#BookReview Dark Bliss by Shay Mills

Dark Bliss: Love Knows No Bounds by Shay Mills is a historical, fantasy read full of vampires.

This is a relatively short read packed with lots of content! Vampires, fantasy, history and romance are packed tight all within this book. I was honestly shocked how short it was for how much drama and content there is (which isn’t a bad thing! Sometimes a girl wants a short book with lots going on).

I did find that this book wasn’t aimed at me for it’s audience, but I can appreciate the novel for what it is. Fans of historical romance with a splash of fantasy and horror will enjoy this book.

You might be asking, “So, Briar… Why wasn’t this book for you?” Well, let me explain.

This book started with a strong opening paragraph that had me feeling some incredible horror vibes. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it didn’t seem like it was going to be a romance or purely fantasy novel. That horror element quickly dissipates and unfolds into a period drama. I really wanted that horror element to stick – I thought it was going to be a really cool vibe mixed in with the fantasy and romance. There is the odd splash of horror later on, but it’s not as big of an element as I thought it would be (since it was in that initial opening).

So we keep going – we’ve got lots of characters coming out of the woodworks fast, and some of them only in flashbacks. I wanted a little more description out of these moments. I found this book was heavy in dialogue and not in description. Don’t get me wrong (again), I love some incredible dialogue but I also need a writer to spell out how the setting looks and feels, how the characters are, and so on. Just a pinch more description would have made me a happy reader, but this trend continues throughout the book. That being said, the style is interesting. This book makes it feel like someone is re-telling the story to a friend. It’s how I imagine my buddies telling me about their works of fiction that they write.

The characters were an interesting collection of people. Some you can relate to, some you want to throw off a cliff, and others you wonder if they might have a bigger meaning to the story than they actually do. Alma was a character I loved to hate. I did wonder if she was going to be more of a “big baddie” than she was… But she was pretty insane.

My biggest gripe with this book is the romance. The sex happens ridiculous amounts of times, the orgasms seem unrealistic for how many and how often, and the descriptions of sex felt like a man was writing it. Now, don’t get me wrong again – men can write romance and sex scenes – but sometimes you can tell it’s a man trying to write for a woman. Vibrating junk, orgasms that happen excessive times in a row that would probably kill the woman and just unrealistic sex scenes make me grimace. I like disappearing into a book, but really odd sex scenes tear me out of it.

Add in a few trigger warnings for this book: Abuse towards women, abuse towards pregnant women, miscarriage. All those fun things some readers don’t like – be warned.

Overall, this book is an interesting read. It’s nice to take a trip down a different path in my reading journey. It’s a historical book that takes place in the dark time of slaves with lots of twists and turns.

Three out of five stars.

This book was sent to me in exchange of an honest review.

Give this book a look see by following the links below:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Learn more about the author, Shay Mills, through these websites:
https://www.shaymillsauthor.com/
Goodreads Author Page – Shay Mills

Check out some other books on my blog that you might enjoy:
Nothing is Strange by Mike Russell
His Name was Zach by Peter Matruneac
Spiral by Khaled Talib

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#BookReview Winds of Darkness by Rebecca L. Snowe

Winds of Darkness by Rebecca L. Snowe opened my eyes to the wonderful world of fantasy novels.

I normally despise fantasy novels. I have a slew of reasons why they don’t normally vibe with me, yet this book proved to me that maybe it’s just the book and not the genre. Why? Because this book was incredible, kept me hooked and wasn’t confusing.

Seriously, this book made me love fantasy! This kind of book makes me realize why people love digging into these books. There are so many characters, so much world building and yet it didn’t feel like it was all that long. This book is over 600 pages but you wouldn’t know it! Rebecca L. Snowe has a real talent and I hope she continues using it with the sequel to this book (because it left on a massive cliffhanger and MAN do I hate cliffhangers).

Rebecca also does an excellent job with making me enjoy most of the characters. There are always going to be characters you don’t like, but having them all weave together somehow in the story was truly fun and interesting! I loved the Queen (Azkanysh) and the plot line there. The cliffhanger it left for her… Ooh, I need the next book as soon as possible! Rebecca is so mean leaving us hanging there! I also enjoyed Dark Moon and Nathaira. I didn’t expect so many worlds to collide so quickly, but I loved every second of it!

Shapeshifters, Queens taking the thrones over the males (when women aren’t respected), a headstrong Princess trying to make a name for herself, an assassin and more are all apart of this truly mesmerizing book. I highly recommend it if you love fantasy or are just starting out! This is what I hoped Game of Thrones would have been. So, yeah, by my standards this is better than Game of Thrones. With a great, fast paced environment with lots of descriptions and character development, this book is a winner!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

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

Find out urgent updates about Rebecca L. Snowe on:
Goodreads
https://rebeccalsnowe.com/about/
Twitter: @RebeccaLSnowe

Do you love fantasy? Here are some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Fallen: Princeborn Stolen by Jean Lee
#BookReview Valyo Rising by R.A. Mendsen
#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda

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

And like me on Facebook for more urgent updates! @BriarsReviews on Facebook

Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Many eons ago in my high school/teens years, I used to read J-14 magazine. That magazine was my lifeline to society – celebrity gossip, posters of the Jonas Brothers, and book recommendations! During those formative years, I remember seeing endless advertisements for Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and I never truly forgot about this book… Fast forward to my mid-twenties! I’m at a local charity book sale and I see THE BOOK! The book was right there within my reach! I picked it up, put it on my book shelf and forgot about it… until recently when I cleaned my house and donated many books so I had room on my shelves.

I am SO glad I finally picked this book up. This was another one of those books that gets me hooked instantly and falling in love with some teenie bopper characters. Throw in fantasy, typical YA “I can save the world”-esque plots and magic and you’ve got me hooked!

This book is funny, super sweet and sometimes sassy. It’s absolutely the first book in the series and it leaves off with one of those dreaded cliffhangers that makes me want to read the next book ASAP.

We follow Sophia (she goes by Sophie) in this adventure filled novel after she performed a love spell a little too well. She gets sent off to Hecate, Hex Hall, and the rest is history! Sophie gets roomed with Jenna the vampire, she holds classes with some ‘Mean Girl’ clique-y girls and might be falling for the school’s bad boy. She’s the daughter of a powerful warlock, everyone seems to hold that against her and she’s got some wild family history behind her. Yes, this sounds like the typical YA plot but it’s written so wonderfully that I didn’t even care! Rachel opens this world and makes me feel like I was apart of the journey. I felt for Sophie and Jenna, I ogled after Archer and I absolutely HATED Elodie. Hey, I was a teenage girl once. I remember the mean girls ruining all of the fun.

My favourite part of this book is all of the sassy one liners thrown around. Sarcasm is the way I live my life, so I loved that this book is full of it! Sophie, Jenna and Archer are absolutely hilarious. I also adored the side characters, the Groundskeeper being my favourite.

My least favourite? STUPID CLIFFHANGERS. I hate them and I truly believe that a book should be able to stand on it’s own. I hate when I’m left off feeling cheated at the ending. Yes, I know Rachel wants us to read the next book in the series but I don’t like when I’m left feeling like I HAVE to read the next book – I WANT to.

Overall, this book is a real gem! I’m glad I finally found it. Back in my teenage years I didn’t have the funds (I mean, I’m a college student…I still don’t, but I know how to bargain hunt now!), so it’s awesome that I found a book I’ve been dreaming of! I still remember that ad page distinctly…

Five out of five stars!

 

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

If you enjoyed this book, check out another book or review you might enjoy!:
Collection 2: #TopTens – Young Adult Part 1
#BookReview Once Upon a Vampire by Mari Mancusi
#BookReview Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

 

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

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#BookReview Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

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Here’s another #ThrowbackThursday – a novel I read years ago, but reread and created a review for!! This is one of my favourites – Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.

 

 

Clockwork Princess is a beautiful finish to one of YA’s best series in recent years.

For years I waited anxiously for a book like Clockwork Princess – a story that ends beautifully, perfectly and without total heart break. With characters as strong as Jem, Will and Tessa, we needed a solid ending that would make all fans happy but also tie up the story just perfectly, and Cassandra Clare delivered.

This book will pull at your heartstrings and destroy you. It’s such a beautiful ending it’s hard to believe it’s all over with. The ups and downs of this series is ended just perfectly that there are no loose ends and no destroyed fans (at least, from what I’ve seen). I dare say that this book is the best book Cassandra Clare has ever written – it rivals the base Mortal Instrument series, and has one step up. This book was even better than City of Heavenly Angels, in my opinion. With such a satisfying conclusion, I have to say it deserves more than five stars. Not many books can be finished so perfectly.

Would I recommend this series? Absolutely. While it’s a YA, it definitely doesn’t feel like your typical YA story. Adults can enjoy this – there isn’t as much ooey, gooey silly teenage angst that is in most YA books. It’s a grown up YA with the odd silly scene. So it’s safe to say it’s a good read. This series can also be used as a standalone – you don’t need to read all the other series (Mortal Instruments, Dark Artifices) to understand this book at all. It is the prequel series to The Mortal Instruments, if you’re interested in reading further (they can be read out of order via the series though. TMI came out first, then this series and now The Dark Artifices). I would suggest reading the three books of this series in order though – it’s worthy.

It also has one of the most beautiful covers. I love the original cover – I saw a new one at my local book store recently and it wasn’t as beautiful, but in terms of cover art – judging the book by it’s cover it allowed for this book. With such a great cover comes such a great story.

Problems with this book/series:
Yes, there’s a love triangle. Can they be annoying? Yes. Does it work in this book? Yeah, it’s YA so it’s kind of an expected plot twist these days.
Weak characters – yeah, there are some. But personally, I find having all characters be strong can make for a boring book.
Repeat characters – Cassandra Clare uses the same characters/developments with different names and faces. It’s annoying, but as long as you aren’t just reading her books and expand your library, you don’t notice to much.
Rule Breakers – some of the “cannot be broken rules” are broken in this book. It’s kind of annoying in my eyes, but what can you do? It created the happy ending most fans wanted, so I guess we can over look that…
Tessa – FINALLY we learn what Tessa is. I’m a little disappointed it took so long because it would have been cooler to flesh out all about her throughout the series, but whatever, it works, I guess.

So, overall, this book is really on the fence for most readers – people either love it passionately to no end (ugly cry, putting the book on a pedestal and praying to it sort of deal) or hated it (rip the pages out, burn the book, demand a refund, etc). I’m on the end that enjoyed it and I definitely kept the book (Look at that cover, how can you not love the book for the cover alone?).

So, I will give it five out of five stars. It had it’s faults for sure, but it was a great read that kept me interested, was fast paced, and had an ending that I found to be good.

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