#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.

 

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#BookReview The Darkening by Maggie L Wood

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The Darkening was a thrilling sequel to the Divided Realms series.

I am so dishearted when I couldn’t find the third book of this series, because I was OBSESSED with this book series back in the day. I went to Borders (in the states) and bought the first two books. They were two of the first books I bought with my own money at a bookstore. Then, Borders left that mall and I thought I would never find the books again (since my local Canadian bookstores didn’t carry them, and I wasn’t aware at the time that I could order books).

The game of chess was the focus of this series, and that was so fascinating to me. There’s good and evil, light and dark, and pulls towards each direction.

The world building within this universe was fantastic, and to me it’s a definite must read.

Overall, I really want to pick up this series again but with the final book (it says it’s available online as an ebook but I’ve yet to find it. I’ll have to look a little harder!). Maggie L Wood was so talented and I really hope she writes more and has more books come out. The premise alone was unique!!

Five out of five stars.

 

Comment below your favourite YA novel!

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Saving Me by Sadie Allen

Tweet me with the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #DividedRealms if you read this review!

You can find Maggie L Wood on her website: http://www.maggielwood.com/

Check out The Darkening on Amazon:

Amazon.com The Darkening

#BookReview Dreams and Other Lastings by RJ Sobel

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Dreams and Other Lastings was a beautiful set of poems that left me breathless and feeling warm (despite it being the “winter” Season).

I truly loved these poems – I always love a good set of poetry, but I could really relate to these stories. This isn’t a long book, and isn’t filled to the brim with poems, but the content within them makes this small set of poems worth every single word.

Reflection, aging, and memory are just three of the many topics discussed within these poems. I found myself reflecting on my own life and finding ways to see how these poems mirror situations I’ve had. For example, wanting to write someone and letter and reflecting on life, the good and the bad. It was so beautifully written, it almost pains me to think this was the last of the four books (of course, I could find the first three in the series to fill that void to fix that problem).

I 100% recommend Dreams and Other Lastings to anyone who wants a quick read, something to relate to, or just some good, old-fashioned poetry to warm their nights.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another book you might enjoy! Quick Book Review: Song of the Earth by Susan Nunn

#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?