#BookReview In The Dark by Cara Hunter

I discovered Cara Hunter years ago through Goodreads and ever since I’ve been on the hunt for her novels. I accidentally came across one of them in a local store. They normally don’t even sell books! But there was In The Dark perched on top of a little display. I grabbed it, speed walked as fast as I could and bought this book. It sat on my shelf as I admired it, and finally got the nerve to picked it up. The wait was DEFINITELY worth it. All caps, bold, italicize – let’s make this clear. In The Dark by Cara Hunter is a delightfully addicting thriller for mystery fans.

Cara Hunter has a special voice when it comes to thrillers. There are no chapters – the story just keeps moving. There’s constant movement, a fast pace and twists and turns all over. Suspects are introduced and hinted at along the way. Reader sleuths will have fun trying to nail down who did what with who throughout this book. Who kidnapped the girl and her child? Who killed another person? Was there an affair? Is the older man crazy or does he actually have dementia? Why are all of these people so suspicious?!

A young woman and her child are found in a basement. This is shocking and sudden, but links to deaths of women in the past. Everyone wonders if this is the missing woman that was presumably kidnapped years ago… But what if she’s not? The story unwinds to bring us many suspects who have likely cause for this behaviour. Abusive marriages, desperate affairs, greedy relatives after wills and deceit will bring forth the suspect… But with so many suspects, is it only one person? Or is all of this nonsense connected?

DI Adam Fawley’s books are super intriguing. They glue me to every page and it’s really hard not to binge the entire book. I couldn’t get enough of the thrills, twists and turns Cara puts into this book. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves mysteries and thrillers. The character development is also on point. I loved how Cara painted these pictures of how everyone is not perfect and how we need to think about all of the information we’ve been given. It felt like I was a detective alongside Adam Fawley and his crew. It’s an absolute delight for thriller fans like myself.

Overall, this is yet another winning book! I highly recommend it and will continue to support Cara Hunter. Who doesn’t love sneaking away into an amazingly written book?

Five out of five stars.

Want to join in the thrill ride? Grab this book now:
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Check out Cara’s socials by clicking on the links below:
Goodreads Author Page
Twitter: @CaraHunterBooks

Looking for more thrilling reads to fill up your TBR? Check out some of my other faves featured on my blog:
Close to Home by Cara Hunter
Spiral by Khaled Talib
Wrong Place by Michelle Davies

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#BookReview Wedding Peach by Nao Yazawa

Wedding Peach by Nao Yazawa is a unique, little manga that gave me major Sailor Moon vibes!

Growing up, I loved Sailor Moon, Winx Club, Magical Melodies and all of those other girl power stories. So, it was only natural I’d move towards this book.

If you cross bred Sailor Moon with weddings, I’m convinced you’d get this book! In this little, lovely manga, you’ll find a story packed full of girl power, pretty dresses and love!

For me, this isn’t the best manga I’ve ever read. It’s pretty beat for beat what I’ve read in other girl power manga stories – girls with powers, romantic love interests, friendship, bad guy fighting, etc. Peach learns about her powers, suddenly is a super awesome fighter and starts taking care of the world of love! The boy she likes is a jerk, but man is he handsome! This is definitely a YA manga!

Despite these little tropes, I still think it’s very fun and a nice read to get your mind away from the world. As long as you understand this is almost like a B-rated version of Sailor Moon, you’ll enjoy it.

If you love manga and girl power, I’d highly recommend this book. I think it’s just too cute to pass up. I love a great manga that is fun, fluffy and easy to enjoy. I could have easily binged it, but I decided to take my time. it’s pretty rare for me to pick up a manga so I wanted to make it count!

Three out of five stars!

 

Check out this fantabulous book on:
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Amazon.com

 

If you love fun and fantasy, here’s some other books you may enjoy:
#BookReview Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
#BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr
#BookReview Seizure by Kathy Reichs

 

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#BookReview Intricate Deceptions by Jennifer Rayes

Intricate Deceptions was an exceptional start to an exciting series.

This novel was far better than I expected it to be. At the beginning, I was a little put off by the start (loss of memory/amnesia as an intro hasn’t boded well for me in my readings) but it turned out to blow my mind! I’m really impressed with Jennifer Rayes’s story telling and I am desperate to get the next novel in this book now!

Anywho, my opinions:

1. The start felt like an adult novel 100%, but as the story went on it felt closer to a New Adult novel. It is definitely R rated for some of the content (human trafficking), but some of the conversations felt more YA like (the romance).

2. Without spoiling, some of the plot points seem to happen “just in time” or to fit the narrative, rather than the story unfolding in a timely manner to get to those sections. I would have loved this book to be a little bit longer and come to the conclusions on their own, but the plot still worked.

3. CLIFFHANGER. Jennifer, why did you do this to me? Now I NEED the second book!

4. Difficult content – Human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping… Some of this content may be difficult to read for some people. Keep that in mind when you want to read this book! I did think Jennifer did a great job in this book with how she addressed the tough/harsh issues of the world. It’d be very difficult to have a book be light-hearted at some moments, but harsh at others yet Jennifer managed to keep the tones perfect and at the right timing.

5. Time period – I’m kind of confused on what the time period is. At the beginning, it felt like early times monarchy but as I moved forward it felt like a modern story without cellular devices. That confused me the most with this book, but once I got past that and just let myself enjoy the book it was no problem at all. I probably missed the cues somewhere (gotta love exam time). In the next book, I’d love to see this expanded on more. Maybe I could learn more about the history of this magical world we’ve dove into in this novel?

6. Characters seem to disappear for a while at the beginning of the book, but they do come back! I was worried that characters were being introduced for no reason, but Jennifer did tie them back into the story. I hope more of them make appearances in further novels!

Overall, I really liked this book! When you look past the small continuity errors, this book is an exciting ride that I want to continue! Hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on a copy of the second book!

Four out of five stars!

Jennifer Rayes requested a review for this book and sent me a free copy. This had no impact on my review, this is my honest opinion.

Find Intricate Deceptions on Amazon:

Intricate Deceptions on Amazon.ca

Intricate Deceptions on Amazon.com

Find Jennifer Rayes on her website or Goodreads:

http://jenniferrayes.wix.com/intricateseries

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7410834.Jennifer_Rayes

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Charming Predator by Lee MacKenzie

If you read this review, comment below your opinions on this book! Or give me a shoutout on twitter @ReviewAlholic with the hashtags #BriarsReviews & #IntricateDeceptions

#BookReview Another Five Days by Matt Micros

Another Five Days by Matt Micros is a wonderful, feel good book!

The premise itself is amazing, let alone when you get into the meat of the writing. Matt Micros has crafted a beautiful, heart-warming story about a man who gets to redo five days of his life because of his extraordinary altruism.

Al Sokratis is the kind of guy we want to see in the world: he does amazing things for people. He goes off to war to help protect his buddy, he helps his son with his finances when the goings get tough, and he becomes Mayor to try to better the city for everyone. When he goes to help a man who was in a tragic accident and is killed, he is given a chance to redo five days of his life. To no one’s surprise, he continues to try to help people and is rewarded greatly.

This book literally brought tears to my eyes. At the end (that sweet ending, my goodness) I couldn’t help but feel so warm and fuzzy and let a few tears fall from my eyes. It’s such a feel good and lovely story in such a rough time full of negativity that I can’t help but scream about this book on the top of all the hills. I will be so disappointed if this book doesn’t find an audience. It’s a magical little book that I will be recommending for years to come. To top it off, this book is easy to read, fast paced and a short story so you can binge it in no time.

If you like fiction, want something that will make the world seem better, or you are seeking a short story, grab this book! Matt Micros is an amazing story teller!

Five out of five stars.

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

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

You can find out more about Matt Micros on:
Goodreads Author Page
https://www.mattmicros.com/
Twitter – @Macros1

Here are some other fiction novels you’ll love:
Briar’s Reviews – Goodreads Review of Destinare by Matt Micros
#BookReview The Heirs by Fran Hawthorne
#BookReview Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly
#BookReview Geo by Kevin Miller

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#BookReview 100 Tiny Tales by K. Kris Loomis

This book features one hundred drabbles (stories with one hundred words) by K. Kris Loomis. I had never heard of a drabble before, but man does it sound tough! How does one write a story and perfectly sum it up in one hundred words?! I’m awful at describing myself in little words, so kudos to K. Kris Loomis for making it possible! It’s a real feat!

These stories are really short (well, obviously. One hundred words isn’t actually a lot – it’s just a few paragraphs worth at most!) but they really pack a punch! My favourites include: “The Perfect Ring” with the surprise ending I didn’t see coming, “The Sentry” that reminded me of our former neighbourhood cat and my numerous reactions to him, and “A Knock” where the Grim Reaper makes a mistake (I actually laughed out loud at this one).

Despite the length of these stories, I felt like I related to them (and sometimes wanted a little more!). “She Was Going Dancing” packs a lot of parental disappointment in such a small story. “A Night at the Theatre” had me shivering because I knew what would come next. “I Know He Loves Me” highlights the pain of a woman in a tough situation. “Phobias” highlights Santa Claus at a doctor’s office. “Flowers” had me cringing for the poor lead man. “The Wedding” just broke my heart! “A Great House” left me feeling spooked. “The Flight” reminded me of my childhood. “Kiss a Frog” takes a twist on an old fairy tale. And those are just some of the many stories!

There’s so many good stories in this bunch! There’s at least one that you’ll enjoy. Anthologies like this are always so much fun, especially since they’re quick and easy to read, yet just as easy to jump back into. I also love that there’s so much hinted at – you can just imagine what would go down next. Creativity and imagination are great aspects of drabbles!

This lovely anthology shows how strong K. Kris Loomis is with her craft. She’s a real master of writing, so if you get the chance… pick this book up! It’s well worth the read!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author, K. Kris Loomis, in exchange of an honest review.

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

Here’s some more books by K. Kris Loomis featured on my blog:
#BookReview The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview After Namaste by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview Survving Revision: How One Writer Finished What She Started by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories by K. Kris Loomis

 

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#BookReview Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley

Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley is a darling, historical, holiday-themed romance that is perfect to add to your TBR shelf!

This book is just a sweet delight. I was seeking something fast, light-hearted, comedic, romantic and simple and this book fit the bill.

Benjamin, the Duke of Silkridge has returned to his old town when his Grandfather died for the will reading. He stumbles upon his first crush and lost love, Noelle, who worked for his Grandfather. The feelings are very much mutual for Noelle as well. Ben, our resident Scrooge, must complete a Christmas-themed task to be able to get what his Grandfather left him in the will, but it brings him closer to Noelle in the process… Sparks fly and drama ensues, all in a town called Christmas and during the holiday season.

This is one of those books you curl up under a good blanket with some hot tea and just sink into it. Relaxation and simplicity works super well for titles like these, and I mean that in a good way. It’s fun and lovely, exactly what a romance and historical romance reader loves! It’s also PG, so it’s a lovely book to get started into the historical romance genre.

I am definitely going to continue with this series if I can find it. I’d like to see all 12 of the Dukes find love since this series is just so lovely! Good job Erica Ridley, you’ve crafted a historical romance masterpiece.

Four out of five stars.

I found this book via Bookbub!

 

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

Find more books and information about Erica Ridley on:
Goodreads – Author Page
http://www.ericaridley.com/
Twitter – @EricaRidley

If you liked this book (or even just the review!) here’s some other books you’ll also enjoy:
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson
#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner

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

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#BookReview Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Cozy, holiday reads are excellent – cozy, romantic, holiday reads are even better!

Anita Hughes has crafted a lovely, heart warming story about two women finding their loves during Christmastime.

Louisa works in a bakery, when suddenly Noah shows up needing Christmas desserts for a reality television show he is working on. When those desserts make the lead dangerously ill, Louisa is hired to take her place!! Meanwhile, the assistant Kate finds love again with a man from her past… Oh, and Noah and Louisa get along quite well.

I found this book to be very sweet. It’s your typical holiday romance with a bit more description than romance. The beautiful displays at expensive stores take the forefront with Anita painting beautiful pictures in my head of these designer stores. I wish there would have been more fluffy romance throughout the pages, but this book was more contemporary fiction with a hint of romance than full on holiday romance.

The romance itself is quite bland at the beginning. Lots of cheek kisses to establish the leads might like each other. Also throwbacks to the relationship failures, instead of the current love that should be occurring on the page. Again, this book is more contemporary than romance. The men are also… weird. They aren’t normal men (or even romance novel men), they all act very strange and have very aggressive or manipulative behaviour. It was still an okay read if you get over the fact that they are kinda weird.

If anything, I found this book to be the perfect feel good book. While I was reading it, I just wanted something to escape and feel nice and fluffy. This book fit the bill. It doesn’t need to be the romance book I hoped it to be, it was perfectly nice to escape from the insanity of the real world. Thank you Anita Hughes for giving me an escape. If you’re looking for descriptions of Christmas displays and beautiful Christmas desserts, this book is perfect!

Three out of five stars.

 

You can find this wonderful holiday story on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Indigo

 

Pack that TBR up tight with many more holiday romances:
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Christmas on Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains
#BookReview Hot for the Holidays by Marie Force, Tamsen Parker et. al

 

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#BookReview Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books

Schmuck the Buck is yet another hit by EXO Books!

Recently, I’ve been on a picture books/children’s books binge so of course I would be interested in another goofy, picture book full of Christmas mischief!

This book felt like my inner sarcastic child’s dream of a Christmas story. Forget the main reindeer team! Those losers aren’t as school as Santa’s Jewish reindeer, Schmuck the Buck! His real name is Larry, but we call him Schmuck. Because, let’s be honest, those nasty reindeer who called Rudolph names picked on everybody else too!

This poor reindeer is the biggest nerd in his high school, but that doesn’t bring him down! He got a degree in Accounting and even went to Yale! This is the type of awesome I strive to be!

The humor was down right hilarious. I was almost laughing out loud from the silly jokes and gags that littered this book. Texting the parents about batteries? That is the kind of hilarity only the goofiest kids would think of!

I felt like this story was the perfect way to show kids that you don’t have to be the popular “Rudolph” character. You can be super cool and get your own starring role as a normal kid with different interests!

It is a little “longer” – there are small paragraphs instead of just one word on each page. I think it was the perfect way to tell this story though! It’s a real winner! I would love to see this book alongside all of the Rudolph merchandise in my local book stores.

I’m not sure where to rate this book. It is satirical and ironic, but it also was pretty G rated. I think some older kids would find this absolutely hilarious, while younger ones could just enjoy the pictures. I’d maybe suggest reading this to children aged ten and up, because they would probably get some of this humor. But, it’s definitely something adults would love to read!

Overall, I loved this cheesey, funny and lovable story! It’s definitely worth the read! I mean, who wouldn’t love a book with an HR reindeer named Shirley? That just seals the deal.’

Five out of five stars!

P.S. Shout out to Karina Shor the illustrator! I absolutely loved the pictures. They were classic and elegant yet childish and fun!

I received a free copy of this book from EXO Books in exchange for an honest review.

Check out this book on:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Barnes & Nobles

Chapters/Indigo/Coles

Want to check out another book review of an EXO Book’s book? Then check out my review of The Last Day of Captain Lincoln! #BookReview – The Last Day of Captain Lincoln by EXO Books

What else do you want to see on my blog? Let me know in the comments below, tweet me at @ReviewAlholic or tell me on Facebook!

#BookReview A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi

If you’re looking for a humorous, seasonal book packed full of holiday comedy, you need to pick up A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi.

I am new to John Scalzi. I have been informed his writing is superb and he can be quite snarky, so of course I was in. To top it off, who doesn’t want some Christmas cheer during a time like this?! Even if it is making fun of the whole holiday season! Honestly, this book was exactly what I needed in my life right now.

This collection holds fifteen short stories, poems and snippets that will leave you giggling and breathless. Here’s just some of the lovely, little pieces of literature you’ll come across (in no particular order):

1. An Interview With Santa’s Lawyer – this one was by far the best of the bunch for me. Seeing this lawyer explain Santa’s liabilities and how Rudolph screwed everything up had me chuckling the way no other book has managed. It’s absolutely ridiculous while being funny at the exact same time. Santa’s corporation, his billionaire coal master status, and the elves’s union rights are just some of the wildly amusing topics brought up. Not gonna lie, I want an entire book just on this alone!

2. A Bitter November – I also thoroughly enjoyed watching the months go off at each other. Poor November is upset over December and it’s shining glory. The personification in this little story could be used in a master class. I’m thoroughly impressed by John Scalzi’s writing here, it’s too good and too funny.

3. Christmas in July – this one had me guessing for a while what was going on. Why did Santa move Christmas up to July suddenly? We see a peek inside the government trying to figure out why there was a mass home invasion leaving everyone exactly what they wanted. The ending was quick, short and sweet, but I wanted just a little bit more out of it…

4. Interview with Santa’s Reindeer Wrangler – the interviews are apparently the pieces of this collection that had me laughing the most. The conversations are so dumb funny and yet perfectly written. It’s exactly what you’re picture a reindeer wrangler complaining about if he had the job. Rudolph never existed and gave everyone a bad name, and the reindeer positions are actually jobs. It’s a super witty take and I applaud John for the cool idea.

It’s shocking this book has so many reviews and ratings, because I absolutely LOVED this book. Very rarely can I find a comedy book that keeps me interested the whole way through, and this one did just that. There’s satire in here, pure comedy and so many great takes on holidays – and it’s not just Christmas!

You don’t need to celebrate Christmas to find joy in this book. Since it is so satirical, it’s a great way to laugh at the holiday season in general and how ridiculous it can be. So, I highly recommend this book if you love or hate Christmas, if you love comedy and want a laugh, or if you just want a really well written book. Spice of your book shelf with this collection! Everyone will be able to find at least one story in this collection that will have them chuckling and chortling away.

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this epic book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Indigo

Find out more about John Scalzi on:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/
Twitter – @scalzi
Goodreads

 

If you’re looking for more comedy in your life, here’s some other book recommendations to help fill up your TBR:
#BookReview Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books
#BookReview Life Seemed Good, But… by Richard Bell
#BookReview Pop Sonnets by Erik Didriksen

 

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#BookReview Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead

Succubus Blues (the first book in this miraculous series) was one of my top books for 2019. Ever since I was in high school, Richelle Mead was one of my faves. Vampire Academy, Gameboard of the Gods and the Storm Born series ranked high on my list! It seemed only natural to finally pick this seires up.

Georgina Kincaid is a succubus with a mortal, author boyfriend named Seth (she is his ultimate fangirl, by the way). After the contents of the last novel, she learns that they cannot touch or get it on without killing him (that’s a good way to kill the vibe in a relationship). Meanwhile, one of her co-workers has been acting pretty strange, and to top it all off her old incubus buddy Bastien is back in town. Can’t a girl catch a break?

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first one, if I’m being brutally honest. The first book felt like a fairy tail and put really high expectations in my head! Unfortunately, Succubus on Top just didn’t meet those expectations. That being said, it was still a fun ride and worth the read. Everyone I talk to says the series only gets better, and I’m up for the challenge.

Georgina is a relatable character (despite the fact she basically has to sell her body to stay alive). She has flaws, her relationship isn’t perfect and she has temptations. I think we can all relate to that in some way. There are moments where I’m yelling in my head that this is a bad idea, but I know full well I’ve probably made one similar. Then, to top it all off, Seth is the dream man that every girl dreams of and more! That’s probably why this is making out to be an excellent love story. He cares and understands her in ways most people just don’t get, and it’s super romantic. Yet, this isn’t the typical romance novel. It’s not ooey, gooey or mushy gushy – it’s an adult relationship with depth and character (that might sound boring, but I promise you, there’s lots of sex and sexy scenes in this book).

I found the plot to be predictable in this book, while I didn’t really see everything coming in the first book. It’s not the end of the world, but for a sequel I was surprised it didn’t hit me as well as the first book did. Also… there was some quick forgiveness in this book and I feel like it’s not entirely… accurate? Maybe it’s just me.

Another plus for me is all of the side characters – the vampires, demons, angels, etc. Seriously, Carter seems like a fun guy, just saying.

Overall, Richelle Mead is a great writer with lots of grand ideas. I’d recommend picking up this series if you want a romance novel that is so much more (but still packs a good punch!). If you’re tired of the tired billionaire or jerky bad boy, meet Seth the nerdy, sweet and understanding author. He’ll give you chills and be the ultimate book boyfriend.

Three out of five stars.

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

 

If you love fantasy and romance, here’s some other books I’ve loved that you might love too:
#BookReview White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1

 

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