Contemporary · Fiction/Science Fiction · Sports/Games

Us against you – Fredrik Backman

36373463.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: 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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My thoughts: Wow. Just…. WOW! How am I suppose to put words on my feelings toward this book and author, when Backman constantly amazes me to the point where it is almost gut-wrenching. This man is one great author who can write such deep characters, devastating fates, joy and sorrow but still keep a flake of hope, shining it’s bright, warm light throughout its pages. It is sad, heartbreaking, funny, stirs all your emotions and if you do not cry to this one, you are one “dead inside” person.

Us against you is the sequel to the book Beartown. Equally devastating, equally good. If interested you HAVE to read Beartown first. The sequel is about what happens next and thereby, you do need to get it in the right order.

The book is exceptional, emotional and just.. just.. so wonderful. Even though it is dark and is about a small little town in the aftermath of the darkness that has settled upon them it is one great read. You follow characters that are deeper than you can reach. They fight each other and they fight for each other and hell… my heart hurts for them all for different reasons.

The ending could not be more fitting and yes, without a cliffhanger, it is promising more. The story about Beartown is still not yet finished.

 

Mystery/Crime · Thriller/Horror

Lazarus – Lars Kepler

38208505.jpg| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: A dead man is found in an apartment in Oslo. The victim transpires to be an unknown grave defiler and trophy collector, and when the police open his kitchen freezer, they make a terrible discovery. A few days later, Joona Linna is contacted by a German police detective who asks for his help with a murder outside Rostock. Joona understands that the pattern he’s starting to see is insane, but at the same time it’s impossible to ignore.

Some would call it a miracle if someone returned from the dead – others would call it a nightmare.

The master of thrillers, Lars Kepler, is back with the seventh installment in the Joona Linna series.

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My thoughts: Lazarus has not yet been translated to English but Lars Kepler and the series about Joona Linna is highly popular. That’s why I do not think it will be long before it have been translated. Just be patience. 🙂

The 7th book about the Swedish/Finish cop Joona Linna is finally here. I have been waiting for this one since June. Joona is finally back and trying to take control over his life. There is finally some good things happening when it all comes crashing down and burns. Surprised? No. Did I foresee it? Yes. Was it in the way I though? Well, pretty much. It is bloody and violent, certainly not a book for sensitive readers and highly predictable. At least in my opinion. I feel that Kepler did not take the story where it should have gone. Just chewed on what they already have and spit it out. The same but in a new form. Highly disappointing.

I found it quite boring that Kepler still going on with the same plot-line. It’s mediocre, overrated and even flamboyant at times. The Ahndorils aka Keplers need to learn when to stop. And that time was two books ago. Don’t do what I’m thinking you will do with that end you left us with. It is not interesting and I do not want it. Try something new. We are soon in 2019 you know. Not 2011.

Fantasy/Paranormal · Fiction/Science Fiction · Thriller/Horror

Färjan / Blood Cruise – Mats Strandberg

25445622| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: On the Baltic Sea, no one can hear you scream.

Tonight, twelve hundred expectant passengers have joined the booze-cruise between Sweden and Finland. The creaking old ship travels this same route, back and forth, every day of the year.

But this trip is going to be different.

In the middle of the night the ferry is suddenly cut off from the outside world. There is nowhere to escape. There is no way to contact the mainland. And no one knows who they can trust.

Welcome aboard the Baltic Charisma.

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My thoughts: Blood Cruise (god I hate that title) or Färjan (ferry) in Swedish is a horror story in Stephen King standard, taking place on a big boat that travels between Sweden and Finland. I did know that this was a horror before starting and I have read one book by Strandberg before this, but that was not a horror and I did not know what to expect this time. Well I did certainly not expect it to be as nasty, horrific, bloody and foul as it is. Wow it certainly made my stomach turn a couple of times and it is not a book to read while eating. Just saying.

When starting the book, I did not have high expectations and in the end I was actually was pleasantly surprised. Don’t know why that surprises me but there it is. We get to follow a lot of characters but Strandberg keeps it clear and easy. There is never any confusions even though the heavy load of information at times. The chapters are pleasantly short and you do get to know a group of characters deep enough to make connections.  But god damn you Mats are an evil person. And what you have created here is ingenious.

After the whole vampire hysteria that was several years ago, I’m not a big fan of vampires but this, this I can stand behind. It is dark and there is no lovey dovey or glitter in sight. It is true and realistic and shows all the good and bad sides of the modern human being. It even ends a little on the edge. Don’t know if I like it or not but it fit. If Strandberg writhes his horrors like this, I can certainly see myself reading more of his books.

Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime · Thriller/Horror

Stalker – Lars Kepler

22554261| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: The police receive a video clip of a woman in a window and reason that someone must have been standing in the garden just outside her house to be able to film her. The next day the woman is found dead in her home, the vicious violence of the scene shocks even the most seasoned investigators. A few days later, another clip is sent anonymously to the police, but there’s no way of identifying the woman before she too falls victim to a brutal attack. When he finds her, the woman’s husband is so traumatized by the violent scene that, in a state of panic, he starts cleaning the house. He even washes the blood from his wife’s body and puts her to bed, as if nothing is the matter. He may have seen a vital clue but is in such an extreme state of shock, and seems to be suffering from short-term memory loss that the police cannot usefully question him. Criminal psychiatrist and hypnotist Erik Maria Bark is called in hypnotize the man in order to unlock his memories of the murder scene. But what Dr Bark uncovers in his sessions with the dead woman’s husband make him decide to lie to the police.

It becomes clear that the case cannot be solved without the help of Detective Joona Linna, the man who’s been missing for more than a year and has been presumed dead.

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My thoughts: Lars Kepler, the married duo who writes under that name, has done it again. With Stalker we yet again meet Joona Linna and all the loose threads from the earlier books are finally tied together. Even though the series is about Joona Linna, he has a lot smaller part in this book than usual. Here it is Erik Maria Bark who stands in the headlight and the character you get to follow the most. He is awesome and I have always liked him so it was great to get to know him even more.

I really like the stalker plot where as a woman, it even was a little frighting for me and with its graphic content, gave me the chills.  I found it somewhat of a paranoid thriller and I’m happy that I don’t live on the first floor (even though I curse those stairs everyday). And I Still checked my windows and doors a little extra, just in case. Not that I’m in any danger of being stalked, but it just felt better you know. Funny how books can have such  big impact on the everyday life. Anyway, I liked the plot and it is well written as always. I wouldn’t say that Stalker is my favorite in the series but it isn’t the worst either.

There is a lot of plot twists and one was really surprising and I did not see that coming. I should have and I kick myself for not doing that and it is great work by Kepler to fool me. I’m not easily fooled. Just saying! And this series is not a stand alone and you should read them in order, just to really understand some huge things that are not deeply explained.

A solid thriller with a solid and somewhat frightening plot and I give it four stars. Loses a star because it is a little too long. With almost 700 pages I felt somethings could have been edited out to make the flow more smoothly. And there is a lot of characters and even though I’m Swedish and doesn’t have a problem with the names, I still forgot sometime who was who.

Contemporary · Fiction/Science Fiction · Sports/Games

Beartown – Fredrik Backman

33413128| GOODREADS | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ |

Goodreads synopsis: People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

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My thoughts: This was one hard book to read. It was a lot darker than first expected and was certainly not what you would expect from Backman. He has changed his tone and the seriousness of it is mindblowing. And the worst part is, I know this from real life experience. I know how it is to grow up in a town that is dying. I know how it is to live so far north that in a year, you have more dark days than light days. Where snow is more than a way of life. It comes a part of you. When I moved south, I did miss all that snow, but life was just so much more simpler without it being so much of it. And I still do not live far enough south to get no snow at all. The difference is that where I come from, it’s not Hockey that is the big sport everyone love. Where I come from there is two type of “family’s”. Those who ski some way or another. Or those who hunt. I’m from a hunting family. That’s what we do. Live for. Talk about. And plan to do next season. Sometime I miss it, but in reality I’m more of a city girl with one booted foot in the woods and one foot in a 6 inch high heel outside the city’s IT club. When I don’t read of course. And I like it just like that. The best of two worlds. But I do understand that mindset from a small community. We take care of our own. We offer coffee or beer instead of asking how you are. I do not always agree, but I do understand.

Even though the book could be described as hard, cold, dark and so Swedish that it is incredible Backman has been able to put it into words. But still the book is warm, fuzzy and lovable. Some parts of it I had to seek comfort in the arms of my man. I wouldn’t be able to read more if not. I have few triggers when it comes to books but one of them is in this book and even tough it is not that graphic, a girl/woman do understand without not being in that situation herself. And it is heavy. Maybe more heavy for me this time than what it would have been if I didn’t recognize the characters as people I grown up with. Backman understands. He is Swedish to. Other parts I feel that the book is awesome and even some parts a little funny. The seriousness of it all takes a big toll of it tough.

The writing is as always, fantastic. Backman has a great ability to put worlds, characters, minds, feelings and his own soul  between the lines in his books. You can just feel him and it is a wonderful experience. One I do not often get to feel when reading books. Often when I give a book a top star rating, it is more for the story itself. This one it is more for the meaning of the story and what it leaves me with when done. It is impossible to explain.

I do however miss Backmans funny, easy-going, fuzzy heartwarming way of writing his books. This one is just a little too dark and it will take me sometime before I’m ready to read the second book in the series. I will someday, but right now my soul is just not ready for that kind of hit. Soul-wrenching. That’s a word I would describe this book with. Soul-wrenching!

Mystery/Crime · Suspense · Thriller/Horror

The Nightmare – Lars Kepler

13722526GOODREADS AMAZON | MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥|

Goodreads synopsis: A drowned young woman is discovered on an abandoned pleasure boat drifting by the Stockholm archipelago—strangely, her clothes are dry. The next day in Stockholm, a man turns up dead, hanging from a lamp hook inside his completely bare apartment—but how could he have hung himself with no furniture to climb upon? As Detective Inspector Joona Linna begins to piece together the two mysteries, he discovers that they are a mere prelude to a dizzying and dangerous course of events.

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My thoughts: For you who do not know it, Lars Kepler is actually a pseudonym name for the married couple Alexandra and Alexander Ahndoril. They are both published authors but together they write the series about Joona Linna under the name Lars Kepler. This is the second book in the series and even though I’m not much for “local” litterateur, I really like this book.

I listened on the first book about Joona Linna, back in 2012. I know that I also started the second book but could not remember if I actually finished it. There where parts that i recognized but i dont remember it all so I just listened on the whole thing again to be sure.

This one is the continuing book about Joona. The first book did not end on a cliffhanger but you as an reader should know that there is a lot of details about Joona that you dont really get to know. Also in this book. But i recon that later on in the series, all my questions will be answered.

I like the book even though I think the story about weapon export is a little dry and there is some parts in the book that really do not make sense for the books plot. I do like that I have gotten to know Joona a little bit more but still do not know all of his “secrets”. It is a book I can recommend but be advised that this is a slow burner in 500+ pages. Not as fast pacing (in my opinion) as the first book, but sometime it is nice withe those to.