#BookReview Once Upon a Vampire by Mari Mancusi

34614312

To say I was a huge fan of the Blood Coven novels when I was younger would be an understatement. I remember going to high school sporting events and having to sit on a bus for hours to get to our location so we could compete – so of course I would brings books by authors such as Mari Mancusi, Zac Brewer, Ellen Schreiber, and other fantastic YA novelists. I was heartbroken when the series ended and I was hoping one day Mari might come back to it.

AND GUESS WHAT?! SHE DID!!

Once Upon a Vampire is more of an adult novel than YA (although, I’m sure YA fans could pick it up and not be totally disgusted with it. This book is a great continuation).

While it might not be a direct continuation with our former leads, this book environment wise is similar. Hannah and Logan follow a similar path to our former leading ladies and their respective fellows. Rayne is a big part of this story and Jareth also appears, but they aren’t our main leads – even if Rayne takes a bigger role than expected. Magnus is also referenced, but does not make an appearance.

I was definitely hooked to this book – my book cravings had been something easy to read, sexy with a dash of fantasy, and nothing mind blowing (like Game of Thrones), so this book fit the bill. It’s super easy to read, it’s easy to fall in love with these characters and the nostalgia is perfect for any previous YA reader who was as obsessed with Mari’s work as I was.

<spoiler>My “problems” with the novel – the conversation of blood mates was brought up twice, with two different reactions. One that the mate killed herself, the other that he didn’t have one…I’m slightly confused. Maybe I read it wrong, but it really threw the story off for me.</spoiler>

The romance was a beautiful line of this story, and I loved how Mari slowly introduced it. It wasn’t just sudden, and our character’s own pasts helped make the story a little more believable. It might not be a crazy realistic scenario (a 200 page story over a few days with vampires trying to kill someone. Please let me know if you’ve experienced this before so I can edit the review…) but it fit beautifully into the story. I really loved it.

I finished this book in about half an hour, I was that obsessed and couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t want to put it down, and I can’t wait for more books by Mari!! If there are more books in this series, I would be the happiest little reviewer in the world!! I would love to see more Sunny appear, since Rayne was visible in this story…But I’m not picky. Even just another book will fill my desires for more Blood Coven novels!

And we won’t have to wait to long…Dark and Stormy Vampire is next! And of course, as per usual, Mari leaves us off with a horrible cliff hanger! I swear Mari loves to torture us readers by leaving us with cliffhangers AND making us wait for more books…

Side Notes: Mari’s description of Logan is beautiful, but my recent obsession with Gilmore Girls can only see Logan Huntzberger. It oddly fits though…

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to Mari Mancusi and our epic Read and Review team for providing me a copy of this novel!! I can’t wait for the next one!!!

 

Check out Mari on Goodreads! Mari Mancusi on Goodreads

Or her website! Mari Mancusi’s Website

She can also be found on Twitter! @MariMancusi

Blood Covens also has it’s own website for your viewing pleasure!! Blood Covens Series by Mari Mancusi

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

Or follow me on Twitter! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

 

Advertisements

#BookReview Rogue Desires by Tamsen Parker, Adriana Anders, Amy Jo Cousins and more!

Rogue Desire, an anthology of incredibly sexy stories, will play with your temptations.

This anthology holds stories from Adriana Anders, Tamsen Parker, Dakota Gray, Emma Barry, Jane Lee Blair, Ainsley Booth, Amy Jo Cousins and Stacy Agder.

If you’re looking for some sensual stories to fulfill your fantasies, this is the book for you. Especially if you want some quick, easy reads instead of a super long romance novel to fill up your time – you’ve found what you’re looking for!

I wouldn’t necessarily call it just contemporary romance – some of these stories are a bit more sexy than that name hints – but this still hits all the notes of a sexy, steamy romance.

For me, as a Tamsen Parker fangirl extraordinaire (can I get a button or something pronouncing my love for Tamsen’s writing? I feel like I’m apart of the fan club by now) I really love that her writing is growing yet again. I grew to love and feel for the characters in such a small set of chapters, and melt into a puddle reading the sexiness in that story. And I probably blushed a lot – that story was really steamy…

I will applaud this anthology as a whole though. Normally anthologies all have very similar stories or similar styles of writing – this one does not. Yes they are “similar” – you know, romance and sexiness all over – but they all have different themes and plot lines. Not just ‘hey you’re sexy, let’s get together” plot lines. Also, each writer is unique and completely different than the others. It’s not just carbon copies of the same type of author over and over writing a slightly different story. So, you will most likely find at least one story in this if you like romance – or hopefully more than one!

I kind of wish I could give each individual story star ratings, but they all rate between 4 and 5. Some of the stories weren’t necessarily my cup of tea, but they were all great reads – they kept me hooked and interested, I felt invested in the characters, and I enjoyed reading the stories. It didn’t feel like work or like I was forcing myself through the stories.

Reading some other reviews, I have seen that some people think these stories are “rushed” and yes, I might agree – but you need to remember these are short stories with little wiggle room for giant character development. Many of my favourite short stories seem “rushed” to me – The Veldt – but they still worked. If given the opportunity, I would love to see all authors expand on these stories, but to me they felt like they were just “rushed” enough – not so crazy fast it’s unbelievable, but not to slow to make it an entire novel.

Another great point about this book is the new authors you will be introduced to. While I’ve seen the names of some of these authors floating around Goodreads and Twitter, I never really looked into them – and now I know I should! Being able to see some of these authors write a full length novel instead of a tiny, itty, bitty story will be delightful!! So you may find your new must-read in this series!!!

My other thought from other reviews I peeked at after reading – “political” is a word used a lot, and it does seem fitting but I, for whatever reason, don’t like that word necessarily being put with this. Sexy politics seem so off…yet the politics behind each story made each a little bit better. It’s not like your following a sexy election from beginning to end, which is what that word leads me to believe when I see it pop up. So readers beware!

Overall, five out of five stars. It was sexy and a great read!

I received an uncorrected proof from Tamsen Parker for an honest review.35654211

Book Review: The Cartographer by Tamsen Parker

34820952

 

If you’re looking for heat this summer don’t bother going outside, Tamsen Parker’s The Cartographer brings all the heat and so much more!

This book infuriates me. Why, you might ask? Because it’s the last (Yes! The last!!) book in the compass series. It’s such a wonderful arching storyline over these six books and it’s all done! The fantastic part that doesn’t infuriate me, is how beautiful this story was tied together.

I really appreciated this book being in Reyes’s point of view. Watching our other characters grow with Reyes in the background was wonderful, but having him tie this story together and finished it made it so much better. I wouldn’t have wanted any different!!

This book is a sexy ride – M/M, hard R if you catch my drift – with Allie being our protagonists love interest. He is an interesting character – definitely not Cris or India. I really enjoyed his character, but I would have seen him being more stubborn than he actually was. It was a nice change not having him stubborn, but if there’s anything “wrong” with this story, that would be my only negative point.

In this book you will find lots of kink and sexy times, but you will also finds lots of heart wrenching back story. What’s nice about these novels is it’s not just an erotic read without any thought behind it. Tamsen has been getting better and better with her writing abilities with each book she writes. Not only has she increased the sexiness of these books, the characters, back stories and plots have grown with her. It’s so wonderful watching her grow with each book and seeing the characters grow along with her.

You could definitely read this book as a standalone, but I would definitely suggest reading the rest of the books. This book won’t cause any confusion to those who don’t know India/Cris – you might not understand a few references here and there. But, it doesn’t take away from the story in any way. Also, readers who haven’t gone through the first five books might find they don’t connect to Reyes as much as they should. He’s a very lovable character, so reading the other books will make you appreciate him so much more than what’s just introduced in this story.

Tamsen’s writing style is very easy to read – she doesn’t use difficult language, but doesn’t make it so simple either. Her sentences and words flow smoothly and don’t seem choppy like some BDSM novels I have read in the past.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think this is a great addition to any kinky readers library and is a must read!! If you want some sexiness in your life, pick up some Tamsen Parker books. She’s becoming such a fantastic author and is growing so much, it’s almost foolish to not pick up her books if you want some super sexy romance in your life!!

Five out of five stars.

#BookReview SpaceMan by Tom Abrahams

30309257

SpaceMan by Tom Abrahams

I’m not much of a space person – I wasn’t impressed with The Martian (film, not book. I will eventually get to the novel…), and I have never been super into the whole “space” thing (unless it’s Star Wars). But, I love reading books in different genres! I don’t like reading the same old read every single time. I like spicing it up to see what authors are doing and how genres are changing! So SpaceMan seemed like the right kind of fit for me. It looked different, space-y and had a cool cover (come on, admit it, we all judge books by it’s cover).

This novel is set in a post-apocalyptic time and our main character is on on the Space Station. You see both Clayton in space and his family down on Earth, which gives some interesting points of views from all angles. I’ll be the first to admit I know almost nothing about the Space Station, so I cannot tell you how accurate the accounts of it are – but they seemed uber cool!

This novel is a fast moving, easy read, action-adventure. I enjoyed that aspect of it, despite not totally loving this novel in general. It’s a great read for those interested in space, action and adventure and who want a novel that sounds like it knows what’s it’s talking about (not random made-up babble about space. Tom seems to have researched some of this!). It’s a refreshing, different type of space novel – people are comparing it to the Martian, and I would compare it to the hype of the Martian. It’s smart, funny and different. It’s not just a Star Wars/Trek spin-off, it’s got it’s own vibe.

There is a sequel to this novel, and while I might not be reading it I would absolutely suggest this novel to other people. It’s just not my thing. I do think this could have been one stellar novel if the entire story would have been concluded in this book. My rating might have been higher if that had happened. I really enjoyed this book, but I felt it was just to incomplete. I like when a series has a story “complete” at the end of each book, but the universe is continued in the next novel.

Three out of five stars.

I received this novel from Goodreads First Reads.

#BookReview The Proper Proposal (A Regency Romance) by Sophy Hester

35113958

The Proper Proposal by Sophy Hester

Lately, I have been on a string of historical romance-esque series (both novels and television) – The Other Boelyn Girl, Downton Abbey, Reign, The Crown… The list truly goes on. For whatever reason, this type of media has been calling out to me and how could I say no? There are so many fantastic versions of historical fiction/nonfiction literature and television/movies out there!!

So, when I received The Proper Proposal and it popped on my desk, it was very hard to not immediately grab onto the book (despite being super busy and knowingly should not be reading but instead doing work… but like any bookworm, I became a dog when they see a squirrel).

This book was rather easy to read, and that’s not an insult. It’s a book that’s easily to follow along and becomes instantly addicting. I had a very hard time putting it down because I really wanted to finish it all in one sitting – it was that great!!

This book is beautiful in the sense that it’s style is written like the era it is from. I loved seeing big words and references to other works outside of the novel – it’s such a nice change! So many books bore me with texting lingo and simple language. I applaud Sophy for expanding the types of words used in this novel. There’s nothing more irritating than a historical novel using current language throughout the entire book. It was so refreshing and so beautiful, that it deserves a great review just for that content alone.

There isn’t much I’d change about this novel. If anything, I’d just beg Sophy to continue writing more books (whether it be in this genre or others, I think she’s fantastic and needs more books out in the open!). The novel is not to short and not to long – just long enough that it’s rewarding, but short enough to finish in one sitting. The characters are lovable, even if their romance seems “rushed” (in their time it wouldn’t be, but readers today may find that a tad bit interesting). I also enjoyed that there were a few storylines to follow, but our main characters of Louise and John were the main focus. This book doesn’t veer to off to throw the reader off course.

Overall, this book deserves five out of five stars. I was hooked, I didn’t want to put it down and I found it adorable. I love a good historical romance that doesn’t bore me to tears! This book did quite the opposite!! More readers and bookstores need to pick up on this author – Sophy Hester deserves so much more recognition. This book was fantastic!!!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

#BookReview Halfway Hunted by Terry Maggert (Halfway Witchy #3)

28575784

Carlie is back again in Halfway Hunted by Terry Maggert!

This witchy tale brings more action, adventure and romance to this ever expanding world. These characters continue to delight me with each page that passes. While, to me, this book isn’t as fantastic as the last two, I think it has definitely put this series in a step in the right direction. To me, it felt like Avengers Age of Ultron compared to the Avengers and Civil War (for those Marvel nerd fans). It’s a great novel, but it seems like the inbetween book (just for me, it’s still absolutely fantastic and I’m sure readers of this series will love it).

This book is a must read for anyone who’s started this series. I would absolutely recommend this novel to those looking for some fantasy/magic/witchy books in their lives! It’s a great read!

Overall, I give this book three out of four stars. It was a fantastic read and it kept me interested, but it didn’t blow my socks off.

#BookReview The Braid Book by Sarah Hiscox & Willa Burton

27156010

The Braid Book by Sarah Hiscox

As someone who has a background in Hairstyling, I have to say this book is an AWESOME idea. Just reading about a braid bar made my day – because there are days I want my hair done up but I don’t want to do it (and my stylist is always mega busy so booking with her the day of is almost IMPOSSIBLE). So, to say that I was excited to finally pick this book up is an understatement!

This book is a fantastic visualization for those who want to learn to do braids. At the beginning, it even includes what supplies you will need (like crocodile clips, hair bands, etc). This do it yourself book is perfect for those who want to learn how to do hair, but don’t necessarily want to watch YouTube glamour videos all day. This book even includes some outside references if you are looking for, say coloured hair strips or flowers!! Epic!

Care for your hair is also included in this book, which is a nice touch! I find a lot of videos about how to do your hair don’t include the before and after care actually needed (which is stressed in hair school, by the way!!! If you don’t take care of your hair, how do you expect it to stay rocking all day?!).

I really enjoyed the pictures in this book – I find it horribly hard to do my own hair!! I can do other peoples hair easy peasey, but my own? Nope. Not being able to see my own hair makes it difficult, so seeing the back of the head of what I should be feeling/doing made it easier to wrap my mind around it! (Haha…wrap….braid…yeah. Cheesey jokes, I know).

Different braids are explained and shown, so you don’t have to worry about being limited to only a few. This book gives you the works!

If anything, I found some of the pictures a little to dark to be able to actually see the hair/style that was going on. I would have liked to see the same style on a few different models with different hair colours (blonde, red, brown?) so you can see the style a lot better.

Overall, this book was a fantastic idea and it really should be a lot bigger/popular than it is!!

Five out of five stars.

#BookReview Three Summers by D.N. Maynard

30776669

Three Summers by D.N. Maynard

Three Summers is a young adult centered novel about the coming of age of our main character Nathan. You follow his story as he bonds with his cousin Dennis over many years (or three non-consecutive summers).

This story would be a good fictional read for someone who wants a book aimed towards Young Adult readers. I found this book didn’t keep me hooked to it that easily, but I did enjoy the writing style. The story has a slow moving pace and very little “action” in it. This book would be a much better read for someone just wanting to get their mind off life for a little while. It’s not a crazy action/adventure, or a thriller, or horror, or even drama. It’s just a coming of age tale that’s very slow moving and doesn’t create much interest in my eyes.

But this story is beautifully written. D.N Maynard clearly has a knack for writing. This story might be better placed as a high school reading project rather than a big hitting best seller. The nostalgia and faith aspects of the novel can make for a great essay-esque book. The story is also set in the past with the nearest timeline being in the 90s.

Overall, this story about maturing in life was well written, but I didn’t find it to wow my socks off. For that reason, I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5. It is still an excellent read, but my personal view on it is a solid 2.

To Wendy’s With Love: the 22-year Lunch by Diane Keyes- BOOK REVIEW

34021272

To Wendy’s With Love: the 22-year lunch is a love letter to all who have a family – blood bond or not.

Diane Keyes has done one miraculous job I had never expected to see in my life – she wrote a novel collecting Wendy’s, family, love, and warm, happy feelings all in one. This book truly hits all the right notes for me – it’s sweet, inspiring, heart melting and everything I needed in my life today. It’s a book that celebrates family – whether it be by blood or through experiences. And I can’t recommend this book enough!

This small but mighty book is a non-fiction recount of how a family came together for lunch once at week at Wendy’s. Diane highlights some of the rough and tough times that will make your heart clench up, but she also delivers some beautiful, motivating stories as well. Your heart won’t be able to take the extravagant roller coaster Diane makes in this book!

One lesson I learned from this book: Family is powerful.
Blood does not always define the family, and Diane shows this. She not only shows her strong bond with her genetically related family, but the friendships and bonds you can make with others. These simple lunches (that seem like such a silly but genius idea) really highlight how one small change (like meeting up with friends once a week) can really affect you!

I truly appreciate Diane’s hard work. You can tell this story is coming from the heart! Not only does it give a historical background, but it gives you an emotional one too. I am totally inspired by this novel, and I recommend everyone who wants a little splash of happiness and empathy in their life to pick this up.

Five out of five stars.