#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 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

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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

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#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

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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.

 

Check out Clifford Jackman on Goodreads – Clifford Jackman on Goodreads

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