Thursday, January 2, 2014

The 13 Best Books (that I read) in 2013










My 13  Favorite Books of 2013



What a great year!  2013 was full of so many fun and exciting things and I can't wait to see what 2014 brings.


It is NEVER easy to pick favorites, there were MANY very good and down right EXCELLENT books I read this last year.  However, for the sake of wrapping up my year I sat down and choose 13 books that I am still thinking about weeks and in some cases months later. 


After reading 331 books in 2013 I can honestly say these 13 are the books that I would recommend first and have bought for strangers in order to spread the love!




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Here are my 13 favorite books of 2013 (in no particular order, they all are EXCELLENT):


Click the author's name and it will take you to their Facebook Author page, click the title under the image and it will take you Amazon so you can add these books to your collection today!







1.  Click to Subscribe by: L.M. Augustine



This book was well written, funny, dorky (in a good way), sweet, and so heart-aching wonderful that you will laugh, cry and cringe a bit along with these two characters. What more could you ask for in a book? L.M. Augustine creates characters that speak to the reader and resonate, reminding you what it was like to be that slightly geeky teenager that was afraid to rock your world by taking a chance and turning a friend into something more.



           Click To Subscribe



1,135,789. That’s how many subscribers sixteen-year-old West Ryder has on his web vlog series. But he only has eyes for one of them.

As one of the internet’s most prestigious video bloggers, West talks about high school relationships under the name “Sam Green.” As far as he knows, no one from school, not even his best friend, Cat, has seen his videos. But the highlight of the whole thing is Harper Knight, who comments every day at exactly 2:02 in the afternoon. He doesn’t know anything about her aside from the occasional deep philosophical messaging on why pizza tastes so delicious, but as stupid as it sounds, he might be falling for her. So when they finally agree to meet in real life, West’s hope for romance seems more and more in reach. But that all changes as soon as he arrives at their meeting spot and sees Cat walking toward him, wearing the same “I heart Sam Green” T-shirt Harper promised she'd have on.

To his alarm, West realizes he is falling in love with the best friend who has always been a sister to him.


2.  The Poughkeepsie Series by: Debra Anastasia

Debra Anastasia excels at is creating characters and community in this series. I loved that this series wasn't just following two people on their journey into love, this series was about a group/ a family and we get to know each one of them and connect deeply. Usually when I read stories that are more about a cast than a couple I am never satisfied but Debra Anastasia nails this concept! I am so addicted to these characters that I can't let go even days after reading. I cried, I laughed and I held my breath several times while reading. An author that can evoke those kinds of emotions with just words has a precious talent that the world is lucky to have.

Poughkeepsie









He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.

Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.



Return to Poughkeepsie 






Beckett Taylor is a murderer. His calling, his craft are destruction and intimidation—whether he wants it that way now or not. He left Poughkeepsie to keep his brothers safe, to keep Eve safe. Set up with happy lives to live, they’re better off without him, right?

But all his willpower crumbles when he hears his brother Blake’s frantic voice on the phone. An unknown enemy has moved in on his old territory, and Livia’s been taken. In an instant, Beckett knows it will take an attack only he and Eve can execute to bring her back. All his self-imposed embargoes are torn to shreds, perhaps along with the new man he’s struggled to become.

“Brother, call Eve. I’ll be there soon.”

In this emotional and action-packed sequel to Poughkeepsie, Debra Anastasia conjures a tale of love at its most raw and ragged. With Beckett and Eve, how could we expect anything less? But even when it’s messy, not magical, true love perseveres. Real love finds a way—for better or for worse until death does part.



3.  Sex, Love, Repeat by: Alessandra Torre



Sex, Love, Repeat was unique, emotional, had great characters, the dialogue was a combination of witty/sarcastic/snarky/emotional/real and the heat is off the charts! When Alessandra Torre writes a book, you know it is going to be good, but Sex, Love, Repeat went beyond good and into the realm of FANTASTIC! The emotional roller coaster that this book took me on was intense, awesome and a ride that everyone needs to try. This book made me cry in public, it twisted me up, made me an emotional mess and left me thinking about these characters long after I finished their story.



I love two men. I screw two men. I am in a relationship with them both, and they are both aware there is another. That is all they need to know, that is all I let them know. They don’t need to know a name; they don’t need to know anything but that they are not alone in my heart.

They have accepted the situation. Stewart, because his life is too busy for the sort of obligations that are required in a relationship. Paul, because he loves me too much to tell me no. And because my sexual appetite is such that one man has trouble keeping up.

So we exist, two parallel relationships, each running their own course, with no need for intersection or conflict. It works for us, for them, and for me. I don’t expect it to be a long-term situation. I know there is an expiration date on the easy perfection of our lives.

I should have paid more attention, should have looked around and noticed the woman who watched it all. She sat in the background and waited, tried to figure me out. Saw my two relationships, the love between us, and the moment that it all fell apart.

She hates me.
I don’t even know she exists.
She loves them. I love them.
And they love me.

EVERYTHING else hangs in the balance.



4.  Girl with Guitar by: Caisey Quinn


I absolutely loved Girl with Guitar! I am amazed that this was a first book. This was a completely, amazing story that had my heart twisted up and tears slipping down my cheek. You know it is a keeper book when you finish the book, and then email the author instantly asking to please tell you she is writing more and this will be a series. This book hit all the chords with me, country boy, strong female lead, baggage that complicates things on both sides and lots of tension. I could read about these characters over and over again and never get tired of them.



After Kylie’s dad dies in a freak accident, he leaves her with nothing other than her crazy step-mother, Darla, and the ability to play guitar. When Darla kicks Kylie out and she loses her job all in the same day, she hops a bus to Nashville determined to make her late father’s dreams come true. Waitressing and saving her pennies to record a demo, her big break comes when she’s asked to join a tour going down the tubes with once platinum album-selling country music superstar Trace Corbin. But touring with Trace is hardly a dream come true since he’s pretty much drinking his career down the drain. If Kylie can’t pull Trace out of his rut, he’ll pull her and her dreams down with him.



5.  Worth the Fight by: Vi Keeland


Vi Keeland's Worth the Fight walked into my life and I fear I may be ruined for all other books about fighters. I knew I was a fan of Vi's writing from reading previous books of hers, but Worth the Fight had me fan-girling all over the place! Right from the beginning to the very end this book it was a solid 5 star read. I could have read about Nico and Elle for chapters and chapters more and still never be tired of this book. This book was so good that after I finished I stared at my Kindle and I couldn't bring myself to read anything new, I wasn't ready to move on!




It didn’t matter that the ref called it a clean hit. Nico Hunter would never be the same.

Elle has a good life. A job she loves, a great apartment, and the guy she’s been dating for more than two years is a catch and a half. But it’s boring…and she strives to keep it that way. Too many emotions are dangerous. Her own past is living proof of what can happen when you lose control.

Then Nico walks into Elle’s office and everything changes…for both of them. But what can the tattooed, hard-bodied MMA fighter and the beautiful and always steady attorney have in common? A lot more than they bargained for.



6.  Mid Life Love by: Whitney Gracia Williams


Mid Life Love BLEW ME AWAY!! This book was such a treat to read and I was wrong to assume anything bad about this wonderful story. I feel bad enough about my pre-judgement, that I thought I would confess to you all and help you from making the same mistake I made. Do not let this book sit on the shelf, trust me, you want to meet Jonathan! (He doesn't like to be ignored) I fell in love with this story and the characters. The banter, wit and sexy dialogue kept me up way past my bedtime and the heart tugging, emotional roller coaster kept me turning pages as fast as I could read them. This is a story that will make you laugh out loud, sigh with longing, steam up your Kindle screen and make your eyes misty. I was touched by Claire and Jonathan's story.





If you'd asked me what love was two years ago, I probably would've said, 'It's this amazing feeling that obsesses and possesses you; it's what me and my husband currently have.' If you ask me that same question today, I'll say, 'Please get the hell out of my face.’

Claire Gracen's life is picture perfect. Her career as a marketing director is on the brink of being legendary, and her marriage to her high school sweetheart has never been stronger. No, wait. It has. It used to be amazing and fulfilling, but one day Claire realizes that she's been living a lie and her best friend and husband have committed the ultimate betrayal.

Broken and depressed, Claire is in need of something new—new city, new job, new friends.

When she happens to attract the interest of the sexiest man she's ever met, a man significantly younger than her, she immediately turns him down—only to later discover that this man is Jonathan Statham, self-made billionaire and CEO of Statham Industries. Her boss.

Jonathan Statham is unlike any man she's met before. He's used to getting whatever he wants—whenever he wants, and he isn't about to take no for an answer.

Sexy, unpredictable, and charmingly clever, Mid Life Love is a story that will captivate you, entertain you, and force you to fall deeply in love with the characters.


7.  Cursive by: Phoebe Lane



This is no simple story of two people falling in love, it is a ride that you have to take to truly understand the brilliance of Phoebe Lane's writing. If you are looking for a book that has a touch of drama, a dash of angst and a interesting twist all rolled into a wonderful story about love and letting go, Cursive is the perfect fit. Phoebe Lane's debut novel Cursive is an excellent book to pick up and get lost in. Her writing flows, the characters are interesting and the dialogue is witty and fun. Phoebe Lane has joined all this in a book that is hard to put down.



The past pulls. The future shoves. The present just begs for a time-out.

Aislynn Currington is searching for an escape from her tumultuous past, one that includes a severely broken heart and a very complicated relationship with a mother who uses criticism as her preferred mode of expressing love.

Jace Quinn is a driven businessman who, even after surviving a serious life-changing event, remains hell bent on avoiding any form of serious attachment.

Some define insanity as doing things repeatedly while expecting a different outcome. What will Aislynn and Jace need to do to break this endless loop?

With the help of their undeniably intense sexual attraction, witty banter, and love for high-end coffee machines, Aislynn and Jace learn to bravely battle through the challenges of falling in love at the most inconvenient time, in a place they did not plan to be, and with the person they can’t seem to stop running into.

Cursive's multiple layers of drama, romance, passion, and humor are tightly bound together by an unforeseeable major twist that will keep the reader engaged and connected until the very end.





8.  If I Were You by:  Lisa Renee Jones


I loved this book, from the first chapter all the way up until the very end. Yes, I whined and wailed about the cliffhanger ending to all that would listen, but you know what? That is a sign of a book you never want to end. Well done. I loved reading about a story within the story and not taking any character at face value. Ms. Jones does such a great job of pulling the reader into the story with Sara that you too lose your focus on Rebecca and the journals... then just when you are ready to settle in for your happily ever after... WHAM!



When Sara McMillan finds a stack of journals in a storage unit, she’s shocked and enthralled by the erotic life the writer led. Unable to stop reading, she vicariously lives out dark fantasies through Rebecca, the writer—until the terrifying final entry.

Certain something sinister has happened, Sara sets out to discover the facts, immersing herself in Rebecca’s life. Soon she’s working at the art gallery Rebecca worked at and meeting Rebecca’s friends. Finding herself drawn to two dangerously sexy men, the manager of the gallery and a famed artist, Sara realizes she’s going down the same path Rebecca took. But with the promise of her dark needs being met by a man with confident good looks and a desire for control, she’s not sure anything else matters. Just the burn for more.



9.  Fighting series by: J.B. Salsbury




Fighting for Flight

This book was such a surprise for me I LOVED IT from the first page to the last! I went through a range of emotions reading it and couldn't get enough of these characters. Raven and Jonah *sigh* what a delight to read and watch their story unfold. Definitely going to be reading more from this author. Really great story, many heart melting moments.




What happens when in order to win, you’re forced to lose?

The only daughter of an infamous Las Vegas pimp, Raven Morretti grew up an outsider. Liberated from the neglectful home of her prostitute mother, she finds solace as a mechanic. With few friends, she’s content with the simple life. Flying under the radar is all she knows, and more than she expects.

Until she catches the eye of local celebrity, UFL playboy Jonah Slade.

Weeks away from his title fight, Jonah is determined to stay focused on everything he’s trained so hard to achieve. Undefeated in the octagon, he’s at the height of his career. But resisting Raven’s effortless allure and uncomplicated nature is a fight he can’t win.

Jonah trades in his bad-boy reputation and puts his heart on the line. But when her father contacts her, setting in motion the ugly truth of her destiny, Jonah must choose. In a high-stakes gamble where love and freedom hang in the balance, a war is waged where the price of losing is a fate worse than death.

Will the hotheaded Jonah be able to restrain his inner fighter to save the woman he loves?

Or will Raven be forced into a life she’s been desperate to avoid?





Fighting to Forgive


JB Salsbury can write one hell of a hot MMA book! I ate this book up in one day and even had to set an alarm to make sure I remembered to pick my kids up from school, it was HARD to put down! The characters in this book are so deliciously written that you really get invested in their stories and find yourself wanting to know more about what makes them tick and what will happen next. JB Salsbury is a master at creating characters that are intense, funny, sexy, strong and independent, you don't get the average fighter meets girl romance with her! You start the book wanting to slap the smirk of Blake's face and end up falling for him right along with Layla.





What do you do when everything you avoid, turns out to be exactly what you need?

Easy and predictable, just the way he likes it, Blake Daniels flies through life the way he burns through women: on his terms, no regrets.

With his fighting career in full swing, he's on the threshold of title contention. But when his training is compromised by injury, the stakes grow impossibly higher. The rage that fuels his punches also chips away at his focus, and he risks losing everything he cares about.

He won’t let that happen. Not again.

Layla’s through with men. After a marriage that never should’ve happened, she hopes to reclaim the pieces of the woman she lost years ago.

Emotional abuse has left her insecure and terrified. A master at faking what she’s not feeling, she masks her self-doubt in false confidence.

She’ll never let another man hurt her. Not again.

Chased by shadows of the past, Blake and Layla know what they don’t want, but their hearts have a different plan. As a web of lies and betrayal threatens to destroy them, they’re forced to make a choice.

Is love enough to heal even the deepest wounds?

Or will they be left Fighting to Forgive?





10.  Real by: Katy Evans



Remington Tate. I don’t think I have ever crushed on a character in a book more than I did while reading REAL! I started reading this book on a road trip with my family and found myself sneaking away with my Kindle during "family" time just so I could keep reading. This book was so addicting, I devoured it in just a few hours. I am not a reader who re-reads books, but I WILL be re-reading this book very soon. Getting to know these two characters as individuals, then as a unit was a roller coaster full of ups, downs, twists and stomach dropping moments. My emotions were all over the place; tears, heart palpitations, laughter and lots of heartfelt sighs.



A fallen boxer.
A woman with a broken dream.
A competition…

He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…

Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.

He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .

But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.

I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.

If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?






11.  Beneath the Burn by: Pam Godwin



Wow!! Holy shit that was good. I ugly cried, laughed, had my heart broken and then I melted. Amazing read!! Have you ever read a book so good that it took over your thoughts and you were counting the minutes until you could get back to it? Beneath the Burn was that book for me. I was ensnared by this story from the beginning and life kept getting in the way of me sitting down and devouring it in one gulp; it was torture! I can't wrap my mind around why Beneath the Burn was so good, it just struck a chord within me and resonated. The writing was exquisite, the characters were amazing and the story will melt your heart. I loved this book. It was dark, twisted, soulful, powerful, hopeful and breathtaking.




They meet by chance. The timing is wrong.

Three years later, she finds him again, but their separation was poisoned with narcotics and bloodied by enslavement.

Her freedom gambled away, Charlee Grosky escapes the international businessman who held her captive. But his power reaches beyond her protective barriers and threatens everyone she has come to love.

Jay Mayard wears his tortured secrets under his rock god facade. Drugs are his release, even as he seeks to be the man forged of the steel only she can see.

In a celebrity world filled with paparazzi, groupies, and drugs, Jay and Charlee must face their worst fears. When the battle is over, what will be left...Beneath The Burn.





12.  Driven by: K. Bromberg


K. Bromberg's Driven is more than a HOT cover, it is a beautiful story about two people who are trying to go through life without being buried in their own baggage. Colton and Rylee meet and sparks fly with intensity! I love a story filled with angst, lots of heavy emotions and an almost desperate need the characters have for each other. Colton Donovan delivers all this and more. Driven. K. Bromberg does an amazing job getting her readers emotions involved with her style of writing. I felt everything along with Rylee; the confusion, lust, heartache and free falling feeling of letting go and letting your heart lead.

 



Rylee Thomas is used to being in control. But she’s about to meet the one man that just might make her enjoy losing it…

I am the exception to the rule.

In a world full of willing women, I’m a challenge to the roguish and achingly handsome Colton Donavan. A man used to getting exactly what he wants in all aspects of life. He’s the reckless bad boy constantly skating that razor thin edge toward out of control, on and off of the track.

Colton crashes into my life like a tornado: sapping my control, testing my vulnerabilities beyond their limits, and unintentionally penetrating the protective wall around my healing heart. Tearing apart the world I rebuilt so carefully with structure, predictability, and discipline.

I can’t give him what he wants and he can’t give me what I need. But after a glimpse beneath his refined exterior into the dark secrets of his damaged soul, can I bring myself to walk away?

Our sexual chemistry is undeniable. Our individual need for complete control is irrefutable. But when our worlds collide, is the chemistry enough to bring us together or will our untold secrets and battle of wills force us apart?




13.  Fading series by: E.K. Blair



I ABSOLUTELY think everyone who loves to read about love, NEEDS to read this series. Give yourself the gift of the best series I have read in 2013 and buy up the Fading series!



Fading 


Wow! This book just BLEW ME AWAY! I loved every word, EK Blair is a writer that definitely can move you with a story. I have no words. My heart was shattered, then it was full. Beautifully written, full of emotion and one of the best book I have read this year!!





Can a guilty conscience keep wounds from healing?

Fine arts major, Candace Parker, grew up with a mother who thinks image is everything, and her daughter’s perfection will never be good enough. About to graduate college and pursue her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, Candace decides it’s time to let go and have a little fun. But fun is short-lived when a brutal attack leaves her completely shattered.

The memories that consume and torment Candace are starting to destroy her when she meets Ryan Campbell, a successful bar owner. He feels instantly connected and tries to show her that hope is worth fighting for. But is Ryan harboring his own demons? As walls slowly begin to chip away, the secrets that are held within start to become painful burdens.

At what point do secrets become lies?




Freeing


E.K. Blair is one of those special writers that taps into hard subjects, grabs your heart and takes you along for an amazing journey. It is a rare writer that gets the reader so immersed in the characters that you forget that you aren't actually in the story, you feel their struggles, emotions and breakthroughs right along with them. E.K. Blair has written two stories that will always stay with me (this doesn't happen very often)! These stories have changed me, made me look at things differently and made me want to shout from the rooftops at how AMAZING this series is.





Knowing who you are and accepting who you are come at different prices.

Jase Kinrick grew up in your typical, all-American household. But after the death of his sister, his parents shut down, forcing him to deal with everything life throws his way alone. Terrified of the person he’s discovering himself to be, Jase has his way with every willing girl to try and rid himself of what he fears he is—gay.

Escaping California and moving to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, Jase frees himself to the reality that he likes men. Never staying with any guy long enough to get to know them, he doesn’t realize that he’s still hiding from who he is until he meets Mark. Scared of having real feelings for another guy stirs up the questions and fears he’s fought hard to bury.

To strip away the barriers to the heart of what is real, and to be okay with what lies underneath, will be Jase’s moment of truth. But he’ll need Mark to lead him there.




Falling 


E.K. Blair has a gift. She can write a story and then give the reader two different versions of the same story (Fading and Falling) that are both unique, fascinating and heart-wrenchingly beautiful. I was afraid to read Falling (at first) because I was afraid that it would be too similar to Fading (which I adored), but I shouldn't have worried. Falling is very much its own story. Getting to see this story from Ryan's perspective was almost like reading an entirely different story. Ryan's side of the story seemed to be more emotional and heart-achingly beautiful than when I read Candace's side of things in Fading. I think tapping in to the thoughts and feelings of Ryan versus being with Candace through the trauma made a huge difference in its emotional impact on me (plus who wouldn't want to hear about how their man loves them as unconditionally as that?). I got caught up in the story all over again and then was a sobbing mess from being inside of Ryan's head and heart. Goosebumps. This series was so well written, so genuine that I had goosebumps the entire time I was reading it.





Sometimes it takes someone else to show us what we are truly capable of becoming.



Suffering from years of violent abuse, Ryan Campbell has learned how to keep people from getting too close. But when you shut yourself off, people get hurt along the way. Never caring much about others, Ryan creates a world in which he doesn’t have to feel.

When Ryan meets Candace Parker, all of his walls slowly begin to crumble. Not sure of the truth of who she is, he feels his mind is playing tricks on him. Unable to force out the thoughts that consume him, Ryan is haunted by visions that torment him every time he looks at her. He finds himself swallowed by guilt and blame, but he’s unwilling to turn his back on the one person that could possibly save him.

You’ve heard Candace’s story in Fading, now hear Ryan’s.




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There it is, my TOP 13 of 2013!  How many of my favorites did you read this year?  


** Leave me a comment telling me what was your favorite read of  of 2013 was and 3 lucky people will win one of my top 13 books (winner's choice) **


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!