#BookReview You’re Doing Great!: And Other Reasons to Stay Alive by Tom Papa

I discovered Tom Papa when he was on Joe Rogan’s podcast, and I instantly loved his humour. When I saw that he had a book coming out, I was thrilled! Not only was I looking for more comedy books but I could support one awesome comedian! And luckily, I was not disappointed! This book is incredibly amusing and super fun.

This book is a collection of silly stories from Tom’s past. It’s funny, light hearted and made me smile throughout. There’s also a really positive message about how we’re all going our best and doing a great job. Life isn’t easy, and some of these stories go over how it isn’t (but make it way more fun sounding) but it points out that life is a series of obstacles that we can make the best of.

Tom weaves his stories to make them enjoyable, easy to follow and addicting to read. I was shocked how fast I got this book done! I couldn’t put the book down and I found myself re-reading some of the stories because they were so good, so funny and just made me feel good. I wish self help books were as fun as this.

I will definitely be keeping my copy and sharing it with all of my friends. This book made me feel so good! It’s a light, fun read that you can either binge or just read in a series of short tales.

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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

 

Looking for more comedy in your life? Check out these other books featured on my blog:
#BookReview 100 Tiny Tales by K. Kris Loomis
Quick Review – How to Make White People Laugh by Negin Farsad
Quick Book Review: People Who Need To Die by Victor Rook

 

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#BookReview The Boy on the Beach by Tima Kurdi

The Boy on the Beach is a beautiful yet haunting tale of a heartbreaking story that swept the nation.

Back in 2015 there was a very viral picture of a young, Syrian refugee boy washed up on the shore of the Mediterranean. It was heartbreaking, knowing that these people were seeking help and they didn’t get it. Alan Kurdi was the young boy, and Tima Kurdi (his aunt) shares the powerful story of this tragedy in this beautifully written novel.

This book is one for the ages: it showcases real human emotion. Syrian refugees are normal people (which some people on the internet do not seem to get) and were just living their lives and doing their best. Families, jobs, education, marriages, pregnancies, miscarriages, etc. They all had experiences and were doing their best. Then the Syrian War happened and ruined everything. The war went on for ages and people tried to escape, many of them taking the refugee route. These people bargained with smugglers and tried to escape to another nation, but many did not make it.

This story HURT. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be on the other side of that picture. I remember seeing it and having my heart ache, but not to the level that Tima and her family would have felt. To lose one’s children and wife, or nephew and sister-in-law, to know that you tried to get them freedom and one small decision is what hurt them. It’s heart breaking.

If there’s a positive about this book, hopefully it’ll open some hearts up and someone will be able to help someone else. Not only is this book written beautifully, but it reeks of empathy. My heart felt like it was going to explode reading it. I felt so attached and I felt so strongly for Tima. That writing ability, it’s one for the ages.

My only negative for the book is that is was sad, and that’s not even a negative – it’s reality. I almost cried reading this book because it’s just so darn awful yet amazing. It’s a horrible story, one that definitely was not deserved by all of those involved. The inhumane crimes… it’s despicable. But Tima’s ability to write and make me feel for her and want to do everything in my power to help, that’s just amazing. There’s also so much love and adoration in this book as well. The love of her family, the desire to do better – it’s worthwhile.

You’ll be grateful for the position you’re in and you’ll feel things you’ve never felt before once you pick up this book. I swear. Hug your family a little closer tonight and realize things can change in an instant. This book also gave me a reminder that you don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives, so respect, respect, respect. And give a little empathy once and a while. Maybe don’t go judging based off Twitter and Fox News.

I’d 100%, highly recommend this book. It’ll make you cry and feel things you never did. It’s beautiful, astonishing and moving. I can’t recommend it enough – non-fiction lovers, history lovers, explorers and people who just want to feel something. Seriously, pick up this book.

Five out of five stars. I would give it six if possible.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. My copy was also an arc, so it may have changed upon publication.

 

You can find more about this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Indigo

 

Here are some other books you might enjoy if you liked this book or review:
#BookReview The Fencers by Geza Tatrallyay
Book Review: Ugly by Robert Hoge
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

 

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#BookReview Encyclopedia of Insects by Jules Howard

I LOVE learning, so seeing this encyclopedia perked me right up! Sure, insects can be creepy and crawly, but I was down for learning some new stuff about everyone’s “favourite” creatures! And I wasn’t disappointed!

Do keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive collection of bugs, but it is an excellent start for eager minds!!

The pictures in this book are absolute awesome! I really enjoyed the damselfly picture that stared into my soul (hoenstly, it was creepy to stare at my but the art is AMAZE-BALLS).

Here are select things I learned:
1. There’s complete and incomplete metamorphosis? Wait… what? Why did my biology classes skip that information? THAT IS SO COOL.

2. Dragonflies are actually predators, and Damselflies are a thing. Who knew?

3. The Walking Flower Mantis looks super cool and pretty. I even googled them because I didn’t believe they were actually pink. They are gorgeous!! They look like flowers!

4. Toe Biters, Hummingbird Hawkmoth & Slave-Making Ants. That is all.

Things I would like to avoid:
1. Swams of locusts. Kthanxbai.

2. EARWIGS HAVE WINGS. REPEAT: EARWIGS HAVE WINGS. They are way grosser now. Yuck. They can chase me when I run away!

Overall, this book is totally, super amazing! I would absolutely recommend this to young and old readers alike! You’ll learn a whole bunch. I could totally see this book being used for school projects or for nerdy little kids like me (back in the day, of course) who just wanted to soak up knowledge like a sponge. I will definitely be using some of these facts for my useless trivia I spout out at people on a regular basis.

Five out of five stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing for giving me an opportunity to read this book!

Check out this marvelous book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Indigo

You can find out more about Jules Howard by clicking the links below:
Goodreads
Twitter @juleslhoward
http://www.juleshoward.co.uk/

Here’s some other non-fiction-y reviews featured on my blog to fill up your TBR shelf:
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Book Review: Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear

 

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#BookReview After Namaste by K. Kris Loomis

After Namaste is a collection of short essays by K. Kris Loomis full of eye-opening motivations.

I won’t lie, I loved the essay about a swimmer. What can I say? I’ve always been quite the fish. And man oh man, does this book hit close to home. Reinventing yourself is something many people try, but truly have no idea what they’re doing. Seeing K. Kris Loomis’s take on yoga and doing right by one’s self is a nice and refreshing read.

Some of the lessons she delivers in this book are:
1. Teachers can be anywhere – not just professors or instructors. Sometimes your best motivators are people you’ve only seen and never met. Let them motivate you and give you inspiration!
2. Never be afraid to lead by example!
3. Small changes add up to big changes.
4. We change over time, so respect your person.
5. Change can be a gradual process.

And, of course, way more than just this!

I like how enlightening and honest this book was. It’s not exactly a self-help book, it’s more of a collection of opinions. You can read what the author feels is good to learn from her life experiences and they all relate to yoga.

I’d definitely recommend this book to people who want to learn. It’s a lovely set of informative essays that are very knowledgeable without feeling like a textbook. You don’t need to be someone who does yoga (or ever wants to, for that matter) to get something out of this book. I think just seeing someone else’s experiences and how they’ve grown and changed is reward enough from this book! And if you end up joining a yoga class, I’m sure K. Kris Loomis would be proud!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author K. Kris Loomis in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

 

Photo courtesy of K. Kris Loomis.

 

 

If you liked this book, check out more by K. Kris Loomis on my blog:

#BookReview Survving Revision: How One Writer Finished What She Started by K. Kris Loomis

#BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis

#BookReview The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis

 

 

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#BookReview The Black Mzungu by Alexandria Kathleen Osborne

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The Black Mzungu was a fantastic non-fiction read about the author, Alexandria Obsorne’s, incredible change in scenery.

I was shocked by how much I liked this book. I rarely find myself enjoying non-fiction or biographies, but this novel hit all the right notes with me. The author does a fantastic job retelling her life story of marrying a man from another country and moving there. Each chapter details the ups and downs of moving to a third world country and building a home there.

There are a lot of cultural insights and introductions to Lindi, Tanzania. Different terms and traditions are introduced in this novel and it gives an absolutely incredible insight into a world that is different compared to a First World Country.

Overall, I was impressed. I didn’t see anything wrong with this novel – it moved at a good pace, each chapter had a different story to tell that connected the entire novel together and it seemed real. Nothing seemed out of place or out of the ordinary.

I loved this book! I would love to read more about the author’s life in the future!

Five out of five stars!

I received this boook for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

What is your favourite non-fiction novel? Comment below!
If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview The Year After by Ashley Wagner

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #TheBlackMzungu to start a conversation about this book! @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview The Wife’s Tale by Aida Edemariam

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The Wife’s Tale is a beautiful history of a family that will pull at your heart strings.

My goodness, this book was impossible for me to put down. This breath taking recount of a woman’s life in Ethiopia was truly incredible. I’m Canadian and I haven’t left North America, so reading about other people’s lives has always been something I enjoy. Seeing into this woman’s life and the troubles and triumphs that occurred… It’s so incredible that there are hardly words.

This memoir is worth every second and needs to be read by everyone (in my humble opinion). The life of this stranger and how she lived will give you insight to a world you might not have been aware existed. Yetemegnu’s life and journey is so mind blowing! I highly recommend this book and it’s a must read for me!

This woman was married young, had many children, learned so much and felt so many emotions throughout her life. It was mesmerizing and made me really think about my own life as well. The reflection this novel brings on is worth every penny.

This book may be difficult to follow – some words are not in English, but in my ARC there was a little dictionary at the back. Additionally, it’s not some action packed story – it’s following a woman’s life, so at times it’s not super exciting. It’s a slice of Yetemegnu’s life.

This story of bravery, determination and love is one of my top books of the year now. I want to see it on every bookshelf in town! If you’re looking for a book to open up your horizons, pick this book up! Seriously, make it one of the few books you read this year!!

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book in ARC form via Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out Aida on twitter: @AidaE

Give me a shout out too! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

Check out another review you might enjoy! #BookReview So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Crime Seen by Kate Lines

I love a good crime novel, and having this as a non-fiction novel all about Kate Line’s policing career made me love it even more. All of the situations were real, and Kate Lines walked through how she became a high up cop and investigator. Having the author walk through each situation and how evidence was used and how people were interviewed gave a wonderful insight to the Police World, and helped give me a better idea what happened behind the scenes on high profile cases I heard about over the years.

This novel reminds me of a non-fiction version of Kathy Reichs Temperance Brennan novels. While Kathy Reichs discusses the forensics sides of investigations, Kate Lines brings you into the realm of policing and investigation.

I honestly couldn’t put this book down. The real life stories are inspiring, even if each story did not have a happy ending. Also reading about a strong, independent female working hard and getting the job done was very inspiring!

Anyone interested in Police, Forensics, Investigations, Crime and Mystery should read this novel. Yes, it’s not a fiction novel, but it helps give a lot of insight into what really happens. This novel is authentic and real, which gives it a lot of charm!

I would love Kate Lines to write fiction novels if she ever got the chance, because her background in this fantastic book would lend well to more books!

Five out of five stars! I saw nothing wrong with this fantastic non-fiction crime novel. The Criminal Profiler is an excellent author with many stories to tell.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

 

Check this book out on:
Goodreads – Crime Seen

Amazon.ca – Crime Seen
Amazon.com – Crime Seen

#BookReview Zodiac Unmasked by Robert Graysmith

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Zodiac Unmasked was an interesting take on the real life incidents revolving around the Zodiac Killer.

This book could have been a LOT shorter than it is, there is almost so much content in this book I got bored (and I am OBSESSED with conspiracies and theories, I’ll sit through long books and videos any day of the week). I almost quit this book completely because it was boring me to death. I did love all the research and information within this book, but it was almost too much.

This is one of many theories of who the Zodiac Killer was, and it truly is fleshed out. It may not be 100% correct, but it was a good read if you want to look into the information surrounding this theory.

The positives within this book is the amazing content within it, but that also ties with my major negative: it’s long, repetitive and becomes quite boring due to those two factors. The theory itself is confusing and long, but that doesn’t mean the book needs to be over 500 pages of repeating the same stuff over and over and over. I did enjoy the fact that the book was in chronological order, but I also felt that it didn’t need to be. I would have loved all the hard hitting facts and awesome plot points first before all the boring, nitty, gritty details.

Overall, I’m not totally impressed with this book. It bored me to tears and I almost stopped reading it.

1 out of 5 stars.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another book you might enjoy! Book Review: Confessions of an English Psychopath by Jack Strange

#BookReview The Year After by Ashley Wagner

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The Year After by Ashley Warner was a tale about one woman’s experience with rape.

That seems like such a horrible way to word that sentence, but this story is a year’s worth of journals about what happened after the rape (and a few extra stories from years later). There is literally journals from every single day after, all 365, and it shows how one woman has dealt with that horrible situation. Her job, her friends, her apartment, the lawsuits, her family – it is all discussed and shown to be aspects of her life that were affected (because contrary to popular belief – this affects your ENTIRE life).

This story is just one of many about these types of situations. In our world today, it’s hard to believe people can’t understand how damaging this can feel and how this is a real life situation that can happen to anyone. Having just one story show many sides of the rape has made me feel a little better about humanity. While rape is still happening, and that’s not good (in short terms), this book does shed light on real life situations. More books like this should be read to shown this can happen to anyone and it’s not a piece of pie to deal with.

This story took guts, and to me its inspirational. Everyone has their dark secrets and past that they don’t need to tell, but Ashley shared it with readers. There’s nothing that can fix the hurt she faced, but if this book can bring one more reader out to understand why this shouldn’t happen and potentially stop someone it’ll have done it’s job.

This book can bring a discussion up. I almost wish this book would have been made at the time I was in grade 12 gym class. Rape was a short discussion being told “it happens” and that was all. We knew what it was, was told as girls it’ll happen to somebody and that we’ll deal with it. No, that’s not right. This book should be given to classes to understand – this is a discussion, not a “oh well” sort of situation.

While there were parts of this book I didn’t like – the super short chapters with three sentences on a page – that hardly takes away from the story. This journey is super important and I highly suggest everyone read this book or a book similar to it to understand the pain, the survival, and the changes that a situation like this can have on someone.

Thank you for this tale Ashley, what a fantastic book.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out Ashley on her website: Ashley Warner

Or on her Goodreads page!! Ashley Warner on Goodreads

She can also be found on Twitter: @ashleywarnernyc

 

 

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#BookReview Restless Ambition by Cathy Curtis

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Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter

This novel took me a VERY long time to finish – partially because it’s long, and partially because it didn’t draw me in. I love a good biography, but this book didn’t do it for me as much as I would have thought it would. That being said, it was well written and it’s a great read for those who like non-fiction.

Following a painter in the 1950s is the main path of this book. Grace’s life definitely deserved a book – the ups and down this woman goes through it more interesting than most soap operas. Her marriages and her motherhood are two of the more interesting parts of this novel, alongside knowing she was a female painter in the 1950s (which seems like it would be harder than today – there was no social media to show off your skill back then. You had to work hard to get noticed!).

This book is informational and seems like it was highly researched. I appreciate a biography that sounds more than someone who watched a couple YouTube videos and figured they could write a story about the person. It seems like the type of novel I would have loved in my art classes in high school – it’s researched and has incredible information I could have used for an essay or two. And considering I didn’t know anything about this author (or knew she existed) before reading this novel I was thoroughly impressed.

Overall, this was a great book. I definitely suggest it to those who enjoy non-fiction books and biographies.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Check out Cathy Curtis on Goodreads! Cathy Curtis on Goodreads

Or check out her website: CathyCurtis.net

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

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