#BookReview The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that I have been debating over since high school. Everyone I know from high school absolutely HATED this book (with a ridiculously strong passion) yet I had this feeling that I should read it anyways. After watching the 2017 television adaptation and LOVING it, I decided it was probably best to just bite the bullet and pick up this book. Of course, I had to remember to buy it to be able to read it and that took some time.

So, during this wonderous break from school and work I decided to indulge myself a little and pick up a book I REALLY wanted to read. Luckily, this book was within sight and reaching distance so I devoured it in under two hours. I binged this book SO HARD and it was SO WORTH IT.

If you’ve watched the television show, you know the basis. The show expands a lot more on the content (and changes some) but you’ve got the jist of the story. Offred is a Handmaid to the Commander and Serena Joy. Her “goal” is to get pregnant and give them a baby, and that isn’t going to well. So she hatches a plan with Serena Joy to be able to have a baby to get out! But… nothing ever goes to plan, and chaos ensues. That is the non-spoiler synopsis.

This book feels all too real even all these years later. It faces political, environmental and religious tones in such an amazing way that it really blew my mind. Margaret Atwood’s writing just adds to this story and gives it way more depth than I ever expected. Every little twist and turn makes me question who you can trust, if Offred is a reliable narrator (at times) and if this world can ever change. Unfortunately, you don’t find that last point out in this novel. The book ends rather abruptly and leaves me feeling cheated. I want to know what happens OH SO BAD. That’s the only reason I enjoy the television show just a little bit more – it expands a lot on the narrative and we will most likely get some kind of ending (eventually… it’s only at two seasons currently at the time I write this review).

You could definitely tear this book apart for “plot holes” – like… how did society crumble so fast? How could these women not over power some of these leaders? How did people let this happen? There’s so many questions that I want answered, but I don’t think that’s the purpose of this book. It felt like a warning tale, like 1984 by George Orwell or any of the Shakespeare tales. It’s a different take on society as a whole and is criticizing it in some way (and it’s also just really good fiction, let’s be honest).

My biggest flaw is how short this book is – I want more and I want to understand more. This world is just way too good, complex and big to not explore! I hear there’s another book coming out soon (oh please give us a sequel I want mooooore) but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Overall, this is a book that makes you think. I love books like that because I can sink into my chair (or couch… or bed…) and just let myself fall into the story. I escape this world and all of my worries and just take in this whole new world. I think Margaret Atwood is a seriously good author with ridiculous amounts of talent and I will for sure be looking for more books by her. Books like this make me SO happy that I love to read and have the time and ability too. Books like this make reading an absolutely breath taking hobby!

Seriously, if you love dystopian fiction, books that you can theorize and form conspiracies over or books that you probably would have read back in your high school English class- PICK THIS BOOK UP!

Five out of five stars.

 

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If you enjoyed this review (or book!) check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels

It’s time for another Top 10 List!! This time around I’m tackling romance. I typically read a lot of romance novels, so this list has been growing rapidly. Luckily, there are so many good books out there that I can make multiple lists! This will be Part 1 of my romance list. All of these books are shuffled throughout and given a random spot on my list.

Elevator pitch time!!

 

1. The Raven by Sylvain Reynard
Canada represent! Sylvain Reynard has a truly magical, fantasy book full of romance in The Raven. This book is dark, sexy and truly intriguing. Sylvain knows how to craft a magnificent book that keeps you hooked at every sexy turn. Historical art, sexy strangers, and knights in (not so) shining armour make this book a staple on my romance shelf. Seriously though, this book introduced me to Sylvain and I’ve been a fan ever since. These books are really hard to put down.

Purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

2. The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner
Blame Tamsen Parker for this one, because she recommended me one fabulous book! Genevieve Turner crafted one super sexy book in The Gaucho’s Lady. Sweet Eliana tries to run away, and accidentally runs into the arms of Juan. If you want a steamy book with a really tough outlaw, this book won’t let you down! But watch out, it gets pretty hot… to the point you might as well be in a steam room.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

3. Something Like Love by Sara Richardson
Time for a MAJOR throwback… Way back in 2015 I read a book by Sara and I instantly fell in love. Ranch hands, politics and second chance romances? Heck yes! This delicious book is super cute! I need to jump back into Sara’s book ASAP because these books can hardly contain the adorableness they hold. This book is an easy read, full of romance and packs a good punch.

Read this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

4. Lexington and 42nd by Kim Carmody
I LOVE a good sports romance, so Lexington and 42nd hit all the right notes for me! This sexy read matches quarterback Will with Emma. These two will flaunt their “will they? won’t they?” romance and keep you hooked at every turn. Kim Carmody might not be well known (YET!) but she’s got one heck of a talent! Sports romances need to make a comeback ASAP!

Click the links for Lexington and 42nd:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

5. Happy Ever After in Christmas by Debbie Mason
30, flirty and thriving… Right? This series by Debbie Mason is an absolute must in my home town. The Christmas, Colorado series is a lovely romantic series, but this particular book fell into my lap. Jill and Sawyer (an ex-hockey player, come on… you know I love those sports romances) are the “it” couple of this novel. Their ups and downs are on display, and man is it a cute, quick read! If you want a romance that isn’t too erotic, this book is a great fit!

This book can be found on…:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

6. Saving the CEO by Jenny Holiday
This contemporary romance is super sexy! Jenny Holiday introduces us to Jack and Cassie – Jack’s the CEO and Cassie is a bartender. When they walk into each other’s lives, things just get… complicated. Will they ignite a super sexy romance? Will it work? Oh man, this book is just too good! It’s full of rule breakers and changes the romance game on it’s head. What a delight!

Purchasing links include:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

7. So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch
So Near the Horizon is one of my top books of all time. I brag about it all the time, because it randomly appeared on my TBR when Jessica Koch recommended it to me. I am SO SO SO grateful she did, because it’s a real winner. This story follows Jessica and Danny and their whirlwind romance. It also addresses some tough issues, like HIV and living with someone who’s struggling. I highly recommend this book. I still get chills thinking about it to this very day.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

8. Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker
If you thought I would make a romance list without Tamsen Parker, you’d be wrong! This is one of the few Tamsen books I picked up late in the game, but it was worth it! In this novel, the story follows an Orthodox Jewish marriage. It’s a little different than the other books on this list, but I love it for it’s diversity. It’s not the normal romance novel, but it truly is mesmerizing. If you want to expand the diversity of your romance shelf, this book would be a great start.

Click the links for access to purchasing sites:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

9.  Cowboy Boots for Christmas: Cowboy Not Included by Carolyn Brown
This sexy cowboy story is adorbable! Our leads met in the war and are reuniting…and of course he’s a cowboy! Throw in the Christmas holidays, a little brother who needs protection and long lost friends and you’ve got yourself a real treat! This is a soft, sweet read and is full of cute romance. I loved reading this book because it’s so simple and lovely yet so perfect!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

10. Return to You by Samantha Chase
Oh, The Montgomery Brothers. What do you get when you throw a man who wants to marry the woman of his dreams in a romance novel? You get one epic chase! James Montgomery gets his starring role in this book as he chases the woman he lost – but he won’t let her get away this time! Will he win her heart back? Will she let herself fall head over heels? You will have to wait and see!

Purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

That concludes my elevator pitch for Romance – Part 1! Have you read any of these books? What other romance novels do you recommend? Comment below with your faves from the list or from your own shelf! I’d love to add some more to my ever growing TBR!

 

Don’t enjoy romance? Why not check out my other Top Books Lists!
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1
#TopBooksList Young Adult Novels, Part 1
#TopBooksList Children’s Novels, Part 1

 

 

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#BookReview Tamisan by Susan McKenzie

Tamisan by Susan McKenzie was an epic, action-packed, sci-fi fueled novel!

Action. Adventure. Sci-Fi. New Adult. Thriller. Suspense. Fantasy. Supernatural.

All of those terms can directly be applied to this magnificent novel by Susan McKenzie. Seriously, I didn’t know what I was in for when I picked up this book! The synopsis makes this seem like just another fun, sci-fi novel yet it was so much more than I expected! Zhenna/Tamisan was a lovely character to follow along her absolutely insane journey and I can’t wait to see more of her!

Zhenna is traveling to assist in some space science experiments when things go horribly wrong. She’s the only survivor of her crew, but that’s not the only thing wrong. Her soul has also been moved into the body of one of the gorgeous natives to the planet. This disturbing science experiment changes her life forever and sends her on a troubling journey in a foreign land. Slowly, she discovers the powers this woman held and all of the magic that goes along with being supernatural. Oh, and there’s a little romance in store for her too!

This book had a lot packed into one book, and that’s why the book is so good! But that is also the book’s weak point – I felt like this book could have been split into two or three novels. I seriously loved every minute of it, but there’s was just SO much. Most readers will be okay with this, since Susan delivers with a fast-paced and thrilling adventure, but some may not be as fond of it.

Whether you’re looking for a fantastical book or a science fiction, this book is definitely worth the read. It has a lot of marketing potential with the various genres it holds inside. I like that it didn’t just stick to one genre because it did make this book far more unique. If anything, I felt like I was most confused on which age group it should be marketed too. The genres was easy – it mixes fantasy with science fiction and thrills and suspense. There’s so much in there! But at times it felt like it was moving close to an R rating (with potential rape scenes and some harsh violence) but then it slowed back down in the romance department and felt like a Young Adult novel. My best guess was it was going for New Adult and it seems to fit well there.

Overall, this book was one solid thrill ride! The positives of this book far outweigh the negatives and I’d highly recommend it! It’s a little on the longer side but it’s worth every word on every page!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Kobo

Barnes & Nobles

Chapters/Indigo/Coles

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If you liked this book, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis

#BookReview Rogue Ever After Anthology Collection by Tamsen Parker, Hudson Lin, et al.

This final collection in the Rogue series has proven to be another lovely addition!

This LGBTQ+ book is full of sweet (and sometimes sexy!) stories. F/F, M/M, poly and more, with each having a different focus. Some of the stories center around politics, Hollywood and even just good, old-fashioned relationships.

I can’t get enough of these short stories, because they are so easy to slip into. They aren’t difficult to follow, they make me smile, and I just love these authors. Since every story is different, you get a really good mix of romance and erotica.

I focused on three stories from the collection, but all of them were marvelous.

Hudson Lin’s Ipso Facto ILU follows Jonny and Brandon, who are OMG levels of cuteness. Brandon is a political science PhD candidate and Jonny is a famous podcaster. Following their super sweet love story was such a treat! Brandon’s shyness and adorable nature made me love this couple oh so much! Throw in some funny lines about Zest body soap and Canadian references and you’ve got me totally engaged in this story. Honestly, it felt like a fan girl’s heaven. This story was definitely a 5 out of 5 stars for me!

Ainsley Booth’s Love Your Love was a lovely poly romance which following Win and Penny (and Tanya, you can’t forget about Tanya). Cute crushes, spooning and fun quotes about beaming and blooming flowers fill this little story up. I like Ainsley’s way with words – it somehow felt so elegant yet so natural! This story moved very quickly and felt a little shorter to me, but it was still super sweet. 5 out of 5 stars!

And to top it off, Tamsen Parker’s Starlet Struck shed some light on causes AND included some super sexy F/F romance. Archer and Hadley make one wild pair – an activist and a Hollywood actress. The characters bring up causes dear to their heart, like the Rivera House which helps homeless LGBTQ teens, and I have to say that made me respect this book even more! At the end, we get the hottest ending that will rock most erotica fan’s socks off. The tension that built up to that part made it even better than I expected! Five out of five stars!

Overall, this is a great anthology for romance and erotica lovers. It’s definitely an R rated book, but it’s worth the read if you love some sexy scenes.

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to Tamsen Parker for providing me a copy of this book to review.

 

Check out this anthology on:
Goodreads
Kobo
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Indigo / Chapters / Coles – Canadian Retailer

 

Check out my other reviews from this series:
#BookReview Rogue Hearts (Anthology) by Tamsen Parker, Amy Jo Cousins, and more
#BookReview Rogue Affair by Adriana Anders, Tamsen Parker and more!
#BookReview Rogue Desires by Tamsen Parker, Adriana Anders, Amy Jo Cousins and more!

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview The Last Straw by Ed Duncan

The Last Straw by Ed Duncan is absolutely ridiculous! In a good way, of course.

Fear not fellow reader, you don’t need to read the first book in this series to understand what’s going on in this novel. But if you want to, I totally understand why!

I started this book with low expectations (I started it around exam time and life had been already a ball of stress) and man, did I have no idea what I was in for. This book was far better than I could have expected and was worth every second. I’m almost annoyed with myself for not expecting it to be good, because it was far better than just “good”.

This thriller novel is fast paced, easy to read and never has a dull moment. It’s not too long, it has a good selection of quality characters to follow and it ends on a good note. The ending makes you feel satisfied if you don’t want to continue the series, but it also lets you know another book could be on the way (and my goodness, there better be another book and it better get in my hands ASAP, you feel me?).

Rico, a sweet guy with a “Dexter” like complex, doesn’t want to murder a teenager. When another man tries to make the hit and misses (hitting another person instead), the plot gets moving into many twists and turns. Paul and Rico’s intertwining story keeps the reader engaged and anxiously waiting to see if the killer will get justice. Along the way, a few side plots keep it interesting too!

Rico and Jean were my favourite duo in the story, but Paul, Beverly, Evelyn and the rest of the crew also have really good material to work with. I really want to read more about the mischievous pair of Rico and Jean in whatever way Ed Duncan can give us, because they are just way more interesting than the regular thriller characters I read about.

If I had to give some negatives about this book, it would be that there is some R rated content. Murders, violence and potential rape are all apart of the pages of this book but they aren’t graphic. This might limit the audience though, if the reader has triggers or isn’t into the adult book scene.

This book gets two thumbs up from me. I honestly loved this book and I didn’t want to put it down. The book helped me get out of a reading slump and actually had me annoyed that it was over so soon! Ed Duncan has a real talent and I hope he continues this series. If anything, I hope more readers find this book because it’s excellent quality. I would absolutely read more books like this in the future if I could get my hands on it.

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Find this book on: Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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More information about The Last Straw from Book Publicity Services:

The Last Straw is a thrilling crime novel by Ed Duncan. It is the second book in his Pigeon Blood Red series.

 

Synopsis:

 

It started with a run-of-the-mill carjacking.  An inner-city kid with no priors and no experience with a gun fumbled the ball, and the driver ended up dead.

 

A teenage girl witnessed the whole thing, and now a target has been placed on her back. The carjacker’s father, a notorious crime boss, is willing to move heaven and earth to prevent her from testifying, even if that means hiring a hitman to kill her.

 

Richard “Rico” Sanders, the best in the business, was his first choice for the job.  But there was a problem. He was a “killer with a conscience” and a killer with a conscience doesn’t murder teenagers.  The crime boss reluctantly turns to someone who has no such qualms, John D’Angelo. There was bad blood between him and Rico, so knowing that Rico had passed on the job, he eagerly accepted it.

 

Rico and the girls lawyer, Paul Elliott, form an uneasy alliance to try and protect her from the hitman. As the long-simmering feud between Rico and John D’Angelo reaches boiling point, bodies start to pile up in rapid succession… and old scores will be settled.

 

Praise:

“This Chicago set thriller is a pacy read, written with an edge and style… For me, this is even better than the first in the Pigeon-Blood Red series and it does work well as a stand-alone… Ed Duncan’s series will sweep up fans as it goes along.” – Crime Thriller Hound

“The Last Straw is a Hugely Satisfying Crime Novel by Ed Duncan.” – Best Thrillers

“With danger looming in every chapter, The Last Straw is an action-packed and nerve-racking read. Duncan skillfully draws the reader into a complex web of characters… A few key twists within the storyline keep the reader intrigued in this fast-paced thriller…The Last Straw is an outstanding crime thriller…” – 5 Stars, Red City Review

ED DUNCAN The Last Straw

About the Author:

Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH and is at work on the third installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red series. To learn more, go to http://eduncan.net/

 

Readers can connect with Ed on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Photos from Kelsey at Book Publicity Services.

#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

 

 

There are few books that lift up my mood (and out of my reading slump!) quite like this one did!

Peter Green and the Unliving Academy was an absolute delight of a book! Fantasy, friendship and fun is all wrapped up tight into this neat, little package. If you haven’t read this book yet, what in the world are you doing?!

As the title suggests, we follow Peter Green when he goes to an “Unliving” Academy. Our lead has died and is now in the afterlife, but if you thought school stops there then you’d be wrong! Peter meets a large array of wacky characters and goes on many mischievous adventures, including but not limited too battling a werewolf teacher, dealing with ghost security guards and trying to lift a curse from upon the school. And YOU thought high school was hard…

Peter also tries to learn about himself and his past life. He knows he remembers a family, but just can’t put his finger on it. Unfortunately, it’s against the rules to find out about your past before you graduate!

I REALLY REALLY REALLY liked this book. I can’t express in words how much fun I had along the way reading it! Just because this book says ‘Young Adult’ does not mean an adult could not enjoy it! To me, it felt like a Harry Potter and the Philosopher/Sorcerer’s Stone-esque book. I would have loved to read it to a reading buddy or as a fun classroom read. The book is relatable from all angles – finding out about yourself, dealing with life’s (or death’s…) difficulties and making the right but hard decision. The book was definitely written in a way that the adult reader could enjoy it along with their kids. Therefore, it’s a family friendly book!

What were my downsides about this book?
1. Some of the plotlines could have been pushed to the second book, but it didn’t affect me all that much. I hope they are continued into the sequel because that would make those tiny, barely there plotlines make SO MUCH MORE sense.

2. Like other reviews have suggested, there were some minor grammar and spelling errors. I don’t really care, but I’m sure someone does. It didn’t pull me away from the story at all.

3. THE BOOK ENDED AND I DON’T HAVE THE SEQUEL IN MY HANDS. Yep, that’s a major downside. I got into this book and then it ended. I want moooooore!

Overall, this is a great middle-grade read! I’d highly suggest it for a fun, fantasy book to devour as soon as possible! If you liked the first two Harry Potter books then you’ll love this one! There was lots of world building and fun stories that built in this book. I truly hope a sequel comes out and more people read this book. I haven’t had this much fun in a book for a while!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher TCK Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out the following links:

Purchase the book: http://geni.us/petergreenbook1m
Check out the publisher, TCK Publishing: https://www.tckpublishing.com/
TCK Publishing’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tckpublishing/
Their Twitter: https://twitter.com/TCKPublishing

Find out more about the author on Goodreads! or Facebook or maybe even Twitter. She also has a website too!! https://www.aaallsopbooks.com/

This book can also be found on:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Barnes & Nobles

And give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

 

#BookReview The Fourth Closet by Scott Cawthon

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The Fourth Closet by Scott Cawthon tied up some of the FNAF literature universe, but opened up a whole ‘nother can of worms.

I was a little too hooked to this book, but mainly because I am totally obsessed with the FNAF lore. The video games, the potential movie, the books! All of them are my guilty pleasure, which I will easily admit. But this book? It tops the other two. I found the first book to be intriguing, the second book to lag just a bit, and this book went flying off the handle to utter insanity! In a good way.

If you are going to take anything out of this book, it’s the strange way Scott is weaving and changing lore. The books don’t perfectly match up to the video games, but they will definitely spike your interest if you have played the games. There are easter eggs and references to so many different parts of the games that it’s almost hard to keep track of. Yet, it all works for perfectly well.

I found myself really hooked to this story and I didn’t want to put it down. It is fast paced and full of crazy twists and turns that you will need to read the first three books for. But, you could easily jump into this series if you haven’t played the games. Playing the games just makes the easter eggs in this book more fun!

If you don’t like sci-fi or thriller type books, this novel isn’t for you. The hype about the supernatural aspects of this book is unreal and goes beyond what I expected. The book is no longer just a silly YA novel, it’s full of technology and supernatural twists.

I found the ending… interesting. I’ll leave it at just that word, because the ending left me feeling like I had tons more questions coming out then going in. While I did get some answers and I thought the ending itself was a nice way to tie up the story, it really didn’t tie up the story that well. It made the story end, but it didn’t close the story as nicely as I wanted. So, maybe there will be another side series or another game or something that ties this storyline up. I hope, anyways.

Five out of five stars.

This was one of the few books I paid full price for. This whole series I was desperate to read, so lucky Scott Cawthon got my money on this one.

 

Check this book out on:

Goodreads

Kobo

Barnes & Nobles

Indigo/Chapters/Coles

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Check out another review by Briar’s Reviews that you might enjoy: #BookReview The Twisted Ones by Scott Cawthon

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter @ReviewAlholic or check me out on Facebook @BriarsReviews about what books you’d like to see featured on this blog!
And comment below – have you read any of the FNAF books? Do you play the games?