#BookReview Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

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#ThrowbackThursday time! I read this books years ago, when it came out  and now it’s time to pick it up off my shelf and dust it off for a new review!!

 

 

Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey is one of my favourite books in a series that ended FAR TOO SOON!!

When I initially picked up this series I became furious – there was only two books in the series and then POOF it was gone, just like that! I was addicted, I needed more and Beth hadn’t provided the literature to fill that need. With a book and sweet and cute as this one, it was highly upsetting.

The Romanian vampire universe that Beth built within these two books was thrilling. We follow Jessica and her vampire husband (who has been accused of murder, by the way) in a magical adventure. There’s romance, drama, danger, thrills and everything you want in a YA, vampire novel.

This book does let you down though – it’s the final in a two book series that could have been so much more. It could have been the next Vampire Academy, in my eyes. Why go so far and waste the effort to create such a beautiful universe to end it after two? Our characters still had room to grow, since their character development was quite small, and there were so many loose ends that weren’t tied up in the end. When there’s so many mysteries entwined in this series, it was incredibly frustrating to know the books just stopped here.

Jessica is related to the audience – she doesn’t fit in, she’s strong willed and headstrong and is willing to save her friends. She’s not overly dramatic in my eyes, especially in a YA adult novel, but she’s still an excellent lead. Mixed in with a fast paced story, and an excellent story line makes for a truly great recommended read from me!

Five out of five stars.

 

Check out Beth’s website: Beth Fantaskey

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#BookReview Bittersweet Symphony by Rebecca McNutt

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This book was written in Nova Scotia, and as a Canadian I AM SO HAPPY I AM READING A CANADIAN BOOK. That cannot be understated – I love helping other Canadian authors out. It’s so near and dear to my heart.

Rebecca McNutt’s novel Bittersweet Symphony was an addicting read for me. Her descriptions and tone in her writing was something that just clicked with me. Her tone was somewhat professional, yet it worked so well within this novel. It almost sounded like the perfection my English teachers in high school wanted us to achieve, but never could. The level of how descriptive her writing is made me feel like I was there with the characters. I could see this being “too much” for some readers, but I love description when it’s paired with a good story (and it’s not just one hundred pages describing how the characters look).

I like how the story is essentially an allusion for real events, and the little splash of ghosts thrown in as well. It makes it real yet not real, believable yet not believable all wrapped up into one. This book is in it’s own little corner, AND I LOVE IT.

I would say this book has some “mature” themes, revolving around language and some things that are referenced (without spoiling). Although, that doesn’t mean you have to be 18+ to read it. The book isn’t to graphic, so I think teenagers could easily read this book and relate to it.

Pros:
1. Unique story telling – Rebecca doesn’t follow your stereotypical, simple writing style. It’s hard to explain, but it’s different. I like the term “gothic” for it, but that’s not 100% on point with how she writes. Essentially, I love an author that writes in their own style and doesn’t follow a norm so I REALLY liked this book.

2. Short and Sweet – This book isn’t 1000 pages long. This book reminded me of the original Star Wars trilogy: the information that needed to be there, was there. There was no fluff, it got to the point and made an effective story.

3. “Black as the ace of spades” – The language is BEAUTIFUL in this book. I’m obsessed with it. Can Rebecca McNutt write my life story while she’s at it?

4. Interconnecting Stories – I’m obsessed with Cloud Atlas (one of my all time faves of interconnecting stories) so it seems fitting that I’d enjoy another book that interconnects everything. Bravo!!

5. Relatable – This book was relatable on so many levels. Just reading how the lawyer says that they are snakes until someone needs their help, and then suddenly they are their best friend – yeah, that one hit me where it hurts. It’s so honest, and so true.

6. Shocking Twists and Turns – Some of this book you don’t see coming, and I can respect an author that can actually make that work in a novel.

Cons:
1. Dialogue – The dialogue can appear “rigid” or “stiff” to some readers. For me, it worked within the story and how Rebecca was telling her story, but that might turn off other readers.

2. Personal con: Madson. I keep wanting to call it “Madison” or anything but Madson. It was driving me insane as I was reading it because my brain didn’t want to comprehend the name. Major personal con here (and an amusing con at that).

I’m amazed that people are saying Rebecca McNutt was 19 when she wrote this. That’s a lot of talent for that age, so I can only imagine Rebecca getting better the more she writes and the more time she has to practice. This book doesn’t seem like it’s written by a 19 year old – it’s incredibly mature.

Overall, this unique book had me hooked and addicted from it’s first page. I’m so glad I read it, because I haven’t read a book so unique and actually good for a very long time!

Five out of five stars.

I received a copy of this book from the author Rebecca McNutt in exchange for an honest review. Everything here is my own, honest opinion.

Side notes: If you want to read this book, the author posted her own “review” offering copies out. It’s a great opportunity to read and review an awesome book. Not many authors offer opportunities like this, so hop on it if it’s still available!!!

 

Will you be reading this book? Or do you have a book recommendation? Comment below!

Check Rebecca McNutt out on Goodreads! Rebecca McNutt on Goodreads

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If you enjoyed this review, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview Manchester Vice by Jack Strange

#BookReview Immortal by Gillian Shields

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Here’s a quick #FlashbackFriday review featuring a YA novel!!

 

Immortal by Gillian Shields is a fantasy YA novel focused on witches.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series (aka this book, Immortal). The take it has on witches was different than what I had read about before, and I enjoyed it’s uniqueness. It wasn’t on my top list of YA books I read years ago, but it’s still a good book.

Gillian Shields is a skilled writer, and I really want to pick up more books from her. This novel isn’t an A+ book, but I can only imagine how much she has grown since she first wrote this book. With so much potential, it’s hard to believe she won’t write an even better book in the future.

I did think there was a pinch too much romance in this book. If there was more focus on the plot line and witches I think it could have peaked up to an even higher rating on my end. I’ll have to pick up the rest of the books in the series again to see if it gets any better or if my ratings change from when I first read this series. It also features some cliche characters and plot lines…

So, for me, it’s a little bit boring.

It’s still a sweet book, and I think there’s lots of room to grow for Gillian. Hopefully she has more books out because I absolutely LOVED her writing style within this. Her books are easy to read and move at a relatively fast paced!

Three out of five stars.

 

Check out Gillian on Goodreads! Gillian Shields on Goodreads

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Did you enjoy this review? Here’s another you might like! Book Review: Boys That Bite by Mari Mancusi

#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

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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: Mania (The Night Walkers #3) by JR Johansson

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Photo via Goodreads.

Mania is a great fantasy, young adult novel for any reader.

To start out with, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read the previous books before starting this one. I did not, since I got this as a review novel, and boy was I confused for 75% of this book. That’s not to say this book isn’t highly addicting and incredibly interesting as a “standalone”, but having the background information from the other novels would have made this book so much better!

As a standalone, (or as I call it, Bri-anna the reviewer couldn’t find the other novels and couldn’t afford to buy them), the book was great! The author does back track and explain some of the content of the previous novels to aid the readers. So, I had a basic understanding of what was going on throughout the book.

In short, this book follows some teenagers and young adults through a sort of post apocalyptic / dystopian world. There is a virus that is going around, that makes people similar to zombies – some of them can’t sleep and don’t read, which leads them to not living long. Our main characters, half brothers Jack and Parker, are trying to find the cure which their Father left behind (but is no longer with them). Together with their friends, they must face a rivaling group bent on evil and cure this disease to aid the world.

I wish I would have read the previous books so I would have more feelings towards the characters. These characters are beautifully written, but since I didn’t know their previous relationships and personalities, I felt like I was at a loss. JR Johansson did so great building these characters in just this book, that I can’t help but wonder what happened in the two previous!

Overall, this book was great! The plot was summed up, the characters were built well, and it was an original story and plot I hadn’t heard often – it was a great spin on what could have been a very typical plot.

Three out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

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.