Five Books Everyone Should Read: #SoCalBlogger Nicole

Posted June 14, 2015 by Holly in Features | 4 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

Today our good friend and fellow So Cal Blogger, Nicole, is here to share her list of Five Books.  Nic is actually the one who got me hooked on New Adult. We met for lunch one afternoon and she rattled off a huge list of books she loved. It was all downhill from there.

NicsNarrowing down to 5 books was so hard.  I could go the “brainer” route and pick books like Plato’s Republic or War and Peace.  I could go with “books that changed my life”  something from Judy Blume or Shel Silverstein. I could go with romance books, biographies, science fiction or even dystopia.  In the end, I considered the Book Binge audience and picked romance books published in the last 15 years.  The other common trait these books have for me is that I was obsessed with them while reading them.  My life was put on hold when reading them.  You know what I’m talking about!  I stayed up all night long so I could find out what happened next.  We’ve all been there. Come on, admit it!

the unsung heroFirst up The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann.

After a near-fatal head injury, navy SEAL lieutenant Tom Paoletti catches a terrifying glimpse of an international terrorist in his New England hometown. When he calls for help, the navy dismisses the danger as injury-induced imaginings. In a desperate, last-ditch effort to prevent disaster, Tom creates his own makeshift counterterrorist team, assembling his most loyal officers, two elderly war veterans, a couple of misfit teenagers, and Dr. Kelly Ashton-the sweet “girl next door” who has grown into a remarkable woman. The town’s infamous bad boy, Tom has always longed for Kelly. Now he has one final chance for happiness, one last chance to win her heart, and one desperate chance to save the day . . .

For me Brockmann’s early romantic suspense books are some of the best that the genre has to offer.  The Unsung Hero is the first book in the Troubleshooters series.  The Troubleshooters series centers around the members Seal Team 16 and their adventures abroad and at home.  This book has 3 or 4 stories going on at once so I promise you won’t be bored.  As if meeting Commander Tom Paoletti isn’t enough you get to meet the famous Sam and Alyssa. This book is so full of angst, it will for sure give you a book hangover! The book is full of unsung hero’s and it has an ending that will make you cry happy and sad tears.


devil in winterNext up is Lisa Kleypas, Devil in Winter.

Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

Sebastian’s reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden’s good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie’s proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine’s callously discarded broken hearts — which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions … or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.

Only Kleypas is a gifted enough writer to take the villain of her last book and make him the hero in the next.  Sebastian is one of my favorite heros of all time.  Yes, this is the book three of the Wallflowers series.  I promise you that the world will not end as you know it if you read book three first instead of book one.  There is enough backstory in the book that you won’t feel at all lost.  Not only is Sebastian crush-worthy, he is so funny.  The banter back and forth between Sebastian and Evie is delicious.


At PeaceAt Peace by Kristen Ashley

Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that’s when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.

She wants to deny it, but Violet can’t beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi’s hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.

Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she’s sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she’s ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love. But Violet doesn’t know the dark secrets in Joe’s past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they’ve drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe’s determined to live his life alone and he breaks Violet’s heart.

Crushed by Joe’s betrayal, Violet comes to terms with the fact that, no matter what signals he gave, Joe was not theirs to win. But Violet’s husband’s murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters home. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can’t fight Violet’s pull, she’s under his skin and filled him full to bursting.

This is book two in Ashley’s “The ‘Burg” series.  I have to warn you this book is 660 pages but it is a fast moving ride that will leave you breathless.  Joe and Violet are people who have been tortured in life.  Joe gets very close to being TSTL (to stupid to live) but when the chips are down he shows up and that is why I love Joe.  I wish I could go to The ‘Burg and meet everyone.  Ashley makes her characters come alive and I’m convinced that they really exist.


ruleRule by Jay Crownover

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want—and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

I read this book back when it was published back in 2012. It was an experiment for me.  First because it was the first independently published book that I read from a brand new author.  Second, I read the reviews and person after person said the story was ok but the spelling and grammar errors were so bad that they couldn’t stand it.  This intrigued me. I wanted to see if it would bother me.  And lastly it was ninety-nine cents.  It completely  blew my mind!  I have read thousands of books in my life and this is the only book that  when finished, I immediately started it over and read it a second time.  I did not care one whit about the grammar errors. And by the way, since Crownover has become such a success she has hired an editor and fixed the book.  This book drips with young adult angst.  Rule and Shaw are trying to figure out who they are at the same time they are falling in love.


restless heartMy last pick is Restless Heart by Emma Lang (Beth Williamson)

Sheltered all her life, Eliza Hunter never imagined herself alone in the vast Utah plains, much less trailing a mysterious, rugged man hired to hunt down her beautiful younger sister. Unable to reveal the truth about her pursuit of him, Eliza plays student to his teacher, transforming herself in the process. And when she finds herself sharing the warmth of Grady’s campfire, wrapped in his arms, hypnotized by his power, soon she is a naive spinster no more …

Grady Wolfe is more than a loner, he’s a man forever on the run. With a body and soul finely honed from living off the land, Grady knows he should leave the irresistible woman alone, but she stirs something in him he hasn’t felt before. Now he’s lost in the woods for the first time in his life—with a dangerous job to do.

Who can resist a badass bounty hunter on the hunt for his prey and the spinster who follows him through Utah with her books strapped to her horse? Not me. Eliza saw the good in Grady from the beginning. I wasn’t so sure until the end. Grady saw the beauty in a bookish spinster from the first. I was surprised at how much I laughed reading this book. Grady and his frustration and exasperation with Eliza during their journey are very entertaining.

Tagged: , ,

4 responses to “Five Books Everyone Should Read: #SoCalBlogger Nicole

    • Great list Nikki! I’m right there with you on The Unspoken Hero and even Devil in Winter so I’ll definitely try the others.

  1. Kareni

    Funny ~ I too have read and enjoyed the first four books and am now looking to see if my library has the Emma Lang book!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.