#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 I Am the Night by Ruth Miranda

Ruth Miranda has a way with words that really pulls me into her books.

I Am the Night is a continuation of the Blood Trilogy series. It takes place inbetween the first and second novels, but it’s still one marvelous read.

In this little novella, we take a peek into Marcus’s life. His back story of becoming a vampire is more fleshed out this time around. I have to say that I really enjoyed it, despite all of it’s brutality. There’s lots of blood, gore and sex yet it doesn’t feel over the top. Somehow, Ruth also manages to mix in the raw emotion and crazy roller coaster that Marcus is going through. The highs and the lows are all present, and somehow she moves seamlessly from one to the other. It’s really intriguing to read, to be brutally honest.

I was totally addicted to the Blood trilogy, so this little novella made perfect sense to me. I wouldn’t recommend picking this story up unless you’ve at least read the first book in that series. It won’t make much sense otherwise. I’d label this book a “companion” novel to that main series. I’d like to see more little side stories like this one in the Blood trilogy series. It’s such a good series with so much plot and development! It deserves little stories like this to keep it alive!

I’d give this book an R rating for the intense horror of blood and death. It’s not overly horrific, but if you don’t like hearing about vampires killing people or blood then this book won’t be for you!

Overall, this book is epic! I love Ruth Miranda and her work! It’s no surprise that I’d binge read this book in one sitting too. It was well worth the wait and I hope Ruth brings some more books my way!

Five out of five stars!

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

 

Find more books by Ruth Miranda on Amazon:
Amazon.com – Ruth Miranda

Check out my reviews of other books by Ruth Miranda by clicking the links below:
#BookReview Blood by Ruth Miranda
#BookReview Marianne by Ruth Miranda
#BookReview Scars by Ruth Miranda
#BookReview A Study for Love 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

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

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

 

#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1

It’s time for another collection of amazing books! This time around I am focusing on books that were full of fantasy. This is only part one of my fave fantasy reads, so don’t you worry if you don’t see your favourite! Let these 10 books fill up your TBR for the time being. These books are in no certain order, but I absolutely loved all of them!

Time to get started with my elevator pitches for these sweet, sweet novels!

 

1. #BookReview You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister
I have loved Katie MacAlister since my high school years! I accidentally stumbled upon her in my local bookstore and ever since I’ve been infatuated with her novels. Her books are cute, silly, fun and full of ooey, gooey romance! This book series is my favourite of all of her books – Aisling Grey’s series! Aisling falls in love with a handsome Dragon named Drake, and hilarity ensues! If you’re looking for a fun yet fantastical novel full of romance, then this is the perfect book for you!

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

2. #BookReview Bittersweet Symphony by Rebecca McNutt
Bittersweet Symphony was introduced to me by the author, fellow Canadian Rebecca McNutt. This book fell well into my wheelhouse – horror, fantasy and Canadian roots! And man, did this book not disappoint! If you’re looking for something a little darker, then following this New York set novel full of kooky occurrences will meet your expectations! If I had to pick one book to describe this book, I’d use “gothic”.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

3. Omens and/or No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong
When you’re putting Kelley Armstrong on a list, it’s hard to pick just one book. I had a really hard time picking between these two books (because I absolutely love both of them) so I figured to add a “bonus” book to the list! No Humans Involved is Jaime’s story in the Otherworld universe. Women of the Otherworld is one epic series following strong, female leads who are witches, werewolves and necromancers. Jaime (the necromancer) has always been my fave and I have always been in love with Jeremy Danvers (the sexy, alpha werewolf) so I had to include it! No Humans Involved isn’t as cutesy as Katie MacAlister’s books, but it is a couple steps up on the staircase – it has lots of action, a splash of comedy, and some super sexy scenes. And then you’ve got Omens, which is a whole ‘nother ballpark. Cainsville has all sorts of weird and strange things going on, and is a little more R rated fantasy (and mystery). If you’re looking for some mystery in your fantasy novel, and something not so cutesy (but pretty dark), grab this book! I read these YEARS ago and I really need to jump back into these series soon, because I haven’t finished either and I love my fellow Canadian, Kelley Armstrong! Can you believe I missed the chance to meet her in my hometown years ago?!

Find these books on:
Amazon.ca – No Humans Involved
Amazon.ca – Omens
Amazon.com – No Humans Involved
Amazon.com – Omens
Kobo – No Humans Involved
Kobo – Omens

4. Quick Book Reviews: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent
This list is just full of my old faves! Rachel Vincent was another author I stumbled upon in my high school years (just like Katie and Kelley) and I still love her! Her Shifter series started me out, but Menagerie blew my mind! This fantasy novel involves a carnival full of strange beings. The grotesque carnival puts these human “monsters” on display, but Delilah is a little different…
I’m disappointed in myself that I never picked up the sequel yet. When I got this book in my hands, I absolutely devoured the book. I was totally obsessed and needed to read more, but my local bookstores never got a physical copy in. Rachel Vincent is an author to look out for, whether you want some good old YA novels or some super eerie or romantic adult novels! Also, she’s been super nice to me on social media so I’ll root for her everyday of the week!

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

5. Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead
Add Richelle to my “discovered in high school and still loves” list! Vampire Academy introduced me to her, and Gameboard of the Gods made me truly obsessed with her. I’m still angry this series was never truly finished, but it is worth the read! This fantasy series is for adults (a step away from the YA Vampire Academy universe) and it’s absolutely insane! Religion meets fantasy meets military. Add a pinch of romance, a dash of suspense and a barrel of action and you’ve got one of my fave fantasies EVER. Maybe, just maybe, if everyone reads this book she’ll FINALLY release the last one… Maybe? Probably not. But a girl can dream, right?!

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

6. #BookReview Blood by Ruth Miranda
Blood is the first book in the Blood series by Ruth Miranda, but let this book be the placeholder for the whole series. Ruth Miranda approached me to read her books, and MAN AM I SO HAPPY SHE DID. This series is absolutely R-rated wild with vampires, fantasy and magic. She’s a genius and her writing ability is insane! If you want a really dark and gruesome story that is addicting, pick this book up. It does have some touchy subjects, so it’s not for the faint of heart. It 100% deserves a spot on this epic fantasy list!

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

7. #BooKReview Fast Backward by David Patneaude
Time to switch it up a little with David Patneaude’s intriguing YA. Fast Backward mixes time travel with historical fiction together when Bobby Hasting witnesses an atomic explosion. The history of Germany, bombs and the amazing intelligence of teenagers is expressed in this book. I thought it was super cool and the time travel worked really well in this book. It’s light-hearted despite being about such a touchy subject. It’s well worth the read!

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

8. #BookReview – Apocalypse the Memoir by CS Oliver
Zombies. Yes, I have finally included a book about zombies on the list! Apocalypse the Memoir is a sarcastic yet wildly addicting ride through Canada. It’s R-rated, it’s gorey, and it has some hilarious one liners you wouldn’t expect in a book about zombies! The sassiness of this book is at Level 500, so all of you sarcastic little bookworms will get a real kick out of it!

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

9. Quick Book Review: Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Asylum is a creepy YA novel based in, you guessed it, an asylum. What makes this book even cooler is the fact that there are pictures in the book to give you some epic visuals. The book is full of horror and it’ll keep you guessing at every turn. I loved picking this book up because it’s the perfect mix of horror without the crazy R rated content. Sometimes, you just don’t want the excessive gore.

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

10. Awakened by Harley Austin
Federal agents, government conspiracies and thrills mixed with fantasy? Heck yes! This book is your typical adult thriller with fantasy entwined all throughout. If you’re looking for a book but don’t want to fully commit to a fantasy novel, then this book will give you all the thrills and more! I really enjoyed Harley Austin’s book and it’s a real treat if you want something a little different.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

There you have it! 11 fantasy books to top up your TBR shelves. Have you read any of these books or authors before? Which was your favourite? What other fantasy books novels should I read and add to the lists? Also, what other lists do you want to see? Comment below and let me know!

 

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

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

#BookReview Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

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Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite authors, and not just because she’s Canadian! Her Women of the Otherworld series has always and will always knock my socks off!

This novel follows Elena yet again, but as the title suggests – this time she is “Stolen”. This book amps up the action, making it equal (if not better) to the original “Bitten” novel. I found this book so strong as a sequel, that it was really hard not picking up the third book immediately after this one! Elena and her pack, as well as the rest of the ladies that eventually lead this series, are a force to be reckoned with! Kelley knows how to write her characters strong and passionate!

This series is definitely for adults (although, there is a YA series if you’re interested…), due to some of the brutality the story can get into. It’s not an R rated novel, but the themes are better suited for adults (some mature YA audiences could easily read it, I know I originally read these as a teenager).

I also really enjoy Elena and Clay together. Their relationship isn’t the smoothest, and it has it’s rocky moments, but they work really well together. Knowing that their relationship builds well over multiple books, I can look back and be impressed with how Kelley built them over time. The other characters and their relationships are also very strong, but these two really shine in the Elena books.

Kelley will pull you in and have you hooked almost instantly. If you haven’t read anything by her, get on it! I love this author, and she always meets my expectations and surpasses them!

If there was one series I’d highly recommend, it’s this series! It has drama, action, adventure, romance and comedy all packaged into a fantastic Canadian series! It’s well worth the read, and worth every penny I’ve spent on this series (even when I accidentally bought doubles and triples of the books, because I forgot the order…whoops!). If I did have one recommendation, try not to read this series far apart from each other. I find it’s a great binge read, because the story is so full of lore and excitement!

And if you couldn’t get enough of this series, there’s a television show based off of the book (it’s pretty close for first season, but second and third are loosely based – but it’s still incredble!).

Five out of five stars! Can I make that six out of five? No? Darn. I guess it’ll stick to five!

 

Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11922.Stolen

Or purchase this book on: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

 

If you enjoyed this review, why not check out another book you might enjoy? Quick Book Reviews: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

And while you’re at it, follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with my latest reading antics! @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview Scars by Ruth Miranda

There is a BIG time jump (and by big, I mean two years) in this novel. There is a slight summary of the first book in this series, which is helpful, but if you haven’t read the first novel in a LONG time, maybe read a quick summary or a few reviews to get yourself caught up!

Scars follows Marcus and Cai as they search for their Father (Titus). Life is getting trickier with their abilities, but they are determined to track him down no matter the consequences. Has their Father taken on a new name? Will some ghosts from their past come back to haunt them? And will their new friends betray them? These are all worthy questions to ponder as you make your way through this book.

I have to say, I liked this better than the first one! I think this sequel ups the thrills and fun, especially with Marcus and Cai interacting. It is a bit darker than it’s predecessor, but I thought it was a great addition to this series! Although, the worst part of the book is the cliffhanger. Ruth likes to leave you hanging and desperate for the next novella! So, we’ll all have to wait and see what happens to our boys and their new friends and family in the final book of the trilogy.

The book is a fantasy novel, full of vampires, fey and witches. It’s not horror, but does have one sexy scene that makes it closer to R than you’d expect. There are dark tones and themes, but nothing that will scare you or disturb you too much.

It’s also rather fast paced. I felt myself easily reading this book and suddenly it was over! But it was a delightful read. So as short and quick as it was, the book turned out excellent! Some of the scenes are quite shocking, and I didn’t see them coming. Ruth has a real talent at throwing those twists and turns at you, throwing you off guard for the next scene.

On a side note, I love that the titles of these books actually play into the stories! Blood was a big scene stealer in the first novella, while scars are often discussed in this one. I always love seeing the titles having some relation to the book, but this one really worked well!

Overall, this book was a real gem! I’m definitely getting more into this series and I want to read more by Ruth Miranda! Her books are truly excellent!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book 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

Find Scars on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Scars

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Scars

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Scars

Find Blood, the first book in this series on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Blood

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Blood

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Blood

Find some more reads by Ruth Miranda:

Amazon.con – A Study for Love / Amazon.ca – A Study for Love

 

Amazon.com – Ruth Miranda

 

If you read this review, use the hashtag #briarsreviews and give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Marianne by Ruth Miranda

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This book starts off with a BANG!

Seriously, I couldn’t believe that the book just jumped into the action, like some epic movie sequel! I loved this sweet surprise, since it’s a major change from the books I have been reading lately.

Ruth Miranda, the fantastic author, opens up the realm of fantasy even further in this book. The slow unraveling of this fantastical universe seemed to work really well within the story. I don’t think I would have liked this series as much if she would have thrown all of the elements at us at once. The way she gives us the secrets to this world piece by piece felt… flawless. Each little piece of information that was released made the story slowly fall into place, and gave some awesome added effects. The information about Nora was what really had me in awe – Ruth knows how to tell a great tale.

If there was a con to this point, I’d say that it sometimes felt like those super villain monologues when all of the information was being released. But, for me, it still worked well. I liked the long descriptions.

When looking at the overall book, it’s definitely the darkest of the three. As a reader, if you felt that the last two pushed the limits, then this book might not be for you. It’s past the PG-13 rating for some of it’s deep content, such as the rape scene. So in my mind, it’s a hard R rating. This scene is brutal, but shows some deep insights into the character it’s following. The plot line gets crazier as it goes on, which boggled my mind. The insanity Ruth introduces to the back stories of these characters… One word: WOW. Just… Wow. A good wow, of course!

As the book progressed, I really liked the depth of Marianne and Marcus’s relationship. It’s a unique dynamic, but it held me tight to this book. I wanted to know more about this pair, and I was so tempted to skip to the pages that they were on! If anybody stood out in this novel, it’s that pair! At times you feel bad for them, and then you hate them, but then you feel empathetic… This roller coaster of emotions is from Ruth’s epic writing. Seriously, I haven’t felt this exhausted from my emotions about a book in a LONG time.

In some weird way, I could relate and emphasize with Marianne. The humiliation, the desire to fit in or be loved by someone, and her emotions being painted on the page all hit me in just the right way. I felt like I’ve been there before, in different ways. And, in my opinion, I think this is where the book is really going to draw it’s audience. I don’t often feel and relate to characters in books like this, but with Marianne… There’s something there.

Nora and Cai’s side of the story is also intriguing – the characters are changing throughout the story as they try to find Marcus. While Marcus and Marianne stood out, the journey Nora and Cai go on is a nice parallel. It brings us away from the brutality of Marcus/Marianne, which is much needed in this story. The romance, the drama and the beauty of their story is the perfect mirror! Kudos to Ruth for making this parallel so good!

Overall, this addicting story of pain and growth is mesmerizing! This series is definitely a must read if you want something darker and fantastical. I’d highly recommend it! It’s hard to find a dark series that takes on so many tough topics, and comes out on top!

There is one big con for me, and Ruth said it herself – I wanted to throw this book at the wall when I was done with it. But I was reading it on my iPad, and that is too expensive to throw. So, I didn’t throw the book at the wall, but I would have liked to.

Five out of five stars! Wowza!

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

 

 

Check out Ruth Miranda on Goodreads

 

Find the first book in this series, Blood, on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Blood

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Blood

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Blood

Find the 2nd book, Scars, on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Scars

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Scars

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Scars

Find more books by Ruth Miranda on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Ruth Miranda

Amazon.com – A Study for Love / Amazon.ca – A Study for Love

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter! @reviewalholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.