#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

 

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#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

This book was my best surprise of the year. To be honest, I just picked up a random book from my shelf. I decided that I would just take a very un-calculated risk and pick up whatever book my eyes went to – and this book was it.

Fire Sermon is an incredible novel following the journey of a religious woman who begins to have an affair on her husband. The narrative is not your typical romance novel, it’s truly a dramatic unfolding of the character. I loved this character study and how beautifully Jamie Quatro could write out this woman’s feelings and experiences. Seriously, it blew me out of the water. I truly did not expect this book to be half as good as it was.

Jamie Quatro has a beautiful writing style, full of metaphors and truly engaging descriptions. This book could have been a real flop because of the subject matter, but it had me hooked at every single word. There isn’t one thing I would change about this book because it truly was just mesmerizing. I highly recommend it! I’m almost frustrated that I didn’t read it sooner! This is one incredible, lovely and amazing piece of literature that I think anyone who loves drama and riveting reads should pick up.

Maggie has a ‘romantic’ relationship with her husband, but begins to fall in love with an intellectual poet. She’s cheating on her husband, but doesn’t know how to deal with it. The sex with her husband isn’t all that great and it hurts, but she feels like she owes him his pleasure. The more she engages in infidelity, the more she questions herself. Can someone truly fall out of love or change their feelings about someone? Will God understand what she has done?

Even if you’re not religious, I think this book is an excellent view into one woman’s perspective. Yes, it’s fiction but it does really open your eyes to another world. The struggles and changes in a woman’s life can be more troublesome than one thinks and I loved that Jamie opened us into Maggie’s world. The story is absolutely breathtaking.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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Check out another book you might enjoy: #BookReview Sons of York by Lesley J Nickell

 

#BookReview Coming Out by Danielle Steel

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I found Coming Out by Danielle Steel at a local store that typically does not sell books. It was on sale, probably cheaper than it should have been yet it was in excellent shape! I always wanted to read something by Danielle Steel but never seemed to remember to pick up a book by her whenever I was out looking, so I decided to purchase this book.

This book was made in 2006, but it felt more along the lines of the 80s or 90s due to some of the comments within the book. There never seems to be a strict date of when this book is set, but some of the opinions don’t seem to be that of 2006 (or maybe my hometown was just way more open at that time). The comments about how bad tattoos are seem to date this book more than intended too, seeing as it is 2018 and tattoos seem to be everywhere and widely accepted. If anything, that would be my biggest con for this book! It dates itself with the opinions within!

I did really enjoy this book – it was a light, dramatic read that I could easily put down and pick it back up. The story follows a rich, upper class family as they intend to go to an exclusive ball in New York. The twin daughters are on opposing sides (one wants to go, the other doesn’t and decides to rebel), the Mother wants to go, the step Father doesn’t, and so on and so forth. There is some romantic drama, some family drama, some “rich” drama, and it all seems to work well within the story.

That being said, this book is hit and miss – if you don’t mind reading about privileged rich people with silly problems, it’s a good read! I didn’t mind that they complained about simple yet silly things, in fact I found it to be fluffy and funny at times. It felt like a soap opera I would watch on T.V. back in high school. The soap opera side is what kept me hooked, to be brutally honest. The drama was over the top, the reactions were big, and it felt like the perfect, stormy day read.

The book is relatively short and moves at a good pace to keep you interested. That is what also kept me interested in this book. I didn’t think that the book felt too long or too short. To me, the book was the perfect length. I also really liked that the title of the book has multiple meanings in the book! Tied in with that title, the ending took me by surprise! The ending did seem to suddenly stop, but Danielle tied in one of the small plot points to finish this book up.

Overall, I think this book was cute and is a nice, soft read. It is in it’s own little niche, so reader beware!!

Three out of five stars!

 

Check out of this book on:

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Amazon.ca

 

If you enjoyed this book or review, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Jeep Tour by Gail Ward Olmsted

 

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#BookReview Once Upon an Ever After by Angela N. Blount

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This memoir about Angeli and her long distance Southern boyfriend Vincent is an amazing read. I wasn’t sure about how much sense it would make to me, considering that this is a side novel to the original Once Upon a Road Trip (that I hadn’t read). Surprisingly, this novel was easy to follow and I didn’t need to read the first book (but I would really like to now!).

Kooky best friends, sneaking out to stay together and relationship woes are all featured in this book, and portray what a real relationship looks like: not perfection. This memoir made me fall in love with this love story, and felt very real and not fake (like some fiction novels make love and relationships out to be).

I would love to hear more about Anjeli and Vincent! The story telling is wonderful and doesn’t make you question what’s going on. It seemed very real and not forced. It was a believable story.

If anything, the author could have included more “action”, or situations the characters went through. I felt cheated for more interaction between Vincent, Anjeli and her family and friends. The story seemed a bit to short for me, but still great (since this isn’t the main novel about Vincent and Anjeli, and more of a set of side stories).

I did like this novel! But I wanted a bit more out of it. Overall, it was a good read I would recommend to others!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Also I loved that my copy was signed! I love signed copies!

 

What book has made you swoon lately? Comment below!
Check out another review you might enjoy: #BookReview – Apocalypse the Memoir by CS Oliver

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#BookReview Leaving Home by Duane A. Eide

It’s time for another quick book review!!

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Leaving Home was an interesting fictional read.

This novel follows Shane Stenlund after an unfortunate injury that led him to not continuing his secondary school career. He goes off to the big city and learns that life is much different in the city than on the farm.

The story was definitely interesting, although I did not see the big picture or what the theme was. It seemed like it was just meant to be a good, fictional read to escape from reality with. If there was a theme, maybe it just wasn’t very obvious.

The character development and plot pace was A-grade. I felt like the story built well over time and nothing seemed to come to early or to late in the story. If anything, I would have liked there to be more interaction with Shane’s family but that was not a big issue.

Overall, it was a good read. I was impressed with the book and would suggest it to anyone who wants a good book to escape reality with.

Four out of five stars, due to the lack of evident theme.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

What is your favourite book that is less than 100 pages? Comment below!
If you enjoyed this book review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview – Dancing with Fireflies by Clemens Carl Schoenebeck

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#BookReview Return to You by Samantha Chase

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This romance novel is a fun page turner that I couldn’t put down! Return to You follows James Mongomery and Selena Ainsley as they slowly reconnect with each other. The two have a dramatic past that is slowly revealed throughout the novel, instead of most novels where it is all delivered up front. This wonderful idea by Samantha Chase gives the novel a little extra boost in making the novel more interesting. As a reader, it made me want to continue reading and discovering what happened to James and Selena in their past as it is explained and revealed chapter by chapter.

The novel focuses on the present day and how James and Selena learn about how their view of events is very different from each other. Their relationship and circumstances seem very realistic, and well thought out. I didn’t see any of the characters being over exaggerated or boring. The characters are an amazing aspect of the novel!

The plot line is also intriguing, but could have used a bit more action or drama. I found the plot line to be very predictable and obvious as the novel went on, and even made some of the chapters slow and boring. Once I was past those chapters, I became instantly interested in it again.

Overall, I felt like a little more action and drama could have been added, but it was a good quality book. The novel moved smoothly and kept me interested!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

What is your favourite romance novel series? Comment below!
Did you enjoy this review? Why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Alejandro’s Sexy Secret by Amy Ruttan

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#BookReview The Black Mzungu by Alexandria Kathleen Osborne

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The Black Mzungu was a fantastic non-fiction read about the author, Alexandria Obsorne’s, incredible change in scenery.

I was shocked by how much I liked this book. I rarely find myself enjoying non-fiction or biographies, but this novel hit all the right notes with me. The author does a fantastic job retelling her life story of marrying a man from another country and moving there. Each chapter details the ups and downs of moving to a third world country and building a home there.

There are a lot of cultural insights and introductions to Lindi, Tanzania. Different terms and traditions are introduced in this novel and it gives an absolutely incredible insight into a world that is different compared to a First World Country.

Overall, I was impressed. I didn’t see anything wrong with this novel – it moved at a good pace, each chapter had a different story to tell that connected the entire novel together and it seemed real. Nothing seemed out of place or out of the ordinary.

I loved this book! I would love to read more about the author’s life in the future!

Five out of five stars!

I received this boook for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

What is your favourite non-fiction novel? Comment below!
If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview The Year After by Ashley Wagner

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #TheBlackMzungu to start a conversation about this book! @ReviewAlholic

 

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