#BookReview Vi by Kim Thúy

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Kim Thúy’s beautiful short story, Vi, is a must read for fiction lovers!

I won’t lie, the fact that this book is so short was what drew me to it. I needed a quick read to keep me occupied while I was in a waiting room and this book was short enough to devour in one sitting. While this book might lack in quantity, it hits a real punch on the quality. I’m honestly surprised Kim is not a bigger author, because this book was mind-blowingly awesome. And yes, I am making mind-blowingly a word.

The cultural impact is probably the best part of this novel. Often, you can see silly cultural stereotypes in novels but this one did it right. You could tell Kim knew what she was talking about with the depth and nature of her words. It didn’t feel cheap or obnoxious, it felt oddly satisfying to read about another culture that was not my own. Watching Vi’s story take place over these pages was a fantastic adventure, since Kim wove her words so beautifully and made this story dance in my mind. I absolutely loved it!

I would have liked a better ending, I found it kind of “blah” compared to the rest of the novel. This book had me hooked and obsessed with Vi’s journey and then the end just fell…well, flat. I would have liked something more. That was my only real issue with this novel. It is a translation (and my copy was an ARC) so there were some weird sentences with the translation but that wasn’t a con for me. I moved passed those issues really easily when reading it.

Overall, this charming read is a great option if you want a story that will move you and impact your understanding of culture. I 100% recommend this book!

Four out of five stars.

I received an ARC of this book through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview A Long Way Back by J. Everett Prewitt

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#BooKReview Drug Gang by Neil Walker

 

Drug Gang was a book far out of my normal reading boundaries, but I wanted to step outside my normal fantasy and romance filled novels. This book felt cinematic in a sense, something along the lines of the Godfather (but fictional, and not the same plot).

This book felt me feeling ‘meh’ at some points – it would pick up speed and get really good, then go bland for a few pages, then get exciting and full of action, then slow down again. I love a story that moves at a fast and furious pace, so in that sense the book was not for me.

John’s adventures in the drug dealing business was interesting. I felt like some situations just fell perfectly into place for him, but it was still a fun read. Instead of a general build to the plot points, they happened suddenly and out of the blue. I would have liked some building up to the main plot points if this book wasn’t going to go hard and fast. Although, it was interesting since I don’t tread in that fictional water often.

My biggest cons for this book were the following: lack of females (as much as I understand this is a man’s world/perspective, it just seemed weird there were NO women hanging around for most of the novel…with speaking parts, that is), and the writing style didn’t match well with my reading style.

Disclaimer: There’s some REAALLLLLLLY dark scenes in this book, so if you are the faint of heart or don’t like brutal scenes don’t go for this book. It’s a hard R, wild ride.

Overall, this book was cool! I definitely want to continue reading this series because it’s so different. While I’ve heard of this concept a lot, I’ve never actually read books like this. If you wait to get into this novel, you might find it to get more addicting as you go. I found myself really hooked about 3/4ths into the novel.

Four out of five stars!

I received a free, virtual copy of this novel from Neil Walker in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon UK: Drug Gang #1

Amazon USA: Drug Gang #1

Amazon CAN: Drug Gang #1

Check out a quick preview for the second book in the series:

Drug Gang Vengeance: Drug Gang Part II

THE DRUG GANG IS BACK! IT’S TIME TO PAY FOR YOUR SINS…

John Kennedy is on his way out of a life of crime in Sydney, when he is hunted down by drug gang The Brotherhood. This leads to a spiral of vengeance and violence that stretches right around the globe.

PART TWO OF THE DRUG GANG SERIES.

Amazon UK: Drug Gang Vengeance (#2)

Amazon USA: Drug Gang Vengeance (#2)

Amazon CAN: Drug Gang Vengeance (#2)

 

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#BookReview If We Had Known by Elise Juska

 

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“If We Had Known” was a unique read that gave me chills.

With all the shootings that have been happening, well…everywhere, I was honestly surprised I hadn’t seen millions upon millions of books trying to hone in on the public interest. When I initially picked this book up, I was under the impression this book might try to do just that, but it was surprisingly and beautifully respectful.

I did enjoy this book. I think it was an interesting ride all the way along, and it kept me hooked. There were a couple chapters where it was slow and I became bored, but overall it was an addicting ride.

So, what are my pros and cons?

Pros:
1. Different POVs – There are many different point of views in this story, and one of them is NOT the shooter (believe it or not). I appreciated watching the lives of many people fold out, and not just one.

2. Story Telling – I LOVE how Elise Juska told this story. Her choice of words and pace of the novel really fit well with this topic. I wouldn’t change a thing in relation to this.

3. Intertwining Stories – When stories intertwine I get so giddy! All of these stories having effects on each other (some positive, some very negative) made the book just a little bit more exciting. I could guess some of the effects that they would have on each other, but it was still nice to see that things do effect other people.

Cons:
1. Plot Device Characters – It felt like some characters were thrown in and taken out super fast just to move the plot along. I would have liked to see Anna’s boyfriends a little bit more and see how things affected them.

2. Happily Ever After – Everything tied up so nicely at the end! I was kind of hoping to leave off on a weird note, and not a semi-happy note. Now, everybody who knows me knows I like happy/good endings, but I felt a little cheated with this one. There shouldn’t have been a really good ending, and anybody who’s been through something like this would tell you how honest that was.

Overall, I really liked this book! There are definitely some minor problems with this book, but it was a worthy read!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Did you enjoy this book? Why not check out another by Elisa Juska?! EliseJuska.com

Check out If We Had Known on Goodreads! Goodreads – If We Had Known

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Or check out another book you might enjoy! #BookReview Life Seemed Good, But… by Richard Bell

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#BookReview Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn

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I love Shakespeare – anyone who knows me well can tell you that – so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. But, sadly, it was under whelming and quite the disappointment. Perhaps I put to much pressure on this book before reading it?

I haven’t read King Lear yet, but I have been meaning to. I made sure to read over the synopsis and read some of the more “famous” pieces from the story online to get a better feel for it before I picked up this book. I wanted to understand the source material and see what Edward St. Aubyn would do with it. While he got the base of the story and plot correct, it just wasn’t as great as it could have been.

Henry Dunbar (our King Lear) the media mogul is our lead, who has three daughters (two of whom seem out of their right mind 99% of the time, I feel like they should have been in the psych ward, personally), is currently in what appears to be a psych ward with a not-so-funny comedian. He plans to escape and prevent the two psychotic daughters from running his company/getting his trust money.

The two psychotic daughters appear to be too evil – like it’s obvious, but their reasoning for getting the trust money doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to be crazy. I would have liked to see the craziness pulled back a bit to make it more realistic, or interesting. I just found them to pull away from the great story of Henry and Florence. While Florence does seem to be a little too goody-goody, their scenes are really beautiful and seem to be the best part of this entire story.

St. Aubyn uses a lot of Shakespeare quotes – which I loved! They were used in the correct context too. My issue within this, is sometimes it seemed like he was trying to write in iambic pentameter or using language from that era when it just didn’t fit in. The first chapter when Henry and his comedian friend are telling stories seem to be edging towards that era, but it just wasn’t funny. If anything, it made me more confused and bored. I had to keep re-reading what they were saying just to try to understand what they are doing (and I was an ace at Shakespeare in English, so how could I not understand normal English?…Geez).

My overall review – just read the original. There are some FANTASTIC adaptions out there that can wow your socks off and rival the original, and this one isn’t it. It’s a great story, and if it entered a contest it could potentially win, but it’s not the best I’ve seen. I gave up a few chapters in just to force myself through the book.

Edward is a great author, and while this might not be his strongest novel I’m sure he is great in other areas. I definitely want to give him another shot in the future with a book that’s an original story because I’m sure he could shine there.

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

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#BookReview Bittersweet Symphony by Rebecca McNutt

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This book was written in Nova Scotia, and as a Canadian I AM SO HAPPY I AM READING A CANADIAN BOOK. That cannot be understated – I love helping other Canadian authors out. It’s so near and dear to my heart.

Rebecca McNutt’s novel Bittersweet Symphony was an addicting read for me. Her descriptions and tone in her writing was something that just clicked with me. Her tone was somewhat professional, yet it worked so well within this novel. It almost sounded like the perfection my English teachers in high school wanted us to achieve, but never could. The level of how descriptive her writing is made me feel like I was there with the characters. I could see this being “too much” for some readers, but I love description when it’s paired with a good story (and it’s not just one hundred pages describing how the characters look).

I like how the story is essentially an allusion for real events, and the little splash of ghosts thrown in as well. It makes it real yet not real, believable yet not believable all wrapped up into one. This book is in it’s own little corner, AND I LOVE IT.

I would say this book has some “mature” themes, revolving around language and some things that are referenced (without spoiling). Although, that doesn’t mean you have to be 18+ to read it. The book isn’t to graphic, so I think teenagers could easily read this book and relate to it.

Pros:
1. Unique story telling – Rebecca doesn’t follow your stereotypical, simple writing style. It’s hard to explain, but it’s different. I like the term “gothic” for it, but that’s not 100% on point with how she writes. Essentially, I love an author that writes in their own style and doesn’t follow a norm so I REALLY liked this book.

2. Short and Sweet – This book isn’t 1000 pages long. This book reminded me of the original Star Wars trilogy: the information that needed to be there, was there. There was no fluff, it got to the point and made an effective story.

3. “Black as the ace of spades” – The language is BEAUTIFUL in this book. I’m obsessed with it. Can Rebecca McNutt write my life story while she’s at it?

4. Interconnecting Stories – I’m obsessed with Cloud Atlas (one of my all time faves of interconnecting stories) so it seems fitting that I’d enjoy another book that interconnects everything. Bravo!!

5. Relatable – This book was relatable on so many levels. Just reading how the lawyer says that they are snakes until someone needs their help, and then suddenly they are their best friend – yeah, that one hit me where it hurts. It’s so honest, and so true.

6. Shocking Twists and Turns – Some of this book you don’t see coming, and I can respect an author that can actually make that work in a novel.

Cons:
1. Dialogue – The dialogue can appear “rigid” or “stiff” to some readers. For me, it worked within the story and how Rebecca was telling her story, but that might turn off other readers.

2. Personal con: Madson. I keep wanting to call it “Madison” or anything but Madson. It was driving me insane as I was reading it because my brain didn’t want to comprehend the name. Major personal con here (and an amusing con at that).

I’m amazed that people are saying Rebecca McNutt was 19 when she wrote this. That’s a lot of talent for that age, so I can only imagine Rebecca getting better the more she writes and the more time she has to practice. This book doesn’t seem like it’s written by a 19 year old – it’s incredibly mature.

Overall, this unique book had me hooked and addicted from it’s first page. I’m so glad I read it, because I haven’t read a book so unique and actually good for a very long time!

Five out of five stars.

I received a copy of this book from the author Rebecca McNutt in exchange for an honest review. Everything here is my own, honest opinion.

Side notes: If you want to read this book, the author posted her own “review” offering copies out. It’s a great opportunity to read and review an awesome book. Not many authors offer opportunities like this, so hop on it if it’s still available!!!

 

Will you be reading this book? Or do you have a book recommendation? Comment below!

Check Rebecca McNutt out on Goodreads! Rebecca McNutt on Goodreads

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If you enjoyed this review, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Manchester Vice by Jack Strange

#BookReview Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

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Here’s another #ThrowbackThursday – a novel I read years ago, but reread and created a review for!! This is one of my favourites – Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.

 

 

Clockwork Princess is a beautiful finish to one of YA’s best series in recent years.

For years I waited anxiously for a book like Clockwork Princess – a story that ends beautifully, perfectly and without total heart break. With characters as strong as Jem, Will and Tessa, we needed a solid ending that would make all fans happy but also tie up the story just perfectly, and Cassandra Clare delivered.

This book will pull at your heartstrings and destroy you. It’s such a beautiful ending it’s hard to believe it’s all over with. The ups and downs of this series is ended just perfectly that there are no loose ends and no destroyed fans (at least, from what I’ve seen). I dare say that this book is the best book Cassandra Clare has ever written – it rivals the base Mortal Instrument series, and has one step up. This book was even better than City of Heavenly Angels, in my opinion. With such a satisfying conclusion, I have to say it deserves more than five stars. Not many books can be finished so perfectly.

Would I recommend this series? Absolutely. While it’s a YA, it definitely doesn’t feel like your typical YA story. Adults can enjoy this – there isn’t as much ooey, gooey silly teenage angst that is in most YA books. It’s a grown up YA with the odd silly scene. So it’s safe to say it’s a good read. This series can also be used as a standalone – you don’t need to read all the other series (Mortal Instruments, Dark Artifices) to understand this book at all. It is the prequel series to The Mortal Instruments, if you’re interested in reading further (they can be read out of order via the series though. TMI came out first, then this series and now The Dark Artifices). I would suggest reading the three books of this series in order though – it’s worthy.

It also has one of the most beautiful covers. I love the original cover – I saw a new one at my local book store recently and it wasn’t as beautiful, but in terms of cover art – judging the book by it’s cover it allowed for this book. With such a great cover comes such a great story.

Problems with this book/series:
Yes, there’s a love triangle. Can they be annoying? Yes. Does it work in this book? Yeah, it’s YA so it’s kind of an expected plot twist these days.
Weak characters – yeah, there are some. But personally, I find having all characters be strong can make for a boring book.
Repeat characters – Cassandra Clare uses the same characters/developments with different names and faces. It’s annoying, but as long as you aren’t just reading her books and expand your library, you don’t notice to much.
Rule Breakers – some of the “cannot be broken rules” are broken in this book. It’s kind of annoying in my eyes, but what can you do? It created the happy ending most fans wanted, so I guess we can over look that…
Tessa – FINALLY we learn what Tessa is. I’m a little disappointed it took so long because it would have been cooler to flesh out all about her throughout the series, but whatever, it works, I guess.

So, overall, this book is really on the fence for most readers – people either love it passionately to no end (ugly cry, putting the book on a pedestal and praying to it sort of deal) or hated it (rip the pages out, burn the book, demand a refund, etc). I’m on the end that enjoyed it and I definitely kept the book (Look at that cover, how can you not love the book for the cover alone?).

So, I will give it five out of five stars. It had it’s faults for sure, but it was a great read that kept me interested, was fast paced, and had an ending that I found to be good.

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#BookReview So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum is a different look at the typical murder/kidnap storyline.

This book is an interesting read, and I wasn’t entirely sure what I thought about it that I had to sit on the story for quite a few days. There are multiple storylines, and not all are equal. The perspectives of Catherine and her professor really intrigued me, while the other point of views bored me and sometimes made me question why they were in the novel. Basing it off what the back cover says, it’s showing the “complexity of love and the power of stories to shape our lives”, but I’m not quite sure how they all fit in.

I do love Rebecca Rosenblum’s writing style. When I was reading Catherine’s point of view I was hooked and wanted to much more. I even expected so much more – since the ending left me feeling like there were parts of the story missing. Catherine and her husband’s desire to have a child just disappeared – it was such a big part of the story and it was never brought up again, not even a side line comment in regards to it.

This story wasn’t exactly a mystery or a thriller, but it wasn’t your typical murder/kidnapping story either. I enjoyed seeing the different points of view in regards to their feelings about the situation, but it just felt like there were pieces missing. I would definitely suggest reading this book because it’s style of writing is fantastic, but plot wise it could have been cleaned up a bit (in my opinion). There were also some points in regards to our character knowing her kidnappers name yet we never hear an introduction or how they knew each other. It was quite frustrating to me…

Overall, I think this story had so much potential and Rebecca will only grow the more she writes. I hope she comes back to this story at some point (perhaps a sequel?) and expands more on this concept. It was such a great idea and it was unique.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

 

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