#BookReview Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley

Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley is a darling, historical, holiday-themed romance that is perfect to add to your TBR shelf!

This book is just a sweet delight. I was seeking something fast, light-hearted, comedic, romantic and simple and this book fit the bill.

Benjamin, the Duke of Silkridge has returned to his old town when his Grandfather died for the will reading. He stumbles upon his first crush and lost love, Noelle, who worked for his Grandfather. The feelings are very much mutual for Noelle as well. Ben, our resident Scrooge, must complete a Christmas-themed task to be able to get what his Grandfather left him in the will, but it brings him closer to Noelle in the process… Sparks fly and drama ensues, all in a town called Christmas and during the holiday season.

This is one of those books you curl up under a good blanket with some hot tea and just sink into it. Relaxation and simplicity works super well for titles like these, and I mean that in a good way. It’s fun and lovely, exactly what a romance and historical romance reader loves! It’s also PG, so it’s a lovely book to get started into the historical romance genre.

I am definitely going to continue with this series if I can find it. I’d like to see all 12 of the Dukes find love since this series is just so lovely! Good job Erica Ridley, you’ve crafted a historical romance masterpiece.

Four out of five stars.

I found this book via Bookbub!

 

Check out this wonderful book on:
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Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
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Find more books and information about Erica Ridley on:
Goodreads – Author Page
http://www.ericaridley.com/
Twitter – @EricaRidley

If you liked this book (or even just the review!) here’s some other books you’ll also enjoy:
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson
#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner

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#BookReview Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Let’s get into the Christmas spirit with an adorable Christmas book by the always lovely Debbie Macomber!

 

Call Me Mrs. Miracle is an absolutely delightful Christmas romance book!

Emily Merkle is mistakenly called Emily Miracle, and takes on the name Mrs. Miracle. She’s an older woman who does wondrous work at the toy store she got hired at. Jake is her boss, and he’s ordered what seems like WAY too many toy robots that his father, the owner, is not too pleased about. He meets Holly Larson, a woman taking care of her nephew since his Mother has passed and his Father (her brother) is in Afghanistan. Gabe, her adorable nephew, really wants one of those robots. She might be in luck, since her and Jake meet and he’s more than happy to set one aside for her. Will there be a Christmas miracle?

This book is so utterly cute! It’s the perfect book to curl up with a blanket and some tea and just sink into. It’s full of Christmas spirit and packed tight full of ooey gooey romance. It is predictable, especially since this turned into a Hallmark movie, but it’s everything I wanted and more in a Christmas romance book. It’s sugary sweet and just fun.

Four out of five stars.

 

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

 

If you love Christmas romances, check out these delightful book featured on my blog:
#BookReview Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Christmas on Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains
#BookReview Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis

 

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#BookReview Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Cozy, holiday reads are excellent – cozy, romantic, holiday reads are even better!

Anita Hughes has crafted a lovely, heart warming story about two women finding their loves during Christmastime.

Louisa works in a bakery, when suddenly Noah shows up needing Christmas desserts for a reality television show he is working on. When those desserts make the lead dangerously ill, Louisa is hired to take her place!! Meanwhile, the assistant Kate finds love again with a man from her past… Oh, and Noah and Louisa get along quite well.

I found this book to be very sweet. It’s your typical holiday romance with a bit more description than romance. The beautiful displays at expensive stores take the forefront with Anita painting beautiful pictures in my head of these designer stores. I wish there would have been more fluffy romance throughout the pages, but this book was more contemporary fiction with a hint of romance than full on holiday romance.

The romance itself is quite bland at the beginning. Lots of cheek kisses to establish the leads might like each other. Also throwbacks to the relationship failures, instead of the current love that should be occurring on the page. Again, this book is more contemporary than romance. The men are also… weird. They aren’t normal men (or even romance novel men), they all act very strange and have very aggressive or manipulative behaviour. It was still an okay read if you get over the fact that they are kinda weird.

If anything, I found this book to be the perfect feel good book. While I was reading it, I just wanted something to escape and feel nice and fluffy. This book fit the bill. It doesn’t need to be the romance book I hoped it to be, it was perfectly nice to escape from the insanity of the real world. Thank you Anita Hughes for giving me an escape. If you’re looking for descriptions of Christmas displays and beautiful Christmas desserts, this book is perfect!

Three out of five stars.

 

You can find this wonderful holiday story on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Indigo

 

Pack that TBR up tight with many more holiday romances:
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Christmas on Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains
#BookReview Hot for the Holidays by Marie Force, Tamsen Parker et. al

 

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#BookReview A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi

If you’re looking for a humorous, seasonal book packed full of holiday comedy, you need to pick up A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi.

I am new to John Scalzi. I have been informed his writing is superb and he can be quite snarky, so of course I was in. To top it off, who doesn’t want some Christmas cheer during a time like this?! Even if it is making fun of the whole holiday season! Honestly, this book was exactly what I needed in my life right now.

This collection holds fifteen short stories, poems and snippets that will leave you giggling and breathless. Here’s just some of the lovely, little pieces of literature you’ll come across (in no particular order):

1. An Interview With Santa’s Lawyer – this one was by far the best of the bunch for me. Seeing this lawyer explain Santa’s liabilities and how Rudolph screwed everything up had me chuckling the way no other book has managed. It’s absolutely ridiculous while being funny at the exact same time. Santa’s corporation, his billionaire coal master status, and the elves’s union rights are just some of the wildly amusing topics brought up. Not gonna lie, I want an entire book just on this alone!

2. A Bitter November – I also thoroughly enjoyed watching the months go off at each other. Poor November is upset over December and it’s shining glory. The personification in this little story could be used in a master class. I’m thoroughly impressed by John Scalzi’s writing here, it’s too good and too funny.

3. Christmas in July – this one had me guessing for a while what was going on. Why did Santa move Christmas up to July suddenly? We see a peek inside the government trying to figure out why there was a mass home invasion leaving everyone exactly what they wanted. The ending was quick, short and sweet, but I wanted just a little bit more out of it…

4. Interview with Santa’s Reindeer Wrangler – the interviews are apparently the pieces of this collection that had me laughing the most. The conversations are so dumb funny and yet perfectly written. It’s exactly what you’re picture a reindeer wrangler complaining about if he had the job. Rudolph never existed and gave everyone a bad name, and the reindeer positions are actually jobs. It’s a super witty take and I applaud John for the cool idea.

It’s shocking this book has so many reviews and ratings, because I absolutely LOVED this book. Very rarely can I find a comedy book that keeps me interested the whole way through, and this one did just that. There’s satire in here, pure comedy and so many great takes on holidays – and it’s not just Christmas!

You don’t need to celebrate Christmas to find joy in this book. Since it is so satirical, it’s a great way to laugh at the holiday season in general and how ridiculous it can be. So, I highly recommend this book if you love or hate Christmas, if you love comedy and want a laugh, or if you just want a really well written book. Spice of your book shelf with this collection! Everyone will be able to find at least one story in this collection that will have them chuckling and chortling away.

Five out of five stars!

 

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

Find out more about John Scalzi on:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/
Twitter – @scalzi
Goodreads

 

If you’re looking for more comedy in your life, here’s some other book recommendations to help fill up your TBR:
#BookReview Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books
#BookReview Life Seemed Good, But… by Richard Bell
#BookReview Pop Sonnets by Erik Didriksen

 

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#BookReview Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie is an intense YA thriller by Courtney Summers.

This book is unique, let me tell ya! It’s from two point of views: a podcaster in the form of a script for said podcast and Sadie, the missing teenage girl.

Things get pretty wild: Mattie, Sadie’s little sister, was brutally murdered. You need to understand that Mattie was Sadie’s whole life, especially since their Mom decided to walk out on them. Sadie was a surrogate Mother to Mattie, so her whole life was ruined when she died. Sadie ran off, out to seek justice, and she’s not gonna stop until she gets it…

The thing about this book – I saw SO many people reading it that I was kind of nervous. Everyone loves it, and often times I don’t agree with the crowd. BUT MY GOSH I DO I DO I DO (to quote Abba, of course). This book lives up to all the hype, but I recommend going into it just for a good read.

This book is WILD. I did not see the ending coming, not from a mile away! Once you get close enough to it all the pieces fit together, but man… It was intense! I’m super impressed and pumped about how this book was strung along. My heart strings were pulled, my heartbeat went crazy up at the thrilling parts and I just couldn’t put the book down. Honestly, I binged the whole thing in one go because I NEEDED to know the ending. It was that fantastic!

The book is super uncomfortable. Some of the content is just creepy and scary, and it reminds me of why this world is so scary. But Courtney Summers wrote it so well that it’s hard not to scream about it from the hill tops. I could almost feel Sadie’s pain, and as more of the story unfolded I only got more angry and hurt about what happened. Poor Sadie…

My biggest complaint: The open ending. There is no concrete proof on the exact ending, AND I HATE IT. I truly hate cliffhangers and this one is killing me. I have an assumption of what happened, but it’s an assumption at best. The book does kind of hint at it, if you look at the words the right way… but nothing concrete. If Courtney did what I think she did… Good job. If not, I’m annoyed!

There are major trigger warnings in this book: pedophilia, child neglect/abuse, violence and substance abuse. Beware readers, because this book can be tough.

Overall, this book was insanely good. I haven’t read YA that goes so heavily into the topics AND make the main character a bad*ss. Go Courtney Summers!

Four out of five stars.

I received an ARC copy courtesy of Goodreads First Reads.

 

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

 

If you love thrillers, here are some others featured on my blog you should add to your TBR:
#BookReview In Search of Valor by Gary Corbin
#BookReview The American Crusade by Mark Spivak
#BookReview Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio

 

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#BookReview Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead

Succubus Blues (the first book in this miraculous series) was one of my top books for 2019. Ever since I was in high school, Richelle Mead was one of my faves. Vampire Academy, Gameboard of the Gods and the Storm Born series ranked high on my list! It seemed only natural to finally pick this seires up.

Georgina Kincaid is a succubus with a mortal, author boyfriend named Seth (she is his ultimate fangirl, by the way). After the contents of the last novel, she learns that they cannot touch or get it on without killing him (that’s a good way to kill the vibe in a relationship). Meanwhile, one of her co-workers has been acting pretty strange, and to top it all off her old incubus buddy Bastien is back in town. Can’t a girl catch a break?

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first one, if I’m being brutally honest. The first book felt like a fairy tail and put really high expectations in my head! Unfortunately, Succubus on Top just didn’t meet those expectations. That being said, it was still a fun ride and worth the read. Everyone I talk to says the series only gets better, and I’m up for the challenge.

Georgina is a relatable character (despite the fact she basically has to sell her body to stay alive). She has flaws, her relationship isn’t perfect and she has temptations. I think we can all relate to that in some way. There are moments where I’m yelling in my head that this is a bad idea, but I know full well I’ve probably made one similar. Then, to top it all off, Seth is the dream man that every girl dreams of and more! That’s probably why this is making out to be an excellent love story. He cares and understands her in ways most people just don’t get, and it’s super romantic. Yet, this isn’t the typical romance novel. It’s not ooey, gooey or mushy gushy – it’s an adult relationship with depth and character (that might sound boring, but I promise you, there’s lots of sex and sexy scenes in this book).

I found the plot to be predictable in this book, while I didn’t really see everything coming in the first book. It’s not the end of the world, but for a sequel I was surprised it didn’t hit me as well as the first book did. Also… there was some quick forgiveness in this book and I feel like it’s not entirely… accurate? Maybe it’s just me.

Another plus for me is all of the side characters – the vampires, demons, angels, etc. Seriously, Carter seems like a fun guy, just saying.

Overall, Richelle Mead is a great writer with lots of grand ideas. I’d recommend picking up this series if you want a romance novel that is so much more (but still packs a good punch!). If you’re tired of the tired billionaire or jerky bad boy, meet Seth the nerdy, sweet and understanding author. He’ll give you chills and be the ultimate book boyfriend.

Three out of five stars.

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Indigo
Kobo

 

If you love fantasy and romance, here’s some other books I’ve loved that you might love too:
#BookReview White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1

 

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#BookReview Snowman Paul at the Concert Hall by Yossi Lapid

Snowman Paul is back again and going to a concert hall!

This is the sweetest, little series – as I keep saying over and over. I adore it and could scream it from the hills! Soft illustrations, great messages, and fun stories are all packed into these adorable, little picture books!

Our lead sees Snowman Paul practicing some music – singing, fiddling, trumpets, drumming and more – and watches him have a swell time! Soon enough, music is playing day and night. Unfortunately, nobody was sleeping because Snowman Paul was so committed! After all of this practicing, Snowman Paul gets to perform!

I thought this was a super charming story! I’d highly recommend adding it to your children’s or your picture book TBR. This series is utterly adorable and is totally worth picking up!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author, Yossi Lapid, in exchange of an honest review.

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Check out the other books by Yossi Lapid recently featured on my blog:
#BookReview Sasha and his Red Leash by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid
Quick #BookReview Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Snowman Paul Returns to the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Snowman Paul at the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview My Snowman, Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Halloween with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview The Amazing Snowman Duel by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Christmas with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid

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

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#BookReview Misadventures of the First Daughter by Meredith Wild and Mia Michelle

Geez Louise. If you’re looking for a super hot romance with lots of erotica and sex scenes littered throughout, with just a pinch of thriller in it, GRAB THIS BOOK.

I have a fond place for Meredith Wild. She is one of the authors that “introduced” me to erotica in romance. I wasn’t totally into erotica after reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but Meredith and a few other writers introduced me to how romantic and sexy erotica could be. It was only natural for me to want to pick up some more books by her and give them a chance.

Misadventures of the First Daughter is an excellent romp for you to thrust into (haha, puns!) and I’d highly recommend it if you like romance and erotica.

So, plot time:

Charlotte is the First Daughter and her parents are rather strict. She starts rebelling and seeking all the fun in the world, meanwhile Zane Parker, her bodyguard, watches on. She has always kind of liked him, and suddenly those sparks are flying. They get entangled in a romantic web that they might not be able to save… Especially since their love is forbidden.

This book can be touchy for some people. There’s hints of sexual assault in it, so be wary. Otherwise, it’s a great erotica that kept me stringing along the entire time. There’s just so much tension in it that it is impressive! I absolutely want to pick up more of this series, especially since it dabbles with other authors as well. This Misadventures series seems like it’ll be a great romantic series for anyone to pick up. Surely there will be an author you enjoy in this collection!

Overall, it’s a great read! I highly recommend my fellow romance and erotica lovers to give this book a go! Good job Meredith and Mia!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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

 

You can find out more about the authors, Meredith Wild and Mia Michelle, on:
http://www.meredithwild.com/
Twitter @WildMeredith
http://miamichelleauthor.com/
Twitter @miamichellebook

 

If you love romance and erotica, here are some other books that you might enjoy that have been featured on my blog:
#BookReview Love, All by Tamsen Parker
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels
#BookReview At Mother’s Command 2 by Kay Brandt

 

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#BookReview Something Borrowed by Louisa George

Oh-Emm-Gee.

Something Borrowed by Louisa George was seriously cute and is totally hyping me up for Valentine’s Day! You know, months early.

Chloe Cassidy just had the worst thing that could possibly happen to a wedding planner happen – her husband left her at the altar. Jump forward, and suddenly she’s getting flirty with the Best Man, otherwise known as the sexy Vaughn Brooks. Will this chef and wedding planner fall in love? Will her ex come running back to her? No matter what happens, romantic chaos ensues!

This book was seriously fun and absolutely delightful. I couldn’t put it down and I honestly didn’t want to. I love a good dramatic romance when I want to take a break from schoolwork. This book perfectly fit the bill! It is a wee bit stereotypical, but that’s exactly what I signed up for!

The big bonus of this book is that the characters are definitely flawed. They aren’t perfect and they’ve all had some rough times. Chloe’s ex does seem like quite the psychopath, but having one strange character out of the bunch is fine with me. I enjoyed watching these characters grow and change, it was refreshing. I don’t always see character in romance-y chick lit books so I’m impressed.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the side plot that I think will be carried on into another book. It was very sweet! I was confused at first as to why it was happening, but then I just enjoyed the ride. No spoilers, of course, because that would give away half the fun!

Are there negatives for this book? Yep, there sure are. Chloe’s Mother’s depression made me feel uncomfortable. There’s also a lot of blame in this book for certain situations that realistically wouldn’t happen (only through assumptions). None of this tore me away from the book, but I can see some readers not enjoying these aspects.

Overall, this book was a great read and I totally loved it. I want more books by Louisa George ASAP! I accidentally stumbled upon this book from Bookbub and the free iTunes bookstore, and I’m so glad I did. Hopefully more Louisa books find their way onto my shelves.

Four out of five stars.

 

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

Here’s some other books you might enjoy if you love romance:
#BookReview Love Comes for the Bodyguard by Savannah Adams
#BookReview Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber
#BookReview Tiny House, Big Love by Olivia Dade

 

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#BookReview I Told You So! Strike Three, You’re Out by Mark Gunning

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good middle grade novel. What can I say? I love being transported back to the nostalgia and fun of my youth! Middle grade novels are always so fun and creative, so I was pumped that an author even asked me to read one of theirs! It’s always so rare and exciting!

So, onto the review:

This is book four of the series, so I jumped in at a random time. It wasn’t too hard to jump into, but here’s what I got from the story:

William is our lead, and his buddy is out of the game and is in hiding. But, don’t worry! He sends him a text to meet him at a local skate park. I can already tell, they’re gonna get into some mischief! He has a plan, and it’s shown through great, little pictures within the book. The kids an artist and a great thrill seeker!

This group of kids decide they are gonna play a little baseball! It all seems exciting, right? Right?! Well, not until a few mistakes happen and things go a little astray.

They also get into more fun hijinks throughout the story, but I’ll leave the rest for you to read.

I think young readers who love sports will totally dig this book. I was always craving more sports related books as a kid growing up (there was mostly books about animals or fantasy… go figure), so it’s nice to see more now. This book isn’t too long and it’s exciting and fun enough to keep you hooked and entertained.

Plus, William, Thomas and their buddies are all fun and relatable. They’re kids being kids, and it’s great to see a book where it doesn’t feel like adults in kids bodies.

Fun side notes:
These kids live in Itchygooney, which is just one incredible name (if I might say so).
Halloween! Ah, I love a good Halloween shout out. It’s my fave holiday!
Personality filled comics at the back!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author, Mark Gunning, in exchange of an honest review.

You can purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
B&N

You can find out more about the author, Mark Gunning, on:
Goodreads Author Page
Twitter @MGunningAuthor
http://www.itchygooneybooks.com/

If you’re looking for more middle grade books, check out my recommendations by clicking the links below:
Another amazing Canadian author: #BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller
Canadian author round 2: #BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr
And a graphic novel to spice things up: #BookReview Smile by Raina Telgemeier

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

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