#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

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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

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

Advertisements

#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I bought this book YEARS ago when I got my wisdom teeth out. Actually, my Mom bought it for me because I was drugged up from having my wisdom teeth out and there was a massive book sale. I gave her a list of books and she got them for me, and then this book sat on my shelf because I forgot I told my Mom to go buy me books when I got my wisdom teeth out.

So colour my cheery when I finally cleaned my bookshelf and there it was! I picked it up instantly, decided to ignore my upcoming exams, and settled down with this book. AND MAN I WAS SO STUPID FOR NOT READING IT SOONER BECAUSE I AM OBSESSED.

I am an adult now, but when I bought it I was a “Young Adult” reader. Some of the YA books just don’t sit with me as well now, but this book totally did. Cinderella, fairy tale, Star Wars-esque, cyborgs, science fiction, crazy evil overlords, and more! How could someone like me not love a book like this?!

My friends had given me horrible reviews of this book so I was very hesitant to pick it up, but when I took the dive I realized that I really shouldn’t have listened to them. I devoured this book in about two hours and I could NOT put it down. Marissa Meyer crafted an intriguing story that echoes our fave fairy tales and sci-fi movies, but also sits well on it’s own. Cinder is special but she doesn’t know why (like most YA novels, wink wink, nudge nudge). The Prince needs her help so she complies. Through helping him, trying to avoid a crazy super bug/infection and dealing with some major losses, she finds herself in a world of insanity.

This is a great read, but it leaves with an awful cliffhanger. I was so furious that the book ended the way it did because now I HAVE to pick up the next book in the series. Like, thanks a lot Marissa! But good on her, she did an excellent job crafting this book to the point that I seriously need the sequels. It won’t be okay if I don’t find these books on my book hunts soon.

To list some of the positives of this book, I have to say it really works well for young readers (maybe 8 and up, as a good book with their parents) but also sits amazingly well with adults. I didn’t feel like I was reading a purely YA novel, it felt like a fun fairy tale. I almost wish it wasn’t on the YA shelf in my local book store because it’s not strictly made for the YA audience, even though the narrative fits well with YA.

My negatives? Cliffhangers. I hate them, so they will always be my negative. Also, sometimes the story just felt like it happened at the right place, right time and just happened to work out in the character’s favor. It didn’t bug me at all in this book, but sometimes that trope grates on my nerves.

Overall, SO AMAZINGLY GOOD. Five out of five stars all around! This book really got me back into a reading binge, so thank you Marissa!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Indigo/Chapters/Coles – Canadian Retailer
Amazon.com

 

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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

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

#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid

Yossi Lapid does it again with another beautifully written story with a truly marvelous (and important!) theme.

Yara’s Tawari Tree follows a young girl named Yara in her rain forest, jungle hut. Her parrot friend brings her to a little tree seedling that is going to be cut down due to deforestation and together they save it! Years down the road, her family needs that tree’s help and it delivers!

This is a truly wonderful story with absolutely remarkable art work. The water colour style really fits with this story and is really beautiful! I’d love to see more stories with this art style. Give a big round of applause to the illustrator because W-O-W! Throw in the fact that deforestation is a really big issue these days, and you’ve got yourself a real winner!

I love Yossi’s stories because they are cute, fun and always bring something to the table. When you’re looking for a quality children’s story book with lots of pretty pictures and an important theme, why wouldn’t you pick up this book? It hits all the marks that an educator or parents would want! There’s also a cute rhyming scheme so you could make a fun song up about this story!

Overall, I think this is a really lovely book and should be read by many parents, teachers and reading buddies alike! Stories like these are important to share and a fun, colourful way to spend time together.

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Yossi Lapid, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

If you like Yara’s Tawari Tree, you might enjoy some of these books and reviews too!
Quick #BookReview Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview My Snowman, Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller

 

If you read this review, give me a follow on Twitter for more urgent updates! @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

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

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

#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs

 

What was I thinking putting this book off?! It has been sitting on my shelf for years and I never got the nerve to pick it up. That was probably one of my biggest book related mistakes!

Kathy & Brendan Reichs have a real hit on their hand! I have been reading the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs for years and I always wanted to get into Virals. Silly me bought the book and admired it for years, until I finally managed to dust it off and pull it into my reading pile. THANK GOODNESS because this book is a real gem and I need to binge this series. It’s just too freaking good to not read!

Now, before I get ahead of myself, readers must remember that this is a YA novel and not an “adult” novel like the Temperance Brennan series. There are fun story lines focusing around being a teenager, and people need to remember that this book was made for a younger audience. I love books like this, because I can get into the fun of a younger book. But, some readers won’t be expecting a “YA” novel – you should be!

Off to the races!!!

Tory Brennan is our lead (a distant, grand-niece of Temperance, if I am remembering correctly) and she’s just as smart as Tempe! She’s also sassy, barrels of fun, and gets in probably too much trouble in this book. She’s not a girly girl, she likes hanging with her guy friends and she likes being smart. Seriously, I relate way to much to this girl! Her gaggle of friends get into trouble on an island nearby, rescuing dogs, talking to monkeys and trying to solve murders. Typical teenage stuff, obviously.

I love that this group is smart and for the greater good. I also felt a twinge of “save the environment” themes going on. Mixing in all the fun and goofy scenarios the teens get into… I have to say I like this book. I also really love the terminology that’s used in the book. It’s not “dumb-ed” down and these kids know what they are talking about. Do they know too much? Maybe. Or they are just really smart kids.

What did I not like?
Mean girl subplots always annoy me because they are so common. I get this is a very typical trend, but I’d love it to see Tory have a girl friend who isn’t a total snob. Shockingly, there are some not snobby girls out in the real world! But, there has to be drama in this book so I totally get it. I remember in high school there were snobby girls all over the place too.

I also think that the introduction of fantasy was great, but it needed a little… more. There are more books in this series, so I’m assuming that the fantasy side will be explored more there. At least, I hope so! The little bits of fantasy just wasn’t enough for me! I want to know the ins and outs of it!

Overall, this book is lots of fun and super smart! I really enjoyed reading it and I couldn’t put it down! Books like these are why I love reading – I can whisk myself away into another world and just enjoy myself.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves YA with a fantasy twist, loves the Temperance Brennan series but wants a bit more “fun”, people who loved Bones (this SCREAMS the fun of Bones!) or if you just want a smart YA novel with fancy terminology (to teach yourself something new).

Five out of five stars!

Purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo (Canadian Retailer)

If you enjoyed this book, you might also enjoy these reviews:
#BookReview Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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

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

 

#BookReview The Mega Collection by Scott Gordon – Nine Awesome Bedtime Stories!

Here’s a collection of my reviews for Scott Gordon’s books! The specific book I read was called the Mega Collection #1 – Nine Awesome Bedtime Stories for Children 3-5, and boy was it worth every second! If you’re looking for some fun and friendly stories, I’d recommend picking this book up!

Now onto the show!!

Pigtastic by Scott Gordon

Pigtastic by Scott Gordon is a super fun, super cute, children’s novel!

I absolutely love the 3D design of our lead character, the pig! He looks super cute! Add in the wonderful story about accepting people and you’ve got yourself a winning combination! Scott Gordon and his unique style makes me want to shout from the hills about how awesome these books are. Seriously, I’d recommend reading them to your kids if you are looking for something a little different yet still just as fun.

I really loved all of the Pig’s different costumes. That was a really nice touch to make this book cool! The England costume was definitely my favourite one!

Who doesn’t want to be Pigtastic?! We all have to be ourselves in this absolutely crazy world! If we all have hearts of gold, we’ll be Pigtastic!

Overall, it’s super cute and worth every penny!! The 3-5 age group will definitely love this book and all of it’s silliness!

Five out of five stars.

My Little Pet Dragon by Scott Gordon

My Little Pet Dragon is a unique children’s read full of fantastical fun!

I really liked the cover page with the CD art of the dragon on a skateboard. To me, that really stood out compared to other children’s books I’ve seen around recently. The entire book is continues to pack each page full of the awesome 3D art that’s on the cover.

Each page has just a few words on it and a 3D picture that matches the plot that’s carrying on.

I’d say the general age group for this book would be between 2 to 9 years old. The story is rather simplistic, but is extremely cute.

At the end of my copy, which was an eBook I found via BookBub, it has a story about how Scott got into writing. While I thought it was a touching story to include, I felt that it didn’t need to be in a children’s novel that a child might read themselves on a parent’s tablet or phone. As an adult I loved reading it, but it felt out of place (in my humble opinion). It is a motivational and inspirational set of words though!

The version I was reading also included lots of sneak peaks at his other books! While it does a great job advertising these books, it didn’t feel right sitting in a book that a child could be reading. You’re introducing them to a couple chapters and then they can’t necessarily finish it. As someone who has studied marketing, I understand the need to market and advertise your books, but it just didn’t mesh well with the way this book was set up. Maybe put sneak peaks as links at the end or on your website? Not in the book that ends up taking WAY more pages than the story itself.

The final bit (I promise!)… It asks to support the author on Patreon. Again, I totally understand the need to support artists and writers, but it felt out of place.

Overall, this book was really cute and I’d love to read more by Scott Gordon! I think he has lots of potential and he appears to have quite the catalogue!!

Four out of five stars!

Ninja Robot Repairmen by Scott Gordon

This story is full of pushy, robot repairmen! It’s a unique and silly story that is full of laughs for your 3 to 5 year olds.

Scott’s unique style of 3D designs on a white background continues with this book. His style seems to be ingrained in all of his work.

They cause quite the nuisance for our unknown lead! I could see this book being best used as a reading buddy story. It would be a great way to get kids to laugh and get to know each other. In this story, ‘No’ is not an answer no matter what! Even the bad guys at the end were quite amusing!

This story felt more like a fun one than one that will teach you an important lesson. Regardless, I love having a good story full of goofiness around on my shelves!

Three out of five stars!

A Pocketful of Dinosaurs by Scott Gordon

This book was styled a little different at the start! There were actual cartoon pictures! I liked the change from the 3D, computer animated style that is featured in almost every other Scott Gordon book. Change can be good!

Seeing the names of the dinosaurs and the pronunciations was fun! I wish I would have had a book like that when I was growing up and learning about dinosaurs in science class! I think little kids who love dinosaurs would be totally obsessed with this book! The only downfall about this book, is that I don’t think kids ages 3-5 would be able to pronounce some of the words or even the word segments. Hopefully they are able to read this book with a parent, guardian or reading buddy to make it more engaging!

I’m not sure how accurate this book is, but it was definitely cute!

This book also features links to dinosaur research websites and exhibits! That may or may not be a bonus for some people – I’m not going to test the links, so I’m not sure how safe they are. The PBS and wikipedia articles should be safe to visit.

Four out of five stars!

If I Were a Robot by Scott Gordon

If I were a robot…. I’d have enhanced reading abilities!

This book was cute, but was not my favourite of all of Scott Gordon’s books. But not all books can be the best, now can they?! I think it is another cute addiction and full of wacky, fun and zaney ideas but it just wasn’t my favourite. Kids who love science, technology and robots would kill for this book!! I think it’s great that Scott has such a unique library of stories! Every kid should love at least one of his stories! He doesn’t just stick to one genre and I applaud him for that.

Yet again, the 3D computer animated style is back, and the robot has cute costumes! The costumes are always my favourite part of his stories. His creativity with the costumes is just too good! AND THERE’s A LIGHTSABER! And maybe a deathstar?! The easter eggs in this book are definitely the best part!

Side note: There’s another uncanny valley creepy guy in this book. That drops me score down by quite a bit. No amount of Star Wars references can fix the creepy, uncanny valley men.

Two out of five stars.

My Crazy Pet Frog by Scott Gordon

The lead of this story looks so… weird. Weird yet interesting all at the same time! I’m not quite sure what to think of it. Even when he starts doing different activities, it’s like he is staring into my soul. That uncanny valley feeling is amped up a bit in this book. And… a rubber ducky normally looks like a duck and not like an inflatable you wear around your waist.

But hey, it turns out the uncanny frog is a secret agent. That’s cool… right?! And he dances like he’s a fan of the Bee Gees!

The end of this book is what really gets me… he has a family who’d like him to come home and just hang out instead of being all of these crazy careers. It felt slightly depressing, yet kids wouldn’t see that. Only the parents.

It was one of the shorter books, but it was one of the weirder books. I think it’s cool but… odd. Let’s go with odd. It honestly felt like the author was picking up story ideas from a hat and mashed them all together.

Two out of five stars.

My Daddy’s Cool Car Collection by Scott Gordon

This book is all about cars! There are a variety of vehicles featured in this book, and my wonder is how the Dad afforded all of these cars! A limo, a semi-truck, a Volkswagen! The antique cars were definitely my fave! And what type of car book would this be without some sports cars in the mix?!

Some of the cars looked more realistic than the others. A group of them appeared to be quite cartoony, some appeared to be tilted on a strange angle and others looked like they had a professional photographer put them in the book.

Little kids interested in cars would totally dig this book! Scott does a great job at having a library full of different genres of kids books to let everyone in on the reading action!

While this wasn’t my favourite book, I still think it’s mighty cute! At the end there is a little lesson about spending time with your kids instead of buying cars, but it felt just thrown in. As if there had to be some sort of really important message at the end… I would have preferred the message to be woven into the story somehow instead of forced in.

Three out of five stars.

A Little Book About You by Scott Gordon

The uncanny valley is strong in this book… I don’t know why, but the 3D animated people always creep me out Scott Gordon’s books. I’m sure kids wouldn’t notice, but as an adult I’m just weirded out. That shouldn’t let the story down though!

This book is all about the reader being special and one of a kind. It’s a great message that is told right off the bat! This message is told through a variety of characters holding signs and objects, for reasons unknown. The story itself is great, but I don’t totally get the illustrations.

Overall, it’s cute!

Four out of five stars!

Additionally, this book has a lot of BONUS content!
Some chapters to Disco Frog’s new story, a puzzle, and lots of synopsis of Scott Gordon’s books.

 

Average: 3.3 out of 5 stars!

 

If you enjoyed this book, check out some more children’s books you’d like to read too!

#BookReview Snowman Paul Returns to the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid

#BookReview HughTube by Richard Clark

#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller

Collection 1: #TopTens – Children’s Fiction Part 1

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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

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

#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

 

 

There are few books that lift up my mood (and out of my reading slump!) quite like this one did!

Peter Green and the Unliving Academy was an absolute delight of a book! Fantasy, friendship and fun is all wrapped up tight into this neat, little package. If you haven’t read this book yet, what in the world are you doing?!

As the title suggests, we follow Peter Green when he goes to an “Unliving” Academy. Our lead has died and is now in the afterlife, but if you thought school stops there then you’d be wrong! Peter meets a large array of wacky characters and goes on many mischievous adventures, including but not limited too battling a werewolf teacher, dealing with ghost security guards and trying to lift a curse from upon the school. And YOU thought high school was hard…

Peter also tries to learn about himself and his past life. He knows he remembers a family, but just can’t put his finger on it. Unfortunately, it’s against the rules to find out about your past before you graduate!

I REALLY REALLY REALLY liked this book. I can’t express in words how much fun I had along the way reading it! Just because this book says ‘Young Adult’ does not mean an adult could not enjoy it! To me, it felt like a Harry Potter and the Philosopher/Sorcerer’s Stone-esque book. I would have loved to read it to a reading buddy or as a fun classroom read. The book is relatable from all angles – finding out about yourself, dealing with life’s (or death’s…) difficulties and making the right but hard decision. The book was definitely written in a way that the adult reader could enjoy it along with their kids. Therefore, it’s a family friendly book!

What were my downsides about this book?
1. Some of the plotlines could have been pushed to the second book, but it didn’t affect me all that much. I hope they are continued into the sequel because that would make those tiny, barely there plotlines make SO MUCH MORE sense.

2. Like other reviews have suggested, there were some minor grammar and spelling errors. I don’t really care, but I’m sure someone does. It didn’t pull me away from the story at all.

3. THE BOOK ENDED AND I DON’T HAVE THE SEQUEL IN MY HANDS. Yep, that’s a major downside. I got into this book and then it ended. I want moooooore!

Overall, this is a great middle-grade read! I’d highly suggest it for a fun, fantasy book to devour as soon as possible! If you liked the first two Harry Potter books then you’ll love this one! There was lots of world building and fun stories that built in this book. I truly hope a sequel comes out and more people read this book. I haven’t had this much fun in a book for a while!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher TCK Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out the following links:

Purchase the book: http://geni.us/petergreenbook1m
Check out the publisher, TCK Publishing: https://www.tckpublishing.com/
TCK Publishing’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tckpublishing/
Their Twitter: https://twitter.com/TCKPublishing

Find out more about the author on Goodreads! or Facebook or maybe even Twitter. She also has a website too!! https://www.aaallsopbooks.com/

This book can also be found on:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Barnes & Nobles

And give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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

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

 

#BookReview The Fourth Closet by Scott Cawthon

36127329

 

The Fourth Closet by Scott Cawthon tied up some of the FNAF literature universe, but opened up a whole ‘nother can of worms.

I was a little too hooked to this book, but mainly because I am totally obsessed with the FNAF lore. The video games, the potential movie, the books! All of them are my guilty pleasure, which I will easily admit. But this book? It tops the other two. I found the first book to be intriguing, the second book to lag just a bit, and this book went flying off the handle to utter insanity! In a good way.

If you are going to take anything out of this book, it’s the strange way Scott is weaving and changing lore. The books don’t perfectly match up to the video games, but they will definitely spike your interest if you have played the games. There are easter eggs and references to so many different parts of the games that it’s almost hard to keep track of. Yet, it all works for perfectly well.

I found myself really hooked to this story and I didn’t want to put it down. It is fast paced and full of crazy twists and turns that you will need to read the first three books for. But, you could easily jump into this series if you haven’t played the games. Playing the games just makes the easter eggs in this book more fun!

If you don’t like sci-fi or thriller type books, this novel isn’t for you. The hype about the supernatural aspects of this book is unreal and goes beyond what I expected. The book is no longer just a silly YA novel, it’s full of technology and supernatural twists.

I found the ending… interesting. I’ll leave it at just that word, because the ending left me feeling like I had tons more questions coming out then going in. While I did get some answers and I thought the ending itself was a nice way to tie up the story, it really didn’t tie up the story that well. It made the story end, but it didn’t close the story as nicely as I wanted. So, maybe there will be another side series or another game or something that ties this storyline up. I hope, anyways.

Five out of five stars.

This was one of the few books I paid full price for. This whole series I was desperate to read, so lucky Scott Cawthon got my money on this one.

 

Check this book out on:

Goodreads

Kobo

Barnes & Nobles

Indigo/Chapters/Coles

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Check out another review by Briar’s Reviews that you might enjoy: #BookReview The Twisted Ones by Scott Cawthon

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter @ReviewAlholic or check me out on Facebook @BriarsReviews about what books you’d like to see featured on this blog!
And comment below – have you read any of the FNAF books? Do you play the games?