Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Year In Review: The Good And The Great

When I start to compile titles for my yearly "Best Of" post, I only grab those titles that jump out from my spreadsheet and bite me.  While I didn't read nearly as much as I wanted to in quantity in 2013, I cannot have any complaints about the quality! This is going to be a long post....

Title links will take you to full reviews

Category Romance:

Promoted: To Wife And Mother by Jessica Hart (2008) - Two adults post-40 find love amid their real life complications.  Fantastic read!

His Uptown Girl by Liz Talley (2013) - Heroine still lugging baggage around from Hurricane Katrina falls for a younger, sexy hero - much to the horror of her former in-laws and college-age daughter.

The First Move by Jennifer Lohmann (2013) - Hero spies his former high school dream girl at a wedding and puts on the full court press.  What he doesn't know?  She's an emotional mess with a whole lot of baggage on her plate.

Wish Me Tomorrow by Karen Rock (2013) - Normally B- reads don't get a mention in my "Best Of" posts - but this one was different enough to stick out.  Flipping the script on the "cancer romance" - the hero is the one coping (and not well) with his bone cancer being in remission and his screwed up kids.

Historical Romance:

Sins of a Virgin by Anna Randol (2012) - Bad girl heroine and non-titled characters?  Sign me up!

Falling for the Highland Rogue by Ann Lethbridge (2013) - Bad girl heroine and whiskey-runner hero?  Sign me up!

The Beauty Within by Marguerite Kaye (2013) - Plain Jane heroine falls for sexy Italian artist who has lost his muse. 

Rumors That Ruined a Lady by Marguerite Kaye (2013) - Angst Ahoy!  Heroine who leaves her rat bastard husband almost succumbs to an opium overdose before she's rescued by the hero, a man from her past.

Unraveled by the Rebel by Michelle Willingham (2013) - More Angst Ahoy!  Heroine with a Big Secret finds herself reunited with her childhood sweetheart.

Erotica / Erotic Romance:

Now Or Never by Logan Belle (2013) - 40-something woman with newly empty nest finds herself coping with a cancer diagnosis and the fact that she's let her sexual self wither on the vine.

Addicted by Charlotte Stein (2013) - Repressed heroine attends "Sexual Healing" support group and meets the hero, who is randy to say the least.  I love funny erotica (hey, sex should be fun!), and this one was great.

Contemporary Romance:

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan (2013) - Small town romance without any of the crap that annoys me about small town romances.  Cannot wait for next two books in trilogy!

The Bridge by Rebecca Rogers Maher (2013) - A dark read about two people thisclose to committing suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn bridge.  By no means a read for everybody, but really different and very brave.

Hurricane Lily by Rebecca Rogers Maher (2013) - Working Class Hero falls for mentally not-well Poor Little Rich Girl heroine.  It sounds like a train-wreck, but again - really different and very brave.

Romantic Suspense:

Aftershock by Jill Sorenson (2013) - The rebirth of romantic suspense.  A thriller about a group of people trapped under freeway rubble following a massive earthquake.  Great characters, exciting read, couldn't get enough.

Badlands by Jill Sorenson (2014) - Desperately anticipated romance featuring two characters who meet in Aftershock.  A young single mother from a super conservative family and the young punk convict plastered with white supremacist tattoos who falls hopelessly in love with her.


Sea Change by Karen White (Romantic Elements) (2012) - Southern Gothic with light romantic elements.  Heroine impulsively married a man who wasn't entirely forthcoming about his past and is confronted by her own family secrets.

Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols (Young Adult) (2012) - Poor white trash heroine looking to escape the trailer park finds herself torn between two hunky twin brothers (well, sort of - you'll just have to read it!).

Next up, the final post recapping my 2013 reading year - a final rundown of the books I read as part of the 2013 TBR Challenge!


Rowena said...

You've read some great reads last year. And some books that I'm looking forward to reading. I'm very curious about The Bridge. I'm going to have to look into it.

nath said...

See, that's why you need to keep the spreadsheet up-to-date LOL.

Need to read Such A Rush. I mean, you're recommending it! I'm looking forward to Sleigh Bells in the Snow's sequels as well :)

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Looks like some good reading in 2013!

Karen Rock said...

Thanks so much for the mention, Wendy!!!

Wendy said...

Rowena: The Bridge was very interesting. There's an element to the ending that I wasn't wild about - but it's the sort of read that sticks with you for long time.

Nath: I'd be curious to hear what you think re: Such a Rush. I read so little YA, and I really enjoyed it a lot. My sister said her students loved another Echols book a lot - Going Too Far maybe?

Sheila: It was a very good year!

Karen: You're welcome!

Jamie Brenner (aka Logan Belle) said...

Wendy, thank you so much for your passionate response to this book! I think you've read all of mine -- with varying degrees of satisfaction. This is my most personal book, and the fact that you've responded to it so strongly means the world to me.

Hilcia said...

Wendy, I'm bookmarking this post so I can pick up some of the books. The only one we share is Now or Never. You already know how I feel about that book. :) Although I do have His Uptown Girl in my TBR already. :)

avoriana said...

I want to read Aftershock. Wouldn't normally be my thing but you're selling me. I'm more into romantic suspense lately.

Wendy said...

Jamie: You are welcome!

Hils: You know, you might want to take a closer look at Sea Change. It's women's fiction / Southern Gothic - but it has a lot of elements I think you'll like. It alternates between historical and contemporary, and there are also some light paranormal elements at play.

Avoriana: My only caveat on Aftershock (which I mentioned in the full length review) is that it is a little gory. I mean, just the logistics of being trapped after an earthquake with limited supplies, seriously injured people and dead bodies.

If you can comfortably read within the mystery genre, you'll be fine. But for a reader who, say, maybe only reads small town contemporaries? It may be a little much ;)