#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:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

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:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

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!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

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:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

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!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

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!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

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!

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

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.

Find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

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:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

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!

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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Or follow my on Goodreads: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

#BookReview Bloody Valentine by Melissa De La Cruz

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Bloody Valentine is a little book full of short stories relating to romance in the Blue Bloods universe.

I meant to read this years ago, but it disappeared into the depths of my book shelf. I finally found it the other day, and I decided I might as well read it. I’m sure, somewhere, I have the remaining books of the Blue Bloods I meant to years…half a decade ago…

The short stories were cute, but I don’t remember half of what happened in the Blue Bloods universe. With that being said, I wouldn’t recommend reading this book outside of the series. Make sure you are reading the series so you understand everything that is happening. I did a little research on Goodreads to review what had been happening in the series so far, but it would make way more sense to read it within the series.

Oliver, Allegra and Schuyler’s stories were adorable and sweet, and I think this is a great addition to the series. I’d like more sweet stories like this for other series as well!!

Overall, it was cute and I enjoyed it. It’s definitely just some YA side stories so it’s not a must read for me by any means. If you’re into the Blue Bloods, this is for you. It’s vampires, ooey gooey romance, excessive drama, and lots of gossip! What else can you ask for from a YA board school-esque story? It’s like Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries had a baby.

Three out of five stars.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber

Use the hashtag #briarsreviews to give me a shout out on Twitter if you read my review! @ReviewAlholic

Comment below – what is your fave YA novel?

#BookReview Blood Ties by Mari Mancusi

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Here’s a quick book review for one of my fave authors: Mari Mancusi!!!

Another round of Mari Mancusi’s Blood Coven Vampires?! Yes please!

I adore Sunny and Magnus, and lucky for us these two are back together! They are one of my top YA couples and we’re SO lucky to get another book with these two characters interacting!

The drama in this book is intense – a love triangle between Sunny, Magnus and Jayden is clearly occurring. But, as we all know, Sunny is meant for Magnus and they adore each other to no end. The excitement that ensues includes fighting, kisses, biting (vampire alert!), misunderstandings and teenage romance and drama!

I loved this book! It’s fast paced, has fun teenage angst and lots of ooey gooey romance with my faves Sunny and Magnus!

This is a YA book, so don’t go expecting adult drama and storylines. Mari does a great job making this series fun and exciting in the realms of the unbelievable. I highly recommend this series if you haven’t read it! It’s one of the best, fun YA novels out there is you want something lighthearted yet addicting! It’s one of my go to series for when I have a bad day (because it’s rarely depressing).

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out Mari Mancusi on her website: http://www.marimancusi.com/

And give us both a shout out on twitter! @MariMancusi & @ReviewAlholic

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview Once Upon a Vampire by Mari Mancusi

Leave a comment below – what is your favourite YA novel? Give us some awesome recommendations to include on this blog and on our shelves!

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Scars by Ruth Miranda

There is a BIG time jump (and by big, I mean two years) in this novel. There is a slight summary of the first book in this series, which is helpful, but if you haven’t read the first novel in a LONG time, maybe read a quick summary or a few reviews to get yourself caught up!

Scars follows Marcus and Cai as they search for their Father (Titus). Life is getting trickier with their abilities, but they are determined to track him down no matter the consequences. Has their Father taken on a new name? Will some ghosts from their past come back to haunt them? And will their new friends betray them? These are all worthy questions to ponder as you make your way through this book.

I have to say, I liked this better than the first one! I think this sequel ups the thrills and fun, especially with Marcus and Cai interacting. It is a bit darker than it’s predecessor, but I thought it was a great addition to this series! Although, the worst part of the book is the cliffhanger. Ruth likes to leave you hanging and desperate for the next novella! So, we’ll all have to wait and see what happens to our boys and their new friends and family in the final book of the trilogy.

The book is a fantasy novel, full of vampires, fey and witches. It’s not horror, but does have one sexy scene that makes it closer to R than you’d expect. There are dark tones and themes, but nothing that will scare you or disturb you too much.

It’s also rather fast paced. I felt myself easily reading this book and suddenly it was over! But it was a delightful read. So as short and quick as it was, the book turned out excellent! Some of the scenes are quite shocking, and I didn’t see them coming. Ruth has a real talent at throwing those twists and turns at you, throwing you off guard for the next scene.

On a side note, I love that the titles of these books actually play into the stories! Blood was a big scene stealer in the first novella, while scars are often discussed in this one. I always love seeing the titles having some relation to the book, but this one really worked well!

Overall, this book was a real gem! I’m definitely getting more into this series and I want to read more by Ruth Miranda! Her books are truly excellent!

Five out of five stars!

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

 

Check out Ruth Miranda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15263413.Ruth_Miranda

Find Scars on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Scars

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Scars

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Scars

Find Blood, the first book in this series on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Blood

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Blood

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Blood

Find some more reads by Ruth Miranda:

Amazon.con – A Study for Love / Amazon.ca – A Study for Love

 

Amazon.com – Ruth Miranda

 

If you read this review, use the hashtag #briarsreviews and give me a shout out on Twitter! @ReviewAlholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Marianne by Ruth Miranda

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This book starts off with a BANG!

Seriously, I couldn’t believe that the book just jumped into the action, like some epic movie sequel! I loved this sweet surprise, since it’s a major change from the books I have been reading lately.

Ruth Miranda, the fantastic author, opens up the realm of fantasy even further in this book. The slow unraveling of this fantastical universe seemed to work really well within the story. I don’t think I would have liked this series as much if she would have thrown all of the elements at us at once. The way she gives us the secrets to this world piece by piece felt… flawless. Each little piece of information that was released made the story slowly fall into place, and gave some awesome added effects. The information about Nora was what really had me in awe – Ruth knows how to tell a great tale.

If there was a con to this point, I’d say that it sometimes felt like those super villain monologues when all of the information was being released. But, for me, it still worked well. I liked the long descriptions.

When looking at the overall book, it’s definitely the darkest of the three. As a reader, if you felt that the last two pushed the limits, then this book might not be for you. It’s past the PG-13 rating for some of it’s deep content, such as the rape scene. So in my mind, it’s a hard R rating. This scene is brutal, but shows some deep insights into the character it’s following. The plot line gets crazier as it goes on, which boggled my mind. The insanity Ruth introduces to the back stories of these characters… One word: WOW. Just… Wow. A good wow, of course!

As the book progressed, I really liked the depth of Marianne and Marcus’s relationship. It’s a unique dynamic, but it held me tight to this book. I wanted to know more about this pair, and I was so tempted to skip to the pages that they were on! If anybody stood out in this novel, it’s that pair! At times you feel bad for them, and then you hate them, but then you feel empathetic… This roller coaster of emotions is from Ruth’s epic writing. Seriously, I haven’t felt this exhausted from my emotions about a book in a LONG time.

In some weird way, I could relate and emphasize with Marianne. The humiliation, the desire to fit in or be loved by someone, and her emotions being painted on the page all hit me in just the right way. I felt like I’ve been there before, in different ways. And, in my opinion, I think this is where the book is really going to draw it’s audience. I don’t often feel and relate to characters in books like this, but with Marianne… There’s something there.

Nora and Cai’s side of the story is also intriguing – the characters are changing throughout the story as they try to find Marcus. While Marcus and Marianne stood out, the journey Nora and Cai go on is a nice parallel. It brings us away from the brutality of Marcus/Marianne, which is much needed in this story. The romance, the drama and the beauty of their story is the perfect mirror! Kudos to Ruth for making this parallel so good!

Overall, this addicting story of pain and growth is mesmerizing! This series is definitely a must read if you want something darker and fantastical. I’d highly recommend it! It’s hard to find a dark series that takes on so many tough topics, and comes out on top!

There is one big con for me, and Ruth said it herself – I wanted to throw this book at the wall when I was done with it. But I was reading it on my iPad, and that is too expensive to throw. So, I didn’t throw the book at the wall, but I would have liked to.

Five out of five stars! Wowza!

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

 

 

Check out Ruth Miranda on Goodreads

 

Find the first book in this series, Blood, on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Blood

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Blood

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Blood

Find the 2nd book, Scars, on:

Goodreads – Goodreads – Scars

Amazon.com – Amazon.com – Scars

Amazon.ca – Amazon.ca – Scars

Find more books by Ruth Miranda on Amazon:

Amazon.com – Ruth Miranda

Amazon.com – A Study for Love / Amazon.ca – A Study for Love

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter! @reviewalholic

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan

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The Vampire’s Assistant was an excellent young adult novel that is full of thrills and chills!

I watched the movie adaption of this series YEARS ago, and I had been dying to pick up this series. Unfortunately for me, the bookstore is big and full of millions of books so I’d forget what I was looking for the minute I walked in. Luckily for me, I walked into a bargain bookstore and found an old, extremely damaged version of this book for clearance – so of course I bought it! A little water never hurt anybody!

I hadn’t read the first book in this series, but jumping right in was super easy! This book was fun, full of silly frights and awesome character development, and made me remember why I loved vampire novels in my youth!

This book is quick – it moves fast and keeps you interested at every turn. There’s some really creepy bad guys, Evra (the snake boy), a wolf man, and some awesome parental-yet-not-so-parental adults hanging around. It’s definitely the type of horror book I would read as a kid (but it doesn’t scare me at all now – adult me has worse things to be afraid of…like politics and bills…ick).

I highly recommend this book to anyone considering introducing their children to YA books with horror or vampires in it. It’s fun and creepy in all good ways! It’ll keep the adults interested too!

Four out of five stars!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

Comment below – what is your favourite young adult novel?

Give me a shout-out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews if you read this review! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter – @ReviewAlholic

And check out Darren Shan:

http://www.darrenshan.com/

@DarrenShan

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReviews Girls That Growl by Mari Mancusi

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Girls that Growl by Mari Mancusi is a great addition to the Blood Coven Vampires series.

This book continues this series in an excellent manner all the while expanding the universe even farther. Our lead, Rayne, grows as a character which is a nice change compared to many YA novels where our leads stay the same throughout the entire series.

Mari explores lycan within this book alongside Rayne’s character development. While this isn’t my favourite book out of the entire series (this is actually my least favourite, when I look back at all the books – including the new one), I feel like this book does it’s job – it moves the story forward so we can get to the next novels. Don’t be turned away by this book – yes, it’s not as great as the last two books but the following books get much, much better than this one. There always seems to be one book in a series that isn’t as great as the rest (there has to be, not all books can be perfect) and this book is it in this series. The previous and following books are definitely worth reading this book so you can get to all the adventure and romance we love.

There is more Sunny in this book, but the main focus is Rayne. It’s nice to see both girls have a bigger presence in this book!! There is also a bit more exploration of Jareth, for those who love him…

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Re-reading it was an excellent choice for me and I definitely suggest picking this book up!!

Five out of five stars.

 

Check out Mari on Goodreads! Mari Mancusi on Goodreads

Or visit her site: Mari Mancusi’s Website

Tell Mari you read her book on twitter:  @MariMancusi

Did you enjoy the Blood Coven series? Well, it has it’s own website!! Blood Covens Series by Mari Mancusi

Find me on Goodreads, where you can get up to date posts as soon as available: Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Or swing by Twitter and give me a shout out!! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

 

Photo from Goodreads.