignore them. The end result was some felt too similar while others felt strong but underused given their purpose in the story.

That said, the rest is amazing. I felt the connection between Britt-Marie and everyone she meets who changes her life. I saw the lackluster relationship with Kent but understood why she couldn’t leave him. I felt the pain of what her childhood resulted in when it came to how she viewed herself and let others view her. I adored the way she persistently nagged the unemployment office employee only to become the woman’s bright hope for the future. It’s only when an author is an innate talent can these types of well-embedded structures, depths, and life perceptions be truly integrated into a story. That’s where, how, and why Backman leads the race when it comes to producing truly remarkable stories.

 

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.

Advertisements

Book Review: The Skeleton Paints a Picture by Leigh Perry

Posted on Updated on

When there are thousands of cozy mystery series available, it’s often difficult to figure out which one to choose. A little over two years ago, I stumbled across a a brilliant series called the Family Skeleton Mysteries written by Leigh Perry. I’d read the first few and loved them, but had to wait until she wrote her fourth one. I got a bit behind but when I saw she was releasing her fifth one this fall, I ordered a copy of The Skeleton Paints a Picture and read it this week. I think it’s probably my favorite one to date. I’m still reveling its hilarity — 5 stars all the way!
39870407
To start with, the main character is an English professor in New England– two things I adore! the other main character is a ‘dead’ skeleton that can move and talk. Yes, you heard me correctly. The guy who inhabited the body/skeleton in the past was murdered and searched for his killer in an earlier book, but… the gist of the series is that he doesn’t really know much about his former life, and since a majority of the population would not accept him living in society as a skeleton, he hides out with Georgia and her family. As her lovable, witty, and sarcastic sidekick, Sid helps Georgia solve crimes whenever they fall into her lap… which is usually because Sid has stumbled into them.

Think of the humor and imagination in this series. Leaving a skeleton in a room to listen to people and find out clues without anyone knowing you’re doing it. Then again, what if someone catches the skeleton walking around since he CAN move? Creativity without any bounds in Perry’s awesome series. I truly look forward to reading each successive book. In this caper, Georgia’s working out of town and she has no one with her (parents, daughter, friends)… so Sid ships himself in a box to her rental house where he inadvertently finds a dead body in a car during a snowstorm. He was restless and had to go walking in the middle of the night. Who can blame the poor guy?

Georgia interviews colleagues while trying to do whatever she can to win the coveted tenured position that’s up for grabs. Will she do it? Will an ex who still has feelings for her cause a final downfall with Sid’s discovery… or discovery of the talking skeleton himself? So many laughs… great character development and constant page-turning brilliance. A must read for anyone who likes their books a little more unusual than the norm!

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.

Book Review: Look For Me Under the Rainbow by Bernard Jan

Posted on

I’ve been following the author of this book, Bernard Jan, for about a year, but I hadn’t read any of his written works previously. When my shiba inu passed away earlier this year, someone reminded me to get a copy of Look for Me Under the Rainbow: A Novella as it would provide some comfort and offer a few ideas about the life of animals outside what we know. I purchased a copy last month and added it to my TBR once I was ready to deal with the concept of a wonderful animal passing away.

39870407

Jan offers an emotional tale of beloved mammals of the sea. We love looking at them sitting on icebergs or watching them dive into the frozen ocean playing around with others of their kind, yet we also get angry when people hurt them for the pleasure of a kill or to make money off their bodies. The author’s created a family of amazing and gentle creatures who appeal to our hearts as we see what happens when a sibling is killed or a parent dies. Danny’s mom tells him to look for the rainbow when death approaches whether it be a killer whale, evil poachers, or something even more nasty. She’s a mom to all of us in many ways.

In a short work, Jan has provided an intense connection filled with love, fear, bonds, and touching moments we can easily translate as humans. From oil spills to getting caught between the ice, we understand the struggles of animals who can only do so much to protect themselves or their young. It’s not unlike our own reality as humans, but at least we are rarely hunted down and brutally mutilated just for the fun of it.

Without getting into any gory details or making it uncomfortable, Jan has truly shown a different side of life in the ocean. Death is never easy. Loss is profound. Through wonderful imagery, lyrical text, and strong emotions, he’s got a winner with Danny’s story. I look forward to reading another of his novellas in the future. I’m sure it’ll be another 5 stars from me!

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.

Book Review: Wedding Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Posted on

I’ve been waiting for the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke to bounce back from a few lackluster books, and Wedding Cake Murdermade it happen. I’d give this fun caper somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars.

After 18 books debating between Norman and Mike, Hannah finally makes a decision when a third man’s proposal suddenly enters the ring. Ross Barton was a great friend in college, and we saw some hints of romance in one of the earlier books, but nothing came of it. In the last book in the series, Ross came back into her life and proposed… Wedding Cake Murder is all about Hannah’s wedding. But besides that wonderful sub-plot, we also see Hannah as a contestant in the Food Network’s latest dessert show. She’s actually on TV! She’s competing against professional dessert chefs. And she finds another dead body. We must be up to 20 at this point, as a few books had multiple murders, and she didn’t actually discover every single one herself.

When you strip away the recipes, you’re down to about 200 pages, but they are packed full of drama and witty conversations. I love the bonds between Hannah and her sister. I like her romance with Ross, but something seems a little shady. I’m still rooting for Norman even though Hannah’s now married. :O Yes, I said it out loud. Nonetheless, these are Fluke’s best desserts and the description of the Food Network show is spot on. Loved everything about it. The culprit really could have been at least five different killers which helped round out this story more than others. It was like an early book in the series where the balance between fun and mystery was a fair split.

I can’t wait to dive into the next one… already ordered two more from the library so I can hopefully catch up this fall to be current.

6900

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.

Book Review: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Posted on Updated on

Given the popularity of Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, I’m surprised I only just read it this week. It’s been in my queue for years, but I never had a copy and for some reason, I just didn’t buy it. Earlier this year, I found a copy on my apartment building’s bookshelf, so I snatched it up and included it in my September TBR list. I enjoyed it a lot, but it wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. Knowing how much you can take away from the messages, I ended up with 4.5 stars even though part of me thought it could have pushed the envelope a bit more. Then again, it is almost 15 years old and this type of literature has only become popular in recent years. For its time (minimal social media or digital blogs!), it was definitely motivating.

6900.jpg

Rather than critique the book, I’ve decided to focus more on the messages within it. Life is short. You should remember the valuable things when you’re in the latter stages approaching death. Perhaps if you develop a terminal illness, you’ve been given an opportunity to squeeze in as much as possible before you do actually pass on. It seems odd to phrase it in such a manner, but rather than just die unexpectedly, you have a rough time period in your head… you can try to achieve a few goals and make whatever changes you can before it’s too late. Of course, a terminal illness comes with extraordinarily negative impacts, but I’d prefer to focus on the benefits you can reap from the messages in such a book.

It’s not important how clean your house is, tho I often obsess over it. It doesn’t matter if you traveled the world and saw amazing things when you don’t have anyone you love by your side. And you’re not gonna focus on the little things in those last few moments. So make the most of it… find people you care for and share your feelings. That’s basically the gist of the autobiographical work on a very cursory level. Albom goes back and forth between his younger days with Morrie and his older days with Morrie, and as readers, we see the change in him across time.

I kinda feel like this was one big way to accomplish a goal, but we can also implement his ideas in smaller form across each day. That’s where I found the greatest lessons in his words. I’m on a kick to read a few more of his books this fall, too.

 

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.

Book Review: Halloween Hijinks by Kathi Daley

Posted on

I’ve seen author Kathi Daley showing up in my feed on various social media platforms, but I hadn’t downloaded any of her books in the last few years. I decided to give one a try, and since I was in a fall and Halloween mood, I went with the first book in her Zoe Donovan series, Halloween Hijinks. It was free this week due to an anniversary sale, and when I looked up more on Daley, wow… She’s got a lot of books and this is a lengthy series. How cool to find a very prolific author.

23214474

In this series debut, Zoe rescues various animals with her partners Ellie and Levi. There’s a growing rivalry between two sports teams, but it soon gets personal and more dangerous. When Zoe discovers the dead body of one team member, things look bad for a close friend of hers. Then an ex-enemy (now possible friend?), Zak, shows up to help save the day. Zoe has a few scenes with her complicated family, just enough to set the scene for the series. It’s a light investigation meant to wet our appetites for the characters and the setting… and it works.

I enjoyed the animal rescue background. The writing is easy to follow. It’s less than 200 pages which meant I devoured it in under two hours. It fit the bill for a Halloween-themed book, and I am curious to read more this fall. Kudos to the author for offering it up years later as it’s found her a new fan.

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.

Book Review: Death in the Stacks by Jenn McKinlay

Posted on Updated on

Who wouldn’t love a book with an autumn theme set in a library? FIVE (5) stars to this hilarious cozy mystery. I truly enjoyed Death in the Stacks, the eighth book in the Library Lover’s mystery series written in 2017 by Jenn McKinlay. I’m a big fan of her other series too, but this one is my favorite. What made it even more exceptional was the character cross-over from her other series, the Hat Shop and The Cupcake Bakery. I haven’t yet read her About a Dog series, so there may have been a cross-over there, I’m just not certain. Nonetheless, wow, what a great caper.
33801790.jpgLindsey throws a giant benefit gala in the library to raise money for Briar Creek’s favorite literary hot spot. Unfortunately, the newest board president, Olive, is a huge thorn in everyone’s side. I’m talking mean-spirited, nasty, and rude… even the lemon can’t stand her! If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the lemon is one of Lindsey’s librarian’s who’s often unhappy with Lindsey over decisions at the library. Olive thankfully turns up dead, but it looks like the newest library employee is responsible. Lindsey promises she won’t investigate but the lemon asks her to do so. It’s an intense finish where three possible suspects face off with Lindsey, Robbie, and Sully stuck in the middle. Whose story do they believe? Emma must come to the rescue to save her boyfriend (what?)!

McKinlay has struck gold in this series for me. I love her characters, and that’s probably my favorite aspect of this book. When my other faves come for a visit from London and Arizona, we get a wonderful side story about how they all now know one another. McKinlay’s quips and banter move the pages along easily… I’m just so sorry it ended this quick. I thought I could stretch it out over the weekend, but I found myself with a few hours on Friday, and well, I couldn’t put it down!

Awesome series… newest one comes out this month. I can’t wait. Thanks for all this 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 novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I 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 – words and humor. 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.