My Top 10 of 2014 + Giveaway!

Here is my Top 10 List for the year! All of these books below were released in 2014 and got 5 stars from me. If you’d like a chance to win any one of these books please leave a comment either here or on Facebook and let me know. I will pick one winner this Friday the 26th and gift the kindle version at that time.

10. Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran

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This is just a really great romance book and my first by this author that I’ve read.  I had to read her backlist after this one since I loved it so much. The cover is gorgeous and pulled me in but I stayed and finished it due to the wonderful banter between the hero and heroine. The hero seems to be a rare breed – an alpha male who isn’t too overbearing. Both of the main character were intense as was their romance but the comedy balanced that nicely. I’d highly recommend this one!

 

9. Sun Kissed by Laura Florand

I have to include this book on my top 10 of the year. A) It’s dedicated to me (WOW!) because I had asked the author about these characters and that led her to tell their story. B) The main characters are older and have been friends for 20 years. It’s rare to see romances not in certain demographics and I love when a book isn’t super common. C) The friends-to-lovers trope is one of my favorites. D) Laura Florand writes such beautiful and emotionally intense books that they stay with me for quite a while. If you haven’t read any of hers before and you enjoy romance you NEED to check her books out!

8. Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner

This unusual Regency romance came to my attention late in the year but I’m so glad it did.  It had a not often seen setting of politics in that time. The Whigs and Tories have an upcoming election and both sides are desperate for votes. So desperate they are trying to get the heroine to marry someone who will cast their votes for whichever side. An injured Veteran is chosen for the task on the Whig side and eventually romance blooms, but for the wrong people. I enjoyed the banter between the two main characters as well as the unexpected references and quotes from various books – I love book references within books. The hero and heroine are both kind of broken and to see them put each other back together was beautiful.

7. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

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I love, love, love the All Souls trilogy. I wasn’t disappointed in any of the books and this conclusion to the series was wonderful. The suspense of the previous books combined with the love among Matthew and Diana’s pieced together family made for a great book. I got the answers I was looking for and was left wanting more about the secondary characters.

 

6. Blonde Date by Sarina Bowen

I assume novellas must be difficult to write – to get enough of a story to make us care about the characters and still leave room for plot has to be hard. Sarina Bowen nailed it with this one. She has a knack for getting me to care about people I normally wouldn’t – the basketball player and the sorority girl being the case here. Witty yet emotional, this one definitely had everything I want from a novella.

5. Archangel’s Shadow by Nalini Singh

Finally the book with Ashwini and Janvier came out this year! I’ve been highly anticipating seeing their story be told and not surprisingly Nalini Singh delivered. More banter between the sarcastic heroine and the sensitive hero made me fall more in love with this couple even more so before. She is definitely one of my favorite authors so I couldn’t do the list without one of hers.

4. The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

This one came out of nowhere for me. I got a recommendation from Vi to read it and like always she was right that I would love it. Soon after I saw may people raving about this sweet and sexy New Adult romance. This book had the right mix of sassy heroine and in lust-turned-to-love hero. The dialogue is sharp and hilarious and I loved Anna’s take no crap attitude. Light on the drama compared to many NA books which in my opinion was a good thing. Also has a nice HEA whereas that can be hard to find in this genre as well.

3. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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I found this book to be hard to put down. Told in a different kind of way, with snippets of police interviews and knowing the outcome at the beginning, Big Little Lies was able to surprise me. I thought it was going to be a light heart murder mystery but it evolves into something more by the end. All of the characters seemed as if I had met them in real life at one point or another, including the many children in the book.

 

2. A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

So I obviously see a pattern emerging here – I fell in love with multiple new to me authors and Sonali Dev was no exception. I loved this book’s integration of Indian traditions into the plot in a way that felt unobtrusive. It opened up a new area for me and made me more interested in learning about the culture and exploring Bollywood films and other books. It seemed to be authentic with the Indian touches and brought a very sweet and complicated romance with it. The chemistry builds between the two main characters slowly and develops beautifully and in a believable way.

1. The King by Tiffany Reisz

I love Tiffany Reisz’s books. They are not for everyone, with their very frank exploration of BDSM but I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys romances. This story tells the early years of Kingsley Edge, a character anyone familiar with the Original Sinners books knows well. But apparently not that well because this explores how King began his club and reveals even more of his relationship with Soren, not to mention new characters to us. I loved every bit of this one from the beginning to the end.

 

I hope you’ve all had a great reading year! Don’t forget to leave a comment with which of these books you’d like to win a kindle version either here or on Facebook.

~Melinda

The Shell Collector by Hugh Howey

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Oil drilling in the oceans has devastated fish and shellfish to the point of extinction for most species. Beaches have disappeared, parts of the country have been flooded due to rising sea levels and one man’s family are the ones who brought about this global change.

Maya Walsh is a journalist who loves shelling, looking for rare and beautiful shells that have been slowly disappearing during her lifetime. She has been running a story about Ness Wilde and his family who own Ocean Oil. Ness has the larges collection of shells in the world; something that she, and the FBI think is dabbling in the illegal. She wants to bring him and his family’s past into the light with a hard hitting expose on how they have brought about the change to cause rising sea levels and hates what they have done to the planet. She is asked by the FBI, who want to know about his shelling, to inform them of what is said during a series of interviews set up with Ness.

Ness Wilde has been a recluse for the past 4 years. He is passionate about the ocean and the dwindling life in it. He is also a passionate sheller and is always looking for new shell life. He has set up a series of interviews with Maya to set the record straight about what he is doing and about his family’s past.

What happens along the way isn’t what either of them expects and what starts off as a news story morphs into something completely different. Will their shared love of the ocean and the truth bring them together or….?

I have to say that Hugh really wrote a passionate love story of the ocean and the life it contains. He has brought to the forefront the possibility / probability of what would or could happen with the way global warming is going, the constant oil drilling in the seas and mans disregard for the planet. It’s not a preachy green book by any stretch of the imagination but it is thought provoking and that is something that Hugh does best. He makes you think about the things that could happen in our own lifetime and the consequences that could occur.

This book really touched me in the way it was written, the love of the ocean and it brought back memories of my own summers spent looking for shells in the summers I used to spend by the ocean. I swear I could almost smell the salt in the air when I was reading this. My love of the sea is strong and this book is a warning of things to come if we don’t change our ways.

ARC was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5/5 stars

Crash

 

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Buried Agendas by Donnell Ann Bell

 

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A devastating secret drove her from the man she loved. Will a deadly secret lead her back to him?

Diana Reid is a journalist who left her hometown of Diamond Texas after breaking up with her fiancé Brad Jordan after his grandfather exposed a secret about her MIA father. She has spent the last 8 years keeping her past buried away, she keeps secrets that she doesn’t want exposed while exposing the secrets of others. She gets a cryptic message about deaths that are going on at Jordan Industries including a veiled threat against her mother. She decides to go back home and undercover to try to figure out the mysterious deaths and prays that none of the Jordan clan discover what she is up to.

Brad Jordan never truly got over losing Diana, but has moved on with his life and is now mayor of Diamond and is engaged to Susan, the HR manager of Jordan Industries. He gets a phone call saying that there is something going on in the family company. He doesn’t believe it at first but events piling up make him start to change his mind.

I loved this book; it is one of those that keep you reading til the small hours of the morning. I got so involved with the characters that they feel real to you. I got lost in the book and was cheering Diana along. This book had it all, the romantic back-story, intrigue, loads of secrets and suspense. What I also liked about this book is that you had romance and chemistry between Brad and Diana but there weren’t any sex scenes and it worked out so well that you didn’t miss it or need it. At the end I sort of figured it was going to end one way, but I was wrong. It is a book that you can fall into and become so involved in it that the outside world doesn’t exist. It’s the first book I have read by Donnell and it certainly wont be the last!

Book provided by author.

5/5 stars

Crash

About the Author

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Donnell Ann Bell grew up in New Mexico and today lives in Colorado. A homebody at heart, she concentrates on suspense that might happen in her neck of the woods – writing SUSPENSE TOO CLOSE TO HOME. She is the author of The Past Came Hunting, Deadly Recall and Betrayed, all of which have been e-book best sellers. Buried Agendas is her newest release. Along with veteran police officer Wally Lind, Donnell co-owns Crimescenewriters, a Yahoo group putting law enforcement experts together with writers. Donnell loves to hear from readers.

 

Author Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

 

 Giveaway Details

As part of the blog tour, Donnell will be giving away 5 copies of Buried Agendas (US/Canada only) and

5 Dammit Dolls (US/Canada only). Fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter!

Not sure what a Dammit Doll is? Well, here is the little saying that each doll comes with:

Whenever things don’t go so well and you want to hit the wall and yell, here’s a little dammit doll that you can’t do without. Just grasp it firmly by the legs and find a place to slam it. And as you whack the Stuffing out yell, “Dammit, Dammit! Dammit!

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Rafflecopter Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1c9cd1c911/

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpt

Diana curbed a jealous retort and moved to the nightstand. She yanked open a top drawer and withdrew the want ads she’d skimmed early that morning after she’d checked in. In bright red, she’d circled, Help wanted, mailroom clerk, Jordan Industries. High school diploma, drug test required.

“If your fiancée recognized me, I’d be behind bars. I deliberately failed my typing test and listed no experience on the application.”

For the first time, he smiled. The old Brad, the Brad she thought she knew. “What name did you use?”

“Candace Armstrong.”

“Okay.” He motioned to the letter. “So how can a mailroom employee find out what the author meant by ‘people are going to die’?”

“The same way I do every story, by asking questions.”

“Who’s Ronnie?”

“Who?”

Brad pointed to the tattoo on her ankle.

“Oh,” Diana smiled. “He’s no one.”

Brad’s gaze shot to her face, and for a second, she thought she saw pain. Don’t be absurd. The man’s engaged. Irrationally, Diana felt betrayed.

“Seriously, he’s no one. Ronnie doesn’t exist. And neither does this tattoo. It’s henna, and part of my disguise.”

Brad shook his head and he scowled. “You swear to me you didn’t talk to Liz this week.”

“I swear, I haven’t spoken to her . . .” But maybe I should.

“Give me one reason to go along with this?”

Diana lowered her head. She wanted to tell him because the Brad Jordan she’d once known stood for integrity and honesty. The Brad Jordan she’d loved, and unfortunately still did, had wanted to make a difference. She couldn’t believe he’d run for a mayoral position if that wasn’t still true.

Lifting her head, she met his gaze. “Because you know I had nothing to do with that letter, and you want to know what’s going on, too.”

As he traversed the dingy hotel room, Diana sensed he was wavering. He’d asked too many questions to turn her away now. If he said yes, she had a long list to accomplish before Monday. She’d take her physical, head for El Paso, and spend her weekend at the library researching Jordan Industries.

Brad stopped pacing. “I have no doubt that you’re worried about your mom. But when you said you weren’t out to hurt me or Jordan Industries, were you being truthful?”

“I meant every word.”

“All right. I’ll give you two weeks to investigate if you go along with the following conditions.”

She swallowed. “I’m listening.”

“If, after two weeks, you’ve found nothing, you’ll give up this charade and go home.”

She stared back at him. Diana could easily agree to Brad’s terms. She expelled a pent-up breath. “I accept that condition.”

“Second, you will never report a word of what you find or release a word to the media. If you do, I have more than enough witnesses to prove you entered Jordan Industries illegally, and I’ll file charges against you.”

Hurt morphed into anger. “Are you saying if something’s going on, you won’t report it?”

“Not at all. I’ll be the first one to call the police.”

“Then . . . I don’t understand.”

He unrolled his sleeves and grabbed his tie. “I’m saying no way in hell will I allow negative information against my family’s company to benefit your career. I don’t trust you, Diana, especially after what I saw today. We’ll see if you’re really concerned about your mother, or if you’re after a story.” Brad opened the door. “You don’t have to agree to the second part of my conditions right now. I’ll have my answer when you don’t show up on Monday.”

 

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Buy: Amazon UK

 

Blog Tour Stops

 

December 8, 2014

CK Crouch: http://ckcrouch.wordpress.com

Reading by the Book: http://www.readingbythebook.com/?zx=85dd92d8b0eb840f

Storeybook Reviews: http://storeybookreviews.com

 

December 9, 2014

The Book Review: http://www.cluereview.blogspot.com

Happiness Is A Book: https://happinessbook.wordpress.com/

Romance Reviews Today: http://www.romrevtoday.blogspot.com/

 

December 10, 2014

My Book Addiction and More: http://www.mybookaddictionandmore.com

Shattered Hearts Reviews: http://shatteredheartsreviews.com/

So Many Reads: http://www.somanyreads.com

 

December 11, 2014

Em & M Books: http://www.emandmbooks.com

Harlie’s Book Reviews: http://www.harliesbooks.com/

Lush Book Reviews: http://lushbookreviewss.blogspot.com/

Romance Junkies: http://www.romancejunkiesreviews.com

 

December 12, 2014

A Little Bit of R&R: http://alittlebitofrnr.com/

Amy Manemann’s Blog: http://www.amymanemann.blogspot.com

 

 

 

Blog Tour & Review: The King by Tiffany Reisz

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Book Synopsis:

Cunning. Sex. Pure nerve. Only this potent threesome can raise him to his rightful place as ruler of Manhattan’s kink kingdom.

Bouncing from bed to bed on the Upper East Side—handsomely paid in both bills and blackmail fodder—Kingsley Edge is brilliant, beautiful and utterly debauched. No carnal act or chemical compound can relieve his self-destructive apathy—only Søren, the one person he loves without limit or regret. A man he can never have, but in whose hands Kingsley is reborn to attain even greater heights of sin. He plans to open the ultimate BDSM club­: a dungeon playground for New York’s A-list that’ll change the scene forever.

Book Review:

I was unclear what to expect from this Kingsley story because in my mind we already know his story. We’ve already read about his love story with Soren when they were both at school. We’ve already read about his loyalty to those that he considers “his” and what he will do to protect them. But I’ve loved mostly everything Tiffany Reisz has written so of course I wanted to read it. I was just really hoping for more than a story we’ve already heard just told from another point of view (because I’m really not a fan of that!).

So I was so happy to be completely wrong and have a whole new story here. This might be one of my favorites out of all of the books so far. We get to see the beginning of everything from Kingsley’s perspective. The story begins in present tense and the majority of it is set when Kingsley was just a strip club owner and not the BDSM club owner extraordinaire. Most of the story is before Nora was around or at least before King met her which is a big difference and one I wasn’t expecting, but I adjusted quickly. Soren and King are reunited after a time apart. For me Soren was the biggest adjustment I needed to make – he was much more light-hearted than I’m used to seeing him. I really liked seeing him in that way, joking around with Kingsley. It made me like Soren more than usual too.

“You know I have to have more sexy to make up for all the sex you aren’t having. Someone has to restore the balance in the universe.”
“The universe thanks you for your sacrifice.”

There were also new characters to get to know with the main one being Sam. I was fascinated with her relationship with Kingsley. It was more emotional than I was expecting and I enjoyed getting to see this fresh relationship and what it did to King.

I loved this book and can’t wait to see more in this series!

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

5 Stars

~ Melinda

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio & Contact Links:

Tiffany Reisz lives with her fiancé (a reformed book reviewer) and two cats (one good, one evil). She graduated with a B.A. in English from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is making both her parents and her professors proud by writing BDSM erotica under her real name. She has five piercings, one tattoo, and has been arrested twice.

When not under arrest, Tiffany enjoys Latin Dance, Latin Men, and Latin Verbs. She dropped out of a conservative southern seminary in order to pursue her dream of becoming a smut peddler. Johnny Depp’s aunt was her fourth grade teacher. Her first full-length novel THE SIREN was inspired by a desire to tie up actor Jason Isaacs (on paper). She hopes someday life will imitate art (in bed).

If she couldn’t write, she would die.

Twitter: @TiffanyReisz https://twitter.com/tiffanyreisz

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/littleredridingcrop

Website: http://www.tiffanyreisz.com/

Tiffany Reisz author pic 2014

The King Banner

 

Chaos in Kabul by Gerard DeVilliers

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As U.S. troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan, and the Taliban is poised to take over, the CIA calls upon the Austrian aristocrat Malko Linge to execute a dangerous and delicate plan to restore stability to the region.

 On the ground in Kabul, Malko reconnects with an old flame and hires a South African mercenary to assist with his mission. But Malko doesn’t know whom he can trust. His every move is monitored by President Karzai’s entourage, Taliban leaders, a seductive American journalist–and a renegade within the CIA itself. Before he can pull off his plan, Malko is kidnapped and nearly killed. When he finally manages to escape, he finds himself alone and running for his life in a hostile city.

 I received an e-mail asking if I would be interested in reviewing this book. I have never heard of the author and it looked interesting so I figured, why not. When I had the book in my hands I knew it was going to be a good read, but I didn’t know how good.

I don’t read many books in this genre as it’s a hit or miss for me and sometimes a dry read. I read this book in two sittings, it had me from the second chapter and would not let me go. There is so much that goes on and has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster.

The story line is well written and the plot could be, and probably was, something that was conceived by a government and could have been plausibly executed. De Villiers had connections with various intelligence agencies making this story a blend of fiction and truth. All the characters are very believable, the settings are incredibly detailed and the story as a whole was enthralling. The main character, Malko Linge is an aristocrat playboy who plays the spy and has been compared to Bond, who is the spy who plays the playboy. Malko has more lives than a cat in this book his life is constantly in danger and how he is able to get out of the situation is sometimes remarkable and a bit far fetched but it takes nothing away from the story line.

I will say that I really enjoyed this book and I am very glad that I have been introduced to another writer who I will be reading again when more of his books are made available. De Villiers died in 2013 and his books are being translated for the first time from his native French. This is the second in the Malko Linge series but it can be read as a stand alone book.

Book provided by publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review

5/5 stars

Crash

 

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Book Review: A Shadowed Heart by Laura Florand

23364641 This is a Luc and Summer novella, a kind of sequel to The Chocolate Heart where we were introduced to both characters in Laura Florand’s chef world. The novella picks up with the happy couple after their wedding with them settled in the south of France, with Luc managing his own restaurant and Summer trying to manage both of their lives.

I was excited to have a novella that gives us a chance to peek into the happily ever after a couple gets in a romance book as it can be pretty rare to see the after. These characters weren’t exactly open books to begin with so it was good to see them happy and loving life. In the beginning that is. Once Summer discovers she’s pregnant the worry quickly sets in for both of them for very different reasons. Which triggers their instinct to keep their feelings close to the chest like they did in the beginning of their relationship.

Shadowed Heart is pretty much a perfect title for this book because as things progress it’s extremely clear that neither Luc or Summer are willing to completely reveal what’s in their hearts. On the one hand we have Summer who is pretty damaged from her screwed up childhood and is very excited at the prospect of being a mother but needs Luc to be there for her. On the other hand we have Luc who had an even worse childhood and is terrified at the thought of Summer leaving him.

Both of these characters live very much in their heads which can be frustrating to read as through much of the book I found myself wanting to shake them both and just have them talk to each other. But as that’s true in many real life relationships it didn’t bother me enough to take me outside the book at all. It also reminded me of their actions in the first book as well. Seeing how alone the two were tugged at my heart because they didn’t even realize it.

I loved seeing past characters making an appearance here and not only did they provide some high points in the book for me but also provided the turning point for the novella. Florand did a wonderful job at mixing in the past characters with this new life. I really enjoyed the whole book and it made me hope to see more of this couple in future books as the main characters. I’d love to see the couple further down the line when the baby is born because of the great and sweet way the author has of writing the every day relationship.

ARC provided by the Author in return for an honest review.

5 Stars

~Melinda

Amazon

Amazon UK

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