#BookReview Vi by Kim Thúy

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Kim Thúy’s beautiful short story, Vi, is a must read for fiction lovers!

I won’t lie, the fact that this book is so short was what drew me to it. I needed a quick read to keep me occupied while I was in a waiting room and this book was short enough to devour in one sitting. While this book might lack in quantity, it hits a real punch on the quality. I’m honestly surprised Kim is not a bigger author, because this book was mind-blowingly awesome. And yes, I am making mind-blowingly a word.

The cultural impact is probably the best part of this novel. Often, you can see silly cultural stereotypes in novels but this one did it right. You could tell Kim knew what she was talking about with the depth and nature of her words. It didn’t feel cheap or obnoxious, it felt oddly satisfying to read about another culture that was not my own. Watching Vi’s story take place over these pages was a fantastic adventure, since Kim wove her words so beautifully and made this story dance in my mind. I absolutely loved it!

I would have liked a better ending, I found it kind of “blah” compared to the rest of the novel. This book had me hooked and obsessed with Vi’s journey and then the end just fell…well, flat. I would have liked something more. That was my only real issue with this novel. It is a translation (and my copy was an ARC) so there were some weird sentences with the translation but that wasn’t a con for me. I moved passed those issues really easily when reading it.

Overall, this charming read is a great option if you want a story that will move you and impact your understanding of culture. I 100% recommend this book!

Four out of five stars.

I received an ARC of this book through Goodreads First Reads.

 

If you read this review, use the hashtags #BriarsReviews & #Vi on twitter! @ReviewAlholic

Check out Kim Thúy on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3152466.Kim_Th_y

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview A Long Way Back by J. Everett Prewitt

Comment below with your most recent read!

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#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

 

#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 Cutter by Thomas Laird

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To say I’m now obsessed with Thomas Laird and this series is an understatement. This book is just WOW.

I’ve always had a fondness for a good crime novel/television show/film. My love of Bones, Kathy Reich’s novels, 19-2, Chicago Fire/PD/etc, NCIS, Hawaii Five-O, and so many others are all stapled on my book shelf and DVD collection. What’s always hard though, is finding a REALLY good book – and Thomas Laird made one.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I am desperate to get more of these novels. I don’t know how Thomas Laird did it, but for me he made a hit. Yes, there were some slower parts of this book that dragged on, but when the book gets moving, it moves FAST. I love our lead and his romantic interest Natalie, and their little family side plots. I love the relationship between the department, and I love the side chapters of the killer. It’s all fantastic!!

The chapters involving the killer show how sadistic this killer is, and it was a very interesting twist. Most of the novels or shows I’ve seen don’t give much insight into the killer until the end! Yet this book does it just perfectly – a little hint of what the person is doing, but nothing to give away who it is.

This book is definitely close to R rated. There are some gruesome descriptions and some explicit sex/rape scenes – so this book isn’t for the light-hearted. But it is an excellent crime story!! These brutal scenes fit in with the narrative and help tell the story – they aren’t just in there for shock factor or to make the book seem “sexy” like some crime novels have done. These aren’t passionate sex scenes, they are brutal and show how horrible the killer is.

Our lead character is a bit…interesting. He’s a tough guy and uses some rough language, but it doesn’t take away from the story. It seems to be more of a character development issue if anything. Reading other reviews people didn’t like that part of the story, but for me it just highlighted what type of character he is. Not everyone is sunshine and roses in police departments, unfortunately. Just like everything other job in this world – no one is perfect and uses G-rated language all the time.

One thing I’m furious about – the ending. It was on a cliff hanger and MY GOODNESS DO I HATE CLIFFHANGERS. Knowing that I probably won’t be able to find the second book in this series anytime soon makes it worse… Even with that cliffhanger though, the book was a definite recommended read from me. It’s a spectacular crime drama that hits all the notes it needs to.

Overall – this dark, twisted crime novel is everything I wanted it to be and more. What a great fast paced thriller!

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Enjoy my reviews? Check out my Goodreads page! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

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#BookReview Drug Gang Vengeance by Neil Walker

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Drug Gang Vengeance in one word: Brutal.

And I mean brutal in a good way, of course! If you’ve read the first novel of this series (Drug Gang), you’d totally understand the reason I pick that word – this book is full of drugs, fights, blood, violence, and general insanity (think John Wick sort of craziness).

The story builds on the last novel and changes the scenery a tad bit. I liked that it didn’t follow the same old plot and it expanded on the craziness that is John’s life. The big plot developments and twists that occur to John this time around was also epic! I can’t wait to see how Neil expands on John’s life after this, since this book really stepped it up.

If I were to suggest anything to Neil, I would say there were some scenes that could have been expanded on. There was a brief summary of the time John spent with a certain character in the hospital (no spoilers), and I would have liked to see more on that. Maybe that’s coming from the drama reader side of me, but I think that could have added to the story in someway. It definitely wouldn’t have been as brutal or fit in as well, but it might have grown the character.

There’s lots of swearing in this book, but it didn’t seem excessive. I don’t enjoy lots of swearing when it’s useless, but Neil somehow makes it work. Typically, you’d see me complaining about swearing (because half the time I swear it’s just filler for writers), but I like how it fit in this world. Way to go Neil!

But, that was my biggest flaw. Seriously, this book is great! It’s not for the light-hearted and it’s definitely not some YA novel, but it hits all the points I want in a thriller, drug-infused novel. It has it’s own style too, making it unique out of most of the books I usually read. It’s kind of a niche novel, but a great one! I almost feel like this book could hit big in an underground reading world.

My suggestions if you read this book:
Read book #1 (Drug Gang). Seriously, it’ll make this read better. I was going to read this book first, but I decided to start from the beginning and I don’t regret it. You’ll understand John’s journey WAY better – it’s not like a normal mystery novel where everything is filled in along the way. It’s much easier to just indulge yourself with this violent, fantastical journey than to cheat yourself on the wild adventure.

Four out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author Neil Walker in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out Neil Walker:

On Goodreads

On Twitter @NeilWalkerWrote

On Facebook

Give me a shoutout on twitter using the hashtag #BriarsReviews if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic

 

Synopsis:

THE DRUG GANG IS BACK! IT’S TIME TO PAY FOR YOUR SINS…

John Kennedy is on his way out of a life of crime in Sydney, when he is hunted down by drug gang The Brotherhood. This leads to a spiral of vengeance and violence that stretches right around the globe.

PART TWO OF THE DRUG GANG SERIES.

Drug Gang Vengeance is the sequel to my bestseller Drug Gang and I could send you a free promo copy of that also, if you would like to read and review both. I’ve attached the Amazon link for the first book below, if you’d like to take a look.

Find this novel on Amazon:

Drug Gang Vengeance #2 on Amazon.co.uk

Drug Gang Vengeance #2 on Amazon.ca

Drug Gang Vengeance #2 on Amazon.com

Find the first novel, Drug Gang, on Amazon:

Drug Gang #1 on Amazon.co.uk

Drug Gang #1 on Amazon.ca

Drug Gang #1 on Amazon.com

 

Comment below – have you read any books by Neil Walker? Or do you plan to?

#BookReview Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was an interesting take on Pride and Prejudice that just didn’t live up to the hype.

I was really excited to pick up this book. I had heard nothing but good things about it! Sadly, it didnt live up the hype for myself.

I had thought this book would be written in modern English, but it was identical to Pride and Prejudice. This made the book super boring – I had already read Price and Prejudice, I wanted a cool spin with a new kind of story telling. Sadly, it’s just Pride and Prejudice with a splash of zombies. Nothing spectacular.

The writer did do an amazing job of adding zombies into the original story, but this book was not my favourite.

Two out of five stars.

 

Enjoy this review? Check out another book you might enjoy! #BookReview Halfway Hunted by Terry Maggert (Halfway Witchy #3)

#BookReview Intricate Intentions by Jennifer Rayes

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This addicting series will keep you hooked with it’s fast paced suspense and drama!

If I’m being honest, I’m really into this series right now, way more than I expected! It has the perfect mix of drama, suspense and romance (well, this book lacked on the romance end – but I’m sure more will come).

If I’m comparing it to other works, it feels like 25% Game of Thrones (for some of it’s more violent content), 25% Reign (drama and royalty) and 50% soap opera. This book specifically started out with a big bang (much like Game of Thrones with it’s final episodes of their seasons) and continues the action through out. I didn’t feel bored anywhere in this book, and it’s hard to keep my attention!

My cons of the novel are as followed:
1. Cliffhangers – I have a strong hatred for cliffhangers, especially since we don’t know when the next book is coming out. I like a book being able to stand alone at the end and be it’s own entity, so the cliffhanger is more of a personal annoyance than a “con”, but it fits here.

2. Not enough Raoul – This time around there was lots of Dominique, but Raoul didn’t get enough “screen time”. I’d love to see both boys grow in their character arcs in further novels. Additionally, Raoul was just… odd. I’ll stick with odd so I don’t spoil anything. Hopefully, he’ll grow in the next book.

3. Carlos – I just wasn’t digging him at all. His story works within the overall plot, but I’d rather of had more Dominique and Raoul time. Again, personal annoyance.

4. “Second Book Curse” – The second book curse of most series seems to be the the second book is a little more boring than the first. It’s a stepping stone to the next book, so I REALLY hope we get another one that picks the series up. I loved this book, but I’m scared it will have the “Second Book Curse” where we never see the third book in the series because people didn’t love the second one as much…

My pros:
1. Fast Paced – Constant movement of the plot, mixed with action and dramatic scenes.

2. Fantasy – This book seems to be picking up some more fantastical plot lines, and it fits. I like how it’s expanding instead of staying the same old, same old.

3. Lovable Characters – I still love these characters – Gaia, Emily, Dominique, Raoul – and the newer characters being introduced are becoming just as lovable. They do have their flaws, but that’s kind of why I like them. I hate perfect Mary Sues or plain Janes, so having these characters be flawed and unique is a nice change.

4. Change in Plot – This might be a con for some readers, but the plot has moved from Human Trafficking over to a virus. I would like to see both plot lines continued in some form, but I can settle with a change like this. It makes the books move smoother and cover more topics.

Overall, I like this series! I want it to continue and I want more! Jennifer Rayes is a great author and the more she writes, the better it will get. I’m hoping more people read this series so Jennifer Rayes can continue writing it. The books are good and I’d love to see a “House of Night” treatment with this series where it gets more books to cover more content with all of it’s characters.

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book form Jennifer Rayes in exchange of an honest review.

 

Check this book out on:

Intricate Intentions (#2) on Amazon.com

Intricate Intentions (#2) on Amazon.ca

 

Check out the first book in the series on:

Intricate Deceptions (#1) on Amazon.com

Intricate Deceptions (#1) on Amazon.ca

 

Find Jennifer Rayes on her website or Goodreads:

http://jenniferrayes.wix.com/intricateseries

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7410834.Jennifer_Rayes

 

Comment below if you’re read anything by Jennifer Rayes! And give me a shout-out on Twitter if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic