#BookReview A Long Way Back by J. Everett Prewitt

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A Long Way Back by J. Everett Prewitt is a gripping story that will leave you breathless.

This book is one of the novels that have been sitting on my to-read shelf behind other books and I didn’t see. I would have read it ages ago, but my silly placement pattern didn’t work as well. Normally I put books I have read already to the back of my deep bookshelves, but somehow this book snuck into that pile. Since I found it, I decided I might as well spend my time reading it and leaving a gracious review to this author on Goodreads. They deserve it! I was the silly one who “lost” the book after they sent me a copy!

When you pick up this book, you’ll be amazed at the topics it can tackle. Military, secrets, drama, PTSD, and soldiers are all stuffed into this literary package.

J. Everett Prewitt clearly has a passion for this topic. His words flow smoothly and the story seems effortless. The points of view switch throughout the book which make it even more impactful (is that even a word?!) and meaningful.

This is a fresh take on history, and I was honestly surprised how much I like this book. I hated history in high school and while I love reading it I only want it in short bits and pieces. This novel is quite long (about 300 pages, which is a lot for me when reading history) and does a miraculous job of keeping me interested.

You might call this book a “horror” in some aspects – due to it being war and brutal, but I wouldn’t say this is Stephen King horror. It’s more of a war novel with realistic horrors within it.

The characters seem real, and their development is stunning. It’s not a super fast paced story, but it moves at just the right speed and introduces development and plot twists at just the right time to keep the reader going. I get bored INCREDIBLY easily and I didn’t want to put this book down.

Downfalls? Some of the chapters aren’t as exciting as others, or don’t seem to be written “as well”, and they hinder the story a bit. They keep the plot going, but it’s just not as good as the rest of the story.

Overall, this powerful novel is amazing! I would love to see this pop up in my local bookstores or libraries so it has more circulation. I could even see this book being a “work study” for English or History classes, that is how well-written and vivid this novel is. It makes you feel like you’re in the novel! 100% recommendation from this reviewer right here!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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#BookReview The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman

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The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman

This book reminds me of Games of Thrones if it was set in a western setting. There’s lots of death, and lots of interesting drama to keep you interested.

I’m not crazy into westerns, but I love reading in different genres so I don’t get bored reading the same old, same old. So this read was refreshing, even if I’m not the typical “target audience”.

The book’s setting is around civil war time, which is not a setting I see often of (at least in the books I typically read). For me, this setting worked well within the story. I enjoyed reading all of the descriptions of the locations and people of the time and Clifford Jackman did well within this setting.

While this book is fictional, a lot of the scenarios that happen in the book (brutal, almost R rated scenarios I might add) were situations that happened to people. It was incredible to read, but it rips your heart out knowing some of this did happen to people back in this time. The history was on point despite being fiction. It’s not totally Wild West fiction if my review makes you believe that, but it’s a “western” style near the Civil War (not men on horses shooting everyone like those old movies).

I definitely want to see Clifford Jackman write more – I thought this book did well within it’s genre and was a good read. He was skilled at writing blood and war without a hero or antihero. It was just a novel following someone’s life in a dark western-esque era. It didn’t knock my socks off and turn me to the western genre, but it was worthy read I’d recommend or suggest my local library pick up for other readers.

On point Clifford! Keep up the good work! I can’t wait to see you grow as an author!

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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#BookReview Hope Has Two Daughters by Monia Mazigh

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Hope Has Two Daughters by Monia Mazigh is a beautifully written historical fiction.

This novel is set in Tunisia and follows Nadia and her daughter Lila – these two women’s stories are intertwined over generations (1980s and 2010s) that will leave you feeling breathless. Riots, studying Arabic, family tensions and drama all drive this story forward by the beautiful story telling from Monia Mazigh.

This novel shows the evolving stories of the two women, and how they aren’t so different. Despite being apart of different times, the themes in their lives remain the same. This story shows you hope and survival in different times of struggle, and can be very motivational if you read it under the right context. While this book may not be a non-fiction novel, it almost feels so real with Monia’s descriptive and realistic writing.

This isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it was a good read. While it may not be a five star book in my eyes, seeing how much potential this author has makes the book worth it. Yes, it’s not super fast moving. And of course, there is room to grow within the story (some plot lines could have been left out, there could have been more description in certain areas) but it still makes for a great read. It’s not a book I would leave out of conversations – it is a recommended read from my end. That being said, Monia Mazigh has room to grow as an author, and I’m sure the next book will be even better than this one (no matter what she chooses to write, whether it be a continuation/similar story or a completely different one). If her next novels feel as personal and touching as this one, I’m sure they will be fantastic.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

 

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#BookReview The Proper Proposal (A Regency Romance) by Sophy Hester

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The Proper Proposal by Sophy Hester

Lately, I have been on a string of historical romance-esque series (both novels and television) – The Other Boelyn Girl, Downton Abbey, Reign, The Crown… The list truly goes on. For whatever reason, this type of media has been calling out to me and how could I say no? There are so many fantastic versions of historical fiction/nonfiction literature and television/movies out there!!

So, when I received The Proper Proposal and it popped on my desk, it was very hard to not immediately grab onto the book (despite being super busy and knowingly should not be reading but instead doing work… but like any bookworm, I became a dog when they see a squirrel).

This book was rather easy to read, and that’s not an insult. It’s a book that’s easily to follow along and becomes instantly addicting. I had a very hard time putting it down because I really wanted to finish it all in one sitting – it was that great!!

This book is beautiful in the sense that it’s style is written like the era it is from. I loved seeing big words and references to other works outside of the novel – it’s such a nice change! So many books bore me with texting lingo and simple language. I applaud Sophy for expanding the types of words used in this novel. There’s nothing more irritating than a historical novel using current language throughout the entire book. It was so refreshing and so beautiful, that it deserves a great review just for that content alone.

There isn’t much I’d change about this novel. If anything, I’d just beg Sophy to continue writing more books (whether it be in this genre or others, I think she’s fantastic and needs more books out in the open!). The novel is not to short and not to long – just long enough that it’s rewarding, but short enough to finish in one sitting. The characters are lovable, even if their romance seems “rushed” (in their time it wouldn’t be, but readers today may find that a tad bit interesting). I also enjoyed that there were a few storylines to follow, but our main characters of Louise and John were the main focus. This book doesn’t veer to off to throw the reader off course.

Overall, this book deserves five out of five stars. I was hooked, I didn’t want to put it down and I found it adorable. I love a good historical romance that doesn’t bore me to tears! This book did quite the opposite!! More readers and bookstores need to pick up on this author – Sophy Hester deserves so much more recognition. This book was fantastic!!!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

To Wendy’s With Love: the 22-year Lunch by Diane Keyes- BOOK REVIEW

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To Wendy’s With Love: the 22-year lunch is a love letter to all who have a family – blood bond or not.

Diane Keyes has done one miraculous job I had never expected to see in my life – she wrote a novel collecting Wendy’s, family, love, and warm, happy feelings all in one. This book truly hits all the right notes for me – it’s sweet, inspiring, heart melting and everything I needed in my life today. It’s a book that celebrates family – whether it be by blood or through experiences. And I can’t recommend this book enough!

This small but mighty book is a non-fiction recount of how a family came together for lunch once at week at Wendy’s. Diane highlights some of the rough and tough times that will make your heart clench up, but she also delivers some beautiful, motivating stories as well. Your heart won’t be able to take the extravagant roller coaster Diane makes in this book!

One lesson I learned from this book: Family is powerful.
Blood does not always define the family, and Diane shows this. She not only shows her strong bond with her genetically related family, but the friendships and bonds you can make with others. These simple lunches (that seem like such a silly but genius idea) really highlight how one small change (like meeting up with friends once a week) can really affect you!

I truly appreciate Diane’s hard work. You can tell this story is coming from the heart! Not only does it give a historical background, but it gives you an emotional one too. I am totally inspired by this novel, and I recommend everyone who wants a little splash of happiness and empathy in their life to pick this up.

Five out of five stars.

Quick Book Review: Queen of America by T.J. Slee

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Picture via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Queen of America  (Freya Eriksdottir #1)
Author: T.J. Slee
Date Read: September 26th – November 4th, 2016
Date Reviewed: November 4th, 2016

Background: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads for an honest review.

Quick Synopsis: This book is all about female vikings, which is a nice change from seeing all men vikings all the time. Freya goes out on a mission and is determined to finish it. You follow her struggles and the adventures that vikings have. It’s a great read following strong female characters that are also vikings.

Evaluation: This book was a good read, but I felt that the style did not match with me. This book is truly beautifully written and I love the strong female characters, the exciting plot and the incredible adventures, but I just didn’t like the writing style. It felt too slow for me, but that’s because I really like to read fast paced books. Yet, this book isn’t slow by any means – TJ keeps up an amazing pace. I just found it didn’t fit well with me as a reader. Other readers will definitely like this book! It gets all my praises and awards, but as a reader I just know the types of writing styles I like to read and TJ’s writing style doesn’t match with me personally.

That being said, it’s time to get into the juicy parts of this book. You follow Freya as she goes on an adventure, but you also meet her brother Leif. Her story was truly inspiring and compelling, which had me continue and finish this book.

For people interested in viking history but want a more interesting read than a history textbook, I would definitely suggest picking this book up. It’s a great fiction read that keeps you hooked and gives you some insight into their culture.

There are definitely characters I would have loved to see more of, but other than that there’s not much else to improve on in this set of stories. It’s truly a great read and I suggest readers pick it up!

4 out of 5 stars.

Manga March Book Review: Hamlet (No Fear Shakespeare Graphic Novel) by Neil Babra

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Hamlet
Book Author: William Shakespeare
Adapter/Illustrator: Neil Babra

Introduction: I love Shakespeare, and Hamlet has always been my favourite of all of his plays and sonnets so when I saw this little manga on sale at a location book shop I had to pick it up and read it. I read it about 3  years ago, but I finally found it again on my bookshelf and decided to read it again and review it.

Review:

This adaption is truly an adaption – it’s not identical to the original, but it’s great for younger readers wanting to get into Shakespeare. The typical Shakespeare form is not used, but that makes it easier for read for those not fluent in his verses.

This task of adapting the famous Hamlet into a shorter, simpler work would have been hard but Neil Babra makes it look so easy. The story is shortened into a perfect, young reader-friendly adaption. The famous lines are still in there, but they are so much easier to understand and read. The book is not dumbed down by any means, so readers do not have to worry – this book is a timeless, incredible adaption that should definitely be introduced to young readers.

The artwork is fantastic and matches perfectly with the story. The wordplay that Shakespeare uses is often seen within the pages of this book in illustrated form, which can make any true Shakespeare fan get a true chuckle out of this work.

Overall, this book was fantastic. The facial expressions, the artwork, the rewording, and the narrative are all fantastic.

Five out of five stars.