Tag: Best of 2012

Best of 2012: The Authors.

Posted December 26, 2012 by Rowena in Features | 4 Comments

Last week over at my other book blog Book Binge, we’re listing our Best of Lists all week and I’m going to be doing the same thing for my YA books here.

  • Tammara Webber: I think Easy is my most favorite book of the entire year.  It was such a great book and Tammara Webber is such a fantabulous author that of course, she made it onto my Best Authors of the year list. 
  • Jennifer Echols: Jennifer Echols was introduced to me a few years ago and I really enjoyed that first book by her that I read.  In the years since, she hasn’t completely blown me away the way that she did with that first book….until this year.  I absolutely adored Such a Rush and cannot wait for her next release.  She definitely clawed her way back onto my favorites list. 
  • Katie McGarry: This is a new author that completely blew me away with her debut release, Pushing the Limits.  I adored Noah and I adored Echo.  Their story was so beautifully written that I wouldn’t feel right, not putting McGarry on my favorites list this year. 
  • Huntley Fitzpatrick: I’m a huge contemporary YA fan and Huntley Fitzpatrick knocked it out of the park for me with her book My Life Next Door.  Adored that book. Welcome to my favorites of 2012 list, Huntley Fitzpatrick. 
  • Elizabeth Eulberg: She did it again.  She wrote a book that completely rocked my socks but I didn’t doubt that she would.  Elizabeth Eulberg can write the heck out of a story and I’ll love it every time. 
  • Trish Doller: Something Like Normal was such a fantastic book.  I enjoyed getting to know Travis and I loved the way that he was with Harper.  I loved the way that Doller told this story.  It was one of my favorites of the year so of course she’s on my list. 
  • Jessi Kirby:  This was a new to me author this year and I really enjoyed reading her.  I also had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year and she’s just as great as her books are.  I LOVED Moonglass and In Honor.  She writes good stuff! 
  • Jandy Nelson: This was an author that I was introduced early in the year.  Ames read The Sky is Everywhere and pimped it to me and I knew that I was going to like it…I just wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to like it.  I loved her book and am so glad that I read it.  Thanks for the wonderful story Jandy Nelson and welcome to my favorites list! And there you have it…my best of 2012 list for my favorite authors.  

Which authors made it onto your favorites list this year?  Any new authors?  Share with the class, won’t you?

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Worst of 2012: The Books.

Posted December 21, 2012 by Rowena in Features | 4 Comments


The books.
Rowena:  And we end our week of Best Of lists with a list of the books that just didn’t work for us.  Our worst reads of the year.

Here are the books that I just could not for the life of me like.

  • Close Enough to Touch by Victoria Dahl: The characters left a lot to be desired.  I wanted to punch the heroine in her face too many times to count, the hero made me want to puke with how he’d just roll over for the heroine and well, I could go on.
  • Finally Home by Helen Scott Taylor: The heroine drove me to want to drink myself dead.  She drove me up the wall with her excuses for pushing the hero away and when she took her kid away from the hero at the end, I wanted to run her ass over.
  • Blaze of Winter by Elisabeth Barrett: Both the hero and the heroine drove me crazy.  So much so that I almost didn’t finish it.
The other books that I didn’t really care for are YA so I’ll be posting about those on my YA book blog but here are the romance novels that didn’t make the cut for me.  Either the characters drove me nuts or the story just didn’t work for me.    So there you go, my list.

Holly: Every year Rowena makes me feel like a raging beeyotch when we do these Worst Of lists. She’s all “oh, I didn’t really have that many” and I’m all “OMG, I can only list five?!?!”. Sigh.

  • The Greet Tycoon’s Ultimatum by Lucy Monroe: I generally like Monroe, but this was just wrong all the way around. The heroine was a limp dishrag and the hero was a complete ass.
  • Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire: The book started out great but fell apart halfway through. I can’t deny it worked on one level, but I was left with a bad taste in my mouth when all was said and done, which is why it ended up here.
  • Tucker’s Crossing by Marina Adair: Another book with a good premise that wasn’t executed well. I love the idea of reunited lovers, but the story was all over the place and the characters wishy-washy.
  • Rules of Engagement by Ann Bruce: This book made NO sense. The heroine shows up at a cabin in the middle of the night and the hero punches her to knock her out, then handcuffs her to the bed. When she comes to she decides she needs to give him her cherry, because that’s totally what a sane person would do, right? It was full of WTFery from beginning to end. Blergh.
  • The Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L.James: This is another WTF series. To be honest, I really enjoyed the first book when I thought it was less a romance about Christian and Anna, and more a look at the darker side of relationships. Had I stopped there I probably would have given this a much higher rating. As it stands, I went on to read the rest of the trilogy and it just went from bad to worse. Awful books.
Dishonorable mention goes to Crazy on You by Rachel Gibson: I generally love Gibson’s books, but this novella fell very flat. The “I Love You’s” came way too quickly and ruined the story. Meh.

Here are the books that made it onto our guest reviewers worst reads of 2012 lists:

Thanks for sharing your lists ladies…Ames, I totally remember your rants for Gabriel’s Inferno.
What books did you not like in 2012?

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Best of 2012: The Books.

Posted December 20, 2012 by Rowena in Features | 2 Comments

Rowena: I’ve read a whole lot of books this year and I read a lot of great, fantabulous books and a lot of so-so books and a whole lot of not so good books.  A lot of new to me authors, some tried and true authors that I always love and some authors that I’ve been meaning to try but never got around to.  All in all, it’s been a pretty great reading year for me.

Here are my favorite books of the year, in no particular order.

  • Easy by Tammara Webber: One of my favorite YA/New Adult read of the year.  Big shout out to Ames for pimping this book to me.  I wouldn’t have tried it if not for her.  This book was such a great book that I read it twice.  Loved it.
  • Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis: Jill Shalvis is killing it with this series.  This series is one of my favoritest of favorite series.  Each book makes me love the series more and more and I get so excited to get to know all of the characters.  This book rocked my socks.  Josh and Grace were a great pair and I loved Josh’s family and the way that Grace became a part of his family without him knowing quite how.  Love, love, love this book.
  • About that Night by Julie James: Julie James must write some pretty amazing grocery lists because this was yet another book that I completely adored.  Kyle was my kind of hero (hot with a sense of humor that wouldn’t quit) and Rylann was a smart heroine that didn’t get on my nerves.  Julie James nailed it with this one. (I said “nailed it” like Andy from Parks and Rec in my head, haha)
  • A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean: This was a fabulous introduction to a new series.  Bourne and Penelope were wonderfully charming characters that I came to love and I loved the cast of characters that were introduced in this book and really enjoyed Cross and Phillipa’s story that came out this year as well.  If you haven’t read this book, fix that pronto! You won’t be sorry!
  • Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: My friend at work made me watch this series and because I loved the show but felt that I’d miss so much information, I decided to read this book.  For a book that was the length of the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon, I read this book with a quickness that surprised me.  So much happens and there’s a reason these books are so popular.  They’re the bomb.

Some honorary mentions go to Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh and A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare.  Both books were great books and I’m so glad that I read them because without a push from some friends, I probably wouldn’t have ever read the Singh and it took me far too long to get to reading A Week to be Wicked, I’m so glad that I finally got around to it because it was such a great story.

Holly: This year it’s really hard for me to pick favorites. I’ve had so many things going on in my personal life I haven’t been reading as many new books. I also haven’t been paying as much attention to my reading; i.e., I haven’t retained as much from the books I’ve read as I normally do. I wrote two 5 star reviews this year, but both were for books I read last year (A Rogue By Any Other Name and What I Did For a Duke). So my favorites are based pretty much solely on my Goodreads rating.

The Duke's Perfect WifeForever and a Day (Lucky Harbor Series #6)Wicked GamesAbout That NightRiveted: A Novel of the Iron Seas

  • The Duke’s Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley: I really love Ashley’s historicals. She excels at writing with depth and humor. I fall a little in love with her characters as I read. This book was the last in her MacKenzie Brother’s series. Hart didn’t disappoint. 
  • Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis: It’s no secret I love Shalvis’ books, but this one is my favorite of them all. The mix of humor and emotion really pulled me. As a matter of fact, I was reminded of early SEP with this book. It’s a must read. 
  • Wicked Games by Jill Myles: This was a really light read that I flew through. The premise isn’t my usual style – chick gets suckered into joining a Survivor-type reality show and meets a dude on the island – but I was sucked right in. There was a lack of communication that frustrated me at times, but that didn’t stop me from loving all the angst. 
  •  About That Night by Julie James: James writes sexy, smart contemporary novels. I adore the settings, characters and witty banter. She considers her books Romantic Comedies and I’d agree – these are stories I want to return to again and again, just like I do Chick Flicks.
  • Riveted by Meljean Brook: I’m sure none of you are surprised to see Brook on this list. She’s been a favorite of mine for years. I absolutely adore her writing. Her Steampunk books are no exception. I especially like that this series encompasses such a diverse cast of characters. Not to mention the world-building. As Casee would say, “Amazeballs!”. 

Honorary mentions go to Alpha and Omega: A Companion Novella to Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs and Lord’s Fall by Thea Harrison. The only reason these two didn’t make my Best Of list is because Rowena said I had to keep it to five. The Briggs was not published in 2012. Nor is it really a book – it’s a short novella. But dude. I loved it. I was turned onto Briggs earlier this year and I did a complete binge of this series and her Mercy Thompson series. Amazing. If you haven’t read it, go buy. Seriously. Right now. Lord’s Fall is a continuation of Pia and Dragos’ story and was excellent. I loved going back to them and seeing how things have progressed. I can’t wait for the next book.

A huge part of our blog is our guest reviewers and they have favorites too so we asked them what they were.  Here are some books that made it onto their favorite lists this year.

There’s a great deal that I haven’t read on this list but I’m adding them to my TBR list to fix that right up.  Thanks for sharing your favorites with us, ladies!

What books made it onto your Best Books list for 2012?

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Best of 2012: The Heroines.

Posted December 19, 2012 by Rowena in Features | 3 Comments

The heroines.

Rowena: I’m hard on the heroines in my favorite books.  They have to be pretty amazing for me to love them so this category isn’t too hard for me since if I love a heroine, I remember.

My favorite heroines of 2012 are:

  • Minerva Highwood from A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare.  So smart and so funny.  I loved getting to know her and I loved the woman she came to be in that week with Colin.  So fierce was Minerva and I dug the lengths she went to follow her dreams.
  • Rylann Pierce from About that Night by Julie James.  Another one of those smart heroines who didn’t take shit from the hero.  She knew what she wanted and though there were some struggles in getting to that happy ending, I thought Rylann was a great contemporary heroine and I want her to be my friend.
  • Poppy Wyatt from I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella.  This girl was fierce, uproariously funny and just an all around a good time.  I loved her.  I loved getting to know her and even though there were times when she drove me bat shit crazy, I still loved the hell out of her. In real life, we would totally be besties.
  • Mary Wynn-Jones from She Tempts the Duke by Lorraine Heath.  This heroine was loyal and I admired the strength of her love for Sebastian.  To love him the way that she did, to overcome the things that she did and the lengths that she went through to ensure the safety of the boy she loved and his brothers, how can she not be memorable?  She was a good heroine, through and through.
  • Mallory Quinn from Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis.  If we were friends in real life, Mal would be the mother hen in our group.  She loved so fiercely and so openly that it was hard to hate her.  She was just overall, a great person and I liked her.
  • Sophy Noirot from Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase.  Sophy is a fixer and I liked that about her.  She did what she had to, to get the job done and the one thing that you can count on from her is that she will get the job done.  Family always came first with Sophy, even when she’d have to sacrifice her own happiness and there was just a lot to respect about her and I really liked her character.
Holly: This is always the hardest category for me each year.

Oracle's Moon (Elder Races Series #4)Cry WolfA Notorious Countess Confesses (Pennyroyal Green Series #7)Captivated (Phantom Corps Series #3)Forever and a Day (Lucky Harbor Series #6)

Grace Andreas from Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison: Technically I read this for the first time in 2011, but I re-read it several times in 2012 and one of the main reasons is Grace. She’s strong, resilient and so damn real I felt like I’d lived next door to her my whole life.
Anna from Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series:  Anna was brutalized by the people she was supposed to trust the most, but she isn’t a victim. She starts out strong and smart, but she grows as the series goes on into someone I admire, respect and champion.
Evie Duggan from A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long: Evie is a courtesan and she’s unapologetic about it. She’s another strong, resilient heroine, but she’s also vulnerable and super street smart. I love a heroine with common sense.
Hannah Black from Captivated by Lauren Dane: Hannah spent a long time in captivation, which means she had a lot to overcome. I admired her determination to find herself and her inner strength.
Grace Brooks from Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis: Grace is plucky and quirky. She has a deep inner strength but also a sweet vulnerability that made her easy to relate to. Plus, she was funny. I love funny heroines.

Honorable mentions go to Lady Penelope Marbury from A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean and Annika from Riveted by Meljean Brook. Both were amazingly well-written. I would have added them to my Best Of if I had more room.

Here are the heroines that made it to the top of our guest reviewers favorites list:

  • Rachel Flores from Under Fire by Catherine Mann (Judith)
  • Yasmeen from Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook (Tracy)
  • Abigail from The Witness by Nora Roberts (Ames) She said that Abigail is hands down the best heroine EVER.  
  • Minerva Highwood from A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare (Lori)
  • Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (Lori)
I don’t know Rachel, Yasmeen or Abigail but I heartily agree with Lori’s choices.  Both of your heroines were fabulous!  Thanks so much for sharing your favorites with us ladies!

Who were your favorite heroines of 2012?

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Best of 2012: The Heroes.

Posted December 18, 2012 by Rowena in Features | 5 Comments

The heroes.

Rowena: This is probably the hardest category for me to list each year because I’m such a hoochie that I like all of the heroes.  But because Holly will probably yell at me if I don’t finish this, here’s my list of most hunkalicious heroes of 2012.

  • Lucas Hunter from Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh.  This guy was so alpha and so damn hot that I wanted to sing My Body by LSG to him and do every single thing that they talked about doing in the song. (Listen to song here) And then I wanted to do it all again. So freaking hot.
  • Daniel Smythe-Smith from A Night Like This by Julia Quinn.  I love a super serious, hot hero any day but I really love a hero that is all those things and can make me laugh.  Daniel surprised me with how much I liked him.  I wasn’t expecting to like him as much as I did because he just didn’t come off as a hero that would be as memorable as he was in the previous book in this series.  He ran away from London and left his family unprotected for goodness sakes but you gotta hand it to Julia Quinn, she can redeem just about anyone.  I loved Daniel.
  • Colin Sandhurst from A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare.  Just like Daniel from A Night Like This, Colin Sandhurst kept me bent over at the waist laughing my ass off.  Add to the fact that he was so good looking and such a caring person, I couldn’t help myself but love the hell out of him.  Tessa Dare did a great job of redeeming Colin’s character and showing us why he was such a lovable character to boot.  I completely and fiercely loved Colin Sandhurst.  For real.
  • Adam Connelly from Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis. As much as I loved Josh from the Lucky Harbor series, it was Adam Connelly that captured my heart so completely from Jill Shalvis.  I loved Adam in the previous books and I loved him so much more in his book.  His book wasn’t my favorite Shalvis title that I read this year but Adam was my favorite Shalvis hero.  He’s so strong, so utterly not perfect that he was perfect for him.  He’s my favorite hero in the Animal Magnetism series and if you read his book, you definitely know why.  I want my own Adam. =)
  • Kyle Rhodes from About that Night by Julie James.  How can I not put the Twitter Terrorist on my Best of list?  This guy shut Twitter down all by himself and got arrested for it.  That is so awesome, I can’t even stand it.  Kyle was a hero that was so sexy and so funny that yeah, he made the list.
Holly: I’ve decided I can’t list my favorite heroes of 2012. I’m taking a pass.

Ok, Ok, I’ll make an effort since I’ll never hear the end of it from Rowena if I don’t. But I’d like it noted for the record I’m doing so under extreme duress! (R: You know me so well, H.)

  • Tatum Jackson from Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley: I have a serious love/hate relationship with Ashley’s characters. Some of them are over-the-top assholes, but all of them are just the right shade of caring to make it impossible to hate them. Tate is my favorite of them all. He’s strong, a little rough around the edges, and 100% man. He’s also kind, caring and super lovable. I want to lick him.
  • Kahlil from Oracle’s Moon by Thea Harrison: “He had never bothered to count time before, but he started to now, and it began with counting each breath she took.” LOVE.
  • Elliot McBride from The Seduction of Elliot McBride by Jennifer Ashley: I love a hero who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Especially if he’s a little bit damaged and knows only the heroine can save him. 
  • Alexander Moncrieff, Duke of Falconridge from What I Did For a Duke by Julie Anne Long: I read this book for the first time in 2011, but I’m including Alex anyway because 1) I re-read this several times in 2012 and 2) he’s amazing. It isn’t often we get mature heroes in romance novels. Especially not ones who aren’t afraid to admit they want love and marriage. There’s a good chance Alex is my favorite hero of all time, not just 2012. He’s that good.

I was going to do some Honorable Mentions, but I couldn’t narrow the list down so I’m going to skip them for this round. I will say I agree with Rowena and the guest reviewers on many of their choices. There are some great heroes out there.

Here’s our the gentlemen that made it onto our guest reviewers BEST HEROES list:

Between Ames and Tracy, we’re all hookers of the highest sort on Book Binge, haha.  There are also some repeats as well….I must meet this Ewan McCabe. =)  Thanks for sharing ladies!

Who are your favorite heroes that you met this year?

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