More On A Man Called Ove

My heart is full.  I laughed, I cried and I laughed again.  This is a story about life and connections with the people we love.  Family is not always defined by blood. Ove (pronounced oo-va) was a good guy beneath a gruff exterior.  Sonja knew that.  Parvaneh and her family knew that.  Jimmy knew that too.

I hadn’t finished the book when I first wrote this review.  Now I have and I give this story 5 out of 5 stars.  No spoilers but still a MUST READ if there ever was one.  Thanks to our leader at Skimmers and Sippers, you really out did yourself with this month’s selection.  I will be ordering the movie through Amazon Prime shortly.

As always, more to come.


J-Dub’s Take On A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I am reading A Man Called Ove (pronounced oo-va) for book club.  I’ve only one week to finish so I am basically skimming to get through.  But that’s ok because the name of our book club is Schaefer’s Skimmers and Sippers.  It is the public library so we do not sip wine but tea or coffee or even water fill the bill.  Rule breakers that we are to have drinks and snacks in the stacks.

The book is really good.  Despite the dark themes of placing an anchor for the rope in the living room ceiling or the piping that lay on the floor of the garage.  Then there is the loss of his beloved wife.  The only person on the planet who understood him.  Ove is such a sympathetic character.  I may try a more leisurely pace on a second read as the book is loaned to me until April 8th.

Some of my favorite quotes follow:

“He’d never understood the need to go around stewing on why things turned out the way they did.  You are what you are and you do what you do.”

“They never had much, but they always had enough.”

“People said Ove saw the world in black and white.  But she was color.  All the color he had.”

“He never understood why she chose him.  She loved only abstract things like music and books and strange words.  Ove was a man entirely filled with tangible things.”

A solid 4 out of 5 stars.  Recommended reading or watching since the book became a movie.

As always, more to come.



J-Dub’s Review of The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

This is historical fiction to present day contemporary with a gothic fairytale in between alternating chapters.  Often I could not wait to get to the next part.  In places though I cringed.  More than cringed, I was saddened to my core, dumbstruck that while a fictional account, such atrocities did occur.  I rail against the people that did nothing.  Again and again history repeats itself.  Will we ever learn?

No spoilers/specifics here just a recommended must read.  I will share a few of my favorite lines that made their way into my commonplace book:

  1. How you can ricochet from a moment where you are on top of the world to one where you are crawling at rock bottom
  2. But thinking doesn’t change anything does it?
  3. This is just a place to keep all my thoughts.  They get away from me otherwise.
  4. The person may have a scar but it also means they have a story.
  5. A story will tell itself when it is ready.
  6. “I never said I do not remember,” my grandmother corrects. “I said I prefer to forget”
  7. Inside each of us is a monster; inside each of us is a saint.
  8. But at any given moment, we are capable of doing what we least expect.
  9. The only monsters I’ve ever known are men.
  10. After the first two times, I stopped noticing.  It was as if death had become part of the landscape.
  11. The story flowed like blood from my hand; sometimes it seemed that I was simply channeling a film that was already playing, that I was only the projector instead of the creator.  When I wrote I felt untethered, impossibly free.

All 11 above were taken from the Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

I am still on page 311 of 460 and plan to finish reading tonight.  I should have finished last week but I had a pity party for one instead.  Glad that’s in my rear view mirror though I better keep going lest those ugly feelings catch up with me again.

I will likely have more for my commonplace book before I am done.  And the final reward is lunch and book club with a dear sweet co-worker.  I am not sure if I will circle back and add to this post or keep the remainder as treasures for myself.

As always, more to come.



Powered Through

See here. I decided I’m no quitter after all.  At least not when it comes to reading. I picked the Marriage Pact back up and powered through. Sadly, the story really didn’t improve. Newlyweds Alice and Jake are the main characters brought into the Marriage Pact by a seemingly benevolent mentor. Nothing is as it seems. Been there before, super predictable.

As I continued on, the story was even more reminiscent of the Firm. Or Eyes Wide Shut or The Ice Storm.  And maybe you’re thinking but those are not similar.  Yet to me, they are … at their core.  They are about marital bliss or lack there of.  Some graphic violence made me grimace. Served no point. Ultimately this story about marriage contained little substance. And the ending was far fetched/saccharine/hokey.

Recommendation: read only if you’ve absolutely nothing else better to do. 1.8 our of 5 stars ✨

J-Dub’s Almost Review of The Marriage Pact

Mark your calendars for today I threw in the towel. I’m not going to finish the Marriage Pact. This book reads too much like the Firm. Which was good in its own right for its time. Not interested in a remake.

Perhaps I shouldn’t review what I cannot finish? Maybe if I continue on, things will improve. I’ll let you know if that happens. Stopping feels too much like failure. I’m usually no quitter when reading is involved.

I’ll stop before saying I don’t recommend. That’s too harsh. Instead I’ll just say this book wasn’t my cup of tea.

Re-reading the Go Giver instead. CLO book club, here I come 😊

As always more to come.

J-Dub’s Review of Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

I forgot to snap a pic of the cover and I already dropped the book into the return slot.  Bummer 😦  But that is not what matters anyway.

Paula Hawkins Bestselling Author of The Girl on the Train does it again with her newest novel – Into The Water.  I have so much to say but not wanting to spoil it for others.  Vaguely I will say this book is packed with social commentary.  Small town, family and community dynamics, love juxtaposed against brutal men abusing their power, Lolita meets Salem Witch trials and a mystery until the very end.  If you like who done it with alternating by character name storylines, this book is for you!

Here are a few gems for my common place book:

  • Wife to husband “Honestly, Sean, sometimes I think you live on a different planet.  Sometimes I wish I lived there with you”
  • Jules “I thought how odd it was that parent’s believe they know their children, understand their children. Do they not remember what it was like to be 18 …? Perhaps having children makes you forget being one.  I remember you at 17 … and I am certain that our parents had no idea who we were”
  • Louise “Kindness was her new project.  She hopes it might be gentler on the soul than anger”

Notes I jotted down during the reading:

car park = parking lot

boot = trunk

what the heck is a kipper?

I recommend this book as a good solid choice.  I made it through in three weeks with off and on reading.  Due to the quick by character chapters getting to a stopping place was easy as was picking back up again after a few days in between. Rating: 4.22 out of 5 stars.

As always, come to come.


J-Dub’s Review of Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill

To continue from here … As Talented As His Daddy

I finished up Snapshot and give it two thumbs up.  I won’t be posing for pictures anytime soon.  I want to keep what little brains cells I have thank you very much.

Moved right into the next short novel: Loaded.  I assumed loaded would be as in fully loaded, rockstar drunk off your ass loaded but I’d be wrong.  Loaded as in GUN.  I will not go into the debate.  Read the story for yourself.  Fiction with a ring of truth.  Is that the same as fiction that rings true OR fiction that has a kernel of truth with the remainder being made-up?  Better yet, educate yourself and draw your own conclusions.

After that Aloft.  No, not the hotel chain.  Aloft as in up in the air.  Very good short novel and good character development.  Pure-D fantasy after the skydive occurs.  Junicorns and cloud lovers.  The big EYE in the sky.  I was transported to another world and the reprieve from my own was stellar.

Ending with Rain.  Not you garden variety rain but nails from the sky rain caused by … anyone’s guess.  What kind of manipulation?  Part global warming, part vendetta.  Social commentary thrown in for color.  Outcast, lonely, unlikely heroes.  More writing in accents.  Cult.  End of the world … as we know it.  Intrigue until the end.

I did not get my email reminder … this library book is due in three days.  I will pay my fine and not complain.  The late fee is worth it!  Well, kind of.

I may inquire into email status as that reminder is all I have – no more old school cards that are stamped in ink.  No way to see who else read the book before me.  Sometimes I wish everything didn’t have to change but that … that is a blog for another day.

I stand by my original review, Joe Hill is as talented as his daddy. I highly recommend: 4.83 out of 5 stars.

As Talented As His Daddy

I’ve read how he broke into the business on his own merits. Not laying claim to the King name. The lookalike son is as talented as his daddy. I’ve only just begun (Karen Carpenter) but I’m in … hook line and sinker. Joe Hill – Strange Weather is on tap.

The book is comprised of four short stories. I’m midway through Snapshot … story #1. Scene: 1980s suburbia. Mike Figlione teenage outcast and his dad make sympathetic characters.

Then there is the Afrikaner and his wife Shelly. Writing in an accent is such as skill. I read a few paragraphs out loud which caused Lulu to giggle. Not because of the subject matter which is dark but because I sound like Arnold the Terminator.

Mobil Mart employees: protective mom and all star son Mat could come back into the “picture”.

Finally the Phoenician is the ultimate bad guy. I haven’t gotten far enough to say more about him.

I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.

Featured photo: heater, book, me in penguin 🐧 pajamas with favorite snowman ⛄️ socks and floral slides. Always out of style or styling like a fox 🦊.

As always more to come.

What the what?

The things one learns at book club.

  1. Peoples’ tastes run the gamut and not everyone thinks Jenny Lawson is funny.
  2. Pat Benatar is going to be at the San Antonio NYE celebration 🍾 🎉

Super exciting. And it’s free! I may just have to brave the cold and crowds. B won’t go though. Maybe they’ll televise it. After all it’s part of the 300. That’d be a dream come true. Joan and Pat in the same month.

🎼Hit me with your best shot 🔥 away 🎼

Or Heartbreaker. 💔

I may even remember a few steps from the dance team routine for the one. Another twofer on a non- Tuesday.

As always more to come.

J-Dubs Book Review of All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Fast paced thriller that’s written in time warping chapters with several quotes about time. Here’s a good one:

Maybe Dad was right, that time wasn’t real. Just a thing we created to move on. Just a label to make sense of things.

I had to remind myself it was fiction because it read like Investigation Discovery – channel 192. Truth is stranger than fiction. Always!

No plot spoilers from me. Highly recommend if you like who done it mystery with family and friends like family dynamics showing the lengths people will go for the ones they love. Sprinkle is masks we wear and the age old question- do you ever really know anyone or what they’re capable of?

To know exactly what’s what, you’ll have to read it for yourself. So good that I have two and 1/2 pages of quotes for my commonplace book. Overall JDub rating 4.89 out of 5 ✨.

As always more to come