#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:
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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

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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

 

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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

 

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#BookReview A Spoke in the Wheel by Kathleen Jowitt

A Spoke in the Wheel by Kathleen Jowitt is a lovely contemporary novel following the lives of a former cyclist.

Ben, our former cyclist who had to quit the sport due to a doping scandal, moves in with Vicky and Polly. All three love cycling to various degrees, and that’s what brings them together. We watch these characters grow and move through life as Ben finds his solace outside of the cycling world. Polly has been ill for a while and is in a wheelchair, and is working hard to try to find her place in the world now that her dreams have changed. Vicky also loves cycling and is in a club but is also a workaholic.

The biggest thing about this book was the diversity. I liked seeing members of the LGBT community and a woman in a wheelchair. These two topics weren’t shown as something mind blowing, it was just normal. This whole book felt like a coming of age and finding yourself story. It was quite lovely and simple to read. We just followed their lives.

If you like slice of life books, then this book is for you. It’s a wonderfully written story just following the lives of our main characters. We watch them grow, change and react to the world around them. It was the kind of “simple” read I needed – it didn’t have a complicated plot, it was easy to read and it wasn’t dramatic. It’s just lovely.

Overall, I’m impressed. Kathleen Jowitt has a great writing style and made Ben’s voice very readable.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to Kathleen Jowitt who provided me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

A Spoke in the Wheel

The first thing I saw was the wheelchair.

The first thing she saw was the doper.

Ben Goddard is an embarrassment – as a cyclist, as an athlete, as a human being. And he knows it.

Now that he’s been exposed by a positive drugs test, his race wins and his work with disabled children mean nothing. He quits professional cycling in a hurry, sticks a pin in a map, and sets out to build a new life in a town where nobody knows who he is or what he’s done.

But when the first person he meets turns out to be a cycling fan, he finds out that it’s not going to be quite as easy as that.

Besides, Polly’s not just a cycling fan, she’s a former medical student with a chronic illness and strong opinions. Particularly when it comes to Ben Goddard…

Find out more about this book by visiting:
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Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble
Indigo
Kobo

 

 

Author Biography
KJpic

 

Kathleen Jowitt was born in Winchester, UK, and grew up deep in the Welsh Marches and, subsequently, on the Isle of Wight. After completing her undergraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Exeter she moved to Guildford and found herself working for a major trade union. She now lives in Cambridge, works in London, and writes on the train.

Her first novel, Speak Its Name, was the first self-published book ever to be shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize.

Click the links below to visit Kathleen Jowitt:

Website www.kathleenjowitt.com\
Twitter www.twitter.com/kathleenjowitt
Facebook www.facebook.com/kathleenjowitt
Instagram www.instagram.com/kathleenjowitt
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kathleen-Jowitt/e/B01CDJN1HE/

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**Pictures provided by the author. I do not own these pictures.

#BookReview My Soul to Give by Magali A. Fréchette

This was one of the many books that got lost among my bookshelves as I organized and cleaned my house. Lucky for me, I finally found it hidden in my house and decided to binge this baby. And oh, it was well worth the wait!

My Soul to Give by Magali A. Fréchette is a unique fantasy read packed with drama, suspense and romance. It’s an adult novel that gets steamy and sexy at times, but also includes brutal murder. It’s not for the faint of heart!

Celina gets shots, and her husband is murdered, yet somehow she survives. All she wants is revenge, and an evil demon has offered his help in exchange for her life. Celina accepts, only to learn that her husband’s past, and even her own, is not what it seems.

This book is WILD. It starts out seeming like a fantasy and murder mystery mix but then suddenly spirals out of control. There’s steamy romance, there’s suspense, there’s religious undertones – there’s so much going on! Yet somehow it all works just right. Magali mixes all of these tones in just the right way so the story doesn’t overwhelm the reader. The story unfolds a little bit at a time while keeping the reader hooked. And the final surprise ending… man, I saw it coming near the end but I was still shocked that’s how Magali decided to take the story.

Overall, this is a delightful, dark, paranormal romance. If you’re looking for something a little spicy and packed full of suspense and plot twists, grab this book! Hopefully I’ll be able to grab the sequel soon, since this book was just so darn good and addicting!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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

You can find out more about the author, Magali, on:
Goodreads
http://www.authormaf.com/
Twitter @authorMAF

 

Here are some other fantasy and romance books you might enjoy if you love My Soul to Give:
#BookReview Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
#BookReview Valyo Rising by R.A. Mendsen
#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda

 

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

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#BookReview Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi by Eugenia Chu

Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子) is a beautiful little story that should be read across the nation!

Jiǎo zi is a dumpling, in case you didn’t know (because I didn’t until the book told me!). Brandon loves dumplings – make them and eat them (mostly eat, obviously). One day, Brandon’s Grandma from China comes to visit and everything becomes super, duper exciting! Mistakes occur along the way, but everything is made to be fun!

Epic positives:
1. The description and quick lesson about Pinyin was super cool! I don’t know much about Chinese characters and Asian languages, so the little lesson was very much appreciated! I’ve always been curious how translations can work, so this totally spiked my interest. I can totally see families bonding over the language barriers, especially if they are learning a new language!

2. This book is really positive. It not only is educational but shows that Brandon could make mistakes and it was able to be fun and not a negative experience. I can totally appreciate that! Kids make mistakes in the kitchen all the time and they should be embraced, not ridiculed!

3. The glossary! I normally am not a super big fan of them, but I liked seeing all of the words used so I could do a little learning myself.

The pictures are also hand drawn and it’s obvious. I think it’s sweet and gives a very homey feel, but this may be a negative for some readers. So – readers beware!

Overall, this is definitely one of my top children’s reads this year! It’s short and sweet, but packed full of adorableness!

Five out of five stars!

 

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

Check out the read-through for this book:
YouTube

You can find out more about the author, Eugenia Chu, by clicking the links below:
Goodreads Author Page – Eugenia Chu
http://eugeniachu.com/
Twitter – @chuauthor

 

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#BookReview Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies

Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies is a lovely romance set in the 1930s.

I love historical romance novels, but I just have a hard time finding ones I enjoy. Lucky for me, Dinah Jefferie’s book swept me off my feet after prancing into my life.

Eliza, a newly minted widow, is sent to India by the British government to take many lovely pictures of the Indian royal family. She’s a photographer, so it is only fitting that she be one of the few to see inside the royal family’s lives. She meets Jay, an Indian prince who takes her eye, and they begin a dramatic love affair. Along the way, there’s an old (creepy) friend named Clifford who also sees Eliza as the apple of his eyes. Chaos then ensues. And to top it all off, somehow, because fate is cruel and interesting, she seems to know more people than she realizes.

This little book holds so much emotion in it. My heart went on a roller coaster as I tried to figure out how this book was going to end. I was connected to this book by the hip – I needed to know how it ended and I was totally obsessed with it. It’s a medium-paced book but it’s packed full of tears, heart ache, romance, and drama.

The plot does get predictable half way through the novel, but it’s not a major con for me.

If I had a negative for this book, it would be the historical accuracy. I’m not a historian, but I feel like this love affair would have been a much bigger deal in the grand scheme of things. It was definitely a cause of strife in the book, but it seemed to go over pretty well at other times. It was… strange? Either way, the book was still a great romance/dramatic read. I would highly recommend it if you love historical romances, romances set in other geographic locations (not just the good ol’ US of A), or soap opera-esque books. This book felt VERY soap opera-y (in a good way, of course).

On top of the amazing-ness of this book, the cover is absolutely stunning. If you were going to judge a book by it’s cover, pick this one! All of Dinah’s books have truly marvelous covers.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Kobo

 

You can find out more about Dinah Jefferies on:
https://www.dinahjefferies.com/
Twitter – @DinahJefferies

 

If you enjoyed this review (or book!) here’s some other novels you might enjoy:
#BookReview Sex and Death Edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs
#BookReview The Age of the Child by Kristen J. Tsetsi
#BookReview I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

 

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#BookReview Sex and Death Edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs

Sex and Death is a mixed bag of stories full of, you guessed it, sex and death.

This anthology features a large array of short stories. I say it’s a mixed bag because, like any set of stories, some of them are amazing and some of them don’t hit as well. What I’ve found is that it really depends on what type of reader you are. I really enjoyed some of the stories focusing on the family structure – George and Elizabeth by Ben Marcus, Fixations by Ceridwen Dovey, and Evie by Sarah Hall. The stories had me hooked and interested and somehow left me wanting so much more out of them. I wanted entire books for those stories! They were intriguing, well written and absolutely fantastic!

To highlight my three favourites:

George and Elizabeth follows George after his father died. He’s in the process of seeing a therapist and reaches out to his sister. He meets his Father’s ex-half-wife and participates in some situations that he might actually need therapy for. This slice of life story is crafted so beautifully that I wanted a full length novel of this book. George and “Pattern” (Elizabeth) are unique characters with a unique relationship. I need to find more books by Ben Marcus because he is just phenomenal at writing!

Fixations by Ceridwen Dovey follows Selene after the birth of her child. The difficulties of post-partum life and having medical procedures was really interesting to follow. Hearing Selene’s point of view about how the midwives think she has post-partum depression but really it’s from the physical pain of the childbirth was eye opening. I couldn’t pull myself away from this book! Yet again, Ceridwen Dovey has an addicting writing style!

Evie by Sarah Hall follows a romantic pair who dip into something new. Tragedy strikes during their slice of life, and a relationship will be tested. This story was just too darn short! I wanted to see the fallout of everything that was happening because Sarah managed to get me attached to these characters. It is absolutely amazing what some authors can do with their words!

All of the other stories were well written but just didn’t hit me like those three did. But, that’s the point of an anthology! There are many different types of stories around one topic (this one being sex and death). Honestly, the way these authors dove into mental health, sex, ambition, life, and death was truly incredible. Hats off to these guys! Despite every author having a different writing style, all of these books felt like they fit in and that they should be winning some kind of award!

Some of the stories end in tragedy, some feature happy endings and some are just… there. There are very short stories and there are longer stories. What Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs have done is craft a beautifully arranged anthology that definitely should be in more readers’ hands!

Overall, this was a marvelous read and I’m really happy I got the chance to read it! I’ve been staring at this book for ages while it sat on my shelf. I finally got the nerve to pick it up and devour it!

Four out of five stars! The stories ranged from one to five stars, but it’d be a shame to give it anything less than a four. As a complete set, this book stands out!!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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

Here’s some other books and reviews you might enjoy:
#BookReview Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

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#BookReview The Braid Book by Sarah Hiscox & Willa Burton

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The Braid Book by Sarah Hiscox

As someone who has a background in Hairstyling, I have to say this book is an AWESOME idea. Just reading about a braid bar made my day – because there are days I want my hair done up but I don’t want to do it (and my stylist is always mega busy so booking with her the day of is almost IMPOSSIBLE). So, to say that I was excited to finally pick this book up is an understatement!

This book is a fantastic visualization for those who want to learn to do braids. At the beginning, it even includes what supplies you will need (like crocodile clips, hair bands, etc). This do it yourself book is perfect for those who want to learn how to do hair, but don’t necessarily want to watch YouTube glamour videos all day. This book even includes some outside references if you are looking for, say coloured hair strips or flowers!! Epic!

Care for your hair is also included in this book, which is a nice touch! I find a lot of videos about how to do your hair don’t include the before and after care actually needed (which is stressed in hair school, by the way!!! If you don’t take care of your hair, how do you expect it to stay rocking all day?!).

I really enjoyed the pictures in this book – I find it horribly hard to do my own hair!! I can do other peoples hair easy peasey, but my own? Nope. Not being able to see my own hair makes it difficult, so seeing the back of the head of what I should be feeling/doing made it easier to wrap my mind around it! (Haha…wrap….braid…yeah. Cheesey jokes, I know).

Different braids are explained and shown, so you don’t have to worry about being limited to only a few. This book gives you the works!

If anything, I found some of the pictures a little to dark to be able to actually see the hair/style that was going on. I would have liked to see the same style on a few different models with different hair colours (blonde, red, brown?) so you can see the style a lot better.

Overall, this book was a fantastic idea and it really should be a lot bigger/popular than it is!!

Five out of five stars.