#BookReview Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith

Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith is an addicting, fun and thrilling ride around a small Greek village.

In this thriller, an FBI agent finds his way to a Greek island where fires keep happening. He is investigating why they are happening and who could have caused him. Along the way, he comes across local islanders and business owners trying their best to succeed and living their lives. He meets himself a fancy man who he begins to fall for, and who might not be who he says he is. Many other islanders face the same fate: there’s a priest who isn’t so saintly, a family struggling to keep their business afloat, an Albanian waiter who has lots of drama going on, and his new lover’s sister is trying to get with every man no matter the relationships she ruins for them along the way.

This book is WILD. I was instantly stuck to it and truly intrigued about the ending. It took a bit for the entire story to piece itself together, but when it does it’s absolutely marvelous. I can easily say this is one of my top 2020 reads. I couldn’t put the book down!

There are some difficult topics in this book, like suicide and rape. Reader beware – this book doesn’t go too crazy into these topics, but they are still there. The mystery and romance is much more in the fore front.

On another note: This book is LGBT friendly! Huzzah!

Overall, this book was excellent! I’d highly recommend picking this book up if you love mystery and suspense with a dash of romance.

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to Timothy Jay Smith and NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
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Amazon.ca
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You can find Timothy Jay Smith on:
Goodreads Author Page
http://www.timothyjaysmith.com/
Twitter – @timothyjaysmith|

Tim on Santorini

Here’s another Timothy Jay Smith book recently featured on my blog:
The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith – Briar’s Reviews

Check out more mystery and suspense novels to fill up your TBR:
#BookReview Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio
#BookReview The Extra Cadaver Murder by Roy Innes
#BookReview A Woman of Valor by Gary Corbin

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#BookReview Donut Disturb by Melissa Williams

Donut Disturb is an absolutely delightful romantic comedy by Melissa Williams!

This book is sugary sweet, absolutely adorable and utterly cute! I always love a good romantic comedy, but this one just hits the spot.

We follow Cassidy Daniels, a Torontonian baker at Bake, Rattle and Roll. She owns the place with her brother and works mighty hard to make donuts there, while her brother specializes in cupcakes. She runs into Baxter DeCavhalo at the grocery store and then finds out he is her next door neighbour. How did she find this out? He basically broke in while she was blasting her music and baking donuts. The following budding friendship and romance is fun, thrilling and romantic! There’s Tangled frying pan to the face vibes, MMA fighting, a thrilling side plot and some hot sex scenes littered throughout this book.

I can relate to Cassidy. She’s a hard working woman who would die for her craft. She’s stubborn, intelligent and knows it’s hard to find a good guy sometimes.

But… be warned… this book will 100% make you hungry. The donuts sound AMAZING. It’s super not fair that Melissa would torture us with such marvellous descriptions of food. It’s truly cruel.

I love this book! It was a fun yet quick read that made me remember why I love romantic comedies so much. Melissa Williams has created a wonderful book and I can’t wait to grab more by her! I would highly recommend picking this book up if you want a fun and light read, love romantic comedies, or want to expand your TBR to include some more indie authors.

Five out of five stars!

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

 

Check out this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
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You can find Melissa on:
Goodreads Author Page
Twitter – @ReadMel6

If you’re looking for more romance to add to your TBR, here are some other books recently featured on my blog that you’ll love:
#BookReview After the Sack by Savannah Adams
#BookReview The Perfect Fit by Mary Jayne Baker
#BookReview Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

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#BookReview Spectacle by Rachel Vincent

 

Is it possible to rate over five stars? Because I totally would with this book!

Many eons ago, I was OBSESSED with Rachel Vincent’s books. I was a high-schooler with a minimum wage job and and money to spend. So, I hoarded books and rammed through most of Ms. Rachel V’s bibliography. Soul Screamers, Shifters, Unbound, Menagerie and little old Wildcat topped my reading list! I loved all of them. Then, one day, I went off to school and couldn’t afford books that weren’t at discount stores so I lost my chance at these books…

AND THEN I FOUND COUPONS AND SALES AND GOT SPECTACLE! Honest to god, I read Menagerie when it came out and about six years later I read this magical sequel. Despite the six year gap (for me as a reader), I was able to totally remember what was going on and feel attached to this series again.

AND OMG I LOVED EVERY SINGLE FREAKING SECOND OF IT. WHERE’S FURY?! I NEED IT NOOOOOOW!

I love Delilah and Gallagher. I did not love what happened to Delilah but that’s drama in an adult book for you.

Anywho… My actual review:

1. This book expands a lot on the first book. Bigger stakes, more drama, bigger fights and crazier cliffhanger. I’m curious where book three will go – I’m assuming it expands to the broader universe with cryptids in it because this whole series smells of “go big or go home”.

2. I feel like there’s more to Rommily then the book let’s on. She’s one of the narrators but she’s not used a lot. I find her so intriguing because her hints at the future are true, you just can’t tell what way they’re going to swing.

3. The relationship between Delilah and Gallagher being best friends is such a nice change from the typical romance I see in most books (but, I mean… I kinda do want them to get romantic? That’s the inner romance reader in me though). The trust there is really inviting and makes me really love them as characters.

4. This book is fast paced and something is constantly happening. I’m the type of reader who needs that sort of action, so I loved it! If you’re a slow burn kinda reader you are not going to enjoy this book. Heads up!

5. I’ve seen the complaints by other reviewers that this book is a repeat. Since it’s been over half a decade, I can’t say much. All I can say is that I REALLY enjoyed it. I’m not the type of reader who reads an entire series back to back, so it doesn’t bother me all that much. As long as book three isn’t an exact repeat, I think it’ll be fine. Rachel’s one of my fave writers so it’s not a downfall for me at all.

6. There’s some real trauma in this book that just HURTS. I feel so bad but at the same time can’t stop reading. There’s some real trigger warnings in here, but Rachel doesn’t go R rated. Your heart might hurt a bit from one of the graphic scenes (that isn’t described, just stated that it happened).

Overall, I loved this book! I need more! I need Fury ASAP and I need Rachel to write more books so I can binge them all. I’ve loved her for years and I still fall in love with her writing.

Five out of five stars! I’m FURY-IOUS that I don’t have the final book of this series in my hands… Haha, puns!

 

Check out this book on:
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Indigo
Kobo
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You can find out more about Rachel Vincent on:
http://rachelvincent.com/index.html
Goodreads

 

If you love Rachel Vincent or Spectacle, check out some other books on my blog that you might enjoy:
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1
#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda
#BookReview Gods in Oslo by John Plaski

 

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#BookReview Vanishing Hour by Lisa King

Vanishing Hour by Lisa King is honestly one of my fave reads of 2020.

This book is excellent! It has the coolest mix of thrills and fun all in one. It’s got hints of Up since we have an older gentleman named Matthew and a young twelve year old named Ruby. These two get stuck together during the end of the world: Everyone without some sort of brain illness or injury doesn’t get sick, but all the healthy people suddenly die. They chase after Matthew’s wife (who had Alzheimer’s) who walked off one day and are trying to figure out where the Horizon is, because Ruby’s Dad might be there.

It’s quite the ride and I was thoroughly addicted to this book. Lisa’s writing style is simple, easy and fast paced and kept me hooked the whole time. There was never a dull moment and I didn’t expect some of the exciting parts of this plot that came about. I didn’t expect there to be people trying to colonize (and maybe not doing a good job) and then that ending… Ugh. So sweet, so good, so cute! But massive cliffhanger! Break my heart Lisa!

I love that this is Lisa King’s first novel, because that means (more than likely) she’s only going to get better. This was a stellar start and I can totally see people loving this book! It needs to find it’s audience ASAP because it is just lovely. Add to the bonuses: Canadian author, actual medical terminology, and lots of character development!

I wish apocalyptic horror was more like this. I’d enjoy the genre way more!

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who likes: fun thrillers, apocalyptic horror, a fast paced story or something to spice up their TBR.

Five out of five stars.

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

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo
B&N

Check out Lisa King on:
https://www.authorlisaking.com
Goodreads Author Page

If you love mysteries, here are some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview In Search of Valor by Gary Corbin
#BookReview The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby
#BookReview The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith

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#BookReview The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give is a powerful and moving novel, that is an essential read (in my humble opinion).

YA is powerful. It used to just be my escape from the world, back when I was in high school. I was lifted away to fantastical realms where the girls were in love triangles and were “special”. Their love interests were vampires, werewolves or sorcerers and the girls were fairies or the chosen ones. Nowadays, we still have those escapism books but YA tackles the tough issues too. I went into this book based on a recommendation from my little sister (it is her favourite book and she wants me to watch the movie), and I knew it would be a smash if she loved it.

So, the actual story: Starr lives in a poor neighbourhood but gets to go to a fancy prep school. One night, she goes to a party where shots start ringing. Her old bestie, Khalil, helps her escape and they get into his car. As they drive off, cops pull them over. This isn’t good, because we all know how some white cops get when they pull over people of colour. And, to no one’s surprise, this cop is just like “those cops”. Khalil, unarmed and just trying to check on his friend, gets murdered cold blood. This ignites a war in the city, one that will leave you breathless and heartbroken.

This book opened my eyes a lot. It has a strong voice and makes you see things you might not have seen before. You see everything on the news and you know not every story is accurate. There are fifty sides to every story and you don’t get to hear all of one side. This book did that for me. As a reader, we get to see all of one side and all of the reactions and consequences of one person’s decision.

My emotions were all over the place with this book. You feel so whimsical at times, seeing Starr and her relationship and feelings. She’s your typical teenage girl experiencing life. And then you hear about the horrors of her life, and you feel empathy and just want to give her a hug. But then there’s the brutality, and your heart aches and you get angry over how things are going down. Why aren’t there consequences for these things? Why does none of it make sense?

Even the side story of the racism among friends hurt my soul. I was so confused on the other girl’s perspective on why she was right, yet I know there are people like that out there. It wasn’t just one out of tune joke, it was many.

This book is 100% worth your time. It is a longer book (almost 500 pages, wow. And I binged that in a day!) and that is the only negative I could see – it’ll take a while to read. That being said, it’s an important story and there isn’t anything I would remove from this book. It’s just the perfect length and gives enough information to make you understand all of this story.

As I said, YA is powerful. Having YA introduce and discuss these topics is a thing of wonder. Literature is powerful and it’s giving people a voice. A voice that may not be able to be shared without these forms of mediums. Thank you Angie Thomas for sharing an important story and making it so well written and so darn good. Now give me more books like this, ASAP!

Also: Tupac being the one to inspire this title blew my mind. I never connected the dots until the book pointed it out! I’m impressed x5.

Five out of five stars.

If you haven’t already checked this book out, you can find it on:
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Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Kobo
B&N

 

Here are some other books on my blog that you might enjoy if you liked The Hate U Give:
#BookReview #BookTour Baller Boys by Venessa Taylor
#BookReview I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan
#BookReview Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

 

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#BookReview At Mother’s Command 2 by Kay Brandt

At Mother’s Command 2 continues Max’s story of being whisked away to her biological Mother’s BDSM castle/resort. This time around, Max is essentially being held hostage and isn’t allowed to leave. She meets Neil, a man that I personally don’t trust but who knows, and begins to explore her sexuality a bit. Additionally, she demands the parents who raised her act like they were actually a couple which causes quite the stir. It seems the couple may actually explore these unearthed feelings for one another… despite both being involved with Sumera, Max’s Mother.

There’s more kink and sex in this book. Not only Sumera’s sex life, but some infant and degrading kink as well. While those aren’t my thing and I didn’t enjoy it as much, it’s definitely well written. Kay knows how to write her erotica really well! There will be readers who will eat this stuff up, pun intended.

I’ve very curious to see how the third book will go. I’d like to see Max develop and see what she decides. Will she accept her fate or escape from it all? The plot is just as good as the erotica in this series!

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to Kay Brandt for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

 

This book is available on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca

Find the first book in this series:
On Briar’s Reviews Blog
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

You can find out more about Kay Brandt on:
Goodreads Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Twitter – @MsKayBrandt

Here’s some other books by Kay Brandt featured on my blog. If you liked this book or review, you’ll love them too:
#BookReview Hotwives and their Dirty Desires by Kay Brandt
#BookReview Safe Landings by Kay Brandt
#BookReview Naked by Kay Brandt

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

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#BookReview Fallen: Princeborn Stolen by Jean Lee

Fallen Princeborn: Stolen by Jean Lee is a fabulous, fantastical, young adult novel that will keep you captivated!

This folklore tale follows a young girl trying her best to escape from a horrible situation. Suddenly, she is thrust into a fantasy world of epic proportions! All this girl wants is for her and her sister to be safe, but nothing is as it seems…

If you like world building, this story is for you. It’s full of lush lore and descriptions that will whisk you away into another universe. I was so intrigued by all that was going on, I could hardly believe I binged the whole book. This book is magical, whimsical and wild! The action and thrills just kept going and I barely had a minute to breathe (just how I like it!). On top of that, the characters are great! I felt like they were (almost) real! They had personalities, they grew throughout the story and had feelings and emotions. It was a well balanced story!

I like that Jean Lee finished this story up but left room for the sequel. Nothing kills me like a mighty cliffhanger! There’s still much to learn, but I didn’t feel like I was left disappointed.

I also feel like this book easily crosses the lines across YA, New Adult and Adult. While it does feature teenage characters, I think New Adult and Adult fiction fans will easily enjoy this book. With so much going on, it’s hard to place it in just one category.

If you haven’t picked up this book, I recommend it! It gave me great vibes and it was truly addicting.

Four out of five stars.

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

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
B&N

Find out more about Jean Lee on:
Goodreads – Author Page
https://jeanleesworld.com/

If you enjoy YA or fantasy, check out these other books you’ll love:
#BookReview Valyo Rising by R.A. Mendsen
#BookReview My Soul to Give by Magali A. Fréchette
#BookReview Boston Metaphysical Society by Madeleine Holly-Rosing

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#BookReview Love, All by Tamsen Parker

It’s that time again… I get to read another book by my fave! Tamsen Parker’s writing style has always vibed with me in a way I cannot understand. Whatever jedi mind tricks she is playing, I’m totally into it.

I managed to buy this beauty a while ago but lost it among my kindle library (what do you expect, Bookbub these days is killing me with those freebies). I marked it down on my TBR because I HAD to read it. I couldn’t not read a beautiful, little romance by my fave. So yes, I am 100% biased in my review. Beware!

Nate is an engineer who is also a tennis instructor (we’ve already got a winner folks), and he stumbles upon Ruby, who is a single mom looking for a good time. At first, this seemed like an easy one night stand sort of deal, but things get steamier. Ruby doesn’t want anymore time with him, but Nate is head over heels and wants some more!

The chemistry in this book is ON FIRE (totally a pun in reference to another Tamsen book, just saying). I totally loved the relationship between these characters and how Ruby’s daughter perfectly fit into the situation as well. Chloe was actually quite spunky and funny, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My biggest negative was I wish there was a little bit more. I understand this book was not meant to be very long, but I wanted to see their relationship grow and change just a bit more. Maybe two or three more chapters? The issues were fixed quite quickly for my tastes. Other than that, I think they were quite the pair! Not perfectly matched right away, but they totally grow on you.

Honestly, I adored this book. If you’re looking for a quick read where a relationship builds hot and fast yet actually faces real issues, grab this book! It’s super sweet and worth the read.

Five out of five stars.

 

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

 

You can find more books by Tamsen Parker littered throughout my blog. Give one of these reviews/books a try:
#BookReview If I Loved You Less by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview For Her Own Good by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview Hot for the Holidays by Marie Force, Tamsen Parker et. al

 

Find out more about my fave author, Tamsen Parker, on:
Goodreads
http://www.tamsenparker.com/
Twitter – @tamsenparker

 

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#BookReview Encyclopedia of Insects by Jules Howard

I LOVE learning, so seeing this encyclopedia perked me right up! Sure, insects can be creepy and crawly, but I was down for learning some new stuff about everyone’s “favourite” creatures! And I wasn’t disappointed!

Do keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive collection of bugs, but it is an excellent start for eager minds!!

The pictures in this book are absolute awesome! I really enjoyed the damselfly picture that stared into my soul (hoenstly, it was creepy to stare at my but the art is AMAZE-BALLS).

Here are select things I learned:
1. There’s complete and incomplete metamorphosis? Wait… what? Why did my biology classes skip that information? THAT IS SO COOL.

2. Dragonflies are actually predators, and Damselflies are a thing. Who knew?

3. The Walking Flower Mantis looks super cool and pretty. I even googled them because I didn’t believe they were actually pink. They are gorgeous!! They look like flowers!

4. Toe Biters, Hummingbird Hawkmoth & Slave-Making Ants. That is all.

Things I would like to avoid:
1. Swams of locusts. Kthanxbai.

2. EARWIGS HAVE WINGS. REPEAT: EARWIGS HAVE WINGS. They are way grosser now. Yuck. They can chase me when I run away!

Overall, this book is totally, super amazing! I would absolutely recommend this to young and old readers alike! You’ll learn a whole bunch. I could totally see this book being used for school projects or for nerdy little kids like me (back in the day, of course) who just wanted to soak up knowledge like a sponge. I will definitely be using some of these facts for my useless trivia I spout out at people on a regular basis.

Five out of five stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing for giving me an opportunity to read this book!

Check out this marvelous book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Indigo

You can find out more about Jules Howard by clicking the links below:
Goodreads
Twitter @juleslhoward
http://www.juleshoward.co.uk/

Here’s some other non-fiction-y reviews featured on my blog to fill up your TBR shelf:
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Book Review: Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear

 

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#BookReview Shadow Child by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto

Shadow Child by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto is a beautifully written tale about the struggles of a set of twins.

When I sat down and started this book, I was absolutely floored. The writing style was so stunningly beautiful, I couldn’t help but metaphorically describe it as fine wine. Rahna has a wonderful sense of story and her word choice is magnificent. I didn’t want to put the book down.

But then I got to the meat and plot of this story.

I didn’t fully know what was going on and my questions weren’t answered. So many parts of this story were hinted at but then just fell through. There’s also four different story lines going on so it required a lot of brain power to keep track of what was going on. On top of that, Koko is a nickname of both girls, so those sections had me using extra brain power to try to figure out if this was one or both girls or neither.

I liked learning about their Mother’s back story, but I didn’t think she was the main protagonist of this story. I was far more interested in the twins’ stories than hers. While their Mother’s narrative was interesting to follow, I just didn’t care as much. I wanted to know what was going on now since there was a lot more drama during the present time in the story. Hana and Kei had such a thrilling narrative that I needed that story more.

This book felt more like a novel I’d read in an English class than one I would enjoy in my hobby reading. I seriously want someone to pick apart this novel and explain it to me. Is there a reason why we didn’t get all of the information about what happened? Is there a reason why we needed to know so much about the Mother and not the girls? I’d absolutely love if the author even explained the themes. I think I’d appreciate this book more if I could pick it apart and analyze it.

Honestly, I have the feeling that there is a piece of this book missing somewhere. The two halves of this book don’t intertwine perfectly and it just gives me this strange feeling. The story isn’t finished so I don’t totally feel satisfied. While I think the writing is beautiful and Rayna’s talent is obvious, I’m not one for cliffhangers or non-endings. I need to know what happened, so I don’t feel strongly about this book.

Overall, this book is interesting. I’d love to see it in an English class setting or have a BookTuber explain all the ins and outs so I can appreciate it more.

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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

 

Find out more about Rahna Reiko Rizzuto on:
Goodreads
http://rahnareikorizzuto.com/
Twitter – @r3reiko

 

If you’re looking for some more books to top up your TBR shelf, here’s some you might enjoy:
#BookReview Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio
#BookReview Deep Cosmos by Project Kyle
#BookReview The Age of the Child by Kristen J. Tsetsi

 

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