Brutally Honest Book Review: A Man Called Ove & The Werewolf of Bamberg

I was really lazy this weekend.

Spongebob

California is currently in super bloom and my allergies are not about it. I curled up on my couch Saturday praying to the allergy medication gods that they would relieve me of my suffering.

The prayers didn’t work.

Plan B then: I sat on my couch, prayed to the allergy medication gods, and read books. Not just one book, but TWO books were finished this weekend! I finally finished The Werewolf of Bamberg and then devoured A Man Called Ove in basically one sitting (I’d read about 30ish pages before I dove in on Sunday Morning.) What a weekend! And here are my reviews:

The Werewolf of Bamberg by Oliver Pötzsch 

3.5/5 Stars

I’m going to add a little bit of a disclaimer about this book: I have a bit of a bias. I love historical fiction, this series in particular (Werewolf is the FIFTH Hangman’s Daughter book!)… and I am hot off of an amazing trip to Bavaria. So I may be looking at this book through some rose-tinted contacts.

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I wasn’t joking around.
The Hangman’s Daughter series takes place in Bavaria, nearish to the base of the Alps. For this particular story in the series, the band travels to Bamberg (a few hours north of Munich via train) for the wedding of a family member. In Bamberg, gruesome murders are happening to the townsfolk. A murder?! A vacation?! A disgruntled hangman? TELL ME MORE, OLIVER!

The mystery and terror in this book are well plotted; Potzch really does a fabulous job of researching extensively for these books. He bases many of the plot lines on his historical findings. Something I deeply appreciate in an author.

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Bavarian beer is the greatest.
What I enjoyed most about this particular installment of the series was the exploration of the other family members. The entire book wasn’t necessarily following our hard-headed Magdalena around! Not that I don’t enjoy a hard-headed female lead, but it was nice to see the 1600’s world from another viewpoint.

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Bavarian cuisine in a nutshell.
The story was truly great, but I felt the writing was a little kitschy and ‘go get ’em!’ at times. It could’ve been the translation, but the style had me rolling my eyes more than once.  I could only give Werewolf 3.5 Stars, and that .5 could easily be because I was literally JUST IN BAVARIA. Regardless, I am still looking forward to more installments and would like to explore more of his writing.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

100/5 Stars (Can I do that??)

Oh. My. Goodness. I could probably spend an entire post just writing about Ove. What a book. What an absolutely spectacular book. Ove is way, way out of the realm of what I normally read. We are talking right out of left field for those baseball fans. I can’t even tell you why I decided to get it. I did not read any reviews about the book, nor did I ask my friends that have read it, I just dove right in on a whim.

I was not disappointed.

I cried. I laughed. I cheered. I was angry at fictional characters in a way I haven’t been in a long time. Ove felt like family. Probably because I have grandparents that parallel Ove and Sonja…. down to my Papa being a hard-working builder and my Grams being incredible school teacher that deeply loved her students. Ove hit my heartstrings in a way very few books have prior.

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Married 55 years and still madly in love.
Everyone should read A Man Called Ove at least once in their lives. There are more lessons in 352 pages than I thought possible for a book. From hard-work and perseverance, to unconditional love, to understanding and teamwork. Ove taught me the world is full of color, to never judge a book by its cover and that actions will always speak louder than words.

Ove has it all and then some.

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Normally, after finishing something as spectacular as Ove, I would need a week (or more!) long hiatus from reading. A “book hangover” as I call it. And Ove gave me a serious one, in the best ways possible. Instead, I decided to pick my emotionally wrecked self up off the ground, get back on the pony, and ride.

My next read? A Stephen King, of course.

 

 

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