#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon is one of the loveliest books I’ve read this year.

Family drama, generations of Irish men & ladies, comedy, tragedy and character growth. What more could a girl ask for in novel? Not much else!!

I was truly surprised by how amazing this book was, considering it has so few reviews. It’s by far one of my favourite reads and it will sit high atop my shelves. Kathleen MacMahon has a beautiful sense of writing style and her prose is just magnificent. I can’t get enough of this book and I want more by her.

This story follows the MacEntees – an Irish family with four generations of men and women trying to deal with a long, hot summer. Deidre and Manus were once married, but Manus is now with his male lover and at Deidre is grasping with the fact that she is now “old” and in her 80s. Alma, Acushla and MacDara are their children and they all have to grasp with their own choices too. Alma and Acushla married twin brothers, and somehow their lives are echoing each other. The girls’ children, Constance and Nora, are also dealing with their own lives choices. The entire book follows these characters one by one and lets us into a world of family drama, insanity and growth.

I would have loved to read a book like this in high school, when you have the opportunity to pick apart lines and themes within the story. I loved seeing how each character interacted and how life didn’t end up the way they quite expected it. Lots of humors is thrown in with the tragedy, family drama is addressed in a very real way, and this book shows just how tough life can be (yet also how fruitful and silly we can make it). In summary, it’s all about perspective.

Kathleen does a great job showing the differences between the generations and how they interact with one another. The conflict felt so real and the book felt like it could have been a non-fiction retelling (but it’s not!). I really want to read more by Kathleen because she has a real knack for story telling. I was so attached to these characters and I was furious that this book had to end (and in the way that it did! I cried! I never cry at books!).

I HIGHLY recommend this book if you love fictional dramas, stories set in Ireland, and books about being a family.

Five out of five stars! I would give it more if I could.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out another book (or review!) that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Someone You Love Is Gone by Gurjinder Basran
To Wendy’s With Love: the 22-year Lunch by Diane Keyes- BOOK REVIEW
Quick Book Review: The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Quick Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 

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#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

This book was my best surprise of the year. To be honest, I just picked up a random book from my shelf. I decided that I would just take a very un-calculated risk and pick up whatever book my eyes went to – and this book was it.

Fire Sermon is an incredible novel following the journey of a religious woman who begins to have an affair on her husband. The narrative is not your typical romance novel, it’s truly a dramatic unfolding of the character. I loved this character study and how beautifully Jamie Quatro could write out this woman’s feelings and experiences. Seriously, it blew me out of the water. I truly did not expect this book to be half as good as it was.

Jamie Quatro has a beautiful writing style, full of metaphors and truly engaging descriptions. This book could have been a real flop because of the subject matter, but it had me hooked at every single word. There isn’t one thing I would change about this book because it truly was just mesmerizing. I highly recommend it! I’m almost frustrated that I didn’t read it sooner! This is one incredible, lovely and amazing piece of literature that I think anyone who loves drama and riveting reads should pick up.

Maggie has a ‘romantic’ relationship with her husband, but begins to fall in love with an intellectual poet. She’s cheating on her husband, but doesn’t know how to deal with it. The sex with her husband isn’t all that great and it hurts, but she feels like she owes him his pleasure. The more she engages in infidelity, the more she questions herself. Can someone truly fall out of love or change their feelings about someone? Will God understand what she has done?

Even if you’re not religious, I think this book is an excellent view into one woman’s perspective. Yes, it’s fiction but it does really open your eyes to another world. The struggles and changes in a woman’s life can be more troublesome than one thinks and I loved that Jamie opened us into Maggie’s world. The story is absolutely breathtaking.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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Check out another book you might enjoy: #BookReview Sons of York by Lesley J Nickell

 

#BookReview Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

 

Crazy Rich Asians is a fun, comedic romance that opened my eyes to a whole new world!

Before anyone asks, yes, I read this book because I saw the movie and loved it. Was the movie identical to the book? No. Was it still super cute and a great adaption? Yes. So, now that we’re past the point that the movie introduced me to the book, onto my book review!

I found this book to be the perfect mix of romance, comedy and knowledge! I absolutely loved being introduced to a variety of Asian words and concepts in this book. There aren’t many books out there (that I have read, anyways) that make me feel like I’ve learned so much while having a good time!

The book did feel soap opera-y, but I loved every second of it! I’m at the point that I’m desperate for the sequel, and can’t wait to get my hands on it! The characters were interesting and all had crazy backgrounds, the drama was high, and the family values were intriguing.

I have no idea how honest/true the Asian side of the story is, but it did make me more interested in Asian cultures. I love when books can open your eyes to a world you haven’t thought about looking at before, so I give lots of praise to Kevin Kwan! Books like these truly deserve attention, because not only are they well written but they pull the minorities out of the background. Even if it’s not totally accurate, I’m sure at least a few more readers can appreciate the Asian culture!

This book could easily be binged (if you have time to read a 500+ page book). I seriously wanted to continue reading it, but I just didn’t have time! That being said, every chance I got I was instantly glued to the pages.

I loved Nick and Rachel, I loved Kerry, I loved Peik Lin, I loved Astrid and I loved every little description that Kevin Kwan had woven into this tale. I seriously felt for these characters all along the way (even the “bad guys”…sometimes…). I really hope the drama between certain characters (like Astrid’s story) are expanded in the next books, because they were all so interesting! There wasn’t enough pages to really see all of the characters! Luckily there are at least two more books to devour to learn a little bit more about my fave characters…

There are some cons about this book, but for me it wasn’t to hard to fly past them. The story jumps a lot between chapters (point of view, time changes, etc.). Also, some of the characters felt very… stereotypical (that’s the best word I have for them right now). Is that necessarily a bad thing? No. But many other reviewers are complaining about parts of this book. To me, I didn’t really care. It didn’t take away from the fun of the story.

Would I recommend this book to other readers? HECK YES! If you love romance, a splash of comedy, and Asian representation, then get on it! The movie just makes this book more in the spotlight, which should help it’s sales. The book is dramatic, but it’s a fun and wild ride!

Also, I loved the cover. It’s simplistic and yet perfectly summarizes the story in a weird way.

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:

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Coles/Indigo/Chapters

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Find out more about the author, Kevin Kwan, on:

http://www.kevinkwanbooks.com/

Goodreads – Kevin Kwan

 

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#BookReview Breathe, Annie, Breath by Miranda Kenneally

 

Breathe, Annie, Breathe is a great YA tale with a sporty focus.

I’m totally impressed that I finally found a book that centers around sports! It is quite a rare find for me, so I’m ridiculously pleased! As a former athlete, I absolutely love being able to locate a book that reflects my life. It’s always nice to know that there’s more books out there for us athletes. Throw in the fact that it’s also a YA novel and you’ve got me really interested! The YA crowd, specifically, needs some books that reflect their lives that they can sink their teeth into.

That being said, this book was not for me. I normally love a good YA but this one left me rather bored. It’s still a fabulous book and it’s fabulously written (so don’t get me wrong, I’m really impressed) but I was left rather bored. I may be moving away from the YA genre in general, or maybe this wasn’t the book I needed right now. Either way, my review reflects my opinion but believe me – this book is good even though I didn’t enjoy it.

This story follows Annie training for a marathon, and we find out about her complicated relationship history along the way. She works incredibly hard to make it towards her marathon, which is probably my favourite part of this book. Annie doesn’t give up easily and perseveres throughout the novel.

Additionally, this book carries a lot of emotion. There are some scenes that make you really feel for Annie and her situation. I liked how Miranda wrote those scenes and I applaud her for them.

My negatives for this book focus on Annie as a character. Like most YA novels, she seems to have most of life going for her. Yes, she does have some tragic parts of her life but she also gets things her way in the end. It’s a hard mix of struggle and perseverance that I felt just wasn’t met in this story. It just didn’t feel real or right for me.

Overall, I did enjoy the book but it wasn’t my favourite of the year. I think it’s a great addition to a teenager or young adult lovers bookshelf. If you’re looking for a book about sports and running with a good mix of YA drama, pick up this book!

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:

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Amazon.com

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Check out the author, Miranda Kenneally, on:

http://mirandakenneally.com/

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Comment below – have you read any YAs lately?

 

#BookReview A Cinderella for the Greek by Julia James

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A Cinderella for the Greek by Julia James was an interesting take on the classic tale “Cinderella”.

This book didn’t sit well with me even though I really wanted to like it. The story itself is a classic that I love (who doesn’t love a Cinderella/Princess tale?) but what lies within the story is what bothered me. The big problem with this book for me is the comments about Ellen (our Cinderella’s) weight. She isn’t as thin as her step sister Chloe, and our male counterpart Max points that out a few times. The comments weren’t healthy criticism’s either, but he gets over her “ugliness” to be able to fall in love with her. It’s that part of the story that turns my thoughts sour on this book. Everything else within the novel is quite lovely – the tale, the romance, the plot lines – it’s all great but that little part. At first, Max does not describe Ellen as beautiful, but slowly he begins to love the way she looks. It felt kind of silly in my mind, since the description of her sounded to be nice (but comparing her to the thin step-sister…).

I liked that Max wasn’t forceful as many male leads are these days. He’s caring and tries his best (even if at times it seems a little forced). I liked that he was interested in Ellen’s charity and that he seemed to be overall a good guy. The other characters (like the Evil Step-Mother and Evil Step-Sister) were perfectly evil in every way. The plot line followed the narrative it should have as well.

I felt this book got a lot better once it moved forward and continued to grow the relationship between Max and Ellen. That adds an extra star in for me as a reader. I think there was lots of potential here, to be honest! I’d like to read more by Julia James because I’m sure she has gotten better as her writing has continued.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! It is a really good book, it’s just not for me! It is a lovely Harlequin Romance that should definitely be picked up if you love an ooey, gooey romance or a retelling of Cinderella!

Two out of five stars.

 

Find this book on:

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If you enjoyed this review or book, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Always Been You by Sadie Allen

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Photo via Goodreads.

 

#BookReview An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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An Abundance of Katherines was an interesting book by John Green – it’s the perfect mix of YA and contemporary fiction in my mind. While it’s not his best book (in my opinion), it’s still a really intriguing read. John Green knows how to write a unique narrative and pull in the reader. Although, his books all tend to be different so you aren’t guaranteed to enjoy this book if you liked his other novels. He does an excellent job at changing genres and narratives, and making different stories every time he writes a book.

Colin isn’t the most likable protagonist, but that’s why I liked him. He wasn’t the typical YA character we fall in love with, he had his flaws. His friends were more likable, but to me it made him seem more real. We don’t all love ourselves the way we should, so sometimes the protagonist should be more “realistic”.

As for the plot, it’s has a smooth flow and doesn’t build very much. It’s more of a contemporary fiction piece that follows the characters throughout. There’s no major plot twists or devices that jumped out at me. Yet, this book still worked well in this context! With most authors, I would have given up with a plot like this, but somehow John kept me hooked. That takes a fair bit of talent!

The best part of this book is that it is full of epic quotes. John Green knows how to make quote worthy books that relate to teenagers and adults alike. I have found countless quotes that I can either relate to myself, my situation or my friends and family. That’s one of the major things this book has going for it!

I definitely wouldn’t recommend this as the first John Green book you read (unless you want to start off “weaker”). While I think it’s fantastic, it’s not the strongest book (in my opinion, yet again). Especially since this book is the type of novel that you either love or you hate (just look at all of the other reviews – it is split right down the middle). So, take a swing at this book once you’ve convinced yourself that John is truly remarkable through his other books first.

Five out of five stars – what can I say? I enjoyed it.

 

Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49750.An_Abundance_of_Katherines

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

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy: Young Adult July Reads Book Review: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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#BookReview Tempting Faith by Susan Mallery

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This novel by Susan Mallery seems to be a hidden treasure! Most of Susan Mallery’s books have thousands of reviews on them, and this one has barely been touched on most platforms!

Tempting Faith is an absolutely adorable story about Faith and Cort. Faith runs a sanctuary for large cats (which is the BEST job I’ve ever heard in any book I’ve ever read) and Cort is an ex-agent who has memory loss about his last mission. These two fall for each other over the length of the novel, all the while Cort is protecting Faith and her sanctuary from some evil men who want her super cute, white tiger cubs.

This book is super sweet and hits all of my musts for romances. Sexy characters, awesome side characters (who doesn’t want a giant cat as their house cat?) and a demanding plot. Sure, Faith and Cort had some moments where they complained a fair bit about how their lives weren’t fair, but they were still fun characters! I think they were meant for each other, in some strange way. I did think some decisions were changed rather rapidly, and without explanation, but I liked how it all turned out.

I think this book is more of a binge-worthy book. It’s fast paced and relatively short. I’d definitely recommend this book if you like romance or a unique spin on the genre! I haven’t read many books regarding big cats and taking care of them, so I really liked that aspect of it! That being said, it’s not very complex so if you want a big, demanding plot full of mystery and expansive plots then this book won’t be for you!

Overall, I loved this book! I want to read more by Susan Mallery and I’m glad I found this book first. It’s a hidden gem that most readers don’t seem to realize exists!

Five out of five stars!

 

Find this book on Goodreads.

Purchase this book on: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.

Find out more about this author on the Goodreads Author Page for Susan Mallery. Or on her website, http://www.susanmallery.com/ , or on Twitter @SusanMallery.

 

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

And if you liked this review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Saving the CEO by Jenny Holiday