#BookReview Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley

Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley is a darling, historical, holiday-themed romance that is perfect to add to your TBR shelf!

This book is just a sweet delight. I was seeking something fast, light-hearted, comedic, romantic and simple and this book fit the bill.

Benjamin, the Duke of Silkridge has returned to his old town when his Grandfather died for the will reading. He stumbles upon his first crush and lost love, Noelle, who worked for his Grandfather. The feelings are very much mutual for Noelle as well. Ben, our resident Scrooge, must complete a Christmas-themed task to be able to get what his Grandfather left him in the will, but it brings him closer to Noelle in the process… Sparks fly and drama ensues, all in a town called Christmas and during the holiday season.

This is one of those books you curl up under a good blanket with some hot tea and just sink into it. Relaxation and simplicity works super well for titles like these, and I mean that in a good way. It’s fun and lovely, exactly what a romance and historical romance reader loves! It’s also PG, so it’s a lovely book to get started into the historical romance genre.

I am definitely going to continue with this series if I can find it. I’d like to see all 12 of the Dukes find love since this series is just so lovely! Good job Erica Ridley, you’ve crafted a historical romance masterpiece.

Four out of five stars.

I found this book via Bookbub!

 

Check out this wonderful book on:
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Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
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Find more books and information about Erica Ridley on:
Goodreads – Author Page
http://www.ericaridley.com/
Twitter – @EricaRidley

If you liked this book (or even just the review!) here’s some other books you’ll also enjoy:
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson
#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner

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#BookReview Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Cozy, holiday reads are excellent – cozy, romantic, holiday reads are even better!

Anita Hughes has crafted a lovely, heart warming story about two women finding their loves during Christmastime.

Louisa works in a bakery, when suddenly Noah shows up needing Christmas desserts for a reality television show he is working on. When those desserts make the lead dangerously ill, Louisa is hired to take her place!! Meanwhile, the assistant Kate finds love again with a man from her past… Oh, and Noah and Louisa get along quite well.

I found this book to be very sweet. It’s your typical holiday romance with a bit more description than romance. The beautiful displays at expensive stores take the forefront with Anita painting beautiful pictures in my head of these designer stores. I wish there would have been more fluffy romance throughout the pages, but this book was more contemporary fiction with a hint of romance than full on holiday romance.

The romance itself is quite bland at the beginning. Lots of cheek kisses to establish the leads might like each other. Also throwbacks to the relationship failures, instead of the current love that should be occurring on the page. Again, this book is more contemporary than romance. The men are also… weird. They aren’t normal men (or even romance novel men), they all act very strange and have very aggressive or manipulative behaviour. It was still an okay read if you get over the fact that they are kinda weird.

If anything, I found this book to be the perfect feel good book. While I was reading it, I just wanted something to escape and feel nice and fluffy. This book fit the bill. It doesn’t need to be the romance book I hoped it to be, it was perfectly nice to escape from the insanity of the real world. Thank you Anita Hughes for giving me an escape. If you’re looking for descriptions of Christmas displays and beautiful Christmas desserts, this book is perfect!

Three out of five stars.

 

You can find this wonderful holiday story on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Indigo

 

Pack that TBR up tight with many more holiday romances:
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Christmas on Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains
#BookReview Hot for the Holidays by Marie Force, Tamsen Parker et. al

 

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#BookReview Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie is an intense YA thriller by Courtney Summers.

This book is unique, let me tell ya! It’s from two point of views: a podcaster in the form of a script for said podcast and Sadie, the missing teenage girl.

Things get pretty wild: Mattie, Sadie’s little sister, was brutally murdered. You need to understand that Mattie was Sadie’s whole life, especially since their Mom decided to walk out on them. Sadie was a surrogate Mother to Mattie, so her whole life was ruined when she died. Sadie ran off, out to seek justice, and she’s not gonna stop until she gets it…

The thing about this book – I saw SO many people reading it that I was kind of nervous. Everyone loves it, and often times I don’t agree with the crowd. BUT MY GOSH I DO I DO I DO (to quote Abba, of course). This book lives up to all the hype, but I recommend going into it just for a good read.

This book is WILD. I did not see the ending coming, not from a mile away! Once you get close enough to it all the pieces fit together, but man… It was intense! I’m super impressed and pumped about how this book was strung along. My heart strings were pulled, my heartbeat went crazy up at the thrilling parts and I just couldn’t put the book down. Honestly, I binged the whole thing in one go because I NEEDED to know the ending. It was that fantastic!

The book is super uncomfortable. Some of the content is just creepy and scary, and it reminds me of why this world is so scary. But Courtney Summers wrote it so well that it’s hard not to scream about it from the hill tops. I could almost feel Sadie’s pain, and as more of the story unfolded I only got more angry and hurt about what happened. Poor Sadie…

My biggest complaint: The open ending. There is no concrete proof on the exact ending, AND I HATE IT. I truly hate cliffhangers and this one is killing me. I have an assumption of what happened, but it’s an assumption at best. The book does kind of hint at it, if you look at the words the right way… but nothing concrete. If Courtney did what I think she did… Good job. If not, I’m annoyed!

There are major trigger warnings in this book: pedophilia, child neglect/abuse, violence and substance abuse. Beware readers, because this book can be tough.

Overall, this book was insanely good. I haven’t read YA that goes so heavily into the topics AND make the main character a bad*ss. Go Courtney Summers!

Four out of five stars.

I received an ARC copy courtesy of Goodreads First Reads.

 

You can find Sadie on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Indigo
B&N
Amazon.com

 

If you love thrillers, here are some others featured on my blog you should add to your TBR:
#BookReview In Search of Valor by Gary Corbin
#BookReview The American Crusade by Mark Spivak
#BookReview Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio

 

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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

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#BookReview Say Cheese and Die by R.L. Stine

Happy Spooky Month! Here’s another spooky filled book to brighten up (or darken) your shelf!

 

Who doesn’t love a good throwback? Especially one from the master, R.L. Stine.

I loved Goosebumps as a kid and I still love them now. They are the ultimate throwback and totally brightens my day. Sure, these books don’t scare as good as they used to but I still love the thrills along the way.

Greg and his buddies, Bird, Michael and Shari, find a magical camera. Except, this camera isn’t the good kind of magic – it’s the evil kind. When they take pictures with it, the developed pictures show evil, horrible, no good things. Crashed cars and scary scenes, and the worst part? They all become real. Suddenly Greg and his friends need to find a way to save the city and themselves from this potential disaster.

A while back I watched the first season of the television series and specifically watched this episode (Baby Ryan Gosling folks!) and it does not equate to this book. The book is way, way, way better and the show doesn’t do it justice. I’m glad I read this book after to see how great it actually was! Don’t judge the book by the television episode.

I don’t think this book will hold up as well, mostly because it involves a Polaroid camera. I think only the hipster kids will have any idea what it is. Either way, these middle grade novels are the best for introducing kids and readers to horror. It’s super fun and spooky, but not absolutely horrifying. Along the way I was chuckling at all of the thrills, knowing full well as a kid I would have been shaking in my boots.

The ending happened very quickly and suddenly, speeding up like a really fast car. I enjoyed it, but some readers may not.

This is definitely one of the better ones in the Goosebumps collection, so if you’re looking for fun horror or a good old fashioned throwback, grab this book! It’s a real delight!

Four out of five stars!

 

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

 

If you love middle grade reads, here’s some other books to top up your shelf:
#BookReview The Great Grain Elevator Incident by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Seizure by Kathy Reichs
#BookReview Monster Blood (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine

 

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#BookReview How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

So, it’s Halloween time around the blog. You might not like all the horror featured here, so I figured I might add some other genres in too! Werewolves are related to Halloween, so a little romance featuring a werewolf couldn’t hurt, right? Not everyone wants horror books to fill up their TBR shelves. Lucky for you, I have other awesome books to stock up your TBR. Molly Harper’s sexy series is definitely one of my faves! Check out my review below:

 

I accidentally stumbled across this book as a local discount store and the cover instantly caught my eye. I kept eying this book down, knowing full well I needed to pick it up, and I finally caved. To no one’s surprise, I have been eying this cutesy romance on my book shelf for AGES and I finally knew it was time to pick it up. Nothing is better than my guilty pleasure – romances with a pinch of fantasy!

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf follows our lead Mo when she moves to a distant, small town in Alaska. She wants to get away from her parents overly obsessive nature of basically controlling her life. It’s like this move was meant to be, because suddenly she has friends and a job, and a hot man chasing after her. One day, sexy Cooper wakes up naked on her door step, and guess what? He’s the naked werewolf! But is he the werewolf/creature killing the people showing up dead in their town? Mo and Cooper will have to investigate. Will their relationship survive? You’ll need to read to find out…

This book was super funny and an absolute delight. I felt myself sinking into this book and disappeared until I have binged the whole thing. It really is a lovely, HEA type romance with just enough fantasy and paranormal in it to make it interesting. I really enjoyed watching Mo develop relationships and finally fit in somewhere. It’s what every reader seems to want – just to fit in – so it was easy to relate to her. I really liked Mo’s arc and that quite a few characters developed over time and became more likable. Also, Mo is thirty years old! Do you know how great it is to see a romance book where the character is an actual ADULT who doesn’t have her life figured out yet? RELATABLE. SUPER RELATABLE. THANK YOU!

Cooper is a more rough character and maybe not the most romantic of men, but I didn’t care. I was more focused on the fun Mo was having and the amazing sex scenes those two were romping in. This book is also a wee bit predictable, but that’s what I like in my guilty pleasure reads. Anywho, it seems like every plot has been done to death anyways.

There was a few “rougher” parts of this book – brutal death of a character who deserved some bad things to him, and a really sad loss – but other than that it’s a great contemporary, paranormal romance. I honestly don’t see anything bad with it because any “issues” that were there were so minor it didn’t matter. Sooner or later, I will need to find the remaining books in this series and binge it. Molly Harper is gearing up to be one of my new fave authors.

Overall, I loved this book! It’s sweet, light, full of romance, funny, mushy, sexy and just a great all around read!

Four out of five stars.

 

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

You can find more Molly Harper books on:
Goodreads Author Page
http://www.mollyharper.com/

If you love romance, here’s some other books you might enjoy (regardless of the spooky time of the year or not):
#BookReview Love Comes for the Army Ranger by Savannah Adams
#BookReview The Perfect Fit by Mary Jayne Baker
#BookReview For Her Own Good by Tamsen Parker

 

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#BookReview The First Days of August by Alan Froning

I have a love/hate relationship with this book. For one, it’s seriously incredible and so well written that OMG why haven’t you read it yet? For the second, the ending made me SO DARN MAD. I did not enjoy that ending and I think it almost defeated the purpose of this book – but I’m not the writer, so I don’t really get a say in that.

Either way, this book is EPIC. It reminds me of Mission Impossible meets Medical Drama – action, adventure, mystery, intrigue, sexy R rated romance, thrills and lots of science! It’s a great mash-up of two big draws for books – mystery and medical.

The lead of this book is Steve August. This man takes a job at a famous laboratory to help develop a cure for brain cancer. Along the way, we meet his girlfriend Morgan, some shady co-workers and some giant secrets the lab doesn’t want anyone to know. Steve doesn’t go actively looking for them, he’s simply a tired scientist who accidentally stumbled across them. That ignites a wild chase where everyone is trying to stop everyone else.

There’s some side plots in this story that I actually really enjoyed. Morgan’s side stories made me quite happy – typically the girlfriends in stories like this are just used as the sex object and damsel in distress. This girl was NOT a damsel in distress and had some quality moments. That being said… there was a woman who was essentially a sex object but was the bad guy. I’m not sure where I sit with her, but I did think her story arc was interesting.

I found this book to be highly addicting. The first few chapters didn’t draw me in as much as I would have liked, but I stuck it through and found myself REALLY enjoying the book. It’s an adult mystery novel that felt intense and thrilling. I needed to know what would happen to Steve and Morgan (and everybody else, but I was mostly invested in those two). And, to be brutally honest, I’m not sure why more people haven’t read this book (or at least rated and reviewed it on Goodreads). It’s better than a lot of mystery books I have read! Alan Froning has some real talent!

In summary – this book is a wild ride that I’d highly recommend. I didn’t enjoy the ending per say, but it was still a well written book (and ending!). If you like thrillers, mystery, medical books and books with some epic plot twists, grab this book!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

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

 

If you enjoyed this book, check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda
#BookReview A Woman of Valor by Gary Corbin
#BookReview Open Source by Anna L. Davis

 

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#BookReview The Amazing Snowman Duel by Yossi Lapid

 

Snowman Paul is back, and this time he’s down for a duel!

Yossi Lapid’s sweet series about the friendly Snowman Paul is one of my fave kids series at the moment. It’s short, fun and teaches some valuable lessons! It’s only natural for me to continue to snowball my way through the series (haha, puns! I’m hilarious…).

Bill, a buddy of our lead character, builds Snowman Nick. This snowman looks like he’s not the most friendly guy, especially since he has a giant stick. And just like that, Snowman Paul and Snowman Nick are set for a duel! Everyone is excited with banners waving and animals gathering around. But there’s quite the trick about this duel… You’ll have to read to find out the surprise twist!

These books are colourful and have a soft illustration style. I really enjoy it, especially since it doesn’t take your attention away from the narrative. It’s not a style I see many books have either, so the uniqueness level is great! Add in the super cute stories that Snowman Paul has to offer, and you’ve got yourself a real winner!

I think this is an excellent addition to any children’s picture book shelf. These stories are absolutely lovely!

Four out of five stars!

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

Check out 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 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 The Baby Maker by Lili Valente

The Baby Maker by Lili Valente is a lovely tale about a woman who wants a baby and finds love with a man from a famously fertile family.

I found this book on Bookbub and I decided to get it while it was the low, low price of free because it sounded charming! I love a good romance novel with lots of drama and angst. This book seemed like it fit the bill and I’ve enjoyed some of Lili Valente’s other work, so it seemed like the natural fit.

This book was good but it wasn’t a home run for me. Some of the comments in this book sat really funny and made me feel kind of weird. Emma wants a baby so bad that she’s almost tricking Dylan into it. But at the same time, they fall in love at the end… It’s not like this book is encouraging women to have manipulation relationships with men, but I also just felt… odd.

While this book may sit funny with me, I must applaud Lili’s writing. She did a good job connecting me to these characters and writing in some character flaws as well. All the while, Dylan is lovable and loves kids and Emma seems like a woman who’s clock is really ticking. I’m glad this novel works as a standalone and didn’t have a cliffhanger, because MAN OH MAN I would not have been a happy camper if that happened.

There’s lots of playful comedy throughout this book and even more sexy scenes. It’s an R rated novel but it’s definitely fun! I’ve read too many erotic novels that are so dark and lusty, so it was a nice change to read a more fun, light-hearted book. Emma and Dylan have some marvelous one liners towards each other! And, in my humble opinion, that’s what makes this book work so well. It’s fun and sexy! Perfect for any romance lovers shelf!

I probably would have liked this book more of I would have read it in a better format. I read it on my phone which makes the font big and harder to read. There were barely enough words on the page to make sense of it. Because of this, it took me quite a while to finish and I wasn’t as interested in the book. That’s on me, but it still affected my overall opinion.

Overall, this book is worth the read if you love romance and comedy. The sexy librarian scene and the fact that the woman is older than the man (just barely, but it counts!) is a nice touch too. This book stands out! I definitely want to read more by Lili. She has a great writing style, her books move as a fast pace and she makes me invested in these characters.

Three out of five stars.

I found this book for free via Bookbub.

 

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

 

If you enjoyed this book (or review!), you might enjoy some of these books too:
#BookReview Tiny House, Big Love by Olivia Dade
#BookReview A Love Thing Anthology by Laura Kaye & More!
#BookReview Babyland by Holly Chamberlin

 

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#BookReview The Reluctant Fortune-Teller by Keziah Frost

The Reluctant Fortune-Teller by Keziah Frost is one of my favourite 2020 reads.

This book is a serious contemporary gem. When I start reading it, I got instantly hooked and needed to binge the whole thing. It’s not only a very sweet story with great themes, but it’s also just a fun ride!

Norbert Zelenka is older gentleman who lives with his dog in a tiny house. He’s quite lonely and sticks to his regular routine. One day, he finds that he’s struggling financially and coincidentally three women from his local art club present him with an opportunity. Nortbert becomes the reluctant fortune-teller, despite his incredible abilities. Once he embraces his great advice giving ways, he steps into a whole new world of fortune telling. Then, his abilities become greatly needed when a local girl goes missing…

This book is a lovely little drama. It’s not super dramatic though, it’s simply very sweet. There’s gossip, there’s a little tension, but it’s mostly Norbert being a sweet man and trying to figure out his passion in his seventies. I hate to say it’s a very “grown up” book, but it felt like the type of book I need as an adult.

The themes in this book are magical: finding one’s passion, doing what’s right, finding one’s own way and the power of doing good. I love that this book is all about nice things. Sometimes, you just need a book about positivity! Sure, there’s some dubious older ladies making crazy plans, but everyone needs a little drama and gossip to spice up their life.

Overall, this book is charming! It’s a great tea drinking read and is the perfect way to relax.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads

 

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

 

If you want some more contemporary and relaxing reads to fill up your TBR, check out some other books recently featured on my blog:
#BookReview The Heirs by Fran Hawthorne
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon
#BookReview City of Friends by Joanna Trollope

 

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