The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Book Review


The Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendBook Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Book Series: N/A

Released: 1/19/16 by Sourcebooks Landmark

Pages:394  Price:$16.99 by Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy from the publisher for an honest review.



Book Synopsis:

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory.

All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

My Review:

This was such a charming little read.  I wish life had not gotten in the way and I could have read it without interruption.  I picked this book up at BEA last May although it was already on my radar.  We had it at the library where I work and I was already planning on reading it.  When I had the opportunity to meet the author and get a personalized copy I simply could not pass it up.  I’m so glad I did because this book has earned a permanent spot on my shelves.

This book is set in Iowa, and if a blog post I read about it is correct the town that the town it is based upon is two towns over from where I live!  I have to say for someone who had never been to Iowa before writing this book she captured small town Iowa pretty damn accurately.  I could totally picture this story playing out upon the streets of that small town.  Ms. Bivald also did an excellent job of recreating characters you might find in a small Iowa town.  Oh sure, there were some missing, but overall well done.

Much of this story is a fun fluffy tale about a woman from afar coming to a strange town and falling in love.  Another side, however, is a peek into the reality of a small dying Iowa town.  I am sorry to say that she also portrayed this side of Iowa pretty accurately as well.  The author also delved into topics like homosexuality and racism which should challenge some readers like it challenged the citizens of Broken Wheel, and I for one think that’s a good thing.

Then there are the books.  It was such a delight to see the literary world become almost a supporting character in this story.  And to be portrayed so accurately.  After all is not the truest purpose of a book none other than to bring people together like it did for the people of Broken Wheel?

Great read that I look forward to recommending to many of my patrons.

My Rating:5 Stars

Monday Morning Question: Fiction vs Non-Fiction



Good Monday morning everyone.  I hope you all had a productive weekend of reading and are ready to face a new week.  I am writing this on a Sunday night, hence the still chipper attitude, hopefully planning ahead will lead to sleeping in tomorrow.  As long as the bladder or a cat don’t wake me I should be good.  Most likely it will be the cat using the bladder as her own personal water bed that will wake me…  Anyway.  This weekend I managed to finish up two books I was reading, one fiction and one non-fiction(review coming).  I had about the same number of pages to finish up in both, but I noticed the non-fiction took me significantly longer to finish.  Like several hours longer, in fact I still have 15 pages to go as I write this.  It also take me longer to get into the book. With the absence of a scene and characters to build in my mind I had time to wander and plan a thorough cleaning of the shed and a revamping of a spare bedroom into an art studio.  Eventually I was able to start focusing on what I was reading, but it just took longer.   The funny thing is I actually enjoyed the non-fiction book more, but it still took longer to read.  So this morning I ask you:  Does Non-Fiction take longer for you to read?  Or does Fiction take longer for you?  Or no difference?


OMG! My new obsession, The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian

Don’t wait for my review.  Go get yourself a copy of  The Martian by Andy Weir and READ. THIS. BOOK!  If the first 61 pages are any indication this is going to be an amazing read.  The humor is outrageous, a dry witty gallows humor, it is a compelling thriller/survival story about an astronaut stranded on Mars with only 30 days worth of food, no communication and nobody expected to return to the planet for 4 years.  There is quite a bit of science involved, but the author does a good job of writing it  for us who are not so inclined(bright).  Someday Hollywood is going take this book and ruin it with a movie.  Read it first!    Sorry couldn’t wait I had to share…

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares – 4 Stars


The Here and Now

Click on the cover to visit this book’s Goodread page

I own this book

Plot Synopsis from Goodreads:

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. 

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. 

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

Wow, after finishing up this book last night I spent some time going through the different reviews and was surprised to see so many haters (2 star and under).  Not just negative reviews, but people who are just flat out insulting or offensive.  If you don’t like a book, fine that is your right, but be an adult about it. State your reasons why and be polite.  Personally I will not respect any review that resorts to name calling, gratuitous swearing, or is insulting in any way.  Shame on you to some of the other reviewers of this book.

Alright now for my review.  I guess I am going to go against the curve for this one because I really liked the book.  Didn’t love it,  it did take me 7 days to get into the first 50 pages after all.  But I was just 5 pages away from putting this one back on the shelf when it grabbed me and I finished the remaining 200 pages in a day.  Now I do see some of the points other reviewers have made for their reasons for not liking the book, no matter how poorly made.  But you know what none of that bothered me.  There was one concept that kept me reading and made the book for me.  It all revolved around a little insect, the mosquito.

You see I am a firm believer that global climate change is a very real threat and I loved the political side/lesson this story had to tell.  I also desperately hope that it teaches some of the YA readers to think about their environment and the damage that we are doing to it.  I loved the part where Prenna tells Ethan about how in the future they thought we all in this time must not have realized what we were doing, that we did not know the implications of our actions.  She was right most of us know, but like she said we are unwilling to make any real changes to stop what could be coming our way.  We all want someone else to be inconvenienced, much like the characters from this story.  We want to hide our head in the sand and hope things work out.

The climate change elements of this story still have me thinking this morning.  What will the future be like.  There are going to be consequences for our actions and way of life right now in the not so distant future.  I don’t want to go into too many details, have already deleted one paragraph because it gave too much away, but I could totally see the motivation for the bad guy in this story.

Now for other parts of the story,  the romance was alright, but not the greatest like others have mentioned.  I don’t think it was so much forced, but never really leaves the crush stage for these two.  Sure they think they are in love, but really what people this age really are in true love.  It is a crush, and I enjoyed the bitter sweetness of it in this story.  I think I would have had a bigger problem if it had ended differently.

Probably what bothered me the most in the story is the role of the bad time travelers or councilors.  I don’t think Prenna would have gotten away with her mouthing off at the end.  They were beaten back just a little too easily for me.  I think if we followed this story further in to the future we would see the plot they are surely thinking up to bring Prenna back down.

Well there you have it.  I hope you give the book a shot, don’t let all the haters stop you from reading this one if it looks interesting to you.  It is like what I tell my husband as he picks apart my Star Trek movies.  Stop it.  It is just a story, let everything go and just enjoy.

I did notice after posting this review that I got the lead female’s name mixed up with the last book I read.  Sorry to anyone who was wondering who the heck Grace was.  This is what happens when you read too fast, you can’t keep your stories straight…


Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman – 4 Stars


This book on Goodreads.

Finally an All Iowa Reads (AIR) book I enjoyed. Thank you for this year’s selection Iowa Center for the Book.

Every year the library I work for participates in the AIR program and I always dread having to read the book they select. It’s not that they are bad books, but just something I would never select or be interested in. In fact I have noticed that quite often they are books that not many of our patrons enjoy. I think the committee needs a little fresh blood in it to mix things up a bit. This year, however, I think they did a fine job of picking something that is going to appeal to most people. The book moved at a nice pace, has plenty of action, some mystery and a setting that most people in Iowa are going to identify with (even if it doesn’t take place in Iowa).

To me this book is about loss and death; how people come to terms with tragic situations, find closure and move on. It is also about small towns and the grudges, prejudices and traditions they so love to hold onto. How they can protect the monsters that live within their communities to the detriment of those that live there and how small town cliques can be worse than any high school in America. Small town have long memories and in the end, if they don’t want to die out, they need to learn to let things go and not hold the past against future generations.

This story was told from two perspectives, Grizz and Clara’s, both outcasts in the community in which they live. Grizz because of who his family is and Clara because she is a newcomer. They are both linked by a tragedy, an awful murder and suicide committed by Grizz’s son Seth. We spend the book learning the events leading up the the event and what caused him to do something so horrible. We also learn more of these two character’s past and what all connects them. I really enjoyed getting to know Grizz and Clara, but wish it could have been under better circumstances. They are both strong good people and it was nice to see them triumph over the events in the book to find some sort of peace in the end.

The people of the town upset me, even though I think they are pretty accurate representations of people who have lived in a small mid-west community for generations. It upsets me that there are still people like this in the world and that they get away with bullying people, that they feel free to intimidate and harass people who they deem less then in the community. Perhaps it isn’t such a bad thing that small town life is dying out. Maybe there will be fewer monsters in the world.

The ending was fitting and action packed. Even though this is a dark book in places there is peace and justice to be had in the end. It is a good book and I’m glad I read it.