#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?

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#BookReview If We Had Known by Elise Juska

 

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“If We Had Known” was a unique read that gave me chills.

With all the shootings that have been happening, well…everywhere, I was honestly surprised I hadn’t seen millions upon millions of books trying to hone in on the public interest. When I initially picked this book up, I was under the impression this book might try to do just that, but it was surprisingly and beautifully respectful.

I did enjoy this book. I think it was an interesting ride all the way along, and it kept me hooked. There were a couple chapters where it was slow and I became bored, but overall it was an addicting ride.

So, what are my pros and cons?

Pros:
1. Different POVs – There are many different point of views in this story, and one of them is NOT the shooter (believe it or not). I appreciated watching the lives of many people fold out, and not just one.

2. Story Telling – I LOVE how Elise Juska told this story. Her choice of words and pace of the novel really fit well with this topic. I wouldn’t change a thing in relation to this.

3. Intertwining Stories – When stories intertwine I get so giddy! All of these stories having effects on each other (some positive, some very negative) made the book just a little bit more exciting. I could guess some of the effects that they would have on each other, but it was still nice to see that things do effect other people.

Cons:
1. Plot Device Characters – It felt like some characters were thrown in and taken out super fast just to move the plot along. I would have liked to see Anna’s boyfriends a little bit more and see how things affected them.

2. Happily Ever After – Everything tied up so nicely at the end! I was kind of hoping to leave off on a weird note, and not a semi-happy note. Now, everybody who knows me knows I like happy/good endings, but I felt a little cheated with this one. There shouldn’t have been a really good ending, and anybody who’s been through something like this would tell you how honest that was.

Overall, I really liked this book! There are definitely some minor problems with this book, but it was a worthy read!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Did you enjoy this book? Why not check out another by Elisa Juska?! EliseJuska.com

Check out If We Had Known on Goodreads! Goodreads – If We Had Known

Give me a shoutout on twitter if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic – Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

Or check out another book you might enjoy! #BookReview Life Seemed Good, But… by Richard Bell

Comment below your favorite book that you read recently!

#BookReview #OnTheBrinkofPassion by Tamsen Parker

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Round Five of the Snow and Ice Games! I’m sad to see this series go, because I never knew how much I needed a sports romance book! But, this series is worth the ride! Maybe if we’re lucky, Tamsen will make a summer Olympics version of this series for Tokyo 2020… Hey, a girl can hope!

So let’s get into the meat of this story:

This time around we are graced with Jubilee and Beckett, and they are world class figure skaters. They weren’t initially paired with each other: Jubilee was originally with her husband (who has since passed away), and Beckett had been playing around with who his perfect partner would be. Finally, they settle on each other and seem to be the perfect fit. And of course, what’s figure skating without some competition? Sabrina and Todd, two of the people Jubilee and Beckett had been paired with, are their rival competitors.

Not even 24 pages into this sexy story, and I already love the dynamic between Jubilee and Beckett. They are sassy, competitive and keep each other on their toes. I absolutely love the fact that yet again Tamsen changes the dynamic of her main characters’s relationship. And if you think that this dynamic wavers at all, it doesn’t. The snarky and sarcastic comments keep coming and have perfect comedic timing. Honestly, this pair is my favourite out of all five of the books Tamsen has written in this series.

I liked the fact that Tamsen slowly revealed what happened to Jubilee’s husband Stephen. The way she slowly weaved it into the slowly really hit me emotionally. If she would have given away what happened earlier, I don’t think the story would have worked as well.

This story is sweet, sometimes heartbreaking, and fulfills everything I wanted in the final novel of this series. It felt like a roller coaster of emotions and it hit every note it needed too.

One thing about Tamsen Parker is she knows how to keep her fan base happy – she isn’t afraid of change. I can’t say enough how proud I am to watch her grow as an author because SHE’S SO GOOD. Ugh. Her books are so frustratingly good!

So, brief summary of this book for those wondering what type of topics this novel includes – minor spoilers of the plot without spoiling specifics…be warned:
1. Sexy figure skating pair get some sexy time on (Jubilee – female lead, Beckett – male lead).
2. Jubilee’s past partner (on and off the ice) has died, and both Beck and Jubilee have had other skating partners since.
3. Jubilee and Beck start having a sexual relationship, Jubilee is but isn’t into it (but consents)
4. Jubilee and Beck’s pasts are slowly revealed, which includes some harassment
5. Past partners Todd and Sabrina should not be trusted…
6. Lots of detailed sexy time

Overall, this book is super steamy and is worth the read. If you were only going to pick one book out of this series, I’d pick this one. It’s my favourite, I love it! All the books are good, but this one just inched by the competition (I’m not sure if it’s technical points or performance points where it surpassed, if we’re using figure skating as a reference).

Five out of five stars!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley & the author Tamsen Parker in exchange for an honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced by other sources.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Fire on the Ice by Tamsen Parker

Head to twitter to give @TamsenParker or Briar’s Reviews a shoutout!

Check out the rest of Tamsen’s library on Goodreads! Tamsen Parker on Goodreads or on her website TamsenParker.com

Do you have a favourite romance novel? Share it below in the comment section!

#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 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

 

 

#BookReview Once Upon a Vampire by Mari Mancusi

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To say I was a huge fan of the Blood Coven novels when I was younger would be an understatement. I remember going to high school sporting events and having to sit on a bus for hours to get to our location so we could compete – so of course I would brings books by authors such as Mari Mancusi, Zac Brewer, Ellen Schreiber, and other fantastic YA novelists. I was heartbroken when the series ended and I was hoping one day Mari might come back to it.

AND GUESS WHAT?! SHE DID!!

Once Upon a Vampire is more of an adult novel than YA (although, I’m sure YA fans could pick it up and not be totally disgusted with it. This book is a great continuation).

While it might not be a direct continuation with our former leads, this book environment wise is similar. Hannah and Logan follow a similar path to our former leading ladies and their respective fellows. Rayne is a big part of this story and Jareth also appears, but they aren’t our main leads – even if Rayne takes a bigger role than expected. Magnus is also referenced, but does not make an appearance.

I was definitely hooked to this book – my book cravings had been something easy to read, sexy with a dash of fantasy, and nothing mind blowing (like Game of Thrones), so this book fit the bill. It’s super easy to read, it’s easy to fall in love with these characters and the nostalgia is perfect for any previous YA reader who was as obsessed with Mari’s work as I was.

<spoiler>My “problems” with the novel – the conversation of blood mates was brought up twice, with two different reactions. One that the mate killed herself, the other that he didn’t have one…I’m slightly confused. Maybe I read it wrong, but it really threw the story off for me.</spoiler>

The romance was a beautiful line of this story, and I loved how Mari slowly introduced it. It wasn’t just sudden, and our character’s own pasts helped make the story a little more believable. It might not be a crazy realistic scenario (a 200 page story over a few days with vampires trying to kill someone. Please let me know if you’ve experienced this before so I can edit the review…) but it fit beautifully into the story. I really loved it.

I finished this book in about half an hour, I was that obsessed and couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t want to put it down, and I can’t wait for more books by Mari!! If there are more books in this series, I would be the happiest little reviewer in the world!! I would love to see more Sunny appear, since Rayne was visible in this story…But I’m not picky. Even just another book will fill my desires for more Blood Coven novels!

And we won’t have to wait to long…Dark and Stormy Vampire is next! And of course, as per usual, Mari leaves us off with a horrible cliff hanger! I swear Mari loves to torture us readers by leaving us with cliffhangers AND making us wait for more books…

Side Notes: Mari’s description of Logan is beautiful, but my recent obsession with Gilmore Girls can only see Logan Huntzberger. It oddly fits though…

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to Mari Mancusi and our epic Read and Review team for providing me a copy of this novel!! I can’t wait for the next one!!!

 

Check out Mari on Goodreads! Mari Mancusi on Goodreads

Or her website! Mari Mancusi’s Website

She can also be found on Twitter! @MariMancusi

Blood Covens also has it’s own website for your viewing pleasure!! Blood Covens Series by Mari Mancusi

Check me out on Goodreads where I post up to date reviews as soon as they happen! Be the first in the know!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Or follow me on Twitter! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

 

#BookReview – Strungballs by Mike Russell

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Strungballs by Mike Russell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five out of five!