Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Ten of 2014



In 2014, I read 418 books. 
Of those, 43 were in the running for my TOP TEN.

I have definite trends in my reading likes...
25 were contemporary romance.
8 were romantic suspense.
5 were paranormal romance.
16 were m/m stories.

And several authors had TWO books on my original list:
Jaycee Clark
River Jaymes
Lauren Layne

whew...
I love doing this post, but at the same time, it's so freaking hard to narrow down.

But I did it. 
Here is the list of my 
TOP TEN FAVORITE BOOKS I READ IN 2014...
(listed in the order I read them...links take you to my review which has purchase links)

Before & Ever Since by Sharla Lovelace

Story Overview:
EMILY LOCKWOOD, YOUR PAST IS SHOWING... 

Emily Lockwood has been sitting on a secret for so long, and buried so deep that she really doesn’t even think of it anymore. Why should she? She has a successful career, an ex-husband who rarely tests her patience, a mother who usually does, and a stubbornly independent grown daughter. Everything is fine, just another crazy kind of normal.


Until Ben Landry comes back to town. From childhood friends to young lovers, Ben and Emily had an unbreakable bond. Or so she thought—until he disappeared for over twenty years without explanation. Seeing Ben again triggers more than mere memories and a tug at her heart. It rips the cover off an old secret that could hurt the people she loves most.

While Emily works to keep her secret safe and her heart safer, her sanity gets a reality check. She’s been seeing things—her past played out like home movies unreeling before her eyes, visions that are making Emily see herself, her family, everyone she knew, and every choice she made, in a revealing new light and a startling new angle. For Emily, seeing her life in rewind makes her realize she has hard choices to make for her future. Choices that may redefine everyone else’s future as well.


Bonds Of Denial by Lynda Aicher

Story Overview:

Book five of Wicked Play

It's been twenty years since Rockford Fielding's father punished him for kissing another boy. Now a grown man with a military career behind him, Rock continues to deny his true desires, even while working security at The Den, the most decadent sex club in town. But after a year of watching gorgeous Carter Montgomery come and go on the arms of other men, Rock can no longer resist the cravings he's denied for so long.

Carter has just four months left on his contract with an escort agency, and he doesn't know whether to feel relieved or afraid. Being an escort is all he knows. Adding to his confusion is the way his latest client, the sexy but stoic Rock, makes him feel things he hasn't wanted in years.

One charmingly awkward date turns into two and soon the men are meeting off the clock. But with Rock in the closet and Carter unsure how to pursue a real relationship, how can they build a future both in and out of the bedroom?


Fade In by M. Mabie

Story Overview:
Tatum Elliot is a successful writer on a hit television show, lives in an Upper East Side apartment and loves her life. She wouldn’t change a thing. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a choice. She's losing her sight.

Tripping over her tongue and her heels, Tatum all too quickly realizes that the things which appeared so important before are slowly slipping away leaving room for what really matters. With the support of her best friends, family and colleagues, she begins to see that there’s much more to life… and herself.

When Ben Harris enters her life as her new personal assistant, she can’t tell if it’s his good looks and charm that are working on her libido, or his kind and helpful nature working on her heart? Whatever it is, neither one of them can resist it.

As her vision fades out, a world of love and happiness just might…Fade In.

Fade In is a contemporary-romance novel about laughing through your tears and telling life to, quite frankly, “Suck it.” This novel contains sexual situations that the author may or may not have tried at home… for your safety, of course. Research is research.

Talk Dirty To Me by Dakota Cassidy

Story Overview:

Notorious mean girl Dixie Davis is back in town and it's payback time. Literally. Dixie is flat broke and her best�make that only�friend, Landon, is throwing her a lifeline from the Great Beyond. Dixie stands to inherit his business…if she meets a few conditions: 
She's got to live in Landon's mansion. 
With her gorgeous ex-fiancé, Caine Donovan. 
Who could also inherit the business. 
Which is a phone sex empire. 
Wait, what? 
Landon's will lays it out: whoever gets the most new clients becomes the owner of Call Girls. Dixie has always been in it to win it, especially when it comes to Caine, who's made it clear he's not going down easy. (Oh, mercy.) Can Dixie really talk dirty and prove that she's cleaned up her act? Game on!
Plum Orchard, Georgia, is about to get even juicier…



Exchange of Fire by P.A. DePaul

Story Overview:


Faking her death was easy, living with her past is harder, but nothing is more dangerous than falling in love… 

Sandra Walsh was a deadly sniper for the Sweet Briar Group, a covert agency with assassins for hire, until her last mission went horribly wrong, accidentally killing an innocent girl. Knowing she’s a danger to her team, Sandra goes off the grid, becoming a Shade—an agent declared dead but secretly hiding among the living. She intends to honor her vow never to pull another trigger or have contact with the spy world again. Until she meets Casper Grady…

Grady is a former Marine with a troubled past and a debt to pay. His life mission has gone from protecting the nation to helping local children and their families. The moment he meets Sandra, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye, but he can’t help but be drawn to the mysterious femme fatale. And when Sandra’s past suddenly catches up to her, Grady is determined to protect her at all costs, no matter how dark and dangerous her secrets are.

As the danger increases, so does their intense attraction. But when they’re forced to choose between each other and the people they’ve sworn to protect, their growing love might not be enough to keep them together—or alive…

Broken by Lauren Layne

Story Overview:


Lauren Layne’s New Adult novel tells the story of a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both... or destroy them.

When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.


Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?



The Truth About Riley by Henrietta Clarke


Story Overview:

Riley Aylworth’s life has been completely devoid of intimate contact since a fire three years ago left him with horrific facial scarring, so when he finds an ad for a phone sex service, he decides to give it a call. Except that the number is not a phone sex service—it’s the revenge Cameron Kirkwood’s ex-boyfriend took on the uptight advertising executive after Cam forgot their anniversary and accidentally put him in the hospital. Needless to say, after thirty-nine disturbing calls seeking phone sex, Cameron is at the end of his tether and yells at his fortieth caller. What he doesn’t expect is for Riley to hit redial and yell right back.

The argument helps both Cameron and Riley vent about their issues, and when they’ve calmed down, they decide to exchange numbers and talk again. From this decision springs a friendship that, over time, grows into a gentle romance—all over the phone, because Riley is too scared to meet Cam in person. Showing a potential boyfriend his disfigured face is the fastest way to get rejected, right? Even a month of scorching hot phone sex can’t change his mind, no matter how hard Cam tries to persuade him that with their phone chemistry, the sex would be so much better in person.


Meanwhile, Cam is haunted by the scarred blond he seems to be seeing everywhere, and Riley can’t get the handsome brunet who always seems happy to see him out of his mind. It’s a shock to both men to realise that the guy they’re falling for over the phone is also the man who brightens their day with just a smile; but it’s one thing to let a stranger smile at you and quite another to let him close enough to see into your soul. If Riley can’t break down the walls in his mind and believe that Cameron loves him in spite of his scars, their relationship may be doomed before they’ve even had a chance to kiss.

Darker Water by Lauren Stewart

Story Overview:
After another painful breakup, Laney Temple finally understands that love is a fairytale and sex rarely comes with a happy ending. She's too busy for it right now anyway--she has a business to run, art to create, and candy to crush. Eventually she'll be ready to switch from her plastic-or-silicon lover to a flesh-and-blood one. But before that happens, she needs to be sure she won't feel any of those annoying emotions that make her heart do things it wasn't meant to do...

Like break

Carson Bennett is completely upfront about what he wants, and it has nothing to do with Laney's heart. Her lips? Hell yeah. Other parts of her body? You better f*cking believe it. But her heart? Nope, not even a little. Until it does...a lot. But having feelings for someone isn't allowed. It's the kind of thing you're supposed to push down deep and cover up with one-night stands, sarcasm, and booze...

Like secrets

Two people want the same thing--a commitment to nothing more than great sex in a bunch of different positions. Simple. Enjoyable. A win-win. Problem is, those two people have families and fears and pain that spill into every moment of their lives, control what they do and who they are. And if either Carson or Laney can't free themselves from the past, they'll both be pulled under by it.

*** Darker Water is a stand-alone contemporary romance that does not end in a cliffhanger.


The Boyfriend Mandate by River Jaymes

Story Overview:
Stuntman and two-time cancer survivor Memphis Haines excels at beating the odds. When he’s presented with the opportunity to help his ex-boyfriend with a charity event, he jumps at the chance to make up for the devastating way he left Tyler ten years ago. Memphis might have taken the college geek’s virginity, but the former mathelete is now a hell of a head turner. And Dr. Tyler Hall’s cool reserve is a challenge Memphis can’t resist. A self-confessed rule breaker and line crosser, he keeps turning up the heat with one goal in mind: to melt the man’s composure.

Tyler Hall sticks to one simple mandate: no more dating ex-boyfriends. Ever. He certainly isn't interested in hooking up with Memphis Haines, the ex who jumps off buildings, dodges explosions, and poses for designer underwear ads. Ten years ago, falling for Memphis changed Tyler’s life. The man’s abrupt departure turned his world inside out. But he moved on long ago. Besides, he has a clinic for the homeless to run, patients to take care of, and no time to deal with the trouble his ex brings. Memphis, however, seems determined to rehash the past. And his boxer-dropping grin, hard body, and confident charm are resurrecting ultra-hot memories best not remembered, making Tyler’s rule harder and harder to keep...


Mai Tai'd Up by Alice Clayton

Story Overview:
Looking for the perfect mix of smart, sexy, and sassy? Mai Tai’d Up continues New York Times bestselling author Alice Clayton’s Cocktail series, which began with Wallbanger and continued with Rusty Nailed and Screwdrivered.

The gossip mill in the seaside community of Monterey is churning about Chloe Patterson, the newcomer who is starting a sanctuary for rescued pit bulls. It’s rumored that she’s a former beauty queen (true) who ditched her fiancé the morning of their wedding (also true). And that while she’s not looking for a new man, the good-looking local veterinarian has his eye on her. Absolutely, positively true.

When Lucas Campbell isn’t at the family veterinary clinic, he’s paddle boarding in Monterey Bay. Recently single, he’s definitely not in the market for a new relationship, but he still can’t resist taking a second, third, and fourth look at the recent arrival of Miss Golden State.

Neither Lucas nor Chloe has any interest in being tied down. Being tied up, however—now there’s a thought. But are a few Mai Tais, a moonlit night, and the music of Frank Sinatra enough to allow them both to forget their past? Let’s hope Ol’ Blue Eyes knows what he’s doing.
Mix one part tiki, one part kinky, and a splash of old black magic matchmaking, and it’s time to be . . . Mai Tai’d Up.


The Whole List of Finalists (in the order I read them with review links):
  1. Corruption by Eden Winters (rom susp- m/m)
  2. Reaver by Larissa Ione (para rom)
  3. Dirty Deeds by SE Jakes (rom susp- m/m)
  4. Tangled by Emma Chase (cont rom)
  5. Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes (cont rom- m/m)
  6. Before & Ever Since by Sharla Lovelace (cont rom)
  7. EndGame by Samantha Wayland (erot rom- f/m/m)
  8. Bonds of Denial by Lynda Aicher (cont rom- m/m)
  9. Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann (rom susp)
  10. Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis (cont rom)
  11. Love Like the Movies by Victoria Van Tiem (cont rom)
  12. Bittersweet Darkness by Nina Croft (para rom)
  13. Let It Go by Mercy Celeste (cont rom- m/m)
  14. Training Season by Leta Blake (erot rom- m/m)
  15. Deadly Games by Jaycee Clark (rom susp)
  16. Deadly Secrets by Jaycee Clark (rom susp)
  17. That Touch of Magic by Lucy March (para rom)
  18. Fade In by M. Mabie (cont rom)
  19. East of Ecstasy by Laura Kaye (para rom)
  20. Talk Dirty to Me by Dakota Cassidy (cont rom)
  21. Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren (cont rom)
  22. Stay With Me by S.E. Harmon (cont rom- m/m)
  23. Fanning the Flames by Victoria Dahl (cont rom)
  24. Should've Been Home Yesterday by Inez Kelley (cont rom)
  25. Home the Hard Way by Z.A. Maxfield (rom susp-m/m)
  26. Only with You by Lauren Layne (cont rom)
  27. Across the Line by Kate Willoughby (cont rom)
  28. Exchange of Fire by P.A. DePaul (rom susp)
  29. Broken by Lauren Layne (cont rom)
  30. The Truth About Riley by Henrietta Clark (cont rom- m/m)
  31. Anchored by Rachel Haimowitz (alt world- m/m)
  32. Stone: At Your Service by Rie Warren (cont rom)
  33. Dark Space by Lisa Henry (sci fi rom- m/m)
  34. His Road Home by Anna Richland (cont rom)
  35. Alex by Sawyer Bennett (cont rom)
  36. Sleigh Ride by Heidi Cullinan (cont rom- m/m)
  37. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs (para rom)
  38. Darker Water by Lauren Stewart (cont rom)
  39. Grif's Toy by Joseph Lance Tonlet (erot rom- m/m)
  40. The Boyfriend Mandate by River Jaymes (cont rom- m/m)
  41. Mai Tai'd Up by Alice Clayton (cont rom)
  42. Let Love Live by Melissa Collins (cont rom- m/m)
  43. Hour of Need by Melinda Leigh (rom susp)
2014 was definitely a GREAT READING YEAR!!

2 comments:

PA DePaul said...

WOOT! WOOT! Thank you for including me in your top 10! I'm honored! :)

River Jaymes said...

Thanks so much!! I'm THRILLED to be included in the top 10 :)