#BookReview I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

I am Thunder by Muhammad Khan was a pleasant surprise!

I love books that let me inside another person’s life and culture, and I am Thunder met the bill! This book welcomes the reader into a Muslim and Pakistani lifestyle which is something totally new to me. I’ve seen the headlines, I’ve had classmates, but I’ve never been able to learn this much about a culture in one sitting. While this book is only ONE view in a Young Adult (and slightly dramatic) book, it was still truly intriguing. Hats off to Muhammad Khan, seriously.

This book does cause some waves in the reading community though – I’ve seen lots of praises and lots of criticism. So, I’ll just share my thoughts.

I like that this book follows one young woman’s story. Yes, it’s like a soap opera and slightly dramatic at times but isn’t all YA? Muzna’s story gives some fabulous insight into her culture (for example, the difference between a religion and the actual practices someone follows). Her family life, her thoughts, her trouble deciding what to do with her life and the effect it has on everyone felt very REAL. It felt like I was reading a book made for and by a teen – she wants to meet boys, she wants to impress people, she wants to try to have a life but do what’s best for her family too. I could totally relate to her in that aspect. She struggles with being a teenage girl trying to just BE a teenage girl.

Are there parts of this book that were rough and tough? Yes. I don’t fully know what this woman’s culture would be in an accurate depiction, so maybe this is all my views as a reader. Buuuut… her parents are HARSH. It seemed like no matter what this girl did that they weren’t proud of her. It’s no wonder that Muzna “acted out” because there was no way she’d ever please those parents. It was borderline abusive. I don’t think it was a culture thing… honestly, I’m certain it’s not supposed to be a reflection of their culture. Those parents were borderline abusive if not actually abusive. Like, show a little familial love? Or at least, don’t be cruel at all times of the day?

Extreme religion was also apart of this book, so let there be a trigger warning for those who might be bothered by this topic. I found it interesting to read, but at times it felt like everyone were quite extreme with their religious practices. I know there’s only so many pages in a book, but there could have been some “softer” practices or realistic ones. I know many lovely people who study and follow various religions who aren’t as “crazy” or as extreme as some of these characters.

If I had to list the good things about this book, they’d be the following:
1. This book showcases a different religion and a different point of view in a largely read genre. I like that YA has diverse books like this one floating around so readers can learn more about the world. Difficult topics like religion and politics should be brought into books (especially YA) so more people can learn and experience the world.

2. Muzna felt like a real character with real struggles. She didn’t feel out of place or goofy. She made me really feel for her story and want to know more about her.

3. This book can start wonderful discussions. It’s the type of book I wish we read back in high school. I could have picked apart this book and had some really great discussions with my classmates and teachers. Just think of a diverse class discussing their points of views on topics like these! Oh, it’d be an interesting time!

Overall, this book is a really well written book! Muhammad Khan has written a beautiful story that will introduce you to Muzna’s world.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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Or check out another book you might enjoy:
#BookReview Gods in Oslo by John Plaski
#BookReview The Fencers by Geza Tatrallyay
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

 

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#BookReview For Her Own Good by Tamsen Parker

Oh man, oh man, oh man! Another Tamsen Parker gem!!

This book is a 6 out of 5, but unfortunately that rating does not exist on this site so I guess I can settle with just a 5 out of 5.

Seriously though, this one was a DOOZIE!

Tamsen has amped up the plot, has some truly epic references and kept me hooked the entire time! Starla and Lowry (amazing names, by the way) are one incredibly interesting pair that make this book feel more than just a romantic, erotic tale. These characters felt real – mental health issues, sweet and seductive storylines and one heck of a finale! This book is just AMAZE-BALLS.

So, down to the actual plot – Starla was Dr. Lowry Campbell’s patient way back in the day (about 15 years if you are a numbers person) and suddenly he’s back into her life. Except, this time he’s not her doctor and is instead a sexy man she’s interested in. She liked him back then, but now the lines are blurred and it’s their chance to pounce at each other. Their romance is slow burn and faces many obstacles along the way. Starla has some mental health issues but deals with them like a champ. Lowry is an understanding man who is hella sexy and ready to be in her life.

If I have to summarize ALL of the amazing things I liked, here’s a list to start you off:

1. Lowry’s descriptions and accents and OMG Tamsen seriously made this man my dream man. She’s killing me! Reddish copper hair, smart doctor and the European twang… Ugh. SO SEXY.

2. This story has such a way with words – “Tongue like a whip” – seriously majestic. I loved some of the amazing phrases used because they added SO MUCH to this book. It felt like this book had attitude and was sassy at times. Example number two: “He deserves to have his heart cut out with a rusty spoon and fed to him.”

3. Star Wars references galore! “My enemies encased in carbonate” was the best gem, but there’s SO MANY.

4. “Daddy kink kryptonite” is the best way to describe this novel AND that’s a quote from the book!

5. Oh, and did I mention there’s a dominatrix? Oh yeah, this book is SPICY.

This slow burn novel is ridiculously amazing. Tamsen’s writing is only getting better and this book was seriously cool. Not all readers will like it – it takes about half the novel for the couple to get dealing with their romantic emotions – so readers who like quick, fast-paced romance might want to steer clear. There’s also talks of self-harm and suicide, so this book might be a little triggering for some.

Overall, I think this book is incredible! As I said, 6 out of 5 stars level good! I liked that Tamsen keeps taking risks with these stories. They are different, totally romantic and erotic and well written! What more can this reader ask for?

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from Tamsen Parker in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
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Fall down the rabbit hole into my many reviews of Tamsen Parker books:
#BookReview The Inside Track by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview If I Loved You Less by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview Thrown Off Track by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview Fire on the Ice by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview In Her Court by Tamsen Parker

 

Check out Tamsen Parker on Twitter @TamsenParker or on her website

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#BookReview The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith

If you’re looking for a book full of mystery, thrills and deceit then The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith might be for you!

This book was action packed, fast paced and full of intriguing characters (all of which seem to meet at the final climax of the book). Not only that, but Timothy Jay Smith had such a way with words that it was hard to put down! To just quote the opening lines of the book, “their steel girders boomed thunderously” had me hooked, and his way with his prose continued to be spotless and marvelous!

In this book, we follow Jay Porter the FBI agent while he is in Poland. Dead men are popping up everywhere and they all have very specific pieces of evidence about them suggesting there’s a murderer on the loose. Throw in the 90s setting with Russia, Poland and nuclear weapons, and you’ve got yourself a great start to a thrilling mystery novel. Along the way we meet characters who seem to belong to the mafia, a lovely lady named Basia who feels like a Bond girl, and lots and lots of deceit.

This book gave me Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and James Bond vibes. It’s really intriguing and dark yet still made me feel totally hooked on the book. I read it all in one sitting because I NEEDED to know how it ended. To top it off, having the incredible writing style of Timothy was just amazing! It was enchanting to read the story and see it happening in front of my eyes so well! He’s so descriptive!

If I had to give this book a rating, it would be R. There’s blood, guns and sex (lots of sex, among different genders too!).

If I had to list some of the “cons” of this book, it would be as followed:
1. There’s a lot of small side plot/comments that may throw some readers off. For example, Jay’s trouble with his ex-wife and son pop up briefly a few times. It’s not totally necessary to know all of that information to know about Jay, but it’s there. I could see that being a distraction for some readers.
2. Jay and Lilka had more chemistry than Jay had murder-solving capabilities, in my humble opinion. I would have liked to see him work a little harder on his crime solving abilities or flesh out the romance full out. But that’s just me – I like romance novels and I like mystery novels and I find them hard to mix together.

Overall, this is one great addition to your mystery and thriller shelf! I would 100% recommend this book if you like a good mystery novel or want something to spice of your reading! And, it’s relatively short! The copy I received was under 300 pages which made it nice and quick for me!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Timothy Jay Smith, in exchange for an honest review.

 

You can find out more about this book on:
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Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Nobles
Indigo
Kobo
timothyjaysmith.com
Skyhorse Publishing

 

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#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda

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

King Arthur. Round Tables. Medieval Fantasy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five out of five stars!

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

 

 

 

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

 

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#BookReview Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

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Amazon Sale – Down in the Belly of the Whale

 

Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles is a witty and ingenious Young Adult novel that addresses a multitude of tough subject matter in an eye-opening manner.

I don’t know how Kelley does it, but she always manages to impress me. This time around, Kelley has a Young Adult novel that addresses so many tough subjects in one go! Topics such as self harm, child abuse, Multiple Sclerosis, loss of innocence, suicide and not so supportive parents are just some of the many that are tackled in this book. Each “issue” is brought into the story seamlessly and has plot lines throughout the narrative to deal with the issues. Most Young Adult books stay away from the tough yet so very real topics like these, so I have to applaud Kelley for taking the big leap in her story!

My teenage self would have loved a book like this, and I could have learned a lot in the process. On top of the subject matter, the book is written in the voice of a teenager (and it feels oh so real!). Just some of the quotes, such as “I’m going to wear a stunning pair of very expensive jeans that hug my curves like a two-year old with separation anxiety” make this book hilarious! This sitcom-like book creates a fantastic balance between realism and dark topics alongside the silly and goofy one-liners to make the book less depressing.

I did like the character development in this story – both Cora and Harper grow throughout. The change in their attitudes and view points was very obvious as the book went on! I think Kelley did a great job making these characters feel real and like teenagers. Bravo!!

The fantastical side of Harper being able to “sense” when someone is sick, and she’s able to sense mental illness is a big step forward. Mental illness is not always seen as someone being “sick”, rather it’s just an issue to be dealt with. Having a book directed towards teenagers have this point of view makes me very happy and very proud of Kelley’s writing.

Now for the tough part – the negatives. Were there negatives in this book for me? Yes. I felt the ending was rushed, which made some of the pieces being tied together feel less real. Is it necessarily a bad thing? No. It was just something that stuck out to me. Kelley ties up some of the loose ends nicely, but I would have loved a few more pages dedicated to these storylines. Other than that, this book felt flawless.

Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! This book was a fantastic Young Adult novel that I actually got into! I didn’t want to put it down, and I didn’t. I easily binged this book in one sitting, but it could easily be read in bits and pieces. If you like Young Adult novels, books that tackle dark subject matter (in a light-hearted way) or a splash of comedy, then you will love this book! I’d even recommend this to many adult readers, because of it’s amazing way of tackling the rough subjects.

There is a bit of an asterisk on the recommendation side – this book could be a major trigger for some people. Keep that in mind if you plan to pick up this book! The darker sides of this novel may not be suitable for all ages and maturity levels!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Kelley Kaye Bowles in exchange for an honest review.

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

 

Find out more about Kelley Kaye Bowles on:

Goodreads – Kelley Kaye Bowles

http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

Twitter – @kelkay1202

 

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And if you enjoyed this review, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis

#BookReview More Than a Feeling by Sara Richardson

More Than a Feeling is a marvelous continuation of the Heart of Rockies series by Sara Richardson.

Years ago I managed to get my hands on one of the first books in this series, and then I bought the sequels! Silly me lost them among my shelves until I recently managed to clean my little library up. Of course, I had to pick this book up and continue the series (I’m sure #2 is hiding somewhere in my house. Whoever said you had to read these in order?!).

I really enjoy this series, but it is an R rated book – sex scenes, abusive pasts and a miscarriage are just a few parts of this story that make it a “tougher” read. It felt like an adult romance novel, which is what it was intended to be. That being said, this book could be a potential trigger for some readers.

I like that Sara didn’t hold back with Ruby’s story. Her story is rough and tough and isn’t all sunshine and roses. She’s lucky to find a man like Sawyer and a beautiful, unconventional family to fill her heart with. Oh, and the sex scenes made for a good romp too!

This book has a lot of tug and pull. Ruby wanted Sawyer, but didn’t want to tell him her secrets. Sawyer was very similar, but he was all in for this relationship. The ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ was a little annoying, but that’s because it’s one of those specific cliches I get bored with. That part of the book didn’t go on for a long time, but it’s still there. This little cliche made this book a slow burn romance, but when it hits the hot parts… wowza, it is hot!

I like contemporary romances like these. For whatever reason, they are really hitting all of the notes I want them to hit this year. There were some cons though…

1. Potential animal abuse. I strongly dislike animal abuse. Fortunately, a lot of the potential abuse isn’t shown in this novel. There’s just a little bit and it’s used to show Ruby’s compassion. Still… it’s a touchy topic for me.

2. Abusive exes. Yeek… These do happen in real life but they still make me shiver. Some readers might not enjoy some of the comments said in relation to this topic! So, reader beware…

3. Miscarriage. It happened in the past but I know it’s a very touchy subject for some people. Again, reader beware!

4. Sawyer is a really horny man. It’s not necessarily a giant con (it’s a romance novel, you kinda have to expect it) but I know a good friend of mine did not enjoy that part of the novel. So, it’s a potential con? Not for me, but for some readers.

If I had to pick the good things, they would be as followed:

1. Foster families and happy endings. I like seeing the positive side of building trust and making friendships! I’m glad this book put foster families in a good light.

2. Stand-alone versus series. This book could easily have stood alone, yet it’s apart of a series. Sara gives you just enough info to be able to jump into this book without knowing the rest of this series.

3. NO CLIFFHANGER! Thank goodness there was no cliffhanger. Those kill me.

Overall, I liked this book! The touchy subjects dropped one star off my rating, but realistically they can happen! So why not put them into a romance novel and use them for a happy ending?

Four out of five stars!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Indigo.ca

Check out some other reviews and books you might enjoy:
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels
#BookReview Something Like Love by Sara Richardson
#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin

 

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#BookReview City of Friends by Joanna Trollope

City of Friends is a lovely story by Joanna Trollope following the interconnecting lives of women.

This book focuses on the trials and errors of middle aged women being women. Lost jobs, children to take care of, parents to take care of, struggling romantic relationships, family drama and friendship drama all mash together into one well written tale. It’s everything you’d expect from a contemporary, women’s fiction novel!

There are four women who were once friends and now all of them are middle aged. Each of them have their own struggles to deal with, and somehow all of their problems relate to each other’s problems. As with most female centered books, there is a pinch of feminine drama that makes me question if women are just bound to be dramatic and gossip (as a woman, I haven’t seen too much of that as an adult – maybe it’s just me though). Examples of this drama: One woman offers her friend’s “mistress” or new lover a job but not her best friend, two of the women’s children start seeing each other, a husband tells a woman to pick between their relationships or her mother’s health. Yeah… this book felt petty at times.

Even with some of these interesting plot lines, I did enjoy this book. Buuuuuut… it wasn’t a hit out of the park for me. I found it was a lovely, soft read that wasn’t hard to jump in and out of. The worst part was that it got very slow at times. There were entire chapters that could have been left out and the story still would have progressed. I also didn’t feel like there was a real “end” to this book, it just stopped. That’s how life stories go there – there never is an “end”, something just “stops”.

There are some really strong parts of this book, for those looking for my positives! There are strong women characters who are facing realistic problems. I know many girls and women who have faced some of these troubles – like a sick parent, dealing with a lost job, and trying to balance work and family life. I like seeing books like this that bring about real issues so people realize that everyone goes through this stuff. Our lives aren’t what we see on Instagram – life isn’t perfect.

It may be because I’ve read a lot of women’s fiction lately (on accident) or maybe it is just the plot of this book – I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. The synopsis sounds awesome, the cover is gorgeous and the first half of the book really peaked me interest. At half, I kind of just wandered off in my brain and had trouble getting through it.

That being said, I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary novels and women’s fiction. It’s not a bad book, it’s just not a good book for me – mainly because it couldn’t hold my attention the way other women’s fiction has. I think Joanna Trollope has a fantastic, easy reading, writing style and I want to read more books by her! This is just a blip on the book radar!

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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

If you enjoyed this book (or review!) check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview A Cup of Redemption by Carole Bumpus
#BookReview Coming Out by Danielle Steel
#BookReview Tempting Faith by Susan Mallery

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