The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman – Audible Review

The Deal of a Lifetime

by Fredrik Backman

36229962.jpg

Blurb:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown delivers an insightful and poignant holiday novella about a man who sacrificed his family in the single-minded pursuit of success and the courageous little girl fighting for her life who crosses his path.

It all begins with a father telling a story to his son on Christmas Eve. But this isn’t your typical Christmas story. The father admits to his son that he’s taken a life but he won’t say whose—not yet.

One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As the man tells his son about this plucky little girl, he slowly reveals more about himself: while he may be a successful businessman, idolized by the media and his peers, he knows he failed as a parent. Overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood, he took the easy way out and left his wife and little boy twenty years ago to pursue professional success. Now he is left wondering if it’s too late to forge a relationship with his son, who seems to be his opposite in every way—prizing happiness over money, surrounded by loving friends in a cozy town where he feels right at home.

Face to face with the idea that something is missing, the man is given the unexpected chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of the little girl in the hospital bed. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son. And so, he seeks him out and tells him this story…

Written with Fredrik Backman’s signature humor, compassion, and “knack for weaving tales that are believable and fanciful” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our only legacy is how we share that gift with those we love. –Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I read two books by Fredrik Backman this year and enjoyed them both. When I saw The Deal of a Lifetime floating around on Goodreads, the cover and author sent me right into an impulse buy and I used an Audible credit to purchase it. I didn’t even read the blurb and assumed I was purchasing a Christmas read. It turned out to be very different from what I expected and my review below might contain something you consider a spoiler if you want to go in completely blind. Although, I don’t feel that I reveal anything more than the blurb does.

The story begins with a father telling his son a story on Christmas Eve about how he killed someone. He’s not disclosing details and you won’t find out until the end of the story what really happens, but basically, he knows he hasn’t been an exceptional father. He explains that he’s been obsessed with his legacy and has chosen what ‘he’ considers success over being a good parent to his son. That’s what’s been most important to him–leaving behind a legacy full of everything he thinks is important–wealth and security. Then he meets someone who’s dying of cancer and he begins to question the decisions he’s made. He begins to question how important life is. Do other people’s lives matter? How important is someone else’s life to you if you don’t know them?

When I first started listening to this I began to feel that I wasn’t going to be pleased with it. I appreciated that the places described in the story were real, taking place in the author’s hometown, but when I started to contemplate that there might be a death, I was thinking for sure that I would hate it. By the time I got to the end, it hit me. Had my husband not been in the vehicle with me for the hour drive, I may have used an entire box of Kleenex and bawled my eyes out for another hour. The story is short and it’s quite expensive to buy, but It’s truly thought-provoking and what a powerful and meaningful message it sends. For that I’m giving this 5*****.

Continue reading “The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman – Audible Review”

The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans: Mini Book Review

The Noel Diary

by Richard Paul Evans

The-Noel-Diary-Cover

BlurbIn this new holiday-themed novel from the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of The Mistletoe Promise and The Walk, a man receives the best Christmas present he could ask for: the chance to re-write the past.

Bestselling romance author Jacob Churcher hasn’t been home for almost twenty years—not since his mentally ill mother kicked him out of the house when he was just sixteen. When a lawyer calls, days before Christmas, to inform him that his estranged mother has passed away and left her house to him, Jacob returns not just to settle the estate but to try and reconcile with the past and the pain and abuse he experienced as a child. Also, maybe cleaning out her house will be slightly less depressing than spending the holidays alone, watching re-runs of Christmas classics.

But as it turns out, the house holds more than just difficult memories, Jacob’s mother had become a hoarder and he must excavate through two decades worth of clutter. As Jacob digs through the detritus, like an archaeologist, he uncovers many puzzling items including a diary left by someone named Noel, a young woman he has no recollection of, who stayed with Jacob’s family during her pregnancy. That’s not the only echo from the past. Jacob has an unexpected visitor, Rachel, a woman looking for the mother who put her up for adoption thirty years before. United by their quest to make sense of the past and rewrite their futures, Jacob and Rachel begin a search for Noel. Along the way they find more than they possibly imagined, including grace, forgiveness and a chance at love.

My Thoughts:

I’ve read a few Christmas books by Richard Paul Evans and since I enjoyed them, I thought I’d pick this one up. I was surprised that this isn’t truly a Christmas story, but it does occur at Christmastime.

Jacob Churcher is a successful author who’s bitter about his childhood. Growing up with a mother who had mental instability has scarred him. He receives an unexpected phone call informing him that his mother has passed away and he travels back home to a house full of memories as he begins a journey to heal.

The story wasn’t exactly festive or fluffy like I expected, but I still enjoyed it. It’s a fast, light read. I thought the story was believable and it felt real to me. My only issue was the insta-love.

4**** Continue reading “The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans: Mini Book Review”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 12 – What’s Christmas Like Where You Live?

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl earlier this month. It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it on her blog. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

Today is the final day of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge. Christmas has come and its already passed. I can’t believe it. I’ll admit that I’m both excited for the New Year, yet saddened because I don’t want it to be over. I love this time of year.

For day 12 the question is: What is Christmas Like Where You Live? 

I live close to Lake Michigan which means Christmas is generally frigid, in fact, it’s near zero degrees this morning and it’s very white outside! Growing up in this geographical location meant a white Christmas nearly every year.

20171224_110429

20171224_165556.jpg

Where I live there are many Christmas activities to participate in. Roughly 30 minutes from our house is a designated area where everyone decorates their homes with stunning Christmas lights. You can simply drive through the neighborhoods or even get out and walk through all the decorations if it’s not too cold. It really is a site to see.

bank-2547356_960_720.jpg

 

A few years ago, we went to Chicago and visited Winter Wonderfest at Navy Peer. That was fun! You get to make a cookie, ice skate, visit all the different vendors and witness tons of Santa’s from around the world. There are even a few rides and a train for the kids to ride. Chicago in the winter is splendid. They don’t call it the windy city for nothing, even though that’s not why Chicago earned that name. 😁

Screen-Shot-2015-11-30-at-10.23.36-AM.png

In our town there are many churches that offer Christmas Eve candlelit services where you can go and sing with others. There’s also a tree lighting where all the different community groups decorate their own tree. It’s so much fun to stand in the park and wait for lights to come on. Then Santa shows up with the parade and you can chat with him. After, everyone gathers at the fire dept. for hot chocolate and cookies. It’s a fun community event.

Christmas-Eve-Candle-Light-Service

At my house, Christmas starts on Thanksgiving day. We put up decorations and watch the parades. It brings in the Christmas spirit and the rest if the month we listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies, read Christmas books, make Christmas cookies and do Christmas crafts–pretty much everything Christmas. On Christmas day we open gifts, eat lots of food, and enjoy family time together.

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 12 – What’s Christmas Like Where You Live?”

12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge – Your Christmas Dinner Menu & Decorations – Silver and Gold or Red and Green?

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

Christmas is upon us and I still have 3 days to post on the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge. For days 10 & 11, I’m going to talk about #10 Decorations – silver and gold, or red and green, and also #11 Your Christmas Dinner Menu.


 

#10 – Decorations – silver & gold, or red & green?

I started thinking about this question a few days ago. I realized that our Christmas decorations are pretty much every color under the sun, and yesterday, I shared some of our decorations. I’ve included a link for you here.

I don’t feel like we’ve never gone with a color theme, but we do have more red and green decorations than silver and gold. I truly love decorating with traditional Christmas colors like blue, red, green, gold, and even purple. Gold hasn’t been a favorite, but when I see decorations like these in the following pictures, I want to switch it all up and go with silver and gold forever. These are stunning to me…

71090547913988edbbd5702df893cbc8--xmax-silver-christmas.jpg

42217adc79ecfa837067026f0de22b24--rustic-christmas-trees-burlap-christmas.jpg

 

ccec8d731a953c8f3e7fbe2393998205--christmas-ornament-wreath-silver-christmas.jpg

I’d love to have a tree like this one below next year. What do you think? I love the way they incorporated the blue ornaments.

unnamed-file-6740.jpg

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge – Your Christmas Dinner Menu & Decorations – Silver and Gold or Red and Green?”