Review – Beartown by Fredrik Backman

 

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Title: Beartown

Author: Fredrik Backman

Publisher:Simon & Schuster

Rating: 5/5

 

This was my first introduction to Backman’s writing. He expertly handled this story dealing with such delicate subject matter. His use of multiple perspectives only enhanced the impact of this poignant story. He truly had his finger on the pulse of what it is like to live in a small town. It felt like a real place and so did his characters. This story is absolutely fantastic. It’s a page-turner, but it’s also extremely thought provoking and a great conversation starter. There is so much about this book that makes you cognizant of the topics that we need to cover with our children or just have open dialogue about as a society. There are so many topics in this that are relevant issues right now and that we see frequenting our newspapers. I think everyone should read this in order for us to be able to have greater empathy and to foster the deeper discussions we need to be having regarding these divisive issues.

 

This story was heartbreaking, but we see it happening far too often. I can’t wait to dive into the sequel and see what is happening in their community.

 

I don’t want to give too much of this one away, so here is the Goodreads synopsis:

 

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Overeturns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

 

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

 

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

 

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

 

Have you read this one? What did you think? Have you read the sequel?

Review – Enchantée by Gita Trelease

 

 

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Title: Enchantée

Author: Gita Trelease

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Rating: 4/5

     Gita Trelease’s debut novel Enchantée was exactly like the title, enchanting and delightful. This is a very unique story. It is young adult, fantasy, and historical fiction. I enjoyed Trelease’s story telling immensely.

     This story takes place in Paris in 1789. Camille Darbonne must take care of her brother and sister after her parents death. They contracted smallpox along with her younger sister who has been left weakened by the disease. Times are hard for the Durbonne children. Camille must use magic that allows her to turn metal scraps into coins in order to feed and house her family. Her brother has taken to drinking, gambling, and putting his sisters at risk. It all falls to Camille to make sure they survive.

 

    She discovers a form of darker magic  that allows her to transform herself into  ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ in order to gain entry to Versailles among the aristocrats to use her powers at the gambling table. The aristocrats are analogous to the magicians who benefit at the expense of the lower class. For magic, one must pay a high price. Who will pay the highest price? Lazare and Camille are a symbol of hope, change, and the blurring of class lines. The country is teetering on the edge of  Revolution as Camille is being tempted by the allure of the aristocracy and la magie. 

 

    The writing is beautiful. I loved the setting and could really feel the time and place. The slow build of the romance was perfect. Our female character is strong, resilient, and independent. This book will be published February 5, 2019.  Do yourself a favor and add this to your TBR list for early next year!

 

   Thank you Netgalley and Flatiron Books for my free eARC copy of this book. This is an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What’s On My Bookshelf Tag

Happy Saturday, book friends! I was tagged by Jess and Teagan at Fiction No Chaser . Go check out their blog if you haven’t yet because it’s fantastic!

RULES:

  • Link back to me so I can see everyone’s answers! (Delightful Narratives)
  • Also link back to the person who tagged you!
  • Name one book for each category; try not to repeat books to make this more fun!
  • Tag at least 5 people

A LIBRARY BOOK

I went to the library this week and came home with a nice, little bookstack. I picked up The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Beartown (my current read), The Burned Page, Dear Mrs. Bird, I Am I Am I Am, and Fruit of the Drunken Tree

A BOOK I GOT AS A GIFT

Red Rising

A CHILDHOOD BOOK

Dear American Series

A MAGICAL BOOK

Throne of Glass – I’m just obsessed with Sarah J. Maas!!!

A ROMANTIC BOOK

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – A love that defies societal norms. A little Shakespearean with a hate that spans the ages (Romeo and Juliet)

A STEAMY BOOK

A Court of Mist and Fury – Oh definitely! This entire series really! 

AN OLD BOOK

A 1950’s set of Sherlock Holmes books that were my husband’s grandmother’s.

A BOOK THAT MAKES ME HAPPY/LAUGH

Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? – I just love Mindy Kaling!

A BOOK THAT MADE ME EMOTIONAL

Currently Beartown!

A BOOK WITH AN ENDING I DISLIKE

Allegiant, for sure. I stopped reading and didn’t even finish the last little bit. I was so mad.

A BOOK I WISH HAD ILLUSTRATIONS

The Hush, Hush Series.

A BOOK OR GENRE I LOVE TO READ WHEN IT’S RAINING

I don’t really have a preference. It’s just nice to be stuck inside reading sometimes. Sitting on the sofa with a warm blanket and drinking some hot chocolate.

NOMINATIONS

As always, no obligation on tags EVER! Just have fun.

Review – The Shadow of the Wind

 

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Title: The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Publisher: Penguin Books

Source: I purchased for a read along

Links: Goodreads , Amazon

Rating: 4/5

   The Shadow of the Wind was equally dark and beautiful. The prose was eloquent and witty. I feel like it takes immense talent to write a story that is both disturbing and comical. This story is set in Barcelona in the year 1945. Daniel’s father owns a bookstore and he has a deep love of stories and words. He happens upon a book, The Shadow of The Wind by Julian Carax. This is a very rare book and not much is known about its author. It becomes Daniel’s ambition to learn more about the author and his writing. While he is trying to learn more, he ends up in the midst of a darker, dangerous plot. Someone has been destroying all of Carax’s work.

   This story has several elements. It’s a story about the love of reading and writing. There’s a mystery with several twists and turns. Also, there is a love story and a city that is in a severe state of turmoil post-war. There are characters that are deeply troubled and circumstances that absolutely break your heart.

   Zafón perfectly portrays a post-war world. There is tremendous chaos and people have seen or done some deplorable things. It may have permanently altered others; while  some characters demonstrate considerable resiliency. I feel like a great example of this would be Fermin’s character. He is definitely a shining light in this dark tale. He tries to find humor where he can despite his circumstances. War leaves no one untouched though. There will always be shadows left behind.

Review – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

 

 

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Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Author: Laini Taylor

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Rating: 4/5

Links: Goodreads Amazon

 

   Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a phenomenal read. Laini Taylor created a fascinating world and heart-breaking characters. Her prose was elegant and infused with beautiful vocabulary. She developed enchanting imagery with her character descriptions and you could feel the emotionality of her characters.

 

   Karou is our main character. She is an artist who lives in the human world, but her sketches of creatures and other worldly things just might be real. Even she seems to have unique qualities like growing blue hair, she can speak several languages, and she disappears for days at a time only to turn up again beaten and bruised. Strange things start happening in her other world. There is this guy, Akiva, they seem destined to be enemies; however, there is a strong pull that neither of them can explain.

 

   We follow Karou on this journey of self discovery.  This books has major themes of discrimination, stereotyping, and prejudice; which, have led to an all encompassing war that has been ongoing for as long as anyone can remember. Karou means hope. Is there any hope for these characters locked into the societal norm or can they break the mold? I can’t wait to follow the rest of this story.

 

   “Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”

Review – Daughter of the Pirate King

 

 

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Title: Daughter of the Pirate King

Author: Tricia Levenseller

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Rating: 3/5

Links: Goodreads Amazon

 

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller was an enjoyable read. I was able to surmise our main character’s secret, but that did not ruin my reading experience.

 

Our main character, Alosa, is the daughter of the Pirate King. She is the only person he relies on or puts his trust in. He convinces her to have herself captured by a rival band of pirates in order to obtain the missing pieces to an elusive treasure map. She possesses many skills that make her a strong female character. She is physically strong, agile, skilled in combat, clever, self-assured and is a well-respected leader. She puts her crew before herself. With her being a female captain, she has also decided to have a crew made up of many strong, capable women.

 

The characters can be a bit frustrating with the whole will they won’t they thing, but it’s not a deal breaker. I don’t think I’ve read a book based on pirating which definitely made for a refreshing read. While she is aboard the pirate ship with her captures; she is forced to spend a great deal of time with the first-mate, Riden. This book is not subtle about the hate/love relationship that they have for each other, but I still find myself anxiously awaiting for the time that they finally confess their true feelings. I do greatly enjoy the romance portions of books and that may not be your thing.

 

This plot moves smoothly and the characters are well developed. There is a lot of girl power in this story and if you enjoy that and this genre then you will like this book.

Review: The Cruel Prince

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Title: The Cruel Prince

Author: Holly Black

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Rating: 4/5

 

Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince is an absolute stand out in the Fantasy, YA genre. Jude is a human living in a world of faeries. Her parents were murdered by the faerie (also father to one of  the sisters) that takes her and her two sisters to live in the faerie realm. Black gives us a strong female lead whose sole purpose is not wrapped up in finding love. She fights for her place in this new world that has become home. The faeries all treat her as if she shouldn’t be there. That only strengthens her resolve.

The characters are great.   Black gave them incredible depth. Cruel Prince Cardan is hard not to like.  Jude finds herself crossing over into questionable morality territory and Cardan can act in ways that are not entirely heartless. It’s exquisite. Jude uses strength and cunning to do what must be done.

The faerie realm finds itself in great danger due to far-reaching political tensions.  Jude fights to save the realm and make her home safe again. The fast-paced narrative easily held my attention. It was a quick, very enjoyable read. This genre always gets me out of any reading slump. If you generally find yourself reading these types of books, I think you will particularly enjoy this one.

That ending has me waiting on the edge of my seat. I am greatly looking forward to the next installment, The Wicked King.

Have you read this one? What did you think about it?