Book Reviews · Other good stuff

Book Reviews: Beartown, Before We Were Yours, Agatha H. and the Airship City


If you’ve read any of these I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.  Also, tell me about what you are reading now. Anything good?

Beartown by Fredrik Backman


Beartown is a town centered around hockey and is slowly dying. Most of the town residents believe that an upcoming junior championship could change that by attracting sponsors and players that are usually lost to bigger surrounding cities. All seems to be on track until, after a drunken party, accusations of rape are made by the hockey manager’s daughter and the star of the team, sending the entire town into a tailspin.

This was a book we read in my book club that received mixed reviews from the group. There was a consensus that there was SO much character development. Some felt this made the first half of the book drag and feel long. Others felt like this reminded them of the story Friday Night Lights, setting us up to buy into the characters even if you aren’t into hockey at all.

At our book club meeting, we shared our own experiences and thoughts about the Me Too movement, how family and community dynamics impact decisions with kids and adults, and how standing up for what is right can be difficult at any age. We all felt that Beartown was worth our time to read even if some didn’t necessarily like it. It certainly prompted a lot of relevant group discussion.


Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours

Avery Stafford is a lawyer in a prominent family. She is being groomed to take her over for her Senator father. At the same time her grandmother with a failing memory has been moved into an upscale nursing home. After a few encounters regarding her grandmother’s past don’t add up, Avery takes her focus off of her professional development and starts to look into her grandmother’s early life. As Avery investigates,  the story of a family from the 1930s whose lives were affected by the Tennessee Children’s Home unfolds.

The parallel storytelling format within the book kept a quick pace. The current day story with Avery was predicable. However, I had never heard of the Tennessee Children’s Home prior to this book. This was an actual orphanage that abducted children from poor families to adopt (sell) to prominent families.  Even though the story shared here isn’t based on a specific person’s journey, it does represent things that actually took place and deserve to be known about. Like Beartown, it isn’t a book that is going to be a new favorite, but I feel like reading it was time well spent.


Agatha H. and the Airship City by Kaja Foglio and Phil Foglio

Agatha H. and the Airship City

This young adult steampunk novel was another book club read. We were all kinda curious about the genre. So what is steampunk? Well, it’s a sub-genre of science fiction that incorporates 19th-century type of steam-powered machinery instead of modern technology.

The storyline follows 16-year-old Agatha Clay who struggles as a lab assistant with little natural building talent. Mad scientists rule over most of Europe, and when Agatha’s city is overtaken by a ruthless tyrant she is kidnapped and held prisoner on an airship. Agatha’s abilities start to unconsciously show themselves as she gets wrapped up in political upheaval.

This is the first book in a series based on a comic book turned web series. Meaning this is 100% outside the realm of anything I’m familiar with. There were a lot of characters referenced that were not actually in the story, like lore being introduced. Even for a YA book, it was hard for me to keep everyone straight. I probably won’t continue in the series. Even so, it was still fun to read something completely new and different. That’s what book club is for though, right? Expanding reading horizons.

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13 thoughts on “Book Reviews: Beartown, Before We Were Yours, Agatha H. and the Airship City

    1. I’ve heard that Beartown is not like his other books. Enough people have suggested A Man Called Ove that I just need to read it already lol.
      Do you like The Waiting Room so far?
      Thanks, I’ll head over soon to check your reviews out.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. HI Lacey! You all sure read a diverse list of books. And have a lot to say about them! I’ve read the first two– Liked Beartown in spite of not being a hockey fan, But when the sequel came out I didn’t read it. Felt like I already spent enough time with those characters. And was glad I read Before We Were Yours even though it was pretty sad start to finish. Really an appalling story. What’s next on your list?? I’m trying to finish The Women in the Castle (post WWII) before it’s due back to the library– our January book club pick. Love yorur book posts (and really all your posts!) Merry Christmas! xox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rhonda! I’m in total agreement about the sequel to Beartown. Everyone keeps mentioning A Man Called Ove by this author (I think maybe you too at one point?). So I think I’ll add that to my reading list.
      Yes! Before We Were Yours was so sad. I have a weird relationship with stories like that. I don’t necessarily enjoy reading them but feel it’s important for those lesser known parts of history to be brought to light.
      I’m racing against my library due date for our next book club book too lol. We are reading Musicphilia by Oliver Sacks. It’s different stories and studies about music and the brain.
      I’m going to hop over this week and catch up on your blog. I miss you lol


      1. I get that Lacey– I’m always trying to finish a book club book at the last minute. Should I turn it in on time– or pay the overdue fines and read on??! A Man Called Ove is completely different that Beartown. Quirky characters and actually heartwarming. Just finished The Women in the Castle, about 3 women and their children at the end of WWII. OK, I’m off to catch up with your posts!! Been on a Christmas blog break with the kids all here! hugs hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just saw some of your pictures from Christmas. It looks like a fun time was had? You are blessed with such a beautiful (and looks like fun!) family. Happy New Year to you!!!


      3. Hi Lacey– yep it was great. We had our own version of 4 part Christmas– kids were her a week and it was busy and noisy but fun. Are you back to work today?? Hope you ease into it well… hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That sounds fun and I bet feels pretty quiet now. I am working from home. We have some in our house that are sick and another that’s teething (already!).


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