#BookReview The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that I have been debating over since high school. Everyone I know from high school absolutely HATED this book (with a ridiculously strong passion) yet I had this feeling that I should read it anyways. After watching the 2017 television adaptation and LOVING it, I decided it was probably best to just bite the bullet and pick up this book. Of course, I had to remember to buy it to be able to read it and that took some time.

So, during this wonderous break from school and work I decided to indulge myself a little and pick up a book I REALLY wanted to read. Luckily, this book was within sight and reaching distance so I devoured it in under two hours. I binged this book SO HARD and it was SO WORTH IT.

If you’ve watched the television show, you know the basis. The show expands a lot more on the content (and changes some) but you’ve got the jist of the story. Offred is a Handmaid to the Commander and Serena Joy. Her “goal” is to get pregnant and give them a baby, and that isn’t going to well. So she hatches a plan with Serena Joy to be able to have a baby to get out! But… nothing ever goes to plan, and chaos ensues. That is the non-spoiler synopsis.

This book feels all too real even all these years later. It faces political, environmental and religious tones in such an amazing way that it really blew my mind. Margaret Atwood’s writing just adds to this story and gives it way more depth than I ever expected. Every little twist and turn makes me question who you can trust, if Offred is a reliable narrator (at times) and if this world can ever change. Unfortunately, you don’t find that last point out in this novel. The book ends rather abruptly and leaves me feeling cheated. I want to know what happens OH SO BAD. That’s the only reason I enjoy the television show just a little bit more – it expands a lot on the narrative and we will most likely get some kind of ending (eventually… it’s only at two seasons currently at the time I write this review).

You could definitely tear this book apart for “plot holes” – like… how did society crumble so fast? How could these women not over power some of these leaders? How did people let this happen? There’s so many questions that I want answered, but I don’t think that’s the purpose of this book. It felt like a warning tale, like 1984 by George Orwell or any of the Shakespeare tales. It’s a different take on society as a whole and is criticizing it in some way (and it’s also just really good fiction, let’s be honest).

My biggest flaw is how short this book is – I want more and I want to understand more. This world is just way too good, complex and big to not explore! I hear there’s another book coming out soon (oh please give us a sequel I want mooooore) but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Overall, this is a book that makes you think. I love books like that because I can sink into my chair (or couch… or bed…) and just let myself fall into the story. I escape this world and all of my worries and just take in this whole new world. I think Margaret Atwood is a seriously good author with ridiculous amounts of talent and I will for sure be looking for more books by her. Books like this make me SO happy that I love to read and have the time and ability too. Books like this make reading an absolutely breath taking hobby!

Seriously, if you love dystopian fiction, books that you can theorize and form conspiracies over or books that you probably would have read back in your high school English class- PICK THIS BOOK UP!

Five out of five stars.

 

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If you enjoyed this review (or book!) check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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#BookReview I Am Radar by Reif Larsen

I am Radar by Reif Larsen is a character study of a black man born to white parents.

This book was very slow and hard for me to read, I have to be upfront about that. The book is written beautifully and Reif Larsen is a terrific writer, but I just couldn’t get into this book. It took me months to get through because it’s so packed full of narrative. It is packed full of science, relationship drama, history and major character conflicts and soul searching.

I wish I would have loved this book more, because I am amazed at Reif’s writing style. I fell in love with these characters, but then the story would switch up and go somewhere else. I just got devoted to Radar and his parents and then the story switched around and took me somewhere I didn’t want to go. I wanted to watch Radar’s life tumble in front of my eyes, but I didn’t get that. Honestly though, Radar and his parents were my favourite part of this story. Watching them grow and react to life was a real gem. I wanted way more of that, because I absolutely loved them.

If you like books that follow the entire story of a person, including their backstory and their family’s story – you’ll love this book. It truly is a cool character study. Following Radar is the main purpose of this book, but we learn so much more about other characters as well. It’s a fictional drama story that is written beautifully. That’s where it stands with me. It also includes great illustrations and historic notes making it feel more non-fiction than fiction at times. Oh, and did I mention lots and lots of science and radio waves?

I would definitely suggest this as a book for an English class. I’d love to see someone pick it apart and explain it to me. I was just not invested enough to re-read sections and to go back and understand a lot of the book. It’s not a book to just sit down and binge – it’s too full of knowledge and information. You have to be willing to go back and understand everything that’s happening to really get it. So, it’s just not for me at this point in time.

Overall, the over 600 pages were not my cup of tea. I think Reif is a wonderful writer and I hope he finds his readers! He’s too talented, I don’t want it to go to waste! Pick up this book if you love a good drama full of science and knowledge. I’m honored to have read this book, because it is really cool. I’m just not his ideal reader.

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find this book on:

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Check out some other books and reviews you might enjoy:

#BookReview Gene. Sys. by Aaron Denius Garcia

#BookReview – The Last Day of Captain Lincoln by EXO Books

Quick Book Review: Escape Vector and Other Stories by Bryan Young

 

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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

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

#BookReview Hotwives and their Dirty Desires by Kay Brandt

Hotwives and their Dirty Desires is packed full of stories for every steamy romance lover to enjoy!

This R rated book is full of sexy scenes, not intended for a young reading audience.

The first short story, Berlin and Cody, features a young 21 year old painter named Cody and the beautiful Berlin who meet through a dating agency. Ms. K runs a super sexy dating agency where older women can meet younger men, which starts out story off. This pair is straight to the point about what they want, which is a fantastic and unique quality for the romance novels I usually read.

This story is super hot, sexy and full of steamy scenes. I wasn’t even a couple pages in and the heat had already been turned up to 100! If you’re the type of reader who likes to get right into the action, then this story is for you! The one thing that really got me about this book, though, was that they were getting hot and heavy in a cab and the driver didn’t notice?! Maybe my city’s taxi drivers are just too into chatting with the customers, because they were getting it on and not a single word was said to them! Seriously, I’d love to see the comedy side story of that guy explaining to someone how his day went.

Story number two – The Post-Marital Lesbian Affair. This time, a lovely woman named Autumn wants to welcome Berlin into her marriage with open arms. Berlin and Autumn take center stage for this steamy love affair. This story is a bit darker and a bit steamier, cranking up this room to a sauna.

Story number three, Berlin and Cody’s First Menage, brings Cody in on the action with the ladies. Story four continues on with Autumn’s husband and story five introduced Casey and Paul.

Each story got bigger and more full of erotica. I would definitely label this book under erotica and not romance, if you’re particular about your genres. Kay Brandt can clearly write an erotic scene and make it hot and dirty.

I did have one major worrying point from this set – Cody and Berlin didn’t use protection. That’s, you know, their choice and all, but it seemed mighty weird for a story to not even bring it up. They just jumped in, not knowing one another and hoped for the best. It’s not a downside but it’s not an upside either.

Overall, this book is super raunchy (in a good way). If you like hot, steamy, erotic books that go right into the action then you’ll love this book!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Check out Kay Brandt’s Amazon page, Twitter, Facebook and publisher Excessica.

Find this book on:

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**Photos courtesy of the author.

#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:

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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 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

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#BookReview A Cinderella for the Greek by Julia James

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A Cinderella for the Greek by Julia James was an interesting take on the classic tale “Cinderella”.

This book didn’t sit well with me even though I really wanted to like it. The story itself is a classic that I love (who doesn’t love a Cinderella/Princess tale?) but what lies within the story is what bothered me. The big problem with this book for me is the comments about Ellen (our Cinderella’s) weight. She isn’t as thin as her step sister Chloe, and our male counterpart Max points that out a few times. The comments weren’t healthy criticism’s either, but he gets over her “ugliness” to be able to fall in love with her. It’s that part of the story that turns my thoughts sour on this book. Everything else within the novel is quite lovely – the tale, the romance, the plot lines – it’s all great but that little part. At first, Max does not describe Ellen as beautiful, but slowly he begins to love the way she looks. It felt kind of silly in my mind, since the description of her sounded to be nice (but comparing her to the thin step-sister…).

I liked that Max wasn’t forceful as many male leads are these days. He’s caring and tries his best (even if at times it seems a little forced). I liked that he was interested in Ellen’s charity and that he seemed to be overall a good guy. The other characters (like the Evil Step-Mother and Evil Step-Sister) were perfectly evil in every way. The plot line followed the narrative it should have as well.

I felt this book got a lot better once it moved forward and continued to grow the relationship between Max and Ellen. That adds an extra star in for me as a reader. I think there was lots of potential here, to be honest! I’d like to read more by Julia James because I’m sure she has gotten better as her writing has continued.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! It is a really good book, it’s just not for me! It is a lovely Harlequin Romance that should definitely be picked up if you love an ooey, gooey romance or a retelling of Cinderella!

Two out of five stars.

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

 

If you enjoyed this review or book, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Always Been You by Sadie Allen

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

 

 

 

Photo via Goodreads.