#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 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

 

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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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#BookReview Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19 by Jennifer Haupt et al

This collection is marvellous, let me tell ya. COVID is driving me (and everyone else, it seems) insane. Being stuck inside, being forced to work to pay bills, being scared and anxious and worried… We’re all in the same boat, even when we’re not. We’re all in this together. And this book reminds readers of this.

Faith Adiele’s The New Old Vocabulary showed me COVID from a very different angle. I’m up in Canada, just chilling at home, doing full time school and reading my little heart out. I’m picking up new hobbies and trying my best, but her comments… It put life into a perspective. I complained about being alone, but having the opportunity to be semi-safe, but not everyone in the U.S.A. is. The stats about African American men being arrested when they’re just trying to help homeless people… It hurts. It makes my soul ache. Really ache.

Andre Dubus the Third’s story made my eyes well up, reading about his mother-in-law’s thoughts on COVID. It hurt. It hurt real bad. But at the same time, it made me not feel alone. I’m not the only one questioning why this is here. It made humanity feel so much better than the crazies in my town screaming and threatening each other if they get 10 feet near them.

Laura Stanfill’s story about Priya… It makes me weep. It’s so close to home, yet so beautifully written. Grace Talusan’s also made my heart feel so sad. Jean Kowk’s gave me hope, and made my heart sing because I related to it in so many ways.

Then there’s more poems, and essays, and interviews, and short stories throughout. Some will bring tears, some will open your eyes and some will give you hope. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a piece of work in this for everyone. It’ll make you feel connected to a community you didn’t know was there. It made me feel more at home then I have in months, which is a feat all in itself. It’s nice knowing that we’re not alone in this big battle.

There’s love, hate, fear and hope throughout. This is one absolutely incredible collection that I am so happy and proud of picking up. We need books to remind us of our humanity sometimes, and this book did it.

Also, the reminders of George Floyd, and the racism and hate that still lingers… It’s as bad as COVID, if not worse. Because racism is avoidable if people could be kind, COVID and super viruses, not as much.

We need justice.

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and Jennifer Haupt for giving me access to a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

 

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

 

If you enjoyed Alone Together, or want some more books that’ll make you feel, then check out some of these reviews to fill the void:
#BookReview The Boy on the Beach by Tima Kurdi
#BookReview Another Five Days by Matt Micros
To Wendy’s With Love: the 22-year Lunch by Diane Keyes- BOOK REVIEW

 

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#BookReview Seeing Colour by Amber Faucher

If you’re seeking a fun and flirty romantic comedy, then Seeing Colour is the perfect fit!

Welcome to Scotland! Evie, a young adult from good ol’ Alberta, Canada, packs her things and moves to Scotland as a bit of a rebellion against her troubles. She’s an Optician (a person who makes the lenses for glasses), and manages to find a job working for an Optometrist named Mara, and with a sexy Scot named Connie. Did I mention that she manages to hook up with Connie on night one without knowing he was her co-worker? Oh yeah, it’s awkward. And it looks like Mara and Connie are or were married? Just great! Things are getting better! Her luggage gets lost, her new living arrangements fall flat and life just seems to be giving her the book.

But don’t worry! Her internet bestie has her back, Connie is the hottest Gaelic man you’d ever see and Scotland is… well, Scotland! It’s super cool! But, things are only going to get more confusing, dramatic, funny and romantic along the way…

This book was such a fun ride! It has comedy, romance and drama all laced throughout the book. It’s hard to believe this is Amber’s first published novel because it’s so good it seems like she’s been doing this forever! I seriously need more books from Amber ASAP!

So, why did I like it?
1. There is nothing hotter than a man asking if he can have you. Go Connie for being decent!
2. “Gaelic god” kept autocorrecting to garlic god in my notes, and I kept laughing at myself and kinda wishing he would have been Italian or a vampire instead for a really funny joke in my review.
3. LGBT friendly! Yay! I won’t give it away, or else it ruins the book!
4. The ending was surprising! It was the kind of plot twist I had thought I saw coming, but was still surprised by it nonetheless! There were really two fun twists to follow, but I won’t tell you which one surprised me more. Comment or message me to find out which!

My only negative about the book was Mara. I wasn’t entirely sure if she was supposed to be a sympathetic bad guy, if she was just mean, or if she was doing everything out of the kindness of her heart. We don’t see her side of things often, so it’s hard to tell. I’m an analytical person, I like knowing these things!

Regardless, I love this book! I highly recommend it to those who want a romantic comedy on their TBR. It’s sugary sweet, sitcom level funny and by an indie author! Support the Indies! Insert joke about Indiana Jones here….

Five out of five stars!

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

Side note: The cute picture Amber drew in my book gives it a sixth star. IT WAS SO CUTE! Personalized books always make it on my office shelf! I can’t wait to show it off! ❤

 

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

Check out Amber Faucher on:
Goodreads Author Page
Facebook Page
Twitter @FaucherAmber

If you love romance and comedies, check out these other reviews recently featured on my blog:
#BookReview After the Sack by Savannah Adams
#BookReview Barefoot Beach by Debbie Mason
#BookReview The Perfect Fit by Mary Jayne Baker

 

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#BookReview Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I have been eying Throne of Glass for YEARS. Quite literally, since this book has come out I’ve been wary to touch it. It’s so well hyped and sometimes that hype doesn’t live up to all of it’s praise. Not too long ago, I came across this book at a local discount store and I jumped on it. Why not just give it a try and see if it’s like what everyone says? AND IT IS. At least for me, anyways. It was so worth the hype.

Throne of Glass features Celaena, a young adult who was raised and trained by an assassin when she was found dying along a river bed. She paid her dues, and has now unsuccessfully escaped to a worse life in a mine. When the Crown Prince Dorian comes and collects her to be the King’s Champion, everything changes. Calaena must go through a series of test to prove herself worthy, but that’s not all she faces. There’s something evil lurking in the castle, and the old spirits and fae lore are whispering at her to help fix the problem. On top of all that, the handsome Captain of the Guard Chaol and Crown Prince Dorian both appear to be transfixed on our murderous leads. Annnnd, are some of these friends Calaena has made truly trustworthy? Or will they be the foe we’re all worried about?

This book has a lot going on but it’s super easy to follow. It’s definitely a young adult or even new adult novel, but the typical tropes always get me grinning along the way. The old nostalgia I got in high school for The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Divergent – that sense of being apart of something and reading something many others have enjoyed – came back and made this book all the better.

Are there “problematic” parts of this book? Yeah, sure. Would a trained, rough and tough assassin act like a teenager? Maybe not. Did some of the rules for the competition seem to change throughout the book? Yes. Did any of that bug me? Not really. For me, this book was lots of fun and the little problems it had didn’t really phase me. I glossed over a lot of it, because this was fantastical, full of action and had those darn romance triangle tropes that I fall for EVERY SINGLE TIME. If you’re going into this book wanting to analyze all the faults, go for it. I just wanted a nice escape. Reading the other reviews, especially the bad ones, has me scratching my head. I’ve yet to meet an eighteen year old assassin who had a really tough life and actually seen their behaviour. Can’t a teenage protagonist who’s finally “free”, to a degree, be allowed to be a teenager? But, if you take a peek at the good reviews, people say the farther you get into the series the better it gets. So I’m pumped. Get me these books ASAP!

Ah, oh well. Either way, this book was a fun ride for me! Calaena was head strong, sassy, a hard worker and loyal. Chaol was super hot and my goodness she better end of with him. Dorian’s character grew a lot from the first to the last page, and I am beginning to like him more. Nehemia seemed sketchy at first but I am curious how her story would grow. Is Nox gonna come back? Because Nox seemed sweet. Also, there’s gotta be more to Cain and his back story, I’m nosy. And Elena! More lore please? SO MUCH GOOD STUFF.

Also, no cliffhanger in this book! Sarah does not want to torture me with a cliffhanger, it’s great! And the cover is absolutely stunning! I got the second cover, with the blue illustration instead of the girl – it’s crazy cool!

If you get the same copy I did, there’s a little Q&A at the back. I was surprised this book was based off Cinderella, but I was also really intrigued. It’s amazing the ideas we can get from other works and how they can mold and change over time.

Here’s my recommendation:
If you like popular YA books and diving into the hype: GET THIS BOOK.
If you’re looking for Game of Thrones: THIS IS NOT YOUR BOOK.
If you’re looking for something full of fantasy, has a fast pace, has lots of YA fun (romance, drama, the likes): THIS IS YOUR BOOK.

What I would like to see out of future books:
This book seemed to be more New Adult. The descriptions of the brutality was wicked and definitely for an older crowd. But, the talks about sex was nil. Not an exact quote here – Dorian sees many women – come on Sarah, we know what you meant. If you can talk about a man being sliced to bits and eaten then we can hear that Calaena has some sexy feelings for the boys.

Overall, I really liked this book! I want the rest of the series now. I’m pleasantly surprised and want to pick up more by Sarah.

Five out of five stars.

 

If you haven’t checked this book out yet, here’s where you can find it:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
B&N
Kobo
Indigo

Find out more about Sarah J Maas:
Goodreads Author Page
http://sarahjmaas.com/
Twitter – @SJMaas

If you’re looking for more fun YA novels to add to your TBR, here’s some other books featured on my blog you might enjoy:
#BookReview Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
#BookReview White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
#BookReview The Great Grain Elevator Incident by Kevin Miller

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

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#BookReview Vanishing Hour by Lisa King

Vanishing Hour by Lisa King is honestly one of my fave reads of 2020.

This book is excellent! It has the coolest mix of thrills and fun all in one. It’s got hints of Up since we have an older gentleman named Matthew and a young twelve year old named Ruby. These two get stuck together during the end of the world: Everyone without some sort of brain illness or injury doesn’t get sick, but all the healthy people suddenly die. They chase after Matthew’s wife (who had Alzheimer’s) who walked off one day and are trying to figure out where the Horizon is, because Ruby’s Dad might be there.

It’s quite the ride and I was thoroughly addicted to this book. Lisa’s writing style is simple, easy and fast paced and kept me hooked the whole time. There was never a dull moment and I didn’t expect some of the exciting parts of this plot that came about. I didn’t expect there to be people trying to colonize (and maybe not doing a good job) and then that ending… Ugh. So sweet, so good, so cute! But massive cliffhanger! Break my heart Lisa!

I love that this is Lisa King’s first novel, because that means (more than likely) she’s only going to get better. This was a stellar start and I can totally see people loving this book! It needs to find it’s audience ASAP because it is just lovely. Add to the bonuses: Canadian author, actual medical terminology, and lots of character development!

I wish apocalyptic horror was more like this. I’d enjoy the genre way more!

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who likes: fun thrillers, apocalyptic horror, a fast paced story or something to spice up their TBR.

Five out of five stars.

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

 

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

Check out Lisa King on:
https://www.authorlisaking.com
Goodreads Author Page

If you love mysteries, here are some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview In Search of Valor by Gary Corbin
#BookReview The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby
#BookReview The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith

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

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#BookReview Geo by Kevin Miller

Geo by Kevin Miller is an excellent science fiction read!

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by GEO. I don’t normally dive into science fiction books, but I absolutely love Kevin Miller’s writing style. I’ve read his Milligan Creek series (a middle grade series, check it out if you haven’t yet), so I wanted to pick up his other, more adult work. It’s safe to say that his writing style works in both age groups and genres! I absolutely loved and was hooked to this book.

The plot itself is intriguing – there’s an elevator to space and it gets stuck. The man who helped create it, Clarence, is called back to help fix it. But, it’s not going to be easy!

While this book may not be the longest tale, it packs it’s punch. I honestly had to binge the whole thing because not only was the story intriguing but I had no idea what was going to happen! Even in the few pages this book has, it feels so full of story and plot! It’s absolutely incredible what Kevin Miller can do with under fifty pages.

I would highly recommend this book. As I said, it’s under fifty pages so it’s a pretty quick read. If you love science fiction, short stories or just want something unique on your shelf, then pick this book up!

Five out of five stars!

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

 

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

 

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

 

Kevin Miller’s middle grade series, Milligan Creek, has been featured on my blog too! Check them out:
#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller
#BookReview The Great Grain Elevator Incident by Kevin Miller

 

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

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#BookReview In Search of Valor by Gary Corbin

In Search of Valor by Gary Corbin is an excellent thriller following a female university student who wants to one day be a detective.

This is the prequel to A Woman of Valor, and goes into the university life of Val Dawes. During her first year studying criminology, Val meets Rhonda – a potential partner for their paper in Crim 101 with the wicked Professor Hirsch. The two discuss what paper they going to write together, and then decide to go pick up Rhonda’s daughter Jada. Unfortunately, for both of them, Jada is not there and has been abducted. Drama and thrills ensue as the local police department, detectives, Rhonda and Val try to figure out who could have taken Jada and why. Val gets to put her detective skills to work when she helps out the local department in this case.

I was hooked to this story! I truly enjoyed it and couldn’t put it down. There’s enough drama and action in such a fast paced manner that I barely noticed the time and pages flying away on me. It was just the perfect length and I felt that there didn’t need to be anymore to this book. It’s a great intro to Val’s past life, and sets it up beautifully for the next book.

Gary Corbin has an excellent writing style that makes reading easy and fast. The story moves flawlessly and I never once felt the need to put it down. He’s a master at this genre, in my humble opinion. I always love a good book by Gary Corbin! They never disappoint.

I would highly recommend picking up either book in this series. You don’t need to read one to know what’s going on in the other, but they do compliment each other well.

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to Gary Corbin who sent me this book in exchange of an honest review.

 

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

Check out the sequel, A Woman of Valor,  on:
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Goodreads

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
#BookReview A Woman of Valor by Gary Corbin

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#BookReview Sasha and his Red Leash by Yossi Lapid

Yossi Lapid is back at it again with this super sweet book!

Sasha is the cutest little pup, and it’s time for him to have an adventure! He’s very lucky, gets to have fun walks, and gets treats! Buuuut, he hates his red leash. The red leash is absolutely awful! He must fight the urge to be free but unsafe.

This story is sweet! I think it’s a great picture book with a lovely little story. It’s also packed with the most adorable pictures. Sasha is a little troublemaker, but he’s super cute. Kids will love him! There’s also a spot in the book where you can talk with your kiddos about whether Sasha and his owners are being safe or not, so it has a bit of an educational kick to it! I love books that educate!

I absolutely love the illustrations. They are soft, colourful and very sweet. I think they fit the story just perfectly!

Overall, this book is such a cute, little gem! I adore it! I’d highly recommend this book for your children’s picture book shelf!

Five out of five stars.

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

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

You can find out more about Yossi Lapid on:
https://lapidchildrensbooks.com/meet-yossi-lapid/

Check out more fun children’s books by Yossi Lapid:
Quick #BookReview Snowman Paul and Kate’s Olympic Dream by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview My Snowman, Paul by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Snowman Paul Returns to the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid

 

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

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