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.

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Book Review: Mind = Blown: Amazing Facts About This Weird, Hilarious, Insane World by Matthew Santoro

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Book Review
Book Title: Mind = Blown: Amazing Facts About This Weird, Hilarious, Insane World
Book Author: Matthew Santoro

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Review:

Matthew Santoro is a YouTube creator who I’ve watched many videos of. When I received this book I was interested in reading what he had to say – and if you are a fan of his YouTube work, this book is essentially the written version of his online work. If you aren’t interested in a large pile of facts with a splash of sarcasm and humor, this book is not for you.

I enjoyed reading this book, although it didn’t stand out compared to other fact books. The only difference between the many other fact books I’ve come about in my years is the sense of humor. This might make it stand out to the younger audience, but it didn’t make me yearn to read more fact books.

Although, Matthew Santoro does a great job of making this book interesting. While the book itself might not stand out, it wasn’t a book I felt the need to put down. The sense of humor and descriptions Matthew gives makes the book tolerable. It’s not like an encyclopedia – it’s just like his YouTube videos. It’ll keep you interested throughout.

I do recommend this book to readers who want to learn more random facts without an encyclopedia of knowledge thrown at them.

Three out of five stars.

Book Review: Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation
Book Author: Kyo Maclear

Introduction: I was craving some inspirational nonfiction, so I decided to pick this book up. I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads for an honest review.

Review:

“Every love story is a potential grief story” – Kyo Maclear reference – Julian Barnes’s Levels of Life.

This book is an inspirational gem that truly surprised me. I never expected a book about watching birds to be one of my favourite reads of the year. There are numerous quotes that are truly amazing from this novel, and now I want to pick up many more Kyo Maclear novels.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who needs a pick me up. Difficult topics are discussed within this novel, but it gives you a very different view on life. It’s not just a book about birds – it’s a book about humans too. While there are facts within this book about birds, it’s not just an encyclopedia. Kyo Maclear explains movements throughout life and how changes can be dealt with through analogies, metaphors and similes. Overall, it’s a truly impressive book.

The more I read this book, the more I appreciated it. While I might not have been able to relate to every topic discussed in it, I truly felt lifted after reading it. With so many inspirational quotes, it was hard to not put a sticky note on almost every page where I found words that just fit with me.

“Die knowing something. Die knowing your knowing will be incomplete.” – Kyo Maclear.

The final two pages of this book gave a list of many, wonderful lessons. Lessons regarding living in general, taking chances, surprises, opening up, relaxation, people, and having a guru in general. Out of this entire book, I felt that these two pages summed the book up better than the synopsis. If you’re not going to read the entire book, just reading those two specific pages makes the entire novel worth it.

Final Thoughts: I was truly impressed by this book. I was not expecting to get so attached and feel so desperate to continue reading it. Who knew birds could be so interesting?

Five out of five stars.

Quick Book Review: Dora Versus Picasso by Cecil Jenkins

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This book was nonfiction gold! When I was younger, I was really into art so I decided to pick up this book about an artist that I was obsessed with when I was under the age of ten.

This novel follows Pablo Picasso and one of his many lovers, Dora. While the beginning experienced a slow start, once I was five chapters in I could not put this book down.

Many events in this book reflect the actual events that occurred, but are written in a more fictional way than a non fiction informational book. Having this book being written in the fictional, story telling format made this book more enjoyable and made me feel like I was actually there witnessing Picasso paint.

This book was beautifully written, and after the fact when I looked up the paintings to see how they compared to the descriptions in the novel, I was in awe of how descriptive the author was.

I usually dislike non fiction books, but picking this book up made me really reconsider the amount of dislike I have for them. If all works were based on non fiction like this book, I would feel the need to pick more books up.

The downside I saw to this book, was that I wanted a little more insight into the relationships Picasso had with the ex wife (who is only mentioned and not in a lot of the action of the novel) and with his currently lover and not mistress (Marie).

Overall, I loved this book. When this book finished, I was frustrated that I couldn’t read more (which is not a bad thing at all)! I would definitely read another book by Cecil Jenkins after reading this amazing gem! This work of art (oh the puns and irony!).

Five out of five stars! I was unable to put this book down and I demand more! Also, it was signed by the author which made this book a little bit more special for me! (Okay, maybe a lot more special).

I received this book for free through Good Reads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

In honour of the Inferno film release, here is my review of Angels and Demons!

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As a swimmer I expected to like this novel, but sadly I found it lacking.

The story itself is incredibly amazing, but it lacked any form of excitement. It seemed to be more of an essay than a story about how the Three-Year Swim Club came to being and how they entered a quest to get to the Olympics.

The author did a great job researching and presenting this novel, but it was not what I expected at all. Despite the incredible writing and fantastic story, I just felt like it was lacking a good ‘umph’ to the story to make anybody want to pick it up and read it.

I expected a lot of explanation into swimming, but sadly there wasn’t much of that either. With the lack of exciting plot movement and swimming descriptions, I just felt let down.

I love non-fiction, and as a non-fiction novel it was fantastic, but it was just not what I expected off of the back cover.

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.