I’ve read almost a hundred books this year and I loved many of them. There were many sleepless nights, tears, laughter but also shouts of frustration, anger and sadness.
My Top Ten:
'Shatter Me' by Tahereh Mafi
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
'Pretty Reckless' by Jodi Linton
Welcome to Pistol Rock, Texas where everyone knows secrets last about as long as the sporadic west Texas rain showers.
Laney Briggs has long been considered reckless by the denizens of her hometown, but she’s finally turned it all around—she’s happily engaged to the local veterinarian and she’s become a Pistol Rock deputy sheriff. Everything’s fine and dandy—until a dead body turns up and her ex, Texas Ranger Gunner Wilson, decides to stick his boots into the town’s first murder case.
Of course, the troublesome cowboy’s rugged good looks and T-shirt-straining muscles are already leaving Laney knee-deep in hot water, but she’ll be damned if she lets Gunner trample all over her turf. She’s decided that, instead of conflict, she wants a contented, steady life with her vet—a life in which Gunner Wilson and his seemingly endless ability to undermine her resolve and her libido plays no part. Still, it’s hard to keep her head as forbidden sparks ignite and suspicions arise between old rivals and old flames. And when the bodies start to pile up, Laney has to ask the lethal bad boy for a hand—and a truce in exchange for his help.
But after uncovering the pack of lies surrounding not only her job but her heart… Having an ex-boyfriend as an ally might not be the best idea, but it’s certainly the most reckless, and Laney has always been pretty reckless…
'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak
(Read May 29 to June 07 2014)
So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.
'I grew up with stories about the second World War but reading this book it made me only realize more how hard it must be to life in that time. And how scared people must have been.'
'Rival' by Penelope Douglas
Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war . . .
For the three years she's been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night.
I was stupid then, but now I'm ready to beat her at her own game . . .
Three years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he's better than me.
But I won't be scared away. Or pushed down. I'll call his bluff and fight back. That's what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he'll never know how much he affects me . . .
'I loved the way Penelope Douglas wrote the story and how this book pulled you in immediately.'
(Read August 27 to 30 2014)
'Rules of Protection' by Alison Bliss
'Rules of Protection' by Alison Bliss
It’s rule breaker Emily Foster's birthday, and like everyone at The Jungle Room, she just wants to get some action. Unfortunately, she stumbles on the wrong kind, witnessing a mob hit. To protect her, she's entered into the Witness Protection Program with by-the-book Special Agent Jake Ward as her chaperone.
When the location of their safe house is compromised, Jake stashes Emily deep in the Texas backwoods. The city-girl might be safe from the Mafia, but she has to contend with a psychotic rooster, a narcoleptic dog, crazy cowboys, and the danger of losing her heart to the one man she can’t have.
Jake's as hot as he is infuriating, and she can't help but push all his buttons to loosen him up. Their mutual, sizzling sexual attraction poses a dilemma: Jake's determined to keep her safe and out of the wrong hands; she's determined to get into the right ones—his.
‘This book needs to be on a bestseller list because it really is that good. I just really want to read it again!’
'Dark Witch' by Nora Roberts
County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits.
Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.
When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horseman, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package.
Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…
‘Nora Roberts did an amazing job in writing about Iona’s ramblings. Those parts really made me laugh.’
'His Wicked Seduction' by Lauren Smith
Lucien, Marquess of Rochester, has deliberately nurtured a reputation for debauchery that makes every matchmaking mother of the ton quake with fear. His one secret: he is torn between soul-ripping lust for Horatia, and the loyalty he owes her brother.
That loyalty is put to the test when an old enemy of the League threatens Horatia’s life. With Christmas drawing near, he sweeps her away to his country estate, where he can’t resist granting her one wish—to share his bed and his heart.
But sinister forces are lurking, awaiting the perfect moment to exact their revenge by destroying not only whatever happiness Lucien might find in Horatia’s arms, but the lives of those they love.
‘The writing in this book was yet again very addicting, seducing but also really funny at times.’
'The Next Breath' by Laurel Osterkamp
(Read November 12 to 18 2014)
I kiss him, choosing love over honesty, which is a choice nobody should ever have to make…"
Robin loves sweet, responsible Nick, with his penchant for Beethoven and Ben Folds Five. But she also still loves her college boyfriend Jed, an irreverent playwright plagued with cystic fibrosis. Now Robin is struggling to reveal her secrets and confront her past, as she finally performs in the play that Jed wrote for her, eleven years ago. Will Robin have the strength to keep her promise and stay true to her heart?
Alternating between present-day scenes, college flashbacks, and segments from Jed’s play, this tear-jerking yet uplifting tale illustrates how life is finite but love is infinite, and the road to recovery begins with the next breath.
‘Laurel Osterkamp was completely able to make me feel the emotions Robin was going through. I even cried at some of the moments in this book. This book made me feel so many different things and I really loved every part of it.’
'Lichgates' by S.M. Boyce
The final page will leave you breathless.
Kara needs an ally, or she might not survive Ourea's monsters. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn't know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.
For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this stranded girl, there's something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire. Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.
‘Lichgates’ is a very original story about a young woman lost in a fantasy world filled with dragons, shapeshifters, muses and many other creatures. S.M. Bryce created a totally different world and was able to completely pull me into Kara’s story.’
'Henge' by Realm Lovejoy
(Read December 10 to 14 2014)
Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to be trusted.
Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will. Her dream is to become the Maven—the right hand of the future King Arthur. In the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.
Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user, takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see her fail.
‘This book is definitely a must read for every fantasy, magic and Arthurian legend lover out there. This book will blow your mind.’