#BookReview Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Smile by Raina Telgemeier is a story that totally connected with me in ways other books couldn’t. Raina’s story echoes a lot of my own, and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to see a story like this get shared. Many kids will face dental issues and bullying, so a book like this could do wonders for them!

I saw this book years ago and wanted to pick it up but never did. Recently, I found it at a local book store on sale and decided this was the time for me to grab it. I also just wanted some more cute graphic novels in my life, so that helped a lot.

I was honestly surprised how addicting and easy to read this book was. Yes, middle grade books tend to be easier for adults to read, but I found myself sinking into the story and not being able to get out. I related to it so much and I could totally feel for Raina. Middle school and high school are hard, especially when going through the pain of braces and surgeries (I for one, can attest to that).

Some of the major positives of this book are as follows:
1. Raina shares a personal stories that many people can relate to. This story will hit many readers in ways they don’t realize.

2. The illustrations in this book was fun and colourful and kept me hooked to the story.

3. The story was fast, easy to read, and quite fun (despite all the pain Raina was going through).

4. Raina standing up to her bullies was a serious “high-five” moment for me. Go Raina! You do you, girl!

5. There’s lots of little references to my own childhood in this book, so I can totally see adults digging this book along with their kids. Seriously, this book can be read by “all ages”. It’s a great read!

Negatives:
1. I didn’t realize this book was a memoir at first. I’m not sure if it was obvious or if I just missed it. That’s literally the only negative I can find. This book is great!

In all honesty, I love this book. I would definitely recommend readers pick this book up for a little fun and a lot of nostalgia. Who doesn’t forget those dreaded dentist appointments? Or if you were lucky enough to have braces, the craziness of those appointments!

I will 100% be picking up any more books by Raina Telgemeier that I come across.

Five out of five stars!

If you’re craving a graphic novel full of nostalgia, check this book out on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Kobo

 

More middle grade books await, click the links below to find them:
#BookReview The Great Grain Elevator Incident by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Seizure by Kathy Reichs
#BookReview Monster Blood (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine

 

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#BookReview Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I have been eying Throne of Glass for YEARS. Quite literally, since this book has come out I’ve been wary to touch it. It’s so well hyped and sometimes that hype doesn’t live up to all of it’s praise. Not too long ago, I came across this book at a local discount store and I jumped on it. Why not just give it a try and see if it’s like what everyone says? AND IT IS. At least for me, anyways. It was so worth the hype.

Throne of Glass features Celaena, a young adult who was raised and trained by an assassin when she was found dying along a river bed. She paid her dues, and has now unsuccessfully escaped to a worse life in a mine. When the Crown Prince Dorian comes and collects her to be the King’s Champion, everything changes. Calaena must go through a series of test to prove herself worthy, but that’s not all she faces. There’s something evil lurking in the castle, and the old spirits and fae lore are whispering at her to help fix the problem. On top of all that, the handsome Captain of the Guard Chaol and Crown Prince Dorian both appear to be transfixed on our murderous leads. Annnnd, are some of these friends Calaena has made truly trustworthy? Or will they be the foe we’re all worried about?

This book has a lot going on but it’s super easy to follow. It’s definitely a young adult or even new adult novel, but the typical tropes always get me grinning along the way. The old nostalgia I got in high school for The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Divergent – that sense of being apart of something and reading something many others have enjoyed – came back and made this book all the better.

Are there “problematic” parts of this book? Yeah, sure. Would a trained, rough and tough assassin act like a teenager? Maybe not. Did some of the rules for the competition seem to change throughout the book? Yes. Did any of that bug me? Not really. For me, this book was lots of fun and the little problems it had didn’t really phase me. I glossed over a lot of it, because this was fantastical, full of action and had those darn romance triangle tropes that I fall for EVERY SINGLE TIME. If you’re going into this book wanting to analyze all the faults, go for it. I just wanted a nice escape. Reading the other reviews, especially the bad ones, has me scratching my head. I’ve yet to meet an eighteen year old assassin who had a really tough life and actually seen their behaviour. Can’t a teenage protagonist who’s finally “free”, to a degree, be allowed to be a teenager? But, if you take a peek at the good reviews, people say the farther you get into the series the better it gets. So I’m pumped. Get me these books ASAP!

Ah, oh well. Either way, this book was a fun ride for me! Calaena was head strong, sassy, a hard worker and loyal. Chaol was super hot and my goodness she better end of with him. Dorian’s character grew a lot from the first to the last page, and I am beginning to like him more. Nehemia seemed sketchy at first but I am curious how her story would grow. Is Nox gonna come back? Because Nox seemed sweet. Also, there’s gotta be more to Cain and his back story, I’m nosy. And Elena! More lore please? SO MUCH GOOD STUFF.

Also, no cliffhanger in this book! Sarah does not want to torture me with a cliffhanger, it’s great! And the cover is absolutely stunning! I got the second cover, with the blue illustration instead of the girl – it’s crazy cool!

If you get the same copy I did, there’s a little Q&A at the back. I was surprised this book was based off Cinderella, but I was also really intrigued. It’s amazing the ideas we can get from other works and how they can mold and change over time.

Here’s my recommendation:
If you like popular YA books and diving into the hype: GET THIS BOOK.
If you’re looking for Game of Thrones: THIS IS NOT YOUR BOOK.
If you’re looking for something full of fantasy, has a fast pace, has lots of YA fun (romance, drama, the likes): THIS IS YOUR BOOK.

What I would like to see out of future books:
This book seemed to be more New Adult. The descriptions of the brutality was wicked and definitely for an older crowd. But, the talks about sex was nil. Not an exact quote here – Dorian sees many women – come on Sarah, we know what you meant. If you can talk about a man being sliced to bits and eaten then we can hear that Calaena has some sexy feelings for the boys.

Overall, I really liked this book! I want the rest of the series now. I’m pleasantly surprised and want to pick up more by Sarah.

Five out of five stars.

 

If you haven’t checked this book out yet, here’s where you can find it:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
B&N
Kobo
Indigo

Find out more about Sarah J Maas:
Goodreads Author Page
http://sarahjmaas.com/
Twitter – @SJMaas

If you’re looking for more fun YA novels to add to your TBR, here’s some other books featured on my blog you might enjoy:
#BookReview Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
#BookReview White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
#BookReview The Great Grain Elevator Incident by Kevin Miller

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#BookReview Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith

Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith is an addicting, fun and thrilling ride around a small Greek village.

In this thriller, an FBI agent finds his way to a Greek island where fires keep happening. He is investigating why they are happening and who could have caused him. Along the way, he comes across local islanders and business owners trying their best to succeed and living their lives. He meets himself a fancy man who he begins to fall for, and who might not be who he says he is. Many other islanders face the same fate: there’s a priest who isn’t so saintly, a family struggling to keep their business afloat, an Albanian waiter who has lots of drama going on, and his new lover’s sister is trying to get with every man no matter the relationships she ruins for them along the way.

This book is WILD. I was instantly stuck to it and truly intrigued about the ending. It took a bit for the entire story to piece itself together, but when it does it’s absolutely marvelous. I can easily say this is one of my top 2020 reads. I couldn’t put the book down!

There are some difficult topics in this book, like suicide and rape. Reader beware – this book doesn’t go too crazy into these topics, but they are still there. The mystery and romance is much more in the fore front.

On another note: This book is LGBT friendly! Huzzah!

Overall, this book was excellent! I’d highly recommend picking this book up if you love mystery and suspense with a dash of romance.

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to Timothy Jay Smith and NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo
B&N

You can find Timothy Jay Smith on:
Goodreads Author Page
http://www.timothyjaysmith.com/
Twitter – @timothyjaysmith|

Tim on Santorini

Here’s another Timothy Jay Smith book recently featured on my blog:
The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith – Briar’s Reviews

Check out more mystery and suspense novels to fill up your TBR:
#BookReview Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio
#BookReview The Extra Cadaver Murder by Roy Innes
#BookReview A Woman of Valor by Gary Corbin

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#BookReview Vanishing Hour by Lisa King

Vanishing Hour by Lisa King is honestly one of my fave reads of 2020.

This book is excellent! It has the coolest mix of thrills and fun all in one. It’s got hints of Up since we have an older gentleman named Matthew and a young twelve year old named Ruby. These two get stuck together during the end of the world: Everyone without some sort of brain illness or injury doesn’t get sick, but all the healthy people suddenly die. They chase after Matthew’s wife (who had Alzheimer’s) who walked off one day and are trying to figure out where the Horizon is, because Ruby’s Dad might be there.

It’s quite the ride and I was thoroughly addicted to this book. Lisa’s writing style is simple, easy and fast paced and kept me hooked the whole time. There was never a dull moment and I didn’t expect some of the exciting parts of this plot that came about. I didn’t expect there to be people trying to colonize (and maybe not doing a good job) and then that ending… Ugh. So sweet, so good, so cute! But massive cliffhanger! Break my heart Lisa!

I love that this is Lisa King’s first novel, because that means (more than likely) she’s only going to get better. This was a stellar start and I can totally see people loving this book! It needs to find it’s audience ASAP because it is just lovely. Add to the bonuses: Canadian author, actual medical terminology, and lots of character development!

I wish apocalyptic horror was more like this. I’d enjoy the genre way more!

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who likes: fun thrillers, apocalyptic horror, a fast paced story or something to spice up their TBR.

Five out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Lisa King, in exchange of an honest review.

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo
B&N

Check out Lisa King on:
https://www.authorlisaking.com
Goodreads Author Page

If you love mysteries, here are some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview In Search of Valor by Gary Corbin
#BookReview The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby
#BookReview The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith

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#BookReview At Mother’s Command 2 by Kay Brandt

At Mother’s Command 2 continues Max’s story of being whisked away to her biological Mother’s BDSM castle/resort. This time around, Max is essentially being held hostage and isn’t allowed to leave. She meets Neil, a man that I personally don’t trust but who knows, and begins to explore her sexuality a bit. Additionally, she demands the parents who raised her act like they were actually a couple which causes quite the stir. It seems the couple may actually explore these unearthed feelings for one another… despite both being involved with Sumera, Max’s Mother.

There’s more kink and sex in this book. Not only Sumera’s sex life, but some infant and degrading kink as well. While those aren’t my thing and I didn’t enjoy it as much, it’s definitely well written. Kay knows how to write her erotica really well! There will be readers who will eat this stuff up, pun intended.

I’ve very curious to see how the third book will go. I’d like to see Max develop and see what she decides. Will she accept her fate or escape from it all? The plot is just as good as the erotica in this series!

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to Kay Brandt for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

 

This book is available on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca

Find the first book in this series:
On Briar’s Reviews Blog
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

You can find out more about Kay Brandt on:
Goodreads Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Twitter – @MsKayBrandt

Here’s some other books by Kay Brandt featured on my blog. If you liked this book or review, you’ll love them too:
#BookReview Hotwives and their Dirty Desires by Kay Brandt
#BookReview Safe Landings by Kay Brandt
#BookReview Naked by Kay Brandt

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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#BookReview Fallen: Princeborn Stolen by Jean Lee

Fallen Princeborn: Stolen by Jean Lee is a fabulous, fantastical, young adult novel that will keep you captivated!

This folklore tale follows a young girl trying her best to escape from a horrible situation. Suddenly, she is thrust into a fantasy world of epic proportions! All this girl wants is for her and her sister to be safe, but nothing is as it seems…

If you like world building, this story is for you. It’s full of lush lore and descriptions that will whisk you away into another universe. I was so intrigued by all that was going on, I could hardly believe I binged the whole book. This book is magical, whimsical and wild! The action and thrills just kept going and I barely had a minute to breathe (just how I like it!). On top of that, the characters are great! I felt like they were (almost) real! They had personalities, they grew throughout the story and had feelings and emotions. It was a well balanced story!

I like that Jean Lee finished this story up but left room for the sequel. Nothing kills me like a mighty cliffhanger! There’s still much to learn, but I didn’t feel like I was left disappointed.

I also feel like this book easily crosses the lines across YA, New Adult and Adult. While it does feature teenage characters, I think New Adult and Adult fiction fans will easily enjoy this book. With so much going on, it’s hard to place it in just one category.

If you haven’t picked up this book, I recommend it! It gave me great vibes and it was truly addicting.

Four out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Jean Lee, in exchange of an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
B&N

Find out more about Jean Lee on:
Goodreads – Author Page
https://jeanleesworld.com/

If you enjoy YA or fantasy, check out these other books you’ll love:
#BookReview Valyo Rising by R.A. Mendsen
#BookReview My Soul to Give by Magali A. Fr├ęchette
#BookReview Boston Metaphysical Society by Madeleine Holly-Rosing

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#BookReview Love Comes for the Rock Star by Savannah Adams

Love Comes for the Rock Star is another fabulous addition to the Magnolia Grove romance series by Savannah Adams!

This series is absolutely my guilty pleasure series. I sink into these books and am whisked away into a beautiful, romantic world. I couldn’t put the book down and totally binged the whole thing, all the while making notes of the cutesy things that happened along the way!

This time around we have Rick Miller, rock star extraordinaire who just wants some time away from the spotlight, and Macy Cooper, a music teacher and conductor who just wants her students to succeed. These guys met back in vacation bible school when Rick pulled the cute little Macy’s hair and ran away – over and over and over. Flash forward twenty years, and these two soulmates bump into each other… and as it is said, the rest is history.

There are so many amazing things about this book, but let’s just settle on a few of my personal faves:

1. Star Wars themes for ringtones? YES PLEASE! My inner nerd got so thrilled! The Imperial March from Empire Strikes Back and The Darth Vader theme? Heck yes!

2. I thoroughly enjoyed thinking that Rick was strutting around like Mick Jagger on stage. That had me giggling.

3. “Smart aleckey” – I thought I was the only one to use this kind of lingo? Apparently I am not!

4. Music teacher + Rock Star = Love? It’s just too darn adorable.

5. The connections to the other stories was super sweet. Thankfully, these books can be read as a standalone. It’s more of an easter egg than a necessary evil to read the other books. You can understand these easily without any prior information.

Overall, this book was just amazing! I’m so glad I picked up another book in this series. I hope it continues so I can binge more, and I hope that many other readers come to read and love this series just as much as I do!

Five out of five stars!

Thank you to Savannah Adams for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Find out more about Savannah Adams:
https://www.savannahadams.com/
Twitter @HEA_Romance
Goodreads

Here’s a review I did for the other books in this lovely, little series!!
#BookReview Love Comes for the Bodyguard by Savannah Adams
#BookReview Love Comes for the Army Ranger by Savannah Adams

 

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#BookReview Dead Women Tell Tales by Rajeev Singh

I picked up Map of Desire, a haunting anthology, to read Rajeev Singh’s latest story. This guy is a master of erotic horror (at least in my books) and it’s always a pleasure diving into his stories. They are creepy, weird, haunting and everything you expect out of an erotic horror. In all the best ways, it’s horrifying and disturbing.

Dead Women Tell Tales is extremely wicked. Our lead character, Leon, stumbles upon this brothel like place where dark secrets and passions hide. Suddenly he is given the choice to enter doors, and darkness consumes him. Sexual nightmares, dark and haunting past secrets and wild exploration occurs. All of these will leave you shivering, staring in awe at the page and had me completely struck with shock. Like normal, Rajeev has made one wildly epic erotic horror.

I keep saying again and again that to me Rajeev is this king of erotic horror. He always blows me away with his writing. It’s descriptive, oddly addicting and pulls the reader in. If you haven’t picked up erotic horror before, this author is one guy you should check out. I’m always just amazed at his work. It’s wild. This story was no different! It’s much shorter than some of his other works, like The Erotic Muse, but it still packs quite the punch.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to Rajeev Singh for supplying me a free copy of this anthology in exchange of an honest review.

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

Find Rajeev Singh on Goodreads – Author Page

Here’s some other books by Rajeev Singh that have been featured on my blog! Check them out:
The Erotic Muse by Rajeev Singh
Blood Rain by Rajeev Singh

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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#BookReview Geo by Kevin Miller

Geo by Kevin Miller is an excellent science fiction read!

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by GEO. I don’t normally dive into science fiction books, but I absolutely love Kevin Miller’s writing style. I’ve read his Milligan Creek series (a middle grade series, check it out if you haven’t yet), so I wanted to pick up his other, more adult work. It’s safe to say that his writing style works in both age groups and genres! I absolutely loved and was hooked to this book.

The plot itself is intriguing – there’s an elevator to space and it gets stuck. The man who helped create it, Clarence, is called back to help fix it. But, it’s not going to be easy!

While this book may not be the longest tale, it packs it’s punch. I honestly had to binge the whole thing because not only was the story intriguing but I had no idea what was going to happen! Even in the few pages this book has, it feels so full of story and plot! It’s absolutely incredible what Kevin Miller can do with under fifty pages.

I would highly recommend this book. As I said, it’s under fifty pages so it’s a pretty quick read. If you love science fiction, short stories or just want something unique on your shelf, then pick this book up!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Kevin Miller, in exchange of an honest review.

 

You can purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

Check out Kevin on his website: http://www.kevinmillerxi.com/
Or on twitter: @kevinmillerxi
Or on his Goodreads Author Page

 

Kevin Miller’s middle grade series, Milligan Creek, has been featured on my blog too! Check them out:
#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller
#BookReview The Great Grain Elevator Incident by Kevin Miller

 

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#BookReview The American Crusade by Mark Spivak

The American Crusade by Mark Spivak was a fast-paced thriller full of excitement!

I normally don’t go for political thrillers, but I like to spice up my reading shelf once and a while. Mark Spivak’s novel, the American Crusade, seemed like the perfect fit! And man, was it ever! I can honestly say this book makes the genre seem WAY cooler than I was led to believe.

In this novel, we follow Vice President Hornsby. This man is brutal and wants his time in the spotlight. VP Hornsby, President Cane and the government make some harsh and disgusting decisions in relation to a terrorist attack that crashes into the Mall of America. The worst part? The government most likely knew this attack was coming.

We follow two point of views: the American government and a young radicalist. The battle between liberty and freedom against utter control is showcased. Especially the fact that deception can be so easy…

One interesting part of this book was the take on the Fourth Crusade. This wasn’t my favourite part of the book, but it was unique and made the book stand out.

I’m honestly impressed. While this book might not make me the newest fan of all political thrillers, I’m glad I picked this one up. It’s fast paced, full of thrills, takes some wild risks and is just really cool. I like Mark Spivak’s writing style and his different take on 9/11.

Overall, this book is an excellent read for lovers of political thrillers!

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to TCK Publishing for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Barnes & Noble

Find out more about TCK Publishing and the author, Mark Spivak, by clicking the links below:
https://www.tckpublishing.com/
https://markspivakbooks.com/
Goodreads Author Page
Twitter – @eatdrinkjourney

 

If you love political thrillers, here’s some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Do Not Ask by Elaine Williams Crockett
#BookReview The Rainbow Vintner by Geza Tatrallyay
#BookReview And The Wolf Shall Dwell by Joni Dee

 

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