#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 Carry Me by Peter Behrens

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Carry Me by Peter Behrens is a beautifully woven tale of the world wars that gives a unique perspective into the life of people in those times.

The first half of this book was incredibly addicting to me, and I could hardly put it down. It was a solid five out of five stars, and I wish I could have kept reading! Unfortunately, life hit me and I came back a week later to this novel. When I started reading at about page 243 I found myself not as interested and the story began to drag on and on and on. Some of the information could have been left out and the story would have felt just as full when I got to the end.

While this book seemed a little to long, I think the descriptions Peter wrote were divine. I couldn’t believe how clear I could imagine this story in my head! The beauty in Peter’s words truly wow-ed me, and if you love a descriptive author/book then this one is for you! It’s truly exquisite, and I’m surprised this book hasn’t won many awards for it’s intense descriptions.

The story goes back and forth between World War 1 and World War 2. Sometimes I found it hard to distinguish between the time lines (even though it stated which was which), and I almost wish Peter would have written the timelines in different tones. This wasn’t a major issue, but it did make this book a little more confusing for me (personally).

There is a small bit of romance in this novel, but you can hardly call it romance. While that was part of what drew me to the novel (you read the back of the book and it makes it seem like an epic war story with a splash of romance), yet there wasn’t much there in terms of romance. There was attraction and sweet comments, but it was more just happening in the story – there was no focus on the romance specifically. This could be a pro or a con for you, but to me I felt the marketing portrayed the romance as more than it was.

The battles in this story were well written – the war itself, the battle between leaving and staying in a place you love, and the troubles of complete opposites (woman vs men, idealisms, romanticism, etc). If you’re into themes and like reading into a book, there is so much potential to pick apart in this novel.

And then the ending is somewhat expected (I mean, most people know about history so we kind of know where it was going), but it still blew me away. Without spoiling, I think the way Peter tied this story together and increased conflict was truly incredible.

Overall, this piece of writing is a definite must read for fans of history, war stories, descriptive fiction and historical fiction. I normally stray far away from novels about history, but this one was fantastic!

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Comment below with your favourite historical war stories!

Check out my review on Goodreads: Carry Me Review by Briar’s Reviews

Find Peter Behrens on his website: http://www.peterbehrens.org/

Or give us a shoutout on twitter! @PHBehrens and @ReviewAlholic

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Do Not Ask by Elaine Williams Crockett

#BookReview Throne of Grace by Cecily Wolf

Time for a quick book review!!

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Throne of Grace is one of the only Christian romance novels I have read. I saw it was free on Amazon, and I decided I might as well pick up a different type of book.

The book is sweet and simple, if I’m putting it lightly. The historical aspect made it seem so much sweeter than I expected it to be, and to be honest I didn’t mind the religion aspect of it. I didn’t find it to be “in your face”, which was a pleasant surprise.

I found the relationship to build up a little quickly, but that is more of a personal comment. Reading other reviews, I’ve found most people haven’t mind this aspect (since I haven’t read many Christian romance books, I’m not sure if this is normal or not, but it worked). I also enjoyed the drama and other relationships within this book. It was unique and made the story much more than just a “romance” book. If anything, my only request would be to make the book move faster, but the relationship a little slower.

Overall, this book was a nice, clean book.

Three out of five stars.

 

What is your favourite Christian romance? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Pop Sonnets by Erik Didriksen

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #ThroneofGrace to talk start a conversation about this book on twitter! @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview Anita – A Heroine of Two Worlds by Liz Gavin

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Anita by Liz Gavin is an awesome, short story that will leave you breathless.

I downloaded this book free from a newsletter I was sent, and man was I blown away! I am really annoyed that this is a “standalone” (currently…) because the ending was the worst cliffhanger EVER!

This book was a time travel, romance novel – and O-M-G was it addicting. The 76 pages felt way to short for this wonderful world Liz was building. The book is unique (with a lead who is a historian with a PhD) and it really hit all the notes I wanted it to. The historian finds a locket and can travel through time, and then some romantic shenanigans occur to make this story wild and lusty!

Overall, I LOVED it! I want more by Liz Gavin immediately and more in this series ASAP! This author is one to watch for sure.

Five out of five stars.

 

What is your favourite indie book? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Poetry for Strangers by Elisabeth Sharp McKetta

Give me a shou tout on twitter using the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #Anita if you read this review!

Check out Liz Gavin on her website http://www.lizgavin.com/ or twitter @LizGavin_author

#BookReview The Second War of Rebellion by Katie Hanrahan

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Somehow, I managed to pick up this book and finish reading it but then put it right back on my “to read” bookshelf so I completely forgot how long ago I read it! So the accuracy of the dates of when I read this is quite wrong! I’ll just say August 2017 since that’s when I re-read and found it again!

For some reason, this book did not stick with me. It was very hard to finish despite being beautifully written. I really, really wanted to like it but I wasn’t hooked and I had to put it down many times.

This book is a great historical romance/drama for those who are interested in those types of books. I found Katie to be a beautiful descriptive writer despite me not getting hooked into the book. I would definitely suggest this to other readers – it just wasn’t a good book for me, personally.

That being said, I did find that this book had pacing issues. Sometimes, this book was absolutely fantastic and moved at a fast pace that made this book super awesome! And then it would slow down to a snail’s pace and make it difficult for me to continue on. While the plot itself was fantastic and the characters are extremely well developed, I think with some pace fixing this book could have hit a home run.

Maddie is a strong female lead who could rival some of the big named “blockbuster” leads – like Katniss, Hermione, etc. She is perhaps the best part of this novel, in my opinion.

Overall, this book is a strong contender in the top historical romances I’ve seen recently. It’s a must read for those craving a good, strong female lead with a dash of historical romance in it.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

You can find Katie on her website: Katie Hanrahan

Or take a peek at her Goodreads: Katie Hanrahan on Goodreads

Check me out on Goodreads where I post up to date reviews as soon as they happen! Be the first in the know!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Or follow me on Twitter! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

 

#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.

 

Check out J. Everett Prewitt on Goodreads: J. Everett Prewitt on Goodreads

Or find him on his website: E Prewitt.com

Or give him a shoutout on Twitter!! @Prewittx

Check me out on Goodreads where I post up to date reviews as soon as they happen! Be the first in the know!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

You can find me on twitter! Stop by and say hi!! Let me know you read this review!!  Briar’s Reviews on Twitter