#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda

Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda is an excellent start to a new series I will surely be addicted to.

King Arthur. Round Tables. Medieval Fantasy.

My gosh, this book is packed TIGHT with everything I love about Ruth Miranda and her writing. Epic fantasy, a potential romance, drama, “echoes from the past”, murder, and an epic tale. Seriously, this series already has me hooked and IT LEFT ON A DARN CLIFFHANGER.

I swear, Ruth Miranda sits away at her computer knowing full well I’m going to be pulling my hair out and screaming while I wait for the next book. It may be a little egotistical, but she’s totally doing it to me, on purpose. And I fall for it every time! I can picture her with evil, maniacal laughter filling the room as she typed the final words in Part 1…

But, that’s not the meat of this review. Avalon Hall centers around King Arthur being from Scotland, where the wonderful Avalon Hall (a present day academy for witches and fey) sit. 30 years before modern day, a young woman named Stephanie Miller was murdered and 30 years later there’s been yet another murder. Fortunately, this time it was just some jerk. That being said, Stephanie’s murder brought lots of attention on this hall that only wanted to be seen as a hippie community that studies tarot cards and astrology. Atticus Downe, the new head master, wants to keep it that way. Oh, and he’s hiding a vampire named Emrys in the attic.

Along comes Yseult, a beautiful witch, to Avalon Hall 30 years after Stephanie’s death. She begins seeing ghosts, these “echoes from the past” and sees some ghosts from her present too (like her abusive ex Gary).

Part one is all about Yseult and Avalon Hall. Seriously, this was the best opening for this story. I was truly hooked in and was totally addicted to the book with this opening. It had a fair bit of drama, with mean girls and crushes, alongside the fantastical elements of the story. Also Emrys and Yseult are totally end game for me. Seriously, I need to know what happens next! I also really liked that Ruth expanded on Nora Bell’s character. I was expecting her to be some mean girl, but she’s not all she seems to be.

Then we move into part 2, which brings us back to King Arthur’s actual birth. There’s a lot of back story on his family in this one. The worst part for me was trying to pronounce any of those names. It brought me out of the book a few times because I couldn’t decide on how I wanted them pronounced and I didn’t like google’s pronunciation either. Confusing names are hard, okay? But, I digress, this part of the book was REALLY good. The lore, the back story, and the fast pace of the story. I loved every second of it.

I really hope this series continues and I can get my hand on the next book. Ruth Miranda’s writing style is marvelous – it’s fast, she has a talent for weaving her words into beautiful sentences and she makes up excellent plots. Plus, she’s really good at horror, romance and action.

Overall, this book is a 100% recommended book from me. If you like myths and lore, action and adventure, and a pinch of romance, then this book is for you! I’m definitely going to be continuing the series so you might as well start it with me!

Five out of five stars!

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

 

 

 

Check out Ruth Miranda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15263413.Ruth_Miranda

 

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#BookReview More Than a Feeling by Sara Richardson

More Than a Feeling is a marvelous continuation of the Heart of Rockies series by Sara Richardson.

Years ago I managed to get my hands on one of the first books in this series, and then I bought the sequels! Silly me lost them among my shelves until I recently managed to clean my little library up. Of course, I had to pick this book up and continue the series (I’m sure #2 is hiding somewhere in my house. Whoever said you had to read these in order?!).

I really enjoy this series, but it is an R rated book – sex scenes, abusive pasts and a miscarriage are just a few parts of this story that make it a “tougher” read. It felt like an adult romance novel, which is what it was intended to be. That being said, this book could be a potential trigger for some readers.

I like that Sara didn’t hold back with Ruby’s story. Her story is rough and tough and isn’t all sunshine and roses. She’s lucky to find a man like Sawyer and a beautiful, unconventional family to fill her heart with. Oh, and the sex scenes made for a good romp too!

This book has a lot of tug and pull. Ruby wanted Sawyer, but didn’t want to tell him her secrets. Sawyer was very similar, but he was all in for this relationship. The ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ was a little annoying, but that’s because it’s one of those specific cliches I get bored with. That part of the book didn’t go on for a long time, but it’s still there. This little cliche made this book a slow burn romance, but when it hits the hot parts… wowza, it is hot!

I like contemporary romances like these. For whatever reason, they are really hitting all of the notes I want them to hit this year. There were some cons though…

1. Potential animal abuse. I strongly dislike animal abuse. Fortunately, a lot of the potential abuse isn’t shown in this novel. There’s just a little bit and it’s used to show Ruby’s compassion. Still… it’s a touchy topic for me.

2. Abusive exes. Yeek… These do happen in real life but they still make me shiver. Some readers might not enjoy some of the comments said in relation to this topic! So, reader beware…

3. Miscarriage. It happened in the past but I know it’s a very touchy subject for some people. Again, reader beware!

4. Sawyer is a really horny man. It’s not necessarily a giant con (it’s a romance novel, you kinda have to expect it) but I know a good friend of mine did not enjoy that part of the novel. So, it’s a potential con? Not for me, but for some readers.

If I had to pick the good things, they would be as followed:

1. Foster families and happy endings. I like seeing the positive side of building trust and making friendships! I’m glad this book put foster families in a good light.

2. Stand-alone versus series. This book could easily have stood alone, yet it’s apart of a series. Sara gives you just enough info to be able to jump into this book without knowing the rest of this series.

3. NO CLIFFHANGER! Thank goodness there was no cliffhanger. Those kill me.

Overall, I liked this book! The touchy subjects dropped one star off my rating, but realistically they can happen! So why not put them into a romance novel and use them for a happy ending?

Four out of five stars!

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

Check out some other reviews and books you might enjoy:
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels
#BookReview Something Like Love by Sara Richardson
#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin

 

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#BookReview A Woman of Valor by Gary Corbin

A Woman of Valor is the newest addition to Gary Corbin’s literary genius line-up!

I loved Gary Corbin’s Mountain Man series, so it was a no brainer for me to pick up A Woman of Valor. Especially since this novel focused on a woman in a crime setting – I’m a real sucker for The Rookie, Rookie Blue, etc., and any tale that follows a strong female lead.

In this book, Valorie Dawes is a rookie police officer. She has a bit of a family legacy which casts a shadow over yet, but she is determined to show her worth. Val gets partnered up with Gil and chaos ensues. Will Val be able to deal with her past and the trauma that’s holding her back? Will she make it as a police officer when no one wants to accept her?

I really liked this story, if I’m being honest. This particular plot point is common – a woman police officer trying to be treated equally – but Gary did a great job making me invested in it. I could have been really bored with the “same old, same old”, but he made me feel for Val. I wanted to see her do well! Somehow, he managed to make Val feel more real than just a character. All the while, he throws in some very tough plot points (sexual harassment, rape and social injustice). Those topics fit perfectly into this narrative, but they could have been handled REALLY wrong. Lucky for us, Gary is the master!

Gary does a great job putting this story together. There’s action and adventure, a pinch of romance, and a dash of comedy. It’s not all down and depressing, which was a big plus for me. Often times, I find that police dramas get so sad and boring. Gary amps it up real well! On top of all of that, Gary does a great job making me know each and every character. I tend to lose focus when there’s a lot of people to follow, but I didn’t this time around! Kudos!

My negatives are as followed:
1. Sometimes the plot slowed down, and I’m a fast paced kinda girl. It’s not the end of the world, but I struggled to get through just a couple of the chapters.

2. The ending, while it sums up the book, it felt like a cliffhanger. Will there be another book?! Will I see what happens to Val and Gil soon?!

Overall, this book is a real gem. I’m glad I got to read it but sad it took me so long to get to it. Gary’s a real master at making books that feel like they can cross multiple genres. He deals with tough topics like rape, molestation, post traumatic stress disorder and the cruel realities of human kind really well. I’d highly recommend this book if you like crime dramas or want something with a little ‘umph’ on your shelf.

Five out of five stars.

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

 

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

Here’s some links about the author, Gary Corbin:
Goodreads
http://www.garycorbinwriting.com/
@GaryCorbin

Check out my other reviews of Gary’s books:
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Badge
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Bride by Gary Corbin
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin

 

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#BookReview Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber is a lovely tale woven with friendship, romance and care!

I love to knit, even though I’m not very good at it, so a book like this is right up my alleyway! A knitting group, a flower shop, a love affair, a baby, a wedding and endless amounts of girl drama fill the pages of this book! Lydia, Colette and Alix are the three main leads, and wowza did Debbie do a good job making this story! I one hundred percent need to read the rest of this series – especially since I love Colette!

Debbie Macomber’s writing style is very lovely. It’s soft, sweet and easy to read. There are times where the plot took sudden turns that seemed out of character (someone magically being in love when before it seem a bit sinister…?), but she somehow makes it work and be believable. She writes a woman’s tale so easily, and makes it feel like they could be my friend, sister or mother. These women face real problems that many of my friends have faced themselves! This relatable factor makes this book so much better than I would have anticipated.

Despite being over four hundred pages, it truly didn’t feel that way. I was so connected to Alix and Colette’s story that I managed to binge this book in under two days. For me and my busy schedule, that’s quite the feat! But that just shows how great Debbie is at making an addicting story! I wouldn’t have been so interested in these characters and their stories if Debbie hadn’t done such an awesome job of writing the book.

I did have some “major” negatives about this book though:
1. I didn’t enjoy Lydia’s story because it does mirror some of my own past horrors and demons. Due to the loss of my Father, it was really hard to read her struggles with her Mother. Instead of pushing through it, I decided to lightly skim past that part. Should this affect other readers and their score against the book? Absolutely not! For me, it was just a little too hard to read, emotionally. It doesn’t affect my score at all, but I do have to admit I wasn’t as connected to her.
2. Christian just suddenly changed his mood. I would have liked to see a more gradual movement in his feelings, but the book is already over 400 pages long so I can understand why Debbie didn’t.

To list some of the amazing positives (that I haven’t already included):
1. The knitting quotes were fabulous! They really added a fantastic touch of personalism to the book.
2. The cover is gorgeous and colourful. If you’re going to judge a book by it’s cover, judge this book!
3. It was the perfect mix of contemporary, drama, women’s fiction and romance. I wouldn’t change a thing (minus some more Christian, of course).

Overall, this book was truly lovely! I’m glad I picked this book up years ago at a local department store! Although, I’m slightly upset it took me so long to read it! This book is a true gem that I’d recommend to ladies who love knitting, want a light, fluffy story or just want to dig into a sweet book!

Five out of five stars!

 

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

If you enjoyed this book (or review!) check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
#BookReview Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin

 

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#BookReview 100 Tiny Tales by K. Kris Loomis

This book features one hundred drabbles (stories with one hundred words) by K. Kris Loomis. I had never heard of a drabble before, but man does it sound tough! How does one write a story and perfectly sum it up in one hundred words?! I’m awful at describing myself in little words, so kudos to K. Kris Loomis for making it possible! It’s a real feat!

These stories are really short (well, obviously. One hundred words isn’t actually a lot – it’s just a few paragraphs worth at most!) but they really pack a punch! My favourites include: “The Perfect Ring” with the surprise ending I didn’t see coming, “The Sentry” that reminded me of our former neighbourhood cat and my numerous reactions to him, and “A Knock” where the Grim Reaper makes a mistake (I actually laughed out loud at this one).

Despite the length of these stories, I felt like I related to them (and sometimes wanted a little more!). “She Was Going Dancing” packs a lot of parental disappointment in such a small story. “A Night at the Theatre” had me shivering because I knew what would come next. “I Know He Loves Me” highlights the pain of a woman in a tough situation. “Phobias” highlights Santa Claus at a doctor’s office. “Flowers” had me cringing for the poor lead man. “The Wedding” just broke my heart! “A Great House” left me feeling spooked. “The Flight” reminded me of my childhood. “Kiss a Frog” takes a twist on an old fairy tale. And those are just some of the many stories!

There’s so many good stories in this bunch! There’s at least one that you’ll enjoy. Anthologies like this are always so much fun, especially since they’re quick and easy to read, yet just as easy to jump back into. I also love that there’s so much hinted at – you can just imagine what would go down next. Creativity and imagination are great aspects of drabbles!

This lovely anthology shows how strong K. Kris Loomis is with her craft. She’s a real master of writing, so if you get the chance… pick this book up! It’s well worth the read!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author, K. Kris Loomis, in exchange of an honest review.

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

Here’s some more books by K. Kris Loomis featured on my blog:
#BookReview The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview After Namaste by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview Survving Revision: How One Writer Finished What She Started by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis

 

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#BookReview Tiny House, Big Love by Olivia Dade

Tiny House, Big Love is a super cute, property show-inspired story.

I love myself a sweet, little book! Especially books that pack on the cutesy romance in a fast-paced environment. This short novel by Olivia Dade hit all the right notes with me!

This book follows Lucy, an enviromentally friendly massage therapist, and Sebastian, a Guatemalan-American engineer, as they pursue a tiny house for Lucy. They go on a Property Brothers, House Hunters or HGTV-esque show to try to find Lucy a cute, mobile home that she can live in. Along the way, sparks fly (to no one’s surprise)!

There’s so many sweet parts about this book. Olivia’s writing style is fast paced, easy to read and wildly addicting. She also has some marvelous quotes that made me giggle at her word choice. “First butt to butt contact” is just one of many quotes that had me laughing. The fact that there was a former nudist’s house and a school bus also made this story absolute hilarious. I’ve watched many of these house searching or building shows, and this book felt spot on. There’s always some weird background to the houses that make you cringe!

Lucy and Seb’s relationship was lovely. The friends to romance plot line was used here and I think it was used well. It wasn’t too fast for a book of this size, but it didn’t leave me hanging either! I think it was really well written and felt very soft and sweet. The fact that the space between them was the main reason they started growing closer was ironic. But it did work really well! How could one resist when he’s describe to be gorgeous?!

This book is a lovely read if you’re looking for a short romance novel, a soft book, or a book that’s positive. It really lifted my spirits on a very anxious day! Happy books like these deserve spaces on more shelves! And to top it off, the dialogue in this book didn’t feel forced. It felt like I was actually listening in on the characters’s conversations (not in a creepy way… I swear!).

Five out of five stars!

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

Check out this book on:
Amazon.ca
Goodreads
Kobo

 

Find out more about Olivia Dade:
http://oliviadade.com/
@OliviaWrites

 

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#BookReview Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam

Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam is a seriously funny book that will take you on one wild adventure.

Books like these are always my favourites – they tell fun and inviting stories and welcome you into someone else’s world. I also identify as an ‘old soul’ so I get a real kick out of reading books about the past. This book, Carrying Albert Home, is about Homer’s parents taking a pet alligator back to Florida. Yes, you read that right, they are transporting an alligator. Along the way they get themselves in lots of trouble and difficult situations, all of which are hilarious!

This book did feel like it would fit into the niche market. It’s a fictional comedy based on true stories that weren’t exactly true… It’s so weird, but lovely. If you’re looking for a book that’s out of the ordinary, I think this book would be one excellent fit!

To be honest though… this book isn’t my type of novel. I did enjoy reading it as a change from my normal selection, but it just didn’t hit me as well as I wanted it to. The book is long and at times feels like too much. I had to put it down and pick it up a few times to really get through the story. It’s not boring and it’s written in a beautiful manner, it’s just not made for me as a reader. There will be readers out there who are dying to read this book, but it just isn’t my style. My rating for this book reflects the fact that it wasn’t a book for me. In reality, I think this book is a solid 4.0 for the average reader, but based on my rating score it’s a 2.

Overall, if I had to describe this book in a series of words they would be: quirky, spontaneous, eccentric, outlandish and zany.

2.0 out of 5.0 stars – it’s just not my type of book, but it is absolutely lovely and I highly recommend it.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on Goodreads.

If you enjoyed this book, check out another book or review you might enjoy!
#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen
To Wendy’s With Love: the 22-year Lunch by Diane Keyes- BOOK REVIEW
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

 

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