#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

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#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

 

Leave me a comment below, give me a shout out on Twitter – @reviewalholic or tell me on Facebook – Briar’s Reviews to let me know if you read this review and what I should read next!

#BookReview The Longing by Wendy Lindstrom

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The Longing was a beautiful historical romance novel that kept me wanting more!

The novel follows a marriage of convenience between Kyle Grayson and the beautiful Amelia. When they find themselves married and unsure of where they romance would go, drama ensues.

Not only does this book follow the romance, but it follows a bit of woodworking business as well! This novel is great for anyone who loves a good romance that is not just purely romance, but wants an emotional ride.

This book is part of a series, so I found some of the references confusing. But, you do not need to read the rest of the series to fully understand the book. Wendy Lindstrom does a good job feeding in the information you need to know as it comes. If you have read the series, some of the plot twists will probably be easier to predict, but it’s not a major problem in the book.

I found the book to be a little slow, but I am used to fast paced romance in fast paced genres. It’s a slow read, but it’s emotional and dramatic, which helps this slow plot develop.

I would definitely read the rest of the series after picking up this book! I saw no major plot errors and the character development is drawn out well over the novel. Fantastic novel!

I rate this four out of five stars because of the slow moving plot. It does not hinder the story, but it makes it harder to stick to the book. If anything, that would be the only potential problem I can knick-pick about!

This book would be great for anyone who loves: historical romance, romance in general, emotional and dramatic reads (such as The Fault in Our Stars – but in an adult genre instead of YA), and historical fiction in general.

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

What is your favourite historical romance book? Comment below!
If you loved this book, then I highly suggest this book: #BookReview The Proper Proposal (A Regency Romance) by Sophy Hester

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #GraysonBrothers on twitter to start a conversation! @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.

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

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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 Hidden Fires by Sandra Brown

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This book took WAY to long to read for me, if I’m being brutally honest.

Normally I am SO OBSESSED with a romance novel that can get me away from the world and take me to my dreamy state of mind, but this book didn’t do it for me. It was a little disappointing, but I still think this is an excellent book by Sandra Brown. It didn’t help I was cramming for exams and was worrying my days away about how my marks would look, so my lack of relaxation wasn’t totally Sandra Brown’s fault!

This book is centered in 1800s Texas, and we’ve got a preacher’s daughter and a rebellious man. Isn’t this just the stereotypical norm for a really great, mind numbing romance? To some people, that’s the worst norm in the world, but sometimes that norm just gets me! I loved that this book took me back to the past and away from my problems. Sandra Brown’s speaking tone in this novel gets you in and gets you hooked!

This is apparently one of her older books (I hate to admit it was made before I was born… 1994…wow), so I’m very tempted to pick up a more recent one. Most likely, her talent has increased the more she has written. It does stand the test of time (if you ask me), but it’s historical fiction so that helps it out a lot.

Was this book mind blowing? No. It didn’t knock me off my feet like some romance novels do, but I like that it was simple, sweet and to the point. It’s a good book to just sink away from the world in, if that’s what you are looking for.

It fits close to the “good girl, bad boy” stereotype, but with a little more “cheese” factor in it. It will tear at your heart strings a bit as well!

Overall, this book was a nice, melodramatic, romance novel. I definitely want to pick up more by Sandra Brown (and luckily I have another hiding on my shelf…) in the near future.

Three out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Photo from Goodreads.