#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 Backyard Hullabaloo by Junia Wonders

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I was lucky enough to find this book for free via BookBub!

Backyard Hullabaloo is a fun and spunky picture book by Junia Wonders and Divin Meir!

What I liked about this book was that there was a little more reading content in it. The picture books I have been picking up lately had barely a sentence per page, but this book had multiple sentences and even paragraphs per page! Having a little more content made this book a little more fun and inventive when I was reading it.

We follow Mr. Bagoo, who overslept since his alarm clock didn’t ring! We also meet his neighbors along the way as he tries to get his chores done! Everyone seems to be in a bad mood for some reason! Mr. Bagoo and his neighbor aren’t getting along, and they must solve their issues with each other.

I also loved that there was no rhyming scheme to this book – it moved at a nice pace and didn’t feel forced. It was written in a tone that felt professional and yet humorous or child-like all at the same time.

The artwork was a style I don’t see to often – it looked like digital crayons! I really liked this different art style, especially since it felt like it belonged with the story. I couldn’t see any other art style fitting with the tone and silliness of this book!

Overall, I’d highly recommend this book! It’s a great picture book with a fantastic story! I could see this book easily being used for story time at a school!

Four out of five stars!

 

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If you enjoyed this book or review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Half Done Fun by Katja Vartiainen

 

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#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!

 

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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 Under The Visible Life by Kim Echlin

Under The Visible Life is a moving story by Kim Echlin that will knock your socks off!

To be blunt and up-front, this book was not the book for me. That being said, it was a truly mesmerizing story! It was very hard for me to get into this book but it was still beautiful nonetheless. I want to say that upfront since my rating is based off my opinion of the book (and I wasn’t pulled into the book) but the story is still a worthwhile read! I am sure many other readers will be able to connect with this story and fall in love with it in ways that I couldn’t. Kim Echlin is amazingly talented and I highly suggest this novel.

I did love that this story revolved around women and their realistic lives. The book didn’t feel over the top. It felt honest and real in ways that other books haven’t lately. I think this is how the book will sit well with people. Somehow, this story felt like I could have been hearing or reading a non-fiction novel. The struggles felt real and the characters felt like I could have walked by them on the street. Kim Echlin deserves a lot of recognition for just being able to do that in one book. It’s mind-blowing!

So, why was this book not for me? I found it really hard to sink into. I had to force myself to read each chapter and it felt way too slow. I like a fast paced book that gets me hooked, and this book is not that. It’s raw, real and slower paced. The book isn’t boring by any means, it just wasn’t made for me (which is a good thing!). As a reader, sometimes you have to admit that you won’t love ALL books. But that’s art! I can still appreciate how absolutely stunning this book was. And I will highly recommend it every single day because this book is definitely made for other readers!

I will say my favourite part about this book: it has a lot of culture. It will open you up to worlds you may not have known about before (Afghan culture, for example). Books that include other cultures (in a respectful manner, on top of just including them) are books that need to be read! So, I will shout from the hill tops that this book needs to be read! I liked reading about a culture that is not my own.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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#BookReview Sons of York by Lesley J Nickell

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Sons of York by Lesley J Nickell was a beautiful read that I highly suggest to fans of historical fiction.

It’s a real shame that Lesley J Nickell has passed, because she was such a fabulous writer. This story had me hooked from the first chapter, and from then on I was obsessed. Historical fiction rarely gets me this excited, but Lesley managed to make me LOVE historical fiction. The romance and drama that was woven into the story was so perfectly sprinkled in!

The story followed Edward IV and his fictional mistress Janet and their affairs through the times. Janet’s story is full of tragedy, but the way Lesley writes this story makes you feel so connected to her and everything she goes through. I cared so much for Janet and I wanted her to have everything she ever desired even if she was given a bad hand at life. I wish there were more novels following this woman! Lesley created such a strong and powerful character that was also so soft and sweet. She even had me liking Edward IV (which I had a strong distaste for at the beginning).

I almost wish a ghost writer would come in and continue this beautiful series in honor of Lesley (similar to VC Andrews). This story is enchanting and full of potential! It’s a highly recommended book from me!

I did find the last few chapters not as thrilling as the majority of the novel, but that might be because I knew this beautiful book was coming to an end!

Four out of five stars

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy. #BookReview A Long Way Back by J. Everett Prewitt

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#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!

 

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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

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