#BookReview A Cup of Redemption by Carole Bumpus

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If I had to describe this book in one word, I’d use the word “journey”.

This incredibly breath-taking tale by Carole Bumpus wow-ed me more than I can say in a few words. When I started reading this book, I just figured it was another Women’s Fiction novel that would be a great ‘on the side’ read to keep my mind off of my homework. Once I got into the book, I was instantly hooked and amazed at how Carole can weave words into the most beautiful and heart breaking tale I’ve ever read! It’s an Oscar-worthy book that is shockingly under-appreciated! Seriously, this is in my Top 10 reads now from how freaking fantastic is was!

A Cup of Redemption follows multiple generations in one family. Sophie’s Mother (Marcelle) has just passed and she is asked to investigate her family tree. She goes on this wild adventure about her heritage with her friend Kate, and enlists the help of some of her siblings. Along the way, we learn about the haunting past of her, her mother and her grandmother. These tales are seamlessly written and tie in with one another throughout the story. This book will break your heart, warm your heart, and then make you believe in familial love all over again.

There’s a splash of history in this book, since it goes over the World Wars and other historical events that occur behind the scenes (or during the scenes!) of the story. There’s a wee bit of romance, a whole lot of drama, and a splash of mystery as well! If you like fiction where the story slowly unfolds and everything comes into view, then you will love this book! The ending isn’t right out there, you have to learn through Sophie and the other characters what really happened in the past – and I loved that aspect. I’m glad the ending wasn’t obvious like some mystery novels.

I loved the characters and how they interacted with each other. Even when Carole is changing back and forth between the decades, she makes these characters lovable and feel real. At times, I could relate way harder to these characters than I ever expected to. That realism is what really sets this book apart from other stories like this. I almost felt like this could be a non-fiction retelling of a woman’s life. Seriously, it’s that good.

The downfalls of this book are as followed:
1. There’s a lot of characters to follow, and if you put down this book a few times like me – you might forget who’s who!
2. There are some plot points that don’t end up resolved, but they aren’t major ones. I would have liked a few more of my questions answered, but the story does come to a close so I guess that’s a bit of a positive…
3. This book can be quite…upsetting. There’s rape, sexual assault and other dark occurrences in the book that aren’t for the light of heart.

By the end of this book, I couldn’t put it down! I absolutely loved it! Even with the slow start, it slowly burned a hole into my heart and I absolutely need more by Carole Bumpus! If you haven’t picked this book up, seriously, get on it! I’m utterly surprised by how well this book connected with me and I want to make sure more readers are able to connect to books with this much talent in it!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find this book on:

Kobo

Indigo/Chapters/Coles – eBook

Indigo/Chapters/Coles – Paperback

Barnes and Nobles – Paperback

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

 

Find out more about Carole Bumpus on:

Goodreads – Carole Bumpus

http://www.carolebumpus.com/

Twitter – @CaroleBumpus

If you enjoyed this review, give me a shout out on Twitter: @ReviewAlholic or check out my Facebook page: @BriarsReviews

 

While you’re at it, check out another book review you might enjoy! #BookReview Driving on the Left by Gail Ward Olmsted

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#BookReview Coming Out by Danielle Steel

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I found Coming Out by Danielle Steel at a local store that typically does not sell books. It was on sale, probably cheaper than it should have been yet it was in excellent shape! I always wanted to read something by Danielle Steel but never seemed to remember to pick up a book by her whenever I was out looking, so I decided to purchase this book.

This book was made in 2006, but it felt more along the lines of the 80s or 90s due to some of the comments within the book. There never seems to be a strict date of when this book is set, but some of the opinions don’t seem to be that of 2006 (or maybe my hometown was just way more open at that time). The comments about how bad tattoos are seem to date this book more than intended too, seeing as it is 2018 and tattoos seem to be everywhere and widely accepted. If anything, that would be my biggest con for this book! It dates itself with the opinions within!

I did really enjoy this book – it was a light, dramatic read that I could easily put down and pick it back up. The story follows a rich, upper class family as they intend to go to an exclusive ball in New York. The twin daughters are on opposing sides (one wants to go, the other doesn’t and decides to rebel), the Mother wants to go, the step Father doesn’t, and so on and so forth. There is some romantic drama, some family drama, some “rich” drama, and it all seems to work well within the story.

That being said, this book is hit and miss – if you don’t mind reading about privileged rich people with silly problems, it’s a good read! I didn’t mind that they complained about simple yet silly things, in fact I found it to be fluffy and funny at times. It felt like a soap opera I would watch on T.V. back in high school. The soap opera side is what kept me hooked, to be brutally honest. The drama was over the top, the reactions were big, and it felt like the perfect, stormy day read.

The book is relatively short and moves at a good pace to keep you interested. That is what also kept me interested in this book. I didn’t think that the book felt too long or too short. To me, the book was the perfect length. I also really liked that the title of the book has multiple meanings in the book! Tied in with that title, the ending took me by surprise! The ending did seem to suddenly stop, but Danielle tied in one of the small plot points to finish this book up.

Overall, I think this book was cute and is a nice, soft read. It is in it’s own little niche, so reader beware!!

Three out of five stars!

 

Check out of this book on:

Goodreads

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Amazon.ca

 

If you enjoyed this book or review, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Jeep Tour by Gail Ward Olmsted

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter with your book recommendations! I’d love to hear them! @ReviewAlholic

 

 

 

Photo via Goodreads.

#BookReview Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini

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Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule is a riveting drama that follows the lives of Julia, a young and wealthy woman, and Jule, her slave.

If I had to limit this book’s description to two words, I would call it a historical drama. Typically, I am not a fan of books like this but somehow Jennifer Chiaverini made me feel attached to these characters. I lost my drive partway through this novel, but I couldn’t help myself to jump back in to know the ending of this story.

I felt this book followed Julia more than Jule, but somehow it felt right that there was one star of the show. I would have liked to follow Jule and Gabriel’s story a lot more (because I truly felt more attached to those characters than Mr. and Mrs. Grant), but Jennifer decided to follow Julia and her life more actively in the novel. Julia definitely had her flaws since Jennifer made sure to have the character not be the perfect, rich girl. I did appreciate that sentiment, because I’m a little tired of historical novels where the leads are utterly perfect and do no wrong. At times, I did find Julia to be the antagonist more than the protagonist, but that’s merely because of her view of the world (which was very typical of the time).

I did not have much background on this book, so it amazed me that Julia and Ulysses Grant were real people! This story is a fictionalized version of their life, but it felt almost real. Due to this book being as interesting as it was, I decided to look up more about Julia and Ulysses Grant. To me, as a reader, I love when a book can open my eyes to a world I didn’t realize existed or happened. I am not well versed in American history (since I am Canadian, and my schooling did not involve much of the USA’s history), so I’m glad a book like this exists! In my opinion, this book does what I want a book to do – make readers more interested in the topic.

Is this book perfect? No. I felt there was some really slow parts of the book that drove me away from it. That being said, I like constant movement of the plot so the book isn’t intended for an audience like me. It’s a slow paced book that is about history. I also would have liked to see Julia and Jule interacting more as adults, since the book suggests it is about their relationship. If anything, the misleading title and synopsis are the worst parts of this book. Although, it’s a fantastic read and I’d highly recommend it if you love historical fiction, fictionalized stories of real life events, a heartfelt drama, a splash of romance, civil war era books, or American history.

Overall, this book is well written and a nice story. I’d love to read more by Jennifer Chiaverini just to see if she can open my eyes to more historical stories.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

 

 

Find out more about the author, Jennifer Chiaverini, on her website:

http://jenniferchiaverini.com/

Or check her out on Goodreads: Goodreads – Jennifer Chiaverini

 

Find Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter @ReviewAlholic and recommend a book for me to read!

Also, if you enjoyed this review, why not check out another book you might enjoy? Quick Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 

#BookReview The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

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The Light Between Oceans is a bittersweet novel that will crush your soul (in a good way).

This is M.L. Stedman’s first book, and it is one fantastic first novel (to be brutally honest). This book was beautifully written, it pulled at my heart strings and it demanded my attention. Typically fictional novels that are more focused on “drama” don’t pull me like this book did! I was obsessed and had to finish reading it, I had to know what was going to happen to Tom, Isobel and Lucy.

The layers of love and affection in this story, mixed with the difficult decision making (and catch-22’s, as most reviewers are saying) make this a really intriguing story. It really made me question myself and my own choices – if I was Isobel in that time period (or Tom for that matter) and went through what they had been through, would I keep the baby? Would I admit I kept the baby? What would I do?

It’s a difficult decision, and you see one plot line of how this story can go. It’s not like a crazy soap opera, it seems realistic (to me, anyways). It’s a story all about bad decisions being made by good people, and the tension and fall outs that happen because of it. Were they really doing a bad thing, if their hearts were in the right place?

This book seems to be 50/50 for people – you either love it, or you don’t. I enjoyed the slight romance, dramatic fiction, heart wrenching tale that it is….but…I also didn’t read any reviews before and went in knowing I just wanted to read the book to see the movie. I had 0 expectations, and I came out loving it. In my opinion, some people seem to be reading way to far into the book. Are there themes? Yes. Is this a book that will be compared to Shakespeare (or even It…) in relation to it’s themes? No. Does it identify how good people can make bad decisions? Yes. Do you have to agree with their decisions? No. Do the characters decisions have to be your decisions? No. It’s simply a novel that is well written and shows one story of bad decision making.

Overall, this book is well written and is a fun read. All I can say now is, I can’t wait to watch the movie!

Five out of five stars.

 

Did you enjoy this book? Review not enjoy another! #BookReview The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman

In the comments below, tell me your favourite book that has a film adaption!!

Check out M.L. Stedman and her work! M.L. Stedman

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Driving on the Left by Gail Ward Olmsted

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Driving on the Left is a beautiful character drama following a mother and a daughter on their trip in Ireland.

This beautiful story really blew my socks off – I wasn’t expecting this fantastic story in what sounded like a cheesey romance novel. Following Jackie and Becca and their somewhat parallel stories was breathtaking and addicting! Seeing two women develop over this novel and how their lives are intertwined was a real treat that I highly recommend!

When reading the book, I drew parallels to Big Little Lies in the character development aspect (not the murder or soap opera like story lines), and the elegance of The Crown. While the book was more heavily focused on growth and development (with a splash of romance) over action, this book was still fast paced and kept me hooked. Having Jackie and Becca switch point of views also gave unique perspectives into the same situations (both past and present). And seeing these characters make big, life changing decisions along the way was also so incredibly moving. It was a book I’d love to bring to a book club and digest with an entire group of women!

The background of Ireland was also incredible. I’ve never been to Ireland, so I had to do some research online to see what Gail was talking about, but I felt like she gave the right descriptions to set the tone. Her descriptions were breath taking enough that I want to go to Ireland now and have my own little adventure!

This book was easily read as a stand alone (but apparently it’s a part of a series!), and would be a great book to devour in one sitting. I want a sequel to see how these characters grow and develop more, since Gail did a tremendous job of making me fall in love and feel for these characters. She does it so flawlessly, and I didn’t even notice myself yearning to know these characters and relating to them.

My only con for the book is that I want more! I want more of these characters as soon as possible! This book tells a lovely tale of reminiscing and life changes through the ages. With the addition of a Mother-Daughter story on top of the drama and romance… yeah, it’s a real hit!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Gail Ward Olmsted in exchange of an honest review.

 

About Driving on the Left:

Jeep Tour

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To move forward, you need to let go of the past…. Jackie Sullivan decides it’s time for a fresh start, after her marriage falls apart and she loses her job. Meeting a sexy tour guide inspires her to build a new life for herself among the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. But Jackie is looking for more than just romance. Fueled by an unflagging sense of humor and lots of caffeine, she sets out on a journey of self-discovery and she plans to get it right this time. Jackie’s had her happy, now she wants her ever after!
Purchase the book on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Driving on the Left

Amazon.ca – Driving on the Left

 

Find Gail Ward Olmsted on her website: http://www.gailolmsted.com/

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

 

Comment below – what is your favourite romance novel?

#BookReview Someone You Love Is Gone by Gurjinder Basran

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Someone You Love is Gone by Gurjinder Basran is a beautiful novel centered around grief.

Picking this book up, after losing my own Father years ago, was kind of like therapy. I was able to see someone else facing the exact thing I had (keep in mind a different gendered parent) and having a similar response to me. Gurjinder Basran does a fantastic job of showing how grief affects a person.

The small losses of temper, without meaning to was a big part of mine and my Mother’s grief. Seeing this happen was truly incredible – our main character Simran does not purposely yell at her daughter or her husband, it just happens. The emotions that go through someone when experiencing grief is very expressive in this book – and it shows how talented this author is.

I’d hate to say this book is like a “slice of life” novel, but it is – but a slice of grief and the life that comes after. So many sayings that you don’t think about – like how you just get used to grief and it doesn’t get better – are displayed in this story. Before someone dies, you say that but don’t realize how true those sayings really are. You don’t realize how haunting it is to be here and that person who’s in your memories and clothes are still in their closets are just not there – they don’t exist anymore. This beautiful novel shows all of this, and it almost made me cry thinking about how honest this book is compared to my own grief.

I relate a lot of Sim, and I think this is why the book speaks to me so much.

<spoiler> When her husband comes home from work only to get changed to go out for drinks for work, leaving Sim behind when she really needs someone (and her daughter goes back to school and won’t even hug her mother goodbye) speaks to me on so many levels. All of my friends and family ditched me as soon as my Father died, leaving me alone for the final month of high school. Literally alone. It speaks to me so much on so many levels to see THIS IS REAL. This was not just my small reality, but this can be others as well – even if this book is fictional. </spoiler>

Overall, this book is truly beautiful. I could go on and spoil everything, but I would rather just state my opinion to finish it off.

This book shows the gradual change in grief – immediately losing a parent, dealing with the emotions after, dealing with relationships during grief, trying to pick what’s best and how to grieve, and the finale of finally accepting it.

This book should be read by those experiencing or who have experienced grief to understand. This was far better than any therapist or book I was forced to read during my grief – those self help books are rarely helpful, let’s be honest.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

 

Check out Gurjinder Basran on Goodreads! Gurjinder Basran on Goodreads

Or check out her website! Gurjinder Basran

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#BookReview Hope Has Two Daughters by Monia Mazigh

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Hope Has Two Daughters by Monia Mazigh is a beautifully written historical fiction.

This novel is set in Tunisia and follows Nadia and her daughter Lila – these two women’s stories are intertwined over generations (1980s and 2010s) that will leave you feeling breathless. Riots, studying Arabic, family tensions and drama all drive this story forward by the beautiful story telling from Monia Mazigh.

This novel shows the evolving stories of the two women, and how they aren’t so different. Despite being apart of different times, the themes in their lives remain the same. This story shows you hope and survival in different times of struggle, and can be very motivational if you read it under the right context. While this book may not be a non-fiction novel, it almost feels so real with Monia’s descriptive and realistic writing.

This isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it was a good read. While it may not be a five star book in my eyes, seeing how much potential this author has makes the book worth it. Yes, it’s not super fast moving. And of course, there is room to grow within the story (some plot lines could have been left out, there could have been more description in certain areas) but it still makes for a great read. It’s not a book I would leave out of conversations – it is a recommended read from my end. That being said, Monia Mazigh has room to grow as an author, and I’m sure the next book will be even better than this one (no matter what she chooses to write, whether it be a continuation/similar story or a completely different one). If her next novels feel as personal and touching as this one, I’m sure they will be fantastic.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

 

Check out Monia Mazigh on Goodreads: Monia Mazigh on Goodreads

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