A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman ~ Audiobook Review

A Man Called Ove
Fredrick Backman
Audiobook Release Date: August 5, 2014
Narrator: George Newbern
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
Audiobook Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fiction, Humor

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 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.
This profound transformation will pull you in too, leaving you to consider how much you know—and how much you don't know—about those around you. It might even teach you to become a better listener.

Source: Library
This is my honest review.
Rating: 5 Stars ~ EXCELLENT

This grumpy man’s story is written with much heart and humor!

This was my first time reading anything from Swedish author Fredrick Backman, and he won my heart with this grumpy man’s story!

The beginning of A Man Called Ove made me very curious about Ove. Why is this old man so cranky? I learned right away that he’s an old fashioned kind of guy. Ove has a preference to a certain Swedish car brand and would very much like his neighbors to just follow the rules of the community. Is that so difficult? Apparently, some people can’t read signs. I also got a strong feeling that Ove is lonely. At this point I felt very sad for him, but I still wanted to know why. Then one day a new family moves into the neighborhood. Ove is extremely annoyed by this family, but he would soon find out that they were destined to meet.

This story takes place in Sweden. Fredrick Backman unfolds Ove’s backstory gradually and with much care through serious, emotional, and often funny flashbacks. I learned why Ove is the way he is now. His past is filled with meaningful moments, both loving and tragic. Yeah, I pretty much warmed up to the guy quickly as I learned more about his life. With a focus on friendship and how one man can make a significant impact in the lives of the people around him, A Man Called Ove is written with much heart and humor. This book definitely made me laugh and cry!

It was my first time listening to George Newbern, and I quickly took to his narration. I liked his various voices for the characters, seamlessly changing between male and female voices. I particularly enjoyed his voices for Ove and Parvaneh. My Swedish friend recommended this book to me. I listened to the English version, but my friend listened to this audiobook in Swedish and said her experience was quite positive!

Overall, A Man Called Ove is a truly heartfelt story. If you enjoy reads that follow the theme of fate stepping in at just the right moment, then I highly recommend this international bestseller!

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~*~ Movie News! ~*~
Upon reaching the end of this book, my friend so kindly sent me the link to A Man Called Ove movie trailer. Yes, this book has been turned into a Swedish movie, which has now been released in the USA. You bet my friend and I are so excited to see this movie!

Do you like watching foreign language films?


A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas ~ Review

A Study in Scarlet Women
Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #1
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Berkeley

USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down…

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society.  But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 Stars ~ LOVED

If it has a whiff of Sherlock Holmes, then I am definitely all in.  A gender swap coming of age style story for the great detective was sparkling, riveting, and oh so fabulous.  Thank goodness it’s a series so I can continue with my new author/series adoration for Sherry Thomas and her Lady Sherlock series that all began with A Study in Scarlet Women.

I have always been excited to learn all sorts of fun and assorted details of one of my favorite fictional detectives.  What was Holmes like as a child?  What was his family like?  How did he come into his powers as a consulting detective?  What was it like to be Holmes? 
Yes, yes, I know he wasn't real, but that doesn't stop all the curiosity.

And so that is why this particular take, gender swap and all, was so splendid a treasure to grab up and delve into.  The author began with a few enigmatic scenes that only make sense later and are meant to tease and tantalize.  Then she pulls back and gives the Holmes family history, what led Holmes to take the action she did, and then Holmes long journey through the tough life she now must live and the early time before she gains notoriety as a detective.  Her sister and her family's situation is what pushes her to leap into the center of London's stage and draw attention.

I love that the characters are so rich and drawn so full of life and personality.   Holmes is as eccentric and brilliant as ever, struggles with everyday society, and doggedly goes her own way even if it means to never be normal.  I recognized the flavor of Doyle's characters whether they were swapped to female or took on a new name and persona.  While Holmes is the center of the story, it is not just her story.  She shares this story narrative and stage with her sister, Livie, Lord Ingram, Inspector Treadle, and Mrs. Watson.  All are part of her personal story and part of the case that she must solve or see her family hurt by suspicion and scandal.

The mystery itself was a cunning one and had some good twists and reveals near the end while the majority of it was tracking along gently-paced as a solid historical procedural mystery.  Holmes offered the brilliant insights, but Inspector Treadle was the one to faithfully do solid police work, gather the clues, follow the trails and have some good deductions of his own.  I loved that though Holmes was brilliant, the other characters were no slouches in intelligence.

All in all, this was an absolutely fabulous beginning to a series that I will be waiting with impatience for installment two especially after that tantalizing surprise at the end.  I heartily recommend it not just the Sherlockian fans or only historical mystery lovers, but a wide range of historical fiction and historical romance lovers, too.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 Stars
Sophia Rose regularly blogs and reviews at Delighted Reader.

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Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled Series & Legal Briefs Series, returns with the first of three sizzling standalone books about a family of racy, irresistible Royals.
Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka “His Royal Hotness”, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant—hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you. Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face. Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants. 
Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be. There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately—the royals are far from accepting of this commoner. But to Olivia—Nicholas is worth it.
Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is, but more importantly, who he wants to be: a King... or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

Release Date: October 18, 2016

iBooks | Amazon | Audible | B&N | IndieBound | BAM!

     She’s even lovelier than I remembered, than I dreamed. Delicate midnight tendrils frame a face that belongs in a museum—with stunning dark sapphire eyes that should be commemorated in vibrant oils and soft watercolors. If Helen launched a thousand ships, this girl could raise a thousand hard-ons.
     She’s prettily made, the top of her head coming only to my chin, but fantastically curvy. Great full tits that strain the buttons of a wrinkled white blouse, shapely hips in a black skirt tapering to a tiny waist I could wrap my hands around and toned legs encased in sheer black tights finish off the whole package very nicely.
     An unfamiliar anxiousness fizzes like soda in my gut.
    “The door was open,” I explain.
    “It’s broken.”
     Logan flicks at the lock. Security is his life, so a broken lock would annoy him like a puzzle with the final piece missing.
    “What do you want?”
     She has no idea who I am. It’s in the defensive way she holds herself and the accusatory note in her voice. Some women try to pretend they don’t recognize me, but I can always tell. Her ignorance is rather…thrilling. There are no expectations, no hidden agendas, no reasons to pretend—what she sees is what she gets. And all she sees is me.
     My throat is suddenly a barren wasteland. I swallow, but it’s difficult.
    “Well, he’s desperate for some pie.” I hook my thumb at Simon. “And I…wanted to apologize for the other evening. I don’t normally act that way. I was on a bit of bender…”
    “In my experience, people don’t do things when they’re drunk that they wouldn’t do normally.”
    “No, you’re right. I would’ve thought all those things, but I never would’ve said them out loud.” I move closer, slowly. “And if I’d been sober…my opening bid would’ve been much higher.”
    “She crosses her arms. “Are you trying to be cute?”
    “No. I don’t have to try…it just sort of happens.”

*** Another Royally Screwed excerpt can be viewed HERE. ***

 Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.


Spiked (Blocked 3) by Jennifer Lane ~ Review #NewAdult #SportsRomance

Jennifer Lane
Series: Blocked #3
Genre: New Adult, Sports Romance
Release Date: October 1, 2016

They say
University is the time
To find yourself
But I don’t need to find myself
Just want to find you

After watching his older siblings find their love matches at Highbanks University, Mateo Ramirez feels unlikely to follow in their footsteps. What girl would want him? Unlike his brother and sister, he battles diabetes and chooses music over sports. But at least he can write songs about his life—and the girl who caught his eye when their parents ran against each other for US President.

Hey, chica! Come conmigo
And baby, why don’t we go
Down under the bridge to the water
With you it can only get hotter

Jessica Monroe is a talented swimmer who dreams of representing Team USA at the Olympics. When she earns an athletic scholarship to Highbanks, she’s excited to attend the same school as the cute boy she met two years ago: Mateo. Too bad he’s not around when a teammate spikes her drink. Jessica may never trust men again.

Is a hard-to-earn thing
Try to keep listening

Down all of the unjust
My chest, my heart will bust

College years are the time to shake off the past and find your future. But will that future find Mateo and Jessica together? Dive in and immerse yourself in the eagerly anticipated conclusion to Jennifer Lane’s Blocked trilogy.

Source: Review copy from author
This is my honest review.
Rating: 5 Stars ~ Excellent

Mateo and Jessica’s story will warm your heart!

Jennifer Lane did it again, because the Blocked series keeps getting better and better. I adored Blocked and swooned over Alejandro in Aced. Now Mateo and Jessica warmed my heart so fully in Spiked!

We first got a glimpse of Mateo and Jessica in Blocked. They were a few years younger and thrown into the public spotlight as Mateo’s dad and Jessica’s mom campaigned for the position of President of the United States. Fast-forward to the present when both Mateo and Jessica are starting their first year at Highbanks University. Jessica is there on a swimming scholarship. She’s fierce in the water, but on her first night on campus she makes a serious mistake and pays for her wrong decision big time. Mateo has had a crush on Jessica ever since they met. He doesn’t play sports like his older siblings, but he sure can write and sing incredibly beautiful and meaningful music. She inspires his creative self, and he is the calm to her storm.

Jennifer Lane creates likable characters with realistic issues.  The storyline is heartbreaking as it concerns one of the characters experiencing a trauma that really no one should ever experience but sadly happens far too often in real life. I loved that Ms. Lane presents the resources available and the emotional recovery process as the story moves along. This is not only a victim’s journey of healing, but also a story of two young people starting college and learning to be more independent in the somewhat unique circumstances they’re living in, which involves awesome Secret Service agents. Mateo deals with a lot as well, especially with his diabetes. I also absolutely adored seeing all the family bonding time in this book. The slow-burning romance is the sweetest! I literally savored every page of Spiked! I’m going to miss Dane, Lucia, Alejandro, Maddie, Jessica, and Mateo so much if this is indeed the final book of the series.

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My reviews of: Blocked & Aced