Friday, January 2, 2015

**The Blushing Reader's Top 20 Books of 2014 & Giveaway**





**There may be 23 books on my list but books by the same Author I counted as one and since it is my list, my rules**



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 chose 20 books that I am still thinking about weeks and in some cases several months later!  


Out of the 220 books I read in 2014 I only gave out 10 five star reviews (I'm a tough sell), but there were 19 other books that were so damn close to five stars so pulled 10 more books from that list.  

I love each of these books and Authors HARD!  A good handful of these books were by new-to-me and debut Authors in 2014 and the rest are Authors I will read whatever they write and know I will love.  

These 20 books were fantastic and I would personally recommend each one of them if you are looking for a book that will move you, inspire you, confuse you, enrage you, shock you and make you fall in love with reading all over again.  I am so very lucky to have gotten to read and have each of these books touch my life in some way.

While I did number these books they are not in any particular order; they are all #1 in my heart!!



These 20 books are going to be tough to beat, but I am sure 2015 will knock my socks off and keep me "blushing" all year long!  

I would love to hear from you guys, have you read these books? Are some on this list your favorites too?  

To make sure you are reading this post (skimmers, I see you) I am going to insert my giveaway HERE!  Subscribe to the Blushing Reader blog via email (the form is on the sidebar) and then message me on any of my social media platforms and tell me your name/email to be entered.  What do you win (besides getting emails when I blog)?  3 winners will win one of the e-books on my Top 20 (winner's choice).  Easy, right?  *if you are already getting my emails just message me with your contact info*



NOW ON TO THE GOOD STUFF...


The Best of 2014 (That I Read):
*Click the author's name and it will take you to their Facebook Author page, click the title and it will take you that book's GoodRead page or click the title under the book cover to buy it from Amazon!*



1.  Making Faces by Amy Harmon


Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.




2. Black Lies by Alessandra Torre



Brant:
Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for 3 years.
Has proposed 4 times. Been rejected 4 times.

Lee:
Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his cock. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost 2 years, whether he knows it or not.

Go ahead. Judge me. You have no idea what my love entails.

If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.
 


Click for MY REVIEW



3.  Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4) by Penny Reid



There are three things you need to know about Ashley Winston: 1) She has six brothers and they all have beards, 2) She is a reader, and 3) She knows how to knit. 

Former beauty queen, Ashley Winston’s preferred coping strategy is escapism. She escaped her Tennessee small town, loathsome father, and six brothers eight years ago. Now she escapes life daily via her Amazon kindle one-click addiction. However, when a family tragedy forces her to return home, Ashley can’t escape the notice of Drew Runous— local Game Warden, reclusive mountain man, bear wrestler, philosopher, and everyone’s favorite guy. Drew’s irksome philosophizing in particular makes Ashley want to run for the skyscrapers, especially since he can’t seem to keep his exasperating opinions— or his soulful poetry, steadfast support, and delightful hands— to himself. Pretty soon the girl who wanted nothing more than the escape of the big city finds she’s lost her heart in small town Tennessee. 

This is a full-length novel, can be read as a standalone, and is the fourth book in the 'Knitting in the City' series.

Click for MY REVIEW



4.   Rogue (Real, #4) by Katy Evans


The fourth story in the new adult series that began with the New York Times bestseller Real, featuring Brooke's best friend, Melanie, and the ROGUE she can't resist.

Greyson King...
My boyfriend. My friend. My protector. He's the reason I wake up every morning with a smile on my face, and the reason I fall asleep limp, worn out, and aching for his warm arms around me. When we make love, he says my name like it means something. Like I mean something.
He
Lied.
His name is Greyson King, but his alias is Zero.
There's zero trace of him, he has zero past, and now I know that with him, I will have zero future.
He may leave no trace of him anywhere, but his imprint is in me, in my very soul--and I hate that a mere look at him commands the beat of my heart. The temperature of my body.
I've looked for love my entire life. I've waited for the butterflies, the rainbows...
Instead I'm in a free fall of emotions and there's no one to catch me but the one man I should be running away from. The one man I thought was my prince charming.
Except this prince charming went rogue.
Greyson will stop at nothing to make me be with him. He'll let no one stand in our way, will allow no one to threaten me, and maybe this is what scares me most of all...

What will my rogue do to keep me?
 

Click for MY REVIEW



5.  The Accidental Assassin (The Assassins, #1) by Nichole Chase



Ava McKenzie is a creature of habit. Life is passing her by and she has nothing to show for it. She’s had the same job since she started college, she orders the same dish every time she goes to her favorite restaurant, and only reads books from authors she knows. There is nothing new or surprising in her life… until her best friend marries a man from London. When her newlywed friend asks her to house-sit while she honeymoons, Ava jumps at the chance. She thinks this could be the very thing she needs to shake up her life. Ava throws herself head first into her new lifestyle; she wants to try everything, go everywhere, and never get stuck in a rut again. Of course, offing a man in a car garage hadn’t been one of the things on her list to try.

Owen Walker spends every day in a new place with a new case. As one of the most renowned assassins in the world, he has his choice of marks—and he’s never failed in a mission. When a new hit takes him back to his hometown, he looks forward to spending time somewhere familiar. What he isn’t expecting is to help an attractive, confused American woman find out how she’s ended up on a hit man’s list. 

As Ava and Owen dodge bullets, will they be able to escape their undeniable attraction to each other? Or will all of that chemistry blow up in a shower of hot and dangerous sparks?

Click for MY REVIEW




6.  Dirty Rowdy Thing (Wild Seasons, #2) by Christina Lauren



From the New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Bastard, Beautiful Stranger, and Beautiful Player, Book Two of the brand-new Wild Seasons series that started with Sweet Filthy Boy—a story of friends, love, and lust.

Despite their rowdy hookups, Harlow and Finn don’t even like each other...which would explain why their marriage lasted only twelve hours. He needs to be in charge and takes whatever he wants. She lives by the Want-something-done? Do-it-yourself mantra. Maybe she’s too similar to the rugged fisherman—or just what he needs.

Click for MY REVIEW



7.  Fighting to Forget (Fighting, #3) by JB Salisbury


Every fighter is drawn to the violence, the release that a perfect hit can bring.

But very few are drawn to the pain.

Rex Carter lives behind a wall of indifference. The demons from his childhood act as an anesthetic, keeping him distant from emotional connections. Only the ache from a knock to the jaw, the sting of a tattoo needle, or the heat from a piercing can jolt him back from the numbness. The fiery pain is all he can feel, and nothing compares to the burn.

Or so he thought.

Working in a Las Vegas bar isn't Georgia McIntyre's dream. But she hopes it'll be an end to the nightmare.

She's watched him, followed him and kept tabs, all in preparation for this moment: to make amends and share the secret she’s been carrying since she was a kid. But she didn't count on the feelings that seeing him again would stir up, the vacant look in his stormy-blue eyes, and his perfect body now mutilated by ink and metal.

And she knows why. She's lived his pain every single day, since the day he left.

Changed by time, Rex doesn't remember the girl from his past. If only she could do the same.

Will she get the absolution she's spent her life seeking?

Or will he continue Fighting to Forget?
 

Click for MY REVIEW




8.  Girl in Love (Kylie Ryans, #3) by Caisey Quinn


She's living her dream...

Kylie Ryans is the biggest thing to come out of Nashville since, well, since Trace Corbin. With a hit album and a powerful label behind her, she appears to be the girl who has it all.

But appearances can be deceiving.

Fresh out of rehab, Trace Corbin is ready to take on the world. Just not the girl he walked away from. Because if there's one thing he knows for certain, it's that the people you love are the ones who have the power to destroy you.

As their worlds collide, they'll have to make the ultimate choice. Follow their dreams, or give it all up for love.

They say love conquers all, but for Kylie and Trace, it just might wreck everything they've worked for.

Click for MY REVIEW




9.   Sweet Addiction (Sweet Addiction, #1) & Sweet Possession (Sweet Addiction, #2)    by J. Daniels



Wedding hookups never amount to anything. 

Those who partake in this wicked little activity know the rules. Get in. Get laid. Get out. There's no expectation of a relationship. It is what it is.

Dylan Sparks knows the rules. She’s familiar with the protocol. And she engages in the best sex of her life with a complete stranger at her ex-boyfriend’s wedding.

Reese Carroll doesn’t care about the rules. He wants more than just one night with Dylan. And he’s too addicting to pass up. 

Sweet Addiction is the story of one girl’s struggle to keep things casual, and one boy’s desire to never let her go.

Click for MY REVIEW





A sassy, in-your-face baker. A panty-stealing, dirty-talking accountant. And a bathroom quickie that changed their lives forever.

Wedding hook-ups never amount to anything.

Unless that hook-up knocks you on your ass.

For Dylan Sparks and Reese Carroll, the big day can’t arrive soon enough. Dylan, stressed to the max from overbearing mothers and last minute preparations, struggles to keep her sanity. As for Reese, he’s fighting to not only keep his bride-to-be safe from creepy investors, but also to make it to the actual wedding day without losing his mind in the process.

Throw in a crazy group of friends, and a bachelor/bachelorette party weekend getaway, and you have a recipe for the sweetest wedding of the year.

Reese Carroll and Dylan Sparks cordially invite you to read Sweet Possession.

Click for MY REVIEW




10.  Finding Autumn (Finding Love, #1) & Scarred Beautiful by Beth Michele


My name is Autumn Winters.

The truth is, that's the biggest lie I've ever told.

My real name is Olivia Redmond. Autumn Winters is the curtain I hide behind. You see, I write bestselling erotic romance novels. But my life is far from erotic. The only fantasy exists in my head.

The day I met Hunter Grayson, that all changed. A handsome stranger on a train who turned my world upside down, made me think and feel things I never knew were possible. 

But he's hiding, too. 

What happens when I slowly realize that who I truly am is more similar to who I'm pretending to be? I want to be brave enough to tell the world, but the fear is crippling.

Fear of myself. Fear of the unknown. Fear of what others will think.

But life is too short to be afraid.

And I'm so damn tired of hiding.

Click for MY REVIEW





Love believes in second chances.

Francis Heller lives with two truths. Love hurts and beauty is only skin deep.

With midnight black hair, moss-colored eyes, and traceable curves, Fran is the picture of beauty and confidence...on the outside. But deep down she is tormented. Not just by the jagged scars that line her body, but by the horrible memories that cloud her mind and haunt her dreams. The ones that make her want to flee from herself and from the devastating pain. The ones that cause her to placate herself with sex. Anything to make her forget. But for Fran, there's nowhere to hide from the darkness that swallows her whole. 

Matt Dixon is the gorgeous brother of her best friend's fiancée. He's suffered losses of his own and isn't willing to let anyone in until his unexpected encounter with Fran Heller, the girl who challenges him and causes him to take a second look, not only at her, but at his own life.

But Matt has scars of his own.

Together can they help each other discover that second chances really do exist? That love doesn't have to hurt? Or has the damage they've both suffered cut too deep to ever heal?

Click for MY REVIEW



11.  Prisoner (Criminals & Captives, #1)  by Annika Martin & Skye Warren



He seethes with raw power the first time I see him—pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles. He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty. He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back. At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.

But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage—you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape. He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard, you can’t think.

And you might crave him more than your next breath.
 

Click for MY REVIEW





12.  The Mercenary (Unhinged #1) by Victoria Pope



The last person Benjamin Kade expected to find in his interrogation room was someone like Carys Munro... 

Kade, a self-proclaimed jackass and militant gun-for-hire, has been working in the same place for the past four years – an island in the middle of nowhere. With only one more year left on his contract, he’s eager to get his life back and leave the island for good. Besides, interrogating and torturing criminals for a living was getting pretty old...

Carys Munro and her entire family have been wrongfully accused and she will do anything to protect them from torture and most certain death, even if it kills her. Her selfless sacrifice begins to melt the cold cage around Kade’s heart, while her beauty revives him in ways he never felt before. 

Before he even knows it, he’s helping her escape, sacrificing his own future to save hers. Now they are both on the run, facing the elements and other dangers head-on. But even when almost assured of their safety, Carys and Kade realize they have another obstacle to face: Is their ever-growing attraction just a symptom of their perilous flight from danger, or is there something deeper happening? And if so, can it survive in the real world?

Click for MY REVIEW





13.  Worth the Chance (MMA Fighter, #2) & Worth Forgiving (MMA Fighter, #3)                by Vi Keeland



Meet Liv Michaels
It may have been seven years, but I’d know him anywhere. Sure, he’s grown, filled out in all the right places, but his captivating blue eyes and cocky grin are exactly the way I remember. Even though I’d much rather forget.

Liv Michaels is almost there. She’s smart, determined and weeks away from landing the job she’s dreamed about for years. Time healed old wounds, even her broken heart from the devastation of being crushed by her first love.

Meet Vince Stone
Women love a fighter, especially a good one. Lucky for me, I’m damn good. But there’s one woman that isn’t interested. Not again, anyway.

Vince ‘The Invincible’ Stone is every woman’s fantasy…strong, sexy, confident and completely in control. Growing up surrounded by chaos, he’s learned never to get too attached. Love will drag you down. He adores women, treats them well, puts their own needs before his own…for the night anyway. With the biggest fight of his life coming up, his focus should be on training.

When fate brings Vince & Liv back together again, there’s no denying the chemistry is still there. But can Vince erase the old scars their past left behind? Or will Liv hurt him instead?
 

Click for MY REVIEW





They say men like a lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom. I never knew the sentiment was reciprocal. Until I met Jax Knight. A gentleman in public, a commanding, dirty talking rogue in the bedroom.

Daughter of legendary fighter “The Saint,” Lily St. Claire knows firsthand how fighters can be. As the owner of a chain of MMA gyms, she’s no stranger to aggressive, dominating, and possessive men. That’s why she’s always kept her distance. But the day Jax Knight walks through her door she’s captivated by his charm. Stunningly handsome, well mannered, Ivy League educated, and confident, he shatters all the preconceived notions she’d come to think were true about men who trained to fight.

But falling for someone so soon after her breakup wasn’t something she’d planned on. And definitely not something her ex plans to allow.

Click for MY REVIEW




14.  Spin (Songs of Corruption, #1) by CD Reiss



Mafia capo, Antonio Spinelli blew through my orderly life like a cyclone.

Gorgeous and passionate, with a breathtaking brutality, he put me under his spell the moment he touched me, drawing me into his underworld of risk, violence and betrayal.

And I found, just as this sophisticated savage didn’t trust me, I didn’t trust myself. Something happened to me. Some alchemy from the heat between us.

I discovered I was a savage, too.
 

Click for MY REVIEW




15.  Bang (Black Lotus, #1) by E.K. Blair



They say when you take revenge against another you lose a part of your innocence. 
But I’m not innocent. 
I haven’t been for a very long time. 
My innocence was stolen from me. Taken was the life I was supposed to have. The soul I was born with. The ruby heart embedded in a life full of hopes and dreams.

Gone.
Vanished.

I never even had a choice. 
I mourn that life. Mourn the what-ifs. 
Until now. 
I’m ready to take back what was always meant to be mine.

But every plan has a fatal flaw. Sometimes it’s the heart.

**Due to the dark and explicit nature of this book, it is recommended for mature audiences only as some scenes may be particularly disturbing.**

Click for MY REVIEW





16.  Decker's Wood (Porn Stars of Romance, #1) by Kirsty Dallas



Decker Steele had it made...Penthouse apartment, VIP parties, girls on tap. You see, Decker Steele is the Pornography Associations award winning, money making machine. But what does a self-confessed, pussy pounding warrior do when his prized package begins to fail? Freak the 'F' out, that's what!

Andi Jennings is the socially inept, geeky and awkward cousin of Decker's best friend. Only she's not so geeky and awkward anymore. Now she's a smokin' hot country bumpkin, with a smokey voice made for phone sex, and a pair of hot as hell cowboy boots. Everyone adores her, my porn star buddies, my mom and dad, my 'equipment'.

So, the prized package isn't so failing anymore, the catch is, it will only perform for Andi...My friend WITHOUT benefits.

What will the prince of porn do? The girl or the career?

** Reader Warning** - This novel is NOT a dark romance. There are absolutely no whips or floggers, no matter how much Andi wants to smack Decker over the head at times. There are no BDSM slavery themes, unless you can count that Decker is a slave to Andi’s hot cowboy boots and sexy Texan drawl. Decker’s Wood does however feature glitter rain, manscaping, vajazzle, tequila shots, roof-top dancing and one hell of a dick trick!

For Mature Audiences – sexual situations and language which some readers may find offensive
 

Click for MY REVIEW





17.  Reasonable Doubt: Volume 1 (Reasonable Doubt, #1) by Whitney Gracia Williams



My cock has an appetite. 

huge and very particular appetite: Blonde, curvy, and preferably not a fucking liar... (Although, that's a story for another day.)

As a high profile lawyer, I don't have time to waste on relationships, so I fulfill my needs by anonymously chatting and sleeping with women I meet online. 

My rules are simple: One dinner. One night. No repeats. 

This is only casual sex. Nothing more. Nothing less. 

At least it was , until "Alyssa"...

She was supposed to be a 27 year old lawyer, a book hoarder, and completely unattractive. She was supposed to be someone I shared law advice with late at night, someone I could trust with details of my weekly escapades. 

But then she came into my firm for an interview—a college-intern interview, and everything fucking changed...




18.  Worth the Fall (The McKinney Brothers, #1) by Claudia Connor



They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.
 
They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.
 
But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.




19.  Try (Temptation, #1) by Ella Frank



Try – verb: to make an attempt or effort to do something or in this case…someone.

Sex. Logan Mitchell loves it, and ever since he realized his raw sexual appeal at a young age, he has had no problem using it to his advantage. Men and women alike fall into his bed—after all, Logan is not one to discriminate. He lives by one motto—if something interests you, why not just take a chance and try?

And he wants to try Tate Morrison.

Just coming out of a four-year marriage with an ex-wife from hell, a relationship is the last thing on Tate’s mind. He’s starting fresh and trying to get back on his feet with a new job at an upscale bar in downtown Chicago.

The only problem is, Tate has caught the unwavering and unwelcome attention of Mr. Logan Mitchell – a regular at the bar and a man who always gets what he wants.

Night after night Tate fends off the persistent advances of the undeniably charismatic man, but after an explosive moment in the bar, all bets are off as he finds his body stirring with a different desire than his mind.

As arrogance, stubbornness and sexual tension sizzles between the two, it threatens to change the very course of their lives.

Logan doesn’t do relationships. Tate doesn’t do men. But what would happen if they both just gave in and…tried?

GENRE: M/M




20.  Raw (RAW Family, #1) by Belle Aurora 



Growing up the way I did, you’d think I’d be more screwed up than what I actually am.

Soon as I turned sixteen, I left that bump in the road I called home and took my chances on the street.

Best decision I ever made.

Now, at the age of twenty six, I’m educated, employed and damn good at my job.

My friends have become my family. Like me, they know what it’s like to grow up unloved.

But the saying is true.

The world makes way for those who know where they are going.

That’s me.

I know where I’m going and I’ll get there eventually. On my own terms and at my own pace.

But then there’s him.

I feel his eyes on me. I see him hiding in plain sight. He watches me.

He makes me feel.

It’s unconventional.

But it’s real.

I’m sure you’re wondering how a person falls in love with their stalker.

So am I.

This isn’t a story.

This is my life.
 



Well that's a wrap for 2014!!  If you want to stay connected during 2015 here is all the places you can find me:



Happy New Year!!!