Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Books I loved in 2015

Happy 2016! I hope everyone survived the holiday season and got some good books along the way! It's only two weeks into the new year and I've already read some great stuff. It's going to be a great year, isn't it? 

It has taken me forever to come up with this list, but better late than never, right? And this post may be a bit lengthy, but I read 208 books in 2015 and so many of them were amazing. Narrowing it down was extremely difficult and when I looked at the list of books I read, these are the ones that jumped out at me. 

Hopefully you will agree with me or maybe even find your next great read. 

If you are a Goodreads member and want to check out ALL the books I read/reviewed in 2015 you can click here. Feel free to add me as a friend as well.  


Note: These are in no particular order.

Vivid by Jessica Wilde

Merrick Thatcher went through a hell that no one could possibly imagine. He fought to protect his country, his family, and the men standing at his side, but it wasn't just being a soldier overseas that changed him. He watched his friends die in front of him, felt indescribable pain, and lost his sight in the very same moment.

Badly injured, blind, and angry, he's done with war, but now he’s fighting his own battle. So, he’s waiting for it to end, spending his days and nights in a thick darkness no light can penetrate. Until Grace walks into his life and his broken eyes open to a woman that changes everything for him.

A story about two flawed souls finding love amidst the grief. A love that shines vividly, even in the dark, and discovering that sometimes being broken is how the light gets in.

My thoughts

I read a few books in 2015 that just knocked me on my ass and made me want to stand on a mountain top and yell "EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK!!" Vivid is one of those books. 

Once I started, I couldn't put it down. I highlighted the crap out of it and as soon as I was done I immediately reached out to the author to tell her how much I loved it. I even went as far as to make some of my own teasers to help promote the book. 

I could go on and on about this book, but I think I said it best in my review: "This a story about healing (physically and emotionally), moving on and living. Both Grace and Merrick went through situations that almost destroyed them and they fought their way back...together. I've read plenty of books about people in the military. Books about soldiers who were injured, but this one felt different. It's an emotional read. I cried a lot and pretty much felt all the feelings. Keep the kleenex handy because you will need it."  

To read my full review of Vivid and see those aforementioned teasers I made can be found here.

Buy Links: Amazon US  Amazon UK  B&N  iBooks

Something Real by Ariadne Wayne

Olivia Grant’s husband left her and their two children without even a backward glance. In an attempt to find herself, she turns to an old love. Writing.

Publishing erotic novels in secret, she finds a muse in her neighbour and friend, Logan. She’s not his type, but Logan makes her burn with the desire she conveys in her novels. When her secret is exposed, Logan feels betrayed and used. More than anything, Olivia needs to regain his trust and prove to him that what they have is something real.

I read a few books by Ariadne last year, but this was my first and you know what they say...You always remember your first!  

This is a wonderful story about starting over and learning to love again. Olivia meets Logan when she suddenly becomes a single mom to two adorable children. Turns out he is her next door neighbor and the two strike up a friendship. He immediately takes a liking to her kids and before she knows it, Olivia finds herself in a new relationship. 

I loved Logan. That dude was amazing and made the jump onto my book boyfriend list before I was done reading the book. I just loved everything about it. 

Since finishing this book I have read some of Ariadne's other books and they are all so good! Do yourself a favor and look 'em up!

Read my review of Something Real here.

Buy links: Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Smashwords

Getting Lucky Number Seven by Cindi Madsen

What's your lucky number?

Lyla Wilder is done being the shy, chemistry nerd extraordinaire. While every other college student is out having fun, Lyla is studying. With her cat. Well, she's played it "safe" quite enough, thank you. So she creates a "College Bucket List"―with item #7 being a night of uninhibited, mind-blowing sex...

But she needs some help from her man-whore best friend.

Hockey player Beck Davenport thought Lyla's transformation would be subtle. Man, was he wrong. With every item she ticks off, Beck finds himself growing seriously hot for his sweet, brainiac best friend. And if he's not careful, he'll end up risking their friendship in order to convince Lyla that he might just be her lucky #7...

I love a good friends to lovers book and this was one of the best I read last year. Beck and Lyla complement each other perfectly. They had a wonderful friendship to build their relationship one. They tell each other corny science jokes and send each other funny cat photos. It is a match made in heaven! 

And Beck. It didn't take me very long to know that he would be on my book boyfriend list. He's a tad nerdy, funny, a fantastic friend, a good brother, extremely sexy AND a hockey player. 

Read my review of Getting Lucky Number Seven here.

Buy Links: Amazon  B&N  iTunes  Kobo

The Air He Breathes by  
I was warned about Tristan Cole.

“Stay away from him,” people said.
“He’s cruel.”
“He’s cold.”
“He’s damaged.”

It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster.

But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me.

We were both empty.
We were both looking for something else. Something more.
We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays.

Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe. 

This is a book I picked up to read for myself and didn't actually write a full on review. I was intrigued by the blurb and saw that it was on sale, so I bought it.

Holy emotional batman! I cried like a baby multiple times while reading this.. At the beginning of the book, the two main characters are about as broke as a person can get. They are dealing with MAJOR personal losses, but they slowly discover that they can heal other. What starts as a VERY unhealthy way of coping, turns into a fantastic love story.

If you are going read this one, make sure to keep the kleenex handy.

Buy Links: Amazon US  Amazon UK 

Laid Out by Sidney Halston

Growing up an Army brat, Violet Channing could never meet her dad’s high expectations. But in the eyes of her best friend, she could do no wrong. He even insisted that he should be her first kiss. Now Cain Sorensen is all grown up, hardened by years in special ops and always looking for a good fight. Tall, with striking blue eyes and impossibly blond hair, he’s a modern-day Viking warrior. Of course, Violet’s all grown up, too, and she’s ready to surrender to his every command. 

Cain knows he’s bad for Violet. His work is dangerous, and his hobbies are downright deadly. As a private mercenary and a mixed martial arts fighter, he could never let such an innocent soul into his world. And yet his most grueling combat training is no match for Violet’s killer curves, hot touch, and suggestive glances. Now all of Cain’s most explosive fantasies are coming true—but once they cross the line between friends and lovers, there’s no turning back.

This is another friends to lovers book (I really like those), but it was a bit darker than what I usually read. Cain and Violet always had feelings for each other, but life got in the way. When things finally fall into place, Cain and Violet have to decide if moving their relationship forward is worth it. 

From the very beginning of this book, it is painfully obvious that Violet and Cain belong together. They go through a lot during the course of their relationship and at one point I was ugly crying so hard I had to stop reading to compose myself. It's just so good! He wasn't a man of many words, so when he talked, you listened. He came off as kind of cranky most of the time, but when alone with Violet he was the sweetest guy. Cain was a man of many contradictions. 

This was another book that I highlighted like crazy and then made my own teasers. The whole Worth the Fight series is great, but this one is definitely my favorite.

Read my review of Laid Out here.

Buy Links: Amazon   B & N   iTunes   Kobo

Sweet Soul by Tillie Cole

One shy lost soul.
One silent lonely heart.
One love to save them both.

Life has never been easy for twenty-year-old Levi Carillo. The youngest of the Carillo boys, Levi is nothing like his older brothers. He isn’t dark in looks or intimidating to everyone he meets. In fact, he’s quite the opposite. Haunted by a crippling shyness and the tragic events of his past, Levi spends his days with his head buried in his books, or training hard for his college football team. Too timid to talk to girls, Levi stays as far away as possible and completely on his own… until he saves the life of a troubled pretty blonde, a troubled pretty blonde that might just be the exception to his rule.

Elsie Hall is homeless. Or at least that’s all anyone ever sees. Everyday is a fight for survival on the cold streets of Seattle, everyday a struggle to find food and keep warm. Alone in life—a life that’s dangerous and cruel—her will to keep going is an ever-losing battle. In her world of silence, Elsie has given up hope that her life will contain anything but constant struggle and pain… until the beautiful boy she has severely wronged comes to her rescue at precisely the right time.

I pretty much cried my way through this book. While it was mostly a happy cry, but I cried for the past (both Levi's and Elsie's) and for the future (EPILOGUE GOODNESS). 

Our boy Levi is all grown up. All the previous books in this series has led up to this one. We have been there for all the ups and downs (mostly downs) and now Levi gets his happily ever after. 

The title is perfect. Levi and Elsie are perfect for each other. The story is perfect. It's a perfect way to end the series. 

Read my review of Sweet Soul here.

Buy links: Amazon  B&N  Kobo  iBooks  

Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon

Evan Downey needs a new beginning. Since the death of his wife five years ago, the brilliant tattoo artist has shut himself away in a prison of grief that not even his work can break him out of-and what's worse, Evan knows his son Lyon is bearing the brunt of his seclusion. Moving back to the lake town of Evergreen Cove where he spent his childhood summers is his last chance for a fresh start. 

Charlotte Harris knows she owes it to her best friend's memory to help Evan and his son find their way again, but she can't stop her traitorous heart from skipping a beat every time she looks into Evan's mesmerizing eyes. Charlotte is determined to stay strictly in the Friend Zone-until a mind-blowing night knocks that plan by the wayside. Now, if they're brave enough to let it, Charlotte and Evan might just find a love capable of healing their broken hearts . . .

Did you see the cover? I've spent a lot of time just staring at it. Go ahead. Take a second (or a few minutes) and just appreciate it. 

Done? Okay. So this is a fantastic friends to lovers story that brought the heat. There's this scene with a giant canvas and paint and a naked Charlie and Evan...yeah. The two of them have known each other for years, but it isn't until Evan moves back home and they reconnect that the sparks fly. 

This was my first Jessica Lemmon book and it remains my favorite. The rest of the series is great and can't recommend it enough. 

Read my review of Bringing Home the Bad Boy here

Buy links: Amazon   B&N   GooglePlay   Kobo

Unlikely Allies by CC Koen

What happens when a single mom’s four-year-old daughter falls in love with Mr. Right and she doesn’t?

Maggie Tyson’s rule: no bad boys. Her incarcerated ex-husband broke her of that attraction. Needing to escape his threats and the scrutiny of the people in her hometown, Maggie relocates to New York City. Determined to not make the same mistakes, she has a mile-long list of dos and don’ts. Unfortunately, her daughter, Cecily, doesn’t like to follow them. When Cecily wanders away from her and right into Rick Stone’s office, Maggie knows he’s the exact type she’s been trying to avoid. Can she resist him or will she succumb to his willful charm?

Rick Stone’s rule: bed them don’t wed them. Running a multibillion dollar business doesn’t leave him with much time to do anything else, particularly with an overbearing grandfather breathing down his neck. But when a man works hard, he needs to play even harder. Voted America’s most eligible bachelor, Rick doesn’t have any problems getting women into his bed—except one.

Two auburn beauties stumble into his life.
One will break his heart.
The other—heal it.
Will he love or leave them?

When I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I had to read it. I was only about 1/2 way done with it when I posted in a author's FB group that I was going to gift someone a copy. I loved it that much and I wanted others to read it.

For me, the real story in this book is between Max and Cecily. Sure he fell for the little girl's mother, but from the first moment he met Cecily, he was a goner.  Despite Maggie's reluctance to start a relationship with Max, he immediately fell into the father figure role model with Cecily. 
It was very heartwarming to watch unfold. 

Read my review of Unlikely Allies here

Buy links: Amazon  B&N  Kobo  iBooks  Smashwords

Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Construction worker Russell Hart has been head-over-work boots for Abby Sullivan since the moment he laid eyes on her. But he knows a classy, uptown virgin like her could never be truly happy with a rough, blue-collar guy like him. If only she'd stop treating him like her personal hero—a role he craves more than oxygen—maybe he could accept it.

With the future of her family's hedge fund on her shoulders, Abby barely has time to sleep, let alone find love. And her best friend Russell acting like a sexy, overprotective hulk any time their Super Group goes out in public definitely isn't helping her single status. But after a near-tragedy lands Russell in her bed for the night, Abby's suddenly fantasizing about what he looks like shirtless. Chest hair and tattoos—who knew?

As Russell struggles to keep Abby at a safe distance, she begins to see through his tough-talking exterior—and acknowledge her own feelings. Now she's ready to turn the friend-zone into foreplay…and make him lose control.

Russell is a dirty talking, over protective, Alpha male construction worker that has made me look at construction workers in a whole different light. (Thanks Tessa!) After friendzoning each other, Abby & Russell become best friends. They are both oblivious to each other's feelings and basically becomes best friends. The rest of the gang knows how they feel about each other but they just sit back and watch. And just like I did, they found it to be very entertaining.

The sexual tension between Russell and Abby was ridiculous. When they finally do give in to their desires, it is HOT. You will either need to change your panties or take a cold shower. Or maybe both. 

Read my review of Make Me here

Buy links: Amazon   B&N   iTunes   Google Play

Cherished by You by Steph Nuss

“Move in with me,” he said.

Being cherished is how Tessa Wilder always imagined falling in love. But for years, she’s always gone for the wrong guys. Now that she’s fallen for one of the good ones, she fears rejection.

“I can’t,” she replied.

Justin Jameson quit looking for a woman after being used so many times for his brains. A bit of an introvert and completely oblivious to women’s advances, he can’t even see that his friend cherishes everything about him.

When Tessa needs a place to stay, Justin’s the first to offer her a room. Hearts are opened; feelings are ventured. They’ll finally know what it’s like to be cherished in the city until one moment threatens the relationship they’ve built.

“I can’t lose you."

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. Friends to lovers ya'll. It's like my own personal form of catnip. 

It's always the quiet ones. Justin was the one in the group that I knew had a secret sexy side to him and I couldn't wait to see that unleashed. In all the previous books he was the one listening and doling out advice to his friends and never getting the girl. Finally in this book he takes some of his own advice (that his friend throw back at him) and gets the girl that he had been ! Yay! 

As always the whole gang is there and we get some of that A+ banter that I love so much. Justin and Tessa's story is not to be missed and as I'm writing this I am thinking that it is almost time for a re-read!

Read my review of Cherished By You here

Buy links: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Kobo  iTunes

Unsung by Shannon Richard

Harper Laurence has been jilted on her way to the altar. Desperate for some time away from her friends and family, Harper takes off for Nashville—only to meet a hot, scruffy, tattooed stranger. A man she liked a little too much, and who left her the teeniest bit . . . well, pregnant.

Liam James is an up-and-coming country musician, who just found his muse. Ever since their weekend together, Liam hasn't been able to forget the curvy, vivacious woman who left him wanting more, even as she inspired some of the greatest songs he's ever written. He's determined to convince Harper that he's the guy for her . . . and that the best love songs can never be unsung.

The premise of this book seemed so simple. Harper goes away for the weekend, has a one night stand, disappears in the morning and ends up pregnant. Sounds simple enough, but that is definitely not the case. Harper went away because it was the weekend she was supposed to get married (her ex-fiance dumped her). She finds out that her one night stand is a famous musician who also happens to be the brother in law of one of her best friends! And when they are finally reunited, it is only by coincidence and that's when the book gets REALLY GOOD. 

As couple Liam and Harper were pretty much made for each other. Liam charmed anyone he came in contact with and did everything he could to make things work with Harper. It wasn't the smoothest road to their happily ever after, but it was definitely entertaining. 

Read my review of Unsung here

Buy links: Amazon  B&N  iBooks  GooglePlay Kobo

When We Fall by Marquita Valentine

The last time Piper Ross saw her best friend’s sexy older brother, Jase Simmons, he was being taken away in handcuffs. Seven years later, two things haven’t changed: Piper is still head-over-heels in love with him . . . and Forrestville’s chief of police—Piper’s dad—still hates his guts. So when Piper sees a chance to get close to Jase, she makes her move—literally. As his new roommate, and as the office manager of his tattoo shop, Piper won’t be satisfied until Jase knows that she wants to be his.

The quintessential good girl, Piper is pure temptation for Jase. The only reason he’s always kept his distance is because she’s the last person he’d ever want to hurt. But once he realizes that Piper is ready to take the leap, everything just makes sense. Suddenly Jase feels like a new man—until nasty rumors start swirling and Piper’s heartless father stirs up even more trouble. Now Jase must convince Piper that she wasn’t wrong about him . . . because falling in love never felt so right.

Who doesn't love a good girl/bad boy story? Then add in the fact that the bad boy is the brother of the good girl's best friend and she has been pining over him for years and you got yourself a book. A very good book.

Piper grew up always seeing the good in Jase and not just the punk everyone else saw. Jase saw Piper as a woman who was unattainable to him. But now they are older and wiser and at a place where them getting together just made sense. 

I am such a fan of Marquita's and this book is such a good example of why I love her books so much. 

Read my review of When We Fall here

Buy links: Amazon  B&N  iBooks  Google Play  Kobo

1 comment:

  1. Thank you thank you thank you! This is so awesome! I am honored to be on this list <3