#BookReview If We Had Known by Elise Juska

 

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“If We Had Known” was a unique read that gave me chills.

With all the shootings that have been happening, well…everywhere, I was honestly surprised I hadn’t seen millions upon millions of books trying to hone in on the public interest. When I initially picked this book up, I was under the impression this book might try to do just that, but it was surprisingly and beautifully respectful.

I did enjoy this book. I think it was an interesting ride all the way along, and it kept me hooked. There were a couple chapters where it was slow and I became bored, but overall it was an addicting ride.

So, what are my pros and cons?

Pros:
1. Different POVs – There are many different point of views in this story, and one of them is NOT the shooter (believe it or not). I appreciated watching the lives of many people fold out, and not just one.

2. Story Telling – I LOVE how Elise Juska told this story. Her choice of words and pace of the novel really fit well with this topic. I wouldn’t change a thing in relation to this.

3. Intertwining Stories – When stories intertwine I get so giddy! All of these stories having effects on each other (some positive, some very negative) made the book just a little bit more exciting. I could guess some of the effects that they would have on each other, but it was still nice to see that things do effect other people.

Cons:
1. Plot Device Characters – It felt like some characters were thrown in and taken out super fast just to move the plot along. I would have liked to see Anna’s boyfriends a little bit more and see how things affected them.

2. Happily Ever After – Everything tied up so nicely at the end! I was kind of hoping to leave off on a weird note, and not a semi-happy note. Now, everybody who knows me knows I like happy/good endings, but I felt a little cheated with this one. There shouldn’t have been a really good ending, and anybody who’s been through something like this would tell you how honest that was.

Overall, I really liked this book! There are definitely some minor problems with this book, but it was a worthy read!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Did you enjoy this book? Why not check out another by Elisa Juska?! EliseJuska.com

Check out If We Had Known on Goodreads! Goodreads – If We Had Known

Give me a shoutout on twitter if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic – Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

Or check out another book you might enjoy! #BookReview Life Seemed Good, But… by Richard Bell

Comment below your favorite book that you read recently!

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Release Day Blitz – Lacey Black’s My Kinda Player

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My Kinda Player:

AJ Summer witnessed four of her sisters fall in love and settle down. But not her. She’s stuck in a rut, destined to spend the rest of her life watching from the dugout, kissing frogs. Then one night, she meets a mysterious stranger, who makes her feel alive and realize she’s not as broken as she thought–until she wakes up alone.

Sawyer Randall lost everything in a split-second when a game-winning play resulted in a career-ending injury. Looking for a fresh start, he settles into the cozy beach town of Jupiter Bay. A chance meeting with a gorgeous woman leaves him restless and anxious for something he swore he’d never want again–love.

But sometimes Prince Charming isn’t who he seems. What happens when circumstances are misleading? Will their love be strong enough to see them through unscathed? Or will AJ be played by the player?

 

*Though part of a series, this book can be read as a standalone. It is intended for those 18 and over due to graphic language, descriptive sex, and the world’s most inappropriate grandparents.

 

 

 

 

About Lacey Black:

Lacey Black is a Midwestern girl with a passion for reading, writing, and shopping. She carries her e-reader with her everywhere she goes so she never misses an opportunity to read a few pages. Always looking for a happily ever after, Lacey is passionate about contemporary romance novels and enjoys it further when you mix in a little suspense. She resides in a small town in Illinois with her husband, two children, and a chocolate lab. Lacey loves watching NASCAR races, shooting guns, and should only consume one mixed drink because she’s a lightweight.

Lacey’s debut novel, Trust Me, was released in August 2014 and has been an Amazon Bestseller twice for Free e-books, as well as #1 for Contemporary Romance. All of the Rivers Edge books have been bestsellers in the Romance and Contemporary Romance categories.

 

Giveaway Links:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4cf78adb650/

 

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK  | Amazon AU

 Kobo | Google Play | B&N | iBooks | Goodreads

Paperback: coming soon

 

 

Amazon US: http://a.co/iGsv0FH
Amazon CA: http://a.co/1JaGnaE
Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/fTyztXA
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07BFCC72Y
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/my-kinda-player
Google Play: https://tinyurl.com/PlayerGooglePlay
B&N: https://tinyurl.com/PlayerB-N
iBooks: https://tinyurl.com/PlayeriBooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39216000-my-kinda-player

Paperback: coming soon

Links:

Email | Facebook | Twitter | Blog

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 Sneak Peak:

“Are you blind?! What kinda call was that?” AJ hollers at the ump behind home plate while the crowd around us boos and screams their frustration at the horrible call.

“Dude, your girl is vicious. Remind me not to get on her bad side,” Dylan mumbles to me as we watch AJ rant at the umpire.

“No shit,” I reply, shocked that such harsh words just came from my sweet little schoolteacher’s mouth. “It’s kinda hot, though.”

“Definitely,” my brother replies quietly. “Did you see how many hotdogs she ate?”

“More than you.”

“More than you and me combined, bro. A woman who looks like that, talks like a sailor, and can hold her own in a hotdog eating contest? Marry her, dude.”

I snort in reply, merely because I’m afraid if I open up my mouth right now, I might actually propose. If I was falling in love with this woman before today, well, seeing her in my element, trash talking, and burping warm beer has pretty much sealed the deal for me. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ve fallen head over heels in love with AJ Summer.

“Can you believe that call? What kinda horseshit is that? A blind monkey humping a football could have seen the tag! He was out by a mile,” she seethes, her eyes burning with fire and passion.

“I saw,” I tell her, wrapping my arm around her shoulders and pulling her into my side. “Horrible call.”

“The worst,” she grumbles.

“You’re scaring the big burly guys behind us, honey,” I tease.

She glances over her shoulder at my words. “You mean Bill and Tom? Shit, who do you think taught me those bad words?” she asks, making me laugh. “They really appreciated the autographs, though,” she adds. As soon as the Rangers fans sat down behind us before the game started, they recognized me and started chatting. I signed a few autographs for them and a handful for others in the vicinity.

 

#BookReview Dunbar by Eward St. Aubyn

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I love Shakespeare – anyone who knows me well can tell you that – so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. But, sadly, it was under whelming and quite the disappointment. Perhaps I put to much pressure on this book before reading it?

I haven’t read King Lear yet, but I have been meaning to. I made sure to read over the synopsis and read some of the more “famous” pieces from the story online to get a better feel for it before I picked up this book. I wanted to understand the source material and see what Edward St. Aubyn would do with it. While he got the base of the story and plot correct, it just wasn’t as great as it could have been.

Henry Dunbar (our King Lear) the media mogul is our lead, who has three daughters (two of whom seem out of their right mind 99% of the time, I feel like they should have been in the psych ward, personally), is currently in what appears to be a psych ward with a not-so-funny comedian. He plans to escape and prevent the two psychotic daughters from running his company/getting his trust money.

The two psychotic daughters appear to be too evil – like it’s obvious, but their reasoning for getting the trust money doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to be crazy. I would have liked to see the craziness pulled back a bit to make it more realistic, or interesting. I just found them to pull away from the great story of Henry and Florence. While Florence does seem to be a little too goody-goody, their scenes are really beautiful and seem to be the best part of this entire story.

St. Aubyn uses a lot of Shakespeare quotes – which I loved! They were used in the correct context too. My issue within this, is sometimes it seemed like he was trying to write in iambic pentameter or using language from that era when it just didn’t fit in. The first chapter when Henry and his comedian friend are telling stories seem to be edging towards that era, but it just wasn’t funny. If anything, it made me more confused and bored. I had to keep re-reading what they were saying just to try to understand what they are doing (and I was an ace at Shakespeare in English, so how could I not understand normal English?…Geez).

My overall review – just read the original. There are some FANTASTIC adaptions out there that can wow your socks off and rival the original, and this one isn’t it. It’s a great story, and if it entered a contest it could potentially win, but it’s not the best I’ve seen. I gave up a few chapters in just to force myself through the book.

Edward is a great author, and while this might not be his strongest novel I’m sure he is great in other areas. I definitely want to give him another shot in the future with a book that’s an original story because I’m sure he could shine there.

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Check out this fantastic author on Goodreads: Edward St. Aubyn on Goodreads

Or visit his website:  Edward St. Aubyn.com

Enjoy my reviews? Check out my Goodreads page! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

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#BookReview Bleeding Hearts by Alyxandra Harvey

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Here’s yet another #ThrowbackThursday book review filled with cute, vampire goodness from my teenage years!! I was so excited to find these books hiding in the back of my book shelf and I grabbed a random one! Here’s the review:

 

Alyxandra Harvey has a hit with the Drake Chronicles.

Bleeding Hearts is the fourth novel in the Drake Chronicles (one of my many vampire-based book obsessions). Each book follows one of the Drake children and their adventures and romances. Each book seems to get better compared to the last – in character development, plot and story lines and the romances. It was really nice to see Alyxandra Harvey grow with each book that came out. Knowing that this series came to an end was truly heart breaking, even if this series came to a perfect end.

This book changes point of views throughout, which can be distracting if you aren’t paying attention but I think it adds more to this novel. I liked seeing the different angles of the plot from each of the characters!

This wasn’t my favourite book in the series (in fact, it was my least favourite) but it was still an excellent addition. Everyone has their favourite character (*cough* Quinn *cough*) and Conor and Christabel just weren’t my favourite. They are still funny, fantastic and nerdy characters in this star line-up cast of characters and their story is absolutely delightful! They just don’t measure up in my eyes to some of the others.

There are many nerdy references in here, and that touched my nerdy heart. It’s always fun when you can actually understand the references – Star Wars, Firefly, etc.

Overall, this book is a recommended read from me. It’s a cute, romantic vampire novel in an absolutely adorable series that I was and am still obsessed with. Hopefully in the near future I pick up Alyxandra’s new books!

Five out of five stars.

 

Check out Alyxandra Harvey on Goodreads: Alyxandra Harvey on Goodreads

Or visit her website! AlyxandraHarvey.com

Or maybe, give her a shoutout on Twitter! @AlyxandraH

Enjoy my reviews? Check out my Goodreads page! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Give me a shout-out on Twitter! Let me know your recent reads!!! Or give me some recommendations!  Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

#BookReview Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

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#ThrowbackThursday time! I read this books years ago, when it came out  and now it’s time to pick it up off my shelf and dust it off for a new review!!

 

 

Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey is one of my favourite books in a series that ended FAR TOO SOON!!

When I initially picked up this series I became furious – there was only two books in the series and then POOF it was gone, just like that! I was addicted, I needed more and Beth hadn’t provided the literature to fill that need. With a book and sweet and cute as this one, it was highly upsetting.

The Romanian vampire universe that Beth built within these two books was thrilling. We follow Jessica and her vampire husband (who has been accused of murder, by the way) in a magical adventure. There’s romance, drama, danger, thrills and everything you want in a YA, vampire novel.

This book does let you down though – it’s the final in a two book series that could have been so much more. It could have been the next Vampire Academy, in my eyes. Why go so far and waste the effort to create such a beautiful universe to end it after two? Our characters still had room to grow, since their character development was quite small, and there were so many loose ends that weren’t tied up in the end. When there’s so many mysteries entwined in this series, it was incredibly frustrating to know the books just stopped here.

Jessica is related to the audience – she doesn’t fit in, she’s strong willed and headstrong and is willing to save her friends. She’s not overly dramatic in my eyes, especially in a YA adult novel, but she’s still an excellent lead. Mixed in with a fast paced story, and an excellent story line makes for a truly great recommended read from me!

Five out of five stars.

 

Check out Beth’s website: Beth Fantaskey

Or give Beth a shoutout on Twitter! @BethFantaskey

Enjoy my reviews? Check out my Goodreads page! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Give me a shout-out on Twitter! Let me know your recent reads!!! Or give me some recommendations!  Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

#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

#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.

Enjoy my reviews? Check out my Goodreads page! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Give me a shout-out on Twitter! Let me know your recent reads!!! Or give me some recommendations!  Briar’s Reviews on Twitter