Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove

What I thought about The Man called Ove

‘Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say,’ said Ove.

Set in Sweden, this story of your everyday person and the things they face in life is both heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. The author takes us on a journey through Ove’s life, a short duration after his wife dies and while he is contemplating committing suicide to join her. Ove is a grumpy old man, who seems to put people off with his attitude. Little does anyone know that underneath that hard exterior, there is a wonderful man inside!

A perfectionist, Ove expects things to be a certain way, to happen in a certain way. He has a routine and he expects to keep it. When he is suddenly out of a job, he is thrown off center for a while. Add to this the death of the one person who truly understood him and accepted him for who he is and I am sure that you can understand Ove’s state of mind. If not, read on! This book is truly worth it.

We are introduced to an intriguing set of characters who make this story more colorful. Parvaneh, a pregnant lady with two children and a weird husband, seems to take it upon herself to bring Ove out of his shell. As Ove sets out everyday with the idea of killing himself, something happens to prevent it and make him postpone by a day, each day. A stubborn man, Ove has a set way of doing things and he follows the rules. He has come up through sheer hard-work and determination and all theses experiences seem to have shaped him. The entry of his wife into his life proves to add some color into it, but just enough for her to bring out the best in him.

This story shows us all sides of life and how it shapes a person and their attitude. We are shown how Ove has grown and how the people in his life have affected him. The story goes back and forth, thus ensuring that we get all parts of the story. The man called Ove, has a lot to say and a lot to teach us. It’s up to us to understand this and learn. We are also shown a side of him where he has made friends and lost them over something that ideally wouldn’t matter much to us. With a set mind and ideals, Ove is as stubborn as one can be. This story is about how to break out of this and adapt to the changes in the world around you.

The supporting characters in this story are well crafted and seek to bring out different shades of life. They are from different backgrounds, and show us various kinds of lifestyles and thought processes. The children are delightful and it is partially their innocence, coupled with Parvaneh’s bossy nature that seeks to bring Ove out of his shell. As he begins to help people again, frankly speaking, he is forced to, it changes him once more and gives him a new purpose in life.

A well-written novel, the author brings out the truth behind every person’s life, the hardships they face and the ease with which they can handle it when surrounded with people who love and support them. The simplicity of the plot and the depth of the characters make this a brilliant read.

Check out Serenity Harbor: A Haven Point Novel by RaeAnne Thayne

About the Book:

Serenity Harbor

Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he’s arrogant, entitled, and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there’s more to sexy, wary Bo than she’d ever realized. Bo never imagined he’d be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn’t know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he’s ready to make her dream of family come true … and hoping there’s room in it for him, too …

My Thoughts:

This is a light hearted romance novel, which brings out the importance of understanding and love. The story follows Katrina, a school teacher who is fighting her own battles to adopt an orphaned girl. In the meantime, she meets Bowie and his younger brother Milo, and the child takes a special liking to her. She takes on a job as his nanny temporarily as she waits for the adoption to fall through. As the story progresses, we get to know more about the principal characters and their lives, who they are, and how they came to be where they are at present.

The plot is simple enough and the characters are pleasing to read about. The story moves quickly and as expected, Katrina and Bowie develop feelings for each other. However, what is different, is how they handle it and react. It’s beautiful to read about characters who put their goals and their people first, showing us their strength and state of mind. The best part of the book is how the author handles Milo and how the child grows into a more open and confident individual.

The story may get a little cliche in some places, but it is to be expected and frankly can be enjoyed as it is! A quick and simple read in the romance genre that most people will enjoy especially as a holiday romance read!

Book Review: Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

I was provided with a copy of this book by Hideaway Fall publishers in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Broken Branches

‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

My Thoughts:

Wow! This is an intense emotional roller coaster, that will hold your attention until the end. The story is well-written and the beauty of it is that the author doesn’t give away anything until the very end! It proves to be impossible to predict the direction the  story will take and is even more difficult to figure out what is real and what is not! The title of the story becomes clear by the end and is quite apt according to me.

The story follows Ian Perkins as he tries to find out more about his family and it’s history, tracing back along the years while trying to prove the existence of a legendary family curse. The reason behind this need becomes clear only after the reader has completed the book! We are also introduced to Rachel, Ian’s wife who doesn’t believe in the curses’ existence and their adorable son Harry, who seems to have boundless energy. The emotions run deep and the descriptions are vivid, sometimes giving the reader chills at the end of it.

The author sets the tone of the story right from the first page as he describes the cottage, the iconic tree and the various people who have resided in this place. Chapters alternate between the present times and the past, introducing us to various people who were a part of or influenced Ian’s life. The author expertly describes the mental stability of his characters and brings out their thoughts and emotions, thus making it hard for the reader to completely judge until the end.

Hold on to your seats and emotions as you are in for an interesting and thought provoking time with this book! It is worth the read, touching upon some rather pertinent topics related to family, relationships and a persons psyche as a result of tragedy as the truth comes out.

Book Review: Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde

About the Book:

Say Goodbye for Now

On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.

When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.

With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.

My Thoughts:

The phrase, ‘Say goodbye for now’, also the title of the book, is a recurring point throughout the book. It is a wonderful thing that the title of a book has been incorporated throughout the plot and brings out the overall theme or point of the story.

I picked up this book after reading ‘Ask Him Why’. I really enjoyed the author’s style of writing and couldn’t wait to read more. I was most surprised when upon starting this story, I found that the style of writing, the tone and pace of the story were different! This made me enjoy the book all the more apart from the wonderful plot.

The story focuses on two young boys, in their early teens, who meet by chance and decide that due to their way of thinking, that they should be friends. It was rather unfortunate that the times they lived in frowned upon friendship between them. With a town set against the newly arrived African American father and son duo, a lady doctor who cares for abandoned and hurt animals, and a young American boy who seeks her out when he finds a hurt wolf-dog lying by the side of the highway, there is a lot that can happen when we bring these four people together.

The author takes her time to bring out the personalities of each of these principal characters, as well as their backgrounds. She helps us understand what makes them tick and how they became the way they are in the present time. The author elaborates a little on the town and it’s mindset and perception of these main characters. Nothing is simple in the lives of these four people and the author takes her time in making things right. The story is told alternatively from the points of view of Pete and Dr. Lucy. The reader will get to know them very well and will feel as though even they are friends with them. As pleasing and simple as they are, they are not perfect and have their dark moments.

Pete is thoughtful and advanced in the way his mind thinks and instead of being shushed by the adults he comes to know, they encourage and nurture his inquisitive mind. His relationship with all the characters and his thoughts and feelings help to shape the direction the story moves in. Justin though different, understand Pete and plays his part in this story to perfection. The simple chemistry between Dr. Lucy and Calvin is shown with understated simplicity. It just happens, and there is no confusion or apology. The characters take all situations in their stride, including the fact that a time will come when they can be together and until then, they just have to keep living on.

The simple tones and calm manner in which things are dealt with make this story all that more pleasing. This was a wonderful read and I fell in love with every aspect of this story. The title, used extensively as demanded by the plot, will help the reader see that there is no need to end a relationship of any kind, there are times when it can just be postponed, with some understanding, care and love.

Just say Goodbye for Now!

Release Blitz: Mr. Lucky by Nora Flite and Jackson Kane

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mrluckyMr. Lucky by Nora Flite and Jackson Kane

Genre: Billionaire Contemporary Romance
Series: A Billionaire Romance Novella
Publication Date: February 20, 2017

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+ BONUS copy of Bigger and Badder
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Could you share a bed with a smoking-hot stranger?
I’m stuck in my hometown with a depressing job and no future. So when my best friend asks me to drive all the way to NYC so I can be her maid of honor, I jump on the chance to escape. Or I would have, if my car hadn’t broken down. I’ve never been lucky. Then HE shows up—a guy straight out of a fitness magazine, wearing a sharp suit—and he actually fixes my engine. I’d love it if he’d fix a few other things of mine, but I’m in a rush. I don’t think I’ll see him again. Except here he is, staying at the same hotel as me. Turns out they lost my reservation. My mystery man offers to save the day again; I can sleep in my car and probably get arrested for it, or I can share his bed. He says nothing will happen between us… unless I want it to. I should know better than to hook up with someone I met 24 hours ago. I might regret this in the morning, but for once in my life? I just want to get lucky. Too bad I don’t know who this man really is. And when I find out… My whole world is going to change.

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Cover Reveal: A Way Back Into Love by Veronica Thatcher

~ Cover Reveal ~
A Way Back Into Love by Veronica Thatcher
5th January, 2017

About the Book:

Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love… Well, that makes complicates everything complicated. When you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.

Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life is turned upside-down when she realizes she’s in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home… to the man she left behind?

About the Author:

Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them.  She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!

Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it. You can reach Veronica through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad and Gmail.

Contact the Author:
FB Page * FB Profile * Twitter * Wattpad

Book Review: What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

About the Book:

What Jennifer Knows

A vital member of her Surrey community, Jennifer Jacobs is dedicated to her job as a dance therapist, helping children with special needs to express themselves through movement. Wife of a successful though reclusive sculptor, Gerald, she is known for having a deep sense of empathy, making her a trusted confidante. So when two very different friends, Freya and Abi, both share information with her that at first seems to be an awkward coincidence, she doesn’t tell them. But as the weeks roll by, the link revealed between the two women begins to escalate into a full-blown moral dilemma – and also brings to the surface a painful memory Jennifer believed she had long since forgotten. What is the right thing to do? Should she speak out or is the truth better left unsaid?

My Thoughts:

 An interesting read overall, this book has its set of ups and downs. There are many things that will appeal to the reader and a few which may deter them. But persevering on will ensure that the reader comes away satisfied by the reading experience. On some level, it is a little daunting to read about Jennifer and Gerald, who seem to be role models for the perfect life and couple. However, as we progress through the story, we come to know that not everything is as perfect as it seems.

Jennifer struggles with her relationship with her daughter as well as her friendships with Freya and Abi. The main question of morality comes down to whether a friend should share the truth about something they know or withhold it and wait. There is never a right answer or reaction to this and each can have different ends. A trial of relationships, both on the personal front as well as with friends raises a dilemma in Jennifer’s mind which forms the crux of this story. The author’s style of writing is simple and flows well.

The supporting characters are nice and developed to some extent. I believe that there could have been more depth added to the story and the characters, making it a bit more complex. However, on the whole the story works. It is a decent read and a different kind of plot that ultimately forces the reader to think about certain moral ideas.

In Conversation with Temba Magorimbo

I have had the pleasure of interacting with Temba Magorimbo, the author of Lake of My Heart and many other books. The links to his novels are at the end of the post. I will be posting my review for the book soon. I can relate to the setting of the book having had the pleasure of living in Africa (Zambia and Malawi) for a small part of my life! Here is what Temba has to say:

  • What/who inspired you to start writing?

I remember around the 1978-79s when Rhodesia was in transition during and after the civil war which had black nationalists against the Ian Smith led Rhodesians. I used to listen to radio stories on air both at school and at home. School had radio lessons for grades 1 to 7 whereupon teachers moved from one class to another giving other radio sets which worked on batteries. I listened to those stories attentively. I tried first to write radio stories copying the heroes and villains which were read in series. The in 1980 I went to secondary school (high School) where I was introduced to the library. It was different from junior/primary school were books were available in several classroom promoting reading culture but without the presence of a real library. There I delved into series authors with a good following amongst us newbies like Franklin W. Dixon [the Hardy Boys], Carolyn Keene [Nancy Drew], Captain W.E. Jones [Bigglesworth], Enid Blyton [Famous Five] among other books which encouraged me to write. I then tried writing crime series complete with fictious cities on beaches and the sea. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country so it’s difficult to describe a stroll on a beach when we don’t have sea fronts.

  • Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Rhodesia in a city called Gwelo [now Zimbabwe and Gweru]. My father was a police constable in the British South Africa Police based in Gwelo. I went to junior school for a term in 1973 at Bumburwi Primary School in Old Mkoba thence I moved to Senga Primary in Senga when the family relocated from Mkoba Police Camp to Senga where I finished my junior school in 1979. I did my secondary (high) school for two weeks at Nashville [multi-racial and middle density school] before being booted out for lack of payment of fees. There was a library at Nashville High but boy, two weeks was not enough for me. I moved to a cheaper school within the same high density I belonged to, Ascot Secondary until 1983. I am currently working for the government of Zimbabwe in Chitungwiza.

  • What is your favourite genre?

Contemporary Romance

  • Which is your favourite book?

I don’t have favourites but the last book I wrote should be Butterscotch [meet me in Alberta] by that distinction it should be the favourite, for now at least.

  • Who is your favourite author?

 I like our Zimbabwean brother, Shimmer Chinodya who wrote novels like Farai’s Girls and Dew in the Morning because those motivated me especially the last. He did explain in one television interview that Zimbabweans would rather buy beef than but a novel. That was a hard but true bow.

  • What are your hobbies?

Church, reading and writing, listening to good music and watching television especially if there is English or Barclays sponsored English soccer.

  • Perfect holiday destination?

Why not arriving by air in Nairobi, Kenya enroute to a 2 or 3-day climb to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in good weather with a lot of bananas, roast wild game meat and drinks on the way. Do you think I would lose or gain weight either way up or down the mountain?

  • Describe a perfect writing day.

There must be good weather, not hot or too cold, light wind and there must be electricity. You people take running water and electricity for granted. Here it’s a national slogan of diesel and petrol generators, they just cut us off. Without power, I can’t use the desktop that I use when writing fiction. Then I need to have had a good night’s sleep after a hearty supper with no arguments before or after. We don’t want those arguments in our fiction do we? There is nothing as sleep inducing as a blank computer screen. Then internet should be fine, on line and in speed. Because when you are researching why Bombay isn’t in Pakistan you don’t need spend five minutes on the internet for that.

  • Which is the best part of writing a story?

Finishing a story is the best because all you will be doing is change here and there, delete a word and add several or delete an entire paragraph in order to produce the hook after the book is finished. At times you will be checking facts against too much fiction. Like for instance international standards remain as there are in fiction or real life.

  • How much inspiration do you draw on from real life experiences, with respect to plot, characters etc.?

Real life only comes in when you need use research. There is no need to re-invent the wheel in fiction. The readers known Pythagoras’s Theorem if you write about it or the Decision Tree in Mathematics, make sure you know what you are doing. Characters come from the mind and observation never from real people. I don’t see a beefy neighbour then describe a character who is a drunkard and as beefy as my neighbour. I want all my royalties, not some of them ending up paying compensation next door.

  • Who among the characters you created do you like the most and why?

In the book Off The Eagle’s Claws I like Mark Rainger because even though he is in his late 30s he still believes in love. He fought on the losing side in the Rhodesian civil war yet he remains rooted to the country where his fellow Caucasians are getting loud mouthed by every upstart politician. He remains loving the bush, which hid him from the guerillas at the same time providing a home away from home for the same guerillas he in turn was hunting or vice versa. He continues loving a woman who is married until fate gives him an opportunity to try the hot seat.

  • How much do you relate to the characters or incidents in your story?

I don’t put myself into the character or do I put personal incidents because all my eleven or so books with eight published would be autobiographies. I have learnt to be moderate when writing, not too happy or too sad lest you allow your personal feeling to intrude too much into the stories.

  • What kind of impact do your stories have on you?

To me the stories are real and breathing fire.

Book Links:

www.amazon.com/butterscotch-meet-in-Alberta-2/dp/1499345232

www.amazon.com/Lake-my-heart-broken-hearts/dp/1499345399

www.amazon.com/Let-Close-On-Me/dp/1499345339

http://www.amazon.com/Off-The-Eagle’s-Claws/dp/1499345453

https://www.createspace.com/4790542

https://www.createspace.com/4790575

https://www.createspace.com/4790564

https://www.createspace.com/4790568

The Secrets of Ice Cream Success by A D Hartley

About the Book:

22589546

Carlo never wanted to take over the family ice cream business, at fourteen he already had school and the terror of talking to girls to occupy his ever anxious mind, but when the odious Haverton Hill tried to buy the factory from him after his father’s death, an unexpected sense of defiance arose.

With the “help” of his friends, Carlo sets out to cope with incompetent staff, sabotage, strange goings on in the basement, a book with a mind of its own and the knowledge that those little specks in the vanilla ice cream may not be as innocent as they seem… Oh, and he’s just been asked to a party by a girl! Summer holidays were not supposed to be this interesting.

Will the secrets Carlo uncovers within the factory lead to success or failure?

My Thoughts:

To be frank I was not entirely sure what to expect from this book and I did start reading it with the preconceived notion that it may be boring. However it turns out I thoroughly enjoyed this story and would happily recommend it to everyone!

This is a nice and funny story about a young boy of fourteen who is suddenly facing the task of running his father’s ice cream factory. The story highlights all the emotions that run through a fourteen year old’s mind in such a situation when he has just lost his father and has been left the family business as part of his father’s will. He is to be taken care of by his father’s friend and partner Mr Randolph who assumed that the company would be left to him. Accompanied by his four friends, Carlo sets out to bring the company back to the top and show their competition Mr Hill that Leodoni’s is indeed the best ice cream.

There is a slight twist in the story and this adds more mystery and makes it more interesting to read. The reader is sure to enjoy following Carlo and his friends as they behave like any other fourteen year old, running around and assuming they can do anything while at the same time steeping up to support their friend and showing us what true friendship is. All the elements put together make this story delightful to read with all it’s ups and downs, fun moments and dark moments. For all those readers who have enjoyed Enid Blyton’s stories in their childhood, this story is not far behind. It is as good as they come and worth the read!

Book Review: Breaking Fences by Juliana Haygert

BreakingFences
Breaking Fences by Juliana Haygert
(The Breaking Series)
Publication date: June 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Synopsis:
All Beatriz “Bia” Fernandes wants is to prove herself—to her family and friends—though it’s hard to prove anything with an overbearing father and three famous polo-playing older brothers. After her acceptance into college results in a heated family argument, the Brazilian girl leaves everything behind to find her own American dream.
College life away from home is perfect until the people she believes to be her friends turn on her. With lies and rumors threatening to suffocate her, Bia turns to her only freedom. Riding.But one thing gets in the way of her escape. Garrett Blackwell and his bad cowboy attitude. Working at the ranch is his obligation, bugging Bia is his newfound hobby. His thick skin and easy grin don’t hide what Bia already knows—this misunderstood and lonely cowboy fights his own demons. Brushing horses’ coats and mucking out stalls shouldn’t be this sexy, and it isn’t long before he becomes a part of her distraction.However, escaping won’t solve her problems, and it’s up to Bia to break down the fences around her and prove her strength—not to her family and friends, but to herself … and for Garrett. Because standing on her own doesn’t have to mean standing alone.** Companion novel of Breaking the Reins. Can be read out of order.**

Goodreads: 
Purchase:
 
BF - Teaser 03
JulianaAUTHOR BIO
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.
Author Links:
My Thoughts:
This book is brilliant and a page turner. I could not stop reading even for a second. The story follows Bia as she goes to university away from home and tries to experience college the American way. Being Brazilian gets her a lot of attention which she does not want and it’s up to her to figure out who is really her friend. Through all this she finds herself at a farm where she dives into horse riding, her first love. This calms her and brings her face to face with Garrett for whom she develops feelings. This story is about Bia finding herself, discovering what she wants to do and realising that not everything can be obtained by living away from family. She also learns that to love is also to let go. If the love is true it will remain and so will the person.
A beautifully written book, there is a lot to be got from this and the author has subtly put out there some life lessons that we should pay heed to. Without giving us a feeling of being preached to, we are shown how having faith and trust can take a relationship to a greater level. This book is definitely worth the read and with romance splashed in, it is a treat for most book lovers.