#BookReview Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini

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Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule is a riveting drama that follows the lives of Julia, a young and wealthy woman, and Jule, her slave.

If I had to limit this book’s description to two words, I would call it a historical drama. Typically, I am not a fan of books like this but somehow Jennifer Chiaverini made me feel attached to these characters. I lost my drive partway through this novel, but I couldn’t help myself to jump back in to know the ending of this story.

I felt this book followed Julia more than Jule, but somehow it felt right that there was one star of the show. I would have liked to follow Jule and Gabriel’s story a lot more (because I truly felt more attached to those characters than Mr. and Mrs. Grant), but Jennifer decided to follow Julia and her life more actively in the novel. Julia definitely had her flaws since Jennifer made sure to have the character not be the perfect, rich girl. I did appreciate that sentiment, because I’m a little tired of historical novels where the leads are utterly perfect and do no wrong. At times, I did find Julia to be the antagonist more than the protagonist, but that’s merely because of her view of the world (which was very typical of the time).

I did not have much background on this book, so it amazed me that Julia and Ulysses Grant were real people! This story is a fictionalized version of their life, but it felt almost real. Due to this book being as interesting as it was, I decided to look up more about Julia and Ulysses Grant. To me, as a reader, I love when a book can open my eyes to a world I didn’t realize existed or happened. I am not well versed in American history (since I am Canadian, and my schooling did not involve much of the USA’s history), so I’m glad a book like this exists! In my opinion, this book does what I want a book to do – make readers more interested in the topic.

Is this book perfect? No. I felt there was some really slow parts of the book that drove me away from it. That being said, I like constant movement of the plot so the book isn’t intended for an audience like me. It’s a slow paced book that is about history. I also would have liked to see Julia and Jule interacting more as adults, since the book suggests it is about their relationship. If anything, the misleading title and synopsis are the worst parts of this book. Although, it’s a fantastic read and I’d highly recommend it if you love historical fiction, fictionalized stories of real life events, a heartfelt drama, a splash of romance, civil war era books, or American history.

Overall, this book is well written and a nice story. I’d love to read more by Jennifer Chiaverini just to see if she can open my eyes to more historical stories.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

 

 

Find out more about the author, Jennifer Chiaverini, on her website:

http://jenniferchiaverini.com/

Or check her out on Goodreads: Goodreads – Jennifer Chiaverini

 

Find Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter @ReviewAlholic and recommend a book for me to read!

Also, if you enjoyed this review, why not check out another book you might enjoy? Quick Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 

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#BookReview A Love Thing Anthology by Laura Kaye & More!

For today, I’ve included a short little review about an excellent anthology! Almost all of these books have been featured on my blog and they are all on my Goodreads! But, I did want to include a little info about this fabulous collection if you were looking for a romance anthology!

 

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This anthology has taken me forever to read, but boy was it worth it!

A Love Thing has an excellent collection of sexy reads for those romance readers who want a great selection! There’s cute romances, sexy reads and steamy affairs that will set your heart on fire! Each story definitely brings the heat!

My ratings were as followed (in no particular order);

The Prince and the Player by Tia Louise – 2.5 stars
Masterings her Senses by Laura Kaye – 5 stars
The Pawn by Skye Warren – 3 stars
Willing Victim by Cara McKenna – 5 stars
Spin by C.D. Reiss – 4 stars
Filthy Wicked Love by Lili Valente – 4 stars
Diamonds by K.A. Linde – 5 stars
A Week in New York by Louise Bay – 5 stars
Assumption by Aurora Rose Reynolds – 3 stars
Personal Geography by Tamsen Parker – 5 stars

I’ve put a review on each individual book from this collection, so if you’re eager to find out my thoughts then venture to each individual review (keep your eyes out on my blog, they’ll be coming or they’ve already appeared!).

As for my overall review – this anthology is seriously worth every penny! There’s a wide selection of books that are uber sexy and you are bound to like at least one! I have found a few new fave authors in this collection that I will be definitely looking out for!

Five out of five stars!

 

Here are just some of my reviews for the book in this collection:

#BookReview Assumption by Aurora Rose Reynolds

#BookReview A Week In New York by Louise Bay

#BookReview Spin by C.D. Reiss

#BookReview Mastering Her Senses by Laura Kaye

Quick Review – Personal Geography by Tamsen Parker

#BookReview Willing Victim by Cara McKenna

#BookReview The Pawn by Skye Warren

 

If you enjoyed this review, give me a shout out on Twitter @ReviewAlholic or give me a like on Facebook @BriarsReviews

#BookReview Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

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Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite authors, and not just because she’s Canadian! Her Women of the Otherworld series has always and will always knock my socks off!

This novel follows Elena yet again, but as the title suggests – this time she is “Stolen”. This book amps up the action, making it equal (if not better) to the original “Bitten” novel. I found this book so strong as a sequel, that it was really hard not picking up the third book immediately after this one! Elena and her pack, as well as the rest of the ladies that eventually lead this series, are a force to be reckoned with! Kelley knows how to write her characters strong and passionate!

This series is definitely for adults (although, there is a YA series if you’re interested…), due to some of the brutality the story can get into. It’s not an R rated novel, but the themes are better suited for adults (some mature YA audiences could easily read it, I know I originally read these as a teenager).

I also really enjoy Elena and Clay together. Their relationship isn’t the smoothest, and it has it’s rocky moments, but they work really well together. Knowing that their relationship builds well over multiple books, I can look back and be impressed with how Kelley built them over time. The other characters and their relationships are also very strong, but these two really shine in the Elena books.

Kelley will pull you in and have you hooked almost instantly. If you haven’t read anything by her, get on it! I love this author, and she always meets my expectations and surpasses them!

If there was one series I’d highly recommend, it’s this series! It has drama, action, adventure, romance and comedy all packaged into a fantastic Canadian series! It’s well worth the read, and worth every penny I’ve spent on this series (even when I accidentally bought doubles and triples of the books, because I forgot the order…whoops!). If I did have one recommendation, try not to read this series far apart from each other. I find it’s a great binge read, because the story is so full of lore and excitement!

And if you couldn’t get enough of this series, there’s a television show based off of the book (it’s pretty close for first season, but second and third are loosely based – but it’s still incredble!).

Five out of five stars! Can I make that six out of five? No? Darn. I guess it’ll stick to five!

 

Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11922.Stolen

Or purchase this book on: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

 

If you enjoyed this review, why not check out another book you might enjoy? Quick Book Reviews: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

And while you’re at it, follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with my latest reading antics! @ReviewAlholic

Quick #BookReview Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream by Yossi Lapid

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The last book of this boxset, Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream, adds to this epic series of tales! Kate, Paul’s friend, knows how to skate! She’s really good, but wants Paul to teach her how to win! Dan and Paul worked with Kate to practice her jumps, speed and twirls so she could get better and make it to the Olympics! With the encouragement of Paul and Dan, they made Kate realize that she shouldn’t give up on her dreams! The more she practiced and believed in herself, the better she did! And after all was said and done, they helped Dan out too!

 

Find out more about Snowman Paul on:

Goodreads

The Author’s Goodreads Page

Facebook

MySnowmanPaul.com

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller

The Water War is an absolutely brilliant addition to the Milligan Creek series by Kevin Miller!

Can I just say, I am oh so frustrated with this series! Why did it have to come out when I was an adult?! I would have ate this book up as a child! This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time reading a book, and I truly mean that. It’s the type of book I needed as a kid – dosed in reality yet so full of hilarity!

This time around, the boys of Milligan Creek have a brand new resident to deal with – Fiona Pickleberrybush. Everyone loves this girl – she’s pretty and lounges around the pool all day with her sunglasses on. With everyone falling at her feet, Matt knows something is up and he wants his life back to normal. To try to get attention away from this girl and have a fun summer, the boys decide to play Assassin – a giant game of tag with water guns where you hit your intended target with water. Those who have their target hit are out of the game! The prize is determined to be a date with Fiona or Matt (or not Matt, in case you are wondering). And with that, the games are off!

This story is packed with relatable characters that feel real. These kids seem like they fit right in with my childhood and Kevin does a great job of developing them over the books. Matt’s character development is definitely the focus of this book, and boy does Kevin do it justice! Seeing Matt change over the book and the surprise ending, well, it impressed me!

Each kid in this story has their own personalities and quirks that make them feel like real kids. They are intelligent, resourceful, hilarious and written beautifully. Some of the quirks are more interesting than others, like the kids who like to “Moo”, but they still feel like real children and speak like children. One of my biggest pet peeves of children’s books is when the kids talk like adults. Yet, these kids feel like kids! Kevin knows how to make these characters and build them up over time.

I think this is a great quality series (from a Canadian author!) that should be read to all children! Put this book in school libraries, use it for reading buddies, use it for library events and spread the word around! There are few books out there that have so much fun packed into one little book AND have a great theme.

This book focuses on accepting others despite their differences, and that is a really big issue in today’s society. Having Kevin include that theme in a book like this makes me have a lot of faith for the next generations. If you haven’t read the first two in this series, I highly recommend it! You could easily pick this book up without reading the past two, but why would you?! This series just keeps getting better with each novel that introduced.

I 100% recommend this book to anyone looking for a lighthearted, fun, and inspirational read for themselves or their kids. Books like this show how powerful literature truly is. Unique stories like this are one of the reasons I love reviewing books!

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author Kevin Miller in exchange for an honest review.

 

You can purchase this book on:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Find the other books in this series on:

Up The Creek (Book #1) on Indigo

Up The Creek (Book #1) on Amazon.ca

Up The Creek (Book #1) Amazon.com

Unlimited (Book #2) on Indigo

Unlimited (Book #2) on Amazon.ca

Unlimited (Book #2) on Amazon.com

These books are available with the Amazon Prime program too, at the time of writing this blog.

Check out my review of Unlimited: #BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller

Or find 10 more books I loved just as much as this book! Collection 1: #TopTens – Children’s Fiction Part 1

Check out Kevin on his website: http://www.kevinmillerxi.com/

 

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

#BookReview The Lonely Balloon by Gemma Mallorey

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The Lonely Balloon is a super cute, children’s novel with absolutely fantastic pictures!

This book doesn’t have a rhyming scheme, which was a nice change. The lack of forced rhyme made me appreciate this book more so than I expected too!

The book follows a beautiful, green balloon as it soars up high! The balloon meets birds and flags as he makes his way up to the sky – but he is oh so lonely! He was super happy when he played with children, and lucky him that a child was carrying him around! The balloon begins to make new friends in the child’s bedroom as he slowly deflates.

The theme of this story is a strong, well thought out one – even if you don’t see yourself as “beautiful” or “perfect”, it doesn’t matter! You can still not be at your best and be friends with other people! Those friends will love you despite your flaws.

I did really like the illustration style. It was similar to water colour, but with sharp corners for the buildings. It was simple on the eyes! The simplicity was just beautiful, since it didn’t try to overdo itself with crazy, in-depth pictures yet it was so elegant with it’s style and colours at the same time.

I really enjoyed this short story! I’d highly recommend it for it’s beautiful theme and fantastic artwork. It’s an excellent children’s read, perhaps for bedtime? Either way, it’s a must read picture book from this reviewer!

Five out of five stars!

 

Find out more about this book:

Goodreads – The Lonely Balloon

Amazon.com – The Lonely Balloon

Amazon.ca – The Lonely Balloon

 

Find more books by Gemma Mallorey on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15468133.Gemma_Mallorey

Find more books by the illustrator, Cleoward Sy, on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7707424.Cleoward_Sy

 

If you enjoyed this review, why not check out another review you might enjoy? #BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller

And if you enjoyed this review, comment below! Or give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic. Let me know what you thought!

#BookReview Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin

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Batman: A Death in the Family was an amazing collection of comics full of the nerdy Batman I always loved!

Every year on my birthday I splurge a little bit and buy myself a comic book. I bought this one year ago and totally slacked on reading it and posting my review. So now is my time to shine and finally reveal my thoughts on it!

So far, this is one of my favourite series of comics in the Batman universe. Is it the best ever? No. Is it a hit or miss set of comics? Yes. But I absolutely love the artwork featured within this book. The style alone of how it was written pulls me in to the story and made me want to continue reading it. Add in the bright colours and old style comics and you have me hooked! I love retro/old style Batman, it’s my aesthetic for comic books.

This set of comics was interesting because back in the day readers got to vote what happened to Robin. That little information alone makes me more interested in this book – can you imagine eagerly waiting for the next comic to know whether or not the general public agreed with you on Robin’s fate? That is so intriguing to me (and the results interested me even more). Clearly I need to read the earlier comics featuring Robin to see if I can understand why his fate was so tragic.

When you look at the big picture, this was something gigantic that the DC Comics line did. The writers depended on the readers to determine a character’s fate. This appears to be a strategic marketing campaign (as this comic and plot line is still famous to this day) but also very problematic. Some people like that the writers left the fate of Robin in the hands of the readers, but others are 100% against it. That sort of background to the story is what pulls me in – it’s dramatic and interesting.

I find this comic series to be a little more brutal (without spoiling how the death occurs, of course). I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers (teenagers and up are my suggested audience). There is also a little bit of politics in this book as well, which might not be understood by the younger audience if they choose to read it.

I do dislike the fact that the ending to this book is given away in the title. It’s a really good name, but it also ruins everything for the reader. We know what’s going to happen based on the title and the cover page. I’m not sure how they could change this because it is so attention grabbing.

My other issue with this book is the plot line – it seemed like the writers rushed into the plot line as a way to simply kill Robin off. Robin is going to find his mother, magically finds her and BAM he’s done for. I would have liked to see the Mother storyline expanded a little more and made it meaningful so the death did feel more powerful (especially if they are going to ruin the surprise by making the title “Death in the Family”).

On a side note, I always looked up to Batman as a child. Now that I’m an adult and reading this book, I think I’ve changed my mind. This Batman wasn’t the brightest or most helpful in the end. Alfred seemed to be so invested, but Bruce/Batman did not. I plan to pick up a few more comic books to see if this is a writer issue or simply how Bruce/Batman was meant to be in the long run.

Four out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/107032.Batman

If you enjoyed this review or book, check out another you might enjoy! Batman: The Killing Joke – Book Review

 

Give me a shoutout on Twitter to nerd out about Batman and other book and comic book related topics! @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo via Goodreads.