#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda

Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda is an excellent start to a new series I will surely be addicted to.

King Arthur. Round Tables. Medieval Fantasy.

My gosh, this book is packed TIGHT with everything I love about Ruth Miranda and her writing. Epic fantasy, a potential romance, drama, “echoes from the past”, murder, and an epic tale. Seriously, this series already has me hooked and IT LEFT ON A DARN CLIFFHANGER.

I swear, Ruth Miranda sits away at her computer knowing full well I’m going to be pulling my hair out and screaming while I wait for the next book. It may be a little egotistical, but she’s totally doing it to me, on purpose. And I fall for it every time! I can picture her with evil, maniacal laughter filling the room as she typed the final words in Part 1…

But, that’s not the meat of this review. Avalon Hall centers around King Arthur being from Scotland, where the wonderful Avalon Hall (a present day academy for witches and fey) sit. 30 years before modern day, a young woman named Stephanie Miller was murdered and 30 years later there’s been yet another murder. Fortunately, this time it was just some jerk. That being said, Stephanie’s murder brought lots of attention on this hall that only wanted to be seen as a hippie community that studies tarot cards and astrology. Atticus Downe, the new head master, wants to keep it that way. Oh, and he’s hiding a vampire named Emrys in the attic.

Along comes Yseult, a beautiful witch, to Avalon Hall 30 years after Stephanie’s death. She begins seeing ghosts, these “echoes from the past” and sees some ghosts from her present too (like her abusive ex Gary).

Part one is all about Yseult and Avalon Hall. Seriously, this was the best opening for this story. I was truly hooked in and was totally addicted to the book with this opening. It had a fair bit of drama, with mean girls and crushes, alongside the fantastical elements of the story. Also Emrys and Yseult are totally end game for me. Seriously, I need to know what happens next! I also really liked that Ruth expanded on Nora Bell’s character. I was expecting her to be some mean girl, but she’s not all she seems to be.

Then we move into part 2, which brings us back to King Arthur’s actual birth. There’s a lot of back story on his family in this one. The worst part for me was trying to pronounce any of those names. It brought me out of the book a few times because I couldn’t decide on how I wanted them pronounced and I didn’t like google’s pronunciation either. Confusing names are hard, okay? But, I digress, this part of the book was REALLY good. The lore, the back story, and the fast pace of the story. I loved every second of it.

I really hope this series continues and I can get my hand on the next book. Ruth Miranda’s writing style is marvelous – it’s fast, she has a talent for weaving her words into beautiful sentences and she makes up excellent plots. Plus, she’s really good at horror, romance and action.

Overall, this book is a 100% recommended book from me. If you like myths and lore, action and adventure, and a pinch of romance, then this book is for you! I’m definitely going to be continuing the series so you might as well start it with me!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author, Ruth Miranda, in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

Check out Ruth Miranda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15263413.Ruth_Miranda

 

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#BookReview A Woman of Valor by Gary Corbin

A Woman of Valor is the newest addition to Gary Corbin’s literary genius line-up!

I loved Gary Corbin’s Mountain Man series, so it was a no brainer for me to pick up A Woman of Valor. Especially since this novel focused on a woman in a crime setting – I’m a real sucker for The Rookie, Rookie Blue, etc., and any tale that follows a strong female lead.

In this book, Valorie Dawes is a rookie police officer. She has a bit of a family legacy which casts a shadow over yet, but she is determined to show her worth. Val gets partnered up with Gil and chaos ensues. Will Val be able to deal with her past and the trauma that’s holding her back? Will she make it as a police officer when no one wants to accept her?

I really liked this story, if I’m being honest. This particular plot point is common – a woman police officer trying to be treated equally – but Gary did a great job making me invested in it. I could have been really bored with the “same old, same old”, but he made me feel for Val. I wanted to see her do well! Somehow, he managed to make Val feel more real than just a character. All the while, he throws in some very tough plot points (sexual harassment, rape and social injustice). Those topics fit perfectly into this narrative, but they could have been handled REALLY wrong. Lucky for us, Gary is the master!

Gary does a great job putting this story together. There’s action and adventure, a pinch of romance, and a dash of comedy. It’s not all down and depressing, which was a big plus for me. Often times, I find that police dramas get so sad and boring. Gary amps it up real well! On top of all of that, Gary does a great job making me know each and every character. I tend to lose focus when there’s a lot of people to follow, but I didn’t this time around! Kudos!

My negatives are as followed:
1. Sometimes the plot slowed down, and I’m a fast paced kinda girl. It’s not the end of the world, but I struggled to get through just a couple of the chapters.

2. The ending, while it sums up the book, it felt like a cliffhanger. Will there be another book?! Will I see what happens to Val and Gil soon?!

Overall, this book is a real gem. I’m glad I got to read it but sad it took me so long to get to it. Gary’s a real master at making books that feel like they can cross multiple genres. He deals with tough topics like rape, molestation, post traumatic stress disorder and the cruel realities of human kind really well. I’d highly recommend this book if you like crime dramas or want something with a little ‘umph’ on your shelf.

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Gary Corbin, in exchange of an honest review.

 

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

Here’s some links about the author, Gary Corbin:
Goodreads
http://www.garycorbinwriting.com/
@GaryCorbin

Check out my other reviews of Gary’s books:
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Badge
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Bride by Gary Corbin
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin

 

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#BookReview Babyland by Holly Chamberlin

Babyland by Holly Chamberlin felt like a soap opera of emotions!

I’m in this weird adult phase where I feel like an adult and want to think about marriage and babies but also feel like a child still (college does that to you, I hear). Picking this book up was part of my ‘I’m an adult who likes babies and marriage and soap operas’ phase. I have to say, it didn’t disappoint on what I wanted it to deliver.

I nabbed this book as a discount book store and I was stoked. I love getting books from random authors I’ve never heard of and I love sales. After reading the reviews for this book, I figured I needed to go in expecting a dramatic ride full of babies and girl gossip, and it delivered on that front!

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book! I wanted exactly what it delivered on and I couldn’t ask for much more. I want to read more by Holly Chamberlin because she does have her own style, and I dig it.

Anna is married to Ross (think Ross from friends) and they decided they aren’t going to have children. Then, TA DA!, she gets pregnant. The drama coming from this event, plus his family being rich, stereotypical jerks and her questioning her life brings out my inner soap opera addict. It’s full of silly drama, insane gossip and twists you can probably guess if you’ve ever watched a soap opera. Will she stay with Ross? Will she want another baby? Duh, duh duhhhhhhh. There’s lots of questions and this book doesn’t end up answering half of mine, but I still liked it.

My negatives for this book was that it felt a little too long and that I didn’t get to see the final happy ending shot of Anna and her man. I really wanted to hear about the happily ever after, but I didn’t. Oh well.

Overall, I liked this book. It was a nice change and it was easy to read. I was able to binge this book within a couple hours even though it’s so long, but that’s because Holly knows how to write a good book that’s easy to read.

Three out of five stars.

 

Check out this book on:
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Indigo, Chapters, Coles – Canadian Retailer

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#BookReview Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive by Joe Montaperto

Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive by Joe Montaperto is a story full of personality!

One thing about Joe Montaperto is that he knows how to write with style. He has a very particular tone in his writing that makes you feel like you’re out in the back, having some beers and listening to Joe tell his tales.

This book is a continuation of Joe’s previous works (Lovely Chaos) which invites the reader into Joe’s actual life. This time around the comedian/writer takes us on a tour that involves… well… you guessed it, catering. The entire book is full of raunchy and hysterical humor and even throws in some educational tidbits along the way.

The thing about this book… I’d really like to hear it in audiobook form. I felt like this could have been a stand-up performance or a story Joe would tell you when you’re hanging out with him. It felt very real and honest, but there were some funny comments that would have been SO much better if I heard them. Some of the comments flew right over my head as a reader. I’m sure if Joe were telling it like it is, I would have gotten way more of the jokes.

That being said, it’s still a fun and relatively short book. It’s honest, amusing, and even goes into some controversial topics (ever heard of Roundup?).

I did enjoy learning a bit about catering though. It makes sense, working for more than one business to make money.

Overall, this book is a nice addition to my shelf! I’m glad I got to dip my toes in the water again and pick up a book by Joe. His books are almost niche because of his wild, unique writing voice. He stands out in the crowd – but that’s what comedians are supposed to do.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author, Joe Montaperto, in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Check out some of the work by Joe below:

www.joemontaperto.com

Goodreads – Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive
Amazon.ca – Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive
Amazon.com – Nobody Gets out of Catering Alive
Smashwords – Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive

Check out another book in this series:
Goodreads – Lovely Chaos
Amazon.ca – Lovely Chaos
Amazon.com – Lovely Chaos
Smashwords – Lovely Chaos

and on Authors Den!

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#BookReview Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming was a truly marvelous classic.

I can totally understand why this book is considered one of the classic and first spy novels. It felt exactly like what I would expect a James Bond book to be – full of thrills, surprise twists and turns, double agents, alcohol, gambling and pretty women.

My favourite part of this book is that it wasn’t exactly like a James Bond film – this James Bond made errors along the way and wasn’t the perfect spy. He was headstrong and did what he thought was best (even if it wasn’t the best plan). It made Bond feel like a real person.

I also really enjoyed the writing style. Mr. Fleming’s writing felt elegant and perfectly placed for a spy thriller. I was enchanted along the ride and loved the word choice. It felt more royal, like the English Secret Service should be. On top of that, the heroes, heroine and villain all feel like actual people instead of characters. It was the way and tone of Ian Fleming’s words that made it feel so real instead of just written words.

That being said, it was a lovely read. I would highly recommend these books to those who love thrillers and want to see the history of the genre. I found the book really intriguing. I might not continue reading the series but I did really like it book. It was a nice change from my normal read.

Three out of five stars.

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out some other books and content you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin
#BookReview Twisted Reasons by Geza Tatrallyay
#BookReview And The Wolf Shall Dwell by Joni Dee
#AuthorInterview Elaine Williams Crockett, author of the Warren Alexander series
#BooKReview Drug Gang by Neil Walker
Quick Book Review: The Darby Shaw Chronicles (Books 1-3) by Liberty Speidel

 

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#BookReview Open Source by Anna L. Davis

 

Open Source by Anna L. Davis is an R rated, epic, sci-fi, fantasy, crazy adventure!

This book far exceeded my expectations, especially since sci-fi isn’t my usual genre. Anna makes this fantasy novel come off the page and take over my brain (pun totally intended, by the way).

Ryker, our home-less former writer lead, doesn’t have a NeuroChip in his brain. Everyone else in this world does, and it’s a fad that’s taking over the nation. Soon enough, our friend gets himself into a difficult situation and a chip is forced into his brain. His buddy Sawyer, Rae, Rae’s ex Nox, a bag lady, and many more quirky characters dance across the pages and whisk us through a not-so-distant, potential future. What do we do when chips are in our brains, following our every move? Will politics get in the way of the potential good? It’s sci-fi, the answer is always yes.

This is one of the few books that I didn’t see the ending coming, and I loved that. There’s so many little hints along the way, yet I just didn’t connect those dots. Anna has a well crafted story on her hands and it’s so well thought out. The seeds planted along the way will make you question reality itself – what the heck is going on in this book?! Everything ties itself up nicely in the end, thank goodness. But… I still want that sequel. It says this is book one in the series everywhere I look, so I really hope Anna throws us some more epic fantasy our way!

I don’t have many cons about this book. I would have liked to read this as a book I binged instead of putting it down. I’m not much of a tech or sci-fi fan, so I ended up forgetting some of the terminology and background when I left it for a few days. It’s still easy enough to read if you step away, but personally I want to binge it.

I like that the story leaves off like the book could end, even though the story could continue. I hate cliffhangers, so this ending bides well with me.

Overall, this book is truly an epic. I could see a television show or a movie being made of it. It’s just so darn good! I have to say… it’s one of my top reads of 2019!! I never thought I’d put a sci-fi that high on my list, but I did! And it’s all Anna L. Davis’s fault!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Find out more about this book and the author on:
Goodreads – Open Source
Twitter – @annaldavis1
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble

Check out some other reviews and books you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview – Strungballs by Mike Russell

 

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

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#BookReview The Fencers by Geza Tatrallyay

The Fencers by Geza Tatrallyay is a beautifully woven, true tale of perseverance and fencing!

Autobiographies and biographies are one of those ‘genres’ that I really fall in love with when I start diving into them. Reading about someone’s life and peeking into their mind is a truly marvelous experience for me! Having the opportunity to read Geza’s story, in Canada of all places, was absolutely breathtaking!

This book isn’t long, but it sure packs a punch. This story follows Geza’s journey studying in Canada and joining the Olympic fencing team. I really enjoyed the fencing side of the story! I have always found fencing to be a memorizing sport to watch. Reading Geza’s explanations of how the game is played and how various matches went was excellent! The ups and downs of a match, the crazy stories Olympians can tell and the descriptions of the matches were just so darn cool.

Fencing isn’t the only aspect of this story that makes it so intriguing to me. Geza helping his friend Paul really stood out in this story. The Hungarian is trying to seek refuge in Canada, and Geza is up for the challenge. There were just so many aspects of this story that tied together to make it attention grabbing. The Olympic story line, Geza’s undergraduate and graduate tales and Paul’s story all wrapped up into one perfect gift.

The story may pull at your heart strings a bit near the end, but otherwise it’s an empowering tale!

If I had a con, it’d be that I wanted a little more. Some of the stories presented were written beautifully, but I would have love to pick Geza’s brain more! They sounded so interesting and I’m sure there’s more to some of these stories than what made it into the book.

Overall, this book was a real gem! I’m glad I had the opportunity to pick this book up! I needed more biographies on my shelf, so this book will be the perfect fit!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author, Geza Tatrallyay, in exchange for an honest review.

 

You can purchase this book on:
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

 

Check out more books by Geza on his website: www.gezatatrallyay.com

Check out some more of Geza’s Books  on Amazon:

Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.com

Twisted Reasons (#1) on Amazon.ca

Twisted Traffick (#2) on Amazon.com

Twisted Traffick (#2) on Amazon.ca

Twisted Fates (#3) on Amazon.com

Twisted Fates (#3) on Amazon.ca

The Rainbow Vintner on Amazon.com

The Rainbow Vintner on Amazon.ca

 

And check out Geza’s Goodreads Page for more information!

Why not give Geza and myself a shout-out on Twitter if you read this review? @GezaTatrallyay & Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

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