#BookReview The Edge of Whiteness by Joe Montaperto

The Edge of Whiteness by Joe Montaperto is a smashing read all about Joe’s school hijinks in the 1970s.

If you’re looking for a blast from the past, this book is for you! Joe Montaperto’s school life is full of misfits, hijinks, Sicilian heritage, hilarious name calling, amazing references and lots of hilarity.

This book centres around the race riots in high schools during the 1970s. It’s a different time with lots of flashbacks to Joe’s youth. There’s yelling, screaming, cursing, and lots of comedy all packed into this wonderful book. It reminded me of listening to a Director’s Cut of a movie. You see (or read, in the case of the book) all of the action but also get to hear the funny side comments and quips about the situation itself. That’s why this book is so enjoyable – Joe’s witty or snippy remarks about the situation as a whole.

The spiritual awakening part of this book is one of the more interesting parts for me. It all starting with a book, Siddhartha by Heran Hesse, is even more interesting. Throw that in with the struggles of youth in the 70s and it opens your eyes (or reminds you) of how the world was different many years ago.

My only note is that this book may come off as rude. There are offensive terms mentioned in this book that were fairly common back in the 1970s. Nowadays, the terminology is very offensive. So, trigger warnings ahead! Remember, this is a book about the 1970s which was a very different time with a different point of view (generations are all different). N words, fake Arab accents – the works. That is a point to keep in mind when thinking about reading this book.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author, Joe Montaperto, in exchange of an honest review.

You can pick up this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

Check out some of the work by Joe below:

www.joemontaperto.com

Goodreads – Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive
Amazon.ca – Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive
Amazon.com – Nobody Gets out of Catering Alive
Smashwords – Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive

Check out another book in this series:
Goodreads – Lovely Chaos
Amazon.ca – Lovely Chaos
Amazon.com – Lovely Chaos
Smashwords – Lovely Chaos

and on Authors Den!

Check out other books by Joe Montaperto on my blog:
#BookReview Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive by Joe Montaperto
#BookReview Lovely Chaos by Joe Montaperto

If you’re seeking more reads, check out some of my other blog posts:
Top Books from 2019

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview Bunnicula by James & Deborah Howe

Happy Spooky Month!
This is my favourite time of year, so it’s time to share some of my fave spooky reads! This particular book is a personal fave from my youth. Enjoy!

 

Back in the day, Bunnicula was THE book to read in elementary school. The class clambered to the front of the classroom to sit in our little circle and have story time. This book turned us all into little book loving zombies and we were desperate for more. Unfortunately, our school and teachers were only ever able to get the first book, but that didn’t deter us. We all had it memorized by the end of the day.

Fast forward to 2020. I see this book in a local used bookstore and I decide, “Hey, why not read it again and see if it holds up?” I can see this book for what it is – an absolute delightful middle grade novel that introduces fun horror to youthful eyes. As an adult, it didn’t hold up for me but I still have a special place in my heart for it. Who doesn’t love Bunnicula? Seriously.

Vampire Bunnies. It’s such a unique idea and I LOVE it. This book sits with Goosebumps on my happy, little, Halloween-loving shelf. This bunny goes and drains vegetables, because obviously it was owned by Dracula! It’s a fun concept and super silly! It’s definitely a book I would recommend for parents and educators. Get your little readers into a spooky, Halloween spirit with this little gem!

As an adult, it feels like a funny SNL skit. It’s not scary to us because we know it’s fiction but to little kids it’s a potential nightmare (in a good way, it’s not THAT scary). The anticipation as a child was not there as an adult, but I can still appreciate how wonderfully written this book is. It’s short and sweet but packed full of story!

Also, surprise ending! I forgot how this book ended so I was pleasantly surprised!

The only negative I had with this book was some of the adult references: classic books, taxes, etc. Kids might not understand these terms, but if they have a great adult reader helping them along, it might be a good educational opportunity, I guess.

Overall, this book is a childhood fave of mine that I would still highly recommend! It’s so nostalgic for me and I truly miss the whimsical nature of reading these books!

Four out of five stars.

 

You can find out more about this childhood classic on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Kobo

 

Looking for more middle grade books? Here’s some recently featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Great Grain Elevator Incident by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Seizure by Kathy Reichs
#BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

 

Check me out on:

Twitter: Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview Urban Gothic by Stephen M. Coghlan

Urban Gothic by Stephen M. Coghlan is the dark, mythic novel I’ve been searching for.

Do you remember back in English class where they said don’t use words in the sentence to describe the sentence? Well, I’m gonna break that rule. This book FELT gothic. It gave me goth vibes in so many ways, and somehow Urban Gothic fit the book just right.

The writing is tremendous. I felt whisked away and enchanted, unable to pull myself from the beautiful writing in this book. It felt like artwork, which I can’t always say for reading (yeah, yeah… I know… writing is an art… hush now).

Our lead Alec works in a hospital as a cleaner (but used to be a Medical Technician – what a down grade. That majorly sucks). His past trauma weighs down on him and makes it impossible for him to truly experience his life and dreams. We open on his walking about, and suddenly he sees a woman and three men. It’s not looking good for the lady, so he kills those three wicked attackers, and then tries to save our lady Veleda. She’s quite mystical and fantastical, making Alec’s life forever changed. He chooses to go on quite the adventure with her, and disappear into a world of gothic insanity.

The dreamscape and the other realm with different people (and their kooky abilities) was so cool. It’s one of those unique imaginative ideas that you’ve probably dreamed about and wanted to write about, but never did. It gave me those dreamy vibes and made me just so impressed. The story really pulled me in, and I am totally enchanted by Stephen’s writing and ideas. Like, I can’t express it enough. The descriptions alone gave me wonderful and intense images in my head. I love this! It’s so cool! The story is so good at whisking the reader away.

But that’s just me – me and my nostalgic love of gothic reading. It gave me dark Alice in Wonderland vibes, mixed with Donnie Darko and Rocky Horror-esque niche-ness.

There’s also a fair amount of action throughout the pages. I loved the mix of dramatic story telling and thrills packed tight in this story. It’s just enough to pull you along but also keep you intrigued.

Ah, I love this.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author, Stephen M. Coghlan, in exchange of an honest review.

Check out this marvellous book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Kobo
B&N

Find out more about the author, Stephen M. Coghlan on:
Goodreads Author Page

If you enjoyed this review, check out some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Fallen: Princeborn Stolen by Jean Lee
#Book Review Boston Metaphysical Society By Madeleine Holly-Rosing
#BookReview The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview The Amazing Snowman Duel by Yossi Lapid

 

Snowman Paul is back, and this time he’s down for a duel!

Yossi Lapid’s sweet series about the friendly Snowman Paul is one of my fave kids series at the moment. It’s short, fun and teaches some valuable lessons! It’s only natural for me to continue to snowball my way through the series (haha, puns! I’m hilarious…).

Bill, a buddy of our lead character, builds Snowman Nick. This snowman looks like he’s not the most friendly guy, especially since he has a giant stick. And just like that, Snowman Paul and Snowman Nick are set for a duel! Everyone is excited with banners waving and animals gathering around. But there’s quite the trick about this duel… You’ll have to read to find out the surprise twist!

These books are colourful and have a soft illustration style. I really enjoy it, especially since it doesn’t take your attention away from the narrative. It’s not a style I see many books have either, so the uniqueness level is great! Add in the super cute stories that Snowman Paul has to offer, and you’ve got yourself a real winner!

I think this is an excellent addition to any children’s picture book shelf. These stories are absolutely lovely!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Yossi Lapid, in exchange of an honest review.

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

Check out the other books by Yossi Lapid recently featured on my blog:
#BookReview Sasha and his Red Leash by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid
Quick #BookReview Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Snowman Paul Returns to the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Snowman Paul at the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview My Snowman, Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Halloween with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Christmas with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith

Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith is an addicting, fun and thrilling ride around a small Greek village.

In this thriller, an FBI agent finds his way to a Greek island where fires keep happening. He is investigating why they are happening and who could have caused him. Along the way, he comes across local islanders and business owners trying their best to succeed and living their lives. He meets himself a fancy man who he begins to fall for, and who might not be who he says he is. Many other islanders face the same fate: there’s a priest who isn’t so saintly, a family struggling to keep their business afloat, an Albanian waiter who has lots of drama going on, and his new lover’s sister is trying to get with every man no matter the relationships she ruins for them along the way.

This book is WILD. I was instantly stuck to it and truly intrigued about the ending. It took a bit for the entire story to piece itself together, but when it does it’s absolutely marvelous. I can easily say this is one of my top 2020 reads. I couldn’t put the book down!

There are some difficult topics in this book, like suicide and rape. Reader beware – this book doesn’t go too crazy into these topics, but they are still there. The mystery and romance is much more in the fore front.

On another note: This book is LGBT friendly! Huzzah!

Overall, this book was excellent! I’d highly recommend picking this book up if you love mystery and suspense with a dash of romance.

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to Timothy Jay Smith and NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo
B&N

You can find Timothy Jay Smith on:
Goodreads Author Page
http://www.timothyjaysmith.com/
Twitter – @timothyjaysmith|

Tim on Santorini

Here’s another Timothy Jay Smith book recently featured on my blog:
The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith – Briar’s Reviews

Check out more mystery and suspense novels to fill up your TBR:
#BookReview Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio
#BookReview The Extra Cadaver Murder by Roy Innes
#BookReview A Woman of Valor by Gary Corbin

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview Vanishing Hour by Lisa King

Vanishing Hour by Lisa King is honestly one of my fave reads of 2020.

This book is excellent! It has the coolest mix of thrills and fun all in one. It’s got hints of Up since we have an older gentleman named Matthew and a young twelve year old named Ruby. These two get stuck together during the end of the world: Everyone without some sort of brain illness or injury doesn’t get sick, but all the healthy people suddenly die. They chase after Matthew’s wife (who had Alzheimer’s) who walked off one day and are trying to figure out where the Horizon is, because Ruby’s Dad might be there.

It’s quite the ride and I was thoroughly addicted to this book. Lisa’s writing style is simple, easy and fast paced and kept me hooked the whole time. There was never a dull moment and I didn’t expect some of the exciting parts of this plot that came about. I didn’t expect there to be people trying to colonize (and maybe not doing a good job) and then that ending… Ugh. So sweet, so good, so cute! But massive cliffhanger! Break my heart Lisa!

I love that this is Lisa King’s first novel, because that means (more than likely) she’s only going to get better. This was a stellar start and I can totally see people loving this book! It needs to find it’s audience ASAP because it is just lovely. Add to the bonuses: Canadian author, actual medical terminology, and lots of character development!

I wish apocalyptic horror was more like this. I’d enjoy the genre way more!

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who likes: fun thrillers, apocalyptic horror, a fast paced story or something to spice up their TBR.

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Lisa King, in exchange of an honest review.

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo
B&N

Check out Lisa King on:
https://www.authorlisaking.com
Goodreads Author Page

If you love mysteries, here are some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview In Search of Valor by Gary Corbin
#BookReview The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby
#BookReview The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview Dead Women Tell Tales by Rajeev Singh

I picked up Map of Desire, a haunting anthology, to read Rajeev Singh’s latest story. This guy is a master of erotic horror (at least in my books) and it’s always a pleasure diving into his stories. They are creepy, weird, haunting and everything you expect out of an erotic horror. In all the best ways, it’s horrifying and disturbing.

Dead Women Tell Tales is extremely wicked. Our lead character, Leon, stumbles upon this brothel like place where dark secrets and passions hide. Suddenly he is given the choice to enter doors, and darkness consumes him. Sexual nightmares, dark and haunting past secrets and wild exploration occurs. All of these will leave you shivering, staring in awe at the page and had me completely struck with shock. Like normal, Rajeev has made one wildly epic erotic horror.

I keep saying again and again that to me Rajeev is this king of erotic horror. He always blows me away with his writing. It’s descriptive, oddly addicting and pulls the reader in. If you haven’t picked up erotic horror before, this author is one guy you should check out. I’m always just amazed at his work. It’s wild. This story was no different! It’s much shorter than some of his other works, like The Erotic Muse, but it still packs quite the punch.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to Rajeev Singh for supplying me a free copy of this anthology in exchange of an honest review.

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

Find Rajeev Singh on Goodreads – Author Page

Here’s some other books by Rajeev Singh that have been featured on my blog! Check them out:
The Erotic Muse by Rajeev Singh
Blood Rain by Rajeev Singh

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview A Spoke in the Wheel by Kathleen Jowitt

A Spoke in the Wheel by Kathleen Jowitt is a lovely contemporary novel following the lives of a former cyclist.

Ben, our former cyclist who had to quit the sport due to a doping scandal, moves in with Vicky and Polly. All three love cycling to various degrees, and that’s what brings them together. We watch these characters grow and move through life as Ben finds his solace outside of the cycling world. Polly has been ill for a while and is in a wheelchair, and is working hard to try to find her place in the world now that her dreams have changed. Vicky also loves cycling and is in a club but is also a workaholic.

The biggest thing about this book was the diversity. I liked seeing members of the LGBT community and a woman in a wheelchair. These two topics weren’t shown as something mind blowing, it was just normal. This whole book felt like a coming of age and finding yourself story. It was quite lovely and simple to read. We just followed their lives.

If you like slice of life books, then this book is for you. It’s a wonderfully written story just following the lives of our main characters. We watch them grow, change and react to the world around them. It was the kind of “simple” read I needed – it didn’t have a complicated plot, it was easy to read and it wasn’t dramatic. It’s just lovely.

Overall, I’m impressed. Kathleen Jowitt has a great writing style and made Ben’s voice very readable.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to Kathleen Jowitt who provided me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

A Spoke in the Wheel

The first thing I saw was the wheelchair.

The first thing she saw was the doper.

Ben Goddard is an embarrassment – as a cyclist, as an athlete, as a human being. And he knows it.

Now that he’s been exposed by a positive drugs test, his race wins and his work with disabled children mean nothing. He quits professional cycling in a hurry, sticks a pin in a map, and sets out to build a new life in a town where nobody knows who he is or what he’s done.

But when the first person he meets turns out to be a cycling fan, he finds out that it’s not going to be quite as easy as that.

Besides, Polly’s not just a cycling fan, she’s a former medical student with a chronic illness and strong opinions. Particularly when it comes to Ben Goddard…

Find out more about this book by visiting:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
Indigo
Kobo

 

 

Author Biography
KJpic

 

Kathleen Jowitt was born in Winchester, UK, and grew up deep in the Welsh Marches and, subsequently, on the Isle of Wight. After completing her undergraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Exeter she moved to Guildford and found herself working for a major trade union. She now lives in Cambridge, works in London, and writes on the train.

Her first novel, Speak Its Name, was the first self-published book ever to be shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize.

Click the links below to visit Kathleen Jowitt:

Website www.kathleenjowitt.com\
Twitter www.twitter.com/kathleenjowitt
Facebook www.facebook.com/kathleenjowitt
Instagram www.instagram.com/kathleenjowitt
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kathleen-Jowitt/e/B01CDJN1HE/

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

 

**Pictures provided by the author. I do not own these pictures.

#BookReview Ten Seconds by Lucian Lupescu

Ten Seconds by Lucian Lupescu is a delightful little pack of flash fiction to fulfill your TBR shelf.

I needed something soft yet brilliant to read, and this just fit the bill. I didn’t want tons of commitment, I didn’t want something that would make my brain hurt or make me anxious with the world going into apocalypse mode. Lucky for me, Lucian Lupescu crafted a lovely collection of flash fiction that took my brain off of all the insanity going on in the world right now. Thank you, seriously.

Each story follows a slice of life, as you will. Onset tackles birth, Bad Strategy holds fury and anger, Big Brother the pain of loss, and more. They are all a little bit different, but all simple enough to read and very engaging. I found each one to have their own little ‘umph’ that had me continue with these stories. It helps they aren’t very long either, which makes it so simple to binge another one.

I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for something short and sweet yet also poetic and well written. I even went through this little collection twice because I enjoyed it so much, which is honestly a rare feat for me. If you haven’t grabbed it yet, take a little peek and enjoy the ride! It’s well worth it!

Four out of five stars!

Thank you to Lucian Lupescu for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

 

Why not check the book out by clicking one of the links below?:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Find Lucian Lupescu at:
Goodreads
http://lltranslator.com/
Twitter @lucianlupescu

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview A Cup of Redemption by Carole Bumpus

21450928

 

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