#BookReview Elves & The Argo Adventure by Katja Vartiainen

33032313

 

Elves & the Argo Adventure is yet another funny, satirical, comic about elves created by the fabulous Katja Vartiainen.

This time around, the elves are going on an adventure! It all starts out when the swallows tell/tweet to the elves THAT THERE IS NO COFFEE! It’s a real tragedy, just like it is for us adults in the real world. How can the elves expect to work their five hour work week without some form of caffeine?! The elves resort to alcohol, magical beings, Dolph Lundgrun, and a fishcorn, to name a few.

In regards to the artwork, I’d be lying if I said my favourite picture wasn’t the little lady bugs/lady birds! They are so simple to draw, and yet I always love seeing them! I also thought the eye-phone picture was seriously hilarious!

When you pick apart this book, there’s many themes within it. The entire point of this book seems to be making fun of the human experience – how we’re racist, how we need coffee to survive, how we’ll do anything to get what we want, etc. It’s a nice to be able to look at our worldly problems in a comedic sense – especially in the fantasy setting.

I did have some negatives about this book, and one of them was it was hard to understand some of the phrasing. Most of the jokes were easy to read, but there were a few that either the grammar was off, or the joke went over my head to make me not understand the sentence in general. My other “con” was seeing the link that appeared on every few pages suggesting the reader check out the elves’s real website. I can totally understand trying to market it that way, but it caused me to become unfocused and break away from the story.

Overall, I think this book is a silly read you can definitely manage in one sitting. It’s a great escape book full of colourful artwork.

Three out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Katja Vartiainen in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book Elves & The Argo Adventure on:

Goodreads – Elves & AA – Goodreads

Amazon.com – Elves & AA – Amazon.com

Amazon.ca – Elves & AA – Amazon.ca

Check out Elves Get Organized? another book in this series on:

Goodreads – Elves Get Organized? – Goodreads

Amazon.com – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.com

Amazon.ca – Elves Get Organized? – Amazon.ca

Or check out Katja’s drawing book Half Done Fun on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Half Done Fun

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Half Done Fun

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Half Done Fun

 

Find out more about Katja on her website: http://www.artist-katja-vartiainen.de/

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

 

Advertisements

#BookReview Blood by Ruth Miranda

38884604

 

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?

Collection 1: #TopTens – Children’s Fiction Part 1

Welcome to my new collection of blog posts! This collection will be all about my favourite books in specific genres. My goal is to collect awesome books together to provide some new to-read novels for readers! There will be multiple parts to each collection since I have read so many good books by so many fantastic authors.

So to start us off, I’ve decided to introduce you to some epic children’s fiction novels. I’ve mixed in both chapter books and picture books for your children and middle grade enjoyment!

And here… we… go…

 

1. Unlimited by Kevin Miller

37482388

Unlimited is a tale following a group of boys on a school field trip. These super smart boys embark on a journey to transmit a radio signal with their new radio station and creative show! But things go weary, since everyone is not totally impressed by this comedy/horror radio show over the airwaves…

This book is one of my top books of 2018 (and ever, to be honest). It blew me out of the water and really impressed me that it transcended the middle grade novel stigma! It was highly enjoyable and one of my top must reads. If you love adventure mixed with a pinch of comedy, then this book is for you!

Amazon.com – Unlimited

Amazon.ca – Unlimited

Briar’s Reviews #BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller

 

2. We All Fall Down by Eric Walters

1369507

This tantalizing tale follows a ninth grade student named Will during the September 11th attacks. I read this book as a child and again recently as an adult. This book really impressed me with how it brought up the topic of such a tough time in history to children. I found it super respectful and a wonderful talking point. I’d highly recommend this book if you’re looking to explain one of history’s most tragic moments.

Amazon.com – We All Fall Down

Amazon.ca – We All Fall Down

Briar’s Reviews #BookReview We All Fall Down by Eric Walters

 

3. Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

28114444

If you’re looking for an epic superhero tale, check out this super silly, teeny, tiny story! Hercufleas is a flea, and boy is he fantastic! This hero wants to help save the day from the big baddies, and they are much bigger than him! This middle grade novel is quite long, but is a truly remarkable read. It’ll keep you hooked, giggling and having a good time all throughout! I’d highly recommend this super fun book to introduce some very important themes, such as – it doesn’t matter how small you are, you can still do great things!

Amazon.com – Hercufleas

Amazon.ca – Hercufleas

#BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

 

4. Ugly by Robert Hoge

28186305

This motivational and inspirational tale is one of my most visited reviews on my blog! And for good reason! This truly unbelievable story is all about the author, Robert Hoge! He had a tumour on his face, which drastically changed his life – in both good and bad ways! His beautiful story is told perfectly for the eye’s and mind of a child, and it moved me! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and I will always recommend this incredible must read! Stories like this don’t come along too often!

Amazon.com – Ugly

Amazon.ca – Ugly

Briar’s Reviews Book Review: Ugly by Robert Hoge

 

5. Pandora’s Lunch Box: Don’t Open! by Richard Clark

Print

Richard Clark is the king of middle grade fiction (and picture books, but that’s in another list!). Pandora’s Lunch Box is a satire/parody of myth Pandora’s Box. This time around, Pandora’s Box is actually a lunch box! Pandora’s lunch box is suspenseful, magical and hilarious! If you’re looking for something you’ll be able to laugh at (due to unexpected adult humor through the satire of the myth) then I’d highly suggest this short yet sweet novel!

Amazon.com – Pandora’s Lunch Box

Amazon.ca – Pandora’s Lunch Box

Briar’s Reviews – Goodreads Review

 

6. Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold

1049070

Yes, I know, a Christmas book this early?! It’s never too early to prepare for the holidays! Olive, the Other Reindeer is my childhood favourite that I became instantly obsessed with! Remember that famous like.. “all of the other reindeer”? Well, what if that line was misunderstood?! Olive, the super, cute dog is ready to join in reindeer games with her unique skills! This short picture book will make your day and bring lots of goofy giggles!

Amazon.com – Olive, the Other Reindeer

Amazon.ca – Olive, the Other Reindeer

 

7. Bunnicula by Deborah & James Howe

281235

Another childhood favourite of mine (that we read almost every year in elementary school) is Bunnicula! This series is a fantastical novel that introduced me to horror (despite it not being that scary). This bunny with fangs has it’s own super, insane book that will blows your socks off! It’s unique and crazy – what bunny has fangs?! I’d highly recommend this series if you’re running out of good reads or want something a little different!

Amazon.com – Bunnicula

Amazon.ca – Bunnicula

 

8. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

240130

One of my favourite childhood authors was Robert Munsch, and perhaps his greatest book (in my opinion) is The Paper Bag Princess. I read this book over and over to my reading buddy and I kept my copy until it literally fell to bits because I read it so much! Princess Elizabeth is supposed to marry a prince when a dragon attacks! She must outsmart the dragon, all the while wearing a paper bag! This creative story is a picture book and it’s a definite must read that I highly recommend!

Amazon.com – The Paper Bag Princess

Amazon.ca – The Paper Bag Princess

 

9. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

58922

This is one of the earliest books I can remember from my childhood, and I still have it to this day! A little bunny is the main character of this picture book and all he wants to do is run away from his Mom! This story was published decades ago, but is still a classic! If you’re looking for a sweet read with lots of re-read value, and an instant classic – check this super cute book out!

Amazon.com – The Runaway Bunny

Amazon.ca – The Runaway Bunny

 

10. Grandma and the Pirates by Phoebe Gilman

2990864-_ux200_

Grandma and the Pirates was my go to bedtime read as a kid. It’s hilarious and inspiring! Grandma makes some incredible noodle pudding, and it attracts some crazy pirates! They steal Grandma, and Melissa must save her! I always found this book to be so strong and made me feel like the hero at the end! Melissa was a smart girl who had to beat pirates! It’s a short picture book with lots of potential! I’m honestly surprised it has so few reviews on Goodreads to begin with! Everyone in my school had read this book a million times over back in my elementary school days! Check out what I declare the best book EVER and my instant classic from my childhood!

Amazon.com – Grandma and the Pirates

Amazon.ca – Grandma and the Pirates

 

 

That’s all for my first edition of #TopTens. I have more children’s books for another round, and many more genres to come – romance, horror, fantasy, etc. Let me know if you want to see a specific genre, or if you have book recommendations for me to read! If you have books I haven’t included, comment below and tell me what else to include!
I hope you enjoyed this and found some new books to read. Let me know how your reading adventures go!
For another day,

Briar

xoxo

#BookReview Jeep Tour by Gail Ward Olmsted

21915455

 

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 A Week In New York by Louise Bay

22428861

 

A Week In New York is an addicting, romantic read that will sweep you off your feet.

This book was FANTABULOUS! Yes, fantastic and fabulous all in one! It was full of romance, some super sexy and erotic scenes, and kept me hooked to every single word on every single page.

Anna is trying to get over a nasty break-up, and in walks Ethan – a super hot, super rich man who can fulfill her every desire. But, she has rules! She isn’t going to go into another relationship, since the last one didn’t go to well. Yet, something builds between them – something hot and desirable. A Week in New York follows these characters and their antics while Anna is in New York (hence, the title).

The book is mega hot – there’s sexy, erotic scenes that will get your heart racing! It’s not the dirtiest or most R rated I’ve read, but it’s still really hot! The down and dirty time is written well and will get you heated! There’s more sex than romance, but it is a nice fit between these two characters. Their chemistry makes this sort of relationship work well, but that’s because Louise Bay is a fantastic writer. She develops their relationship really well within the constraints of one short novel. I honestly can’t wait to see how this pair develops in the future installments.

I also really enjoyed the references throughout this novel – they are romantic yet nerdy references that really added to the story. It makes it feel more real than it is.

My only con is – WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT ENDING?! A cliffhanger?! Louise Bay wants to kill me! I HAVE to keep reading this series after she had me fall in love with these characters and want to know what happens to Anna and Ethan! What a jerk she is! Being a good writer and making me want more!

I would highly recommend this sexy novel to anyone who loves romance and erotica. It’s also a short read and highly addicting, so if you’re looking for a simple novel to read in one sitting – you’ve found it!

Five out of five stars! Holy heck, that was hot!

I read this book from the anthology “A Love Thing”.

 

Purchase this book on:

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – A Week in New York

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – A Week In New York

 

Find this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22428861.A_Week_in_New_York

Find out more about Louise Bay on her website: http://www.louisebay.com/

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

 

Comment below with your fave romance novel!
And while you’re at it, check out another review you might enjoy:

#BookReview Rogue Hearts (Anthology) by Tamsen Parker, Amy Jo Cousins, and more

#BookReview Free Fall by Emma Barry & Genvieve Turner

40122056

 

Free Fall by Emma Barry is one of the sweetest, feel good books of the year!

Thank you to Tamsen Parker who suggested I pick up books by Emma Barry! I can’t thank her enough, because Emma’s writing is beautiful and matches perfectly with my reading style.

Free Fall is about Dean and Vivian, an astronaut and the daughter of of a wealthy businessman, who happen to find themselves in a sticky situation. They are expecting a baby and they have to get married to “set things right”. This story follows their relationship and the troubles of Dean’s career.

This book really made me feel good – it’s ooey gooey cute and isn’t negative. It’s the type of book you’d want to read when you are in a bad mood because it will pick you up. Yes, there’s drama in this book (it’s a romance novel, there’s bound to be some kind of drama), but it doesn’t make you feel bad. I love a book that lets me sink into it’s words and feel great, and Emma does that perfectly.

I’m also so incredibly excited to see a book about a woman with a full figure that isn’t solely about her weight. Vivy embraces her full figure, and isn’t described as “fat”. I can fully relate to Vivian – I’ve always been athletic, and as a child I was told by other kids I was “fat” because I wasn’t super skinny like everybody else was in my classes. Being told to stay silent, be smaller, etc., just like Vivy was my life until I got older. It’s nice to see the storyline develop with the introduction to her body type, but not revolve around her weight. Too often do we see differences (whether it’s gender, sexuality, weight, etc) be used as the problem or plot line of the story, but this book embraced her as a person.

I’d like to see more of Dean and Vivian – I think they’re characters are well developed and could definitely hold their own in a series! I’m not sure where we could take them, but they were very cute! These characters do develop and face issues in this story.

Now the big question – do I have any cons (since I’ve listed many pros). If anything, I would have liked the book to be longer! Maybe a little more drama or action between the couple themselves. That’s my only suggestion to improve, because this was a really good book! It’s a worth while read! The book was “long enough”, but I could see this book including a few extra chapters and work just as well!

Overall, this book was truly beautiful! It’s a nice read to embrace on a soft, summer day! I highly recommend this book and declare it a romance must-read! It’s also not even close to an R rating (there are some sexy scenes, but nothing a PG-13 warning label won’t cover). So if you love romance and a happy ending, then this book will be for you!

Five out of five stars!

I received an ARC copy from the author Emma Barry in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

About Free Fall:

Authors: Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner

Book Title: Free Fall

Series: Fly Me to the Moon, Book 5
Houston, Texas, 1965
When an accident rocks the American Space Department, threatening the race to the moon, the agency is determined to eliminate distractions, including those in the bedroom.
Astronaut Dean Garland, on track to become the first man to walk in space, is fine with putting a temporary hold on his love life. Except the directive comes too late to prevent the biggest distraction of all: Vivian Muller… Garland. But now that he’s married, Dean is determined to follow the rules until he makes history with his spacewalk.
Vivy never expected to find herself pregnant or in a shotgun marriage, much less a sexless one. While her new husband might pretend to be perfectly happy sleeping alone, Vivy’s never believed in pretending or holding back. She’s determined to make her husband fall for her, even if it means bending—or breaking—the rules.
Dean’s resolve to keep marriage and work separate hits another serious snag: the suit he’s supposed to wear in the killer vacuum of space isn’t reliable, and his new father-in-law manufactured it. As Dean unravels the technical problem and Vivy tries to win her husband’s love, their hearts and his life hang in the balance.

 

Or purchase the book on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Free Fall

Amazon.ca – Free Fall

Give Genevieve (@GenTurner5), Emma (@AuthorEmmaBarry) and myself (@ReviewAlholic) a shout out on Twitter!
And check out Emma on her website: http://authoremmabarry.com/

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another one of my reviews including Emma Barry:

#BookReview Rogue Hearts (Anthology) by Tamsen Parker, Amy Jo Cousins, and more

#BookReview Rogue Affair by Adriana Anders, Tamsen Parker and more!

#BookReview Rogue Desires by Tamsen Parker, Adriana Anders, Amy Jo Cousins and more!

#BookReview Drug Gang Vengeance by Neil Walker

38211432

Drug Gang Vengeance in one word: Brutal.

And I mean brutal in a good way, of course! If you’ve read the first novel of this series (Drug Gang), you’d totally understand the reason I pick that word – this book is full of drugs, fights, blood, violence, and general insanity (think John Wick sort of craziness).

The story builds on the last novel and changes the scenery a tad bit. I liked that it didn’t follow the same old plot and it expanded on the craziness that is John’s life. The big plot developments and twists that occur to John this time around was also epic! I can’t wait to see how Neil expands on John’s life after this, since this book really stepped it up.

If I were to suggest anything to Neil, I would say there were some scenes that could have been expanded on. There was a brief summary of the time John spent with a certain character in the hospital (no spoilers), and I would have liked to see more on that. Maybe that’s coming from the drama reader side of me, but I think that could have added to the story in someway. It definitely wouldn’t have been as brutal or fit in as well, but it might have grown the character.

There’s lots of swearing in this book, but it didn’t seem excessive. I don’t enjoy lots of swearing when it’s useless, but Neil somehow makes it work. Typically, you’d see me complaining about swearing (because half the time I swear it’s just filler for writers), but I like how it fit in this world. Way to go Neil!

But, that was my biggest flaw. Seriously, this book is great! It’s not for the light-hearted and it’s definitely not some YA novel, but it hits all the points I want in a thriller, drug-infused novel. It has it’s own style too, making it unique out of most of the books I usually read. It’s kind of a niche novel, but a great one! I almost feel like this book could hit big in an underground reading world.

My suggestions if you read this book:
Read book #1 (Drug Gang). Seriously, it’ll make this read better. I was going to read this book first, but I decided to start from the beginning and I don’t regret it. You’ll understand John’s journey WAY better – it’s not like a normal mystery novel where everything is filled in along the way. It’s much easier to just indulge yourself with this violent, fantastical journey than to cheat yourself on the wild adventure.

Four out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author Neil Walker in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out Neil Walker:

On Goodreads

On Twitter @NeilWalkerWrote

On Facebook

Give me a shoutout on twitter using the hashtag #BriarsReviews if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic

 

Synopsis:

THE DRUG GANG IS BACK! IT’S TIME TO PAY FOR YOUR SINS…

John Kennedy is on his way out of a life of crime in Sydney, when he is hunted down by drug gang The Brotherhood. This leads to a spiral of vengeance and violence that stretches right around the globe.

PART TWO OF THE DRUG GANG SERIES.

Drug Gang Vengeance is the sequel to my bestseller Drug Gang and I could send you a free promo copy of that also, if you would like to read and review both. I’ve attached the Amazon link for the first book below, if you’d like to take a look.

Find this novel on Amazon:

Drug Gang Vengeance #2 on Amazon.co.uk

Drug Gang Vengeance #2 on Amazon.ca

Drug Gang Vengeance #2 on Amazon.com

Find the first novel, Drug Gang, on Amazon:

Drug Gang #1 on Amazon.co.uk

Drug Gang #1 on Amazon.ca

Drug Gang #1 on Amazon.com

 

Comment below – have you read any books by Neil Walker? Or do you plan to?