Book Review of: The Vines We Planed

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Book Title: The Vines We Planed

Author: Joanell Serra

Genre: Contemporary Drama/Fiction

Note:  I received a free review from the author.

My Synopsis: This book follows the lives of 3 main families.  These families are intertwined and connected to one another in more ways than one.

We follow Amanda’s family, through her adoption, and her parent’s unconventional marriage.  We follow Jim, Amanda’s father through his fight for his health.

We follow Yuri and his heartbreak at losing Amanda once, the love of his life when she walked out on him.  Yuri then later also loses his wife after only being married for a short nine months.  Yuri loses his wife to a car accident.

We also follow Gloria and her family struggles with being a single mother due to a husband who is often absent in their son’s life.

My Review: There are many different themes introduced and covered in this book.  The story deals with some very heavy issues:  family, divorce, adoption, bisexuality, betrayal, forgiveness, depression leading to suicide attempts, and even immigration. This book is jam packed with so much family drama, it will totally fill your emotions, and pull at your heart strings.

If I had to choose one word, and one word only to describe this book, then that one word would be BEAUTIFUL.

EVERYTHING about this book was beautiful!  The characters are beautifully written. The premises are beautifully described. The plot was beautifully constructed. The writing style flowed beautifully as each character is given his or her opportunity to describe the details of their lives to the reader.

I also love the deep passion that was written throughout this book.  The passion for what Amanda does for a living, and the passion she has for her adoptive parents.  I love the passion Yuri has for his line of work, tending horses, and his passion for working in the family vineyards.  I also loved the passion in the family’s relationships in general.

The book was so FRESH. Often making many references of meals being made from fresh picked vegetables, and I especially loved the reference to the Portuguese cooking, oh the Caldo Verde a popular Portuguese soup reference made my mouth water.  This made me want to head straight to the market to buy fresh items to prepare a home cooked meal for my own family. This is that type of book!

Along side the daily struggles there was always that one fresh crisp cold glass of wine to help soothe the troubles of the day away. I could almost smell the aroma from the grapes seeping through the pages.   The book however in no way exploited wine drinking or offered it as a solution to the problems covered in this book, and I found this fascinating.

As I try to think about my favourite characters I realize that I cannot choose just one. I think this is a first for me.  I don’t ever recall reading a book before where I loved ALL the characters so equally.   Every character was captivating, relatable, believable.   To choose just one would be an injustice to the other wonderfully written characters.

My heart cried for Jim, living his life in a lie and feeling like he had to live this lie to sacrifice his own happiness for his family’s happiness.

My heart broke for Amanda constantly throughout, with all that she endures and discovers about her family.

My heart shattered for Elena, for her depression and choices she makes.

My heart ached for Yuri, at discovering his own truths, but as painful as these truths are, they only made him stronger.

Every character in this book had a wonderfully well written part and story to tell the reader.

Closing Thoughts: This book is most definitely a FIVE STAR!  I enjoyed this book very much, so much so that I LOVED it.  I was captured and pulled in, right away.

If you are looking for a book that will hook you, and destroy your emotions, but in a good way, you MUST read this book now.  Happy Reading, for I know that you WILL love it.

Congratulations Joanell on a GREAT debut novel!

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Jinx

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The Jinx

By: Ernest Lancaster

Series: Memphis M.O. Book 1

Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing

Publication Date: July 24, 2018

Genre: Suspense / Action

Synopsis: Disaster strikes and innocents die as police sniper Rick Munro is plagued by a first-call jinx. As his career takes off, he must overcome his rookie mistakes, and keep his team members safe.

When Munro returns to TACT as a newly promoted lieutenant, the jinx torments him still. He must contend with team members’ rival agendas around every turn. Munro finds himself in a battle he can’t escape as corruption and death unfold around him.

Who can he trust? Will Munro break the streak or will it destroy everything he believes in?

My Review: I liked this book.   This book is part of a series and this is book one in the series.

The plot evolves rapidly, and its action packed with lots going on to keep the reading wanting to know what happens next.  The book is well written.  It is heavily based on dialogue and for this type of plot, the heavy dialogue worked well in moving the story along, and keeping things heated and interesting.

My favourite characters are Rick Munro and Loretta. I liked these two best as I connected with them the most.    I especially liked Loretta’s story.  She has a darker past, but throughout the book, you see that she is trying to change her life around, despite still ending up in situations that implicate her.

I think that Loretta’s story teaches a good lesson, in that it is important to give others second changes, and to not judge others by their pasts.

I also really liked Jan’s character, and I kept rooting for her to make it to the TACT team to be the first women on that team!  Go Jan!

While the book is action packed, and there is a lot going on with the plot, I did feel that the character development was lacking for some of the secondary characters.  I did not connect with any other character as a result.  I wish I had, as I do place a lot of importance on characters and their development throughout the story.   I am hoping that in book 2, more of a connection to the secondary characters are made.

Closing Thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed the book.  I give it a 3.5 star rating out of 5 stars.  The plot was interesting, and well constructed, its fast paced, and despite the lack of connection to some characters, I enjoyed the read.

I recommend this book and think you will love this book if you enjoy reading books about police officers, and the daily struggles they go through, and of course, the good cop versus bad cop concept!

I am looking forward to seeing where the next book takes its reader.

BUY LINKS:

Fiery Seas Pub Bookstore

Amazon

ernestAbout the Author:

Ernest Lancaster retired from the Memphis Police Department as a captain after serving as a cop for thirty-three years.

In the early seventies Lancaster spent two years walking a night beat in downtown Memphis, when The Peabody and Beale Street lay boarded up and crumbling and the center city became a dystopian ghost town after dark. He patrolled in ward cars, trooped for three days through a sea of pilgrims to Elvis’s funeral, edited the Memphis Police Association’s newspaper and acted as the association’s vice-president. For twenty-six years he held positions on the TACT Squad.

Lancaster now resides with his wife and Yorkie in the Smoky Mountains, where they love to hike and camp.

Social Media:

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/ernest.lancaster.98

Twitter   https://twitter.com/ErnestLancast

Website  https://ernestlancaster.com/  

COVER REVEAL: Ragis

Ragis by: Donna Migliaccio

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Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Genre: Fantasy

The Gemeta Stone Book 4

Publisher: Fiery

 Seas Publishing, LLC

 

Kristan Gemeta is teetering on the brink of madness.

His sister Melissa has defied him. His friend Olaf has betrayed him. The Wichelord Daazna’s ghostly laughter mocks him when he’s awake and robs him of his sleep at night. Even the protective powers of his legendary Stone are turning against him.

And now his companions, his ship and its precious cargo have been taken hostage. Kristan must give chase, in an unseaworthy vessel manned by an angry centaur crew. Ahead lie unfriendly waters, an ominous destination and a confrontation Kristan dreads.

In his despair, Kristan longs for the one person he has always trusted: his beloved Heather. But she’s far away, about to step into a trap that will endanger not just her command, but Kristan’s life.

Buy Links:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1129174486?ean=2940161556092

https://www.kobo.com/gr/en/ebook/ragis

Rafflecopter Giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/345512d51/

(A necklace like the one on the cover)                                                     

donna mAbout the Author:

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.

She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.

Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.

Social Media: 

 

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

 

In The Assassins Arms – Blog Tour and Review

In The Assassin's Arms Blog Tour Banner

 

pic1In the Assassin’s Arms

Author:  Katherine Hastings

Series: Dagger of Desire

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Fiery Seas Everlasting

Release Date: July 10, 2018

 

John Douglas may be a well-trained political assassin, but he has met his match in the woman he once called a friend. When his childhood playmate reenters his life, she’s not looking to rekindle their friendship… she’s out for blood.

With a vendetta to settle, Charlotte Cornewalle isn’t stopping until she finds the man who killed her father. All signs point to Robert Douglas, the leader of the opposing faction of assassins… and John’s father. To get her revenge, no one will stand in her way… not even the boy she once adored.

Fate forces them together as they fight to prove their innocence and right the wrongs they have suffered. Sparks fly from more than just their swords, but will they be able to put the past behind them? Will they be able to find the truth before it destroys them both?

My Review:

I really liked the book.  This is an entertaining, well written, very fast, and easy read that I got through quickly!

The idea for the story is an interesting one.  It encompasses history, assassinations, romance, family duels, and treachery.  The story does however not go into any great detail on any one of these subjects.  It really is a light read.

The story starts off when the main characters are young, around the age of 10, and then forwards to the present day, when both John and Charlotte are young adults.  This is the timeline for the remainder, and majority of the book.

I liked John’s character best, he is one of the main characters in the story. His loyalty to his father shines through many times, even though that loyalty is tested, and when all fingers are pointed towards his father, John remains loyal, and protective of him, right through to the end.

I liked that the romance between the two main characters, John and Charlotte was not spontaneous, and an instant attraction, but rather this romance, and attraction to one another, stemmed from their childhood friendship, and crushes on each other, from earlier on.

I liked the ending of the book, and it leaves the reader wanting more, so I am happy this is part of a series as I want to continue the adventure with John and Charlotte in book 2.

My only issue with the book was that I would like to have had more back story on Charlotte’s up-bringing after the death of her father. This would have allowed for more of a connection to her, and provided her character with a bit more depth.

Closing Thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed this book!  The book is categorized as a historical romance, so its intended to be more of a light read, and in this category, it delivered!

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.   I recommend this book if you are looking for a FAST and EASY read. This is a perfect book for the summer time,   It does not require a lot of investment, and still brings you an interesting story that hooks the reader immediately.

BUY LINK:

 

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Assassins-Arms-Dagger-Desire-Book-ebook/dp/B07F3KBMWW/

 

GIVEAWAY LINK:

https://www.katherinehastings.com/news-and-events

(Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card)

 

pic2About the Author:

Katherine Hastings loves love. It’s why she writes romance novels. Getting lost writing a romantic adventure is one of her favorite pastimes. When she’s not on an adventure in her mind with her characters, she can be found at her home in Wisconsin snuggling her husband, two Boston Terriers, and the world’s naughtiest cat. Two things make Katherine want to leave her happy home these days… going for rides on her dressage pony or floating at the beach in her big inflatable raft. Writing her novels while floating in the lake is one of her ultimate pleasures… that and Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds, of course.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Website: http://www.katherinehastings.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/katherinehastingsauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/khastingsauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katherinehastingsauthor/

 

 

Review of: The South Winds

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Author:  Allison Mullinax

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Release Date: Aug 7th, 2018

Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing

Note: I received an ARC from the Author in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Sometimes you must let love go, to find it again.  This is Dean’s and Cassie’s story.  Only, can they really find love again, after loving each other?

The two were once very much in love, making plans together, but fast forward now eight years later, they go through great lengths to avoid one another.  It makes it easier that Dean has moved away, further North, and Cassie remained down in the south, creating physical distance between the two.  But does this distance truly help each of them heal from the relationship that was so abruptly torn apart, all those year ago?

For eight years, Dean avoids coming home, so that he does not have to encounter Cassie, but when his sister’s weeding weekend arrives, Dean is forced to return back to his beach homeland, where all the memories of Cassie are still very much prevalent today, as they were eight years ago.

My Review: I  really liked this book.  The fact that I read this entire book in one sitting, tells you that I could not put it down, as I was hooked immediately.  I have read a few books already this summer that I considered to be the perfect summertime read, and this one is most  definitely the top of the ‘must read’ for summer time.  Everything about this book screams summer: The romance, the setting, the wedding planning, the outdoor beach restaurant, even the storm!  I was literally floating on my pool lounger while reading this entire book, and I was taken away by the books setting to the beach the entire time, fully engaged in the lives of Dean and Cassie.

I fell in love with Dean and Cassie right away, and I was so investigated in their relationship, I think even more so than they were at first.  There is some suspense written into the story, as to why the relationship ended, and this just made me want to keep reading, as I needed to find out why this couple who was so in love, so committed to one another ended up with such a sad outcome.  There are little clues and hits mentioned throughout the book, but it is not until the very end that it all comes to light, and the truth is revealed.

The book was not at all predictable, and threw me for a loop in the end.

Closing thoughts:  I give this book 4 stars out of 5! This is a fast read, you will get through it in a day most likely!    I recommend this book If you like romance, and if you do, then you will be hooked right away as well.  This truly is the perfect summertime read that belongs in EVERY beach bag!

Review of: The Girl They Left Behind

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: November 13, 2018

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Note: I received an ARC for review from the publisher via Netgalley.

Synopsis: This book is based on true events.  Set during the war in 1941 in Bucharest, and the Soviet Union occupation.

A young loving Jewish couple, along with their little girl are on the run for their lives.  Out of true love, and certainly not neglect, the couple make the ultimate sacrifice and leave their 3 year old daughter on the door steps of an apartment building on a cold January night in 1941.  They must do this to give her a chance at survival; otherwise the three of them would all die, if they remained together.

Natalia, as she is later named, is eventually adopted by a loving, wealthy family.  The three of them form a bond so strong that not even war can come between them.   But even the war takes its tolls on the wealthy, and Natalie and her adoptive parents go through many hardships, but at least they are together during these hard times.  The family survive several bombings, starvation, and even escape death by a mere few hours from a deadly infection.  With everything this family has endured, one thing has remained constant, and that is their love for their daughter and each other.   With the truth tightly hidden away and not spoken about, can this ever so close family of three survive facing the truth of Natalia’s true parentage?

It is Natalia in the end that is faced with a life changing sacrifice to pursue a life she can only dream of but in order to do so, she must leave behind all she knows to be the comfort, and security she has known most of her life.

My Review:  I really liked this book!  I cried a lot as it is very emotional.

Not only was World Word 2 such a devastating, and tragic time in history, but this story also deals with heartbreaking family issues such as giving up a loved one, and adoption.

The love between a parent to a child and vice versa is really explored in this book.

I grieved for Natalia’s birth parents when they had to make that difficult decision that one cold January night in 1941, and I also grieved for them throughout the book as well.  But as much as I felt for the birth parents, I also feared for the adoptive parents. I felt torn between the two sets of parents constantly asking myself, who deserves her in the end?   This book is a true testament that true family does not always have to be blood related.

I loved so many of the characters. I fell in love with Natalia as a young girl in the Orphanage, and then again later as a young, respectful, adult.  I loved the way her story was told.  The writer did a wonderful job of creating not just one well-loved character but many!  Natalia’s mother was another favourite of mine.   Her courage and strength through some of the difficult times is noteworthy.

The story was well paced, and delivered in a very seamless way.  I loved the voice that told the story.  There was a good amount  of back story to allow the reader to connect with the characters, as well as a good overall portrayal of what life was like during this war-ridden time.

I was a little disappointed in the ending but that is only because I had my own hopes and ideas of how things should have turned out.   I wanted to know more about Natalia’s life, and I suppose I just was not ready to have the book come to an end when it did.  Putting my own hopes ad ideas aside, the ending was actually perfect!

Closing Thoughts: I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, drama, and historical fiction.

The fact that a lot of the events in this book as well as a lot of the characters are based off of real events and people made this book all the more interesting to read. Overall I gave this book four stars on my Goodreads rating.  A well written, family love story about war, love, and hardships.

Review of: Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced

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Author: RJ Garcia

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Release Date: May 1, 2018

Publisher: The Parliament House

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author, in exchange for my honest review.

Quote ExcerptIf someone asked me to classify my life under a genre, I would have to give more than one answer.  It was a mystery and suspense, at the same time.  It could also be called a love story.  Maybe not a love story between one boy and one girl, although it was a little of that too.  It was really a love story between four friends

This quote is from the last chapter of the book, and it summarizes the story perfectly!

Synopsis: Tommy and his little sister have had a hard life with their mother who is in rehab.   She finally loses custody of the children, and they are sent by the state to go live with an uncle, whom the children do not know, and the uncle’s wife, in a small town.

Although this new chapter in Tommy and Izzy’s life brings forth, a new town, a new home, and new guardians, Tommy and Izzy become comfortable, and Tommy meets some new friends whom he connects with instantly.  This exclusive group of friends sneak out every Saturday night, at midnight, to meetup in the woods, and these meetings soon lead to clues about a cold kidnapping and murder case.  As clues are discovered, Tommy takes it upon himself to get to the bottom of these unsolved mysteries. Along with the help of the gang, his newly found friends, the group discovers suspicions that are unbelievable.

My Review: I loved this book a lot! I read this in 2 days, I just could not put this down.  The book is of average length, finishing at 345 pages, but the chapters are short, making it easier to read more in one sitting!  I would get through 4 or 5 more chapters, simply because I was so connected to the book, and knew I could get one more chapter in quickly.   I kept telling myself,  ”just one more chapter”.

This book contains everything I love in a story:  Drama, anticipation, love, mystery, suspense, and even a little romance.  First and foremost, this is a Mystery and Suspense novel and the book sure delivered in this category!

I loved the way the book was written in general.  It begins by detailing events from the past, 9 months earlier to be exact, and then changes to present day. The character perspectives change constantly from Tommy to Finn as well.    I love a book that is told through different perspectives. The different perspectives adds flare, individuality, and a level of insight that you just do not get when a book is limited through only one perspective.

I loved the teen drama, and how accurate that was portrayed.  I also loved the emotional piece of the family drama, and the shivers that this book gave me a few times throughout, due to some suspenseful and mysterious scenes!

The characters were delightfully written.  I loved them right away, all of them. They were believable, and relatable.  I liked reading about the new friendships formed between Tommy and the gang.   My favorite character was Tommy.  He endures so much, and yet he is still such a protective older brother to Izzy and to the girls in the group.   He makes some not so great decisions, sure, but then again, he is 15 years old, and those decisions just helped me to solidify my liking for Tommy; because that is what made him seem real, and believable.

I also loved Reese’s character.  She is put into a hard situation, having to take in the children of her husband’s sister.  Children she does not even know.  Nevertheless, she opens her home, and her heart to these kids, and quickly shows the children comfort, and nourishment to help make them feel at home.

There were a few quotes in the last chapter that I read over several times that I loved.  The last chapter is from Tommy’s perspective, and includes his closing thoughts.  I got a sense that these quotes were the author’s thoughts speaking through Tommy.  I do know for sure, this is my just my interpretation.  For example, the quote in the opening paragraph of this review summarizes both the book itself, as well as how Tommy viewed his life.  I found that rather interesting.

Another quote that I found interesting:

“You know how people say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  I don’t think that is exactly true.  I think what doesn’t kill you makes you realize how strong you really are.  And I realized, I’m pretty tough”

Could this be a representation of how the author felt after having completed the book?

Closing Thoughts: This book is most definitely a Five Star Read! The plot, time-frame, story line were all on point!  This is a great book club read as it presents many opportunities for discussion questions!

GREAT JOB R.J Garcia, on a well written debut novel! You have given readers a well told story about friendship, love, family, and murder mystery that had me both heartbroken, and frightened throughout!  I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for the next page turner!  This book is appropriate for all age groups, starting with YA!

Review of: The Perfect Mother

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Author: Aimee Molloy

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Synopsis:  A group of women expecting babies in the month of May, join a support group called ‘The May Mothers’.  These mothers form a friendship with one another, to help each other through this new adventure in their lives.  They meet regularly, at the park, with their babies to discuss all the usual things that new mothers talk about often.  Only one day, every parent’s worst nightmare becomes a reality for one of the mothers of the group.  Something goes terribly wrong, and one of the babies goes missing, right from his own crib.  This abduction happens while the group of friends are out together at a bar enjoying a much-needed night out for themselves.  The group is shocked to say the least! Fingers are pointed, and police investigations are botched, well according to some of the mothers at anyway!

This story takes us through the emotional thoughts of each of the main May Mothers group members after the abduction of Mitas.  We learn about each of the mom’s lives in turn.  How they each have their own issues, anxieties, and how each chooses to deal with their friend’s ordeal.   Are they overstepping legal boundaries getting involved, or are these women in their right to protect a friend?

We also get glimpses into one of the mother’s thoughts.  Some chapters are written from this one mothers perspective, making this quite interesting!

My Review:  The book was good overall.  However, I did enjoy the second half much more than the first half.

It took me well over 100 pages to get hooked and even then, I can’t say that I really felt it was a page turner for me until closer to the end.  Approximately 2/3 of the way through is when I finally got to the point that most thrillers impart on me.   I feel that the first half of the book lacked anticipation, and buildup.  I really wanted to love this book, the concept and plot intrigued me, and I was expecting to be blown away by this one; because of all the hype, only to find that I was reading more about the lives of the other members of the group, rather than about the crime itself in the beginning. However, I realized towards the end that this was necessary.  You need to finish the book to understand why and how the events in the first half contribute to the overall plot and theme.  Once I made this connection, I enjoyed the book more.

Here is what I did like most about this book:

  • As a mother I could relate with trying to juggle a career, husband, children, and still trying to maintain a sense of one’s true self. This book deals heavily with that theme.
  • I liked the writing style for the most part, it was natural, it did not feel forced, but it felt and read more like a drama for the first half than a Psychological Thriller.
  • I liked the different perspectives. Different chapters focused on different characters, and there were even a few chapters written in the first-person perspective, from one of the mothers.  It was during these perspectives in the beginning that I felt the tension one typically feels in a psychological thriller.
  • I loved the ending, it was a surprise, a shocker, and totally not what I had expected!

My issues with the book are as follows:

  • I made little connections to the main characters for a long time. Since the connections were not made early enough for me, it was difficult to become invested in their lives.  I found it hard to keep the characters straight in my head at first, I kept having to refer back to figure out who was who.  I think that this is because I did not connect with any of them right away.
  • I was bored at times, especially when the story deviated from the main plot of the missing child. I felt there was a lot of ‘filler’ information. Information added that did not exactly fit with the main plot.  However, towards the end it did come together for me.  While this filler information can be perfectly acceptable in a drama or other genres, I feel that in a psychological thriller, it takes away from the main issue.  At least in this specific book it overshadowed the main theme at times.

Closing Thoughts: I hope this breakdown helps to explain why I did not love this book, although I did like it.  I think that YOU will LOVE this book IF:

  • You are a new mother
  • You like slower paced thrillers
  • You like thrillers with more drama throughout

Overall, I give it 3 stars out of 5 as I did like the book in general, and the second half of the book was much more in line with the type of psychological thrillers that I love.   I would have given this book 3.5 star rating however, half star ratings are not supported on Goodreads, and so I opted to round down to 3 rather than rounding up to 4. The second half contained the anticipation, and the constant wondering of what will happen next!  It really was the first part that I had my issues with.  So, in summary, the book ended on a great note!

Review of: A Man Called Ove

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Author: Fredrick Backman

Genre: Contemporary Drama

Synopsis: This book is an emotionally charged drama, telling the story of an older man called Ove. His life is detailed both past and present.  Ove is specific, organized, honest, predictable, and extremely grumpy.  He thinks everyone around him is incompetent, he finds faults in almost everything everyone around him does and says.  He is easily irritated.  He hates cats, people in suits, people who cannot use their hands to perform daily housework repairs, store clerks, and that is just naming a few. In general, he dislikes all his neighbors.   However, this is only one side of Ove.  Ove is also a loving husband, an honest co-worker, and a hardworking employee.  He will put himself in jeopardy rather than risk ratting out a fellow employee who he knows is guilty.

Ove has had enough of life, and is ready to move on, but suddenly, one day, when a pregnant woman with 2 kids and a husband that Ove does not care for much, moves in next door, his plans change, and his life is forever altered.

My Review:  I really liked this book, and I had so many emotions while reading this story.  I started off laughing within the first few pages, and then cried, and then laughed some more, and cried again. This was the cycle with this book from start to finish.  Its emotional beyond anything I have read lately.  It’s sad, and funny all at the same time.  I both laughed, and was irritated over the same situations that Ove gets himself into.

Needless to say that I loved and was bothered by some aspects of this book.

The story jumps around a lot between past and present with no clear indication of where in the time line you are in while reading, but the time-frame is made clear in each chapter fairly quickly, regardless of the lack of disclosure in the chapter titles.

I especially enjoyed the stories of Ove’s past, his life as a little boy with his dad and then later as a teenager. The stories of the past helped for me anyway to shape his character for the preset.  The past stories, allow the reader to get to know Ove well, form a kindness and compassion towards him, and provides the reader insight into the type of man Ove later becomes.   There was a good balance between past and present.  Had the book been written specificity in the present day, it would not have had the same allure and compassion from me.  The past stories are important to really get to know the younger Ove.  This helped to soften my opinion of him later as the story progresses.

While I loved the book and the story, I had issues with Ove himself as a character in present time.   I loved the Ove of the past, however I was not feeling that love in the present day at first.  For example:  Ove’s  strong dislike for cats in the beginning for one thing frustrated me, as I kept thinking about how upset my son would be if he had read the passage about Ove being mean to the cat.    I also felt bad at the scene where he inadvertently, but nonetheless still gives a pregnant woman a bleeding nose, and then gives her a hard time when she needs a ride to the hospital!  Those scenes hit something inside of me that really upset me, but it did not deter at all from my love of the book in general.  It’s odd that I both connected deeply with Ove and still had issues with him.  I suppose I felt sorry for him, and for all that he has endured in his lifetime, and that really sums up my opinion of Ove.

Now that I have finished the book, and I really think about how it has made me feel, I truly believe that it is the negative aspects of Ove that allowed me to fully enjoy the book.  Had Ove simply been a sweet, lovely, caring old man, the story would not have been as interesting.

I don’t feel like any of the other secondary characters were very prevalent, and as a result, I did not connect with anyone else (except for possibly the poor cat).  The other characters were simply just put there to help tell the story and shape Ove’s character.  I would have liked to have had at least one other character that was more significant throughout,  but then again this is the story of A Man Called Ove!

I did feel that the story dragged a bit in some chapters, and it was primarily with the present-day stories more so than the retelling of Ove’s past.  I wanted more of a quicker pace to help move things along faster.

The ending was not predictable at all, and I was grateful for this. I truly loved the ending, I thought it was appropriate.  I cried a lot as well, as the book wrapped up.

Closing Thoughts: In summary, I enjoyed this read.  I think the author did a fantastic job of creating a main character that has many flaws but still well liked, and one that contributes to the overall satisfaction and enjoyment of this book.  Nobody is perfect, but they can still be remarkable! Ove is a true representation of that statement!

Overall the book was well written, and the story of Ove’s life is beautifully shared with the reader.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotional drama that will bring you both laughter, and tears constantly throughout.

Feel free to comment and tell me if you have read this book, and what your thoughts are.

Review of: Beyond Circumstances

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beyond circumstances

Author: Gloria Joynt-Lang

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Series: Out of the Darkness

Publisher: Fiery Seas Everlasting

Release Date: June 12, 2018

Dr. Lexie Draden didn’t want to leave her successful career as a surgeon in Chicago, but she didn’t have a choice. Her family needed to heal, and as long as she was around, it wasn’t going to happen. While adapting to her new community, she meets Zak Tifour, a man as intriguing as he is handsome.

Most of the small-town residents view Zak as a man who likes his privacy, but to a select few, something doesn’t seem right. Long-time resident Cicily McQuay believes she has the key to the man’s odd behavior – a link to terrorism. After all, he just isn’t the type of man who belongs in her community. But to belong, you need to be welcomed; something Cicily has never extended to Zak.

Zak knows plenty of terrorists and has even lived amongst them, but not like Cicily suspects. Escaping from a lifetime of bloodshed and regrets, he attempts to distance himself from the quirky townsfolk; people unable to comprehend boundaries. It appears to be working until he encounters the town’s new attractive doctor. Even though his secrets run deep, she ends up trusting him with her heart. But trust is fragile, and when Zak gets drawn back to his old life, Lexie must decide whether he’s a dangerous man or a broken hero.

Note: I was provided a free review copy of this book from the publisher.

My Review:  I really liked it.   This is a breathtakingly beautiful story that deals with guilt of losing people close to you, and learning how to grieve that loss.  One of the main themes in this book is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  This story paints a real heartbreaking picture of what it is like to live with PTSD daily, and how PTSD symptoms are often misunderstood by many.  We learn about what PTSD is like through Zak, and his many challenges.

The story has great character building.  The point of view changes often throughout from Zak to Lexie allowing the reader to get in deep with each one.  The author does a fantastic job of introducing the main characters to the readers right away, and in such a way that I connected almost immediately to each of them.  After just a few pages in, I was already invested in their lives and in the story, and constantly wondering what Zak’s past is all about, why he left New York, why he is now hiding in this small town called Baxley, living by himself, and keeping everyone at an arm’s length, everyone that is except Lexie. Zak is not perfect, he makes mistakes, he pushes people away, and his true colors are shown a few times, but that is not a fault of his character, he has real struggles, a diagnosis that is a severe anxiety disorder.  He often re-experiences through nightmares, that painful event that led to his diagnosis of PTSD, and as a reader your heart breaks for Zak and all he goes through, both in his past, and while living in Baxley.

Lexie, has her own secrets and issues, she too is broken, and that self-loathing comes from guilt over her Niece’s death.  Her story too breaks the reader’s heart.  But unlike Zak, Lexie is also strong, and independent. When it comes time to either believe in Zak or believe the rumors that the town has formed against Zak, Lexie really comes through as supportive, loving and a true friend. Her dedication to both her job as a Dr, and to Zak is an admirable trait.   My favorite part of the book was when Lexie’s past is revealed, the story about how her niece died was so emotional, it brought tears to my eyes. I kept thinking about the choices that Lexie had to make, the choices she did make, and the impacts of those choices, long after I finished the book.

The words in this book are wonderfully written.  The story is well paced and believable.  None of the events felt rushed, nor did they drag on, it contained the perfect timing in terms of moving the story along, and events unfolding.  While the ending was a bit predictable, it also still left me with an extremely satisfied feeling.

I recommend to this book to anyone looking for a wonderfully written contemporary drama, and especially if you are interested in one that deals with Mental and Emotional disorders.

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic, well written book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

BUY HERE:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DMBG5T6/ 

About the Author:

Author

Gloria Joynt-Lang was born in Ars-Laquenexy, France and spent her childhood experiencing the vast landscapes of Canada. A graduate of the University of Alberta with a degree in Criminology, she devoted her career to working in the criminal justice system. She now splits her time living in rural Alberta, Canada as well as Southern California with her husband and their two dogs, a Maltese named YaHoo and Yorkie named Smookie Bijoux. Why the Yorkie has a stripper name shall remain a tight guarded secret. A lifelong nerd, she is most comfortable with a book or laptop close by except when she transforms to cool biker chick, hopping on her motorcycle for a speed limit abiding ride to the nearest bookstore.

Social Media

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