#BookReview Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

 

Crazy Rich Asians is a fun, comedic romance that opened my eyes to a whole new world!

Before anyone asks, yes, I read this book because I saw the movie and loved it. Was the movie identical to the book? No. Was it still super cute and a great adaption? Yes. So, now that we’re past the point that the movie introduced me to the book, onto my book review!

I found this book to be the perfect mix of romance, comedy and knowledge! I absolutely loved being introduced to a variety of Asian words and concepts in this book. There aren’t many books out there (that I have read, anyways) that make me feel like I’ve learned so much while having a good time!

The book did feel soap opera-y, but I loved every second of it! I’m at the point that I’m desperate for the sequel, and can’t wait to get my hands on it! The characters were interesting and all had crazy backgrounds, the drama was high, and the family values were intriguing.

I have no idea how honest/true the Asian side of the story is, but it did make me more interested in Asian cultures. I love when books can open your eyes to a world you haven’t thought about looking at before, so I give lots of praise to Kevin Kwan! Books like these truly deserve attention, because not only are they well written but they pull the minorities out of the background. Even if it’s not totally accurate, I’m sure at least a few more readers can appreciate the Asian culture!

This book could easily be binged (if you have time to read a 500+ page book). I seriously wanted to continue reading it, but I just didn’t have time! That being said, every chance I got I was instantly glued to the pages.

I loved Nick and Rachel, I loved Kerry, I loved Peik Lin, I loved Astrid and I loved every little description that Kevin Kwan had woven into this tale. I seriously felt for these characters all along the way (even the “bad guys”…sometimes…). I really hope the drama between certain characters (like Astrid’s story) are expanded in the next books, because they were all so interesting! There wasn’t enough pages to really see all of the characters! Luckily there are at least two more books to devour to learn a little bit more about my fave characters…

There are some cons about this book, but for me it wasn’t to hard to fly past them. The story jumps a lot between chapters (point of view, time changes, etc.). Also, some of the characters felt very… stereotypical (that’s the best word I have for them right now). Is that necessarily a bad thing? No. But many other reviewers are complaining about parts of this book. To me, I didn’t really care. It didn’t take away from the fun of the story.

Would I recommend this book to other readers? HECK YES! If you love romance, a splash of comedy, and Asian representation, then get on it! The movie just makes this book more in the spotlight, which should help it’s sales. The book is dramatic, but it’s a fun and wild ride!

Also, I loved the cover. It’s simplistic and yet perfectly summarizes the story in a weird way.

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Kobo

Coles/Indigo/Chapters

Barnes & Noble

 

Find out more about the author, Kevin Kwan, on:

http://www.kevinkwanbooks.com/

Goodreads – Kevin Kwan

 

What else do you want to see on my blog? Let me know in the comments below, tweet me at @ReviewAlholic or tell me on Facebook!

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#BookReview Murder on Safari by Peter Riva

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Murder on Safari is a unique mystery read with in depth descriptions.

I didn’t find this book matched well with me as a reader, but the book is still incredible. Peter Riva creates an amazing tale woven in this novel that is full of mystery in Africa.

For me, I couldn’t get into the writing style. Peter Riva paints the story well with his words, but we just didn’t mash well. I’d highly recommend this novel if you love a good mystery or tales surrounding another country, but I don’t think I’ll be rereading this novel.

The pacing builds as the story goes on, becoming more and more intriguing as each page passes. Slowly, the details and mystery unravels to create an epic ending that will leave you breathless. If you pay attention well, you can connect the clues by the end of the story. But, if you’d rather just follow along and have fun, it’s easy to get lost in this story that way as well.

Pero and Mbuno are well developed characters who work well together. Some of the best comedic lines come from this duo! You’ll find yourself growing to love these characters as each page passes by. Also, the introduction of the other characters felt like it flowed well with the story as well. I didn’t find any of these characters were forced into the narrative.

The setting of Africa was truly breathtaking. I’m not sure how accurate it is (since I haven’t been there) but it felt real. Other authors could easily learn from Peter Riva’s talents in description of a location. At times, I felt it was almost TOO descriptive, but if you like that sort of writing this book might be for you!

Overall, this book wasn’t for me. I think it is an incredible read that should find it’s way onto more shelves. I would recommend this book if you are a fan of mysteries, love good quality in descriptions, or are looking for a book that is out of the ordinary (in a good way, of course!).

Two out of five stars.

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

 

Find out more about this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22750225-murder-on-safari

 

Find out more about the author, Peter Riva on:

His website:  http://www.peterriva.com/

On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/peterrivaauthor

Purchase this book on:

Amazon.com: Amazon.com – Murder on Safari

Amazon.ca: Amazon.ca – Murder on Safari

 

If you read this review, use the hashtag #briarsreviews on Twitter and start a conversation! @ReviewAlholic

And comment below – have you read any thrillers later?

#BookReview The Shining by Stephen King

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To say Stephen King is a genius and a legend in the horror world is an understatement.

I had been meaning to read The Shining for a very long time – I became determined to read the book before the movie, and I’ve been dying to watch the movie for the past two years! While I have heard the comments over and over that the book and the movie aren’t the same, I’ll stil wanted to stick to my word and read the book well before I found the movie again.

This book didn’t strike me as hard as It and Carrie did, but I still found it incredibly fascinating. The work is legendary and sits on many top shelves of readers I know and look up too. So, of course, I had to dive right in and tear this book apart.

This book was slow starting, but Stephen King’s descriptions and writing style kept me hooked. I didn’t enjoy the slow pace, but it did pick up about halfway through the novel. Then I was hooked and needed to finish this book, and yearned to know what would happen to these characters.

I read someone, a long time ago, that this book was based on cabin fever. It definitely seems possible, but there were lots of ghosts or mystical beings mashed up within this book as well. After watching Ready Player One and seeing references I didn’t understand, reading this book and seeing those figures helped me grasped a better understanding of what was happening in that movie. The creepy descriptions of the lady in the bathtub and all of the other weird creatures really made me feel like I was in this story. At times, I totally understood how this book got turned into a movie (and how has there not been twenty remakes by now? The story is so cool!). If you’re looking for a frightful read with descriptions that will blow your mind, Stephen King is absolutely for you!

While I don’t find myself to be a crazy horror fan (since I don’t get scared from these books, but I am always in awe), I have to say I really like this book. I like how Stephen King writes and I like that it’s such a different story. Just comparing this book to It and Carrie (the only two Stephen King books I have read), these books are always well thought out, absolutely insane and full of scenes you’d never imagine! It’s A+ horror and one of the best thrillers.

To me, this book wasn’t scary – I don’t find books scary because of the lack of noise and background sounds, but it was an epic thriller with scary scenes. I could see readers easily finding this scary, and I would not recommend reading this to children. It’s R rated, but a really great R rated ride! Jack, Wendy and Danny are also really interesting characters that develop in crazy ways. Slowly you can see their minds unwinding and going into dark terroritories. Although, I’m really curious as to how Stephen King got into the mind of Danny. Is that how little six year olds think? Or is he mature because of the Shine?

The shine seems to pop up in many books from this point on, which makes me excited to throw myself into Mr. King’s collection and have these books intertwine with each other like a horror-filled Pixar theory.

I might never read this book again, mainly because I need to catch up with all of Stephen’s other books. Is it worth a second read? Heck yes. I’m sure there are lots of scenes and easter eggs I missed throughout! Would I recommend this book? Oh my gosh, yes! It’s a great book, and if you’re only going to pick one horror book it might as well be by the King of Horror.

Five out of five stars!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Erotic Muse by Rajeev Singh

Comment below – what is your favourite horror novel?

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview Leaving Home by Duane A. Eide

It’s time for another quick book review!!

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Leaving Home was an interesting fictional read.

This novel follows Shane Stenlund after an unfortunate injury that led him to not continuing his secondary school career. He goes off to the big city and learns that life is much different in the city than on the farm.

The story was definitely interesting, although I did not see the big picture or what the theme was. It seemed like it was just meant to be a good, fictional read to escape from reality with. If there was a theme, maybe it just wasn’t very obvious.

The character development and plot pace was A-grade. I felt like the story built well over time and nothing seemed to come to early or to late in the story. If anything, I would have liked there to be more interaction with Shane’s family but that was not a big issue.

Overall, it was a good read. I was impressed with the book and would suggest it to anyone who wants a good book to escape reality with.

Four out of five stars, due to the lack of evident theme.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

What is your favourite book that is less than 100 pages? Comment below!
If you enjoyed this book review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview – Dancing with Fireflies by Clemens Carl Schoenebeck

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #LeavingHome to start a conversation on twitter! @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Blood by Ruth Miranda

 

Blood by Ruth Miranda is a paranormal novel full of thrills, suspense and mystery!

Vampires? Fey? Visions? This book is hitting every notch on the fantastical belt of epicness!

I truly found this book intriguing and couldn’t put it down. It starts off as a character study, following Caius (also known as Chaos), who is in a big band and is uber famous. Now, that’s all fine and dandy but he’s been having visions of a boy and he’s dead. Oh, did I mention there was an accident involving his girlfriend? His life is tricky, and slowly it unravels. Once we get past the short character study in a psychiatrist’s office, Cai is out looking for Marcus who is supposed to be dead. Slowly, Cai learns more about himself and his family roots on his fantastical journey.

The book is addicting – normally I take my time and take breaks when I’m reading, but this book demanded my attention! When you add in the insanity of the plot and how quick it moves, you’ve got yourself a real winner! Keep in mind, it is fast moving and has lots of paranormal aspects to it – so if you like a simple, clean cut story this might not be for you! It’s full of plot twists that might not be easy to follow if you’re not fully into the book whole-heartedly.

This novella is a fun read, but it almost felt too short! It ended so abruptly! Luckily, this is a series so we’ll be getting more from these characters soon! I wouldn’t recommend reading this book if you solely like books that stand alone. The story doesn’t fully close, so you will need to read the next book to know the final ending or have some closure.

Overall, this book has incredible themes and deep topics that will pull adult readers in to feel for these characters. The fantasy sides of this story also bring action and adventure to keep you hooked and gliding along with the story. I think this book will be great for fantasy readers or adults looking for something a little more than just some fantastical fun!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this novella from the author Ruth Miranda in exchange for an honest review.

All About Blood: a paranormal novella.

‘Chaos’ Nilsson has it all: a successful career in the music industry, fame, money, the girl. He also has a monkey on his back, brought about by the visions that plague his mind and haunt his every waking moment; visions that will only be quietened when he numbs himself with generous amounts of alcohol and drugs. After an accident that nearly costs him his life, he embarks on a journey of self discovery, in search of his roots and the secret to the blood coursing through his veins

 

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Blood

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Blood

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Blood

 

Find more books by Ruth Miranda on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Ruth Miranda

 

Did you enjoy this review? Why not give me a shout out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

Comment below – what is your favourite fantasy novel?

 

Photo from Goodreads.

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

 

Photos from Goodreads.

#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?

 

Photo from Goodreads.