It’s that time of year again when we all look back at the ridiculous amounts of books we’ve read this year, and even though I haven’t finished my goal of 100 books – I’ve still read some pretty amazing ones. These past two months have been the worst reading slump of my life….. my poor Kindle I’m sure feels neglected, as does my blog. But that’s what happens when life gets in the way… Here’s hoping 2015 will bring even more amazing stories to knock me out of my slump.
And my TOP TEN favorites are……
#10 – What If, by Rebecca Donovan
This book hit the nostalgia of my childhood …. hard. You can read my 5+++ Review …. HERE.
~ Synopsis ~
What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?
Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago.
Except this girl isn’t Nicole.
She looks exactly like Cal’s shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated-and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she’s hiding, the less he wants to know.
When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.
#9 Sweet Filthy Boy & Dirty Wild Thing, by Christina Lauren
These two – good lord, there was no way I could choose between the two.
I love all things Christina Lauren.
There was something about Ansel…. so many things that I loved about this book… you can read my 5+++ review….. HERE.
~ Synopsis ~
One-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him.
But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play.
When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away.
And let us not forget Mr. Finn Roberts…. good lord, and Harlow may be my favorite female character of this series.
You can read my 5+++ Review ………… HERE
~ Synopsis ~
Despite their rowdy hookups, Harlow and Finn don’t even like each other…which would explain why their marriage lasted only twelve hours. He needs to be in charge and takes whatever he wants. She lives by the Want-something-done? Do-it-yourself mantra. Maybe she’s too similar to the rugged fisherman—or just what he needs.
#8 Screwdrivered by, Alice Clayton
Book 3 in Alice Clayton’s Cocktail Series – and Viv? Well shit, she just might be my absolute favorite character this year. She made me laugh-out-loud, snort and spit coffee nearly all over my kindle.
You can read my 5+++++ Review……….. HERE
~ Synopsis ~
Readers back for a third round of the bestselling Cocktail series will enjoy a madcap romantic comedy about bodice ripping and chest heaving, fiery passion and love everlasting. Plus a dash of paperwork filing and horseshi—wait, what?
By day, Viv Franklin designs software programs. By night, Vivian’s a secret romance-novel junkie who longs for a knight in shining armor, or a cowboy on a wild stallion, or a strapping firefighter to sweep her off her feet. And she gets to wear the bodice—don’t forget the bodice.
When a phone call brings news that she’s inherited a beautiful old home in Mendocino, California from a long-forgotten aunt, she moves her entire life across the country to embark on what she sees as a great, romance-novel-worthy adventure. But romance novels always have a twist, don’t they?
There’s a cowboy, one that ignites her loins. Because Cowboy Hank is totally loin-ignition worthy. But there’s also a librarian, Clark Barrow. And he calls her Vivian. Can tweed jackets and elbow patches compete with chaps and spurs? You bet your sweet cow pie.
In Screwdrivered, Alice Clayton pits Superman against Clark in a hilarious and hot battle that delights a swooning Viv/Vivian.
Also within this book, an answer to the question of the ages: Why ride a cowboy when you can ride a librarian?
#7 Spin & Ruin – Use & Kick by CD Reiss
Had I not combined this? The list would have been nothing but a CD List of favorites, because the woman writes like no other – seriously. Everything she writes falls right into my absolute favorites.
Spin (Songs of Corruption #1)
CD Reiss was nice enough to give us another series, this one with Theresa Drazen and her mafia Capo, Antonio “Spin” Spinelli. You can read my 5+ Review……… HERE.
Mafia capo, Antonio Spinelli blew through my orderly life like a cyclone.
Gorgeous and passionate, with a breathtaking brutality, he put me under his spell the moment he touched me, drawing me into his underworld of risk, violence and betrayal.
And I found, just as this sophisticated savage didn’t trust me, I didn’t trust myself. Something happened to me. Some alchemy from the heat between us.
I discovered I was a savage, too.
Ruin (Songs of Corruption #2)
You can read my 5+ Review……… HERE
Antonio is a killer.
He’s beautiful, educated, a prodigy of a thief and as violent a motherfucker as ever came of the boat from Napoli.
Theresa knows it, but that doesn’t stop her from getting emotionally and physically entangled with him, and this is how, maybe, she got it in her head that she can protect him.
But it’s not her job to save him, and she’s just not getting that. Every time she tries to protect him, she practically gets him killed, and the tighter he grips her, the more dangerous she becomes.
It’s almost as if…well, he’d never admit this….but it’s almost as if protecting her the way he does is the one thing he should stop. As if the only way he’s ever going to find a moment’s peace is to just embrace her as a partner, rather than a defenseless creature.
But he’d never do that. Not this violent motherfucker.
You can read my 5 Star Review…….. HERE
Kick (Songs of Perdition #1)
Yet, another Drazen – and Fiona? Well, she may be a mess – but that’s what I kind of love about her.
Fiona Drazen, sex addict, submissive slave, celebutante, trapped in a mental ward until Dr. Elliot Chapman can help her remember why she’s there. But once she does, she might not want to go home to the Master she tried to kill.
Use (Songs of Perdition #2)
~ Synopsis ~
It was a very interesting situation, up there on Maundy,” Elliot said.
“Nothing like it in the world. It’s a safe place for people like me.”
“People like you? Can you be more specific?” He ran his finger on the edge of his blotter, and a chill went up my inner thighs.
“People like me means, I don’t know. Fuckers. We fuck because it’s what we do. Bus drivers drive. Accountants account. Policemen police. I’m a fucker. I fuck.”
#6 Alessandra Torre’s End of Innocence & Black Lies
End of the Innocence
It was very hard to say goodbye to Julia & Brad, but Alessandra Torre knocked out the series with a BANG! You can read my 5+++ Review………… HERE
He thought I owned him. He thought he loved me, that I was enough. But this animal, this sex god who could drive me crazy and steal my heart in the same breath, he would never fully be mine. It was impossible. No one ever owned a God…
One year. I have one year to find out more about this man I am marrying. More about his family. More about our sex, and all of the dirty, delicious places it will take me.
I thought I’d spend this year making a decision. I never thought the decision would be taken from me, snatched right from my naive little hands.
This book – good lord, it was one of the hottest books I read all year…. you can read my review… HERE
Just like the synopsis says – this is a story you’ve never heard before…
Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for 3 years.
Has proposed 4 times. Been rejected 4 times.
Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his cock. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost 2 years, whether he knows it or not.
Go ahead. Judge me. You have no idea what my love entails.
If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.
#5 Fool Me Once Series by Tara Sivec
Tara Sivec tells a story like you’re hearing it from your best friend – it’s gritty, hilarious and can get pretty hot. The girls of Fool Me Once Investigations kept me laughing all year long.
Shame on You (Fool Me Once #1)
You can read my 5 Star Review……. HERE
War veteran Kennedy O’Brien is in the business of sticking it to the man—or at least any man who tries to cross a woman. After she returned home from Afghanistan and caught her husband in bed with the nanny, Kennedy lost her faith in men and started Fool Me Once Investigations with her two best friends. After all, there’s no better bounty hunter than a woman scorned.
When Kennedy takes a case to slap cuffs on a bail jumper turned dog-napper, she figures it’ll be an easy paycheck. But trouble has a way of finding Kennedy. Enter the last man on the planet she’d willingly choose as a partner: her cheating ex-husband’s best friend, Griffin Crawford.
As gorgeous as he is unwelcome, Griffin has always had a thing for Kennedy, and after keeping quiet about her ex’s cheating, he’ll do anything to earn back her trust. Whether or not she wants to admit it, Kennedy will need help as the case of the Chihuahua thief spirals out of control. Griffin may be just her man—in more ways than one.
Shame on Me (Fool Me Once#2)
You can read my 5 star review….. HERE
Ex-model Paige McCarty is fed up with being just a pretty face. After her ex-husband’s gambling problem left her royally screwed and tragically shoeless, she started Fool Me Once Investigations with her best friends, Lorelei and Kennedy, to prevent other women from being similarly played and dismayed.
The job: act as bait for a cheating husband. The target: Matt Russo. The case should be as easy as getting a man’s attention—and Paige has never had trouble with that. The problem is Matt—in all his nerdy-hot glory—turns out to be not such a scumbag after all.
And when the case hits closer to home than Paige could ever have imagined—landing her in a face-off with the mob—she wonders if taking the job just to prove that she has a brain maybe wasn’t her best idea.
Shame on Him (Fool Me Once #3)
For Lorelei Warner, being perfect isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. She did what her straitlaced parents wanted: became a lawyer, married her college boyfriend. But since her husband ran off with another man and her career became a nonstop bore-fest, Lorelei has turned to her best friends and Fool Me Once Investigations to find fulfillment and adventure.
When a routine subpoena-delivery turns up a dead body, Lorelei knows that solving the murder is exactly what she needs to boost her confidence…until private investigator Dallas Osborne walks in and takes over the case. Dallas has always rubbed Lorelei the wrong way. It’s aggravating enough that he’s a pompous ass, but he’s also entirely too good-looking.
If she wants to catch the killer, Lorelei will need to loosen up and defy her parents—not to mention the law. And she’ll need to partner with Dallas, working closer (much closer) to the sexy investigator than she ever expected.
#4 Maybe Someday & Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover
There isn’t enough love I can express for this story – and to get a novella as a surprise? Well that’s a total COHO move – and I adore her for it…. Ridge & Sydney’s story was beautiful, sad and sometimes very hard to read – it broke me in two – and I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much from a book in my life (maybe Losing Hope – Colleen is kind of a sadist.)
Maybe Someday (Maybe#1)
You can read my 5+++ Review ……. HERE
And the Maybe Someday Release Party – Griffin Peterson Concert – Portland, Oregon….. HERE
At twenty-two years old, Sydney has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter’s cheating on her–and she is left trying to decide what to do next.
Sydney becomes captivated by Ridge, her mysterious neighbor. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…
Maybe Not (Maybe #1.5)
You can read my 5++ Review …….. HERE
When Warren has the opportunity to live with a female roommate, he instantly agrees. It could be an exciting change.
Or maybe not.
Especially when that roommate is the cold and seemingly calculating Bridgette. Tensions run high and tempers flare as the two can hardly stand to be in the same room together. But Warren has a theory about Bridgette: anyone who can hate with that much passion should also have the capability to love with that much passion. And he wants to be the one to test this theory.
Will Bridgette find it in herself to warm her heart to Warren and finally learn to love?
#3 Return to Poughkeepsie & Saving Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia
I would have thrown Poughkeepsie in here too, but technically I read that in 2013 – And even though Return to Poughkeepsie was released in December of 2013, I didn’t read it until January 2014 – so it’s still staying on this list – because this story is seriously epic!
All the ups and downs the boys and their families have gone through – Beckett, Blake and Cole. To watch them come from little to nothing, rise above and find happiness with the woman they love? Well this series broke me so many times – I can’t even count…. just like Livia’s smiles.
We had to say goodbye to them this year – and though it was sad, Debra Anastasia knocked it out of the park and is now teasing us with prequels out in 2015! BLESS YOU DEBRA – BLESS YOU!!
Return to Poughkeepsie (The Poughkeepsie Brotherhood #2)
You can read my 5++ review……….. HERE
Beckett Taylor is a murderer. His calling, his craft are destruction and intimidation—whether he wants it that way now or not. He left Poughkeepsie to keep his brothers safe, to keep Eve safe. Set up with happy lives to live, they’re better off without him, right?
But all his willpower crumbles when he hears his brother Blake’s frantic voice on the phone. An unknown enemy has moved in on his old territory, and Livia’s been taken. In an instant, Beckett knows it will take an attack only he and Eve can execute to bring her back. All his self-imposed embargoes are torn to shreds, perhaps along with the new man he’s struggled to become.
“Brother, call Eve. I’ll be there soon.”
In this emotional and action-packed sequel to Poughkeepsie, Debra Anastasia conjures a tale of love at its most raw and ragged. With Beckett and Eve, how could we expect anything less? But even when it’s messy, not magical, true love perseveres. Real love finds a way—for better or for worse until death does part.
Saving Poughkeepsie (The Poughkeepsie Brotherhood #3)
You can read my 5+++ Review………… HERE
Beckett Taylor’s quest to be a better man has brought Eve Hartt back into his life, but sometimes it feels like they’re bound together with barbed wire. Though he longs to love her without causing pain, the wreckage of their past continues to crash down around them.
Yet with the help of this brothers—and for his brothers—Beckett won’t stop trying. He’s determined to make them all a family, to make a life they want to live, and to make Poughkeepsie a place that’s safe to live it.
He can feel their futures balanced precariously on his shoulders: Blake and Livia and their children, Cole and Kyle and the new baby they’ve just brought home, and Eve…always Eve. He wants their dreams to be real. But murderers don’t just get Happily Ever After handed to them. They have to wrench it away from Satan himself.
Good thing Beckett is prepared to do just that. After all, saving Poughkeepsie is the only way his story ends.
Prepare your heart and your head for a wild ride in this final installment of the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series. Debra Anastasia does not disappoint as she weaves the last chapter of a story that blends true love, turbulent emotions, and life’s harsh realities into an uplifting tale that calls to the good in each of us
#2 Flat-Out-Celeste (Flat-Out Love #2) by Jessica Park
You can read my 5+++ Review…….. HERE
and Celeste-Fest ……… HERE
I can’t even tell you how much I love the Flat-Out-Series, but Celeste? This book blew me away, I’ve read it four times this year alone – and I can’t get enough of our girl.
For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.
But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.
Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him.
Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.
Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.
And last, but certainly not least……
#1 Bright Side by Kim Holden
This book …………. THIS BOOK!!!! Not in a very long time has a story stuck with me as much as this one has – still, months and months later it is still with me. Kate… Gus…. Keller…. Dude…
The love I have for this story …. there are no words.
You can read my 5+++++++ Review ……. HERE
Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.
Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.
They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.