#BookReview Tamora Carter: Goblin Queen by Jim C. Hines

If you’re seeking a fun, fantasy book aimed at middle graders then this book is absolutely perfect!

Tamora Carter: Goblin Queen is an eccentric, delightful and over the top book that brought my worlds of joy! Our lead, Tamora Carter, is a roller derbying girl with lots of sass. Her friend goes missing and she’s concerned, like any normal girl would be. Suddenly, goblins and other magical creatures have found their way into her city and things start to get weird. Tamora will work together with her magical creature friends to learn the value of friendship, loyalty and leadership.

There’s so many good things about this book! It’s fast paced, full of fantasy nods to lore and myths, Tamora’s brother is on the Autism Spectrum (he’s non-verbal), and is one incredibly awesome character (never once is his abilities put into question, which is the way it should be), it has a Korean-American lead and it’s action packed. The representation in this book is on point and written in a very friendly manner. The entire book screams fantastic because it’s exactly what I want in a middle grade novel.

The descriptions of the universe and people also make the entire book feel very real. You could almost start squinting at the sewers to see if any magical creatures will pop up.

Adults and children alike will love this book. There is some fighting and swearing, but nothing most kids haven’t heard before. This book felt like the slightly rebellious middle grade book I yearned for as a kid. Seriously, I love it! There needs to be more books like this floating around – fun, action-packed, kid and adult friendly, and full of honest but not preachy representation. Jim C. Hines has crafted a middle grade masterpiece. So, what are you doing? Go read it!

Five out of five stars.

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
B&N

Find out more about Jim C. Hines by clicking on the following links:
Goodreads
http://www.jimchines.com/
Twitter: @Jimchines

If you love middle grade books, you might enjoy some of these:
#BookReview Snowbound by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
#BookReview I Told You So, Three Strikes You’re Out by Mark Gunning

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#BookReview Randolph the Yellow Snowman by Kevin Miller

Randolph the Yellow Snowman by Kevin Miller is a delightfully funny tale in the town of Milligan Creek.

I love a good picture book, but this one is even better! It’s great! It’s fantastic! It’s marvellous! What other synonyms do you want to hear? It’s got a really funny story about a yellow snowman that may not be what you think it is. His name is Randolph and he is confusing the town of Milligan Creek.

If you haven’t read other books by Kevin Miller, now might be the time to check them out! His middle grade series revolves around the kids from Milligan Creek, so this book is a little throwback to those excellent reads. Back to the review:

We get welcomed back to Milligan Creek (a little town in Canadian’s grand olde prairies) to a little bit of chaos. A yellow snowman shows up that is making the town very concerned. Who in the world would make a snowman out of yellow snow? That’s disgusting! Or is it? Once Terry, the mayor, and every other person gets involved, the story is gonna reveal itself to be quite humorous.

This book is comedy at its finest. Children and adults alike will get a kick out of this super goofy picture book. To boot, it’s a great read for the holidays and winter time. The illustrations also make this book so much better! They are colourful, wacky, zany and fit the community of Milligan Creek just well. Who doesn’t love some great pictures to look at?

Overall, the ending is funnier than I could have ever imagined! I highly recommend this to children aged six and up. It’s comically perfect and a must read in my books. The ending has a parody of the song Frosty the Snowman that will leave you singing and giggling your whole night away.

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy from the author, Kevin Miller, in exchange of an honest review.

Side note: If you have the opportunity to get the physical copy, do it! It’s totally worth it.

Check out this hilarious must read on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Check out Kevin on his website: http://www.kevinmillerxi.com/
Or on twitter: @kevinmillerxi

Interested in reading the Milligan Creek series? This middle grade series can be found here:

Up The Creek (Book #1) on Indigo

Up The Creek (Book #1) on Amazon.ca

Up The Creek (Book #1) Amazon.com

Unlimited (Book #2) on Indigo

Unlimited (Book #2) on Amazon.ca

Unlimited (Book #2) on Amazon.com

The Water War #3 on Amazon.ca

The Water War #3 on Amazon.com

The Great Grain Elevator Incident #4 Amazon.ca

The Great Grain Elevator Incident #4 Amazon.com

Snowbound #5 Amazon.ca

Snowbound #5 Amazon.com

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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 Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books

Schmuck the Buck is yet another hit by EXO Books!

Recently, I’ve been on a picture books/children’s books binge so of course I would be interested in another goofy, picture book full of Christmas mischief!

This book felt like my inner sarcastic child’s dream of a Christmas story. Forget the main reindeer team! Those losers aren’t as school as Santa’s Jewish reindeer, Schmuck the Buck! His real name is Larry, but we call him Schmuck. Because, let’s be honest, those nasty reindeer who called Rudolph names picked on everybody else too!

This poor reindeer is the biggest nerd in his high school, but that doesn’t bring him down! He got a degree in Accounting and even went to Yale! This is the type of awesome I strive to be!

The humor was down right hilarious. I was almost laughing out loud from the silly jokes and gags that littered this book. Texting the parents about batteries? That is the kind of hilarity only the goofiest kids would think of!

I felt like this story was the perfect way to show kids that you don’t have to be the popular “Rudolph” character. You can be super cool and get your own starring role as a normal kid with different interests!

It is a little “longer” – there are small paragraphs instead of just one word on each page. I think it was the perfect way to tell this story though! It’s a real winner! I would love to see this book alongside all of the Rudolph merchandise in my local book stores.

I’m not sure where to rate this book. It is satirical and ironic, but it also was pretty G rated. I think some older kids would find this absolutely hilarious, while younger ones could just enjoy the pictures. I’d maybe suggest reading this to children aged ten and up, because they would probably get some of this humor. But, it’s definitely something adults would love to read!

Overall, I loved this cheesey, funny and lovable story! It’s definitely worth the read! I mean, who wouldn’t love a book with an HR reindeer named Shirley? That just seals the deal.’

Five out of five stars!

P.S. Shout out to Karina Shor the illustrator! I absolutely loved the pictures. They were classic and elegant yet childish and fun!

I received a free copy of this book from EXO Books in exchange for an honest review.

Check out this book on:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Barnes & Nobles

Chapters/Indigo/Coles

Want to check out another book review of an EXO Book’s book? Then check out my review of The Last Day of Captain Lincoln! #BookReview – The Last Day of Captain Lincoln by EXO Books

What else do you want to see on my blog? Let me know in the comments below, tweet me at @ReviewAlholic or tell me on Facebook!

#BookReview A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi

If you’re looking for a humorous, seasonal book packed full of holiday comedy, you need to pick up A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi.

I am new to John Scalzi. I have been informed his writing is superb and he can be quite snarky, so of course I was in. To top it off, who doesn’t want some Christmas cheer during a time like this?! Even if it is making fun of the whole holiday season! Honestly, this book was exactly what I needed in my life right now.

This collection holds fifteen short stories, poems and snippets that will leave you giggling and breathless. Here’s just some of the lovely, little pieces of literature you’ll come across (in no particular order):

1. An Interview With Santa’s Lawyer – this one was by far the best of the bunch for me. Seeing this lawyer explain Santa’s liabilities and how Rudolph screwed everything up had me chuckling the way no other book has managed. It’s absolutely ridiculous while being funny at the exact same time. Santa’s corporation, his billionaire coal master status, and the elves’s union rights are just some of the wildly amusing topics brought up. Not gonna lie, I want an entire book just on this alone!

2. A Bitter November – I also thoroughly enjoyed watching the months go off at each other. Poor November is upset over December and it’s shining glory. The personification in this little story could be used in a master class. I’m thoroughly impressed by John Scalzi’s writing here, it’s too good and too funny.

3. Christmas in July – this one had me guessing for a while what was going on. Why did Santa move Christmas up to July suddenly? We see a peek inside the government trying to figure out why there was a mass home invasion leaving everyone exactly what they wanted. The ending was quick, short and sweet, but I wanted just a little bit more out of it…

4. Interview with Santa’s Reindeer Wrangler – the interviews are apparently the pieces of this collection that had me laughing the most. The conversations are so dumb funny and yet perfectly written. It’s exactly what you’re picture a reindeer wrangler complaining about if he had the job. Rudolph never existed and gave everyone a bad name, and the reindeer positions are actually jobs. It’s a super witty take and I applaud John for the cool idea.

It’s shocking this book has so many reviews and ratings, because I absolutely LOVED this book. Very rarely can I find a comedy book that keeps me interested the whole way through, and this one did just that. There’s satire in here, pure comedy and so many great takes on holidays – and it’s not just Christmas!

You don’t need to celebrate Christmas to find joy in this book. Since it is so satirical, it’s a great way to laugh at the holiday season in general and how ridiculous it can be. So, I highly recommend this book if you love or hate Christmas, if you love comedy and want a laugh, or if you just want a really well written book. Spice of your book shelf with this collection! Everyone will be able to find at least one story in this collection that will have them chuckling and chortling away.

Five out of five stars!

 

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

Find out more about John Scalzi on:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/
Twitter – @scalzi
Goodreads

 

If you’re looking for more comedy in your life, here’s some other book recommendations to help fill up your TBR:
#BookReview Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books
#BookReview Life Seemed Good, But… by Richard Bell
#BookReview Pop Sonnets by Erik Didriksen

 

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#BookReview Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead

Succubus Blues (the first book in this miraculous series) was one of my top books for 2019. Ever since I was in high school, Richelle Mead was one of my faves. Vampire Academy, Gameboard of the Gods and the Storm Born series ranked high on my list! It seemed only natural to finally pick this seires up.

Georgina Kincaid is a succubus with a mortal, author boyfriend named Seth (she is his ultimate fangirl, by the way). After the contents of the last novel, she learns that they cannot touch or get it on without killing him (that’s a good way to kill the vibe in a relationship). Meanwhile, one of her co-workers has been acting pretty strange, and to top it all off her old incubus buddy Bastien is back in town. Can’t a girl catch a break?

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first one, if I’m being brutally honest. The first book felt like a fairy tail and put really high expectations in my head! Unfortunately, Succubus on Top just didn’t meet those expectations. That being said, it was still a fun ride and worth the read. Everyone I talk to says the series only gets better, and I’m up for the challenge.

Georgina is a relatable character (despite the fact she basically has to sell her body to stay alive). She has flaws, her relationship isn’t perfect and she has temptations. I think we can all relate to that in some way. There are moments where I’m yelling in my head that this is a bad idea, but I know full well I’ve probably made one similar. Then, to top it all off, Seth is the dream man that every girl dreams of and more! That’s probably why this is making out to be an excellent love story. He cares and understands her in ways most people just don’t get, and it’s super romantic. Yet, this isn’t the typical romance novel. It’s not ooey, gooey or mushy gushy – it’s an adult relationship with depth and character (that might sound boring, but I promise you, there’s lots of sex and sexy scenes in this book).

I found the plot to be predictable in this book, while I didn’t really see everything coming in the first book. It’s not the end of the world, but for a sequel I was surprised it didn’t hit me as well as the first book did. Also… there was some quick forgiveness in this book and I feel like it’s not entirely… accurate? Maybe it’s just me.

Another plus for me is all of the side characters – the vampires, demons, angels, etc. Seriously, Carter seems like a fun guy, just saying.

Overall, Richelle Mead is a great writer with lots of grand ideas. I’d recommend picking up this series if you want a romance novel that is so much more (but still packs a good punch!). If you’re tired of the tired billionaire or jerky bad boy, meet Seth the nerdy, sweet and understanding author. He’ll give you chills and be the ultimate book boyfriend.

Three out of five stars.

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

 

If you love fantasy and romance, here’s some other books I’ve loved that you might love too:
#BookReview White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1

 

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

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#BookReview Snowman Paul at the Concert Hall by Yossi Lapid

Snowman Paul is back again and going to a concert hall!

This is the sweetest, little series – as I keep saying over and over. I adore it and could scream it from the hills! Soft illustrations, great messages, and fun stories are all packed into these adorable, little picture books!

Our lead sees Snowman Paul practicing some music – singing, fiddling, trumpets, drumming and more – and watches him have a swell time! Soon enough, music is playing day and night. Unfortunately, nobody was sleeping because Snowman Paul was so committed! After all of this practicing, Snowman Paul gets to perform!

I thought this was a super charming story! I’d highly recommend adding it to your children’s or your picture book TBR. This series is utterly adorable and is totally worth picking up!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author, Yossi Lapid, in exchange of an honest review.

 

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

Check out the other books by Yossi Lapid recently featured on my blog:
#BookReview Sasha and his Red Leash by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid
Quick #BookReview Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Snowman Paul Returns to the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Snowman Paul at the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview My Snowman, Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Halloween with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview The Amazing Snowman Duel by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Christmas with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid

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

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#BookReview I Told You So! Strike Three, You’re Out by Mark Gunning

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good middle grade novel. What can I say? I love being transported back to the nostalgia and fun of my youth! Middle grade novels are always so fun and creative, so I was pumped that an author even asked me to read one of theirs! It’s always so rare and exciting!

So, onto the review:

This is book four of the series, so I jumped in at a random time. It wasn’t too hard to jump into, but here’s what I got from the story:

William is our lead, and his buddy is out of the game and is in hiding. But, don’t worry! He sends him a text to meet him at a local skate park. I can already tell, they’re gonna get into some mischief! He has a plan, and it’s shown through great, little pictures within the book. The kids an artist and a great thrill seeker!

This group of kids decide they are gonna play a little baseball! It all seems exciting, right? Right?! Well, not until a few mistakes happen and things go a little astray.

They also get into more fun hijinks throughout the story, but I’ll leave the rest for you to read.

I think young readers who love sports will totally dig this book. I was always craving more sports related books as a kid growing up (there was mostly books about animals or fantasy… go figure), so it’s nice to see more now. This book isn’t too long and it’s exciting and fun enough to keep you hooked and entertained.

Plus, William, Thomas and their buddies are all fun and relatable. They’re kids being kids, and it’s great to see a book where it doesn’t feel like adults in kids bodies.

Fun side notes:
These kids live in Itchygooney, which is just one incredible name (if I might say so).
Halloween! Ah, I love a good Halloween shout out. It’s my fave holiday!
Personality filled comics at the back!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author, Mark Gunning, in exchange of an honest review.

You can purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
B&N

You can find out more about the author, Mark Gunning, on:
Goodreads Author Page
Twitter @MGunningAuthor
http://www.itchygooneybooks.com/

If you’re looking for more middle grade books, check out my recommendations by clicking the links below:
Another amazing Canadian author: #BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller
Canadian author round 2: #BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr
And a graphic novel to spice things up: #BookReview Smile by Raina Telgemeier

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

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#BookReview The Underground Toy Society Halloween Scare by Jessica D. Adams

If you know me at all, you know Halloween is my FAVOURITE holiday. I’m a spooky kind of person, so I was pumped for this book! Add in that it’s a continuation of The Underground Toy Society and I am in!

So this time around, there’s Sneaky Snake. He’s lonely and all the kids are scared of him. So, of course, The Underground Toy Society steps in and figures out a plan to get him a new home!

My positives:
1. The orange background sets the scene for a wonderful Halloween book!
2. The oak tree picture was super creative!
3. I like that another toy found a home in this book. I think it was very sweet and a worth while addition to this series.

My negatives:
1. Jessica gave in to the dreaded children’s rhyming scheme…Hear me out, it’s cute but it drives me crazy (personally). Kids love it though, so it shouldn’t affect your reading pleasure.
2. The pictures don’t appear to be drawn by her kids anymore! I loved the cute aesthetic of the children’s books, but I guess I can settle for some digitally drawn ones. The animals are super cute (especially the dog).
3. For humourous purposes: toy snakes scaring kids?! I must have been one weird kid because one of my favourite stuffies was a snake.

This book was another adorable addition to this wonderful, whimsical series! I especially love that there’s a Halloween edition because so few books get spooky for Halloween! I’d highly recommend this book for three to six year olds.

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Jessica D. Adams, in exchange for an honest review.

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

Check out more books on my blog that you will totally love if you loved this one:
#Book Review The Underground Toy Society Helps Ellie the Elephant
#BookReview The Underground Toy Society by Jessica D. Adams

Check out Jessica on:
http://onesweetday48.wix.com/undergroundtoysociet
Twitter – @onesweetday48
Facebook
YouTube

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

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#BookReview Halloween with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid

It’s spooky time with Snowman Paul!

I absolutely adore Snowman Paul and his shenanigans! He’s such a sweet character with a fun array of stories. This time around he’s taking part in my favourite holidays: Halloween!

Our friend in this story comes across many warnings as he’s walking: aliens, witches and Snowman Paul in a dragon costume!

I absolutely love the soft and colourful pictures in this book! They are detailed enough to pull you in and colourful enough to grab your attention! Bight greens and oranges give it a more spooky feel to go along with the Halloween feel. And there’s also a super cute rhyming scheme that had me singing in my head as I read the book. It adds to the fun level.

Yet again, Yossi Lapid has a hit on his hands! If you have little ones and are looking for a fun picture book, pick up this series. It is totally worth it!

Five out of five stars.

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

You can find Halloween with Snowman Paul on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
B&N

Check out the other books by Yossi Lapid recently featured on my blog:
#BookReview Sasha and his Red Leash by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid
Quick #BookReview Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Snowman Paul Returns to the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Snowman Paul at the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview My Snowman, Paul by Yossi Lapid

 

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