#BookReview Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley

Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley is a darling, historical, holiday-themed romance that is perfect to add to your TBR shelf!

This book is just a sweet delight. I was seeking something fast, light-hearted, comedic, romantic and simple and this book fit the bill.

Benjamin, the Duke of Silkridge has returned to his old town when his Grandfather died for the will reading. He stumbles upon his first crush and lost love, Noelle, who worked for his Grandfather. The feelings are very much mutual for Noelle as well. Ben, our resident Scrooge, must complete a Christmas-themed task to be able to get what his Grandfather left him in the will, but it brings him closer to Noelle in the process… Sparks fly and drama ensues, all in a town called Christmas and during the holiday season.

This is one of those books you curl up under a good blanket with some hot tea and just sink into it. Relaxation and simplicity works super well for titles like these, and I mean that in a good way. It’s fun and lovely, exactly what a romance and historical romance reader loves! It’s also PG, so it’s a lovely book to get started into the historical romance genre.

I am definitely going to continue with this series if I can find it. I’d like to see all 12 of the Dukes find love since this series is just so lovely! Good job Erica Ridley, you’ve crafted a historical romance masterpiece.

Four out of five stars.

I found this book via Bookbub!

 

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

Find more books and information about Erica Ridley on:
Goodreads – Author Page
http://www.ericaridley.com/
Twitter – @EricaRidley

If you liked this book (or even just the review!) here’s some other books you’ll also enjoy:
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson
#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner

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 Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Let’s get into the Christmas spirit with an adorable Christmas book by the always lovely Debbie Macomber!

 

Call Me Mrs. Miracle is an absolutely delightful Christmas romance book!

Emily Merkle is mistakenly called Emily Miracle, and takes on the name Mrs. Miracle. She’s an older woman who does wondrous work at the toy store she got hired at. Jake is her boss, and he’s ordered what seems like WAY too many toy robots that his father, the owner, is not too pleased about. He meets Holly Larson, a woman taking care of her nephew since his Mother has passed and his Father (her brother) is in Afghanistan. Gabe, her adorable nephew, really wants one of those robots. She might be in luck, since her and Jake meet and he’s more than happy to set one aside for her. Will there be a Christmas miracle?

This book is so utterly cute! It’s the perfect book to curl up with a blanket and some tea and just sink into. It’s full of Christmas spirit and packed tight full of ooey gooey romance. It is predictable, especially since this turned into a Hallmark movie, but it’s everything I wanted and more in a Christmas romance book. It’s sugary sweet and just fun.

Four out of five stars.

 

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

 

If you love Christmas romances, check out these delightful book featured on my blog:
#BookReview Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Christmas on Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains
#BookReview Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis

 

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 Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Cozy, holiday reads are excellent – cozy, romantic, holiday reads are even better!

Anita Hughes has crafted a lovely, heart warming story about two women finding their loves during Christmastime.

Louisa works in a bakery, when suddenly Noah shows up needing Christmas desserts for a reality television show he is working on. When those desserts make the lead dangerously ill, Louisa is hired to take her place!! Meanwhile, the assistant Kate finds love again with a man from her past… Oh, and Noah and Louisa get along quite well.

I found this book to be very sweet. It’s your typical holiday romance with a bit more description than romance. The beautiful displays at expensive stores take the forefront with Anita painting beautiful pictures in my head of these designer stores. I wish there would have been more fluffy romance throughout the pages, but this book was more contemporary fiction with a hint of romance than full on holiday romance.

The romance itself is quite bland at the beginning. Lots of cheek kisses to establish the leads might like each other. Also throwbacks to the relationship failures, instead of the current love that should be occurring on the page. Again, this book is more contemporary than romance. The men are also… weird. They aren’t normal men (or even romance novel men), they all act very strange and have very aggressive or manipulative behaviour. It was still an okay read if you get over the fact that they are kinda weird.

If anything, I found this book to be the perfect feel good book. While I was reading it, I just wanted something to escape and feel nice and fluffy. This book fit the bill. It doesn’t need to be the romance book I hoped it to be, it was perfectly nice to escape from the insanity of the real world. Thank you Anita Hughes for giving me an escape. If you’re looking for descriptions of Christmas displays and beautiful Christmas desserts, this book is perfect!

Three out of five stars.

 

You can find this wonderful holiday story on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Indigo

 

Pack that TBR up tight with many more holiday romances:
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Christmas on Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains
#BookReview Hot for the Holidays by Marie Force, Tamsen Parker et. al

 

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 Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I will be totally honest with you: I only read this book because I watched the television show and was morbidly curious about the book. I have picked up another book by Liane Moriarty (The Hyponotist’s Love Story) which was okay so I wanted to pick up another book by her. Big Little Lies was the perfect fit since I thoroughly enjoyed the television adaptation.

That being said, I actually prefer the t.v. show. Here’s why:

This book carries a lot of heavy material: sexual assault, domestic violence, abuse in general, bullying, and rich people problems. In one moment it feels really deep and real and in the next it feels like rich, white women complaining about rich, white women problems. If you read into the book, it’s supposed to be that way. It’s not only low and middle class people who have hard lives. Domestic abuse and sexual assault happens in all forms of human life these days. But this book still didn’t sit well with me.

I really wish I would have found this book before the television show. I know I shouldn’t be comparing the two genres because they are wildly different, but I liked how the television show handled these issues more. Maybe it’s the visuals, maybe it’s the music and the tone – all of the things a book can’t do – but it’s still my opinion.

That being said, this book is still an excellent read if you want a dramatic thriller set around school problems. The ending isn’t totally obvious (which is nice) but you can totally pick it up if you pay enough attention. It’s like a mystery story that’s full of gossip. Throw all of that in with some real fast paced antics and you’ve got yourself one excellent novel.

The way the book is set up is really cool, which is why it stood out to me in the beginning. There’s little police interviews scattered throughout the book that hint at what is going to come. If you’re smart and read into it a bit, you can totally guess the ending and have a good idea what is going to happen. In the same breath, if you just want to enjoy the ride you can do that too. The structure of this book is so well planned out, and that’s what impresses me. Liane Moriarty has some real talent and I want to see that talent in other novels.

I can totally see why this book is a best seller. It’s a wild book that’s also filled with some deep content. Most people can relate to something in this book, whether it be the white people problems, the struggles of parenthood, broken families or the really dark stuff. At the same time, it’s all packaged so well that it’s also enjoyable. Most books with this harsh of content lose me when it gets too dark, but I just kept trekking along and enjoying the ride. Bonus points for Liane.

My biggest little flaw in this book was that I wanted to see more of these police interviews. I’d like to see the incorrect, unreliable narrators tell more about what they thought happened. Those comments alone could be their own story. Honestly, they impressed me more than the story half the time. I was giggling and sneering at these comments, unable to help myself. I also knew the ending though (the joys of watching the television series first) so it was highly amusing to me.

Personally, I found a lot of the women to be awful. I know a lot of mothers are like that these days, but they definitely aren’t all like that in my neighbourhood. They all fought constantly, seemed to have little communication and listened to their kids more than other adults. Or, you know, didn’t listen when their kids were telling them something really important. It just seemed way over the top at times and I just couldn’t handle their bitchiness. On top of that, the book did seem a pinch too long. There was some content that could have been left out and the story wouldn’t have changed. That’s my inner student calling out to the world though – edit, revise, shorten, and meet the word count!

I think this might be one of those books you can jump back into once you know the ending. It definitely would have been a more interesting experience if I didn’t know what was coming. I could see how Liane set it up along the way, but I didn’t pick up on all of it.

Overall, this book is a cool take on a tough story. All of the connections that are woven throughout this book and the unique style has me intrigued. If you haven’t watched the television show, do it. Maybe read the book first though, because quality wise I think the television show is AMAZE-BALLS.

Three out of five stars.

 

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

 

If you enjoyed this book (or even the television adaptation), you might enjoy these other books that have been featured on my blog:
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin
#TopBooksList Briar’s Crime, Mystery & Thriller Reads
#BookReview Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio

 

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 Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

Hidden by Catherine McKenzie was the most surprising book of the year – it 200% exceeded my expectations!

If you haven’t read this book, I’d highly recommend it. This contemporary novel follows the death of a man and the fallout that ensues. Jeff steps into the street (with his eyes closed, bad decision on his part) and is killed. His wife and son along with his co-workers must come to accept his death and unravel a big secret he left behind.

There is lots of drama in this book – cheating, big life decisions like changing jobs, following dreams and dealing with past mistakes. Claire, Jeff’s wife, used to date Jeff’s brother. When he left for Australia and broke up with Claire, suddenly feelings were developing between the now married couple. Claire and Jeff have a son, Seth, and end up experiencing a miscarriage when they try for a second child. Jeff always seems to compare himself to his brother and has his doubts about Claire’s love. When Claire kisses Tim (her ex/Jeff’s brother) Jeff goes on a bit of a spiral – in secret, of course.

Tish is Jeff’s coworker. She works in HR and ends up helping him out during the firing that occurs just before he dies. The two of them went on a work trip together, and it’s always hinted that there might be something more between them. Once Jeff dies, Claire goes on the hunt to see if this relationship existed.

The big theme of this book seems to be surrounding the concept of not knowing a secret or a bad thing can keep you innocent. Claire would have been devastated to know her dead husband cheated on her. Was it better to keep it in the dark? Would she have liked it better to know he was faithful or that he cheated? This final question is left up to the reader after the final chapter. Along the way, I kept going back and forth on whether I believed anything happened. The book does give the reader a concrete answer on this.

My personal opinions:

1. I don’t like Tish. I’m not sure if Catherine meant for us to hate her, but I definitely did not like her. She goes to the funeral and makes Claire’s life miserable. That woman didn’t need to do this! Why in the world would you go out of your way to hurt a grieving widow?! She also seems rather clueless about her own daughter. There is a side of me that feels bad about her, but MAN I still dislike her. In the end, I believe she’s the type of woman who is incredibly selfish. She did and didn’t do something major plot points for her own well-being. No where does it say she did it for the well being of Claire, Seth, her husband, Jeff or her own daughter.

2. Jeff’s a dumb man. He’s also a jerk. Mainly because he’s self-conscious about his relationship, so he should have gotten some major therapy for that. If you’re so concerned that you’re wife used to date your brother, maybe don’t marry her? After his wife’s miscarriage he didn’t seem that supportive either, but that’s my own personal opinion on how it was written. Also, who walks with their eyes closed into a street?

3. In the end, Claire should have run off into the sunset with Tim. I think she would have been much happier with him, especially after reading all of Jeff’s short comings. Maybe that’s the inner romance reader in me…

I might seem to have many negatives about this book, BUT IT IS STILL SO GOOD. I was hooked on every word and needed to know how the book ended. It was compelling and intriguing. I cannot recommend it enough.

The book does seem to be a “you love it or you don’t” sort of novel with other reviewers, so reader beware! Either way, I enjoyed it! And that is what counts.

Final question: Did Claire ever join her sister in a joint law firm? I NEED TO KNOW. CATHERINE, HIT ME UP GIRL!

Five out of five stars.

I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Kobo

Did you enjoy this book (or review!)? Here’s some other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith
#TopBooksList Briar’s Crime, Mystery & Thriller Reads
#BookReview The Age of the Child by Kristen J. Tsetsi

 

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 When You’re Young and In Love by Patricia Bourque

When You’re Young and In Love by Patricia Bourque is a dramatic romance that has a lot going on.

Send yourself back to the 60s with this book as we follow Nick, a guy who had a lot going for him but got himself in a messy situation. He’s our lead character, and almost everything in this story is going to revolve around him. While his life was going to be perfect and totally put together, he ends up getting a sweet girl from his high school pregnant.

Side note: I wouldn’t necessarily call them high school sweethearts since this seemed like a one night stand to me, but I could be wrong.

So, these two end up getting married and having babies, because that’s what you did during that time. They didn’t have a happy marriage and didn’t seem to love each other. These two constantly fight over and over, and once they finally seem to be getting in a good place – tragedy strikes.

With that, life goes to crap for Nick for a bit. Things spiral downwards and he gets a job away from his family and doing his own thing. There he meets a beautiful young girl named Kelly who is 10 years his junior. The two hit it off, but have a weird on-and-off again relationship for many years.

Side note: Relationship is a strong word for it – it’s a fling but more than a fling, yet less than a relationship. Again, Nick is a messy guy. Things get confusing in his world, much like the star of a soap opera.

This story does remind me of the soap operas I used to watch back in my teenage years. A lot goes on, but we mainly follow Nick’s story and not his family. I had kind of hoped to see more of his ex and children, but this is Nick and Kelly’s story. I really wanted to see his ex’s story because she seemed totally evil. This book made her seem like the villain, even though there was probably a reason behind what she did. It reminded me of those stories where everyone’s side is different and everyone literally sees the opposite of the other person. Why? Because the way this story went, it made me feel like his ex raped him to get children, but I also didn’t get the vibes from her like that would happen.

Side note: Yes, yes. There isn’t exactly a vibe for that situation, but it seemed random and out of the blue. Did they actually get along and get it on with each other for a minute? Did he just do her because he was frustrated? I needed some more background information.

This story gives an interesting view on marriage and romance all in itself, and the views of individual people. Do you follow your heart or just stay? Do you just accept your fate or go against it? Do you fight or just lie down? It’s intriguing. I could easily start picking this book apart like an essay and try to explain to people what the themes and lessons behind this story could be.

Overall, this is a really good story if you like soap opera dramas or are seeking a book to pick apart (much like what you’d do for an English essay).

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author, Patricia Bourque, in exchange of an honest review.

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

You can find out more about the author, Patricia Bourque, on:
Goodreads Author Page
https://www.patriciabourque.net/

Seeking more romance to fill up your shelves? Check out some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview After the Kick by Savannah Adams
#BookReview Seeing Colour by Amber Faucher
#BookReview Donut Disturb by Melissa Williams

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 Touch by Courtney Maum

Touch by Courtney Maum is one of my fave reads of 2020. Seriously, this book is ridiculously good.

I was shocked by how much I loved this book. The plot sounds super intriguing, but the content just blows it out of the water. Let me explain:

Sloane is a trend forecaster, and she’s really good at it. She sees trends coming from a mile away, almost like clairvoyance. She gets hired by a tech firm because she’s so good, and they want her to help develop products for them relating to the population enjoying being childless. Sloane is married to Roman, a social media influencer obsessed with Zentai (look it up, seriously). Their relationship is rocky since he believes real, penetrative sex is a thing of the past and cyber sex is the real deal. Sloane, on the other hand, wants a physical relationship and sees the trend of real, physical social interaction to be coming back.

Things get messy when their relationship fumbles, she reaches back out to her family and she rocks the boat in her office. Especially when other people seem to be agreeing with her…

Within the pages of this book, there are so many great quotable lines and paragraphs. Courtney speaks a lot of truths within this book, and it’s super haunting. A woman being described as a port for a journeyman or the description of how a woman feels when she’s finally touched after years of not being touched… It was so beautiful. Courtney has a way with words. To top it all, she used a lot of big words I hadn’t heard before, and I love searching up new words to use in my everyday life. Frangipane is a unique word, let me tell ya. It’s a dessert!

The one sentence that summed this novel up for me was “The twenty-first century was over taking risks”, and I’d have to agree. Yet, this book argues that it’s possible to change and take those risks again… Geez Louise, this book could have been taken apart in an English class by a pro! It’s that packed full of themes and wonderful quotes!

My biggest fault of this book was the driver-less car. I totally saw some weird sci-fi plot since this car talked about different scenarios as if they were real and talked to her. I swore up and down as I was reading it that there was going to be some wild and wacky twist about this car, but there wasn’t. It was just a car. Thank you for the writing ideas Courtney, because man… my imagination went WILD.

That being said, it’s hardly a fault. I was blown away by this book and couldn’t put it down. I need to read more by Courtney in the future because her writing style and ideas totally work for me.

I highly recommend this book. I cannot say that enough. If you love dystopian fiction, contemporary drama, a pinch of romance, and a wee bit of satire on today’s society then this book will be for you! Honestly, it’s probably one of my top recommendations for my 2020 reads. It’s just so darn good!

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

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

Find out more about Courtney Maum on:
https://www.courtneymaum.com/
Twitter – @cmaum
Goodreads Author Page

 

If you enjoyed this book (or even the review!) here’s some other books recently featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Heirs by Fran Hawthorne
#BookReview 100 Tiny Tales by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

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 The Reluctant Fortune-Teller by Keziah Frost

The Reluctant Fortune-Teller by Keziah Frost is one of my favourite 2020 reads.

This book is a serious contemporary gem. When I start reading it, I got instantly hooked and needed to binge the whole thing. It’s not only a very sweet story with great themes, but it’s also just a fun ride!

Norbert Zelenka is older gentleman who lives with his dog in a tiny house. He’s quite lonely and sticks to his regular routine. One day, he finds that he’s struggling financially and coincidentally three women from his local art club present him with an opportunity. Nortbert becomes the reluctant fortune-teller, despite his incredible abilities. Once he embraces his great advice giving ways, he steps into a whole new world of fortune telling. Then, his abilities become greatly needed when a local girl goes missing…

This book is a lovely little drama. It’s not super dramatic though, it’s simply very sweet. There’s gossip, there’s a little tension, but it’s mostly Norbert being a sweet man and trying to figure out his passion in his seventies. I hate to say it’s a very “grown up” book, but it felt like the type of book I need as an adult.

The themes in this book are magical: finding one’s passion, doing what’s right, finding one’s own way and the power of doing good. I love that this book is all about nice things. Sometimes, you just need a book about positivity! Sure, there’s some dubious older ladies making crazy plans, but everyone needs a little drama and gossip to spice up their life.

Overall, this book is charming! It’s a great tea drinking read and is the perfect way to relax.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads

 

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

 

If you want some more contemporary and relaxing reads to fill up your TBR, check out some other books recently featured on my blog:
#BookReview The Heirs by Fran Hawthorne
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon
#BookReview City of Friends by Joanna Trollope

 

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 The Closer You Come by Gena Showalter

Back in my youth, I devoured Gena Showalter books like no tomorrow. Quite literally, during the summer months I would binge books by her and a few other authors. I couldn’t put their books down! Then, one day I strayed away.

I bought this book when it came out, but it hung around on my shelf until now. The time was right – I was craving some romance in my life and that book was right there!

Personally, I would rather stick to Gena’s paranormal romances, but that’s just me! I did not enjoy this book as much as I wanted to, but that’s because I found a few little flaws that are my romance novel deal breakers.

This book follows Jase, a man recently released from prison, and Brook Lynn, a woman working her butt off to support herself and her flaky sister. Jase isn’t looking for a relationship, and is quite happy just living his best life with his two buddies Beck and West. After a tough youth, Brook Lynn is helping take care of her and her younger adult sister so they can have a good life. Oh, and did I mention Jase slept with Jessie Kay, Brook Lynn’s sister? Yep, it’s a little messy! After some partying, the two of them are acquainted and don’t get along at first. Jase throws Brook Lynn in the pool and kills her hearing aids (yes, visibility in a book! OMG I’m so proud!). Chemistry begins to grow, and they look like a very interesting pair…

I found the beginning of this book to be very hit and miss. Brook Lynn was innocent and then not and the innocent, rinse and repeat. Jase was a jerk, then not, then a jerk, rinse and repeat. Jessie Kay seemed like the worst sister in the universe and I couldn’t understand by Brook Lynn would stick around. I couldn’t quite find the consistency and it annoyed me. At the same time, I can see why Gena chose that method but it bored me in ways I hoped it wouldn’t. I think their sort of relationship is just not the type I want my my romance reads – which is totally cool.

I also really did not enjoy the strange plot with Jase and his ex. It felt very… stalker-y. It’s not intended to be in any way, but it sat with me the wrong way. He was hung up on his ex and then he wasn’t, and then he wanted to be a family man and then didn’t. It just felt… cold and weird.

Plus, the back stories were just depressing. It felt like no one had anything good happen in their life until the happy ending.

The book was written very well, and for how long it was it went by fairly fast. The level of sweetness, sexiness and overall fun was absolutely delightful! Brook Lynn being Jase’s assistant was amusing and led to many funny to dos. The boys Jase lives with are quite the duo and the our leads were quite real and relatable. I would have marked this more of a New Adult novel and not an Adult due to the kinda gossip-y, YA-like nature of it (minus the sexier scenes of course).

Overall, for me this book was not a winner but it will definitely be loved by other book lovers. There are certain tropes I truly enjoy and certain tropes I stay clear of. This book had a few that I just didn’t like. I’d highly recommend this if you love dramatic romances, if you love Gena or if you just want to spice up your life!

One out of five stars.

 

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

 

If you love romances, here are some other books (and reviews) you might enjoy:
#BookReview Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies
#BookReview Prisoner of the Highlander by Kate Robbins
#BookReview Love Comes for the Bodyguard by Savannah Adams

 

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 After the Fall by Julie Cohen

After the Fall is a truly beautiful, marvelous, contemporary book!

I was truly impressed by this book. Women’s fiction and contemporary novels don’t normally blow my socks off: I typically read them for a bit of escape from my normal dramas. And then Julie Cohen walks into my life, metaphorically presenting me this book on a silver platter and crushes the stereotype.

After the Fall, the name itself, is a play on words for many parts of this novel (it’s rather smart, but I can’t tell you the true meaning… you’ll have to read and make it to the ending to find out!). What I can tell you, is after Dr. Honor’s fall in her house, the older woman must move in with her former daughter-in-law and her family to heal. This move will be a major change and cause some dominoes to fall within the household. Jo, Honor’s former daughter-in-law and widow of Honor’s son, is reeling after a divorce and trying to figure out how to be a single mother. Lydia, Honor’s granddaughter and Jo’s daughter, is dealing with some personal turmoil on how to be herself. The secrets these women hide are going to rock the boat, like in any good dramatic novel.

At first, I didn’t enjoy Honor as much. She seemed very stubborn and I didn’t understand why. Then, like any great literary creator, Julie slowly released information about everyone and their situations. It’s a slow build, but eventually you have empathy and feel for these characters. It was rather smart, because I could honestly see my opinion changing throughout the novel. The more information that was released, the more you understood the story. I truly appreciated how Julie did this – it really packed a punch and made the story more enjoyable for me. It was like unwinding a mystery, but in a women’s fiction novel.

Jo was a very empathetic character, but I felt like she was doing her own “falling” throughout this book. This woman is so cheerful and does her best, but she clearly has made not the wisest of decisions at some points of her life. She is truly trying her best and just wants to live her best life – so she’s pretty much the ideal woman character in a book. Jo is not flawless and she has her faults, but she’s trying. I can see many people relating to her, even if they can’t relate to her situation. Her second (now ex) husband running off with the au pair they hired to help with their daughter? BRUTAL.

Lydia is reeling over being herself. She has fallen for her best friend and is trying to process these feelings and what to do with them. To top it off, like most high-schoolers she’s also dealing with personal issues and exams to get into some prestigious post-secondary school. All of this can be quite difficult for youth, and man was it hard for Lydia. She’s a moody teenager from the point of view of her Mother’s chapters, but when you read hers you can see why she acts out and understand her behaviour. I LOVE books that show the actual side of why people behaviour the way they do. It really hits home well for me.

There’s also some great one liners in this book, my favourite being about an unsolicited dick pic. The comedy just hits the right way and had me giggling.

I can easily say this is one of my favourite reads for the year. It’s impressing and has some truly important themes (and I love themes!!). Some of the plot points are predictable, but that didn’t effect my read at all. I truly was glued to this book and binged it in a day. It’s absolutely delightful and Julie Cohen deserves many high fives. I hope I get the opportunity to pick her books up in the future, because WOW. Just WOW!

Overall, this book is a gem. I’d highly recommend it for fiction lovers, women’s fiction bingers, if you’re looking for something with some deeper messages but still a light read, or if you want something contemporary. This book doesn’t require major “mind power”, it’s a very easy read with some simple yet beautiful themes. Brava!

Five out of five stars.

In addition to all of this, the cover is stunning. It’s one of my favourite covers I’ve seen lately, but I’m a sucker for flowers.

I received a free advanced reviewers copy from Goodreads First Reads.

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Barnes & Noble
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo

 

If you’re looking to add a few more books to your TBR and you liked this book (and maybe even the review!), here are some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Heirs by Fran Hawthorne
#BookReview Literature® by Guillermo Stitch
Book Review: PAPER IN THE WIND by OLIVIA-MASON CHARLES

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