#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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

 

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And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

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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

 

What else do you want to see on my blog? Let me know in the comments below, tweet me at @ReviewAlholic or tell me on Facebook!

#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1

It’s time for another collection of amazing books! This time around I am focusing on books that were full of fantasy. This is only part one of my fave fantasy reads, so don’t you worry if you don’t see your favourite! Let these 10 books fill up your TBR for the time being. These books are in no certain order, but I absolutely loved all of them!

Time to get started with my elevator pitches for these sweet, sweet novels!

 

1. #BookReview You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister
I have loved Katie MacAlister since my high school years! I accidentally stumbled upon her in my local bookstore and ever since I’ve been infatuated with her novels. Her books are cute, silly, fun and full of ooey, gooey romance! This book series is my favourite of all of her books – Aisling Grey’s series! Aisling falls in love with a handsome Dragon named Drake, and hilarity ensues! If you’re looking for a fun yet fantastical novel full of romance, then this is the perfect book for you!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

2. #BookReview Bittersweet Symphony by Rebecca McNutt
Bittersweet Symphony was introduced to me by the author, fellow Canadian Rebecca McNutt. This book fell well into my wheelhouse – horror, fantasy and Canadian roots! And man, did this book not disappoint! If you’re looking for something a little darker, then following this New York set novel full of kooky occurrences will meet your expectations! If I had to pick one book to describe this book, I’d use “gothic”.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

3. Omens and/or No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong
When you’re putting Kelley Armstrong on a list, it’s hard to pick just one book. I had a really hard time picking between these two books (because I absolutely love both of them) so I figured to add a “bonus” book to the list! No Humans Involved is Jaime’s story in the Otherworld universe. Women of the Otherworld is one epic series following strong, female leads who are witches, werewolves and necromancers. Jaime (the necromancer) has always been my fave and I have always been in love with Jeremy Danvers (the sexy, alpha werewolf) so I had to include it! No Humans Involved isn’t as cutesy as Katie MacAlister’s books, but it is a couple steps up on the staircase – it has lots of action, a splash of comedy, and some super sexy scenes. And then you’ve got Omens, which is a whole ‘nother ballpark. Cainsville has all sorts of weird and strange things going on, and is a little more R rated fantasy (and mystery). If you’re looking for some mystery in your fantasy novel, and something not so cutesy (but pretty dark), grab this book! I read these YEARS ago and I really need to jump back into these series soon, because I haven’t finished either and I love my fellow Canadian, Kelley Armstrong! Can you believe I missed the chance to meet her in my hometown years ago?!

Find these books on:
Amazon.ca – No Humans Involved
Amazon.ca – Omens
Amazon.com – No Humans Involved
Amazon.com – Omens
Kobo – No Humans Involved
Kobo – Omens

4. Quick Book Reviews: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent
This list is just full of my old faves! Rachel Vincent was another author I stumbled upon in my high school years (just like Katie and Kelley) and I still love her! Her Shifter series started me out, but Menagerie blew my mind! This fantasy novel involves a carnival full of strange beings. The grotesque carnival puts these human “monsters” on display, but Delilah is a little different…
I’m disappointed in myself that I never picked up the sequel yet. When I got this book in my hands, I absolutely devoured the book. I was totally obsessed and needed to read more, but my local bookstores never got a physical copy in. Rachel Vincent is an author to look out for, whether you want some good old YA novels or some super eerie or romantic adult novels! Also, she’s been super nice to me on social media so I’ll root for her everyday of the week!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

5. Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
Add Richelle to my “discovered in high school and still loves” list! Vampire Academy introduced me to her, and Gameboard of the Gods made me truly obsessed with her. I’m still angry this series was never truly finished, but it is worth the read! This fantasy series is for adults (a step away from the YA Vampire Academy universe) and it’s absolutely insane! Religion meets fantasy meets military. Add a pinch of romance, a dash of suspense and a barrel of action and you’ve got one of my fave fantasies EVER. Maybe, just maybe, if everyone reads this book she’ll FINALLY release the last one… Maybe? Probably not. But a girl can dream, right?!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

6. #BookReview Blood by Ruth Miranda
Blood is the first book in the Blood series by Ruth Miranda, but let this book be the placeholder for the whole series. Ruth Miranda approached me to read her books, and MAN AM I SO HAPPY SHE DID. This series is absolutely R-rated wild with vampires, fantasy and magic. She’s a genius and her writing ability is insane! If you want a really dark and gruesome story that is addicting, pick this book up. It does have some touchy subjects, so it’s not for the faint of heart. It 100% deserves a spot on this epic fantasy list!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

7. #BooKReview Fast Backward by David Patneaude
Time to switch it up a little with David Patneaude’s intriguing YA. Fast Backward mixes time travel with historical fiction together when Bobby Hasting witnesses an atomic explosion. The history of Germany, bombs and the amazing intelligence of teenagers is expressed in this book. I thought it was super cool and the time travel worked really well in this book. It’s light-hearted despite being about such a touchy subject. It’s well worth the read!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

8. #BookReview – Apocalypse the Memoir by CS Oliver
Zombies. Yes, I have finally included a book about zombies on the list! Apocalypse the Memoir is a sarcastic yet wildly addicting ride through Canada. It’s R-rated, it’s gorey, and it has some hilarious one liners you wouldn’t expect in a book about zombies! The sassiness of this book is at Level 500, so all of you sarcastic little bookworms will get a real kick out of it!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

9. Quick Book Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Asylum is a creepy YA novel based in, you guessed it, an asylum. What makes this book even cooler is the fact that there are pictures in the book to give you some epic visuals. The book is full of horror and it’ll keep you guessing at every turn. I loved picking this book up because it’s the perfect mix of horror without the crazy R rated content. Sometimes, you just don’t want the excessive gore.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

10. Awakened by Harley Austin
Federal agents, government conspiracies and thrills mixed with fantasy? Heck yes! This book is your typical adult thriller with fantasy entwined all throughout. If you’re looking for a book but don’t want to fully commit to a fantasy novel, then this book will give you all the thrills and more! I really enjoyed Harley Austin’s book and it’s a real treat if you want something a little different.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

There you have it! 11 fantasy books to top up your TBR shelves. Have you read any of these books or authors before? Which was your favourite? What other fantasy books novels should I read and add to the lists? Also, what other lists do you want to see? Comment below and let me know!

 

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#BookReview Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

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Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite authors, and not just because she’s Canadian! Her Women of the Otherworld series has always and will always knock my socks off!

This novel follows Elena yet again, but as the title suggests – this time she is “Stolen”. This book amps up the action, making it equal (if not better) to the original “Bitten” novel. I found this book so strong as a sequel, that it was really hard not picking up the third book immediately after this one! Elena and her pack, as well as the rest of the ladies that eventually lead this series, are a force to be reckoned with! Kelley knows how to write her characters strong and passionate!

This series is definitely for adults (although, there is a YA series if you’re interested…), due to some of the brutality the story can get into. It’s not an R rated novel, but the themes are better suited for adults (some mature YA audiences could easily read it, I know I originally read these as a teenager).

I also really enjoy Elena and Clay together. Their relationship isn’t the smoothest, and it has it’s rocky moments, but they work really well together. Knowing that their relationship builds well over multiple books, I can look back and be impressed with how Kelley built them over time. The other characters and their relationships are also very strong, but these two really shine in the Elena books.

Kelley will pull you in and have you hooked almost instantly. If you haven’t read anything by her, get on it! I love this author, and she always meets my expectations and surpasses them!

If there was one series I’d highly recommend, it’s this series! It has drama, action, adventure, romance and comedy all packaged into a fantastic Canadian series! It’s well worth the read, and worth every penny I’ve spent on this series (even when I accidentally bought doubles and triples of the books, because I forgot the order…whoops!). If I did have one recommendation, try not to read this series far apart from each other. I find it’s a great binge read, because the story is so full of lore and excitement!

And if you couldn’t get enough of this series, there’s a television show based off of the book (it’s pretty close for first season, but second and third are loosely based – but it’s still incredble!).

Five out of five stars! Can I make that six out of five? No? Darn. I guess it’ll stick to five!

 

Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11922.Stolen

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

 

If you enjoyed this review, why not check out another book you might enjoy? Quick Book Reviews: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

And while you’re at it, follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with my latest reading antics! @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview Thrown Off Track by Tamsen Parker

40144194

 

“It sounds serial-killer creepy” = the best quote of this entire book (and it’s pretty darn quote worth).

Here’s the thing – I don’t normally like M/M romance. Not because I don’t enjoy M/M romance stories, but because every book I’ve ever read that involved M/M centered around stereotypical men and always made M/M seem like a joke. But this book? It has characters that felt real, with awkward situations that would actually happen, and doesn’t make M/M look like some weird fairy tale full of characters without personalities.

I loved it, like normal. Tamsen clicks with me, and all of her nerdy references make me fangirl beyond believe. Narnia? Schrodinger’s cat? Heck yes!

Continuing on with this series (some characters from SIG, and now LtL) is an excellent way to keep these characters alive. I love Tamsen’s creativity with her series – Olympics, boy bands. What’s next?! This fantastic author is filling my childhood obsessions up, now she just needs to make a story about a swimmer and she’s hit almost every point in my childhood (because I was a highly competitive swimmer…most readers won’t understand that reference if you don’t know me). Essentially, these series feel like throwbacks, and I love it!

This book is fun, lovable and about boy bands (of all topics…) and raises this genre to a new high for me. I was hooked and addicted (yes, I got side tracked often by the nerdy references and had to tweet Tamsen about it, but what can you expect from me? I embrace my nerdiness). Although, this book isn’t as R rated as her past books (the deleted scene is very hot and heavy, but I’m not sure if that will be in the final copy).

Thank you for including LGBT characters in this story – I have never heard of the term demisexual before, and I’m so thankful you’re introduced me to more terms that I can totally understand and relate to. On top of that, having these male leads with personalities and likes and dislikes and not being perfect? It makes it even better. It felt more realistic (within the realm of a superstar boy band, realism).

So, delving into these characters – Teague and Christian are a really different/unique pair (in a good way). Teague is a superstar, rock star who is a demisexual. Christian is the drummer (in the same band of Teague) and is a little more shy and awkward (and always JUST on time). Christian likes guys, Teague’s been with both genders. And then Teague develops a little crush on Christian, who’s been crushing on him for a long time and sexy antics ensue! I feel like everyone saw this coming with the boy band theme, but that doesn’t make it any less cute! They’re awkward together at first (which felt wildly refreshing, since everyone just seems to mesh well the first time and BAM they’re a couple, which isn’t always the case in real life) and slowly grow.

Even though most readers could see a relationship between members coming from a mile away, the bassist and the drummer? I wouldn’t have seen that pair coming.

If you haven’t read anything by Tamsen before, I highly recommend her (as a fan). But, she might not be for you (because it happens). I find her books are fun and uplifting, and are never too serious. They move fast, are full of romance, and will open your eyes up to different worlds (religion, sexuality, lifestyles, etc). I keep praising over and over, and I’ll do it again in this review – she doesn’t stick to the same old story. There are some really fantastic authors (who I love and still read) that do that, but Tamsen changes it up and keeps me on my toes! The likelihood that there will be one book you like (because she has so many different types of romance books) is high! Read through her catalogue and find the topics you like, but keep in mind all books might not be for you!

My reading style and Tamsen’s writing style just click, and the nerdy references on top of that lift these books up. This is definitely a must read and a recommendation from me, as I think it’s one of her better books (at this rate, I can’t pick a best. It rotates depending on the day and how I feel, but this book will be included in that “top tier”, ever rotating list).

On a side note, I really like the little guitar symbol that was above the names of when the characters switch back and forth between point of views. My copy is an ARC, so I’m not sure if that will be on the final copy, but I thought it was a nice addition and looked aesthetically pleasing!

Five out of five! Ten out of five! Fifteen out of five! I’m pulling an Oprah with these stars! Every gets one! Five for every boy in the boy band and Rowan gets six for a surprise cameo!

I received an uncorrected proof from the author Tamsen Parker in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out Thrown Off Track on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40144194-thrown-off-track

Want to purchase this book? Find it on Amazon!

Amazon.com – Thrown Off Track

Amazon.ca – Thrown Off Track

Find out more about Tamsen Parker on her website: http://www.tamsenparker.com/

Give Tamsen and I a shout out on Twitter!@TamsenParker & @ReviewAlholic

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out part of my collection of reviews of Tamsen Parker books:

#BookReview Rogue Hearts (Anthology) by Tamsen Parker, Amy Jo Cousins, and more

#BookReview Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker

#BookReview #OnTheBrinkofPassion by Tamsen Parker

#BookReview In Her Court by Tamsen Parker

Book Review: The Cartographer by Tamsen Parker