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

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“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

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“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

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“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

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“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

“Goodbye Paradise” by Sarina Bowen

about

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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“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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2016 Favorite Reads – Susan

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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

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“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

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“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

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“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

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“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 

“Bittersweet” by Sarina Bowen

about

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

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