#BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

Loki’s Wolves is a truly fantastical, middle grade novel that focuses on Norse mythology.

I love Kelley Armstrong and I’ve been dying to get my hands on a novel by Marissa Marr for YEARS. So, when I heard that the two of them were writing a novel together I had to get my hands on it! On top of it all, I love a good, middle grade novel that I can sink my teeth into and not think *too* hard when reading.

Loki’s Wolves has Percy Jackson vibes, but for a little younger base. Matt Thorsen is, you guessed it, a descendant of Thor, and of course he’s the chosen one! He has been chosen to defeat a mythical serpent that will aid in the destruction of Ragnarok. Laurie and Fen are descendants of Loki, and they will join Matt on his epic quest. Along the way, they must find the children and descendants of the other Norse gods and try not to make their corresponding tales come true.

This book leaves itself on a WILD cliffhanger. I NEED to know what happens, and unfortunately for me I don’t have the next novel in my hands yet. The story does not stand alone, which is a real shame. I totally get leaving a cliffhanger so your audience wants to keep reading, but MAN I AM FRUSTRATED. The story just stopped, it didn’t end!

These 13 year old leads were shockingly like 13 year olds! Sometimes when you read a book like this, the leads act like adults. Lucky for us, Kelley and Marissa are amazing writers and were able to craft characters that felt like their age. They make silly mistakes, they trust people they shouldn’t and sometimes they are down right goofy. What more can you expect from a pre-teen cast? Especially when said pre-teens are the chosen ones who need to save the planet.

The plot itself is fast paced, full of fun surprises, and has lots of literal fun. This is a fantasy novel, so it’s not going to be some Oscar winning, realistic drama. It has monsters and amulets and silly tricks (I mean, you’ve got Loki in the title… what did you expect?). To me, I think it’s the perfect way to introduce the middle grade audience into Norse mythology. It’s a fun story with just enough mythology to make it interesting! Also, I totally binged it in a few hours. It was THAT good.

I’d highly recommend this book. Seriously, whether it’s for your middle grade readers or adults who just want to sink into a good, fun book! I loved it and I’ll definitely be continuing this series if I can ever find the sequels.

Five out of five stars!

 

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Check out some other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

 

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#BookReview Love Comes for the Bodyguard by Savannah Adams

Love Comes for the Bodyguard is a lovely rom-com from Savannah Adams.

If you’re looking for a sweet, comedic, contemporary romance then you’ve come to the right place! This novel is short and sweet, but still packs quite the punch.

We follow Brianna (a bank teller) and Tyler (a bodyguard) through their romantic journey. Tyler is Brianna’s older brother’s best friend, so it was only natural for the two to develop feelings for one another. Along the way, we meet the evil Lee Garvin who is Brianna’s stalker (as the man says, he’s a country bumpkin). Tyler offers to extend his bodyguard services into full-time instead of just at work, and with that their love begins to blossom.

This book felt more romantic comedy meets suspense romance than contemporary, but it was still lovely nonetheless. Some of the amazing quotes that had me giggling included “I thought you were looking extra buff today”, “My pride stings a little but I’m all right” and the assertion that Tyler tells the reader, that he’s a “manly man”.

The quotes and the romance are some amazing positives for this book. If you’re looking for an easy read that is quick and painless, this book is absolutely perfect! Savannah Adam’s writing style is smooth and simple, making it the best binge read for a cloudy day. The book also packed full of happily ever afters so there’s no worries you’ll be disappointed or depressed by the end of this book.

There is a few catches though: Tyler is a very sympathetic character with a large majority of “problems”. His family life isn’t exactly spotless – a father who committed suicide, a mother who is in a mental institution, and his Grandfather has Alzheimer’s. To top it off, there’s a line that says that his ex-girlfriend left him because he might be ‘genetically unstable’. Seriously, Jackie (the ex) is absolute trash for even suggesting that. Tyler does state that he is worried he might end up like some of them, but the issue isn’t delved into much.

To list my potential negatives for this book:

1. There’s many typical romance tropes in this book, which may put off some readers. Best friend’s brother, creepy stalker, protective man, small town – those are all present. If you’re looking for a serious, Oscar-winning styled romance then this isn’t for you.

2. Tingled and sizzled is used a lot when they touch. I don’t know why, but that bothered me. It’s a personal con and it does not affect the story at all, but I noticed everytime they touched someone was always sizzling. I began picturing a barbecue grill in the summer sizzling/

3. Quick love, my goodness! These two fell fast, which drives some readers absolutely bonkers. It didn’t bother me in the least, but be warned romance reader! Do your research before you pick up a book.

Overall, this book was quite the treat! I’d highly recommend it if you love romance novels, are looking for a quick read, or just like sweet and lovely books. I assume that Carter (Brianna’s brother who is in the army) will be a protagonist in the next story. He is mentioned A LOT but isn’t seen too much. I’m calling it now folks!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy from the author, Savannah Adams, in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Find out more about Savannah Adams:
https://www.savannahadams.com/
Twitter @HEA_Romance
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If you enjoy romance (or this book & review!) check out some other books you may enjoy:
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels
#BookReview For Her Own Good by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview After Namaste by K. Kris Loomis

 

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#BookReview Gabriel’s Redemption by Sylvain Reynard

Gabriel’s Redemption is the third book in the Gabriel’s Inferno series by Sylvain Reynard.

The first two books in this series were real hits – they were dramatic, full of suspense and tension, and romantic. This book, on the other hand, was mostly full of sex scenes and Gabriel demanding that Julia have a baby.

In all honesty, I really wanted to like this book. I love Sylvain’s writing style and have fallen in love with his words. His stories are smooth as silk and feel like a master class in writing. But, this time around I felt like Gabriel was a giant jerk and Julia was putting up with it. Gabriel wanted a child and Julia didn’t, so they had a child. A woman was hitting on Gabriel and tried to woo him away, and that story line just… ended? I wanted to see more than it just suddenly end. It felt like it could have not been included and the story would have ended the same. Paul pining after Julia was also a story line that didn’t go very far. Rachel wanting a baby also felt like it was cut short. The entire ending felt suddenly rushed too! It felt like there was a lot of wasted potential.

I still loved the writing and I felt connected to this story. I like Gabriel and Julia’s story so I felt like I needed to know how it ended. There’s going to be another book in this series so I’m curious to see how Sylvain will make that story go. This book literally felt like Sylvain was answering some reader’s prayer to continue the story, but didn’t pack the punch that the last two books did. It was just a very long epilogue.

The highlights of this book are as followed: Julia’s Dad’s story arc, Julia’s lecture, the beautiful scenery described and the love story continuing.

That being said, I still liked it. All of the hype built up for this book was probably why it fell so hard for me. My expectations were way too high. This book is the honeymoon for Gabriel and Julia, not the finale. I truly hope the next book finishes off some of the storyline Sylvain opened up. Especially since this book was just one giant cliffhanger.

Three out of five stars.

P.S. The Superman and Lois Lane comments were really funny but felt out of place. I came for the love story and stayed for the comic book references.

 

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Check out some other books you might enjoy:
Quick Book Review: Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard
Quick Book Review: The Shadow (The Florentine #2) by Sylvain Reynard
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels

 

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#BookReview Sex and Death Edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs

Sex and Death is a mixed bag of stories full of, you guessed it, sex and death.

This anthology features a large array of short stories. I say it’s a mixed bag because, like any set of stories, some of them are amazing and some of them don’t hit as well. What I’ve found is that it really depends on what type of reader you are. I really enjoyed some of the stories focusing on the family structure – George and Elizabeth by Ben Marcus, Fixations by Ceridwen Dovey, and Evie by Sarah Hall. The stories had me hooked and interested and somehow left me wanting so much more out of them. I wanted entire books for those stories! They were intriguing, well written and absolutely fantastic!

To highlight my three favourites:

George and Elizabeth follows George after his father died. He’s in the process of seeing a therapist and reaches out to his sister. He meets his Father’s ex-half-wife and participates in some situations that he might actually need therapy for. This slice of life story is crafted so beautifully that I wanted a full length novel of this book. George and “Pattern” (Elizabeth) are unique characters with a unique relationship. I need to find more books by Ben Marcus because he is just phenomenal at writing!

Fixations by Ceridwen Dovey follows Selene after the birth of her child. The difficulties of post-partum life and having medical procedures was really interesting to follow. Hearing Selene’s point of view about how the midwives think she has post-partum depression but really it’s from the physical pain of the childbirth was eye opening. I couldn’t pull myself away from this book! Yet again, Ceridwen Dovey has an addicting writing style!

Evie by Sarah Hall follows a romantic pair who dip into something new. Tragedy strikes during their slice of life, and a relationship will be tested. This story was just too darn short! I wanted to see the fallout of everything that was happening because Sarah managed to get me attached to these characters. It is absolutely amazing what some authors can do with their words!

All of the other stories were well written but just didn’t hit me like those three did. But, that’s the point of an anthology! There are many different types of stories around one topic (this one being sex and death). Honestly, the way these authors dove into mental health, sex, ambition, life, and death was truly incredible. Hats off to these guys! Despite every author having a different writing style, all of these books felt like they fit in and that they should be winning some kind of award!

Some of the stories end in tragedy, some feature happy endings and some are just… there. There are very short stories and there are longer stories. What Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs have done is craft a beautifully arranged anthology that definitely should be in more readers’ hands!

Overall, this was a marvelous read and I’m really happy I got the chance to read it! I’ve been staring at this book for ages while it sat on my shelf. I finally got the nerve to pick it up and devour it!

Four out of five stars! The stories ranged from one to five stars, but it’d be a shame to give it anything less than a four. As a complete set, this book stands out!!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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Here’s some other books and reviews you might enjoy:
#BookReview Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

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#BookReview White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Many, many years ago I saw this book at a local Wal-Mart and had one of those “OMG I NEED IT” moments. I bought this book, put it on a bookshelf, buried it in said bookshelf, and then lost it until I reorganized my entire house. When I reorganized all of my books I decided to put this book on the “Read Next” physical shelf. WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER?!

Seriously, this book is an absolute GEM and I’m hitting myself (figuratively speaking) for not reading it sooner. It’s everything I love in a YA – potential love triangle, crazy fantasy, typical friend and families woes – and it has an epic cover! It was a home run! It hit it out of the park! It was the best YA book I’ve read in a good while! I loved every second of it! And gosh darnit I need the next book and I don’t have it!

On top of all of that, my friends have been telling me for years to read books by Jennifer L. Armentrout and THEY WERE RIGHT!

So, let’s get down to business….

The positives:
Gargoyles. Yes, you heard me right. FREAKING GARGOYLES. If there’s one set of monsters I haven’t read about in my reading life, it’s them! We have people who turn into gargoyles – so right off the bat I’m impressed because it’s something different. Then you have to throw in the demons who are the greatest foes of said gargoyle people. Now, before you get all excited over this, the gargoyles change forms like a shapeshifter so they do survive out in public. But, the public also know about gargoyles? It’s kind of confusing for me, but she makes it work.

I liked that this book had lots of romance and flirting it in. I love a good romance story! There’s just enough action and adventure to keep the plot going – so it felt like a good mix.

On an even brighter note, Jennifer has an amazing writing style and tone. I got addicted to this book SO FAST that it was unbelievable. I couldn’t put it down and it was almost making me mad! It’s a great story to binge! I absolutely want to read the rest of this series and whatever else Jennifer spits out of that brilliant mind of hers.

And then there’s Roth. He’s super hot, he’s funny, he’s slightly inappropriately and I love him. Zayne kinda bores me but whatever. We’ve got two hot guys and I have already picked my side! Also… Bambi. A giant snake tattoo demon creature. Yup, this book is that cool.

The negatives:
In typical YA fashion, the heroine is the master of the universe. She’s the special one everyone’s been waiting for. Am I tired of this trope? Yup. Did the story suffer because of it? Nope! So, essentially, it doesn’t really affect the story at all but I did get a little judgey because OF COURSE she’s the answer to everyone’s problem.

The virgin side of the story had me feeling cringy and icky. When your adoption/step father like figure starts talking about your sex life and not in a “Birds and the Bees” or “Stay Safe” kind of way, I always get creeped out. I get that’s apart of the prophecy in this story but… EW!

Additionally… there is a fair bit of slut shaming and women against women vibes. I hope that disappears in the next book but… ya never know.

Overall, I think this was a fun YA ride. I don’t take it to be some seriously, Oscar-winning drama book but I don’t think we’re meant to. It’s a lot of fun and whisked me away from my real world for a few hours.

Five out of five stars!

You can find this book on:
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If you enjoy YA books with romance and fantasy, check out these other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Collection 2: #TopTens – Young Adult Part 1

 

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#BookReview Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue was an intriguing novel.

It’s my own fault that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I could have. It has been YEARS (and I mean, literally years – probably five?) since I’ve read the first two books in this series (The Raven Boys and The Dream Theives) so I don’t remember much of what this series is all about. But, I really love Maggie Stiefvater so I wanted to continue on with this series! It’s safe to say that I was REALLY lost about what was going on.

What I got out of this book was: witches, fantastic friendships, parental drama, ghosts and death, and a giant cave.

I really enjoy Gansey in this series even though I’m not quite sure about what his character is supposed to be. He’s not the love interest, he’s not the typical best friend side character and he has no typical trope about him. I love that aspect of these characters (Maggie is great at not making a typical trope-filled book) but I’m still just so unsure. I love him, but… I need to know what happens in this last book to see how it all plays out.

Noah the ghost interests me too. What was going on with him and Blue? He’s still her energy but he is also acting very strange. Something is up with these ley lines! I want to know more. I’m too analytical for books like this – I need to know everything now.

The plot itself just confused me. The screaming man, the man they found in the cave, the lady at the end… Don’t stop this series if you intend to keep reading it. That’s my biggest suggestion. Reading other reviewers’ reviews helped a lot but I really should have re-read the series to make sure I knew what was going on. It’s a real shame too, because Maggie has a beautiful writing style and her prose is to die for! She’s fabulous.

I did binge this book in one sitting. Since I forgot most of what happened in the previous books, I knew that if I put it down I would never pick it back up. The binging was okay, but I’d rather have read it in bits and pieces.

My biggest praise is the cover. My gosh, all of the covers for this series fall into the realm of absolutely beautiful!

Overall, this book is marvelous but didn’t hit high with me. Hopefully one day I will be able to jump back into this whole series and mass read the entire set. Maggie is such a good writer but it’s a shame that we had to wait for her books. That’s what really did me in – waiting for books to come out and then not being able to afford them so I had to wait until I could. One day Maggie! One day I will read this excellence in full and understand the whole darn thing!

Three out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

Check out some other reviews you might enjoy:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
#BookReview Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

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#BookReview The Age of the Child by Kristen J. Tsetsi

The Age of the Child by Kristen J. Tsetsi is a dystopian novel where women’s rights are violated.

You could pitch this book as a companion to The Handmaid’s Tale – since this book involves a dystopian world where women are forced to give birth (no birth control and no abortions).

To be blunt, I didn’t enjoy Kristen’s writing tone or style, so the story didn’t connect with me as much as I wanted it to. Stories like this intrigue me, because they can tell you a lot about society and the way certain people see it. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t connect well. I still read and finished the book, but I don’t think I was the desired reader.

That being said, the book is excellent! It’s a well crafted story that takes the reader over a span of a couple of decades. We follow Katherine and Margaret, as well as their children Lenny and Millie. Over and over there’s article headlines stating that children are everywhere – parents are abandoning their children and trying to adopt them out. I would have liked to see more of the big picture throughout the book since the story mostly focuses on the main characters. How did a world get to this point?

The second half of this story follows Millie and her journalistic journeys. Her investigation of the world pulled me in a lot more than the first half of the story (mostly because I had a good idea of where Katherine and Margaret were going to end up). Eventually, we learn that births are regulated (which was quite the opposite of Millie’s parents time). I would have loved this to be two separate books with more fleshed out dystopian views. There’s just so much good content and some of it wasn’t explored.

Graham drove me crazy. He really wanted his child only to go work and not really want to bother with her. It seems we’re meant to feel that way, but my goodness… I had SO many frustrated feelings over his character. It is a good note on one of the society’s point of view of having children though!

Overall, the book didn’t work for me but it has tons of potential. I know there’s an audience out there that will love it WAY more than did. This dark story is told in such an intriguing way, it’d be a real shame if more readers don’t pick it up!

Three out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Kristen J. Tsetsi, in exchange for an honest review.

 

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