#BookReview Death by Diploma by Kelley Kaye

Death by Diploma by Kelley Kaye is a fun, cozy mystery that is perfect for binging!

I’ve gotta say, I have been yearning for some teacher centered reads lately (ironically, since school is getting out around now for the elementary school kids in my area). And what is my luck that Kelley Kaye has an awesome mystery series that’s full of teachers, silly antics and loads of thrills!

Our lead Emma working at a new school and meets Leslie, the current head of the English department. While being introduced to her new life as the high school English teacher, she discovers a murder! Leslie, Emma and a band of jolly characters must work together to find out who killed a beloved janitor and all of the secrets he held behind the scenes in his life.

The book is FULL of quotes – Star Wars and Shakespeare just to name a couple! I loved all of the silly references that I understood, and the ones I didn’t I got to look up and find MORE books to add to my never ending to-be-read pile! Add in the comedy that Kelley Kaye is clearly an expert at providing, and you’ve got yourself a fun time! Work your way through this book and try to solve the mystery, or just enjoy the giggles you’ll get from the wacky one liners!

For me as a reader, I couldn’t find much wrong with this book. It was short enough to binge it but long enough to feel fulfilling. It was also packed with everything I love – silly comments, epic quotes and fun characters. There’s drama, a splash of flirtiness and romance, gossip, thrills and chills. It hits all the notes I want in a sweet novel!

I would say this book is for 16+, due to some of the adult comments used in the book. That being said, if you’ve got a mature teen they will have no problem reading this book! It’s not R rated, it just has adult comments that you might not want to read to your children.

Five out of five stars! It was a fun ride that I definitely want more of! I’ll be searching for Kelley Kaye’s books on every bookshelf I can!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Kelley Kaye in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:

 

Check out the first bo on:

Goodreads – Death by Diploma

Youtube – Book Trailer – Death by Diploma

Amazon.com – Death by Diploma

Amazon.ca – Death by Diploma

Find out more about Kelley Kaye on:

Goodreads – Kelley Kaye or Goodreads – Kelley Kaye #2

YouTube – Kelley Kaye

http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

Twitter – @KelKay1202

Facebook – Kelley Kaye

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

And comment below! What books do you find “cozy”?

 

Photo from Goodreads.

Advertisements

#BookReview Life of Pi by Yann Martel

4214

I have been yearning to read this book for a long time. Everyone I spoke to was obsessed with this book to the n-th degree, so I figured I might feel the same way once I read it.

I was highly mistaken.

I found this book to be slow moving and boring, even though it is well written. This book was just not for me (which happens, by the way. Not every reader has to like every book ever written). That being said, I still wanted to give it a quality review. For me, the stars are low – but keep in mind this book is still excellent and the idea was intriguing.

To keep the plot short: A boy is trapped on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger after his family was trying to move their zoo animals across the sea. Tragedy strikes, and now Pi (our lead) is stuck with Richard Parker (our cat).

I found that this story went in many different directions. At first, this story seemed to be all about animals and how Pi’s father ran a zoo. I thought there might be more information in regards to him opening a zoo in the future, or having some great story arc involving it. Unfortunately, this didn’t go very far. It seemed to just be an introduction into the character rather than making it an integral part of the story (except for the animals on the lifeboat, of course). Then religion is thrown into the mix!! Pi enjoys practicing three different religions and this causes strife with his family, and then the plot point is essentially gone. There could have been lots of room for improvement in this discussion further along in the book, but all we get is that Pi is “praying” a lot. To me, having all of these opportunities to follow through with these plot lines was a bit of a waste. Why just have these points as an intro to the character? Why not use them to your advantage?

I also found this book to be SO FREAKING SLOW AND BORING. It’s inspirational, but when it’s close to two hundred pages of “stuck on a boat, send help, I am praying, there’s a tiger, i need to drink water” over and over, it gets a little tiring.

When I look at other reviews and theories about this book, I understand the theme is about religion. You can pick your story to follow God – just like picking apart this book. There’s multiple stories to follow, and you can pick the one you like. I don’t know how I feel about this theme and the way it is presented, but it worked.

This book also has some gore in it, so if you don’t want to read about an animal being ripped apart in description then this book might not be for you!!

Pros:
1. The chapters are short – I like when books don’t make long chapters. Having a chapter that lasts one hundred pages tires me out. Having the opportunity to stop where I want to with a small chapter is a nice quality about this book.

2. The cover – The cover is absolutely gorgeous. It’s simple, it’s colourful and it gets to the point. I appreciate a well thought out cover.

3. Beautiful language – Yann Martel can present a scene well with his words. There are some moments in this book where I got lost in his choice of words.

Cons:

1. Slow and Steady doesn’t always win the race.

2. Religion. This seems like a bad place to put it, but I know many people who would lose their minds having religion be a theme in the book (some would have it as an AMAZING PRO). That being said, I’m putting it in cons because of the strife it may cause some readers. There’s also times I think that religion was mentioned to much, like the author was trying to hit us over the head with it. Just because you leave religion out for one page doesn’t mean we’ll forget about it!

3. The story drags with the same thoughts and concepts.

Overall, this book was not my cup of tea. It is beautifully written and was a unique take on religion I hadn’t seen before. I had high hopes and expectations for this book, but it didn’t bode well for me. I blame a lot of the really great reviews and everyone saying it was the best book ever to make me have such high expectations, but putting the blame on them really won’t get me anywhere, will it?

Two out of five stars.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Hope Has Two Daughters by Monia Mazigh

Check out Yann Martel on twitter! @WriterYann

Give me a shoutout on twitter! @ReviewAlholic

 

#BookReview The Father by Brett Williams

21840662

The Father by Brett Williams is a unique take on a generational story.

I did not enjoy this book as much as I hoped to. The book was written in a tone that just didn’t fit with me personally, but it is a great book. The story follows a family through the generation, with each section building on each other. I found the first section of this book to be incredibly hard to read, and I felt very bored. I put this book down many times because I just couldn’t get into it. There were sentence fragments all over (it didn’t help that I was editting my English paper during the week I was reading this book), and it just didn’t connect with me. The second and third sections of this book were a lot easier to read for me, but I worried that I was just going to give up on the book in the first section when I couldn’t connect.

The second half of the book is where all of my interest picked up. If there was anything I could recommend for this book, it’s for Brett to capture our attention early in the novel so readers don’t put the book down. I understand the first bit of the novel was needed to introduce a lot of the back story, but this could have been woven in throughout the story.

The story does look at a lot of themes and issues throughout the over one hundred year span. I really loved how descriptive and interesting the topics and thoughts were throughout the novel. Those comments are often lacking in novels nowadays, so seeing some sensitive topics touched upon was a nice change.

The “unevenness” for this book is the reason why my score is lower. I easily got bored and confused as I read the novel, and when I pulled myself away from it for a couple days it was just as hard to get back into it. I hope the next novel in this series keeps the faster pace and is more exciting, because I think Brett Williams is a good writer! This series definitely deserves some love!

Overall, this book was not for me. The style and tone didn’t match with my reading style, but it was still a great book that is probably someone else’s favourite novel!!!

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Comment below with your favourite fiction novel!

Check out another review you might enjoy! #BookReview Do Not Ask by Elaine Williams Crockett

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #TheFather to chat about this review on twitter! @ReviewAlholic

Check out this trilogy now! http://www.thefathertrilogy.com/

#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Bride by Gary Corbin

33806292

 

The Mountain Man’s Bride was an excellent sequel that is a definite must read!

I really like this series – it feels so simple and smooth, despite having epic plot lines. I’m able to easily get lost in Gary’s words and feel like it’s some epic crime television show playing in my head.

Gary is gradually making this couple (Lehigh and Stacy) more complex and more interesting as each book goes by. He doesn’t stick to the same old plot, and he makes one hell of a story! One of the major bonuses with this book was that Stacy got more action! I love both Lehigh and Stacy (and their dogs of course) so much as characters. They feel real and as if they could be my neighbors.

In my opinion, you could easily skip book one and jump into this novel. I wouldn’t suggest it, because this series is a real gem, but if you randomly picked this book up you’d be fine. Gary weaves in enough information to be able to read this without background.

The murder mystery in this book was intriguing, and I loved the twists and turns that came along with it. After this novel, I’m more than pumped to read the third book in this series. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves a good drama, mixed with some crime and a splash of romance.

I don’t have many cons about this book, to be brutally honest. I felt like the book was just long enough – there wasn’t anything that was left out and nothing felt like it didn’t belong. There were times that I wanted some of the background history of certain relationships between characters, but the book got along without them. That’s just me being picky and way to curious about how this story line came to be.

Overall, this book is A grade! It’s a must read and a recommendation from this reader and I’ll be definitely picking up the next book!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from Gary Corbin (the author) in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out Gary Corbin:

Gary Corbin Author site: http://garycorbinwriting.com/

Blog: http://garycorbinwriting.com/category/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garycorbin1

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/garycorbin

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+GaryCorbin/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2046490-gary

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/GaryCorbin

 

Check out this book:

https://smile.amazon.com/Mountain-Mans-Bride-Book-Mysteries/dp/0997496738/

Amazon.ca – The Mountain Man’s Bride

Amazon.com – The Mountain Man’s Bride

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And comment below – what are you reading today?

#BookReview Vi by Kim Thúy

35792823

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.

 

If you read this review, use the hashtags #BriarsReviews & #Vi on twitter! @ReviewAlholic

Check out Kim Thúy on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3152466.Kim_Th_y

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

Comment below with your most recent read!

#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)

 

Check out Neil Walker on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/neilwalkerauthor

Or give Neil and I a shoutout on twitter! @NeilWalkerWrote & @ReviewAlholic

Have you read any books by Neil Walker? Or do you want to read a novel by Neil Walker? Comment below!

#BookReview If We Had Known by Elise Juska

 

35960013

“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

Give me a shoutout on twitter if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic – Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

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

Comment below your favorite book that you read recently!