We are halfway through 2015 and we thought we would pause and talk about the books that have stood out so far this year.
Tori’s Top Picks (so far) for 2015
The Ones We Trust by Kimberly Belle-A through provoking and bittersweet story that speaks of grief, loyalty, and trust when a young woman tries to help a family find answers about a sibling’s death members death only to discover her family may have had a hand in covering it up.
Everything I Left Unsaid by Molly O’Keefe-Part one of a duology, O’Keefe pens an emotionally dark erotic tale of love, loss, and abuse when a young woman running away from an abusive husband finds more danger in the arms of the man who wants to save her.
Alice by Christine Henry–Christina Henry brings her considerable skill and magic to the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland, using delightfully perverse twists and turns to create a horrifying fantasy that will have you re-examining your love for this childhood favorite.
The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan–A sweet, sexy, funny, and emotionally refreshing friends to lovers contemporary that highlights a couple whose journey from friendship to love is facilitated by witty banter, adept communication, and delicious sexual tension.
The Frenchman by Lesley Young–Good Gravy. This was sexy sexy sexy. A hot french arrogant rugby player with a criminal past. A sweet american college girl seeking to spend time with her mom. A fast paced storyline that dabbles in quite a few tropes. Drama, action, racy sex scenes, and heart swooning ending. My first time reading this author but won’t be my last.
Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh–In a series built on alpha over protective heroes, it’s was nice to see an alpha over protective heroine adopt the role of protector. I’ve waited a long time for Aden’s story and Singh blows me out of the water in Shards of Hope. Not only in terms of protagonists but in the way she advances the arc, introduces new characters, and effortlessly continues to change the characterization of an entire race. A fabulous series that continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
The Slayer Kele Moon–Love, hate, family, betrayal, hope, and redemption all blend together to build a lush and heart wrenching love story between a former gang banger, Chuto, and a preacher’s daughter, Aliane. The brilliance lies in the characters who live in this story. Life is never easy and sometimes the hardest blows come from those you love the most and nothing even begins to prepare you for the blows this couple has to take for their love and happiness.
Lonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan–Emotionally heart wrenching, an unlikely romance blooms between two lost souls whose lives were shattered by the violence that often follows homophobia. Intense sensuality blends well the self deprecating humor to keep the story from dwelling in the darkness for too long. Once again, Cullinan uses her voice to fight for the rights of those that some in society deem unworthy.
Master of the Game by Jane Kindred-Jane Kindred brings her mastery to the forefront in the latest installment of her erotic Demons of Elysium series- Master of the Game. This complex and wickedly decadent dark fantasy bombards the reader with it’s sensuality and heartbreaking reveals while building on the ongoing arc to an explosive ending. Extreme sexual situations and a hard-core rape fantasy scene maybe triggers for some readers.
Beauty and the Rake by Erica Monroe–A retelling of the classic-Beauty and the Beast-set in the 1800’s and focuses on London’s lower and middle class. A nice change from the usual trend of historical romances playing out among the aristocrats; the mechanics of the story work well with the characters. Dynamic characters and a well plotted storyline shows Monroe’s obvious attention to detail and allows readers an intimate view of the attitudes towards the lower class and the struggles that they endured day to day to survive.
Elements of Chemistry by Penny Reid–Elements of Chemistry is the real deal with its dynamic characters, realistic dialogue, compelling scenes, and a love story that speaks to the heart. Reid excels at geek romance and her voice clearly sings in this one.
The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston– The Unleashing is everything you could wish for in a paranormal romance and more. If you enjoy outrageous scenarios, witty banter, and hilariously over the top characters then look no further than Shelly Laurenston’s Call of the Crows series.
Vision of Silver by Anne Bishop-This multiplexed Urban Fantasy series takes the sensitive issues of racism, discrimination, and abuse wrapped in the disguise of caring, wrapping them up inside a vibrantly magical world with a realistic core. Teeming with intrigue, suspense, heartbreak, and hints of romance, Ms. Bishop’s literary voice continue to astound and enchant.
Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews. They never disappoint. The world and characters continue to grow and evolve. Excellent addition to this series.
Focus on Me by Megan Erickson – I will read everything single thing she writes. Emotional, super sexy, overall fun.
Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy – New adult hockey. Gay for you. Best friends. It doesn’t get much better than this. (Releases today! Reviewing this week)
Crash & Burn by Abigail Roux – Goodbye Ty and Zane. I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER. (I’m not dramatic at all)
Part Time Cowboy by Maisey Yates – Very well done contemporary romance with a grumpy hero. I’ve enjoyed this series.
Rock Hard by Nalini Singh – A hero nicknamed T-Rex is always a winner.
Hearts of Fire by LH Cosway – Hero eats fire in a traveling carnival and has a man-bun.
Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs – Her Alpha & Omega series is done so well. Loved this addition.
Radiance by Grace Draven – If you are going to read one fantasy book this year, make it this one. VERY romantic. Excellent.
The Deal by Elle Kennedy – Swoon-worthy. Adorable. Sexy.
True Pretenses by Rose Lerner – LOVE this author’s voice. If you like historicals, you must try her.
Give it All by Cara McKenna – OCD, anxious, controlled, cold hero – and he is a sexy beast.
Mandi’s super dirty reads:
Playing with Trouble by Chanel Cleeton – Hot for teacher.
Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai – “Make me suck it.”
Pucked by Helena Hunting – Two words – Monster Cock.
Taken by Charlotte Stein – Big, hairy, awkward hero who chains the heroine to his bed. It’s surprisingly funny.
Up in Smoke by Tessa Bailey – “When we’re finished getting you ready, you’ll be begging for inches. I’m going to give you ten”
Short list for me as regular life has intruded into my reading time in a huge way!
Hide and Keep by K. Sterling: I adored this story. The author gives us one of the most unique characters I’ve ever read in Aidan Sharp–a man with Asperger’s Syndrome. His partner, Lane, isn’t looking for love and is completely unprepared to fall for this outspoken, quirky, young man. A true portrayal of love finding you when you least expect it.
The Ground Rules by Roya Carmen: Though I only rated this book a C upon completing, it stuck with me and I’m totally jonesing for book two. It really took me by surprise! The blurb led me to assume a few things, which turned out to be mostly true, but also not. I like that it took me out of my comfort zone and made me question things. This is book one of a trilogy and ends in a cliffhanger of sorts. I say that because the author gives us a teaser for book two which had me in a “WTF” state for several minutes upon completing.
Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh
Call on Me by Roni Loren
Wolf Bride by Elizabeth Moss
The Unlikely Lady by Valerie Bowman
The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor by Paula Quinn
Sealed in Sin (The Vessel Trilogy # 3) by Juliette Cross
Driven by Fate by Tessa Bailey
Rebel (Dead Man’s Ink # 1) by Callie Hart
Waking The Dragon by Juliette Cross
Be Mine Forever by Kennedy Ryan