#BookReview Reclaiming Raven by Mary Holt

 

 

Reclaiming Raven is an intense thriller by Mary Holt.

If you’re looking for a book that will blow your mind, Reclaiming Raven fits the bill. I was truly blown away by the intensity of this book, since I really wasn’t expecting it to be so wild. Raven is trying to escape her abusive husband, and she will do anything to keep herself safe. Cole, on the other hand, is doing everything in his power to try to get Raven back (hence the title, Reclaiming Raven). Our lead character has disabilities, but that doesn’t disable her from being one epic female lead in this novel.

This book felt like the intensity of Jaws and Terminator mixed with the thrills of a James Bonds or Mission Impossible movie. You feel like the story is going one way, only for the book to flip it on it’s head and take you in another direction. The fast pace and thrills make this book a really interesting read. The book is violent and rough around it’s edges though, so it might not be the best book for every thrill seeking reader. I would definitely five it an R rating for it’s abusive relationship. The abuse and violence is described, not just suggested, so this book would not be a good fit for younger readers.

My biggest pet peeve of the novel was Raven being naive. This tough female leader can kick some serious behind and keeps herself safe, yet she still gets herself into some really stupid situations. Just leave the man and get away! Don’t trust an abusive man! My gosh, that annoyed me. It somehow works within the story, but it’s a general peeve of mine in general. This entire peeve could be a potential trigger for some readers, so readers beware! Always research a book before you read it.

On a side note, I loved that there was a dog in it – Millie! The dog didn’t feel forced and fit super well within the book.

Overall, I think this book is a unique, dramatic, thrilling ride. The story is written in an easy to read and follow style, and it moves fast enough to keep the reader interested. It’s rough, tough and violent, but if you’re into that sort of thing this book will fit perfectly on your shelf!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Mary Holt, in exchange for an honest review.

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#BookReview Naked by Kay Brandt

Naked by Kay Brandt is an Survivor-esque erotica.

Cadence and Jackson are the leads in this exciting, Survivor like show where they travel to Madagascar and must survive in the wilderness. The main plot sees them filming their episode for the famous television show, but it’s more than just that. This book is filled with sexy, erotic scenes from behind the scenes of this show. The producers and filmmakers, the leads and the relationships outside of the show. It’s wild, hot and purely erotic.

This book does have a bit of a narrative since Cadence and Jackson do have to survive in the wilderness, but I’d say it’s more erotic than drama. I like the inclusion of a plot that isn’t just about sex, because it felt like it spiced up the book a bit more. I like having a little story in my eroticas so it’s not just sex.

That being said, it’s absolutely an R rated novel. The book is rather short – around 200 pages – so it’s an easy read to binge. I binged the whole book and I found it worked well that way.

Naked is almost a “stereotypical” erotica – the way they speak isn’t always realistic but it’s intended to make you hot and bothered. If you’re looking for Shakespeare, this isn’t the book for you!

The worst part of this book is how it ends – a cliffhanger. Those dreaded cliffhangers drive me absolutely NUTS (pun intended), but don’t be worried loyal readers! The book hints at a sequel to this novel so you’re not left hanging.

I’d recommend this book if you like books with lots of sex or something that is highly erotic. If you’re like me a like a little plot in your eroticas, pick this one up! I’d definitely say this some quality work from Kay Brandt!

Four out of five stars!

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

You can purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble

 

Check out Kay Brandt’s Amazon page, Twitter, Facebook and publisher Excessica.

 

You can also check out my reviews of Kay Brandt’s books!
#BookReview Hotwives and their Dirty Desires by Kay Brandt
#BookReview Safe Landings by Kay Brandt

 

 

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#BookReview The Gift by Stephanie M. Matthews

The Gift by Stephanie M. Matthews was a horrific, thrilling treat!

This psychological, thrill ride of a novel showcases a unique take on religion. If Fae crazy? She’s hearing voices and a Gift from her grandmother has led her into some tempting and daunting situations. Will she get out alive? Will her friends survive? You’ll have to read to find out…

I was honestly surprised by this book – it had so many layers to it that I had to re-read a lot of chapters to really get the point (in a good way, of course). When you look at all of the aspects of this book, you get a real good idea of how talented Stephanie is. Christmas Day, German roots, bountiful landscapes, religious views and arts, and a dark yet intriguing writing style all creates a dark yet vibrant story. I kept getting pulled back into the book as I left it since I really had to know what was going to happen. This is one of the few books that I didn’t see the ending coming, which was nice.

Throw in a Frankie Valli reference, and I’m always game. On top of that, Stephanie is from Canada! It’s like this review was meant to be.

The genre of this book is hard to pick. It had a mixture of horror and thriller in there. I would recommend this book for at least 13+ if not an adult audience. There’s no crazy gore or R rated scenes, but the religion debate has a big influence on this novel.

If I had to summarize this book in one quote from the novel, it would be, “Sin is just what religious people call personal choices the church doesn’t like.” Seriously, that line gave me SHIVERS.

I don’t really have any negatives for this book, but I will say it’s a bit of a niche novel. It’s written beautifully, but some people might not like the themes. So, buyer beware (as always…) – research your books before you read them.

Overall, I liked this book. You could easily binge or set this book down, depending on your mood. I loved the prose and writing style Stephanie uses because it was absolutely perfect for the tone of this book. I’d love to read more from Stephanie in the future, because she’s clearly one talented author.

Four out of five stars.

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

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo – Canadian Retailer

 

Find out more about Stephanie M. Matthews:
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www.stephaniemmatthews.com
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*Photo courtesy of the author, Stephanie M. Matthews

#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin

 

If you’re looking for the cutest romance ever, pick up this tremendously amazing book by Hudson Lin.

The always fabulous Tamsen Parker introduced me to Hudson Lin, and one thousands thanks for her! Hudson Lin has been a recent favourite of mine so I jumped at the chance to pick up another book by this incredible author.

Fly With Me is an adorable, short novella by Hudson Lin following two flight attendants in Europe. Vivian Ng is a headstrong, feisty lady who can hold up her own. Marco Chang is a sexy, well intended man who forgets he met Vivian years ago. When their lives collide, they collide hard!

I love that this book features diverse characters – Asian-Canadians, a bisexual man, Asians from Peru, just to name a few. This book doesn’t force the diversity upon you, it just is. It’s natural, which is absolutely lovely. It felt like the world I live in – there are many diverse people all around, and we get to follow the story of two of them.

Vivian being so head strong made me relate to her on a very personal level. She loves her parents, wants to make sure they are taken care of and doesn’t want anybody telling her what to do. She butts heads with Marco a fair bit, but they end up building quite the friendship. Add a dash of romance, and this book just screams “BRIAR YOU NEED TO READ THIS”.

Overall, I loved this sweet book! It’s short enough to binge, lovely enough to fall in love with and fits wonderfully on my always decreasing space on my Kindle (haha…whoops!).

I highly recommend this book if you love short romances, diversity, novels set in Europe, and Canadian stories.

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book via Hudson Lin’s subscriber list.

 

You can find this book on:

Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo, Chapters, Coles – Canadian Bookseller
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

If you liked this book or review, check out another you might enjoy!
#BookReview Three Months to Forever by Hudson Lin
#BookReview The Inside Track by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview Dare to Dream by Hudson Lin from the Rogue Nights Anthology Collection

 

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#BookReview The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that I have been debating over since high school. Everyone I know from high school absolutely HATED this book (with a ridiculously strong passion) yet I had this feeling that I should read it anyways. After watching the 2017 television adaptation and LOVING it, I decided it was probably best to just bite the bullet and pick up this book. Of course, I had to remember to buy it to be able to read it and that took some time.

So, during this wonderous break from school and work I decided to indulge myself a little and pick up a book I REALLY wanted to read. Luckily, this book was within sight and reaching distance so I devoured it in under two hours. I binged this book SO HARD and it was SO WORTH IT.

If you’ve watched the television show, you know the basis. The show expands a lot more on the content (and changes some) but you’ve got the jist of the story. Offred is a Handmaid to the Commander and Serena Joy. Her “goal” is to get pregnant and give them a baby, and that isn’t going to well. So she hatches a plan with Serena Joy to be able to have a baby to get out! But… nothing ever goes to plan, and chaos ensues. That is the non-spoiler synopsis.

This book feels all too real even all these years later. It faces political, environmental and religious tones in such an amazing way that it really blew my mind. Margaret Atwood’s writing just adds to this story and gives it way more depth than I ever expected. Every little twist and turn makes me question who you can trust, if Offred is a reliable narrator (at times) and if this world can ever change. Unfortunately, you don’t find that last point out in this novel. The book ends rather abruptly and leaves me feeling cheated. I want to know what happens OH SO BAD. That’s the only reason I enjoy the television show just a little bit more – it expands a lot on the narrative and we will most likely get some kind of ending (eventually… it’s only at two seasons currently at the time I write this review).

You could definitely tear this book apart for “plot holes” – like… how did society crumble so fast? How could these women not over power some of these leaders? How did people let this happen? There’s so many questions that I want answered, but I don’t think that’s the purpose of this book. It felt like a warning tale, like 1984 by George Orwell or any of the Shakespeare tales. It’s a different take on society as a whole and is criticizing it in some way (and it’s also just really good fiction, let’s be honest).

My biggest flaw is how short this book is – I want more and I want to understand more. This world is just way too good, complex and big to not explore! I hear there’s another book coming out soon (oh please give us a sequel I want mooooore) but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Overall, this is a book that makes you think. I love books like that because I can sink into my chair (or couch… or bed…) and just let myself fall into the story. I escape this world and all of my worries and just take in this whole new world. I think Margaret Atwood is a seriously good author with ridiculous amounts of talent and I will for sure be looking for more books by her. Books like this make me SO happy that I love to read and have the time and ability too. Books like this make reading an absolutely breath taking hobby!

Seriously, if you love dystopian fiction, books that you can theorize and form conspiracies over or books that you probably would have read back in your high school English class- PICK THIS BOOK UP!

Five out of five stars.

 

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If you enjoyed this review (or book!) check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels

It’s time for another Top 10 List!! This time around I’m tackling romance. I typically read a lot of romance novels, so this list has been growing rapidly. Luckily, there are so many good books out there that I can make multiple lists! This will be Part 1 of my romance list. All of these books are shuffled throughout and given a random spot on my list.

Elevator pitch time!!

 

1. The Raven by Sylvain Reynard
Canada represent! Sylvain Reynard has a truly magical, fantasy book full of romance in The Raven. This book is dark, sexy and truly intriguing. Sylvain knows how to craft a magnificent book that keeps you hooked at every sexy turn. Historical art, sexy strangers, and knights in (not so) shining armour make this book a staple on my romance shelf. Seriously though, this book introduced me to Sylvain and I’ve been a fan ever since. These books are really hard to put down.

Purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

2. The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner
Blame Tamsen Parker for this one, because she recommended me one fabulous book! Genevieve Turner crafted one super sexy book in The Gaucho’s Lady. Sweet Eliana tries to run away, and accidentally runs into the arms of Juan. If you want a steamy book with a really tough outlaw, this book won’t let you down! But watch out, it gets pretty hot… to the point you might as well be in a steam room.

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

3. Something Like Love by Sara Richardson
Time for a MAJOR throwback… Way back in 2015 I read a book by Sara and I instantly fell in love. Ranch hands, politics and second chance romances? Heck yes! This delicious book is super cute! I need to jump back into Sara’s book ASAP because these books can hardly contain the adorableness they hold. This book is an easy read, full of romance and packs a good punch.

Read this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

4. Lexington and 42nd by Kim Carmody
I LOVE a good sports romance, so Lexington and 42nd hit all the right notes for me! This sexy read matches quarterback Will with Emma. These two will flaunt their “will they? won’t they?” romance and keep you hooked at every turn. Kim Carmody might not be well known (YET!) but she’s got one heck of a talent! Sports romances need to make a comeback ASAP!

Click the links for Lexington and 42nd:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

5. Happy Ever After in Christmas by Debbie Mason
30, flirty and thriving… Right? This series by Debbie Mason is an absolute must in my home town. The Christmas, Colorado series is a lovely romantic series, but this particular book fell into my lap. Jill and Sawyer (an ex-hockey player, come on… you know I love those sports romances) are the “it” couple of this novel. Their ups and downs are on display, and man is it a cute, quick read! If you want a romance that isn’t too erotic, this book is a great fit!

This book can be found on…:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

6. Saving the CEO by Jenny Holiday
This contemporary romance is super sexy! Jenny Holiday introduces us to Jack and Cassie – Jack’s the CEO and Cassie is a bartender. When they walk into each other’s lives, things just get… complicated. Will they ignite a super sexy romance? Will it work? Oh man, this book is just too good! It’s full of rule breakers and changes the romance game on it’s head. What a delight!

Purchasing links include:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

7. So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch
So Near the Horizon is one of my top books of all time. I brag about it all the time, because it randomly appeared on my TBR when Jessica Koch recommended it to me. I am SO SO SO grateful she did, because it’s a real winner. This story follows Jessica and Danny and their whirlwind romance. It also addresses some tough issues, like HIV and living with someone who’s struggling. I highly recommend this book. I still get chills thinking about it to this very day.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

8. Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker
If you thought I would make a romance list without Tamsen Parker, you’d be wrong! This is one of the few Tamsen books I picked up late in the game, but it was worth it! In this novel, the story follows an Orthodox Jewish marriage. It’s a little different than the other books on this list, but I love it for it’s diversity. It’s not the normal romance novel, but it truly is mesmerizing. If you want to expand the diversity of your romance shelf, this book would be a great start.

Click the links for access to purchasing sites:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

9.  Cowboy Boots for Christmas: Cowboy Not Included by Carolyn Brown
This sexy cowboy story is adorbable! Our leads met in the war and are reuniting…and of course he’s a cowboy! Throw in the Christmas holidays, a little brother who needs protection and long lost friends and you’ve got yourself a real treat! This is a soft, sweet read and is full of cute romance. I loved reading this book because it’s so simple and lovely yet so perfect!

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

10. Return to You by Samantha Chase
Oh, The Montgomery Brothers. What do you get when you throw a man who wants to marry the woman of his dreams in a romance novel? You get one epic chase! James Montgomery gets his starring role in this book as he chases the woman he lost – but he won’t let her get away this time! Will he win her heart back? Will she let herself fall head over heels? You will have to wait and see!

Purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

That concludes my elevator pitch for Romance – Part 1! Have you read any of these books? What other romance novels do you recommend? Comment below with your faves from the list or from your own shelf! I’d love to add some more to my ever growing TBR!

 

Don’t enjoy romance? Why not check out my other Top Books Lists!
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1
#TopBooksList Young Adult Novels, Part 1
#TopBooksList Children’s Novels, Part 1

 

 

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#BookReview Tamisan by Susan McKenzie

Tamisan by Susan McKenzie was an epic, action-packed, sci-fi fueled novel!

Action. Adventure. Sci-Fi. New Adult. Thriller. Suspense. Fantasy. Supernatural.

All of those terms can directly be applied to this magnificent novel by Susan McKenzie. Seriously, I didn’t know what I was in for when I picked up this book! The synopsis makes this seem like just another fun, sci-fi novel yet it was so much more than I expected! Zhenna/Tamisan was a lovely character to follow along her absolutely insane journey and I can’t wait to see more of her!

Zhenna is traveling to assist in some space science experiments when things go horribly wrong. She’s the only survivor of her crew, but that’s not the only thing wrong. Her soul has also been moved into the body of one of the gorgeous natives to the planet. This disturbing science experiment changes her life forever and sends her on a troubling journey in a foreign land. Slowly, she discovers the powers this woman held and all of the magic that goes along with being supernatural. Oh, and there’s a little romance in store for her too!

This book had a lot packed into one book, and that’s why the book is so good! But that is also the book’s weak point – I felt like this book could have been split into two or three novels. I seriously loved every minute of it, but there’s was just SO much. Most readers will be okay with this, since Susan delivers with a fast-paced and thrilling adventure, but some may not be as fond of it.

Whether you’re looking for a fantastical book or a science fiction, this book is definitely worth the read. It has a lot of marketing potential with the various genres it holds inside. I like that it didn’t just stick to one genre because it did make this book far more unique. If anything, I felt like I was most confused on which age group it should be marketed too. The genres was easy – it mixes fantasy with science fiction and thrills and suspense. There’s so much in there! But at times it felt like it was moving close to an R rating (with potential rape scenes and some harsh violence) but then it slowed back down in the romance department and felt like a Young Adult novel. My best guess was it was going for New Adult and it seems to fit well there.

Overall, this book was one solid thrill ride! The positives of this book far outweigh the negatives and I’d highly recommend it! It’s a little on the longer side but it’s worth every word on every page!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Kobo

Barnes & Nobles

Chapters/Indigo/Coles

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If you liked this book, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis