Beartown by Fredrik Backman

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Published by Atria

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

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

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

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

If you’ve followed my blog for long you know I have loved all of Fredrik Backman’s books, beginning with A Man Called Ove. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry was a little slow with a strange make believe between two of the main characters and I almost gave up on it. Let me tell you, NEVER give up on a Backman book! Always, always by the time you finish it’s wonderful and the story stays with you. No one writes characters quite like him. Beartown is another wonderful story. Hockey is a huge part of the story, I’m not into hockey so at first it was a little slow for me. But, I know a treasure is coming, so I keep reading. I have to say, several days after I finished the book it seems even sweeter. Does that ever happen to you?

A story about moral failure, the dangers of crowd mentality, and coming of age, but mostly about the fragility of human nature . Set in Sweden, the incredible imagery puts you there in this small Swedish town in love with hockey. I loved it!

Here are a few quotes I love from the book 

“When Amat was born, she lay with him on her chest in a narrow bed in a little hospital on the other side of the planet, no one but them in the whole world. A nurse had whispered the prayer in his mother’s ear back then – it is said to have been written on the wall above Mother Teresa’s bed – and the nurse hoped it would give the solitary woman strength and hope. Almost sixteen years later, the scrap of paper is still hanging on her son’s wall, the words mixed up, but she wrote them down as well as she could remember them:

If you are honest people may deceive you. Be honest anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfishness. Be kind anyway. All the good you do today will be forgotten by others tomorrow. Do good anyway.

The final lines his mother wrote on the sheet of paper on his wall read as follows: What you create, others can destroy. Create anyway. Because in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and anyone else anyway.

Immediately below that, written in red crayon in the determined handwriting of a  primary school student, it says: They say I’m to little to play. Become good player any way!

Another one: “David is at home, lying on his kitchen floor. He’s thirty-two years old and his red hair is so unruly it looks like it’s trying to escape from his head. He got teased about it when he was little; the other kids pretended to burn themselves on him in class. That was where he learned to fight. He didn’t have any friends, which was why he was able to devote all his time to hockey. He never bothered to acquire any other interests, which is how he’s managed to become the best.

I love the description of David’s hair!

Robbie Holt  –  “While he was growing up everyone kept telling him he was going to turn professional, and he believed them so intensely that when he didn’t make it, he took it to mean that everyone else had let him down, as if somehow it wasn’t his own fault. He wakes up in the mornings with the feeling that someone has stolen a better life from him, an unbearable phantom pain between what he should have been and what he actually became. Bitterness can be corrosive; it can rewrite your memories as if it were scrubbing a crime scene clean, until in the end you only remember what suits you of its causes.

And mother Kira and daughter Maya… Teenage years offer a brief period of equality after childhood, before the balance shifts and Kira become old enough to worry about her parents more than they do about her. soon Maya won’t be Kira’s little girl anymore, and then Kira will be come Maya’s little old mom. It doesn’t take a lot to be able to let go of your child. It takes everything.

Read a little about Fredrik Backman HERE.

Excellent read! Thanks to Atria and Netgalley for letting me read an advance copy of this wonderful book! Its publication date is April 25th. You can purchase a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound

And Now We Know…

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Biography/Memoir

A little while ago I told you about Paul Fronczak , a man who was abandoned as a toddler and thought to be, and raised as, the kidnapped son of Dora and Chester Fronczak, and the book coming out soon about his journey to the truth.  Well I got an advance copy from Netgalley last week and I couldn’t put the book down!  

The mystery of who Paul really is, why he was left in a stroller in front of McCrory’s and who his real family are. Plus the mystery of the biggest manhunt in Chicago history with the kidnapping of the one day old infant. Throw in the ancestry and DNA hunting and you have a fantastic puzzle and human interest tale.

The Foundling is a touching and inspiring story about a child lost and faith found, about the permanence of families and the bloodlines that define you, and about the emotional toll of both losing your identity and rediscovering who you truly are. It also pulls in the emotional toll taken on the Fronczak’s , losing a newborn to kidnap and raising a son your never quite sure is yours or not. Excellent read on many levels. Thank you to Howard Books for allowing me this advance copy! The book will be released on April 4, 2017. 

Purchase the book @ Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indie bound

A Sweet Novella

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and LongerAnd Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very touching novella about losing a loved one to dementia. Having gone through that with my mom it was a little hard for me to read. But as always, Mr. Backman left you with a wonderful uplifting feeling. A beautiful story of love and loss.

This gem is available for purchase Tuesday, November 1, 2016.  Thanks to Atria Books for surprising me with a copy to preview. Fredrik Backman is one of my favorite authors. Looking forward to his next novel, Beartown, coming out next spring!

Peggy Ann

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Publisher: Atria Books
Hardcover: 336

ISBN: 9781501142536

Description

Another wonderful tale from Fredrik Backman! Britt-Marie was a minor character in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and got front and center in this book. She is a wonderful character! Backman’s characters are quite quirky, but he nails human nature on the head.

The only thing I didn’t care for in this book was Mr. Backman had to make the seemingly obligatory nod to homosexuality/bisexuality. I’m really tired of that. It was only briefly mentioned and not explored in the character at all or any kind of an integral part of the story. It showed up for what it is ‘political correctness’ or whatever you call it. Disappointed at that.

A Backman book is like receiving a gift, a real gem. If you haven’t read one yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

You can purchase this book…
Simon & Schuster  (Official Publishers Website)
Amazon US

I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion!
Peggy Ann

Bryant & May and the Secret Santa by Christopher Fowler

Series: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Story
Publisher: Alibi (Random House Publishing Group)
Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Format: ebook only
Length: Novella – 22 pages
ISBN: 9781101968970
My Source: Netgalley

‘The streets of London are covered in twinkling lights and freshly fallen snow, but the mood inside the Christmas department of Selfridges is decidedly less cheery. Bryant and May have arrived there to investigate the death of an eleven-year-old boy who inexplicably fled the store after a routine visit to Santa’s Wonderland. Their only clue is a torn scrap of blue cloth discovered at the scene. Now, Bryant and May are making a list of suspects, but they’d better check it twice to catch a shifty culprit in disguise.’


For Peculiar Crimes Unit fans this is a sweet short story for holiday reading. True to the series tradition of filling us in on true facts about real places, Bryant reminisced about going to Gamages Department Store as a child in Holbern Circus at Christmas. Those were the days!

 Read about Gamages and see pages from their famous Christmas Catalogue
Need a quick read to get you in the spirit? Get this little gem…

Amazon US
iTunes
Kobo
Penguin Random House

 

The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adams

ISBN: 9781464204807

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

My source: Netgalley

 

Description
The Notting Hill Mystery was first published between 1862 and 1863 as an eight-part serial in the magazine Once a Week, written under the pseudonym Charles Felix. It has been widely described as the first detective novel, pre-dating as it does other novels such as Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone (1868) and Emile Gaboriau’s first Monsieur Lecoq novel (1869) that have previously claimed that accolade. The story is told by insurance investigator Ralph Henderson, who is building a case against the sinister Baron ‘R___’, suspected of murdering his wife in order to obtain significant life insurance payments. Henderson descends into a maze of intrigue including a diabolical mesmerist, kidnapping by gypsies, slow-poisoners, a rich uncle’s will and three murders. Presented in the form of diary entries, family letters, chemical analysis reports, interviews with witnesses and a crime scene map, the novel displays innovative techniques that would not become common features of detective fiction until the 1920s. Now made available again, with George du Maurier’s original illustrations included for the first time since the original serial publication, this new edition of The Notting Hill Mystery will be welcomed by all fans of detective fiction.

Really good puzzler and fantastic murder mystery, but… It is written in a strange format. the entire story is told through the reports from the insurance investigator along with the witness statements and excerpts from diaries. All very formal and tidy. For people who like the plot and the puzzle and the ‘just the facts ma’m, just the facts’  the most, this is right up your alley. But if you are character driven then this might not trip your trigger. I did know the solution quickly into the book but the fun of it is reading the how we got there I guess.
The introduction by Martin Edwards was worth the read though!
Purchase this book…
Peggy Ann