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

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Today is October 10th – World Mental Health Day! To celebrate and make people aware, check out my review of a book that focuses on mental health awareness (and general health awareness too!).

 

 

Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles is a witty and ingenious Young Adult novel that addresses a multitude of tough subject matter in an eye-opening manner.

I don’t know how Kelley does it, but she always manages to impress me. This time around, Kelley has a Young Adult novel that addresses so many tough subjects in one go! Topics such as self harm, child abuse, Multiple Sclerosis, loss of innocence, suicide and not so supportive parents are just some of the many that are tackled in this book. Each “issue” is brought into the story seamlessly and has plot lines throughout the narrative to deal with the issues. Most Young Adult books stay away from the tough yet so very real topics like these, so I have to applaud Kelley for taking the big leap in her story!

My teenage self would have loved a book like this, and I could have learned a lot in the process. On top of the subject matter, the book is written in the voice of a teenager (and it feels oh so real!). Just some of the quotes, such as “I’m going to wear a stunning pair of very expensive jeans that hug my curves like a two-year old with separation anxiety” make this book hilarious! This sitcom-like book creates a fantastic balance between realism and dark topics alongside the silly and goofy one-liners to make the book less depressing.

I did like the character development in this story – both Cora and Harper grow throughout. The change in their attitudes and view points was very obvious as the book went on! I think Kelley did a great job making these characters feel real and like teenagers. Bravo!!

The fantastical side of Harper being able to “sense” when someone is sick, and she’s able to sense mental illness is a big step forward. Mental illness is not always seen as someone being “sick”, rather it’s just an issue to be dealt with. Having a book directed towards teenagers have this point of view makes me very happy and very proud of Kelley’s writing.

Now for the tough part – the negatives. Were there negatives in this book for me? Yes. I felt the ending was rushed, which made some of the pieces being tied together feel less real. Is it necessarily a bad thing? No. It was just something that stuck out to me. Kelley ties up some of the loose ends nicely, but I would have loved a few more pages dedicated to these storylines. Other than that, this book felt flawless.

Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! This book was a fantastic Young Adult novel that I actually got into! I didn’t want to put it down, and I didn’t. I easily binged this book in one sitting, but it could easily be read in bits and pieces. If you like Young Adult novels, books that tackle dark subject matter (in a light-hearted way) or a splash of comedy, then you will love this book! I’d even recommend this to many adult readers, because of it’s amazing way of tackling the rough subjects.

There is a bit of an asterisk on the recommendation side – this book could be a major trigger for some people. Keep that in mind if you plan to pick up this book! The darker sides of this novel may not be suitable for all ages and maturity levels!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Kelley Kaye Bowles in exchange for an honest review.

 

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

 

And if you enjoyed this review, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis

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#BookReview Blood by Ruth Miranda

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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 Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

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Now is time for a #ThrowbackThursday review – AKA I’ve gone back to reading a book on my shelf from years ago and reviewing it. Enjoy!!

 

 

Poison Princess is one of those books that takes you by surprise, pulls you in and won’t let you go until you finish it.

I actually found this book (originally) via Gena Showalter. She was always talking about her author friend Kresley Cole on Twitter, so I decided to pick this book up. They seemed to get along so well, so why not pick up her book? I doubt author friends who hated each other’s works would talk so great about each other. And to no one’s surprise, Gena’s suggestion was on point. (Keep in mind I love Gena Showalter. I’m quite sad I haven’t been able to read any of her books recently, due to my busy schedule).

This is a dystopian, apocalypse novel is for sure a YA novel – but that doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy it. It’s not R rated, if anything it’s more of a PG/PG-13-esque novel. It’s an easy read, and it’s totally addicting. There are some cringy YA moments (silly romances, ironic comments, and all the joys that come with being a teenager) but it’s still an enjoyable book. If you keep in mind it’s a YA novel made for a YA audience, it’s not to heart breaking when silly teenage plot lines go on. It’s like a soap opera – if you understand that some extraordinary things happen that are out of the line of reality, then you can thoroughly enjoy it.

Keeping in mind that I have read the next novel – the character development in this book works. You begin to fall in love with these sassy characters and they do grow! Their story is continually built on into the next book, and to me it’s a worthy read worth a recommendation. It’s probably one of the better YA novels I’ve read – and one that I’ve been able to come back to and enjoy.

Overall, Kresley Cole is an amazing story teller. She’s great at her adult series and her YA series, and it’s a worthy read for those looking for some YA or dystopian drama in their lives.

Five out of five stars.

#BookReview Her Dragon to Slay by Julia Mills

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Her Dragon To Slay was a fantastical, romance novel all about dragons.

Warning: Spoilers ahead! Be warned.

I found this book free on Amazon, so I figured – why not? I loved Katie MacAlister’s dragon series, and I wanted to fill my shelf with a few more books about dragons, so this seemed like the perfect fit! And, indeed it was! This book was fun, delightful and full of ooey, gooey romance.

It’s definitely your “typical” fantasy romance – they fall in love fast, there’s some really hot sex scenes and there’s some fantasy and action mixed in as well.

Julia Mills does a great job weaving the dragon half of the story with the romance side. I loved the mythology Julia created for this world, and I would like to see more of it in the future. It can seem a little cheesey if you’re expecting an Oscar worthy styled novel, but to me it was fun and entertaining. It kept me interested to the point I devoured it in one sitting.

There are also many funny and comedic moments mixed in. This is not a serious fantasy novel, it’s lighthearted and fun.

So, you may be asking at this point – what’s the cons?
1. Character development is low (but it’s a book that’s less than 200 pages and involves a lot more romance involved)
2. Repetitive. Yeah, this book is a little repetitive. If you’re just reading it for a fun ride, it’s cool. It didn’t bug me because I wanted an escape from reality, but to some people this might be a major no-no.
3. Potential rape?… Rayne gets a little to sexual with a sleeping Kyndel, and we’re not to sure if she actually “wanted” it despite her body behaving… But later she’s madly in love with him in about two seconds, so it could be warranted? I don’t even know. That part left me feeling really icky reading it. It just didn’t seem right.
4. Male oriented story. This one kind of bugged me, and looking at other reviewers it bugged them too. The woman exists for the man in this story, and it definitely fills some fantasies for some people but in today’s culture it doesn’t sit perfectly. This can be a con or a pro, depending on how you want to look at the story.

Overall, this book was delightful. It had me whisked away to another world and not worrying about reality. It’d be a great book to read if you love romance, dragons or a sexy read.

Three out of five stars.

 

What is your favourite fantasy book? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Saving Me by Sadie Allen

Use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #HerDragonToSlay to chat about this book on twitter with me! @ReviewAlholic

Check out Julia Mills on her website http://www.juliamillsauthor.com/ or twitter @JuliaMills623

#BookReview AMYM:The Mamluk Who Defied Death (New York Vampire 1.5) by K.D. McQuain

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AMYM: The Mamluk Who Defied Death (1.5 in the New York Vampire Series) is a new novel/story by K.D. McQuain!!

I’m very honored that K.D. McQuain sent me this story/novel (how long have I been doing reviews and I never get the correct wording for what a book technically is) and I was super excited to pick it up! I had to hold back since I was busy and had to actually “adult”, so when it was finally my day off it was one of the first things on my to-do list!!

I love the font that the chapter numbers are written in – it doesn’t affect the story, but the vibe and style it gives it is excellent!

K.D. McQuain is one of those authors that you don’t really hear about, but when you come in touch with his work you are BLOWN AWAY. Not only does this man write a great fantasy/vampire novel, but his erotic/romance scenes are beyond what I expect from someone writing a vampire novel. You don’t see very many authors who can combine multiple genres (if you wish to word it that way) together. His story telling is so descriptive, and not in a bad way. It’s not like layers and layers of adjectives, it’s as if you are in the story. And he’s only on “book two” of his writing career? That’s hard to believe! The talent radiating out of this author is absolutely ridiculous.

It gives me a Game of Thrones kind of vibe, but these stories are so much easier to get through. There’s paranormal aspects, the vampire side (obviously), some action/adventure, and steamy scenes.

I find the plots and subplots of this story work well with each other. Amym wanting to rule, his relationship with Ketevan, his relationship with his mistress, and the general “day to day” life of Amym all work together and weave together perfectly in this short story. I didn’t find myself getting bored or confused like I have in other stories that are written in similar fashions.

The only part of these stories I have “issues” with is all the terminology. I’m okay with going back through a previous book or looking up words I don’t know, but I’m not sure if all readers will be okay with that. The lore and mythology of these stories are one of the great aspects that I enjoy, but some readers may not be as interested in all the terminology that appears in these novels.

Overall, this book was great! I really enjoyed reading another tale in the New York Vampire series and I can’t wait for more K.D. McQuain to give us some more books to read!!

Four out of five stars.

Check out this book on Goodreads: AMYM on Goodreads

Or…check out this website for more information on KD’s Books! K.D. McQuain’s Books

Find K.D. McQuain on Twitter! @McQuain_kd

Check out my page on Goodreads for more up to date reviews!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Or follow me on Twitter! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

Young Adult July Reads Book Review: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer (Zac Brewer)

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review

Book Title: Eighth Grade Bites (Vladimir Todd #1)
Book Author: Heather Brewer (now Zac Brewer)

This is a throwback review, since I read this book way back when I was in grade eight (which feels like a lifetime ago). At the time this was one of my favourite books, and it goes me into many more YA novels and into my current reading obsession. I even called one of my cats Meredith (many years later). This book was a great way to get me into reading, and I applaud Zac Brewer for all of his wonderful writing and work, because I wouldn’t be here in my reading and writing career without him.

Now onto my review:

Eighth Grade Bites is a great spin on the typical fish out of water story. Vladimir Todd is a vampire, and his life is quite the mystery. Not only does he have to try to survive being a teenager as a vampire, but he has to try to find out where his past comes from. Where are his parents? What happened to them? Why is he a vampire? Why must he hide this secret?

The book is incredibly light hearted and written for the correct audience. It doesn’t exactly translate into the adult scene unless you are interested in these types of books (in my opinion). Rereading it, I loved it but my friends who have moved on from the vampire scene did not enjoy it as much. The book is super fun and delightful and I hope more people get into this series.

Every minute of Vlad’s story is enjoyable to read. It will keep you on your toes and make you want to continue the story. The plot is well thought out over the series, and the characters are absolutely lovable. Alongside the steady pace, the random twists that occur make this book stand out among the many other vampire books I have read throughout the years. The fact that I can still pick this book up and get a good chuckle out of it proves to me that Zac is a truly incredible author.

Overall, I give this book four out of five stars. Wonderful story!!

Quick Book Review: Gone (Dream Catcher #3) by Lisa McMann

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Photo via Goodreads.

** spoiler alert ** I initially loved this series, but when I got to this book I found myself severely bored with everything going on. I love Janie and Cabe, but most of the novel I had no clue what was going on and I didn’t understand why things happened and the background to why they happened.

Janie learning about her father was a wonderful plot twist, but she barely interacts with him or anything involving his life. It felt as if he was just thrown in for a plot twist and not used to the full potential.

There was no action, adventure or romance in this novel that made me feel like I should continue reading the book. Overall, it felt like a cheap final book in the series. I had high hopes for the book finale, and I was sadly let down.

I did love the first two books in the series and I hope Lisa continues to write books as good as the first two. This book was a let down for me.

I especially did not understand Janie getting handed an envelope near the end. I have so many questions about this book that were left unanswered, and without another book in the series, it’s very disappointing.