#BookReview Bittersweet Symphony by Rebecca McNutt

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This book was written in Nova Scotia, and as a Canadian I AM SO HAPPY I AM READING A CANADIAN BOOK. That cannot be understated – I love helping other Canadian authors out. It’s so near and dear to my heart.

Rebecca McNutt’s novel Bittersweet Symphony was an addicting read for me. Her descriptions and tone in her writing was something that just clicked with me. Her tone was somewhat professional, yet it worked so well within this novel. It almost sounded like the perfection my English teachers in high school wanted us to achieve, but never could. The level of how descriptive her writing is made me feel like I was there with the characters. I could see this being “too much” for some readers, but I love description when it’s paired with a good story (and it’s not just one hundred pages describing how the characters look).

I like how the story is essentially an allusion for real events, and the little splash of ghosts thrown in as well. It makes it real yet not real, believable yet not believable all wrapped up into one. This book is in it’s own little corner, AND I LOVE IT.

I would say this book has some “mature” themes, revolving around language and some things that are referenced (without spoiling). Although, that doesn’t mean you have to be 18+ to read it. The book isn’t to graphic, so I think teenagers could easily read this book and relate to it.

Pros:
1. Unique story telling – Rebecca doesn’t follow your stereotypical, simple writing style. It’s hard to explain, but it’s different. I like the term “gothic” for it, but that’s not 100% on point with how she writes. Essentially, I love an author that writes in their own style and doesn’t follow a norm so I REALLY liked this book.

2. Short and Sweet – This book isn’t 1000 pages long. This book reminded me of the original Star Wars trilogy: the information that needed to be there, was there. There was no fluff, it got to the point and made an effective story.

3. “Black as the ace of spades” – The language is BEAUTIFUL in this book. I’m obsessed with it. Can Rebecca McNutt write my life story while she’s at it?

4. Interconnecting Stories – I’m obsessed with Cloud Atlas (one of my all time faves of interconnecting stories) so it seems fitting that I’d enjoy another book that interconnects everything. Bravo!!

5. Relatable – This book was relatable on so many levels. Just reading how the lawyer says that they are snakes until someone needs their help, and then suddenly they are their best friend – yeah, that one hit me where it hurts. It’s so honest, and so true.

6. Shocking Twists and Turns – Some of this book you don’t see coming, and I can respect an author that can actually make that work in a novel.

Cons:
1. Dialogue – The dialogue can appear “rigid” or “stiff” to some readers. For me, it worked within the story and how Rebecca was telling her story, but that might turn off other readers.

2. Personal con: Madson. I keep wanting to call it “Madison” or anything but Madson. It was driving me insane as I was reading it because my brain didn’t want to comprehend the name. Major personal con here (and an amusing con at that).

I’m amazed that people are saying Rebecca McNutt was 19 when she wrote this. That’s a lot of talent for that age, so I can only imagine Rebecca getting better the more she writes and the more time she has to practice. This book doesn’t seem like it’s written by a 19 year old – it’s incredibly mature.

Overall, this unique book had me hooked and addicted from it’s first page. I’m so glad I read it, because I haven’t read a book so unique and actually good for a very long time!

Five out of five stars.

I received a copy of this book from the author Rebecca McNutt in exchange for an honest review. Everything here is my own, honest opinion.

Side notes: If you want to read this book, the author posted her own “review” offering copies out. It’s a great opportunity to read and review an awesome book. Not many authors offer opportunities like this, so hop on it if it’s still available!!!

 

Will you be reading this book? Or do you have a book recommendation? Comment below!

Check Rebecca McNutt out on Goodreads! Rebecca McNutt on Goodreads

Once you’ve read this review, hit me up on Twitter and tell me what you thought of it! @ReviewAlholic
If you enjoyed this review, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Manchester Vice by Jack Strange

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#BookReview Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

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Here’s another #ThrowbackThursday – a novel I read years ago, but reread and created a review for!! This is one of my favourites – Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.

 

 

Clockwork Princess is a beautiful finish to one of YA’s best series in recent years.

For years I waited anxiously for a book like Clockwork Princess – a story that ends beautifully, perfectly and without total heart break. With characters as strong as Jem, Will and Tessa, we needed a solid ending that would make all fans happy but also tie up the story just perfectly, and Cassandra Clare delivered.

This book will pull at your heartstrings and destroy you. It’s such a beautiful ending it’s hard to believe it’s all over with. The ups and downs of this series is ended just perfectly that there are no loose ends and no destroyed fans (at least, from what I’ve seen). I dare say that this book is the best book Cassandra Clare has ever written – it rivals the base Mortal Instrument series, and has one step up. This book was even better than City of Heavenly Angels, in my opinion. With such a satisfying conclusion, I have to say it deserves more than five stars. Not many books can be finished so perfectly.

Would I recommend this series? Absolutely. While it’s a YA, it definitely doesn’t feel like your typical YA story. Adults can enjoy this – there isn’t as much ooey, gooey silly teenage angst that is in most YA books. It’s a grown up YA with the odd silly scene. So it’s safe to say it’s a good read. This series can also be used as a standalone – you don’t need to read all the other series (Mortal Instruments, Dark Artifices) to understand this book at all. It is the prequel series to The Mortal Instruments, if you’re interested in reading further (they can be read out of order via the series though. TMI came out first, then this series and now The Dark Artifices). I would suggest reading the three books of this series in order though – it’s worthy.

It also has one of the most beautiful covers. I love the original cover – I saw a new one at my local book store recently and it wasn’t as beautiful, but in terms of cover art – judging the book by it’s cover it allowed for this book. With such a great cover comes such a great story.

Problems with this book/series:
Yes, there’s a love triangle. Can they be annoying? Yes. Does it work in this book? Yeah, it’s YA so it’s kind of an expected plot twist these days.
Weak characters – yeah, there are some. But personally, I find having all characters be strong can make for a boring book.
Repeat characters – Cassandra Clare uses the same characters/developments with different names and faces. It’s annoying, but as long as you aren’t just reading her books and expand your library, you don’t notice to much.
Rule Breakers – some of the “cannot be broken rules” are broken in this book. It’s kind of annoying in my eyes, but what can you do? It created the happy ending most fans wanted, so I guess we can over look that…
Tessa – FINALLY we learn what Tessa is. I’m a little disappointed it took so long because it would have been cooler to flesh out all about her throughout the series, but whatever, it works, I guess.

So, overall, this book is really on the fence for most readers – people either love it passionately to no end (ugly cry, putting the book on a pedestal and praying to it sort of deal) or hated it (rip the pages out, burn the book, demand a refund, etc). I’m on the end that enjoyed it and I definitely kept the book (Look at that cover, how can you not love the book for the cover alone?).

So, I will give it five out of five stars. It had it’s faults for sure, but it was a great read that kept me interested, was fast paced, and had an ending that I found to be good.

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Book Review: Destinare by Matt Micros

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Book Title: Destinare
Book Author: Matt Micros

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I decided to read this book since I was craving some quick, short reads and this book fit the bill!

Synopsis: Everyone’s lives are interconnected in some way. If we didn’t make certain decisions in our past, how would the future turn out? This book has everyone connected (and it gave me a short but sweet, with less themes Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell feel) and it’s very clear and obvious why they are.

Review: Dear readers, this book is FICTIONAL. It even states in the opening lines that it is FICTIONAL. I’ve read other reviews where people were upset about the twist ending in this book, but the book is FICTIONAL and, therefore, can have any ending it wants to be and does not need to be realistic. Did I like this book having an unrealistic ending? No. But did it fit with the novel? Yes. This book has a big plot twist at the end that shows how lives can be connected, and makes it clear that anyone’s decision will have a big impact on other people (whether you realize it or not). So, since I have mentioned the word FICTIONAL four times now, I feel like whoever reads this review should get the point.

This book is an easy, quick read that I managed to finish in one go. I sat down for an hour and took my time through it, and I really enjoyed it! It definitely didn’t blow me out of the water and want to scream at everyone to read this book, but I really liked it. The theme of everyone being connected in some way and how our decisions affect others was a great plot driver for this story. There were times where I felt like the book was a little cheesey, but it worked within the context.

If anything, I would have liked some of the stories to be extended. I really liked reading about each individual character, but some of their chapters were just to short! You’d move onto the next chapter and it felt like fifty years had passed in those few lines!!

Overall, I really like this novel. I’m impressed and I would definitely recommend people who want a fictional but short read to pick it up! Matt Micros did a fantastic job and I want to read more by him. The characters were relatable, the story hit home quite a few times, and the themes were realistic (minus the final plot twist, but hey, it’s literature! Everything does not have to be super realistic!).

Four out of five stars.

Quick Book Review: Naughtier Than Nice by Eric Jerome Dickey

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Photo via Goodreads.

Naughtier than Nice was a fantastic read by Eric Jerome Dickey that is perfect for anyone wanting a soap opera feel kind of book.

This book is incredible! When I first started reading it I wasn’t sure what to expect. Is this book a romance? A drama? It’s both! This novel felt like one of the soap operas I used to watch on tv but instead in book form.

I couldn’t say there was much wrong with this novel, because it did seem like a soap opera. Something was always changing, there was always some kind of romantic action or spite between characters going on and it never seemed boring. There was times that I was quite frustrated with characters or where different plot twists seemed unreal, but if this book was aiming towards being a book soap opera than it did it’s job.

Overall, I was impressed. I would love more books like this where there is constant twists, drama and a big splash of romance!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

February Romance Book Review: Fantasy (Visitation, North Carolina 0.5) by Lori Foster

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Title: Fantasy
Author: Lori Foster
Date Read: September 17th – October 14th, 2016
Date Reviewed: October 14th, 2016

Introduction: I went to a local book store since they were having a clearance and I found many short but sweet novellas by Lori Foster floating around. After I bought many, this was the one I decided to start with. After months of this book disappearing around my house, I was finally able to find it and get down to reading it. The only reason it took so long to read was because of my busy schedule. It was a quick, sexy read despite my lengthy reading time.

Spoilers Ahead?: Yes!!

Quick Summary: Brandi Sommers bids on a man at an auction, only to please her sister. To her surprise, she gets stuck with security consultant Sebastian Sinclair for an all expenses paid, honeymoon vacation. When the two of them are forced to be together, emotions flutter and drama ensues.

Evaluations: This book is sexy and emotional. It definitely has its flaws (it’s quite stereotypical) but it’s a fast, sexy read. I found that this book kept me interested and I didn’t get bored, but I was hoping for some not so stereotypical plot devices. Sadly, I didn’t get any. Brandi is quite innocent, has only gone to bed with anyone once She was forced into bed by many men , and does not initially want to have any relation with Sebastian. On the other hand, Sebastian is an expert in the sexy time territory, he’s super hot, he runs a successful business, makes lots of money, and has many other tropes that women are looking for in their sexy hero.

I’m somewhat glad that this book is not the first in the series (it’s 0.5), because it seems far to typical for a romance novel. It gets tiring reading the same pair with just a tiny difference get the same romantic plot and ending. The two characters dislike each other, than one of them develops feelings, and then they get together, but conflict ensues and they break up, only to get back together and have a happy ending. It’s typical and boring, but at least Lori Foster’s skill of writing makes up for the very typical storyline.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I got to turn my brain off for a while and enjoy myself. Would I have liked some wicked plot twists? Yes. Nonetheless, it’s still a great book.

Strengths: This novel is a quick read. Lori Foster does an amazing job at keeping the plot moving forward and not having any holes that makes the reader want to put the book down. All of the characters and plot devices didn’t seem out of place either. This book is a great, quick romance read for the avid romance reader.

Weaknesses: This book is typical. It’s hard to find an atypical romance novel these days, so if you are looking for something out of the ordinary in the romance department, this book is not for you.

Score: 3 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book, but it didn’t hit the ball out of the park for me. I will definitely read more by Lori Foster, but I’m not grasping for another novel by her immediately. I would recommend this book for romance readers because it’s a beautifully written story!! Overall, it’s a good book! Lori Foster knows how to write her romance.

Book Review: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket

In honor of the Netflix release of A Series of Unfortunate Events, here is a throwback review of The Bad Beginning!!

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Title: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Date Read: October 4th – October 12th, 2016
Date Reviewed: October 12th, 2016

Introduction: I went to a local bookstore and saw that quite a few books in this series was on sale. Since I read these books a long time ago when I was younger, I figured rereading them now as an adult would be fun. I also figured since a new Netflix series is going to be coming around soon that I should go over this book series so I can watch the show!!!

Spoilers Ahead?: Yes.

Quick Summary: Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire face a horrible tragedy – their parents have passed away in a tragic fire and they must go live with the horrible, no good Count Olaf (who is not only a Count but an actor as well). When Count Olaf finds out that Violet has money from their parents in an account, he tries to marry her to acquire this money.

Evaluations: This book is an incredible children’s read that adults can also find humorous. For children, this book is full of action and adventure, and the situations seem “realistic”. They might have a horrible four times removed third cousin that could take them in!! Reading this book was quite nostalgic, but I find that it still stands. While it’s quite foolish and silly, it makes for a great adventure. Overall, I really enjoyed re-reading this book. It’s hard to imagine anyone but Jim Carrey as Count Olaf since the movie that was made was actually quite funny (and great in my opinion), but this book will make a great television series!

Plot: As an adult, the children seem boring. They have faced horrible circumstances and it seems like the children are to young to deal with it. For a child, this seems like a great adventure story. These kids have been put through terrible times, but they still fight back in child-like ways. If the reader goes into this book expecting it to be like Harry Potter (where it translates well for both adults and children) then the reader will not be impressed. This book was aimed at children, not adults, so most of the plot seems unrealistic and unimpressive. The kids are whiny, they’re constantly wallowing in distress, and they complain how they want their parents back – but aren’t mots kids like that? I work with kids, and when they have a bad day they act that way. Overall, the plot is not written to be a fantastic, adult novel. This is a children’s novel, so adults beware.

Characters: Violet, Klaus and Sunny are interesting characters within the story. I do not relate to them as much as I did when I was a kid (I used to think I was just like Violet, and now looking at these characters I can’t relate at all to any of them). Violet seems to be older and “wiser” in mature situations, Klaus seems to be more intelligent but whinier, and Sunny bites and can’t speak well. To a kid, this is essentially an Avengers roster of your average every day kids. To adults, it’s three archetype children. As an adult, I also noticed that after their parents die the children are almost perfectly fine. How I understood this concept, is that a child cannot grasp that death is forever, but an adult can. An adult understands these intense feelings, but a child cannot grasp it until it happens. So while many of the situations that occur may seem out of place for an adult, you still need to realize it’s aimed towards children. This is simply an adventurous novel for kids to read.

Count Olaf is strange, but I love him. He’s a wacky character and keeps the novel interesting. He brings a lot of the twists and turns about that keeps the reader interested. Yes, he’s inappropriate when you look at it from an adult point of view (why would he want to marry a pre-teen?..) but in a child’s point of view he’s a great, wacky villain. I like to compare him as the child’s Joker (from Batman). Wacky and strange, but they keep it interesting (of course the Joker is more intense and R-rated, but hopefully you get the point).

Themes/Creativity: This book is definitely creative! It brings a crazy and wacky plot together with some relatable child characters and then finishes it off with some silly villains. The only theme I might find in this book is family sticking together, but I’m sure there’s more hanging around for those theme heavy readers.

Uniqueness: Is this book unique? Absolutely! A book with thirteen novels in the series that kept changing it up is definitely unique. It fits in it’s own little category alongside novels like Harry Potter, Eragon and The Wizard of Oz for must reads! I would definitely recommend parents try to get their kids into reading with this series!

Strengths: This novel is definitely aimed at children! It does a great job mixing in child problems, silly villains and adventures for your child reader.

Weaknesses: This book might be considered unrealistic for adults. It definitely doesn’t transcend into the older age groups for a good, relatable read.

Score: Three out of Five.

I find that the relatable-ness factor brings this book down in score, and that the children are sometimes incredibly annoying for an adult audience.

Happy Release Day! Book Review: Due South (#5 in The Compass Series) by Tamsen Parker

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Due South (Compass Series #5)
Book Author: Tamsen Parker

Introduction: I am OBSESSED with Tamsen Parker’s books, so when I got the opportunity to read this book I jumped at the chance! This series has been uber sexy, uber awesome and has always been a pleasant surprise when I pick the book up and can’t put it down.

Review:

The Cover – The cover is probably my favourite out of the whole series. I loved True North, but Due South has really upped the game. The contrasting colours of the red hair and green-ish blue background make it really stand out. I also love the seductive look that is front and center on this cover. I like the continuation of the sexy looks – in my personal opinion, I like them better than just the single person covers, but that’s just me! It gives the book a little extra boost in the sexiness department.

The Chapters – The chapters them self have a cute little compass, and I seriously adore that. On any other book, without them, it just seems plain. But I adore the little compasses! It gives a little extra flare and personality to this novel. Love it!!

The Content – I’m writing this book as I read it, which is rare for me. I normally like to finish a book and go back through it, but this review shall be the play by play! It’s the holidays, let’s switch things up in my reviews!
Currently, I’ve hit Chapter 2 within this review – I love that India and Cris have been mentioned, and then they both get some action scenes. I miss those crazy kids, and having them pop by makes my fan girl heart feel all warm and fuzzy. I also really enjoy that this book starts off with referencing Christmas (and it’s being released around Christmas). The vibe I’m getting so far is festive and fan-friendly! Also, within Chapter 2 you already get that R rated swearing involved, which gives me a good chuckle. So readers, beware – if you do not like the swears, this book has a few of them (at least so far). <spoilers>But let’s be honest, if I lost a file of some form of importance, I would also be swearing but probably a lot more than Lucy does.</spoiler>

Within Chapter 2, I also love the reference to how some fans felt within the reviews <spoiler> Lucy references that India is mean and why could Cris like her (since he is nice and easygoing). It gave me a real laugh reading that, since some reviewers did comment on that exact issue. But  true love and soul mates conquer all people! 😉 </spoiler>.

Chapter 2 Side note: Evans’s is the correct spelling/grammar, but it looks so wrong to me.

Around Chapter 2 the sexy times start, but it’s not until Chapter 3 that we get some longer scenes. There are some consent-based comments, that in my opinion is a great addition to any novel, but it’s presented in a very cute/funny way. I really enjoyed this small addition to the scene, because it broke some of the tension but added to the comedy that these books present. It felt right in the situation as well, and with these characters. It might not have seem as great in a Cris/India scene because they are so tension heavy, but Lucy/Evans have the perfect combination for some cute, side scenes within their chapters. Even some of Lucy’s thoughts during these sexy scenes are funny – describing Evans’s so we get a better understanding of his characters.

<spoiler>Also, Chanoch Evans…I’m not even sure how to pronounce that correctly. And after searching google…Yup. I get why she calls him Evans.</spoiler>

Side note: While reading this book, if you do readers…think about this…Are there cameras in copy rooms?… Or in the office?… #Awkward

As you continue on throughout the chapters, you’ll find that Lucy and Evans have a very different relationship than the past characters. Lucy and Evans, while they have intense and hot scenes, are also quite comedic and adorkable. They’ll be getting hot and heavy, and suddenly they throw comedic gems out into the open that doesn’t break the situations, it adds to it. I really enjoyed every little comment, and I want to quote every single one, but that would ruin any suspense for the future readers. So I’ll leave it at this – this is one of my favourite books in this series so far (although Cris and India are probably still my favourite couple…but not by much. Maybe just a centimeter.)

This book is definitely worth the read. Typically, this far into a series the books start to fade off and go into obscurity, but this book really stepped it up. I wasn’t expecting to laugh as much as I did in this book and I love the characters almost as much as the main starter couples. I really loved this book, and if I could give it six out of five stars, I would!

The story line is easy to follow, and seems realistic (within the realm of sexy reads, of course). I wasn’t left with many questions, and I found the plot moved smoothly and at a fast enough pace to enjoy it. I even managed to read this book right through beginning to end (minus a few pit stops in adding parts into this review). It’s a good book to read in one sitting, and it’ll make you crave even more!

Overall: Tamsen does step up some of her writing in this book – some voyeurism occurs, which is a slight change from her past novels. There also seems to be a pinch or roleplay, depending on how you read into the situation. And a splash of beach sex (get it…splash? Oh, I love puns). There’s also a few other surprises around the corner, because Tamsen doesn’t like to disappoint!

This book has an adorkable x-factor that will leave you craving more sexy, seductive heroines and leading men from Tamsen Parker!

I definitely want more from Tamsen. As she continues to write her books, she develops her style and goes bigger and better. I haven’t yet been disappointed in a book, so I’m thrilled for her next release!

Five out of five stars.

PS. In the acknowledgments I also got a little giggle – thanking readers for the “trip” when it’s the “compass” series…Yeah. I love puns!