#BookReview Thrown Off Track by Tamsen Parker

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“It sounds serial-killer creepy” = the best quote of this entire book (and it’s pretty darn quote worth).

Here’s the thing – I don’t normally like M/M romance. Not because I don’t enjoy M/M romance stories, but because every book I’ve ever read that involved M/M centered around stereotypical men and always made M/M seem like a joke. But this book? It has characters that felt real, with awkward situations that would actually happen, and doesn’t make M/M look like some weird fairy tale full of characters without personalities.

I loved it, like normal. Tamsen clicks with me, and all of her nerdy references make me fangirl beyond believe. Narnia? Schrodinger’s cat? Heck yes!

Continuing on with this series (some characters from SIG, and now LtL) is an excellent way to keep these characters alive. I love Tamsen’s creativity with her series – Olympics, boy bands. What’s next?! This fantastic author is filling my childhood obsessions up, now she just needs to make a story about a swimmer and she’s hit almost every point in my childhood (because I was a highly competitive swimmer…most readers won’t understand that reference if you don’t know me). Essentially, these series feel like throwbacks, and I love it!

This book is fun, lovable and about boy bands (of all topics…) and raises this genre to a new high for me. I was hooked and addicted (yes, I got side tracked often by the nerdy references and had to tweet Tamsen about it, but what can you expect from me? I embrace my nerdiness). Although, this book isn’t as R rated as her past books (the deleted scene is very hot and heavy, but I’m not sure if that will be in the final copy).

Thank you for including LGBT characters in this story – I have never heard of the term demisexual before, and I’m so thankful you’re introduced me to more terms that I can totally understand and relate to. On top of that, having these male leads with personalities and likes and dislikes and not being perfect? It makes it even better. It felt more realistic (within the realm of a superstar boy band, realism).

So, delving into these characters – Teague and Christian are a really different/unique pair (in a good way). Teague is a superstar, rock star who is a demisexual. Christian is the drummer (in the same band of Teague) and is a little more shy and awkward (and always JUST on time). Christian likes guys, Teague’s been with both genders. And then Teague develops a little crush on Christian, who’s been crushing on him for a long time and sexy antics ensue! I feel like everyone saw this coming with the boy band theme, but that doesn’t make it any less cute! They’re awkward together at first (which felt wildly refreshing, since everyone just seems to mesh well the first time and BAM they’re a couple, which isn’t always the case in real life) and slowly grow.

Even though most readers could see a relationship between members coming from a mile away, the bassist and the drummer? I wouldn’t have seen that pair coming.

If you haven’t read anything by Tamsen before, I highly recommend her (as a fan). But, she might not be for you (because it happens). I find her books are fun and uplifting, and are never too serious. They move fast, are full of romance, and will open your eyes up to different worlds (religion, sexuality, lifestyles, etc). I keep praising over and over, and I’ll do it again in this review – she doesn’t stick to the same old story. There are some really fantastic authors (who I love and still read) that do that, but Tamsen changes it up and keeps me on my toes! The likelihood that there will be one book you like (because she has so many different types of romance books) is high! Read through her catalogue and find the topics you like, but keep in mind all books might not be for you!

My reading style and Tamsen’s writing style just click, and the nerdy references on top of that lift these books up. This is definitely a must read and a recommendation from me, as I think it’s one of her better books (at this rate, I can’t pick a best. It rotates depending on the day and how I feel, but this book will be included in that “top tier”, ever rotating list).

On a side note, I really like the little guitar symbol that was above the names of when the characters switch back and forth between point of views. My copy is an ARC, so I’m not sure if that will be on the final copy, but I thought it was a nice addition and looked aesthetically pleasing!

Five out of five! Ten out of five! Fifteen out of five! I’m pulling an Oprah with these stars! Every gets one! Five for every boy in the boy band and Rowan gets six for a surprise cameo!

I received an uncorrected proof from the author Tamsen Parker in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out Thrown Off Track on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40144194-thrown-off-track

Want to purchase this book? Find it on Amazon!

Amazon.com – Thrown Off Track

Amazon.ca – Thrown Off Track

Find out more about Tamsen Parker on her website: http://www.tamsenparker.com/

Give Tamsen and I a shout out on Twitter!@TamsenParker & @ReviewAlholic

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out part of my collection of reviews of Tamsen Parker books:

#BookReview Rogue Hearts (Anthology) by Tamsen Parker, Amy Jo Cousins, and more

#BookReview Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker

#BookReview #OnTheBrinkofPassion by Tamsen Parker

#BookReview In Her Court by Tamsen Parker

Book Review: The Cartographer by Tamsen Parker

 

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#BookReview Shadow Walker by M. Garnet

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Shadow Walker by M. Garnet is a compelling action read mixed with a splash of romance.

This is the second book I’ve read by M. Garnet, and it’s always a pleasure! This time around we are following the fourth, slightly disgraced son named Justus on his action-packed journey. Along the way he meets a Queen who needs his help and a beautiful Princess as well. We find out Justus has magical powers that can help the people he is working with, otherwise known as a “Shadow Walker”. Most of his story is full of action and adventure, with a tiny bit being romance.

I enjoyed this book, but it did have it’s faults. The biggest fault for me was the way Aila spoke – the way it was written was in bits and pieces (to portray her accent) but I would have much preferred the accent to be described and the words to be in proper English. Half the time I was struggling to figure out what she was saying (ma, la, single syllables, etc). That pulled me out of the story quite a bit and left me struggling to finish the book.

My other fault, which is from the business/marketing side of me – it’s marketed as love and romance, and that’s not a big part of this novel. That’s the side story of the action/fantasy plot. This doesn’t negatively affect me, but I wouldn’t want readers going in expecting an epic love story and coming out with an awesome adventure instead.

If you look past that, the book is truly fantastic. It’s fast paced and has a nice mix of fantasy and action together. Additionally, the characters are unique and make you more interested in them as the story progresses. It felt like a hint of Game of Thrones (royalty, action, fantasy) which is never a bad thing!!

In the future, I’d like to see more from the character of the Queen. I was really into her character and she wasn’t heavily involved – the focus was more on Justus, Danor and Aila.

I definitely want to see more of M. Garnet floating around the reading world! She’s talented and makes epic stories. I highly suggest this read if you like royal story lines, fantasy and action, and just a splash of romance (since it’s not heavily involved in this story).

Three out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this novel from the author M. Garnet in exchange for an honest review.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Just released THE SHADOW WALKER at:

https://www.newconceptspublishing.com/product-page/shadow-walker

A history love story with a strong touch of magic. How does a mistreated son get sent away to a Queen as a servant and become her favorite warrior? In her service he finds his magic, his love and his future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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The author lives in Florida and under the pen name of M. Garnet (Muriel Garnet Yantiss) spends all her time writing, reading or talking to writers and readers.

She writes SciFi, Fantasy and Contemporary Mystery with her new award winning 50th released book, THE STORM TAMER.  Visit her web site at www.mgarnet.com to see other books she has written.  You can find her on Amazon at her Author’s site at: https://www.amazon.com/author/m.garnet

She loves to hear from you at mgarnet2@yahoo.com.  She answers all her emails and if you would be kind enough to drop a note where you got this book, it helps others decide what to read.

 

Check out Shadow Walker on Amazon:

Shadow Walker on Amazon.ca

Shadow Walker on Amazon.com

 

Give me a shout out on twitter if you read this review, using the hashtag #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

And comment below – have you read any books by M Garnet?

 

#BookReview The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis

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This set of short stories is a must read!!

Each set of short stories is linked by a generalized setting (bedroom, cafe, park, funeral home, bus), but each individual story is unique all on it’s own. I found most of these stories to be amusing and a fun ride! Honestly, a couple I literally groaned at how silly or unexpected the twists were. As with most short story collections, there were some stories I couldn’t get into, but that was only two of the entire collection. Most of these stories were so incredible that I wanted K. Kris Loomis to make entire books out of them!

In total, there are 15 stories. They are not interconnected, so if you want to read one by one or take your time with the book, you’ll be able to leave it easily. I chose to binge the book in one sitting, and it worked just as well!

What I liked most about these stories was the themes and morals behind each one. If you read more into the stories and actually think about them, there are lessons to be learned. But, if you want to just read them for enjoyment, they are great for those kinds of readers.

Keep in mind, some of the stories are a little morbid. This is definitely not an R rated novel since there is nothing graphic or gorey, but there are some “adult themes” like death. This may not be the best set of stories to read to your small children! I think it would be much better suited for teenagers in a school setting due to the incredible themes K. Kris Loomis intertwines with these stories.

I definitely recommend this collection! It was a fun ride that kept me interested throughout the book. Hopefully K. Kris Loomis writes more, or even expands on some of these ideas in the future!

Five out of five stars!

I received a copy of this book from K. Kris Loomis in exchange for an honest review.

Find this book on:
Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Check out @KKrisLoomis on twitter! Give me a shoutout too while you’re at it! 😉 @ReviewAlholic

Comment below with your favourite short story collection! Have you read this one yet?

#BookReview Tiger Tiger by Johanna Skibsrud

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I won’t lie, this book was hard to read. I was super excited to read another anthology/short story book, but this one let me down!!

Each story was unique in it’s idea – I thought each would have made a great novel all on their own, with the little short story being a “pilot run” for the idea. But when you read these little short stories on their own, it seems like endless rambling and pointless stories. I really wish Johanna would have expanded on each story and fully fleshed them out, because they were unique and impressive on their own.

With such incredible concepts, it’s really sad to see the wasted potential. I do think this book is worth the read, because you can see the obvious talent Johanna Skibsrud.

Overall, it’s a beautifully written set of short stories but comes up short for me.

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Poetry for Strangers by Elisabeth Sharp McKetta

Comment below on a book that fell below your expectations!!

Give me a shoutout on twitter! @ReviewAlholic

Check out my Facebook page! Briar’s Reviews on Facebook

Check out Johanna Skibsrud on her website! http://johannaskibsrud.com/

#BookReview Do Not Ask by Elaine Williams Crockett

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Do Not Ask is an excellent crime/thriller!

This book is addicting, my goodness. I love a good political, crime novel (it’s evident if you look at my book shelf or my lists on Netflix…) so getting the chance to read this book made me so excited! I’ve been more focused on romances recently that I almost forgot this genre existed!

Do Not Ask is the second book in the Warren Alexander series, but you don’t need to be caught up to understand a thing! This book was a smooth read without the background, since Elaine fills in any big holes that you need to know along the way. She also makes this book full of fast twists and turns that will keep you addicted and following every story line.

Every part of this book was fantastic – which is shocking! It’s rare to find a book that I can’t pick apart some major flaw (so kudos to Elaine!). I loved the speed of the story and I found it to be unique and thrilling. I didn’t want to put this book down! Alongside all of that goodness, I also got heavily involved with trying to guess who did what. Since there was just enough back story to get the reader going, it makes it easy to follow along and play the detective game along with the plot.

The book is also realistic, which makes it an easy read. There’s no aliens or crazy conspiracies – it’s a fiction novel that makes it feel so real. There are some aspects of this book that seem a little odd, but it’s not surprising that they exist by any means (some adult chasing after young, pretty girls might make you squeamish, but it happens).

So, the question is – where do I want to see Elaine go from here? I definitely think she’s talented and needs to keep writing! This book was excellent, and I hope she continues writing to get better. My expectations are for her to write another novel, and I hope she’s able to write it so it’s not necessary to read all of the books before it – that should help gain some more readers. And hopefully, this book goes a little more mainstream. It’s awesome! It’s so good that it could be on a shelf next to Kathy Reichs in my local book story!

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author (Elaine Williams Crockett) in exchange for an honest review.

 

Comment below with your favourite political thriller novel!

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another review you might enjoy! #BookReview The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman

If you enjoyed this review, tweet using the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #DoNotAsk

Want to check out more by Elaine Williams Crockett? Check out her website! http://www.elainewilliamscrockett.com/

 

Purchase this book:

Amazon Canada – Do Not Ask

Amazon USA – Do Not Ask

#BookReview The Year After by Ashley Wagner

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The Year After by Ashley Warner was a tale about one woman’s experience with rape.

That seems like such a horrible way to word that sentence, but this story is a year’s worth of journals about what happened after the rape (and a few extra stories from years later). There is literally journals from every single day after, all 365, and it shows how one woman has dealt with that horrible situation. Her job, her friends, her apartment, the lawsuits, her family – it is all discussed and shown to be aspects of her life that were affected (because contrary to popular belief – this affects your ENTIRE life).

This story is just one of many about these types of situations. In our world today, it’s hard to believe people can’t understand how damaging this can feel and how this is a real life situation that can happen to anyone. Having just one story show many sides of the rape has made me feel a little better about humanity. While rape is still happening, and that’s not good (in short terms), this book does shed light on real life situations. More books like this should be read to shown this can happen to anyone and it’s not a piece of pie to deal with.

This story took guts, and to me its inspirational. Everyone has their dark secrets and past that they don’t need to tell, but Ashley shared it with readers. There’s nothing that can fix the hurt she faced, but if this book can bring one more reader out to understand why this shouldn’t happen and potentially stop someone it’ll have done it’s job.

This book can bring a discussion up. I almost wish this book would have been made at the time I was in grade 12 gym class. Rape was a short discussion being told “it happens” and that was all. We knew what it was, was told as girls it’ll happen to somebody and that we’ll deal with it. No, that’s not right. This book should be given to classes to understand – this is a discussion, not a “oh well” sort of situation.

While there were parts of this book I didn’t like – the super short chapters with three sentences on a page – that hardly takes away from the story. This journey is super important and I highly suggest everyone read this book or a book similar to it to understand the pain, the survival, and the changes that a situation like this can have on someone.

Thank you for this tale Ashley, what a fantastic book.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out Ashley on her website: Ashley Warner

Or on her Goodreads page!! Ashley Warner on Goodreads

She can also be found on Twitter: @ashleywarnernyc

 

 

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

 

#BookReview In Her Court by Tamsen Parker

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In Her Court by Tamsen Parker is a goofy, geeky read filled with

Tamsen Parker is not one to stick to the same plot over and over in every read, and that’s what makes this book so unique compared to the others. This time around, Tamsen has explored an F/F relation (or two females if you didn’t understand the acronym). Two girls at a camp fulfill a beautiful romance, in short.

These girls (Van and Willa) have character – one of them is getting a PhD, they are working at a tennis camp, and they aren’t your typical character without flaws and full of perfection. They seem realistic in the setting of this story! That’s a nice change from some of the F/F books I have read in the past – I like seeing characters who slowly build and get better throughout the story.

There is some R-rated language (a few F bombs) so if you don’t like any swears, beware! They aren’t dropped for no reason, they fit within the story, but know this book isn’t G rated. If you thought it was, you don’t know Tamsen’s writing very well…

Personal opinion: I felt like Nate and his character could have not been in the story and it would have moved just as well. Yes, he’s an introduction for both characters, but he didn’t seem wildly important – at least not to me. I would have liked to see a more interesting story line with him (a non romantic subplot, or something). I felt like there was more potential hiding in there. That being said, it wasn’t like he was supposed to be the main character of the story.

This wasn’t my favourite Tamsen Parker book (and by that I mean her super steamy romances), but it definitely ranks up in my favourite romances. I felt the introduction to the characters wasn’t the best (we found out a bit to much to fast, in my opinion) but it was still fitting and made the story work. That’s me being a picky Tamsen Parker/romance fan and nothing more. It doesn’t hurt the story, I just feel like it wasn’t Tamsen’s best out of all of her books (I remember a time when she only had three books out…just saying..now she’s all busy writing and forming a career ;D).

I found this was definitely a step out of Tamsen’s wild BDSM/crazy sexual books and more of a contemporary romance (as it says on Goodreads, which I noticed AFTER I read it – do your research first guys! Then you’ll know what you’re getting!). As a contemporary romance, it’s fantastic! It’s not the best romance in all of the world that I’ve ever read, but it’s a worthy read. A very worthy read indeed! There is still some steamy sexy scenes, just not as crazy wild as her other novels. But it’s still uber sexy and well written! And there is LOTS of it…Almost to much. At one point, there seems to be sex scenes in every single chapter!

Side Notes: I love geeky references and Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was present in this novel. Bonus points for Tamsen!

Overall, this book was great – it just wasn’t my favourite Tamsen Parker book (but can they all really be my favourite? Let’s be honest). This book is still a worthy read and I would suggest it to those looking for some steamy romances, but definitely pick up Tamsen’s other books while you’re at it. These books show how she can not only write crazy steamy BDSM, but lovely contemporary romances and some not so safe for work styled novels.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you Tamsen Parker for being amazing (as always!) and sending me a copy of this book!!

 

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

 

This book was also part of Camp Firefly Falls! I haven’t read it yet, but if you’re interested in more check out http//campfireflyfalls.com for more info!

 

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