#BookReview You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister

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#ThrowbackThursday time! Here’s another Katie MacAlister fave of mine!

 

 

Katie MacAlister first book in a riveting series is golden for romance/fantasy lovers everywhere.

It’s hard to believe You Slay Me was one of the first books in Katie MacAlister’s giant dragon universe (does it have an official name? All of the series within this universe? It probably does…). This book was the first of many cute, sexy, fantasy filled books focusing on dragons. And it’s safe to say – it’s fantastic! This is one of my many guilty pleasures that I keep on my shelf for when I’m having a rough day. It always makes me smile because it’s so sweet!

Katie is a funny writer – she’s not super serious, and that’s what makes this book work. It’s out of the ordinary (obviously, it has dragons and all sorts of crazy creatures in it) and totally addicting. It’s fast paced, full of ooey gooey romance, completely silly and filled with sexy men. It’s solid chick lit!!

I can definitely see some readers having faults with it – the book doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s full of funny tropes and understands that it’s a lighthearted, romance novel. But for me, it’s everything I want in more in a romance novel. I want happy endings, sexy scenes, hot men, quirky jokes and strong, sassy leads. Drake is a bit of a jerk, even I’ll admit that, but I like how his character progresses. I’m not sure how else Katie would have introduced these two in the realm of what this universe is, to be very honest.

So, overall, I love it! I’m kinda annoyed I haven’t been able to get to the very newest 2017 book yet because these books always make my day!

Five out of five stars.

Find Katie and all of her books on Goodreads: Katie MacAlister on Goodreads

Visit her website: KatieMacAlister.com

Or give her a shout out on twitter! @KatieMacAlister

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Like this review? Check out another one you may enjoy! Book Review: His Custody by Tamsen Parker

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#BookReview So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch

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So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch is a sweet, simple, romance read.

There WILL be spoilers in this review, so beware!

Romance seems to be a hit and miss genre – there are FANTASTIC novels, and there are HORRIBLE novels. So Near the Horizon, on the spectrum, is just below fantastic. This story starts out as if it’s fiction – you don’t realize it’s based on Jessica’s life (I mean…her name and the character’s name are the same, but I honestly didn’t even notice. See how much I pay attention?).

Almost immediately our main characters meet, and the sass is real. I love the sassiness between Jessica and Danny,The abuse that was mentioned in the first few pages also left me kind of awestruck. You just meet someone and you say how your father hit you in the face with a bottle? Okay then… At least Danny’s honest?…

Our two leads, Jessica and Danny, are both pretty messed up. One minute they seem to be all over each other, and then next Danny’s treating Jessica like she’s garbage. You welcome her into your bed and sleep next to her all snuggled up, but then threaten to kick her out of your vehicle when you take her home? The bi-polar attitude of Danny made me not like him as a character and almost despise him. Jessica deserves better than some guy who flips his attitude whenever he feels like it. No matter his personal issues, he doesn’t need to act so nasty all the time. It’s almost like he’s nice only when it benefits him. And sending a radio after to apologize? And then confessing his love to her? On top of that, he’s almost always lying…. Yeah, this guy doesn’t sit well with me, in the beginning.

Even Christina rubs me the wrong way at the start – she’s got her own problems, but she’s a psychopath. She threatens to kill Jessica numerous times and no one even cares. The fact that she is threatening Jessica with death if she hurts Danny is absolutely, freaking, ridiculous. Christina has her issues, and she’s a broken character, but this running theme of having a bad life and being a total jerk to people makes me quite annoyed. Life can’t be all “sunshine and roses” (just like Christina says) but I feel like you can do better than hurting people since you’re hurting…Or maybe that’s just me.

I also find that there’s some repeated harassment that could have been avoided if reported. Out of everything in this novel, that drove me insane. Not that reporting always helps in real life situations…

I’m positive that my initial bad feelings towards this book are due to the whole Fifty Shades of Grey/Twilight controversy. There’s lots of books where the guys are just not great guys, but somehow win the girl in the end. Danny could be an EPIC character, but his flaws just seem so dark. It’s almost abusive in my eyes (and this is coming from someone who’s been through abusive relationships). Don’t get me wrong – Jessica is absolutely FANTASTIC and writes this novel well, I just don’t like the relationship. That’s nothing against her, because she makes it likable (to a degree). But then, you get to the end of the book and realize Danny’s not JUST a character. He was real, he’s a person, that was his real life attitude and actions (maybe not 100% because it’s a retelling of Jessica’s life with him, but you get the drift). People aren’t perfect, not like book characters. I went through this book hitting my head against the wall going “JESSICA, LEAVE THIS GUY! HE’S A JERK! HE’S NO GOOD FOR YOU” and then you find out his troubles, and you find out he’s REAL. This was a real guy who was dealing with real issues, and I felt for him. I was not myself when my Father died, nor when I dealt with horrible relationships in my life. I’m empathetic, because we’re not all perfect Nora Robert’s characters (I wish, sometimes that would make my job so much easier).

So, let’s get to the positives. I wrote up an entire list of negatives when I thought this book was fiction (do your research, don’t be like me who just jumps into a book). But, I threw them all out. When I realize this was real, why would I include negatives that don’t fit this narrative?

1. Sass – there is so much sass and humour, that I couldn’t put it down. There were the parts I was frustrated with, but I wanted to see the quirky conversations that were happening throughout this book.
2. It’s not cookie cutter – so many novels (fiction and non fiction) seem to fit the typical trope. Falling in love, happy life, everything is great, something goes wrong but it’s fixed, blah blah blah. This book shows what real life CAN Be like – it’s not totally “realistic” (these “characters” meet and get pretty flirty and close super fast, which isn’t always “realistic” for some people – but that’s life for you), it shows some of the darker sides of life, and I love it.
3. Character development – These characters develop over time, some a little slower than others. Seeing how life changes and what it did for these people…Oh man, my heart aches. I want to meet Jessica and give her a GIANT hug. To live through that changes a person…
4. HIV. That little fact flipped my opinion of this book quite a bit – I wasn’t expecting that to suddenly pop open. While it explains Danny’s behaviour, it doesn’t make some of his wild, horrible attitudes right. Yes, he has a HORRIBLE childhood, but does that give you the right to be a horrible person? What a conundrum.
5. The AIDS/HIV awareness – I like when books bring something into the spotlight, and this book did that with AIDS/HIV. The fact that it’s so heavily focused and doesn’t make it to be some sob story, but a real life story is honestly a wonderful change.

I had so hoped this story was fiction. It destroyed me – after losing my Dad to cancer I have become this emotional wreck that cries at everything sad or sentimental. AND JESSICA DESTROYED ME. Having a love so passionate, so deep (no matter what type of love) and losing someone…I’m hurting from this story. It’s so horrible but so beautiful…Thank you for this book Jessica. Honestly, thank you for letting me see a little piece of your life.

Overall, as a story it seems super rushed. If it were fiction, I’d be annoyed at the fast paced antics that goes on in a relationship. But is any relationship “normal”? Romance novels has ruined timelines for us, hasn’t it?

Five out of five stars. Yes, the relationship between Jessica and Danny was quite brutal, and the death threats infuriated me, but stories like THIS (real, honest and that bring something to the light like AIDS/HIV) NEED to be shared. Not want, NEED. We need more stories like this around, because this world’s big and scary, but stories like this show the true humanity. Oh boy, I’m just a mess writing this.

Thank you Jessica Koch, the amazing author, who sent me this book in exchange for an honest review. I truly appreciate it! It’s always mind blowing when people actually seek me out, and it really humbles me. Thank you!!!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out Jessica Koch on Goodreads! Jessica Koch on Goodreads

Did you know this book was originally written in German and was translated into English?

Check out Jessica Koch’s website! Jessica Koch’s Website

#BookReview In Her Court by Tamsen Parker

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In Her Court by Tamsen Parker is a goofy, geeky read filled with

Tamsen Parker is not one to stick to the same plot over and over in every read, and that’s what makes this book so unique compared to the others. This time around, Tamsen has explored an F/F relation (or two females if you didn’t understand the acronym). Two girls at a camp fulfill a beautiful romance, in short.

These girls (Van and Willa) have character – one of them is getting a PhD, they are working at a tennis camp, and they aren’t your typical character without flaws and full of perfection. They seem realistic in the setting of this story! That’s a nice change from some of the F/F books I have read in the past – I like seeing characters who slowly build and get better throughout the story.

There is some R-rated language (a few F bombs) so if you don’t like any swears, beware! They aren’t dropped for no reason, they fit within the story, but know this book isn’t G rated. If you thought it was, you don’t know Tamsen’s writing very well…

Personal opinion: I felt like Nate and his character could have not been in the story and it would have moved just as well. Yes, he’s an introduction for both characters, but he didn’t seem wildly important – at least not to me. I would have liked to see a more interesting story line with him (a non romantic subplot, or something). I felt like there was more potential hiding in there. That being said, it wasn’t like he was supposed to be the main character of the story.

This wasn’t my favourite Tamsen Parker book (and by that I mean her super steamy romances), but it definitely ranks up in my favourite romances. I felt the introduction to the characters wasn’t the best (we found out a bit to much to fast, in my opinion) but it was still fitting and made the story work. That’s me being a picky Tamsen Parker/romance fan and nothing more. It doesn’t hurt the story, I just feel like it wasn’t Tamsen’s best out of all of her books (I remember a time when she only had three books out…just saying..now she’s all busy writing and forming a career ;D).

I found this was definitely a step out of Tamsen’s wild BDSM/crazy sexual books and more of a contemporary romance (as it says on Goodreads, which I noticed AFTER I read it – do your research first guys! Then you’ll know what you’re getting!). As a contemporary romance, it’s fantastic! It’s not the best romance in all of the world that I’ve ever read, but it’s a worthy read. A very worthy read indeed! There is still some steamy sexy scenes, just not as crazy wild as her other novels. But it’s still uber sexy and well written! And there is LOTS of it…Almost to much. At one point, there seems to be sex scenes in every single chapter!

Side Notes: I love geeky references and Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was present in this novel. Bonus points for Tamsen!

Overall, this book was great – it just wasn’t my favourite Tamsen Parker book (but can they all really be my favourite? Let’s be honest). This book is still a worthy read and I would suggest it to those looking for some steamy romances, but definitely pick up Tamsen’s other books while you’re at it. These books show how she can not only write crazy steamy BDSM, but lovely contemporary romances and some not so safe for work styled novels.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you Tamsen Parker for being amazing (as always!) and sending me a copy of this book!!

 

Visit Tamsen parker at www.tamsenparker.com !!
Follow her on Twitter: @TamsenParker or Facebook! www.facebook.com/tamsenparker

 

This book was also part of Camp Firefly Falls! I haven’t read it yet, but if you’re interested in more check out http//campfireflyfalls.com for more info!

 

Check me out on Goodreads where I post up to date reviews as soon as they happen! Be the first in the know!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

 

 

#BookReview The Proper Proposal (A Regency Romance) by Sophy Hester

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The Proper Proposal by Sophy Hester

Lately, I have been on a string of historical romance-esque series (both novels and television) – The Other Boelyn Girl, Downton Abbey, Reign, The Crown… The list truly goes on. For whatever reason, this type of media has been calling out to me and how could I say no? There are so many fantastic versions of historical fiction/nonfiction literature and television/movies out there!!

So, when I received The Proper Proposal and it popped on my desk, it was very hard to not immediately grab onto the book (despite being super busy and knowingly should not be reading but instead doing work… but like any bookworm, I became a dog when they see a squirrel).

This book was rather easy to read, and that’s not an insult. It’s a book that’s easily to follow along and becomes instantly addicting. I had a very hard time putting it down because I really wanted to finish it all in one sitting – it was that great!!

This book is beautiful in the sense that it’s style is written like the era it is from. I loved seeing big words and references to other works outside of the novel – it’s such a nice change! So many books bore me with texting lingo and simple language. I applaud Sophy for expanding the types of words used in this novel. There’s nothing more irritating than a historical novel using current language throughout the entire book. It was so refreshing and so beautiful, that it deserves a great review just for that content alone.

There isn’t much I’d change about this novel. If anything, I’d just beg Sophy to continue writing more books (whether it be in this genre or others, I think she’s fantastic and needs more books out in the open!). The novel is not to short and not to long – just long enough that it’s rewarding, but short enough to finish in one sitting. The characters are lovable, even if their romance seems “rushed” (in their time it wouldn’t be, but readers today may find that a tad bit interesting). I also enjoyed that there were a few storylines to follow, but our main characters of Louise and John were the main focus. This book doesn’t veer to off to throw the reader off course.

Overall, this book deserves five out of five stars. I was hooked, I didn’t want to put it down and I found it adorable. I love a good historical romance that doesn’t bore me to tears! This book did quite the opposite!! More readers and bookstores need to pick up on this author – Sophy Hester deserves so much more recognition. This book was fantastic!!!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

#BookReview Rogue Desires by Tamsen Parker, Adriana Anders, Amy Jo Cousins and more!

Rogue Desire, an anthology of incredibly sexy stories, will play with your temptations.

This anthology holds stories from Adriana Anders, Tamsen Parker, Dakota Gray, Emma Barry, Jane Lee Blair, Ainsley Booth, Amy Jo Cousins and Stacy Agder.

If you’re looking for some sensual stories to fulfill your fantasies, this is the book for you. Especially if you want some quick, easy reads instead of a super long romance novel to fill up your time – you’ve found what you’re looking for!

I wouldn’t necessarily call it just contemporary romance – some of these stories are a bit more sexy than that name hints – but this still hits all the notes of a sexy, steamy romance.

For me, as a Tamsen Parker fangirl extraordinaire (can I get a button or something pronouncing my love for Tamsen’s writing? I feel like I’m apart of the fan club by now) I really love that her writing is growing yet again. I grew to love and feel for the characters in such a small set of chapters, and melt into a puddle reading the sexiness in that story. And I probably blushed a lot – that story was really steamy…

I will applaud this anthology as a whole though. Normally anthologies all have very similar stories or similar styles of writing – this one does not. Yes they are “similar” – you know, romance and sexiness all over – but they all have different themes and plot lines. Not just ‘hey you’re sexy, let’s get together” plot lines. Also, each writer is unique and completely different than the others. It’s not just carbon copies of the same type of author over and over writing a slightly different story. So, you will most likely find at least one story in this if you like romance – or hopefully more than one!

I kind of wish I could give each individual story star ratings, but they all rate between 4 and 5. Some of the stories weren’t necessarily my cup of tea, but they were all great reads – they kept me hooked and interested, I felt invested in the characters, and I enjoyed reading the stories. It didn’t feel like work or like I was forcing myself through the stories.

Reading some other reviews, I have seen that some people think these stories are “rushed” and yes, I might agree – but you need to remember these are short stories with little wiggle room for giant character development. Many of my favourite short stories seem “rushed” to me – The Veldt – but they still worked. If given the opportunity, I would love to see all authors expand on these stories, but to me they felt like they were just “rushed” enough – not so crazy fast it’s unbelievable, but not to slow to make it an entire novel.

Another great point about this book is the new authors you will be introduced to. While I’ve seen the names of some of these authors floating around Goodreads and Twitter, I never really looked into them – and now I know I should! Being able to see some of these authors write a full length novel instead of a tiny, itty, bitty story will be delightful!! So you may find your new must-read in this series!!!

My other thought from other reviews I peeked at after reading – “political” is a word used a lot, and it does seem fitting but I, for whatever reason, don’t like that word necessarily being put with this. Sexy politics seem so off…yet the politics behind each story made each a little bit better. It’s not like your following a sexy election from beginning to end, which is what that word leads me to believe when I see it pop up. So readers beware!

Overall, five out of five stars. It was sexy and a great read!

I received an uncorrected proof from Tamsen Parker for an honest review.35654211

Young Adult July Reads Book Review: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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Photos via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Book Title: The Fault in our Stars

Book Author: John Green

Rave and Rant: I read this book after my father lost his battle to cancer, and it gave me a beautiful insight into a land where cancer is not viewed as the villain and rather as a fact of life. This book is not your typical love story! It followed sarcastic teenagers who live with cancer, and does not mainly focus on the cancer, it follows their life. It is a beautifully written book and John Green brings his excellent wits in this novel. I’d suggest it to anyone, but remember to have a tissue box nearby once you’ve finished the first half of the book! This book deals with strong emotional themes. Five stars!

Potential Issues: This book does make cancer seem a little romanticized. When I look back on reading it, at the time it was the type of book I definitely needed. I was hurting and I needed a book that didn’t make cancer seem like this horrible villain in my story. This book might not be for everyone, but it helped me at the time. Is cancer scary? Yes. It is life ending, horrible, and ruins lives? Yes. But can this book help heal? Yes.

This book will make you cry – it’s definitely sad, but at the same time it gives you  a different insight into cancer. Yes, there is a romance story in it, but these characters will give you some form of hope. There are beautiful quotes throughout the novel that show you cancer from a very different perspective. Readers must keep in mind this book was written after John Green lost a friend to cancer as well, so this book could have helped him heal.

Final Thoughts: This book is a YA novel – that means it is not going to be 100% realistic. This novel has it’s ups and down in many ways. The characters don’t seem to talk like teenagers would (but the novel was written by an adult). I found Hazel (the main character) to be quite average (other than her amazing quotes), but sometimes you don’t want the perfect Mary Jane as your main character. Gus is kind and a jerk, all wrapped up in one package. He’s not your perfect male lead, which is why I like him. Yes he has his issues, but at the same time he is romanticized for the audience this book is aimed towards. There’s a villain who has his reasons for being evil, but they don’t entirely make up for his behaviour. Overall, I enjoyed this book because it was there when I needed it to be – it’s a good book to read to heal after losing someone to cancer because it gives you a very soft and sweet look compared to the horrors a cancer story typically is.

Five out of five stars. I enjoyed this novel.

Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: The Kiss of Deception
Book Author: Mary E. Pearson

Introduction: Indigo sent me this entire series after I won a Twitter contest. I’ve been trying to read it for quite a while but life has been busy. Finally I was able to sit down one Sunday afternoon and binge read it!

Book Review:

Synopsis: Princess Lia decides to run away from her potential marriage, and runs off with her friend Pauline. She meets Rafe and Kaden, and some mischief and adventure pursues on.

This novel follows your typical dystopia/YA novel trope storyline, but is quite beautifully written. As the title suggests, there is deception involved in this book, and some kisses of course (would it even be a YA without some teen angst and romance?!).

I enjoyed this novel, but it was not my favourite. I really had to force myself through the novel. Yes, Mary E. Pearson is absolutely fabulous as writing (every page was so beautiful) but it just wasn’t fast enough for my likes. There were so many terms and languages that flew over my head and made me super bored, but I had to finish this book. I desperately want to finish this series, because I’ve heard amazing reviews about it everywhere.

Our lead female is quite strong, she has her moments but is a quality female lead. I was impressed with the building of all the characters, but Lia was by far my fave. Rafe is so kind hearted and Kaden (our prince) is also quite charming. Pauline seems realistic, Berdi is pretty awesome, and overall I found all the characters to be on point. They were all written and built over time, which is a nice change compared to some YA novels.

This book does slow down quite a bit – so readers beware. The first quarter of the book is fast and incredible, but then the pace slows down as if gravity is trying to pull it back from its super high speed chase of it’s readers. If you love fast paced stories, this might not be the book for you. If you’re okay with the speed changing and just want a super awesome, well developed, fantasy novel – then this is for you!

What I got out of this novel, and what I think readers should take out of it:
The world building is absolutely fantastic! The scenes and descriptions will take you to a whole new world and will have you hooked.
This book has a big focus on love/relationships/babies and all those fancy tropes you get in YA, so be prepared for silly romance, boy obsessed girls, and lots of day dreaming about kisses.
The story takes a while to build up, it picks up speed quickly, then plummets into a cliffhanger.
If you get into this book, it will pull at your heart strings – be warned.
This book is probably rated PG-13, but is a fine book for any pre-teen or teen readers.

Overall, three stars. It was hard to continue reading this knowing there were other fast paced books on my shelf, but I do want to finish this series! It’s worth the read if you like a good fantasy novel and some fantastical descriptions.

Great job Mary. E Pearson!