#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 NYV: Goth by K.D. McQuain

NYV: Goth is a great addition to the New York Vampire series by K.D. McQuain.

I have been waiting anxiously for this sequel for quite a while, and I have to say it didn’t disappoint! This sequel is darker, more twisted and absolutely brutal!

Yet again, we follow Chris in his new vampire life – he’s a little older, a little wiser and still getting into trouble. This book packs on the drama, the sex, the blood and the gore. As he tries to find his place in this world, performing a job alongside Amym and Joyce, trouble ensues.

This book is one hundred percent an R rated novel – there’s lots of sex scenes and lots of blood and guts. This book is not for the light-hearted, but it’s still quite the treat! The mature tone makes this book an interesting read since we are following a teenager. At times, I forgot that Chris was a teenager despite his actions reflecting his age pretty well. I still love Amym in this book, and I wish we got more from his side of the story. His little novella (#1.5 in this series) was really awesome – if you haven’t read that book, pick it up! Seriously, it’s great!

I loved that Chris is growing as a character. He wasn’t my favourite in the first novel, but he’s grown on me quite a bit. He has realistic emotions and reactions in a book that’s fantastical. I hope K.D. McQuain continues with this series and continues growing and developing Chris. He’s becoming one truly interesting character.

My issues with the book were as followed: I always seem to have difficulty figuring out how to pronounce the names of the characters. Googling them rarely helps me, so it’s more of a personal ‘con’ of the book. I’d love to see how K.D. had pronounced them as he was writing – that’d help silly old me out. My other con is that I wanted a little more from the side stories. They were really interesting, but I just wanted… more. Maybe I’m just greedy because I like K.D.’s writing style.

Overall, this book was a dark yet fun ride! It’s another ‘Reader Beware’ book – it’s really dark, it has rape and murder and lots of R rated content that might not be suitable for all ages or personalities

I would recommend this book if you like R rated vampire books (no glitter here folks!), drama and horror mashed together, or want a new series to jump into. I would recommend reading the first book so you really get the whole picture of this series, but you could definitely follow along with this story without any prior knowledge.

Four out of five stars!

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

 

This book can be purchased on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

The first book in this series can be found on Goodreads: Goodreads – NYV: Punk (#1)

Check out AMYM:The Mamluk Who Defied Death (New York Vampire #1.5) on Goodreads: AMYM on Goodreads

Find this book, NYV: Goth on Goodreads: Goodreads – NYV: Goth

Or…check out this website for more information on KD’s Books! K.D. McQuain’s Books

Find K.D. McQuain on Twitter! @McQuain_kd

 

Here are my other reviews for K.D. McQuain’s books:
#BookReview AMYM:The Mamluk Who Defied Death (New York Vampire 1.5) by K.D. McQuain
Book Review: NYV: Punk by K.D. McQuain

 

 

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 AMYM:The Mamluk Who Defied Death (New York Vampire 1.5) by K.D. McQuain

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AMYM: The Mamluk Who Defied Death (1.5 in the New York Vampire Series) is a new novel/story by K.D. McQuain!!

I’m very honored that K.D. McQuain sent me this story/novel (how long have I been doing reviews and I never get the correct wording for what a book technically is) and I was super excited to pick it up! I had to hold back since I was busy and had to actually “adult”, so when it was finally my day off it was one of the first things on my to-do list!!

I love the font that the chapter numbers are written in – it doesn’t affect the story, but the vibe and style it gives it is excellent!

K.D. McQuain is one of those authors that you don’t really hear about, but when you come in touch with his work you are BLOWN AWAY. Not only does this man write a great fantasy/vampire novel, but his erotic/romance scenes are beyond what I expect from someone writing a vampire novel. You don’t see very many authors who can combine multiple genres (if you wish to word it that way) together. His story telling is so descriptive, and not in a bad way. It’s not like layers and layers of adjectives, it’s as if you are in the story. And he’s only on “book two” of his writing career? That’s hard to believe! The talent radiating out of this author is absolutely ridiculous.

It gives me a Game of Thrones kind of vibe, but these stories are so much easier to get through. There’s paranormal aspects, the vampire side (obviously), some action/adventure, and steamy scenes.

I find the plots and subplots of this story work well with each other. Amym wanting to rule, his relationship with Ketevan, his relationship with his mistress, and the general “day to day” life of Amym all work together and weave together perfectly in this short story. I didn’t find myself getting bored or confused like I have in other stories that are written in similar fashions.

The only part of these stories I have “issues” with is all the terminology. I’m okay with going back through a previous book or looking up words I don’t know, but I’m not sure if all readers will be okay with that. The lore and mythology of these stories are one of the great aspects that I enjoy, but some readers may not be as interested in all the terminology that appears in these novels.

Overall, this book was great! I really enjoyed reading another tale in the New York Vampire series and I can’t wait for more K.D. McQuain to give us some more books to read!!

Four out of five stars.

Check out this book on Goodreads: AMYM on Goodreads

Or…check out this website for more information on KD’s Books! K.D. McQuain’s Books

Find K.D. McQuain on Twitter! @McQuain_kd

Check out my page on Goodreads for more up to date reviews!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Or follow me on Twitter! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

Book Review: NYV: Punk by K.D. McQuain

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NYV: Punk by KD McQuain

I’m not sure what I thought of this novel. It seemed awesome via the cover, the synopsis and what some of my reader friends said about the book but overall this book wasn’t a hit with me.

This novel follows Christian, our lead who goes off in search of a coming of age story for himself. This book twists into an interesting fantasy novel that not only follows Christian growing as a character but involves some vampires and fantasy all splashed into these fine pages of this book.

I found this book to be super slow at the start, which made me drift off as I read it. Eventually, near the very end of the book, it picked up and finally peaked my interests but it just didn’t hit well with me. I love a book that’s fast paced or hooks me instantly, not one that takes ages for me to finally feel like I want to read it (not that I have to).

The writing style is great, though. The descriptions (in general, characters, violence, sex, all of them really) were truly unbelievable. For someone’s first book, it’s really memorizing. You almost felt like you were in the story – and I applaud KD for that. To be able to write and describe so beautifully on your first novel? Bonus points for you sir!

I really enjoyed reading K.D’s take on this story. The language and style fits right with the tone of the novel. I thought this novel was going to be a Young Adult novel, but then it got quite explicit at some times… Perhaps a better rating for this novel is needed? I saw it in an indie book store floating in the YA section… Maybe not?

This book is a series, and I do think it’s a worthy read. I just wanted something a little more fast paced. I found it to be a unique take on vampires and I really hope more people pick up this author! There’s talent waiting, and imagine what this author can do once he starts writing more? This is only one of the first books for this guy! Talent normally goes up, and this book was definitely well written.

I would definitely want to read the second book if I can ever get my hands on it. While this book bored me at the beginning, I’m definitely hooked now. Fantastic read!

Four out of five stars – due to the slow start of the novel.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.