The Winners by Fredrik Backman
We are back in Beartown where hockey is king, winning is everything and us against them (Hed) still reigns. The joys, sorrows and struggles at being good at hockey, parenting, marriage, friendship and love. Mother Nature unleashes a storm that ignites another storm of hate when Beartown and Hed's feud blazes again. This story could happen in Sweden or in Michigan as the characters and their situation speak to all of us where the parents are trying so hard to make their children's lives better than their own and their dreams reality and the kids are trying just as hard to become worthy of those dreams. In a way only Fredrik Backman can deliver, you will sigh, cry and try to memorize whole paragraphs of text. This one is a winner in every way. While you should go back and read all the Beartown books this one is the icing on the cake. This will appeal to hockey and small town junior sports fans as well as readers of deep family dramas.
Steeped in the rich culture of the Asante people this powerful coming of age story is told by 11 year old Kofi. In Kofi's village the boys go to an English school and learn the English ways unlearning everything that makes them who they are. At home they speak their language, learn to follow the old ways and the true path to adulthood that generations have followed before them. Kofi deals with universal problems of first love, rivalry, bullies and questions of what it means to be a man but when he is forced into a swimming contest his life will change forever. Narrated in colorful melodic prose that instantly calms the listener( even during the dramatic parts) this is a story that will resonate with middle grade, young adult and adults. So glad this is the first of three books.
I highly recommend the audiobook. 4 stars
An island community in the Pacific Northwest has seen its share of drama over the years but for the past decade it has been only the tourists and birds coming and going with the ferry. That is until August comes back to bury his mom after their hasty departure to the mainland years before. The islanders blame him for the death of Lily and no one is ready to forgive or forget, even the girlfriend he left behind. This is a love story to rival Romeo and Juliet caught in an explosive family feud like the Hatfields and McCoys combined with the air of magic and so many secrets at every turn. An atmospheric novel with a mystery and cursed love affair perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman or WHERE THE CRAWDADS SINGS. 5 stars
Peggy inherits an old manor house which she is equally drawn to and repelled by. She has lost her husband during WWII and now it is just herself and her young son with help from her father-in-law.
After she finds a diary written by Aunt Maude, who she inherited the house from, the real story comes alive. 1876 Maude and her older brother are orphaned and Maude being only 13 is sent to live with Miss Kitty Greenaway. Her brother is in college keeping in Maude's life sporadically but it is Miss Greenaway who is charged with Maude's education, social skills and life lessons. Maude is at an impressionable age and she quietly watches Miss Greenaway especially after she learns the family doesn't like her at all. Maude gets a real sense of the power some women have over men when she witnesses the about face her brother has when he finally meets Miss Greenaway. It is a dark story -a gothic coming-of-age tale complete with the diary full of secrets. Maude's roller coaster of emotions and the events of the house are the real story. 3 1/2 stars
Our favorite on again, off again couple Lucy and William are back and they are doing whatever it takes to keep the family safe and connected in the wake of the Covid pandemic. William whisks Lucy out of New York to a rented house on the Maine coast at the onset of trouble and urges the kids to escape the city as well. As much as I didn't want to read a book about the pandemic, Elizabeth Strout's no nonsense quiet writing style pulled me in from the first few pages. Lucy feels like we all did back then - her moments of anxiety, bits of joy, unexpected friendships, sorrow and bewilderment all ring true. Their family will experience upset, pain and grief but it will also bring William and Lucy back even stronger into each other's lives. Profound, touching and bittersweet you will read, remember, blow your nose and wipe your eyes at the end and the get back to living. 4 stars
Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson
In 1926 London Nellie Coker has just been released from jail. She has amassed nightclubs in Soho which she keeps a close eye on and an even closer eye on her children in the family business. The Coker Dynasty depends on each of the six kids stepping up and taking part but some have other plans to take her down. Nellie is a delightful character - the perfect mob boss/ sharp tongued moll who is as wise as she is ruthless. Life is not all gin, dancing and jazz as some would like to believe and Nellie must contend with an inspector on her tail, an inside informer and the antics of her children and a good deal of danger. This is a slice of life historical novel at a time where the line between right and wrong is somewhat fuzzy and people desperately wanted to get past the war and just have fun. Fans of "Peaky Blinders" and Beatrix William's Gin Kelly will sip their gin, humming Ain't We Got Fun and read the night away. 4 stars
Another installment of the Thursday Murder Club gang. The group of older but very savvy members who investigate cold cases and get into all kinds of trouble is back at it this time looking into the murder of a journalist and at the same time Elizabeth is dealing with someone from her past who is proving to be annoying. She must commit a murder to save her best friend from being murdered. A clever mystery combined with the charming and witty "not to be taken lightly" crime solvers - this is a less grisly yet just as satisfying murder mystery. There is also a bit of romance within the group that adds a bit of spice. For fans of Anthony Horowitz and those who binge watch "Only Murders In The Building". 4 stars
There are ghosts in the graveyard and there are ghosts of relationships past and for Erin and Silas they are one in the same. Erin keeps coming back to the intervention that didn't happen for Silas in college who seemed to have one foot in the grave until the day when he really died. Falling into the same drug trap Erin takes a pill that lets her see the dead but soon she is seeing dead people everywhere. This frightening story deals with the horrors of ghosts, addiction and the afterlife. A horror story from page one to be read with all the lights on that will have you saying - I SEE DEAD PEOPLE. 3 stars
The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling
The second book in the ongoing witchy happenings of Graves Glen. Gwyn owns the town's witchcraft shop and business is going well. Life is good until another one of the founding father's sons comes into town to shake things up at the school and town. Wells Penhallow is someone Gwyn thought she was finished with but now he is back which creates havoc. Erin Sterling is very good at the love/hate romcom relationship that we adore. Add to this the fun witchy back story, a great pinch of wit and the spell is cast for a fun Fall romcom. 3 1/2 stars
We all thought of Baba Yaga as an old witch who lived deep in the snowy forests but this rich imagining of Baba Yaga is of an immortal woman who chooses to help the young Tsarina and is framed for her death. It is about political backstabbing and a vicious Tsar influenced by immortals. This is beautiful world building of a brave strong woman who is passionate about the promises she made and those close to her. She does have a house on chicken legs and a wolf who protects her but her spirit is very far removed from the childhood stories we knew. For fans of THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE this is a fantasy that pulls you in from the first page.
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Thriller / Mystery
Fantasy / Sci-Fi
All Adult Genres
Young Adult Genre
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