Us Against You

Happy pub day to Us Against You! I'm so excited it's out in the world for everyone to go out and buy. This was such an anticipated read for me and I'm so thankful to Atria Books for providing me a free, early copy. All opinions my own. 

From Goodreads: After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach. Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute. As the big match approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt grows deeper. By the time the last game is finally played, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after all they’ve been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent.

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Oh my goodness. I'm honestly a little glad that I waited to read Beartown this year because it meant I got to read both Beartown as well as Us Against You pretty close together. I was simultaneously so excited as well as apprehensive. I finished the last page of Beartown in February and knew I'd already read my favorite book of the year. What if the sequel didn't live up to my expectations after Beartown? Would I be let down? Beartown easily earned it's place on my ALL TIME FAVORITES LIST and Us Against You is no different. 

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Us Against You starts out slower and Backman's cadence feels just a bit different but the story and emotions build in the same wonderful way. You meet both old and new characters and learn to love their quirks and struggles in a more involved way. What I love about Backman is how can wreck you with the mundane details of life and brilliance hidden within. This one is a slower burn but absolutely beautiful. If you want to fall in love with characters and a town and don't mind a little heartbreak, this one is absolutely for you. There were lots of tears and this is one I'll be re-reading in the future. I hope you love it as much as I did because this is one I can't stop talking about. 

Fingerprints of Previous Owners

Today I'm a stop on the book tour for Fingerprints of Previous Owners. Thanks TLC Book Tours for providing this copy. All opinions my own. 

From Amazon: At a Caribbean resort built atop a former slave plantation, Myrna works as a maid by day; by night she trespasses on the resort’s overgrown inland property, secretly excavating the plantation ruins the locals refuse to acknowledge. Myrna's mother has stopped speaking and her friends are focused on surviving the present, but Myrna is drawn to Cruffey Island's violent past. With the arrival of Mrs. Manion, a wealthy African-American, also comes new information about the history of the slave-owner’s estate and tensions finally erupt between the resort and the local island community. Suffused with the sun-drenched beauty of the Caribbean, Fingerprints of Previous Owners is a powerful novel of hope and recovery in the wake of devastating trauma. In her soulful and timely debut, Entel explores what it means to colonize and be colonized, to trespass and be trespassed upon, to be wounded and to heal.

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I was immediately intrigued upon hearing about this book. The topic in combination with perspective offered seemed right up my alley. That said, I had the hardest time getting into this book. The first chapter made me feel so disoriented and it was really hard to understand what exactly I was reading. I appreciate the authors research and willingness to explore such a weighty topic but I had a difficult time connecting with any of the characters or feeling invested in the story. I appreciated the concept of the story but the execution fell a bit flat. I had pretty high hopes for this one and overall, it missed the mark. It wasn't for me but I can see that others might appreciate it more. If you've read this, I'd love to chat!

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The Immortalists

From GoodreadsIf you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

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I firmly believe that some books find us at just the right time. And while literary fiction can be hit or miss for me, I absolutely adored this book. It's less about the prophecy and more about what choices these four uniquely different siblings make. 

The book is divided into sections, each focusing specifically on one sibling. I found myself crying in public after the first section and knew I was hooked. There were a few scenes throughout that were a BIT much for me (hello, sensitive reader) but overall I adored this book. I think Benjamin does a fantastic job bringing Varya, Daniel, Klara, and Simon to life and I truly savored my time with them. There were so many lines I found myself reading and re-reading, including the closing lines. I finished a few days ago and I'm still thinking about this story and the final pages. 

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Overall, I found The Immortalists to be remarkable and absolutely captivating. It forced me to slow down to really soak in the beauty of the Gold family. I'm so glad I held onto this book for  a few weeks before reading as it was the perfect way to kick off my reading in 2018. Already, it's found a spot on my favorite books list. This book is out in the world TODAY so do yourself and snag a copy. I hope you love it as much as I did. 

 

 

Thank you so much to Putnam Books for gifting me this early finished copy. All opinions my own. 

The Great Alone

From Amazon: Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

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Hannah does an incredible job of creating characters in such a way that they truly come alive in your mind while reading. I'm not sure that I've loved a character like Large Marge in such a long time. As much I hated so many of the choices the characters made at times, I felt like I knew them in such a way that I understood what they were doing, even if I loathed it. She took me to another world - Alaska in the 1970's. Beautiful, tragic, remote, and breathtaking. There's a significant story here but if domestic abuse and violence are triggers, this might not be for you. Hannah broaches a tough subject and handles it beautifully. My only complaint was something in the ending but I won't spoil that one for you.

Overall, I really loved The Great Alone. It is so very different from The Nightingale so try not to compare - I won't lie, that was hard for me. I wasn't exactly satisfied with the ending but I still thought the book was incredibly well written. I was completely sucked into the story and stayed up late to keep reading. Bonus points for both making me laugh out loud AND tear up. 

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The Great Alone is out 2/6/2018. Pre-order your copy here. Thank you so much to St. Martin's Press for a free copy in exchange for a review. All opinions my own.