#BookReview In The Dark by Cara Hunter

I discovered Cara Hunter years ago through Goodreads and ever since I’ve been on the hunt for her novels. I accidentally came across one of them in a local store. They normally don’t even sell books! But there was In The Dark perched on top of a little display. I grabbed it, speed walked as fast as I could and bought this book. It sat on my shelf as I admired it, and finally got the nerve to picked it up. The wait was DEFINITELY worth it. All caps, bold, italicize – let’s make this clear. In The Dark by Cara Hunter is a delightfully addicting thriller for mystery fans.

Cara Hunter has a special voice when it comes to thrillers. There are no chapters – the story just keeps moving. There’s constant movement, a fast pace and twists and turns all over. Suspects are introduced and hinted at along the way. Reader sleuths will have fun trying to nail down who did what with who throughout this book. Who kidnapped the girl and her child? Who killed another person? Was there an affair? Is the older man crazy or does he actually have dementia? Why are all of these people so suspicious?!

A young woman and her child are found in a basement. This is shocking and sudden, but links to deaths of women in the past. Everyone wonders if this is the missing woman that was presumably kidnapped years ago… But what if she’s not? The story unwinds to bring us many suspects who have likely cause for this behaviour. Abusive marriages, desperate affairs, greedy relatives after wills and deceit will bring forth the suspect… But with so many suspects, is it only one person? Or is all of this nonsense connected?

DI Adam Fawley’s books are super intriguing. They glue me to every page and it’s really hard not to binge the entire book. I couldn’t get enough of the thrills, twists and turns Cara puts into this book. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves mysteries and thrillers. The character development is also on point. I loved how Cara painted these pictures of how everyone is not perfect and how we need to think about all of the information we’ve been given. It felt like I was a detective alongside Adam Fawley and his crew. It’s an absolute delight for thriller fans like myself.

Overall, this is yet another winning book! I highly recommend it and will continue to support Cara Hunter. Who doesn’t love sneaking away into an amazingly written book?

Five out of five stars.

Want to join in the thrill ride? Grab this book now:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Indigo
B&N

Check out Cara’s socials by clicking on the links below:
Goodreads Author Page
Twitter: @CaraHunterBooks

Looking for more thrilling reads to fill up your TBR? Check out some of my other faves featured on my blog:
Close to Home by Cara Hunter
Spiral by Khaled Talib
Wrong Place by Michelle Davies

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#BookReview Unmuted: Stories of Courage and Resilience from the GenPRIDE Community by Steven Knipp et al.

If you’re looking for a book that will stir your emotions but also remind you that you’re not alone, this is it!

Unmuted: Stories of Courage and Resilience from the GenPRIDE Community is a delightful book with many short stories within its pages.

Background: GenPRIDE is a nonprofit I had not heard of before I picked up this book. It sounds like it’s doing fantastic work by focusing on helping the lives of midlife and older LGBTQIA+ people. And, fun fact, individuals from this group wrote this book! So that’s pretty darn cool, if you ask me. This book helped build a community and I am absolutely honoured to be able to pick this book up!

This book starts out with a breathtaking and beautiful dedication to Kevin Charles Patz. He was not only a writer in this book, but a good friend of the other writers. The dedication was heartwarming and made me smile. I’m sad to hear that Kevin has passed, but I’m glad he lived so fondly in others hearts.

The feelings this book gives is just insane. You’ve felt what these authors have felt, you’ve just maybe not known how to express them. The anxiety of people, the feeling of pure loneliness – having someone write those out and see that I’m not alone was an amazing coping mechanism for myself. Especially in these wild times – quarantine and pandemic – knowing that I’m not the only one feeling these crazy feelings is nice and soothing. You hate seeing other people having these feelings, but at least you know you’re not alone.

The heartbreak of Do Young’s Ghost hit home a little too hard. The pain of learning someone you love is dying from a source that isn’t kind… It hurts. My heart goes out to Greg. We can sit in the same boat together.

Hiding yourself from others or hating what you have to hide – Jenny, you give me strength and hope that I can be who I strive to be.

Loss from Steven Knipp, Hope’s story of birthdays, Shayla’s story of addiction and Linda’s purely incredible comment – “Why don’t people use non-gendered pronouns when they have doubts” is an age old question for me. Funny story, I used to teach classes and couldn’t always tell what names matched genders. Oftentimes, I would call the kids “Dude” as a non-gendered term as I was learning what names/nicknames they liked being called and what pronouns they went by. Dude was always an incredible non-gendered term in the world of children. That sentence reminded me of the amazing times I had back then, what a nostalgia trip that was!

Overall, this is a beautiful set of stories. I hope this group writers more and I’m able to pick up all of their books. This is a mesmerizing, must read on my list!

My summary sentence for the whole book: It amazes me how writing can soothe the soul and bring people together.

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the editor, Jennifer Haupt, in exchange of an honest review.

You can find this book by clicking on the following links:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

Looking for more non-fiction and feeling-full reads to spice up your life? Check out some of my other faves that have been featured on my blog:
#BookReview Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19 by Jennifer Haupt et al
#BookReview Produce Poetry or Die by Narada Voux Sanders
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

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#BookReview Juana and the Dragonewt’s Seven Kingdoms by Kiyohisa Tanaka

Juana and the Dragonewt’s Seven Kingdoms Volume 1 is an absolutely adorable manga!

I truly loved this little manga and I cannot get enough of it! It’s sweet, fast paced, adorable and magical. It’s also super relatable since it’s dealing with outcast-like characters!

Nid, a young dragonewt, comes across a human girl named Juana. They do not speak the same language and Juana is an unknown species to Nid. Nid is an anxious fellow who doesn’t fit in and is a carnivore among herbivores. He feels misplaced yet somewhat familial with Juana. He decides to go on a quest to help his new friend.

Nid is our eye into the story. We see Juana and watch her interact with the dragons, but Nid is the true lead of this story. His frustrations, anxieties and sense of adventure are all present. It’s really fun to see the non-human side of things for once. Plus, making Nid so relatable to the population of readers that is going to read this book is wickedly smart.

This book is super heart warming and sweet. I need the remainder of this series ASAP. It’s just so kind and lovely and everything I need during a stressful time. It’s a great and happy way to escape everything going on right now. I will say that this book will not be for everything. It did seem kinda niche, but I still think it’s lovely and everything I needed and wanted it to be. Additionally, I could see middle graders, YA readers and adults loving this story. It’s universal for it’s age group.

Also, I love the art style of this manga. The cover itself drew me in and then the illustrations kept me there. It’s colourful, fun and whimsical. I love it!

Five out of five stars!

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

 

If you like fantasy and manga, here’s some other books featured on my blog that you’ll love:
#BookReview The Boy Who Cried Ghost by Richard Clark
#BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr
#BookReview Boston Metaphysical Society by Madeleine Holly-Rosing

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#BookReview Try Dying by Rajeev Singh

Try Dying by Rajeev Singh is the first book by this incredible erotic horror author that didn’t bode well with me. Let me explain…

Normally, I’m totally all in with Rajeev’s books. If you haven’t picked his books up, he’s a master at erotic horror. His books are creepy, disgusting, mind boggling, menacing and disturbing – the way erotic horror should be. I’m honestly always blown away by his talent! Normally, his kind of horror doesn’t sit well with me at all and I (essentially) run away screaming. But his books? The writing style and tone always pulls me in and keeps me hanging on.

Then in walks Try Dying. The writing style, the tone, the word choice – all of the essence of the book is incredible. It just gets a little too brutal for me and I had to walk away numerous times to stomach it. Why? Well, the weird fetishes of wanting to murder a woman viciously while you have sex with her made me ill. If that’s the kind of horror you’re going for, Rajeev does it well. That kind of horror bothers me – I’m a woman who fears this. I will say, Rajeev Singh does horror well for this topic. I give him all the props, this just isn’t the plot line or story line that I should personally be reading. I can’t give him enough props, bonuses and compliments for how he made this into a story and made it work. Once I was able to slowly but surely get through this book in little chunks (pun intended), I realized how well written and intriguing it is.

So, what is in store for you, oh mighty reader:

  • The Dark Web
  • “Walrus-moustached” as my new favourite description
  • Fetishes
  • An adventure surrounding a curse
  • An awesomely designed cover image
  • A niche book perfect for it’s niche market

Overall, the book plot wise sat at a solid 3 for me. The adventure and curse side of things brought me in, but the brutality against women grossed and creeped me out. The writing? 5 out of 5, which is exactly what you expect from Rajeev Singh.

My final rating is going to sit evenly at a 4 out of 5. I’m not the audience for that book and I can accept that. I still want to read all of Rajeev Singh’s books because he’s one of the few horror authors that I can (normally) sit through the whole book and enjoy reading. He also just has a really nice writing style that makes the books easy to read. I find I don’t get that a lot within the horror genre.

Four out of five stars!

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

Ready to pick this book up and tackle it? Click the links below to find more information and buy it:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Find Rajeev Singh on Goodreads – Author Page

Here’s some other books by Rajeev Singh that have been featured on my blog! Check them out:
Dead Women Tell No Tales by Rajeev Singh
The Erotic Muse by Rajeev Singh
Blood Rain by Rajeev Singh

Seeking some other fantastic fiction to pile onto your TBR? Here are some other books I’ve loved and posted to the blog about:
Nothing is Strange by Mike Russell
His Name Was Zach by Peter Matruneac
Spiral by Khaled Talib

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

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#BookReview Scruffy Muffin Loses His Money by A.J. Kormon

Scruffy Muffin Loses his Money is a great picture book by A.J. Kormon.

This book is deceptively awesome! When you look at the cover and title you think it’s just a typical picture book, but it’s not! This book can be used as a fun, light hearted read OR you can look at the back of the book that prompts you on how to talk about money, budgeting and saving with your little ones!

I absolutely adored this book! It had a great story with a fun rhyming scheme (I started singing in my head), on top of an optional educational bit. If you know me, I love my educational side pieces! The back does a great job of informing parents of the many ways they can help install good money management skills in kids. It’s not all accounting and boring, it’s all about starting conversations and being open with kids.

Throw in the colourful illustrations and the awesome array of friends Scruffy Muffin has, and you’ve got yourself a real winner! I highly recommend this book to young readers.

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author, A.J. Kormon, in exchange of an honest review.

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

Find out more about A.J. Kormon by clicking on the links below:
https://www.ajkormon.com/
Goodreads Author Page

Loving middle grade reads? Here are some other epic books featured on my blog that you will tots love:
#BookReview Togo Learns How to Play by Pat McCulloch
#BookReview The Underground Toy Society: You’re the Illustrator by Jessica D. Adams
#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid

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

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#BookReview Easter with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid

Another Snowman Paul adventure is on it’s way! This time, Snowman Paul is celebrating Easter.

Snowman Paul REALLY wants an Easter egg but the chickens aren’t exactly too happy with that. Why does he want it? Well, there’s an Easter egg painting contest! Dan and Snowman Paul’s friendship is shown even mores in this book, which makes my heart sing. The little message about friendship that is in this book will be a great conversation starter for parents who want to make this book a little more educational too! What a great conversation starter, mixed in with a lovely story.

I love the facial expressions in this book. It made me smile and giggle as I read it. This book will definitely be loved by kids and adults alike. The fun, happiness and cheer these books bring are wonderful. Yossi Lapid deserves all the love! Grab this book for your children’s book shelf, it’s well worth it! And this series is always a staple on my must read, book recommendations!

The first page had me grinning already with balloons, chickens, chicks and bunnies all over. It’s a colourful array of fun with incredible illustrations. I love this series for the illustrations alone, and then you add in the valuable messages and friendship.

Five out of five stars.

I was sent a free copy of this book by Yossi Lapid AND I picked this for myself too. This series is just too good to be true!

Click the links provided to grab this book while it’s hot (or cold… because he’s a snowman…):
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 Christmas with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Valentine’s Day with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid

You can find out more about Yossi Lapid on:
https://lapidchildrensbooks.com

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

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#BookReview Nothing is Strange by Mike Russell

Nothing Is Strange or everything is strange?

Mike Russell is a master at oddball books. I always go into these books not knowing what to expect and come out with my mind blown. It’s a similar feeling to watching David Bowie music videos or trying to come up with a valid WandaVision theory (Mephisto or Magneto?).

This selection of short stories is an easy to read and mind boggling adventure. You can jump in and out without the need to worry or fear that you’ll forget something. Each story stands alone and will mess with your mind (in a good way, I promise). This book will grab your attention and keep in the a strange and exciting way. If you love bizarre and want to be enticed, welcome to the world of Mike Russell.

I really enjoyed these stories, if I’m being honest. Their kooky, odd, curious, bizarre, strange and all of the other synonyms you can come up with. It’s the oddity of Alice in Wonderland – it’s delightfully fun yet makes you question reality. The absurdity is what makes it so much fun. Is there meaning there? What is normality anymore?

My personal favourites: Cream Tea, The Diaries of Sun City, and Dunce. The entire book has stories about love, death and grief, some tentacles, miracles and insanity.

This will definitely be a niche book! It’s not for every reader and that’s okay. The books aren’t always straight forward so it can be hard to read in that respect. Either way, these stories will make you grin or grimace in a world full of fun.

Four out of five stars.

I received the book for free from StrangeBooks in exchange of an honest review. Thank you yet again for another lovely and mind boggling book.

Go give this book a gander:
Goodreads: Nothing is Strange
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Check out the fabulous world of Mike Russell by clicking on the links below:
http://www.strangebooks.com/
Twitter: @strangebookseye
Goodreads: Mike Russell

If you love this book (or even the review) clickity clack some of these other links that will take you to other books you might love:
#BookReview ExtraHumans by Susan Jane Bigelow
#BookReview Strungballs by Mike Russell
#BookReview Strange Medicine by Mike Russell

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And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

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**Featured image/cover provided by the Publisher – StrangeBooks.

#BookReview Dear Me, Letters to Myself for All of my Emotions by Donna Tetreault

Dear Me, Letters to Myself for All of my Emotions by Donna Tetreault is an excellent book to teach children about their emotions.

To begin with, the inside cover along with the little sticky notes with words on it was a wonderful image/graphic. That drew me in and pulled my interest forward. Then we get into the story itself – it has colourful illustrations, simple and easy to follow sentences, as well as some colourful font to grab your attention. I really liked that the emotions all had their own font and colour – that made the book feel more fun and engaging.

The illustrations are absolute gorgeous. Honestly, that’s what stands out to me. The fun, cartoon-y style with bright colours makes this book really interesting to look at. Add in the fantastic story, message and theme and you’ve got yourself one fantastic book.

Emotions are big and scary when you don’t know what you’re feeling or why. This book tells the reader that emotions are okay and tries to give some explanation as to why they are. Understanding is a key part of this book and I really appreciate that. This book also gives some coping mechanisms such as writing out your feelings. There are many examples for how this can be done but in a narrative context.

I can respect this book and I really think it’s a beneficial tool as well as just a great picture book. I can see educational institutions, social workers and parents alike finding this book useful.

Five out of five stars.

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

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

Here are some other children’s books you will love if you enjoyed books like Dear Me:
#BookReview Togo Learns How to Play by Pat McCulloch
#BookReview I Miss You Most by Cassie Hoyt
#BookReview Valentine’s Day 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 PRODUCE POETRY OR DIE. by Narada Voux Sanders

PRODUCE POETRY OR DIE. by Narada Voux Sanders is a beautiful collection of poetry that is pure art.

You can tell that the author is an artist with how this excellent collection of poetry is written. I enjoy dipping into the poetry world, especially after taking classes studying poetry for my degree. The world of poetry and peeking inside an author’s mind is just breathtaking. Especially when it’s a poet! Poets are strange creatures that can weave their words with grace in unique patterns. It’s a form of magic, I swear!

This book was no different than my opinion on poetry – it’s pure magic. The themes of pain, love, diversity and fear are all very prevalent. With most poetry, there are going to be some pieces in this book that stand out to you more than others, but that’s okay. Some of the poems I related to on a very personal level, while others I didn’t but could still appreciate. There were stories that I couldn’t relate to but felt strongly for, all because I got to see the author (or voice’s) point of view.

Ethnic degradation, society’s flaws, colonization, and abuse of all forms was all present in this work. You can tell that there was strong feelings behind this set of poetry – much like the title suggests. There’s also all forms of poetry – rhyming, various meters, a story, an interview, a prayer and a glossary. It truly is a mesmerizing collection with a little bit of everything.

Some of my personal notes that I took while reading:

  1. Metrical Venting – raw, real and honest. I really loved the flow of it when you read it aloud (which you should always do with poetry – seriously, sometimes that is the art).
  2. Misafirkist – This felt like a take on colonization and white supremacy.
  3. “Human crimson juice” is my new favourite saying and I will be using it instead of blood.
  4. I’m More Than What You Perceive Me To Be – ridiculously relatable and very important to hear.
  5. Poetic Patience, Closet, Piñata, F’in’ Flowers – some of my personal favourites.
  6. The White on Dark War – This is an eye opening poem that gives me “The Cattle Thief” by E. Pauline Johnson vibes.

Overall, this set of poetry has miraculous metaphors and was all around awesome (enjoy the alliteration). This felt like a poetry slam written down which is probably why I love it. Plus, the overarching grand themes are done very well!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this collection from the author, Narada Voux Sanders, in exchange of an honest review.

Ready to read some poetry? Check out this collection on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Check out Narada Voux Sander’s social media:
Instagram: @naradavouxsanders
Twitter: @NVSNaradaVoux

If you are seeking more books, why not check out some of the other books recently featured on my blog?
#BookRecommendations Top 20 Books from 2020
#BookReview The First Days of August by Alan Froning
#BookReview Alone Together by Jennifer Haupt et al

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

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#BookReview The Never Have I Ever Club by Mary Jayne Baker

Ahh, romance is in the air! This February I’ve loaded the bloggity with lots of romances, and here’s another lovely one! Mary Jayne Baker is definitely up there for my fave romance authors. Give this rom-com a look-see!

 

Mary Jayne Baker is proving to be a Queen of romantic comedy, let me tell ya!

I’ve been enjoying books by Miss Mary Jayne and couldn’t resist when I saw this book floating around on NetGalley. Because it’s so good, I even bought myself a copy too! I can’t get enough of these super sugary sweet romantic comedies because they are just so feel good! And full of laughs! Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to consistently find romantic comedies that have me giggling!

So, we have this group of friends who named their little get together group. The Marry, Shag, Kill Group became so many other titles, but finally settled on The Never Have I Ever Club! So a new group is formed and is gonna try to do something new that they always wanted to try! A fair amount of these folks are elderly, and we all know they will have time left in life to learn. This all came about though because Robyn’s ex broke up with her, and now she appears to be falling for his twin brother, Will. Did I mention Will’s a hot doctor? That totally helps.

This adorable pair slowly begins to fall for each other, and they lean on each other in tough times. They are quite the pair! I liked watching this slow burn romance develop over time, to be brutally honest. It was a great change from the sudden love at first sight books I’ve been picking up recently.

There’s so many fun pop culture references in this book that it has me grinning. Honestly, I think these books are just a barrel full of fun (or monkeys, whatever quote you want, really).

My only potential negative is that this book could be a little bit shorter and the story wouldn’t have changed. But, that’s just my opinion! I still think the book is an absolute delight and it doesn’t affect my enjoyment at all.

If you like romantic comedies, this is a fun book to pick up! It’s a laugh out loud funny kind of book with a wonderful friendship growing into romance trope that will melt your heart away. I couldn’t get enough of this book and I know I’ll be following Mary Jayne Baker in the future because I think her books are just fantastic. I am definitely in her reader base! What a talent!

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and Aria for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

If you love romance, here’s some other books featured on my blog that you’ll love:
#BookReview Seeing Colour by Amber Faucher
#BookReview The Perfect Fit by Mary Jayne Baker
#BookReview A Bicycle Made for Two by Mary Jayne Baker

 

Find out more about the amazing Mary Jayne Baker on:
http://www.maryjaynebaker.co.uk/
Twitter – @maryjaynebaker
Goodreads – Author Page

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

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