These first three books shown below are part of the Snapped series and there will be several more released, monthly, for a few more months. They are wonderfully infuriating because you KNOW there's a crime and yet you have no idea how the pieces quite work together (just ask our friend Tarah at Dirty Laundry Review). We look forward to seeing how it ends and what Ketley Allison does next. Correct. This is one of the best finds of our entire year, and Ketley found us. What would we do without her? Umm, not have a heart attack from suspense probably, but that isn't living! ;)
These next two are from Kristen Ashley (At Peace and The Will) and while they are not connected--they are. They are because Kristen Ashley does what she does best in her novels: she sucks you in and holds you tight until you you are willingly sacrificing every second of every day to finish what you've started and then you impatiently click for your next book (your next fix of KA). Beautiful-ness wrapped up in a book, and reminds us why we love her alpha male bossy heroes with the sweetest hearts imaginable.
Like funny? Sexy? Tortured? Musicians? The four novels below (Play, Lead, Give Me Grace, Ripped) contain the perfect mixture of snark and rocker and tortured characters, some of whom are musicians. We slipped under the spell of these writers and their characters in each of these novels (all are stand alone novels though all one are one of a series). Rockers? Enough said. We clearly can't get enough, and each of these author's styles are so uniquely their own. And hey, Kylie and Kate are both down under in Australia, so they have two things in common already! Three, if you read them too!
The Night Owl trilogy is meaningful for a few reasons. The first, of course, is that it introduced us to a new writer: M. Pierce. The writing in Night Owl and Last Light drew us in with its clean prose and the characters were engaging and infuriating and sexy and tortured. In addition to the writer and the writing, Night Owl gave us one of the best things a novel can--it gave us a community of new friends. (Hi Night Owl friends!!). We are eager to see what in the hell happens to Matt and Hannah in After Dark. CANNOT BEEELIEVE it has already been a year since we read Night Owl!And what a year it has been. Wowza.
These next novels (Dirty Angels, Black Lies, Addicted to You, Genevieve Clare) stood out --whether it was coming to actually like a drug lord, figure out the root of a lie, feel empathy for addicts, or fall in love with a woman surrounded by death-- we could NOT put these novels down. I think we finished each of these within hours of starting and promptly tweeted our love of them to the world. Just making this list has me thinking back to reading these books...and boy did they STAND OUT! I love them, and would love to be able to read each one again for the first time. Whew.
Ginger Scott's How We Deal With Gravity and Sawyer Bennett's Sugar on the Edge have absolutely nothing in common with each other. BUT!, we love both of these authors for the characters they write for us and the kindness they give to their readers. Ginger's novel was gripping and unlike anything we'd read from her and just wait until you read what she's working on now; you're going to LOVE it. Sawyer's novel was also something different than the others in this series. It was a little darker, a little steamier, a little angstier and amped the series up another notch. The subject matter in each of these, and what the characters were dealing with touched us both. I am still in awe of these too! As I am for each book we've picked, but these two hold a special place because these are go to author's that we enjoy every single time we pick up their words to enjoy. Every. Time.
Tastes Like Winter and Flat-Out Celeste were two YA stand outs. They were the perfect balance of high school and love and friendship and parents. Both of these novels were a nice change from the smut, angst, craziness that typically fills out Kindles. I read Tastes Like Winter and Flat-Out Celeste at the most perfect time for me. And now...I can't say enough how much they are loved. The heroine's in each are coming of age, and there is nothing better than that for me. Check these out, because these girls will make you remember a time when you were young and innocent (or, maybe not!) but, I know they will make you feel things!
The last two novels Courtney has read (Shel: I haven't read them yet). And I plan on making her! Because, a) she has to and b) she has to so that she can help me convince YOU to read them too! Most fitting for this blog though, is Better When He's Bad and I love just how bad Bax can get. *Yum*
In addition to Court's list...I have a few more that I found..or they found me (please note that these weren't all released in 2014, these are the ones I READ in 2014).
Winter Rain was the second one released in this anthology series and it raises money for RAINN- an organization dedicated to helping victims of sexual abuse. One story in particular, Sometimes It Storms by Cole McCade, was particularly important to me; it was beautifully written and a story that still haunts me. I know it was challenging for Cole to write but I'm so glad he did because the stories of men working through a situation like that of his character Ethan are stories that are unfortunately untold, swept under the carpet too often, or are too easily dismissed. I love his unique storytelling ability and am grateful for the manner in which he quietly and sensitively portrayed Ethan's struggle to cope. This story is something that you won't easily or quickly forget. I need to read this one, too! Best friend fail, Shel!
This next set of books I remember as being fantastically immersive. Each of these allowed me to plunge into worlds so vastly different from my own: the world of fighing (A Fighting Chance), of love triangles (When You Are Mine), of exploring and accepting one's sexuality(Take), of an erotic work place affair featuring a strong female protagonist (Every Part of You), of secret societies (Semblance), of love, grief, and vengeance(Losing Control), of losing and regaining memories (Burying Water), and of finding love in a foreign place (Frenched). All of these were purely escapist fiction for me. While they all contained truths about the human condition, I read them more to escape into the worlds they offered than I did for a 'literary' reason. I think anyone could find something entertaining here:
These are so, so, so, so good! Each and every one. And I think Shel hit the nail on the head about what each one offers, so...why don't you listen to her? Huh? Yes. Listen to Shel. Always!
It was a great and hectic year in reading for me. Not only did I read more books in 12 months than I think I've done in a long time (ahem, ever) but I made some really great friends, who make really great reading suggestions (hello twitter friends). I look forward to the great reads we will happen upon by choice, suggestion, or accident next year (and we'll post about some of those soon). Until then, as always...
Happy Reading. <3
(Also, thank you Court. You always deal with my neurosis so well, are the best cheerleader and friend a girl could ask for, and this crazy blog journey wouldn't be the same (or exist, really) with out Y-O-U. Love ya, sistah).
*sigh* Does that girl have a knack for making me tear up or what? We've been pondering how we do things around here, and the one thing that is the craziest is Shelley is one person I have *spoke* to in some form every SINGLE day for the last *almost* TWO YEARS. Every. Single. Day. And being able to know this wonderful person and have so many things in common and realize in this life that you don't have to be geographically close to someone to connect with them deeply...that is the best part about this blog, and having this beautiful friendship. So, Shel, I thank you for putting up with my craziness, and murphy's-law-hates-me-life, and leading me to beautiful books, and talking me off the ledge when I am dying; be it from a book, or pretty much anything. Thank you, readers, for a great year, and bearing with us through any changes we feel we need to make. There is so much more to come...and hopefully you'll be here with us!