#BookReview Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies

Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies is a lovely romance set in the 1930s.

I love historical romance novels, but I just have a hard time finding ones I enjoy. Lucky for me, Dinah Jefferie’s book swept me off my feet after prancing into my life.

Eliza, a newly minted widow, is sent to India by the British government to take many lovely pictures of the Indian royal family. She’s a photographer, so it is only fitting that she be one of the few to see inside the royal family’s lives. She meets Jay, an Indian prince who takes her eye, and they begin a dramatic love affair. Along the way, there’s an old (creepy) friend named Clifford who also sees Eliza as the apple of his eyes. Chaos then ensues. And to top it all off, somehow, because fate is cruel and interesting, she seems to know more people than she realizes.

This little book holds so much emotion in it. My heart went on a roller coaster as I tried to figure out how this book was going to end. I was connected to this book by the hip – I needed to know how it ended and I was totally obsessed with it. It’s a medium-paced book but it’s packed full of tears, heart ache, romance, and drama.

The plot does get predictable half way through the novel, but it’s not a major con for me.

If I had a negative for this book, it would be the historical accuracy. I’m not a historian, but I feel like this love affair would have been a much bigger deal in the grand scheme of things. It was definitely a cause of strife in the book, but it seemed to go over pretty well at other times. It was… strange? Either way, the book was still a great romance/dramatic read. I would highly recommend it if you love historical romances, romances set in other geographic locations (not just the good ol’ US of A), or soap opera-esque books. This book felt VERY soap opera-y (in a good way, of course).

On top of the amazing-ness of this book, the cover is absolutely stunning. If you were going to judge a book by it’s cover, pick this one! All of Dinah’s books have truly marvelous covers.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Kobo

 

You can find out more about Dinah Jefferies on:
https://www.dinahjefferies.com/
Twitter – @DinahJefferies

 

If you enjoyed this review (or book!) here’s some other novels you might enjoy:
#BookReview Sex and Death Edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs
#BookReview The Age of the Child by Kristen J. Tsetsi
#BookReview I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

 

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#BookReview Prisoner of the Highlander by Kate Robbins

Oh lordie, this book was one delightful read!

Prisoner of the Highlander by Kate Robbins is a truly remarkable romance novel centered in Scotland! Annabella Beaufort and Alexander MacDonald find themselves in a very interesting situation. Alexander has kidnapped Annabelle and is keeping her captive so he can try to get his Father back. His Father, a great King and leader, has been taken by Annabella’s cousin’s husband (who is also royalty). The Highlanders keep Annabella captive, but maybe… just maybe… there’s a spark between Alexander and Annabella.

Call me crazy, but these Stockholm syndrome stories seem to be this strange trope I actually enjoy! I don’t know why I find these stories seductive, because it can be downright weird. Luckily, Kate has made this story not feel creepy (like it could of) but seductive instead! I found myself hooked to every word and I could barely put it down. I ended up binging the final 3/4 of the book because I really needed to know what happened to the lovebirds Annabella and Alexander!

I didn’t need to read any previous novels in this series to understand the story. Honestly, I felt like this was a standalone – but I’m sure there’s a good backstory hidden somewhere. Either way, it’s an easy story to jump into and as a reader, you won’t be confused in the slightest! That being said, I absolutely want to continue reading this series! Kate’s a marvelous romance writer, and I love a good Scottish tale!

This novel has some erotic scenes in it, so it’s not for the faint of heart. The sex scenes alone make this an adult novel. So, reader beware! If you’re looking for a soft, conservative novel then you’re looking in the wrong place. The sex was hot, intense and breaks a few of the traditional rules back in the day.

I’d absolutely recommend this book if you love romance, a splash of erotica, or Highlander and similar stories. It’s a great addition to your library!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Kobo

 

Find out more about Kate Robbins on:
Goodreads – Kate Robbins
http://katerobbinsauthor.com/
Twitter – @KateRobWriter

 

If you enjoyed this book (or review!) check out another book you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Rainbow Vintner by Geza Tatrallyay
#BookReview The Inside Track by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

 

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#BookReview Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam

Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam is a seriously funny book that will take you on one wild adventure.

Books like these are always my favourites – they tell fun and inviting stories and welcome you into someone else’s world. I also identify as an ‘old soul’ so I get a real kick out of reading books about the past. This book, Carrying Albert Home, is about Homer’s parents taking a pet alligator back to Florida. Yes, you read that right, they are transporting an alligator. Along the way they get themselves in lots of trouble and difficult situations, all of which are hilarious!

This book did feel like it would fit into the niche market. It’s a fictional comedy based on true stories that weren’t exactly true… It’s so weird, but lovely. If you’re looking for a book that’s out of the ordinary, I think this book would be one excellent fit!

To be honest though… this book isn’t my type of novel. I did enjoy reading it as a change from my normal selection, but it just didn’t hit me as well as I wanted it to. The book is long and at times feels like too much. I had to put it down and pick it up a few times to really get through the story. It’s not boring and it’s written in a beautiful manner, it’s just not made for me as a reader. There will be readers out there who are dying to read this book, but it just isn’t my style. My rating for this book reflects the fact that it wasn’t a book for me. In reality, I think this book is a solid 4.0 for the average reader, but based on my rating score it’s a 2.

Overall, if I had to describe this book in a series of words they would be: quirky, spontaneous, eccentric, outlandish and zany.

2.0 out of 5.0 stars – it’s just not my type of book, but it is absolutely lovely and I highly recommend it.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on Goodreads.

If you enjoyed this book, check out another book or review you might enjoy!
#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen
To Wendy’s With Love: the 22-year Lunch by Diane Keyes- BOOK REVIEW
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

 

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#BookReview A Cup of Redemption by Carole Bumpus

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If I had to describe this book in one word, I’d use the word “journey”.

This incredibly breath-taking tale by Carole Bumpus wow-ed me more than I can say in a few words. When I started reading this book, I just figured it was another Women’s Fiction novel that would be a great ‘on the side’ read to keep my mind off of my homework. Once I got into the book, I was instantly hooked and amazed at how Carole can weave words into the most beautiful and heart breaking tale I’ve ever read! It’s an Oscar-worthy book that is shockingly under-appreciated! Seriously, this is in my Top 10 reads now from how freaking fantastic is was!

A Cup of Redemption follows multiple generations in one family. Sophie’s Mother (Marcelle) has just passed and she is asked to investigate her family tree. She goes on this wild adventure about her heritage with her friend Kate, and enlists the help of some of her siblings. Along the way, we learn about the haunting past of her, her mother and her grandmother. These tales are seamlessly written and tie in with one another throughout the story. This book will break your heart, warm your heart, and then make you believe in familial love all over again.

There’s a splash of history in this book, since it goes over the World Wars and other historical events that occur behind the scenes (or during the scenes!) of the story. There’s a wee bit of romance, a whole lot of drama, and a splash of mystery as well! If you like fiction where the story slowly unfolds and everything comes into view, then you will love this book! The ending isn’t right out there, you have to learn through Sophie and the other characters what really happened in the past – and I loved that aspect. I’m glad the ending wasn’t obvious like some mystery novels.

I loved the characters and how they interacted with each other. Even when Carole is changing back and forth between the decades, she makes these characters lovable and feel real. At times, I could relate way harder to these characters than I ever expected to. That realism is what really sets this book apart from other stories like this. I almost felt like this could be a non-fiction retelling of a woman’s life. Seriously, it’s that good.

The downfalls of this book are as followed:
1. There’s a lot of characters to follow, and if you put down this book a few times like me – you might forget who’s who!
2. There are some plot points that don’t end up resolved, but they aren’t major ones. I would have liked a few more of my questions answered, but the story does come to a close so I guess that’s a bit of a positive…
3. This book can be quite…upsetting. There’s rape, sexual assault and other dark occurrences in the book that aren’t for the light of heart.

By the end of this book, I couldn’t put it down! I absolutely loved it! Even with the slow start, it slowly burned a hole into my heart and I absolutely need more by Carole Bumpus! If you haven’t picked this book up, seriously, get on it! I’m utterly surprised by how well this book connected with me and I want to make sure more readers are able to connect to books with this much talent in it!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find this book on:

Kobo

Indigo/Chapters/Coles – eBook

Indigo/Chapters/Coles – Paperback

Barnes and Nobles – Paperback

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

 

Find out more about Carole Bumpus on:

Goodreads – Carole Bumpus

http://www.carolebumpus.com/

Twitter – @CaroleBumpus

If you enjoyed this review, give me a shout out on Twitter: @ReviewAlholic or check out my Facebook page: @BriarsReviews

 

While you’re at it, check out another book review you might enjoy! #BookReview Driving on the Left by Gail Ward Olmsted

#BookReview Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini

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Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule is a riveting drama that follows the lives of Julia, a young and wealthy woman, and Jule, her slave.

If I had to limit this book’s description to two words, I would call it a historical drama. Typically, I am not a fan of books like this but somehow Jennifer Chiaverini made me feel attached to these characters. I lost my drive partway through this novel, but I couldn’t help myself to jump back in to know the ending of this story.

I felt this book followed Julia more than Jule, but somehow it felt right that there was one star of the show. I would have liked to follow Jule and Gabriel’s story a lot more (because I truly felt more attached to those characters than Mr. and Mrs. Grant), but Jennifer decided to follow Julia and her life more actively in the novel. Julia definitely had her flaws since Jennifer made sure to have the character not be the perfect, rich girl. I did appreciate that sentiment, because I’m a little tired of historical novels where the leads are utterly perfect and do no wrong. At times, I did find Julia to be the antagonist more than the protagonist, but that’s merely because of her view of the world (which was very typical of the time).

I did not have much background on this book, so it amazed me that Julia and Ulysses Grant were real people! This story is a fictionalized version of their life, but it felt almost real. Due to this book being as interesting as it was, I decided to look up more about Julia and Ulysses Grant. To me, as a reader, I love when a book can open my eyes to a world I didn’t realize existed or happened. I am not well versed in American history (since I am Canadian, and my schooling did not involve much of the USA’s history), so I’m glad a book like this exists! In my opinion, this book does what I want a book to do – make readers more interested in the topic.

Is this book perfect? No. I felt there was some really slow parts of the book that drove me away from it. That being said, I like constant movement of the plot so the book isn’t intended for an audience like me. It’s a slow paced book that is about history. I also would have liked to see Julia and Jule interacting more as adults, since the book suggests it is about their relationship. If anything, the misleading title and synopsis are the worst parts of this book. Although, it’s a fantastic read and I’d highly recommend it if you love historical fiction, fictionalized stories of real life events, a heartfelt drama, a splash of romance, civil war era books, or American history.

Overall, this book is well written and a nice story. I’d love to read more by Jennifer Chiaverini just to see if she can open my eyes to more historical stories.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

 

 

Find out more about the author, Jennifer Chiaverini, on her website:

http://jenniferchiaverini.com/

Or check her out on Goodreads: Goodreads – Jennifer Chiaverini

 

Find Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter @ReviewAlholic and recommend a book for me to read!

Also, if you enjoyed this review, why not check out another book you might enjoy? Quick Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

 

#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

Use the hashtags #SonsofYork and #BriarsReviews on twitter to talk about this review!

#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner

 

The Guacho’s Lady was the cutest, sweetest, most adorable historical romance I’ve read this year!

I won’t lie, when I first started this book I was a little wary. Historical romances have been hit or miss for me, but somehow Genevieve Turner craved a beautifully written tale that really had me hooked. Seriously, I couldn’t put the book down. I had to for about twenty minutes to drive home and it was absolute torture! I managed to find time to binge the rest of this super cute book so I didn’t have to wait to know how my new fave characters ended up.

So, onto the good part!

This is a historical romance following Eliana and Juan. Juan is a Gaucho, who Eliana enlists to help “kidnap” her and whisk her away from a potentially horrible marriage. As she runs away from her Father and this wicked husband-to-be, the pair begin to grow on each other. Juan has his own difficult past, with a deceased wife and child that are haunting his thoughts. The pure, innocent Eliana has her eyes open to a new world with Juan! And, of course, there’s a little bit of an adventure along the way!

I would highly recommend this book if you love romance books that aren’t just purely romance (but are mostly romance). The world building and little side adventures that happen along the way were a nice touch! Juan and Eliana’s romantic story is a little typical (fearless hero with a tragic back story and a pure, innocent lady who needs to be shown the world) but it worked so well! Seeing both characters change and grow within the story made that trope turn into a fabulous plot point instead of a ‘con’.

Another nice point about this book is that it talks about Argentina. I don’t know about other readers, but that’s not a setting I read about very often! While it’s a small little thing to notice about a book, I like it when books open up new worlds and introduce us to other cultures. I don’t know if the book is wildly accurate, but it may open some readers up to learning more!

To sum of some of the ‘touchy’ points for some readers, here’s an attempted spoiler free list:
1. Marriage of convenience
2. Death of wife/unborn child (don’t worry, it’s not graphic or described – it’s just in passing, but it’s still sad)
3. Super, sheltered, innocent virgin

To me, those points weren’t necessarily a bad part – but I’ve seen many readers out there who despise those tropes. So, if you’re one of those readers, you’ve been warned!

If I had to list the best parts of this book, it would be as followed:
1. A man who knows consent! OMG Juan cares about his lady and wants to only have sexy time when they both want it AND wants to consider her feelings. Do you know how nice that is to see in literature?! 10 stars for that alone!
2. Headstrong, ‘feminist’ woman. She knows what she wants and doesn’t necessarily want to be submissive. I like that she had her own mind and was willing to learn, change and adapt.

My two cons are as followed:
1. The word “mound”. Yes, an entire word is one of my two cons. That’s my version of “moist”. Is it a con for the story? No. But I just don’t like the sound of it. What can I say? I’m picky.
2. Juan teaching Eliana the ways of ‘sexy time’ was a little cheesey. I understand why it happened and it was cute and silly, but I found it to be just past the amount of cheese I wanted. It also didn’t take away from the story, but for me…well, I don’t know what would have been better.

My overall opinion on this book is that it’s amazing! It was fun, cute and absolutely lovely! I love a good romance story that whisks me away to another world and has a lovely, fulfilled ending. If I get the chance, I absolutely am picking up more stories by Genevieve Turner.

I 100% recommend this book to those who love romance, historical romances, light-hearted and fun stories (even though there is some “darker” content suggested), and who want a bingable story.

Five out of five stars!!

I do owe a GIANT thank you to the author Emma Barry who recommended this book to me and gave me the opportunity to read it. Without her, I wouldn’t have realized how amazing this book was!

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Kobo

Barnes & Nobles

Coles/Indigo/Chapters

 

Check out the author, Genevieve Turner, on:

Goodreads – Author Page

Twitter – @GenTurner5

 

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