I refer to winter as “reading season.” It’s one of my favorite times of the year although I admit, I miss the sunshine from early fall. When I’m not curled up reading my favorite book, writing my own books and short stories, or working in overnight retail marketing, I’m an overgrown kid. I watch Garfield and Friends or indulge in Nintendo DS gaming. Recently I’ve been thrilled to try Amazon Prime for a month to see if all the hype is worth it-stay tuned-I’ll let you know!
For now, I’d like share a list of great books (not all books, but my favorites) I’ve reviewed this year. When I began this blog I wanted to stick to books under 300 pages. For the most part, I have. However, as time is becoming more constrained I’ll be reading and reviewing more short stories and novellas than ever before.
Also, I want to remind authors who are seeking reviews to > click here < first.
*Please note* the list compiled is in no particular order. Some are recent publications, some are not. I lean heavily toward romantic fiction or genres who incorporate romance into the fiction they write. This list will be updated until the conclusion of 2015, as I continue to read and review.
A Bit of Bite by Cynthia Eden
A killer is stalking the streets of Crossroads, Mississippi, and it’s up to Sheriff Ava Dushaine to stop him. But when suspicion falls on werewolf alpha Julian Kasey–Ava’s ex-lover and the man who still haunts her dreams–Ava knows that she’ll either have to prove his innocence…or watch the whole town go up in flames.
A BIT OF BITE is a short paranormal romance–the story contains approximately 11,000 words. A BIT OF BITE is intended for adults–it includes hot werewolves, a dangerous heroine, and graphic language. Consider yourself warned.
Lumberjack in Love by Penny Watson
City slicker Ami Jordan was just dumped by her back-stabbing boyfriend, has no job prospects, and can’t find a decent cup of coffee in the entire state of Vermont. The last thing she needs is a sexy, bearded lumberjack complicating her life. Even if he’s smart, talented, and has the hottest ass she’s ever seen.
Tree house builder, environmental champion, and Bulldog owner Marcus Anderson has no patience for flatlanders with an attitude. But when landscape designer Ami Jordan shows up at his log cabin, he suddenly develops a hankering for a high-maintenance city gal. Now his house looks like a jungle, his recycling is in disarray, and his libido’s on fire.
He’s a lumberjack in love.
LUMBERJACK IN LOVE is a 27,000 word novella.
Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1) by Colleen Hoover
At twenty-two years old, Sydney has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter’s cheating on her–and she is left trying to decide what to do next.
Sydney becomes captivated by Ridge, her mysterious neighbor. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…
Texas Trouble by Kathleen O’Brien
It all starts with the kid…
Life was better for Logan Cathcart before he crossed paths with nine-year-old Sean Archer. Because now he has to face the kid’s mom, Nora. It’s not that Logan doesn’t like Nora. He does—a lot. Perhaps too much. Even though she’s captivated him from the moment they met, socially he and the wealthy widow next door are leagues apart.
Still, keeping his distance is next to impossible with Nora constantly on his ranch, determined to clean up the mess Sean made. With the kind of sparks that erupt whenever she and Logan are within touching distance of each other, there’s a whole lot of trouble in Logan’s future…the adult, let’s-get-serious kind of trouble.
Home Sweet Home by Candis Terry
Before Candis Terry’s wild Wilder brothers met their matches, a soldier gets a homecoming in Sweet, Texas
He’s given up …
Army Ranger Lieutenant Aiden Marshall fought in some of the most hellish corners on earth and survived. Those closest to him, did not. When he returns home to Sweet, Texas, he believes he’s broken and has lost everything—including his soul. The only fair thing he can do to the woman who’s patiently waited for him to come home is tell her to move on with her life—without him.
… but she never will
Sassy waitress Paige Walker has no intention of walking away from the man of her dreams. He gave his all for his country and served with honor. Now it’s time to pull him from the darkness and give him hope. With a heap of love, the help of the entire town, and a tail-wagging companion, Paige makes sure her hero knows there’s no place like home sweet home.
Accidental Leigh by Melanie James
A laugh till it hurts paranormal comedy!
How does a girl become a witch? By accident, of course!
Leigh Epstein is a grief stricken and lonely elementary school teacher that is devastated by the brutal and unexpected death of her true love at the hands of a careless writer. She overcomes her grief by taking matters in her own hands and takes up a little romance writing to resurrect her vampire-werewolf book-boyfriend. Leigh gets more than she bargained for when she discovers that every steamy erotic scene she creates is magically reenacted by her family, friends and coworkers.
In her hilarious first diary, Leigh unwittingly sets her parents up for a weekend dinner party that they will never forget. She has two weeks to find out what her new found magic is capable of. Can she prevent a wild erotic encounter that could devastate her sweet parent’s marriage? What and who else will get caught up in her magic spells?
Read a story so witchingly fun, that you won’t be able to put it down and you will be eagerly awaiting the rest of the Literal Leigh Romance Diaries!
Perfect Stranger by Nancy Adams
After a sudden and tragic car accident claims the lives of Miriam’s Uncle and beloved fiancé. Miriam suddenly finds herself as the beneficiary of a sizable fortune. Because of her immense grief, she closes herself off from the world. Only after her best friend, Roxy, wins a trip to a remote resort does Miriam finally decide to come along. After much coercing, the two make their way together to the beautiful resort where Miriam’s life was about to change forever.
While there, she meets a mysterious stranger, who attempts to win her heart. But what does he truly want? Is he after her heart or her fortune? Otherwise, how else can she explain how he knows so much about her when she’s revealed nothing? In the end, Miriam must decide whether to open up her heart to a miracle or allow grief and suspicion to stop her from finding love that defies even death.
The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason
Beneath the glitter of dazzling nineteenth century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil…
Vampires have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long ago taken control of the world.
In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake. But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous moonlit streets, Victoria’s heart is torn between London’s most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her dark, dangerous duty.
And when she comes face-to-face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make a choice between duty and love.
Mr. January by Ann Roth
Senior Firefighter Adam Healey is a man with a mission: get promoted to lieutenant at the Guff’s Lake Fire Department. It’s time, but more important, the promotion will finally earn him the respect of his dying father. Single mom Samantha Everett’s deadbeat ex has left her to fend for herself, and she’s working hard to support her young son with her baking business. Neither Adam nor Samantha is looking for a relationship. But love has a way of surprising people…
Wait for The Rain by Maria Murnane
Daphne White is staring down the barrel of forty—and is distraught at what she sees. Her ex-husband is getting remarried, her teenage daughter hardly needs her anymore, and the career she once dreamed about has somehow slipped from her grasp. She’s almost lost sight of the spirited and optimistic young woman she used to be.
As she heads off to a Caribbean island to mark the new decade with her best friends from college, Daphne’s in anything but the mood to celebrate. But when she meets Clay Hanson, a much younger man, she ignores her inner voice warning her that she’s too old for a fling. In fact, this tropical getaway might be the perfect opportunity to picture her future in a new sun-drenched light.
With the help of her friends, Daphne rediscovers her enthusiasm for life, as well as her love for herself—and realizes that her best years are still ahead.
Comeback (Portland Storm #6) by Catherine Gayle
Nicklas Ericsson is an addict. He’s also a star goaltender with the NHL’s Portland Storm, or he was until his addiction changed everything. Now he’s throwing himself into doing all the necessary things to pave his path to a comeback, both in his personal life and on the ice. Nicky’s run out of options, and now his sister and her children are in Portland. They need help he has no clue how to provide, though, and figuring it out might derail all the progress he’s made.
For a few years now, Jessica Lynch has been running the Portland office for the Light the Lamp Foundation. Between her work and several people from her past, she knows more than she’d like about addicts. One lesson she’s learned is that even when addicts try to turn their lives around, more often than not, they fail. That’s why she takes a hands off approach, keeping her heart well away from the addicts she works with, like Nicky Ericsson.
Nicky’s recovery efforts put him directly in Jessica’s path, and she can’t ignore his very real need for help. Where Nicky is concerned, she can’t separate her emotions. His niece and nephews further complicate her efforts to guard her heart. The attraction between Nicky and Jessica is instant and mutual, but she’s misplaced her trust too many times before. Can he prove that he won’t fall back into old habits in time to complete the perfect Comeback?
The Homecoming by Robyn Carr
In a small town, reputation is everything. In her latest novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr explores the burden placed on a young man returning home to face his mistakes—the first step in claiming the life he was meant to live
At the age of nineteen, Seth Sileski had everything. A superb athlete and scholar, handsome and popular, he was the pride of Thunder Point. Destined for greatness, he lost it all in a terrible accident that put an end to his professional football career when it had barely begun. The people in his hometown have never forgotten what might have been.
Seth has come to terms with the turns his life has taken. But now he’s been presented with an opportunity to return home and show his father—and the people of Thunder Point—he’s become a better, humbler version of his former self.
Winning over his father isn’t the only challenge. Seth must also find a way to convince his childhood neighbor and best friend, Iris McKinley, to forgive him for breaking her heart. With his homecoming, will Seth be able to convince the town, his family and especially Iris that he’s finally ready to be the man who will make them all proud?
In The Zone (Portland Storm #7) by Catherine Gayle
It was supposed to be a single night of fake names, half-truths, and anonymous sex. Neither of them was prepared for it to become more. Keith Burns, star defenseman for the NHL’s Portland Storm, was just looking for a way to pass the time and ease the loneliness of his lavish lifestyle. Brianna Hayden wanted to find herself—and maybe learn to love herself again—after health issues changed everything. Anonymity is the name of their game; the rules were laid down at the outset. But when a chance encounter brings them back together long after the game should have ended, all their initial rules get thrown out the window.
It isn’t long before partial truths and dancing around the pain of the past gets complicated. Their physical chemistry is off the charts, but it isn’t enough. They both want a future, but Keith has an unspeakable history involving his two brothers that he just can’t share with anyone, not even Brie. She needs the truth if they are going to have any chance at moving forward. If he can’t give it to her, it might land him a permanent spot in her penalty box. If Keith can get In the Zone, he’ll be on the forecheck—but Brie’s heart is the goal he’s seeking.
Want Me by Cynthia Eden
She doesn’t play it safe…
Sophie Sarantos has a weakness for dangerous men. She doesn’t like safe lovers—she likes men with a wild, rough edge. But Sophie may have attracted a lover who is too dangerous, even for her. Someone is stalking Sophie, slipping into her home, watching her day and night. The stranger seems to know all of Sophie’s darkest secrets, secrets that should never be revealed.
Out of options, Sophie turns to ex-solider Lex Jensen for protection. Lex is part owner of VJS Protection, Inc., and Sophie hires him as her bodyguard. She thinks Lex is one of the “good guys” out there, but she couldn’t be more wrong.
He doesn’t play at all…
Lex has his own secrets. Dark, deadly secrets. And as his feelings for Sophie grow, Lex knows that he is going to have to stop pretending to be a gentleman and, instead, he’ll have to show Sophie who he really is. A man trained to kill. A man too used to evil. A man who will take any risk…as long as he can claim Sophie.
Because there is one thing that Lex wants in this world…one person he desires above all others…Sophie. And no one will hurt her, not on his watch.
Dying Dreams by Katharine Sadler
**Urban fantasy, heavy on romance**
Liza Simmons has just learned she is a banshee who dreams of death. Problem is, the government knows what she is and they want her to work for them, touching dead bodies and dreaming of how the victims died. In 2070, in a world ravaged by climate change, the fae have few rights and Liza doesn’t have any other options than to do what the government wants.
Agent Sloane Rice works for the supernatural protection agency, or SPA, and it’s his fault the government knows what Liza can do. He convinces her to sign on with SPA as an agent to avoid becoming a government science experiment. Liza works with Rice to find out why several mermaids have disappeared or died in recent weeks.
During their investigation, they uncover a larger crime and a possible fae rebellion. They both know they need to focus on the job and ignore the mutual attraction growing between them, but trying to fight it may get them both killed. Especially when the fae rebel behind all of the recent violence discovers that they are on his trail.
Immortal Ever After by Lyndsay Sands
When Valerie is saved by the Argenau rescue team after being kidnapped by an immortal madman, Anders finds himself captivated by the strong, sultry woman. Engaged in a steamy affair, he promises to do everything in his power to protect Valerie while her abductor is still at large—and on the hunt.
Sexy, fun, and full of passion, Lynsay Sands’s Immortal Ever After delivers a tantalizing adventure and a smoldering romance.
Falling for Max by Shannon Stacey
Max Crawford has reached the point in life where he’s starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he’s always been a little awkward when it comes to social interactions, and working from home doesn’t help. He spends so much time alone, painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material.
Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she’s intrigued. When she finds out he’s in the market for a wife, she’s fascinated…and determined to help.
Molding Max into every woman’s dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori’s plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she’ll have to find a way to show just how she’s fallen for him…the real him.
The Grimm Legacy by Polly Schulman
Elizabeth has just started working as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository – a lending library of objects, contemporary and historical, common and obscure. And secret, too – for in the repository’s basement lies the Grimm Collection, a room of magical items straight from the Grimm Brother’s fairy tales. But the magic mirrors and seven-league boots and other items are starting to disappear. And before she knows it, she and her fellow pages – handsome Marc, perfect Anjali, and brooding Aaron – are suddenly caught up in an exciting, and dangerous, magical adventure.
Throw Like a Woman by Susan Petrone
Forty years old, divorced, with two sons on the verge of adolescence and an ex-husband who considers visitation to be optional, Brenda Haversham isn’t having a whole lot of fun. She’s also no longer qualified for the work she loves, so she’s toiling away in a cubicle instead, trying to make ends meet. Brenda is short on money, short on connection with her kids, and short on any kind of social life. The only thing Brenda has in abundance is her anger. And that turns out to be her greatest asset.
When she was a kid, Brenda’s father taught her how to throw a good fastball. That wasn’t of much use to a girl, but it is enough to astound onlookers at a “test your speed” pitching cage before a Cleveland Indians game. The more Brenda pictures her ex-husband’s face on the other end, the harder she throws. And when someone tapes her performance and puts it up online, Brenda becomes an Internet sensation – and then more than that.
The Indians come calling and Brenda finds her life taking a turn in a new direction. Soon, she’s standing on the mound as the first woman player in Major League history – and dealing with everything that comes with it. The money is great and the endorsement deals are even better. The fury of “traditionalists?” Not so much. And the conflicting emotions of her teammates are even harder to manage. Meanwhile, Brenda’s home life is evolving faster than she can keep up, redefining her role as a mother, a friend, and even a lover. As the season winds down Brenda will find out if she has what it takes to be a winner – at both baseball and life.
A funny, poignant, and endearing novel from a writer of rare warmth and humanity, THROW LIKE A WOMAN is a 95-mile-an-hour heater of a novel.