Another year of reading comes to a close and after going through the list of books I’ve read I tried to list my absolute favorites. Some are new to me authors, others are old tried and true favorites and there’s even one who makes the list twice. Here’s my best of list of 2014.
The Kraken King by Meljean Brook ** AMZ * BN * S * K
This was the most romantic, most heart stopping, most wonderful romance of the year for me. My #1. My favorite. So many people were disgruntled when they found out it was being released in serial format, and to be perfectly honest I wasn’t too thrilled either. But wow, THIS book released in chapter installments just built my anticipation and kept me thinking week to week about what was going to happen next. Between the epic, swoon worthy love story of Ariq and Zenobia, the edge of your seat adventure and the amazing world-building this is one romance that everyone should pick up, even if you’ve never read steampunk before. Simply brilliant.
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews ** AMZ * BN * S * K
OMG I love this series and every time I finish a book I think it can’t get any better but it always does. Magic Breaks blew my mind, it had every thing you could want in an urban fantasy. The dialogue is sarcastic and funny, the action scenes are compelling and the world-building is just phenomenal. Kate continues to be a total badass, but after being worried about Kate and Curran in the previous release, Curran solidified himself on my favorite alpha hero list of all time by his actions here. There is no question that he will do anything for Kate. Big things happen at the end and now I’m counting down the days until the next book in the series.
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews ** AMZ * BN * S * K
How kick ass is it that Ilona Andrews put out TWO books in one year? After reading the awesomeness that was Magic Breaks I was wondering how Burn For Me would stack up against it. I really shouldn’t have been worried, this IS Ilona Andrews after all. I don’t think I’ve ever had a first book in a new series amaze me quite like Burn for Me. This is nothing like the Kate Daniels series as far as world-building, but it’s easy to identify the author’s voice as far as the wicked, dry sense of humor and action scenes that are edge of your seat exhilarating. While this is classified as paranormal romance, it felt more like an urban fantasy than anything else. At least to me. Nevada and Mad Rogan have that prickly, tension filled relationship that promises to be spectacular by the time this trilogy wraps up.
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop ** AMZ * BN * S * K
Book two just solidified The Others as a must read urban fantasy series for me. I love the simple, child-like qualities in both Meg and the Other residents of Lakeside. They are dangerous and powerful to be sure, but at the same time sweet and just learning what it means to build a friendship. While there are romantic elements underlying the relationship between Simon and Meg ( and I hope that continues to build over the course of the series) I think it’s the exploration of how these very different characters are learning to trust each other and live with one another that keeps me coming back for more.
Dark Skye by Kresley Cole ** AMZ * BN * S * K
No body does darker romance like Kresley Cole. Her heroines are take no prisoners badass and her heroes brooding and a little alpha-holish, but you almost can’t help but love that about them. Thronos and Lanthe’s story was a long time in coming and I was absolutely thrilled with the end result. Lanthe is strong, smart and tough. She makes no apologies for the way she’s lived her life. Thronos starts out as jealous of her history, but soon comes to realize the past is in the past and that he’s got to let it go if he wants to become the man who Lanthe will accept and love. I have no idea whose story is up next, but it doesn’t really matter. This series continues to be one of my absolute favorites in the PNR genre and I’ll follow it to the end.
Take by Ella Frank ** AMZ * BN * S * K
You guys if you pick up any m/m romance this year it’s got to be this one. (But you definitely should read the first book in the series, Try, first.) It’s gay for you, it’s dirty, dirty, dirty and it’s some of the most angsty, emotional writing you’ll read. These guys can’t keep their hands off each other and there are a lot of sexy scenes. And when I say a lot of sex I mean it. Did I care or think it detracted from the story? No. Not at all. Amid all the man on man loving Logan and Tate make big, broad steps to figuring out where they fit into each others lives and come to terms with how being in love with each other will affect other relationships. I loved it. I am seriously dying for the third book in the series that hopefully will release early next year.
Lead by Kylie Scott ** AMZ * BN * S * K
There is just something about this series that I adore. It’s so freaking funny. I wasn’t too excited about Jimmy’s book after his behavior in the last two installments. I mean he’s a druggie and an asshole and he really didn’t appeal to me at all. But Kylie Scott hasn’t let me down yet so I picked it up anyway. Here’s where I say that this my favorite of the series so far and it has everything to do with the heroine, Lena, and how she interacts with Jimmy and gets him to open up and learn to love. Kylie Scott does redeem Jimmy. Well, I mean he’s still a bit assholey and of course has that rough rock star vibe, but he totally falls for Lena in every way. The last book in the series, Deep, has a release date of March 31, 2015 and I can not wait.
The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen ** AMZ * BN * S * K
Actually this recommendation is for the whole series. If I could pick one series that I think might be overlooked and should definitely be on everyone’s radar it’s this one. Don’t let the New Adult classification scare you away. It’s angsty, it’s raw and very emotional, but also very satisfying. Every single release is so well done that I’ve reread all of them several times. Ms. Bowen’s characters and their conflicts are easy to relate to and very moving.
The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan ** AMZ * BN * S * K
Another New Adult made my best of list for 2014. I know. I’m pretty shocked too. So there’s Anna, who catches the eye of the star quarterback, Drew Baylor, and really would rather he not give her those heated looks that has her thinking dirty, dirty thoughts. Then there’s Drew who has it all… attention, popularity, good looks, talent, but what he finds himself thinking of is the one girl who keeps brushing him off. Man, the sexual tension and angst is off the charts with these two. Plus they lift each other up and support one another at just the right times. This is New Adult romance done the exact right way. I’ve already got the next book in the series on my must read shelf.
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare ** AMZ * BN * S * K
Loved, loved, loved. As much as I adore a great fairytale romance and a damaged, scarred, broody hero, my very favorite part of this romance was Izzy. Wonderful, witty, courageous, imaginative Izzy. She is my favorite historical romance heroine of 2014.
Here’s a few honorable mentions that also rocked my world this year: