#BookReview Once Upon a Vampire by Mari Mancusi

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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

 

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

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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.

Quick Book Review: BELIEVE by JAN WALTERS

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Book Title: Believe
Book Author: Jan Walters

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Review:

This book is beautifully written, and it’s definitely one of the more interesting books I’ve received from Goodreads. I really appreciated Jan Walters attention to detail and historical romance she entwines in this story. This time hopping story reminds me a bit of “Outlander”, a woman being transported in time and to England. It’s a great take on a traditional story (time travel and romance),

I did find this book slow moving and I wasn’t super into it. It took me a very long time to finish this book, which made me not as interested in it. I love a fast paced book – slow moving books tend to bore me and get me disinterested. There were also a few inconsistencies, which had me disinterested as well.

Overall, this is a great book. It didn’t interest me due to the slower pace, but it’s still a fantastic book! I would recommend it to anyone who’s interested in historical romances and time travel stories!

Three out of five stars.

#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

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

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The Last Day of Captain Lincoln by EXO Books

Sometimes when I read books, I don’t know what I’m in for, and this book fit that description. You look at the cover and the blurb, think “Hm, will I like this?” and then begin reading. And shockingly, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I like reading all types of books and not sticking to just one particular type because it expands my horizons – and this short, sweet book made me agree with opening myself up to different books.

This book seems like something I would have read in my Grade 12 English Class (that’s not a bad thing, I promise!). We read lots of short stories with different meanings, and this seems like it could have fit into that unit. It’s well written, and seems like something an English class would yearn for – a different take on a beautiful story.

Life and Death appear to be a big theme (it’s in the title, so if you couldn’t guess that already…), but this book delves into more than just that. The philosophy and thought process behind this man’s last day is what makes it so brilliant. Lots of books discuss death, but this one just had something different about it.

There are pictures in this book, some poetry, some prose, a splash of song lyrics, and some beautiful descriptive scenes. It’s a book for those wishing to expand their thought process and delve deep into their own soul. It’s not for the weary hearted, that’s for sure.

This book definitely has it’s slow and boring moments, but it’s thought provoking and wonderful at the same time. Since it’s not a super long book, these slow moments are bearable for the reader, at least in my point of view. I found it very beautiful and touching.

If you’re looking at other reviews, you can clearly see it’s a book you either love or hate. Like some of the other books I’ve reviewed lately, it sits in a niche category. It’s not for everyone!

Overall, this book is DEEP. It’s a very deep book (with a giant splash of sci-fi!) and will not be for everyone. Yes, it can be very boring for those who want fast action (normally I do, but this book just hit me the right way). Take that in strides – it’s not for everyone. This book was not made to make everyone love it, it was made with it’s themes in mind. This story doesn’t seem to be some giant world building, Star Wars/Star Trek-esque novel that takes you on wild action adventures all over the galaxy! It’s a slow moving, thought provoking, deep deep deep novel.

Four out of five stars.

#BookReview – Strungballs by Mike Russell

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Strungballs by Mike Russell

This book by Mike Russell is another short story. It’s a great read for those who want a short, exciting read (and for those like me who didn’t want to commit to another Games of Thrones book right away…).

This book is weird, if I put it lightly. The thought of a strungball was not something I have ever dreamed up in my life, but Mike Russell somehow thought this up and created a story about it! It’s unique and enticing to me when someone can create such interesting thoughts, which is why I enjoyed this book.

Getting to see this unique and different world through out main character’s eyes was great! It’s kind of sci-fi/dystopian-esque, which would be great for readers who are interested in those topics! It’s such a utopia that it’s a dystopia…those books are always interesting!

The book is so precise, and so fantastical, it’s hard to explain it in my own wording without ruining it. This utopia, perfect world that is so perfect that it’s not is probably the best way I can word it. I love how Mike made this world so perfect, because it makes you feel uneasy and thrilled by each turn this short story takes.

Our main character seems to be the only person questioning or going against the true perfection in this novel. While this has been done a hundred times over, it’s very fitting in this novel. Normally I would be annoyed and disgusted by seeing this trend over and over, but I liked it here. Mike makes it fit just well enough that I’m not questioning it.

Like Mike’s other books, you will begin questioning reality and life itself. It raises so many thought provoking questions in such little space, but that’s why I found it to intriguing. I have to say this is definitely my favourite book by him and I want to come back to it at a later date to see if my feelings change on this novel or not.

Overall, this maddening book will drive you over the edge with peculiarity! It’s a great read!

Five out of five!

#BookReview – Strange Medicine by Mike Russell

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Strange Medicine by Mike Russell

This book is an excellent selection of short stories. I love books like this because there are great for those who want a short term read, but also want a lot of spice in their life and Strange Medicine brought it!

These stories are quirky and exciting, which isn’t something you can say about a lot of short stories series. Some of them seem a little dark or strange for short stories, but they are so well written it’s unbelievable. This book definitely kept me interested!!

Some of the stories are more thoughtful, while others will just make you laugh. Without spoiling, I would say this is a good collection that gives you a little bit of everything – it’s just enough! These out of the box, bizarre, yet thoughtful stories are a great way to spice up your library or reading experience. You’ll have many thought provoking questions, which is just how I like my reads!!!

My critiques are that I would have liked to read more into each story. I felt like some of them could have been expanded much further than they were, but they were short stories and that it is. This book wasn’t meant to be a full length novel.

This is a refreshing novel and I definitely want to read more! It didn’t wow my socks off beyond belief, but it was so great that is deserves four stars! Mike Russell is a very talent author who should definitely be in the top contenders at book stores (if he isn’t, they are crazy! What a talent that guy is!).

Four out of five stars.