#BookReview Below by Jason Chabot

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Below by Jason Chabot was a good quality fictional novel.

The story and plot line had wonderful ideas within it. It had good direction and would be great for a Young Adult or Pre Teen reader. I was not super into this book, but it was good quality. Personally I found it very boring, but clearly the author thought out his ideas.

There wasn’t any crazy development, and I did expect a bit more. Perhaps a younger audience would find this book entertaining, but sadly I did not.

I would still suggest people read it who want a book similar to Divergent or The Hunger Games. It wasn’t horrible, but it also wasn’t my type of book. I didn’t understand the floating island or where the plot was going, but it was still a good story. Perhaps if someone who enjoyed the book gave me a general overview and then I reread it, I might find it more enjoyable.

Overall, I wasn’t to impressed but the story wasn’t aimed towards my “type of reader”.

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Comment below your favourite author!!!

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #BrokenSkyChronicles if you’ve read this book! @ReviewAlholic

 

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#BookReview Lovely Chaos by Joe Montaperto

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Lovely Chaos by Joe Montaperto is a vivid retelling of a Comedian’s life.

This book surprised me! I wasn’t sure what to expect since I was stepping out of my comfort zone for the types of books I normally read, but Joe really hit it out of the park! This comedian take on an acting student turned Comedian’s life really hit me in all the right places! Joe is trying to figure out what to do with his life, and then one day he takes a Comedy class. Throughout this journey, Joe experiences all of the typical 80s tropes (parties, girls, drugs, etc), but somehow this book felt real!

Joe’s style of writing feels real. The realistic descriptions are insanely vivid and make you feel like you are right there alongside our narrator. The story also feels like Joe is literally talking to me, telling me his exciting tale. This raw style worked really well within the story, and is the reason I hung onto this book for so long. Add in the hilarity of Joe explaining Chi-Chi Gonzalez and Doobs, and you’ve got one epic book!

This is by no means a boring story. It’ll keep you hooked and addicted at every turn. It has the pull of a fantastical, fictional tale yet it makes you feel like you know Joe. Seriously, I loved that personal touch Joe was able to get across to the reader.

The best line in the whole book is definitely “Thou shall not be a cornball”, and I felt like that literally summed up the novel for me. The comedic yet truthful take on a man trying to figure out what to do with his life worked oh so well!

If there is any cons to this book, it’s that the story jumps around a little bit. At times, I wasn’t sure how far apart in the timeline the chapters were, and it felt like there were parts of the narrative missing. Additionally, if you are a reader who doesn’t like this particular style (personal yet comedic) then this book might not sit well with you. I feel like this book is almost in it’s own little niche corner, which might turn some readers away.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book! It was a fresh, new take and is definitely a change from my normal reads. Joe Montaperto is an excellent author, and I’d love to see more by him in the future. Oh, and I’d definitely recommend this book!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author Joe Montraperto in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Summary of the book by the author:

The second of my memoirs, entitled – ‘Lovely Chaos’ – a story of life in 1980’s New York City and the adventures, opportunities and diversity one could find on the gritty streets, including a stint in a prestigous acting school, life as a nut vendor in Hell’s Kitchen, a spiritual journey in a city ashram, performing stand up comedy on the circuit with such names as Jon Stewart, John Leguizammo, and Dave Atell. Also, the seedy nightlife, spending time at bars like Rudy’s, populated by various denizens of the Hell’s Kitchen population, and the ensuing confrontations with the ever-present hordes of crackheads who roamed the city streets late at night. There’s quite a bit more, but you get the picture.

 

Find this book on:

www.joemontaperto.com

Goodreads – Lovely Chaos

Amazon.ca – Lovely Chaos

Amazon.com – Lovely Chaos

Smashwords – Lovely Chaos

and on Authors Den!

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic and tell me what you think!!

Comment below – will you be picking up this book?

 

#BookReview Pandora’s Lunch Box: Don’t Open! by Richard Clark

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Richard Clark has another winner on his hand with Pandora’s new book!

The cover itself was really cool – it gave me “Inside Out” (by Pixar) vibes. It’s unique and not following the typical trend with recent covers (which I love, by the way! Uniqueness for the win!).

Pandora’s sense of curiosity reminds me of myself when I was younger (and reminds me of many kids I know too!). Curiosity is a common trait among kids, which is sometimes lacking from children’s novels and middle grade books. When you mix in the wide range of hysterical characters (that meet every middle grade trope in the book), well, you’ve got one awesome story!

Pandora really wants to know what’s in a sandwich – and she seems like quite the science wiz! I loved that she was her own character with epic quirks. I’m tired of boring characters without personalities. Thank you Richard Clark! I also really loved the reference to Pandora (and the fact that she has a box she shouldn’t open). That reference might go over the heads of most kids, but for adults reading it, it’s absolutely hilarious! And really appreciated! It’s G rated adult humor!

I’d say this book is a sweet fantasy novel (if you are looking for a specific genre), to a small degree. What else would you call an almost magical lunch box?

There’s also some pictures floating about this book, which are really cute and funny! They were awesome, and helped show me some of the characters. The pictures are of the vices within Pandora’s box.

Overall, the story is absolutely silly, but is the perfect middle grade story. It’s not very long, so it’s perfect for a bedtime read or for some zany fun in the middle of the day.

Four out of five stars!

 

Find out more about this book, Pandora’s Lunch Box: Don’t Open on:

Goodreads – Pandora

Amazon.com – Pandora

Amazon.ca – Pandora

 

Check out the author Richard Clark on:

Twitter – @RClarkBTD

www.mybestfriendsecretagent.com

Facebook

Find out more about the illustrator, Rich Murray, on:

Facebook – Rich Murray

@RichToonsTV

www.richtoons.com

Youtube – RichToonsTV

Check out another amazing book by Richard Clark My Best Friend Is a Secret Agent:

Goodreads – Secret Agent

Amazon.com – Secret Agent

Amazon.ca – Secret Agent

 

Find out more about another book by Richard Clark, 8th Grade Fugitive on:

Goodreads – 8th Grade Fugitive

Amazon.com – 8th Grade Fugitive

Amazon.ca – 8th Grade Fugitive

 

Find out more about A Dog of My Own by Richard Clark on:

Goodreads – A Dog of My Own

Amazon.com – A Dog of My Own

Amazon.ca – A Dog of My Own

 

If you enjoyed the review, check out another book you might enjoy! #BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

And give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview A Habit of Resistance by Fernando A. Torres

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A Habit of Resistance was a great war read revolving around a group of large personality nuns!

When reading A Habit of Resistance I was not entirely sure what the plot was. By the end of the book I was rather confused as to what the big plot idea was. Was it to stop some of the Germans in the war? Was it to stay loyal to God (since they are religious Nuns)? I honestly had no idea what the major plot was.

The story as a whole was very well written. I enjoyed the action and drama this novel brought. But, and there is a but, I found that the story didn’t have a straight plot line to follow and seemed to just randomly move forward. Perhaps there was a main plot line but I just didn’t see it. There were many small plots, but none of them seemed to span the length of the entire novel. I felt like this was much more like a television show than a book.

Overall, I did enjoy the book! It was a fantastic war read! Usually I do not enjoy war books, and this one made me change my perspective on it.

3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

What is your favourite unique read? Comment below!
Check out another review you might enjoy: #BookReview Manchester Vice by Jack Strange

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #HabitofResistance in a shoutout if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic

#FreeBook Happy Thanksgiving from Briar featuring an interview from Kelley Kaye Bowles!

On this lovely day before the American Thanksgiving, I am going to share an amazing offer with you! Not only will you get to read an amazing blog post but you also have a chance at a free book! So, take a peek at the content below and at the very end you’ll have a super special surprise… A free book by the author Kelley Kaye Bowles!

First and foremost, Kelley and I asked each other 3 questions about gratitude! Around this time of year, it’s always important to take a step back and reflect on what you’re thankful for (hence the name… Thanksgiving).

 

My questions for Kelley and her answers are as follows:

1. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Ugh—how can I make this anything but cliché? I’m thankful for my children and my husband and my home. I’m thankful to be alive—every day above ground is a good day! On something closer to home, I’m thankful the destructive winds around here have stopped and no California fires are currently threatening me and mine. ~ Kelley

 

2. Who is one person you’d like to say ‘Thank you’ to? I’d like to say thank you to William Shakespeare. I think a lot of what came after as far as studies into humanity and human relationships was explored first by him. But not really, right?!? What about Homer? That guy was born in 850 b.c. and The Odyessy certainly covered humanity and human relationships. So sorry, Briar, I can’t pick only one! I just want to thank WRITERS. ~ Kelley

 

3. Is there anything in your life you take for granted that you’re grateful for? I think I took my parents for granted a lot—they were great! Now my Dad is gone and my mom has Alzheimer’s, so she’s not gone but she is—the interactions we were able to have are gone. I am really grateful to have had them. ~ Kelley

Kelley sent me back three questions, so of course I had to answer them!

1. What’s your fave ‘stop and smell the roses’ activity? (I.e. what’s something you do purely because it makes you feel present or peaceful?) Whenever I’m in an area that has butterflies around, I always take a small moment to admire them. This year I was lucky enough to take that to the max and go to a Butterfly Conservatory. Just watching these beautiful creatures interact with the environment and thinking about how important they are for pollination makes me take a big step back! I feel at peace around them and it really cements ‘the butterfly effect’ – how one little act like a butterfly pollinating a flower can have a big impact on the world.
2. What’s a place in the world where you feel you most belong? That is honestly a very hard question to answer! I’ve always been ‘outcast’ growing up – I liked swimming when my class liked basketball, I liked reading when it wasn’t ‘cool’,  I was interested in grades and spending time with my family when my friends were interested in parties, etc. Which, consequently, made me feel like I didn’t belong for a very long time! This isn’t necessarily a place, but when I’m swimming in a pool I feel like I belong. My life was always dictated by water, so it makes sense that I feel like I belong when I can swim my little legs off!
3. What’s a time you did something that scared you, but now you’re so grateful you did it? This isn’t a happy story, but it’s one that is dear to my heart. Years ago, while my Dad was ill, our dog was also near the end of her life. We had to put her down and I was horrified to stay in the room with her. My parents convinced me that we were truly the best of friends so it was important for her to see me to feel safe. Now, you might be thinking ‘why would she be grateful for THAT’? Well, I’m not grateful for that moment, in fact – I wish I never had to put my dog down. But, that was one of the last days my Father was alive and I am so grateful to share that powerful and emotional moment with him. That’s a hard bond to recreate – two humans bonding over their shared and extremely powerful love of their mutual best friend. Oh man, I have tears in my eyes writing this!

 

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Reflect on how you would answer those questions yourself during this holiday season, since this is the season for nostalgia.

Now, time for that free book! Since there’s a four day weekend for the U.S.A, why not spend your time reading a FREE book? Yes, FREE!!

Here’s the links to this AMAZING and FREE book:

Amazon.com – Down in the Belly of the Whale

Amazon.ca – Down in the Belly of the Whale

 

If you don’t know what this book is about, then you’re in luck! I have read this book myself and I’d love to give you a quick summary of this magnificent book.

This YA story is an emotional roller coaster that is all about the strength of families and friendship. Harper has this incredible ability – she knows when people feel ill. Suddenly, she notices her best friend isn’t feeling so well and she takes some action! The book tackles a multitude of real issues that teenagers in a heartfelt story. If you’re looking for a book that feels real and is beautifully written, you’ve found it!

So, get on that buying spree and remember to post a quick review to Amazon once you’re done! Kelley’s book is an absolute must read for those who love the YA genre!

#BookReview Light My Fire by Katie MacAlister

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Aisling Grey is by far my favourite of all of the women in this dragon universe by Katie MacAlister! She is cute, sassy and the perfect female lead for this comedic, fantastical romance!

Drake and Aisling are definitely the “perfect” pair, at least in my eyes. Their relationship is definitely not “normal” by any means, but they work well together! As characters, they have the perfect mix of getting along, sexiness, and generalized drama and sassiness. I honestly couldn’t see this pair with anybody else! However Katie made this pair, she did really well!

Aisling is becoming a Guardian, while her lover is a dragon. They have since “mated”, so the story builds and gets more interesting from here. This is the second last book in the series for now, but I do hope we get more! Since I’ve read most of the dragon books, I can say she appears in future books but she isn’t the lead.

The comedy in this book is spot on and amps it up from the last book. It definitely keeps the plot moving forward with lots of funny quirks, mixed in with the sexy Drake, super cute romance scenes and drama thrown in throughout. While the story does leave off in a place that feels like it doesn’t need to be continued, I wish it would! These characters bond way too well together for this to be the absolute end. Maybe, if we’re lucky, Katie will one day continue this series. So, cross your fingers!

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who love romance with a lot of comedy in it. The book doesn’t take itself too seriously, with an abundance of jokes (and a lot of Jim, the main source of comedy, present again) throughout the book. The book has many fantasy elements (obviously – dragons), but isn’t a purely dramatized novel. It’s very fun, is borderline PG-13, and has ooey, gooey romance that makes you squirm and giggle along the way.

Overall, I love this book! I’ve read it way too many times to count and I’ll keep reading it! It’s one of those books I like to read when I’m having a bad day because it’s just so much fun! Katie MacAlister is the QUEEN of dragon books!

Five out of five stars!

 

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com – Light My Fire

Amazon.ca – Light My Fire

 

Check out the entire Aisling Grey series (which is apart of the Dragon Sept series): on Goodreads.

Or find out more about Katie MacAlister, one of my fave authors, on:

Goodreads – Katie MacAlister

http://www.katiemacalister.com/

Twitter – @katiemacalister

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out more of my reviews of Katie MacAlister books:

#BookReview Men in Kilts by Katie MacAlister

#BookReview In The Company of Vampires by Katie MacAlister

#BookReview You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister

Comment below – what is your favourite type of fantasy books?

And if you enjoyed this review, check out my twitter for urgent updates! @ReviewAlholic

 

 

 

#BookReview I Don’t Want to Eat Bugs by Rachel Branton

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I Don’t Want to Eat Bugs is absolutely adorable!

The art style in this book is more cartoon-y than “artsy”, but it stands out really well! That gives it a unique feature that really stands out, in my opinion. While that may turn some readers away, the details in this book were fantastic! Just on the first page – the stuffed animals were breathtaking and almost real (in a cartoon sense). I really liked the style!

There is NOT a rhyming scheme, which is a really nice change! This story is just a story! It let’s the words flow whatever way the author desired, instead of trying to stick to a rhyming scheme.

I thought the adventure Lisbon (our main character) goes on is really cute. The bird, cat and dog were all cute companions for Lisbon to learn from. The lesson about eating the food that is made for you (and not just random bugs and mice… do kids do that?) was something I haven’t seen for a long time!

The final pages where it has a little activity was also an incredible touch! I always liked having activities in the book as a kid to make the book more fun, so seeing the activity page warms my heart. The activity itself is finding certain items in the storybook, if anyone is curious.

I think this book is adorable! I might have pushed the idea or theme behind the book a little more, but it was still fun and cute!

Four out of five stars!

I found this book on Bookbub!

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com – I Don’t Want to Eat Bugs

Amazon.ca – I Don’t Want to Eat Bugs

Find out more about Rachel Branton on:

Goodreads – Author

http://teylarachelbranton.com/

Twitter – @Teyla Branton

Find more of the illustrator Tim Petersen’s work on:

Goodreads – Tim Petersen

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy! #BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

And give me a shout out on Twitter if you liked this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

Have you read any great children’s books recently? List them below!