Britt-Marie was Here…by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie was Here…by Fredrik BackmanBritt-Marie Was Here

by: Fredrik Backman
Translator: Henning Koch
Published by:Atria Books on May 3, 2016
Genres:Young Adult, Contemporary
Setting: Borg, Sweden
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages:324
Purchase: link link link link
Goodreads

Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention. But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.

When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she finds work as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center. The fastidious Britt-Marie soon finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?



He’s small and chubby and has a head of hair like a lawn the day after an impromptu barbecue.

 

 

Britt-Marie is originally a character from Fredrik Backman’s book ‘ My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry’. When Britt-Marie leaves her cheating husband to strike out on her own, she learns it’s hard to start a new lief as a sixty-something woman.

 

Fredrik Backman writes the most amazing characters and Britt-Marie is one of his best. She is passive aggressive, judgmental, and set in her ways. She sees everyone around her as obstacles to keeping her OCD world clean and tidy.

 

I loved, ‘My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell She’s Sorry.’ In that book it is so easy to dislike Britt-Marie. In ‘Britt-Marie Was Here’ we learn more of her back story and her life struggles and she becomes much more of a relatable character.

 

Britt-Marie demonstrates amazing growth in this story. Even though she is older and set in her ways, Britt-Marie really learns what it means to get outside her comfort zone and challenge her beliefs and ideals.

 

It was extremely interesting to me that as part of Britt-Marie’s growth in this story she begins to realize that many of her judgements and prejudices  are not her own but her husband’s. This is interesting commentary on how many woman in male dominated relationships lose themselves and their own opinions.

 

I loved the character of ‘Somebody’ in this story. I would love to learn more of her back story and could read a whole book about her.

 

This story really held a lot of potential for me. It has amazing characters, a great plot and good set of secondary storylines. I loved ninety percent of the book but the ending just didn’t do it for me. This would have been a five star read for me otherwise. I still would highly recommend this book based on the rest of the story and Backman is still one of my favorite authors.

 

P.S. One of my favorite things in this story:Britt-Marie’s lists.

 

 

#FredrikBackman #Britt-MarieWasHere #AnotherGreatBookFromFredrikBackman #Bestcharaters Click To Tweet
Rating Breakdown
Plot
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Pacing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Cover
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Karen

Just For Clicks…by Kara McDowell

Just For Clicks...by Kara McDowell

Just For Clicks…by Kara McDowellJust For Clicks

by: Kara McDowell
Published by:Amberjack on February 19, 2019
Genres:Young Adult, Contemporary
Setting: Gilbert, Arizona
Format: PDF file
Source: Publisher
Pages:352
Purchase: link link link link
Goodreads

Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the blog happens to belong to your mom.

Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they're expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much. Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as "just Claire"? And what should Claire do about Mom's old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don't sound like Mom's perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham . . .



*I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

‘I just can’t help but think, unhinged or not, the good moms are the ones who stay. The ones who keep trying day in and day out.’

 

Claire and her twin sister, Poppy, are ‘internet famous’. Every part of their lives have been blogged, photographed, and recorded by their fashion blogger mom. Claire begins to doubt her future on the internet while Poppy loves the limelight. The addition of a new boy in class helps push Claire to spread her wings and want more for her life.

 

The topic of this book is very timely. When I was growing up there was no YouTube, social medial, or email. There was no pressure to keep up on the latest internet trends and there was no such thing as being ‘internet famous.’ In todays world there are many people who are popular internet celebrities. Their accessibility to the public makes their fans believe that they know them. This can lead many young internet personalities to really lose a sense of themselves. This is what happens to Clair in ‘Just for Clicks.’ Her mother and sister pressure her to continue in the public spotlight (their livelihood depends on it) even when Claire is not comfortable with it. McDowell really shows the reasons why Claire doesn’t like this lifestyle but why she keeps vlogging and blogging anyway. The author also demonstrates how imperative clicks, views, impressions, subscribers, and comments are to anyone with an on-line presence.

 

I really did love Claire and her relationship with Rafael. Their friendship and romance really took my breath away and I was totally smitten with Raphael myself.

 

I think Claire is a very human character. She began as very nervous and self-conscious  and turned  into a whole new self-assured person. The only character that I am not totally sure I liked is Ashley, Poppy and Claire’s mom. Her behavior both inside their ‘brand’ and in their family life was very questionable. She seemed to disregard Claire’s feelings and definitely favored Poppy. I know this is an important point of the storyline but her constant disregard for Claire did bother me at times.

 

I am so happy to have read, ‘Just for Clicks’. What seems to be a lighthearted story about ‘internet famous’ twin sisters is so much for then that. It is an important topic that I wish was approached more in YA. ‘Just for Clicks’, is a totally sweet romance while still being so much more.

 

*Side note-I totally loved Claire’s internet friend, Signofthetimes.

 

Tour Schedule

 

February 11th

 

The Book Addict– Review

 

February 12th

 

The Candid Cover– Review & Favorite Quotes

 

February 13th

 

Irisheyz77– Review & Favorite Quotes

 

February 14th

 

The Book Return– Review

 

February 15th

 

Bookish_Kali– Review
The Clever Reader– Review & Favorite Quotes

 

Giveaway

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Timely New Release Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell #New Release #Internet Famous #Socialmediastars Click To Tweet

About Kara McDowell

Born in the mountains and raised in the desert, Kara McDowell spent her childhood swimming, boating, and making up stories in her head. As the middle of five children, Kara entertained her family on long road trips by reading short mystery stories out loud and forcing everyone to guess the conclusion. After graduating from Arizona State University with a BA in English Literature, Kara worked as a freelance writer. Now she writes young adult novels from her home in Arizona, where she lives with her husband and three young sons.

JUST FOR CLICKS is Kara’s debut novel.

Rating Breakdown
Plot
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Pacing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Cover
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Karen

The Secret Keeper…by Kate Morton

The Secret Keeper…by Kate MortonThe Secret Keeper

by: Kate Morton
Published by:Atria on October 9, 2012
Genres:Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Setting: London WWII, The English Country Side
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages:484
Purchase: link link link link
Goodreads

Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.

Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.

Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.



‘The landscape of one’s childhood was more vibrant than any other. It didn’t matter where it was or what it looked like, the sights and sounds imprinted differently from those encountered later. They became part of a person, inescapable.’

 

‘… she and her tap shoes could be swept as easily as dust beneath histories carpet.’

 

Laurel is a successful actress in modern-day London. Seventy years earlier, her mother Dorothy is doing her best to survive war-torn London. As a child, Laurel witnesses a death that haunts her for the rest of her life. Laurel and Dorothy’s stories come together to form the dual timeline of a family’s secrets.

 

I love stories that take place in WWII London. I also love me some Kate Morton. She is one of my favorite authors and the ‘Forgotten Garden’ is one of my top five books of all time. I also loved the ‘Lake House’, ‘The Distant Hours’, and ‘The House at Riverton’ so I was super stocked to finally pick-up the ‘Secret Keeper’.

 

‘The Secret Keeper’ does not disappoint. It gives a personal look at what the blitz did to the population of London. It also gives us an in-depth at the relationship people form during extreme times. I really loved the characters personalities: Dorothy in her childishness, Jimmy in his idealism, Vivian in her aloofness, and Henry in his harness.

 

I love historical fiction but it can be a bit dry at times. I find that I enjoy it most when it alternates between the past and the present. Morton is a master at this and taking the tediousness out of historical fiction.

 

Dorothy’s past and present are woven beautifully and Laurel’s revelations through research propel the story forward. I did predict the twist halfway through (as Morton alway has a twist ending) but I wasn’t 100% sure I was right until the twist was revealed.

 

This novel is another favorite for me. While, ‘The Forgotten Garden’ is still my number, one this one is included in my favorites of all time.

 

 

Another great one from Kate Morton. Love my dual timeline historical fiction. Great for WWII buffs. #WWII #KateMorton #TheSecretKeeper Click To Tweet
Rating Breakdown
Plot
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Pacing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Cover
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Karen

Between Before & After…by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Between Before & After...by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Between Before & After…by Maureen Doyle McQuerryBetween Before and After

by: Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Published by:Blink on February 5, 2019
Genres:Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Setting: Brooklyn, New York 1919 & San Jose, California 1955
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Pages:304
Purchase: link link link
Goodreads

Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

“The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.”

Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions.

Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.



*I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Favorite Quotes

 

‘If we learn anything from a story at all, it’s through identification’

 

‘It made me feel like a story could be more than words on paper, a living thing that may change in unpredictable ways.’

 

‘Hope is made not given.’

 

‘Once you open yourself  to miracles, they start showing up all around you.’

 

My Review

 

Elaine is the child of poor Irish immigrants. She is growing up in turn of the century New York City. When Elaine’s mother dies from the Spanish flu, Elaine struggles to keep her family together.

 

Elaine’s daughter, Molly, is growing up in 1950’s San José, California. She is crushed by the breakup of her parents marriage and desperately attempting to understand her distant mother and learn her secrets.

I really love historical fiction. I find I enjoy YA most often when it has some history to it. It gives the story more depth and perspective. I was really pleasantly surprised to discover that ‘Between Before & After’ contained dual timelines from the 1950’s and 1910’s.

 

I also loved that the timelines were of a mother and daughter with the mother included in the daughters timeline. I really liked Elaine’s 1910’s story more than Molly’s 1950’s story. The struggles (including poverty, abuse, and alcoholism) of immigrants in New York in the early twenty century is harrowing.  I felt  like Molly’s story was a little less put together than Elaine’s. A few times the dialog in Molly’s point of view seemed a little rambling. Also, I really thought the whole miracle thing with Uncle Stephan took away from Molly’s story.

 

I thought the story wrapped up well. It gave a good conclusion without being tied up too neatly. I really enjoyed ‘Between Before & After’. A family historical drama with two great YA protagonists. One of my favorite YA’s.

 

Little things I loved about the story: 1950’s pop culture (the characters first trip to McDonald’s),the homing pigeons and that whole thing with the roses.

 

Tour Schedule

 

February 4

That Artsy Reader Girl – Welcome Interview

 

February 5

The Reading Corner for All – Book Review

The Book Return – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
Savings In Seconds – Book Review

 

February 6

Kait Plus Books – Author Guest Post

Adventures Thru Wonderland – Book Review

 

February 7

The Desert Bibliophile – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
A Bookish Dream – Book Review
BookishGeek – Book Review

 

February 8

Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review + Favorite Quotes

Absolute Bookishness – Book Review

 

February 9

Feed Your Fiction Addiction – Author Guest Post
Betwixt the Pages – Book Review
Confessions of a YA Reader – Author Q&A

 

February 10 

Lisa Loves Literature – Book Review
Angela Walker’s Review – Book Review

 

February 11

Adventures and Reading – Book Review
Oh Hey! Books – Author Q&A

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New release 'Between Before & After'. YA dual timeline from the turn of the century and 1950's. Love me some historical fiction. #ffbc #betweenbeforeandafter Click To Tweet

About Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Maureen McQuerry is an award winning poet, novelist and teacher. Her YA novel, The Peculiars (Abrams/Amulet 2012) is an ALA Best Book for Young Adult Readers 2013, Bank Street and Horne Book recommended book, and a winner of the Westchester Award. Her most recent book is Beyond the Door (Abrams/Amulet), a Booklist top Ten Fantasy/SciFi for Youth. It is the first in a MG duo that combines, Celtic myth, shapeshifters and a secret code in a coming of age story. The adventure continues in The Telling Stone. Beyond the Door is a current finalist for the WA State Book awards

Rating Breakdown
Plot
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Pacing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Cover
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Karen

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine…by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine…by Gail HoneymanEleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

by: Gail Honeyman
Published by:Viking - Pamela Dorman Books on May 9, 2017
Genres:Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Setting: Glasgow, Scotland
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages:327
Purchase: link link link link
Goodreads

Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

The only way to survive is to open your heart.



The characters in this book, especially Eleanor, are  well thought out and quirky. I found the character of Eleanor to be one of my favorite characters of all time, second only to ‘Ove’ in ‘A Man Called ‘Ove’.

 

In some ways Eleanor reminds me of  Britt-Marie in ‘Britt Marie’ was Here’. Both are quirky and socially awkward.

 

The friendships in this novel are second to none. It is wonderful to read about what a wonderful friend Raymond is to Eleanor.

 

Scotland is an interesting setting for this book. I have read books before with Scotland as the setting but they have been historical fiction or adventure type books. I enjoyed seeing a slice of life story set there.

 

I thought Eleanor’s depression is portrayed well in this novel. Depression isn’t always extreme or obvious.

 

I really pride myself on seeing twists coming. This one totally took me by surprise and I loved it.

 

I really thought Eleanor’s obsession with the musician is interesting. I wonder how many people have imaginary relationships with other people they meet.

 

I am really touched by Raymond and Eleanor’s relationship with the man they helped, Sammy. It is wonderful to see the elderly portrayed in this way in a novel. I particularly enjoyed the description of his tomato colored sweater.

 

I absolutely loved that Eleanor adopts a cat. The cat is portrayed with vast amounts of personality.

 

I loved ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.’ It’s is a critical look at mental illness and friendship while still giving up marvelous characters.

 

I loved 'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine'. One of my favorites of the year. Full of quirky and lovable characters. #EleanorOliphant #reviews #favorites Click To Tweet

 

 

Rating Breakdown
Plot
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Pacing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Cover
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Karen