#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 Drug Gang Vengeance by Neil Walker

Drug Gang Vengeance in one word: Brutal.

And I mean brutal in a good way, of course! If you’ve read the first novel of this series (Drug Gang), you’d totally understand the reason I pick that word – this book is full of drugs, fights, blood, violence, and general insanity (think John Wick sort of craziness).

The story builds on the last novel and changes the scenery a tad bit. I liked that it didn’t follow the same old plot and it expanded on the craziness that is John’s life. The big plot developments and twists that occur to John this time around was also epic! I can’t wait to see how Neil expands on John’s life after this, since this book really stepped it up.

If I were to suggest anything to Neil, I would say there were some scenes that could have been expanded on. There was a brief summary of the time John spent with a certain character in the hospital (no spoilers), and I would have liked to see more on that. Maybe that’s coming from the drama reader side of me, but I think that could have added to the story in someway. It definitely wouldn’t have been as brutal or fit in as well, but it might have grown the character.

There’s lots of swearing in this book, but it didn’t seem excessive. I don’t enjoy lots of swearing when it’s useless, but Neil somehow makes it work. Typically, you’d see me complaining about swearing (because half the time I swear it’s just filler for writers), but I like how it fit in this world. Way to go Neil!

But, that was my biggest flaw. Seriously, this book is great! It’s not for the light-hearted and it’s definitely not some YA novel, but it hits all the points I want in a thriller, drug-infused novel. It has it’s own style too, making it unique out of most of the books I usually read. It’s kind of a niche novel, but a great one! I almost feel like this book could hit big in an underground reading world.

My suggestions if you read this book:
Read book #1 (Drug Gang). Seriously, it’ll make this read better. I was going to read this book first, but I decided to start from the beginning and I don’t regret it. You’ll understand John’s journey WAY better – it’s not like a normal mystery novel where everything is filled in along the way. It’s much easier to just indulge yourself with this violent, fantastical journey than to cheat yourself on the wild adventure.

Four out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author Neil Walker in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out Neil Walker:

On Goodreads

On Twitter @NeilWalkerWrote

On Facebook

Give me a shoutout on twitter using the hashtag #BriarsReviews if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic

 

Synopsis:

THE DRUG GANG IS BACK! IT’S TIME TO PAY FOR YOUR SINS…

John Kennedy is on his way out of a life of crime in Sydney, when he is hunted down by drug gang The Brotherhood. This leads to a spiral of vengeance and violence that stretches right around the globe.

PART TWO OF THE DRUG GANG SERIES.

Drug Gang Vengeance is the sequel to my bestseller Drug Gang and I could send you a free promo copy of that also, if you would like to read and review both. I’ve attached the Amazon link for the first book below, if you’d like to take a look.

Find this novel on Amazon:

Drug Gang Vengeance #2 on Amazon.co.uk

Drug Gang Vengeance #2 on Amazon.ca

Drug Gang Vengeance #2 on Amazon.com

Find the first novel, Drug Gang, on Amazon:

Drug Gang #1 on Amazon.co.uk

Drug Gang #1 on Amazon.ca

Drug Gang #1 on Amazon.com

 

Comment below – have you read any books by Neil Walker? Or do you plan to?

#BooKReview Drug Gang by Neil Walker

 

Drug Gang was a book far out of my normal reading boundaries, but I wanted to step outside my normal fantasy and romance filled novels. This book felt cinematic in a sense, something along the lines of the Godfather (but fictional, and not the same plot).

This book felt me feeling ‘meh’ at some points – it would pick up speed and get really good, then go bland for a few pages, then get exciting and full of action, then slow down again. I love a story that moves at a fast and furious pace, so in that sense the book was not for me.

John’s adventures in the drug dealing business was interesting. I felt like some situations just fell perfectly into place for him, but it was still a fun read. Instead of a general build to the plot points, they happened suddenly and out of the blue. I would have liked some building up to the main plot points if this book wasn’t going to go hard and fast. Although, it was interesting since I don’t tread in that fictional water often.

My biggest cons for this book were the following: lack of females (as much as I understand this is a man’s world/perspective, it just seemed weird there were NO women hanging around for most of the novel…with speaking parts, that is), and the writing style didn’t match well with my reading style.

Disclaimer: There’s some REAALLLLLLLY dark scenes in this book, so if you are the faint of heart or don’t like brutal scenes don’t go for this book. It’s a hard R, wild ride.

Overall, this book was cool! I definitely want to continue reading this series because it’s so different. While I’ve heard of this concept a lot, I’ve never actually read books like this. If you wait to get into this novel, you might find it to get more addicting as you go. I found myself really hooked about 3/4ths into the novel.

Four out of five stars!

I received a free, virtual copy of this novel from Neil Walker in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon UK: Drug Gang #1

Amazon USA: Drug Gang #1

Amazon CAN: Drug Gang #1

Check out a quick preview for the second book in the series:

Drug Gang Vengeance: Drug Gang Part II

THE DRUG GANG IS BACK! IT’S TIME TO PAY FOR YOUR SINS…

John Kennedy is on his way out of a life of crime in Sydney, when he is hunted down by drug gang The Brotherhood. This leads to a spiral of vengeance and violence that stretches right around the globe.

PART TWO OF THE DRUG GANG SERIES.

Amazon UK: Drug Gang Vengeance (#2)

Amazon USA: Drug Gang Vengeance (#2)

Amazon CAN: Drug Gang Vengeance (#2)

 

Check out Neil Walker on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/neilwalkerauthor

Or give Neil and I a shoutout on twitter! @NeilWalkerWrote & @ReviewAlholic

Have you read any books by Neil Walker? Or do you want to read a novel by Neil Walker? Comment below!