Quick Book Review: Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead by Michael Winter

In honour of Canada Day, here is my review of a book about Canada (well, Newfoundland)!!

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Photo via Goodreads.

Since I am a Canadian, I decided this book would be an interesting read that would enhance my knowledge of Canada. And surprisingly, I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected!

I wanted to read the book to gain more knowledge, but I ended up really enjoying the book and getting into it.

The book follows the journey of the author through Newfoundland and past battlefields and grave sites of soldiers. The chapters in this book were short and sweet, but the nicest little gem was how much information and facts that were within the small chapters. Each chapter involved a small journey or task completed by the author, but little facts either about the author’s childhood or the wars were included. These facts, despite being anywhere from one sentence to only a few paragraphs in length, gave an amazing and gigantic insight to how the War was fought and dealt with by soldiers.

The only downfall I saw to this book was how simple some of the language was. The read was smooth and quick, and I didn’t find myself getting bored with the facts and plot laid out in the story. Overall, this book was incredibly well written and a gem I would definitely read again or suggest to anyone who is interested in history, wars, or specifically Canadian history.

I believe this book would help many high school students studying history understand it a bit more (considering the fact that this book would have helped me a lot when I sat bored in history class).

Amazing book! Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: The Kiss of Deception
Book Author: Mary E. Pearson

Introduction: Indigo sent me this entire series after I won a Twitter contest. I’ve been trying to read it for quite a while but life has been busy. Finally I was able to sit down one Sunday afternoon and binge read it!

Book Review:

Synopsis: Princess Lia decides to run away from her potential marriage, and runs off with her friend Pauline. She meets Rafe and Kaden, and some mischief and adventure pursues on.

This novel follows your typical dystopia/YA novel trope storyline, but is quite beautifully written. As the title suggests, there is deception involved in this book, and some kisses of course (would it even be a YA without some teen angst and romance?!).

I enjoyed this novel, but it was not my favourite. I really had to force myself through the novel. Yes, Mary E. Pearson is absolutely fabulous as writing (every page was so beautiful) but it just wasn’t fast enough for my likes. There were so many terms and languages that flew over my head and made me super bored, but I had to finish this book. I desperately want to finish this series, because I’ve heard amazing reviews about it everywhere.

Our lead female is quite strong, she has her moments but is a quality female lead. I was impressed with the building of all the characters, but Lia was by far my fave. Rafe is so kind hearted and Kaden (our prince) is also quite charming. Pauline seems realistic, Berdi is pretty awesome, and overall I found all the characters to be on point. They were all written and built over time, which is a nice change compared to some YA novels.

This book does slow down quite a bit – so readers beware. The first quarter of the book is fast and incredible, but then the pace slows down as if gravity is trying to pull it back from its super high speed chase of it’s readers. If you love fast paced stories, this might not be the book for you. If you’re okay with the speed changing and just want a super awesome, well developed, fantasy novel – then this is for you!

What I got out of this novel, and what I think readers should take out of it:
The world building is absolutely fantastic! The scenes and descriptions will take you to a whole new world and will have you hooked.
This book has a big focus on love/relationships/babies and all those fancy tropes you get in YA, so be prepared for silly romance, boy obsessed girls, and lots of day dreaming about kisses.
The story takes a while to build up, it picks up speed quickly, then plummets into a cliffhanger.
If you get into this book, it will pull at your heart strings – be warned.
This book is probably rated PG-13, but is a fine book for any pre-teen or teen readers.

Overall, three stars. It was hard to continue reading this knowing there were other fast paced books on my shelf, but I do want to finish this series! It’s worth the read if you like a good fantasy novel and some fantastical descriptions.

Great job Mary. E Pearson!

Book Review: FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S: THE SILVER EYES by SCOTT CAWTHON & KIRA BREED-WRISLEY

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In honor of the new released of FNAF: The Twisted Ones, here is my review of the first book in this fantastical series, FNAF: The Silver Eyes.

Five Night’s at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes was an incredible read that gives an insider view into the FNAF lore and world Scott Cawthon has created in the games.

The worst part about this book (yes I’m starting with the worst) is that Scott Cawthon made it clear that this book is not completely canon and does not align up with the video games. Once you finally connect all these dots and think you solve the story, Scott has to go and switch up his lore! But that doesn’t ruin this book at all, if anything it makes you try to connect little dots here and there to match up with the video game universe lore.

This book was a great addition to the FNAF world. I really enjoyed reading this story from another point of view. It gave great visual cues and was one of the few “horror YA” novels that I could actually get into.

For those who are into horror, and carnivals or old childhood tales, this book is definitely for you! It gives you a creepy, Chuck E Cheese vibe (if you haven’t heard or read about FNAF before). These scary animatronics are attacking children and have even killed in the past. Or so they thought…

The lore is expanded so beautifully that I deem it an absolute must read for YA lovers, horror enthusiasts or FNAF fans.

There are bits and pieces that seem out of place, like specific markings on floorings being described or old childhood memories that seem to appear out of nowhere, but I know Scott Cawthon – everything is important. Perhaps in the next book these silly, little descriptions and features of this book will change the way we look at FNAF forever.

I am incredibly excited to see Charlie’s story continue in the next novel (which HAS been announced! Yay!) and hopefully we might see her hinted at in any future FNAF games? Hopefully!!

Five out of five stars!

Book Review: Confessions of an English Psychopath by Jack Strange

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Confessions of an English Psychopath by Jack Strange

 

I’m not quite sure what I think about this story. It is definitely a unique read – I can’t say I’ve read anything like it before. For me, I found the introduction to be…well, interesting. It didn’t hook me onto every word, but at the same time it didn’t defer me.

I would say this book is more of a niche book. You either will love it, or you won’t. It’s a very special type of humor and writing style that not everyone will love. With saying that, it is definitely a good book. Jack Strange put a lot of effort into it and you can tell. It’s well written and it’s well versed, but the audience needs to be away it’s not for EVERYBODY.

I definitely wouldn’t suggest this to someone looking for an epic adventure, a long lost romance, or just some good old crime story. It’s in it’s own little category – the niche, crime/killer/thriller novel section.

If I’m comparing it to anything, I’d like to think it’s kind of a splash of Dexter (television show) meets Kingsmen: The Secret Service Movie, and tie in a few serial killer stories as well.

The more you go into it, the “confessions” themselves are unique and telling. Somehow you like Lawrence (our main character) throughout the story despite him being pretty shady – which says a lot about Jack Strange. If he can make us like this “dislikable” character so much, he definitely has talent.

If I were to critique this novel or say something I disliked, the only thing I might have wanted was more action sooner. I found the first few chapters a little slow, but it picks up once you’re one or two chapters in.

Overall, this book wasn’t made for me. I did think it was fantastic, but it’s not the type of book that I’m personally seeking out. I would love to read more by Jack Strange because his style is by far one of the most unique I’ve ever seen, especially lately.

Four out of five stars.

Book Review: The Cartographer by Tamsen Parker

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If you’re looking for heat this summer don’t bother going outside, Tamsen Parker’s The Cartographer brings all the heat and so much more!

This book infuriates me. Why, you might ask? Because it’s the last (Yes! The last!!) book in the compass series. It’s such a wonderful arching storyline over these six books and it’s all done! The fantastic part that doesn’t infuriate me, is how beautiful this story was tied together.

I really appreciated this book being in Reyes’s point of view. Watching our other characters grow with Reyes in the background was wonderful, but having him tie this story together and finished it made it so much better. I wouldn’t have wanted any different!!

This book is a sexy ride – M/M, hard R if you catch my drift – with Allie being our protagonists love interest. He is an interesting character – definitely not Cris or India. I really enjoyed his character, but I would have seen him being more stubborn than he actually was. It was a nice change not having him stubborn, but if there’s anything “wrong” with this story, that would be my only negative point.

In this book you will find lots of kink and sexy times, but you will also finds lots of heart wrenching back story. What’s nice about these novels is it’s not just an erotic read without any thought behind it. Tamsen has been getting better and better with her writing abilities with each book she writes. Not only has she increased the sexiness of these books, the characters, back stories and plots have grown with her. It’s so wonderful watching her grow with each book and seeing the characters grow along with her.

You could definitely read this book as a standalone, but I would definitely suggest reading the rest of the books. This book won’t cause any confusion to those who don’t know India/Cris – you might not understand a few references here and there. But, it doesn’t take away from the story in any way. Also, readers who haven’t gone through the first five books might find they don’t connect to Reyes as much as they should. He’s a very lovable character, so reading the other books will make you appreciate him so much more than what’s just introduced in this story.

Tamsen’s writing style is very easy to read – she doesn’t use difficult language, but doesn’t make it so simple either. Her sentences and words flow smoothly and don’t seem choppy like some BDSM novels I have read in the past.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think this is a great addition to any kinky readers library and is a must read!! If you want some sexiness in your life, pick up some Tamsen Parker books. She’s becoming such a fantastic author and is growing so much, it’s almost foolish to not pick up her books if you want some super sexy romance in your life!!

Five out of five stars.

Throwback Thursday Book Review: Unbelievable (Pretty Little Liars #4) by Sara Shepard

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Photo via Goodreads.

Synopsis:
Who is A? Who tried to kill Hannah? Secrets will be revealed in the fourth novel (and final arc in the first quartet) of the Pretty Little Liars series.

My Review:
The fourth book in Sara Shedpard’s Pretty Little Liars gave a great ending to one of the many plot lines – who is the first A? I was very happy that this story arc came to a close, since the mystery of A was beginning to become more of a bother than an interesting plot line.

Some of the characters do seem whiny and annoying, at least by an adult’s standards, but it is fitting in the setting of the high school teenagers dealing with a crazy murderer.

This book will get you hooked from start to finish. With the tease of knowing who A is, you’ll be grasping onto this book desperately and not wanting to let it go. Each character has a different chapter and it rotates so the reader gets many points of views within this final novel within the first quartet in Pretty Little Liars.

This book moved at a good, fast paced and the plot line was well thought out. There wasn’t much more I wanted out of this book! The plot arc coming to a close made the four books arc perfectly over. I can’t wait to get the fifth book in this series! This book was not as slow in the movement of plot as the first three were! Sara Shepard seems to be getting better and better with each PLL book that comes out.

If you have watched the television series you must be aware that this series does not follow directly with the show. This series was made first, and thus there was changes.

For readers who are not as impressed with this series as I am – every quartet is a great place to stop if you don’t want to leave things off on a bad ending. Each quartet seems to have a good ending if you felt the need to stop, but there will still be a few unanswered questions. That being said, if you chose to stop here, it would help tie up most of the loose ends.

Five out of five stars! A good, quick read with great movements in plot!

Book Review: Handling Strife – Ideas for Happier Living by David Butcher

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Handling Strife: Ideas for Happier Living
Author: David M. Butcher
Date Read: October 12th – October 23rd, 2016
Date Reviewed: October 23rd, 2016

Introduction: I received this book as an uncorrected advance copy for an honest review. I decided to pick this book up because I wanted a little non-fiction in my life, but it turns out I also got a splash of religion (specifically Christianity).

Quick Summary: This book is not only about handling strife, but pretty much every topic you can imagine a person might deal with – hate, love, trust, guilt, shame, honesty, happiness, jealousy, envy, price, the bible, the afterlife, music, control, truth, and more. The book talks a lot about Christianity, and the author gives his opinion a lot. There are also lots of stories shared about his personal experiences and other’s experiences. If you do not want to read one man’s specific opinions on all of the topics listed above, this book is not for you.

Quick Review: I did not enjoy this book, but not for the reason you might think. I tossed the entire religion aspect out of the door – I would not judge this book based on this man’s religious beliefs. I have read many books with many different religious views and they have been wonderful. I didn’t like this book because this writer is not exactly culturally friendly. His choice in wording makes this book sink all the way to a simple one star review. This book could have been a much higher star if he treaded carefully with his wording in some situations. I knew what he meant, but what he said might not go well with other readers. So, readers beware. There are lots of opinions and bad choices in the wording department.

For a slight change in my review format, I’m going to go chapter by chapter. I read this book twice, the first time through I tried to write my normal formatted review and it was incredibly hard – I had lots of criticism and lots of love depending on the chapter. So, I’m going to go chapter by chapter for this book so my followers/readers can get a much better understanding of why my rating is so low.

Chapter 1: Idea #1 Walk in Truth
This chapter started off pretty well. I was impressed with this man’s view on truth and how to ensure you do not lie. This is a great lesson for people! Being honest is a great way to live (when it’s appropriate). But, of course, the choice of wording did not exactly turn out well in this chapter. He mentions how you should always be honest, such as if your wife is wearing a dress you don’t like, tell her to change so her dress matches her highlights (which you do like). This didn’t sit well with me. What if his wife liked that dress? Should she have to change because you don’t like her dress? If she asked your opinion and she didn’t like the dress, perhaps that honesty would work well here, but the situation is iffy. Overall, this sentence made my view change for this whole chapter.

Chapter 2: Idea #2 Be Real
Another good idea to live by, but the author’s wording yet again had me wondering what his ideal thought of “being real” is. He discusses the subconscious wants, needs and desires, and then begins to talk about the “perfect life”. A spouse must “always” look good, they must never disagree with them, they must keep the house clean and do the laundry before it’s needed. Well, okay, that might be in his household but that doesn’t always stand true for everyone. The wording for this made it seem like everyone’s spouse must do this, so I wasn’t impressed. The chapter continues to go on with poor wording choice, such as the fact that not having enough money is never a catastrophe. I would disagree with that statement, to a degree. If you consider how some countries do not have health care, if you could not afford your treatment it would be a catastrophe. If you lost your home, your car, your career, and even more because you are so sick you cannot go on and cannot afford health care, I would feel like that could be a catastrophe. It was simply poor wording choice, and it could have been worded like “not having enough for extras in your life” could have worked better to get his point across. The final part of this chapter that got my blood boiling was how he talked about children. I don’t have any, but I work with lots of children so I didn’t appreciate this wording choice. He questioned anyone who is a parent and if they loved their child at all (poor wording choice) and then continued to ask about loving them to consider their feelings before punishing them. Again, good point – don’t yell and swear at them to hurt their feelings and teach them a valuable life lessons – but poor wording.

Chapter 3: Idea #3 Get Rid of Guilt and Shame
In this chapter, David did an excellent job of describing the difference between guilt and shame. They are definitely two very different concepts that can be mistaken for one another, and I applaud his descriptions and explanations. Although, yet again, the wording choice or lack of explanation further on left me feeling cheated. Our author tells a story of a man he used to know, he killed someone and then decided to change his life after he got out of jail. He got married, got a job, went to church and became a good man. As a picky reader, does this make a good man? I would need much more explanation, since I know a lot of married people with jobs that go to church that are not necessarily “good people”, but his definition of a “good person” may not be mine. This man could have made an honest mistake and actually be a wonderful person, but David lets on that this man is not good, so I felt confused. Eventually David explains a “bad person” – people who kill (okay, sounds reasonable in some situations), people who gamble (this can be a problem/addiction for people, but they are not necessarily bad people for this…) and people who smoke and drink (doesn’t necessarily mean someone is bad, I know smokers and drinkers/alcoholics who are wonderful people). There are many different levels of “bad”, and I feel like if he wanted to discuss bad people, discussing the levels could have made a better distinction between murderers and recreational drinkers.

Chapter 4: Idea #4 Take Control
The author’s stories and situations are very out there in this chapter. He explains why becoming angry is a bad thing – it can escalate to the point you will start killing people left and right, so never get angry. He also paints his parents as horrible people in this chapter, and explains how as a small child he corrected their behaviour. This entire chapter I felt like it wasn’t necessarily truthful, or it was missing explanations as to how these make sense, but that’s just my opinion.

Chapter 5: Idea #5 Eliminate Worry and Fear
I overall liked this chapter, minus one sentence. He explains how getting rid of useless worry and fear will help you get over strife, which is a great lesson for people. I tend to worry a lot and I got a lot out of this chapter! Except for one point, he describes how he went on a trip and knew the trip would be over when “God” let him run out of money. I’m not sure that’s exactly how a trip works (you usually plan to be there for a certain number of days and bring money for just in case situations where you need more…but hey, what do I know?).

Chapter 6: Idea #6 Envy, Jealousy and Pride
As a writer/reader/reviewer/editor, this chapter left me with my blood boiling. David M. Butcher explains how envy and jealousy are the same thing (they are not, they are similar but definitely not the same). He then continues to belittle cooks and welfare recipients (I don’t know how these two are similar, but apparently they are) and says they need to change and become better. I believe he meant this as a situational story, but I felt like something had been left out during the writing process. Some people on welfare are actively trying to get better but may just be in a bad spot (I know many like this, trying to get a job or losing one due to a horrible circumstance that was not related to them) and I know many cooks who are great people who do not need to “change” to be better.

Chapter 7: Idea #7 Love and Hate
This chapter is half amazing and half bad wording. Bad wording first – all women look for princes, according to this author, and all will be disappointed when they get a regular man. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with this, not all women want a knight in shining armor (perhaps young girls do, but that’s conditioning from society, but hey, that’s another issue). And then the good wording – David discusses learning to love ourselves. Society conditions us to learn to love and accept others, but not ourselves. This is truly important, especially with mental health issues in today’s society. I will give major props, and that specific part of this chapter deserves six out of five stars.

Chapter 8: Idea #8 Be Happy
This whole chapter was incredible, no poor wording at all! David discusses that being happy takes effort – you need to decide to be happy. If anything, I would have added more to this chapter – such as everyday will not always be a ten on the scale of one to ten of happiness, sometimes it will only be a one.

Chapter 9: Idea #9 Learn To Trust
This chapter had a lot of strange stories about learning to trust prayer – if you pray, in three days something good will happen. One woman got a random item out of a catalog that she didn’t order in three days, one man got a $200 Jesus status given to him, etc, etc. And if it doesn’t come in three days, wait a year or so, it’ll happen! Not necessarily true, but hey, this author is trying to get people to trust in time and patience, so kudos to him.

Chapter 10: Idea #10 Spreading Fear and Hate
I liked this chapter a lot, and the author had great examples. Some of them were a bit out there, but it got the point across that some people spread fear and hate, and it’s important to try to not be one of those people.

Chapter 11: Idea #11 The Bible
This chapter explained a bit of how the bible has changed from religion to religion and why it was separated into parts. I found it interesting, but it didn’t necessarily need to be in a book that talked about handling stress and strife in your life.

Chapter 12: Idea #12 One God?
If anything, I just wanted to call out a great Shakespearean reference to Romeo and Juliet – the rose by any other name reference was a great way to allude to other works but get the point across – great job David!

Chapter 13: Idea #13 Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin?
This is the chapter where readers should really beware. It is the best chapter of the book for me, since it explains how people preach the bible yet don’t exactly follow what they preach – but the author does the same thing here. He preaches that women should be given the option to have an abortion, but then he contradicts himself in saying get the women lots of help to not get the abortion at all. Contradictory, but it is a literal example of what he is discussing. He also compares how people are against sexuality and other choices (because of bible versions) but the bible also says to not cut yourself or dress up as the other gender, yet we let people get tattoos, women wear pants and men get ear piercings.

Chapter 14, 15, 16, & 17
These final chapters are very short and don’t seem to apply at all to the title of this book – handling strife. Life after death, music, loving Jesus and the Kingdom of God are discussed. It’s an interesting selection of chapters, but seem redundant and repetitive in my opinion.

Final Thoughts:
David has some great references – such as Halloweentown and Captain America, as well as Shakespeare and the Bible. I didn’t like this book due to the contradictory nature of David’s words, but I did find it helpful and insightful. The book is opinionated, so reader’s need to beware when reading. You are not going to agree with all of David’s thoughts, but you may get something out of this book. To me, it seemed like a large collections of sermons piled into one book, but it wasn’t exactly culturally sensitive.

One out of five stars due to the cultural insensitivity and contradictory nature of the novel.