#BookReview School Ties by Tamsen Parker

Time for a little #throwbackthursday for my next February Valentine’s Day special! This is one of my original reviews of an amazing book by Tamsen Parker. The structure and formatting is a little different because it’s a flashback to what I thought might be a good look for my blog. I hope you enjoy the review and the throwback!

Just when you think Tamsen Parker has reached her peak, she introduces a new forbidden fruit that left me breathless.

Title: School Ties Author: Tamsen Parker Date Read: August 21st-September 6th, 2016 Date Reviewed: September 11th, 2016 Spoilers Ahead?: Yes! Introduction: I love Tamsen Parker (and that’s no secret) and every time she writes another book I am grasping desperately to try to get a hold of it. So when I was able to get my hands on School Ties (since Tamsen is totally amazing!!) I almost fangirled myself to death. And then I read the book, and I was silently begging Tamsen to stop (and by stop, I mean stop giving me a heart attack with her super sexy stories!). She stepped her game up with this novel! A pinch of BDSM and sexy time, a few splashes of ex drama, a handful of strong characters and then she added dump truck of forbidden romance. Quick Summary: Erin Brewster begins to teach at a boys boarding school – Hawthorn Hill. She notices a certain student, Zach Shepard, and instantly sparks flash. Their eyes linger over the school year, and feelings flutter. Flash forward three years after Zach’s grad, and here is he back to tempt Erin. They haven’t forgotten each other, and soon enough they’ll be begging for each other’s company… Evaluations: I had no words when I first finished this novel. I had to wait a few days to even write this because my brain couldn’t wrap around how Tamsen stepped her game up. Not only did she include her typical, hot, sexy BDSM time, but she added a flicker of forbidden romance as well? Tamsen is doing what most writers don’t – she’s growing!! And that makes my inner fangirl super happy and desperate to get her writing more! Or at least get her books more recognition!! The book was told in both Erin and Zach’s point of view. This gave an added umph to the story since we got to see both of their thoughts and not just one. It opened up the readers to the thoughts of the characters, and we understood what was going on inside of their head. I typically don’t like multiple POVs in past books, but in this story it fit perfectly! I also enjoyed the realistic aspects of the story – Erin starts a new job and actually feels self conscious! I can’t list enough books where the characters are glowing and perfect the first day on the job. Every time I’ve done something new (new job, new school, etc) I am definitely not glowing with self confidence! Tamsen does a beautiful job showing this, and this makes Erin so much more relatable! The angst, drama and love in this story is just overall fantastic. Tamsen opens up more and explores! While there isn’t as much crazy BDSM/sexy time like some of her past books, it’s still great! Erin deals with drama before she meets Shep and that makes her grow as a character, so when the story finally progresses and we see more of adult Shep, we understand the struggles our main woman has dealt with. Overall, I loved it! It’s a step up in the plot and character building department! Plot: Tamsen’s plot building skills have definitely improved. While I love all of her old books (and their plots are uber sexy) there seemed to be more plot than sexy time in this novel! While I do love some great sex scenes, I love a wicked plot as well! Erin Brewster’s troubles before Shep are a bit drawn out and I wanted more Zach in those scenes, but it gave a beautiful insight into the character. We saw her struggles and into her mind. I liked understanding her instead of just sex scene after sex scene. To me, it made her more relatable than Tamsen’s past characters. I felt for Erin and I understood how she saw the world. When we got to Zach’s scenes, I felt like it was a little to late. I kept yearning and yearning for Zach and Erin to have some kind of fling or flirty scene before he left, but it didn’t happen. Yet Tamsen didn’t disappoint! When Zach was brought back, the sex scenes were super sexy and hot. The long, drawn out wait made those scenes even better. When Zach explains his life in a sex club (and how he’s a virgin? That was a strange twist) I wanted to read more about it. I wanted to see maybe a flash back chapter or an insight into that part of his memory. His explanations were so interesting, and I felt like his back story could have been a novel all on it’s own!! If anything, his back story felt out of place without the chapters to back it up, but Tamsen still made it work! I would love for Tamsen to make an ebook or side story explaining that, similar to how she made more books in India’s series to see other aspects of that world. Characters: Erin Brewster – She’s a realistic and relatable character, which is great for a sexy, BDSM book. She gets nervous and has second thoughts and deals with real issues. I loved that! She wasn’t just some sex toy in the book for the man. The woman tries her best when dealing with her issues in the first half of the book. While I’ve seen other reviewers put down this aspect of the story, I felt like it fit her character. She married a man to keep her job, because she’s young and wants her job. I know many people who are in new jobs and let themselves get pushed around because they need their job. She then stays with the man she marries so she can keep the job. While in real life I would have kicked that guy to the curb, she’s young and she’s really trying. Zach Shepard – Zach was an interesting character, and for a romance and BDSM book it was odd to read his POV, but that also made this book stand above the others. I didn’t expect to see his side of the story, but we did! As stated earlier I would have loved some more chapters relating to his back story. Him being a changed man was interesting, and makes sense since he went away to another school, but I would have liked to see more of it. He was definitely a hot character, and I could place his personality on a few guys I know, so relatable-ness was met on this character! Seeing Erin and Zach both work through forming a relationship was also nice, so I thoroughly enjoyed his character development. Themes/Creativity: I wouldn’t say there were any distinct themes in this novel (it’s a romance, BDSM type book) but there was creativity for days in this book! Seeing Erin’s issues before she meets Zach is definitely creative compared to other books. I’ve read many romance novels where the main character complains about her past issues, but I’ve never seen the book actually display them. I also really enjoyed seeing both Zach and Erin’s POV in this novel. I liked seeing Tamsen step up her game with adding forbidden romance with BDSM in this novel and I would love to see her experiment more with these different topics in future books! Uniqueness: I’ll combine the uniqueness with creativity together. Most of the unique aspects of this novel were also the most creative aspects. Strengths: Character growth, the plot, the realism of the situations in the story – these are all wonderful strengths in my eyes. I enjoyed Tamsen’s growth in writing, and I can’t wait to see more! Weaknesses: The lack of Shep’s background story felt like the biggest weakness. I would have liked to read more on that! It wouldn’t have added anything crazy to the novel and it wasn’t a necessity, but I would still like to read it! Score: 5 out of 5. Despite the little issues here and there, I loved the book. I didn’t really see any weaknesses while reading the book, it was only after when I thought about it and compared it to other novels that are somewhat similar that I started coming up with “problems”. Tamsen did a fantastic job, and I’ll be reading this book over and over again! Tamsen stepped her game up and did a wonderful job with this book! It’s an addicting read that I read in one sitting, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s rare for me to literally sit down and finish a book all in one sitting, I can name only two other books I’ve done that with – Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and Hamlet by Shakespeare. That definitely puts Tamsen high in my books, when I literally restart the book on one day and finish it in that same sitting.

You can find more books by Tamsen Parker littered throughout my blog. Give one of these reviews/books a try: #BookReview Love, All by Tamsen Parker #BookReview If I Loved You Less by Tamsen Parker #BookReview For Her Own Good by Tamsen Parker #BookReview Hot for the Holidays by Marie Force, Tamsen Parker et. al

Find out more about my fave author, Tamsen Parker, on: Goodreads http://www.tamsenparker.com/ Twitter – @tamsenparker

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#BookReview Blood by Ruth Miranda

 

Blood by Ruth Miranda is a paranormal novel full of thrills, suspense and mystery!

Vampires? Fey? Visions? This book is hitting every notch on the fantastical belt of epicness!

I truly found this book intriguing and couldn’t put it down. It starts off as a character study, following Caius (also known as Chaos), who is in a big band and is uber famous. Now, that’s all fine and dandy but he’s been having visions of a boy and he’s dead. Oh, did I mention there was an accident involving his girlfriend? His life is tricky, and slowly it unravels. Once we get past the short character study in a psychiatrist’s office, Cai is out looking for Marcus who is supposed to be dead. Slowly, Cai learns more about himself and his family roots on his fantastical journey.

The book is addicting – normally I take my time and take breaks when I’m reading, but this book demanded my attention! When you add in the insanity of the plot and how quick it moves, you’ve got yourself a real winner! Keep in mind, it is fast moving and has lots of paranormal aspects to it – so if you like a simple, clean cut story this might not be for you! It’s full of plot twists that might not be easy to follow if you’re not fully into the book whole-heartedly.

This novella is a fun read, but it almost felt too short! It ended so abruptly! Luckily, this is a series so we’ll be getting more from these characters soon! I wouldn’t recommend reading this book if you solely like books that stand alone. The story doesn’t fully close, so you will need to read the next book to know the final ending or have some closure.

Overall, this book has incredible themes and deep topics that will pull adult readers in to feel for these characters. The fantasy sides of this story also bring action and adventure to keep you hooked and gliding along with the story. I think this book will be great for fantasy readers or adults looking for something a little more than just some fantastical fun!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this novella from the author Ruth Miranda in exchange for an honest review.

All About Blood: a paranormal novella.

‘Chaos’ Nilsson has it all: a successful career in the music industry, fame, money, the girl. He also has a monkey on his back, brought about by the visions that plague his mind and haunt his every waking moment; visions that will only be quietened when he numbs himself with generous amounts of alcohol and drugs. After an accident that nearly costs him his life, he embarks on a journey of self discovery, in search of his roots and the secret to the blood coursing through his veins

 

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Blood

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Blood

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Blood

 

Find more books by Ruth Miranda on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Ruth Miranda

 

Did you enjoy this review? Why not give me a shout out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

Comment below – what is your favourite fantasy novel?

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview The Father by Brett Williams

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The Father by Brett Williams is a unique take on a generational story.

I did not enjoy this book as much as I hoped to. The book was written in a tone that just didn’t fit with me personally, but it is a great book. The story follows a family through the generation, with each section building on each other. I found the first section of this book to be incredibly hard to read, and I felt very bored. I put this book down many times because I just couldn’t get into it. There were sentence fragments all over (it didn’t help that I was editting my English paper during the week I was reading this book), and it just didn’t connect with me. The second and third sections of this book were a lot easier to read for me, but I worried that I was just going to give up on the book in the first section when I couldn’t connect.

The second half of the book is where all of my interest picked up. If there was anything I could recommend for this book, it’s for Brett to capture our attention early in the novel so readers don’t put the book down. I understand the first bit of the novel was needed to introduce a lot of the back story, but this could have been woven in throughout the story.

The story does look at a lot of themes and issues throughout the over one hundred year span. I really loved how descriptive and interesting the topics and thoughts were throughout the novel. Those comments are often lacking in novels nowadays, so seeing some sensitive topics touched upon was a nice change.

The “unevenness” for this book is the reason why my score is lower. I easily got bored and confused as I read the novel, and when I pulled myself away from it for a couple days it was just as hard to get back into it. I hope the next novel in this series keeps the faster pace and is more exciting, because I think Brett Williams is a good writer! This series definitely deserves some love!

Overall, this book was not for me. The style and tone didn’t match with my reading style, but it was still a great book that is probably someone else’s favourite novel!!!

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Comment below with your favourite fiction novel!

Check out another review you might enjoy! #BookReview Do Not Ask by Elaine Williams Crockett

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #TheFather to chat about this review on twitter! @ReviewAlholic

Check out this trilogy now! http://www.thefathertrilogy.com/

#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Bride by Gary Corbin

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The Mountain Man’s Bride was an excellent sequel that is a definite must read!

I really like this series – it feels so simple and smooth, despite having epic plot lines. I’m able to easily get lost in Gary’s words and feel like it’s some epic crime television show playing in my head.

Gary is gradually making this couple (Lehigh and Stacy) more complex and more interesting as each book goes by. He doesn’t stick to the same old plot, and he makes one hell of a story! One of the major bonuses with this book was that Stacy got more action! I love both Lehigh and Stacy (and their dogs of course) so much as characters. They feel real and as if they could be my neighbors.

In my opinion, you could easily skip book one and jump into this novel. I wouldn’t suggest it, because this series is a real gem, but if you randomly picked this book up you’d be fine. Gary weaves in enough information to be able to read this without background.

The murder mystery in this book was intriguing, and I loved the twists and turns that came along with it. After this novel, I’m more than pumped to read the third book in this series. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves a good drama, mixed with some crime and a splash of romance.

I don’t have many cons about this book, to be brutally honest. I felt like the book was just long enough – there wasn’t anything that was left out and nothing felt like it didn’t belong. There were times that I wanted some of the background history of certain relationships between characters, but the book got along without them. That’s just me being picky and way to curious about how this story line came to be.

Overall, this book is A grade! It’s a must read and a recommendation from this reader and I’ll be definitely picking up the next book!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from Gary Corbin (the author) in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out Gary Corbin:

Gary Corbin Author site: http://garycorbinwriting.com/

Blog: http://garycorbinwriting.com/category/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garycorbin1

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

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+GaryCorbin/posts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2046490-gary

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/GaryCorbin

 

Check out this book:

https://smile.amazon.com/Mountain-Mans-Bride-Book-Mysteries/dp/0997496738/

Amazon.ca – The Mountain Man’s Bride

Amazon.com – The Mountain Man’s Bride

 

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

And comment below – what are you reading today?

Quick Book Review: Winning! A Guide to Games That Never Were by Brandon Barrows

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Photo via Goodreads.

This novel was a short, funny twist on gaming guides.

Every game in this book does not exist, which makes this book quite amusing. It is explaining cheats and how to progress through these games that were never made. Clearly some of these stories were parodying certain games on the market today, and that made it so much better. I have a few times where I wanted to chuckle at the stories and how they explained their games.

I definitely enjoyed this book! It’s a short, cute read and it is definitely more of a comedy book. People who are fans of video games would appreciate this book a lot more than the average reader!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

April Anthology Book Review: A Cup of Roses, Stories by 8 Writers by Fiona Gold Kroll

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: A Cup of Roses, Stories by 8 Writers
Book Author: Fiona Gold Kroll, Ruth Frankel-Graner, Gerda Frieberg, Carol Green, Sam Hoffer, Raizie Jacobson, David Rapoport, Jenny Roger.

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. As per usual, I was having a particular type of book craving – today it was anthology, and an overall short read. A Cup of Roses filled the bill, so I decided to pick it up and got so hooked I finished it in one sitting.

Review:

This anthology holds many different types of stories – humor, religion, drama, romance, food, history, joy, poetry, tragedy and so much more. For being so little, you wouldn’t expect much of an impact, but this book really had me interested and wanting more.

The book is incredibly easy to read, and each story is not to short but also not to long. The individual stories each have their own focus, none of which really seem connected. This helped me out when I began to get bored with a few of the short stories – each one had it’s own plot it centered around and did not depend on the others. These standalone stories are all well written, and are all written in different writing styles (since there are many authors that created this anthology).

Was this book my top, all time favourite anthology? No. Did it rank high? Yes. While it doesn’t get the gold, it definitely gets second place in my books. While the book didn’t wow my socks off, it did give me an interesting perspective into many different aspects of the writers lives/imagination. I wasn’t expecting to have to think or have my opinions rattled with this book, but it does just that. And as a reader and reviewer, I love a book that makes me think and form different opinions – or just gives me insight into something I haven’t thought about before.

I don’t have any recommendations for how to make this little series of stories better. It’s perfect in it’s own little way. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants to read an anthology that doesn’t have one clear focus (and doesn’t have a connection between all of them). It’s great for a rainy day, a small lunch break, a school project, or just as a different type of read.

Would I want more from these authors? Absolutely. I enjoyed each story – while not all of them had my hooked to every word, they were all beautifully written and well thought out. I didn’t want to put the book down, I had to keep going (which is rare. Often I can set a book down and forget about it for a while, but I didn’t want to leave this book behind. I had to finish it).

Overall, this was an incredible read. I enjoyed each story, I felt educated, and the book made me think.

Four out of five stars.

Book Review: Destinare by Matt Micros

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review:
Book Title: Destinare
Book Author: Matt Micros

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I decided to read this book since I was craving some quick, short reads and this book fit the bill!

Synopsis: Everyone’s lives are interconnected in some way. If we didn’t make certain decisions in our past, how would the future turn out? This book has everyone connected (and it gave me a short but sweet, with less themes Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell feel) and it’s very clear and obvious why they are.

Review: Dear readers, this book is FICTIONAL. It even states in the opening lines that it is FICTIONAL. I’ve read other reviews where people were upset about the twist ending in this book, but the book is FICTIONAL and, therefore, can have any ending it wants to be and does not need to be realistic. Did I like this book having an unrealistic ending? No. But did it fit with the novel? Yes. This book has a big plot twist at the end that shows how lives can be connected, and makes it clear that anyone’s decision will have a big impact on other people (whether you realize it or not). So, since I have mentioned the word FICTIONAL four times now, I feel like whoever reads this review should get the point.

This book is an easy, quick read that I managed to finish in one go. I sat down for an hour and took my time through it, and I really enjoyed it! It definitely didn’t blow me out of the water and want to scream at everyone to read this book, but I really liked it. The theme of everyone being connected in some way and how our decisions affect others was a great plot driver for this story. There were times where I felt like the book was a little cheesey, but it worked within the context.

If anything, I would have liked some of the stories to be extended. I really liked reading about each individual character, but some of their chapters were just to short! You’d move onto the next chapter and it felt like fifty years had passed in those few lines!!

Overall, I really like this novel. I’m impressed and I would definitely recommend people who want a fictional but short read to pick it up! Matt Micros did a fantastic job and I want to read more by him. The characters were relatable, the story hit home quite a few times, and the themes were realistic (minus the final plot twist, but hey, it’s literature! Everything does not have to be super realistic!).

Four out of five stars.

Quick Book Review: Finding Elizabeth by Taylor Fenner

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Photo via Goodreads.

Finding Elizabeth was a sweet, cute novel revolving around the idea that we are reincarnated, and true love conquers all.

I found this novel to be quite cute! It was a very romanticizing novel, for all the true romantics at heart.

While this novel does start out quite slow and boring at the start, it picks up speed rather quickly. The content of the book seems like it is more of a Young Adult than any other category. It isn’t for a very young audience, but it feels like it isn’t aimed at the adult audience either. But that makes this book more accessible to different audiences!

I did find that this plot has been redone a million and one times, but it was a sweet novel! It isn’t something I’d go running to pick up immediately, but as a nice, short read it was great! It didn’t wow me or stand out compared to other similar books, but it shouldn’t be left off the shelf! It was a good read!

Taylor Fenner did an excellent job with this novel, and I applaud her!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Domnall and the Borrowed Child by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

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Photo via Goodreads.

Domnall and the Borrowed Child was a nice short story.

This story seemed like it was based on a much larger work. I felt like there was a back story to these characters that I did not know about, although this did not affect the quality of the book. It was a short, cute story that seemed like it was a fairy tale. I felt like I could have read this story to a child and they would have benefited from it much more than I did.

The story progressed well and I did not feel like it ended to soon or that it could have been pressed on further. I could see this novella turning into a full blown series with this just as a side story.

Not a lot happens plot wise, but it was a cute enough story that a child would enjoy. It wasn’t to scary and wasn’t to confusing for a child to not understand.

I enjoyed this book, but I wasn’t so obsessed that I want to read all of Sylvia Spruck Wrigley’s work.

Keep up the great writing Sylvia! I enjoyed it! I would love to see this universe expanded on.

Three out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: Aeromancist: The Beginning (Seven Forbidden Arts #2) by Charmaine Pauls

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Photo via Goodreads.

Aeromancist, The Beginning is a prequel novel to the second book of the series. I would suggest not reading this novel if you haven’t read the series because I was heavily confused. But, it was extremely great at the same time if you don’t care about the back story of the characters.

From my understanding, Lann the main character has some sort of power relating to weather and planes. That is as far as the author goes to explain him to new readers. I never really grasped what he could do, but it seems paranormal in nature. This book is not your typical romance/BDSM read as it seems to have some supernatural/fantasy/paranormal element to it, but that’s not the main focus of this book. The main focus is Lann and his relationship with Kat.

The romance side of the novel is fantastic. It is a mix of romance and BDSM, and it’s incredible. The relationship slowly develops, it doesn’t just happen. The characters are not developed a lot, but this is a very short novella that is just a prequel novella.

I would suggest readers pick up the actual books of the series before reading this. I do plan to pick up the novels of the series so I can further understand this novella.

Overall, it was fantastic! Four out of five stars! I would have liked to understand what Lann’s “powers” are, but other than that it hit all the right notes with me.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.