#BookReview Blood Ties by Mari Mancusi

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Here’s a quick book review for one of my fave authors: Mari Mancusi!!!

Another round of Mari Mancusi’s Blood Coven Vampires?! Yes please!

I adore Sunny and Magnus, and lucky for us these two are back together! They are one of my top YA couples and we’re SO lucky to get another book with these two characters interacting!

The drama in this book is intense – a love triangle between Sunny, Magnus and Jayden is clearly occurring. But, as we all know, Sunny is meant for Magnus and they adore each other to no end. The excitement that ensues includes fighting, kisses, biting (vampire alert!), misunderstandings and teenage romance and drama!

I loved this book! It’s fast paced, has fun teenage angst and lots of ooey gooey romance with my faves Sunny and Magnus!

This is a YA book, so don’t go expecting adult drama and storylines. Mari does a great job making this series fun and exciting in the realms of the unbelievable. I highly recommend this series if you haven’t read it! It’s one of the best, fun YA novels out there is you want something lighthearted yet addicting! It’s one of my go to series for when I have a bad day (because it’s rarely depressing).

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out Mari Mancusi on her website: http://www.marimancusi.com/

And give us both a shout out on twitter! @MariMancusi & @ReviewAlholic

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview Once Upon a Vampire by Mari Mancusi

Leave a comment below – what is your favourite YA novel? Give us some awesome recommendations to include on this blog and on our shelves!

 

Photo from Goodreads.

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#BookReview Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

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Today is October 10th – World Mental Health Day! To celebrate and make people aware, check out my review of a book that focuses on mental health awareness (and general health awareness too!).

 

 

Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles is a witty and ingenious Young Adult novel that addresses a multitude of tough subject matter in an eye-opening manner.

I don’t know how Kelley does it, but she always manages to impress me. This time around, Kelley has a Young Adult novel that addresses so many tough subjects in one go! Topics such as self harm, child abuse, Multiple Sclerosis, loss of innocence, suicide and not so supportive parents are just some of the many that are tackled in this book. Each “issue” is brought into the story seamlessly and has plot lines throughout the narrative to deal with the issues. Most Young Adult books stay away from the tough yet so very real topics like these, so I have to applaud Kelley for taking the big leap in her story!

My teenage self would have loved a book like this, and I could have learned a lot in the process. On top of the subject matter, the book is written in the voice of a teenager (and it feels oh so real!). Just some of the quotes, such as “I’m going to wear a stunning pair of very expensive jeans that hug my curves like a two-year old with separation anxiety” make this book hilarious! This sitcom-like book creates a fantastic balance between realism and dark topics alongside the silly and goofy one-liners to make the book less depressing.

I did like the character development in this story – both Cora and Harper grow throughout. The change in their attitudes and view points was very obvious as the book went on! I think Kelley did a great job making these characters feel real and like teenagers. Bravo!!

The fantastical side of Harper being able to “sense” when someone is sick, and she’s able to sense mental illness is a big step forward. Mental illness is not always seen as someone being “sick”, rather it’s just an issue to be dealt with. Having a book directed towards teenagers have this point of view makes me very happy and very proud of Kelley’s writing.

Now for the tough part – the negatives. Were there negatives in this book for me? Yes. I felt the ending was rushed, which made some of the pieces being tied together feel less real. Is it necessarily a bad thing? No. It was just something that stuck out to me. Kelley ties up some of the loose ends nicely, but I would have loved a few more pages dedicated to these storylines. Other than that, this book felt flawless.

Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! This book was a fantastic Young Adult novel that I actually got into! I didn’t want to put it down, and I didn’t. I easily binged this book in one sitting, but it could easily be read in bits and pieces. If you like Young Adult novels, books that tackle dark subject matter (in a light-hearted way) or a splash of comedy, then you will love this book! I’d even recommend this to many adult readers, because of it’s amazing way of tackling the rough subjects.

There is a bit of an asterisk on the recommendation side – this book could be a major trigger for some people. Keep that in mind if you plan to pick up this book! The darker sides of this novel may not be suitable for all ages and maturity levels!

Five out of five stars!

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

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

 

Find out more about Kelley Kaye Bowles on:

Goodreads – Kelley Kaye Bowles

http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

Twitter – @kelkay1202

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter to let me know you read it! @ReviewAlholic

 

And if you enjoyed this review, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis

#BookReview My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

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My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh is a haunting yet beautiful tale about a tragic childhood.

This book has blown me away with how thought provoking it is! M.O. Walsh’s beautiful writing style tells the tale of fifteen year old Lindy (in our narrator’s point of view) and the horrors that occur in their neighborhood. Add in the setting of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the late 80s and you’ve got yourself the perfect coming of age story addressing some really tough issues that we are still seeing today.

This is another book that I wish would have been around in my high school years. I think this would have been perfect reading material that addresses the growth and change of a child to an adult, and the big issues in society that are still happening. M.O. Walsh made the story light hearted and fun (at times) in a setting that could have been extremely brutal.

As the book moves forward, the effects on the town and Lindy slowly unravel and the mystery of it all falls into place. The ghosts of everyone’s past comes to a nice close at the end of the book, so don’t worry about cliffhangers! The last few pages of the book are the perfect summary, better than anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s a real shame I don’t see this book (or eventually more) by M.O. Walsh on bookshelves at my local bookstore. This book is top tier writing!

My Sunshine Away had effects on me similar to 1984, To Kill a MockingBird and Shakespeare’s best works. The book tells a story and a narrative, but has grande themes that can be picked apart. On top of that, the book feels nostalgic of what most adults had in their childhood (I can relate to talking on the phone when your parents answer it and hold it for you). The surprise of a safe neighborhood not really being all that safe. Also seeing some of the non-fictitious aspects of our world (like the Challenger and Jeffrey Dahmer) really made this book feel real.

The characters also felt like people I would have known in my childhood – nerdy kids, the “weirdos”, that one girl everyone loves – they all were relatable. Seeing them change and how they ended up in adulthood was also a nice touch that helped close the story.

When I read this book, I thought it was a very soft adult novel – but apparently it’s a Young Adult novel! It’s a really nice read that Young Adults could handle. It has some tough themes, but nothing graphic. I’m actually even happier that this book should be on a Young Adult shelf, so those readers can get the impact of this story in their environment.

Overall, this book is an emotional, yet melancholic ride that will pull at your heartstrings and play with your emotions. It’s so well developed, it’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel! It feels like an expert in his craft wrote it! I highly recommend this book, and it’s a definite must read! I’m sad I didn’t pick this book up years ago! What a truly fantastic novel!

PS – What a stunning cover! This cover calls out to me, even though it’s so simple yet so elegant! What a gem!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads: Goodreads – My Sunshine Away

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – My Sunshine Away

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – My Sunshine Away

 

Find out more about M.O. Walsh on his website: http://www.mowalsh.com/

Or give us both a shout out on Twitter! @M_O_Walsh & @ReviewAlholic

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Crime Seen by Kate Lines

And comment below! What is your favourite novel?

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Undeniable by Liz Bankes

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Undeniable by Liz Bankes was an interesting novel that seemed to be aimed towards the Young Adult audience.

This book was nothing special for me. I was left feeling rather lost and upset that this book wasn’t as good as the synopsis had implied. The plot was well thought out and it could have been a fantastic novel, but the writing style was not my cup of tea.

The writing style seemed to be aimed towards a pre-teen audience while the subject matter seemed to be aimed towards a Young Adult audience. This left me feeling rather confused while reading the book. The maturity of a Young Adult novels words was not there, and the subject matter just didn’t match the writing style. Discussing sex while speaking in a pre-teen tone seemed extremely strange and I felt very off reading it. The steamier parts of the novel made me feel even worse, since the writing style did not match the subject matter.

Overall, the plot was fantastic and the author had a great idea of where to go, but the writing style just didn’t match the content of the novel. I did enjoy this book, but it wasn’t what I had hoped it to be. The author is fantastic, and I don’t want this review to let her down. She is incredible at writing! Her ideas were great and her writing was great, they just didn’t match in this novel.

Perhaps someone just coming into the Young Adult scene from reading Pre-teen novels would enjoy this book. It seemed like it would be a good stepping stone from one genre to another.

Two out of five stars.

I received an ARC copy from Goodreads First Reads.

 

Have you received an ARC before? Comment below an ARC you’ve received or your dream ARC!

If you liked this review, check out this one too! #BookReview The Year After by Ashley Wagner

Go on twitter and use the hashtags #BriarsReviews and #Undeniable to start a conversation! @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Love Revisited by Jannat Bhat

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Love REVISITED is a beautifully written, new adult novel by Jannat Bhat.

This is Jannat’s FIRST book. That had me extremely excited, because that is such an accomplishment!

Now time for a brief summary:

Rose is a recent college graduate when suddenly her life gets uprooted with a move to Washington. She has to leave her life and friends behind and start a new journey! In this new city, there’s a bit of a thrill and mystery in the air. Rose begins having nightmares about Ruby, a name she used to demand she be called as a child. On top of that, Christopher and Alex seem so familiar… The thrills, chills, fantasy, mystery and romance in this novel will twirl you around and keep you hanging on the edge.

Some of the plot line was predictable, or just happens at the perfect timing. Like a psychiatrist, out of nowhere, asking if Rose loves a man in her dreams. There was no talk between them about this type of relationship between those characters, but it just pops up at the perfect time to keep the plot moving. I also found the story lacked some realism at times (I know it’s fictional, but it felt like it was supposed to be in a realistic universe) such as a psychiatrist looking with troubled eyes at a patient or believing in reincarnation (and suggesting it during an appointment). Additionally, a rushed romance where suddenly they are boyfriend and girlfriend, but it didn’t seem to be said to anyone until it randomly happens. As an adult reader, I notice that a lot more. I don’t think the Young Adult audience would have any issue believing those comments.

That being said, the drama was turned all the way up to high. For me, I don’t like too much drama (unless it’s a soap opera), so for me it felt cheesey. If you LOVE excessive drama – this book is perfect for you! The twists and turns felt like the soap operas I tend to watch (it’s a guilty pleasure of mine) and can easily be enjoyed! It felt so dramatic, like Romeo and Juliet in a present day scenario (with a few minor changes, of course). I really do praise Jannat for the constant drama that moves the plot at a nice pace. Some authors can’t find the balance, but Jannat had me hooked at every turn!

The book was labelled new adult, but I think young adult readers could easily pick it up as well. The age group of the characters are college graduates, but high school readers could also read this book and enjoy it. A lot of the quick romance and drama felt like the Young Adult novels I picked up back in high school. So, in my opinion, this book could work well for either Young Adult or New Adult audiences. I would even consider market it to a Young Adult audience, because it felt so right for both audiences!

Also, when considering a genre shelf to put this on – it could be in either a romance or thriller section. It had a nice mix of both to keep the story interesting, but was only labelled as New Adult when I read it. While it was a fictional novel, it had lots of romance scenes and thrilling twists inside it’s pages. There’s also a pinch of fantasy in this novel, but not enough to give it that label.

The writing style and my reading style did not match well, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great book though! I also found the grammatical style to be different than one I am used to, so it took me a while to let myself escape into the book and let myself enjoy it instead of trying to pick it to pieces (I’m a perfectionist, I really can’t help it).

There is switching point of views in this novel. It happens later on in the book, but it’s still there! We follow Rose and Alex throughout their journey, with Rose having more chapters than Alex.

Overall, this book was a fun, dramatic read that will definitely resonate with readers who love thrillers, a splash of fantasy, and Romeo and Juliet-esque romance.

Three out of five stars!

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

 

About Love Revisited:

Rose Scarlet is your everyday girl just finishing college with her best friends Will & Aimee. But when she suddenly moves all the way across the country to a small town called Beacon Hill, normal was a thing of the past, for the city felt eerily familiar to her. How could she end up at the local park without directions when this was the first time she had step foot into town? How will she explain her irrational fears or feelings so strong for someone who is practically a stranger or is he?What was the story behind the burnt house? She felt like her heart wanted to cry every time she was near it.
And who was Alexander Sinclair? She could see that he was disturbingly beautiful, but how did she know things he had revealed to no one? Why had she seen his face in her dreams before ever laying eyes on him? A thousand more questions haunted her as she found the answers to none. Not until charming and handsome Nathan Sinclair walks into her life, whom she hated on sight.
Sometimes when something we love is so brutally taken away from us, our soul remembers what our mind is too afraid to.

Check out this book on:

Goodreads: Love Revisited – Goodreads

Amazon.com: Love Revisited – Amazon.com

Amazon.ca: Love Revisited – Amazon.ca

 

Find out more about Jannat Bhat on Goodreads: Jannat Bhat on Goodreads

Or her blog spot! Jannat Bhat on Blog Spot

 

Give us both a shout out on Twitter! @JannatBhat & @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReviews Girls That Growl by Mari Mancusi

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Girls that Growl by Mari Mancusi is a great addition to the Blood Coven Vampires series.

This book continues this series in an excellent manner all the while expanding the universe even farther. Our lead, Rayne, grows as a character which is a nice change compared to many YA novels where our leads stay the same throughout the entire series.

Mari explores lycan within this book alongside Rayne’s character development. While this isn’t my favourite book out of the entire series (this is actually my least favourite, when I look back at all the books – including the new one), I feel like this book does it’s job – it moves the story forward so we can get to the next novels. Don’t be turned away by this book – yes, it’s not as great as the last two books but the following books get much, much better than this one. There always seems to be one book in a series that isn’t as great as the rest (there has to be, not all books can be perfect) and this book is it in this series. The previous and following books are definitely worth reading this book so you can get to all the adventure and romance we love.

There is more Sunny in this book, but the main focus is Rayne. It’s nice to see both girls have a bigger presence in this book!! There is also a bit more exploration of Jareth, for those who love him…

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Re-reading it was an excellent choice for me and I definitely suggest picking this book up!!

Five out of five stars.

 

Check out Mari on Goodreads! Mari Mancusi on Goodreads

Or visit her site: Mari Mancusi’s Website

Tell Mari you read her book on twitter:  @MariMancusi

Did you enjoy the Blood Coven series? Well, it has it’s own website!! Blood Covens Series by Mari Mancusi

Find me on Goodreads, where you can get up to date posts as soon as available: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Or swing by Twitter and give me a shout out!! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Bad Blood by Mari Mancusi

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If you were wanting more Sunny in this book – YOU GOT IT.

This addition to the Blood Coven Vampires series follows Sunny (but don’t worry, Rayne is still kicking!). This time around, Magnus has to get a blood mate – and guess what? It’s not Sunny.

Sunny, who’s madly in love with Magnus, and her trusty sister Rayne have to work hard to try to get Magnus back to Sunny and away from this blood mate. Will they do it? I guess you’ll have to read to find out…

I really loved this book, it helps that Sunny is my favourite out of the two girls but I also really enjoyed the adventure and drama within this novel. It’s a big step up from the last novel in my opinion. This book hooks me instantly, made me not want to stop reading it, and desire more from Mari Mancusi ASAP.

This book had it’s faults – Sunny is definitely in love with Magnus, but I doubted his love for her. While Sunny’s actions and thoughts show how deeply in love she is, Magnus barely seems like she has the time of day (despite expressing his feelings).

Overall, this young adult novel was everything I wanted (minus the Magnus fault, but hey we can’t have everything we want). It’s silly, cute and totally unrealistic – but that’s what I want in a silly, YA vampire novel that’s filled with cute moments and teenage drama. Mari shows her true skill at writing as a teenage which makes this book even more “believable” within it’s realm. That helps this quick read continue moving at a super fast pace and become utterly addicting – what teenager didn’t think like Sunny and Rayne?

Five out of five stars.

 

You can find Mari on Goodreads! Mari Mancusi on Goodreads

Or swing by her website – Mari Mancusi’s Website

Want urgent updates from Mari? Check out her twitter! @MariMancusi

Did you enjoy this series? Check out it’s website!  Blood Covens Series by Mari Mancusi

Enjoy my reviews? Check out my Goodreads page! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Give me a shout-out on Twitter! Let me know your recent reads!!! Or give me some recommendations!  Briar’s Reviews on Twitter