#BookReview Elves & The Argo Adventure by Katja Vartiainen

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Elves & the Argo Adventure is yet another funny, satirical, comic about elves created by the fabulous Katja Vartiainen.

This time around, the elves are going on an adventure! It all starts out when the swallows tell/tweet to the elves THAT THERE IS NO COFFEE! It’s a real tragedy, just like it is for us adults in the real world. How can the elves expect to work their five hour work week without some form of caffeine?! The elves resort to alcohol, magical beings, Dolph Lundgrun, and a fishcorn, to name a few.

In regards to the artwork, I’d be lying if I said my favourite picture wasn’t the little lady bugs/lady birds! They are so simple to draw, and yet I always love seeing them! I also thought the eye-phone picture was seriously hilarious!

When you pick apart this book, there’s many themes within it. The entire point of this book seems to be making fun of the human experience – how we’re racist, how we need coffee to survive, how we’ll do anything to get what we want, etc. It’s a nice to be able to look at our worldly problems in a comedic sense – especially in the fantasy setting.

I did have some negatives about this book, and one of them was it was hard to understand some of the phrasing. Most of the jokes were easy to read, but there were a few that either the grammar was off, or the joke went over my head to make me not understand the sentence in general. My other “con” was seeing the link that appeared on every few pages suggesting the reader check out the elves’s real website. I can totally understand trying to market it that way, but it caused me to become unfocused and break away from the story.

Overall, I think this book is a silly read you can definitely manage in one sitting. It’s a great escape book full of colourful artwork.

Three out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Katja Vartiainen in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book Elves & The Argo Adventure on:

Goodreads – Elves & AA – Goodreads

Amazon.com – Elves & AA – Amazon.com

Amazon.ca – Elves & AA – Amazon.ca

Check out Elves Get Organized? another book in this series on:

Goodreads – Elves Get Organized? – Goodreads

Amazon.com – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.com

Amazon.ca – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.ca

Or check out Katja’s drawing book Half Done Fun on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Half Done Fun

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Half Done Fun

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Half Done Fun

 

Find out more about Katja on her website: http://www.artist-katja-vartiainen.de/

Or give us both a shout out on Twitter! @KatArtPics & @ReviewAlholic

 

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#BookReview Elves Get Organized? by Katja Vartiainen

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Elves Get Organized by Katja Vartiainen is a cute, fun adventure!

Just the first page alone, with the super cute owl and squirrel, made me squirm with excitement! I love a colourful graphic novel, especially since I rarely get to read them!

This story is all about elves! This book starts off with a little riverdance festival, full of deep, rich colours and fun scenes of dancing elves, beavers, bats and other creatures! And, didn’t you know, these dances cause the crop circles!

Elves Get Organized has strong, central theme of taking care of the environment. The disgusting amount of plastic in the forest was a nice addition – because it’s so true. All around my neighborhood and in the wooded areas near my house there is plastic everywhere! I can’t go a day without seeing plastic littered everywhere. Who-mans definitely did NOT think about the consequences of using plastic that isn’t biodegradable in any form. Add in the effects of trees on the environment, the effects of relaxation and meditation, and loss of water like ponds and streams, and you’ve got one epic story!

I had a real chuckle that “who-man” was human. It took me a few pages to grasp that concept, and when I did I was giggling at the silliness. The worshipper of coffee was also hilarious! Eyephone versus the iPhone? And those are only three of many seriously funny scenes that had me rolling my eyes from the sarcastic nature of the comments. I don’t know how Katja thought up all of these jokes, but it’s hilarious!! Grade A humor!

There is some adult humor, including some “inappropriate” words that make this book a little darker. The style of the story made me think it would have been great for reading with my reading buddies back in grade school, but the darker tones had me wondering if this was better off for teen to adult readers.

I think this book is a great breakaway from society. If you want a fun, amusing read that whisks you away to a fantastical world (with a pinch of realism), then this book is for you! It has large amounts of satire about today’s society that will make you laugh along while questioning our world’s sanity.

There is one scene I did NOT like (because I am an animal lover), and it honestly changed my opinion of the book. If you read it, you’ll probably figure out the exact scene I’m thinking of. I don’t like having those types of scenes in books, violence towards animals is NEVER okay, even as a story line in a comedic book. There were many different ways that plot line could have happened – like having an “almost” moment instead of full out creating violence against animals. In turn, this book is NOT for you if you dislike violence towards animals.

Overall, this story was cute and fun but is definitely for adult readers. It spoofs today’s society and embraces ecological change. If you’re looking for a quick read, a graphic novel or a satirical novel – then this book is for you!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this novel from the author Katja Vartiainen in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads – Elves Get Organized? – Goodreads

Amazon.com – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.com

Amazon.ca – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.ca

 

Find out more about Katja on her website: http://www.artist-katja-vartiainen.de/

Or give us both a shout out on Twitter! @KatArtPics & @ReviewAlholic

 

Comment below – what is your favourite graphic novel?

 

#BookReview Commune by Java Davis

Time for a quick review, throwback thursday style!!

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This was a cute little book, but it did not spike my interest as much as I would have hoped for. This book follows a small apple commune in what was described as a comedy, but I found to be quite boring to be honest. The story lines did not go very far, and all ended in a very abrupt yet boring fashion. I would have enjoyed this book more if the author would had made a little more action or trouble for the commune to go through to see how they would react. It was well written, but just very boring.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

What is your favourite book that is under 100 pages? Comment below!
Did you enjoy this review? Why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Life Seemed Good, But… by Richard Bell

Give me a shoutout on twitter! @ReviewAlholic

Collection 1: #TopTens – Children’s Fiction Part 1

Welcome to my new collection of blog posts! This collection will be all about my favourite books in specific genres. My goal is to collect awesome books together to provide some new to-read novels for readers! There will be multiple parts to each collection since I have read so many good books by so many fantastic authors.

So to start us off, I’ve decided to introduce you to some epic children’s fiction novels. I’ve mixed in both chapter books and picture books for your children and middle grade enjoyment!

And here… we… go…

 

1. Unlimited by Kevin Miller

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Unlimited is a tale following a group of boys on a school field trip. These super smart boys embark on a journey to transmit a radio signal with their new radio station and creative show! But things go weary, since everyone is not totally impressed by this comedy/horror radio show over the airwaves…

This book is one of my top books of 2018 (and ever, to be honest). It blew me out of the water and really impressed me that it transcended the middle grade novel stigma! It was highly enjoyable and one of my top must reads. If you love adventure mixed with a pinch of comedy, then this book is for you!

Amazon.com – Unlimited

Amazon.ca – Unlimited

Briar’s Reviews #BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller

 

2. We All Fall Down by Eric Walters

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This tantalizing tale follows a ninth grade student named Will during the September 11th attacks. I read this book as a child and again recently as an adult. This book really impressed me with how it brought up the topic of such a tough time in history to children. I found it super respectful and a wonderful talking point. I’d highly recommend this book if you’re looking to explain one of history’s most tragic moments.

Amazon.com – We All Fall Down

Amazon.ca – We All Fall Down

Briar’s Reviews #BookReview We All Fall Down by Eric Walters

 

3. Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

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If you’re looking for an epic superhero tale, check out this super silly, teeny, tiny story! Hercufleas is a flea, and boy is he fantastic! This hero wants to help save the day from the big baddies, and they are much bigger than him! This middle grade novel is quite long, but is a truly remarkable read. It’ll keep you hooked, giggling and having a good time all throughout! I’d highly recommend this super fun book to introduce some very important themes, such as – it doesn’t matter how small you are, you can still do great things!

Amazon.com – Hercufleas

Amazon.ca – Hercufleas

#BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

 

4. Ugly by Robert Hoge

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This motivational and inspirational tale is one of my most visited reviews on my blog! And for good reason! This truly unbelievable story is all about the author, Robert Hoge! He had a tumour on his face, which drastically changed his life – in both good and bad ways! His beautiful story is told perfectly for the eye’s and mind of a child, and it moved me! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and I will always recommend this incredible must read! Stories like this don’t come along too often!

Amazon.com – Ugly

Amazon.ca – Ugly

Briar’s Reviews Book Review: Ugly by Robert Hoge

 

5. Pandora’s Lunch Box: Don’t Open! by Richard Clark

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Richard Clark is the king of middle grade fiction (and picture books, but that’s in another list!). Pandora’s Lunch Box is a satire/parody of myth Pandora’s Box. This time around, Pandora’s Box is actually a lunch box! Pandora’s lunch box is suspenseful, magical and hilarious! If you’re looking for something you’ll be able to laugh at (due to unexpected adult humor through the satire of the myth) then I’d highly suggest this short yet sweet novel!

Amazon.com – Pandora’s Lunch Box

Amazon.ca – Pandora’s Lunch Box

Briar’s Reviews – Goodreads Review

 

6. Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold

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Yes, I know, a Christmas book this early?! It’s never too early to prepare for the holidays! Olive, the Other Reindeer is my childhood favourite that I became instantly obsessed with! Remember that famous like.. “all of the other reindeer”? Well, what if that line was misunderstood?! Olive, the super, cute dog is ready to join in reindeer games with her unique skills! This short picture book will make your day and bring lots of goofy giggles!

Amazon.com – Olive, the Other Reindeer

Amazon.ca – Olive, the Other Reindeer

 

7. Bunnicula by Deborah & James Howe

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Another childhood favourite of mine (that we read almost every year in elementary school) is Bunnicula! This series is a fantastical novel that introduced me to horror (despite it not being that scary). This bunny with fangs has it’s own super, insane book that will blows your socks off! It’s unique and crazy – what bunny has fangs?! I’d highly recommend this series if you’re running out of good reads or want something a little different!

Amazon.com – Bunnicula

Amazon.ca – Bunnicula

 

8. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

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One of my favourite childhood authors was Robert Munsch, and perhaps his greatest book (in my opinion) is The Paper Bag Princess. I read this book over and over to my reading buddy and I kept my copy until it literally fell to bits because I read it so much! Princess Elizabeth is supposed to marry a prince when a dragon attacks! She must outsmart the dragon, all the while wearing a paper bag! This creative story is a picture book and it’s a definite must read that I highly recommend!

Amazon.com – The Paper Bag Princess

Amazon.ca – The Paper Bag Princess

 

9. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

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This is one of the earliest books I can remember from my childhood, and I still have it to this day! A little bunny is the main character of this picture book and all he wants to do is run away from his Mom! This story was published decades ago, but is still a classic! If you’re looking for a sweet read with lots of re-read value, and an instant classic – check this super cute book out!

Amazon.com – The Runaway Bunny

Amazon.ca – The Runaway Bunny

 

10. Grandma and the Pirates by Phoebe Gilman

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Grandma and the Pirates was my go to bedtime read as a kid. It’s hilarious and inspiring! Grandma makes some incredible noodle pudding, and it attracts some crazy pirates! They steal Grandma, and Melissa must save her! I always found this book to be so strong and made me feel like the hero at the end! Melissa was a smart girl who had to beat pirates! It’s a short picture book with lots of potential! I’m honestly surprised it has so few reviews on Goodreads to begin with! Everyone in my school had read this book a million times over back in my elementary school days! Check out what I declare the best book EVER and my instant classic from my childhood!

Amazon.com – Grandma and the Pirates

Amazon.ca – Grandma and the Pirates

 

 

That’s all for my first edition of #TopTens. I have more children’s books for another round, and many more genres to come – romance, horror, fantasy, etc. Let me know if you want to see a specific genre, or if you have book recommendations for me to read! If you have books I haven’t included, comment below and tell me what else to include!
I hope you enjoyed this and found some new books to read. Let me know how your reading adventures go!
For another day,

Briar

xoxo

#BookReview Half Done Fun by Katja Vartiainen

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Half Done Fun by Katja Vartiainen is a unique book for all of your doodling fun!

This book is seriously fun! I always liked drawing, colouring and painting when I was younger but slowly lost it as I got older (and had less time to do all the fun things I did in my youth).

There’s helpful tips and suggestions, which helps a lot! You aren’t expected to go in blind, and like the title suggests half the picture is done already! The drawing skill is said to be eleven years old or higher, but I know a few members of a younger audience who probably could have completed the pages with 1000 times more skill than I did. I think you’d just need a “mature” audience who could hold their attention on the book.

Some of these pictures were fun examples I did well on – the candle and the couch/love seat. And then there were more difficult ones – snowflakes, headphones, and a bell. There were also varying themes, so those select pictures were just from the beginning of the book. Not gonna lie, I liked the top hat and the tea pot even if mine looked a little silly. There were also some faces (which I have never been good at drawing, and my skills has clearly not improved magically) for those of you brave enough to tackle some realism. There is a large variety of different faces, genders, race, and identifying features which added some depth to this book.

On top of that, there’s also some animals (which I have yet to tackle, but believe me… I’m going to try… eventually… and hide the pictures because my talent isn’t drawing…). The eagle and the seal are by far the coolest ones!

So, there’s some variety. Some pictures are definitely “easier” than others (depending on your drawing skills, of course). I would love to see books like this used more in art classes and for children’s fun (instead of just playing on smartphones all day). In my childhood art classes the picture was always on a board and we had to draw the second half on our paper. Having options like this book would have made those art classes a little bit more successful!

Overall, this book is serious fun! I enjoyed playing along (even if I haven’t finished the whole book yet – I will slowly work my drawing skills and get better). This book could be a great activity over time with your kids, or as an adult who wants to build on their drawing skills. I think you could somehow manage to get the entire book done in one sitting, but I’d recommend using this for some long term fun!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Katja Vartiainen in exchange for an honest review.

 

About the book:

Half Done Fun is an entertaining drawing/doodle book that makes it easier for those who want to practice their drawing and observation skills. It offers symmetrical (or closely symmetrical) things, humans, and animals that are half drawn so you can focus on finishing the other half and not worrying about ‘what to draw’. For children over 11 years and adults, as well.

Check out this book on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Half Done Fun

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Half Done Fun

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Half Done Fun

 

Find out more about Katja on her website: http://www.artist-katja-vartiainen.de/

Or give us both a shout out on Twitter! @KatArtPics & @ReviewAlholic

 

Comment below – do you like art and drawing?

#BookReview Jeep Tour by Gail Ward Olmsted

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Jeep Tour is another stunning women’s fiction novel by Gail Ward Olmsted.

Seriously, this lady KNOWS what I’m feeling and thinking! Just the quote alone “A series of unrelated and seemingly random events that can singularly cause stress and anxiety” is my life right now – college, working, life, EVERYTHING! Within this sweet, women’s fiction are words of wisdom I never would have appreciated until I became an adult and finally understood what “adulting” meant! The metaphor comparing whack-a-mole made it even better, to be brutally honest. That’s is how life feels sometime!

This novel is the first in the “series”, but like the rebel I am – I read Jackie’s daughter’s story first! So, it was only necessary to read Jackie’s story as well! The two books can easily be read apart, but if you want a little more sanity and understanding, reading them in order would be helpful. I do have to say, you can tell that Gail has improved in her writing (not that she was bad to begin with, but you can see the growth and I LOVE when that happens! I’m a nerdy little birdie for seeing authors grow and change into sophisticated and more talented authors!).

Now, back to the story!

Middle-aged Jackie is divorced from her husband and decided to go on an adventure and hop on a Jeep Tour. She ended up meeting uber sexy tour guide Rick, and he gave her his number! Rick is young, hot, and flirty!

I related to Jackie in many ways – troubles with her job, a “Linda” in their life, troubles with relationship and wanting to just run away. But the one thing I really liked about Jackie was her ridiculous sense of humor! “Waa-mbulance” was one of the best comments I’ve ever seen, and I will definitely be entering that into my verbal thesaurus for the next time life gets tough. The accounting metaphors also had me chuckling, since I’ve taken some accounting classes (and the comments really fit how I see some of my accounting friends…).

Even the relationships in this novel felt real, which was shocking! I don’t know many people who got divorced and started sleeping with their ex when the papers were signed, but Gail made me feel like I did! I felt like Jackie and Robbie could have been my neighbors or friends of mine! It was weird, but incredible. But that’s raw talent for you! Although, sometimes I felt like this relationship was a little bit… tumultuous, or not healthy. Knowing the contents of the second book made me feel better about it, but there was still this ache in the back of my head going “NOOOO JACKIE NOOOO YOU DESERVE BETTER – NICE GUY AND GOOD SEX! YOU CAN HAVE BOTH! DON’T SETTLE FOR ONE!”

The journey Jackie embarks on is definitely a beautiful story. The ups, the downs and everything in between will make you feel! It was a beautiful story to sit down, admire the summer air and fall into. It was a relaxing read, something that women’s fiction definitely needs!

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a soft, simple read with a little splash of drama and romance. It’s a PG rated, flirty and fun book that will whisk you away into the life of a of truly incredible character. It’s a must read that will be added to my shelf!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy from the author Gail Ward Olmsted in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads: Goodreads – Jeep Tour

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Jeep Tour

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Jeep Tour

 

 

Check out the sequel with Jackie, Robbie and their daughter in Driving on the Left!

Goodreads – Goodreads – Driving on the Left

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Driving on the Left

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Driving on the Left

 

Find out more about Gail Ward Olmsted on her website: http://www.gailolmsted.com/

Or give us both a shout out on Twitter! @GWOlmsted & @ReviewAlholic

 

Comment below – have you read any novels by Gail Ward Olmsted?

#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller

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Unlimited by Kevin Miller is a must read fiction novel for all young readers!

I always loved middle-grade fiction, and this book proves my point! Some of the best creative plots come in the form of middle grade fiction, and I wish this would have been a book my teachers read to us in grade school. My grade 6 teacher always brought in cool books like this, that opened your imagination to a whole new world!

This book was full of silly adventures and a radio broadcast! I LOVE radio broadcasts, so seeing a book all about one made my heart grow ten sizes! I had to pick this book up ASAP and it was worth every second that I read it!

Hijacking a radio station does seem like something the crazy kids around my neighborhood would do, and the antics Kevin writes about are just awesome! Not only is this book funny and action packed, it also helps represent marshes and wildlife (who doesn’t love a little bit of education in their books?).

In my opinion, this book is a must read and a highly recommended book. It’s fun for kids, is a fantastic addition to a library’s collection and would be a great way for parents and kids to bond over!

Kevin Miller is insanely talented and I would love to read more by him and see more of his books on shelves lining the libraries of my city!

Five out of five stars!!!

I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out Kevin on his website: http://www.kevinmillerxi.com/

Give me a shout out on twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews if you read this post! @ReviewAlholic

Check out another review you might enjoy! #BookReview Life Seemed Good, But… by Richard Bell