#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!

#BookReview Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

I have been wanting to read books by Agatha Christie for years, yet whenever I made it to a bookstore I would get lost in the aisles and forget about my desires. Luckily for me, Kennett Branagh decided to remake Murder on the Orient Express. The movie was fantastic and everything I wanted it to be, which gave me perfect reason to find the book and give it a shot! And it was INCREDIBLE.

I’m amazed by how talented Agatha Christie was. The pure talent for writing shown in this book is so shocking, and it makes me desperate to read every other book she has written. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find them in my adventures!

This book is the 10th novel in the series, but it is very easy to pick up and start reading. I had no issue being pulled into the story and not wanting to put the book down. The language is a bit old fashioned (since it’s an older book) so there may be a disconnect for some present readers, but that seemed to be the only issue I could find when I picked this book apart.

In short, the plot for this book is there is a murder on the Orient Express train and Hercule Poirot (a wildly famous detective) is determined to solve it. The twist? Multiple suspects aboard a stalled train.

The book is fun, fast paced and wildly addicting. If you love a good mystery, trying to solve this story is absolutely delightful! Everyone has an alibi and Poirot can only find out information by asking questions and looking at their reactions (because…GASP!…there’s no electronic devices in the time period this book is set in). I knew the ending already from watching the movie, but trying to pick out the evidence that led to Hercule’s final thoughts was so much fun! I scrambled along the way and enjoyed every second of this book.

Overall, this book is a great read! If you want to read a classic, a mystery or just a fun book I really suggest this one! It’ll keep you hooked and make your head spin in circles.

Five out of five stars!

 

Check this book out on:
Goodreads – Murder on the Orient Express

Amazon.ca – Murder on the Orient Express
Amazon.com – Murder on the Orient Express

 

What is your favourite “classic” read? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this book review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

If you read this review, give me a shoutout on twitter using the following hashtags: #BriarsReviews #OrientExpress Briar’s Reviews on Twitter @ReivewAlholic

#BookReview The Shining by Stephen King

12977531

To say Stephen King is a genius and a legend in the horror world is an understatement.

I had been meaning to read The Shining for a very long time – I became determined to read the book before the movie, and I’ve been dying to watch the movie for the past two years! While I have heard the comments over and over that the book and the movie aren’t the same, I’ll stil wanted to stick to my word and read the book well before I found the movie again.

This book didn’t strike me as hard as It and Carrie did, but I still found it incredibly fascinating. The work is legendary and sits on many top shelves of readers I know and look up too. So, of course, I had to dive right in and tear this book apart.

This book was slow starting, but Stephen King’s descriptions and writing style kept me hooked. I didn’t enjoy the slow pace, but it did pick up about halfway through the novel. Then I was hooked and needed to finish this book, and yearned to know what would happen to these characters.

I read someone, a long time ago, that this book was based on cabin fever. It definitely seems possible, but there were lots of ghosts or mystical beings mashed up within this book as well. After watching Ready Player One and seeing references I didn’t understand, reading this book and seeing those figures helped me grasped a better understanding of what was happening in that movie. The creepy descriptions of the lady in the bathtub and all of the other weird creatures really made me feel like I was in this story. At times, I totally understood how this book got turned into a movie (and how has there not been twenty remakes by now? The story is so cool!). If you’re looking for a frightful read with descriptions that will blow your mind, Stephen King is absolutely for you!

While I don’t find myself to be a crazy horror fan (since I don’t get scared from these books, but I am always in awe), I have to say I really like this book. I like how Stephen King writes and I like that it’s such a different story. Just comparing this book to It and Carrie (the only two Stephen King books I have read), these books are always well thought out, absolutely insane and full of scenes you’d never imagine! It’s A+ horror and one of the best thrillers.

To me, this book wasn’t scary – I don’t find books scary because of the lack of noise and background sounds, but it was an epic thriller with scary scenes. I could see readers easily finding this scary, and I would not recommend reading this to children. It’s R rated, but a really great R rated ride! Jack, Wendy and Danny are also really interesting characters that develop in crazy ways. Slowly you can see their minds unwinding and going into dark terroritories. Although, I’m really curious as to how Stephen King got into the mind of Danny. Is that how little six year olds think? Or is he mature because of the Shine?

The shine seems to pop up in many books from this point on, which makes me excited to throw myself into Mr. King’s collection and have these books intertwine with each other like a horror-filled Pixar theory.

I might never read this book again, mainly because I need to catch up with all of Stephen’s other books. Is it worth a second read? Heck yes. I’m sure there are lots of scenes and easter eggs I missed throughout! Would I recommend this book? Oh my gosh, yes! It’s a great book, and if you’re only going to pick one horror book it might as well be by the King of Horror.

Five out of five stars!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Erotic Muse by Rajeev Singh

Comment below – what is your favourite horror novel?

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

#BookReview The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan

8965

 

The Vampire’s Assistant was an excellent young adult novel that is full of thrills and chills!

I watched the movie adaption of this series YEARS ago, and I had been dying to pick up this series. Unfortunately for me, the bookstore is big and full of millions of books so I’d forget what I was looking for the minute I walked in. Luckily for me, I walked into a bargain bookstore and found an old, extremely damaged version of this book for clearance – so of course I bought it! A little water never hurt anybody!

I hadn’t read the first book in this series, but jumping right in was super easy! This book was fun, full of silly frights and awesome character development, and made me remember why I loved vampire novels in my youth!

This book is quick – it moves fast and keeps you interested at every turn. There’s some really creepy bad guys, Evra (the snake boy), a wolf man, and some awesome parental-yet-not-so-parental adults hanging around. It’s definitely the type of horror book I would read as a kid (but it doesn’t scare me at all now – adult me has worse things to be afraid of…like politics and bills…ick).

I highly recommend this book to anyone considering introducing their children to YA books with horror or vampires in it. It’s fun and creepy in all good ways! It’ll keep the adults interested too!

Four out of five stars!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

Comment below – what is your favourite young adult novel?

Give me a shout-out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews if you read this review! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter – @ReviewAlholic

And check out Darren Shan:

http://www.darrenshan.com/

@DarrenShan

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

23492432

The Light Between Oceans is a bittersweet novel that will crush your soul (in a good way).

This is M.L. Stedman’s first book, and it is one fantastic first novel (to be brutally honest). This book was beautifully written, it pulled at my heart strings and it demanded my attention. Typically fictional novels that are more focused on “drama” don’t pull me like this book did! I was obsessed and had to finish reading it, I had to know what was going to happen to Tom, Isobel and Lucy.

The layers of love and affection in this story, mixed with the difficult decision making (and catch-22’s, as most reviewers are saying) make this a really intriguing story. It really made me question myself and my own choices – if I was Isobel in that time period (or Tom for that matter) and went through what they had been through, would I keep the baby? Would I admit I kept the baby? What would I do?

It’s a difficult decision, and you see one plot line of how this story can go. It’s not like a crazy soap opera, it seems realistic (to me, anyways). It’s a story all about bad decisions being made by good people, and the tension and fall outs that happen because of it. Were they really doing a bad thing, if their hearts were in the right place?

This book seems to be 50/50 for people – you either love it, or you don’t. I enjoyed the slight romance, dramatic fiction, heart wrenching tale that it is….but…I also didn’t read any reviews before and went in knowing I just wanted to read the book to see the movie. I had 0 expectations, and I came out loving it. In my opinion, some people seem to be reading way to far into the book. Are there themes? Yes. Is this a book that will be compared to Shakespeare (or even It…) in relation to it’s themes? No. Does it identify how good people can make bad decisions? Yes. Do you have to agree with their decisions? No. Do the characters decisions have to be your decisions? No. It’s simply a novel that is well written and shows one story of bad decision making.

Overall, this book is well written and is a fun read. All I can say now is, I can’t wait to watch the movie!

Five out of five stars.

 

Did you enjoy this book? Review not enjoy another! #BookReview The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman

In the comments below, tell me your favourite book that has a film adaption!!

Check out M.L. Stedman and her work! M.L. Stedman

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

6449595

 

I first read this book in my first year of high school for a book report (we could choose ANY book we want, and I was obsessed with the film version of this novel at the time). Since it’s been…well, years…it’s about time I finally give this book a review to add it to my collection!

This book was super popular and a sequel has come out (which is currently sitting on my to-read shelves waiting for me to dig into it) in recent years. For those who don’t know about the first book in this series, we are following Andrea (or Andy) who gets a job at a famous, fashion magazine (similar to Vogue) which is run by the insane workaholic Miranda Priestly. Andrea believes this is the step she needs to get into her journalism career! A job at a high end fashion magazine! But, as we all know, nothing is ever that simple.

The movie is not the same as the book, but I like the think the quality of both are insanely good! Despite being different in plot, tone and character personalities, both works were fantastic! If you haven’t read the book, I highly suggest it. It’s unique and dramatic!

Andrea’s journey involves her changing (and sometimes growing) along the way, as she encounters all of the antics of being in the fashion world: uptight assistants, overbearing bosses, deadlines, insomnia, and work/life balance.

This book is in it’s own niche market – it became really popular, but it’s not for everyone. The humor is a type of special, especially since you are following Andrea’s life fall apart. For me, it’s a five star book! It’s interesting to watch the plot spiral out of control as your begging the author to give Andrea some type of happiness in the end. But honestly? It’s kind of how life is – not perfect. Andrea is NOT perfect and she’s definitely not the most likable character, but I grew to like her knowing all of the horror she was going through.

Five out of five stars!!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Intricate Deceptions by Jennifer Rayes

Comment below – what was your thoughts on the book?
And follow me on twitter! @ReviewAlholic & maybe use the hashtag #briarsreviews if you read this review! 😉

#BookReview Zodiac Unmasked by Robert Graysmith

105762

Zodiac Unmasked was an interesting take on the real life incidents revolving around the Zodiac Killer.

This book could have been a LOT shorter than it is, there is almost so much content in this book I got bored (and I am OBSESSED with conspiracies and theories, I’ll sit through long books and videos any day of the week). I almost quit this book completely because it was boring me to death. I did love all the research and information within this book, but it was almost too much.

This is one of many theories of who the Zodiac Killer was, and it truly is fleshed out. It may not be 100% correct, but it was a good read if you want to look into the information surrounding this theory.

The positives within this book is the amazing content within it, but that also ties with my major negative: it’s long, repetitive and becomes quite boring due to those two factors. The theory itself is confusing and long, but that doesn’t mean the book needs to be over 500 pages of repeating the same stuff over and over and over. I did enjoy the fact that the book was in chronological order, but I also felt that it didn’t need to be. I would have loved all the hard hitting facts and awesome plot points first before all the boring, nitty, gritty details.

Overall, I’m not totally impressed with this book. It bored me to tears and I almost stopped reading it.

1 out of 5 stars.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another book you might enjoy! Book Review: Confessions of an English Psychopath by Jack Strange

Batman: The Killing Joke – Book Review

96358

Batman: The Killing Joke is an excellent graphic novel following two of comics leading stars: Batman and the Joker.

Introduction: I have always loved superheroes – Adam West’s Batman was a key staple of my childhood. Slowly as I got older and Marvel and DC were the beckoning lights at the movie theaters, I became totally obsessed with everything superheroes, super villains and comic books. I began collecting them, reading them, and trying to get my hands on every adaption possible. So, I decided to watch The Killing Joke animated movie. I was so enchanted and enthralled with the film that I had to see the famous comic/graphic novel it was based on. It was a short search – a local store had it in stock the first time I went to look for it, and the rest is history.

Review:

This comic is so simple in theory, but so complex in art. A joker origin (of sorts), a splash of James and Barbara Gordon, some tragic ultimatums, Batman, and beautiful art.

The introduction to the Joker’s “back story” is so interesting. The Joker has always been this mysterious character, and the reader is welcomed into one theory of how the joker came to be. But the joker says it himself – he prefers his past as multiple choice. So is anything he tells us actually true? That’s up to you to decide.

The Joker is cunning and intelligent, as well as insane and wild. The reader gets to see his thought pattern and how truly manipulative he is when he takes control of the plot and causes his destruction. But then, he makes it worse by not only physically torturing his victim, but try to mentally destroy him as well. How can someone be to cruel yet so smart? It’s an incredible reading experience for fans of the Joker.

The ending leaves viewers with many questions – one that we may never know the true answer to. This cliff hanger wasn’t as troubling as other cliffhangers have been for me in the past. It leaves it off at the perfect ending – the reader questioning the events that happened. This leaves the reader to interpret the ending in their own way. What truly happened and what are we to believe?

Brutal is one word to describe this novel – there are graphic scenes, ones that changed DC comics dramatically – and it’s not for the lighthearted.

Overall, I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It changed my views on the Joker and Batman, and I really appreciated the little splash of Barbara Gordon (one of my personal favourite characters DC has ever created).

For those who are fans of the film / want to watch The Killing Joke animated film: The plot is very similar, but there are a few changes. These changes don’t impact the end of the story, but it may change some of your personal feelings/understandings of the characters.

Five out of five stars.

Quick Book Review: Coronation Street the Novel by Katherine Hardy

10023209

 

Book Title: Coronation Street the Novel
Book Author: Katherine Hardy

Introduction: A lovely friend of mine lent me his copy of Coronation Street the Novel – ironically I had the same book on my shelf (his cover was purple and my cover was red). He asked me to read it first and give him a small recap, and I hardly think I’ll need to! Why? Read the rest of my review! 😉

Review:

This book is a great starter for anyone wanting to get some back story on Coronation Street (especially if you don’t want to go through a million pages of Coronation Street wiki…Those websites are insane!). It starts off at the early years of CS and continues up to about the 2010s. For those who want a back story (if they are new) or want a recap (those who’ve watched the series for years) this is a great start!

There are parts of this novel that are not perfectly aligned with the show – characters missing, characters doing something another character did or entire plot lines gone – but how can you fit over 50 years of television into a 1000 page book? it’s quite difficult, and Katherine Hardy has done an excellent job.

As an avid Corrie fan (I’ve been watching for about 10 years), I can say this was a great book to give me some back story on the famous families and characters I already knew. To me, it was a lot nicer to read from the beginning and understand the movements of the plot then just hop onto the Wiki page and try to figure it out as I click different characters and read their entire life story.

The book starts out with Elsie and Ena, moves into Ken Barlow (who’s still on the show! He’s incredible), and continues forward with Valerie, Deidre, the twins Peter and Susan, and Tracy Barlow as well! It showcases Gail and Brian, as well as Nick, Sarah and David with a splash of Audrey as well! Sally and Kevin make an appearance, Molly, Jack, Fiz, Steve! So many great characters from across the ages make an appearance and tie this series together.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It rolls along like the television show. For a different manner of showing off Coronation Street, I think this is great for readers. It shows how crazy and dramatic Coronation Street came be as a soap opera but in book form.

Four out of five stars!

Book Review: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket

In honor of the Netflix release of A Series of Unfortunate Events, here is a throwback review of The Bad Beginning!!

78411

Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Title: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Date Read: October 4th – October 12th, 2016
Date Reviewed: October 12th, 2016

Introduction: I went to a local bookstore and saw that quite a few books in this series was on sale. Since I read these books a long time ago when I was younger, I figured rereading them now as an adult would be fun. I also figured since a new Netflix series is going to be coming around soon that I should go over this book series so I can watch the show!!!

Spoilers Ahead?: Yes.

Quick Summary: Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire face a horrible tragedy – their parents have passed away in a tragic fire and they must go live with the horrible, no good Count Olaf (who is not only a Count but an actor as well). When Count Olaf finds out that Violet has money from their parents in an account, he tries to marry her to acquire this money.

Evaluations: This book is an incredible children’s read that adults can also find humorous. For children, this book is full of action and adventure, and the situations seem “realistic”. They might have a horrible four times removed third cousin that could take them in!! Reading this book was quite nostalgic, but I find that it still stands. While it’s quite foolish and silly, it makes for a great adventure. Overall, I really enjoyed re-reading this book. It’s hard to imagine anyone but Jim Carrey as Count Olaf since the movie that was made was actually quite funny (and great in my opinion), but this book will make a great television series!

Plot: As an adult, the children seem boring. They have faced horrible circumstances and it seems like the children are to young to deal with it. For a child, this seems like a great adventure story. These kids have been put through terrible times, but they still fight back in child-like ways. If the reader goes into this book expecting it to be like Harry Potter (where it translates well for both adults and children) then the reader will not be impressed. This book was aimed at children, not adults, so most of the plot seems unrealistic and unimpressive. The kids are whiny, they’re constantly wallowing in distress, and they complain how they want their parents back – but aren’t mots kids like that? I work with kids, and when they have a bad day they act that way. Overall, the plot is not written to be a fantastic, adult novel. This is a children’s novel, so adults beware.

Characters: Violet, Klaus and Sunny are interesting characters within the story. I do not relate to them as much as I did when I was a kid (I used to think I was just like Violet, and now looking at these characters I can’t relate at all to any of them). Violet seems to be older and “wiser” in mature situations, Klaus seems to be more intelligent but whinier, and Sunny bites and can’t speak well. To a kid, this is essentially an Avengers roster of your average every day kids. To adults, it’s three archetype children. As an adult, I also noticed that after their parents die the children are almost perfectly fine. How I understood this concept, is that a child cannot grasp that death is forever, but an adult can. An adult understands these intense feelings, but a child cannot grasp it until it happens. So while many of the situations that occur may seem out of place for an adult, you still need to realize it’s aimed towards children. This is simply an adventurous novel for kids to read.

Count Olaf is strange, but I love him. He’s a wacky character and keeps the novel interesting. He brings a lot of the twists and turns about that keeps the reader interested. Yes, he’s inappropriate when you look at it from an adult point of view (why would he want to marry a pre-teen?..) but in a child’s point of view he’s a great, wacky villain. I like to compare him as the child’s Joker (from Batman). Wacky and strange, but they keep it interesting (of course the Joker is more intense and R-rated, but hopefully you get the point).

Themes/Creativity: This book is definitely creative! It brings a crazy and wacky plot together with some relatable child characters and then finishes it off with some silly villains. The only theme I might find in this book is family sticking together, but I’m sure there’s more hanging around for those theme heavy readers.

Uniqueness: Is this book unique? Absolutely! A book with thirteen novels in the series that kept changing it up is definitely unique. It fits in it’s own little category alongside novels like Harry Potter, Eragon and The Wizard of Oz for must reads! I would definitely recommend parents try to get their kids into reading with this series!

Strengths: This novel is definitely aimed at children! It does a great job mixing in child problems, silly villains and adventures for your child reader.

Weaknesses: This book might be considered unrealistic for adults. It definitely doesn’t transcend into the older age groups for a good, relatable read.

Score: Three out of Five.

I find that the relatable-ness factor brings this book down in score, and that the children are sometimes incredibly annoying for an adult audience.