#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 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 Free Fall by Emma Barry & Genvieve Turner

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Free Fall by Emma Barry is one of the sweetest, feel good books of the year!

Thank you to Tamsen Parker who suggested I pick up books by Emma Barry! I can’t thank her enough, because Emma’s writing is beautiful and matches perfectly with my reading style.

Free Fall is about Dean and Vivian, an astronaut and the daughter of of a wealthy businessman, who happen to find themselves in a sticky situation. They are expecting a baby and they have to get married to “set things right”. This story follows their relationship and the troubles of Dean’s career.

This book really made me feel good – it’s ooey gooey cute and isn’t negative. It’s the type of book you’d want to read when you are in a bad mood because it will pick you up. Yes, there’s drama in this book (it’s a romance novel, there’s bound to be some kind of drama), but it doesn’t make you feel bad. I love a book that lets me sink into it’s words and feel great, and Emma does that perfectly.

I’m also so incredibly excited to see a book about a woman with a full figure that isn’t solely about her weight. Vivy embraces her full figure, and isn’t described as “fat”. I can fully relate to Vivian – I’ve always been athletic, and as a child I was told by other kids I was “fat” because I wasn’t super skinny like everybody else was in my classes. Being told to stay silent, be smaller, etc., just like Vivy was my life until I got older. It’s nice to see the storyline develop with the introduction to her body type, but not revolve around her weight. Too often do we see differences (whether it’s gender, sexuality, weight, etc) be used as the problem or plot line of the story, but this book embraced her as a person.

I’d like to see more of Dean and Vivian – I think they’re characters are well developed and could definitely hold their own in a series! I’m not sure where we could take them, but they were very cute! These characters do develop and face issues in this story.

Now the big question – do I have any cons (since I’ve listed many pros). If anything, I would have liked the book to be longer! Maybe a little more drama or action between the couple themselves. That’s my only suggestion to improve, because this was a really good book! It’s a worth while read! The book was “long enough”, but I could see this book including a few extra chapters and work just as well!

Overall, this book was truly beautiful! It’s a nice read to embrace on a soft, summer day! I highly recommend this book and declare it a romance must-read! It’s also not even close to an R rating (there are some sexy scenes, but nothing a PG-13 warning label won’t cover). So if you love romance and a happy ending, then this book will be for you!

Five out of five stars!

I received an ARC copy from the author Emma Barry in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

About Free Fall:

Authors: Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner

Book Title: Free Fall

Series: Fly Me to the Moon, Book 5
Houston, Texas, 1965
When an accident rocks the American Space Department, threatening the race to the moon, the agency is determined to eliminate distractions, including those in the bedroom.
Astronaut Dean Garland, on track to become the first man to walk in space, is fine with putting a temporary hold on his love life. Except the directive comes too late to prevent the biggest distraction of all: Vivian Muller… Garland. But now that he’s married, Dean is determined to follow the rules until he makes history with his spacewalk.
Vivy never expected to find herself pregnant or in a shotgun marriage, much less a sexless one. While her new husband might pretend to be perfectly happy sleeping alone, Vivy’s never believed in pretending or holding back. She’s determined to make her husband fall for her, even if it means bending—or breaking—the rules.
Dean’s resolve to keep marriage and work separate hits another serious snag: the suit he’s supposed to wear in the killer vacuum of space isn’t reliable, and his new father-in-law manufactured it. As Dean unravels the technical problem and Vivy tries to win her husband’s love, their hearts and his life hang in the balance.

 

Or purchase the book on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Free Fall

Amazon.ca – Free Fall

Give Genevieve (@GenTurner5), Emma (@AuthorEmmaBarry) and myself (@ReviewAlholic) a shout out on Twitter!
And check out Emma on her website: http://authoremmabarry.com/

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another one of my reviews including Emma Barry:

#BookReview Rogue Hearts (Anthology) by Tamsen Parker, Amy Jo Cousins, and more

#BookReview Rogue Affair by Adriana Anders, Tamsen Parker and more!

#BookReview Rogue Desires by Tamsen Parker, Adriana Anders, Amy Jo Cousins and more!

 

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.