#BookReview Reclaiming Raven by Mary Holt

 

 

Reclaiming Raven is an intense thriller by Mary Holt.

If you’re looking for a book that will blow your mind, Reclaiming Raven fits the bill. I was truly blown away by the intensity of this book, since I really wasn’t expecting it to be so wild. Raven is trying to escape her abusive husband, and she will do anything to keep herself safe. Cole, on the other hand, is doing everything in his power to try to get Raven back (hence the title, Reclaiming Raven). Our lead character has disabilities, but that doesn’t disable her from being one epic female lead in this novel.

This book felt like the intensity of Jaws and Terminator mixed with the thrills of a James Bonds or Mission Impossible movie. You feel like the story is going one way, only for the book to flip it on it’s head and take you in another direction. The fast pace and thrills make this book a really interesting read. The book is violent and rough around it’s edges though, so it might not be the best book for every thrill seeking reader. I would definitely five it an R rating for it’s abusive relationship. The abuse and violence is described, not just suggested, so this book would not be a good fit for younger readers.

My biggest pet peeve of the novel was Raven being naive. This tough female leader can kick some serious behind and keeps herself safe, yet she still gets herself into some really stupid situations. Just leave the man and get away! Don’t trust an abusive man! My gosh, that annoyed me. It somehow works within the story, but it’s a general peeve of mine in general. This entire peeve could be a potential trigger for some readers, so readers beware! Always research a book before you read it.

On a side note, I loved that there was a dog in it – Millie! The dog didn’t feel forced and fit super well within the book.

Overall, I think this book is a unique, dramatic, thrilling ride. The story is written in an easy to read and follow style, and it moves fast enough to keep the reader interested. It’s rough, tough and violent, but if you’re into that sort of thing this book will fit perfectly on your shelf!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Mary Holt, in exchange for an honest review.

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#BookReview The Gift by Stephanie M. Matthews

The Gift by Stephanie M. Matthews was a horrific, thrilling treat!

This psychological, thrill ride of a novel showcases a unique take on religion. If Fae crazy? She’s hearing voices and a Gift from her grandmother has led her into some tempting and daunting situations. Will she get out alive? Will her friends survive? You’ll have to read to find out…

I was honestly surprised by this book – it had so many layers to it that I had to re-read a lot of chapters to really get the point (in a good way, of course). When you look at all of the aspects of this book, you get a real good idea of how talented Stephanie is. Christmas Day, German roots, bountiful landscapes, religious views and arts, and a dark yet intriguing writing style all creates a dark yet vibrant story. I kept getting pulled back into the book as I left it since I really had to know what was going to happen. This is one of the few books that I didn’t see the ending coming, which was nice.

Throw in a Frankie Valli reference, and I’m always game. On top of that, Stephanie is from Canada! It’s like this review was meant to be.

The genre of this book is hard to pick. It had a mixture of horror and thriller in there. I would recommend this book for at least 13+ if not an adult audience. There’s no crazy gore or R rated scenes, but the religion debate has a big influence on this novel.

If I had to summarize this book in one quote from the novel, it would be, “Sin is just what religious people call personal choices the church doesn’t like.” Seriously, that line gave me SHIVERS.

I don’t really have any negatives for this book, but I will say it’s a bit of a niche novel. It’s written beautifully, but some people might not like the themes. So, buyer beware (as always…) – research your books before you read them.

Overall, I liked this book. You could easily binge or set this book down, depending on your mood. I loved the prose and writing style Stephanie uses because it was absolutely perfect for the tone of this book. I’d love to read more from Stephanie in the future, because she’s clearly one talented author.

Four out of five stars.

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

 

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

 

Find out more about Stephanie M. Matthews:
Goodreads
www.stephaniemmatthews.com
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Instagram

 

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*Photo courtesy of the author, Stephanie M. Matthews

#BookReview Tamisan by Susan McKenzie

Tamisan by Susan McKenzie was an epic, action-packed, sci-fi fueled novel!

Action. Adventure. Sci-Fi. New Adult. Thriller. Suspense. Fantasy. Supernatural.

All of those terms can directly be applied to this magnificent novel by Susan McKenzie. Seriously, I didn’t know what I was in for when I picked up this book! The synopsis makes this seem like just another fun, sci-fi novel yet it was so much more than I expected! Zhenna/Tamisan was a lovely character to follow along her absolutely insane journey and I can’t wait to see more of her!

Zhenna is traveling to assist in some space science experiments when things go horribly wrong. She’s the only survivor of her crew, but that’s not the only thing wrong. Her soul has also been moved into the body of one of the gorgeous natives to the planet. This disturbing science experiment changes her life forever and sends her on a troubling journey in a foreign land. Slowly, she discovers the powers this woman held and all of the magic that goes along with being supernatural. Oh, and there’s a little romance in store for her too!

This book had a lot packed into one book, and that’s why the book is so good! But that is also the book’s weak point – I felt like this book could have been split into two or three novels. I seriously loved every minute of it, but there’s was just SO much. Most readers will be okay with this, since Susan delivers with a fast-paced and thrilling adventure, but some may not be as fond of it.

Whether you’re looking for a fantastical book or a science fiction, this book is definitely worth the read. It has a lot of marketing potential with the various genres it holds inside. I like that it didn’t just stick to one genre because it did make this book far more unique. If anything, I felt like I was most confused on which age group it should be marketed too. The genres was easy – it mixes fantasy with science fiction and thrills and suspense. There’s so much in there! But at times it felt like it was moving close to an R rating (with potential rape scenes and some harsh violence) but then it slowed back down in the romance department and felt like a Young Adult novel. My best guess was it was going for New Adult and it seems to fit well there.

Overall, this book was one solid thrill ride! The positives of this book far outweigh the negatives and I’d highly recommend it! It’s a little on the longer side but it’s worth every word on every page!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

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Chapters/Indigo/Coles

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If you liked this book, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis

#BookReview The Last Straw by Ed Duncan

The Last Straw by Ed Duncan is absolutely ridiculous! In a good way, of course.

Fear not fellow reader, you don’t need to read the first book in this series to understand what’s going on in this novel. But if you want to, I totally understand why!

I started this book with low expectations (I started it around exam time and life had been already a ball of stress) and man, did I have no idea what I was in for. This book was far better than I could have expected and was worth every second. I’m almost annoyed with myself for not expecting it to be good, because it was far better than just “good”.

This thriller novel is fast paced, easy to read and never has a dull moment. It’s not too long, it has a good selection of quality characters to follow and it ends on a good note. The ending makes you feel satisfied if you don’t want to continue the series, but it also lets you know another book could be on the way (and my goodness, there better be another book and it better get in my hands ASAP, you feel me?).

Rico, a sweet guy with a “Dexter” like complex, doesn’t want to murder a teenager. When another man tries to make the hit and misses (hitting another person instead), the plot gets moving into many twists and turns. Paul and Rico’s intertwining story keeps the reader engaged and anxiously waiting to see if the killer will get justice. Along the way, a few side plots keep it interesting too!

Rico and Jean were my favourite duo in the story, but Paul, Beverly, Evelyn and the rest of the crew also have really good material to work with. I really want to read more about the mischievous pair of Rico and Jean in whatever way Ed Duncan can give us, because they are just way more interesting than the regular thriller characters I read about.

If I had to give some negatives about this book, it would be that there is some R rated content. Murders, violence and potential rape are all apart of the pages of this book but they aren’t graphic. This might limit the audience though, if the reader has triggers or isn’t into the adult book scene.

This book gets two thumbs up from me. I honestly loved this book and I didn’t want to put it down. The book helped me get out of a reading slump and actually had me annoyed that it was over so soon! Ed Duncan has a real talent and I hope he continues this series. If anything, I hope more readers find this book because it’s excellent quality. I would absolutely read more books like this in the future if I could get my hands on it.

Five out of five stars!

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

 

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

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More information about The Last Straw from Book Publicity Services:

The Last Straw is a thrilling crime novel by Ed Duncan. It is the second book in his Pigeon Blood Red series.

 

Synopsis:

 

It started with a run-of-the-mill carjacking.  An inner-city kid with no priors and no experience with a gun fumbled the ball, and the driver ended up dead.

 

A teenage girl witnessed the whole thing, and now a target has been placed on her back. The carjacker’s father, a notorious crime boss, is willing to move heaven and earth to prevent her from testifying, even if that means hiring a hitman to kill her.

 

Richard “Rico” Sanders, the best in the business, was his first choice for the job.  But there was a problem. He was a “killer with a conscience” and a killer with a conscience doesn’t murder teenagers.  The crime boss reluctantly turns to someone who has no such qualms, John D’Angelo. There was bad blood between him and Rico, so knowing that Rico had passed on the job, he eagerly accepted it.

 

Rico and the girls lawyer, Paul Elliott, form an uneasy alliance to try and protect her from the hitman. As the long-simmering feud between Rico and John D’Angelo reaches boiling point, bodies start to pile up in rapid succession… and old scores will be settled.

 

Praise:

“This Chicago set thriller is a pacy read, written with an edge and style… For me, this is even better than the first in the Pigeon-Blood Red series and it does work well as a stand-alone… Ed Duncan’s series will sweep up fans as it goes along.” – Crime Thriller Hound

“The Last Straw is a Hugely Satisfying Crime Novel by Ed Duncan.” – Best Thrillers

“With danger looming in every chapter, The Last Straw is an action-packed and nerve-racking read. Duncan skillfully draws the reader into a complex web of characters… A few key twists within the storyline keep the reader intrigued in this fast-paced thriller…The Last Straw is an outstanding crime thriller…” – 5 Stars, Red City Review

ED DUNCAN The Last Straw

About the Author:

Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH and is at work on the third installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red series. To learn more, go to http://eduncan.net/

 

Readers can connect with Ed on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Photos from Kelsey at Book Publicity Services.

#BookReview Murder on Safari by Peter Riva

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Murder on Safari is a unique mystery read with in depth descriptions.

I didn’t find this book matched well with me as a reader, but the book is still incredible. Peter Riva creates an amazing tale woven in this novel that is full of mystery in Africa.

For me, I couldn’t get into the writing style. Peter Riva paints the story well with his words, but we just didn’t mash well. I’d highly recommend this novel if you love a good mystery or tales surrounding another country, but I don’t think I’ll be rereading this novel.

The pacing builds as the story goes on, becoming more and more intriguing as each page passes. Slowly, the details and mystery unravels to create an epic ending that will leave you breathless. If you pay attention well, you can connect the clues by the end of the story. But, if you’d rather just follow along and have fun, it’s easy to get lost in this story that way as well.

Pero and Mbuno are well developed characters who work well together. Some of the best comedic lines come from this duo! You’ll find yourself growing to love these characters as each page passes by. Also, the introduction of the other characters felt like it flowed well with the story as well. I didn’t find any of these characters were forced into the narrative.

The setting of Africa was truly breathtaking. I’m not sure how accurate it is (since I haven’t been there) but it felt real. Other authors could easily learn from Peter Riva’s talents in description of a location. At times, I felt it was almost TOO descriptive, but if you like that sort of writing this book might be for you!

Overall, this book wasn’t for me. I think it is an incredible read that should find it’s way onto more shelves. I would recommend this book if you are a fan of mysteries, love good quality in descriptions, or are looking for a book that is out of the ordinary (in a good way, of course!).

Two out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find out more about this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22750225-murder-on-safari

 

Find out more about the author, Peter Riva on:

His website:  http://www.peterriva.com/

On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/peterrivaauthor

Purchase this book on:

Amazon.com: Amazon.com – Murder on Safari

Amazon.ca: Amazon.ca – Murder on Safari

 

If you read this review, use the hashtag #briarsreviews on Twitter and start a conversation! @ReviewAlholic

And comment below – have you read any thrillers later?

#BookReview Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib

Gun Kiss 2

Gun Kiss is a riveting read full of action, crime and suspense!

I’m not gonna lie, this book impressed me! I hadn’t picked up a really good crime novel in a while, so reading this book was a nice change in flow. Following Blake and Goldie was a unique thrill that was well worth the time.

Goldie is an actress and Blake is a writer/crime fighter/Ethan Hunt-esque man. When a drug lord tries to steal Goldie, Blake comes to the rescue! Of course, along the way there is some romance and suspense (because you can’t get two good looking people in a room and NOT expect them to hook up).

Along the way this ex-military hunk deals with lots of high energy level action. There are hit men after him, his girl is almost always getting abducted and he just can’t seem to catch a break. Even with their bodyguards around, there are constantly bullets flying their way. Throw in trafficking, insane Russians and a famous gun and you’ve got one wild ride!

This book walked a fine line between thriller and suspenseful crime novel. I think it mixed in just a perfect amount of romance and mystery to fulfill all of my wishes for the book. There is even some history thrown into the mix just to spice it up. If anything, I feel like this book would do better in a series than as a stand alone. There were moments that I wished the book would have been split up into numerous novels because there was so many great plot lines and opportunities to take. For me, that would be my only downfall of the novel – there was so much good content it could have been a couple of books.

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast-paced and fun thrill ride. It’s not a book for younger readers due to the blood shed, death, and R rated sequences sprinkled throughout the novel. I think an older teen would easily be able to pick this up (because, let’s be honest, most television now can be pretty gore-y).

Overall, this book is a smash hit in my opinion! It was fast enough to keep me hooked, it had just enough romance to make me sigh and the action felt like Mission Impossible styled fun!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author Khaled Talib.

 

You can locate this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Kobo

Barnes and Nobles

Gun Kiss

Gun Kiss 3

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#BookReview Cursed Vines by Suzanne Ferreira

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Cursed Vines by Suzanne Ferreira is a unique mix of suspense, thrills and fantasy!

This book surprised me with how fantastic it was – not often do I pick up a book with no reviews on Goodreads and it be absolutely magical in all the best ways! I feel like a really lucky reader who gets to yell “First!” in the comment section since I’ve found such a truly unique and addicting read!

Now, to the review:

This story is full of incredible descriptions that paint this story onto your eyes. The descriptions of the characters, their wardrobe, the food and the history of Portugal and it’s culture were just breathtaking! As someone with little experience or knowledge of the Portuguese culture, I felt like I connected and understood so much more from just this book! The portrayal of the culture and locations were respectful and made me feel like I truly dove into this world. Suzanne just has a way with words that makes you connect so well with the story and it’s characters. If anything, I’d suggest this book alone for the way Suzanne paints the narrative for the reader.

Some of the little quirks of this novel was the different aspects of the culture – burning ears means someone is gossiping about you, and black cats being good luck because they will absorb all of the evil. I really liked the little tidbits of information that were sprinkled around the plot development. I felt like those really enhanced this book up a notch on the review spectrum.

Now onto the plot! This book, at first glance, seems like a typical thriller set in an exotic land to the average fiction reader. But alas, good reader, this book mixes in so many genres in a truly unbelievable way that it should be in it’s own subgenre. First of all, our lead Talia is a journalist who is seeking out murderers of twin girls – check off that crime and thriller box on your checklist. Next, there’s a healthy helping of the black arts, a cult, some voodoo and omens to check off the fantasy or supernatural check box. There’s a teaspoon of romance (just barely a teaspoon), some murder and drama to mix all of the plot line together into an epic journey.

Talia goes off to Portugal with her boyfriend Jared and her friend Caryn after a family member dies. There’s a little romance and a little conflict that sends all three characters on their separate ways – Caryn chasing a man & Jared and Talia breaking up. Talia meets the super sexy Nuno and sets off on her journalistic adventure. The family drama left behind after the funeral ignites this journey for Talia, since she also wants to discover some of her family’s secrets. Once she goes off with Nuno though, her world unravels and the plot travels like a B&M roller coaster (lots of flips, turns and crazy speeds).

The plot itself sounds like a mess, but it’s just because this book is so hard to summarize! There is so much going on, but it all works so well together! Suzanne has crafted this excellent epic that I really loved! There’s so much drama and suspense throughout the book, I couldn’t even put it down!

If I’m tearing apart the speed of the novel, I felt like it was pretty even paced until 3/4ths through the book. Suddenly, it picks up speed and the action goes nuts! I really liked that aspect of it, because I do tend to get bored near the end if nothing exciting happens. Alongside that point, I feel that Suzanne made the story slowly unfold at a good pace. Each little important plot tidbit is thrown in to make the reader catch up to what is really happening, and I thought it was perfection! As I slowly began to piece together what was happening, a little tidbit was thrown in that made me go “Yes! I was right” and then the plot continued to bounce along.

But, dear reader, you may be asking if there were negatives – and of course there were! No book is ever perfect. Here’s my list.

1.For a journalist, Talia is really trusting of people! That does set of the plot, but to me she was a little too trusting…
2. Jared/Talia’s relationship was SO GOOD. I wanted more! This isn’t a bad part of the book because there wasn’t really room in the narrative to expand about their relationship and relationship issues, but I would have loved to see more of them! Their dynamic was so intriguing! Ugh!
3. The ending just seems to stop suddenly! Just like a snap of the fingers and it’s over! I really wanted to know what happened – who survives, who doesn’t, what was the point of the dreams/omens and what was a dream/omen, the fallout of all the action, etc. I liked this book to the point I wanted more (which is a rarity).
4. Evil villain explaining all the evil plans – it worked really well within this book, but I feel like it’s a cliche some readers might not like. Was it a negative for me? No, not at all! I actually liked it, but I know a lot of readers cringe at that thought so I threw it down here.

Overall, this book was really good! It really surprised me that more people aren’t picking it up because it is so good! It’s the perfect mix of action and suspense! I’d highly recommend it, especially if you love thrillers, mysteries and action!

Five out of five stars!

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

 

Find out more about Suzanne Ferreira on:

Goodreads – Author Page

http://www.suzanneferreira.com/

Twitter – @sferreiradixon

Facebook – @sferreiradixon

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads – Cursed Vines

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Kobo

Barnes & Nobles

Chapters/Indigo/Coles – Canadian Book Seller

 

If you enjoyed this review, leave me a comment below or give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out another book you might enjoy! #BookReview Twisted Reasons by Geza Tatrallyay