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Due to our jobs, Mad and I have had to stop reviewing to avoid a conflict of interest but we are missing the reviews and great book talks that spin out from them. So we’ve decided to expand the Novel Thoughts team!

We are looking for reviewers to give their honest thoughts on the books they’ve read. These books can be ones you’ve purchased, borrowed, received from NetGalley, etc. We are not necessarily looking for “professional” reviewers. If you’ve never had a review on a blog, that’s okay. And if you are all ready a part of a blog and want to guest here occasionally, you’re more than welcome too. There is no obligation for a set amount of reviews to do.

Reviewers must be 18 years of age or older. We also require the reviewer not to have a professional relationship with the author of the book they are reviewing. That includes beta readers, assistants, street team members, etc. That conflict of interest thing I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that. We want readers of this blog to trust the honesty of our reviews and those relationships cast doubt.

If you are interested in being a guest reviewer please email us at lillie80@gmail.com or mad@romancereaderatheart.com (or both! cc is a great thing 😀 ) and include a few links to reviews you have done.

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First I must say thank you to Bree and TV tropes. Without Bree this post would have been titled The Kinda Sorta Bad Guy With The Soft Underbelly. The current title is so much better 😀

Many of my favorite books have fantastic ensemble casts and not just throw-away secondary characters that are only there to prop up the protagonist. And my favorite type of character in that ensemble is the Even Evil Has Loved Ones. These are not good guys. Not even close. Some of their actions are nothing short of evil. But they have a soft spot, a vulnerability. And we as readers only get to see that vulnerability when it comes to that one special person.

My favorite non-protagonist character right now is Theo from Lauren Dane’s Rowan Summerwaite series. He is The First, a centuries-old vampire, the leader of the Vampire Nation, and is, at times, bat-shit crazy. Even at his most sane, the choices he goddesswithablademakes are cold, violent, and what many would consider horrible. And he is Rowan’s foster father. He has raised her since she was an infant and she is the daughter of his heart. Yet some of his treatment toward her during childhood is beyond a doubt horrendous. But as this series progresses we see the love he has for Rowan. He is softer with her, more human, though she still has to be careful when dealing with this ancient being.

Without giving spoilers, I can only say we see why Rowan had the childhood she did with Theo. It wasn’t evilness or madness. It was done with Rowan’s best interests at heart. It was still horrible, it doesn’t change Rowan’s nightmares, but that glimpse into this complex character is wonderful. Regardless of his past actions, and current actions with others, Theo’s love for Rowan is true. And it leaves her with a very real terror of what will happen to the world should something happen to her. Her love is the only leash for a being that could drown the world in blood.

Another author who excels at writing the Even Evil Has Loved Ones characters is Nalini Singh. SlavetoSensationWhen we first met Nikita Duncan in Slave to Sensation, she was a stone-cold killer with no conscience. Whatever kept Nikita at the top was all that mattered and anything or anyone that got in her way was disposable. Or so it seemed. The more we see of Nikita, the more we realize she has layers and somewhere in that icy heart is a soft spot for her only child. She’s still a bitch. She may still do horrible things but she will defend that soft spot with a viciousness that is frightening.

Singh’s The Ghost (trying to avoid spoilers!) is a character that kisses the line between Even Evil Has Loved Ones and the Anti-Hero. Like the previously mentioned characters, he’s done some bad, bad things. And he did them without remorse. Unlike the previous characters, he has found his HEA and that heroine, and only that heroine, pushed him out of the “evil” category into the anti-hero one. His actions are no longer dictated by what’s best for him but what’s best for his lady.

These are the characters I love. Their complexity draws me in and keeps me fully engaged. I want to hate them, I should hate them and fear what they will do to the fictional world I’m visiting, but they add so much to that world. And I want to read more of them.

What about you? Do you enjoy these type of characters? And can you recommend any books with them? I can’t recall finding any outside of paranormal romance or urban fantasy but I would love to read them

 

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The wolfie read along continues with one of my favorite scene from Wolf Games, book 3 in the series. Maggie’s inner wolf is ready to play with her mate and it really doesn’t care what Maggie has to say about it, as becomes clear when Maggie talks to Missy. 😀

 

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Excerpt:

“You really are a beach ball.”

“Shut up. Wait until you meet your mate and get pregnant. You’re not much taller than me. There’s nowhere for the baby to go but out, and this time with two of them…” Missy paused, then narrowed her eyes. Maggie felt her face heat up. “Crap, you’ve met your mate. Haven’t you?”

Maggie leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. “Anyone ever tell you it’s damn hard to have a conversation with you when you seem to know everything, about everybody, before they tell you? It was bad enough when we were young, but since you’ve accepted you’re an Omega, it’s gotten ridiculous.”

Missy snorted. “It’s worse than you think. With Tad being an Omega too, we occasionally have really freaky conversations. Quit stalling. Who is it?”

Maggie stared out the window. “I’m not ready for a mate.”

“Who is it?” Missy rubbed her hands together with glee. “Someone in Vancouver? Why didn’t he come with you? Or is he making arrangements to move north too?”

Maggie stood and wandered away a few steps. She didn’t need this. Not now. Did Missy not realize how difficult it was to be surrounded by wolves again for the first time in years? Had she forgotten what it was like to be truly afraid? The only reason Maggie had maintained any contact with their old pack was to keep in touch with Missy. As soon as Missy had mated with Tad, Maggie instantly severed all final ties with Whistler.

Her sister wouldn’t drop the topic. “You met him in Whitehorse? Mags, you do realize this might be the solution to your problem.”

Yeah, right. “Didn’t you listen to me? I don’t want to be tied to a mate. I’m still wondering if I made the right decision to come and be with your pack.” She looked down at her sister. “How can you be so comfortable around all these wolves? After everything they did to you? All those years of your life wasted because our Alpha—”

“Oh, honey, I’ve told you this so many times over the past two years. These wolves have been nothing but kind to me. Our Alpha wasn’t an Alpha—not in the truest sense of the word. Tad is more than twice the man my first husband ever was. I’m happy now, Mags, really I am. Yeah, it was a rotten situation, and I didn’t deserve to be treated like that, but I’ve moved on. Isn’t it time you did the same?”

The only person in the world Maggie knew who had gone through more hell than she had sat before her, huge with her second and third children. Living with a man she trusted, who went out of his way to make her smile.

Was it really possible to leave the past behind?

“Maggie. Tell me. Please.”

It was impossible to resist her.

“Erik.” Maggie squeezed her eyes tight as her body reacted to even saying his name. Her wolf woke again, this time with a slow and sensuous stretch itching up her spine. She hadn’t felt that sensation in years.

Complete and utter silence greeted her announcement. She poked open an eye to see Missy sitting with her mouth gaping open. “What?”

Missy giggled naughtily. “You don’t want to know.”

“Bullshit. You made me tell you who it is, now spill. Do you not trust him?”

Her sister gasped. “Not trust Erik? The Friendly Giant? Girl, there is no one I trust more, except Tad and my Alpha. I was just imagining…umm…the two of you together. That’s all.”

Oh God. Not what she needed right now. “Great. I tell you I found my mate and the first thing that jumps to your mind is how we’re going to manage sex. You’re such a bitch.”

They both laughed. “Yeah, well, sex is kinda up there on my ‘things to think about’ list these days since I’m not getting much.”

Maggie rolled her eyes. “Enough. I haven’t accepted the mating yet. I need to figure other things out first.”

Missy lifted her belly with her hands and wiggled to the front of her chair. “What you’re not taking into consideration is with Erik as your mate, he’ll help you figure those things out. You need help, and he’s the one able to give it. You need to trust him.”

“Stop being a bloody oracle.”

“I’m not being an oracle, I’m being an Omega. More importantly, I’m being your sister and I only want the best for you. Why are you fighting it so hard? Erik is a good man, and he’s gorgeous. If I wasn’t mated I’d be interested in a roll in the hay with him.”

A low growl burst from Maggie. She froze in shock.

“Oops, looks like your wolf isn’t as asleep as you thought.”

~~~*~~~*~~~

There is still time to join the read along and enter the giveaway for some awesome prizes! Just click the wolfie graphic on our right sidebar to find all the details. Happy reading! 😀

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The read along continues! Last week, Vivian Arend shared on her blog the first part of a scene where Tad, the hero of Wolf Flight, learns about wolves. We have the second part today! And it involves TJ, my favorite wolfie 😀

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“TJ, why are you hiding by the storage shed?” Tad had wandered the entire camp to find the boy.

“Because I can’t hide in the cabin and if I hide on the dock, well, duh, people will see me.”

Tad shook his head in disbelief. “Are you insane? Are you going out of your way to piss your brother off? I thought you had to make lunch or something.”

TJ leant on the barrels stacked behind him. Large plastic containers with a tight seal to keep bears out of the supplies stood in a neat line along the side wall of the storage shed. “Oh, I already made lunch. It’s on the table.” He took a cautious look around before he confided, “Actually, Mom made lunch at home and I just unwrapped it. Don’t tell Keil, I hope to gain some brownie points here.”

“You’re a menace to yourself, aren’t you?”

“Klutz of the first water, that’s me. Only I do have my redeeming qualities. I’m very well read, I have excellent dental hygiene, and I never fart in public unless I mean it.”

Tad stared around the mountainside with delight as TJ rambled on. What a beautiful place to bring clients to canoe and fish and—

“Shit!”

Tad glanced back to see the boy nudge one of the barrels out of line with its partners.

“Careful, TJ.”

TJ shifted his body weight to the side to avoid the barrel on his right. That put him into contact with the one on the left, and it slid off its base, wiggled a few times and fell in a direct path toward TJ. The entire wall of barrels collapsed in chaotic fashion, coming to land in a haphazard pile, the loud crash echoing through the air.

Frantic with concern, Tad raced to where TJ was buried to pull him out. “Keil, Erik, help!” He spotted TJ’s boot emerging from under the mess. Several of the barrels landed propped on each other, forming a pocket of space. With some luck TJ wouldn’t be crushed beneath the heavy load. “Hang on, TJ, we’ll get you out of there.”

Tad gave a gentle tug on the boot, to see if it might be possible…and then he wasn’t sure what he had planned to do. Because the boot came loose in his hand, a plain white sock clinging to the inside.

“What the—?”

The barrels rocked, and Tad stepped back for a second. Heavy footsteps approached, and he had just turned back to the pile when he heard it.

A long drawn out wolf call that came from under the barrels.

Tad spun as Keil rushed up behind him.

“Where’s TJ, as if I don’t already know the answer?” Tad pointed, and Keil cursed. “Shoot. I guess you’re in for a little surprise.”

Another howl rose on the air, and Tad shivered. “Keil, if we pull the top barrel—”

“It’s okay, Tad, give me a minute here.” Keil stomped around to the backside of the pile and shoved hard. The rest of the pile shifted, and Tad tripped over his own feet in an attempt to reach safety and still keep his gaze on Keil.

A large shape slipped past the barrel beside Keil.

It was a silver-grey timber wolf.

“Holy shit!” In a flash, Tad scrambled to his feet and fled from the wolf to the safety of the shed door.

Keil came toward him, slow and peaceful, hands up, open palms, “Hey, it’s okay, Tad. Relax.”

Tad fumbled with his belt, drew out his hunting blade and held it between them. “Relax? Shit, shit… no fucking way. What the hell is going on, Keil? Where’s TJ?”

“Tad. Put the knife away. TJ’s fine, he’s right there behind the shed.”

Tad flicked a glance sideways then aimed the knife straight at Keil.

“He’s a fucking wolf?”

Keil took a step back and crossed his arms. “Tad, will you put the damn knife away so I can talk to you?”

“Not bloody likely.”

“Tad, I’m warning you.”

“No.”

Keil reached under his padded vest and pulled out a handgun. Without a word he adjusted his stance and aimed it at Tad.

They stood motionless, the sound of spring songbirds obscenely loud in the air around them, until Tad stood down and sheathed his knife.

“Damn American gun laws.”

Keil shrugged as he slipped away his pistol. “I’ve got a permit. I can’t help it if you Canadians are too polite to carry.”

“I have a shotgun in the plane.”

“And I’m sure it’ll come in real handy when the bears try to climb in for a free ride.” He turned back to the storage area. “TJ,” he called, “Get your furry ass out here now!”

The large silver grey wolf slunk around the corner, head dropped. Keil motioned for Tad to join him.

“I’d say all the usual things like he’s not going to hurt you and don’t panic, but saying it won’t make this any easier.” He pointed at the wolf where it sat on its haunches in front of them. “Tad, you’ve met TJ, otherwise known as Mr. Disaster. You may as well get a proper look.

“Shift, TJ.”

Tad swung his head back to stare at, well, it had to be TJ. The wolf regarded him with bright eyes. Tad’s vision blurred, and instead of a large lupine the tall youth sat buck-naked on the ground.

“I don’t suppose you could have waited to ask me to shift until I was somewhere near clean clothes, hmmm?” TJ complained. Keil glared at him, and TJ shut his mouth tight, biting his bottom lip hard. Keil lifted one hand, pointed toward the cabin, and for the second time in an hour TJ sprinted away from them.

Of course, this time he was naked, but Tad was trying real hard not to notice.

“Well, sorry for the sudden introduction to our reality, but… hey, here we are.” Keil said in a calm, quiet voice.

“I’m actually in a coma somewhere, right? This is a dream, and I’ve got some freaky obsession with seeing TJ’s ass.”

Keil snorted. “I hope not. His ass is too young for you, even if you swing that way, which I don’t think you do. Come on, I think you could use a little shot of bracer. We’ll have some lunch, answer your questions, and it’ll work out fine.”

Tad looked back over the lake again. Sun was still shining, sky was still bright. Only in the past five minutes the whole world flipped upside down. Strange how quick life could change.

 ~~~*~~~~*~~~

Remember, if you want to join the read along and be included for some cool prizes, click the wolfie graphic on our right sidebar. We’ll be back in a few days for a look at Wolf Games, book 3 in the Granite Lake Wolves series by Vivian Arend.

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I REGRET NOTHING! - lolcats.com

I’ve been reading romance almost exclusively for over twenty years. It’s my genre of choice, it makes me happy, and it’s never been a “guilty pleasure.”  I love it and I get as excited to talk about romances as I do about reading them. Which makes twitter one of my favorite places. I follow authors, editors, and other readers who share my addiction. While there, I’ve noticed I’m rarely in the majority of tweeters on what’s popular or what are big pet peeves in the genre. This doesn’t bother me because variety is a fabulous thing and the romance genre is big enough that we can all find things we love but a thought occurred to me a few days ago : What if there was an author reading those twitter conversations that wanted to write or had already written a story packed full of what others dislike and decide to ditch it? What if it was a book I would LOVE? And since I’m more than a little selfish, that led to these confessions 😀

1.) I love the alpha billionaire hero. Love him. He can even be an ass but he has to be a redeemable ass. I do think the genre is over saturated with them right now and that makes finding the good ones a little more difficult but when I do, it is oh so sweet. I also like beta heroes. And blue collar heroes. Really, I like them all but the billionaires do hold a special place in my heart.

2.) I like the Mary Sues! Not in every book of course but sometimes they are exactly what I want to read. Lisa Marie Rice is a perfect example. Many times while reading her books, I expect the woodland creatures to materialize beside the heroine, dancing and braiding her hair. But they work for me and I don’t question the things that make me happy.

3.) I am a complete and total whore for the preggo heroine story. I’ve been known to purchase books without reading the blurb just because of the baby bump on the cover. So it will probably come as no surprise that I also like epilogues that have the heroine pregnant.  Before anyone yells at me, no I don’t think that every couple needs a child to be happy or fulfilled but it makes me happy to see the badass hero all mushy over the upcoming addition to the family.

4.) I see a lot of reviewers say they didn’t like a certain book because of how over the top it was. That’s actually a selling point for me. Nothing makes me happier than crazy over-the-topness. We’ve seen this go horribly wrong, like when Mad and I book dished Eye of the Storm by Monette Michaels but that’s a theme I will go back to and try time and again, hoping to find awesomeness.

5.) I hesitated to include this since this has been a lighter post and this is definitely on a more serious note but I felt it should be included. Dear Author has a post titled Realistic Depictions of Rape in Romance that has stuck with me all day. It’s well written and has left me very conflicted about my own opinions on the subject.

I think I’ve read just about every depiction of rape in romance. I read the rapist heroes of the 80s and celebrated when those became an endangered species. I’ve read the “magic penis cures all” and fumed. And I’ve read the ones where the heroine accepted help in her recovery and the hero was a fantastic support system. Some have made me sob and others have infuriated me. But through them all, none have been a trigger for me until I read Fault Lines by Rebecca Rogers Maher in the fall of 2012. I became physically ill while reading this book but I didn’t recognize what my body was telling me. I fell into a depression afterward that lasted for over two weeks and started having panic attacks again for the first time in 10 years. The nightmares lasted for months.

I shared this so I could say, for purely selfish reasons, that this reader doesn’t want that much realism in romance. There is definitely a place and a need for those books in this genre and if it helps even one person through the struggle, then that is fantastic but it’s not for me. I’ll stick with the ones that show the happiness and love that can come later. And now I know I have to be more cautious when reading this theme.

So there are my confessions. What themes or tropes do you love/hate that the majority seems to disagree with? Also, if you are a writer with an over the top alpha hero and a pregnant Mary Sue heroine, hook a girl up please. I will buy that thing so fast, heads will spin 😉

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As I mentioned last week, we are participating in Vivian Arend’s Read along with the Wolfies this month. Today I want to share one of my favorite excerpts from Wolf Signs, book 1 in the series.

This is the morning after Keil and TJ meet Robyn. Keil is trying to figure out a way to tell a deaf Robyn that not only is she a werewolf but that she is also his mate. As usual, TJ makes life a little complicated for his big brother.

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EXCERPT –

 

A chuckle from Robyn made them both turn and regard her with amazement.

“You can laugh?” TJ asked.

Her smile fell away and Keil swore inside. She wrote a fast note and disappeared out the door. He checked to make sure she was just headed for the outhouse before reading the message.

I’m deaf, not mute. Lost hearing as a child. Virus. I have an ugly voice. Two sugars, please.

TJ gave a soft whistle. “Man, oh man, is she going to be a handful. I’m glad she’s your mate and not mine. Did you two fuck—?”

Keil hit him. Not hard enough to do permanent damage but hard enough to make his eyes register the shock of it. After picking himself up off the floor, TJ carefully exposed his neck to his brother.

“You will use that brain of yours to remember to be polite when you speak to and of my mate. Understood?” Keil drawled the words as he poured the coffee and prepared Robyn’s cup for her. “Even though it’s none of your damn business if you were thinking straight you’d already know the answer. Use your bloody nose. No, we have not mated yet. Yet for some insane reason she let me kiss her and hold her, and while I’m pleased to report that yes, she’s officially my mate, I have no idea why she doesn’t seem to know a thing about wolves.”

He sat at the table. “So I don’t want you making any stupid remarks until we figure this out. Got it?”

TJ shrugged. “I’ll behave. I figure it might be kinda freaky to be told something like ‘Hey, didn’t you know you’re a werewolf and, oh, by the way, you’re my mate. Oh, and there’s going to be a challenge to the death next weekend for the leadership of our pack and I’m one of the headliners for the match.’ I think telling it all upfront might be the easiest way.” He turned back and flipped the ham. “Besides, there’s nowhere for her to run while we’re here. Gives you two time to work it out.”

For the second time in as many days, the door behind them slammed open and Robyn charged in, her face red and her eyes blazing. She glared back forth between the two of them, her nostrils flaring slightly.

For not knowing she was a wolf, she had the evil-eye thing down pretty good, Keil thought as a shiver ran down his spine. He watched TJ struggle to keep his feet.

She surprised them by speaking. Her voice was gravelly and harsh but very powerful. Keil had heard a few Alphas over the years and she ranked up there with the best of them.

“Who is my mate?”

Like a flash TJ pointed to Keil. “Crap, has she got my number. I hope she doesn’t tell me to go jump off a bridge or something because I—”

Robyn stormed up and grabbed the pad of paper. Keil read over her shoulder as she wrote.

If you don’t want to be overheard don’t talk where a lip reader can see you.

Werewolf?

Mate.

Challenge. To death.

What the HELL are you talking about?

She pulled away from the table but stopped to add, Where is my coffee? And it had better be strong.

~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~

I think Keil may be in trouble 😀  To join in with the read along and be entered in the giveaways, just click the wolfies graphic on our right side bar. We’ll be back in a few days with a look at Wolf Flight, book 2 in the Granite Lake Wolves series. Happy reading!

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The release date for WOLF NIP , book 6 in the Granite Lake Wolves series, is fast approaching and Vivian Arend has set up a re-read for those who would like to revisit the pack before Tessa and Mark’s story is here. There will be prizes involved, too! Click the link below to read about all the fun.

http://www.vivianarend.com/2013/01/read-along-with-the-wolfies/

We’ll be participating in the read along as well and posting favorite excerpts or quotes as we go.

Granite Lake Wolves reading order:

Wolf Signs

Wolf Flight

Wolf Games

Wolf Tracks

Wolf Line

Wolf Nip (February 12, 2013)

We’ll be checking back in soon to share some of our favorite wolfie moments. I hope you’ll join us!

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Following Lillie’s example…here’s my life according to the books I read in 2012. 🙂

Describe yourself: 
An Ordinary Girl by Barbara Elsberg

How do you feel: 
The Black Sheep by Susan Fox
 

Describe where you currently live: The Comforts of Home by Jodi Thomas


If you could go anywhere, where would you go: 
Visiting Paradise by Jess Dee

Your favorite form of transportation:
 Have nothing for this one….
 

Your best friend is:
 Cherished by Maya Banks & Lauren Dane
 
You and your friends are: 
Good At Being Bad by Cathryn Fox
 

What’s the weather like: 
Winter Destiny by Grace Green
 
What is life to you: 
Master Class by Cassandra Carr
 
Favorite time of day: 
Nightfire by Lisa Marie Rice
 

Your fear: 
Out of the Dark by Megan Hart
 

What is the best advice you have to give: Taking A Shot by Jaci Burton
 

Thought for the day: And She Was by Alison Gaylin
 

How I would like to die: 
Defying The Odds by Kele Moon
 

My soul’s present condition: Fury of Fire by Coreene Callahan

Will do a more detailed Year in Review post later…have finally been able to read books so I’m trying to get as many read in the next couple days as I can. 🙂

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I found this meme over at Book Binge and it looked like fun!

Here are the rules:
To play along, use only titles of books that you read this year (2012) and complete the prompts below.

Try not to repeat any book titles. Think creatively and have fun!

 

My Life According to the Books I Read in 2012:

Describe yourself:
Tart by Lauren Dane

How do you feel:
Down For The Count by Christine Bell

 
Describe where you currently live:
Southern Comfort by Mari Carr and Jayne Rylon

 
If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

 
Your favorite form of transportation:
Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley

 
Your best friend is:
A Rare Gift by Jaci Burton

 
You and your friends are:
Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha

 
What’s the weather like:
Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan

 
What is life to you:
Sweet as Sin by Inez Kelley

 
Favorite time of day:
Night Whispers by Alisha Rai

 
Your fear:
Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston

 
What is the best advice you have to give:
Believe in Magic by Cait Miller

 
Thought for the day:
Breathe by Kristen Ashley

 
How I would like to die:
Pure Bliss by Sophie Oak

 
My soul’s present condition:
Shades of Gray by Maya Banks

 

There’s my life according to the books I read in 2012! I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty happy with it 😀

 

 

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Moonglow

I read the first book in the Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan earlier in the year and really enjoyed it. Then I won an ARC of MOONGLOW. Holy smokes, I was in love. Dark and angsty, I loved the hero and heroine equally. Callihan’s writing style is so lush, I felt like I was right there for every moment of the story. Not only is MOONGLOW one of my favorite books of 2012, Kristen Callihan is my favorite new author of the year. (My review)

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I’ve been a fan of this series for a while. Vivian Arend’s cowboys are always fun and sexy but ROCKY MOUNTAIN ANGEL was extra special for me. Gabe has been the caregiver of the bunch. Not as wild as his cousins, always stepping in to clean up their messes, he never had the limelight and had a habit of always putting others first. I loved seeing him find a heroine who made Gabe her priority and gave him the HEA he deserved.

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When a book can make me reach for ice water, sob like a baby, give happy sighs, and email friends with “Read it! OMG, the ending! READ!” all within 30 minutes, I have to put it on the list. The Fallen series as a whole is pretty awesome but ANGEL IN CHAINS by Cynthia Eden was amazing. (My review)

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If I had a checklist of all my favorite things in romance novels, THE VIRGIN’S REVENGE by Dee Tenorio hits almost every one of them.  A geeky hero in love with his best friend’s little sister (who’s just a wee bit bitchy), all set in a small town that I’ve come to love. It’s pretty much my perfect book. It was such a joy to read! Plus it gave me Locke, the heroine’s big brother. I’ve developed a bigger crush on this fictional character than I have anyone in real life. So when Locke’s book comes out, just remember that I claimed him first. He’s all mine 😉

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Dystopian romance? My first thought was “No, thank you. I don’t read that genre.” Then I got an early look at BEYOND SHAME by Kit Rocha and I couldn’t shut up about it. Apparently I DO read dystopian romance and I love it! Dark, gritty, unique, and oh so dirty, this was my most surprising love of 2012. Book two can’t get here soon enough for me.

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I think I should just give in and crown Shannon Stacey the queen of contemporary novellas. I normally prefer longer books but Shannon’s novellas just work for me and SLOW SUMMER KISSES was no exception to that. With perfect pacing, I never felt the book was rushed or missing something. Pure entertainment from the first page, I’ve reread this numerous times this year. (My review)

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I read CHAOS BURNING by Lauren Dane for the first time in May and I am still thinking about this book. It’s edgy, risky, and it taught me an important lesson. Expected the unexpected from Lauren Dane. I’ve read all her books and thought I had a grasp on what to expect but I never saw this one coming. (My review)

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NEVER SEDUCE A SCOT by Maya Banks has already become a comfort read for me. It’s one of those books that just make me happy. Eveline’s inner strength caught me from the beginning and Graeme is a strong, tender hero that always makes me sigh. This is the type of book that made me fall in love with romance so many years ago.

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What can I really say about ORACLE’S MOON by Thea Harrison? I poured out my love for Khalil in my review. I still can’t see others mention this book without sighing his name like breathless schoolgirl. Really, this level of love for a fictional character is a little embarrassing. (My review)

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I don’t like sports, barely know what a touchdown is, yet I’ve become addicted to the Play-by-Play series by Jaci Burton. I’ve enjoyed them all but PLAYING TO WIN is my favorite so far. I loved seeing Cole’s redemption and watching him prove to Savannah that he could be what she needed.

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This is the book I was waiting for. The anticipation for ROGUE RIDER by Larissa Ione has been building for 4 books and it was worth every second of the wait. Respeth was possibly the baddest bad boy the romance genre has seen and he earned his HEA. And the big reveal toward the end? Totally worth it!

 

Honorable Mentions

The next two books couldn’t be put on my list because I stuck with books published in 2012 and these will not be officially out until 2013 but they deserve to be here.

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HIGH RISK is the debut book in Vivian Arend’s Adrenaline series. It has all the sexiness and fun I’ve come to expect from Vivian but it also has a deeper emotional side as the beautifully flawed hero and heroine work together to overcome emotional trauma and find love.

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SHADES OF GRAY will be out in a few days and it is my favorite book by Maya Banks. It’s not an easy read and I needed a box of tissues to get through it. It broke my heart and then gave me an ending that healed it. The commitment of the KGI family shined in this book and PJ may be my favorite heroine ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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