The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend: a Review

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The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

by Katerina Bivald

400 pages

 

Sara journeys from Sweden to Iowa to meet long time bookish pen pal Amy.  Amy is to meet her in Hope, Iowa but never shows.  After getting a ride to Amy’s house in Broken Wheel, Iowa, Sara learns of Amy’s passing.  Convinced by the townspeople to stay in Amy’s house, Sara becomes acquainted with everyone in Broken Wheel.  In this very small town, people help each other: tools are loaned and returned from the hardware/grocery store, coffee and beer are just given when needed.  Everyone gives back in the way they know how.  Wanting to do her part to give back (and wanting a way to honor Amy) Sara opens a bookstore stocked with Amy’s books.

I thought the story was very sweet.  I love how the town stood with each other and everyone helps out.  The run down small town being Broken Wheel while the big shiny, new town was called Hope was creative, however I think of the hard working, helpful small town as more hopeful. There were some slow parts of the book, but overall it was very enjoyable.  Thank you to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy to read.

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The Guest Room:a Review

imageThe Guest Room

by Chris Bohjalian

336 pages

The Guest Room is about a bachelor party gone completely wrong.  Richard hosts his brother’s party at his house.  One of his brother’s friends is responsible for booking the “entertainment”.  Unbeknownst to everyone, the entertainment was not just strippers, but Russian sex slaves.  Well on the night of the party, the girls are ready to escape and they murder their bodyguards/captors.  Richard is left with the aftermath and his home becoming a crime scene.  Obviously, much more happens, but this is a spoiler free zone!

This was the first book by Chris Bohjalian that I have read.  Night Strangers has been on my shelf for years unread, I’ll get around to that one soon.  I really like this author’s writing style, at least what I know if it from just this book.  The topic of sex slaves was a little much for me, but that won’t stop me from reading any more of his work.  Thank you Netgalley for sending me an ebook in exchange for an honest review.

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Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend: a Giveaway

Sourcebooks just released a gem of a book.  Well, so far I can say it’s been a gem.  I got my copy this week, promptly sat down and started to read.  An hour later I realized I need to join the real world again and get dinner going.  So being 1/4 way through the book, I can say it’s been wonderful thus far. I’m counting down the minutes until this afternoon so that I can go back to Broken Wheel, Iowa.

The book in a nutshell: Sara travels from Sweden to Broken Wheel, Iowa to meet her pen and paper (and book mail) penpal Amy.  When she arrives, she learns that Amy has passed away but she can stay at her house in this strange, sleepy town of Broken Wheel.  During her stay, Sara finds a way she can give back to the town.

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The lovely folks over at Sourcebooks are also hosting a giveaway for a copy of the book that I don’t want you all to miss out on.  It’s open for 9 more days, so get your entries in!!

Click here to enter:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to stop back by next week when I share my full review on The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend!

Since I can’t give you my full review yet, I’ll leave you with a little about what others have to say about The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend:

“Touching and lively, Bivald’s genuine homage to the power of books vibrates with fondness for small-town life and fascination with its indelible connections.”
— Booklist

“[A] heartwarming and utterly charming debut novel by Swedish author Bivald…. This gentle, intelligent Midwestern tale will captivate fans of Antoine Laurain’s The Red Notebook, Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop, and Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. ­Fikry. An ideal book group selection, it reminds us why we are book lovers and why it’s nice to read a few happy endings.”
— Library Journal (STARRED)

“Between the book references and the idyllic setting, readers won’t want to leave Broken Wheel, either.”
— Kirkus Reviews

Win Your Favorite Bookstore Money

Bookstores are are an important thing, as we all know.  Sadly, indie bookstores are becoming more rare.  I know by me, my choices are Books A Million, Barnes and Noble and the Target book aisle.  There used to a a fabulous used book store, but it closed over the summer.  Of course, places like Amazon are absolutely fabulous, when you know what you want to read.  However, there’s just something about browsing and the sense of community you can get in an indie bookstore.  Sourcebooks is giving three nominated bookstores money as a thank you for what they do for the readers.  So here is Sourcebooks, explaining their sweepstakes in a little more detail:

 

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NAPERVILLE IL (January 5, 2016) — Independent publisher Sourcebooks announces the “Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore” campaign, which will give grant money to three nominated bookstores. The “Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore Campaign” is inspired by the phenomenal support booksellers have given The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, which was selected as the #1 Indie Next Great Read for January 2016.

Katarina Bivald’s international bestselling debut novel, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, is a charming, big-hearted story about the joy of books and the transformative power of community bookstores.

“Bookstores are the heart and soul of their community and have enormous impact on readers’ lives,” said Dominique Raccah, founder and CEO of Sourcebooks. “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend inspired us to create a campaign that will not only give back to a few deserving bookstores, but hopefully highlight all the many wonderful bookstores that service communities across the country.”

Anyone can nominate their favorite bookstore at http://books.sourcebooks.com/readers-recommend-your-bookstore-sweepstakes/. Sourcebooks will award the winning bookstore with a $3,000 prize; two additional bookstores will each receive a $637 prize (the population of Bivald’s fictional Broken Wheel, Iowa). In addition to bookstores receiving prizes, weekly giveaways for those who nominate will be held throughout the campaign. Voting began January 4, and runs until February 19, when the winning bookstores will be announced.

text written by sourcebooks

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On: a Review

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A Girl’s Gude to Moving On

By Debbie Macomber 352 pages

The book opens with a quick backstory about a mother in law and her daughter in law going through divorces at the same time.  The two women create a list to help them through the rough transition to single life.  The rest of the book switches points of narration between the two women.  They learn to love themselves and find true happiness.

When I first started, I was unsure if I really wanted to continue the book, feeling as though I couldn’t relate to the characters and it was going to be a wallowing self pity story.  I (of course) stuck with it and am very glad I did!  After a few chapters, you can’t help but feeling attachment to the characters.  Debbie Macomber has such a talent for that.  After the set up chapters, the book is really no different than any other love story and you can’t help but to cheer on the good guy.

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On is a fast paced,light read.  I was able to read it in about a day. I could see it being a very encouraging book for someone going through a rough breakup, but it’s also an enjoyable read if you’re single or in a happy relationship. Thank you Netgalley for the ebook in exchange for an honest review.

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Everybody Rise: a review

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford

371 pages

Evelyn’s mother had raised her with the proper skills to rise up the social ladder and become the elite.  After graduating, Evelyn made a life for herself in NYC.  Accepting a job in membership for the People Like Us website, Evelyn is forced to reconnect with classmates from her prep school days.  Armed with proper etiquette knowledge from her wanting-to-be-old-money-mother, Evelyn immerses herself in the social elite. Forgetting who she is, who her true friends are and how much money she’s spending, Evelyn fills her life with parties, brunch and the upper East side life.  Unfortunately, the fall from the top is a lot longer, and can happen quickly.

I am a sucker for Manhattan and that whole glam NYC life. In my mind, if I was to live in New York, I would totally have a gorgeous brownstone over looking Central Park and would brunch and go shopping for designer shoes and purses every day.  Followed by a delicious dinner out then roof top drinks.  Completely realistic, right?  So books like this are perfect in the fact that I can totally pretend right along with the characters.  (When really I’m in leggings and a sweatshirt, drinking coffee and sneaking in a few pages before the next mom duty needs to happen). I will say the “millennial” attitude that Evelyn had really bothers me.  You know the “I don’t need to work, but you need to give me everything I want and more” Obviously that would be nice (remember my NYC fantasy?) but it’s not reality.  The redeeming point on her attitude was the bit of reality handed to her.

While Everybody Rise is clearly no literary masterpiece, it is a super fun, fast read.  Perfect for mentally escaping away to the city for a while.

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11/22/63: a Review

11/22/63 by Stephen King.  349pages

When Jake Epping stumbles upon a rabbit hole in the back of the diner his friend Al opperates, he discovers he can travel back to 1958.  Al has spent many years down the rabbit hole studying everything he can about Lee Harvey Oswald and the upcoming Kennedy assassination. Learning that he is too ill to continue on, Al passes the mission onto Jake.  Jake adapts well to life in the past, creating another “string” of his life in Texas.  While there, he passes the five years before the assassination in a small town, making a life that is a dream come true.  However, all good things must come to an end and the past is obdurate.  Now it is up to Jake to stop Oswald on 11/22/63 without making too many ripples in time.

I have been a giant Stephen King fan since sixth grade, much to my teacher’s dismay. So of course I had added 11/22/63 to my collection upon its release in November 2011.  It sat and sat in my digital library, forgotten about (one of many reasons I prefer paper copies over digital).

Seeing as I’ve yet to really meet a Stephen King book that I didn’t like, aside from Dreamcatcher, and I adore the 50s and 60s so I was excited to read this beast of a book.  The first 300 pages were very up and down.  So much in fact that by page 300, I just wanted it to end. Disappointed in how the book was going, I knew I would just have to trudge along.  Goodness am I glad I kept going.  This is seriously a fantastic story.  Stephen King has said in the past that he struggles with romance and love stories.  He just proved himself wrong!  To me, this is one of those stories that will stay with me.

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