Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Audio Book Review: Submissive Series by Tara Sue Me

Publisher: Penguin Audio
Format: Audio
Genre: Romance/ BDSM
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

The Submissive: It started with a hidden desire. Millionaire CEO Nathaniel West has always played by his own strict set of rules, ones he expects everyone to follow - especially the women he's dominated in his bedroom. But his newest lover is breaking down all his boundaries and rewriting his rule book. Abby King never imagined that she would capture the heart of Nathaniel West, one of New York City's most eligible bachelors - and its most desirable dominant. What began as a weekend arrangement of pleasure has become a passionate romance with a man who knows every inch of her body and her soul - yet remains an enigmatic lover. Though he is tender and caring, his painful past remains a wall between them. Abby knows the only way to truly earn his trust is to submit to him fully and let go of all of her lingering inhibitions. Because to lead Nathaniel on a path to greater intimacy, she must first let him deeper into her world than anyone has ever gone before...

The Dominant: Nathaniel West doesn’t lose control.

As the playboy CEO of West Industries, he governs the boardroom during the day; as a strict dominant with exacting rules, he commands the bedroom at night. He never takes on inexperienced submissives, but when Abigail King’s application comes across his desk, he breaks his own restrictions and decides to test her limits.

Abby’s combination of innocence and willingness is intoxicating, and Nathaniel is soon determined to collar her as his own. As long as she follows his orders and surrenders herself fully to him, no one will get hurt.

But when Nathaniel begins falling for Abby on a deeper level, he realizes that the trust must go both ways—and he has secrets which could bring the foundations of their entire relationship crashing down...

The Training: It started with a hidden desire.

Millionaire CEO Nathaniel West has always played by his own strict set of rules, ones he expects everyone to follow—especially the women he’s dominated in his bedroom. But his newest lover is breaking down all his boundaries and rewriting his rule book.

Abby King never imagined that she would capture the heart of Nathaniel West, one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors—and its most desirable dominant. What began as a weekend arrangement of pleasure has become a passionate romance with a man who knows every inch of her body and her soul – yet remains an enigmatic lover. Though he is tender and caring, his painful past remains a wall between them.

Abby knows the only way to truly earn his trust is to submit to him fully and let go of all of her lingering inhibitions. Because to lead Nathaniel on a path to greater intimacy, she must first let him deeper into her world than anyone has ever gone before…

The Chalet: Submitting her body was only the beginning.

Abby King didn’t know true passion until she gave herself to Nathaniel West, one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors and desired Dominants. Now, on the eve of her marriage, she realizes all her dreams are coming true. And with a romantic honeymoon getaway planned at a secluded Swiss chalet, she’s sure Nathaniel will find even more fantasies to fulfill…

Nathaniel never thought he’d settle down until Abby broke down his barriers and changed his plans. With their wedding only weeks away, he can barely wait to possess her completely—heart, body, and soul—and show her the true meaning of being both a wife and a submissive.

Only Abby has one more challenge in store before she becomes his: no sex and no collar for one month before the wedding. Nathaniel is willing to give it a shot but he has one scandalous stipulation—once that month is up, anything goes…

Review:

Super sexy, and hot.  I love Abby and Nathaniel.These 4 books are just about Abby and Nathaniel.  The rest of the series features them but doesn't completely focus on them. These four really show the foundation of their relationship I read the rest of the series to see how it progressed and wasn't disappointed.

Written before 50 shades of Grey and where EL James got some of their ideas, this book far surpasses 50 shades. At least Abby has a backbone.

Once again, Iggy Toma delivers a great audio performance as well.  Love his narration.





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Friday, November 23, 2018

Book Review: Conversion by Katherine Howe

Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Speak
Format: Paperback
Pages: 432 pages
Genre:  YA, Fiction, Depression
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | 

Synopsis: 

It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.

First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.

Everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago

Review:

A modern take on the Crucible.  This book flips back and forth between modern day and the days during the Witch Trials.  While the Crucible wasn't really about the Salem Witch Trials it does show how hysteria and lack of attention can drive people to make claims that aren't true, and have people follow based on to fear and misunderstanding.

The story takes place at an exclusive girls school where several students are falling sick and the community is anxious for a reason behind it.  As more and more girls fall sick and the media attention explodes some take advantage of their new found fame and others find a way to use the illness to launch their own agenda but what is really causing all these girls to get sick?

The mind is a powerful weapon, against us and against society.  J Edgar Hoover went on a hunt for communists, people today are on the hunt for terrorists behind every door but maybe we need to look closer at what is really scaring us...change, feeling insignificant, out of control? This book could spur a lot of discussion if you really delve into it.  I think it would make a great book club book or even a good book to be taught in a classroom.







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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Audio Book Review: Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Release Date: February 6, 2007
Publisher: Harper Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 11 hours 3 minutes
Narrator: Stephen Lang
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Suspense
Buy: Audible Kindle 

Synopsis: 

Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals...a used hangman's noose...a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is widely known. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, a thing so terrible-strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet.

I will sell my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder.

For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts: of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What's one more? But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost. It's the real thing.

And suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door...seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang...standing outside his window...staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting - with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one hand.

Review:

Creepy and spine chilling I had a hard time pausing this book. 

Judas doesn't understand his attraction to the macabre and when someone auctions off a ghost he can't help himself but to buy it. Of course the whole thing was a set up and now Jude and his girlfriend are battling a ghost who is hellbent on killing them.

Fast paced, and spooky this book catches you and keeps you going.  As Judas and Marybeth (aka Georgia) take to the road to confront the woman who sold him the ghost, Judas starts to evaluate his life. Marybeth and Judas start to share more of their past and learn more about each other and as they try to survive they get closer. So for all its dark creepiness this book is also about redemption and love. Joe Hill definitely has established himself as a leader in horror writing on par with Stephen King. There were many twists and turns that I didn't see coming and the ending was not what I expected but in a good way.




Monday, November 19, 2018

Audio Book Review: Takeover Series Books 1-4 by Anna Zabo

Publisher: Tantor Audio
Format: Audio
Narrator: Iggy Toma
Genre: Romance/ LGBT
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

Takeover: Michael Sebastian thought that Curacao would be the perfect place to have a little fun in the sun - and between the sheets. So far no one has struck his interest - until Sam Anderson walks into the bar. With one look at his tense body and expensive suit, Michael knows that this is a man in need of release. And Michael is more than willing to lend a hand.

Shattered by the most intense sex he's ever had, Sam has to face the facts - one night with a handsome, dominating stranger is all he gets before returning to the closet he's been suffocating in for years. But when Sam starts his new job as the CEO of a failing technology company, he discovers that Michael is one of his new employees.
While Michael is desperate for another night with Sam, he knows he shouldn't get involved with his boss, let alone another man who can't accept who he is. But as they're forced to work together to save the company, the desire sparking between them becomes impossible to ignore.

Just Business: Justin White may not look like an up-and-coming corporate superstar, but his new boss knows that he has the smarts, grit, and determination to succeed. Now he just has to convince his company's CFO, Eli Ovadia. Unfortunately, Justin can't seem to keep his cool around the domineering Eli, and soon he finds himself taking their heat from the boardroom into the bedroom.
Still haunted by a tragic accident that left him with a wounded leg and broken heart, Eli has a need to be in control. But his desire for Justin makes him want to lose that control and push them both far beyond their limits. Will his need to dominate Justin drive him away, or will Eli find a way to be the man he needs for both of them?

Due Diligence: After Fazil Kurt breaks up with his girlfriend, a business trip to Seattle offers some much-needed time away. Sent by S. R. Anderson Consulting, Fazil is there to help audit Singularity Storage, a company they are trying to save. His first discovery is intriguing to say the least: One of Singularity's engineers is Todd Douglas, Fazil's first love.

He knows better than to get personally involved on a job like this. Back in high school, Todd broke Fazil's heart more times than he could count, but both men have grown so much since then - and Fazil never could say no to Todd....

Daily Grind: Brian Keppler, owner of Ground N'At, the coffee shop beneath SR Anderson Consulting, doesn't have time for a relationship. His most recent girlfriend broke up with him because he'd become married to his shop, which is falling apart without his favorite barista, Justin. As he struggles to stay afloat, the arrival of handsome British high-tech whiz Robert Ancroft becomes another complication. Rob quickly becomes a fixture at the shop with his sharp wit and easy charm, and Brian soon finds himself looking forward more and more to Rob's visits - to the point where his heart skips a beat when he walks in. But will Brian be able to come to terms with his previously unexplored sexual identity and find happiness now that he has a chance? 

Review:

I really enjoyed this series and really love Iggy Toma's narration.  He is excellent at different accents and draws you in with his voice. Out of all 4 of these I would say that Due Diligence is my least favorite just because I didn't feel the sparks as much as in the other books. Although I did like that it dealt with racism, antisemitism, and lgbt discrimination. All of the characters intersect through the books which is always fun, like a familiar friend showing up at a party unexpectedly.

These are hot steamy m/m romances the first two have some light bdsm in them the others not so much.





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Friday, November 16, 2018

Audio Book Review: Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent book 3) by Barry Lyga

Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Hatchette Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 10 hours 52 minutes
Narrator: Charlie Thurston
Genre: Law/Crime/ YA
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

Jazz Dent has been shot and left to die in New York City. His girlfriend Connie is in the clutches of Jazz's serial killer father, Billy. And his best friend Howie is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz's own home in tiny Lobo's Nod. Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors their lives have become and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy. But then Jazz crosses a line he's never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: "Like father, like son?" Who is the true monster?

The chase is on, and beyond Billy there lurks something much, much worse. Prepare to meet...the Crow King.

Review:

Just when I though this series couldn't surprise me or get better, it did. Whoa.  The Crow King is not who or what I expected and they might just be Jazz's undoing.

I loved this book. Watching as Jazz struggles to maintain his humanity or cross the line and become his father is fascinating to watch.  His friends know that Jazz walks a line and they hope he doesn't cross it. Dead bodies don't bother him, listening to the screams of someone being tortured barely registers a hitch in his heart. His friends know he is struggling but aren't sure how to help him stay human.

Well written and full of surprises, I am sad that this is the last that we will see of these characters. I know that Lyga wants to write a new series with these same characters a few years later but the publishers don't think there is a market for it! What? Crazy...any fan of this series would gobble it up.


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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Audio Book Review: Game (Jasper Dent book 2) by Barry Lyga

Release Date: April 16, 2013
Publisher: Hatchette Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 13 hours 28 minutes
Narrator: Charlie Thurston
Genre: Law/Crime/ YA
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

 Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jasper (Jazz) Dent, the son of the world's most infamous serial killer. When a desperate New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz's door asking for help with a new case, Jazz can't say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple - and its police force running scared with no leads. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer's murderous game. Meanwhile, Jazz's dad, Billy, is watching... and waiting.

Review:

Jazz survived the impressionist, and now a NY city detective is banging on his door asking for his help in tracking down the Hat-Dog Killer. Although Jazz has been consumed with his father, Billly's escape from prison, Jazz agrees to help. Jazz, his girlfriend Connie and his best friend Howie all wind up as pawns in Billy's Game.

When all hell breaks loose in NY Jazz finds himself in hot water, the cops aren't sure if they should trust him or if he is as dangerous and crazy as his notorious father.  Jazz also discovers some personal information that rocks his world.

Another fabulous book in this series, it keeps you guessing. I love the characters who grow on me more with each installment. Well done and narrator Charlie Thurston does a great job holding your attention and keeping you interested.



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Monday, November 12, 2018

Audio Book Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Hatchette Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 9 hours 32 minutes
Narrator: Charlie Thurston
Genre: Law/Crime/ YA
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field.
Except for the body.

Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, "Take Your Son to Work Day" was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminals' point of view.

And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo's Nod. Again.

In an effort to prove murder doesn't run in the family, Jazz joins the police in the hunt for this new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret--could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

From acclaimed author Barry Lyga comes a riveting thriller about a teenager trying to control his own destiny in the face of overwhelming odds.

Review:

My daughter has been pressuring me to read this for years and I just kept putting it off.  When I found a free audio version of it on Scribd, the time had come.  I was instantly hooked. Jazz was raised by the country's most notorious serial killer Billy Dent. Being raised in this unconventional way has given Jazz a unique perspective into serial killers.  He knows how to manipulate people, and has recurring dreams of death and killing. Jazz's biggest fear is turning into his father so he tries to use his talents to help the police solve crimes.

Jazz, his girlfriend Connie and his hemophiliac best friend Howie are wonderful characters. Well developed and funny. Where Jazz is dark, Connie and Howie balance his morose outlook on life.  Howie with his dark sense of humor about his condition and Connie who doesn't let Jazz slip into his fear.

I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to get my hands on the next one in the series. I read on the authors website that he would like to write a new series featuring the same cast of characters set about 5 or so years later. I really hope that comes to fruition.



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Friday, November 9, 2018

Book Review: White Fragility: Why its so hard for White people to talk about race by Robin J DiAngelo

Release Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Beacon Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 126 pages
Genre:  Race, Racism,
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | 

Synopsis: 

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

Review:

This book should be on every white persons TBR list (to be read). DiAngelo looks at race as not just good or bad but as more fluid. She states that our society is racist therefore it is impossible to escape racism and having bias. To acknowledge our own prejudice and intentional or unintentional racist views we first have to be open to hearing that we may hold racist views. It is the anger, fear, justifications and denial that we may have racist behaviors that holds us back from change. No matter how liberal or open minded you may think you are I can guarantee that you have probably said or done something unintentional that had racist undertones. The point is it doesn't matter that it was unintentional what matters is addressing it, looking at it and changing your behavior. We are all works in process and when we feel threatened, or invalidated we react with anger, frustration etc...deflecting from actually turning within to see how what we just did may have impacted others.We have to be aware that when someone gives you feedback its more about how what you said or did affected them. So being open to feedback and self reflection will help create change. Instead of being defensive maybe ask how you could have said something differently or what you could have done differently.

There were so many good pieces to this book I can't even pick them all out. Well done and thought provoking.








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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

ARC Book Review: Broken Ground (Karen Pirie Book 5) by Val McDermid

Release Date: December 5, 2018
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Format: ebook
Pages: 432 pages
Genre:  Mystery/ Thriller
Buy: Hardcover Paperback | Audio

Synopsis: 

Six feet under in a Highland peat bog lies Alice Somerville’s inheritance, buried by her grandfather at the end of World War II. But when Alice finally uncovers it, she finds an unwanted surprise—a body with a bullet hole between the eyes. Meanwhile, DCI Pirie is called in to unravel a case where nothing is quite as it seems. And as she gets closer to the truth, it becomes clear that not everyone shares her desire for justice. Or even the idea of what justice is.

Review:

DCI Karen Pirie heads up the historical case unit in Scotland. Karen is still suffering from the loss of her significant other and seems to be having a hard time trusting anyone around her.

Karen is out chasing leads on a series of historical rapes when she is asked to divert to Wester Ross where a body has been discovered, buried with some Long sought treasure. The body is well preserved by the peat and has more modern shoes leading the forensic specialist to call Karen.

I haven't read any of the other books in this series so it works well as a stand alone. McDermid's narration is flowing and really moves the story along. She describes the landscapes so well you can almost smell the peat and feel the wind on your face. This is a really good police procedural that has many components to keep you reading.

Karen seems to have caught the attention of her boss but not in a good way. Knowing that the woman wants to take hurt her position Karen doesn't trust the new arrival to her unit. With her faithful other detective in tow they dive into the mystery of the man buried in the peat, whose mystery reaches back to WWII.

I really enjoyed this novel and I'm putting these on my radar to keep up with any new ones!





Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Audio Book Review: Hello Forever by Sarina Bowen

Release Date: July 14, 2017
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 6 hours 12 minutes
Narrator: Teddy Hamilton, Dake Bliss
Genre: Romance/ LGBT
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

When they were only teenagers, Axel and Caxton were caught making out in the woods at church camp. And afterward, Cax had disappeared from all the youth group activities.

Six years later Axel is astonished to spot his first love's face in the crowd of a college basketball game he's watching on television - at a school that has just offered him a job. It's a thousand miles away, in a tiny rural town. But suddenly he can't wait to get there.

Cax can't believe his eyes when Axel appears in the same Massachusetts town where he now lives. And he's still just as drawn to him as ever. But he can't let himself go there again, because loving Axel will mean giving up everything else he holds dear.

Both men have so much to lose. But as far as their love is concerned, it's Hello Forever.

Review:

Cax and Axel can't seem to get together.  After that fateful day at camp so many years ago Cax and Axel lost touch and it wasn't until Axel spotted him on TV that they had another shot.  But Cax is deep in the closet. He tried to hide his feelings so that he can continue to see his brothers and help them get through their time living with their abusive father.  Axel understands but can't help pursuing Cax anyway.  When things take a sinister turn, though, Cax needs to decide between the love of his life or family.  Either way, he stands to lose more than he can bear.

The author has created very believable characters each yearning for each other. Cax's story is sad and unfortunately the way so many gay men and women feel when they have intolerant parents. The secondary characters are from the Goodbye Paradise, Josh and Caleb who escape cult life to find love. I really enjoy this author and look forward to reading more by her.



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Monday, November 5, 2018

Audio Book Review: Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

Release Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 8 hours 1 minutes
Narrator: Teddy Hamilton, Dake Bliss
Genre: Romance/ LGBT
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

Most people called it a cult. But for 20 years, Josh and Caleb called it home. In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farmwork and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners' world. But Joshua doesn't need temptation to sin. His whole life he's wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own and a plan to get away - until it all backfires. Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn't want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Review:

Caleb and Josh grew up in a religious cult where young men tend to disappear at a certain age. No one really understands what happens to them but Josh knows he will be one of them. He is bullied and doesn't move as fast in the fields as some of the others but his friend Caleb always has his back. Strong and beautiful Josh has always felt something for Caleb that he knows he shouldn't and doesn't think that Caleb feels the same but they share a closeness that Josh hopes will be enough to sustain him until they come for him.

Caleb knows that Josh's time in Paradise is coming to an end and has been trying desperately to get things in place as a contingency plan. Caleb is leaving with Josh he never had a doubt even though he isn't sure if Josh has the same type of feelings for him as he does for Josh, he knows that he can't let him go.

I really liked this story as Caleb and Josh flee Paradise and try to make their way across the US to someone who will help.  Josh is clueless about the outside world and is in awe of so many modern things.  He also has no idea all the years of hard work have sculpted his lean body into a beautiful man. Caleb was lucky in that he had been allowed to go into town to gather supplies for Paradise so he learned many of the ways of the world.

This is a really nice love story about two men finding their way in a new world.  The sex scenes are hot and the story holds your attention.



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Friday, November 2, 2018

Audio Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Release Date: December 29, 2013
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Format: Audio
Length: 9 hours 9 minutes
Narrator: George Newbern
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Audible | Kindle 

Synopsis: 

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

Review:

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book and I found myself laughing out loud and really enjoying every grumpy moment of it. Ove is bitter and looking forward to death when he can be with his wife. He is angry that the young people around him don't seem to know how to do the simplest things like fix a car or minor repair around the house.

When a young couple and their kids move in next door Ove finds himself being sucked into the lives of his neighbors who foil his plans to kill himself over and over. This book reminds me a bit of the movie with Clint Eastwood Gran Torino. Ove little by little finds joy and purpose in his life again. Its a reminder that just because people are old doesn't mean they aren't useful.



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