#BookReview Marianne by Ruth Miranda

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This book starts off with a BANG!

Seriously, I couldn’t believe that the book just jumped into the action, like some epic movie sequel! I loved this sweet surprise, since it’s a major change from the books I have been reading lately.

Ruth Miranda, the fantastic author, opens up the realm of fantasy even further in this book. The slow unraveling of this fantastical universe seemed to work really well within the story. I don’t think I would have liked this series as much if she would have thrown all of the elements at us at once. The way she gives us the secrets to this world piece by piece felt… flawless. Each little piece of information that was released made the story slowly fall into place, and gave some awesome added effects. The information about Nora was what really had me in awe – Ruth knows how to tell a great tale.

If there was a con to this point, I’d say that it sometimes felt like those super villain monologues when all of the information was being released. But, for me, it still worked well. I liked the long descriptions.

When looking at the overall book, it’s definitely the darkest of the three. As a reader, if you felt that the last two pushed the limits, then this book might not be for you. It’s past the PG-13 rating for some of it’s deep content, such as the rape scene. So in my mind, it’s a hard R rating. This scene is brutal, but shows some deep insights into the character it’s following. The plot line gets crazier as it goes on, which boggled my mind. The insanity Ruth introduces to the back stories of these characters… One word: WOW. Just… Wow. A good wow, of course!

As the book progressed, I really liked the depth of Marianne and Marcus’s relationship. It’s a unique dynamic, but it held me tight to this book. I wanted to know more about this pair, and I was so tempted to skip to the pages that they were on! If anybody stood out in this novel, it’s that pair! At times you feel bad for them, and then you hate them, but then you feel empathetic… This roller coaster of emotions is from Ruth’s epic writing. Seriously, I haven’t felt this exhausted from my emotions about a book in a LONG time.

In some weird way, I could relate and emphasize with Marianne. The humiliation, the desire to fit in or be loved by someone, and her emotions being painted on the page all hit me in just the right way. I felt like I’ve been there before, in different ways. And, in my opinion, I think this is where the book is really going to draw it’s audience. I don’t often feel and relate to characters in books like this, but with Marianne… There’s something there.

Nora and Cai’s side of the story is also intriguing – the characters are changing throughout the story as they try to find Marcus. While Marcus and Marianne stood out, the journey Nora and Cai go on is a nice parallel. It brings us away from the brutality of Marcus/Marianne, which is much needed in this story. The romance, the drama and the beauty of their story is the perfect mirror! Kudos to Ruth for making this parallel so good!

Overall, this addicting story of pain and growth is mesmerizing! This series is definitely a must read if you want something darker and fantastical. I’d highly recommend it! It’s hard to find a dark series that takes on so many tough topics, and comes out on top!

There is one big con for me, and Ruth said it herself – I wanted to throw this book at the wall when I was done with it. But I was reading it on my iPad, and that is too expensive to throw. So, I didn’t throw the book at the wall, but I would have liked to.

Five out of five stars! Wowza!

I received this book for free from the author Ruth Miranda in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Check out Ruth Miranda on Goodreads

 

Find the first book in this series, Blood, on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Blood

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Blood

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Blood

Find the 2nd book, Scars, on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Scars

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Scars

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Scars

Find more books by Ruth Miranda on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Ruth Miranda

Amazon.com – A Study for Love / Amazon.ca – A Study for Love

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter! @reviewalholic

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#BookPlaylist Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

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Today on my blog we have a wonderful guest, the author Kelley Kaye Bowles! I recently read her book Down in the Belly of the Whale (which will be revealed on my blog on October 10th!!! I can’t wait!!), and I wanted to open your eyes to this author just a little more! Kelley offered to provide a playlist for her character Harper to honor World Suicide Prevention Day!

 

Harper’s Playlist

1. Belly of the Whale Burning Sensations ‘Belly of the Whale’   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZgtKt8K3ho

This is, of course, Harper’s theme song. She feels so isolated in her body – like most teenagers do – that it’s like she is down in the belly of a whale in the bottom of the ocean.

2. Closer to Fine Indigo Girls Indigo Girls – Closer to Fine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZgtKt8K3ho

Harper‘s mom, Isabelle, introduced her to this song. Isabelle wrote a paper on this song when she was in college, and she’s loved it and the message ever since. Isabelle definitely feels this way—like the more you can go with the flow and roll with the punches, the better off you’ll be. Harper is trying.

3. No Roots Alice Merton
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUdyuKaGQd4

This, again, reflects Harper’s life theme. Since she’s not even sure she’s in the right family, she certainly doesn’t feel like she has roots anywhere.

4. The Man The Killers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3xcybdis1k

 This song is for Harper’s Uncle Pasta—the gay uncle who lives in the basement. He’s hilarious and awesome—totally The Man! 😜

5. Uptown Funk Bruno Mars
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1F0lBnsnkE

Harper can’t help but dance to this song—but she only watches the video wiith all the old movies in it, like all the stuff Uncle Pasta watches.

6. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic the Police The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aENX1Sf3fgQ

Since Harper can envision her glorious future with basketball star Larson McCready—even though she’s never even talked to him—she can imagine him singing this song to her.

7. Breathe Anna Nalick- Breathe (2am)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdRHSuPxgXo

The ability to say the right thing at the right time is an important and as yet unrealized skill for Harper. This song confirms how scary it is to put yourself out there for others to judge, but the song helps her know she’s not alone in feeling that way.

8. Blackbird The Beatles
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdRHSuPxgXo

Harper’s father, Michael, is this intense and driven man with very strong ideas and opinions. He’s the one who introduced her to the Beatles, but he was careful to explain that there are only a certain amount of Beatle songs that are genius, and some bubblegum poppy kinds that are lame. This, thankfully, he considers one of the genius ones because Harper thinks it’s beautiful, and feels like she is only waiting for HER moment to arrive…

9. Bohemian Rhapsody Queen
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ

Harper and Uncle Pasta like to headbang to this song.

And, for 10., Harper chose Michael Jackson, because, well, any playlist is incomplete without Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yURRmWtbTbo

 

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Find out more about Kelley Kaye Bowles on:

Goodreads – Kelley Kaye Bowles

http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

Twitter – @kelkay1202

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter to let me know you read it! @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview Jeep Tour by Gail Ward Olmsted

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Jeep Tour is another stunning women’s fiction novel by Gail Ward Olmsted.

Seriously, this lady KNOWS what I’m feeling and thinking! Just the quote alone “A series of unrelated and seemingly random events that can singularly cause stress and anxiety” is my life right now – college, working, life, EVERYTHING! Within this sweet, women’s fiction are words of wisdom I never would have appreciated until I became an adult and finally understood what “adulting” meant! The metaphor comparing whack-a-mole made it even better, to be brutally honest. That’s is how life feels sometime!

This novel is the first in the “series”, but like the rebel I am – I read Jackie’s daughter’s story first! So, it was only necessary to read Jackie’s story as well! The two books can easily be read apart, but if you want a little more sanity and understanding, reading them in order would be helpful. I do have to say, you can tell that Gail has improved in her writing (not that she was bad to begin with, but you can see the growth and I LOVE when that happens! I’m a nerdy little birdie for seeing authors grow and change into sophisticated and more talented authors!).

Now, back to the story!

Middle-aged Jackie is divorced from her husband and decided to go on an adventure and hop on a Jeep Tour. She ended up meeting uber sexy tour guide Rick, and he gave her his number! Rick is young, hot, and flirty!

I related to Jackie in many ways – troubles with her job, a “Linda” in their life, troubles with relationship and wanting to just run away. But the one thing I really liked about Jackie was her ridiculous sense of humor! “Waa-mbulance” was one of the best comments I’ve ever seen, and I will definitely be entering that into my verbal thesaurus for the next time life gets tough. The accounting metaphors also had me chuckling, since I’ve taken some accounting classes (and the comments really fit how I see some of my accounting friends…).

Even the relationships in this novel felt real, which was shocking! I don’t know many people who got divorced and started sleeping with their ex when the papers were signed, but Gail made me feel like I did! I felt like Jackie and Robbie could have been my neighbors or friends of mine! It was weird, but incredible. But that’s raw talent for you! Although, sometimes I felt like this relationship was a little bit… tumultuous, or not healthy. Knowing the contents of the second book made me feel better about it, but there was still this ache in the back of my head going “NOOOO JACKIE NOOOO YOU DESERVE BETTER – NICE GUY AND GOOD SEX! YOU CAN HAVE BOTH! DON’T SETTLE FOR ONE!”

The journey Jackie embarks on is definitely a beautiful story. The ups, the downs and everything in between will make you feel! It was a beautiful story to sit down, admire the summer air and fall into. It was a relaxing read, something that women’s fiction definitely needs!

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a soft, simple read with a little splash of drama and romance. It’s a PG rated, flirty and fun book that will whisk you away into the life of a of truly incredible character. It’s a must read that will be added to my shelf!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy from the author Gail Ward Olmsted in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads: Goodreads – Jeep Tour

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Jeep Tour

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Jeep Tour

 

 

Check out the sequel with Jackie, Robbie and their daughter in Driving on the Left!

Goodreads – Goodreads – Driving on the Left

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Driving on the Left

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Driving on the Left

 

Find out more about Gail Ward Olmsted on her website: http://www.gailolmsted.com/

Or give us both a shout out on Twitter! @GWOlmsted & @ReviewAlholic

 

Comment below – have you read any novels by Gail Ward Olmsted?

#BookReview Guessing at Normal by Gail Ward Olmsted

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Guessing at Normal is a roller coaster ride of emotions from the ever-fantastic author Gail Ward Olmsted.

Gail’s writing just clicks with me – it pulls at my emotions, it keeps me hooked and has me addicted to every word on the page! Picking up this novel, which follows a rock star and his girlfriend, was a true delight that I have to share with everyone!

Jill Griffin is your everyday, normal girl working the hotel night shift. Then one day, in walks a rock star – James Sheridan. Everyone knows his name and his band Nomad, including Jill. These two fall in love, and their lives unravel throughout this soap opera-like story. This book isn’t your Harlequin, perfect romance – it follows the ups and downs of relationships and the rock star life. Relationships aren’t perfect, and this book highlights the true insanity that relationships can be.

The character arcs and development are to die for! Seriously, these characters go through so much throughout this novel. And on top of that, they aren’t perfect (which is a good thing)! The characters have flaws, there’s bumpy roads and fights that happen, and sometimes they aren’t squeaky clean Plain Janes. As the novel progresses, you can see Jill changing and learning to deal with the life she has chosen to live, and you can see how James embraces his rock star life. The book is mostly focused on Jill’s side of the story, but we do venture into other character’s lives briefly as well.

This book is an easy read, and has lots of drama to keep you busy. You’ll be guessing what will happen next, and Gail’s epic plot twists will keep you on edge. I find Gail’s writing to be descriptive yet soft – it’s not a book that you will struggle to understand. She picks the perfect words to describe the situation, but nothing so difficult that you are dragging out the Webster’s dictionary to understand the book.

I’d say this book is PG-13. There isn’t any hard romance scenes or erotica mixed in. It’s a fun book that even teenagers could enjoy. There are some drug and alcohol comments, but nothing too brutal that most teens haven’t heard about already.

Forewarning: bring a box of tissues if you are the light of heart! There are some sad scenes in this story, but it’s worth it in the end!

Overall, this is another gem that I’m putting on my must read romance pile! I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romance novel, some juicy drama, or celebrity/rock star based plots! It’s a fun book for a fantastic summer day!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this novel from the author Gail Ward Olmsted in exchange for an honest review.

 

Purchase this book on:

Amazon.com: Amazon.com – Guessing at Normal

Amazon.ca : Amazon.ca – Guessing at Normal

 

Find out more about Gail Ward Olmsted on:

Her website: http://www.gailolmsted.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/gwolmsted

 

Comment below – have you read any novels by Gail Ward Olmsted?

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview Vi by Kim Thúy

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Kim Thúy’s beautiful short story, Vi, is a must read for fiction lovers!

I won’t lie, the fact that this book is so short was what drew me to it. I needed a quick read to keep me occupied while I was in a waiting room and this book was short enough to devour in one sitting. While this book might lack in quantity, it hits a real punch on the quality. I’m honestly surprised Kim is not a bigger author, because this book was mind-blowingly awesome. And yes, I am making mind-blowingly a word.

The cultural impact is probably the best part of this novel. Often, you can see silly cultural stereotypes in novels but this one did it right. You could tell Kim knew what she was talking about with the depth and nature of her words. It didn’t feel cheap or obnoxious, it felt oddly satisfying to read about another culture that was not my own. Watching Vi’s story take place over these pages was a fantastic adventure, since Kim wove her words so beautifully and made this story dance in my mind. I absolutely loved it!

I would have liked a better ending, I found it kind of “blah” compared to the rest of the novel. This book had me hooked and obsessed with Vi’s journey and then the end just fell…well, flat. I would have liked something more. That was my only real issue with this novel. It is a translation (and my copy was an ARC) so there were some weird sentences with the translation but that wasn’t a con for me. I moved passed those issues really easily when reading it.

Overall, this charming read is a great option if you want a story that will move you and impact your understanding of culture. I 100% recommend this book!

Four out of five stars.

I received an ARC of this book through Goodreads First Reads.

 

If you read this review, use the hashtags #BriarsReviews & #Vi on twitter! @ReviewAlholic

Check out Kim Thúy on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3152466.Kim_Th_y

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview A Long Way Back by J. Everett Prewitt

Comment below with your most recent read!

#BookReview Crime Seen by Kate Lines

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I love a good crime novel, and having this as a non-fiction novel all about Kate Line’s policing career made me love it even more. All of the situations were real, and Kate Lines walked through how she became a high up cop and investigator. Having the author walk through each situation and how evidence was used and how people were interviewed gave a wonderful insight to the Police World, and helped give me a better idea what happened behind the scenes on high profile cases I heard about over the years.

This novel reminds me of a non-fiction version of Kathy Reichs Temperance Brennan novels. While Kathy Reichs discusses the forensics sides of investigations, Kate Lines brings you into the realm of policing and investigation.

I honestly couldn’t put this book down. The real life stories are inspiring, even if each story did not have a happy ending. Also reading about a strong, independent female working hard and getting the job done was very inspiring!

Anyone interested in Police, Forensics, Investigations, Crime and Mystery should read this novel. Yes, it’s not a fiction novel, but it helps give a lot of insight into what really happens. This novel is authentic and real, which gives it a lot of charm!

I would love Kate Lines to write fiction novels if she ever got the chance, because her background in this fantastic book would lend well to more books!

Five out of five stars! I saw nothing wrong with this fantastic non-fiction crime novel. The Criminal Profiler is an excellent author with many stories to tell.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

#BookReview The Darkening by Maggie L Wood

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The Darkening was a thrilling sequel to the Divided Realms series.

I am so dishearted when I couldn’t find the third book of this series, because I was OBSESSED with this book series back in the day. I went to Borders (in the states) and bought the first two books. They were two of the first books I bought with my own money at a bookstore. Then, Borders left that mall and I thought I would never find the books again (since my local Canadian bookstores didn’t carry them, and I wasn’t aware at the time that I could order books).

The game of chess was the focus of this series, and that was so fascinating to me. There’s good and evil, light and dark, and pulls towards each direction.

The world building within this universe was fantastic, and to me it’s a definite must read.

Overall, I really want to pick up this series again but with the final book (it says it’s available online as an ebook but I’ve yet to find it. I’ll have to look a little harder!). Maggie L Wood was so talented and I really hope she writes more and has more books come out. The premise alone was unique!!

Five out of five stars.

 

Comment below your favourite YA novel!

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Saving Me by Sadie Allen

Tweet me with the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #DividedRealms if you read this review!

You can find Maggie L Wood on her website: http://www.maggielwood.com/

Check out The Darkening on Amazon:

Amazon.com The Darkening