#BookReview Incredible Cacao (Miss Tree Tale’s #2) by Deepa Remesh

To misquote the first sentence in this book, it was a beautiful book!

Miss Tree Tales is a wonderful little series all about educating the people about the environment! Last time around we learned about coconuts and sustainability and this time we get to learn about cacao (mmmm…chocolate… cue the Homer Simpson reference).

Our heroes, Mia and Nik, are back yet again to teach the youngings about all the good things that keep this planet spinning! For one, they teach us about the Millenium Seed Bank (which I had NO idea existed, so bonus points to Deepa for teaching me something new!). Then, the duo want to plant some seeds so their Mom recommends finding a new place to plant them (because we don’t want to run out of nitrogen – let that soil sit and ferment a bit!). Suddenly, they are whisked away on an adventure to learn about Cacao trees, seeds and pods! Cherry spitting, soccer, plantains, fermentation, baking, cacao percentages in chocolate and more get discussed in this lovely educational follow-up. There’s more adventure and fun throughout this novel, as if Deepa wanted to amp this book up!

Side Note: How does one join Miss Tree’s Plant Savers Club? I feel like I need honorary membership or something.

Yet again, the illustrations perfectly match the story and are quite sweet. They add just enough spice and sass to the story. The scrabble pieces were definitely my favourite.

I was a little disappointed that the chapters didn’t have the extra educational information, but I guess all good things have to come to an end. I know some reviewers didn’t enjoy them as much as I did, but I would have loved to see more of them! It felt like a little lesson packed tight into the book. There is a Seeds for Thought section at the back thought, which kind of makes up for the loss.

Overall, these books hold up really well and are great educational tools! I would love to see more Miss Tree Tales come out ASAP and for more classrooms to utilize these tools.

Four out of five stars.

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

You can find out more about this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Check out the first book in this series:
Mighty Coconuts (Miss Tree Tales #1) by Deepa Remesh
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Find more information about Miss Tree Tales:
http://www.misstreetales.com/
Goodreads
Twitter – @misstreetales

If you love this series (or even the review) here’s some other books that might grab your attention:
#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller
#BookReview 100 Tiny Tales by K. Kris Loomis

 

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 me on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence

Who doesn’t love a book about a strong female character? Especially a girl like me who grew up needing some strong female influences!

Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence is a wonderful, little book that is a must read for children.

To begin with, there is a super, evil villain who has decided the best way to ruin the world is to stop the spread of knowledge! This monster is big, mean and scary and seems to be content with his super devious plan. In walks Marie Curie, a woman who will turn into a superhero scientist through her amazing intelligence and experiments! Our evil villain wants Marie Curie stopped before she can get too smart and stop his wicked plans. Along the way, we will learn how Marie Curie is full of persistence in many different ways!

This little book is a wonderful mix of fiction and non-fiction. There’s lots of learning opportunities about this super scientist scattered among the pages. Definitions, facts and timelines about Marie Curie and information about the things she studied and created are all available to see. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good STEM book for their kids, especially since it’s about Marie Curie. She was a legend!

Also: references… in a children’s book… I LOVE IT.

On a side note, I thought the pictures were lovely and very unique. I haven’t seen this style a lot in children’s books, so I was impressed. It was colourful, fun and had lots of awesome details.

I am so thankful for this book. It is absolutely amazing and I wish I would have had books like this in my youth. Hopefully many kids are able to pick this book up or many educators get their hands on it! Seriously, we need more books like this – educational and fun!

Five out of five stars!

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Explore for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing book!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo

 

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 Cress by Marissa Meyer

W-O-W-Z-A.

I love fairy tales and their adaptions, but Marissa Meyer takes this to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. I haven’t been this glued to a series in a very long time (almost a decade… back when I was in high school). It’s seriously amazing that Marissa can pull my attention so well. Seriously, I just ordered the last book of this series. I have read almost an entire series in a few months, which is super rare for me as a reader. And, I have to say, this series pulled me out of my reading slump. It made me fall in love with reading again, so it’ll have a special place in my heart.

Onto the review:

I did not enjoy this book as much as the first two, but it was still mind-blowing. The first half of the book did not pull my attention as much as I wanted it to, but I still love our little Crescent Moon… I mean, Cress. I even had to laugh because Cress and her lover boy gave me serious Tangled vibes. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not, but I dig the giggles!

This book moves faster than the last two. There’s twists and turns in almost every chapter and kept me thoroughly hooked. It was disappointing when I had to put the book down because I knew something else was going to happen.

I also really enjoyed this book address Cress and her instant love for her rescuer. It felt like a parody as it was also participating fully in the narrative. At times, I felt like it was insta-love but then it’d go and make fun of it. By the end, Cress isn’t fully in love with Captain Thorne so it did actually pay off. I’m rather impressed with how this YA tackled that trope. Seriously, Marissa got some real respect from me.

And then, the ending. This book leaves on a bit of a cliffhanger (which I hate, by the way), but it did it in a very good way. The book had giggles but it also had absolute terror – murder, genocide and the likes. It seems weird to put that in a review about a fairy tale adaption, but it’s true. There were some really bad scenes in this book to show how cruel Levana is. With one book left, Winter is going to have some seriously work to do (but we all know Marissa is a genius, so she’ll be just fine).

To top it off, this book had some seriously amazing one liners thrown in. Kai talking about his wedding vows was killing me – remove love, respect and joy – like, Marissa, you’re killing it!

The most frustrating parts of these books for me is the last section of the books either “extra content”. I always think I’m getting 400-500 pages full of Lunar plot, but it seems like half the book is reader questions and Q&As with authors. It makes me feel a little cheated, but it obviously doesn’t affect the story at all. It’s just a pet peeve of mine.

In the end, this book was another epic-ly fun read for me. I enjoyed every second of this book (even if it didn’t live up to my super high standards). I absolutely will be reading Winter (it’s being shipped as I type this!) and I can’t wait to see what else Marissa does in her writing career. Books like these make my heart sing – they make my love of reading SO much stronger. But, she does raise my standards a lot higher for other authors…

P.S. Thorne gives me Han Solo vibes and we all know I love Star Wars. ❤

Five out of five crescent moons!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo

Check out my reviews of the last two books in this series:
#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer
#BookReview Scarlett by Marissa Meyer

And if you enjoy YA fantasy and romance, check out some of these that are also featured on my blog:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

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 Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

Hot diggity dang, I love this book!

Richelle Mead was one of my many high school guilty pleasures. I’d sneak off to read Vampire Academy over and over without a second thought. I always knew I wanted to read this series but it either continually slipped my mind or my local bookstores would sell out (and online bookstores wouldn’t have it available). So, I finally caved and remembered this book existed when I found book #4 at a local charity book sale. I bought this book full price (which is SUPER rare for me, I’m a deal hunter) and I do not regret it in the least! Especially since I am already hooked on this series. AND, I just ordered the second book FULL PRICE. Yes, ladies & gentlemen, I love this series so much already I’m buying the books FULL PRICE.

So, off to the review races:

Georgina Kincaid is a succubus. You know, the types of mythical creatures that lure men in with sex and intrigue. She’s sassy, a total book nerd and is totally the type of character I want to read about. She does have her flaws, her food source is energy from humans, but who doesn’t?

So, we meet Ms. Kincaid as she works at her local bookstore and learn that she is TOTALLY OBSESSED with Seth Mortensen (an author of her favourite book series that kind of sounds like Bones but sexier). One day, a man comes into the bookstore and she begins to rave about how she would totally be Seth’s book slave. And, wouldn’t you know it, SHE SAID IT TO SETH.

My gosh, I already was giggling because I totally saw it coming BUT IT WAS STILL FUNNY.

To keep moving along the plot: There is also many other immortal creatures hanging around – vampires, angels, demons, etc. Some of these are her friends, some are her bosses and some are just strangers on the street. Humans don’t know about them though, so SHHHH. Everyone seems to live in perfect harmony…. you know, until they don’t. Suddenly immortal creatures are dying and Georgina is pulled into the turmoil of figuring out who, what, why, when and how.

Meanwhile, Georgina is kinda into Seth but a hot guy Roman also comes into her life and chases her around the city. She eventually gives in, because he’s hot, and they dance (literally and sexually).

This book is absolutely marvelous for me as a reader. I totally dig Richelle’s writing style and tone, her books move at a relatively fast pace, and they are funny AND romantic AND sexy. This style might not be for everyone, but it is totally for me!

I could see some of the plot twists from a mile away, but I didn’t come to this book for some Dan Brown style mystery. I came for the love triangle, the sassiness and the fantasy. It felt like Vampire Academy but 18+, meaning more sex, more adult-like themes but all the drama and intrigue the YA universe gave me.

Is there negatives? Absolutely!
Georgina made some poor drinking decisions, couldn’t see some of the bad guys (even though it was painfully obvious) and has a bit of a ‘poor me’ complex. It’s been centuries since you’ve been in love darling, get over the mistakes you made and LIVE.

Other notes: for Georgina being a succubus who has sex with lots of men, this book is not the erotica you might think it’d be. It seriously felt like a good mix of New Adult and Adult romance novels. It’s more romantic comedy with fantasy than erotica.

Overall, I love this book. It was a fun ride that let me enjoy it. As long as you don’t take this book seriously, you’ll enjoy the ride to. I’d highly recommend it to any Richelle Mead fans (especially Vampire Academy fans).

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
Amazon.ca
Goodreads
Kobo
Indigo

Love fantasy? Here’s some other books you might like to!
#BookReview Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
#BookReview Scarlett by Marissa Meyer
#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda

 

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 Valyo Rising by R.A. Mendsen

A little birdie recommended Valyo Rising to me, and man they were spot on!

R.A. Mendsen has crafted one truly fantastical journey that will give you The Witcher and Game of Thrones vibe. And, if you LOVE LOVE LOVE fantasy, you’ll be totally addicted to this book.

Now, you need to keep in mind that fantasy is not a genre I venture into often. I haven’t found much luck with fantasy so I’ve avoided it unless I absolutely want to read the book. That being said, my views on fantasy are definitely not the end all, be all. I’m not some book reviewing wizard about what works in fantasy.

I’d like to use the word swashbuckling for this book because it seems fitting, but that gives me pirates vibe. The level of fantastical fun that Pirates of the Carribean gave me the first time I saw it was the same level of fun I had reading this book. It’s packed full of high stakes, maxed out fantasy and a wicked hunt.

Now, what is this book about?
The seventh son of the seventh son has always been said to have magical gifts according to lore, and in Valyo Rising this appears to be accurate. Our lead has visions of death and fear, and must try to survive in a brutal world with his siblings. There’s drama though, is the seventh child the magical one, The Valyo? Or is the seventh son? These siblings try to survive in a wicked world full of evil people, all the while trying to deal with the fantastical world elements coming at them from all angles.

This book is one hundred percent R rated, so I don’t recommend if you don’t like brutal scenes. I relate it to the rating Game of Thrones would have, for a comparison. This isn’t a book I’d go recommending to your middle grade and YA fantasy lovers. Dayne’s horror is absolutely brutal and should be read with careful eyes.

I picked two parts of this book I really enjoyed, even though the entire book is absolutely delightful:
1. Desyderia is a pretty name that I have no idea how to pronounce.
2. Linnea is sinister, scary yet sultry and I am totally enchanted by her character.

My biggest flaws were:
1. Similar names. I literally had to keep a little note to myself since I was reading this book on and off for weeks. Having lots of characters has always been a turn off for me, and similar names made it more confusing. Most fantasy readers are used to this though, so it shouldn’t be an issue for anyone else. The characters are well written and have lots to do on their own, so don’t be worried on that front.

Overall, this story about a group of kids trying to survive in a fantastical, dark world is a real hit! If you love epic fantasy then you’ll absolutely adore this book. I can’t recommend it enough! R.A. Mendsen has a way with words.

Be warned though, this book is long! Just the way epic fantasy should be.

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, R.A. Mendsen, in exchange for an honest review.

 

You can find out more about this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

You can find R.A. Mendsen on:
Goodreads
https://indiepublishauthors.wixsite.com/ramendsen

 

If you love fantastical fun, here’s some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1
Book Review: NYV: Punk by K.D. McQuain
#BookReview Bittersweet Symphony by Rebecca McNutt

 

Check me out on:
Twitter: Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview The Heirs by Fran Hawthorne

The Heirs by Fran Hawthorne is a delightful, contemporary novel that lit up my bookshelf.

Eleanor’s Mother, Rose, has a terrible fall and is suddenly speaking Polish. For many years, Rose has kept her history of the war a secret and not shared a word to a single soul. This sudden change sparks interest in Eleanor and the hunt for a secret past begins. Family secrets are unlocked, drama ensues and life lessons are learned. Will her marriage survive? Will her Mother and her’s bond survive? Will her son ever enjoy soccer?

I found this book truly intriguing an addicting. It’s hard to tell which way this book is going to go right off the bat, which is why I truly enjoyed it. There’s so many secrets hidden and discussed, slowly being revealed as each chapter rolls on. Eleanor’s entire life seems to be falling at the seams, and yet she keeps her cool and manages herself through all of it. Not only was this book about discovering the past, it was also about taking control of your present and future! Eleanor has to manage taking care of her Mother while trying to be a wife and a Mother. Not all of her life is sunshine and roses: her relationship with her Mother is strained, her cousin seems to have a better relationship with Rose, her marriage isn’t in tip top shape, her son isn’t interested in sports, and there may be a man flirting with her! There’s so much going on for Eleanor and yet she handles it all like a pro (with some stumbles, but we all stumble once and a while).

Fran crafted this story wonderfully. I think enough information is released piece by piece, but it also moves at a fast enough pace to keep the reader interested. It’s full of contemporary drama and insights into the past (specifically World War ll).

I can truly respect this book. I found it super engaging and I definitely want more. I could analyze this book while also drifting off into another world that reflects my own.

I can’t find any real negatives about this book, if I’m being honest. I never studied much history or took a giant interest in it, so I felt like I didn’t connect with the history as much as my history buff friends could have. People who enjoy history might like the little splash of Poland that is thrown in.

Overall, I’d highly suggest this book. I think Fran has crafted one of the best books of 2020 and I will be singing it’s praises for years.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author, Fran Hawthorne, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

You can find out more about the author, Fran Hawthorne, on:
Goodreads
http://www.hawthornewriter.com/
Twitter – @hawthornewriter

 

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 Project Team Leadership and Communication by Samuel Malachowsky, PMP

Samuel Malachowsky has crafted an intelligent textbook packed full of management and leadership advice.

This excellent collection of ideas is the ultimate learning tool. Not only is there lots of information available in written form, but there is also supplemental learning tools within the book – questions, quizzes, definitions. There is also a curriculum available to provide education professionals an option for their courses.

I like the mix of Project Management, Team and Group Dynamics and Leadership styles, among other learning objectives taught within the book. I found that the books was made under the “keep it simple, stupid” principle – all of it was easy to read, follow and understand. If my university textbooks were like this, learning might be easier! Tiny case studies can also be found within the book to assist with these learning opportunities.

By no means is this a comprehensive learning tool. This book appears to be designed for an introduction into management techniques. Further reading will be done to grasp the more complex subjects, but I think Samuel did an excellent job introducing learners and readers to the basic concepts. I also am impressed with the logical order and how Samuel was able to make some of these difficult topics seem easy. In addition, this book focuses on some great best practices available currently in the industry.

To address the supplemental learning tools as someone who has a fondness for learning and has educated others in the past:
1. The learning objectives and questions supplemented each other really well. I like books that have questions that directly tie back to what is being learned. A+ for effort!
2. There are chapter slides available which I found very useful in an educational setting. I think those could be utilized well.
3. The chapter activities were super useful and well thought out. I think they’d be great for assignments and group dynamic opportunities.
4. The curriculum and mini-modules round up the extra material quite nicely.

Overall, I think this is a great learning tool and should be utilized by students, educators and business professionals who are looking to expand their knowledge on team leadership.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author, Samuel Malachowsky, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Indigo

Find out more about Samuel Malachowsky on:
Goodreads
Lintwood

 

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