#BookRecommendations Top 20 Reads from 2020

I love looking back at all the books I’ve read in the year. It’s always so amazing to see how many good (and sometimes) bad books I’ve picked up! There are so many incredibly amazing books published each year, it’s almost hard to just pick a few to feature. So, as tradition serves, here is my top books from the year. 20 for 2020! This list is in no particular order, because that’d be even harder!

  1. GENMOS: Gathering Storm by Stephen M. Coghlan
    So, let’s start off with some fantasy! If you want a sci-fi read about a bunch of genetically modified folks trying to escape in an action packed novel, then this book is for you! It’s a great science fiction novel that doesn’t feel totally sci-fi. I highly recommend it!
    Give it a look see on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34748672-genmos
  2. Little People, Big Dreams Series by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
    I love non-fiction books and I love picture books, and this series smashes them all together. You can learn about almost anyone: Elton John, Steve Jobs, Coco Chanel, Marie Curie, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Aretha Franklin and more! There are so many books to pick from in this series and they are all a great way to add to your children’s book collection.
    This massive list is available on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/series/244059-peque-a-grande
  3. SPYxFAMILY by Tatsuya Endo
    Time for a graphic novel! I love this series so much because it’s thrilling, funny and highly amusing. What happens when you have two spies who want to get the job done but have to pretend to be a family with a little girl? It’s wild, screams of PG Kingsmen and is just great. I can’t get enough of this series and I want more. You should pick it up too! Maybe it’ll convince the writers to make more.
    Yet another link to Goodreads for all of your investigating needs: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52961491-spy-family-1
  4. Breakfast at Bronzefield by Sophie Campbell
    Non-fiction time, but this time it’s more of a memoir. Sophie Campbell’s tale of how she was in prison in the U.K. is an eye opening one but also magnificently written. It’s a book that I was totally hooked to and obsessed with, which isn’t the norm for my and non-fictions. If you want to read some non-fiction and learn, grab this book. It’s a great one.
  5. After the Kick by Savannah Adams
    Romance! Ahh, isn’t that sweet? Savannah Adams is one to watch with her contemporary, clean romances. This sports romance is part of a series, so if you love it THERE IS MORE! I absolutely love these books and highly recommend it to those seeking a little love in their life. Also, football!
    Love it or list it: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53715281-after-the-kick
  6. You’re Doing Great by Tom Papa
    This is a mix of non-fiction and comedy, so why not add a little comedy to this list? Tom Papa is a great comedian (and frequent collaborator on Joe Rogan’s podcast, which is where I first discovered him). This book is wild funny and is just an all around great read. It’s also a great read to peck away at. That’s what I did and I loved it!
    Have a good laugh: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51179533-you-re-doing-great
  7. Naked 2 by Kay Brandt
    Erotica time! If you want some sexy erotica in your life, grab this book! This erotica read is a part of a series and by one excellent woman. She’s talented in the industry she’s in and super nice! Who doesn’t love supporting authors who support reviewers? Give this sexy book a read, or any of the others in her massive collection (pun intended).
    It’s not HARD to pick up this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50538862-naked-2
  8. Blood Rain by Rajeev Singh
    Erotic horror time! Oh yeah, this list is full of all the genres, because who can pick just one book?! Rajeev Singh is a master of erotic horror (in my humble opinion) and is one to watch. He has an interesting collection of books that will both excite and horrify you. If you haven’t grabbed his books and love strange horror, give it a go! It’s worth it.
    I dare ya to open it: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51989982-blood-rain
  9. Seeing Colour by Amber Faucher
    A fun, contemporary romance following an optician when she ventures off to Europe. Amber Faucher is a new and upcoming writer who is one to watch. This quirky book is a fast paced, fun read to light up your nights with. It was one of my fave 2020 reads and I’m so happy to have come across this book.
    I can totally see you reading this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53128440-seeing-colour
  10. Baller Boys by Venessa Taylor
    Middle grade read anyone? Baller Boys is designed for those readers who are picky and don’t enjoy reading. There’s soccer, friendship and fun throughout these pages. I highly recommend this book that deserves all of the middle grade awards.
    It better be your goal to grab this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53414463-baller-boys
  11. Donut Disturb by Melissa Williams
    More contemporary romance to fill your shelves! I really liked this sugary sweet series and I can’t wait to jump into the sequel. Baking, romance, hot guys, goofy encounters – this book has it all. It’s a romance readers dream!
    You cannoli resist for so long: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50046191-donut-disturb
  12. Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid
    This is an excellent children’s picture book focusing on the environment. Yara is one of Yossi’s newest characters who gets her own series and it is a must read! Especially if you loved his Snowman Paul books. They are adorable and worth every penny!
    Insert nature pun here: Goodreads
  13. Fire on the Island by Timothy Jay Smith
    This book is an LGBT thriller that really packs a punch. A Greek FBI agent has a big case on his hands, and it’s going to be one dramatic ride to try to figure it out. Timothy Jay Smith is a great thriller writer, so if you haven’t checked him out yet, give it a go!
    This book is hot: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49249815-fire-on-the-island
  14. GEO by Kevin Miller
    I know Kevin for his Milligan Creek series (which is INCREDIBLE by the way), but this time around I got to pick up his sci-fi short story. Geo is a great break away from the middle grade books for him and it’s a must read on my 2020 list! A space elevator stuck upstairs with some trouble going on…
    It’s not rocket science to pick up this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51204815-geo
  15. Mighty Coconuts by Deepa Remesh
    Another wonder children’s picture book that focuses on nature and the environment. This is another wonderful series for your reading pleasure. If your children want some awesome picture books, give this a go!
  16. Vanishing Hour by Lisa King
    Up meets the apocalypse is the shortest way to describe this book. Lisa King is a fabulous new author and I totally adore her. This book is a must read, fast paced, exciting ride. An old man trying to find his wife and a young girl trying to find her father make quite the kooky pair.
    It will be the end of the world if you don’t grab this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49809119-vanishing-hour
  17. In Search of Valor by Gary Corbin
    Gary Corbin is one of my all time FAVE thriller and mystery writers. He is an expert at making a fast paced, pull you into the book kind of read. I can’t get enough of his books and this one just seals the deal!
    Don’t need to search for another book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51296338-in-search-of-valor
  18. The Never Have I Ever Club by Mary Jayne Baker
    Mary Jayne Baker was introduced to me this year and I just can’t get enough of her absolutely hilarious books. She’s a queen of romance and comedy smashed together. And this book is super U.K. inspired. I adore it.
    Rom-com link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53177623-the-never-have-i-ever-club
  19. The Reluctant Fortune-Teller by Keziah Frost
    This is probably my top 2020 book because it was such an unexpected delight. This contemporary fiction novel follows a widowed man as he takes on a random job as a fortune teller. It’s a heart warming read that will fit perfectly on your shelf.
    A delightful read: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35210380-the-reluctant-fortune-teller
  20. #VeryFat #VeryBrave by Nicole Byer
    One last comedy to seal the deal. Nicole is a great host on Nailed It! and an even better writer. Her experience and opinions brightened up my day and made me remember how great it is to just be ourselves. This book is one for the ages and a must read from 2020.
    #MustRead https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48590973-veryfat-verybrave

    That’s all for 2020@ There will be many more books to read in 2021 and I’m sure I will read a few more as 2020 comes to a close. What were your favourite 2020 reads? Any books published in 2020 that made your heart sing? COMMENT BELOW!

#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels

It’s time for another Top 10 List!! This time around I’m tackling romance. I typically read a lot of romance novels, so this list has been growing rapidly. Luckily, there are so many good books out there that I can make multiple lists! This will be Part 1 of my romance list. All of these books are shuffled throughout and given a random spot on my list.

Elevator pitch time!!


1. The Raven by Sylvain Reynard
Canada represent! Sylvain Reynard has a truly magical, fantasy book full of romance in The Raven. This book is dark, sexy and truly intriguing. Sylvain knows how to craft a magnificent book that keeps you hooked at every sexy turn. Historical art, sexy strangers, and knights in (not so) shining armour make this book a staple on my romance shelf. Seriously though, this book introduced me to Sylvain and I’ve been a fan ever since. These books are really hard to put down.

Purchase this book on:

2. The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner
Blame Tamsen Parker for this one, because she recommended me one fabulous book! Genevieve Turner crafted one super sexy book in The Gaucho’s Lady. Sweet Eliana tries to run away, and accidentally runs into the arms of Juan. If you want a steamy book with a really tough outlaw, this book won’t let you down! But watch out, it gets pretty hot… to the point you might as well be in a steam room.

Find this book on:

3. Something Like Love by Sara Richardson
Time for a MAJOR throwback… Way back in 2015 I read a book by Sara and I instantly fell in love. Ranch hands, politics and second chance romances? Heck yes! This delicious book is super cute! I need to jump back into Sara’s book ASAP because these books can hardly contain the adorableness they hold. This book is an easy read, full of romance and packs a good punch.

Read this book on:

4. Lexington and 42nd by Kim Carmody
I LOVE a good sports romance, so Lexington and 42nd hit all the right notes for me! This sexy read matches quarterback Will with Emma. These two will flaunt their “will they? won’t they?” romance and keep you hooked at every turn. Kim Carmody might not be well known (YET!) but she’s got one heck of a talent! Sports romances need to make a comeback ASAP!

Click the links for Lexington and 42nd:

5. Happy Ever After in Christmas by Debbie Mason
30, flirty and thriving… Right? This series by Debbie Mason is an absolute must in my home town. The Christmas, Colorado series is a lovely romantic series, but this particular book fell into my lap. Jill and Sawyer (an ex-hockey player, come on… you know I love those sports romances) are the “it” couple of this novel. Their ups and downs are on display, and man is it a cute, quick read! If you want a romance that isn’t too erotic, this book is a great fit!

This book can be found on…:

6. Saving the CEO by Jenny Holiday
This contemporary romance is super sexy! Jenny Holiday introduces us to Jack and Cassie – Jack’s the CEO and Cassie is a bartender. When they walk into each other’s lives, things just get… complicated. Will they ignite a super sexy romance? Will it work? Oh man, this book is just too good! It’s full of rule breakers and changes the romance game on it’s head. What a delight!

Purchasing links include:

7. So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch
So Near the Horizon is one of my top books of all time. I brag about it all the time, because it randomly appeared on my TBR when Jessica Koch recommended it to me. I am SO SO SO grateful she did, because it’s a real winner. This story follows Jessica and Danny and their whirlwind romance. It also addresses some tough issues, like HIV and living with someone who’s struggling. I highly recommend this book. I still get chills thinking about it to this very day.

Find this book on:

8. Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker
If you thought I would make a romance list without Tamsen Parker, you’d be wrong! This is one of the few Tamsen books I picked up late in the game, but it was worth it! In this novel, the story follows an Orthodox Jewish marriage. It’s a little different than the other books on this list, but I love it for it’s diversity. It’s not the normal romance novel, but it truly is mesmerizing. If you want to expand the diversity of your romance shelf, this book would be a great start.

Click the links for access to purchasing sites:


9.  Cowboy Boots for Christmas: Cowboy Not Included by Carolyn Brown
This sexy cowboy story is adorbable! Our leads met in the war and are reuniting…and of course he’s a cowboy! Throw in the Christmas holidays, a little brother who needs protection and long lost friends and you’ve got yourself a real treat! This is a soft, sweet read and is full of cute romance. I loved reading this book because it’s so simple and lovely yet so perfect!

Find this book on:

10. Return to You by Samantha Chase
Oh, The Montgomery Brothers. What do you get when you throw a man who wants to marry the woman of his dreams in a romance novel? You get one epic chase! James Montgomery gets his starring role in this book as he chases the woman he lost – but he won’t let her get away this time! Will he win her heart back? Will she let herself fall head over heels? You will have to wait and see!

Purchase this book on:


That concludes my elevator pitch for Romance – Part 1! Have you read any of these books? What other romance novels do you recommend? Comment below with your faves from the list or from your own shelf! I’d love to add some more to my ever growing TBR!


Don’t enjoy romance? Why not check out my other Top Books Lists!
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Fantasy Reads, Part 1
#TopBooksList Young Adult Novels, Part 1
#TopBooksList Children’s Novels, Part 1



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#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:

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:

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!

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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:

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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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:


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!


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Collection 2: #TopTens – Young Adult Part 1

This time around in my collection of top books I am tackling the Young Adult genre! Young Adult has always been a guilty pleasure of mine and I love to dive deep into this genre whenever possible. Listed below are ten YA books I would highly recommend you pick up, depending on your interests! I’ve tried to include a wide variety of topics and genres within. Stay tuned for part two, because one can never have too many YA novels.


1. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole is one of my favourite fantasy novels in the YA genre. I am still currently working my way through the series, but I wanted to include the first book (at the very least) on my top ten list! This is a dystopian novel focused around tarot cards. There’s drama, romance and typical YA insanity within this dystopia. I really love the dark and twisted universe Kresley has created!

Amazon.com – Poison Princess

Amazon.ca – Poison Princess

Briar’s Reviews Book Review Poison Princess by Kresley Cole


2. Eighth Grade Bites by Zac Brewer

The Vladimir Tod Chronicles was one of my faves over a decade ago (it’s hard to believe it has been that long…). Back in the day when vampires were hip and cool, Vladimir Tod was rocking the YA world without glitter! Zac Brewer made a fantastic world that felt real with drama, a splash of romance, a teenage vampire trying to find his way in the world and lots of vampire politics. This book is perfect for those 12-15 year olds looking to get into the genre, or anyone who loves an epic tale! I still love these books to this day!

Amazon.com – Eighth Grade Bites

Amazon.ca – Eighth Grade Bites

Young Adult July Reads Book Review: Eighth Grade Bites by Zac Brewer


3. Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered is an epic retelling of Alice in Wonderland! Alyssa seems to be crazy, but there’s something more to her story… This rich series is full of drama, romance and fantasy! This series is finished now, so if you want to binge it go ahead! This is easily one of the best retellings of Alice in Wonderland around (I do have another fantastic one lower on the list though…).

Amazon.com – Splintered

Amazon.ca – Splintered

Briar’s Reviews – Splintered Review


4. The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

This paranormal dystopia created by Rachel Vincent is a stand out novel that blew me away! I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel! Demons, exorcists and overall wild insanity is packed tight in this book. I have yet to find a book that compares to this unique thrill ride!

Amazon.com – The Stars Never Rise

Amazon.ca – The Stars Never Rise

Briar’s Reviews – The Stars Never Rise Review


5. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Yet another retelling of Alice in Wonderland, but this one features zombies! I loved this retelling more than I can say on this page! The unique concept created by Gena in this book takes the reader on a wild ride. This dystopia follows Ali and her friends on a wild adventure against zombies. Throw in a super hot guy named Cole that will set you on fire, an action-packed plot and some epic side characters and you’ve got yourself a real winner!

Amazon.com – Alice in Zombieland

Amazon.ca – Alice in Zombieland

6. Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

Years ago, I admired this book afar in every book store I passed! I saved up all of my money and finally got my hands on this super cute, extra cheesey romance novel! The preppy girl is a ghost and the goth is a human, and the two of them fall madly in love! This series is a wild, fantastical ride that I still pick up as a guilty pleasure. This book feels more romance than paranormal, but it still has it’s paranormal aspects within it. If possible, pick up this whole series! It ties up quite nicely, if I do say so myself!

Amazon.com – Ghost and the Goth

Amazon.ca – Ghost and the Goth

7. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

This is another “classic” from my YA collection that I still pick up to this day! When I have a rough day and I want a cute novel to relax with, this book is it! This series is super sweet and definitely packs on the romance. It is also another vampire book I threw on this list, but the romance is where it hits you. There are two books in this series, and both will have you ready for some tissues, chocolate and everything else girly! I still think Lucius (our male lead) is one of the hottest YA leading males!

Amazon.com – Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Amazon.ca – Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

#BookReview Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey


8. Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway

This vampire romance was another hit in my books! I read this book alongside Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, and fell madly in love with Tate Hallaway! Unfortunately, this series didn’t continue after the second book and I am still upset about it. This YA novel features vampires, witches, fantasy and romance for every Twilight fan who wanted just a little bit more than the glittery yet famous vampires. This book still tops my YA list and I’ll pick it up on a rough day when I want a fun read!

Amazon.com – Almost to Die For

Amazon.ca – Almost to Die For


9. Pin Drop by Roz Monette

Pin Drop is the most unique book on this list. It tops my YA reads since it is not your typical Young Adult novel by any definition. It touches on tough topics and social issues that some YA books run far away from. Mo is sarcastic and is easily relatable for most teenagers since her life is not perfect. If you’re looking for a YA novel that isn’t solely focused on dystopias, fantasy or romance than this book is for you! I’d highly recommend it, it’s fabulous!

Amazon.com – Pin Drop

Amazon.ca – Pin Drop

Briar’s Reviews: Pin Drop by Roz Monette Review


10. Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kaye Bowles

I saved the best for last on this list! Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kaye Bowles is one of my recent favourites! This book also tackles some dark subject matter, which may not be suitable for all YA audiences. Self harm, destructive families, family illnesses are just some of the tougher subjects in this book on top of the typical high school problems. This book might be fiction, but it felt oh so real! This is the book I needed to read in high school to realize life isn’t always picture perfect. While this book tackles darker topics, it does it in a lovely way that opens your eyes to the realistic coming of age most teenagers are facing but in a YA territory. I’d highly recommend this book and I’d consider it one of the most important books to read on this list!

Amazon.com – Down in the Belly of the Whale

Amazon.ca – Down in the Belly of the Whale

Briar’s Reviews: Down in the Belly of the Whale Review


And that’s it for round one of my YA top tens! I have way more top tens to come, including Part 2 of YA and Children’s novels! What list or genre do you want to see next? Do you have any books not included here? Comment below or give me a shout out on Twitter (@ReviewAlholic) to let me know what I’m missing!

I hope you found a new book to read and you enjoyed this list, fellow readers! Let me know what you’re reading below!






Photos via Goodreads.


Collection 1: #TopTens – Children’s Fiction Part 1

Welcome to my new collection of blog posts! This collection will be all about my favourite books in specific genres. My goal is to collect awesome books together to provide some new to-read novels for readers! There will be multiple parts to each collection since I have read so many good books by so many fantastic authors.

So to start us off, I’ve decided to introduce you to some epic children’s fiction novels. I’ve mixed in both chapter books and picture books for your children and middle grade enjoyment!

And here… we… go…


1. Unlimited by Kevin Miller


Unlimited is a tale following a group of boys on a school field trip. These super smart boys embark on a journey to transmit a radio signal with their new radio station and creative show! But things go weary, since everyone is not totally impressed by this comedy/horror radio show over the airwaves…

This book is one of my top books of 2018 (and ever, to be honest). It blew me out of the water and really impressed me that it transcended the middle grade novel stigma! It was highly enjoyable and one of my top must reads. If you love adventure mixed with a pinch of comedy, then this book is for you!

Amazon.com – Unlimited

Amazon.ca – Unlimited

Briar’s Reviews #BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller


2. We All Fall Down by Eric Walters


This tantalizing tale follows a ninth grade student named Will during the September 11th attacks. I read this book as a child and again recently as an adult. This book really impressed me with how it brought up the topic of such a tough time in history to children. I found it super respectful and a wonderful talking point. I’d highly recommend this book if you’re looking to explain one of history’s most tragic moments.

Amazon.com – We All Fall Down

Amazon.ca – We All Fall Down

Briar’s Reviews #BookReview We All Fall Down by Eric Walters


3. Hercufleas by Sam Gayton


If you’re looking for an epic superhero tale, check out this super silly, teeny, tiny story! Hercufleas is a flea, and boy is he fantastic! This hero wants to help save the day from the big baddies, and they are much bigger than him! This middle grade novel is quite long, but is a truly remarkable read. It’ll keep you hooked, giggling and having a good time all throughout! I’d highly recommend this super fun book to introduce some very important themes, such as – it doesn’t matter how small you are, you can still do great things!

Amazon.com – Hercufleas

Amazon.ca – Hercufleas

#BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton


4. Ugly by Robert Hoge


This motivational and inspirational tale is one of my most visited reviews on my blog! And for good reason! This truly unbelievable story is all about the author, Robert Hoge! He had a tumour on his face, which drastically changed his life – in both good and bad ways! His beautiful story is told perfectly for the eye’s and mind of a child, and it moved me! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and I will always recommend this incredible must read! Stories like this don’t come along too often!

Amazon.com – Ugly

Amazon.ca – Ugly

Briar’s Reviews Book Review: Ugly by Robert Hoge


5. Pandora’s Lunch Box: Don’t Open! by Richard Clark


Richard Clark is the king of middle grade fiction (and picture books, but that’s in another list!). Pandora’s Lunch Box is a satire/parody of myth Pandora’s Box. This time around, Pandora’s Box is actually a lunch box! Pandora’s lunch box is suspenseful, magical and hilarious! If you’re looking for something you’ll be able to laugh at (due to unexpected adult humor through the satire of the myth) then I’d highly suggest this short yet sweet novel!

Amazon.com – Pandora’s Lunch Box

Amazon.ca – Pandora’s Lunch Box

Briar’s Reviews – Goodreads Review


6. Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold


Yes, I know, a Christmas book this early?! It’s never too early to prepare for the holidays! Olive, the Other Reindeer is my childhood favourite that I became instantly obsessed with! Remember that famous like.. “all of the other reindeer”? Well, what if that line was misunderstood?! Olive, the super, cute dog is ready to join in reindeer games with her unique skills! This short picture book will make your day and bring lots of goofy giggles!

Amazon.com – Olive, the Other Reindeer

Amazon.ca – Olive, the Other Reindeer


7. Bunnicula by Deborah & James Howe


Another childhood favourite of mine (that we read almost every year in elementary school) is Bunnicula! This series is a fantastical novel that introduced me to horror (despite it not being that scary). This bunny with fangs has it’s own super, insane book that will blows your socks off! It’s unique and crazy – what bunny has fangs?! I’d highly recommend this series if you’re running out of good reads or want something a little different!

Amazon.com – Bunnicula

Amazon.ca – Bunnicula


8. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch


One of my favourite childhood authors was Robert Munsch, and perhaps his greatest book (in my opinion) is The Paper Bag Princess. I read this book over and over to my reading buddy and I kept my copy until it literally fell to bits because I read it so much! Princess Elizabeth is supposed to marry a prince when a dragon attacks! She must outsmart the dragon, all the while wearing a paper bag! This creative story is a picture book and it’s a definite must read that I highly recommend!

Amazon.com – The Paper Bag Princess

Amazon.ca – The Paper Bag Princess


9. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown


This is one of the earliest books I can remember from my childhood, and I still have it to this day! A little bunny is the main character of this picture book and all he wants to do is run away from his Mom! This story was published decades ago, but is still a classic! If you’re looking for a sweet read with lots of re-read value, and an instant classic – check this super cute book out!

Amazon.com – The Runaway Bunny

Amazon.ca – The Runaway Bunny


10. Grandma and the Pirates by Phoebe Gilman


Grandma and the Pirates was my go to bedtime read as a kid. It’s hilarious and inspiring! Grandma makes some incredible noodle pudding, and it attracts some crazy pirates! They steal Grandma, and Melissa must save her! I always found this book to be so strong and made me feel like the hero at the end! Melissa was a smart girl who had to beat pirates! It’s a short picture book with lots of potential! I’m honestly surprised it has so few reviews on Goodreads to begin with! Everyone in my school had read this book a million times over back in my elementary school days! Check out what I declare the best book EVER and my instant classic from my childhood!

Amazon.com – Grandma and the Pirates

Amazon.ca – Grandma and the Pirates



That’s all for my first edition of #TopTens. I have more children’s books for another round, and many more genres to come – romance, horror, fantasy, etc. Let me know if you want to see a specific genre, or if you have book recommendations for me to read! If you have books I haven’t included, comment below and tell me what else to include!
I hope you enjoyed this and found some new books to read. Let me know how your reading adventures go!
For another day,




Photos from Goodreads.