Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Nat's Top Ten of 2015

I can't believe it's that time of year again.  This is my 5th Top Ten list and, just like the first, second, third and fourth, it was difficult to decide.  As usual, I chose from all the books I read this year and not just books published in 2015.  While putting together this list, I decided to go through my previous lists.  It was fun to see what I had picked for favorites previously and it was entertaining to find that my love of romance has not abated one bit.  I am linking to previous lists just for the hell of it.  

2011  2012  2013  2014  

 And now, without further adieu, 2015

Cut & Run Series by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban

Much like Ty and Zane, this series and I had a rocky start to our relationship.  There is a significant amount of head hopping in the first book which is usually a deal breaker for me.  But Zane and Ty were so fascinating I kept on reading.  The issues I had with book 1 were worked out for book two and what you are left with is an amazing story of two  men as they try to forge a lasting relationship while dealing with dangerous jobs and unhealthy addictions.  Not only did I read one of the best love scenes I've ever read in a romance (Book 5 - Armed & Dangerous), I also added a new book boyfriend to my roster.  Let's just say that I will fight Ty to the death for his Zane.  And that's knowing that Ty will win.    If you are looking for lots of action, two alpha males, a little bit of angst and a really slow burn, I can't recommend this series enough.

Galgorithm by Aaron Karo

I didn't read a lot of YA this year but of the ones I did get to, this was, by far, my favorite.  Aaron Karo delivers a romcom with the quirky and awkward humor that I adore in romance.  And to top it off,  it included one of my favorite tropes - Friends to Lovers.  The only other thing I can say is, Amor y Cacahuetes.   Love and Peanuts.

Just Business by Anna Zabo

Every time someone asks me my favorite read of 2015, Just Business is the title I give them.   I read this in May and I STILL think about it.   Eli and Justin are wonderfully fun and complex characters and Anna Zabo's writing is stellar.   There is an office filing scene where there is zero nudity, touching or dirty talk and yet it was one of the hottest things I've ever read.  I'm not sure I'll be able to do office work ever again without blushing.

Lonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan

This is a super hot new adult title that includes, per the warning on the book, sex in a Tesla and kinky anime role play.  But it's not all about the sex.  Not even close.  Heidi's endless understanding and empathy bring together two broken young men that work through their chronic health (mental and physical) issues  in ways that are not always healthy.  Between their friends, a pastor and his wife who have a whole lot of love to give, and their desire to live, Elijah and Baz have what they need to become healthier people.   There is no sugar coating in this book.  Their struggles are realistic and sometimes painful.  But never so painful you doubt they will get the happy ever after they both deserve.

Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

I read Five Dates (a freebie) on a whim.  That was my first taste of Amy Jo Cousins' writing and I think we all know that I am now a life long fan.  I read Off Campus in August and I have read it 3 more times since then.  This has obviously become a total comfort read for me.   Even with all his paranoia, Tom is insanely nice.  The things he does to make Reese feel safe made me melt.  And I'm not any less in love with Reese.  This kid is a survivor.  After experiencing a horrific and life damaging assault the year before, he still returned to campus.  He's a strong and scrappy guy that is determined to survive.

Delivered Fast by Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert is another new favorite author that I discovered this year.  This is the third book in the Portland Heat series.  I enjoyed the entire series but I really connected to this book.  Chris is surprised to find himself attracted to a guy that is 15 years younger than him .  And he almost fell over when said youngster hit on him and asked him out. What starts out as temporary and beneficial arrangment quickly becomes something more.  The problem?  Chris doesn't want to be the older guy that holds Lance back from pursuing his dreams.  Fortunately, Lance has his shit together and realizes he can pursue more than one dream at a time.  Now he just needs to convince Chris.

Burnt Toast B & B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz

So I picked this up on a whim when it was on a sale.  The humorous title was a total draw for me.  What I didn't expect was a beautiful and romantic story between a gay man afraid of getting close to anyone because he might lose them and a transgender man that has yet to find anyone that completely accepts him for who he is.  Belleau and Haimowitz's empathy and accuracy when it came to writing these two characters was nothing short of amazing.  I look forward to checking out more of their books in the future.

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

I don't think Katie McGarry can write a bad book.  It just isn't in her.  And after meeting her a few months ago, I have a new appreciation for her dedication and attention to detail.  Spending a month with members of a motorcycle club gave her a level of insight that produced a book that is fascinating and romantic but not always attractive.  If you are looking for some angst with certain style of grit and honesty, definitely pick this one up.

Undressed by Shannon Richard

This is one of my favorites in the Country Roads series.  It's super sexy and lots of fun.  It hits the ground running with an unbelievably hot opening scene and it never loses its momentum.   Of course, there was just enough angst to make me happy and more than enough fun and hockey hotness to make non-angst lovers happy too.

No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

This is a story of a teen girl that is desparately grappling with the knowledge that her father's faith in a scheister televangelist and her mother's unhealthy desire to please her husband has led to them living in a van with no income and has put their family in a situation from which they might never recover.  She and her brother independently seek comfort and seek a way to escape the hopeless situation their parents have put them in.  Definitely not a happy book but it certainly is a book that I think a lot of people can relate to in one way or another.

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