Per usual, I had a hard time picking out just a few books that blew me away this year. I LOVED THEM ALL!!! Well, most of them. My qualifications for bestest book EVAH isn’t flawless writing, intense subject matter, or where they fall on best selling lists, but rather the emotions they invoke in me while reading and what I’m left feeling when I’m finished.
Push by Claire Wallis-A psychological romantic thriller that addresses the long term emotional and mental damage caused by childhood abuse and the lengths some will go to find peace and happiness. Warning!!! Ends on a major cliffie which is resolved in the shocking sequel-Pull.
Absolution by Angela Louise McGurk-Violence and sex take on new meanings in a world dominated by vampires when a widowed bride fights to reclaim what was violently taken from her only to find herself an unwilling savior in a coming war.
The Kraken King–A rip roaring steam punk adventure filled with dastardly pirates, steamy romance, and dangerous adversaries. Love finds two lost reluctant souls as they struggle to save themselves, their friends, and the world.
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop-A splendid continuation of the spellbinding magic we saw in book one, Written in Red. Suspense, intrigue, action, humor, and hints of romance await readers as Ms. Bishop opens the door back to a world and inhabitants that demand your full attention. A dark urban fantasy that shows us an alternative world teeming with unrest, fear, and racism that exists between predator and it’s prey who share this world.
Broken Blade by J.C. Daniels-A dark urban fantasy that addresses love and loss for a broken woman trying to survive in a world that wants her dead.
Shield Of Winter by Nalini Singh-Shield of Winter, the thirteenth installment in the series, is as intoxicating and engaging as the first. Singh is able to impart heartfelt emotion into a love story centering around two people who, for all intents and purposes, have surrendered their emotions long ago to appease a race that deemed them unacceptable.
Reapers Stand by Joanna Wylde–A potent mixture of love, anger, lust and redemption all collide to form a bomb that explodes as Wylde wraps up a long, ongoing storyline in the series and sets up her bad boys for more exploits steeped in mayhem and chaos. Wylde’s powerful voice and dynamic characters keep this series fresh, addictive, and filled pure unadulterated fun.
The Shotgun Arcana by R.S. Belcher– Putting his imagination to good use, Belcher paints a complex and engaging story of love, loss, redemption and sacrifice in a town where dreams can come true, but often at an unimaginable price. Charismatic characters and a stunning blend of history, legend, religion and modern sensibility intertwine to create a world that embraces the strange and fantastical. You do not have to read book one to undderstand this one.
Tainted Blood by M.L Brennan-Brennan takes supernatural lore and vampire legend of old, giving it a much needed modern updating. Eclectic and entertaining with it’s thinly veiled violent tendencies and dark comedic undertones, the star of this show is it’s protagonist, Fortitude Scott, and his reluctant journey towards his destiny.
A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev– A beautiful, humorous, heartbreaking romance of a young married Indian woman who finds out her marriage and life was a lie and now must rediscover who she is. Emotionally poignant, your heart will hurt for the heroine who seems to be cursed with having her dreams ripped from her time and time again. Readers are sure to love this twist on the feisty ingenue and bossy alpha trope.
Light My Fire by G.A. Aiken–Aiken manages to outdo her previous works in her 7th installment of her hilarious, violent, explosive, outrageous Dragon Kin Series. Light My Fire was fantastic! Best book in the series. Incredible world building, arc expansion, and character dynamics. Aiken hit a home run out of the park with this one.
Show The Fire by Susan Fanetti-Literally one of the most emotionally gut wrenching and devastating books I read this year. Fanetti gives us a love affair for the ages only to rip it out from underneath us, showing once again that the violent world of the 1%-ers is not for the romantic. What made this a top read is Fanetti takes a huge risk as an author in order to stay true to her storyline and against the odds makes it work.
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews-Once again, Andrews takes everything we have learned and turns it inside out, leaving this reader reeling with all the implications of what’s to come. This series just continues to get better and better. One of my top recommended urban fantasy series.
Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews– A heady mixture of action, mystery, and suspense offset by the Andrews’ trademark dry sardonic wit. I laughed throughout this book. The investigative angle takes it a step above your average Urban Fantasy. Dynamic characters saturate the storyline with fabulous dialogue and intriguing subplots.
Heir of Fire by Sarah J Moss– A phenomenal read (and series) that blows it all out of the water.. A whirlwind adventure of indefinite proportions, Maas has created a fantastical world that will definitely stay on many fantasy readers best read lists for years to come.
Play by Kylie Scott- Play is a sweet new adult romantic contemporary that focuses on the relationship between an out of control rock star and a down on her luck young woman. Ms. Scott uses her skills to paint an engaging, quite humorous,and at times heartbreaking picture of first love as she builds a swoon worthy romance on a false premise. Not a trope I normally go for; it works well in here.
Black Arts by Faith Hunter–An action packed thriller that rips the makeshift bandages off old wounds. Betrayal, deception, and heartbreak all lead the way in this roller coaster ride of infinite proportions that will keep readers twisting and turning until the very last page.
The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison–An eclectic mixture of everything I have come to love about this series and Urban Fantasy. Action, suspense, emotional revelations, romance, humor, and heartbreak. I can easily see it becoming a much beloved re read in the future.
Indecent Proposal by Molly O’Keefe-Molly O’Keefe has a definite gift of slicing through the artifice and getting to the heart of the matter in an engaging and receptive manner. Marriage of convenience , opposites attract, and unexpected pregnancy aren’t new tropes in romance but in O’Keefe’s deft hands, they become a visual feast for the senses as she expertly builds and refines her world and the dynamically flawed characters who live there.
The Day He Kissed Her by Juliana Stone– An emotional love story about two severely damaged people who meet and discover the missing pieces to their soul. A visually impacting romance that focuses heavily on the protagonists and their journey towards love, forgiveness, and redemption. Heart wrenching emotional dialogue and lush sensual scenes paint a vivid picture that stays with you long after the end.
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu– A must read YA that examines bullying, slut shaming, and mob mentality. Five students all come together in a series of dialogue and memories, flashing between the past and present, to explain to us how and why one girl was chosen to become the target of these students’ anger.
Wrecking Ball by B.N. Tolar– A poignant romance contemporary addresses love, marriage, infidelity, forgiveness and the long road back to finding yourself. As a married woman, this book hit hard with some of the observations made. Bittersweet with bouts of humor, angst, and steamy love scenes, Toler shows us that life is short and should be lived to it’s fullest.
What A Bad Boy Wants by Marie Harte
Still Life With Strings by L.H. Cosway
Fury of the Demon by Diana Rowland
Filthy Dirty Boy by Christine Laurens
Enigma by Moira Rogers
Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
I must also throw an honorable mention to Shay Savage for Transcendence. I give major kudos to ANYONE who can write a full emotionally functional romance with less a paragraph of dialogue. A time travel fangirl’s delight, Transcendence was funny, sweet, sexy, heartfelt, and yes, slightly cheesy love story between a cro-magnum and a 21st century girl. And it totally rocked.