Friday, August 1, 2014

#REVIEW: Where Courage Calls, Book One of The Canadian West Series by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Her courage and her heart will be tested in ways she never expected...

Beth Thatcher has spent her entire life in the safe, comfortable world of her family, her friends, and the social outings her father's wealth provides. But Beth is about to leave it all behind to accept a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. Inspired by her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years ago, and gently encouraged by her father, Beth resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way.

But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she'd feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have had very little prior education, and many of the locals don't even speak English. There isn't even a proper schoolhouse. In addition, Beth's heart is torn between two young men--both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once.

Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she's had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?

A special companion story to Hallmark Channel's When Calls the Heart TV series

My Take:
5 Stars!
I first saw this book made into a movie/TV mini-series called "When Calls the Heart" on The Hallmark Channel. They have done a remarkable job making so many movies out of so many of Janette Oke's books! I could sit all day, and I have sat all day watching the movies based on her books! Most all of these movies, from what I can tell, are available to watch as movies/mini-series wherever you purchase them from. You can also catch them on TV as re-runs, too, or even as dedicated days or weekends called 'for fans of Janette Oke'. I have fallen in love with the books and the movies and mini-series. If I see them coming, I take the time to rewatch them! They are so true-to-life and apply to even today, in my opinion. 
This book I am reviewing here is different than the movie version/TV series, and if you are interested in reading that book, there is a dedicated book that is has the same name as the movie version/mini-series called 'When Calls the Heart: Hallmark Channel Special Movie Edition (Canadian West Book 1)'. 
I have also LOVED Janette Oke for decades now! I used to go to the library and get her books out on cassette tape and listen to them when I had a job that had an over one-hour commute to and then home from work each way, and that time just flew by as I listened to them! I looked forward to my commute just so I could listen to the books (and read them at home) because it transformed that commute I had into a wonderful trip to so many places the characters went on their way out towards and into the prairies and the west as new settlers finding their places to call home. I was also a newlywed myself at the time, so perhaps that even struck closer to home as we were looking for a place to call home, too. These wonderful memories and seeing the show on TV got me wanting to read this series of books.
I have to say I was a little worried about how much longer Janette Oke would be writing for, especially given the number of books she has written! Her first book was published in 1979, so I was worried she might be getting tired of her long but wonderful writing career as she has written now for so long. It is truly amazing that her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan, her daughter, has now joined her and they are writing together as a team now! This makes me SO HAPPY that the Oke name will be carried on writing for many more (perhaps) decades to come, or at least I hope! I also LOVE the fact that there will be many more movies made out of her books, too! Thanks, Hallmark Channel! With that being said, it states this book is a companion story to that channel's TV series, "When Calls the Heart". Keep this in mind when reading this book because it is different than the TV movie/mini-series. It does has very subtle differences, and some definite changes at that, so it's very worthwhile to read the book. I got a lot out of reading this book. It did lack in the romance department, though as compared to the movie/mini-series, so don't have your heart set on what you saw in the television series for this particular book as this one is not at all like the movie/mini-series. I was bummed at first, but then I realized I do get to visit there yet again! This time the same place! This is where the book goes by the name I gave above.
In this similar book, we are transported back to the very late 1800's, very early 1900's, and I say that because there were mention of automobiles, one in particular taking her from the train into Coal Valley to the supposed hotel. 
Meet Elizabeth (Beth) Thatcher, named after her Aunt Elizabeth who journeyed from the east coast in Boston, out West to teach. 
She had just traveled all the way from the east coast/Boston to the west In Coal Valley, Canada, a little mining town had just suffered a horrible loss. Many of the women are now widows due to this accident they are still trying to recover from, including the children as they lost their fathers. The mothers felt the first male teacher that was provided by the mining company was not adequate at all. He seemed to have a temper and just did not care to teach in the manner they needed him to. Since their children did not have adequate schooling, these mother's hired a teacher on their own by pooling money together and hiring a professional teacher to come teach their children. 
Beth learned of the open position and wanted to follow in her aunt's footsteps, so against her mother's best wishes about Beth's constitution, as she suffered many illnesses as a child and as a young adult, she set off with her father's blessings more so than her mothers. When Beth was young, she battled illness after illness and was much more fragile than most of the other kids, and did battle some illness while in Coal Valley, but it didn't help that she bit off a little more than she could handle. 
Beth had a student leave for a while to go work in the mines. She swore she did not want this for the rest of the children she taught. She prayed to God to find out what she could do to bring more to this community, and this is a quote from the GALLEY (not the printed version as this could be different:
"God had brought her to Coal Valley, but unless something more was done - something for the town and the miners - those growing up now would face the same troubles as of their parents. In Beth's mind, the biggest need for the entire area and the one thing that would bring them together was a shared faith. But what could she do? She was just one person - and a woman. She felt hopeless."
The more she prayed, an answer came. Bring the miners and the townspeople together. So she tried.
Beth relied on God throughout the book to get her and the people of the town through all types of different things. It seemed to work.
On her train ride home for the summer going back home for just a few months, she did receive a surprise from one of the two mounties, but I'll let you read the book to find out which one that was! There were two vying for her attention. Edward, a friend of the family whom she wasn't really so fond of, and then there was Jerrick! She had a few instances where she spoke with him, and a few where they had to pull together to find one of the children who had gone missing. That's all I'll say about that!
If you really enjoyed this book, When Courage Calls - When Calls the Heart Book One, there is an entire Canadian West series based on Elizabeth Thatcher's Aunt that she talks a lot about which you may really enjoy! This would be Book One, and there are more!
When Calls the Heart - Canadian West Book One
When Comes the Spring - Canadian West Book Two
When Breaks the Dawn - Canadian West Book Three
When Hope Springs New - Canadian West Book Four
Beyond the Gathering Storm - Canadian West Book Five
When Tomorrow Comes - Canadian West Book Six
After this series, there is another series called The Women of the West!
Enjoy your reading!
I received this book for FREE from the Publisher, Bethany House, and NetGalley, in exchange to read and write a review about it. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to do so, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it and giving my own honest opinion no matter whether it is positive or negative. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the law set here:, The Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, 16 CFR 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising Federal Acquisition Regulation.

Ebook: $  9.99
Print:   $12.30

Thursday, July 31, 2014

#Beach #Reads #Giveaway Hop! 1 #Winner 8-1 to 8-15!

          Thanks to our Sponsor, Stuck in Books

Welcome to another #Giveaway HOP! This is a BEACH READS HOP! One of my favorite! I will be giving away the following:


1 #Winner - 1 #prize 

 Skinny Bitch Gets Hitched by Kim Barnouin

Hardcover: $23.99 value

For the second time in just a few short months, Clementine Cooper’s professional reputation hinges on one restaurant review. Clementine’s No Crap Cafe is poised to score the Holy Grail of publicity and a mention in the New York Times Sunday travel section if Clem’s veggietastic lasagna can bowl over the food critic.

Clem has no time for distractions. Or surprises. But when her meat-eating millionaire boyfriend Zach Jeffries shocks her with a sweet and romantic marriage proposal, of course she says yes! Now she has to plan the most important menu of her life while fending off her domineering future mother-in-law's extravagant plans for the wedding.

As if there wasn’t enough on her plate, Clem decides to open a second restaurant on her parent’s farm, Clem’s No Crap Outpost and against Zach’s advice. Just when she needs his support the most, Zach grows distant. The only person who really seems to understand is Clem’s friend and biggest competition, the cute vegan chef Alexander Orr. Putting out fires in the kitchen is easy; but in her relationship? Suddenly, her time with Alexander feels . . . hotter . . . than usual, and Clem starts to wonder if the charming carnivore she’s engaged to is really the man she should spend her life with.

How do you enter? Fill out this form!

Here are the rest of the blogs in this hop!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#REVIEW - #Crochet #Workshop by James Walters

An outstanding resource for crocheters of all levels, this guide covers all aspects of stitches and technique. In addition to offering the perfect introduction to the craft, this versatile volume will also appeal to more experienced practitioners seeking to develop new design ideas. Crocheters are encouraged to explore their creativity and develop their own styles with detailed advice on planning, sketching, and adapting designs.

Starting with basic technique, Crochet Workshop explains a variety of stitches as well as how to follow pattern instructions and handle materials and equipment. Scores of drawings, diagrams, and photographs illustrate suggestions for working with motifs, patchwork, crochet lace, jacquard and color work, surface and woven crochet, and free-working and finger crochet. The book includes tips for incorporating decorations and accessories, selecting yarns, making up and finishing, and after care. Helpful appendixes feature information on equipment and terms as well as conversion tables.

My Take:
5 Stars
First of all, buy this book in the PRINT version, NOT the Kindle version because it goes to sleep and will drive you crazy as you try to read or work the patterns. You will continuously have to wake the Kindle version up, and I prefer NOT to have to do that.
This is a 439 page book in black and white (from what I could tell from the PDF file we were given for review purposes) reprinted from 1979, however, crochet instructions and advice does not change, as all craft instructions that stand the test of time do not, and this is one of the MOST wonderful things about this book! Look at the test of time this book has withstood! I will suggest you purchase this as a BOOK.
This is such an excellent book with many hundreds of excellent tips and instructions in it! There are so many patterns in this book, it's unbelievable! There are granny squares, doilies, which happen to be my favorite! The leggings on the cover of this book caught my eye! How I would LOVE to have a pair of those no matter how out-of-date OR NOT out-of-date they may or may not be! The BEST part is I can make them on my own! That is really what got me into sewing and making crafts. I couldn't necessarily afford to go out and binge shop, so I learned how to make clothing and crafts out of necessity. The only problem with that was I FELL IN LOVE with sewing, the fabrics, and crafts, especially crocheting! WOW! The lace we can make with crochet is absolutely beautiful if you are a lace lover! I LOVE to crochet! The hard part - I am left handed! Ugh!
For the most part, this book is made for the right-handed crocheter, but there 'are' helps and suggestions for the left-handed crocheter, which is great because ANY help I can get is vital! It is very difficult, if not impossible to purchase ANY pattern and find instruction for left-handed crocheters in them, so this IS IT! (I am not able to switch the stitches around in my head even while I sat indian-style, face-to-face with my mother as a young teenager trying to learn how. Now I know she didn't show me the 'backward stitch' of the yarn over, so . . . I just wish I could tell her that today. I figured that out from this book and unfortunately, I lost my mother in September 2010, so I'm not able to share this excitement with her . . . yet! I'm happy to wait, though! LOL!) So yes, this book DOES have a section of suggestions for left-handers, but it does cater and assumes people are more of the right-handed crocheter as are most all of the needle art books I come across. You left-handers out there do get addressed! Finally, huh!  
(This may not be my place here, but I AM going to give advice for left-handed wanna-be crocheters who can't figure out HOW to crochet. You left-handed beginners - my advice to you in addition to purchasing this book is to pick up from a box store in the craft area under crochet notions, or in a craft store under crochet notions is to pick up a CD for only about $5 or $6 which you can watch on your computer that has close-up work how to crochet left-handed! It does exist! From there, this book WILL be a necessity to your library! That is how I learned the double crochet stitches, half double crochet, triple or treble crochet, etc., or at least made sure I was doing the tougher stitches the correct way! This CD will get you on your way to the GREAT beginnings of crochet, and THIS BOOK will get you through the rest! These two combined, in my opinion, is the BEST of Crochet!)
The process of creation is explained in such detail in this book, I feel it is outstanding! That is what is going to help anyone the most, is learning the process of creation this book teaches us regardless of what hand you are.
So, now years have gone by that I have been crocheting, and books like these STILL come in very handy, especially the parts that teach us how to increase and decrease stitches. I honestly think most people have difficulty with this step because most instruction books don't teach this technique, and my first few sweaters, well, I threw them out! LOL! I had spent a LOT of money on yarns, too, and I should have known making my first piece of clothing would have most likely be a big, fat, flop! LOL! I have to say this is the ONLY book that has taught me how to increase and decrease my stitches!
This book covers so many things, including tension and how to put clothing patterns together. There are also a lot of different stitches you really need to know or learn to know how to do. It even uses a measuring tape for you to test the gauge of your work with.
There is a section on reading patterns! This includes reading the patterns in words and by photos. I am not a good one for following patterns by those photos they use, the symbols that look like little chicken feet! This book helps decipher those! If there are Chrocheters' here, you'll understand what I mean. (That CD I was talking about does NOT include directions for this.)
If you are a crocheter and love it as much as I do, then grab this book ASAP! It is a reference tool you'll use, you'll use it for patterns, making patterns, great for newbies - and don't worry, you'll get there! I cannot suggest this book any higher. I received this book for FREE from the Publisher, Dover Publications, through NetGalley, in exchange to read and write a review about it. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to do so, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it and giving my own honest opinion no matter whether it is positive or negative. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the law set here:, The Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, 16 CFR 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising Federal Acquisition Regulation.

Paperback Version - $18.50

REPOST #REVIEW - #BlogTour - "In The Mirror" by Kaira Rouda #Book Tour! NOW to August 29th!

I LOVED this book SO much, I saw this #BlogTour and asked to join in even though I had already read and posted my review. So, here it is a second time - in the #Book Tour!!

About Kaira Rouda:
Twitter - @KairaRouda 
Kaira's Facebook Page 

This book is only $3.99 at #Amazon!

If you knew you may die soon, what choices would you make?
From the bestselling author of HERE, HOME, HOPE and ALL THE DIFFERENCE . . .
Jennifer Benson has it all: a successful career, a perfect husband, two kids and abundant friendships. The only problem is she may be dying. Diagnosed with cancer, she enters an experimental treatment facility to tackle her death sentence the same way she's tackled her life - head on. While she's there, she decides to throw herself a party, but what she doesn't plan for is her marriage to be threatened by the sudden return of a high school sweetheart.
IN THE MIRROR is the realistic love story about a woman facing a deadly illness, and her loves past and present. It's a story that unfolds with a delightful blend of humor and poignancy, ringing true in the heart of anyone who has ignored a warning of her own.
If you knew you might die, what choices would you make? How would it affect your marriage? How would you live each day? How many warnings would you ignore? And how would you say no to the one who got away?

My Take:
5+++ Amazing Stars!
What would you do if you knew you were going to die?
This truly is a beautiful book from start to finish, and will make a perfect Book Club choice! It is chock-full of topics to discuss, and even now after I am done reading this book, I keep thinking about it. This is one book you will not soon forget, and is one of my favorites for 2014.
Given what this book is about, it is still amazing! This author immediately engages us with the characters, their lives, their thoughts and feelings. From the first page of this book to the very end, you feel as if you know these characters on a personal level because we can so easily relate to them, especially Jennifer.
Jennifer learns she is going to die from breast cancer, and she isn't even thirty years old yet. She is facing this every day, and for the most part by herself, alone, while she is residing at Shady Valley hospital undergoing experimental treatment. No, the other treatments have failed to work which is why she is here doing this treatment. Yes, her husband and kids come to visit mostly every other day, but Jennifer feels likes she's been away for a lifetime already. Jennifer has a friend here at Shady Valley, and his name is Ralph. They talk for hours and hours at a time. They talk about life and death quite a bit while enjoying Ralph's favorite game of Scrabble. The days they spend playing scrabble, talking about life, and the impending loss of it. Ralph is her best friend here at Shady Valley.
What would you do though if you knew you were going to die? There were no 'if's, and's, or but's' about it, you were going to die. How would you look at life, what would you think about life, how would you accept what life has dealt you? You know your husband can move on in life, but what about your two very young children, her son who is age 3, and her daughter who is not even 2yrs old yet. Her daughter was so young, just an infant a few weeks old when Jennifer feels the lump in her breast. Then the cancer is diagnosed. Jennifer feels like she doesn't even have that mother/daughter bond with her daughter. She always envisions her daughter seeking comfort in other people's arms instead of her own. Will this be the way it will be for her daughter? Will her daughter get to know her mother?
Jennifer decides to throw herself a party! Yes! She wants to bring all of her friends together while she is alive, not at a funeral home while she can't attend. She is busy working on that, and while doing so she gets a visitor. An old boyfriend. He if full of questions for her. She always wondered what life would have been like if she had married him instead of Ralph, and often thought of him, too, however, this boyfriend has more in mind about her than just visiting and it ends up putting a wedge into her marriage at the worse possible time.
This book was a very poignant, yet very uplifting in the same sense because of the way Jennifer so bravely handles the diagnosis and looks at life. She is still thinking of living, not dying. I highly suggest reading this book. Grab a box of Kleenex, though. You're going to need it.
I have now purchased this author's, Kaira Rouda's other books because this one was absolutely tremendous! I received this book for FREE from the Real You Publishing Group and NetGalley in exchange to read and write a review about it. It is NOT required for this review to be either positive or negative, but of my own honest opinion. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to read this book nor to write this review, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Thanks for stopping by a second time for those of you who have!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

INTL - Courtney Hamilton's "Almost Royalty" Worst Break-Up EVER #CONTEST! Now to July 5th!

Courtney Hamilton is giving away a signed copy of her novel, Almost Royalty, to the top 2 winners! To enter, all you have to do is tell her:
What is your “Worst Breakup Ever” experience? Share your story in the comment section below.

After the contest has ended, Courtney will personally read every participant’s entry and pick the top 2 worst breakup stories. The winners will be announced through Courtney’s Facebook page, Twitter, and blog. This contest will also be hosted on various blogs, social media sites, and forums found in the "Participating Websites" section of this post. 

Enjoy the “Worst Break up Ever” contest and, for the first time, download your Kindle copy of Almost Royalty by Courtney Hamilton for . . .  only 99¢!

ONLY #99cents!

Terms and Conditions for Entry Eligibility
No purchase necessary to enter. Sponsored by Forrest Thompson Publishers. Giveaway ends August 5, 2014 at 11:59 PM (PST). Open Internationally. 18+ years of age. Void where prohibited. Winners will be announced on Courtney Hamilton’s blog at, Eco-chain of Dating Facebook Page, and @ecochaindating. Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or their winnings will be forfeited. By entering the giveaway, you give Courtney Hamilton and Forrest Thompson Publishers permission to repost your story or recite it in a video for media purposes. Forrest Thompson Publishers reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this contest at any time without prior notice.
Participating Websites: The full list of participants in Courtney’s “Worst Date Ever” Contest is available on her blog at:

Let the Worst Breakup Stories Ever begin!

Well, I can't think of a break-up that I went through in which when we broke up and it was bad, as that was a LONG time ago! 
I could tell you a story about my final day of divorce and how I got that finalized, but I'll spare the embarrassment of the ex on that one! LOL! 
Just when does a marriage end, anyway? I say the DAY the divorce papers are filed FOR divorce. Why else would you file if the marriage wasn't over? I did nothing wrong, heck, we were already 1 month OVER 1 year since I filed! Come on! It was dragging on! Let's just get this over with! So "I" took care of it!
Sorry I can't go into more detail than that, but there was a HOT guy there!! :) XOXOXO!
I'm anxious to hear what YOU have to tell all of us! 

Well, I can't get the blogs copied and pasted. It's not working. For that, you'll have to go to the Author's website. Here is her link - Have FUN reading all the stories!!!! Good luck!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

The #NYTimes Top 15 (25) #BestSellers for the week ending July 27, 2014 PLUS #Blog Updates!

Welcome to another week of #bestsellers and #blog updates! Posted by NOON every Sunday and sometimes earlier!

First, let's do the #blog updates! Let's do the #Giveaways and #reviews! 
ALL of these are listed in the LEFT SIDE COLUMN one after another, so just click on the photos to get there, or, click the word HERE throughout these listed here!

**The #ChristmasInJuly #Giveaway Hop! Over 120 blogs are participating, and all ready for YOU to enter! Here is the link to enter my #giveaway, and I will have 3 #winners! Just click HERE!

**The #Kindle #Fire HDX #Giveaway OR #Amazon GC OR #PayPal #Cash! ($229 value!) Enter HERE!

**The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts! Catch my #REVIEW about this book AND enter here to #WIN 1 paperback copy of this book, too! Enter HERE!

**Invitation by Christina Hoffman! #Win 1 of 2 $50 #Amazon GC's HERE!

**The Husband Maker by Karey White - #Review and #Giveaway! #Win a $75 #Amazon GC or #PayPal #CASH! HERE!      

#Reviews: A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman - Read it HERE!


Wow! For what I thought was a quiet week coming up, that is quite the opposite! Look here and see what's coming! WOW!!! A LOT! Make sure to mark your calendar, watch Bloglovin', or GFC! Or, bookmark this page and come back to keep track of all of these happenings!

**MORE reviews to come next week! I have at least 2, maybe 3!

**MONDAY, JULY 28th - The Break-Up Ever Giveaway! This is exactly what it sounds like! Myself and many other blogs will be posting our worst beak up EVER in honor of the book, "Almost Royalty" by Courtney 

**Wednesday, July 30th, In the Mirror by Kaira Rouda - ONE of my FAVORITE books this year! We have a #GIVEAWAY! A Guest Post, MORE info about the book, and MORE to come! I can't WAIT to highlight this book again! I'll be providing my link to my #REVIEW, again, too! I LOVED this book!

**Friday, August 1st, "BEACH READS GIVEAWAY HOP!" Watch for this photo! I have the perfect beach read to give away, too! I think you'll love it! This will run from August 1st to August 15th!

Okay! On to the books!


1. Invisible by James Patterson and David Ellis
ebook: $  8.99
print:   $16.80

2. Top Secret Twenty-One - A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich
ebook: $10.99
print:   $16.76

3. The Promise - Book 5 of Thunder Point Series by Robyn Carr
ebook: $5.60
print:   $6.79

4. The Silkworm - The Cormoran Series Book 2 by Robert Galbraith
ebook: $ 8.99
print:  $16.74

5. When Day Breas - A KG Novel by Maya Banks
ebook: $5.99
print:   $6.79

6. Until We Touch (Fool's Gold Book 15) by Susan Mallery
ebook: $5.26
print:   $6.79

7. The Goldfinch, A Novel, (The 2013 Pullitzer Prize) by Donna Tartt
ebook: $ 6.99
print:  $18.55

8. Mr Mercedes, A Novel by Stephen King
ebook: $11.99
print:   $17.59

9. All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
ebook: $10.99
print:   $16.17

10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
ebook: $8.52
print:   $6.90

11. Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
ebook: $  9.99
print:   $16.72

12. Written In My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander Book 8) by Diana Gabaldon
ebook: $11.99
print:   $21.65

13. Rusty Nailed (Cocktail Book 2) by Alice Clayton
ebook: $  7.99
print:   $11.91

14. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
ebook: $6.99
print:   $9.09

15. Kiss and Tell (Sisterhood Book 23) by Fern Michaels
ebook: $5.84
print:   $6.49

There they are! Hope to see you through the week! Have a GREAT one!

Here are the rest!

  • ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, by Anthony Doerr (Scribner)
  • BREATHE WITH ME, by Kristen Proby (Ampersand)
  • THE HUSBAND'S SECRET, by Liane Moriarty (Amy Einhorn/Putnam)
  • A GAME OF THRONES, by Daniel Abraham and Tommy Patterson (Bantam)
  • UNLUCKY 13, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown)
  • THE NEIGHBOR, by Dean Koontz (Bantam)
  • THE TARGET, by David Baldacci (Grand Central)
  • THE MATCHMAKER, by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown)
  • THE VACATIONERS, by Emma Straub (Riverhead)

  • Friday, July 25, 2014

    #REVIEW: A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

    In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
    Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon (bad tempered or surly man - I had to look that one up!) —the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
    Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.
    A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

    Publisher's Weekly, starred review: “a funny crowd-pleaser that serves up laughs to accompany a thoughtful reflection on loss and love…the author writes with winning charm.”
    Booklist, starred review: “If there was an award for “Most Charming Book of the Year,” this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down.”

    SMI Bookclub: “I would recommend this book to the entire population of the earth. We need more Oves! I’ll keep his story with me forever.”

    My Take:
    5 Stars!
    Release Date: July 15th, 2014
    Oh! The PRAISE you see above is so true! This is a truly remarkable story! I HIGHLY suggest reading this! It gets you in the heart. It's different in the sense that this is a MAN who is the main character, and he's just a little different! You can't help but to love him and all of his quirks, even though he's the meanest man you may ever meet, but then again perhaps this is what draws us to this book so much. Forget The Rosie Project! THIS is the book to be reading!
    Young Ove follows in the footsteps of his father as he lost him in his very early teens, but his father left such a positive impression upon him, he follows what he was taught. His father didn't really seem to have a backbone, yet then again he preferred to avoid any type of altercation whatsoever because that is just how a real man acts and sets examples by - not by being a bully in return. He just wants to do what a 'man' does is right. Ove learned from his father, but sometimes your heart just reaches out so far for him because when he should be standing up for himself, he doesn't do it. You would think he is a pushover, but he isn't. He is just like his father. He is doing what a real man would do, or so he thinks.
    One time in his youth, shortly after his father passed away, he took over his father's job for several years until he comes into contact with an adult male bully, and because he did not stand up for himself, being a man, he lost his job. That was so wrong! But Ove, being a man who does not bully back, believed in this. This is just how life works. (No Ove! Stand up for yourself! Is how I was cheering him on! Yes, I was talking and yelling at this book for Ove!) 
    Ove has quietly taken on bullies, or rather put up with them, taken the blame for stealing at work when the adult bullies have accused him of doing wrongful things, he just takes it when he would 'never' steal, and steal is not even in his vocabulary. Again, my heart pours out to him! I wanted to yell at him and tell him to open his mouth and tell the truth, but Ove wouldn't do that because a real man just does not do this.
    The funny part about this entire book is Ove just wants to kill himself, and he continues to get interrupted! No one comes over for years, and now that he wants to meet his wife again, he just can't pull it off!
    Now Ove has no job. He has been forced into retirement at the young age of fifty-nine. Ove's wife has died after forty years of marriage (and she is truly what his life and living was all for.) He was truly in love with her. A few touching quotes from the ARC for me were:

    "For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by, and leave us there alone."

    "But if anyone had asked, he would have told them that he never lived before he met her (his wife, Sonja). And not after, either." (He constantly visited her grave. It was very touching. Even at home he talked to her all the time.)

    " 'All I want is to die,' he thinks to himself and presses his toes into one of the floorboards. "

    "People had always said that Ove was 'bitter'. But he wasn't bloody bitter. He just didn't go round grinning the whole time."

    As Ove gets older, this is when he starts to change (mostly because of the death of his wife), but he becomes more bitter about life and people. The sad part is he is just such a sad man without his wife, Sonja. We learn all of this through flashbacks. This is the one thing that confused me a little at times at first in the beginning. Everything is told in flashbacks. (I found myself wondering how Ove and his wife met, but found out I missed that part where he meets his wife, the courtship, and the wedding when I accidentally set my Kindle down and flipped through a few chapters. I had to go back and reread what I missed! You 'have' to read his love story!) It was SO sweet, that no wonder he wanted to die without her. With that being said though, for those of us who are desperately in love with our spouses, wouldn't we also feel the same way? Although I don't think we would as far as Ove did trying to kill ourselves! Although I could be wrong, too. There just might be lonely enough people out there who do want to die without their spouses.
    This is a great book to enjoy. You may find a few quirky parts, but remember this author is from Sweden, so they have different sayings, their government works different there, etc. You'll adjust! This book sure gets you thinking about things. What is important about life, work, etc. This book IS sad, too. It's off the beaten path because it is so different, but don't let that stop you from reading it. Enjoy this story! It's guaranteed! You'll be glad you read this one!

    I received this book for FREE from the Publisher, Simon and Schuster, and NetGalley, in exchange to read and write a review about it. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to do so, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it and giving my own honest opinion no matter whether it is positive or negative. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the law set here:, The Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, 16 CFR 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising Federal Acquisition Regulation.