#BookReview The Black Mzungu by Alexandria Kathleen Osborne

24325493

The Black Mzungu was a fantastic non-fiction read about the author, Alexandria Obsorne’s, incredible change in scenery.

I was shocked by how much I liked this book. I rarely find myself enjoying non-fiction or biographies, but this novel hit all the right notes with me. The author does a fantastic job retelling her life story of marrying a man from another country and moving there. Each chapter details the ups and downs of moving to a third world country and building a home there.

There are a lot of cultural insights and introductions to Lindi, Tanzania. Different terms and traditions are introduced in this novel and it gives an absolutely incredible insight into a world that is different compared to a First World Country.

Overall, I was impressed. I didn’t see anything wrong with this novel – it moved at a good pace, each chapter had a different story to tell that connected the entire novel together and it seemed real. Nothing seemed out of place or out of the ordinary.

I loved this book! I would love to read more about the author’s life in the future!

Five out of five stars!

I received this boook for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

What is your favourite non-fiction novel? Comment below!
If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview The Year After by Ashley Wagner

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #TheBlackMzungu to start a conversation about this book! @ReviewAlholic

Advertisements

#BookReview Survving Revision: How One Writer Finished What She Started by K. Kris Loomis

40712560

 

Surviving Revision by K. Kris Loomis is a thoughtful reflection on the writing process.

If you’re looking for a non-fiction book surrounding the thoughts on how to finish writing your book, then you’ve come to the right place! K. Kris Loomis (the author of The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane) compiled a list of all the helpful ideas and tools that helped her get through revising her novel. This is a non-fiction, opinionated collection that can help you work through those tough times when writing your novel.

If I’m comparing it to my recent writing adventure (it was an essay, don’t get too excited), I felt like it was pretty spot on. Here’s just some of the general ideas she discusses (and explains why they are important and/or how you can fix them!). Don’t worry, I’m not spoiling much… Read the book to find all of the full details!
1. You write a draft that has all of your ideas and it’s not perfect. It’s like a big, blobby mess full of everything you want and lots of stuff you don’t.
2, Editing and revising can be an absolute pain, but it’s a must for your novel. Suddenly, that big, blobby mess will mold into what looks like an actual first draft!
3. Setting goals are important!

So, what do I think?

I think this is a really helpful book! If you’re not used to writing, this will give you insights into what actually happens in the writing process. It’s definitely honest, and it’s full of helpful and useful information. If anything, use it as a stepping stone so you know where you’re headed!

What I did like about it, was that it was relatively short! My ebook copy was just over one hundred pages, which is way easier to read than the thousand page English and Revising books you’d find at a college or university for writing. It felt like the perfect summary of those giant works! Also, this book was in a very comfortable, chatty tone. I felt like the author was actually talking to me and explaining what was happening, rather than reading it from a boring, old textbook. That makes this book so much more personal and enjoyable.

Are there cons?
Absolutely! As I said, this book isn’t a textbook! If you are looking for a step-by-step plan on how to totally finish your book, then this book might not be for you. It’s more generalized and personal than a textbook is. The book doesn’t give you specific grammatical errors to look out for or contain a list of commonly misspelled words. Since this book is a narrative of how one person overcame these issues, you need to be aware of what you are getting into. Some readers might not like that, so I’d say that is the con of this book!

My favourite part of this book was seeing how K. Kris Loomis worked through her book. That included what she was doing, her goals and her frustrations along the way. It showed me that the writing process isn’t always purely productive. Sometimes, you’re rocking it out and sometimes you’re having a little more difficulty than you let on. But on other occasions you can have a lot of fun and enjoy the ride! Having that sort of honesty was really cool and it’s something I don’t see very often in literature these days!

Overall, I liked this book! It felt personal, realistic and it echoed a lot of what I’ve found out myself. I think it’s a great read for someone who’s interested in finishing a book but doesn’t know what to expect. Sometimes, the best way to learn is to draw on the experiences of others!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author K. Kris Loomis in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Find out more about K. Kris Loomis on:

K. Kris Loomis Goodreads Page

http://www.kkrisloomis.com/

Twitter – @KKrisLoomis

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out these other books by K. Kris Loomis:

#BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis

#BookReview The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis

 

Give me a shout-out on Twitter, on Facebook, or comment below with any other books you’d like to see on my blog!

#BookReview Single Chicas by Sandra C. Lopez

book cover template

 

Single Chicas by Sandra C. Lopez is a fabulous anthology full of heart warming, heart breaking and funny stories about latina women!

This is one of those gems you don’t find too often – a series of stories that you can relate to, even if it’s not about you. The collection ranges from stories about a brother getting married and changing, to a woman trying to figure out why she wasn’t “perfect” enough since her boyfriend dumped her, to a studious girl nicknamed “Virgin Mary” as a joke. The stories tell many different views of a woman’s life, and it was just so fantastic! Even when I couldn’t relate fully to one of the story’s, it felt like it matched many of my friends.

I highly recommend this collection! The stories are short yet sweet, and can easily be binged or taken one piece at a time. It’s a feel good series of stories that make will make you proud to be a woman (or know strong women)!

My favourite was definitely the first story, where the sister is wondering why Benny (her brother, Benito) is marrying a girl he barely knows. It feels like the relationship could be not only siblings, but when you question a close friend’s choicest since you know them so well.

All of the stories ranged from a 3 star to a 5 star rating (the ones I related to obviously being higher) but they all were fabulously written and a delight to read. I was never bored and never wanted to put the book down! There were definitely some Latina/Latino themes within this book, and I think they were addressed well! I don’t fit into that community, but reading the stories gave me a real insight into some of the traditions (and sometimes issues) that come from their lives. Seeing the rebellion and the changes in the women was relatable even if you aren’t in that community. I think it approaches the themes in a mature fashion, and it’s easy to read, relate to and understand.

You’ll want to pick up this series if you like – comedy, a splash of romance, drama, women’s fiction, or general fiction. The stories are rather sweet and thoughtful, and won’t bring your day down at all. I highly recommend it, and it is a definite must read in my mind!

Five out of five stars! I will definitely be on the lookout for more books and pieces of work by Sandra C. Lopez in the future!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Sandra C. Lopez in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads – Single Chicas

Amazon.com – Single Chicas

Amazon.ca – Single Chicas

Check out Sandra C. Lopez on:

Goodreads – Sandra C. Lopez

Sandra-Lopez.com

 

Comment below – have you read this book yet? Do you plan too?
And give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this post! #BriarsReviews @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview Filthy Wicked Love by Lili Valente

27431619

 

Filthy Wicked Love by Lili Valente is one steamy, super sexy, hotter than the summer read!

I read this book because it was in “A Love Thing” anthology that is full of super, uber sexy books! I wasn’t sure what to expect because the synopsis didn’t pull me in – but oh my gosh does Lili Valente’s writing! The story itself is a million times better than the synopsis! It’s full of really hot, steamy sex scenes that give it crazy erotica tones, and there’s a splash of action and adventure. Throw in a mob boss, a cute little kid, and some epic love triangle drama and you’ve got this book!

Clay and Harley are super sexy together, but clearly have some issues they will need to resolve. They battle each other constantly, yet can barely keep their hands off each other. Oh, and did I mention they have a child named Jasper that Clay hasn’t met? What a storyline! It’s like a soap opera on steroids!

The book will keep you addicted at every turn, and it felt like a pure adrenaline rush of insanity!

I read this book without reading the first in the series, and it was easy to get into. Normally, I prefer reading a book series in order but since this book was in the anthology and I wanted to finish the entire anthology, I dove right into book two (a.k.a this book!). Lili catches you up on everything you need to know, but it might make a teeny, tiny bit more sense if you read the first book. But remember, it’s a series and at this point in time has four books in it – so the story is not closing at this chapter.

The sex scenes in this book are really hot (I mean, the author WARNS you about it, but most of the time we all just disregard those warnings…). This pair was made for each other in ways I cannot explain. It’s definitely a hard R for the sex scenes, so if you’re not prepared for some really intense and descriptive scenes, don’t pick up this book!

Normally, I’m not into this kind of book but Lili made it work for me! It wasn’t so reluctant between the pair that I was put off, it seemed more playful. Both participants were into the playtime they had together, but never was there a time where it seemed to push the limits. The playfulness is what made this book so good in that category.

If I had any con for this book, it’s the cliffhanger! Now I desperately need to get myself a copy of the next book because it left me hanging and wanting more! Seriously, this book is a fun ride. You might not enjoy it if you don’t like some hardcore erotica or some almost non-consensual relationships though. If you’re cool with those two defining features of this book, read away and enjoy the passion and pleasure these two characters bring!

Overall, I liked this book! I’d like to pick up the rest of the series and more books by Lili in the future! She clearly has a talent for this kind of writing and really draws you in with these out of the box characters!

Four out of five stars!

 

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Filthy Wicked Love

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Filthy Wicked Love

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Filthy Wicked Love

Find out more about Lili Valente on her website: http://www.lilivalente.com/

Or give us both a shout out on Twitter! @Lili_Valente_Ro & @ReviewAlholic

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another review you might enjoy! #BookReview Mastering Her Senses by Laura Kaye

#BookReview Undeniable by Liz Bankes

23847994

Undeniable by Liz Bankes was an interesting novel that seemed to be aimed towards the Young Adult audience.

This book was nothing special for me. I was left feeling rather lost and upset that this book wasn’t as good as the synopsis had implied. The plot was well thought out and it could have been a fantastic novel, but the writing style was not my cup of tea.

The writing style seemed to be aimed towards a pre-teen audience while the subject matter seemed to be aimed towards a Young Adult audience. This left me feeling rather confused while reading the book. The maturity of a Young Adult novels words was not there, and the subject matter just didn’t match the writing style. Discussing sex while speaking in a pre-teen tone seemed extremely strange and I felt very off reading it. The steamier parts of the novel made me feel even worse, since the writing style did not match the subject matter.

Overall, the plot was fantastic and the author had a great idea of where to go, but the writing style just didn’t match the content of the novel. I did enjoy this book, but it wasn’t what I had hoped it to be. The author is fantastic, and I don’t want this review to let her down. She is incredible at writing! Her ideas were great and her writing was great, they just didn’t match in this novel.

Perhaps someone just coming into the Young Adult scene from reading Pre-teen novels would enjoy this book. It seemed like it would be a good stepping stone from one genre to another.

Two out of five stars.

I received an ARC copy from Goodreads First Reads.

 

Have you received an ARC before? Comment below an ARC you’ve received or your dream ARC!

If you liked this review, check out this one too! #BookReview The Year After by Ashley Wagner

Go on twitter and use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #Undeniable to start a conversation! @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview Second Guessing by Gail Ward Olmsted

37482720

 

Second Guessing by Gail Ward Olmsted is a lovely sequel to Guessing at Normal that shouldn’t be missed!

I thought this book was a fantastic addition to this series – this time with Jill falling for Ben (a much younger guy). It was a nice twist on the story of older woman, younger man with lots of sweet romance scenes in between the dramatic bits. Add in another boy band, Lynsey and teenage drama with Jill’s daughter Carly and you’ve got a soap opera-esque women’s fiction novel!

One thing that really hit me was that Carly accurately described how I feel about the loss of my own Father. Sometimes you forget they are gone, or you just forget – it’s tough! I totally bonded with Carly over feeling like everything is okay, and then one day you wake up and realize (again) that he’s gone. It was right on the nose!

I also really enjoyed the final newspaper/magazine articles that worked better than an epilogue (if I’m being honest). It was a nice change and was a fun glimpse into life right after the novel finishes.

One ‘con’ for this book was that having the names of actual recent bands and singers could potentially age the story. It wasn’t a bad thing to have, because right now it’s recent and makes sense. But for me, thinking about this book ending up in someone’s hand in the future… will they know Maroon 5 or Nick Jonas? Will they be just as big then as they were now? The rest of this story felt like it could have aged well (maybe not the texting, but who knows where that will go in the future), but the name dropping of recent bands worries me. Older bands I can understand (I mean, they have become legends) but will those recent singers and bands be legends? That’s more of a psychological question I had about this book that didn’t ruin it by any means.

This was by no means an R rated novel – it’s a fun, sweet yet sassy PG-13 novel. I could easily see teenagers going into this book even if it is intended to be read by adults.

Overall, this book was another fun women’s fiction novel packed with romance and drama. Gail Ward Olmsted has hit it out of the park with another sweet hit! I highly recommend this novel to those who want romance (but no erotica), women’s fiction or some soap opera-esque story lines.

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this novel from the author Gail Ward Olmsted in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this novel, Second Guessing, on:

Goodreads: Goodreads – Second Guessing

Amazon.com: Amazon.com – Second Guessing

Amazon.ca: Amazon.ca – Second Guessing

 

Check out Guessing at Normal (the first book!) on Amazon:

Amazon.com: Amazon.com – Guessing at Normal

Amazon.ca : Amazon.ca – Guessing at Normal

 

Find out more about Gail Ward Olmsted on:

Her website: http://www.gailolmsted.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/gwolmsted

 

Comment below – what is your favourite romance novel?

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

Collection 1: #TopTens – Children’s Fiction Part 1

Welcome to my new collection of blog posts! This collection will be all about my favourite books in specific genres. My goal is to collect awesome books together to provide some new to-read novels for readers! There will be multiple parts to each collection since I have read so many good books by so many fantastic authors.

So to start us off, I’ve decided to introduce you to some epic children’s fiction novels. I’ve mixed in both chapter books and picture books for your children and middle grade enjoyment!

And here… we… go…

 

1. Unlimited by Kevin Miller

37482388

Unlimited is a tale following a group of boys on a school field trip. These super smart boys embark on a journey to transmit a radio signal with their new radio station and creative show! But things go weary, since everyone is not totally impressed by this comedy/horror radio show over the airwaves…

This book is one of my top books of 2018 (and ever, to be honest). It blew me out of the water and really impressed me that it transcended the middle grade novel stigma! It was highly enjoyable and one of my top must reads. If you love adventure mixed with a pinch of comedy, then this book is for you!

Amazon.com – Unlimited

Amazon.ca – Unlimited

Briar’s Reviews #BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller

 

2. We All Fall Down by Eric Walters

1369507

This tantalizing tale follows a ninth grade student named Will during the September 11th attacks. I read this book as a child and again recently as an adult. This book really impressed me with how it brought up the topic of such a tough time in history to children. I found it super respectful and a wonderful talking point. I’d highly recommend this book if you’re looking to explain one of history’s most tragic moments.

Amazon.com – We All Fall Down

Amazon.ca – We All Fall Down

Briar’s Reviews #BookReview We All Fall Down by Eric Walters

 

3. Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

28114444

If you’re looking for an epic superhero tale, check out this super silly, teeny, tiny story! Hercufleas is a flea, and boy is he fantastic! This hero wants to help save the day from the big baddies, and they are much bigger than him! This middle grade novel is quite long, but is a truly remarkable read. It’ll keep you hooked, giggling and having a good time all throughout! I’d highly recommend this super fun book to introduce some very important themes, such as – it doesn’t matter how small you are, you can still do great things!

Amazon.com – Hercufleas

Amazon.ca – Hercufleas

#BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

 

4. Ugly by Robert Hoge

28186305

This motivational and inspirational tale is one of my most visited reviews on my blog! And for good reason! This truly unbelievable story is all about the author, Robert Hoge! He had a tumour on his face, which drastically changed his life – in both good and bad ways! His beautiful story is told perfectly for the eye’s and mind of a child, and it moved me! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and I will always recommend this incredible must read! Stories like this don’t come along too often!

Amazon.com – Ugly

Amazon.ca – Ugly

Briar’s Reviews Book Review: Ugly by Robert Hoge

 

5. Pandora’s Lunch Box: Don’t Open! by Richard Clark

Print

Richard Clark is the king of middle grade fiction (and picture books, but that’s in another list!). Pandora’s Lunch Box is a satire/parody of myth Pandora’s Box. This time around, Pandora’s Box is actually a lunch box! Pandora’s lunch box is suspenseful, magical and hilarious! If you’re looking for something you’ll be able to laugh at (due to unexpected adult humor through the satire of the myth) then I’d highly suggest this short yet sweet novel!

Amazon.com – Pandora’s Lunch Box

Amazon.ca – Pandora’s Lunch Box

Briar’s Reviews – Goodreads Review

 

6. Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold

1049070

Yes, I know, a Christmas book this early?! It’s never too early to prepare for the holidays! Olive, the Other Reindeer is my childhood favourite that I became instantly obsessed with! Remember that famous like.. “all of the other reindeer”? Well, what if that line was misunderstood?! Olive, the super, cute dog is ready to join in reindeer games with her unique skills! This short picture book will make your day and bring lots of goofy giggles!

Amazon.com – Olive, the Other Reindeer

Amazon.ca – Olive, the Other Reindeer

 

7. Bunnicula by Deborah & James Howe

281235

Another childhood favourite of mine (that we read almost every year in elementary school) is Bunnicula! This series is a fantastical novel that introduced me to horror (despite it not being that scary). This bunny with fangs has it’s own super, insane book that will blows your socks off! It’s unique and crazy – what bunny has fangs?! I’d highly recommend this series if you’re running out of good reads or want something a little different!

Amazon.com – Bunnicula

Amazon.ca – Bunnicula

 

8. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

240130

One of my favourite childhood authors was Robert Munsch, and perhaps his greatest book (in my opinion) is The Paper Bag Princess. I read this book over and over to my reading buddy and I kept my copy until it literally fell to bits because I read it so much! Princess Elizabeth is supposed to marry a prince when a dragon attacks! She must outsmart the dragon, all the while wearing a paper bag! This creative story is a picture book and it’s a definite must read that I highly recommend!

Amazon.com – The Paper Bag Princess

Amazon.ca – The Paper Bag Princess

 

9. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

58922

This is one of the earliest books I can remember from my childhood, and I still have it to this day! A little bunny is the main character of this picture book and all he wants to do is run away from his Mom! This story was published decades ago, but is still a classic! If you’re looking for a sweet read with lots of re-read value, and an instant classic – check this super cute book out!

Amazon.com – The Runaway Bunny

Amazon.ca – The Runaway Bunny

 

10. Grandma and the Pirates by Phoebe Gilman

2990864-_ux200_

Grandma and the Pirates was my go to bedtime read as a kid. It’s hilarious and inspiring! Grandma makes some incredible noodle pudding, and it attracts some crazy pirates! They steal Grandma, and Melissa must save her! I always found this book to be so strong and made me feel like the hero at the end! Melissa was a smart girl who had to beat pirates! It’s a short picture book with lots of potential! I’m honestly surprised it has so few reviews on Goodreads to begin with! Everyone in my school had read this book a million times over back in my elementary school days! Check out what I declare the best book EVER and my instant classic from my childhood!

Amazon.com – Grandma and the Pirates

Amazon.ca – Grandma and the Pirates

 

 

That’s all for my first edition of #TopTens. I have more children’s books for another round, and many more genres to come – romance, horror, fantasy, etc. Let me know if you want to see a specific genre, or if you have book recommendations for me to read! If you have books I haven’t included, comment below and tell me what else to include!
I hope you enjoyed this and found some new books to read. Let me know how your reading adventures go!
For another day,

Briar

xoxo