From Amazon: "Welcome to Spencerville, Virginia, 1977. Eight-year-old Rocky worships his older brother, Paul. Sixteen and full of rebel cool, Paul spends his days cruising in his Chevy Nova blasting Neil Young, cigarette dangling from his lips, arm slung around his beautiful, troubled girlfriend. Paul is happy to have his younger brother as his sidekick. Then one day, in an act of vengeance against their father, Paul picks up Rocky from school and nearly abandons him in the woods. Afterward, Paul disappears.
Seven years later, Rocky is a teenager himself. He hasn’t forgotten being abandoned by his boyhood hero, but he’s getting over it, with the help of the wealthy neighbors’ daughter, ten years his senior, who has taken him as her lover. Unbeknownst to both of them, their affair will set in motion a course of events that rains catastrophe on both their families. After a mysterious double murder brings terror and suspicion to their small town, Rocky and his family must reckon with the past and find out how much forgiveness their hearts can hold."
Yo! Adrienne says: Well if this isn't a "valentine's" themed title I don't know what is. I must come clean here ... I am good friends with the author's sister and mother. I know all the ins and outs of "Spencerville" where the book is set and I could not put this book down. Yes, I loved figuring out the local references (he changed many names/places) but his writing is just beautiful. It is so well done. Be forewarned - there is a lot of "adult content". If that bothers you just skip those pages - the rest of the book is so worth it. If I may step out on a limb and compare Ed Tarkington's southern writing style to that of Rick Bragg's ... Only Love Can Break Your Heart is that good. It's worth the hardback price.
From Amazon: "In this “charming debut” (People) from one of Sweden’s most successful authors, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
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 must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?
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.
A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others. “If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down” (Booklist, starred review)."
Yo! Adrienne says: Every person that will listen I've told to pick up this book and read it. I knew I was going to fall for it as soon as I realized that the main character was a "cranky old man" (I was a geriatric social worker). What I was not expecting is the evolution we were privileged to read of Ove. No only did the author slowly but surely give us nuggets of what life events happened in his past but showered us with characters that were just quirky enough to keep the crabby Ove on his toes. Truly a book to add to your list.
From Amazon: "The heartwarming tale of an irrepressible donkey who needed a home―and forever changed a family.
If there is ever a good time to discover a wounded, frightened, bedraggled donkey standing in your driveway, this wasn’t it. The local sheriff dismissed Flash as “worthless.” But Rachel didn’t believe that, and she couldn’t turn him away. She brought Flash into her struggling family during their darkest hour―and he turned out to be the very thing they needed most. Flash is the true story of their adventures together in learning to love and trust; breaking down whatever fences stood in their way; and finding the strength, confidence, and faith to carry on. Prepare to fall in love with Flash: a quirky, unlikely hero with gigantic ears, a deafening bray, a personality as big as Texas, and a story you’ll never forget."
Yo! Adrienne says: Oh my goodness. I bought this book for my MIL for Christmas without having read it myself (I bought it based on a recommendation). Within 2 weeks my MIL had passed it back to me with the instructions to read ASAP. So - I have no other choice but to tell you dear readers to do the same. It's a beautiful (true) story that will have you measuring your less than an acre lot trying to figure out how you are going to get approval from the city for a donkey.