#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:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

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 More Than a Feeling by Sara Richardson

More Than a Feeling is a marvelous continuation of the Heart of Rockies series by Sara Richardson.

Years ago I managed to get my hands on one of the first books in this series, and then I bought the sequels! Silly me lost them among my shelves until I recently managed to clean my little library up. Of course, I had to pick this book up and continue the series (I’m sure #2 is hiding somewhere in my house. Whoever said you had to read these in order?!).

I really enjoy this series, but it is an R rated book – sex scenes, abusive pasts and a miscarriage are just a few parts of this story that make it a “tougher” read. It felt like an adult romance novel, which is what it was intended to be. That being said, this book could be a potential trigger for some readers.

I like that Sara didn’t hold back with Ruby’s story. Her story is rough and tough and isn’t all sunshine and roses. She’s lucky to find a man like Sawyer and a beautiful, unconventional family to fill her heart with. Oh, and the sex scenes made for a good romp too!

This book has a lot of tug and pull. Ruby wanted Sawyer, but didn’t want to tell him her secrets. Sawyer was very similar, but he was all in for this relationship. The ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ was a little annoying, but that’s because it’s one of those specific cliches I get bored with. That part of the book didn’t go on for a long time, but it’s still there. This little cliche made this book a slow burn romance, but when it hits the hot parts… wowza, it is hot!

I like contemporary romances like these. For whatever reason, they are really hitting all of the notes I want them to hit this year. There were some cons though…

1. Potential animal abuse. I strongly dislike animal abuse. Fortunately, a lot of the potential abuse isn’t shown in this novel. There’s just a little bit and it’s used to show Ruby’s compassion. Still… it’s a touchy topic for me.

2. Abusive exes. Yeek… These do happen in real life but they still make me shiver. Some readers might not enjoy some of the comments said in relation to this topic! So, reader beware…

3. Miscarriage. It happened in the past but I know it’s a very touchy subject for some people. Again, reader beware!

4. Sawyer is a really horny man. It’s not necessarily a giant con (it’s a romance novel, you kinda have to expect it) but I know a good friend of mine did not enjoy that part of the novel. So, it’s a potential con? Not for me, but for some readers.

If I had to pick the good things, they would be as followed:

1. Foster families and happy endings. I like seeing the positive side of building trust and making friendships! I’m glad this book put foster families in a good light.

2. Stand-alone versus series. This book could easily have stood alone, yet it’s apart of a series. Sara gives you just enough info to be able to jump into this book without knowing the rest of this series.

3. NO CLIFFHANGER! Thank goodness there was no cliffhanger. Those kill me.

Overall, I liked this book! The touchy subjects dropped one star off my rating, but realistically they can happen! So why not put them into a romance novel and use them for a happy ending?

Four out of five stars!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Indigo.ca

Check out some other reviews and books you might enjoy:
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels
#BookReview Something Like Love by Sara Richardson
#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin

 

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#BookReview Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber is a lovely tale woven with friendship, romance and care!

I love to knit, even though I’m not very good at it, so a book like this is right up my alleyway! A knitting group, a flower shop, a love affair, a baby, a wedding and endless amounts of girl drama fill the pages of this book! Lydia, Colette and Alix are the three main leads, and wowza did Debbie do a good job making this story! I one hundred percent need to read the rest of this series – especially since I love Colette!

Debbie Macomber’s writing style is very lovely. It’s soft, sweet and easy to read. There are times where the plot took sudden turns that seemed out of character (someone magically being in love when before it seem a bit sinister…?), but she somehow makes it work and be believable. She writes a woman’s tale so easily, and makes it feel like they could be my friend, sister or mother. These women face real problems that many of my friends have faced themselves! This relatable factor makes this book so much better than I would have anticipated.

Despite being over four hundred pages, it truly didn’t feel that way. I was so connected to Alix and Colette’s story that I managed to binge this book in under two days. For me and my busy schedule, that’s quite the feat! But that just shows how great Debbie is at making an addicting story! I wouldn’t have been so interested in these characters and their stories if Debbie hadn’t done such an awesome job of writing the book.

I did have some “major” negatives about this book though:
1. I didn’t enjoy Lydia’s story because it does mirror some of my own past horrors and demons. Due to the loss of my Father, it was really hard to read her struggles with her Mother. Instead of pushing through it, I decided to lightly skim past that part. Should this affect other readers and their score against the book? Absolutely not! For me, it was just a little too hard to read, emotionally. It doesn’t affect my score at all, but I do have to admit I wasn’t as connected to her.
2. Christian just suddenly changed his mood. I would have liked to see a more gradual movement in his feelings, but the book is already over 400 pages long so I can understand why Debbie didn’t.

To list some of the amazing positives (that I haven’t already included):
1. The knitting quotes were fabulous! They really added a fantastic touch of personalism to the book.
2. The cover is gorgeous and colourful. If you’re going to judge a book by it’s cover, judge this book!
3. It was the perfect mix of contemporary, drama, women’s fiction and romance. I wouldn’t change a thing (minus some more Christian, of course).

Overall, this book was truly lovely! I’m glad I picked this book up years ago at a local department store! Although, I’m slightly upset it took me so long to read it! This book is a true gem that I’d recommend to ladies who love knitting, want a light, fluffy story or just want to dig into a sweet book!

Five out of five stars!

 

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

If you enjoyed this book (or review!) check out another you might enjoy:
#BookReview Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
#BookReview Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin

 

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#BookReview Tiny House, Big Love by Olivia Dade

Tiny House, Big Love is a super cute, property show-inspired story.

I love myself a sweet, little book! Especially books that pack on the cutesy romance in a fast-paced environment. This short novel by Olivia Dade hit all the right notes with me!

This book follows Lucy, an enviromentally friendly massage therapist, and Sebastian, a Guatemalan-American engineer, as they pursue a tiny house for Lucy. They go on a Property Brothers, House Hunters or HGTV-esque show to try to find Lucy a cute, mobile home that she can live in. Along the way, sparks fly (to no one’s surprise)!

There’s so many sweet parts about this book. Olivia’s writing style is fast paced, easy to read and wildly addicting. She also has some marvelous quotes that made me giggle at her word choice. “First butt to butt contact” is just one of many quotes that had me laughing. The fact that there was a former nudist’s house and a school bus also made this story absolute hilarious. I’ve watched many of these house searching or building shows, and this book felt spot on. There’s always some weird background to the houses that make you cringe!

Lucy and Seb’s relationship was lovely. The friends to romance plot line was used here and I think it was used well. It wasn’t too fast for a book of this size, but it didn’t leave me hanging either! I think it was really well written and felt very soft and sweet. The fact that the space between them was the main reason they started growing closer was ironic. But it did work really well! How could one resist when he’s describe to be gorgeous?!

This book is a lovely read if you’re looking for a short romance novel, a soft book, or a book that’s positive. It really lifted my spirits on a very anxious day! Happy books like these deserve spaces on more shelves! And to top it off, the dialogue in this book didn’t feel forced. It felt like I was actually listening in on the characters’s conversations (not in a creepy way… I swear!).

Five out of five stars!

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

Check out this book on:
Amazon.ca
Goodreads
Kobo

 

Find out more about Olivia Dade:
http://oliviadade.com/
@OliviaWrites

 

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#BookReview Blood Lust by Alexandra Ivy

Blood Lust by Alexandra Ivy is the perfect mix of action, romance and drama!

Bas and Myst have two of the coolest names I’ve ever seen in a book, let me say that outright. And now, onto the review!

I’ve been hoarding Alexandra Ivy books on my shelves for years now, so I was thrilled to finally pick up one of the books hanging around on my shelves. This book was a lovely book to start off with, even if it was third in the series. I had no problem jumping into this story and I fell in love with these mysteriously epic characters! In this book, Myst and Bas have a young girl named Molly (she has such a normal name for her parents having cool ones, just saying…) and she brings them back together. Bas, the assassin, and Myst, the woman who’s seen a very important vision, are such a strangely well paired couple. They are hot and bothered and ready to fight.

I loved that this book wasn’t purely romance – I’ve gotten tired of the “this is a fantasy book” but it really is all romance trope that I’ve been seeing lately. Having this book full of intense drama and action with the romance coming in closer to the end felt REALLY nice. These two characters are definitely made for the romance sphere, but they also have such incredible back stories that it would have been a waste to not explore them. So, kudos to Alexandra Ivy for making this book so different.

My notes on the book are as followed:
1. You can see the ending coming from a mile away, but that’s probably just me reading too much and watching too many movies.
2. This book is easy to jump into as a stand alone, but I might have understood a little bit more of the world building if I had read the first two books in the series.
3. The fantasy in this book is REALLY COOL. You can tell a world is being built around this series, so I really hope there’s more books to come.
4. I love the relationship between Bas and Myst. They are sassy, sarcastic and yet romantic at all the right times.
5. The story felt “real” – you can believe that Bas and Myst would go save their daughter. All of the plot points didn’t feel forced and worked really well within the story as a whole.
6. If I had to pick one negative for me, it would be that the book felt just a little too long. Some scenes could have been cut out and the story would have made just as much sense.

Overall, I really liked this book! It was a great mix of fantasy, action and romance and I’d highly recommend it to someone looking to fill the void in those genres. I wouldn’t recommend purely binging it. I liked it much more when I was able to set it down and jump back into the world.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out some other books and reviews you might enjoy:
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1
#BookReview Light My Fire by Katie MacAlister
#BookReview Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

 

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#BookReview Fly With Me by Hudson Lin

 

If you’re looking for the cutest romance ever, pick up this tremendously amazing book by Hudson Lin.

The always fabulous Tamsen Parker introduced me to Hudson Lin, and one thousands thanks for her! Hudson Lin has been a recent favourite of mine so I jumped at the chance to pick up another book by this incredible author.

Fly With Me is an adorable, short novella by Hudson Lin following two flight attendants in Europe. Vivian Ng is a headstrong, feisty lady who can hold up her own. Marco Chang is a sexy, well intended man who forgets he met Vivian years ago. When their lives collide, they collide hard!

I love that this book features diverse characters – Asian-Canadians, a bisexual man, Asians from Peru, just to name a few. This book doesn’t force the diversity upon you, it just is. It’s natural, which is absolutely lovely. It felt like the world I live in – there are many diverse people all around, and we get to follow the story of two of them.

Vivian being so head strong made me relate to her on a very personal level. She loves her parents, wants to make sure they are taken care of and doesn’t want anybody telling her what to do. She butts heads with Marco a fair bit, but they end up building quite the friendship. Add a dash of romance, and this book just screams “BRIAR YOU NEED TO READ THIS”.

Overall, I loved this sweet book! It’s short enough to binge, lovely enough to fall in love with and fits wonderfully on my always decreasing space on my Kindle (haha…whoops!).

I highly recommend this book if you love short romances, diversity, novels set in Europe, and Canadian stories.

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book via Hudson Lin’s subscriber list.

 

You can find this book on:

Kobo
Barnes & Noble
Indigo, Chapters, Coles – Canadian Bookseller
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

If you liked this book or review, check out another you might enjoy!
#BookReview Three Months to Forever by Hudson Lin
#BookReview The Inside Track by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview Dare to Dream by Hudson Lin from the Rogue Nights Anthology Collection

 

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

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#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels

It’s time for another Top 10 List!! This time around I’m tackling romance. I typically read a lot of romance novels, so this list has been growing rapidly. Luckily, there are so many good books out there that I can make multiple lists! This will be Part 1 of my romance list. All of these books are shuffled throughout and given a random spot on my list.

Elevator pitch time!!

 

1. The Raven by Sylvain Reynard
Canada represent! Sylvain Reynard has a truly magical, fantasy book full of romance in The Raven. This book is dark, sexy and truly intriguing. Sylvain knows how to craft a magnificent book that keeps you hooked at every sexy turn. Historical art, sexy strangers, and knights in (not so) shining armour make this book a staple on my romance shelf. Seriously though, this book introduced me to Sylvain and I’ve been a fan ever since. These books are really hard to put down.

Purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

2. The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner
Blame Tamsen Parker for this one, because she recommended me one fabulous book! Genevieve Turner crafted one super sexy book in The Gaucho’s Lady. Sweet Eliana tries to run away, and accidentally runs into the arms of Juan. If you want a steamy book with a really tough outlaw, this book won’t let you down! But watch out, it gets pretty hot… to the point you might as well be in a steam room.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

3. Something Like Love by Sara Richardson
Time for a MAJOR throwback… Way back in 2015 I read a book by Sara and I instantly fell in love. Ranch hands, politics and second chance romances? Heck yes! This delicious book is super cute! I need to jump back into Sara’s book ASAP because these books can hardly contain the adorableness they hold. This book is an easy read, full of romance and packs a good punch.

Read this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

4. Lexington and 42nd by Kim Carmody
I LOVE a good sports romance, so Lexington and 42nd hit all the right notes for me! This sexy read matches quarterback Will with Emma. These two will flaunt their “will they? won’t they?” romance and keep you hooked at every turn. Kim Carmody might not be well known (YET!) but she’s got one heck of a talent! Sports romances need to make a comeback ASAP!

Click the links for Lexington and 42nd:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

5. Happy Ever After in Christmas by Debbie Mason
30, flirty and thriving… Right? This series by Debbie Mason is an absolute must in my home town. The Christmas, Colorado series is a lovely romantic series, but this particular book fell into my lap. Jill and Sawyer (an ex-hockey player, come on… you know I love those sports romances) are the “it” couple of this novel. Their ups and downs are on display, and man is it a cute, quick read! If you want a romance that isn’t too erotic, this book is a great fit!

This book can be found on…:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

6. Saving the CEO by Jenny Holiday
This contemporary romance is super sexy! Jenny Holiday introduces us to Jack and Cassie – Jack’s the CEO and Cassie is a bartender. When they walk into each other’s lives, things just get… complicated. Will they ignite a super sexy romance? Will it work? Oh man, this book is just too good! It’s full of rule breakers and changes the romance game on it’s head. What a delight!

Purchasing links include:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

7. So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch
So Near the Horizon is one of my top books of all time. I brag about it all the time, because it randomly appeared on my TBR when Jessica Koch recommended it to me. I am SO SO SO grateful she did, because it’s a real winner. This story follows Jessica and Danny and their whirlwind romance. It also addresses some tough issues, like HIV and living with someone who’s struggling. I highly recommend this book. I still get chills thinking about it to this very day.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

8. Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker
If you thought I would make a romance list without Tamsen Parker, you’d be wrong! This is one of the few Tamsen books I picked up late in the game, but it was worth it! In this novel, the story follows an Orthodox Jewish marriage. It’s a little different than the other books on this list, but I love it for it’s diversity. It’s not the normal romance novel, but it truly is mesmerizing. If you want to expand the diversity of your romance shelf, this book would be a great start.

Click the links for access to purchasing sites:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

9.  Cowboy Boots for Christmas: Cowboy Not Included by Carolyn Brown
This sexy cowboy story is adorbable! Our leads met in the war and are reuniting…and of course he’s a cowboy! Throw in the Christmas holidays, a little brother who needs protection and long lost friends and you’ve got yourself a real treat! This is a soft, sweet read and is full of cute romance. I loved reading this book because it’s so simple and lovely yet so perfect!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

10. Return to You by Samantha Chase
Oh, The Montgomery Brothers. What do you get when you throw a man who wants to marry the woman of his dreams in a romance novel? You get one epic chase! James Montgomery gets his starring role in this book as he chases the woman he lost – but he won’t let her get away this time! Will he win her heart back? Will she let herself fall head over heels? You will have to wait and see!

Purchase this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

That concludes my elevator pitch for Romance – Part 1! Have you read any of these books? What other romance novels do you recommend? Comment below with your faves from the list or from your own shelf! I’d love to add some more to my ever growing TBR!

 

Don’t enjoy romance? Why not check out my other Top Books Lists!
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1
#TopBooksList Young Adult Novels, Part 1
#TopBooksList Children’s Novels, Part 1

 

 

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