#BookReview Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

One of my New Years Resolutions was the read more “classics” this year, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of the first I was able to pick up. I was so lucky that I found this book at a local charity book sale! It was screaming my name the minute I saw it on the table and it’s been screaming my name while it’s been sitting on my bookshelf (well…desk. My bookshelves are rather full. I need to get reading faster and more to clear some room…).

I’ve seen both of the movies (Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp) so I knew what was coming. It was going to be a book full of shenanigans with some humor and lessons sprinkled throughout. And boy, did it not disappoint! I have to say, Roald Dahl is one amazing author and I really want to read more by him now. This classic is so full of childish nonsense and valuable lessons all at the same time. It’s mesmerizing what this man could do with his words.

The book has some deep, dark material that comes off as playful. Charlie and his family weren’t well off and Roald make that very, very clear. Yet the prose he puts this narrative in makes it seem… fun? Silly? I can’t even pick the right word. As an adult, I am in awe of how this family survived but I could easily see a child laughing their way through. A child would truly have no idea what the horror of starving is like, yet it is described so amazingly in this book…

Seriously, I’m in awe. I am in complete and utter awe over this man’s writing. He’s a literary genius, to say the least.

There are parts as an adult that I can pick apart, but I don’t think this book was intended to be some literary work that needs to be examined like Shakespeare. This book shows the good and the bad of being a kid – don’t be stubborn, don’t be a brat, don’t watch television all day, don’t go ahead without listening – stuff that we all learn as a kid. Charlie is the “perfect” child who listens and does what he is supposed to, and in the end he wins. Is this how life works? Nope. Is it still important to teach? Heck yes!

Wonka is such a wild and interesting character too. He’s a very old adult but doesn’t act like it who employs Oompa Loompa and pays them in cacoa beans. He has a giant workshop but no workers and wants to give a child his only life’s work. Yes, that makes so much sense… Not. But it’s believable in this book, because he’s so wild and zany… I’d love to see a perfect adaption of this book – word for word, picture for picture, etc.

The language, dark humour and sarcasm in this book also make it absolutely hilarious. Snozzberries gets me every time! And Wonka’s absolutely amazing sarcasm against the children… Well, it’s mean but it’s funny. So funny. I found myself giggling at how ridiculous some of the comments were, yet I still loved it all the same.

Either way, this book is amazing! I wish I would have read it as a kid but reading it as an adult was so much funnier! Amazingly enough, this book only took me two days to finish.

Five out of five stars!

I need some more Roald Dahl in my life!

 

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#BookReview Snowman Paul Returns to the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid

#BookReview HughTube by Richard Clark

#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller

 

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#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:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Kobo

Coles/Indigo/Chapters

Barnes & Noble

 

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

http://www.kevinkwanbooks.com/

Goodreads – Kevin Kwan

 

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#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

#BookReview Backyard Hullabaloo by Junia Wonders

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I was lucky enough to find this book for free via BookBub!

Backyard Hullabaloo is a fun and spunky picture book by Junia Wonders and Divin Meir!

What I liked about this book was that there was a little more reading content in it. The picture books I have been picking up lately had barely a sentence per page, but this book had multiple sentences and even paragraphs per page! Having a little more content made this book a little more fun and inventive when I was reading it.

We follow Mr. Bagoo, who overslept since his alarm clock didn’t ring! We also meet his neighbors along the way as he tries to get his chores done! Everyone seems to be in a bad mood for some reason! Mr. Bagoo and his neighbor aren’t getting along, and they must solve their issues with each other.

I also loved that there was no rhyming scheme to this book – it moved at a nice pace and didn’t feel forced. It was written in a tone that felt professional and yet humorous or child-like all at the same time.

The artwork was a style I don’t see to often – it looked like digital crayons! I really liked this different art style, especially since it felt like it belonged with the story. I couldn’t see any other art style fitting with the tone and silliness of this book!

Overall, I’d highly recommend this book! It’s a great picture book with a fantastic story! I could see this book easily being used for story time at a school!

Four out of five stars!

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

If you enjoyed this book or review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Half Done Fun by Katja Vartiainen

 

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Photo via Goodreads.

#BookReview Seeds and Trees by Brandon Walden

Seeds and Trees by Brandon Walden is a super cute illustrated story.

I absolutely love the main title page – the flowers, thorns and bird are absolutely stunning. The art style felt unique yet beautiful, which is something I crave in picture books. I love seeing different art styles that connect with the story.

An added touch was the letter from the author at the beginning. As a child, I probably would have skipped by it and not cared in the least, but as an adult I like reading into the mind of the author. Seeing the reasons behind the story is always a little pleasure of mine!

The story itself worked well with the art style. The contrasting There was a bit of a rhyming scheme at certain points of the story, but it didn’t feel super forced.

The theme and story itself tells a really important tale about positive vibes. I definitely think this book would be a great read for parents to bond with their children or for a school to pick up. I could see young classrooms picking this story apart and telling great tales!

Five out of five stars!

I found this book for free on BookBub.

 

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And comment below – what children’s books do you absolutely love?

#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

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

 

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

 

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Photo via Goodreads.

#BookReview Sleepy Animals by Gerald Hawksley

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Sleepy Animals is a picture book full of colourful drawings of very tired animals!

This book is definitely aimed towards the younger audience (mainly toddlers, and up to five years old). The pictures are simple and sweet, which makes this book the perfect resource for learning (whether in daycare of kindergarten classes). With over 20 pages of animals falling asleep, it could also be used as a bedtime story for the toddlers!

Yet again, the illustrations really stand out and make this book as great as it is! The storyline are very linear (tired animal falls asleep) and doesn’t require too much thinking. It’s simplistic, which is why it is so good for the target audience. If you pair this book alongside some of Gerald Hawksley’s other books, you’ll have a great baseline of books to introduce kids to!

Five out of five stars!

I found this book via BookBub.

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads – Sleepy Animals

Amazon.com – Happy Animals & Sleepy Animals 2-pack

Amazon.ca – Happy Animals & Sleepy Animals 2-pack

 

Find more books by Gerald Hawksley on Goodreads.

 

If you enjoyed this book review, check out another book you might enjoy! #BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller

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