Wow, we’re in the final stretch of 2013. Can you believe it? I can't.
This year I've decided to put the blog on semi hiatus to spend time catching up on my TBR mountain and to of course spend time with my family so, there will be sporadic posts from today until December 31st. After that, I hope you'll be here for the New Year and the new changes on the blog.
Here are the 20 books that really made my year and YOU can win an e-copy of one of them!
My Top 20 Reads of 2013 (In no particular order, because then I’d lose my mind)
Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian – My Review
I was so upset that due to a problem with my laptop, I was unable to download a review copy from NetGalley and took to twitter to lament my bad luck. I never expected Delacorte Press to send me a copy of the unedited book for me to review. As a longtime fan of Lara Adrian, Edge of Dawn took the Midnight Breed series to a whole new level that left me wanting more! Kellan and Mira's story was different than the other couples because they had known each other for years (readers met them in a previous book) and had fallen for each other long before Kellan was presumed KIA. With all the paranormal romances out there that feature vampires, it’s easy to lose interest and become bored but with the new direction (and enemies) that the Breed is facing, I don’t see myself getting bored at all! And yes, I did order a personalized copy of Edge of Dawn in paperback so that means I can cross Lara off my list of author's I'd like a personalized book from ☺
Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt – My Review
The idea of a Batman like figure in Georgian England fascinated me from the very beginning of the Maiden Lane series and after reading Thief of Shadows, I was insanely curious about the scholarly ghost and the tragedy he endured in the previous book. Godric St. John didn’t disappoint and neither did Lady Margaret. The gentle, quiet compassion Godric had for Margaret (Megs) made me melt and the compassion between the two made for a very beautiful romance.
Liz’s books have been a lot of my “firsts” since I was lucky enough to stumble across her work. Her books have been the first to make me cry (Essence of Time), make me think (Paradise Hops) and now, Honey Red was my first ménage romance… That I actually liked. There’s a real romance between the three main characters, not just sex and that’s what made it work for me. Having one of those characters be a disabled soldier with a service dog was a great touch and made the book more real to me. I honestly think Liz’s books can and should be enjoyed by a larger audience and that men should give her books a try. Raw & Real, that’s how I describe Liz Crowe’s books.
The first book in the series was fun and intriguing but this one was down right addictive! For once, I found a historical romance where the heroine gets involved in the fight instead of the just the hero. Fallon was jaded and guarded yet she still had some kind of hope in her for a better life because she kept fighting against being truly fallen. Warrick’s easy acceptance of a woman who could fight just as well as him and was at times smarter than he was made him an even better hero in my eyes. He respected and admired a woman who didn’t need looking after and had more than fashion on her mind. The action and suspense in this book worked beautifully with the characters and set up the third book in the series quite nicely.
Don't hate me, this was my first rock star romance. I had been staying away from contemporary romance for a while because I just couldn't find one that suited me. I'm so glad I took a chance on Blind Attraction and that for once I was able to catch a contemporary series right from the beginning. I fell in love with not only Mitch and Alana but the all of the members of Reckless Beat. They have such an awesome relationship that is half nagging and sarcastic insults and half manly affection. I couldn't help be but drawn into their world and to be honest, my favorite band member changes every time I reread this book.
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare - My Review
Tessa Dare has been on my auto buy list for quite some time. She has a way of writing historical romances with heroines that feel modern but don't sound unrealistic for the time period. I have enjoyed her Spindle Cove series immensely because all the women were so odd for their time in one way or another and the men who fell for them were so special because they saw their oddities as unique qualities. Any Duchess Will Do brought together two characters that fans of the series already knew. There's was a sweet quality to this book that was a perfect ending to a wonderful series.
What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries - My Review
The first book in an all new series by Sabrina Jeffries just blew me away! She has a way of creating different series that still feel like one big story, and this one was no exception. What starts out as a simple investigation for Max, the Duke of Lyons turns into a scandalous search for answers alongside the illegitimate daughter of a peer. The twist at the end was surprising and heartbreaking but helped set up the series and introduced the male protagonists of future books. I didn't know if Sabrina could top her Hellions of Hallstead Hall series or even my favorite, The School for Heiresses series but after I finished What the Duke Desires I had no doubt that it was a strong beginning to what could ultimately be the best work Sabrina's done to date.
Run to Rome by Stacey Joy Netzel - My Review
Stacey Joy Netzel is a great indie author and one of the very few I read and enjoy. She always puts humor in the oddest places (In the middle of sexy time, really?) and it totally works. After being introduced to the first book, Lost in Italy by Danielle I just couldn't wait to read Run to Rome and it didn't disappoint at all. In fact, I liked Run to Rome better than Lost in Italy! Must have been all that pent up sexual tension between Ben and Evalina that started in book one and only burned hotter in this one. There was plenty back and forth between the two that had me going from a light giggle to a full on laugh. The fact that Ben and Eva were both chasing and being chased by danger made this book all the more exciting to read. So, Stacey... When is the third book coming out?!
A Rake's Midnight Kiss by Anna Campbell - My Review
This year seemed to be the year I fell in love with Aussie authors! Anna Campbell's Sons of Sin series started off with a Beauty and the Beast like in Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed which I enjoyed immensely. However it was the second book, that I was really excited for! A Rake's Midnight Kiss didn't disappoint me, there was mystery, suspense and romance. Sir Richard and Genevieve seemed to have nothing in common at first but as the story progressed, it was clear they were made for each other. I had fun with this book and it built up quite a mystery around the origins of Cam, The Duke of Sedgemoor. Needless to say I am on watch for the release date of that book :)
Rush by Joan Swan - My Review
Romantic suspense with a touch of paranormal, Rush took the two most damaged characters and pushed them to their limits. Q and Jessica's story was passionate but bittersweet. It also took the action to the next level and as Q, Jessica and their friends get closer to solving the mystery of the chemical blast that left seven of them with unique abilities, the danger escalates. I loved seeing Q and Jessica get their chance at happiness almost as much as I loved the scenes with the entire group together. Their rude, crude and hilarious to a fault. Rush is only the fourth book in the series but already it's starting to take the series into more dangerous territory.
Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon - My Review
The wait for this book was terrible!. I'm such a HUGE fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series that when I found out Styxx was getting his own book I could have done back flips down the street. This book did not disappoint me at all! Styxx's story was similar to his twin's in brutality yet it never felt like a carbon copy of Acheron's story. It was amazing how even after almost 20 Dark-Hunter books, Sherrilyn can continue to surprise readers by revealing a startling connection between a character from book 8 to characters from Styxx. It was wonderful to see a lot of the old gang again, I felt like I was coming home to dysfunctional friends and family. It will be a long time before Styxx is dethroned as my favorite Sherrilyn Kenyon book.
A spin off of The Charmed Trilogy, Someone Else's Skye really surprised me with the direction the story took. I didn't expect that Kane and Skye's romance would be any thing out of the ordinary so the plot twist was pretty amazing. While The Charmed Trilogy was told in first person, Someone Else's Skye is told in third. I thought it was edgier and definitely sexier than it's predecessors and Kane is as sexy as shifters come. I'm really excited to see where this series goes and I definitely can't wait to read the next book in the Men of Brahm Hill series. Someone Else's Skye has enough paranormal in it to make things interesting while not going over board in its complexity.
My Notorious Gentleman by Gaelen Foley - My Review
I will always love Gaelen Foley's books, especially her Inferno Club series. I love spies in historical romance, all that danger and lack of modern technology really makes it challenging for said spies to accomplish their goals. With the series winding down (one more book to go), I was curious to see how one of the former spies would adjust to civilian life. While there was no spying or life changing missions going on, there was still a chance to see Trevor's skills as a spy in action and Grace was more than a match for him. I loved their sweet but passionate courtship, even when Grace wasn't aware she was being courted. I'm saddened that there's only one book left in the series but excited to see what Gaelen Foley is planning next.
Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt - My Review
Oh, this book made me shiver. Correction, Maximus, the Duke of Wakefield was the cause of those shudders. He was just so deliciously... Alpha without being an irredeemable pain in the ass. Artemis was daring and as fierce as her name so it was no surprise that these two clashed constantly and quite spectacularly. The final Ghost gets his happy ending and in true Elizabeth Hoyt fashion, it didn't disappoint. I didn't want this series to end so when it was recently announced that there would be 3 more books in the Maiden Lane series I jumped for joy. When I found out the next book was Artemis' twin Apollo's book, well, I almost did a back flip.
Passionate Addiction by Eden Summers - My Review
Eden Summers is trying to kill me with the men of Reckless Beat. I kid you not. First there was Mitch. Now it's Blake and he just blew my mind! He is such a contradiction! A tattooed bad boy on the outside, but a vulnerable, romantic soul on the inside. While Passionate Addiction was burn up the pages hot, it was more focused on the emotional relationship between Blake and Gabi and Blake's need to forgive himself for his past. It also had that trademark ribbing between Blake and his band mates that never failed to make me laugh out loud. I've become such a fan of this series and of Eden's books in general and I can't wait for the next book in the Reckless Beat series.
This series just might be the best one Jennifer Haymore has written yet! Each book is two storylines in one. The romance between the two main characters and the subsequent search for the missing Duchess of Trent. Simon and Sarah's romance stayed with me long after I finished the book. Simon is so tender and caring towards Sarah and even knowing that he will have to marry someone else, Sarah is willing to take what he can give her. Simon's siblings are so different to each other and towards the end of The Duchess Hunt it's clear why. There's a lot to love about this book and though I am anticipating the rest of the series, I have a feeling this one will always be my favorite.
Come on, you didn't expect me to leave out one of my absolute favorite authors did you? Never! Especially since this year saw the release of a drop dead sexy BRITISH vampire, who in my mind, sounds like Clive Owen when he talks (I kid you not, read Sin's lines with Clive Owen's voice in mind and whoa baby!). Sin doesn't need any help being sexy but still, it doesn't hurt right? This sexy beast had me head over heels in lust with him from the start and he didn't disappoint in Eternal Sin. There was enough action, suspense and sexy undead to ensure that this book made it onto this year's list. Laura Wright's Mark of the Vampire series is a "Don't Miss" and Sin is one of my fantasy boyfriends ;)
Twilight with the Infamous Earl by Alexandra Hawkins - My Review
Say what you want about him but Frost is definitely the most popular Lord of Vice and his book was definitely the most anticipated of the series. It took a while to get to Twilight with the Infamous Earl but in the meantime readers like myself enjoyed (and loathed) his antics. One minute he was acting the complete cold hearted ass, and the next he was a benevolent, but reluctant knight in tarnished armor. I couldn't figure this man out and he was fascinating! To watch him fall in love with a woman who was the exact opposite of himself was interesting and well deserved. To me, it suited Frost just right to have his heroine be an brave, intelligent and innocent (I said "innocent" not "idiot") woman. By the way, Emily may be innocent but she wasn't boring.
Good God in heaven but this book almost killed me with the wait. I have loved Reaver since he first stepped off the pages in the first book of the Demonica series. Nine books later and there wasn't a dull moment in his book! After the revelations about Reaver in Rogue Rider I didn't think there could be any more surprises, but I was wrong! Harvester made an awesome and unconventional heroine (and she was funny in a sarcastic and dark way). She and Reaver just... Wow. I was glued to my Kindle until the last page and when I finished, I wanted to have my memory wiped like Reaver, just so I could go back and read it again.
Shatter by Joan Swan - My Review
Sliding in last minute is Shatter, the next book in the Phoenix Rising series. Mitch is a series favorite and I can't deny that he has made me chuckle and roll my eyes throughout three books. He didn't change in his own book thank goodness but readers got to know Mitch more. What really made me connect with this book was Halina and her dog Dex. Dex wasn't just an ornament to be discarded once the romance picked up, he was extremely important to Halina and therefor to Mitch. Don't get me wrong, the chemistry between Mitch and Halina was enough to melt steel but when you've got a woman who adores her dog and sees him as a lifeline in her otherwise rocky life, an animal lover like me tends to focus on that.
One lucky person will get to pick one book from the 20 listed here for their e-reader!