#BookRecommendations 2019 in Review

2019 In Review

Welcome! Welcome!
What a time! 2019 is coming to an end and that also brings the 2010s into retirement! With such an amazing year (and decade!) coming to a close, I figured I might as well do a recap of 2019s best books and some of my best books of the decade!
So. Here. We. Go.

Best 19 of 2019:
1. Kevin Miller’s Water War & The Great Grain Elevator Incident
In 2018 I was introduced to Milligan Creek by the author Kevin Miller. Who knew this reading relationship would blossom into one of my faves?! Lucky me was able to read TWO books from this series in 2019. The Water War and The Great Grain Elevator are full of wacky shenanigans that I wish I could have got into in my childhood. If you love Harry Potter and whimsical books along those lines, pick up this book! It’s less magic but more friendly neighbourhood chaos!
The Water War: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42611727-the-water-war
The Great Grain Elevator: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49004354-the-great-grain-elevator-incident

 

2. Cinder, Scarlett & Cress by Marissa Meyer
I ALMOST finished this series this year. Almost! This is one of my 2020 goals once I finally get my hands on Winter (which I just did when the UPS man strolled up as I was writing this post… so soon…). This fantastical fairy tale YA adaption is absolutely BONKERS. It is packed with alien craziness, technology (STEM at it’s finest!), fairy tale lore, and LOTS of romance (I’m a romance girl, fight me). I struggled with this series initially since my friends absolutely hated it, but when I finally sat down and read the book I was STUNNED. This series is addicting and definitely one of my top 2019 reads! Pick it up people!
The Lunar Chroncies, a.ka. my must read YA of 2019: https://www.goodreads.com/series/62018

 

3. Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
Back in my teen years, Vampire Academy was on the top of my must read shelf. I re-read that series so many times I’m surprised I can’t quote the books! I knew Richelle Mead had one more adult series I hadn’t gotten my hands on yet, but when I stumbled upon Succubus Blues at a local charity book store I JUMPED ON IT. Was I disappointed? HECK NO! This urban fantasy novel is the adult version of Vampire Academy (but with a succubus, a sexy author, some sexy demons and more sex). If you loved Vampire Academy, pick this book up! It will not disappoint!
Don’t be blue, pick up this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/235718.Succubus_Blues

 

4. For Her Own Good by Tamsen Parker
What did you expect? I WOULDN’T include one of my favourite authors on my 2019 top list? Tamsen Parker has been one of my faves for years and I was absolutely delighted to include all of her new 2019 books in my 2019 read pile. Her newest trial was a crazy sexy novel following some taboo romance and kinks. Dr. Lowry Campbell and Starla are one horribly sexy couple that break so many boundaries. And with quotes like “tongue like a whip”, this book is an absolute must from me!
If you don’t read this, I will encase you in carbonate: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49461017-for-her-own-good

 

5. Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies
Historical romance is a touchy subject for me, but Dinah Jefferies may have woo-ed me over to the dark side. Eliza and Jay are one incredibly cute couple in this India inspired novel. I was blown away by Dinah’s incredible writing tone and descriptions and I can’t stop talking about it! It’s the 1930s and Eliza is a photographer. She’s enlisted to take pictures of the Indian royal family, and things don’t go according to plan.. What would you do if you fell in love with a prince?! This is an absolute must read that Goodreads introduced me to!
You’ll love this book as much as me if you just give it a try: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30900820-before-the-rains

 

6. Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda
Like Tamsen Parker, Ruth Miranda is another author I am totally obsessed with and read with pure addiction. In this book, we follow Yseult, in Scotland, who has recently discovered some magical powers. Oh, and did I mention this book has King Arthur lore all over it? It’s like Ruth wrote this book with me in mind! This series is just getting started, but it’s fantastical and action packed style is an absolute thrill. I can barely hold my excitement, especially since Ruth Miranda left us on one killer cliffhanger…
Join my round table by grabbing this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47842263-avalon-hall

 

7. 100 Tiny Tales by K. Kris Loomis
Ah, time for something a little different! Anthologies are one of my guilty pleasures because you get to read so many things in one collection. And then there’s K. Kris Loomis. She wrote one hundred stories with one hundred words (exactly one hundred. Get counting!). All of these bite sized fictions are so incredible (and if you haven’t heard about Flash Fiction before, you’ll be stunned – pun intended). Whether you want to binge the book like I did, or want something to keep you tied up to weeks, 100 Tiny Tales is a must read for fiction lovers!
Click this link 100 times (or not… that’s excessive): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43526260-100-tiny-tales

 

8. Tiny House, Big Love by Olivia Dade
I love Property Brothers, which is a house building and fixing show housed on HGTV. So when I found out a twitter friend of mine had a book based on finding a home (similar to my Property Brothers addiction) I WAS IN. I’m so proud of this little book because it’s such a gem! It’s sweet, short and full of ooey gooey romance that makes me turn into a puddle! Lucy and Sebastian are the cutest friends to lovers couple that you’ll ever see! Plus, help out my indie author friends, they deserve all of the love!
Tiny Book, Big Love: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47158436-tiny-house-big-love

 

9. Fly With Me by Hudson Lin
Another romance, Briar?! Yes! Another cutie patootie romance! Hudson Lin wrote one flawless romance featuring the flight attendants Marco and Vivian. This contemporary romance finds these two getting entangled with one another and is just too darn cute not to share! I love Hudson Lin’s writing and I love that she features characters that feel REAL. If you love romance and haven’t checked out Hudson’s books, get on it!
Read with me:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43823638-fly-with-me

 

10. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
YA novels are hit and miss with me these days, but Dear Haiti, Love Alaine broke the mold! Years back in high school I had to do a presentation on Haiti, so I was more than excited to pick this book up. Ever since that grade nine project, I’ve been interested in Haiti and learning more about it. Seeing this book pop up in my local book stores made me giddy with excitement! Alaine is sent to live in Haiti due to some devastating circumstances (teenagers and their wild antics… I tell ya), and she learns a lot about her history and family values. I highly recommend this book! It’s one of the few 2019 reads I picked up twice because it’s just that good!
Dear Readers, Love Briar – read this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41861731-dear-haiti-love-alaine

 

11. The Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon
I stumbled upon this book by Goodreads (it’s recommendations can be absolutely amazing sometimes) and I was blown away. This miraculous story followsm ultiple generations of the MacEntrees family. There’s so much drama, big personalities, mischief and insanity that it was hard to put down! Think Big Little Lies but more comedy – it’s a definite must read from me. It’s such a shame this book barely has 60 reviews at the time I’m writing this post, because it was one stellar reads and tops my 2019 list!
Must read of the decade: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27416003-the-long-hot-summer

 

12. The Last Straw by Ed Duncan
I love a good thriller, but I rarely pick them up. Probably because romance makes my heart sing… but then came Ed Duncan. This requested review brought back the mystery and thriller genre into my life, and I was not disappointed! This is the second book in a series, but it was an easy book to jump into. When a young girl witnesses a bad carjacking, chaos ensues. A feud is brought to light and things will never be the same… If you love mysteries, thrillers and crime novels then grab this book!
This is the last straw if you don’t check out this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36671089-the-last-straw

 

13. 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

 

14. Virals by Kathy Reichs
Another YA/Middle Grade book apart of my 2019 goals: Virals. I love Kathy Reichs – she made Bones famous and Temperance Brennan was one of my teenage idols. In this book, we meet Tory Brennan (grandniece of Temperance) and her buddies. They become Virals (think of werewolves but not werewolves and demons but not demons… it’s complicated) while trying to save their town. I’ve almost finished this entire series, but it’d be a shame to only include half, so meet the introduction novel! This must read is super addicting and surprisingly a quick read (for having almost 500 pages… yup, it’s a long one but totally worth it!).
Get Exposed to this series: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17829789-virals

 

15. NYV: Goth by K.D. McQuain
This book on the list is kind of cheating. Overall, this entire series should be read but I only read the newest addition in 2019. It’s the second in the New York Vampire series but it is totally worth your time! R rated vampire drama packed with action and adventure. If you don’t become addicted to this book, I’d be surprised and disappointed! This series is dark, twisted and absolutely brutal!
Don’t make me bite you…: https://www.goodreads.com/series/182541

 

16. Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid
I might be an adult, but children’s books still get me feeling youthful and nostalgic! Yossi (Or Yosef) Lapid is a must read children’s author! If you’re looking to read an environmentally friendly novel that features excessively beautiful water colour pictures, this book will wow your socks off! This book is cute, light hearted and brings a smile to my face!
Picture books aren’t just for adults these days: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46373335-yara-s-tawari-tree

 

17. Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive by Joe Montaperto
Joe’s a comedian, but my gosh does he write with style! This book follows catering (did the title give it away?) yet is super raunchy and hilarious. All of Joe’s books always knock my socks off, but this one was a real treat! If you’re looking for a memoir full of hilarity, insanity and realism, this book should be perched up on your shelf.
Comedy at it’s finest:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46002329-nobody-gets-out-of-catering-alive

 

18. Love Comes for the Bodyguard by Savannah Adams
Ah, romance again! Yes, I’m predictable! Tyler and Brianna are a match made in heaven, but they just don’t know it. If you’re looking for a brother’s best friend trope, you’ve got it! This super sweet, super sexy and super addicting book is a must read for my romance lovers. Childhood crush tropes always get me all giddy and this book was no exception! It’s the first in a series, so you know it’s only going to get better with more books on the way! Pick up this romantic comedy with a splash of suspense, and emphasize with my addiction:
Love Comes for the Reader: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45361462-love-comes-for-the-bodyguard

 

19. The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong
To finish with a strong Canadian author, here’s Kelley Armstrong’s YA stand alone: The Masked Truth. This book was INSANE (pun intended). After a brutal murder, Riley is struggling with some mental health issues. Her parents put her into a group therapy camp, and things go wrong fast. The teenagers with a variety of mental health issues are taken captive and being murdered left and right. Will the teens survive? Will they get out? Is there a bigger plot going on than they know? I was stunned by how insanely fast this thriller moves and I was floored by the surprise ending. Even I didn’t figure that one out! It’s a must read from me, as always with the marvelous Kelley Armstrong.
A+ for The Masked Truth: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24733600-the-masked-truth

So, that’s it! 19 books from 2019! It was hard to pick since I read almost 200 books this year. Some of my fave 2019 books weren’t here because I felt like they deserved a bigger spot on the 2010s summary list.

Am I right? Am I wrong? Did I forget something? Let me know! There’s so many books out there I’m sure I missed some epic 2019 books I will need to put on my TBR!

#BookReview Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive by Joe Montaperto

Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive by Joe Montaperto is a story full of personality!

One thing about Joe Montaperto is that he knows how to write with style. He has a very particular tone in his writing that makes you feel like you’re out in the back, having some beers and listening to Joe tell his tales.

This book is a continuation of Joe’s previous works (Lovely Chaos) which invites the reader into Joe’s actual life. This time around the comedian/writer takes us on a tour that involves… well… you guessed it, catering. The entire book is full of raunchy and hysterical humor and even throws in some educational tidbits along the way.

The thing about this book… I’d really like to hear it in audiobook form. I felt like this could have been a stand-up performance or a story Joe would tell you when you’re hanging out with him. It felt very real and honest, but there were some funny comments that would have been SO much better if I heard them. Some of the comments flew right over my head as a reader. I’m sure if Joe were telling it like it is, I would have gotten way more of the jokes.

That being said, it’s still a fun and relatively short book. It’s honest, amusing, and even goes into some controversial topics (ever heard of Roundup?).

I did enjoy learning a bit about catering though. It makes sense, working for more than one business to make money.

Overall, this book is a nice addition to my shelf! I’m glad I got to dip my toes in the water again and pick up a book by Joe. His books are almost niche because of his wild, unique writing voice. He stands out in the crowd – but that’s what comedians are supposed to do.

Four out of five stars.

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

 

 

Check out some of the work by Joe below:

www.joemontaperto.com

Goodreads – Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive
Amazon.ca – Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive
Amazon.com – Nobody Gets out of Catering Alive
Smashwords – Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive

Check out another book in this series:
Goodreads – Lovely Chaos
Amazon.ca – Lovely Chaos
Amazon.com – Lovely Chaos
Smashwords – Lovely Chaos

and on Authors Den!

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

#BookReview Lovely Chaos by Joe Montaperto

Lovely Chaos by Joe Montaperto is a vivid retelling of a Comedian’s life.

This book surprised me! I wasn’t sure what to expect since I was stepping out of my comfort zone for the types of books I normally read, but Joe really hit it out of the park! This comedian take on an acting student turned Comedian’s life really hit me in all the right places! Joe is trying to figure out what to do with his life, and then one day he takes a Comedy class. Throughout this journey, Joe experiences all of the typical 80s tropes (parties, girls, drugs, etc), but somehow this book felt real!

Joe’s style of writing feels real. The realistic descriptions are insanely vivid and make you feel like you are right there alongside our narrator. The story also feels like Joe is literally talking to me, telling me his exciting tale. This raw style worked really well within the story, and is the reason I hung onto this book for so long. Add in the hilarity of Joe explaining Chi-Chi Gonzalez and Doobs, and you’ve got one epic book!

This is by no means a boring story. It’ll keep you hooked and addicted at every turn. It has the pull of a fantastical, fictional tale yet it makes you feel like you know Joe. Seriously, I loved that personal touch Joe was able to get across to the reader.

The best line in the whole book is definitely “Thou shall not be a cornball”, and I felt like that literally summed up the novel for me. The comedic yet truthful take on a man trying to figure out what to do with his life worked oh so well!

If there is any cons to this book, it’s that the story jumps around a little bit. At times, I wasn’t sure how far apart in the timeline the chapters were, and it felt like there were parts of the narrative missing. Additionally, if you are a reader who doesn’t like this particular style (personal yet comedic) then this book might not sit well with you. I feel like this book is almost in it’s own little niche corner, which might turn some readers away.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book! It was a fresh, new take and is definitely a change from my normal reads. Joe Montaperto is an excellent author, and I’d love to see more by him in the future. Oh, and I’d definitely recommend this book!

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author Joe Montraperto in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Summary of the book by the author:

The second of my memoirs, entitled – ‘Lovely Chaos’ – a story of life in 1980’s New York City and the adventures, opportunities and diversity one could find on the gritty streets, including a stint in a prestigous acting school, life as a nut vendor in Hell’s Kitchen, a spiritual journey in a city ashram, performing stand up comedy on the circuit with such names as Jon Stewart, John Leguizammo, and Dave Atell. Also, the seedy nightlife, spending time at bars like Rudy’s, populated by various denizens of the Hell’s Kitchen population, and the ensuing confrontations with the ever-present hordes of crackheads who roamed the city streets late at night. There’s quite a bit more, but you get the picture.

 

Find this book on:

www.joemontaperto.com

Goodreads – Lovely Chaos

Amazon.ca – Lovely Chaos

Amazon.com – Lovely Chaos

Smashwords – Lovely Chaos

and on Authors Den!

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic and tell me what you think!!

Comment below – will you be picking up this book?