Book Review: Beartown

Beartown

 

Beartown is the third Fredrik Backman book that I have read, and it did not disappoint. I also read A Man Called Ove and Britt-Marie Was Here. Fredrik Backman is quickly becoming a favorite. His stories always have to do with the rising of an underdog or someone who seems to be beat. And I just love it. Although his books have heavier themes, they are ultimately uplifting through this beating of the odds.

 

Beartown is a hockey town. It is located in the middle of nowhere in the forest. It is cold and snowy most of the time. The town used to be more thriving, but businesses closed and people moved away. And then, all the town had left was hockey.

 

Beartown follows the story of several of the residents of Beartown during a pivotal time for the town. The junior hockey team is fighting its way to the championship game, which could change the town by bringing the economy of the town back to life. Winning the championship could mean more jobs, more money and a hockey school in town, which is a lot of pressure to put on a group of high school boys.

 

After the semi-final game, a violent act turned the town upside down, and leaves the town picking sides. Things get really ugly, accusations are made, and the town is really left questioning their beliefs and loyalty.

 

Beartown is about the hope of a town, and what happens when secrets tear that town apart. It is also about what happens when one person stands up and fights. It is also a coming of age story, which I always enjoy, and how one act can cause a child (and a group of children) to grow up overnight.

 

Although it was really good, Beartown was really different from A Man Called Ove and Britt-Marie Was Here. Both of those has a lot of humor and really quirky characters. There were definitely sad and serious elements to them but there was also a lot of humor, especially through the odd characters. Beartown lacked that humor and quirkiness that the others had. I am not saying that it wasn’t just as good, it was just really different from the others. And I also get that for the story he wanted to tell, that humor wouldn’t have been appropriate.

 

I thought this was such an amazingly timely book, given things that are currently going on. And something that might be an important book for parents and teens to read. As a woman, it made me feel really angry.

 

But anyway, it was really good and I highly recommend all three of his books.

Book Review: All The Missing Girls

All The Missing Girls

 

Every so often, I read a book that I get a little obsessed with – I can’t stop reading it, I can’t stop thinking about it. All The Missing Girls was one of those books. Even after I finished, I thought about it for days. Big thanks to Sarah for recommending it to me, although I am sure she probably wishes she hadn’t because then all I wanted to do was talk to her about it.

 

This might just be the best book I have read it 2017, and I have read a lot of really good books. If thrillers are your thing, you MUST read this book.

 

Nicolette Farrell has spent most of her adult life running away from her past and her small town life she escaped 10 years ago. But when it is decided that they must sell her sick father’s house to pay his medical bills, Nic heads back to the small town of Cooley Ridge where her best friend Corinne disappeared 10 years ago.

 

After Nic arrives, another girl Annaleise goes missing. The investigation 10 years ago was focused on Nicolette, her boyfriend Tyler, her brother Daniel, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Not only was Annaleise the alibi for the group the night Corinne went missing, but she lives in the house that backs up to the Farrell property as well as dating Tyler. Naturally the investigation circles around the same group as before. And Nic realizes that the key to finding out what happened to her means she must find out what happened to her friend so many years ago. As she begins to dig, she uncovers a lot of secrets about her friends and family and what really happened the night Corinne disappeared.

 

One thing that was SO interesting about this book was the way it was written. Each chapter is a day. It starts with Day 1, and then the next chapter is Day 15 and then it works backwards from there. So you are trying to put the pieces together but backwards, which makes it SO much harder. In fact, I wanted to go back and re-read it so I could have it in my head a little better when things occur. And I read a review on Amazon that someone else wanted to read it in the chronological order so I am not as crazy as I thought. The author does SUCH a good job of slowly giving out tiny bits of information, and it is so well written.

 

To be honest, I generally know which way the wind is blowing in most books. It doesn’t make it any less good, but it does make it just a little less fun when what I think happens happens. This was not one of those books. I didn’t have a clue and I LOVED it!

 

I can’t recommend this book enough!! If you liked books like Gone Girl or Girl on a Train, you MUST read All The Missing Girls.

 

Have you read All The Missing Girls? If so, what did you think??

Book Review: Tuesday Nights in 1980

Tuesday Nights In 1980

 

I recently finished reading Tuesday Nights in 1980. I happened to see it at Target, and I remembered seeing someone post that they really liked it (I think it was Grace from The Stripe). So I decided to give it a try. I had never heard of it before, but I typically like a lot of the same books that she does, so why not? I didn’t even read the back.

 

I wouldn’t say this would be my typical read, kind of like The Alice Network (although that one was even less typical). But I really enjoyed it. I have always thought of myself of having a pretty broad range when it comes to picking books, but I think I need to be even broader since I have now read two non-typical books for me back to back and really enjoyed them both.

 

Tuesday Nights in 1980 centers around the art scene in SoHo in New York City in 1980. It really focuses on three main characters. Engales is an unknown painter from Buenos Aires, who left his sister there during a war and is trying to forget his past. Lucy is has recently moved from a small town to New York and wants to be around the artists (but isn’t an artist). James Bennett is an art critic who experiences things differently than most people – certain things make him see colors (his wife is red) or smell things that aren’t really there, which is why his reviews are so different and becoming so popular. The book begins on New Year’s Eve in 1979, when all three of the main characters’ world intersect. When two unrelated life altering tragedies occur, Engales, James and Lucy must figure out how to pick up the pieces and navigate their new existences while also figuring out how these tragedies affect their relationship with art.

 

The thing I really loved about this book is the way the three main characters were strangers at the beginning of the book, but they really play a big role in each other’s lives at this time. They are all in the process of trying to find themselves and figure out their place. They are all three a little lost, but these tragedies sort of force their hand to grow and change.

 

Have you read Tuesday Nights In 1980? If not, I would definitely recommend it!

 

Have you read anything really good lately? I am always looking for suggestions!

Book Review: The Alice Network

The Alice Network

 

I just finished another great book! I was surprised that I really enjoyed The Alice Network. This isn’t normally the kind of book I would read. It is historical fiction, and that really isn’t my thing. That is really more of Charlie’s type of book. To be honest, the only reason I picked it up was because Reese Witherspoon chose it for her bookclub pick a few months ago. I have liked other books that she has either talked about or recommended, so I decided to give this one a try.

 

The Alice Network is two parallel stories – one is just after World War II in 1947. Charlie is in college, unwed and pregnant, when she embarks on a journey to find her lost French cousin Rose. Rose has not been heard from since before the war was over, and even though her parents believe she is dead, Charlie is convinced she is alive.

 

The other story is during World War I in 1915. Eve, an English file girl with a stutter,  is recruited to join a network of female spies (called The Alice Network) in France. She is sent to Lille, which is occupied by the Germans and work for the leader of the Alice Network.

 

Thirty years later, trying to forget the horrors of war and haunted by her guilt, Eve spends her days drunk and hiding away in her London home. That is, until Charlie comes knocking at her door looking for answers that leads them both on a hunt for the truth.

 

Even though it is normally not my thing, I could not put down The Alice Network. It took me about a week to read it, but only because I kept having to go to work! I couldn’t wait to get home and pick it back up. It was so well written, and I loved the way the two stories intertwined. After I finished, I read the afterward that parts of the book were based on real events and people, which made it even more interesting.

 

Even if historical fiction isn’t your thing, I highly recommend this book and think you should give it a try. I am not going to run out and read other historical fiction, but I really, really enjoyed this one!

Book Review: The Lying Game

The Lying Game Book Review

 

The Lying Game is the third of Ruth Ware’s books. and the third one I have read. If you remember, she also wrote The Woman in Cabin 10 and In A Dark, Dark Wood. I was really excited after I read the first two that a new was was coming out soon!

 

What would you do if the secrets you had as a teenager never went away? What if you continually worried that the past would rear it’s ugly head again? This is the reality that Isa Wilde and her friends Fatima, Thea and Kate live with. The girls were at boarding school together and were the best of friends. Although they rarely see each other, they have a deep, unbreakable connection that continues to haunt them as adults.

 

When Isa, Thea and Fatima receive text messages from Kate with only “I need you,” the three rush to Salten, the home of their former boarding school and where Kate lives at the old millhouse. As teenagers, the four girls were inseparable. They played what they called “The Lying Game” – telling lies about everything just to mess with other students and faculty. The game has lots of rules, like never lie to each other and abandon the lie if you are going to get caught, and they received points for different lies, but the points didn’t really matter. The game made the girls completely unreliable and isolated them from everyone else (not that they minded). On the weekends, the girls would stay at Kate’s father Ambrose’s millhouse, who was an art teacher at Salten, and Kate’s stepbrother of sorts Luc.

 

The girls were mysteriously expelled at the end of the year, co-insiding with the disappearance of Ambrose. And now, after all of these years, the girls are returning for the first time to where all of their lies began.

 

I really liked The Lying Game, but it took me a little while to get into it. It was kind of a slow burn type of book, if that makes sense. Having read her other two books, I kept thinking, “There has to be more to this.” The other two have a lot more action, whereas The Lying Game is a slow unraveling of events. I am not saying that is a bad thing at all. I am just saying it is a different type of suspense from the first two books. There are a lot of twists and turn, and it is definitely another great psychological thriller.

 

If you are looking for a new book, and like thrillers, I would definitely recommend it!