The Best of 2014

As I did in 2013, I compiled a list of  books that left me with such an impression that I had no choice but to rate them 5★. If you follow my blog, even a little, you will notice two things about me: (1) I have very eclectic reading tastes; and (2) I don’t give 5 stars easily. I’m a tough nut to crack when it comes to being bowled over by a story. Yet, through the sea of the many books I’ve read this year, there are twenty authors, and by extension,  their books, who more than wowed. They left an indelible mark that has  caused me to pimp their books or their series over and over again. They are just that good!

For your one-clicking pleasure, I’ve provided the list because everyone needs to know about outstanding books, right!

1. Reaper’s Stand (Reaper’s MC, #4)

by Joanna Wylde

I will confess that I was not in love with this series after reading book one.  If I heard the words, “sweet butt” one more time, I was going to sca-ream! However, my bestie twisted by arm and threatened…I mean…encouraged me to continue the series. And pleasantly surprised, each successive book just got better and better. If you’re in the mood for dirty talking, roughneck bikers, then this book and the entire series will be right up your alley.

Reapers MC series

2. East of Ecstasy (Hearts of the Anemoi, #4)

by Laura Kaye

I have always been a paranormal romance lover and Kaye’s Hearts of the Anemoi series is among my top favs. The series is rife with betrayal, passion, action, and some very sexy times among gods and men…errr…women.

Hearts of the Anemoi series

3. Zip, Zero, Zilch (The Reed Brothers Book 6)

by Tammy Falkner

Tattooed boys! Nuff said! But seriously, I stumbled on this series when I was looking for an audiobook and let me tell, I was impressed and hooked from book one. Whether you read this series or listen to it as an audiobook, you will not be disappointed! If you are in the mood for a series that will rip you to shreds and then put you back again,  then look no further! The Reed Brothers series incorporates some of the best elements of a contemporary. There is emotion (sweet and rough), sex (and lots of it), and drama (OMGEEE is there drama!). You will absolutely fall in love with this entire family and the people they adopt into their lives.

✦ Reed Brothers series

4. Ice (Regulators MC Book 1)

by Chelsea Camaron and Jessie Lane

Ice was definitely an unexpected entry in the MC romance category this year. This book was full of twists and turns and one of those twists left me absolutely speechless. And Ice was just *sigh*...I loved him a lot.  I cannot wait to read the second book in the series which is slated to be released sometime in the spring of 2015.

5. Yesterday’s Half Truths (Carolina Days Book 2)

by Carey Heywood

The story was very sweet, low steam, but don’t let that stop you from reading it because it was an excellent story even without it. The story was actually sexier because of its simplistic romance. The story and the characters will totally pull you into the story. The female protagonist struggles with a real life reality that EVERY woman can identify with. A love story very well done!

✦ Carolina Days series

6. Broken Open (Hurley Brothers Book 2)

by Lauren Dane

I just reviewed this one and still cannot say enough about this book. The chemistry between the protagonists is panty melting. Oh yes, girls…panty melting. If you enjoyed Dane’s Browns or Chase series then you will not be disappointed with the Hurley boys. They are swoon worthy! Tatted, bad boy rock stars…HELLO!!!

✦ Hurley Brothers series

7. Curves ‘em Right (Paranormal Dating Agency Book 4)

by Milly Taiden

The self-proclaimed, “Smut Queen”, Taiden continues to bring the heat with her popular Paranormal Dating Agency series.  Curves ‘em Right brings you not one, but two hawt men that will make you wish that you were the heroine in the book *wink*. All of the books in the series are quick reads and definitely fit the bill when you are in the need for something short, sweet, and spicy.

✦ Paranormal Dating Agency series

8. Vincent (Vampires in America #8)

by D.B. Reynolds

Vincent was sexy, gritty, and more than a little intriguing. I love that Reynolds creates strong heroines who manage to put the lords through their paces. The female protagonists throughout the series are real women who are not afraid to be so. And the men…le sigh… They are all potent. All dominant. And All yummy!

✦ Vampires in America series

9. Rellik

by Teresa Mummert

Dude! This story…I don’t even know what to say. I couldn’t read anything else a few days after reading it because I had to get my mind back in the right head space to read. Rellik is definitely NOT your average love story. This is a story about two dysfunctional people and their imperfectly perfect love.  I absolutely loved the twists and turns that Mummert took in the story. It was intriguing and raw and captures your attention from the very beginning.

10. King of Me (The King Trilogy #3)

by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

King of Me starts off at a heart racing pace, and doesn’t let up until the end. I couldn’t put the book down but wanted to close my eyes at some of the harrowing close calls that the female protagonist endured. This is a series that you will love to hate. King is uber sexy but his mysterious ways and cloak and dagger actions will make you want to kick him in the junk. Not hard because well…there would be no sexy times. But take note that this is also a series where the chemistry, although palpable between the characters in all three books, doesn’t truly get down to the bow-chicka-wow-wow until the third book. BUT again, don’t let that stop you from reading the series because the plot line will leave you guessing right up to the very end.

The King Trilogy

11. Worth the Chance (MMA Fighter Series Book 2)

by Vi Keeland

Worth the Chance was complex, passionate, sexy, and sweet. The protagonists had such an innocent introduction into each others lives, but it was amazing to see how their relationship evolved in their adult lives. There were some emotionally intense moments but a happily ever after was most definitely in the cards for the couple. This MMA romance series will burn up your eReader because these boys are just hawt! Did I say hawt?!? Yeah…So that.

MMA Fighter Series

12. Up From the Grave (Night Huntress #7)

by Jeaniene Frost

Reading this book was a bit bittersweet for me because it signaled the end of a series that I absolutely adored. The characters and the depth of the story line kept me completely immersed in the series from one book to the next. Up from the Grave was a bit more subdued in the smexy times department, but the connection between the characters DEFINITELY was not. There was a depth to their love and loyalty to one another that I haven’t seen in any of the other books. There were surprise revelations and unexpected twists that will excite and thrill old and new fans to the series.

Night Huntress Series

13. Predator’s Fire (Gemini Island Shifters #5)

by Rosanna Leo

Rosanna Leo hits yet another book out the park with Predator’s Fire. This book had it all. A hot alpha male. A sassy, can protect her own dang self, female. Smoking hot passion. Intrigue. And action. Lots and lots of action. Where the other Gemini Island books were good and had their own action of a fashion, Predator’s Fire kicks up the tension and the action with the addition of a nefarious plot line.  You will definitely fall in love with the island and all of its characters.

✦  Gemini Island Shifters #5

14. B is for… (BDSM Checklist Book 2)

by L Dubois

I just recently stumbled onto this series through the recommendation of a friend. Although the books are fairly short, each one tells a very unique story. I particularly enjoyed the “B” book because of the discovery made by the protagonists — of themselves and each other. Surprisingly, this series is not just about the sex and domination, but the connection that develops and grows between the characters.

✦  BDSM Checklist Series

15. Devlin’s Dare (Tryst Island #5)

by Sabrina York

Another great story from Sabrina York in the Tryst Island series. I loved the push/pull dynamic of the couple’s “relationship”. There was a bit of “just desserts” being served and “table turning” happening in this one that kept the story interesting, engaging, and funny! I recommend this series for anyone in the mood for a hot, sweet, and quick sexy read.

Tryst Island Series

16. Raine Falling (Hells Saints Motorcycle Club #1)

by Paula Marinaro

So, I guess by now that you can tell I love MC romances since this is the third one noted on my top 20 list *smile*.  Raine Falling was definitely a very interesting story in the MC romance category. Oh sure, there were bikers a-plenty. But the story was just…WOW! Yep, another one that left me speechless! The characters, the conflict, the depth of emotion were exceptionally well done. All of the characters — primary and secondary — added a wonderful dimensionality to the story. But here’s my word of caution on this one: Purchase the audio version of this story! I repeat…purchase the audio version. The male and female narrators really bought the story to life and added a flair that you will not get by solely reading the book.

Hells Saints Motorcycle Club Series

17. Ugly Love: A Novel

by Colleen Hoover

Lort…what can I say about this book except Ugly Love met ugly cry by the end. And when I say ugly. I mean u-g-l-y you ain’t got no alibi — ugly. My eyes were puffy and my nose was stuffy.  This was my first book by Colleen Hoover so I didn’t know I should “expect” this. I knoooow…what’s wrong with me, right?!?! But, I just never ventured around to her until this book. The story left me an absolutely mess. It was devastatingly sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. You want to read a story about love conquering all…THIS BOOK! Seriously…this book will definitely tell that story. This is also another one that I listened to, as opposed to reading, and I truly enjoyed the male and female narrators. They certainly helped you to ‘feel’ the story.

 18. Bobcat (The Redstone Clan #4)

by Bianca D’Arc

First of all, let’s all take a minute to look at the cover, shall we *sigh*. I definitely had cover lust for this one but the story will leave you equally enthralled. I adored the male protagonist. He was an alpha’s Alpha but totally recognized, accepted and appreciated the female protagonist’s need to stand on her own two feet. With each successive book in the series, readers see the warriors of good matching steadily toward the final showdown with evil. The connecting plot between the books is exceptional and intricate. Paranormal romance lovers — especially those who love shape shifters — will most definitely want to add this to their to-be-read lists.

Tales of Were Series

19. Play (Stage Dive Series Book 2)

by Kylie Scott

Confession time…it took me a long time to get around to reading this series because *sigh*…I judged a book by its cover. Specifically, I judged Lick, book 1, by its cover…the one before its facelift. However, my readerly friends kept telling me that I just HAD to read the series because I didn’t know what I was missing. And they were absolutely right! I laughed until I cried reading Play. Mal is a bonafide nut but you will absolutely fall in love with the cray cray man!  This is series is yet another one that I highly recommend the audio version, as well. The narrator does a bang-up job for Mal that will have you laughing out lock. Rocker romances are a plenty but this one and the one noted below and out my top twenty are two of my absolutely favorites.

Stage Dive Series

20. For the Love of a Lush (Lush #2)

by Selena Laurence

I hated the female protagonist in this book at the end of the first book in the series. Yep. I said…I haaaaated her. She was a skank of the highest order — well, in my little imagination. But, Laurence made me change my mind about her as her back story unfolded in the second  book. The story was heartbreaking because the male protagonist struggled with something that every day people deal with it, alcoholism. But the struggle and the emotional backlash from it on the rock group was devastating. The story was a hard read at different points because there were instances where you wanted to hate both characters while quietly rooting for them to have a happily ever after. And you know what…they did! And it was so sweet!

Lush Series

Well, if you made it all the way to this point, I applaud you for reading my ramblings about the books that touched me during the year. Here’s hoping for a bright, happy, and book blowout 2015!