Briar Rose - Jana Oliver For the story: 4.5 to 5 Stars. Actual rating: 3.5 Stars.*I received this book as part of a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway*I hate giving this book only 3.5 Stars, but unfortunately I can’t justify giving it 4 or 5 – and I really wanted to! Overall I really enjoyed the story but… I have a pet peeve. The blame firmly lies on the shoulders of my Secondary School English teacher. He gave us a challenge – to read an excerpt from a novel of about 3,000 words and we had to make note of the amount of times “said” was used by the author in the dialogue. The next part of the challenge was for each of us to re-write the same passage, only using “said” twice and replacing the rest with other words. This trauma has been engrained in my mind and I find myself repeatedly noticing this while I’m reading over ten years later. This pet peeve of mine was ignited with the amount of times “as if” was used in Briar Rose. I was pulling my hair out at around page 160. I doubt I would have noticed if it happened once every chapter or so, but when the same phrase appears on every other page, sometimes in adjoining paragraphs, it began to take its toll on my nerves. The editing was quite strange, with missing words littered throughout. As the book is coming from a publishing house, I kind of expected better, what with better access to editors etc., in comparison to some indie and self-published authors where I have found complete sentences! Focusing on the story itself, I really enjoyed it. It was a good retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a few twists that I really liked. I kept trying to find excuses to continue reading, and when that happens I know I have found a book I really do like. I liked the characters, but they will stay firmly in the “ok” pile. Something was holding me back from really loving them. I like Joshua’s character, but I felt the author didn’t show us his strengths enough; she relied on Briar telling us about them. Now, I can believe them, but I want to actually experience and notice these moments myself, not just a recounting of them from one of the characters. On a side note: The cover is beautiful! It looks so much prettier in reality than it does on screen.In short, I really loved the story, but it’s a shame the editing let it down, and for that I can’t rate it higher or amongst my favourites, and I do think I could have done otherwise.