#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!

 

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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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#BookReview Kissing Coffins by Ellen Schreiber

Ah, yes. Another throwback from my teen years – Kissing Coffins, the second book in the marvelous Vampire Kisses series.

Just a gentle reminder, these books are Young Adult novels with young, lovely characters who act like immature kids (because, they are YOUNG). If you’re looking for a True Blood or Game of Thrones level of maturity, you’ve come to the wrong place.

As a teen, these books were my LIFE. They were a big part of my high school years and I was madly in love with them. I wanted to find my own Alexander and live in a big, spooky house. I idolized Raven and her style (because, let’s be honest, she was my inner self). At the time, these books made so much sense – young mistakes, young love, lots of young fun! Reading them as my older self, obviously I wouldn’t make the same decisions as Raven because I have life experience. But I believe Ellen did a really good job of making Raven feel like a real teen. Well, a real teen from my timeline.

That being said, this book is a lot of fun, full of goofiness and full of adorable romance. Alexander and Raven are a really cute couple and they really deserved the many books they got in this series. I found this series was a lot more fun to binge read then read alone. I wanted the story to keep going because I was so addicted. Not every reader has found this to be true, but I sure did! I love escaping into a YA like this series, and sinking into a fun, not totally realistic book. Did anyone really expect a vampire romance to be realistic? This series is like a vampire, soap opera for teens! It’s excellent.

My biggest con for this series was at the time of my initial reading, I had to actually WAIT for the next series in the book. Oh man, was it frustrating. I’m glad I can jump back into this series as an adult and read it all in a row like I dreamed of back in the day. Other than that, I found this book to be fun and flawless! I love Ellen and her books!

Five out of five stars!

 

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Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo (Canadian Retailer)

 

If you enjoyed this book, check out another book or review you might enjoy!
#BookReview The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller

 

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#BookReview Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

I originally bought Haunting Violet when it first came out (way back in 2011… my gosh, it has been a long time). It ended up on my shelf and floated around for years, and I mean YEARS. I’ve been staring at this book for most of 2019 knowing full well I wanted to read it. Buuuuut… I know Alyxandra Harvey is one of my favourite authors, so I figured I’d have to find a time to sit down and binge read the whole darn book. And I did!

I finally picked this book up, knowing full well I’d love it. I have a special place in my heart for Alyxandra Harvey. Her Drake chronicles/series was one of the original series that got me into my crazy reading habit. I fell in love with Quinn and Solange and all of their wacky family and friends. So, it’s only fitting that I continue to fall in love with Alyxandra’s books (they are just a little harder to come across now – there’s too many books to read). It’s especially harder since the book store that introduced me to her (and pimped her books out BIG TIME) went out of business around 2012. So, there’s that.

Anywho – Haunting Violet. This book is a lovely stand alone novel that really should be a series. Violet lives in the past (I want to say Renaissance-esque era. Back when ladies wore corsets, gloves and had to be married off) and with a Mother who fakes seances. Then, suddenly, one day Violet starts seeing ghosts! A lovely, young, ghost lady appears out of nowhere and leads Violet to become a sleuth. Someone has murdered this girl, and Violet will find out too! Along the way we meet her friend Elizabeth, her love interest Collin, her other love interest Xavier, the dead girl’s living twin and many other suspicious characters. Xavier chases after Violet’s hand in marriage, Collin also tries to woo her despite not being from an esteemed family and it’s your typical 2011/2012 young adult novel (in my humble opinion).

Side note: Violet’s mother is a complete psychopath. I’ve seen other reviewers relate her to Mother Gothel and OMG yes. She’s absolutely evil and nuts. I absolutely hate books with mothers like that, but I’m sure women like that exist. She infuriated me! Yet there’s no epic payoff for her (there kind of is, but not enough if you ask me!).

These sort of books are my FAVOURITES. There’s lots of tropes – love triangle, best friend turned romance, murder mystery, and exciting descriptions of locations and outfits. The book was a little predictable, but I also read WAY to many murder mysteries and young adult novels for my own good.

The writing style is what kept me hooked. Alyxandra’s writing style is fast paced, descriptive and enchanting. I felt myself getting lost and addicted to her words, and I hardly noticed the time flying by. Suddenly a 300+ page book was done! It was slightly annoying since I do love a good Alyxandra Harvey book.

My biggest negative for this book is how it was presented on the web. Everywhere says this book is apart of a series, but I have never seen a sequel. I’m assuming it has something to do with the publishers, which is a real shame. I’d love to see this book turn into a series because it was enchanting! I’d like to see more crazy heists and murder mysteries set in the past. Collin and Violet are also too darn cute to not continue!

Overall, this is another lovely YA to add to your shelf. Necromancy, ghosts, paranormal, romance and drama flood the pages (pun intended… there’s a drowning in the book, FYI). The book is light, easy to read, fast paced and marvelous! It’s also a PG rated book, so if you’re looking for a good novel to start your pre-teens or teens in, this book could be it!

Five out of five stars! Give me more Alyxandra Harvey STAT!

Check out this book on:
Amazon.ca
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Indigo

 

Check out some other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Dance with a Vampire by Ellen Schreiber
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

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#BookReview I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

I am Thunder by Muhammad Khan was a pleasant surprise!

I love books that let me inside another person’s life and culture, and I am Thunder met the bill! This book welcomes the reader into a Muslim and Pakistani lifestyle which is something totally new to me. I’ve seen the headlines, I’ve had classmates, but I’ve never been able to learn this much about a culture in one sitting. While this book is only ONE view in a Young Adult (and slightly dramatic) book, it was still truly intriguing. Hats off to Muhammad Khan, seriously.

This book does cause some waves in the reading community though – I’ve seen lots of praises and lots of criticism. So, I’ll just share my thoughts.

I like that this book follows one young woman’s story. Yes, it’s like a soap opera and slightly dramatic at times but isn’t all YA? Muzna’s story gives some fabulous insight into her culture (for example, the difference between a religion and the actual practices someone follows). Her family life, her thoughts, her trouble deciding what to do with her life and the effect it has on everyone felt very REAL. It felt like I was reading a book made for and by a teen – she wants to meet boys, she wants to impress people, she wants to try to have a life but do what’s best for her family too. I could totally relate to her in that aspect. She struggles with being a teenage girl trying to just BE a teenage girl.

Are there parts of this book that were rough and tough? Yes. I don’t fully know what this woman’s culture would be in an accurate depiction, so maybe this is all my views as a reader. Buuuut… her parents are HARSH. It seemed like no matter what this girl did that they weren’t proud of her. It’s no wonder that Muzna “acted out” because there was no way she’d ever please those parents. It was borderline abusive. I don’t think it was a culture thing… honestly, I’m certain it’s not supposed to be a reflection of their culture. Those parents were borderline abusive if not actually abusive. Like, show a little familial love? Or at least, don’t be cruel at all times of the day?

Extreme religion was also apart of this book, so let there be a trigger warning for those who might be bothered by this topic. I found it interesting to read, but at times it felt like everyone were quite extreme with their religious practices. I know there’s only so many pages in a book, but there could have been some “softer” practices or realistic ones. I know many lovely people who study and follow various religions who aren’t as “crazy” or as extreme as some of these characters.

If I had to list the good things about this book, they’d be the following:
1. This book showcases a different religion and a different point of view in a largely read genre. I like that YA has diverse books like this one floating around so readers can learn more about the world. Difficult topics like religion and politics should be brought into books (especially YA) so more people can learn and experience the world.

2. Muzna felt like a real character with real struggles. She didn’t feel out of place or goofy. She made me really feel for her story and want to know more about her.

3. This book can start wonderful discussions. It’s the type of book I wish we read back in high school. I could have picked apart this book and had some really great discussions with my classmates and teachers. Just think of a diverse class discussing their points of views on topics like these! Oh, it’d be an interesting time!

Overall, this book is a really well written book! Muhammad Khan has written a beautiful story that will introduce you to Muzna’s world.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check this book out on Goodreads!

Or check out another book you might enjoy:
#BookReview Gods in Oslo by John Plaski
#BookReview The Fencers by Geza Tatrallyay
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

 

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#BookReview Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

One of my life long reading goals is to pick up more classics, and since I am ALWAYS in a Halloween mood I figured Frankenstein would be right up my alleyway.

But let me set the record straight, Hollywood has done Mary Shelley some dirty. This book was NOTHING like what Hollywood told me, and I almost wish I would have picked it up in an audio book format to make it more enticing and scary for me.

First things first, Mary Shelley is a CHAMPION of writing. She is one of the best there is and this story is woven in such a beautiful way that it’s hard to say anything bad about it. The style, the prose, the word choice… It’s so intriguing and beautiful, despite being touted as a “horror” novel. Yes, there’s scary parts and a monster, but it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. The story is more dramatic, full of powerful scenes about life, death and family and it makes you question your feelings about the lead characters a LOT.

I would highly recommend reading this book if you’re into classics or want to see the real Frankenstein’s monster. I hardly saw Victor as a villain, more of a sad character due to circumstance. Even Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t as scary as I anticipated, I felt so bad for him. He’s given life but no existence… It’s a truly marvelous read. He might be a monster due to creation, but he’s not as horrifying as the movies would lead you to believe.

I will absolutely be jumping back into this book and tearing apart the themes and prose one day. I think this is a uniquely written book that presents itself in a ridiculously cool fashion. That being said, it did take me a long time to read it. It’s old fashioned, the writing style is different and it’s not fast paced and as crazy as Hollywood’s renditions. I did enjoy it though! Before I was able to watch a few videos and translate some of the more confusing parts of this book, it sat at a solid two for me. It’s jumped to a three only because it’s not something I’d read again without the help of an English major. It’s really cool and I did really love it, it’s just not the star studded book I expected it to be.

A lot of this book is delivered in letters and about a trip, very little felt like the scary horror novel I was expecting. I am impressed how the Hollywood renditions has changed the story, but it did throw me off when half of this book was just letters between two individuals. Either way, it’s still really cool. I can’t imagine being nineteen years old and writing a book that causes so much drama and excitement for people two hundred years later. That’s a good well done for Mary Shelley!

Three out of five stars!

 

Do you love the classics? Horror? Despise them all? Comment below!

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out others you might enjoy too:
#BookReview The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview NYV: Goth by K.D. McQuain
#BookReview The Stickman’s Legacy by Benjamin Appleby-Dean

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#TopBooksList Briar’s Crime, Mystery & Thriller Reads

It’s that time again! I have created another master list of some epic reads that kept me busy throughout the past couple of years. This time around I decided to do a little crime, mystery, suspense and thrilling reads! I have a fondness for crime novels and suspense always get me hooked! This is only part one of this list since there are SO many good books out there. Let me know if you’ve read these novels, you’ve found a new book or if you have a recommendation for me! Now, time to get started!

 

1. The Darby Shaw Chronicles by Liberty Speidel
The Darby Shaw Chronicles are an excellent start to this suspenseful collection. Murder, mystery, thrills and suspense are all splashed across the pages of this NCIS/Bones inspired book. I highly recommend picking this book up if you want a bit of crime and mystery in your life, especially fictional! This series was a real joy and there’s even more books out that I haven’t picked up yet!
Goodreads – Darby Shaw
Amazon.ca – Darby Shaw #1-3
Amazon.com – Darby Shaw #1-3

 

2. Crime Seen by Kate Lines
This real life Patrol Offier and Profiler paints one epic picture of her life in this non-fiction book. If you loved Bones and Temperance Brennan, you’ll find this book so intriguing! I could barely put this book down – the realism, the insanity of real life crime and the beautiful prose all make for one great book. Kate Lines’s story is one to read! I’d definitely recommend it if you like non-fiction novels about crime.
Goodreads – Crime Seen
Amazon.ca – Crime Seen
Amazon.com – Crime Seen

 

3. The Trap by Melanie Raabe
This book was translated into English, so on top of being truly epic in English – it’s truly epic in other languages too! This book was a pinnacle read for me. This crazy, crime thriller reminded me of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It’s so compelling reading about a writer who had someone close to her murdered, and now she’s out for revenge. Yet, she’s a recluse… It’s a real gem and it sits on top of my FAVOURITE book pile. Seriously, it’s that good. Will Linda solve the murder of her little sister?! Read to find out!
Goodreads – The Trap
Amazon.ca – The Trap
Amazon.com – The Trap

 

4. The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin
I’m somewhat cheating with this book, because it’s honestly the whole series that had me hooked. Gary Corbin’s Mountain Man series is pure excellence! It’s thrilling and suspenseful but also lots of fun too! It’s not crazy seriously, but is epic all the same. Lehigh Carter has a dog, as the title suggests, but he gets himself into a thrilling situation full of crime, suspense and mystery. Add in a splash of romance, multiple pinches of humour and an epic trilogy and you’ve got yourself a real winner! Make sure you read all three books, because it’s absolutely worth it! The Mountain Man’s Badge and the Mountain Man’s Bride are also excellent!
Goodreads – The Mountain Man’s Dog
Amazon.ca – The Mountain Man’s Dog
Amazon.com – The Mountain Man’s Dog

 

5. Twisted Reasons by Geza Tetrallyay
This book is twisted, in a good way (of course!). This R rated series is full of insane crime, blood and gore, and intense scenes. It’s not for the light hearted! That being said, it’s a real treat if you love the more brutal side of crime and suspense in your books. Human Trafficking, Russians, crazy gangs and lots of action are all packed in this book. Be sure to pick up the sequels to finish this series off! It’s well worth the read!
Goodreads – Twisted Reasons
Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.com
Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.ca

 

6. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
No thrilling list is complete without a classic, so why not list THE classic? Murder on the Orient Express is a truly marvelous novel, and if you haven’t picked it up – are you crazy?! I read it because I watched the Johnny Depp movie, and I absolutely loved both! It’s a real crazy mystery where everything is connected and Agatha Christie drops lots of hints along the way. If you love piecing a story together as you go, pick this book up! It’s literary genius!
Goodreads – Murder on the Orient Express
Amazon.ca – Murder on the Orient Express
Amazon.com – Murder on the Orient Express

 

7. Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a dark spin on the typical crime novel. Dexter Morgan is a blood scene analyst, oh, and he’s a serial killer too! He kills only those who are bad, but he’s still a murderer. This book is really interesting to read, mostly because you’re seeing the other side of the story. You question Dexter’s morals yet you also agree with him as a reader, it’s a really mind boggling read. There’s also a television show (Dexter) but it’s not perfectly matched. Either way, I recommend both! It’s an R rated, wild ride! This book is also apart of a series, so if you want a new series to binge – read this!
Goodreads – Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Amazon.ca – Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Amazon.com – Darkly Dreaming Dexter

 

8. Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
Kathy Reichs is one of my all time favourite authors. She crafts magnificent crime stories from an anthropologist’s point of view (it helps that she was/is one!). Temperance Brennan ended up getting her own television show (Bones), but they are not totally alike. The plot line and back stories are different, but the television show is loosely based on the books. It’s a great, giant series to hop into that is more PG-13 rated (due to the deaths, but not much else). It’s knowledgeable, well written and really cool! I am still working my way through this series, but eventually I will finish! It’s a real gem that I’d highly recommend.
Goodreads – Deja Dead
Amazon.ca – Deja Dead
Amazon.com – Deja Dead

 

9. If We Had Known by Elise Juska
This book isn’t necessarily a crime book, but a suspenseful thriller. A mass shooting occurs and everyone’s lives change. This book follows the characters through survival and aftermath, and it honestly gave me chills. It’s the type of book I needed to read despite the harsh content. It’s a PG-13 rated novel, but it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The tough material is taken on so well, but it might be a bit of a trigger for some individuals. If you want a unique book that takes on serious content, this book is for you.
Goodreads – If We Had Known
Amazon.ca – If We Had Known
Amazon.com – If We Had Known

 

10. And The Wolf Shall Dwell by Joni Dee
International spies, out of retirement, political thriller, and great suspense – all of these can be used to describe the final book on my life! Joni Dee crafts an epic story that reminds me of James Bond, The Man from UNCLE and Mission Impossible. It’s a truly epic read that’s fast paced, full of spies and insanity, and totally thrilling. It’s a great standalone to add to your TBR if you want lots of thrills in a PG-13 setting.
Goodreads – And The Wolf Shall Dwell
Amazon.ca – And The Wolf Shall Dwell
Amazon.com – And The Wolf Shall Dwell
Amazon.co.uk – And The Wolf Shall Dwell

 

So, how’d you make out with that list? Some new books to add to the TBR? Some old favourites? Give me a shout out and let me know what you think! Did I miss any books? There will be a part 2 coming in the future, because MAN do I love a good thrill ride!

 

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