Monday, December 22, 2014

Book-Bosomed Book Blog's Best Books of 2014

Making this list was…well…kinda hard. I felt like Santa making his list and checking it twice. Was I forgetting a really good book? Probably. Were all the ones on my list naughty? I certainly hope so. But by the time I was done I was itching to read them all again, a sure sign that they definitely needed to be on here.  That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty more great book released in 2014. If you’re reading this than I also encourage to check out the other reviews on the blog to find some more amazing books whether released this year or not. But for now, these are at the top of my recommendation list.

And so without further delay, Book-Bosomed Book Blog’s Picks for 12 Must Read Books Released in 2014….. drum roll please! I know we have a drummer around her somewhere.

(in no particular order other than how they appear in the song at the end)
The Rocker Who Shatters Me (The Rocker Series) by Terri Anne Browning
Part of Me/Inside of You by Haven Francis
Hothouse Flower (Addicted Series) by Krista and Becca Ritchie
Twist Me/Keep Me by Anna Zaires
Masquerade by Georgia Le Carre
He Belongs With Me by Sarah Darlington
Hostage by N.S. Moore
Prisoner by Annika Martin and Skye Warren
Monster in His Eyes/Torture to Her Soul by J. M. Darhower

So how and why did I pick these?

Well I think they are all titles that deserve extra attention because they have some really amazing elements to them. Some are more known than others, but all of them should be talked about more.

If you are looking for a theme within these books you might be hard pressed to find one that fits them all—some are darker, some are more light-hearted. Some incorporate mystery, some adventure. And the characters run the gauntlet of rockers, criminals, and young adults trying to figure themselves out. But there were certain aspects I felt they all excelled in…

The Characters
All of the main characters are fully developed.  They all have layers and transcend beyond stereotypes.

I do feel that there is one theme among all the female characters. They are all strong. Some more obvious, some buried more at their core.  I spent many a semester in college many years ago studying feminist literature so this is a big deal for me. And I think all these heroines do a good job of holding their own.

Pretty obviously the men are all some degree of badass. Some are just hot-heads, some have criminal records, and some either are or should be on the police’s radar ;-) But that guarantees that none of these books are lacking in excitement or adventure.

If you like your book boyfriends on the bad side, then this list is for you. Ignazio Vitale can make black ‘kill you with my bare hands’ gloves sexy; Julian Esguerra can make a syringe thrillingly erotic; Ryke Meadows can seduce you with his favorite four letter word; Devlin Cutter can make warping a tour bus tour insanely sexy; and if you want to meet the man that perfects the art form of dirty-talking then Jaron Rose is for you. 

If you are looking for a great ensemble cast, He Belongs With Me, The Rocker series, and The Addicted series will most definitely offer you that.  The characters have great banter and they are all developed uniquely often defying stereotypes and always making you feel like you know them (or wish you could hang out with them.)

The Couples
All of the couples have amazing chemistry. Whether they are opposites attract or each other’s perfect match, reading their story is a journey that you undertake with them. They overcome obstacles but they aren’t thrown ridiculous or repetitive hardships. The challenges they face fit their personas well.

There’s quite the diversity in the bedroom…or on the beach or in a tent or in a library or outside the club…you get the picture.

And if you are looking for a love story that’s a little darker, a little deeper, a little beyond normal conventions, you’re going to want to check out Monster in His Eyes/Torture to Her Soul, The Twist Me Series, Hostage, and Prisoner (the debut of the Criminals & Captives series which is off to a great start).

Plots & Original Scenes & Themes

Love among a riot, while sky-diving, after being hit with a golf cart, while being held captive (and even though that includes three of the titles on the list they all encompass it so differently), despite a bet, with your best friend, and with the very person you were never meant to fall in love with—each of these books offers something unique in the way the story unfolds.

If you are looking for that new adult ‘finding your place in the world and with the right person’ kind of story, He Belongs With Me, Hothouse Flower, Hostage, Part of Me, and Inside of You are all ones to pick up.

If you are looking for adventure, Masquerade, Hostage, and Prisoner should top your list.

If rock stars wet your panties, you should already be reading The Rocker…series and The Rocker Who Shatters Me is the newest one to keep them soaked ;-)

If you are looking for a tale that keeps you guessing the next turn while at the same time questioning conventions, Monster in His Eyes/Torture to Her Soul, Twist Me/Keep Me, Prisoner, and Masquerade are most definitely must-reads.
The Endings
I’m a big stickler about endings. I need the whole happily ever after, and I’m not fond of cliffhangers. I like my books to have closure and leave the characters in a good place. So I took a chance with a few of these, but thankfully it turned out okay.  Several of these titles are books that follow the character through more than one story, but they all execute the close to each book well. (I’m going to speak in general terms here but if you consider any of this a spoiler than be warned.) 

Terri Anne Browning is phenomenal with her sweet endings in each rocker installment that always leave you smiling…and a little envious of the life and love her couples share.

Haven Francis provides a great two part story with Jessa and Pax, but she closes the first book in a good place. You can stop there if you want and pick up the second one at a later time but the characters’ relationship is just so engrossing that I can’t imagine not delving into the next book.

Anna Zaires pulls off the ending to Twist Me wonderfully. I honestly think it’s not easy to carry the same characters over multiple books. I see it done a lot but I can’t say I always see it done well or with the necessity for more than one book. But Anna crafts a complete segment of Nora and Julian’s life with each book, and each book advances their characters further. They grow; they change; they encounter new challenges and roles, and thus it feels like a new adventure; another story of their life to tell.

J.M. Darhower knows how to keep the suspense…and anxiety brewing. I read Monster in His Eyes not wanting to read the end because I didn’t want the experience to end, and then I read Torture to Her Soul and couldn’t wait to get to the end just to know it ended okay!  Stylistically one of the great things about this two-parter is how the prologues and epilogues connect seamlessly so that it provides closure while at the same time leaving you wanting more. Oh and the book has some of the best lines that make it a definite re-read just to savor the Nazisms. 

So that’s my shout-out to these amazing books! I still don't feel like I've done them justice, and for more specific details on the stories and what makes them engaging in their own way, simply click on the title from the list to read the full review.

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!

And in the spirit of the holidays, it’s time the old Christmas song got some updating, indie romance style. Because, come on ladies, if he was really your true love, he’d give you the books you must read! So let’s try this revised version!

I present…(though not spoiler free so you're warned)

The 12 Days of Christmas Contemporary Romance Style
12 Drummers Drumming don’t need 12 of them, Devlin Cutter will do just fine!
Eleven Pipers Piping Paxton fake proposing
Ten Lords a Leaping Lovers loving
Nine Ladies Dancing Sexy bad boys
Eight Maids a Milking 
f-bombs from Ryke Meadows
Seven Swans a Swimming Eh, forget the swans, try picturing a sexy arms dealer swimming off the coast of his private island
Six Geese a Laying There’s lots of “laying” in these books so we can probably just leave it at that
Five Golden Rings (Did Jaron Rose steal them?)
Four Calling Birds  No birds calling; He Belongs with Me is like a double romance so that must be two different couples calling out in the throws of passion
Three French Hens mysterious men
Two Turtle Doves hostage takers
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree Monster in a black Mercedes!
And he's one mesmerizing monster ;-) Y Naz!

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