#BookReview Dark Bliss by Shay Mills

Dark Bliss: Love Knows No Bounds by Shay Mills is a historical, fantasy read full of vampires.

This is a relatively short read packed with lots of content! Vampires, fantasy, history and romance are packed tight all within this book. I was honestly shocked how short it was for how much drama and content there is (which isn’t a bad thing! Sometimes a girl wants a short book with lots going on).

I did find that this book wasn’t aimed at me for it’s audience, but I can appreciate the novel for what it is. Fans of historical romance with a splash of fantasy and horror will enjoy this book.

You might be asking, “So, Briar… Why wasn’t this book for you?” Well, let me explain.

This book started with a strong opening paragraph that had me feeling some incredible horror vibes. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it didn’t seem like it was going to be a romance or purely fantasy novel. That horror element quickly dissipates and unfolds into a period drama. I really wanted that horror element to stick – I thought it was going to be a really cool vibe mixed in with the fantasy and romance. There is the odd splash of horror later on, but it’s not as big of an element as I thought it would be (since it was in that initial opening).

So we keep going – we’ve got lots of characters coming out of the woodworks fast, and some of them only in flashbacks. I wanted a little more description out of these moments. I found this book was heavy in dialogue and not in description. Don’t get me wrong (again), I love some incredible dialogue but I also need a writer to spell out how the setting looks and feels, how the characters are, and so on. Just a pinch more description would have made me a happy reader, but this trend continues throughout the book. That being said, the style is interesting. This book makes it feel like someone is re-telling the story to a friend. It’s how I imagine my buddies telling me about their works of fiction that they write.

The characters were an interesting collection of people. Some you can relate to, some you want to throw off a cliff, and others you wonder if they might have a bigger meaning to the story than they actually do. Alma was a character I loved to hate. I did wonder if she was going to be more of a “big baddie” than she was… But she was pretty insane.

My biggest gripe with this book is the romance. The sex happens ridiculous amounts of times, the orgasms seem unrealistic for how many and how often, and the descriptions of sex felt like a man was writing it. Now, don’t get me wrong again – men can write romance and sex scenes – but sometimes you can tell it’s a man trying to write for a woman. Vibrating junk, orgasms that happen excessive times in a row that would probably kill the woman and just unrealistic sex scenes make me grimace. I like disappearing into a book, but really odd sex scenes tear me out of it.

Add in a few trigger warnings for this book: Abuse towards women, abuse towards pregnant women, miscarriage. All those fun things some readers don’t like – be warned.

Overall, this book is an interesting read. It’s nice to take a trip down a different path in my reading journey. It’s a historical book that takes place in the dark time of slaves with lots of twists and turns.

Three out of five stars.

This book was sent to me in exchange of an honest review.

Give this book a look see by following the links below:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Learn more about the author, Shay Mills, through these websites:
https://www.shaymillsauthor.com/
Goodreads Author Page – Shay Mills

Check out some other books on my blog that you might enjoy:
Nothing is Strange by Mike Russell
His Name was Zach by Peter Matruneac
Spiral by Khaled Talib

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

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#BookReview Try Dying by Rajeev Singh

Try Dying by Rajeev Singh is the first book by this incredible erotic horror author that didn’t bode well with me. Let me explain…

Normally, I’m totally all in with Rajeev’s books. If you haven’t picked his books up, he’s a master at erotic horror. His books are creepy, disgusting, mind boggling, menacing and disturbing – the way erotic horror should be. I’m honestly always blown away by his talent! Normally, his kind of horror doesn’t sit well with me at all and I (essentially) run away screaming. But his books? The writing style and tone always pulls me in and keeps me hanging on.

Then in walks Try Dying. The writing style, the tone, the word choice – all of the essence of the book is incredible. It just gets a little too brutal for me and I had to walk away numerous times to stomach it. Why? Well, the weird fetishes of wanting to murder a woman viciously while you have sex with her made me ill. If that’s the kind of horror you’re going for, Rajeev does it well. That kind of horror bothers me – I’m a woman who fears this. I will say, Rajeev Singh does horror well for this topic. I give him all the props, this just isn’t the plot line or story line that I should personally be reading. I can’t give him enough props, bonuses and compliments for how he made this into a story and made it work. Once I was able to slowly but surely get through this book in little chunks (pun intended), I realized how well written and intriguing it is.

So, what is in store for you, oh mighty reader:

  • The Dark Web
  • “Walrus-moustached” as my new favourite description
  • Fetishes
  • An adventure surrounding a curse
  • An awesomely designed cover image
  • A niche book perfect for it’s niche market

Overall, the book plot wise sat at a solid 3 for me. The adventure and curse side of things brought me in, but the brutality against women grossed and creeped me out. The writing? 5 out of 5, which is exactly what you expect from Rajeev Singh.

My final rating is going to sit evenly at a 4 out of 5. I’m not the audience for that book and I can accept that. I still want to read all of Rajeev Singh’s books because he’s one of the few horror authors that I can (normally) sit through the whole book and enjoy reading. He also just has a really nice writing style that makes the books easy to read. I find I don’t get that a lot within the horror genre.

Four out of five stars!

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

Ready to pick this book up and tackle it? Click the links below to find more information and buy it:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Find Rajeev Singh on Goodreads – Author Page

Here’s some other books by Rajeev Singh that have been featured on my blog! Check them out:
Dead Women Tell No Tales by Rajeev Singh
The Erotic Muse by Rajeev Singh
Blood Rain by Rajeev Singh

Seeking some other fantastic fiction to pile onto your TBR? Here are some other books I’ve loved and posted to the blog about:
Nothing is Strange by Mike Russell
His Name Was Zach by Peter Matruneac
Spiral by Khaled Talib

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

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

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#BookReview Nothing is Strange by Mike Russell

Nothing Is Strange or everything is strange?

Mike Russell is a master at oddball books. I always go into these books not knowing what to expect and come out with my mind blown. It’s a similar feeling to watching David Bowie music videos or trying to come up with a valid WandaVision theory (Mephisto or Magneto?).

This selection of short stories is an easy to read and mind boggling adventure. You can jump in and out without the need to worry or fear that you’ll forget something. Each story stands alone and will mess with your mind (in a good way, I promise). This book will grab your attention and keep in the a strange and exciting way. If you love bizarre and want to be enticed, welcome to the world of Mike Russell.

I really enjoyed these stories, if I’m being honest. Their kooky, odd, curious, bizarre, strange and all of the other synonyms you can come up with. It’s the oddity of Alice in Wonderland – it’s delightfully fun yet makes you question reality. The absurdity is what makes it so much fun. Is there meaning there? What is normality anymore?

My personal favourites: Cream Tea, The Diaries of Sun City, and Dunce. The entire book has stories about love, death and grief, some tentacles, miracles and insanity.

This will definitely be a niche book! It’s not for every reader and that’s okay. The books aren’t always straight forward so it can be hard to read in that respect. Either way, these stories will make you grin or grimace in a world full of fun.

Four out of five stars.

I received the book for free from StrangeBooks in exchange of an honest review. Thank you yet again for another lovely and mind boggling book.

Go give this book a gander:
Goodreads: Nothing is Strange
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Check out the fabulous world of Mike Russell by clicking on the links below:
http://www.strangebooks.com/
Twitter: @strangebookseye
Goodreads: Mike Russell

If you love this book (or even the review) clickity clack some of these other links that will take you to other books you might love:
#BookReview ExtraHumans by Susan Jane Bigelow
#BookReview Strungballs by Mike Russell
#BookReview Strange Medicine by Mike Russell

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**Featured image/cover provided by the Publisher – StrangeBooks.

#BookReview His Name Was Zach by Peter Martuneac

His Name Was Zach by Peter Martuneac is a thrilling and horrific zombie novel.

In the last year or so I’ve been reading more zombie books. It’s kind of amusing because I’m not the biggest zombie apocalypse fan, yet I just kept picking them up. People lent me zombie books, I accidentally stumbled upon them or I would randomly pick a book off my shelf and BAM zombies. Then in walks His Name Was Zach with more zombies to fill up my shelf.

This book is big and long, but totally worth it if you dig zombie apocalypse books. We follow Zach (shocker, I know – the title definitely doesn’t give that away), who is an ex-Marine surviving a couple years into the insane zombie apocalypse that took his wife away from him. He has a surrogate daughter Abby along for the ride with him. She lost her family during the craziness years ago, but when her and Zach found each other it was the family they both didn’t know they needed.

This duo has a cute Father-Daughter relationship that will make you smile. Of course, that’s when they’re not both kicking butt. Both of these characters are strong but have flaws that make them feel real. Abby isn’t just a damsel in distress – she’s smart and strong (and sometimes innocent, but she’s a young teenager). Zach has demons to face but is also capable of holding himself up. It’s a nice mix that I don’t see too often in books like this. Bonus points for Peter Martuneac. Also, the nickname Bug is pretty cute.

Some of the back story of this book is kept safe like a secret – hidden away until just the right moment. Slowly, some of these mysteries unfurl and we get to see some of the brutality of the past. At the beginning it frustrated me, but once I got going I really appreciated the slow build and slow burn of the lack of information. Luckily, this book isn’t slow on the action so you don’t think too much about that once you get going. Zombie fights, potential cannibals, abduction plots, murder and wilderness survival all come at you pretty fast. It’s kind of hard to believe the book was almost 500 pages!

If you like thrills and horror mashed together then this book is for you. I applaud Peter for making an engaging zombie book that is definitely R rated. There’s lots of triggers for death and an almost rape scene, so reader beware.

I didn’t like the ending, but that’s no surprise if you know me personally. It’s not a hit against the book, but it made me sad.

Overall, it’s a great zombie book and I highly recommend it!

Four out of five stars.

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

Click on the links below to find this book:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Find out more about this series on:
https://hisnamewaszach.wordpress.com/

Are you looking for more horrific reads? Check out some of these other terrifying books on my blog:
#BookReview Dead Women Tell Tales by Rajeev Singh
#BookReview Two Mothers by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview NYV: Goth by K.D. McQuain

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#BookReview Two Mothers by K. Kris Loomis

Two Mothers is a horrifyingly great book by K. Kris Loomis. It features postpartum depression across generations, with two women (who become Mothers) being connected despite being many years apart.

The first chapter alone having a 15 year old giving birth but potentially having to give that child up is… intriguing. It draws you in and makes you question what’s going on in the book. Then we move to Anna, who seems to be a Mother going through lots of confusion, stress and grief. She doesn’t seem to know what to do with a baby, which has me even more curious on how this book will progress.

There are some goofy, punny jokes in there too that makes this book a little more light-hearted. It’s not dark and suspicious all the time, which is also a nice touch. It makes this book more readable! I like it!

The change between first and third person also makes this book rather spooky. The entire book had me questioning reality, much like I did when reading The Turn of the Screw. I really liked that aspect of the book, because you didn’t really know what was going on until you read the entire thing and connected the dots.

I do love a K. Kris Loomis book. There’s always something unique about them. Psychological horror and fiction is always done right by this author, just saying. They sit up high on my top reads book shelf and I will continue to recommend and enjoy them. I highly recommend this little novella if you are seeking a quick horror read that makes you think.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author, K. Kris Loomis, in exchange of an honest review.

You can pick up this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Learn more about the amazing author, K. Kris Loomis, by clicking on the links below:
http://www.kkrisloomis.com/
Twitter: @kkrisloomis

Check out more K. Kris Loomis books featured on my blog:
#BookReview The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview After Namaste by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview 100 Tiny Tales by K. Kris Loomis

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

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#BookReview Bunnicula by James & Deborah Howe

Happy Spooky Month!
This is my favourite time of year, so it’s time to share some of my fave spooky reads! This particular book is a personal fave from my youth. Enjoy!

 

Back in the day, Bunnicula was THE book to read in elementary school. The class clambered to the front of the classroom to sit in our little circle and have story time. This book turned us all into little book loving zombies and we were desperate for more. Unfortunately, our school and teachers were only ever able to get the first book, but that didn’t deter us. We all had it memorized by the end of the day.

Fast forward to 2020. I see this book in a local used bookstore and I decide, “Hey, why not read it again and see if it holds up?” I can see this book for what it is – an absolute delightful middle grade novel that introduces fun horror to youthful eyes. As an adult, it didn’t hold up for me but I still have a special place in my heart for it. Who doesn’t love Bunnicula? Seriously.

Vampire Bunnies. It’s such a unique idea and I LOVE it. This book sits with Goosebumps on my happy, little, Halloween-loving shelf. This bunny goes and drains vegetables, because obviously it was owned by Dracula! It’s a fun concept and super silly! It’s definitely a book I would recommend for parents and educators. Get your little readers into a spooky, Halloween spirit with this little gem!

As an adult, it feels like a funny SNL skit. It’s not scary to us because we know it’s fiction but to little kids it’s a potential nightmare (in a good way, it’s not THAT scary). The anticipation as a child was not there as an adult, but I can still appreciate how wonderfully written this book is. It’s short and sweet but packed full of story!

Also, surprise ending! I forgot how this book ended so I was pleasantly surprised!

The only negative I had with this book was some of the adult references: classic books, taxes, etc. Kids might not understand these terms, but if they have a great adult reader helping them along, it might be a good educational opportunity, I guess.

Overall, this book is a childhood fave of mine that I would still highly recommend! It’s so nostalgic for me and I truly miss the whimsical nature of reading these books!

Four out of five stars.

 

You can find out more about this childhood classic on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Kobo

 

Looking for more middle grade books? Here’s some recently featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Great Grain Elevator Incident by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Seizure by Kathy Reichs
#BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

 

Check me out on:

Twitter: Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

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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

 

Check me out on:
Twitter: Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

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#BookReview Dead Women Tell Tales by Rajeev Singh

I picked up Map of Desire, a haunting anthology, to read Rajeev Singh’s latest story. This guy is a master of erotic horror (at least in my books) and it’s always a pleasure diving into his stories. They are creepy, weird, haunting and everything you expect out of an erotic horror. In all the best ways, it’s horrifying and disturbing.

Dead Women Tell Tales is extremely wicked. Our lead character, Leon, stumbles upon this brothel like place where dark secrets and passions hide. Suddenly he is given the choice to enter doors, and darkness consumes him. Sexual nightmares, dark and haunting past secrets and wild exploration occurs. All of these will leave you shivering, staring in awe at the page and had me completely struck with shock. Like normal, Rajeev has made one wildly epic erotic horror.

I keep saying again and again that to me Rajeev is this king of erotic horror. He always blows me away with his writing. It’s descriptive, oddly addicting and pulls the reader in. If you haven’t picked up erotic horror before, this author is one guy you should check out. I’m always just amazed at his work. It’s wild. This story was no different! It’s much shorter than some of his other works, like The Erotic Muse, but it still packs quite the punch.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to Rajeev Singh for supplying me a free copy of this anthology in exchange of an honest review.

 

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

 

Find Rajeev Singh on Goodreads – Author Page

Here’s some other books by Rajeev Singh that have been featured on my blog! Check them out:
The Erotic Muse by Rajeev Singh
Blood Rain by Rajeev Singh

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

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

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#BookReview Blood Rain by Rajeev Singh

Blood Rain by Rajeev Singh is another dip into erotic horror that will steal the spotlight.

Erotic horror is one of those criss-cross genres. It’s creepy yet sexual (as the name implies) but hits in such a strange way. I don’t know whether to be scared, horrified or shocked.

A group of five get isolated on an island with sexually charged, exotic women, all being affected by a blood rain. Danger and horror await the crew as they try to traverse through the jungle and come out unscathed. Among the group, emotions are high and terror is higher.

There’s lots of women having sex with inanimate objects in this story. It’s very strange and is connected to horror, but the characters also find it oddly erotic. Add in blood rain, scary tales and an adventure, and you’ve got one wild ride (pun intended, thank you very much).

I will give Rajeev a virtual high five for his prose. His story telling ability and his word choice will make chocolate melt in your mouth. Seriously, he’s got a way with his words. The first chapter alone had me curious and interested in the story.

If you’re looking for something a little different, a little niche, totally R rated, and some truly insane erotic horror then you need to grab this book. Rajeev is such a talented writer and writes this niche market really well.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to Rajeev Singh for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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

 

If you’re looking for more by Rajeev Singh, click the links below:
Goodreads – Rajeev Singh
Briar’s Review’s #BookReview The Erotic Muse by Rajeev Singh
Goodreads – The Erotic Muse
Amazon.ca – The Erotic Muse
Amazon.com – The Erotic Muse
Books2Read : Books2Read – The Erotic Muse

 

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#BookReview Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

One of my life long reading goals is to pick up more classics, and since I am ALWAYS in a Halloween mood I figured Frankenstein would be right up my alleyway.

But let me set the record straight, Hollywood has done Mary Shelley some dirty. This book was NOTHING like what Hollywood told me, and I almost wish I would have picked it up in an audio book format to make it more enticing and scary for me.

First things first, Mary Shelley is a CHAMPION of writing. She is one of the best there is and this story is woven in such a beautiful way that it’s hard to say anything bad about it. The style, the prose, the word choice… It’s so intriguing and beautiful, despite being touted as a “horror” novel. Yes, there’s scary parts and a monster, but it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. The story is more dramatic, full of powerful scenes about life, death and family and it makes you question your feelings about the lead characters a LOT.

I would highly recommend reading this book if you’re into classics or want to see the real Frankenstein’s monster. I hardly saw Victor as a villain, more of a sad character due to circumstance. Even Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t as scary as I anticipated, I felt so bad for him. He’s given life but no existence… It’s a truly marvelous read. He might be a monster due to creation, but he’s not as horrifying as the movies would lead you to believe.

I will absolutely be jumping back into this book and tearing apart the themes and prose one day. I think this is a uniquely written book that presents itself in a ridiculously cool fashion. That being said, it did take me a long time to read it. It’s old fashioned, the writing style is different and it’s not fast paced and as crazy as Hollywood’s renditions. I did enjoy it though! Before I was able to watch a few videos and translate some of the more confusing parts of this book, it sat at a solid two for me. It’s jumped to a three only because it’s not something I’d read again without the help of an English major. It’s really cool and I did really love it, it’s just not the star studded book I expected it to be.

A lot of this book is delivered in letters and about a trip, very little felt like the scary horror novel I was expecting. I am impressed how the Hollywood renditions has changed the story, but it did throw me off when half of this book was just letters between two individuals. Either way, it’s still really cool. I can’t imagine being nineteen years old and writing a book that causes so much drama and excitement for people two hundred years later. That’s a good well done for Mary Shelley!

Three out of five stars!

 

Do you love the classics? Horror? Despise them all? Comment below!

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out others you might enjoy too:
#BookReview The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview NYV: Goth by K.D. McQuain
#BookReview The Stickman’s Legacy by Benjamin Appleby-Dean

Check me out on:

Twitter: Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

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