I can’t believe it’s the end of the year already! 2014 brought us some awesome books and a lot of changes here on the blog. The most notable being our big move to a self hosted format. While we’re still settling in here at our new home on the internet, we’d like to thank everyone you made the move with us and stuck around. Also, thank you to all the authors, publishing houses and tour companies we’ve worked with this year. We couldn’t be where we are without you. Here’s to another year of awesome reads and good friends!
Nikki’s Most Memorable Books of 2014
Arrow To The Soul by Lea Griffith – The No Mercy series is no stranger to my “best of” lists. In fact 2013 saw book one of this series, Bullet To The Heart, as my top read that year. Lea Griffith delivered again with Arrow To The Soul. This is a dark, gritty and incredibly hard series but something about it shines brighter than everything else.
Banishing The Dark by Jenn Bennett – What a PHENOMENAL series! The final book in this series brought readers action, romance and a lot of laughable snark. Bennett is a master at her UF/romance hybrid world and her writing is just so fun and engaging you won’t notice that you’ve been sitting in the same place for hours.
Dark Skye by Kresley Cole – I adored this book for bringing me out of my worst reading slump of the year. Kresley Cole took me on an epic journey from despising a hero to totally loving him in the span of 400 pages. Wonderful world building and a strong heroine just sealed it’s fate on my list. Dark Skye definitely made me out to go back and read more from this series.
Chained By Night by Larissa Ione – Consistently an author I love, Ione upped the ante with this one. A Native American, vampire hero and a handicapped, loyal to a fault heroine made this such a wonderful read. The lore behind the series is so well done and thought out that the world just jumps right off the page. Plenty of action and chemistry kept me rooted to my seat till the very end. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!
Owning Violet by Monica Murphy – Another book where an author managed to make me go from “I want this hero to get kicked in the balls” to “awww I really understand him now”. Add in the sexy banter…well, I was sold. I loved the dialogue between the characters and how much the heroine grew throughout the course of the book.
His Mistress by Monica Burns – I don’t read historical. Yet I read the hell out of this book and loved every minute of it. This was shockingly erotic and wonderfully written. A female Dominant always strikes my interest but factor in the historical aspect and I was intrigued. I’d say this was my most surprising read of 2014.
Forever Mine by Monica Burns – Another winner by Monica! This one was a mix of historical, contemporary and time travel. The sex scenes were exquisitely done and realistic. The story line perfectly done. The hero virile and the heroine strong and opinionated. I LOVED THIS BOOK!
Angel Kin by Tricia Skinner – Last year I had the prequel to this series on my list and this year was a continued success! Tricia Skinner is an amazing storyteller who rivals all the big name paranormal romances authors out there. I predict 2015 to be an explosive year for her. I can’t wait to see where she continues to go with this series.
The Day He Kissed Her by Juliana Stone – I think I’ve cried at least once in every book in this trilogy. Seriously, Juliana Stone makes me cry with her beautiful writing and well crafted, heart-wrenching story lines. Both the hero and the heroine had huge issues to overcome and being able to be with them every step of the way was a privilege. Stone is an auto buy for me without a doubt.
Soulfire by Juliette Cross – AMAZING debut! For real. Cross blew me a way with her talent. This did not read like a debut, but instead like a seasoned, honed author was behind the scenes. I have a soft spot for gargoyle type stories and Soulfire gave me what I wanted with an original twist. I foresee at least one book by Cross on next years list. She’s an author you need to watch!
Top Ten Romances for 2014 – Pam
Romancing the Duke – Tessa Dare
I have never read a Tessa Dare book I did not thoroughly enjoy and Romancing the Duke is no exception. I found myself engrossed in this book not wanting to put it down. I love how Ms. Dare writes heroes and heroines that are both strong and intelligent yet vulnerable, and we can’t forget the humor, all to create engaging characters.
Shield of Winter – Nalini Singh
This is one of my all time favorite series; I enjoy getting carried away to a world where Psy and Changeling’s rule. Their love is fierce and they will do anything to protect their mates from the dangers inherent to their world.
Midnight Pursuit – Elle Kennedy
I absolutely love this book, the action is exciting, the plot interesting and the romance is perfect with just enough snark, banter and passion between the hero and heroine to put this on my list of best books for this year.
Grim Shadows – Jenn Bennett
I absolutely adore the concept of this series, a little roaring twenties with some paranormal activities makes me a happy girl. This second book is all that I had hoped for as we are again in San Francisco and a Magnusson family member is knee deep in trouble.
I Adored a Lord – Katharine Ashe
This is going on my favorite book list of the year. I love the hero and heroine, the premise, the witty dialog between characters and how the romance develops. I also enjoy the overall story arc that starts with the first book, about three sisters that have been told of a gypsy prophecy about their future.
Darling Beast – Elizabeth Hoyt
I love this series; every single book has been amazing. I have been looking forward to Apollo’s story since we met and watched him suffer in Bedlam. Now that he has escaped the race is on to find the real killers with the help of friends and a lovely actress.
Evernight – Kristen Callihan
The Darkest London is one of my favorite series, the story lines, the characters and the romance all add to an amazing set of books. Each book has added something intriguing to this world and Evernight continues the trend. The hero and heroine are perfectly matched and I enjoyed this one immensely.
Archangel’s Shadow – Nalini Singh
This is another wonderful addition to a series that I have enjoyed from the beginning. Archangel’s Shadow has rich character development and amazing story lines that grab you until the very end and I loved every minute.
Burn For Me – Ilona Andrews
I was so excited to see this writing team start another new series as I have read and enjoyed each of the books they have written. This hooked me from the beginning and did not let go until the end. I love the premise, the characters and the nonstop action that kept me turning the pages well into the night.
Never Judge a Lady by her Cover – Sarah MacLean
I love this series and have waited patiently for each new book about these incredible men and the strong women that have caught their eye. This is the fourth book and after reading a teaser I knew this book could not come fast enough and I was very happy after reading.
Michelle’s “Best of 2014”
Playing for Love at Deep Haven by Katy Regnery
This book was so full of angst and emotion. One minute I was mad at Zach, the next I was mad at Violet, and then I’d get mad at the author for putting them through all of this. I thought the way their love story evolved a second time was done so well. I loved the chapter(s) where they sent texts back and forth, and I loved, loved, loved the ending. Katie Regnery knows how to put her characters through the wringer before giving them their happy ever after. By the time I finished this book, I had rolled my eyes a hundred times, I had laughed and I had cried. In the end, my heart melted.
Captured by the Pirate Laird by Amy Jarecki
I felt like I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I love when everything in a book is just right. I liked Anne as the heroine; she was smart and sensible and vulnerable. I absolutely loved Calum. He was strong and sexy, responsible and caring, and so much in love with Anne my heart broke with his when he left her. Their romance was so heartbreaking and sweet, yet oh so sensual. There was so much angst and action and sexual chemistry throughout this book. I truly enjoy the way Amy Jarecki writes. It has been a while since I’ve read a historical romance, but this one reminds me of how much I adore a wonderful swashbuckling adventure. This was like Braveheart only with a happy ending.
Learning to Waltz by Kerryn Reid
Learning to Waltz is romance at its sweetest, with no need for extravagant storylines, eroticism or paranormal elements. The hero and heroine are true, honest people who deserve each other and deserve the happiness their love brings. I’ve read a few other reviews comparing Kerryn Reid’s book to something by Jane Austen and I have to agree. While it wasn’t a mainstream, steamy romance that I normally read, I truly enjoyed it.
Loved Up by Scarlett Scott
Sometimes I start reading a book and immediately know I’m going to like it. That doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but in the case of this book, it did. Some authors just have a certain style of writing that ropes me in and makes me care. I loved Jax and Kassie together. I loved the dialogue, I loved the push and pull in their relationship and I loved the sparks that flew between them. There was never a dull moment and I was never bored. This book was a treat!
Two In The Afternoon by Cora Cade
Like its predecessor (Morning Light), Two in the Afternoon contains a woman I’d like to be friends with, a guy I could lust after and a storyline that entertained me. Unlike Morning Light, this wasn’t a touching, emotional romance. It was a sizzling, “can’t keep our hands off each other” kind of book. I liked how Molly and Cal couldn’t fight their mutual attraction, and their sexual escapades were hot! It isn’t long before their hearts as well as their bodies become involved. Their romance scorched the pages and kept me wanting more and more.
A Matter of Sin by Jess Michaels
Oh my. This book = swoon. I know that’s an old-fashioned term, but given that this is a historical romance, I think I can be forgiven. It has been a long, long time since a book kept me awake until the wee hours reading – only to wish I could ignore work, chores, even my family, so I could finish it. I loved this book. I loved Jess Michael’s writing. This was my first book by her, but it definitely won’t be my last. I loved Seth, and I adored Seth and Isobel together.
What a Duke Dares by Anna Campbell
Anna Campbell is a master storyteller. This was my first five star read of the year. While this book didn’t have as much intrigue as some of her others, I enjoyed it all the more because the entire focus was on the romantic relationship. What a Duke Dares is the third installment in her Sons of Sin series. I adored the first book with its dark, wounded hero, and was entertained by the second – a totally lighthearted romp. I hoped I wouldn’t be disappointed with this one, and I wasn’t. The story of Cam and Pen had all of the angst of the first book and the humor and snappy dialogue of the second. I felt like every single sentence was significant and I savored every word.
Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis
I don’t think I’ve ever met a Jill Shalvis book that I didn’t like. I loved Griffin so much that I didn’t even really need to like any other part of the book (but of course I did). It’s so easy to sum up her books: fun, funny, romantic and sexy.
At Peace by Kristen Ashley
I hesitated before putting this book in my “best of” for this year. I loved it because Kristen Ashley wrote it. I loved it because Vi was a terrific heroine, and Joe was a kick-ass hero. But I didn’t LOVE it. Part of that is because of the whole Vi/Joe/Mike triangle. It tainted her relationship with Joe a little bit. I did love how she gave Joe exactly what he needed, and vice versa. As usual, Kristen Ashley wrote a wonderful, but extremely heart-wrenching love story.
Unwrapping Her Perfect Match by Kat Latham
What do you get when you combine a gentle giant athlete with an insecure woman who needs careful handling by a man? When you add in a Christmas setting, you get an almost perfect holiday novella. John and Gwen were perfect for each other. They were passionate and emotional and yet so cautious, you could almost feel them yearning for each other but unsure where to go with their feelings. Their chemistry was hot and I really loved the ending.