Cover Image: The Lager Queen of Minnesota

The Lager Queen of Minnesota

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Member Reviews

This was such a heartfelt sorry about three strong women in a Minnesota family. I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite not being a beer drinker. 

I feel like multi/fractured timelines are hard to do well and the author does an excellent job! I will be reading more soon. 

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book.
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What a sweet book. I loved the multigenerational and fractured timeline aspects of it. I am a Midwestern girl who came of age during the craft beer craze and felt a solid kinship.
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A really enjoyable read about family, betrayal, love, and brewing beer! J. Ryan Stradal has done it again. For fans of his last book KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST, this new novel is a winner and sure to please. The timeline flows forward and backwards, but the characters will capture your heart until the last satisfying scene. I learned a lot about the art of brewing beer which only makes me want to try a few new types of craft beer in the future. Well done @jryanstradal and audiobook narrator Judith Ivey!
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The Lager Queen of Minnesota is about the most heart-warming book I have read in a long time. It took me a loooonnngg time. I set it aside for awhile. I then picked up the audio version, and I couldn't do it. I finally picked it back up. I shut my Kindle just grinning with a stupid happy grin because of how happy I was at the end.

Here's why you should read (and stick with) this one:

-If you love beer and breweries, you will love this. I was fascinated.
-If you are from the midwest, especially Minnesota, you will catch so many "midwestern-isms" in the text. It was truly, like I've heard before, walking into Grandma's kitchen and just feeling that welcoming comfort of being where you feel most at home.
-If you love strong women--Oh my gosh, I absolutely love Edith and Diana. Not all heroes wear capes, and Edith is a capeless hero.
-If you love when a story comes full-circle. If you need closure, this is for you. You will have all the feels at the end.

I am still just feeling those happy little butterflies inside because this story just makes me happy. I wish I could take a trip to Artemis--I would be on of its most ecstatic patrons. Thank you to the publisher for the ARC!
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Part of what I loved about this book was that I kept thinking of people that I wanted to recommend it to as I read. This is the end of my recent "read all the Midwest books" phase. Much like Kitchens, this book didn't really introduce the true protagonist of the story until much further in to the novel. But that was part of its appeal for me.
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This was a hard one to get through, thank goodness for audiobooks, eh? So incredibly depressing most of the way through, I wanted to shake everybody at least once, Helen pretty much every page she was on. The ending was good, glad I slogged through, but I definitely liked Great Kitchens better.
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If you think you share my taste in books, based on reading this blog or knowing me in real life, then I highly recommend you check out J. Ryan Stradal’s Kitchens Of The Great Midwest. I suspect that it will be one of the top two or three books I read in 2017. It’s that good.

Kitchens Of the Great Midwest follows the life and career of Eva Thorvald, a girl born in Minnesota to a chef with a very refined taste for ingredients and the preparation of food. The story is told through chapters that jump forward in time, and Eva is often just a bit player in those chapters. Stradal changes the focal character each chapter, though characters recur throughout the whole book. Each chapter also features a different ingredient – sweet pepper jelly or venison, for example – which is central to the plot of that chapter. And those ingredients also become a part of Eva’s life and her history. Eva evolves into becoming a world-renowned chef with a sought-after pop-up dinner party that ultimately costs $5,000 per person, and the book culminates in a dinner that incorporates each of the ingredients from the preceding chapters.

I didn’t expect to like Kitchens Of The Great Midwest as much as I did. I don’t generally like books with “quirky” characters or books that focus on food. I’m not much of a foodie. But I absolutely loved this book. Stradal is a beautiful writer with excellent pacing and an unexpected edginess that I adored. (“Since then, he seldom came to mind; she’d thought of him only when she’d made certain mistakes with men in her unmarried years, and the Napa Cabs and Central Coast Pinots he introduced her to had their sentimental associations smudged away after years of repeated exposure.”) Each character was beautifully fleshed out, even the ones who only showed up for one chapter. And if you’re from the Midwest, I think you’ll love this even more than I did.

The structure of the book may be unusual, but it worked beautifully here. I couldn’t wait to see who would show up next.
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“There were advantages to a low profile. It was like a man to scratch his name on the banister of history, but Helen had come to believe that it was better to be the stairs.”

This book moves back and forth on time and changes view point with each character. Each woman is connected, yet lives a very distinct life. As a Midwesterner with Minnesota roots, I liked this book. The descriptions and details of beer making are interesting and light. 
Stradal writes about women’s challenges and ambitions with a deft hand. 

Give it a try!
Thanks to NetGalley for my copy.
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I enjoyed this novel and its unconventional frame of the beer brewing industry.  Although the story itself has some familiar elements (sisters apart for may years due to a rift/ inheritance find their way back to one another) the journey itself is quite unique with many unexpected turns.  Women characters are definitely front and center here, and they are all delightful and strong.  All these are pluses, because this is worth reading just for the knowledge you'll gain about beer!
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Pair it with your favorite craft beer. This book will leave you with good vibes and great characters, from a terrific storyteller.
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I didn't think I'd like this book (I have a thing against Midwesterners cheerfully slogging through adversity), but it's a novel about women who love and brew beer, and that's awesome.
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The Lager Queen of Minnesota is a completely charming book that captivated me.  It tell the story of two sisters, whose lives turn out vastly different despite or because of the same upbringing.  A fantastic character study of what makes us stronger and strive to succeed in the face of life's obstacles.  The story starts when the two main characters are young women and follows them on their life journeys.  We see successes, failures, loss, triumphs, friendships, love and all that life throws at us.  I especially appreciated that Stradal used two aging women as his main characters and doesn't shy away from the grittiness of their lives.   Thank you to netgalley and the publisher  for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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A book I wasn't expecting to love. Stradal weaves a true Midwest novel for readers to fall into. With a focus on three generations of strong women - not their relationships - any woman can see a little bit of themselves in either Helen, Edith or Diana.
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Thanks Net Galley for the preview! 

I loved that this book centered around family and strong women.  I found the chapter jumping a little confusing since the ebook did not make the heading large enough to be noticeable.  I noticed a few times when the respective male partners were named sometimes the names were switched.  When they meant Orval they said Stanley and so on.  I loved the idea of a brewery and that anyone could end up brewing beer! Very interesting and a fresh plot!
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Stradal, once again, writes a book that captures its characters' quirkiness while weaving a memorable story.
Edith and Helen, two sisters living in the Midwest, take different paths in life when their father leaves his inheritance to only Helen.  Helen is strong and determined and builds a successful brewery business while Edith, generous and sweet, struggles to make ends meet.
The female characters are strong and fascinating but what makes the book even better is the writing.  You might not be interested in beer and breweries, initially, but you will be after reading this book.
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The narrative is told through events from the past and the present through Edith, Helen, and Diana. Each chapter starts with an amount of money that will be important to the characters in that chapter, helping highlight the disparity in the character's lives. The story shines when it follows Edith and Diana, especially as they face and overcome challenges. The plot is intriguing enough to hold your attention throughout and you will loath having to set the novel aside for things like sleep or work. There is also a whole lot about brewing beer, craft beer, and different styles of beer.
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This one didn't catch my interest. I've been reading so many great things lately it's hard to make time for something that doesn't excite me.
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A true novel of the Midwest (perhaps, more accurately, the North), readers explore a story at once quirky with regional color but possessing themes seen in nearly all family sagas. While not much in terms of new ground is trod, Stradal writes a pleasing and meaningful work
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Edith and Helen are sisters who stop talking to each other after Helen’s father leaves her the family farm after it was promised to be shared.  Helen goes on to become part of a famous beer making family, while Edith struggles working many jobs, suffers many losses, but stays strong and independent.  Diana, Edith’s granddaughter, also becomes involved in the beer industry in a unique way.  There are some funny moments, with some unique characters.  I enjoyed the book, and thank Netgalley for the ARC.
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I adore J. Ryan Stradal's writing.  I knew his Kitchens characters and I know his Lager Queen.  Salt of the earth, hardworking, honest women with everyday life and hopes and dreams for more.  While this book did not hold my attention like Kitchens did, I enjoyed this book nonetheless.  Again, the women in the book are complex yet simple.  They grow and learn, support and teach each other.  That's a Midwest woman for you!  It was a pleasure reading this book.
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