Dec 30 2014 3:30pm

H&H Bloggers Recommend: Best Reads of 2014, Part 3

The Iron Duke by Meljean BrookEach 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 3 (of three parts) of our bloggers best reads of 2014—and don't forget to check out Part 1 and Part 2:

Phoebe Chase:

Iron Seas series by Meljean Brook — I know, I know, I should have been reading these all along, but better late than never, right? This series and this author went to auto-buy status after my first taste of the Iron Seas.

Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennett — We've all heard how paranormal romance is dead and the internet is full of cries of “We need something new and fresh or it won't sell!” Enter Jenn Bennett and her Roaring Twenties series.

Lucy Dosch:

Trying to narrow down my favorites for 2014 to only three was just painful, but I have to admit that all the stories I highlighted were part of paranormal series.  The first would have to be Dark Skye by Kresley Cole.  I have been a fan for the Immortals After Dark series since the beginning and I have been waiting for this novel since Melanthe and Thronos were first introduce.  It was a five year wait, but I was not disappointed.  It was as funny, sexy and entertaining as all her other books in the series.

Another book that I have been desperate to get my hands on and which turned out to be as fabulous as I had hoped was Marked by Rebecca Zanetti.   Marked is the final book in the Dark Protectors Series.  We met Janie and Zane in Book 1 when they were just children and we knew from Janie’s psychic predictions that the outcome of the war would come down to them.   We finally find out what fate has in store for them.

Chained by Night by Larissa Ione was my first Larissa Ione story and I loved the strong characters she created in this new series.  In order to protect his vampire clan Hunter agreed to mate with his rival chief’s daughter.  She was one of twins and complete opposite of the twin Hunter wanted.   The story included an exciting quest on top of the tension filled plot of will he be forced to spend an eternity with the wrong twin or will he figure out a loophole and keep the woman he loves. I can’t wait for the next installment. 

Wendy the Super Librarian:

The Man Behind the Mask by Barbara WallaceThe Man Behind the Mask by Barbara Wallace is, on the surface, a standard boss/secretary book.  But underneath the surface is one of the more convincing wounded heroes to show up in my reading in quite some time.  A heroine with a crush that she knows cannot lead anywhere and a hero who she thinks is “out of her league,” but is reeling from a tragedy he finds unable and impossible to talk about.  Until these two very different people realize they have more in common then they think.

Her Rancher Rescuer by Donna Alward marked her move from Harlequin Romance to Harlequin American and the end of her long-running Cadence Creek Cowboy series.  The heroine, the unlucky in love secondary character who was spurned by most of the previous heroes finally finds her Prince Charming in a former athlete turned sporting goods mogul.  What makes this book so amazing is the heroine. Having become the butt of many a joke and pitied in previous books, she learns to stand on her own, and she's unwilling and unable to accept crumbs of affection any longer.  She's nobody's second best, which the hero soon learns the hard way.

Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath is an older title, a RITA winner from 1997.  It is magic from the first page to the last, one of the very few books I would consider slapping an A+ on if I believed in them.  A heroine, haunted and bitter after the Civil War robs her of her husband and three brothers, is determined to make the hero, a conscientious objector suffer down to the very marrow of his traitorous soul.  She sets her plan in motion, only to realize that what she thinks she knows about him couldn't possibly be more wrong.  It's a story of courage, a story of bravery, and what those two ideals really, truly mean.


Best Of – it’s so difficult, because for the most part, I’m in love with the book I just finished, until I start reading the next one. I’ve discovered so many new authors this year —Karen Swan, Lynne Branard, Barbara Davis, Martha Woodroof, Jessica Topper, Rachel Lacey —my auto-buy list has grown exponentially. And I’ve read some great books by my favorite authors — Virginia Kantra, Julie James, Robyn Carr, Emilie Richards.  But when picking a favorite of the year – It’s impossible to  just choose by great writing, or storytelling because there has been so many books that just captivated me. I am picking more by a special  affinity to certain tropes and  witty dialogue.

Loretta Chase is the master of witty dialogue. I stand in awe of her talents, and I love how she uses words to ramp up the sexual tension. I want to be a Loretta Chase heroine with that rapid fire wit.  I was captivated from the very first pages of Vixen in Velvet  so I’m picking this book as my historical choice.

Shelter Me by Catherine MannShelter Me by Catherine Mann is my contemporary choice. The characters, the plot of re-united lovers, and Trooper the dog, as a character made this one of most memorable reads of 2014. And in women’s fiction . . well there are just too many great books to say just one.

Nicole Leapheart:

Broken Open by Lauren Dane is still fresh in my brain, and I am still fangirling over it. I haven't had a lot of luck liking heroes with addiction issues, but Ezra, his beard, and his sexy and fierce love for his family won me over handily. The heroine Tuesday happened to be a woman of color, like myself, and I loved how Lauren Dance kept her real (hair care is a complicated!)  but she didn't turn her into a caricature either; it was the perfect balance and a great love story.

Every “Beyond” book that Kit Rocha releases is my new fave, so I have the tough task of picking one: Beyond Solitude. Derek Ford is a grumpy slightly older O'Kane who is riding a desk while his leg is healing from a crippling injury. Mia, new to the O'Kane way of female empowerment and his new young assistant to boot, tempts him in ways that makes him even grumpier. Sexy times ensue!

Fat Girl by Leigh Carron threw me for a loop this past summer when I read it. Deanna had a complicated childhood, but she found peace with the Torres family who fostered her as a teen. The boy next door, Micah, became her secret boyfriend despite her yo-yo dieting and unhealthy relationship with food as security. However, she ran away at eighteen years old and never looked back at him or the Torres family. Now a child advocacy lawyer, her past comes back to haunt her, and Leigh Carron peels back the layers between the heartbreaking past and the present.


My best read would be Since I Saw You by Beth Kery. It has everything you could ever wish for in a romance. Amazingly dynamic characters, a diverse hero and heroine, a perfect romance that is still realistic, chemistry off the charts, beautiful writing, and a great story. I wish there were more romances like this.



To find out more about each book mentioned:

Iron Duke by Meljean Brook  
Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennett  
Dark Skye by Kresley Cole  
Marked by Rebecca Zanetti  
Chained by Night by Larissa Ione  
The Man Behind the Mask by Barbara Wallace  
Her Rancher Rescuer by Donna Alward  
Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath  
Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase  
Shelter Me by Catherine Mann  
Broken Open by Lauren Dane  
Beyond Solitude by Kit Rocha  
Fat Girl by Leigh Carron  
Since I Saw You by Beth Kery  


Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kareni
There are some intriguing titles here; thanks for the best reads lists!
2. PhoebeChase
I can't say enough how much I enjoyed Jenn Bennett's historical paranormals. Lots of title here for me to check out. It's a good thing the bulk of my TBR pile is a virtual shelf on Goodreads!
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