#BookReview The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby

The Champagne Conspiracy is now one of my top 2020 reads!

I love a good cozy mystery to snuggle under the covers and read some tea with. This book fit the bill and was a wonderful distraction from the bad weather in my town.

This is the seventh book in the Wine Country Mysteries series by Ellen Crosby, but don’t be discouraged by that number. I found this book super easy to jump into. It would have been nice having all of the background relationships and mysteries to fall back on, but I had zero issue becoming instantly addicted to this book and feeling for these characters.

Lucie and Quinn make wine and are good buddies! At their Vineyard one day, Gino Tomassi (an older gentleman who also likes and makes wine) strolls in and presents an old mystery about his family. Lucie and Quinn decide to help out after a pinch of blackmail and tragedy are brought up. One of Lucie’s friends also has some mystery and intrigue occurring in her life, for which Lucie must help out with. Will both be solved? Will there be any closure for these families? Also, flapper dresses!

This book easily became my guilty pleasure and I truly want to grab the rest of the books in this series. It’s a bit more than a cozy mystery, but still fit the bill quite well. There’s a pinch of romance, lots of drama, a mystery that you can see coming if you pay attention and lots of humour. Also, alcohol and wine! The descriptions of wine… Ellen Crosby has a way with words, let me tell ya! There was also a splash of history, which I always like hearing about! Ellen made the history far more interesting than any of my history teachers ever did.

I found the ending to be a little bit predictable, but only if you really paid attention. I was thoroughly addicted to this book so I saw the signs, but I don’t think every reader will. Books like this deserve all the hype! It’s well written and well thought out!

Overall, this fast paced, cozy mystery is a must read! It’s delightful, full of character development and likeable characters. Also, I love the representation of a physical disability in a main character. It’s shown in such a real and respectable way to – it doesn’t slow her down but it’s there. Much respect!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

You can find out more about this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Kobo

 

If you love cozy mysteries, here’s some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Poison by Punctuation by Kelley Kaye
#BookReview Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell
#BookReview A Study for Love by Ruth Miranda

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#BookReview At Mother’s Command by Kay Brandt

At Mother’s Command by Kay Brandt is an erotic introduction to this wonderful series.

Max just turned eighteen years old, and learned that her Mother is not actually her biological Mother. Her parents whisk her away to a giant castle where she learns that her destiny is very sexual in nature. Her Mother, Sumera, is a powerful Dominatrix who runs a very sexual resort where adults can sneak away and explore their fantasies.

This book focuses on Max’s introduction to the world and some of the sexual deviancy going on behind the doors of the castle. It ends on a cliffhanger which made me very happy that I had the second book, but would have totally frustrated me as a reader if I didn’t have it. One thing I’m curious about is if Max will accept her role in this story or not… It seems like it can go either way at this point. I’m sure she will eventually be exploring her sexuality. The poor girl is basically being held hostage!

If you’re into BDSM novels, especially books with doms and subs, than this quickie erotic read will be perfect for you. It’s very hot and very dirty, exactly as a good erotica should be.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to Kay Brandt for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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

You can find out more about Kay Brandt on:
Goodreads Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Twitter – @MsKayBrandt

Here’s some other books by Kay Brandt featured on my blog. If you liked this book or review, you’ll love them too:
#BookReview Hotwives and their Dirty Desires by Kay Brandt
#BookReview Safe Landings by Kay Brandt
#BookReview Naked by Kay Brandt

 

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#BookReview Boston Metaphysical Society by Madeleine Holly-Rosing

Steampunk. Ah, steampunk. I have a love-hate relationship with this sub-genre, but man do I love drowning in it. It’s such a guilty pleasure for me, but it can be so hard to find a good steampunk read. Luckily for me, this wonderful graphic novel is the perfect collection of steampunk.

I’m not the end all be all when it comes to this genre. I don’t read much of it so I’m not super accurate in knowing how well steampunk is portrayed. That being said, I adored this little graphic novel and thoroughly enjoyed myself as I was reading it. I can totally appreciate the work Madeleine put into this series. It’s worth the read if you love a little steampunk in your life. Have I said steampunk enough yet?

This graphic novel is packed tight full of fantastical, paranormal instances dealing with evil and mystery. It’s thrilling, action packed and super fun. There’s lots of science and history hidden in the lore as well, which made me a happy little nerd. Since I’m not typically the biggest reader of this genre, it was nice that it was so easy to jump into and enjoy.

There was constant drama and movement in the plot, which kept me thoroughly enjoyed. I also enjoyed the old time costumes and scenery in the illustrations, so when I wasn’t focused on the story I was admiring the lovely pictures.

Overall, this was super enjoyable! I’d highly recommend it if you love graphic novels and steampunk!

Four out of five stars!

Thank you to Madeleine Holly-Rosing who sent me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

 

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

Here’s some more reviews of Madeleine’s books:
The Scourge of the Mechanical Men – Goodreads
Amazon.ca – Scourge of the Mechanical Men
A Storm of Secrets – Goodreads
Amazon.ca – A Storm of Secrets

Find out more about Madeleine Holly-Rosing on:
Goodreads
https://bostonmetaphysicalsociety.com/
Twitter – @MHollyRosing

 

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#BookReview Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly

Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly was a beautiful contemporary drama.

This novel follows a family through their treasures and troubles. Cassie and Coco are sisters whose Mother left them when Coco was only one and Cassie was eight. That memory hurts and shapes them as adults, leading to a lot of the conflict in this novel. Pearl is their grandmother, who took care of the girls with the help of their Father, when their Mother left.

As adults, Cassie is married and is a strong, working woman. She has two beautiful daughters, Beth and Lily, and seems to have it all: a nice house, a loving husband, two beautiful girls, a lovely sister and a helpful grandmother. Alas, that is not true. Cassie enjoys the drink when life gets tough, and life has been very tough lately. Shay, her husband, seems to be more interested in his Mother than Cassie. Even when Cassie brings it up, Shay doesn’t seem to realize that he doesn’t spend anytime with his wife or kids anymore.

Coco is thirty, flirty and thriving… or so we think. She owns her own vintage clothing store (life goals, much?) and has an awesome bestie named Jo, and is close to Jo’s daughter. A few years back, Coco broke up with her fiancee Red when she thought he was cheating on her. Ever since, she’s had some dates but hasn’t settled won. But, Red has been seen around town… is she over him? And what will she do when tragedy strikes close in her life?

I absolutely LOVED Cassie and Coco. Their story lines kept my hooked to this book like there was no tomorrow. I couldn’t help but binge their stories because I needed to know how they turned out. I felt these girls were very relatable (either hurt or thriving in the loss of a parent) and dealt with realistic scenarios in realistic ways. I did find their intertwined stories very sad (and I kind of want to know how a couple of them played out) but in the end I think it had a good message and moral. We can either grow, do nothing, or let the hurt define us.

The ending itself is very beautiful and I’m glad a certain plot line was able to close. There are some open ended questions left with us, but the ending itself felt… good. It felt nice and made my heart sing and soar! It’s the happy ending I won’t get, so it makes me feel very good inside.

I didn’t enjoy every plot line as much, but not because they were bad. Pearl and Pheobe’s stories didn’t intrigue me as much, but it’s because I just didn’t relate as much to them. They were still beautifully written and a marvelous addition to the book though! Don’t be scared off because I don’t relate to an older grandmother! I also really did not like Shay. Man, was he dumb… He loves that his wife is blunt and to the point, but doesn’t like it when he’s called out on his bullcrap.

If I had a negative for this book, it would be that some chapters moved at a really fast pace while others were slow. Since there was enough fast to out-weight the slow, it didn’t bother me as much. I can see some people not enjoying it though.

My biggest positive is that all storylines eventually intertwine. I love books like that! When you start the book, some of the people seem like they don’t belong… until they do. Cathy does this seamlessly and makes it super impressive! That’s one of the reasons I can rate this book so high. Not only does Cathy have excellent style in her writing, but she can also make it work!

Overall, I am so happy I read this book! It gave me a few too many tears for my own personal liking, but it’s still a gem hidden among my shelves.

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

 

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

 

If you enjoyed this book (or review!) here’s some others you might enjoy:
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon
#BookReview Driving on the Left by Gail Ward Olmsted
#BookReview Literature® by Guillermo Stitch

 

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#BookReview Love Comes for the Army Ranger by Savannah Adams

Yet again, Savannah Adams has crafted a beautiful, little, love story that will set your heart on fire.

This series is totally in my obsession list. I can’t get enough of the characters and the sweet relationships that are built among them. Not only are we introduced to new characters, but we get to see our faves from the last book as well! Tyler and Brianna make an appearance as Chase and Lori steal the show!

Chase is a veteran who lost his leg in Afghanistan. Him and his dog Bear are back in town, and lucky him gets to see his sister Brianna marry Tyler. Little did he know that his dog would bring him back with the girl of his dreams… Lori the veterinarian. Lori is still hurting from the loss of her husband, and has a piece of her past that haunts her. Meanwhile, Chase is dealing with PTSD due to his incident in Afghanistan. These two are made for each other, but will they end up with each other?

This book is under 200 pages and it just flies by. It’s super sweet and totally addicting, to the point I binged it in one sitting and wanted to continue on with the series (but I held back, because I want to savour the taste of these delicious books).

Also, Bear the dog is super cute. Seriously, animals are so sweet. Bonus points for the pups! And kitties!

I really like the dynamic between these two characters. They have difficulties and their own pasts but they come together and learn to accept each other. Over the course of this book, we get to watch the characters develop and change, and it’s really miraculous. To top it off, the romance is super, duper sweet and totally PG. This is almost the perfect New Adult romance that wants a little more adult relationship but not R rated content.

Overall, this second chance, HEA romance is exactly what I needed in my life right now. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a sweet romance, wants a quick and addicting read, and doesn’t want to jump into erotica.

Five out of five stars!

Thank you to the author, Savannah Adams, for giving me a copy of this book to review in exchange of an honest review.

 

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

Find out more about Savannah Adams:
https://www.savannahadams.com/
Twitter @HEA_Romance
Goodreads

Here’s a review I did for the first book in this lovely, little series!!
#BookReview Love Comes for the Bodyguard by Savannah Adams

 

If you love romance books, here’s some other reviews and books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Perfect Fit by Mary Jayne Baker
#BookReview Prisoner of the Highlander by Kate Robbins
#BookReview Chain Reaction by Tara Wyatt

 

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#BookReview Cress by Marissa Meyer

W-O-W-Z-A.

I love fairy tales and their adaptions, but Marissa Meyer takes this to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. I haven’t been this glued to a series in a very long time (almost a decade… back when I was in high school). It’s seriously amazing that Marissa can pull my attention so well. Seriously, I just ordered the last book of this series. I have read almost an entire series in a few months, which is super rare for me as a reader. And, I have to say, this series pulled me out of my reading slump. It made me fall in love with reading again, so it’ll have a special place in my heart.

Onto the review:

I did not enjoy this book as much as the first two, but it was still mind-blowing. The first half of the book did not pull my attention as much as I wanted it to, but I still love our little Crescent Moon… I mean, Cress. I even had to laugh because Cress and her lover boy gave me serious Tangled vibes. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not, but I dig the giggles!

This book moves faster than the last two. There’s twists and turns in almost every chapter and kept me thoroughly hooked. It was disappointing when I had to put the book down because I knew something else was going to happen.

I also really enjoyed this book address Cress and her instant love for her rescuer. It felt like a parody as it was also participating fully in the narrative. At times, I felt like it was insta-love but then it’d go and make fun of it. By the end, Cress isn’t fully in love with Captain Thorne so it did actually pay off. I’m rather impressed with how this YA tackled that trope. Seriously, Marissa got some real respect from me.

And then, the ending. This book leaves on a bit of a cliffhanger (which I hate, by the way), but it did it in a very good way. The book had giggles but it also had absolute terror – murder, genocide and the likes. It seems weird to put that in a review about a fairy tale adaption, but it’s true. There were some really bad scenes in this book to show how cruel Levana is. With one book left, Winter is going to have some seriously work to do (but we all know Marissa is a genius, so she’ll be just fine).

To top it off, this book had some seriously amazing one liners thrown in. Kai talking about his wedding vows was killing me – remove love, respect and joy – like, Marissa, you’re killing it!

The most frustrating parts of these books for me is the last section of the books either “extra content”. I always think I’m getting 400-500 pages full of Lunar plot, but it seems like half the book is reader questions and Q&As with authors. It makes me feel a little cheated, but it obviously doesn’t affect the story at all. It’s just a pet peeve of mine.

In the end, this book was another epic-ly fun read for me. I enjoyed every second of this book (even if it didn’t live up to my super high standards). I absolutely will be reading Winter (it’s being shipped as I type this!) and I can’t wait to see what else Marissa does in her writing career. Books like these make my heart sing – they make my love of reading SO much stronger. But, she does raise my standards a lot higher for other authors…

P.S. Thorne gives me Han Solo vibes and we all know I love Star Wars. ❤

Five out of five crescent moons!

 

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

Check out my reviews of the last two books in this series:
#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer
#BookReview Scarlett by Marissa Meyer

And if you enjoy YA fantasy and romance, check out some of these that are also featured on my blog:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

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

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#BookReview The Heirs by Fran Hawthorne

The Heirs by Fran Hawthorne is a delightful, contemporary novel that lit up my bookshelf.

Eleanor’s Mother, Rose, has a terrible fall and is suddenly speaking Polish. For many years, Rose has kept her history of the war a secret and not shared a word to a single soul. This sudden change sparks interest in Eleanor and the hunt for a secret past begins. Family secrets are unlocked, drama ensues and life lessons are learned. Will her marriage survive? Will her Mother and her’s bond survive? Will her son ever enjoy soccer?

I found this book truly intriguing an addicting. It’s hard to tell which way this book is going to go right off the bat, which is why I truly enjoyed it. There’s so many secrets hidden and discussed, slowly being revealed as each chapter rolls on. Eleanor’s entire life seems to be falling at the seams, and yet she keeps her cool and manages herself through all of it. Not only was this book about discovering the past, it was also about taking control of your present and future! Eleanor has to manage taking care of her Mother while trying to be a wife and a Mother. Not all of her life is sunshine and roses: her relationship with her Mother is strained, her cousin seems to have a better relationship with Rose, her marriage isn’t in tip top shape, her son isn’t interested in sports, and there may be a man flirting with her! There’s so much going on for Eleanor and yet she handles it all like a pro (with some stumbles, but we all stumble once and a while).

Fran crafted this story wonderfully. I think enough information is released piece by piece, but it also moves at a fast enough pace to keep the reader interested. It’s full of contemporary drama and insights into the past (specifically World War ll).

I can truly respect this book. I found it super engaging and I definitely want more. I could analyze this book while also drifting off into another world that reflects my own.

I can’t find any real negatives about this book, if I’m being honest. I never studied much history or took a giant interest in it, so I felt like I didn’t connect with the history as much as my history buff friends could have. People who enjoy history might like the little splash of Poland that is thrown in.

Overall, I’d highly suggest this book. I think Fran has crafted one of the best books of 2020 and I will be singing it’s praises for years.

Five out of five stars.

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

 

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

You can find out more about the author, Fran Hawthorne, on:
Goodreads
http://www.hawthornewriter.com/
Twitter – @hawthornewriter

 

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