#BookReview Blood Lust by Alexandra Ivy

Blood Lust by Alexandra Ivy is the perfect mix of action, romance and drama!

Bas and Myst have two of the coolest names I’ve ever seen in a book, let me say that outright. And now, onto the review!

I’ve been hoarding Alexandra Ivy books on my shelves for years now, so I was thrilled to finally pick up one of the books hanging around on my shelves. This book was a lovely book to start off with, even if it was third in the series. I had no problem jumping into this story and I fell in love with these mysteriously epic characters! In this book, Myst and Bas have a young girl named Molly (she has such a normal name for her parents having cool ones, just saying…) and she brings them back together. Bas, the assassin, and Myst, the woman who’s seen a very important vision, are such a strangely well paired couple. They are hot and bothered and ready to fight.

I loved that this book wasn’t purely romance – I’ve gotten tired of the “this is a fantasy book” but it really is all romance trope that I’ve been seeing lately. Having this book full of intense drama and action with the romance coming in closer to the end felt REALLY nice. These two characters are definitely made for the romance sphere, but they also have such incredible back stories that it would have been a waste to not explore them. So, kudos to Alexandra Ivy for making this book so different.

My notes on the book are as followed:
1. You can see the ending coming from a mile away, but that’s probably just me reading too much and watching too many movies.
2. This book is easy to jump into as a stand alone, but I might have understood a little bit more of the world building if I had read the first two books in the series.
3. The fantasy in this book is REALLY COOL. You can tell a world is being built around this series, so I really hope there’s more books to come.
4. I love the relationship between Bas and Myst. They are sassy, sarcastic and yet romantic at all the right times.
5. The story felt “real” – you can believe that Bas and Myst would go save their daughter. All of the plot points didn’t feel forced and worked really well within the story as a whole.
6. If I had to pick one negative for me, it would be that the book felt just a little too long. Some scenes could have been cut out and the story would have made just as much sense.

Overall, I really liked this book! It was a great mix of fantasy, action and romance and I’d highly recommend it to someone looking to fill the void in those genres. I wouldn’t recommend purely binging it. I liked it much more when I was able to set it down and jump back into the world.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out some other books and reviews you might enjoy:
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1
#BookReview Light My Fire by Katie MacAlister
#BookReview Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

 

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

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

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

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#BookReview Dance with a Vampire by Ellen Schreiber

This is one of my fave throwbacks to my teen years – Ellen Schreiber and her Vampire Kisses series. To say I was obsessed with this series is an absolute understatement. Recently, I picked this book up again and decided to throw myself into this series, and I still love it!

This series is full of cute-sy YA romance with Alexander and Raven. The book is written for a younger audience, but if you’re like me and love sinking away into a fantastical world then it will be no issue to you. If you’re expecting a “True Blood-esque” novel, then you’ve come to the wrong place.

The fourth book in this series, Dance with a Vampire, continues Alexander and Raven’s epic love story. Except, this time around we’ve got more crazy antics that the pair have to deal with. Valentine is now up to her trouble, making it seem impossible for our love birds to have a happy ending.

A note for the reader: These books are relatively short, which makes them a fun, sweet, and smooth read. It’s really easy to binge all of these books in a day if you have the nerve to. I read the first four books (back in the day) on a bus ride to a school swim meet. I re-read these books many times because of how short and fun they were. So, it’s not a big time commitment if you read these babies one by one.

Final note: The manga version of this series was one of the first mangas I ever read and made me fall in love with that “genre” (is genre the right word? Probably not). The pictures were beautiful, the story was magical and I’m glad it got me so into reading! Thank you Ellen for being one of my early reading addictions. Hopefully I’ll find some more newer books by her soon! Her writing just vibes well with my reading style.

I’d highly recommend these books. They are on the younger side of YA, but they are funny, sassy and absolutely adorable. My biggest con for this whole series was that it ended! I loved each book and I really want more by this author. So many YA novels take themselves way to seriously and try to make the teen be an adult. This series makes Raven be a fun, young girl who makes mistakes along the way (but she somehow gets an epic romance out of it).

Five out of five stars!

 

You can locate this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo (Canadian Retailer)

 

If you enjoyed this book, check out another book or review you might enjoy:
#BookReview Once Upon a Vampire by Mari Mancusi
#BookReview The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber
#BookReview Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

 

If you love YA, check out my top ten list for Young Adult reads!
Collection 2: #TopTens – Young Adult Part 1

 

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

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

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#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Many eons ago in my high school/teens years, I used to read J-14 magazine. That magazine was my lifeline to society – celebrity gossip, posters of the Jonas Brothers, and book recommendations! During those formative years, I remember seeing endless advertisements for Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and I never truly forgot about this book… Fast forward to my mid-twenties! I’m at a local charity book sale and I see THE BOOK! The book was right there within my reach! I picked it up, put it on my book shelf and forgot about it… until recently when I cleaned my house and donated many books so I had room on my shelves.

I am SO glad I finally picked this book up. This was another one of those books that gets me hooked instantly and falling in love with some teenie bopper characters. Throw in fantasy, typical YA “I can save the world”-esque plots and magic and you’ve got me hooked!

This book is funny, super sweet and sometimes sassy. It’s absolutely the first book in the series and it leaves off with one of those dreaded cliffhangers that makes me want to read the next book ASAP.

We follow Sophia (she goes by Sophie) in this adventure filled novel after she performed a love spell a little too well. She gets sent off to Hecate, Hex Hall, and the rest is history! Sophie gets roomed with Jenna the vampire, she holds classes with some ‘Mean Girl’ clique-y girls and might be falling for the school’s bad boy. She’s the daughter of a powerful warlock, everyone seems to hold that against her and she’s got some wild family history behind her. Yes, this sounds like the typical YA plot but it’s written so wonderfully that I didn’t even care! Rachel opens this world and makes me feel like I was apart of the journey. I felt for Sophie and Jenna, I ogled after Archer and I absolutely HATED Elodie. Hey, I was a teenage girl once. I remember the mean girls ruining all of the fun.

My favourite part of this book is all of the sassy one liners thrown around. Sarcasm is the way I live my life, so I loved that this book is full of it! Sophie, Jenna and Archer are absolutely hilarious. I also adored the side characters, the Groundskeeper being my favourite.

My least favourite? STUPID CLIFFHANGERS. I hate them and I truly believe that a book should be able to stand on it’s own. I hate when I’m left off feeling cheated at the ending. Yes, I know Rachel wants us to read the next book in the series but I don’t like when I’m left feeling like I HAVE to read the next book – I WANT to.

Overall, this book is a real gem! I’m glad I finally found it. Back in my teenage years I didn’t have the funds (I mean, I’m a college student…I still don’t, but I know how to bargain hunt now!), so it’s awesome that I found a book I’ve been dreaming of! I still remember that ad page distinctly…

Five out of five stars!

 

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

If you enjoyed this book, check out another book or review you might enjoy!:
Collection 2: #TopTens – Young Adult Part 1
#BookReview Once Upon a Vampire by Mari Mancusi
#BookReview Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

 

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

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

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

 

#BookReview A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda

A Play of Shadow by Julie E. Czerneda is a fantastical novel packed full of action.

I will admit that this book was hard for me to get through. My best bet is because I haven’t read the first novel in this series, so I just didn’t know half of what had occurred before this novel. That doesn’t mean this book isn’t good though! It was just very hard for me to push myself to read it. It almost felt like a chore because I couldn’t comprehend some of the past experiences of the characters. I did look up some information on the last book, but it didn’t help me. That being said, I don’t recommend jumping into this series without starting from the beginning.

This book did feel fantastical though! Julie is a truly mesmerizing author and I love her talent. I felt like I was reading a Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones styled tale. It’s full of fantasy, action and lore that was truly interesting.

I did like Jenn and Bannan together. They felt like a real couple and the were truly lovable. I found their development to be my favourite part of the story. I fell in love with them instantly despite not knowing what happened to them in the previous book. Shout out to Julie for doing so well with them!

The magic in this book was also fun to experience. It didn’t feel like the typical dramatic magic I’ve seen in romance novels (which is where I commonly see magic), so I enjoyed Julie’s spin on it.

Overall, not reading the first book really screwed me over with this book. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I read it in order the way it was intended. I think big fantasy lovers will enjoy this book way more than I do. I like to dabble in fantasy, but it’s not really my scene. Those who love fantasy will devour this book so quickly and will truly love it. I’m just not made for this type of novel! So I do truly think this book is amazing, but in my opinion it doesn’t do it for me as a reader.

Two out of five stars – since it was really hard to get into and really hard for me to get invested in.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out some more of my reviews that you may enjoy if you love fantasy:

#BookReview Marianne by Ruth Miranda

Book Review: HALFWAY DEAD (HALFWAY WITCHY #1) by TERRY MAGGERT

#BookReview Elves Get Organized? by Katja Vartiainen

#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

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

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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

#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1

It’s time for another collection of amazing books! This time around I am focusing on books that were full of fantasy. This is only part one of my fave fantasy reads, so don’t you worry if you don’t see your favourite! Let these 10 books fill up your TBR for the time being. These books are in no certain order, but I absolutely loved all of them!

Time to get started with my elevator pitches for these sweet, sweet novels!

 

1. #BookReview You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister
I have loved Katie MacAlister since my high school years! I accidentally stumbled upon her in my local bookstore and ever since I’ve been infatuated with her novels. Her books are cute, silly, fun and full of ooey, gooey romance! This book series is my favourite of all of her books – Aisling Grey’s series! Aisling falls in love with a handsome Dragon named Drake, and hilarity ensues! If you’re looking for a fun yet fantastical novel full of romance, then this is the perfect book for you!

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

2. #BookReview Bittersweet Symphony by Rebecca McNutt
Bittersweet Symphony was introduced to me by the author, fellow Canadian Rebecca McNutt. This book fell well into my wheelhouse – horror, fantasy and Canadian roots! And man, did this book not disappoint! If you’re looking for something a little darker, then following this New York set novel full of kooky occurrences will meet your expectations! If I had to pick one book to describe this book, I’d use “gothic”.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

3. Omens and/or No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong
When you’re putting Kelley Armstrong on a list, it’s hard to pick just one book. I had a really hard time picking between these two books (because I absolutely love both of them) so I figured to add a “bonus” book to the list! No Humans Involved is Jaime’s story in the Otherworld universe. Women of the Otherworld is one epic series following strong, female leads who are witches, werewolves and necromancers. Jaime (the necromancer) has always been my fave and I have always been in love with Jeremy Danvers (the sexy, alpha werewolf) so I had to include it! No Humans Involved isn’t as cutesy as Katie MacAlister’s books, but it is a couple steps up on the staircase – it has lots of action, a splash of comedy, and some super sexy scenes. And then you’ve got Omens, which is a whole ‘nother ballpark. Cainsville has all sorts of weird and strange things going on, and is a little more R rated fantasy (and mystery). If you’re looking for some mystery in your fantasy novel, and something not so cutesy (but pretty dark), grab this book! I read these YEARS ago and I really need to jump back into these series soon, because I haven’t finished either and I love my fellow Canadian, Kelley Armstrong! Can you believe I missed the chance to meet her in my hometown years ago?!

Find these books on:
Amazon.ca – No Humans Involved
Amazon.ca – Omens
Amazon.com – No Humans Involved
Amazon.com – Omens
Kobo – No Humans Involved
Kobo – Omens

4. Quick Book Reviews: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent
This list is just full of my old faves! Rachel Vincent was another author I stumbled upon in my high school years (just like Katie and Kelley) and I still love her! Her Shifter series started me out, but Menagerie blew my mind! This fantasy novel involves a carnival full of strange beings. The grotesque carnival puts these human “monsters” on display, but Delilah is a little different…
I’m disappointed in myself that I never picked up the sequel yet. When I got this book in my hands, I absolutely devoured the book. I was totally obsessed and needed to read more, but my local bookstores never got a physical copy in. Rachel Vincent is an author to look out for, whether you want some good old YA novels or some super eerie or romantic adult novels! Also, she’s been super nice to me on social media so I’ll root for her everyday of the week!

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

5. Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
Add Richelle to my “discovered in high school and still loves” list! Vampire Academy introduced me to her, and Gameboard of the Gods made me truly obsessed with her. I’m still angry this series was never truly finished, but it is worth the read! This fantasy series is for adults (a step away from the YA Vampire Academy universe) and it’s absolutely insane! Religion meets fantasy meets military. Add a pinch of romance, a dash of suspense and a barrel of action and you’ve got one of my fave fantasies EVER. Maybe, just maybe, if everyone reads this book she’ll FINALLY release the last one… Maybe? Probably not. But a girl can dream, right?!

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

6. #BookReview Blood by Ruth Miranda
Blood is the first book in the Blood series by Ruth Miranda, but let this book be the placeholder for the whole series. Ruth Miranda approached me to read her books, and MAN AM I SO HAPPY SHE DID. This series is absolutely R-rated wild with vampires, fantasy and magic. She’s a genius and her writing ability is insane! If you want a really dark and gruesome story that is addicting, pick this book up. It does have some touchy subjects, so it’s not for the faint of heart. It 100% deserves a spot on this epic fantasy list!

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

7. #BooKReview Fast Backward by David Patneaude
Time to switch it up a little with David Patneaude’s intriguing YA. Fast Backward mixes time travel with historical fiction together when Bobby Hasting witnesses an atomic explosion. The history of Germany, bombs and the amazing intelligence of teenagers is expressed in this book. I thought it was super cool and the time travel worked really well in this book. It’s light-hearted despite being about such a touchy subject. It’s well worth the read!

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

8. #BookReview – Apocalypse the Memoir by CS Oliver
Zombies. Yes, I have finally included a book about zombies on the list! Apocalypse the Memoir is a sarcastic yet wildly addicting ride through Canada. It’s R-rated, it’s gorey, and it has some hilarious one liners you wouldn’t expect in a book about zombies! The sassiness of this book is at Level 500, so all of you sarcastic little bookworms will get a real kick out of it!

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

9. Quick Book Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Asylum is a creepy YA novel based in, you guessed it, an asylum. What makes this book even cooler is the fact that there are pictures in the book to give you some epic visuals. The book is full of horror and it’ll keep you guessing at every turn. I loved picking this book up because it’s the perfect mix of horror without the crazy R rated content. Sometimes, you just don’t want the excessive gore.

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

10. Awakened by Harley Austin
Federal agents, government conspiracies and thrills mixed with fantasy? Heck yes! This book is your typical adult thriller with fantasy entwined all throughout. If you’re looking for a book but don’t want to fully commit to a fantasy novel, then this book will give you all the thrills and more! I really enjoyed Harley Austin’s book and it’s a real treat if you want something a little different.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

There you have it! 11 fantasy books to top up your TBR shelves. Have you read any of these books or authors before? Which was your favourite? What other fantasy books novels should I read and add to the lists? Also, what other lists do you want to see? Comment below and let me know!

 

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

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#BookReview Light My Fire by Katie MacAlister

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Aisling Grey is by far my favourite of all of the women in this dragon universe by Katie MacAlister! She is cute, sassy and the perfect female lead for this comedic, fantastical romance!

Drake and Aisling are definitely the “perfect” pair, at least in my eyes. Their relationship is definitely not “normal” by any means, but they work well together! As characters, they have the perfect mix of getting along, sexiness, and generalized drama and sassiness. I honestly couldn’t see this pair with anybody else! However Katie made this pair, she did really well!

Aisling is becoming a Guardian, while her lover is a dragon. They have since “mated”, so the story builds and gets more interesting from here. This is the second last book in the series for now, but I do hope we get more! Since I’ve read most of the dragon books, I can say she appears in future books but she isn’t the lead.

The comedy in this book is spot on and amps it up from the last book. It definitely keeps the plot moving forward with lots of funny quirks, mixed in with the sexy Drake, super cute romance scenes and drama thrown in throughout. While the story does leave off in a place that feels like it doesn’t need to be continued, I wish it would! These characters bond way too well together for this to be the absolute end. Maybe, if we’re lucky, Katie will one day continue this series. So, cross your fingers!

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who love romance with a lot of comedy in it. The book doesn’t take itself too seriously, with an abundance of jokes (and a lot of Jim, the main source of comedy, present again) throughout the book. The book has many fantasy elements (obviously – dragons), but isn’t a purely dramatized novel. It’s very fun, is borderline PG-13, and has ooey, gooey romance that makes you squirm and giggle along the way.

Overall, I love this book! I’ve read it way too many times to count and I’ll keep reading it! It’s one of those books I like to read when I’m having a bad day because it’s just so much fun! Katie MacAlister is the QUEEN of dragon books!

Five out of five stars!

 

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.com – Light My Fire

Amazon.ca – Light My Fire

 

Check out the entire Aisling Grey series (which is apart of the Dragon Sept series): on Goodreads.

Or find out more about Katie MacAlister, one of my fave authors, on:

Goodreads – Katie MacAlister

http://www.katiemacalister.com/

Twitter – @katiemacalister

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out more of my reviews of Katie MacAlister books:

#BookReview Men in Kilts by Katie MacAlister

#BookReview In The Company of Vampires by Katie MacAlister

#BookReview You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister

Comment below – what is your favourite type of fantasy books?

And if you enjoyed this review, check out my twitter for urgent updates! @ReviewAlholic