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

2017 Favorite Reads – Sheri

The end of the year is here, which for me means too much good food, lots of bubbly and a time for reflection. I always look forward to taking a few moments to pause and remember the highlights from the last twelve months. Books are a huge part of my life. They bring me great comfort; my kindle is almost like a security blanket and certainly one of my most prized possessions. Even when I was unable to read for a few weeks, it never left my side. I am forever grateful for the brave authors in this world. Providing an escape, whether it be fluff and smut or angst-ridden and tearful, is a priceless gift. So, thank you! I treasure my book time and I would be lost without you. I had the pleasure of discovering new authors and found myself in new trope territory too! I couldn’t stay away from the angsty reads again this year and melted into a few beloved series from the year before. All in all I was quite fortunate and it was another stellar year of books.

Let’s get this book party started,
Here are my most cherished books from this past year…..

 

“The Layover” by Roe Horvat – Whoa. This novella left me thunderstruck. I was drawn to it for some reason when the review request list came along and I’m beyond thankful I took a chance on it. A shiny new author rocked my world and left me gobsmacked. As I declared in my post-read daze, it is real, it is raw and it’s remarkable. The last time a novella left such an impact on me was when I was flying high with “Skybound” from Voinov. Truly powerful writing is the only link between the two books. Every word has a purpose in an impressive and compelling manner. Believe me, this is phenomenal and worth reading if you haven’t.  AMAZON

 

“Misfits” by Garrett Leigh – I was introduced to Leigh near the end of last year and I’ve quickly become a devoted reader. She is fearless and takes us on hellacious rides. This particular adventure was not one I would have sought out before I began reading everything she has penned. Three? Ménage? Throuple? I would politely decline and move along. Because….I didn’t get it. And then Garrett opened my eyes and my heart to three awesome men I will never forget. I understood how two people can fit together perfectly and yet they still require one more piece to bind them in place. A secure connection that doesn’t interfere, simply locks them. Gorgeous story that I think everyone should experience. AMAZON

 

“Kidnapped by the Pirate” by Keira Andrews – *blink* This was…..another blindside. I don’t read historical romance. I’ve tried before and just couldn’t find the appeal. Until now. Andrews takes us back, wayyy back, and I couldn’t get enough. A naughty pirate and a naive young man pulled me into their turbulent world of forbidden love and I longed to stay. It was sassy, sweet and of course, sexy. Keira has become one of my auto-buy authors for good reason. If you haven’t jumped on this “juicy” journey, you are sorely missing out!  AMAZON

 

“Arrows Through Archer” by Nash Summers – I don’t think it’s necessary to disclose I’m friends with the author but I’ll put it out there. Yes, I think Summers is an awesome person but she’s also an awesome author. I’ve had the pleasure of watching her grow and this book is her best work in my opinion. This story is a tsunami of feels and I willingly threw myself into the storm. It’s not often characters stick with you but I have no doubt Mallory and Archer are with me for the long haul. If you haven’t read Summers yet, this is a marvelous place to start! AMAZON

 

“True Colors” by Anyta Sunday – I don’t read a lot of YA but I DO read a lot of Anyta Sunday. This was a tragically beautiful second chance story of true love. This book hurt…but it hurt so good. Two best friends were ripped apart in the most agonizing manner and then reunited years later. The damage was severe and the time apart has not been kind. Sunday delivers a powerful first love, true love, only love story that should make the cut of all YA readers. And hey, even if you’re not, I bet you’ll agree this story is worthy of all the colors of the rainbow. AMAZON

 

“Be My Best Man” by Con Riley – This book!!! Sensational spellbinding storytelling at its best. Yet another new-to-me author that blew me away. A complex love story that requires patience from the reader but will reward you in the most astounding fashion. Prepare to endure real life oppressions, adversity, and afflictions. The storm clouds are dark and heavy but when the sun comes out, it will take your breath away. This story needs to make it to the big screen. I just KNOW it would kill it as a blockbuster. Con Riley, I’ve got my eye on you and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us in the upcoming year. AMAZON

 

“A Worthy Man” by Jaime Reese – If you know me at all, you know I’m proud to be Jaime Reese’s number one fan. I know I’m not alone (check out all the gushing reviews!) but there are valid reasons why I am obsessed with her stories. The Men of Halfway House are all unique and equally dreamy in their own imperfect ways. But Vann And Drayton? I think they are my favorite. But don’t tell Julian. Or Cole. Or Ty. Or…okay, I can’t pick a favorite. Clearly, they are all impressive for different reasons. Vann and Dray are soul mates. They have been separated for nearly two decades and are finally reunited. Reese demonstrates the stark difference between a lover and a soul mate and if you believe in eternal love, you need this book. Seriously, go get it….  AMAZON

 

“Play Dead” by Avery CockburnThe Glasgow Lads knocked me off my feet last year and I was thrilled we had the chance to slip back into their world again. Things pick up from the moment the previous book left off, so it’s important to know their story before you begin this one. All of the couples in the series are fantastic but I really enjoyed the continuation of Andrew and Colin’s story. This novella felt deeply intimate and I couldn’t deny the powerful emotional pull. This is as serious as it is sensual. The balance was brilliantly done. Sexy Scots are apparently my weakness and I hope Avery continues to gift us with more of their powerful plays! AMAZON

 

“Rule Breaker” by Lily Morton – Another new-to-me author! Such a wonderful year, meeting and adoring new authors. I was instantly smitten with this grouchy boss and charming assistant. Their rocky and rough road was full of broken rules and I was utterly and completely engrossed in their story, I couldn’t put it down. Morton won me over with her sharp writing, witty characters and forbidden passion. It’s not often I experience story quicksand (where you can’t leave the pages and sink deeper and deeper) but this was one sticky fight I was content to lose. It’s clear to see Lily loves her guys because she continues to add bonus scenes (free on her website!) just because she wants to. I appreciate and respect this act of love. These wonderfully wicked men are not to be missed! AMAZON

 

“Bitten By Desire” by Annabelle Jacobs – Paranormal romance is still my all-time favorite trope and Jacobs remains on top with her superior wolves. This series is my most anticipated for 2018 and this story is best of the best for 2017! SO GOOD. I was on the edge of my seat and squealed and sobbed as I read. Jacobs presents an impressively intricate storyline driven by deeply emotional characters. It was INTENSE. If you are a shifter fan and haven’t met The Regent’s Park Pack, stop what you are doing and race your fingers here…  AMAZON

 

“Lickety Split” by Damon Suede- I gotta give props when they’re due and this is one story that shouldn’t be overlooked. I have tremendous respect for Suede’s writing and this story is a prime example of why. When Damon creates a story he pours himself into the pages. There’s nothing wrong with the powerhouse writers that churn out several books a year but there’s something to be said for the careful and cautious crafters. Suede’s words are magical, powerful and full to the brim. This cowboy and his pup took me on a (scorching hot) ride I won’t soon forget. Reckon you’ll feel the same.  AMAZON

 

Well, that’s it! This concludes my best of 2017 but I can’t go without shout outs to: “Heart” by Garrett Leigh, “The Perils of Intimacy” by Rick R. Reed, “Snowblind” by Eli Easton, “Leo Loves Aries” by Anyta Sunday, “Lucky Man” by Garrett Leigh (as you can see, I’m kinda addicted to Leigh) “Off the Beaten Path” by Cari Z., “Summer Heat” by Jay Northcote and “Married for a Month” by Cate Ashwood. It wasn’t easy (which I think is kinda great) to narrow down my top ten…or eleven this year…but ha, who’s counting?

2017 seemed to fly by, I still can’t believe it’s over! I made some amazing and unforgettable memories with my family, friends and of course, my books. I hope 2018 brings you lots of laughter, love, and books that will…. shake any funk.

Hugs,

sheri

2016 Favorite Reads – Sheri

favorites

Looking back on my year of books from 2016 brings me great joy. It was a slower year but definitely not lacking in emotions, which I suppose sums up my year in general. I found myself gravitating towards comfort authors and sifting through older titles that I had previously missed. This perhaps was the most exciting; stumbling upon gems from years ago. I marveled as I uncovered truly amazing stories that were just as shiny despite not being brand new. I struggled to let go of a few captivating books and allowed myself to stay, transfixed with their beauty. Altogether, it was a wonderful year jam-packed with amazing books.

Without further ado, here are my favorites from this past year…..

 

“Brute” by Kim Fielding – Everything about this story rocked my world. I was utterly addicted and savored every word while listening to it on repeat. I had an audio book awakening this year and it was due to my infatuation of this book. If you haven’t read it yet…you must! AMAZON

 

Big Love” by Rick R. Reed – My adoration for this story stems from an individual character but all in all it’s a fantastic story. Reed is by far one of my favorite authors and it’s no surprise my top ten includes his triple R initials. This story is bursting with love and should not be overlooked. AMAZON

 

“Imperfection of Swans” by Brandon Witt – Slow and steady wins the race, right? It certainly did with this story! Witt is a fresh face for me and I really enjoyed his style. A powerful story with a personal touch and it left me overflowing with emotions. AMAZON

 

foxes cover

“Foxes” by Suki Fleet – I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again….Suki Fleet is vastly underappreciated. Her words have great power and everyone should know them. Danny deserves infinite love and he’s got it from me. If you don’t know Fleet’s work, trust me, you really really should. AMAZON

“Selfie” by Amy Lane – Oh my! This is an amazing yet tragic story that doesn’t pull its punches. It is long and full of emotional afflictions but I connected with Noah and was completely vested in his story. Con demonstrates that broken hearts can indeed heal enough to love again and I was overwhelmed with his revival. So good. AMAZON

 

“SPECTR Series” by Jordan L. Hawk – Hawk is another new-to-me author and I was thoroughly impressed. I’m perplexed that I missed her before but grateful I was introduced to this series. John, Caleb & Gray create some seriously badass paranormal romance and I blissfully got my freak on with this trio. If you aren’t familiar, I recommend putting it on your list. AMAZON

 

AMM cover

“A Mended Man” by Jaime Reese – Wow….this story was a labor of love. It’s an intense ride with intense men. It’s not an easy journey but it’s very much worth it. The Men of Halfway House are an obsession I am happy to surrender to. If you haven’t met these men yet, you’re sorely missing out.  AMAZON

 

playing for keeps cover

“Glasgow Lads” Series by Avery Cockburn – These sexy Scots stole my heart. I binge-read this series and grieved the final pages. Avery has a knack for creating the ultimate ‘opposites attract’ couple and they were dangerously dirty. And score! …Another new favorite author to add to my list! AMAZON

 

imperfect harmony cover

“Imperfect Harmony” by Jay Northcote – I adore nearly every story Northcote delivers but this one especially touched my heart. I believe it was simply because it opened my eyes a little wider and I truly appreciate when a story leaves you with a different perspective. Kudo’s to Jay and I can’t wait for what he has to come next year. AMAZON

 

Wolfsong cover

“Wolfsong” by T.J. Klune – This book is my…beloved this year. I loved absolutely every single thing about it…except the long tortuous wait for the sequel. I’ve never experienced anything like it and doubt I ever will. Klune creates the paramount of PNR and if you haven’t read it…please do. AMAZON

 

This wraps up my best of 2016 but I can’t go without shout outs to: “Just Drive” by L.A. Witt, “Diamonds” by Nash Summers, “The Last Thing He Needs” by J.H. Knight, “Drawn In” by Barbara Elsborg and “Perfect Imperfections” by C. Cardeno. These are all remarkable stories that deserve high praise and just barely missed the cut this year.

2016 was a year full of highs and lows and I always find it best to focus on the many blessings I’ve received. I hope you were as fortunate as I was and 2017 brings you many joys, smiles and books that will shake any funk.

Hugs,

sheri

 

2016 Favorite Reads – Susan

favorites

I didn’t get through as many books this year as I typically have in the past, but looking back, there really were some gems. And for that I’m so thankful. If ever a year needed some escaping, 2016 was a doozy.

I also ventured back into the worlds of “Chick Lit” (ok, ok…”women’s fiction”), YA (man, there are some REALLY amazing YA authors out there!), and dipped my toe in a bit of fantasy. But, my number one love is still the classic Contemporary. 🙂

So here they are, my favorite books (erm…snuck in a couple series onto the list) of the year:

Bittersweet

“Bittersweet” by Sarina Bowen – dirty-talkin’ farmer who makes his own cider? Yes please! Sarina Bowen’s heroes are always so swoon-worthy and Griff is my favorite of the bunch. This was pretty much the most satisfying contemporary romance I read this year. AMAZON

14646784

“The Rifter” Series by Ginn Hale – An impossible series to describe. But…MIND. BLOWN. Possibly one of the best worlds I’ve ever read. I can’t scream “YOU MUST READ THIS!” loud enough! AMAZON

26252006

“The Borders War” Series by SA McAuley – a military dytopian-esque series w/ two sworn enemies who have the sexiest relationship EVER. Each book in the series gets better and better. This one HURT…but it was so worth it. AMAZON

foxes cover

“Foxes” by Suki Fleet – If you aren’t reading Suki Fleet, you are missing out on something beautiful. She writes characters and stories that haunt me long after I’m done with the book. God…Danny and Micky…still can’t shake them. AMAZON

27335087

“Bounty” by Kristen Ashley – Because this year was so tough all around, having comfort reads saved me this year. And when KA comes out w/ a new Colorado Mtn book w/ all my favorite characters? It was like a balm to my soul. AMAZON

28101708

“The Mermaid Murders” by Josh Lanyon – I don’t think I’ve gone a year without a Lanyon book on my favorites list. 2016 was no exception. The Mermaid Murders was the best of what Lanyon does…mystery, moments of scariness that had me hold me breath, imperfect men who struggle to allow themselves to love…and just really great writing. So good. AMAZON