#BookReview The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith

If you’re looking for a book full of mystery, thrills and deceit then The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith might be for you!

This book was action packed, fast paced and full of intriguing characters (all of which seem to meet at the final climax of the book). Not only that, but Timothy Jay Smith had such a way with words that it was hard to put down! To just quote the opening lines of the book, “their steel girders boomed thunderously” had me hooked, and his way with his prose continued to be spotless and marvelous!

In this book, we follow Jay Porter the FBI agent while he is in Poland. Dead men are popping up everywhere and they all have very specific pieces of evidence about them suggesting there’s a murderer on the loose. Throw in the 90s setting with Russia, Poland and nuclear weapons, and you’ve got yourself a great start to a thrilling mystery novel. Along the way we meet characters who seem to belong to the mafia, a lovely lady named Basia who feels like a Bond girl, and lots and lots of deceit.

This book gave me Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and James Bond vibes. It’s really intriguing and dark yet still made me feel totally hooked on the book. I read it all in one sitting because I NEEDED to know how it ended. To top it off, having the incredible writing style of Timothy was just amazing! It was enchanting to read the story and see it happening in front of my eyes so well! He’s so descriptive!

If I had to give this book a rating, it would be R. There’s blood, guns and sex (lots of sex, among different genders too!).

If I had to list some of the “cons” of this book, it would be as followed:
1. There’s a lot of small side plot/comments that may throw some readers off. For example, Jay’s trouble with his ex-wife and son pop up briefly a few times. It’s not totally necessary to know all of that information to know about Jay, but it’s there. I could see that being a distraction for some readers.
2. Jay and Lilka had more chemistry than Jay had murder-solving capabilities, in my humble opinion. I would have liked to see him work a little harder on his crime solving abilities or flesh out the romance full out. But that’s just me – I like romance novels and I like mystery novels and I find them hard to mix together.

Overall, this is one great addition to your mystery and thriller shelf! I would 100% recommend this book if you like a good mystery novel or want something to spice of your reading! And, it’s relatively short! The copy I received was under 300 pages which made it nice and quick for me!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Timothy Jay Smith, in exchange for an honest review.

 

You can find out more about this book on:
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Amazon.ca
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timothyjaysmith.com
Skyhorse Publishing

 

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#BookReview Vampireville by Ellen Schreiber

Vampireville, the third book in the amazing Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber, is another excellent addition to my bookshelf!

I love this series and I have a very obvious bias towards it. This series was a big part of my teenage years and it’s hard to not jump back into this series and fall in love all over again. Alexander and Raven’s epic romance is one of the best YA couples around (go ahead and argue that with me) and I can’t help but shout from the hills about them. Jumping back into these books as an adult cemented my love for this series. It’s still just as good!

Vampireville is a young YA book – the maturity of this novel isn’t strong but that’s why I loved it. Lots of YA books take themselves way too seriously, so having a book like this that is so much fun is a real delight. Raven is your stereotypical goth girl (Hot Topic shopping, black lipstick, loves black, black cats, in love with a vampire, etc.) but that makes her so cool. She’s the ideal of every 13 year old girl who wanted to be a goth but her parents wouldn’t let me (haha… me!). She’s sassy, makes mistakes and feels more real than most YA heroines.

Raven and Alexander continue facing a very bumpy ride, but the ride is fun! I highly recommend binging the whole series as soon as possible. I didn’t enjoy these books all on their own: I liked reading the entire series from beginning to end to really get this series. It helps that all the books are relatively short and written in a nice form so you can easily jump from book to book.

Five out of five stars! I love this series and I want more!

 

You can find this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo – Canadian Retailer

Check out Ellen on Goodreads: Ellen Schreiber on Goodreads

Or take a peek at her website: EllenSchreiber.com

Maybe give her a shoutout on Twitter too? @EllenSchreiber

 

If you enjoyed this book, check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber
#BookReviews Girls That Growl by Mari Mancusi
#BookReview The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

 

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#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda

Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda is an excellent start to a new series I will surely be addicted to.

King Arthur. Round Tables. Medieval Fantasy.

My gosh, this book is packed TIGHT with everything I love about Ruth Miranda and her writing. Epic fantasy, a potential romance, drama, “echoes from the past”, murder, and an epic tale. Seriously, this series already has me hooked and IT LEFT ON A DARN CLIFFHANGER.

I swear, Ruth Miranda sits away at her computer knowing full well I’m going to be pulling my hair out and screaming while I wait for the next book. It may be a little egotistical, but she’s totally doing it to me, on purpose. And I fall for it every time! I can picture her with evil, maniacal laughter filling the room as she typed the final words in Part 1…

But, that’s not the meat of this review. Avalon Hall centers around King Arthur being from Scotland, where the wonderful Avalon Hall (a present day academy for witches and fey) sit. 30 years before modern day, a young woman named Stephanie Miller was murdered and 30 years later there’s been yet another murder. Fortunately, this time it was just some jerk. That being said, Stephanie’s murder brought lots of attention on this hall that only wanted to be seen as a hippie community that studies tarot cards and astrology. Atticus Downe, the new head master, wants to keep it that way. Oh, and he’s hiding a vampire named Emrys in the attic.

Along comes Yseult, a beautiful witch, to Avalon Hall 30 years after Stephanie’s death. She begins seeing ghosts, these “echoes from the past” and sees some ghosts from her present too (like her abusive ex Gary).

Part one is all about Yseult and Avalon Hall. Seriously, this was the best opening for this story. I was truly hooked in and was totally addicted to the book with this opening. It had a fair bit of drama, with mean girls and crushes, alongside the fantastical elements of the story. Also Emrys and Yseult are totally end game for me. Seriously, I need to know what happens next! I also really liked that Ruth expanded on Nora Bell’s character. I was expecting her to be some mean girl, but she’s not all she seems to be.

Then we move into part 2, which brings us back to King Arthur’s actual birth. There’s a lot of back story on his family in this one. The worst part for me was trying to pronounce any of those names. It brought me out of the book a few times because I couldn’t decide on how I wanted them pronounced and I didn’t like google’s pronunciation either. Confusing names are hard, okay? But, I digress, this part of the book was REALLY good. The lore, the back story, and the fast pace of the story. I loved every second of it.

I really hope this series continues and I can get my hand on the next book. Ruth Miranda’s writing style is marvelous – it’s fast, she has a talent for weaving her words into beautiful sentences and she makes up excellent plots. Plus, she’s really good at horror, romance and action.

Overall, this book is a 100% recommended book from me. If you like myths and lore, action and adventure, and a pinch of romance, then this book is for you! I’m definitely going to be continuing the series so you might as well start it with me!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author, Ruth Miranda, in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

Check out Ruth Miranda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15263413.Ruth_Miranda

 

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#BookReview The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

I’m so torn on this book!

The Hypnotist’s Love Story is a marvelous stand alone by the author of Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty. This book is full of deceit, stalkers, a very strange love story, and life lessons. Oh, and did I mention a little hypnotherapy? It’s kind of obvious, since it is in the title, but it’s one of the biggest parts of this novel!

I found this book to be an interesting mix of chick lit, drama and contemporary fiction. There were times I was laughing, there were times when I was cringing, and at the end I felt like I was missing something. I wanted just a little more of Ellen and Patrick’s story instead of the abrupt ending. There was so much strange insanity in this book (Patrick having a stalker, Ellen being a hypnotherapist, Patrick’s former wife Colleen, Saskia’s past…) that I was left feeling slightly empty. All of these story lines were epic, but none of them had the big follow through I was hoping for (especially in a book as long as this one!).

Ellen starts dating Patrick and their relationship moves very fast. Soon enough, she learns that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend Saskia is stalking him and that he is a widower. He idolized Colleen and the son, Jack, that they shared together. Ellen gets the feeling she doesn’t live up to Colleen and she seems to be intrigued by this stalker. All throughout the book we follow some of Ellen’s hypnotizing shenanigans and meet some of the clients. Of course, that doesn’t go too well either.

This book has the best concepts – all of that paragraph makes me really excited! To me, I just wanted more follow through. Why does Saskia feel the need to stalk? Why does Patrick feel like the type of guy Ellen should have just dumped? How did Ellen become a hypnotherapist? Why was hypnotherapy working on certain clients?

All of that being said, this book was still a real treat. If you love drama and a splash of romance, this book would be perfect for your shelf. Not every book can be utterly perfect in a reader’s eye and I do expect a lot (I grew up watching soap operas, so I kind of expect the real dramatics). Liane also has a wonderful writing style that makes the book fluid and easy to read (and man, having a 400 page book as an easy read is a real feat, so don’t underestimate this woman!). I will one hundred percent be reading more books by Liane Moriarty. Her ideas are incredible, her writing style is flawless and she writes realistic, believable characters REALLY well!

Three out of five stars!

P.S. “Knit, don’t stalk” is the most solid life advice I’ve ever read from a book. It is also now my favourite line I’ve ever read and I’m going to live by it.

 

You can find this book on:
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Check out some other books and reviews you might enjoy!
#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
#BookReview The Inside Track by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner

 

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

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Down in the Belly of the Whale is only 99 cents on Amazon for the month of September! Click the link below for this awesome deal!

Amazon Sale – Down in the Belly of the Whale

 

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:

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Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

 

Find out more about Kelley Kaye Bowles on:

Goodreads – Kelley Kaye Bowles

http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

Twitter – @kelkay1202

 

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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

#BookReview City of Friends by Joanna Trollope

City of Friends is a lovely story by Joanna Trollope following the interconnecting lives of women.

This book focuses on the trials and errors of middle aged women being women. Lost jobs, children to take care of, parents to take care of, struggling romantic relationships, family drama and friendship drama all mash together into one well written tale. It’s everything you’d expect from a contemporary, women’s fiction novel!

There are four women who were once friends and now all of them are middle aged. Each of them have their own struggles to deal with, and somehow all of their problems relate to each other’s problems. As with most female centered books, there is a pinch of feminine drama that makes me question if women are just bound to be dramatic and gossip (as a woman, I haven’t seen too much of that as an adult – maybe it’s just me though). Examples of this drama: One woman offers her friend’s “mistress” or new lover a job but not her best friend, two of the women’s children start seeing each other, a husband tells a woman to pick between their relationships or her mother’s health. Yeah… this book felt petty at times.

Even with some of these interesting plot lines, I did enjoy this book. Buuuuuut… it wasn’t a hit out of the park for me. I found it was a lovely, soft read that wasn’t hard to jump in and out of. The worst part was that it got very slow at times. There were entire chapters that could have been left out and the story still would have progressed. I also didn’t feel like there was a real “end” to this book, it just stopped. That’s how life stories go there – there never is an “end”, something just “stops”.

There are some really strong parts of this book, for those looking for my positives! There are strong women characters who are facing realistic problems. I know many girls and women who have faced some of these troubles – like a sick parent, dealing with a lost job, and trying to balance work and family life. I like seeing books like this that bring about real issues so people realize that everyone goes through this stuff. Our lives aren’t what we see on Instagram – life isn’t perfect.

It may be because I’ve read a lot of women’s fiction lately (on accident) or maybe it is just the plot of this book – I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. The synopsis sounds awesome, the cover is gorgeous and the first half of the book really peaked me interest. At half, I kind of just wandered off in my brain and had trouble getting through it.

That being said, I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary novels and women’s fiction. It’s not a bad book, it’s just not a good book for me – mainly because it couldn’t hold my attention the way other women’s fiction has. I think Joanna Trollope has a fantastic, easy reading, writing style and I want to read more books by her! This is just a blip on the book radar!

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:
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If you enjoyed this book (or review!) check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview A Cup of Redemption by Carole Bumpus
#BookReview Coming Out by Danielle Steel
#BookReview Tempting Faith by Susan Mallery

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#BookReview A Woman of Valor by Gary Corbin

A Woman of Valor is the newest addition to Gary Corbin’s literary genius line-up!

I loved Gary Corbin’s Mountain Man series, so it was a no brainer for me to pick up A Woman of Valor. Especially since this novel focused on a woman in a crime setting – I’m a real sucker for The Rookie, Rookie Blue, etc., and any tale that follows a strong female lead.

In this book, Valorie Dawes is a rookie police officer. She has a bit of a family legacy which casts a shadow over yet, but she is determined to show her worth. Val gets partnered up with Gil and chaos ensues. Will Val be able to deal with her past and the trauma that’s holding her back? Will she make it as a police officer when no one wants to accept her?

I really liked this story, if I’m being honest. This particular plot point is common – a woman police officer trying to be treated equally – but Gary did a great job making me invested in it. I could have been really bored with the “same old, same old”, but he made me feel for Val. I wanted to see her do well! Somehow, he managed to make Val feel more real than just a character. All the while, he throws in some very tough plot points (sexual harassment, rape and social injustice). Those topics fit perfectly into this narrative, but they could have been handled REALLY wrong. Lucky for us, Gary is the master!

Gary does a great job putting this story together. There’s action and adventure, a pinch of romance, and a dash of comedy. It’s not all down and depressing, which was a big plus for me. Often times, I find that police dramas get so sad and boring. Gary amps it up real well! On top of all of that, Gary does a great job making me know each and every character. I tend to lose focus when there’s a lot of people to follow, but I didn’t this time around! Kudos!

My negatives are as followed:
1. Sometimes the plot slowed down, and I’m a fast paced kinda girl. It’s not the end of the world, but I struggled to get through just a couple of the chapters.

2. The ending, while it sums up the book, it felt like a cliffhanger. Will there be another book?! Will I see what happens to Val and Gil soon?!

Overall, this book is a real gem. I’m glad I got to read it but sad it took me so long to get to it. Gary’s a real master at making books that feel like they can cross multiple genres. He deals with tough topics like rape, molestation, post traumatic stress disorder and the cruel realities of human kind really well. I’d highly recommend this book if you like crime dramas or want something with a little ‘umph’ on your shelf.

Five out of five stars.

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

 

Check out this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Kobo
Goodreads

Here’s some links about the author, Gary Corbin:
Goodreads
http://www.garycorbinwriting.com/
@GaryCorbin

Check out my other reviews of Gary’s books:
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Badge
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Bride by Gary Corbin
#BookReview The Mountain Man’s Dog by Gary Corbin

 

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