It's that time of the year... To put it bluntly, it's the last day of 2012 and there was no apocalypse. Zombie or otherwise, and the Mayans were wrong (I still maintain they lost interest in making the calendar and just stopped altogether). I joined the blogger world this past spring and though it has been difficult to build Breath of Life Reviews from the ground to ankle level, it has been rewarding. I've met some amazing people that I can now call my friends and I've found the courage to interact with authors, including some of my favorites.
This year also saw the release of some really great romances, some from my favorites, but most from new-to-me authors. I've had a blast with all of them, and I can't let 2012 end without mentioning those books that really stood out. Nor can I let the 2013 begin without mentioning the books that I am anticipating more than my next Starbucks trip. So let's begin with my 2012 wrap up. These are the books that made my year (In order of release date).
Darker After Midnight (Midnight Breed #10) - Lara Adrian
- After building up the mystery, suspense and raising the stakes, Darker After Midnight brings two huge changes for the characters created by Lara Adrian and finally gave fan favorite, Sterling "Harvard" Chase his chance in the spotlight. He definitely did not disappoint this long time fan. Chase definitely went through some serious changes from when he was first introduced in Kiss of Crimson (Book #2). Leave it to Chase to find a female that not only challenged him, but provided a brand new mystery for the entire Breed species. Most series' have either ended or lost their steam before book 10, but Lara Adrian keeps it fresh, sexy and interesting.
- It wasn't until promotion started for book 4 in this series started that I found the MOV series. Needless to say I quickly devoured the first three books in time for book 4 (Eternal Beast). However, it was the reckless Lucian that stayed in my mind long after I finished the fourth book in the series. He was my favorite kind of vampire. Dangerous, seductive, vulnerable and an outsider in the paranormal realm. His heroine was not what I anticipated either. Bronwyn was intelligent and beautiful but she wasn't obvious in her strength until she felt her back was up against the wall, then she fought with all she had.
A Week to be Wicked (Spindle Cove #2) - Tessa Dare (March 27)
- I've been a fan of Tessa's for quite some time but it was A Week to be Wicked, the second book in her Spindle Cove series that made me laugh and fall madly in love with both the hero Colin Sandhurst and the heroine Minerva Highwood. I just knew that if a stubborn bluestocking like Minerva was forced to spend time with a selfish, pampered "Gentleman" like Colin, the fur (and clothes) would start to fly. Minerva, although often overlooked because of her keen mind and spectacles, wasn't immune to a little fun and games, often at instigated by Colin.
Tiger (New Species #7) - Laurann Dohner (April 10)
- Laurann Dohner marked my return to reading erotic romances. While all her New Species books have been a joy to read, Tiger is one of my favorites. Since the moment he appeared, Tiger not only provided some of the funniest moments of the series, but was extremely vocal about never wanting to limit himself to just one female. One by one as his fellow New Species brethren fell in love his protests only got louder and louder which only meant one thing: His female was going to have to be very special to catch his attention and steal his heart. Zandy met that challenge head on and gave the very popular Tiger a run for his money.
Taste - Kate Evangelista (April 30)
- The only YA novel on my list. This story was a delight! An intelligent, stubborn and brave human teen heroine? Gads, I didn't know they existed! This was my first (and probably only) zombie related book. Phoenix is a tough girl, an outsider in some ways, who finds herself attracted to two very handsome, mysterious guys. The characters are well written and at times funny. Taste may be in the YA section at the book store but don't let that stop you adults from reading it! I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did and I look forward to Luca's turn in the spotlight!
More Than a Kiss - Stacey Joy Netzel (May 1)
- My first indie author. I love how Stacey creates a balance of romance and humor in each of her books as well as sexy heroes and stubborn heroines. More Than a Kiss starts off with humor as well as an instant attraction between Sadie and Zach and it continues throughout the entire book. I have had the pleasure of reading more of Stacey's books and I have to say that they too contain laugh out loud moments and sexy moments between her characters. I have to thank Danielle from Book Whore for introducing me to Stacey's books.
Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane #4) - Elizabeth Hoyt (June 26)
- A superhero in 1737? Yes please! The way too serious Winter Makepeace needed a heroine to shake up his ordered life. Lady Isabel Beckinhall needs to see that there's more to life than balls, gowns, riches and disappointment. I thought these two were mismatched in every way and wasn't sure if the pairing would work... It did, in an explosive, sexy and romantic way. Easily the best book in the entire Maiden Lane series, this book not only had a virgin hero who moonlighted as a masked savior in the most dangerous part of London, but a gorgeous cover and stepback to match.
Blaze (Phoenix Rising #2) - Joan Swan (Sept 25)
- New author Joan Swan released her debut (Fever) earlier this year, followed by a turn as an indie author with Intimate Enemies. However it was the second book in her Phoenix Rising series with Luke Ransom that made me one very happy fan. From the moment Luke appeared in Fever, I had it bad for the sexy, tortured hero. It was definitely a love at first sight situation for me. To make things even better, his heroine Keira was a kick ass woman with gifts of her own and a stubborn streak to match Luke's. Blaze will be hard to beat (due in part to the hotness that is Luke). Thank you to my friend Rachel for bringing Joan's books to my attention!
Paradise Hops - Liz Crowe (Oct 15)
- Now this book is a definite tear jerker. Liz Crowe was an author I had never heard of until she participated in a blog hop and I noticed that she wrote "Romance for Real Life." My curious nature lead me to a whole new world of raw, real and emotionally engaging books with unforgettable characters and true to life scenarios. Paradise Hops left me at a loss for words for a few minutes after I finished and then I couldn't get my thoughts out fast enough. Lori, Garret and Eli were all tortured, all flawed and all fighting the extraordinary pull that keeps them in each other's lives.
- Who knew pure evil could turn out to be so damn good? My favorite book by Larissa Ione so far, Rogue Rider proved that even the Horseman who almost ended the world deserves a chance at love. Reseph definitely had an uphill battle ahead of him and Jillian was the perfect heroine to help him get past the horror he inflicted on the world and his family as Pestilance. Reseph was a vulnerable hero, he doubted himself and truly hated himself for what he had done. There was humor in this book, even when things were looking grim and the chemistry with Reseph and Jillian was scorching. Reseph was my favorite Horseman and one of my top tortured heroes ever and he really deserved a happy ending. Though with Larissa, there is never such thing as a complete happy ending...