#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:

Goodreads
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 My Best Friend is a Secret Agent by Richard Clark

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This book is serious fun! It’s silly, zanely and full of hilarity!

The pictures in the book are incredibly amusing, and go along perfectly with the story! The story is a little out of this world (a kid designing a microchip that goes on your tooth and make you a secret agent?!) but that’s why it’s so good! This is the type of creativity and imagination I needed in my childhood books! I’ve been waiting for this kind of awesome for years!

I’d say this book is a mix of secret agents, superheroes and comedy! Our lead is kind of the Q or Alfred to his best friend who’s the Batman or James Bond (less broody, of course). There’s also the cute love interest, the mean bully, and other school tropes you’d expect. It’s not as intense as those adaptions of spies (obviously), but it felt like the kid friendly version – with lots more silly commentary and goofy plot lines.

This book could easily be read to your child (maybe 6 years and up? Do 3 year olds know what secret agents are?…) or used as a middle grade book. It doesn’t seem to have some moral theme behind it, it’s most just for fun!

I could easily see this being the next kid’s television show with it’s awesome plot. It almost felt like the book adaption of a movie.

The worst part of this book was the cliffhanger! Now I have to get the rest of the books to know how it ended!!

Overall, this book is awesome! I’d definitely recommend this book as a fun read! It’ll have you giggling at every page!

Four out of five stars!

I found this book on Bookbub!

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Check out the author Richard Clark on:

Twitter – @RClarkBTD

www.mybestfriendsecretagent.com

Facebook

Find out more about the illustrator on:

Facebook

www.richtoons.com

Youtube – RichToonsTV

Twitter – @richtoonstv

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy! #BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Elves & The Argo Adventure by Katja Vartiainen

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Elves & the Argo Adventure is yet another funny, satirical, comic about elves created by the fabulous Katja Vartiainen.

This time around, the elves are going on an adventure! It all starts out when the swallows tell/tweet to the elves THAT THERE IS NO COFFEE! It’s a real tragedy, just like it is for us adults in the real world. How can the elves expect to work their five hour work week without some form of caffeine?! The elves resort to alcohol, magical beings, Dolph Lundgrun, and a fishcorn, to name a few.

In regards to the artwork, I’d be lying if I said my favourite picture wasn’t the little lady bugs/lady birds! They are so simple to draw, and yet I always love seeing them! I also thought the eye-phone picture was seriously hilarious!

When you pick apart this book, there’s many themes within it. The entire point of this book seems to be making fun of the human experience – how we’re racist, how we need coffee to survive, how we’ll do anything to get what we want, etc. It’s a nice to be able to look at our worldly problems in a comedic sense – especially in the fantasy setting.

I did have some negatives about this book, and one of them was it was hard to understand some of the phrasing. Most of the jokes were easy to read, but there were a few that either the grammar was off, or the joke went over my head to make me not understand the sentence in general. My other “con” was seeing the link that appeared on every few pages suggesting the reader check out the elves’s real website. I can totally understand trying to market it that way, but it caused me to become unfocused and break away from the story.

Overall, I think this book is a silly read you can definitely manage in one sitting. It’s a great escape book full of colourful artwork.

Three out of five stars!

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

 

Check out this book Elves & The Argo Adventure on:

Goodreads – Elves & AA – Goodreads

Amazon.com – Elves & AA – Amazon.com

Amazon.ca – Elves & AA – Amazon.ca

Check out Elves Get Organized? another book in this series on:

Goodreads – Elves Get Organized? – Goodreads

Amazon.com – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.com

Amazon.ca – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.ca

Or check out Katja’s drawing book Half Done Fun on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Half Done Fun

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Half Done Fun

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Half Done Fun

 

Find out more about Katja on her website: http://www.artist-katja-vartiainen.de/

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

 

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan

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The Vampire’s Assistant was an excellent young adult novel that is full of thrills and chills!

I watched the movie adaption of this series YEARS ago, and I had been dying to pick up this series. Unfortunately for me, the bookstore is big and full of millions of books so I’d forget what I was looking for the minute I walked in. Luckily for me, I walked into a bargain bookstore and found an old, extremely damaged version of this book for clearance – so of course I bought it! A little water never hurt anybody!

I hadn’t read the first book in this series, but jumping right in was super easy! This book was fun, full of silly frights and awesome character development, and made me remember why I loved vampire novels in my youth!

This book is quick – it moves fast and keeps you interested at every turn. There’s some really creepy bad guys, Evra (the snake boy), a wolf man, and some awesome parental-yet-not-so-parental adults hanging around. It’s definitely the type of horror book I would read as a kid (but it doesn’t scare me at all now – adult me has worse things to be afraid of…like politics and bills…ick).

I highly recommend this book to anyone considering introducing their children to YA books with horror or vampires in it. It’s fun and creepy in all good ways! It’ll keep the adults interested too!

Four out of five stars!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

Comment below – what is your favourite young adult novel?

Give me a shout-out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews if you read this review! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter – @ReviewAlholic

And check out Darren Shan:

http://www.darrenshan.com/

@DarrenShan

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Uninvited Quests by Lex Wilson

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Uninvited Quests is a comedic journey full of fantasy and hilarity!

If I had to describe this book with a quote from within it, “You’re a worrier, and I am a warrior.” It’s one of the best quotes of the novel, and the book’s tagline could easily be ‘Are you a worrier or a warrior?’.

At first glance, this book seems like it could be a children’s novel – but with the mention of brothels and “slurphy sounds”, I’m saying 13+. That being said, it’s a wild ride for adults to indulge in! It’s funny, it’s exciting, and it’s surprisingly wicked!

Have you ever played a video game and got distracted by the side quests? That’s what this book is! These heroes have a mission, but the side quests are just way more interesting to partake in! Our warriors, Lucan and Manrel, meet Brae along the way (who is a half-ogyr, half-human warrior all on her own) and get into amusing situations. I have to admit, I really loved the comedic take on conversations about religion. The lighter and funnier comments about the way people speak about religion was what really had me chuckling – especially when you consider some of the words we use can be seen in a different context depending on the way you interpret them.

The play on words reminded me of earlier Arrested Development episodes – everything is connected and taken out of context! Most of the time, I was either laughing or rolling my eyes at the horrible yet fantastic humor. The abundance of puns and play on words was ridiculous! But oh so good! If you’re looking for other comparisons – this book gave me vibes of the hilarity of Thor: Ragnarok or Monty Pythons: The Holy Grail.

Character wise: Lucan and Manrel are a fun pair. They are hilarious, bond well together, and will keep you on your toes. The silly adventures and their one liners (come on, who wouldn’t scream about slimy walls? That’s disgusting and horrifying if you are in the dark!) make this book fast paced and delightful. I could easily see this being a comedy show or film with it’s excellent writing and perfectly timed jokes.

Cons: Every book has them in some form, but this book’s single con wasn’t that bad. Personally, I found the prologue really interesting, but we weren’t introduced to our leads right away so it threw me off a little bit. That being said, it’s incredibly well written and connects well to the story once you’re reading it.

Overall, this book felt like an epic satire of a warrior’s quest in mythology. It was absolutely hilarious and a must read for anyone who loves comedy or satire! I highly recommend picking this book up if you want a good laugh! Or, if you miss the fun you had reading children’s novels! This felt like the adult version of the silliness in children’s books.

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this novel from Lex Wilson in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

About Uninvited Quests:

She’s a half-human paladin on an apology tour for a (formerly?) evil god. He’s supposed to be someone else’s squire. It’s up to them to save the kingdom. But first… another sidequest?

Check out Lex Wilson:

On Twitter: twitter.com/alexotica

Via the interwebs: http://lexwilson.com

Purchase this book:

Amazon.com – Uninvited Quests

Amazon.ca – Uninvited Quests

 

Comment below – what is your favourite comedic novel?

And while you’re at it, give me a shout out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse by Jack Strange

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Jack Strange is, yet again, the master of the comedic horror genre.

“Having a dead chef as a front man would be a television first…” – a quote that perfectly summarizes this entire book in a nutshell.

I’m always impressed by Jack Strange – he is a unique writer that is easily able to attract an audience’s attention. His mixture of horror and comedy somehow works and draws me back to his work each and every time.

Some of the humor in this book really killed me – a pair of marigolds to get rid of the smell of rotting, human flesh? I always plant marigolds in my garden, and I know they are VERY strong smelling, so this made me chuckle. Even some of the comments said by the characters come off in a hilarious manner – most seem to be said with a hint of sarcasm (or pure stupidity on the character’s part), but it’s so good! It’s my type of dry yet dark humor, and I love it!

I also loved that Henderson is one of our main characters. He’s a cat. An undead cat, but still a cat! It’s something I don’t see very often (animals being main characters or having a personality that isn’t some weird talking/animated animal plotline), which adds some points to this read.

The insanity of this plot is exceptional and outstanding! It’s unique, strange and oddly satisfying. I would have never come up with like this! Zombies, celebrity chefs, a zombie cat, and R rated mischief? It’s a must read for those readers who are looking for something different that they have never come across before! That’s one of the best parts about Jack Strange’s writing – he’s so incredibly creative!

If I had to put this book in specific genres, it fits in many. Horror, comedy, satire, political satire, and fantasy are all shelves I could put this book on. There’s sex, gore, and sarcasm galore ridden throughout this novel. Even when the action is at it’s highest point, there’s a few fantastic one liners that will have you laughing and cringing all at the same time.

My cons are as followed:
1. My own personal con is the font was small in the version I received. Does that affect my scoring? Heck no! Was I slightly annoyed? Yeah. Is this a reason to not read the book? Nope! But I’m gonna include it as a way for Jack Strange to “improve” in his future writing endeavors!

Overall, this book is a true masterpiece! It’s clever, ingenious and seriously funny. I highly recommend this book to fans of horror, comedy and satire. You’re not going to be able to find another book like this unless it’s from Jack Strange’s catalogue.

Four out of five stars.

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

 

Purchase this book on Amazon:

Amazon.com – CCZA

Amazon.ca – CCZA

 

Find out more about this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30120566-celebrity-chef-zombie-apocalypse

Or find out more about Jack Strange on his website: http://www.jack-strange.co.uk/

While you’re at it, why not give us both a shout out on Twitter if you read this review? @JackStrange11 & @ReviewAlholic

 

Comment below with your favourite horror novel!!

#BookReview Her Dragon to Slay by Julia Mills

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Her Dragon To Slay was a fantastical, romance novel all about dragons.

Warning: Spoilers ahead! Be warned.

I found this book free on Amazon, so I figured – why not? I loved Katie MacAlister’s dragon series, and I wanted to fill my shelf with a few more books about dragons, so this seemed like the perfect fit! And, indeed it was! This book was fun, delightful and full of ooey, gooey romance.

It’s definitely your “typical” fantasy romance – they fall in love fast, there’s some really hot sex scenes and there’s some fantasy and action mixed in as well.

Julia Mills does a great job weaving the dragon half of the story with the romance side. I loved the mythology Julia created for this world, and I would like to see more of it in the future. It can seem a little cheesey if you’re expecting an Oscar worthy styled novel, but to me it was fun and entertaining. It kept me interested to the point I devoured it in one sitting.

There are also many funny and comedic moments mixed in. This is not a serious fantasy novel, it’s lighthearted and fun.

So, you may be asking at this point – what’s the cons?
1. Character development is low (but it’s a book that’s less than 200 pages and involves a lot more romance involved)
2. Repetitive. Yeah, this book is a little repetitive. If you’re just reading it for a fun ride, it’s cool. It didn’t bug me because I wanted an escape from reality, but to some people this might be a major no-no.
3. Potential rape?… Rayne gets a little to sexual with a sleeping Kyndel, and we’re not to sure if she actually “wanted” it despite her body behaving… But later she’s madly in love with him in about two seconds, so it could be warranted? I don’t even know. That part left me feeling really icky reading it. It just didn’t seem right.
4. Male oriented story. This one kind of bugged me, and looking at other reviewers it bugged them too. The woman exists for the man in this story, and it definitely fills some fantasies for some people but in today’s culture it doesn’t sit perfectly. This can be a con or a pro, depending on how you want to look at the story.

Overall, this book was delightful. It had me whisked away to another world and not worrying about reality. It’d be a great book to read if you love romance, dragons or a sexy read.

Three out of five stars.

 

What is your favourite fantasy book? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Saving Me by Sadie Allen

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #HerDragonToSlay to chat about this book on twitter with me! @ReviewAlholic

Check out Julia Mills on her website http://www.juliamillsauthor.com/ or twitter @JuliaMills623