Each month, we ask our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read (or things, plural, if our bloggers declare a tie ’cause they just can’t choose). It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle a bit more.
It's the end of the year now, and so we've asked them for their top three books that made the year in reading so memorable. Without further ado, here's Part 1 (of four parts) of our bloggers best reads of 2015—and don't forget to stay tuned for Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4:
The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan - Callihan takes one of my favorite tropes, a hero who is willing to court his heroine and go the distance with her in a realistic and very sweet relationship, plus they love trip-hop music which is always a plus.
Never Loved by Charlotte Stein - I love Never Loved, I think I love it because it's a novel that gets why I love New Adult so much, the heroine literally transforms herself into someone new which I think is the point of college.
Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh - There is something so powerful between Noah and Kit that goes beyond romance and into what makes a great relationship, a strong solid foundation. The lengths both characters go through to be with each other are astounding and worth your time as well as attention as a reader.
I started to really pay attention to Nassir in Archangel's Shadows because of all of them, he is the most different. One of the Seven who serve the Archangel Raphael, Nassir is a vampire and feline. In Archangel's Enigma, he goes hunting for a mate. Nassir's feline nature is at times feral. At other times, it is playful, and when they combine in a sexual way, he's irresistible. His mate turns out to be Andromeda, a celibate scholar with obligations in her backstory. Discovering they are meant to be and finding a way to make it work through the obstacles all happens while they are on the road, satisfied my craving for road romances, and helped to advance the long-term series arc.
Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore
When we last saw Charlie and Audrey in A Dirty Job, he was still alive because Audrey had saved his soul. Unfortunately, he lost his body and at the start of Secondhand Souls, he remained a 14-inch-tall combination of luncheon meat and spare animal parts. A 10-inch penis that causes him to black out when he's excited is attached to his crocodile head, duck feet, and lunch meat torso. While Audrey's celibacy thwarted their romance in the earlier book, this time it is Charlie's new body. You can imagine how complicated and fun it is to find someone who looks enough like him and is willing to fork over his body so that Charlie can be a regular Death Merchant again and reassume his role as a father while also fulfilling Audrey's awakened libido.
House of Thieves by Charles Belfoure
To save the life of his eldest son who owes money to a notorious gangster, John Cross, a minor but successful New York architect is forced to use his skills to design burglaries of mansions owned by The 400. Just one of several storylines in this Gilded Age novel; each family member embarks on an adventure to the seedy side ... and likes it. That includes John and his estranged wife Helen, who reinvigorate their marriage and find fun in committing crime, and their daughter Julia, a young, aspiring novelist who falls in love with a most unsuitable fellow. Belfoure's writing is rich in historical detail, (the author is also an architect) but also sly; following the Cross family cut loose a little while maintaining their social standing as Knickerbockers has a delightfully romantic side.
It was an awesome year for some emotionally driven, hilarious stories than ran the gamut from sweet to steamy. Here are my top three picks for 2015 (in order of smut level).
Kristan Higgins gave me the warm and fuzzies with If You Only Knew, which featured sister besties tackling all that life has to throw at them. I can handle any angst as long as it is sugar coated with Kristan’s trademark humor. Once you finish this book, you will immediately want to call your sister for a catch up.
I have an unhealthy obsession with Penny Reid. Pretty much anything she releases could make my “best of” list. Penny gives us a lot of crazy stuff –hot rugby players, computer criminals, hermits and island castaways and somehow grounds it into very relatable unique stories. More importantly, she has perfected the art of blending intelligence, heart and humor into her books. Since I have to pick only one favorite for the year, then it’s Truth or Beard, because of my well-documented obsession with beards.
Finally, I have to give a shout out to J.R. Ward’s Blood Kiss. I was a total sucker for the nostalgic return to the original Black Dagger Brotherhood world. In the ever-expanding BDB universe, this felt tight and focused as a new couple and a familiar couple took center stage. Happily, Ward also delivered on the sex. As far as I am concerned, Butch is criminally underrated in BDB fandom. I also dug the vamped version of navy SEAL training and I went gaga over the Magic Mike moment. Perfection.
Kristan Higgins's If You Only Knew which is more women’s fiction than romance, featuring two sisters, though there is a lovely romance in there (and the chemistry between those two would have been enough to make me read). It features Higgins’s usual warmth and humor—though it’s a little heavier than her other stories.
Alexis Hall’s For Real. It’s a very different book: BDSM m/m romance with a large age gap between characters. I’m not a BDSM enthusiast, I’m not crazy about big age gaps and so I picked it up reluctantly. I put it down only because it was 2 am and I’d read the last page, a couple of times. I still get that happy sigh thinking about how much I loved those characters. Hall realistically portrayed a nineteen-year-old’s angst, and I still believed that he belonged with the thirty-seven-year-old.
Learn more about the books mentioned in this post: