#BookReview Oblivion by Kelly Creagh

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Oblivion by Kelly Creagh was a dark, twisted, must-read YA novel.

I’m heart broken because I’m pretty sure this novel was the finale of this series. While I hope Kelly Creagh continues this universe on into more books, I highly doubt she will due to the way the story ended. There were still many questions left to be answered, and there were still many moments readers wanted to and probably will never see.

I wanted way more of Varen in this book. Everyone I spoke to about this book (within my friend circle) all complained about the lack of Varen – and this didn’t get cleared up in this novel. He was a major part of this story, and he was just lacking. I adore his characters, and he’s one of my top YA male characters out there – he’s different, not your normal romantic interest, and he’s darker than the average character. So I loved him, and my heart was left to be shattered.

Kelly Creagh’s writing is memorizing, and I demand more novels by her!! She’s one of the few authors that can write in such a dark tone and yet be incredibly addicting. She’s not scary, she’s alluring with her writing!!

Her take on Edgar Allen Poe’s story is a great adaption. While seeing every fairy tale be retold over and over, I liked seeing a take on another great work. His dark poems were woven perfectly into this trilogy and novels, and I highly suggest people pick it up!!! Kelly deserves the support!!

Overall, I loved this series. It’s sad to see this series end, but the bittersweet feelings will go away when I see another fantastic title by Kelly Creagh end up on book shelves.

Five out of five stars.

 

Check out Kelly Creagh on Goodreads! Kelly Creagh on Goodreads

Or check out her website! Kelly Creagh.com

Did you enjoy my review? Check out Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Want to check out another review you might enjoy? Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

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#BookReview So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum is a different look at the typical murder/kidnap storyline.

This book is an interesting read, and I wasn’t entirely sure what I thought about it that I had to sit on the story for quite a few days. There are multiple storylines, and not all are equal. The perspectives of Catherine and her professor really intrigued me, while the other point of views bored me and sometimes made me question why they were in the novel. Basing it off what the back cover says, it’s showing the “complexity of love and the power of stories to shape our lives”, but I’m not quite sure how they all fit in.

I do love Rebecca Rosenblum’s writing style. When I was reading Catherine’s point of view I was hooked and wanted to much more. I even expected so much more – since the ending left me feeling like there were parts of the story missing. Catherine and her husband’s desire to have a child just disappeared – it was such a big part of the story and it was never brought up again, not even a side line comment in regards to it.

This story wasn’t exactly a mystery or a thriller, but it wasn’t your typical murder/kidnapping story either. I enjoyed seeing the different points of view in regards to their feelings about the situation, but it just felt like there were pieces missing. I would definitely suggest reading this book because it’s style of writing is fantastic, but plot wise it could have been cleaned up a bit (in my opinion). There were also some points in regards to our character knowing her kidnappers name yet we never hear an introduction or how they knew each other. It was quite frustrating to me…

Overall, I think this story had so much potential and Rebecca will only grow the more she writes. I hope she comes back to this story at some point (perhaps a sequel?) and expands more on this concept. It was such a great idea and it was unique.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

 

Check out Rebecca Rosenblum on Goodreads: Rebecca Rosenblum on Goodreads

Or check her out on her website!  Rebecca Rosenblum

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#BookReview Captured by Maggie L Wood

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Who’s ready for #ThrowbackThursday review? This time, Captured by Maggie L Wood is on the pedestal! I read this back when it came out, so it’s thrilling to find it hiding on the back of my bookshelves to read again! Now, here’s the review:

 

Captured by Maggie L Wood is a fantastic retelling of a game of chess in a YA setting.

Back when there was an indie book store with fantastic deals, this book was one a giant cardboard cut out bookshelf with a for sale sign on it. At the time, I wasn’t a giant reader but I was getting bored with Twilight and vampire novels in general so I picked this book up. Little did I know, that I’d become obsessed, the third book would be in development for years and years and years and I’d forget this book was on the back of one of my shelves for YEARS. So, like I tend to do – I avoid my four giant to-read book shelves with physical copies and reread some old “classics”.

This YA book is truly incredible – yes it’s your typical romance, adventure, action and thriller story but instead of vampires or fairy tales – it’s chess!! I’m horrible at chess, but I love seeing someone make a book around it! It’s original, and while it’s probably been done before but I’ve never found the book, I really enjoyed it!

Our lead isn’t just some frail princess falling in love, no she’s ready to be a superhero in her own realm! At this time, most of the books I was reading were weak girls who just wanted a boyfriend. When I picked up this book and saw a strong heroine, I was amazed. And I still am! It’s such a great, unique story and it’s upsetting seeing that barely anyone has read or reviewed it!

This is a 110% recommended read from me. I would love to see more books by Maggie L Wood popping up on bookshelves all around the nation! She has a unique look on the world and her books aren’t the usual silly vampire story. If she had room to grow and write more books, I’m sure her writing ability would sky rocket and rival some of the best.

Five out of five stars.

 

Find Maggie on Goodreads: Maggie L Wood on Goodreads

Visit her website: MaggieLWood.com

Or give her a shoutout on Twitter! @MaggieLWood

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Did you enjoy this review? Check out this one! Eighth Grade Bites by Zac Brewer

#BookReview Rogue Affair by Adriana Anders, Tamsen Parker and more!

Hot and sexy young couple in love embracing

Dedication of a Lifetime by Tamsen Parker

I’m torn – I don’t know how to feel about this story. I enjoyed it, but at the same time I was hoping for a little bit…more? Let me explain – I have many points!

1. I love Tamsen Parker and her writing style – she matches with me so well. So writing style wise, I really enjoyed this story. It is smooth and flows easily, which made it easy to read. She gets point for that.

2. But…I felt like there wasn’t much of a plot. It felt more like a discussion, a few random situations, and lots of “sexy time”. I couldn’t see the plot line this story was following. It just seemed to random for me.

3. That being said, this may not have been the best time for me to read it. I’m incredibly frustrated at the moment and I thought some reading would help me. Also, the tablet I read it on now has a random crack and that put me in an even worse mood – so I kept looking at the little crack in my screen as I read it…. Sooooooo… I think I just threw all of my frustration at this story. I picked it apart WAY more than I typically do when casually reading. So keep that in mind…

So, in summary – this book is another great read by Tamsen Parker. It’s an easy, contemporary (yet really sexy) read that is great for one sitting. It’s nothing mind blowing – no crazy “Inception” like plots to follow, it’s just a casual read. Which means, if you are looking for a nice, easy read that involves some heavy romance – you’ve got it!!

Four out of five Stars.

I also read through some of the other stories, so I will rate them as followed:
Ainsley Booth’s Personal Proposal – 4 stars.
I have never read anything by Ainsley Booth before (not that I can remember, anyways) and I think I might have to pick up a few of her books/stories. This story was definitely within my my interests.
Side note: AND SHE HAS A CANADIAN EROTIC ROMANCE SERIES?! I’m totally in. Where can I find this lady’s books?!

Olivia Dade’s Work of Heart – 3 stars.
I spent way to long spelling Olivia as Olicia as I tried to write this review.
This story was cute and I enjoyed it! I just found that this story didn’t wow my socks off. I would like to read more by Olivia to give her a chance because she seems like a really great author. I liked her writing style and the story moved at a good pace for me. I think if she had more room & chapters to expand her story, I would REALLY like her writing.

Kris Ripper’s The President’s Protector – 3 stars.
I’m not super crazy into political romances, but this story was a good read. It was very casual, and flowed easily. I liked Kris’s ability to build characters within this short amount of time – I just don’t think this specific story if my (personal) cup of tea. I would definitely suggest readers giving this story a try because it is REALLY good.

Amy Jo Cousins’s Fallacies & Flirtations – WAS NOT IN MY COPY. It’s in it when it’s released. I’m kind of sad, I won’t lie…but hey! You can’t have everything, can ya? 😉

Emma Barry’s The Fourth Estate – 4 stars.
I liked this story! I thought it was really sexy and I am determined to find more stories by Emma Barry! I love anthologies like this where I can find new authors easily by just reading little snippets of their work!! I really enjoyed reading about Drew and Brynn and their strange relationship. I would have loved for this little concept to be an entire book, because the writing was just fantastic!!

Adriana Anders’s Such Great Heights – 4 stars.
Adriana Anders is another author I HAVE to read more by. I keep falling in love with her little stories – so at some point I will read her books!!! Adriana has a lot of writing talent – her writing isn’t exactly my “style”, but I still get hooked and addicted. It takes quite a bit for an author to do that – so I’m impressed! The story is smooth, it moves fast enough to keep my attention held and it’s well written. Four stars Adriana!! Looooove it!

Kelly Maher’s Dissent and Desire – 3 stars.
Kelly Maher has a great story within this anthology! She definitely is a writer to watch out for!!

Stacey Agdern’s Mr. Klein Goes to Albany – 4 stars.
A Canadian hockey player turned diplomat…That alone got me hooked. I can’t help it, my inner Canadian gets excited about Canadian centered stories (that doesn’t mean every Canadian story is good, but this one was)!! This story had me hooked at the start and kept my attention all the way through. I definitely need to pick up more by Stacey! This story was a pleasant surprise! I’m always a little worried about silly Canadian stereotypes, but this story did not disappoint!

Jane Lee Blair’s Take a Knee – 3 stars.
Another story where the author’s writing shines through!! Jane’s story telling is addicting… I’m really interested in the stories she can tell with her voice!!

Thank you Tamsen Parker for sending me this wonderful advanced reader’s copy! It’s a real joy getting these books BEFORE all the spoilers come out – I’m horrible at reading spoilers!! It’s just to tempting…

 

Visit Tamsen parker at www.tamsenparker.com !!
Follow her on Twitter: @TamsenParker or Facebook! www.facebook.com/tamsenparker

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

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another one you might enjoy! #BookReview In Her Court by Tamsen Parker

 

#BookReview – Dancing with Fireflies by Clemens Carl Schoenebeck

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Dancing with Fireflies by Clemens Carl Schoenebeck

This memoir is a beautiful retelling of the author’s life – specifically how it was to live with a mother with schizophrenia.

Mental Illness is a big part of today’s society – mainly because people have finally accepted that mental health is a big issue, bigger than people ever realized. Reading a book that is a biography about mental illness and how it was in the past was truly a beautiful experience for me. This book was beautifully written and unlike some biographies seemed brutally honest. It didn’t sugarcoat this man’s life – it was an honest retelling, and I truly respect that.

The descriptions of Clemens’s family as well as his Mother’s illness and hallucinations was incredible. It spread some light on a mental illness that I have no relation to – I never understood it (apart from a man with schizophrenia coming into my Grade 11 Health class to explain what it was), and this book really helped me better grasp what it actually is (not what soap operas tend to tell us).

There is many layers to novel – of course there are sad times, but there is also joy and humor at different parts. This man is not asking for sympathy or trying to make you cry, he’s opening your horizons to a new experience and life experiences many might not have seen or understood before. It’s also written so anyone can pick this book up. You don’t need to have a doctorate, you don’t need to only read YA – it’s made for anyone and everyone (adult/YA age groups of course, not for children but it’s definitely a PG story).

I also appreciated the pictures that went along with this story. It helped you connect deeper with Clemens and his story – there’s pictures of people with faces and emotions. It’s truly beautiful.

Overall, this is a motivational and inspirational book for me. It shows someone else’s life and gives you a sense of empathy – you can understand how having a mother with schizophrenia would be hard, but that was still Clemens’s Mother. She was a real woman in this real world.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

#BookReview So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch

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So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch is a sweet, simple, romance read.

There WILL be spoilers in this review, so beware!

Romance seems to be a hit and miss genre – there are FANTASTIC novels, and there are HORRIBLE novels. So Near the Horizon, on the spectrum, is just below fantastic. This story starts out as if it’s fiction – you don’t realize it’s based on Jessica’s life (I mean…her name and the character’s name are the same, but I honestly didn’t even notice. See how much I pay attention?).

Almost immediately our main characters meet, and the sass is real. I love the sassiness between Jessica and Danny,The abuse that was mentioned in the first few pages also left me kind of awestruck. You just meet someone and you say how your father hit you in the face with a bottle? Okay then… At least Danny’s honest?…

Our two leads, Jessica and Danny, are both pretty messed up. One minute they seem to be all over each other, and then next Danny’s treating Jessica like she’s garbage. You welcome her into your bed and sleep next to her all snuggled up, but then threaten to kick her out of your vehicle when you take her home? The bi-polar attitude of Danny made me not like him as a character and almost despise him. Jessica deserves better than some guy who flips his attitude whenever he feels like it. No matter his personal issues, he doesn’t need to act so nasty all the time. It’s almost like he’s nice only when it benefits him. And sending a radio after to apologize? And then confessing his love to her? On top of that, he’s almost always lying…. Yeah, this guy doesn’t sit well with me, in the beginning.

Even Christina rubs me the wrong way at the start – she’s got her own problems, but she’s a psychopath. She threatens to kill Jessica numerous times and no one even cares. The fact that she is threatening Jessica with death if she hurts Danny is absolutely, freaking, ridiculous. Christina has her issues, and she’s a broken character, but this running theme of having a bad life and being a total jerk to people makes me quite annoyed. Life can’t be all “sunshine and roses” (just like Christina says) but I feel like you can do better than hurting people since you’re hurting…Or maybe that’s just me.

I also find that there’s some repeated harassment that could have been avoided if reported. Out of everything in this novel, that drove me insane. Not that reporting always helps in real life situations…

I’m positive that my initial bad feelings towards this book are due to the whole Fifty Shades of Grey/Twilight controversy. There’s lots of books where the guys are just not great guys, but somehow win the girl in the end. Danny could be an EPIC character, but his flaws just seem so dark. It’s almost abusive in my eyes (and this is coming from someone who’s been through abusive relationships). Don’t get me wrong – Jessica is absolutely FANTASTIC and writes this novel well, I just don’t like the relationship. That’s nothing against her, because she makes it likable (to a degree). But then, you get to the end of the book and realize Danny’s not JUST a character. He was real, he’s a person, that was his real life attitude and actions (maybe not 100% because it’s a retelling of Jessica’s life with him, but you get the drift). People aren’t perfect, not like book characters. I went through this book hitting my head against the wall going “JESSICA, LEAVE THIS GUY! HE’S A JERK! HE’S NO GOOD FOR YOU” and then you find out his troubles, and you find out he’s REAL. This was a real guy who was dealing with real issues, and I felt for him. I was not myself when my Father died, nor when I dealt with horrible relationships in my life. I’m empathetic, because we’re not all perfect Nora Robert’s characters (I wish, sometimes that would make my job so much easier).

So, let’s get to the positives. I wrote up an entire list of negatives when I thought this book was fiction (do your research, don’t be like me who just jumps into a book). But, I threw them all out. When I realize this was real, why would I include negatives that don’t fit this narrative?

1. Sass – there is so much sass and humour, that I couldn’t put it down. There were the parts I was frustrated with, but I wanted to see the quirky conversations that were happening throughout this book.
2. It’s not cookie cutter – so many novels (fiction and non fiction) seem to fit the typical trope. Falling in love, happy life, everything is great, something goes wrong but it’s fixed, blah blah blah. This book shows what real life CAN Be like – it’s not totally “realistic” (these “characters” meet and get pretty flirty and close super fast, which isn’t always “realistic” for some people – but that’s life for you), it shows some of the darker sides of life, and I love it.
3. Character development – These characters develop over time, some a little slower than others. Seeing how life changes and what it did for these people…Oh man, my heart aches. I want to meet Jessica and give her a GIANT hug. To live through that changes a person…
4. HIV. That little fact flipped my opinion of this book quite a bit – I wasn’t expecting that to suddenly pop open. While it explains Danny’s behaviour, it doesn’t make some of his wild, horrible attitudes right. Yes, he has a HORRIBLE childhood, but does that give you the right to be a horrible person? What a conundrum.
5. The AIDS/HIV awareness – I like when books bring something into the spotlight, and this book did that with AIDS/HIV. The fact that it’s so heavily focused and doesn’t make it to be some sob story, but a real life story is honestly a wonderful change.

I had so hoped this story was fiction. It destroyed me – after losing my Dad to cancer I have become this emotional wreck that cries at everything sad or sentimental. AND JESSICA DESTROYED ME. Having a love so passionate, so deep (no matter what type of love) and losing someone…I’m hurting from this story. It’s so horrible but so beautiful…Thank you for this book Jessica. Honestly, thank you for letting me see a little piece of your life.

Overall, as a story it seems super rushed. If it were fiction, I’d be annoyed at the fast paced antics that goes on in a relationship. But is any relationship “normal”? Romance novels has ruined timelines for us, hasn’t it?

Five out of five stars. Yes, the relationship between Jessica and Danny was quite brutal, and the death threats infuriated me, but stories like THIS (real, honest and that bring something to the light like AIDS/HIV) NEED to be shared. Not want, NEED. We need more stories like this around, because this world’s big and scary, but stories like this show the true humanity. Oh boy, I’m just a mess writing this.

Thank you Jessica Koch, the amazing author, who sent me this book in exchange for an honest review. I truly appreciate it! It’s always mind blowing when people actually seek me out, and it really humbles me. Thank you!!!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out Jessica Koch on Goodreads! Jessica Koch on Goodreads

Did you know this book was originally written in German and was translated into English?

Check out Jessica Koch’s website! Jessica Koch’s Website

#BookReview AMYM:The Mamluk Who Defied Death (New York Vampire 1.5) by K.D. McQuain

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AMYM: The Mamluk Who Defied Death (1.5 in the New York Vampire Series) is a new novel/story by K.D. McQuain!!

I’m very honored that K.D. McQuain sent me this story/novel (how long have I been doing reviews and I never get the correct wording for what a book technically is) and I was super excited to pick it up! I had to hold back since I was busy and had to actually “adult”, so when it was finally my day off it was one of the first things on my to-do list!!

I love the font that the chapter numbers are written in – it doesn’t affect the story, but the vibe and style it gives it is excellent!

K.D. McQuain is one of those authors that you don’t really hear about, but when you come in touch with his work you are BLOWN AWAY. Not only does this man write a great fantasy/vampire novel, but his erotic/romance scenes are beyond what I expect from someone writing a vampire novel. You don’t see very many authors who can combine multiple genres (if you wish to word it that way) together. His story telling is so descriptive, and not in a bad way. It’s not like layers and layers of adjectives, it’s as if you are in the story. And he’s only on “book two” of his writing career? That’s hard to believe! The talent radiating out of this author is absolutely ridiculous.

It gives me a Game of Thrones kind of vibe, but these stories are so much easier to get through. There’s paranormal aspects, the vampire side (obviously), some action/adventure, and steamy scenes.

I find the plots and subplots of this story work well with each other. Amym wanting to rule, his relationship with Ketevan, his relationship with his mistress, and the general “day to day” life of Amym all work together and weave together perfectly in this short story. I didn’t find myself getting bored or confused like I have in other stories that are written in similar fashions.

The only part of these stories I have “issues” with is all the terminology. I’m okay with going back through a previous book or looking up words I don’t know, but I’m not sure if all readers will be okay with that. The lore and mythology of these stories are one of the great aspects that I enjoy, but some readers may not be as interested in all the terminology that appears in these novels.

Overall, this book was great! I really enjoyed reading another tale in the New York Vampire series and I can’t wait for more K.D. McQuain to give us some more books to read!!

Four out of five stars.

Check out this book on Goodreads: AMYM on Goodreads

Or…check out this website for more information on KD’s Books! K.D. McQuain’s Books

Find K.D. McQuain on Twitter! @McQuain_kd

Check out my page on Goodreads for more up to date reviews!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

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