#BookReview The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that I have been debating over since high school. Everyone I know from high school absolutely HATED this book (with a ridiculously strong passion) yet I had this feeling that I should read it anyways. After watching the 2017 television adaptation and LOVING it, I decided it was probably best to just bite the bullet and pick up this book. Of course, I had to remember to buy it to be able to read it and that took some time.

So, during this wonderous break from school and work I decided to indulge myself a little and pick up a book I REALLY wanted to read. Luckily, this book was within sight and reaching distance so I devoured it in under two hours. I binged this book SO HARD and it was SO WORTH IT.

If you’ve watched the television show, you know the basis. The show expands a lot more on the content (and changes some) but you’ve got the jist of the story. Offred is a Handmaid to the Commander and Serena Joy. Her “goal” is to get pregnant and give them a baby, and that isn’t going to well. So she hatches a plan with Serena Joy to be able to have a baby to get out! But… nothing ever goes to plan, and chaos ensues. That is the non-spoiler synopsis.

This book feels all too real even all these years later. It faces political, environmental and religious tones in such an amazing way that it really blew my mind. Margaret Atwood’s writing just adds to this story and gives it way more depth than I ever expected. Every little twist and turn makes me question who you can trust, if Offred is a reliable narrator (at times) and if this world can ever change. Unfortunately, you don’t find that last point out in this novel. The book ends rather abruptly and leaves me feeling cheated. I want to know what happens OH SO BAD. That’s the only reason I enjoy the television show just a little bit more – it expands a lot on the narrative and we will most likely get some kind of ending (eventually… it’s only at two seasons currently at the time I write this review).

You could definitely tear this book apart for “plot holes” – like… how did society crumble so fast? How could these women not over power some of these leaders? How did people let this happen? There’s so many questions that I want answered, but I don’t think that’s the purpose of this book. It felt like a warning tale, like 1984 by George Orwell or any of the Shakespeare tales. It’s a different take on society as a whole and is criticizing it in some way (and it’s also just really good fiction, let’s be honest).

My biggest flaw is how short this book is – I want more and I want to understand more. This world is just way too good, complex and big to not explore! I hear there’s another book coming out soon (oh please give us a sequel I want mooooore) but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Overall, this is a book that makes you think. I love books like that because I can sink into my chair (or couch… or bed…) and just let myself fall into the story. I escape this world and all of my worries and just take in this whole new world. I think Margaret Atwood is a seriously good author with ridiculous amounts of talent and I will for sure be looking for more books by her. Books like this make me SO happy that I love to read and have the time and ability too. Books like this make reading an absolutely breath taking hobby!

Seriously, if you love dystopian fiction, books that you can theorize and form conspiracies over or books that you probably would have read back in your high school English class- PICK THIS BOOK UP!

Five out of five stars.

 

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If you enjoyed this review (or book!) check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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#BookReview Tamisan by Susan McKenzie

Tamisan by Susan McKenzie was an epic, action-packed, sci-fi fueled novel!

Action. Adventure. Sci-Fi. New Adult. Thriller. Suspense. Fantasy. Supernatural.

All of those terms can directly be applied to this magnificent novel by Susan McKenzie. Seriously, I didn’t know what I was in for when I picked up this book! The synopsis makes this seem like just another fun, sci-fi novel yet it was so much more than I expected! Zhenna/Tamisan was a lovely character to follow along her absolutely insane journey and I can’t wait to see more of her!

Zhenna is traveling to assist in some space science experiments when things go horribly wrong. She’s the only survivor of her crew, but that’s not the only thing wrong. Her soul has also been moved into the body of one of the gorgeous natives to the planet. This disturbing science experiment changes her life forever and sends her on a troubling journey in a foreign land. Slowly, she discovers the powers this woman held and all of the magic that goes along with being supernatural. Oh, and there’s a little romance in store for her too!

This book had a lot packed into one book, and that’s why the book is so good! But that is also the book’s weak point – I felt like this book could have been split into two or three novels. I seriously loved every minute of it, but there’s was just SO much. Most readers will be okay with this, since Susan delivers with a fast-paced and thrilling adventure, but some may not be as fond of it.

Whether you’re looking for a fantastical book or a science fiction, this book is definitely worth the read. It has a lot of marketing potential with the various genres it holds inside. I like that it didn’t just stick to one genre because it did make this book far more unique. If anything, I felt like I was most confused on which age group it should be marketed too. The genres was easy – it mixes fantasy with science fiction and thrills and suspense. There’s so much in there! But at times it felt like it was moving close to an R rating (with potential rape scenes and some harsh violence) but then it slowed back down in the romance department and felt like a Young Adult novel. My best guess was it was going for New Adult and it seems to fit well there.

Overall, this book was one solid thrill ride! The positives of this book far outweigh the negatives and I’d highly recommend it! It’s a little on the longer side but it’s worth every word on every page!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Kobo

Barnes & Nobles

Chapters/Indigo/Coles

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If you liked this book, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis

#BookReview I Am Radar by Reif Larsen

I am Radar by Reif Larsen is a character study of a black man born to white parents.

This book was very slow and hard for me to read, I have to be upfront about that. The book is written beautifully and Reif Larsen is a terrific writer, but I just couldn’t get into this book. It took me months to get through because it’s so packed full of narrative. It is packed full of science, relationship drama, history and major character conflicts and soul searching.

I wish I would have loved this book more, because I am amazed at Reif’s writing style. I fell in love with these characters, but then the story would switch up and go somewhere else. I just got devoted to Radar and his parents and then the story switched around and took me somewhere I didn’t want to go. I wanted to watch Radar’s life tumble in front of my eyes, but I didn’t get that. Honestly though, Radar and his parents were my favourite part of this story. Watching them grow and react to life was a real gem. I wanted way more of that, because I absolutely loved them.

If you like books that follow the entire story of a person, including their backstory and their family’s story – you’ll love this book. It truly is a cool character study. Following Radar is the main purpose of this book, but we learn so much more about other characters as well. It’s a fictional drama story that is written beautifully. That’s where it stands with me. It also includes great illustrations and historic notes making it feel more non-fiction than fiction at times. Oh, and did I mention lots and lots of science and radio waves?

I would definitely suggest this as a book for an English class. I’d love to see someone pick it apart and explain it to me. I was just not invested enough to re-read sections and to go back and understand a lot of the book. It’s not a book to just sit down and binge – it’s too full of knowledge and information. You have to be willing to go back and understand everything that’s happening to really get it. So, it’s just not for me at this point in time.

Overall, the over 600 pages were not my cup of tea. I think Reif is a wonderful writer and I hope he finds his readers! He’s too talented, I don’t want it to go to waste! Pick up this book if you love a good drama full of science and knowledge. I’m honored to have read this book, because it is really cool. I’m just not his ideal reader.

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find this book on:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Goodreads

 

Check out some other books and reviews you might enjoy:

#BookReview Gene. Sys. by Aaron Denius Garcia

#BookReview – The Last Day of Captain Lincoln by EXO Books

Quick Book Review: Escape Vector and Other Stories by Bryan Young

 

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#BookReview Gene. Sys. by Aaron Denius Garcia

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This scientific dystopia is an excellent read for those who like apocalyptic stories!

The world is getting ready for the apocalypse, and Atom is at the center of it all. Him and the other teenage Genetic Systems must survive and help “restart” the earth when everyone is wiped out. Along the way, drama, romance and war ensues – all creating havoc upon the teens.

This book reminded me of a Young Adult novel – the drama and fighting definitely sat around a young adult audience level, in my opinion. I could easily see youth and adults enjoying this book. The plot itself was very reminiscent of many YA novels I’ve read – apocalypse, teenagers being the only ones who can save the world, and the YA romance tropes.

I did find the writing and conversations to be very simplistic. That doesn’t make the novel bad, but I’m a reader who likes complex words, not using “said” or the same words all the time, and lots of excitement. The writing style just didn’t match with my reading style! I feel like there is a lot of potential in this book, and maybe in a sequel (?? pretty please??) it could be enhanced to a much higher level.

I did like the plot itself – I think Aaron Denius Garcia put a unique and fun spin on it that made me want to continue reading this book. I was desperate to follow these characters (specifically Atom and Ev) to see where their adventure would go. Throwing in actual history was also a really cool part of this story, since it was looking at history from a different point of view. I also found the nuclear aspect to be extremely scary (due to the realism) in this fictional world. It did take me about half the book to get really into the story, but once I got there I was hooked and addicted. I absolutely HAD to finish this book!

I felt the book left off in a way that it could continue in some form, so I’ll definitely be looking out for the next book! I hope Aaron continues with this story because it has so much potential, it’s really fun and it has one epic story! Maybe one day a publisher will pick this book up and pimp it out to readers everywhere!

I’d highly recommend this book if you like sci-fi, apocalypse stories, young adult or just fun fiction! It’s a great book, even if it wasn’t the best book for me! I loved it and would definitely want to read more!

Three out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

On a side note, I LOVE that Aaron signed my copy of the book AND spelled my name right! Authors (and anyone really… coworkers, family, etc) rarely spell my actual name right, and it made me so giddy!

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads – Gene. Sys.

Amazon.com – Gene. Sys.

Amazon.ca – Gene. Sys.

 

Find out more about Aaron Denius Garcia on:

Goodreads – Aaron Denius Garcia

http://www.genesysbook.com/

Twitter – @AaronDenius

 

If you read this review, comment below with your favourite YA dystopian novel!
And… give me a shout out on Twitter! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis

#BookReview Savior by A. King Bradley

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Savior by A. King Bradley

This novel was a great read – it was a mix of fantasy, paranormal and superhero all rolled up into one beautiful package.

Within this story, I get the feeling you are supposed to pity Adam (our main character). His story is daring and full of action and drama, but I always was left feeling bad for him. There would be moments where I would feel delighted and strong with him, and then I just felt like it was a day to rain on Adam’s parade…

But then you must realize Adam isn’t your normal, everyday teenager – he has powers! Hence the superhero tag I left on my Goodreads. It’s not totally fantasy to me, it seems superhero-ish as well with these superpowers he uses.

There’s some subplots among the action and main story – a pinch of romance, but nothing wild (or that would give you the hint that it’s a romance novel. It’s not).

I will say this book is great for a first book in the series. While I might not be able to pick up the rest of the series, I think it’s a great start. This isn’t my top book of the century, nor was I hooked to this book and desperate to finish it, but it was good and well written. A King Bradley is a great writer by my standards and deserves his spot on library and bookstore shelves alike.

The downfalls of this book (as listed by me):
1. I didn’t like the cover. Yes, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I really do. If I’m in a book store and I want a random read and I’m stuck between three REALLY good back cover/inside cover plots that make it super difficult for me to pick just one on a budget, I choose the prettiest or coolest cover of the three. Is this a bad thing that the cover isn’t drawing me in? No, but it could be for other readers who choose books like me.

2. This book was a good mix of predictable and unpredictable. I love when there’s twists and turns that I don’t guess and can keep going, but this book has a few to many spots where I could see everything coming from a mile away. That bored me more than anything, despite this read being absolutely fantastic at times.

3. Cliffhangers. I HATE cliffhangers with a passion. Why, you might ask? I have read countless books where a cliffhanger is left and then the author never gets to write the next book (or they write it and it’s never published). It infuriates me, and by the time the next book comes out I either forgot everything, can’t afford the book or can’t find it. It left a little to much unknown/cliffhanger-ed for me. It’s a well written cliffhanger, but it annoys me to no end.

4. Pacing issues. Sometimes this book is slow paced and leaves me waiting for something interesting, but when it hits it’s dramatic and action packed points it moves fast and furious! This is something that seems to come with time for writers – the more they write the better they seem to get. This issue did make me drop this book for a while though. It took months for me to finish it, despite me trying to jump back in numerous times.

Overall, this book is a pleasant surprise. It’s well written, has a great plot and is a great read. It’s a definite recommendation to those who love sci-fi and fantasy. It’s not a book for me, but it’s a FANTASTIC book!!!

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this fantastic author on Goodreads: A. King Bradley on Goodreads

Or on his website: A. King Bradley.com

A. King Bradley on Twitter

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Photo from Goodreads.

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

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The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane is a unique space drama that follows the character development of Bethany Ann Crane.

This book was truly mesmerizing! It’s hard to describe how interesting this book really was for me to read in just words. I couldn’t put this book down since it was so unique and addicting.

Throughout this novel, you follow the character Bethany Ann Crane and her life experiences. The character study starts off when she is very young to her “older years”. On top of following this beautiful character, there’s a subplot featuring space travel that really hits the sci-fi genre. The small town of Grover Springs is transported to another planet and their aging and diseases seem to stop completely – yet this small town is expected to live and grow within their new community.

Having us follow Bethany Ann is a really interesting spin on this story line – she notices the small things like rainfall being the same everyday, and she manages to mature and expand her technical skills (like playing the piano and chess) because there isn’t much else to do in this small community. The older and more bored she gets, the more she learns and begins to question everything that is happening. The girl tries to mature and feel love, but in such a small community life becomes very difficult. Especially since no one can leave the experiment!

K. Kris Loomis always has themes in her books (which I am the biggest nerd for). There were some religious and spiritual comments in the book, which makes you question reality versus religion. Additionally, this young girl wants to grow and mature and be an “adult” (like some of the boys who see themselves as “men”) yet in such a small town where nothing can move past where they are… how can she? She’s young yet feels so different. Another side of his story is the sci-fi and technology aspects – is all of this development really good for the people? What happens when it “backfires” or we decide to stop using it?

Somehow, despite K. Kris Loomis having all of these “big” questions and heavy hitting plot lines, this book didn’t feel difficult to read or too much. It all was woven into a really lovely tale that makes you think and pick apart the story. I truly found it engaging and would suggest anyone who wants a book that will make them think to pick it up! That being said, if you want a mindless read then this probably isn’t for you. It’s very thoughtful, like a book we should have read back in high school.

I couldn’t find many faults with this story – sometimes the story got a little slow, but since this book is more of a character development/big question type of novel, it doesn’t affect my overall rating that much. I might have liked some more background into the science and technology of the experiment, but that’s me picking it to pieces and being picky.

Overall, this book was really cool! It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read and I love it! K. Kris Loomis has a real talent!

Five out of five stars!

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

 

Find K. Kris Loomis on her website: http://www.kkrisloomis.com/

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

 

Find this book:

On Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40131752-the-sinking-of-bethany-ann-crane

On Amazon.com – Amazon.com

On Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca

 

And check out another book review of a K. Kris Loomis novel on my blog: #BookReview The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis
Comment below – have you read anything by K. Kris Loomis?

 

#BookReview The Mirror In My Dorm Room by Lashonda Beauregard

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The Mirror In My Dorm Room by Lashonda Beauregard is an epic tale about time travel.

To begin with, I paralleled Justina almost perfectly when reading this book! I am a marketing student, heading into sophomore year and I am definitely ready to start a new semester! That being said, some of the comments about college are definitely true – you need your ID (it’s essential), some semesters are harder than others, the information about work studies, and sometimes the older dorms are the prettiest (in style).

This book felt like it was written by a college student, which was a nice touch. I’m not sure if it was intended to read like that, but it worked.

The time travel part of this story was a fun twist to the usually typical college story. It had a similar vibe to Alice Through the Looking Glass mixed with a confused identity. Justina, a college student in current day, is now Laurice in the 1930s when she steps through the mirror in her dorm room.

I felt like this story had a lot of potential and is heading towards the right direction. At times, the story came to a full stop at a break in the chapter, which threw the flow off for me. Some of the small drama scenes could have been extended with a little more action or conversation to assist in the ease of the story’s flow. I also wondered how Justina knew managers and famous singers of the 1930s when she had just traveled back through time. She didn’t seem to have the memories of Laurice and was very confused, only to know things pages later that she hadn’t been aware of moments earlier. It was a little strange.

There’s also times where certain comments are explained more than once in the same page – Rayla is a Nursing major and is taking biology. They see her a lot in biology because she’s a Nursing major, and Nursing majors have biology. This happened with quite a few characters, not just solely Rayla. My biggest pet peeve was a sentence about Roger where chemistry was mentioned three times without the full stop. At times, it felt like the comments were purposely used for comedy, but they happened so often it just seemed to be Lashonda’s writing style.

With a little more description (like how Justina’s cute, little pink dress looked) I think this book would really blossom into a truly magnificent piece of writing. Even a little more background on what happened to Justina as Laurice near the end instead of a sudden stop! The ending was getting so good and I was so excited to read what happened, and it was just a quick summary!

For my cons, there were some sentences I would have fixed up. For example, lots of repetition and comments ending in “said”, starting multiple sentences in a row with the same word, some grammatical errors in word choice and very short 3 word sentences. The only reason I notice these things is because I had two back to back English classes these past semesters in college. Most people probably wouldn’t catch on, but it’s noticeable on my end.

Overall, Lashonda Beauregard has a specific writing style that wasn’t meant for me. The book is really cute, lots of fun and a nice take on time travel! I definitely recommend this novel to those who like science fiction and time travel stories!

Two out of five stars.

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

 

Find this book on:

Amazon.com: Amazon.com – The Mirror In My Dorm Room

Amazon.ca: Amazon.ca – The Mirror in my Dorm Room

 

Check out Lashonda on her website: http://lashondabeauregard.webstarts.com/

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