Quick Book Review: Winning! A Guide to Games That Never Were by Brandon Barrows

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Photo via Goodreads.

This novel was a short, funny twist on gaming guides.

Every game in this book does not exist, which makes this book quite amusing. It is explaining cheats and how to progress through these games that were never made. Clearly some of these stories were parodying certain games on the market today, and that made it so much better. I have a few times where I wanted to chuckle at the stories and how they explained their games.

I definitely enjoyed this book! It’s a short, cute read and it is definitely more of a comedy book. People who are fans of video games would appreciate this book a lot more than the average reader!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

April Anthology Book Review: A Cup of Roses, Stories by 8 Writers by Fiona Gold Kroll

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Book Review
Book Title: A Cup of Roses, Stories by 8 Writers
Book Author: Fiona Gold Kroll, Ruth Frankel-Graner, Gerda Frieberg, Carol Green, Sam Hoffer, Raizie Jacobson, David Rapoport, Jenny Roger.

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. As per usual, I was having a particular type of book craving – today it was anthology, and an overall short read. A Cup of Roses filled the bill, so I decided to pick it up and got so hooked I finished it in one sitting.

Review:

This anthology holds many different types of stories – humor, religion, drama, romance, food, history, joy, poetry, tragedy and so much more. For being so little, you wouldn’t expect much of an impact, but this book really had me interested and wanting more.

The book is incredibly easy to read, and each story is not to short but also not to long. The individual stories each have their own focus, none of which really seem connected. This helped me out when I began to get bored with a few of the short stories – each one had it’s own plot it centered around and did not depend on the others. These standalone stories are all well written, and are all written in different writing styles (since there are many authors that created this anthology).

Was this book my top, all time favourite anthology? No. Did it rank high? Yes. While it doesn’t get the gold, it definitely gets second place in my books. While the book didn’t wow my socks off, it did give me an interesting perspective into many different aspects of the writers lives/imagination. I wasn’t expecting to have to think or have my opinions rattled with this book, but it does just that. And as a reader and reviewer, I love a book that makes me think and form different opinions – or just gives me insight into something I haven’t thought about before.

I don’t have any recommendations for how to make this little series of stories better. It’s perfect in it’s own little way. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants to read an anthology that doesn’t have one clear focus (and doesn’t have a connection between all of them). It’s great for a rainy day, a small lunch break, a school project, or just as a different type of read.

Would I want more from these authors? Absolutely. I enjoyed each story – while not all of them had my hooked to every word, they were all beautifully written and well thought out. I didn’t want to put the book down, I had to keep going (which is rare. Often I can set a book down and forget about it for a while, but I didn’t want to leave this book behind. I had to finish it).

Overall, this was an incredible read. I enjoyed each story, I felt educated, and the book made me think.

Four out of five stars.

Book Review: The Most Beautiful Book in the World by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:

Title: The Most Beautiful Book in the World: Eight Novellas
Author: Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt
Date Read: September 4th – September 26th, 2016
Date Reviewed: September 26th, 2016

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I wanted to read this because I was lacking in anthologies as of lately – I had almost none on my shelf!

Spoilers Ahead?: No.

Quick Summary: This anthology is full of eight different novellas that are not related. They are cute, short stories that are sure to entertain the reader. These are merely eight random stories, nothing that is to hard for the average reader to comprehend, and nothing sci-fi or crazy plot wise. It is a set of contemporary fiction novellas.

Evaluations: Some stories spoke more to me than others, but all eight of them were beautifully written. I enjoyed each novella as  they came, and even though it took me a while to get through the novel, that was merely because I wanted to read one story at a time. If a reader goes in expecting a simple, entertaining read, than this book is for them!

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t extraordinary. It was just a good read.

Plot: Each of the plots are finished within each story. I was thoroughly impressed by Mr. Schmitt’s writing. Many authors create a fictional world within their novellas and then the reader is left craving more. Mr. Schmitt sums each story up perfectly and the endings left me feeling complete. I did not require more and I did not require less – so bravo to this fabulous author.

Themes/Creativity:  When I read over other reviews of this novel, it was clear either readers swung one way or the other. You hate this set of novellas, or you love it. If you are expecting a grande, exquisite set of stories then this anthology is not for you. It is contemporary, French literature, and readers should be aware of this coming in. The stories are creative in their own right, with each being different from the rest. They are fast past, they have a simple narrative and they are not super sophisticated.  I couldn’t find any themes, but I would say this little anthology is creative.

Uniqueness: Each story is unique in their own way. Some of the stories, such as the first Wanda Winnipeg, may put the reader off if they are not fully invested in the anthology. Some of the stories are brighter and more unique than others, while some of them are simply plot driven and simple minded.  Since this anthology was originally in French, I would have loved to read the French version without translation, because there may have been some words lost in translation.

Strengths: Mr. Schmitt’s plot driven writing is by far one of the best strengths. He gets to the point and writes a wonderful story!

Weaknesses: I found that the sophistication within these stories was very bland. I would have loved some grander stories, but perhaps the book was not meant to be grande and sophisticated.

Score: 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the novel, but I hoped for a little bit more. I would definitely read more wrote by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt in the future.