#BookRecommendations 2010s in Review

The 2010s was a rough decade for me, I won’t lie!

  1. I had to put my childhood pets (my dog and cat) down.
  2. My Father lost his battle to cancer.
  3. I dropped out of university.
  4. I completed a different diploma but couldn’t get a job.

But I also had some pretty amazing things happen too!

  1. I went back to school to get the degree I always wanted to.
  2. I started a book blog and discovered Goodreads.
  3. I met Kevin Smith, Jay Mewes, John Ratzenburger and Billy Dee Williams!
  4. I got my three beautiful fur babies (my kitties <3).

 

Since a new decade is coming into play, here’s 20 books (and series) from the last ten years that helped in my reading addiction!

Best of the 2010s Decade:

1. Kevin Miller’s Milligan Creek Series
If you haven’t read this mind blowing middle grade series, what are you even doing?! Matt, Chat, Andrew and Dean get into many shenanigans in the great west, Saskatchewan. Canoe trips, epic radio shows, an excessive water war and saving the town are just some of the wild adventures this group gets into. I’d highly recommend this book because it is absolutely my BEST of the decade. Kevin Miller is proving to be one of the best Canadian authors I’ve ever come across!
Check out this marvelous series: https://www.goodreads.com/series/247750

 

2. Rachel Vincent’s Menagerie Series
Holy moly! Rachel Vincent has been one of my fave authors from the last decade. I discovered her Soul Seekers series in high school and I’ve been hooked to her writing ever since. When I discovered the Menagerie series, I was glued to every page and was absolutely heart broken that it ended! This book follows Delilah when she’s captured and put into a magical creature Menagerie. This fantasy series is packed full of drama, political shadows and a dash of romance.
Pick up this series A.S.A.P.: https://www.goodreads.com/series/110345

 

3. Drug Gang series by Neil Walker
Holy heck, this book series is WILD! If you love Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and the Godfather, you’ll love this series. While I wanted to include the last book in my 2019 summary, I couldn’t leave out the other two books in this series. So, I decided to give this series it’s own place in the 2010s best of list! Drugs and sex, blood and guts, and crazy gangs are littered throughout this series. It’s a hard R novel that is an absolute guilty pleasure – think the craziness of John Wick plus the insanity of Pulp Fiction. Neil has such a great collection here it’d be a shame to not introduce you to it! It was definitely one of the series I was anxiously waiting to read during the 2010s!
Takedown this series: https://www.goodreads.com/series/216836

 

4. Ready Research Series by Mindy M. Shelton
Mindy M. Shelton was introduced to me years ago, but man am I still thinking about her books! She has one excellent series that follows different types of murderers. With Making a Murderer being so intriguing, seeing a series like this pop up and come into my radar was awesome! If you like true crime and non-fiction, this series would be right up your alleyway! It’s horrifying and intriguing all at the same time.
Go down the rabbit hole: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30375247-from-birth-to-death

 

5. How To Make White People Laugh by Negin Farsad
I love Negin Farsad’s comedy. I was introduced to her by my friends (via the dreaded Facebook) and I even won a copy of this book from Goodreads! This book is laugh out loud funny and is one of the few books that actually made me laugh. Negin’s sense of humour and collection of jokes make this book a must read. It’s blunt, sarcastic and sometimes just too much! This super smart comedy book is definitely one of my best books of the decade!
How to Make Readers Laugh: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27170153-how-to-make-white-people-laugh

 

6. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
I relate WAY TOO MUCH to Hope. Hope Jahren is a scientist who studies nature – trees, soil, seeds, flowers, etc. She wrote this absolutely intelligent autobiography that made me feel like I found my place in the world. If only I would have discovered this in high school! Hope presents this book with intelligence, comedy and realism and paints one beautiful picture. It felt like I was meant to read this book! I’d highly recommend it, especially if you love science and non-fiction.
Stop procrastinating and pick up this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25733890-lab-girl

 

7. Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop
In 2019 I told myself I would read more middle grade and YA books, and that promise brought me many beautiful novels. Peter Green and the Unliving Academy is definitely in my top list for the year. I was floored by how magical this book was and surprised me by how much I needed a book like this in my life. In my personal, humble opinion it’s better than Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and a Series of Unfortunate Events. It tops my list with the amazing themes (friendship, family and growing up) and the fun fantasy it paints throughout the book. This book barely has 40 reviews on Goodreads, so help that book get its share of reviews! Pimp this book out my readers!
Find life in this Middle Grade Novel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41824802-peter-green-and-the-unliving-academy

 

8. Snow and Ice Games by Tamsen Parker
Heck, I could put all of Tamsen Parker’s books here. In this last decade I discovered one of my favourite authors and I had to pimp her out in the 2010s list. These erotic romances (and sometimes just romances) are some of my favourite novels. They push boundaries, are packed with romance and just make me feel good! I specifically chose the Snow and Ice Games series because I LOVE sport romances and I can rarely find them. On top of that, it’s winter sports and since I’m Canadian they are pretty much all we see. So, pick up some Tamsen books and see why I’m utterly OBSESSED!
Get Hot in the Winter: https://www.goodreads.com/series/215930-snow-ice-games

 

9. Life Seemed Good, But… by Richard Bell
If you’re looking for some comedy, pick up this marvelous anthology collection of funny stories by Richard Bell. Sometimes you just need a good laugh, and Richard Bell knows all about that! This incredible collection is great for teenagers and adults – there are some darker themes, but they all end up in some form of hilarity. I can’t recommend this book enough, especially since this indie bookdoes not have enough attention! Help this indie author out because this book is worth the read!
Get Laughing: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11107599-life-seemed-good-buhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11107599-life-seemed-good-but

 

10. Twisted Trilogy by Geza Tatrallyay
This was another epic series that was introduced to me by the author. Geza’s series is a Russian thriller that echoes James Bond, the Man from U.N.C.L.E and Mission Impossible, but a little more romance and a pinch of comedy. This book series is dark and definitely R rated, but it’s suspense and thrills will keep you hooked regardless. Travel across the world as mysteries are unfoiled! I can’t recommend this series enough, especially from a truly remarkable author like Geza.
Join the mission: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23618187-twisted-reasons

 

11. Mountain Man series by Gary Corbin
Great authors just keep seeking me out! It was an absolute delight to read The Mountain Man series by Gary Corbin! The thrilling, crime and mystery series is packed full of action, fun and a wee bit of romance (you know, that’s how you get me – with the romance). Gary is such an incredible author that I could barely stop binging these books. Lehigh is also such an intriguing character that I just couldn’t put these books down. I’d highly recommend picking up this epic thriller, especially if you want something that’s not R rated.
Lehigh has a dog, you should meet him!: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29953081-the-mountain-man-s-dog

 

12. Second Guessing by Gail Ward Olmsted
Ah, romance. Gail Ward Olmstead’s book should all be included here because I pretty much binged every book I could get my hands on. Unfortunately, her books aren’t all in one series so this will have to do. Jeep Tour, Driving on the Left, Guessing at Normal and Second Guessing are all fabulous romance novels that you shouldn’t bat an eyelash at. They are addicting, sweet and binge worthy! I absolutely loved them and they made my heart flutter in the 2010s!
Sweet Dreams: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37482720-second-guessing

 

13. Chalkboard Outlines by Kelley Kaye
Mystery time! I love cozy mysteries but I just don’t read enough of them! In walks Kelley Kaye with her school themed series. Emma is a high school teaching and bad things just keep happening to her! Lucky for her, the kooky cast of characters are all pretty good at solving mysteries (and deaths and murders… eek). If you want a cozy mystery with a pinch of romance, this series will do you some good!
It’s no mystery that you should read this series: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26809659-death-by-diploma

 

14. People Who Need to Die by Victor Rook
This book is absolutely hilarious! If you want some dark but twisted stories packed full of comedy then this book is for you! It’s a real shame that more people haven’t picked this book up because I laughed my way through it. Like Negin’s novel, this book is one of the few I can say actually made me laugh out loud. I looked like a psychopath laughing at this book, but it was so worth it. This book is hilarious and oh too true!
People Who Need to Read This Book (a.k.a. YOU): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23629805-people-who-need-to-die

 

15. So Near the Horizin by Jessica Koch
I love Jessica Koch’s novel and I can honestly say it’s one of the best I’ve ever read (not just for the 2010s). I’m somewhat sad I haven’t been able to get any more books by her, since this book is a must read. I would shout it from the hills! So many of my friends picked up this book after me because I couldn’t STOP recommending it. This book is heart breaking but such a worthwhile book. And… it’s all true! It reads like a romantic fiction, but in the end… it’s all real. Pick this book up, review it and share the story!
Be still my beating heart: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36482886-so-near-the-horizon

 

16. Something Like Love by Sara Richardson
More romance! I read a lot of romance, what can I say? Sara Ricahrdson writes amazing contemporary romance that leaves me feeling bubbly and happy. Ben and Paige continue with the absolute loveliness in this amazing series. Pick it up, become addicted and join me in my contemporary romance support group.
Love, love, love: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24820182-something-like-love

 

17. Cowboy Boots for Christmas by Carolyn Brown
I love Carolyn Brown’s books! I have a few on my shelf now and I just keep collecting them. This is yet another series that makes me feel warm, fuzzy and bubbly all over. Finn and Callie are just too cute and will perfectly fill up your romance shelf! Plus… cowboys! They are super sexy!
I do, I do, I do: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18509671-cowboy-boots-for-christmas

 

18. Return to You by Samantha Chase
Whoops! More romance?! What am I thinking?! The 2010s was packed full of romance for me so I just have to include the best ones! The Montegomery Brothers series is one I absolutely loved, and this time around it’s Jame and Selena making me swoon. More contemporary drama and romance for you lovely readers! Feel all loved up in 2020 my friends!
Super Sweet: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23167025-return-to-you

 

19. Playing the Game by M.Q. Barber
Okay, so this is “kind of” romance… it’s erotica! I won’t lie, I love erotica and this book is just wild. Alice meets Henry and Jay, and they start a little threesome relationship… and man is it hot! I’m stuck at book two of this series because no where has book three in physical form, so I will let you guys catch up to me before I finish out this SUPER HOT series. This book is one of the few that introduced me into erotica and man it is hot. I can’t get enough of this book!
Play the Game: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20912368-playing-the-game

 

20. The Trap by Melanie Raabe
Last, but not least, is a wonderful translated thriller that will leave you breathless. My copy of this book is worn out because I’ve loaned it out to twenty friends at this point (another reason why I love physical copies. I lend my books to my friends and we all gush over them!). Linda’s little sister Anna was murdered years ago, and now Linda sees the murderer… is she crazy? Will she kill him? Is any of this real?! Oh man, this book is wild! AND SO GOOD.
Don’t be insane, read this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30282261-the-trap

 

 

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! The 2010s were wild! So many good books were littered throughout my decade and I’m sure I will only read more good books in the next decade. Hopefully I finish a few more series, grab some more classics and have WAY MORE indie authors hit me up!

What books have you read from my list? What should I read next? Help me fill up my never ending TBR list for the 2020s!

#BookReview So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch

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So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch is a sweet, simple, romance read.

There WILL be spoilers in this review, so beware!

Romance seems to be a hit and miss genre – there are FANTASTIC novels, and there are HORRIBLE novels. So Near the Horizon, on the spectrum, is just below fantastic. This story starts out as if it’s fiction – you don’t realize it’s based on Jessica’s life (I mean…her name and the character’s name are the same, but I honestly didn’t even notice. See how much I pay attention?).

Almost immediately our main characters meet, and the sass is real. I love the sassiness between Jessica and Danny,The abuse that was mentioned in the first few pages also left me kind of awestruck. You just meet someone and you say how your father hit you in the face with a bottle? Okay then… At least Danny’s honest?…

Our two leads, Jessica and Danny, are both pretty messed up. One minute they seem to be all over each other, and then next Danny’s treating Jessica like she’s garbage. You welcome her into your bed and sleep next to her all snuggled up, but then threaten to kick her out of your vehicle when you take her home? The bi-polar attitude of Danny made me not like him as a character and almost despise him. Jessica deserves better than some guy who flips his attitude whenever he feels like it. No matter his personal issues, he doesn’t need to act so nasty all the time. It’s almost like he’s nice only when it benefits him. And sending a radio after to apologize? And then confessing his love to her? On top of that, he’s almost always lying…. Yeah, this guy doesn’t sit well with me, in the beginning.

Even Christina rubs me the wrong way at the start – she’s got her own problems, but she’s a psychopath. She threatens to kill Jessica numerous times and no one even cares. The fact that she is threatening Jessica with death if she hurts Danny is absolutely, freaking, ridiculous. Christina has her issues, and she’s a broken character, but this running theme of having a bad life and being a total jerk to people makes me quite annoyed. Life can’t be all “sunshine and roses” (just like Christina says) but I feel like you can do better than hurting people since you’re hurting…Or maybe that’s just me.

I also find that there’s some repeated harassment that could have been avoided if reported. Out of everything in this novel, that drove me insane. Not that reporting always helps in real life situations…

I’m positive that my initial bad feelings towards this book are due to the whole Fifty Shades of Grey/Twilight controversy. There’s lots of books where the guys are just not great guys, but somehow win the girl in the end. Danny could be an EPIC character, but his flaws just seem so dark. It’s almost abusive in my eyes (and this is coming from someone who’s been through abusive relationships). Don’t get me wrong – Jessica is absolutely FANTASTIC and writes this novel well, I just don’t like the relationship. That’s nothing against her, because she makes it likable (to a degree). But then, you get to the end of the book and realize Danny’s not JUST a character. He was real, he’s a person, that was his real life attitude and actions (maybe not 100% because it’s a retelling of Jessica’s life with him, but you get the drift). People aren’t perfect, not like book characters. I went through this book hitting my head against the wall going “JESSICA, LEAVE THIS GUY! HE’S A JERK! HE’S NO GOOD FOR YOU” and then you find out his troubles, and you find out he’s REAL. This was a real guy who was dealing with real issues, and I felt for him. I was not myself when my Father died, nor when I dealt with horrible relationships in my life. I’m empathetic, because we’re not all perfect Nora Robert’s characters (I wish, sometimes that would make my job so much easier).

So, let’s get to the positives. I wrote up an entire list of negatives when I thought this book was fiction (do your research, don’t be like me who just jumps into a book). But, I threw them all out. When I realize this was real, why would I include negatives that don’t fit this narrative?

1. Sass – there is so much sass and humour, that I couldn’t put it down. There were the parts I was frustrated with, but I wanted to see the quirky conversations that were happening throughout this book.
2. It’s not cookie cutter – so many novels (fiction and non fiction) seem to fit the typical trope. Falling in love, happy life, everything is great, something goes wrong but it’s fixed, blah blah blah. This book shows what real life CAN Be like – it’s not totally “realistic” (these “characters” meet and get pretty flirty and close super fast, which isn’t always “realistic” for some people – but that’s life for you), it shows some of the darker sides of life, and I love it.
3. Character development – These characters develop over time, some a little slower than others. Seeing how life changes and what it did for these people…Oh man, my heart aches. I want to meet Jessica and give her a GIANT hug. To live through that changes a person…
4. HIV. That little fact flipped my opinion of this book quite a bit – I wasn’t expecting that to suddenly pop open. While it explains Danny’s behaviour, it doesn’t make some of his wild, horrible attitudes right. Yes, he has a HORRIBLE childhood, but does that give you the right to be a horrible person? What a conundrum.
5. The AIDS/HIV awareness – I like when books bring something into the spotlight, and this book did that with AIDS/HIV. The fact that it’s so heavily focused and doesn’t make it to be some sob story, but a real life story is honestly a wonderful change.

I had so hoped this story was fiction. It destroyed me – after losing my Dad to cancer I have become this emotional wreck that cries at everything sad or sentimental. AND JESSICA DESTROYED ME. Having a love so passionate, so deep (no matter what type of love) and losing someone…I’m hurting from this story. It’s so horrible but so beautiful…Thank you for this book Jessica. Honestly, thank you for letting me see a little piece of your life.

Overall, as a story it seems super rushed. If it were fiction, I’d be annoyed at the fast paced antics that goes on in a relationship. But is any relationship “normal”? Romance novels has ruined timelines for us, hasn’t it?

Five out of five stars. Yes, the relationship between Jessica and Danny was quite brutal, and the death threats infuriated me, but stories like THIS (real, honest and that bring something to the light like AIDS/HIV) NEED to be shared. Not want, NEED. We need more stories like this around, because this world’s big and scary, but stories like this show the true humanity. Oh boy, I’m just a mess writing this.

Thank you Jessica Koch, the amazing author, who sent me this book in exchange for an honest review. I truly appreciate it! It’s always mind blowing when people actually seek me out, and it really humbles me. Thank you!!!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out Jessica Koch on Goodreads! Jessica Koch on Goodreads

Did you know this book was originally written in German and was translated into English?

Check out Jessica Koch’s website! Jessica Koch’s Website