#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid

Yossi Lapid does it again with another beautifully written story with a truly marvelous (and important!) theme.

Yara’s Tawari Tree follows a young girl named Yara in her rain forest, jungle hut. Her parrot friend brings her to a little tree seedling that is going to be cut down due to deforestation and together they save it! Years down the road, her family needs that tree’s help and it delivers!

This is a truly wonderful story with absolutely remarkable art work. The water colour style really fits with this story and is really beautiful! I’d love to see more stories with this art style. Give a big round of applause to the illustrator because W-O-W! Throw in the fact that deforestation is a really big issue these days, and you’ve got yourself a real winner!

I love Yossi’s stories because they are cute, fun and always bring something to the table. When you’re looking for a quality children’s story book with lots of pretty pictures and an important theme, why wouldn’t you pick up this book? It hits all the marks that an educator or parents would want! There’s also a cute rhyming scheme so you could make a fun song up about this story!

Overall, I think this is a really lovely book and should be read by many parents, teachers and reading buddies alike! Stories like these are important to share and a fun, colourful way to spend time together.

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Yossi Lapid, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

If you like Yara’s Tawari Tree, you might enjoy some of these books and reviews too!
Quick #BookReview Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview My Snowman, Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller

 

If you read this review, give me a follow on Twitter for more urgent updates! @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Advertisements

#BookReview A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda

A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda is a fantastical novel packed full of action.

I will admit that this book was hard for me to get through. My best bet is because I haven’t read the first novel in this series, so I just didn’t know half of what had occurred before this novel. That doesn’t mean this book isn’t good though! It was just very hard for me to push myself to read it. It almost felt like a chore because I couldn’t comprehend some of the past experiences of the characters. I did look up some information on the last book, but it didn’t help me. That being said, I don’t recommend jumping into this series without starting from the beginning.

This book did feel fantastical though! Julie is a truly mesmerizing author and I love her talent. I felt like I was reading a Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones styled tale. It’s full of fantasy, action and lore that was truly interesting.

I did like Jenn and Bannan together. They felt like a real couple and the were truly lovable. I found their development to be my favourite part of the story. I fell in love with them instantly despite not knowing what happened to them in the previous book. Shout out to Julie for doing so well with them!

The magic in this book was also fun to experience. It didn’t feel like the typical dramatic magic I’ve seen in romance novels (which is where I commonly see magic), so I enjoyed Julie’s spin on it.

Overall, not reading the first book really screwed me over with this book. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I read it in order the way it was intended. I think big fantasy lovers will enjoy this book way more than I do. I like to dabble in fantasy, but it’s not really my scene. Those who love fantasy will devour this book so quickly and will truly love it. I’m just not made for this type of novel! So I do truly think this book is amazing, but in my opinion it doesn’t do it for me as a reader.

Two out of five stars – since it was really hard to get into and really hard for me to get invested in.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out some more of my reviews that you may enjoy if you love fantasy:

#BookReview Marianne by Ruth Miranda

Book Review: HALFWAY DEAD (HALFWAY WITCHY #1) by TERRY MAGGERT

#BookReview Elves Get Organized? by Katja Vartiainen

#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs

 

What was I thinking putting this book off?! It has been sitting on my shelf for years and I never got the nerve to pick it up. That was probably one of my biggest book related mistakes!

Kathy & Brendan Reichs have a real hit on their hand! I have been reading the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs for years and I always wanted to get into Virals. Silly me bought the book and admired it for years, until I finally managed to dust it off and pull it into my reading pile. THANK GOODNESS because this book is a real gem and I need to binge this series. It’s just too freaking good to not read!

Now, before I get ahead of myself, readers must remember that this is a YA novel and not an “adult” novel like the Temperance Brennan series. There are fun story lines focusing around being a teenager, and people need to remember that this book was made for a younger audience. I love books like this, because I can get into the fun of a younger book. But, some readers won’t be expecting a “YA” novel – you should be!

Off to the races!!!

Tory Brennan is our lead (a distant, grand-niece of Temperance, if I am remembering correctly) and she’s just as smart as Tempe! She’s also sassy, barrels of fun, and gets in probably too much trouble in this book. She’s not a girly girl, she likes hanging with her guy friends and she likes being smart. Seriously, I relate way to much to this girl! Her gaggle of friends get into trouble on an island nearby, rescuing dogs, talking to monkeys and trying to solve murders. Typical teenage stuff, obviously.

I love that this group is smart and for the greater good. I also felt a twinge of “save the environment” themes going on. Mixing in all the fun and goofy scenarios the teens get into… I have to say I like this book. I also really love the terminology that’s used in the book. It’s not “dumb-ed” down and these kids know what they are talking about. Do they know too much? Maybe. Or they are just really smart kids.

What did I not like?
Mean girl subplots always annoy me because they are so common. I get this is a very typical trend, but I’d love it to see Tory have a girl friend who isn’t a total snob. Shockingly, there are some not snobby girls out in the real world! But, there has to be drama in this book so I totally get it. I remember in high school there were snobby girls all over the place too.

I also think that the introduction of fantasy was great, but it needed a little… more. There are more books in this series, so I’m assuming that the fantasy side will be explored more there. At least, I hope so! The little bits of fantasy just wasn’t enough for me! I want to know the ins and outs of it!

Overall, this book is lots of fun and super smart! I really enjoyed reading it and I couldn’t put it down! Books like these are why I love reading – I can whisk myself away into another world and just enjoy myself.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves YA with a fantasy twist, loves the Temperance Brennan series but wants a bit more “fun”, people who loved Bones (this SCREAMS the fun of Bones!) or if you just want a smart YA novel with fancy terminology (to teach yourself something new).

Five out of five stars!

Purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo (Canadian Retailer)

If you enjoyed this book, you might also enjoy these reviews:
#BookReview Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin

 

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

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

 

#BookReview The Rainbow Vintner by Geza Tatrallyay

 

Geza Tatrallyay has made another fantastic and thrilling novel!

The Rainbow Vintner follows Morgan and Alex on one wild ride in Bordeaux, France. The story of this novel is influenced heavily by recent terror events and puts a brand new lens on these incidences. When Morgan and Alex get caught up in a giant plot against France, will they be able to alive and together?

There’s also a lot of politics in this book. It’s a political thriller, so it was a given (in my opinion). I like how Geza approach politics and political commentary in his book. I feel like I learn a different view of the world every time I grab one of his novels.

This book felt like Geza wrote it for me – I seriously loved it that much. Combine the fact that Geza always puts something knowledgeable and new in the books (and that lets me learn!), he also has amazing references. The reference to his own book, Twisted Reasons, had me giggling. The world views about terrorism had me intrigued. And, of course, throw in a Beatles reference and I’m an instant fan.

If I had to pick one thing I liked about this book it would be the paranoia. Somehow, Geza makes the paranoia real in this book. Who can be trusted? Should everyone be trusted? Going with my own gut, I ended up having a pretty good guess for what was going to happen (I wasn’t entirely accurate though). Watching Morgan question if she should answer any phone calls and if she should change her look made it painstakingly obvious that this book was high stakes. The entire book grew progressively more exciting and built it’s way up to the ultimate thrill ride.

If I had to pick one thing I didn’t like it would be that it took a while for the book to really get into the action. The initial explanations were needed for this book to move and flow as good as it did, but that was a little con for me.

Side note: There seemed to be a lot of reference to read wine in this book. Like, a clear obsession…

I believe this book would be a solid read for the New Adult or older audience. We followed teenagers in this book, but it felt a little darker than purely YA. A teenager could read it no problem, but it felt like a book written for adults. There are some really rough and unsettling scenes in the book, so reader beware – if you have a light heart or stomach, maybe do a little research into the book first. That being said, it’s not as R rated as Twisted Reasons. It felt like a couple steps lower on the rating steps, if you know what I mean.

Overall, I think this book was marvelous! There’s lots of thrills, twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat, a splash of romance, and lots of paranoia. It was a really fun ride and I can’t wait for Geza to throw more books my way!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author, Geza Tetrallyay, in exchange for an honest review.

 

You can find this book on:
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo – Canadian Retailer

 

Check out more books by Geza on his website: www.gezatatrallyay.com

Check out some more of Geza’s Books  on Amazon:

Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.com

Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.ca

Twisted Traffick (#2) on Amazon.com

Twisted Traffick (#2) on Amazon.ca

Twisted Fates (#3) on Amazon.com

Twisted Fates (#3) on Amazon.ca

 

And check out Geza’s Goodreads Page for more information!

Why not give Geza and myself a shout-out on Twitter if you read this review? @GezaTatrallyay & Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview Dude, Where’s My Country? by Michael Moore

I love Michael Moore’s documentaries – they are funny, reflect on real events and always get my mind moving. With that in mind, picking up this book just seemed so natural! I found a copy at a local charity book sale and I figured, why not read it?

Unfortunately, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would have. I really think this book would have been better in film form (for me, anyways). I loved Michael’s unique and funny style of crafting the narrative in this book but I just couldn’t keep a hold on it. I had to read it a little bit at a time, and some of it just went over my head (that’s what I get for keeping up with Canadian politics instead of American).

This book takes a look at the September 11th terror attacks and all the strange occurrences around it. The highest praise I can give this book is that it really got me thinking, and that is high praise!! Not often do I get to pick up a book that makes me think and connect the dots. The funny commentary made it even better since it didn’t make the book feel like a textbook. If I had history classes with this sort of humor then I would have loved those classes!

In my opinion, this book is in a niche market. People are either going to get butt hurt over the funny commentary laced with terrorist attacks or they are not going to understand the humor. Michael Moore has a very specific sense of sarcasm that some people just don’t get. I do think this is a great book and if you enjoy Michael’s past work, then you’ll enjoy this one! If you’re easily offended, this book won’t be for you!

Three out of five stars!

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

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

 

Check out this book on: Goodreads, Kobo, Barnes & Nobles, Indigo, Amazon.com, & Amazon.ca.

 

Here are some other reviews and books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books

#BookReview Uninvited Quests by Lex Wilson

#BookReview Elves & The Argo Adventure by Katja Vartiainen

#BookReview The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

Murderous May Book Review: From Birth to Death: Mommies Who Murder by Mindy M. Shelton

#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

 

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren felt like a book personally made for me.

This novel following Hope Jahren’s life and trials of becoming a geobiologist is a serious gem for my collection. Every sentence of this novel felt like it was crafted for me – it a smart, female scientist rocking out in her field. She wins awards, she builds laboratories and she is a genius in her field. How can I not love this book?! On top of it all, it’s a non-fiction novel which is not my normal read, yet I was SO OBSESSED WITH THIS BOOK. All caps. Yes, I was that obsessed.

So, down to the nitty gritty: This biography is not all sunshine and roses. Along the way, Hope deals with all sorts of trials and craziness. We follow her as a lab tech in a hospital, as a scientist trying to get grants, and as a friend to Bill and mother. Mixed in with her personal story is loads of facts about trees and nature. There are entire chapters devoted to the complexity of how trees work and live, which was one of the coolest parts of the books for me. I wish Hope had taught my high school biology classes, because for once I actually felt like I understood what trees go through. Everything was relatable, and there were lots of metaphors.

The best part of this whole book was the comedy. Our author clearly has a fantastic sense of humor, which involves a LOT of sarcasm. I am incredibly sarcastic so I loved every second of every snarky comment. I felt so connected to Hope, because I could relate. That’s where I think this book really shines! Very few books connect with me on a such a personal level, so I loved every second of reading this book. I didn’t want to put it down and I wanted to read it again (which is very rare for me, by the way).

I believe there is something in this book for everyone: science, sarcasm, an incredible friendship between Hope and Bill, the trials and errors of being a mother, and mental health.

And, to be brutally honest, I don’t really have any negatives to say. It was the perfect book for me in every way. Other readers will have their doubts, but I connected with this book so strongly that I can’t see faults. Every reader wants a book like that, and I’m glad I found mine. Thank you Hope for sharing your wonderful story.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

BONUS: Some of my fave quotes included below:
“Fortunately, for the patient, there is a sleep-starved teenager apprenticed to a chain-smoking barmaid in the basement who is ready for action.”
“Working in the hospital teachers you that there are only two kinds of people in the world: the sick and the not sick. If you are not sick, shut up and help.”

That second quote has been my life motto for years, so hear someone as dedicated as Hope to say it… Yes, my heart has swelled up so much!

Check this book out on:

Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Indigo/Chapters/Coles – Canadian Retailer

 

If you enjoyed this book or review, check out another you might love:
#BookReview Life Seemed Good, But… by Richard Bell
Book Review: Ugly by Robert Hoge
Quick Book Review: Dora Versus Picasso by Cecil Jenkins

 

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

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview The Pharaoh’s Builderb y Heather Perrywinkle Smith

 

 

The Pharoah’s Builder was an interesting read to say the least.

I thought this book had a lot of potential – Pharaohs, magic, Egyptian lore – all of those can make a super interesting story! Think The Mummy vibes! Unfortunately, this book just didn’t hit all the notes I wanted it too. And I don’t think the second book ever came out? I’ve been looking for it but I just haven’t been able to locate it.

My first big issue with this book was that 5 year old Milla (daughter to the Pharaoh) talks more intelligently than every adult I’ve ever met. She has class that no child I’ve ever met has (and I work with a LOT of kids). That tore me right out of the story. Sure, maybe it was a different time and kids acted like mini-adults, but it was just so hard to sink into this story when I pictured the many five year olds I’ve met.

The book itself ended on a cliffhanger, while I’d rather it have ended as a closed story that could have been continued. There were so many loose ends that had just been introduced only to be ditched. Bilal’s love affair with Lilli didn’t go further, the Pharaoh’s wife’s plans didn’t go into fruition, and the magic introduced into the story was only briefly touched upon. It reminds me of movies that are ready to start a franchise but forget that they are telling a story within the movie itself.

I seriously loved Heather Perrywinkle Smith’s writing and I wanted to see this story do well. I love Egyptian lore and the book sounded SO FREAKING COOL. I see so much potential with this story and with Heather’s amazing writing, I can only imagine how great it’ll get! Hopefully she writes the next book (or I’m able to find it!) and it continues this really interesting story.

My low score is because of two reasons: Milla speaking in a more mature manner than the adults of the story and the loose ends. This book would be a four out of five if it was a little more realistic but I just couldn’t get past those points.

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

 

Check out some other books or reviews you may enjoy:

#BookReview The Stickman’s Legacy by Benjamin Appleby-Dean

#BookReview Sons of York by Lesley J Nickell

#BookReview The Black Mzungu by Alexandria Kathleen Osborne

 

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

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads