#BookReview Rogue Hearts (Anthology) by Tamsen Parker, Amy Jo Cousins, and more

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This anthology was THE BOMB, AMAZEBALLS and ABSOLUTELY FREAKING FANTASTIC.

And that’s putting it lightly.

Yet again, the “Rogue” anthologies fill my day up with some romantic delight and some newly discovered authors (for me, anyways). To summarize, this anthology is full of cute romances that made me yearn for more from these authors. Each story had their own unique spins on a typical romance, and some delved into genres I had never even imagined a romance to be in! It’s a real gem!

Now to break it down, short and sweet (in no specific order):

In Her Service by Suleikha Snyder
5 out of 5
This was one of the best short stories I’ve ever read, and I mean short. It was faaaaaar too short, yet full of absolute delight! I loved the first black, female Vice President Letitia Hughes and the wonderful agent Shahzad Khan. Make an entire series out of these two! Or relationships in this White House. Pleeeeeease! Do I have to beg? This story was sexy, full of ooey gooey romance I so needed on a day after an exam, and a must read.

Good Men by Tamsen Parker
5 out of 5
I loved another round of Tamsen’s SIC side stories being introduced. These characters made my heart melt, and I found it was just the perfect length. It was fast paced, heart melting and I AM OBSESSED with these characters. Somehow Tamsen manages to keep me hooked with every new book (she’s like the author version of Marvel)! Keep up the good work Tamsen!

Run by Emma Barry
This was probably my favourite out of the whole set (Suleikha and Tamsen weren’t far behind though). It was far to short, and these two characters need a series all on their own. Maddie Clark and Adam Kadlick were likable characters and had a fantastic arc throughout the story. I also really enjoyed the political plot (surprisingly! I don’t normally go for political novels). The story is fun, dramatic, fast-paced and sweet! I need more from this couple ASAP, but I may settle by trying to find some Emma Barry novels.

Rogue Files by Stacey Agdern
4 out of 5
Stacey Agdern is this weird author who I see her name a lot but haven’t read any books by yet (it’s very odd how much I see her name yet haven’t picked a book up yet. I’m slacking!). I found Rogue Files to be a really interesting read – sports broadcasters? I hadn’t even thought of that as a genre, and yet Stacey ROCKED it! John Dicenza and Sophie Katz were a delight to read about too! I slowly fell in love with these characters along this fun, unique ride! What a hit!

Coming Up Rosa by Kelly Maher
4 out of 5
A toy company too?! Seriously, these authors have way more creative juices than I expected. I never would have thought of a romance set in a toy company-esque setting. This story totally fit in this fun anthology with it’s unique take on romance! After this read I want to pick up way more by Kelly Maher in the future! She’s an author to watch out for!

The Sheriff and Mr. Devin by Amy Jo Cousins
4 out of 5
First of all, the title had me hooked. That title alone didn’t seem to fit into this anthology, so of course it spiked my interest! Along with Stacey Agdern, Amy Jo Cousins is another author who I see a lot of yet I haven’t read very much by. This story proves me wrong in my lack of reading because the story was incredible! It was short, but it worked! Normally I’m quite frustrated with short stories, but Amy Jo Cousins makes a lasting impression with this cute and fantastic story!

Final thoughts:

I think the order of this anthology was off – it started with two political stories, so I felt like all of the stories were going to be political (and spoiler alert – they aren’t). I think this anthology has the perfect mix of stories with romance and uniqueness, but the order threw me off. It doesn’t ruin the experience, it just gives a different impressions.

FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS!

I received a copy of this book from the fantastic Tamsen Parker in exchange for an honest review.

 

Comment below with your favourite story from any of the Rogue anthology sets!

Why not check out this book? Find it on Amazon:

Rogue Hearts on Amazon.com

Rogue Hearts on Amazon.ca

 

Find all of these authors on twitter (and me as well!!). Why not give us a shoutout?

@TamsenParker

@_AJCousins

@kmmaher

@NYStacey

@AuthorEmmaBarry

@SuleikhaSnyder

Briar’s Reviews: @ReviewAlholic

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview Rogue Affair by Adriana Anders, Tamsen Parker and more!

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#BookReview The Erotic Muse by Rajeev Singh

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Erotic horror is not a type of book I see often, but man did Rajeev create one interesting story within that genre!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book. The synopsis sounded awesome, and a mix of erotica and horror (two genres I like to read) could have gone very sour if not done right. I think this book is definitely a niche market and isn’t suitable for all readers. That being said, it is really well written!

K, our main character, follows an interesting yet dark story line full of porn and sex, into rape and fantasy, and ending on a higher note than where he begins. It’s a unique take on a hero’s journey to recognizing more about themselves and growing as a character. The theme (yes, somehow there is a theme in an erotic horror novel!) also was intriguing – do you stay motionless or fight your demons? How can one rise above the negatives?

This book felt like Alice in Wonderland meets Black Swan meets Fifty Shades of Grey on steroids. The twists and turns will leave you breathless (and slightly confused at times, but that’s a good thing) and will keep you on edge. I think Rajeev is one talented author, because this book boggled my mind! I didn’t know what would happen next (which I love, I hate guessing the endings) and I had to think a lot to grasp what this novel was portraying. If you don’t read into it, yeah… it seems kind of weird… but you can take a lot out of it.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. I definitely think you need to research this book before jumping into it, because it’s not for the lighthearted by any means. It’s R rated and brutal at times. But, it was still a great novel! I love the fact that it was so different from my typical read and opened me up to a new genre. Essentially, I want to read more by Rajeev Singh – he’s creative!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Rajeev Singh in exchange of an honest review.

 

Info about this book:

The Erotic Muse

Genre: Dark fantasy, horror, coming of age, erotica.

Brief summary: ‘The Erotic Muse’ is the story of K, a young porn-addicted college-dropout who shies away from relationships and harbors dreams of becoming a writer. Full of anguish, he is given to self-abuse. One evening, while masturbating to his favorite erotic muse, Fanny Leone, sprawled on the cover of an underground porn magazine, K finds himself magically transported to a parallel world where all sexual desires and perversions are fulfilled, although with the price that he might remain trapped in this unique pleasure-hell all his life – unless he can find a way out. This ‘way out’ is his redemption, a journey studded with heart-stopping adventure, life-threatening danger, nerve-wracking horror, and a brush with true love.

Goodreads link: Goodreads – The Erotic Muse

Amazon link (only 0.99$):

Amazon.ca – The Erotic Muse

Amazon.com – The Erotic Muse

Books2Read : Books2Read – The Erotic Muse

 

Did you enjoy this review? Give me a shout out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreview if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic

And comment below – What book are you currently reading?

#BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

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Hercufleas is the cutest book I’ve read this year, and it deserves so much more recognition than it’s getting!

Sam Gayton has created hit that Disney might want to steal in the future! This off the beaten path “Hercules” re-telling (in a way) is one of the best action novels I’ve ever read and enjoyed – and it’s a middle grade novel! This book outdid so many adult action novels and it wasn’t even aimed at my age group! I can see so many adults reading this to their kids and getting a lot out of it as well! There was a few silly adult jokes you can pick up on, but they are harmless and adorable!

The theme behind this book about how a hero comes in all sizes was also a beautiful tale to tell. It seems so silly to write a book about a flea, but the story worked and it was phenomenal. Mix in all the “flea” jokes along the way, and this book hits it out of the park. The ending is a little bittersweet or sad, but the ending worked well. The story pays off and is woven perfectly for the target audience. Sam mixing in enough “adult” humor or silly jokes also makes the book grow to a higher level of enjoyment.

I did find about 4/5ths through the novel I got a little bored, and it winded down really slowly. If it have kept the pace and excitement up, it might be a five out of five for me. Instead, I give it four out of five because it was just fantastic! I couldn’t find any other problems with this novel while I was trying to pick it apart to find any cons for the readers.

Overall, the hero and heroine learn lessons about themselves, the theme is a tale as old as time and the story was unique and fun! What more can you ask for in a middle grade novel?

Four out of five stars.

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

 

What is your favourite children’s or middle grade novel? Comment below!

Check out Sam Gayton on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4880860.Sam_Gayton

Use the hashtags #Hercufleas & #BriarsReviews to talk about this review on twitter with me! @ReviewAlholic

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview We All Fall Down by Eric Walters

#BookReview Intricate Intentions by Jennifer Rayes

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This addicting series will keep you hooked with it’s fast paced suspense and drama!

If I’m being honest, I’m really into this series right now, way more than I expected! It has the perfect mix of drama, suspense and romance (well, this book lacked on the romance end – but I’m sure more will come).

If I’m comparing it to other works, it feels like 25% Game of Thrones (for some of it’s more violent content), 25% Reign (drama and royalty) and 50% soap opera. This book specifically started out with a big bang (much like Game of Thrones with it’s final episodes of their seasons) and continues the action through out. I didn’t feel bored anywhere in this book, and it’s hard to keep my attention!

My cons of the novel are as followed:
1. Cliffhangers – I have a strong hatred for cliffhangers, especially since we don’t know when the next book is coming out. I like a book being able to stand alone at the end and be it’s own entity, so the cliffhanger is more of a personal annoyance than a “con”, but it fits here.

2. Not enough Raoul – This time around there was lots of Dominique, but Raoul didn’t get enough “screen time”. I’d love to see both boys grow in their character arcs in further novels. Additionally, Raoul was just… odd. I’ll stick with odd so I don’t spoil anything. Hopefully, he’ll grow in the next book.

3. Carlos – I just wasn’t digging him at all. His story works within the overall plot, but I’d rather of had more Dominique and Raoul time. Again, personal annoyance.

4. “Second Book Curse” – The second book curse of most series seems to be the the second book is a little more boring than the first. It’s a stepping stone to the next book, so I REALLY hope we get another one that picks the series up. I loved this book, but I’m scared it will have the “Second Book Curse” where we never see the third book in the series because people didn’t love the second one as much…

My pros:
1. Fast Paced – Constant movement of the plot, mixed with action and dramatic scenes.

2. Fantasy – This book seems to be picking up some more fantastical plot lines, and it fits. I like how it’s expanding instead of staying the same old, same old.

3. Lovable Characters – I still love these characters – Gaia, Emily, Dominique, Raoul – and the newer characters being introduced are becoming just as lovable. They do have their flaws, but that’s kind of why I like them. I hate perfect Mary Sues or plain Janes, so having these characters be flawed and unique is a nice change.

4. Change in Plot – This might be a con for some readers, but the plot has moved from Human Trafficking over to a virus. I would like to see both plot lines continued in some form, but I can settle with a change like this. It makes the books move smoother and cover more topics.

Overall, I like this series! I want it to continue and I want more! Jennifer Rayes is a great author and the more she writes, the better it will get. I’m hoping more people read this series so Jennifer Rayes can continue writing it. The books are good and I’d love to see a “House of Night” treatment with this series where it gets more books to cover more content with all of it’s characters.

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book form Jennifer Rayes in exchange of an honest review.

 

Check this book out on:

Intricate Intentions (#2) on Amazon.com

Intricate Intentions (#2) on Amazon.ca

 

Check out the first book in the series on:

Intricate Deceptions (#1) on Amazon.com

Intricate Deceptions (#1) on Amazon.ca

 

Find Jennifer Rayes on her website or Goodreads:

http://jenniferrayes.wix.com/intricateseries

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7410834.Jennifer_Rayes

 

Comment below if you’re read anything by Jennifer Rayes! And give me a shout-out on Twitter if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview The Darkening by Maggie L Wood

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The Darkening was a thrilling sequel to the Divided Realms series.

I am so dishearted when I couldn’t find the third book of this series, because I was OBSESSED with this book series back in the day. I went to Borders (in the states) and bought the first two books. They were two of the first books I bought with my own money at a bookstore. Then, Borders left that mall and I thought I would never find the books again (since my local Canadian bookstores didn’t carry them, and I wasn’t aware at the time that I could order books).

The game of chess was the focus of this series, and that was so fascinating to me. There’s good and evil, light and dark, and pulls towards each direction.

The world building within this universe was fantastic, and to me it’s a definite must read.

Overall, I really want to pick up this series again but with the final book (it says it’s available online as an ebook but I’ve yet to find it. I’ll have to look a little harder!). Maggie L Wood was so talented and I really hope she writes more and has more books come out. The premise alone was unique!!

Five out of five stars.

 

Comment below your favourite YA novel!

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Saving Me by Sadie Allen

Tweet me with the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #DividedRealms if you read this review!

You can find Maggie L Wood on her website: http://www.maggielwood.com/

Check out The Darkening on Amazon:

Amazon.com The Darkening

#BookReview Her Dragon to Slay by Julia Mills

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Her Dragon To Slay was a fantastical, romance novel all about dragons.

Warning: Spoilers ahead! Be warned.

I found this book free on Amazon, so I figured – why not? I loved Katie MacAlister’s dragon series, and I wanted to fill my shelf with a few more books about dragons, so this seemed like the perfect fit! And, indeed it was! This book was fun, delightful and full of ooey, gooey romance.

It’s definitely your “typical” fantasy romance – they fall in love fast, there’s some really hot sex scenes and there’s some fantasy and action mixed in as well.

Julia Mills does a great job weaving the dragon half of the story with the romance side. I loved the mythology Julia created for this world, and I would like to see more of it in the future. It can seem a little cheesey if you’re expecting an Oscar worthy styled novel, but to me it was fun and entertaining. It kept me interested to the point I devoured it in one sitting.

There are also many funny and comedic moments mixed in. This is not a serious fantasy novel, it’s lighthearted and fun.

So, you may be asking at this point – what’s the cons?
1. Character development is low (but it’s a book that’s less than 200 pages and involves a lot more romance involved)
2. Repetitive. Yeah, this book is a little repetitive. If you’re just reading it for a fun ride, it’s cool. It didn’t bug me because I wanted an escape from reality, but to some people this might be a major no-no.
3. Potential rape?… Rayne gets a little to sexual with a sleeping Kyndel, and we’re not to sure if she actually “wanted” it despite her body behaving… But later she’s madly in love with him in about two seconds, so it could be warranted? I don’t even know. That part left me feeling really icky reading it. It just didn’t seem right.
4. Male oriented story. This one kind of bugged me, and looking at other reviewers it bugged them too. The woman exists for the man in this story, and it definitely fills some fantasies for some people but in today’s culture it doesn’t sit perfectly. This can be a con or a pro, depending on how you want to look at the story.

Overall, this book was delightful. It had me whisked away to another world and not worrying about reality. It’d be a great book to read if you love romance, dragons or a sexy read.

Three out of five stars.

 

What is your favourite fantasy book? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Saving Me by Sadie Allen

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #HerDragonToSlay to chat about this book on twitter with me! @ReviewAlholic

Check out Julia Mills on her website http://www.juliamillsauthor.com/ or twitter @JuliaMills623

#BookReview And The Wolf Shall Dwell by Joni Dee

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And the Wolf Shall Swell by Joni Dee

Summary:

Summary: John Daniel, just a regular Joe, a foreigner who works in the City of London, is entangled with a political plot which tracks all the way up the corridors of Westminster. Aided by retired MI6 agent Adam Grey, the duo will set off to an adventure which will take them throughout London. A nuclear threat, terrorism in Oxford Street, Israeli Mossad and the British government, are all working against them. Will they unravel the plot in time?


This thriller felt like a mix of Jason Bourne, James Bond, Man from U.N.C.L.E and Jack Reacher. It was a fast, thrilling ride that will keep you hooked until the last page!

The book is fictional, but felt oh so real. Joni Dee’s descriptions and plot lines mirror reality, which thoroughly impressed me. Additionally, the settings were so beautifully described – I felt like I was in London (and I’ve never been there before). Mixing in the well-written, well developed characters made this book all around fantastic. Joni Dee is someone to watch for the future, because this book rivals the top spy thrillers.

I really liken it to the new Man from U.N.C.L.E movie – it gave me those epic thriller vibes that had me hooked to that movie. The book was also just long enough that it kept me interested. There wasn’t anything I’d remove from the novel, and I wouldn’t ask for much more. Somehow, Joni managed to find that perfect medium (for me, anyways).

This isn’t a mind-blowing new genre, it’s pretty “typical” when it comes to the thrillers I’ve read. That being said, Joni has his unique spin on it that made this book feel like it’s own entity. If you’re looking for some new “spin” on the thriller genre, this book isn’t it. If you love spy and thriller novels, this book is perfect for you.

One element that was “missing” was romance, which some readers might not like. I felt like this book didn’t need romance, so Joni did well in that aspect. Almost every thriller or mystery novel I read, there is always some romantic element in there that doesn’t need to be. The tension between characters is awesome, but that lack of romance made this book go to a new level for me. Joni didn’t need to follow the stereotypical norms of these books, so A+ for Joni!

Overall, for a DEBUT NOVEL (seriously? That doesn’t even seem right! This book was so good!) I am blown out of the water. Five out of five stars for sure! Joni Dee needs to write WAAAAY more soon, because his talent is only going to sky rocket with each book he writes.

Five out of five stars!! A definite recommendation from this reviewer!

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


 

Message from the author: All “verified purchase” reviewers will enter a raffle to have 1 of 2 characters named after them in the sequel. see https://jondbooks.com for details.


Get this book on Amazon:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

Find Joni Dee on his website: https://www.jondbooks.com/ or give Joni Dee and myself a shout-out on Twitter! @ydital  & Briar’s Reviews on Twitter: @ReviewAlholic

 

Comment below with your favourite spy thriller!!

#BookReview Dreams and Other Lastings by RJ Sobel

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Dreams and Other Lastings was a beautiful set of poems that left me breathless and feeling warm (despite it being the “winter” Season).

I truly loved these poems – I always love a good set of poetry, but I could really relate to these stories. This isn’t a long book, and isn’t filled to the brim with poems, but the content within them makes this small set of poems worth every single word.

Reflection, aging, and memory are just three of the many topics discussed within these poems. I found myself reflecting on my own life and finding ways to see how these poems mirror situations I’ve had. For example, wanting to write someone and letter and reflecting on life, the good and the bad. It was so beautifully written, it almost pains me to think this was the last of the four books (of course, I could find the first three in the series to fill that void to fix that problem).

I 100% recommend Dreams and Other Lastings to anyone who wants a quick read, something to relate to, or just some good, old-fashioned poetry to warm their nights.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another book you might enjoy! Quick Book Review: Song of the Earth by Susan Nunn