#BookReview The Black Mzungu by Alexandria Kathleen Osborne

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

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

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

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

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

Five out of five stars!

I received this boook for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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

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

 

Photo from Goodreads.

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

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

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

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

So, what do I think?

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

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

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

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

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

Five out of five stars!

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

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Find out more about K. Kris Loomis on:

K. Kris Loomis Goodreads Page

http://www.kkrisloomis.com/

Twitter – @KKrisLoomis

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Photo from Goodreads.

Collection 2: #TopTens – Young Adult Part 1

This time around in my collection of top books I am tackling the Young Adult genre! Young Adult has always been a guilty pleasure of mine and I love to dive deep into this genre whenever possible. Listed below are ten YA books I would highly recommend you pick up, depending on your interests! I’ve tried to include a wide variety of topics and genres within. Stay tuned for part two, because one can never have too many YA novels.

 

1. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

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The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole is one of my favourite fantasy novels in the YA genre. I am still currently working my way through the series, but I wanted to include the first book (at the very least) on my top ten list! This is a dystopian novel focused around tarot cards. There’s drama, romance and typical YA insanity within this dystopia. I really love the dark and twisted universe Kresley has created!

Amazon.com – Poison Princess

Amazon.ca – Poison Princess

Briar’s Reviews Book Review Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

 

2. Eighth Grade Bites by Zac Brewer

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The Vladimir Tod Chronicles was one of my faves over a decade ago (it’s hard to believe it has been that long…). Back in the day when vampires were hip and cool, Vladimir Tod was rocking the YA world without glitter! Zac Brewer made a fantastic world that felt real with drama, a splash of romance, a teenage vampire trying to find his way in the world and lots of vampire politics. This book is perfect for those 12-15 year olds looking to get into the genre, or anyone who loves an epic tale! I still love these books to this day!

Amazon.com – Eighth Grade Bites

Amazon.ca – Eighth Grade Bites

Young Adult July Reads Book Review: Eighth Grade Bites by Zac Brewer

 

3. Splintered by A.G. Howard

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Splintered is an epic retelling of Alice in Wonderland! Alyssa seems to be crazy, but there’s something more to her story… This rich series is full of drama, romance and fantasy! This series is finished now, so if you want to binge it go ahead! This is easily one of the best retellings of Alice in Wonderland around (I do have another fantastic one lower on the list though…).

Amazon.com – Splintered

Amazon.ca – Splintered

Briar’s Reviews – Splintered Review

 

4. The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

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This paranormal dystopia created by Rachel Vincent is a stand out novel that blew me away! I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel! Demons, exorcists and overall wild insanity is packed tight in this book. I have yet to find a book that compares to this unique thrill ride!

Amazon.com – The Stars Never Rise

Amazon.ca – The Stars Never Rise

Briar’s Reviews – The Stars Never Rise Review

 

5. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

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Yet another retelling of Alice in Wonderland, but this one features zombies! I loved this retelling more than I can say on this page! The unique concept created by Gena in this book takes the reader on a wild ride. This dystopia follows Ali and her friends on a wild adventure against zombies. Throw in a super hot guy named Cole that will set you on fire, an action-packed plot and some epic side characters and you’ve got yourself a real winner!

Amazon.com – Alice in Zombieland

Amazon.ca – Alice in Zombieland

6. Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

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Years ago, I admired this book afar in every book store I passed! I saved up all of my money and finally got my hands on this super cute, extra cheesey romance novel! The preppy girl is a ghost and the goth is a human, and the two of them fall madly in love! This series is a wild, fantastical ride that I still pick up as a guilty pleasure. This book feels more romance than paranormal, but it still has it’s paranormal aspects within it. If possible, pick up this whole series! It ties up quite nicely, if I do say so myself!

Amazon.com – Ghost and the Goth

Amazon.ca – Ghost and the Goth

7. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

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This is another “classic” from my YA collection that I still pick up to this day! When I have a rough day and I want a cute novel to relax with, this book is it! This series is super sweet and definitely packs on the romance. It is also another vampire book I threw on this list, but the romance is where it hits you. There are two books in this series, and both will have you ready for some tissues, chocolate and everything else girly! I still think Lucius (our male lead) is one of the hottest YA leading males!

Amazon.com – Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Amazon.ca – Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

#BookReview Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

 

8. Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway

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This vampire romance was another hit in my books! I read this book alongside Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, and fell madly in love with Tate Hallaway! Unfortunately, this series didn’t continue after the second book and I am still upset about it. This YA novel features vampires, witches, fantasy and romance for every Twilight fan who wanted just a little bit more than the glittery yet famous vampires. This book still tops my YA list and I’ll pick it up on a rough day when I want a fun read!

Amazon.com – Almost to Die For

Amazon.ca – Almost to Die For

 

9. Pin Drop by Roz Monette

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Pin Drop is the most unique book on this list. It tops my YA reads since it is not your typical Young Adult novel by any definition. It touches on tough topics and social issues that some YA books run far away from. Mo is sarcastic and is easily relatable for most teenagers since her life is not perfect. If you’re looking for a YA novel that isn’t solely focused on dystopias, fantasy or romance than this book is for you! I’d highly recommend it, it’s fabulous!

Amazon.com – Pin Drop

Amazon.ca – Pin Drop

Briar’s Reviews: Pin Drop by Roz Monette Review

 

10. Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kaye Bowles

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I saved the best for last on this list! Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kaye Bowles is one of my recent favourites! This book also tackles some dark subject matter, which may not be suitable for all YA audiences. Self harm, destructive families, family illnesses are just some of the tougher subjects in this book on top of the typical high school problems. This book might be fiction, but it felt oh so real! This is the book I needed to read in high school to realize life isn’t always picture perfect. While this book tackles darker topics, it does it in a lovely way that opens your eyes to the realistic coming of age most teenagers are facing but in a YA territory. I’d highly recommend this book and I’d consider it one of the most important books to read on this list!

Amazon.com – Down in the Belly of the Whale

Amazon.ca – Down in the Belly of the Whale

Briar’s Reviews: Down in the Belly of the Whale Review

 

And that’s it for round one of my YA top tens! I have way more top tens to come, including Part 2 of YA and Children’s novels! What list or genre do you want to see next? Do you have any books not included here? Comment below or give me a shout out on Twitter (@ReviewAlholic) to let me know what I’m missing!

I hope you found a new book to read and you enjoyed this list, fellow readers! Let me know what you’re reading below!

Briar

xoxo

 

 

 

Photos via Goodreads.

 

#BookReview Crime Seen by Kate Lines

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I love a good crime novel, and having this as a non-fiction novel all about Kate Line’s policing career made me love it even more. All of the situations were real, and Kate Lines walked through how she became a high up cop and investigator. Having the author walk through each situation and how evidence was used and how people were interviewed gave a wonderful insight to the Police World, and helped give me a better idea what happened behind the scenes on high profile cases I heard about over the years.

This novel reminds me of a non-fiction version of Kathy Reichs Temperance Brennan novels. While Kathy Reichs discusses the forensics sides of investigations, Kate Lines brings you into the realm of policing and investigation.

I honestly couldn’t put this book down. The real life stories are inspiring, even if each story did not have a happy ending. Also reading about a strong, independent female working hard and getting the job done was very inspiring!

Anyone interested in Police, Forensics, Investigations, Crime and Mystery should read this novel. Yes, it’s not a fiction novel, but it helps give a lot of insight into what really happens. This novel is authentic and real, which gives it a lot of charm!

I would love Kate Lines to write fiction novels if she ever got the chance, because her background in this fantastic book would lend well to more books!

Five out of five stars! I saw nothing wrong with this fantastic non-fiction crime novel. The Criminal Profiler is an excellent author with many stories to tell.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

#BookReview Zodiac Unmasked by Robert Graysmith

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Zodiac Unmasked was an interesting take on the real life incidents revolving around the Zodiac Killer.

This book could have been a LOT shorter than it is, there is almost so much content in this book I got bored (and I am OBSESSED with conspiracies and theories, I’ll sit through long books and videos any day of the week). I almost quit this book completely because it was boring me to death. I did love all the research and information within this book, but it was almost too much.

This is one of many theories of who the Zodiac Killer was, and it truly is fleshed out. It may not be 100% correct, but it was a good read if you want to look into the information surrounding this theory.

The positives within this book is the amazing content within it, but that also ties with my major negative: it’s long, repetitive and becomes quite boring due to those two factors. The theory itself is confusing and long, but that doesn’t mean the book needs to be over 500 pages of repeating the same stuff over and over and over. I did enjoy the fact that the book was in chronological order, but I also felt that it didn’t need to be. I would have loved all the hard hitting facts and awesome plot points first before all the boring, nitty, gritty details.

Overall, I’m not totally impressed with this book. It bored me to tears and I almost stopped reading it.

1 out of 5 stars.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another book you might enjoy! Book Review: Confessions of an English Psychopath by Jack Strange

#BookReview The Charming Predator by Lee MacKenzie

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The Charming Predator is an addicting read for anyone who loves true crime.

Lately I have been in a reading slump (probably from all of those school textbooks I’m devouring…) and most of the books I should love I haven’t been able to connect with. Buuuuut, this book instantly hooked me during this time and appeared to be exactly what I needed.

This book is intriguing because it’s supposed to be “real” (I say supposed to because Lee MacKenzie apparently has numerous pseudonyms). Kenner Jones did exist and there are numerous stories about how he scammed a ridiculous amount of people (including his wife).

I find it an interesting phenomenon that this happens to people. It seems so out of the ordinary and soap opera like, yet I’ve met many people who trick and manipulate anyone they can. Reading it, I found I could see “signs”, but that’s with me knowing the end of this story – I know he’s going to manipulate her, it’s almost like a bad movie you have seen over and over. “Don’t go through that door” or “Don’t talk to that person” and so on…

I have so much respect for this woman, because this was truly one of the worst moments (or say…years?) of her life. Writing a book like this takes courage, and my goodness is it a good book. I find it well written, easy to read and one of the better true crime, life story novels I have read in a while.

This book gets 5 out of 5 stars for sure.

I got this book through a charity that asks for donations to local community charities in return for previous read ARC copies – so my copy was an ARC.

Did you enjoy this book? Why not check out another? Book Review: From Wedding to Funeral: Spouses who Murder by Mindy M. Shelton

#BookReview Pop Sonnets by Erik Didriksen

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Pop Sonnets was perhaps one of the best reads in sonnets, aside from the wonderful William Shakespeare himself!

This wonderful set of poems has sonnets based on many pop culture hit songs. Each sonnet is written in the typical Shakespeare form (or English form) “a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g.” All of the sonnets flow smoothly and do not seem to be to cheesy. Also, each sonnet fully describes the song it is based upon.

I absolutely loved this book! Each sonnet gave me a chuckle as I read them. It seemed as if Shakespeare could have written them himself!

Five out of five stars! I saw nothing wrong with this wonderful book of sonnets! I loved it!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Enjoy this review? Check out another book you might enjoy! Book Review: PAPER IN THE WIND by OLIVIA-MASON CHARLES