The Story of Arthur Truluv [Book Review]

October 9, 2020

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg (coveer) Image: an older man and young woman stand near a bus stop, the man holds a yellow umbrella over her head

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Uplit

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

At first glance, Arthur shares certain things in common with Ove (A Man Called Ove): each is an older, mature character, each is a widower grieving the loss of a beloved wife, and each finds “family” in unexpected ways.

On one of Arthur’s routine trips to the cemetery to have lunch and conversation with his wife, he meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who hides in the cemetery to avoid school. She discovers that Arthur is a friendly, understanding, trustworthy, and positive person and gives dear Arthur the nickname “Truluv.” Arthur and Maddy develop a friendship and when Arthur’s nosy neighbor, Lucille, becomes involved, they discover the joys of “found family.”

My Thoughts:

Uplit: If you’re looking for an uplifting, heartfelt story of friendship, found family, second chances, unconditional love, and kindness, you’ll find it in The Story of Arthur Truluv. Amidst lockdown conditions (COVID-19), dire weather reports (hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico), inner city violence, or political battles (2020 Election), this might be your next soulful, escapist, feel-good read!

Arthur: Older but less curmudgeonly than Ove, Arthur will win your heart from page one with his gentlemanly and friendly ways and compassionate heart. What a difference kindness can make in this world! How many of us would show compassion for a teenager and take them into our home? We would all be fortunate to know an Arthur.

Themes: Thoughtful and poignant themes include grief, loneliness, friendship, second chances, unconditional love, hospitality, acceptance, found family, and good people.

Recommended: The Story of Arthur Truluv is highly recommended for readers looking for light, quick-reading uplit; for fans of A Man Called Ove and The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett, and for book clubs.

Content Considerations: grieving the loss of a spouse

My Rating:  4 Stars

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The Story of Authur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg (cover) Image: a man holds a yellow umbrella over a young woman

The Story of Authur Truluv Information Here

Meet the Author, Elizabeth Berg

Author Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg won the NEBA Award for fiction for her body of work, and was a finalist for the ABBY for Talk Before Steep. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Ladies’ Home Journal, Redbook, and the New York Times Magazine. She has also taught a writing workshop at Radcliffe College. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts.



QOTD:

Is The Story of Arthur Truluv on your TBR or have you read it?

Do you enjoy an occasional “uplit” read



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

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Beartown and Us Against You [Book Reviews] #throwbackthursday

October 8, 2020

Beartown and Us Against You by Fredrik Backman #throwbackthursday

Beartown and Us Against You by Fredrik Backman (covers)

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Sports, Hockey

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my reviews of Beartown and Us Against You by Fredrik Backman, atmospheric stories of sports, small towns, and community…

This week’s Throw Back Thursday is a bit different because I’m throwing back to TWO books: Beartown and Us Against You. They are a series and Us Against You cannot be read as a stand-alone.

I read Beartown before I started blogging, so I don’t have a full blog review for linking ….I’ll include a brief review of it below and then link to my Us Against You blog review.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Thoughts on Beartown

As the author develops characters and establishes the setting in his unique style, tension builds like the distant rumbling of an approaching severe thunderstorm The action is a bit slow in he beginning but once it picks up, the tension is sustained as the story plays out. Hockey fans will find this story particularly enjoyable. Filled with fascinating characters and infused with complex and important themes of family, parenting, competition, loyalty, courage, community, belonging, friendship, small town struggles and values, hope, and a girl’s “no.” This multilayed, thoughtful, and challenging read would make a highly discussable book club selection.

TW: a rape storyline and some crude locker room language and humor

A few favorite lines from Beartown include:
“People are standing in silent lines with their eyes half-open and their minds half-closed.”
“We’re not supposed to develop ‘products.’ We don’t manufacture anything at all. We nurture human beings. Those [hockey] guys are flesh and blood, not business plans and investment targets. The youth program isn’t some factory, regardless of what some of our sponsors seem to think.”
“Being a parent makes you feel like a blanket that’s always too small. No matter how hard you try to cover everyone, there’s always someone who’s freezing.”
“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.”
“In the summer the rain seeps into the cracks in the bricks, then when the temperature slips below zero the moisture freezes to ice, and the bricks break. She will remember that that’s how it felt to grow up as the little sister of a dead big brother. A childhood that was one long, desperate attempt not to be liquid, not to seek out the cracks in your parents.”
“Maya knows all too well that this silence can be like water. If you let it make its way too far in, it can freeze into ice and break your heart.”
“And when enough people are quiet for long enough, a handful of voices can give the impression that everyone is screaming.”
“Sometimes life doesn’t let you choose your battles. Just the company you keep.”
“She and the girl rest their foreheads together. Say nothing, because they couldn’t have heard anything anyway, the echo of the screams in their hearts is deafening.”

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman (Beartown #2)

My Summary:

“In this sequel to Beartown, Fredrik Backman continues to cause readers to care deeply about the Beartown community and hockey (yes, it’s important to read Beartown first).  After the act of violence in Beartown, the community has to figure out how to trust each other again and restructure its hockey team. Many of the star hockey players have left the Beartown team and now play for the rival team in Hed. In fact, in Us Against You, the entire community is at risk economically and on the brink of losing everything. In addition to many returning characters from Beartown, readers are also introduced to a manipulative and cunning politician and become better acquainted with The Pack.

Us Against You is a multi-layered, compelling story filled with danger, heartbreak, and sadness as it addresses themes of prejudice, bullying, secrets, parenting, sexism, friendship, loyalty, community support, competition, politics, courage, violence, conflict, leadership, and hope. This is not a stand-alone story; reading Beartown first is essential.”

Continue here for my review of Us Against You by Fredrik Backman …

So much more than hockey….

QOTD: Have you read Beartown or Us Against You or are they on your TBR? Are you a Backman fan?

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett [Book Review]

October 2, 2020

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons

(A.K.A: Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You in the UK)

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons (cover) Image: a graphic of a woman sitting at the edge of a pool and a younger girl jumping in while holding her nose

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Eudora Honeysett is eighty-five, has endured her share of suffering, has experienced a lot of life, and is ready to die….but on her own terms. She contacts a clinic in Switzerland which will help her facilitate her well thought out decision. Before she can get to Switzerland, she meets ten-year-old Rose, a highly spirited and friendly child who becomes Eudora’s fashion consultant and introduces her to the joys of life as seen through ten-year-old eyes. Rose also includes Stanley, a recently widowed neighbor, and they form a companionable trio. As these three new friends spend time together, it triggers Eudora to have flashbacks of her past life. Suddenly, her newfound enjoyment, friendships, and meaningful activities cause her to feel conflicted about her Switzerland decision. Now that she has found some joy will it be possible to say good-bye?

My Thoughts:

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Force of Nature [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

(***This post is republished from earlier because of a publishing glitch in the previous post which I cannot fix #bloggingproblems sorry for the duplicate)

October 1, 2020

Force of Nature by Jane Harper
#throwbackthursday

Force of Nature by Jane Harper (cover) Image: white text on a background of hills and trees

Genre/Categories: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Detective, Suspense, Australian

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of Force of Nature by Jane Harper, an atmospheric whodunit…

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

“Five women go on a hike in the Australian forested wilderness and only four return. As the women grab their backpacks and reluctantly set out, not one of the five women attending this three-day, mandated, corporate, team-building retreat is thrilled about the prospect. When four of the five women emerge from the woods battered and bruised, an investigation is launched to find the fifth woman. Federal agent Falk returns to help the investigation, and the story alternates between the present day investigation and the women’s experiences as the hike unfolded a few days earlier. Was the fifth woman murdered?”

Continue here for my review of Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Lost in the Australian Bush….what would you do?

QOTD: Have you read Force of Nature by Jane Harper or is it on your TBR?

Force of Nature [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

October 1, 2020

Force of Nature by Jane Harper
#throwbackthursday

Force of Nature by Jane Harper (cover) Image: white text on a background of hills and trees

Genre/Categories: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Detective, Suspense, Australian

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of Force of Nature by Jane Harper, an atmospheric whodunit…

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

‘Five women go on a hike in the Australian forested wilderness and only four return. As the women grab their backpacks and reluctantly set out, not one of the five women attending this three-day, mandated, corporate, team-building retreat is thrilled about the prospect. When four of the five women emerge from the woods battered and bruised, an investigation is launched to find the fifth woman. Federal agent Falk returns to help the investigation, and the story alternates between the present day investigation and the women’s experiences as the hike unfolded a few days earlier. Was the fifth woman murdered?”

Continue here for my review of Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Lost in the Australian Bush….what would you do?

QOTD: Have you read Force of Nature by Jane Harper or is it on your TBR?

September 2020 Reading Wrap Up

September 30, 2020

September 2020 Reading Wrap Up

September 2020 Reading Wrap Up (a collage of book covers))

How was your September reading?

September was a fourteen book reading month with zero DNFs. I am happy to report five five-star reads, two four-star reads, four three-star reads, and three two-star reads. Find all my September reads listed below in order of Star Rating. Keep in mind that I normally recommend five- and four-star reads on the blog; three-star reads receive mixed reviews from me for various reasons; and two-star reads are books that were not for me. One star reads are usually shelved as DNF.

My favorite read of the month is Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell simply because it made the greatest emotional impact.

Did we read any of the same books?

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Titles are Amazon affiliate links and my available reviews are linked
.


Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

4.5-5 Stars. Compelling, engaging, and emotional literary fiction.
My review of Hamnet here.


Transcendent Kingdom

4.5-5 Stars. An engaging and poignant family drama that reads like a memoir. My review of Transcendent Kingdom here.


Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

4.5-5 Stars. A mash up of light mystery, comedy, and drama in true Backman style. My review of Anxious People here.


The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons

4.5-5 Stars. Multi-generational heartfelt women’s fiction with likable characters and an inspiring theme. My review of The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett here.


The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

4.5-5 (MG) Stars. A reread of one of my very favorite middle grade historical fiction books (now I need to reread the sequel). Not yet reviewed.

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Blog Audit Challenge 2020: September #blogauditchallenge2020

September 29, 2020

September’s Blog Audit Challenge 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 (picture of a woman's hands on the keyboard of a laptop)Blogging Friends,

This year I’m participating in Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!

 I hope that if you are reading this that you continue to be well and that your area is opening up for business and recreation with social distancing precautions. Our county is off the state’s watch list due to a decrease in COVOD-19 cases. Hoping we can stay that way! Stay safe, blogging buddies!

September’s Challenge Focus: Developing Readership

Which is more important to develop readership, views or comments?

Over the last few months, the challenges have allowed me to improve content and design.

We looked at content gaps in August and now September’s challenge will focus on Developing Readership. We see our visitor and follower stats, but how do we know who is reading and engaging with our content? Is there a way to develop readership?

Our host for this challenge, suggests that comments help develop readership.

In my early days of blogging, I gradually grew braver in my ability to comment on the blogs I follow. I found that it started a conversation that was continued on my own blog as they reciprocated and commented on my blog. Gradually, I found blogs that I had a great deal in common with: 1. open to conversation, 2. enjoyment of similar genres, 3. perhaps in the same life stage/age group, 4. taking the connection one step further to share a post on Twitter, and 5. linking to each other’s content.

Commenting is one of the most practical ways to support your favorite blogger! Every comment brings me joy and is a tried and true strategy for developing readership and increasing engagement!

1. Optimize Comment System

  • In order for this to work, commenting needs to be easy. I’ve certainly experienced frustration in trying to comment on a blog post and it just won’t work for some reason. Commenting as a WordPress blogger on another WordPress blog is certainly the easiest. Although there is one WordPress blog I follow that I cannot comment on when I try and comment from the email notification. The comment appears to go through but it never shows up on her end. But when I comment from the WordPress Reader, my comment always goes through. I had about given up when I stumbled on the solution of using the WordPress Reader rather than my email for the point of origin.
  • Other times, I will enter all the required information to comment and the processing icon spins and spins and never seems to go through.
  • Sometimes, the blog will require you to sign in using FB, Twitter, or Google.
  • My tip for bloggers is to keep the commenting process as simple as possible! However, how do we know what the commenting process is like on our own blogs? Maybe an idea would be to set up a group of  ten random friends to make a comment on your blog and report back on the process.
  • If you have difficulty commenting on my blog, would you let me know?

2. Reply to All Comments

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Hamnet [Book Review]

September 25, 2020

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (cover) Image: portrait of a young boy in a felt hat....a quill lies horizontally over his eyes

Genre/Categories: Historical and Biographical Literary Fiction, Family Life, Magical Realism

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

TW: Review mentions the death of a child.

Summary:

Hamnet is set in 1580s Warwickshire, England and is the highly imagined story of William Shakespeare’s family, especially his son, Hamnet, and his wife, Agnes (Anne). It’s the story of a marriage and family. Shakespeare and Agnes had three children. It’s also a story of grief as we know from history that Hamnet dies. O’Farrell imagines that he might have died as a result of the 1550s plague. William Shakespeare is “off-stage” for the majority of the story and is never mentioned by name (referred to as husband, father, etc.). This centers Agnes (and the children) as the main character of the story and grief as the main theme. Agnes is a beautiful woman who has some supernatural gifts of healing with herbs, is entirely devoted to family, and frequently experiences glimpses into the future.

My Thoughts:

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The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

September 24, 2020

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
#throwbackthursday

A silhouette of two kids sitting in the branches of a large tree, one of them strums a guitar

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Music, Magical Realism, Fable

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by popular author Mitch Albom, a story about the power of music to change our lives…

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

…in this life, everyone joins a band……

My Summary:

“Music is the narrator telling the story of Frankie Presto, a gifted guitar player and singer, who changes six lives with his six magical blue strings. Born under tragic circumstances, abandoned as an infant, and raised by a music teacher in a small Spanish town, Frankie is sent to America alone at nine years old with his prized guitar (and six magic strings). His life touches many famous musicians on his journey to become a pop star himself. Because Frankie is troubled by his childhood experiences and tortured by his biggest mistake, he drops out of sight to reconcile with his past. He reappears just before his death to change one last life.”

Continue here for my review of The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

“I am Music. And Music is in the connection of human souls, speaking a language that needs no words.”

QOTD: Have you read The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto or is it on your TBR?

Fall 2020 TBR #toptentuesday

September 22, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books on My Fall 2020 TBR

#TopTenTuesday Fall TBR (Image: white text over a background of colorful fall leaves)

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books on My Fall 2020 TBR.

What is your most anticipated fall read?

With all the books that are on my radar on a given day, it’s nice to pick out a few for an official TBR. Ten still leaves room for library holds that come in, occasional ARCs, or some mood reading.

One question you may ask is “Are these spooky reads or thrillers?” Many readers have differing opinions of what comprises a fall read: some want spooky, some look for atmospheric, some seek out thrillers, while others like to tackle large tomes or serious content during the fall when they are spending more time sitting by the fire. It’s my opinion that any book you read in the fall is a fall read. For my fall reads, I look for the types of books I look for all year: memorable, thought-provoking, and unputdownable. So the answer to the question is NO….no thrillers or spooky reads because I just prefer not to read them.

The following two highly anticipated books were on my initial fall TBR list and then FOMO gripped me and I read them in early September! Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell and Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. I highly recommend both of these 5 Star reads for your fall TBR.

Keep in mind that I’m not yet recommending the books on my fall TBR list…..check back often, though, because I will provide updates and links to reviews as I read them. For now, these are the reads that are on my fall 2020 reading radar.

I finished my Summer TBR just yesterday!

*Titles are Amazon affiliate links.

Fall 2020 TBR

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