2017 Favorite Reads – Susan

 

I didn’t read as much as I have in years past. Mostly because it was hard to get my head and heart out of the rut that is the WORLD right now. But, also, because of everything going on around me, I’ve felt inspired to write some of my own stories. This year, I’ve finished one YA novel and am drafting my 2nd. It’s exciting!

I slacked on reading and reviewing for the blog, so I want to thank SHERI for keeping up the site! Not only are you a great blogger, but you’re an amazing friend. 🙂

As I’ve been writing YA, I’ve made it a point to read more in the genre. So, though Romance is still my number one, 2017 allowed me to experience some powerful and amazing YA stories as well.

So, here they are…my favorite reads of 2017…

History

“History Is All You Left Me” by Adam Silvera – No joke, this book broke me. This story about first love, love lost, and healing was a powerful read and had me self-reflecting more than I was prepared to be doing. Adam Silvera is a master at telling a story that is NOT EASY but so freaking WORTH IT. AMAZON

hatinggame

“The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne – This was possibly my favorite audiobook of the year. The narration by Katie Schorr was so SPOT ON not only for the characters, but the overall voice of the story. A workplace enemies-to-lovers story, it was charming, heartfelt, sexy, and fun. AMAZON

goodboy

“Good Boy” by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy – Bellyachingly funny, Good Boy is a spinoff of Bowen/Kennedy’s “Him” series. Blake Riley is one of the most hilarious characters I’ve read in a long time. I wanted to hate him, but instead, I fell absolutely in love. This is hilarious, it’s fun, surprisingly emotional, and sexy AF. Loved. (The audiobook version is also wonderful!) AMAZON

hateugive

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas – This book has been sitting on the NYT bestseller list since pretty much the moment it debuted…and there’s a reason why. It is a POWERFUL story depicting the problematic race relations between law enforcement and Black men today. Thomas’ characters are compelling and real and raw. It’s a story that needed to be told, and was done so in a way that was superb. AMAZON

Gathering Storm

“A Gathering Storm” by Joanna Chambers – This book is such a swoony, lovely, haunting historical romance. I love all of Joanna Chambers’ books so it’s a broken record to say this is one of my favorites. But it truly is. There is such a beautiful quality to the way this story was told. And the setting of the town of Porthkennack was a character in and of itself. AMAZON

vicevirtue

“The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee – What a ride! Following two teenaged best friends + a way-awesome younger sister across Europe in a rip-roaring adventure with bad guys, danger, illness, love, and a lot of sass was a HOOT! I read this book 3 times and listened to the audio (highly recommended) 2 more times. To say I loved it would be an understatement. I LOVED IT! AMAZON

 

There are a couple of advanced reader copies I got and read this year that I will SO EXCITEDLY add to my list for 2018, both were 5-star reads for me. Keep your eyes open for “Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi (epic YA fantasy) and “Tribute Act” by Joanna Chambers (lovely, smalltown M/M romance). I loved them both!

Hope you and yours survived (and maybe even thrived!) 2017. Looking forward to a WONDERFUL 2018 filled with stories to steal our hearts! Happy reading!

Best,

Susan

“A Gathering Storm” by Joanna Chambers

about

When grief-stricken scientist Sir Edward Fitzwilliam provokes public scorn by defending a sham spiritualist, he’s forced to retreat to Porthkennack to lick his wounds. Ward’s reputation is in tatters, but he’s determined to continue the work he began after the death of his beloved brother.

In Porthkennack, Ward meets Nicholas Hearn, land steward to the Roscarrock family. Ward becomes convinced that Nick, whose Romany mother was reportedly clairvoyant, is the perfect man to assist with his work. But Nick—who has reason to distrust the whims of wealthy men—is loath to agree. Until Fate steps in to lend a hand.

Despite Nick’s misgivings, he discovers that Ward is not the high-handed aristocrat he first thought. And when passion ignites between them, Nick learns there’s much more to love than the rushed, clandestine encounters he’s used to. Nevertheless, Nick’s sure that wealthy, educated Ward will never see him as an equal.

A storm is gathering, but with Nick’s self-doubts and Ward’s growing obsession, the fragile bond between the two men may not be strong enough to withstand it.

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“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in KhalilÂ’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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“Goodbye Paradise” by Sarina Bowen

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Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

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“Fair Chance” by Josh Lanyon

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One final game of cat and mouse… 

Ex–FBI agent Elliot Mills thought he was done with the most brutal case of his career. The Sculptor, the serial killer he spent years hunting, is finally in jail. But Elliot’s hope dies when he learns the murderer wasn’t acting alone. Now everyone is at risk once again—thanks to a madman determined to finish his partner’s gruesome mission.

When the lead agent on the case, Special Agent Tucker Lance, goes missing, Elliot knows it’s the killer at work. After all, abducting the love of his life is the quickest way to hurt him.

The chances of finding Tucker are all but impossible without the help of the Sculptor—but the Sculptor is in no position to talk. Critically injured in a prison fight, he lies comatose and dying while the clock ticks down. Elliot has no choice but to play this killer’s twisted game and hope he can find Tucker in time.

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“Good Boy” by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

aboutHosting her brother’s wedding for an MVP guest list is the challenge of Jess Canning’s life. Already the family screw-up, she can’t afford to fail. And nobody (nobody!) can learn of the colossal mistake she made with the best man during a weak moment last spring. It was wrong, and there will not be a repeat. Absolutely not. Even if he is the sexiest thing on two legs.

Blake Riley sees the wedding as fate’s gift to him. Jess is the maid of honor and he’s the best man? Let the games begin. So what if he’s facing a little (fine, a lot) of resistance? He just needs to convince the stubborn blonde that he’s really a good boy with a bad rap. Luckily, every professional hockey player knows that you’ve got to make an effort if you want to score.

But Jess has more pressing issues to deal with than sexy-times with a giant man-child. Such as: Will the ceremony start on time, even though someone got grandma drunk? Does glitter ever belong at a wedding? And is it wrong to murder the best man?

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“Rough & Tumble” by Rhenna Morgan

aboutA self-made man with his fingers in a variety of successful businesses, Jace Kennedy lives for the challenge and he always gets what he wants. From the start, he sees Vivienne Moore’s hidden wild side and knows she’s his perfect match, if only he can break it free. He will have her. One way or another.

Vivienne’s determined to ditch the rough lifestyle she grew up in, even if that means hiding her true self behind a bland socialite veneer. Dragging her party-hound sister out of a club was not how she wanted to ring in the New Year, but Viv knows the drill. Get in, get her sister and get back to the safe, stable life she’s built for herself as fast as humanly possible. But Viv’s plans are derailed when she finds herself crashing into the club’s clearly badass and dangerously sexy owner.

Jace is everything Vivienne swore she never wanted, but the more time she spends with him, the more she starts to see that he loves just as fiercely as he fights. He can walk society’s walk and talk society’s talk, but when he wants something, he finds a way to get it. He’s proud of who he is and where he came from, and he’ll be damned if he lets Vivienne go before showing her the safest place of all is in the arms of a dangerous man.

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“History Is All You Left Me” by Adam Silvera

aboutWhen Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

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“Burn Down the Night” by M. O’Keefe

aboutA battle for control turns explosive as a beautiful con woman takes a bad-boy biker hostage in this edgy, seductive novel set in the world of Everything I Left Unsaid (“Toe-curlingly sensual.”—Katy Evans) and The Truth About Him (“Absolutely one-click worthy”—J. Kenner).

The only thing that matters to me is rescuing my sister from the drug-cooking cult that once enslaved us both. I’ve run cons my whole life, and I’ll use my body to get whatever I need. Max Daniels is the last connection I have to that world, the one person reckless enough to get involved. Besides, now that his brothers have turned on him, he needs me too.

The deal was supposed to be simple: a place to hide in exchange for rescuing my sister. Now he’s my prisoner. Totally at my mercy. But I’m the one captivated. Enthralled. Doing everything he asks of me until I’m not sure who’s in control.

We both crave the heat. The more it hurts, the better. But what if Max wants a different life now, to leave the game . . . to love me? I thought I knew better than to get burned. Now I’m in too deep to pull away. And the crazy thing is . . . I don’t want to.

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“Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles” by Eli Easton

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Toby Kincaid loves being the junior librarian in his hometown of Sandy Lake, Ohio. He spends his days surrounded by books and chatting with the library patrons. He especially adores the head librarian, Mr. Miggles, who is kind, witty, knowlegable about everything, and hopelessly addicted to Christmas. Sean Miggles is also pretty cute—especially for an older guy who wears ties and suit pants every day.

But Sean keeps himself at a distance, and there’s a sadness about him that Toby can’t figure out. When Sean is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he gives up without a fight. Toby realizes that he alone can save the library—and their head librarian.

Toby will need to uncover the darkness in Sean’s past and prove to him that he deserves a second chance at life and at love too. And while Christmas miracles are being handed out, maybe Toby will get his own dearest wish—to love and be loved by Mr. Miggles.

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