#BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

Loki’s Wolves is a truly fantastical, middle grade novel that focuses on Norse mythology.

I love Kelley Armstrong and I’ve been dying to get my hands on a novel by Marissa Marr for YEARS. So, when I heard that the two of them were writing a novel together I had to get my hands on it! On top of it all, I love a good, middle grade novel that I can sink my teeth into and not think *too* hard when reading.

Loki’s Wolves has Percy Jackson vibes, but for a little younger base. Matt Thorsen is, you guessed it, a descendant of Thor, and of course he’s the chosen one! He has been chosen to defeat a mythical serpent that will aid in the destruction of Ragnarok. Laurie and Fen are descendants of Loki, and they will join Matt on his epic quest. Along the way, they must find the children and descendants of the other Norse gods and try not to make their corresponding tales come true.

This book leaves itself on a WILD cliffhanger. I NEED to know what happens, and unfortunately for me I don’t have the next novel in my hands yet. The story does not stand alone, which is a real shame. I totally get leaving a cliffhanger so your audience wants to keep reading, but MAN I AM FRUSTRATED. The story just stopped, it didn’t end!

These 13 year old leads were shockingly like 13 year olds! Sometimes when you read a book like this, the leads act like adults. Lucky for us, Kelley and Marissa are amazing writers and were able to craft characters that felt like their age. They make silly mistakes, they trust people they shouldn’t and sometimes they are down right goofy. What more can you expect from a pre-teen cast? Especially when said pre-teens are the chosen ones who need to save the planet.

The plot itself is fast paced, full of fun surprises, and has lots of literal fun. This is a fantasy novel, so it’s not going to be some Oscar winning, realistic drama. It has monsters and amulets and silly tricks (I mean, you’ve got Loki in the title… what did you expect?). To me, I think it’s the perfect way to introduce the middle grade audience into Norse mythology. It’s a fun story with just enough mythology to make it interesting! Also, I totally binged it in a few hours. It was THAT good.

I’d highly recommend this book. Seriously, whether it’s for your middle grade readers or adults who just want to sink into a good, fun book! I loved it and I’ll definitely be continuing this series if I can ever find the sequels.

Five out of five stars!

 

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Check out some other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

 

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#BookReview White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Many, many years ago I saw this book at a local Wal-Mart and had one of those “OMG I NEED IT” moments. I bought this book, put it on a bookshelf, buried it in said bookshelf, and then lost it until I reorganized my entire house. When I reorganized all of my books I decided to put this book on the “Read Next” physical shelf. WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER?!

Seriously, this book is an absolute GEM and I’m hitting myself (figuratively speaking) for not reading it sooner. It’s everything I love in a YA – potential love triangle, crazy fantasy, typical friend and families woes – and it has an epic cover! It was a home run! It hit it out of the park! It was the best YA book I’ve read in a good while! I loved every second of it! And gosh darnit I need the next book and I don’t have it!

On top of all of that, my friends have been telling me for years to read books by Jennifer L. Armentrout and THEY WERE RIGHT!

So, let’s get down to business….

The positives:
Gargoyles. Yes, you heard me right. FREAKING GARGOYLES. If there’s one set of monsters I haven’t read about in my reading life, it’s them! We have people who turn into gargoyles – so right off the bat I’m impressed because it’s something different. Then you have to throw in the demons who are the greatest foes of said gargoyle people. Now, before you get all excited over this, the gargoyles change forms like a shapeshifter so they do survive out in public. But, the public also know about gargoyles? It’s kind of confusing for me, but she makes it work.

I liked that this book had lots of romance and flirting it in. I love a good romance story! There’s just enough action and adventure to keep the plot going – so it felt like a good mix.

On an even brighter note, Jennifer has an amazing writing style and tone. I got addicted to this book SO FAST that it was unbelievable. I couldn’t put it down and it was almost making me mad! It’s a great story to binge! I absolutely want to read the rest of this series and whatever else Jennifer spits out of that brilliant mind of hers.

And then there’s Roth. He’s super hot, he’s funny, he’s slightly inappropriately and I love him. Zayne kinda bores me but whatever. We’ve got two hot guys and I have already picked my side! Also… Bambi. A giant snake tattoo demon creature. Yup, this book is that cool.

The negatives:
In typical YA fashion, the heroine is the master of the universe. She’s the special one everyone’s been waiting for. Am I tired of this trope? Yup. Did the story suffer because of it? Nope! So, essentially, it doesn’t really affect the story at all but I did get a little judgey because OF COURSE she’s the answer to everyone’s problem.

The virgin side of the story had me feeling cringy and icky. When your adoption/step father like figure starts talking about your sex life and not in a “Birds and the Bees” or “Stay Safe” kind of way, I always get creeped out. I get that’s apart of the prophecy in this story but… EW!

Additionally… there is a fair bit of slut shaming and women against women vibes. I hope that disappears in the next book but… ya never know.

Overall, I think this was a fun YA ride. I don’t take it to be some seriously, Oscar-winning drama book but I don’t think we’re meant to. It’s a lot of fun and whisked me away from my real world for a few hours.

Five out of five stars!

You can find this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Indigo
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If you enjoy YA books with romance and fantasy, check out these other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Collection 2: #TopTens – Young Adult Part 1

 

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#BookReview Kissing Coffins by Ellen Schreiber

Ah, yes. Another throwback from my teen years – Kissing Coffins, the second book in the marvelous Vampire Kisses series.

Just a gentle reminder, these books are Young Adult novels with young, lovely characters who act like immature kids (because, they are YOUNG). If you’re looking for a True Blood or Game of Thrones level of maturity, you’ve come to the wrong place.

As a teen, these books were my LIFE. They were a big part of my high school years and I was madly in love with them. I wanted to find my own Alexander and live in a big, spooky house. I idolized Raven and her style (because, let’s be honest, she was my inner self). At the time, these books made so much sense – young mistakes, young love, lots of young fun! Reading them as my older self, obviously I wouldn’t make the same decisions as Raven because I have life experience. But I believe Ellen did a really good job of making Raven feel like a real teen. Well, a real teen from my timeline.

That being said, this book is a lot of fun, full of goofiness and full of adorable romance. Alexander and Raven are a really cute couple and they really deserved the many books they got in this series. I found this series was a lot more fun to binge read then read alone. I wanted the story to keep going because I was so addicted. Not every reader has found this to be true, but I sure did! I love escaping into a YA like this series, and sinking into a fun, not totally realistic book. Did anyone really expect a vampire romance to be realistic? This series is like a vampire, soap opera for teens! It’s excellent.

My biggest con for this series was at the time of my initial reading, I had to actually WAIT for the next series in the book. Oh man, was it frustrating. I’m glad I can jump back into this series as an adult and read it all in a row like I dreamed of back in the day. Other than that, I found this book to be fun and flawless! I love Ellen and her books!

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo (Canadian Retailer)

 

If you enjoyed this book, check out another book or review you might enjoy!
#BookReview The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller

 

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#BookReview Monster Blood (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine

Goosebumps was one of my all time favourites as a kid. I scrambled to the library at every chance to get my hands on any Goosebumps novel. I didn’t care if I read them over and over and knew the story by heart, I’d read them again! And then hope the library got the television show and movie versions so I could watch them.

As an adult, I’ve been trying to find the Goosebumps series in my home town without much luck. Then, lucky me found five at a local thrift shop and my inner child went wild.

Fortunately, these books were just as good as I remembered!

Monster Blood follows Evan and Andy at Evan’s great-Aunt’s house. They buy some monster blood, slime like toy and suddenly all heck breaks loose! Evan’s dog grows in size, the cat is evil and his Great-Aunt Kathryn is seemingly weird. Is she a witch?! Is she crazy?! Either way, that monster blood is taking over the city!

This book was a hundred pages of pure fun and mild terror. As a kid these were so much scarier, but they were still just as epic! I loved the story moving quickly, being full of wild twists and turns and being a great book for both children and adults. This book also brought me back to my childhood with lots of nostalgia. Do you have any Nintendo games?!

Was there any negatives about the book? Yes. Trigger was an elderly dog who acted very young. Was it super duper scary? No. I think it might scare the middle grade readers who this book is aimed to scare, but it’s not scary to adults. Either way, it was still a fun and easy read that had me chuckling along the way. I enjoy R.L. Stine’s writing style. It’s not meant to be taken seriously (it’s not It or Carrie or any Stephen King book). This book was meant to bring the younger demographic a little horror novel and introduce them to the genre. Can every Goosebump book be an absolute winner? No.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It’s a little spooky and is totally getting me in the mood for Halloween and October!

Four out of five stars!

You can find this book on:
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Audible
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Check out some other reviews you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Boy Who Cried Ghost by Richard Clark
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview The Mega Collection by Scott Gordon – Nine Awesome Bedtime Stories!

 

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#BookReview Scarlett by Marissa Meyer

I almost NEVER buy books full price because as a university student it’s just not in the budget. BUT AFTER THAT AWFUL CLIFFHANGER IN BOOK ONE I COULDN’T LEAVE THIS BOOK ON THE SHELF! I mean, I did get a good sale on the book BUT I STILL BOUGHT IT FROM A FANCY SMANCY BOOK STORE!

So, dear Marissa Meyer, you have crafted an excellent story that forced a university student to find the money in her budget to continue this series. ONLY FOR YOU TO LEAVE IT ON ANOTHER CLIFFHANGER AND I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU WOULD DO THIS TO ME. Since this time, it’s not in the budget to get the next book. So, poor little me is going to be waiting and waiting until I can find this book on sale somewhere.

UGH.

This book is absolutely delightful, despite my epic rant. I think Marissa Meyer has crafted a wonderfully epic story that is packed full of wild, fairy tales! Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, the Wolf and a Han Solo-esque man have made me fall in love with this book more than I did for the first novel! It’s a rare feat in my reading world, so someone give Marissa ALL of the awards! Okay?!

This book continues on with Cinder’s story but we also have another character, Scarlett (Red Riding Hood) to follow along with two. Their stories intertwine near the end and make for one epic finale (not a finale for the whole series, just this book – calm down epic readers! We’ve got two more books to go!).

I really enjoyed Scarlett and Wolf, especially the twist on the typical Big, Bad Wolf story. I thought they were quite cute and reminded me of a Leia meets Han Solo vibe (I love Star Wars too, I think Marissa and I would make great Star Wars buddies). Also throwing in our Captain Thorne who gives SERIOUS Han Solo vibes… Yep, this woman has crafted a story made for me! Why in the world did I wait so long to pick up this book?!

If I had one negative in this book, it was that Cinder and Prince Kai don’t get to interact. I was really hoping for a reunion but I don’t think we’ll be seeing one until the next book. I really liked their interactions in the first novel and their relationship, but such is life… Cliffhangers galore.

I didn’t exactly see this ending coming, but I did have a good guess. I still really enjoyed it despite there being a few predictable parts of this book. I honestly haven’t loved YA this much in a while. I got tired of the tropes and predictable lines, but Marissa has sparked my love for YA and fairy tales all over again. We need authors like her who make these amazing stories that any age can love. Just because it’s in the YA aisle doesn’t mean it’s only for Young Adults (I mean… I’m a Young Adult still, but I tend to move towards the adult aisles more).

This book is all around great! Pre-teens, teenagers and adults alike will love this book! There are some rougher scenes so I’d put this in the PG folder, but I think this would make a great book for parent and child bonding time. Because, why not?

Overall, I loved this book! I seriously needed to continue this series and I’m a little frustrated and flustered that I’m going to have to wait until I find Cress and Winter.

Five out of five stars! Heck, give it six or seven! I love this book! I hate when authors make me love books this much, I’m an impatient person and I don’t want to wait!

 

Find this book on:
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Check out my review for Book 1: #BookReview Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

Looking for some other books you can read? Click the links below!
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Something Like Love by Sara Richardson

 

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TWITTER – Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

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#BookReview Vampireville by Ellen Schreiber

Vampireville, the third book in the amazing Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber, is another excellent addition to my bookshelf!

I love this series and I have a very obvious bias towards it. This series was a big part of my teenage years and it’s hard to not jump back into this series and fall in love all over again. Alexander and Raven’s epic romance is one of the best YA couples around (go ahead and argue that with me) and I can’t help but shout from the hills about them. Jumping back into these books as an adult cemented my love for this series. It’s still just as good!

Vampireville is a young YA book – the maturity of this novel isn’t strong but that’s why I loved it. Lots of YA books take themselves way too seriously, so having a book like this that is so much fun is a real delight. Raven is your stereotypical goth girl (Hot Topic shopping, black lipstick, loves black, black cats, in love with a vampire, etc.) but that makes her so cool. She’s the ideal of every 13 year old girl who wanted to be a goth but her parents wouldn’t let me (haha… me!). She’s sassy, makes mistakes and feels more real than most YA heroines.

Raven and Alexander continue facing a very bumpy ride, but the ride is fun! I highly recommend binging the whole series as soon as possible. I didn’t enjoy these books all on their own: I liked reading the entire series from beginning to end to really get this series. It helps that all the books are relatively short and written in a nice form so you can easily jump from book to book.

Five out of five stars! I love this series and I want more!

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo – Canadian Retailer

Check out Ellen on Goodreads: Ellen Schreiber on Goodreads

Or take a peek at her website: EllenSchreiber.com

Maybe give her a shoutout on Twitter too? @EllenSchreiber

 

If you enjoyed this book, check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber
#BookReviews Girls That Growl by Mari Mancusi
#BookReview The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

 

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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:
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Amazon.ca
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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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