#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:

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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

 

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#BookReview Reclaiming Raven by Mary Holt

 

 

Reclaiming Raven is an intense thriller by Mary Holt.

If you’re looking for a book that will blow your mind, Reclaiming Raven fits the bill. I was truly blown away by the intensity of this book, since I really wasn’t expecting it to be so wild. Raven is trying to escape her abusive husband, and she will do anything to keep herself safe. Cole, on the other hand, is doing everything in his power to try to get Raven back (hence the title, Reclaiming Raven). Our lead character has disabilities, but that doesn’t disable her from being one epic female lead in this novel.

This book felt like the intensity of Jaws and Terminator mixed with the thrills of a James Bonds or Mission Impossible movie. You feel like the story is going one way, only for the book to flip it on it’s head and take you in another direction. The fast pace and thrills make this book a really interesting read. The book is violent and rough around it’s edges though, so it might not be the best book for every thrill seeking reader. I would definitely five it an R rating for it’s abusive relationship. The abuse and violence is described, not just suggested, so this book would not be a good fit for younger readers.

My biggest pet peeve of the novel was Raven being naive. This tough female leader can kick some serious behind and keeps herself safe, yet she still gets herself into some really stupid situations. Just leave the man and get away! Don’t trust an abusive man! My gosh, that annoyed me. It somehow works within the story, but it’s a general peeve of mine in general. This entire peeve could be a potential trigger for some readers, so readers beware! Always research a book before you read it.

On a side note, I loved that there was a dog in it – Millie! The dog didn’t feel forced and fit super well within the book.

Overall, I think this book is a unique, dramatic, thrilling ride. The story is written in an easy to read and follow style, and it moves fast enough to keep the reader interested. It’s rough, tough and violent, but if you’re into that sort of thing this book will fit perfectly on your shelf!

Four out of five stars!

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

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#BookReview The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that I have been debating over since high school. Everyone I know from high school absolutely HATED this book (with a ridiculously strong passion) yet I had this feeling that I should read it anyways. After watching the 2017 television adaptation and LOVING it, I decided it was probably best to just bite the bullet and pick up this book. Of course, I had to remember to buy it to be able to read it and that took some time.

So, during this wonderous break from school and work I decided to indulge myself a little and pick up a book I REALLY wanted to read. Luckily, this book was within sight and reaching distance so I devoured it in under two hours. I binged this book SO HARD and it was SO WORTH IT.

If you’ve watched the television show, you know the basis. The show expands a lot more on the content (and changes some) but you’ve got the jist of the story. Offred is a Handmaid to the Commander and Serena Joy. Her “goal” is to get pregnant and give them a baby, and that isn’t going to well. So she hatches a plan with Serena Joy to be able to have a baby to get out! But… nothing ever goes to plan, and chaos ensues. That is the non-spoiler synopsis.

This book feels all too real even all these years later. It faces political, environmental and religious tones in such an amazing way that it really blew my mind. Margaret Atwood’s writing just adds to this story and gives it way more depth than I ever expected. Every little twist and turn makes me question who you can trust, if Offred is a reliable narrator (at times) and if this world can ever change. Unfortunately, you don’t find that last point out in this novel. The book ends rather abruptly and leaves me feeling cheated. I want to know what happens OH SO BAD. That’s the only reason I enjoy the television show just a little bit more – it expands a lot on the narrative and we will most likely get some kind of ending (eventually… it’s only at two seasons currently at the time I write this review).

You could definitely tear this book apart for “plot holes” – like… how did society crumble so fast? How could these women not over power some of these leaders? How did people let this happen? There’s so many questions that I want answered, but I don’t think that’s the purpose of this book. It felt like a warning tale, like 1984 by George Orwell or any of the Shakespeare tales. It’s a different take on society as a whole and is criticizing it in some way (and it’s also just really good fiction, let’s be honest).

My biggest flaw is how short this book is – I want more and I want to understand more. This world is just way too good, complex and big to not explore! I hear there’s another book coming out soon (oh please give us a sequel I want mooooore) but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Overall, this is a book that makes you think. I love books like that because I can sink into my chair (or couch… or bed…) and just let myself fall into the story. I escape this world and all of my worries and just take in this whole new world. I think Margaret Atwood is a seriously good author with ridiculous amounts of talent and I will for sure be looking for more books by her. Books like this make me SO happy that I love to read and have the time and ability too. Books like this make reading an absolutely breath taking hobby!

Seriously, if you love dystopian fiction, books that you can theorize and form conspiracies over or books that you probably would have read back in your high school English class- PICK THIS BOOK UP!

Five out of five stars.

 

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If you enjoyed this review (or book!) check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

#BookReview Rogue Ever After Anthology Collection by Tamsen Parker, Hudson Lin, et al.

This final collection in the Rogue series has proven to be another lovely addition!

This LGBTQ+ book is full of sweet (and sometimes sexy!) stories. F/F, M/M, poly and more, with each having a different focus. Some of the stories center around politics, Hollywood and even just good, old-fashioned relationships.

I can’t get enough of these short stories, because they are so easy to slip into. They aren’t difficult to follow, they make me smile, and I just love these authors. Since every story is different, you get a really good mix of romance and erotica.

I focused on three stories from the collection, but all of them were marvelous.

Hudson Lin’s Ipso Facto ILU follows Jonny and Brandon, who are OMG levels of cuteness. Brandon is a political science PhD candidate and Jonny is a famous podcaster. Following their super sweet love story was such a treat! Brandon’s shyness and adorable nature made me love this couple oh so much! Throw in some funny lines about Zest body soap and Canadian references and you’ve got me totally engaged in this story. Honestly, it felt like a fan girl’s heaven. This story was definitely a 5 out of 5 stars for me!

Ainsley Booth’s Love Your Love was a lovely poly romance which following Win and Penny (and Tanya, you can’t forget about Tanya). Cute crushes, spooning and fun quotes about beaming and blooming flowers fill this little story up. I like Ainsley’s way with words – it somehow felt so elegant yet so natural! This story moved very quickly and felt a little shorter to me, but it was still super sweet. 5 out of 5 stars!

And to top it off, Tamsen Parker’s Starlet Struck shed some light on causes AND included some super sexy F/F romance. Archer and Hadley make one wild pair – an activist and a Hollywood actress. The characters bring up causes dear to their heart, like the Rivera House which helps homeless LGBTQ teens, and I have to say that made me respect this book even more! At the end, we get the hottest ending that will rock most erotica fan’s socks off. The tension that built up to that part made it even better than I expected! Five out of five stars!

Overall, this is a great anthology for romance and erotica lovers. It’s definitely an R rated book, but it’s worth the read if you love some sexy scenes.

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to Tamsen Parker for providing me a copy of this book to review.

 

Check out this anthology on:
Goodreads
Kobo
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Indigo / Chapters / Coles – Canadian Retailer

 

Check out my other reviews from this series:
#BookReview Rogue Hearts (Anthology) by Tamsen Parker, Amy Jo Cousins, and more
#BookReview Rogue Affair by Adriana Anders, Tamsen Parker and more!
#BookReview Rogue Desires by Tamsen Parker, Adriana Anders, Amy Jo Cousins and more!

 

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#BookReview Safe Landings by Kay Brandt

 

 

Safe Landings is a very strange title for a book as risky and erotic as this one.

This book is pure erotica. We start out with a woman who’s having an extramarital affair yet still seems to have a relatively happy marriage. Each page is filled with naughty comments, and eventually R-rated sexy material. But this book isn’t just all love scenes and sexy comments, there’s an epic plane crash that takes this book on a wild narrative.

It was honestly so refreshing to read a book that focuses on erotic content have an actual plot. I like when there’s a story to follow along that isn’t just a few people bumping and grinding on each other. The plane crash and the drama of the aftermath was a really interesting story to follow and I have to give some massive creds to Kay for writing it in. Plots like this switch the genre up and make it way more interesting the readers instead of having the same old, same old. The therapy, post traumatic stress, early retirement and life changes a traumatic event causes were all parts of this story. Even just a little bit of awareness is better than nothing, so I have to say I’m impressed on that note.

If you thought Kay Brandt was just an erotic novel writer, you’d be wrong. Seriously, if you had any doubts that she had serious writing abilities, this book will change your mind. This is only from 2015 so I can’t imagine how much better Kay has gotten over the years. I guess I will just have to find out when I read more of her books!

My favourite part of this book was the innuendos. Whether intentionally or not, they absolutely kill me. They had me laughing and giggling like a school girl. I suddenly felt like a kid again when someone said spell ICUP when some of the innuendos showed up.

If I had one negative thing to say about this book, it would be that some of the conversations didn’t feel “real”. They were very forced and didn’t seem like a normal person would have that sort of conversation. At least, I don’t have conversations like that so who knows! It wasn’t every conversation, it was only a few, but it felt very strange reading them.

Overall, this book is one hot, erotic story. If you want lots of sex scenes then this book is for you! Safe Landings also has a good plot line, so it’s not just smut, but it is highly erotic and R rated.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free form the author Kay Brandt in exchange for an honest review.

Find this book on:
Kobo
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
Amazon.com

Check out Kay Brandt’s Amazon page, Twitter, Facebook and publisher Excessica.

You can also check out my review of another book by Kay Brandt!
#BookReview Hotwives and their Dirty Desires by Kay Brandt

 

 

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#BookReview The Last Straw by Ed Duncan

The Last Straw by Ed Duncan is absolutely ridiculous! In a good way, of course.

Fear not fellow reader, you don’t need to read the first book in this series to understand what’s going on in this novel. But if you want to, I totally understand why!

I started this book with low expectations (I started it around exam time and life had been already a ball of stress) and man, did I have no idea what I was in for. This book was far better than I could have expected and was worth every second. I’m almost annoyed with myself for not expecting it to be good, because it was far better than just “good”.

This thriller novel is fast paced, easy to read and never has a dull moment. It’s not too long, it has a good selection of quality characters to follow and it ends on a good note. The ending makes you feel satisfied if you don’t want to continue the series, but it also lets you know another book could be on the way (and my goodness, there better be another book and it better get in my hands ASAP, you feel me?).

Rico, a sweet guy with a “Dexter” like complex, doesn’t want to murder a teenager. When another man tries to make the hit and misses (hitting another person instead), the plot gets moving into many twists and turns. Paul and Rico’s intertwining story keeps the reader engaged and anxiously waiting to see if the killer will get justice. Along the way, a few side plots keep it interesting too!

Rico and Jean were my favourite duo in the story, but Paul, Beverly, Evelyn and the rest of the crew also have really good material to work with. I really want to read more about the mischievous pair of Rico and Jean in whatever way Ed Duncan can give us, because they are just way more interesting than the regular thriller characters I read about.

If I had to give some negatives about this book, it would be that there is some R rated content. Murders, violence and potential rape are all apart of the pages of this book but they aren’t graphic. This might limit the audience though, if the reader has triggers or isn’t into the adult book scene.

This book gets two thumbs up from me. I honestly loved this book and I didn’t want to put it down. The book helped me get out of a reading slump and actually had me annoyed that it was over so soon! Ed Duncan has a real talent and I hope he continues this series. If anything, I hope more readers find this book because it’s excellent quality. I would absolutely read more books like this in the future if I could get my hands on it.

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Find this book on: Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

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More information about The Last Straw from Book Publicity Services:

The Last Straw is a thrilling crime novel by Ed Duncan. It is the second book in his Pigeon Blood Red series.

 

Synopsis:

 

It started with a run-of-the-mill carjacking.  An inner-city kid with no priors and no experience with a gun fumbled the ball, and the driver ended up dead.

 

A teenage girl witnessed the whole thing, and now a target has been placed on her back. The carjacker’s father, a notorious crime boss, is willing to move heaven and earth to prevent her from testifying, even if that means hiring a hitman to kill her.

 

Richard “Rico” Sanders, the best in the business, was his first choice for the job.  But there was a problem. He was a “killer with a conscience” and a killer with a conscience doesn’t murder teenagers.  The crime boss reluctantly turns to someone who has no such qualms, John D’Angelo. There was bad blood between him and Rico, so knowing that Rico had passed on the job, he eagerly accepted it.

 

Rico and the girls lawyer, Paul Elliott, form an uneasy alliance to try and protect her from the hitman. As the long-simmering feud between Rico and John D’Angelo reaches boiling point, bodies start to pile up in rapid succession… and old scores will be settled.

 

Praise:

“This Chicago set thriller is a pacy read, written with an edge and style… For me, this is even better than the first in the Pigeon-Blood Red series and it does work well as a stand-alone… Ed Duncan’s series will sweep up fans as it goes along.” – Crime Thriller Hound

“The Last Straw is a Hugely Satisfying Crime Novel by Ed Duncan.” – Best Thrillers

“With danger looming in every chapter, The Last Straw is an action-packed and nerve-racking read. Duncan skillfully draws the reader into a complex web of characters… A few key twists within the storyline keep the reader intrigued in this fast-paced thriller…The Last Straw is an outstanding crime thriller…” – 5 Stars, Red City Review

ED DUNCAN The Last Straw

About the Author:

Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH and is at work on the third installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red series. To learn more, go to http://eduncan.net/

 

Readers can connect with Ed on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Photos from Kelsey at Book Publicity Services.

#BookReview My Little Pet Dragon by Scott Gordon

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My Little Pet Dragon is a unique children’s read full of fantastical fun!

I really liked the cover page with the CD art of the dragon on a skateboard. To me, that really stood out compared to other children’s books I’ve seen around recently. The entire book is continues to pack each page full of the awesome 3D art that’s on the cover.

Each page has just a few words on it and a 3D picture that matches the plot that’s carrying on.

I’d say the general age group for this book would be between 2 to 9 years old. The story is rather simplistic, but is extremely cute.

At the end of my copy, which was an eBook I found via BookBub, it has a story about how Scott got into writing. While I thought it was a touching story to include, I felt that it didn’t need to be in a children’s novel that a child might read themselves on a parent’s tablet or phone. As an adult I loved reading it, but it felt out of place (in my humble opinion). It is a motivational and inspirational set of words though!

The version I was reading also included lots of sneak peaks at his other books! While it does a great job advertising these books, it didn’t feel right sitting in a book that a child could be reading. You’re introducing them to a couple chapters and then they can’t necessarily finish it. As someone who has studied marketing, I understand the need to market and advertise your books, but it just didn’t mesh well with the way this book was set up. Maybe put sneak peaks as links at the end or on your website? Not in the book that ends up taking WAY more pages than the story itself.

The final bit (I promise!)… It asks to support the author on Patreon. Again, I totally understand the need to support artists and writers, but it felt out of place.

Overall, this book was really cute and I’d love to read more by Scott Gordon! I think he has lots of potential and he appears to have quite the catelogue!!

Four out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

 

Find out more about the author, Scott Gordon, on:

Goodreads – Scott Gordon

Scott Gordon’s Blog

 

If you enjoyed this review, give me a shout out on Twitter or my Facebook and let me know what other books you’d like to see on my blog!

 

And if you enjoyed this book, why not check out another you might enjoy? Collection 1: #TopTens – Children’s Fiction Part 1