How do you pick the best books you have read this year? Unless you write them down I very much doubt you know what you read in January. My new years resolution is going to be to use Goodreads more as this was just so hard for me. And not helped by the fact that my kindle fire has no "folders" options! Also late in 2012 not longer after I had got my kindle I discovered the world of MM. For anyone not in the know these are books where the main characters are both male. Essentially gay love stories, as I have read every book I could get my hands on since I was about 3 I was frankly running out of books so a whole new genre excited me no end and new authors to get to know! So to try and make my life easier I have split my best books of the year into 2 halves. One of the more traditional male/female and one of MM!
These books are listed in no particular order, picking the best was hard enough!!
Actually that may be a lie, one of my most favourite books I have read all year is The Dom Prize by Mina J Moore. I somehow found myself at a book party on facebook and was very intrigued by this book by a new author and I was so not disappointed! Technically I suppose it's about BDSM but the female character is really not sure she wants a Dom in her life and just doesn't do as he says. The results are so funny. I was actually crying with laughter at some points. This is one book that I have been forcing all my friends to read and I was VERY happy when the follow up To Love a Dom appeared. And there will be more in 2014.
Next is Last Train Home by Jae J Jensen, a mutual friend of mine and her's arranged for us to go to a book event together as we only live about 30 miles apart despite us having never actually spoken. When we did finally start talking on facebook our first conversation ended "Oh have a copy of my latest book please can you review for me". I was on a trip to disaster, what if I hated it and gave a bad review - that would make for a VERY long car journey!!! Terrified I peeked at the book newly arrived on my kindle. Fortunately it was very good, had a nice story and a high steamy rating! And if you have read the book above, The Dom Prize, you too may die of laughing at the end.
Now we come to one I was delighted to review for Julie, Sweeter Than Wine by Janis Flores. I read anything she sends me and I don't like reading blurbs first so every book I get is a great surprise, none more than this one which had so much in it, family feuds, wine making and brave rescue dogs (the ones that find you in blizzards!) I was totally blown away by it, there was romance but also a bit of mystery. I think this book would appeal to most people and highly recommend it, even if it's just so you can appear more knowledgeable when next standing in a supermarket wondering which box of wine to buy!
One of the big releases of the year was the next instalment of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters Styxx. Like so many others I was stalking my kindle waiting for my pre-order to appear and I was so not disappointed. In all the books so far (about 20) we have been completely in awe of Acheron the leader, we have read his story and know how badly he was treated by his brother Styxx. How could Sherrilyn show him to be nice when we all knew different? Well I bow down to this mighty author as I was in tears for poor Styxx and hating Acheron before I was half way through, Oh my was it an emotional rollercoater. Just brilliant. She showed once more why she is a leader in paranormal romance!!
Finally I am having a bit of a cheat as this book is MMF, ie two guys and a girl but where the guys get it on too. Taboo Kisses by Gracen Miller. The reason I am including it is the sheer awesomeness of the female character, absolutely no weak and whiney female here. She is more powerful than the two boys put together and it is a great paranormal story. She brings together 3 beings of such disparate types yet makes it work. I have more of her books on my kindle and am determined that I WILL actually read them ..... one day ;-)
OK so part two of my top 10 books. These books are all MM romances a genre I have read heavily in this year as I only discovered it even existed late in 2012 and I have been like a kid in a sweet shop trying out new books and new authors. When you find an author you love so much you have to instantly own ALL of their books .... well, let's just say that has happened to me more than once this year and my one click finger is quite worn out! As for the first 5 these are in no particular order
Let start with one of my "must have all of the books" authors, Patricia Logan, I loved the first books of hers that I read but then in March she started a new series, The Master's Boys, Book one being Trick. Trick is actually an 18 year old boy that was thrown out of his home when his parents found out he was gay and has been living on the streets of LA and selling himself to survive. Actually although this containes BDSM this is a sweet book, very sexy and loving, you just totally fall in love with Trick, he is one of those characters who just leaps from the page and becomes a person so real, and you just NEED to hug him. The book ends a bit abruptly but that's because Trick's story continues through the rest of the series and in fact into the next. I never get tired of reading about this beautiful boy.
Next is a truly amazing book, if you have never read MM and are a bit unsure then read this. The young adult debut book from D.W. Skinner - Memorizing You. This book is about two young boys growing up in the 1960s/1970s. How they find each other, how they come out to friends and family, the reactions it is all in here in amazing detail, and very nostalgic, anyone in their 50's now will become all reminiscent over wing collar shirts and flares. It is incredibly emotional and another of those books where I found myself yelling at my kindle hoping the characters would hear me. And I cried .... lots ....
Next up is An Unlocked Heart by KC Wells. I actually had the pleasure of meeting KC in July and although I was full of admiration for the cover of this book I actually hadn't read anything she had written (do you know how embarrassing that is!!). Needless to say I bought a copy and not just to drool over the front cover, and I was just amazed. There are an awful lot of books out there they claim to be about BDSM (thanks FSoG) but so many of them seem to concentrate on pain and humiliation whereas actually the core of BDSM is love and trust. That comes over in bucket loads from this book, it is hot, sexy and emotional. It is also quite long - proper novel length, not that that stopped me reading it all in one sitting. And then the follow up Trusting Thomas was even more beautiful. Hopefully I will meet KC again next year where she will get a MASSIVE hug, or I may just go all fan girl shy lol
Another book and author that I completely fell for in 2013 was Matt Ortiz, his first book A Littlebit of Joy was released in January, and as it was a first novel and self published it may have had one or two teething problems (basically spelling and grammar) BUT whilst that would normally put me off the characters in this story were just so vivid that I actually didn't care! I know, because I regularly annoy, sorry, chat to authors on facebook that many of the initial problems have been fixed but I found myself waiting for each new release to see what would happen with each person. And these are lovely stories, no great dramas, no kink, no murders, just people being people. For me it was a fantastic first book and none of them have let me down so far.
My final choice is a bit odd but I have had to go with Cloak and Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Now if you read my first top 5 (and if not, why not???) you will know I love her writing, but this book is a novella in her League series which is sci-fi and yes, it's MM. It appears that MM and the fact that some people ARE gay is getting through to the mainstream authors and I congratulate every one of them that has had the courage to show this. This wasn't the biggest mainstream MM release of the year, that would have to go to another author who writes about vampires. I'm not going to say her name as I was very disappointed with the book. I felt she had succumbed to pressure from her publisher and had held back in her writing. The reason THIS book is in my top 10 is because Sherrilyn didn't! Now don't think that this means that the book is non-stop sex because it really isn't. What you get is two people meeting and connecting and falling in love. There is a great story and the arc's of her other stories blend in around it. I really believe that anyone could read this book if they are a fan of the series and not be offended. Sherrilyn includes a very blunt foreword in this novel and I just want to congratulate her for sticking to her principles and exposing more of the reading public to a genre that I know will grow and grow in the coming years.
Thank you for taking the time to read the ramblings of a mad woman and please don't forget to enter the rafflecopter where you can win loads of amazing prizes including your choice of any one of my top 10!
Merry Christmas and may your 2014 be filled with many new books xx