2020 Favorite Reads – Sheri

If there was ever a year I needed an escape, 2020 takes the cake. And all the pies and cookies and every other sweet baked good on the planet. Wow, What. A. Year. I know in the future, I will look back and remember how resilient we were. How we dug deep, then deeper and helped one another and…survived. We will honor those unfortunate souls that did not, remember the heroes, and focus on what helped us get through. In all honesty, there was a stretch when I struggled to read. I couldn’t concentrate and my anxiety ran free. But as the months slipped by I was forced to face the mounting uncertainties and roll with the punches. It was during that time that I turned to my kindle to rescue me. To take me away from the overwhelming stress I battled every day. I know each and every one of us will have a different story, unique in our own ways, and I’d love to hear yours. My personal quarantine days included loads of baking, puzzles, projects, and unexpected homeschooling. This post is always about reflection and celebration and despite the many hardships, I was extremely blessed this year. Thanks to all the healthcare warriors, frontline workers, my blue line family, and my book family…I am more grateful than you’ll ever know.
So let’s get this party started!

….*dum-ba-badump*…
In no particular order, here are my most treasured books and series from this past year…

“Stormhaven and Necropolis” by Jordan Hawk
– As this year began, I began a journey back in time. Whyborne and Griffin quickly swept me away and I couldn’t get enough. I began a lovely book binge and devoured the first half of this series in a matter of a few weeks. These two books, in particular, knocked me off my feet. I am powerless to their charms. I relish in their affection and can’t seem to get enough of them. Whyborne and Griffins fans know exactly what I mean…and if you’re not part of this elite group….why not? Seriously, hop on this marvelously manic adventure, it’s too good to miss. I can’t wait to dive back in and finish this spectacular series!
Stormhaven AMAZON Necropolis AMAZON 

 

“The Edge of the World” by Garrett Leigh
– As always, Garrett brings vibrant and memorable men to the pages. Exceptional writing pulls you into their lives and I couldn’t wait to discover everything there was to know. They discover that knowing and accepting your past can help shine a light on your future. Standing at the edge of the world can be scary as shit but also take you on a trip to the clouds…if you’ve imagined that’s a place filled with comfort food and breathtaking tunes you might want to check this out. Actually, there’s no might about it. Go on…and give them all my love.
AMAZON

 

“The Mating of Michael” by Eli Easton
– Loved this series and above all, I loved this book. Fan meets favorite author and falls in love? Yes, please! They had a tentative beginning that blossomed into a delicate friendship. I loved how they overcame obstacles together. I loved how they loved one another. I think Michael is a treasure and couldn’t wait for him to find his beloved. It wasn’t an easy path but the best things never are, are they? Thanks for this one Eli, it warmed me to the core.
AMAZON

 

“The Parable of the Mustard Seed” by Lisa Henry
– Stop. Listen. Do you hear that? No? Me neither. But I can tell you what’s happening in this silence. A new book scar is healing on my heart. *deep breath* Yeah, this is one of those books. So many threads are spun together and I was awestruck with each and every one. John and Caleb share a special love, nothing, and no one can ever compare or compete between these two. This book is for…only those looking for an unforgettable story about a boy and his rescuer and how one day, he rescued him right back.

AMAZON

 

“Mean Machine” by Alexandr Voinov
– When it comes to Voinov, I always expect the unexpected. This particular tale revolves around a fight. I’m not talking about in the ring. Admittedly we do witness many ringside bloody battles and I held my breath for each one. There is so much that I never knew! But the ultimate fight doesn’t involve gloves. Brook is fighting for his life, his freedom, and most importantly, his redemption. If you’re searching for something that packs a punch, this heavyweight is a sure-fire winner.
AMAZON

 

“Off Balance” by Jay Hogan
– I’m still dipping my toes into Hogan’s wonderful writing but now I want to dive straight in and immerse myself completely. There is so much heart in this book. But not only are the feels in full effect but it’s passionate, lively, and overflowing with courage and hope. I believe courage and hope go hand-in-hand. You must be brave to dream and daring to trust. Anyone interested in witnessing a remarkable counterbalance to lost dreams and the beauty of fresh wishes becoming reality…this is exactly what you need.
AMAZON

 

“His Horizon and His Compass” by Con Riley
– I love it when reading a story becomes a physical experience. I always adore slipping into one of Riley’s worlds but this particular case was special. I was sitting on the edge of my seat and biting my fingernails as the emotional storm crashed and calmed. Riley delivers a multifaceted tale with rugged terrain that swept me off my feet. I JUST finished His Compass and am still seeing stars. These stories are anything but smooth sailing but if you’re searching for a family-focused journey with heartache, humor, and heat….hop on, you won’t want to miss these incredible voyages. 
His Horizon AMAZON  His Compass AMAZON

 

“Unfinished Business 1~ The Making of Jonty Bloom 1.5~ Jonty’s Christmas 2~ A Long Way Back‘” by Barbara Elsborg
– My favorite series of the year!! I always adore Elsborg’s witty and quirky characters but Jonty slipped through a crack in my heart and nestled in for the long run. Jonty is remarkable and I dare anyone to tell me differently. Add Devan, Tay, and Ink and I was head over heels in love. For me, this was the perfect package; remarkable writing, courageous characters, and a riveting tale as they embark on sexy self-discovery and redemption. Absolutely stunning. And sandwich in a sensational and sexy holiday tale that will make you laugh and cry…possibly at the same time!
The Making of Jonty Bloom  AMAZON  Jonty’s Christmas AMAZON  A Long Way Back AMAZON  

 

“A Sweet Man” by Jaime Reese
The Men of Halfway House have secured their spot on my absolute joy list and this new release was a sunny spot during a time of dark clouds. These two, Bull and Ben, made me so happy. I swooned, I full-body sighed, and I smiled almost the entire time. This spirited and sensual love story captivated me and I have all the confidence you will find yourself rapt as well. If you’re searching for a concoction of sugar-coated with a sinful center, this exceptional pairing is just what you need.
AMAZON 

“Beautiful Beast” by Roe Horvat
– Adorable meet-cute leads to a holy-hotness-not-to-be-forgotten first kiss with cute and sexy texting in between. Kevin craves a particular dynamic and power roles that Joakim is more than happy to oblige. Explicit desires quickly went from whispered cravings to a fulfilled frenzy of passion. I’m not only devoted to Roe’s words but also this series for good reason. If you’ve savored these “other” couples as I have, you won’t want to miss their return and the newest duo joining the group.
AMAZON 

Sometimes There’s Stars” by Suki Fleet
– I don’t know how Suki does it, but they present their best new couple every time. This story only took me until 13% and I was overcome with a surge of emotions, left wonderstruck before it barely began. It’s a heartfelt and heartwrenching story that will remain with you long after the sensational ending. If you want to discover more about the boy who is bottled sunshine personified, this is for you. I have no doubt Peri and Echo will leave their mark on your heart. I’m happy and proud to add another Fleet scar to mine…for some scars are special.
AMAZON

 

 

There we go! I may have included an extra this year but all things considered, I’m allowing some wiggle room and extra book love. I always have a blast looking back at my favorites and 2020 was no exception. Since I can never keep it to just ten (ahem, eleven this year), here’s my honor list of books that shined a bit brighter and deserve a nod of appreciation: “Marc Jillson & the Gazebo” by Anyta Sunday, “Spring Strings” by Lily Morton, “Redemption” by Garrett Leigh, “Tic Tac Mistletoe” by NR Walker and “The Christmas I Know” by Nicky James. I truly adored my holiday stories this year and they lifted my spirit when I needed a boost.

2021 is a year of hope.
I hope you stay well and healthy.
I hope you find happiness and joy in the most unexpected places.
I hope we all move forward with compassion for our friends, neighbors, and strangers that cross our path.
And I hope you are showered with love, surrounded with peace, and filled with a deep faith that we can and will weather any storm…but hopefully with unlimited books at your disposal.

Thanks to all the creators for finding sunshine in the dark and sharing it with the rest of us. The comfort of a good book took on a whole new meaning this year.
Cheers to a bright new year!
And as always…
I hope the new year brings you health, laughter, love, and books that will…. shake any funk.

Hugs,

sheri

“Necropolis” by Jordan L. Hawk

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Introverted scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has spent the last few months watching his lover, Griffin Flaherty, come to terms with the rejection of his adoptive family. So when an urgent telegram from Christine summons them to Egypt, Whyborne is reluctant to risk the fragile peace they’ve established. Until, that is, a man who seems as much animal as human tries to murder Whyborne in the museum.

Amidst the ancient ruins of the pharaohs, they must join Christine and face betrayal, murder, and a legendary sorceress risen from the dead. In the forge of the desert heat, the trio will either face their fears and stand together—or shatter the bonds between them forever.

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“Stormhaven” by Jordan L. Hawk

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Mysterious happenings are nothing new to reclusive scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne, but finding one of his colleagues screaming for help in the street is rather unusual. Allan Tambling claims he can’t remember any of the last hour—but someone murdered his uncle, and Allan is covered in blood.

Whyborne’s lover, dashing ex-Pinkerton detective Griffin Flaherty, agrees to prove Allan’s innocence. But when Allan is deemed insane and locked away in the Stormhaven Lunatic Asylum, Griffin finds himself reliving the horrifying memories of his own ordeal inside a madhouse.

Along with their friend Christine, the two men become drawn deeper and deeper into a dark web of conspiracy, magic, and murder. Their only clue: a missing artifact depicting an unknown god. Who stole the artifact, and why can’t Allan remember what happened? And what is the truth behind the terrible experiments conducted on Stormhaven’s forbidden fourth floor?

It will take all of Whyborne’s sorcery and Griffin’s derring-do to stop the murderers and save Allan. But first, they must survive an even greater challenge: a visit from Griffin’s family.

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“Threshold” by Jordan L. Hawk

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Introverted scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne wants nothing more than to live quietly with his lover, ex-Pinkerton detective Griffin Flaherty. Unfortunately, Whyborne’s railroad tycoon father has other ideas, namely hiring Griffin to investigate mysterious events at a coal mine.

Whyborne, Griffin, and their friend Christine travel to Threshold Mountain, a place of dark legend even before the mine burrowed into its heart. A contingent of Pinkertons-including Griffin’s ex-lover Elliot-already guard the mine. But Griffin knows better than anyone just how unprepared the detectives are to face the otherworldly forces threatening them.

Soon, Whyborne and Griffin are on the trail of mysterious disappearances, deadly accidents, and whispered secrets. Is Elliot an ally, or does he only want to rekindle his relationship with Griffin? And if so, how can Whyborne possibly hope to compete with the stunningly handsome Pinkerton-especially when Griffin is hiding secrets about his past?

For in a town where friends become enemies and horror lurks behind a human mask, Whyborne can’t afford to trust anything-including his own heart.

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“Widdershins” by Jordan L. Hawk

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Some things should stay buried.

Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.

So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.

As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?
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“The Magician’s Angel” by Jordan L. Hawk

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Vaudeville stage magician Christopher Fiend lives for the spotlight. His chance at big time stardom awaits him in Chicago, the next stop on the circuit after the little town of Twelfth Junction.

Edward Smith wants nothing to do with his family’s theater. Until Christopher catches his eye on opening night, then treats him to a very special performance during intermission.

When a dead body turns up in the middle of Christopher’s act, suspicion immediately falls on him. If Christopher and Edward can’t work together to clear his name, Christopher won’t make it to Chicago in time. Edward knows he shouldn’t get attached to a man who will be gone in two days, but his heart—and a very special angel—have other ideas.
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“Breaker of Chains” by Jordan L. Hawk

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Caught between the worlds of human and drakul, Caleb and Gray must make a fateful choice.

Big changes are afoot at SPECTR. John Starkweather, once a hotshot field agent, is now benched. Instead of chasing down demons during Charleston’s biggest outbreak, he’s stuck interviewing exorcists about a previous case. But what at first seems like a busywork assignment takes a darker turn, as John begins to suspect the increase in possessions might not be coincidence, but part of an unseen conspiracy.

The vampire spirit Gray was made to hunt demons and drink their blood. He and his human host, Caleb Jansen, ought to be at the forefront of SPECTR’s field team. But their new partners refuse to let Gray use any of his abilities, let alone actually hunt and fight.

Fortunately, Caleb and Gray have allies outside of SPECTR: the only other living drakul, Drugoy and his host Yuri Azarov. Yuri and Dru live by no mortal’s rules, and they can show Caleb and Gray how to do the same…depending on how far they’re willing to go.

Because breaking the rules comes with a cost, and the price of Caleb and Gray’s freedom may be the life of the man they love.
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“Drinker of Blood” by Jordan L. Hawk

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An outbreak of demon attacks across Charleston has worn SPECTR agent John Starkweather to the bone. Now a new threat faces his team: a demon with bullet—and bite—proof skin, which can’t be stopped by ordinary means.

John’s only solace comes in the form of his lovers: Caleb Jansen and the vampire spirit Gray. Caleb and Gray have their own problems, however. Unbeknownst to John, they’ve been tracking a mysterious entity across the city. And after they finally come face to face with their quarry, nothing will ever be the same.

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2016 Favorite Reads – Sheri

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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

 

“Dancer of Death” by Jordan L. Hawk

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Revenge. Murder. Ballet?

Vampire spirit Gray wants to hunt demons. Unfortunately, the foolish mortals at SPECTR have put his host, Caleb, their lover John, and their partner Zahira on desk duty. Gray longs to leave Charleston with John, but if they flee, SPECTR will make them the hunted.

A series of paranormal murders returns the team to the field, at least temporarily. Ballerinas are being murdered by a vila, a demon that kills with dance. If they can’t stop the deadly attacks in time, one of Zahira’s friends may become the next victim.

And while they track the demon, an unknown entity has begun to track Gray…

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