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Best Books of the Year (So Far): Part 1

So, I’ve read a lot of books this year. More so than most. My Goodreads Challenge is sitting at 167 books (as of the end of this week), so I feel it’s time to venture into my yearly list of the best books I’ve read so far. They are all 5 star ratings.

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35483198

Blurb

During the rise of Nazi Germany, Hagen Messer joins the Royal Air Force as an American soldier who specializes in tracking. He’s attached to British commandos and given a seemingly simple mission—to find a captive and destroy a dam—but everything goes awry. Hagen’s plane crashes into Germany’s Wehr Forest and he has to use his extrasensory abilities to track the captive to nearby Wehr Wolff Castle, a secret Nazi base where vile experiments are being conducted.

Hagen and his surviving team members must sneak into the castle and devise a way to destroy the experimental labs creating diabolical creatures. Hagen is horrified to find Nazis and scientists with no scruples, and at the most inconvenient time, he learns that he may be in love with one of his teammates, an Irishman named Liam. In order to protect his love and his friends, Hagen must feign nonchalance amidst pure degeneracy and suspicion. Hagen soon discovers, though, that he is in over his head.

What may not only redeem him, but also save his lover and friends, is a childhood past and a darkness lurking deep inside him, just waiting to be engaged.

Review

Wow! This was incredible!

For me, reading this was like watching an old classic war movie, with a supernatural twist. Which, I know, never existed, but it should. This would make a fantastic movie!

When it comes to the writing style, it’s perfect for me.

I loved the characters. Hagen was the perfect character to have his POV, allowing us to see all the important events and how they affect him throughout the adventures these guys go through.

Overall, I could gush about this book all day and back again. But, I won’t. Just go read it. You won’t be sorry. Between the world building, the characterisation, the pace and uniqueness of the plot and the attention to detail, to the ending and that Epilogue…it was perfection. Everything I could have hoped for and wanted when I started reading it.

I can’t wait to read more!

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34659796

Blurb

After twenty years as an enforcer for the Vice family mob, Nicholas Pierce shouldn’t bat an eye at seeing a guy get worked over and tossed in the river. But there’s something about the suspected police mole, Miles, that has Pierce second-guessing himself. The kid is just trying to look out for his brother any way he knows how, and the altruistic motive sparks an uncharacteristic act of mercy that involves Pierce taking Miles under his wing.

Miles wants to repay Pierce for saving his life. Pierce shouldn’t see him as anything but a convenient hookup… and he sure as hell shouldn’t get involved in Miles’s doomed quest to get his brother out of a rival street gang. He shouldn’t do a lot of things, but life on the streets isn’t about following the rules. Besides, he’s sick of being abused by the Vice family, especially Mr. Vice and his power-hungry goon of a son, who treats his underlings like playthings.

So Pierce does the absolute last thing he should do if he wants to keep breathing—he leaves the Vice family in the middle of a turf war.

Review

Wow, that was one explosive, original take on the mafia sub-genre.

With an intriguing start, I was hooked from page one and drawn into this world of vice, guns, crime and mafioso.

To say the characterisation was good would be like saying I love reading. It’s a gross understatement.

Overall, I loved every inch of it. It was gritty, tough and serious at times, but with lighthearted moments in between. I can’t wait to read the next book! My fingers are itching for it already.

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34808048

Blurb

Temp worker David Evans has been dreaming of Dr. Alun Kendrick ever since that one transcription job for him, because holy cats, that voice. Swoon. So when his agency offers him a position as Dr. Kendrick’s temporary office manager, David neglects to mention that he’s been permanently banished from offices. Because, forgiveness? Way easier than permission.

Alun Kendrick, former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court, takes his job as a psychologist for Portland’s supernatural population extremely seriously. Secrecy is paramount: no non-supe can know of their existence. So when a gods-bedamned human shows up to replace his office manager, he intends to send the man packing. It shouldn’t be difficult—in the two hundred years since he was cursed, no human has ever failed to run screaming from his hideous face.

But cheeky David isn’t intimidated, and despite himself, Alun is drawn to David in a way that can only spell disaster: when fae consort with humans, it never ends well. And if the human has secrets of his own? The disaster might be greater than either of them could ever imagine.

Review

This story was everything I’d hoped for and expected, when I first read the blurb.

I loved the diversity of the cast. The chemistry between these two was brilliant!

I loved that we got to know and learn about Alun’s patients – or clients – and that they began to feel like real friends to David, while providing a good progression of plot and a great ending.

Overall, I could probably gush all day. From the world building, attention to detail, characterisation, chemistry, variety to allowing us to see equal parts of the Faerie world and the Outer World, it couldn’t have been better.

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35222415

Blurb

Confident businessman Joel Rhodes sees the small California town of Lavender Shores as nothing more than a business opportunity and a final stepping stone to the position he’s been working toward his entire life. It was supposed to be just one night in town to close the deal, and sleeping with one of the local men, no matter how gorgeous, meant nothing more than a few hours of fun.
Andrew Kelly is perfectly content with the life he has in his hometown. So much so that the only thing missing is someone to share it with. Going to bed with a tourist was never meant to be the answer to his dreams, just a beautiful distraction. He could get back to looking for Mr. Right the next day.
Both Andrew’s and Joel’s worlds are turned upside down when a few hours of pleasure get extended to a couple of days. Even that shouldn’t have been a big deal. You can’t fall in love in that amount of time. That isn’t how it works. However, if destinies collide, a few short days may be all it takes to find your soul mate. Even so, when secrets and motivations get tangled, fate may do nothing more than leave two hearts in pieces.

Review

Rosalind Abel owes me a box of tissues. I swear, I felt like I cried from beginning to end and I’m still teary eyed now, straight after finishing it.

I was dragged, hook, line and sinker into the story from the first line right until the last and I had no chance of escape.

I just love the way that the whole town of Lavender Shores is LGBT orientated. Not just friendly, but completely rooted in being there for any and all LGBT people who need it, as are their long standing, straight-as-an-arrow and not-so-straight residents.

As for the cast? I fell in love. With Lavender Shores, with the people there, with the two MC’s and everyone we met!

I could prattle on and on about the chemistry between the characters, the brilliantly orchestrated plot and how, even though I knew the final fall had to happen, I was still shocked, crying and gutted when it did. I could tell you that I was surprised, that I fell in love, that I grieved, that I broke and it wouldn’t make a difference. Not until you read it yourself. Because, quite honestly, I spent 50% of this book smiling so much it made my face hurt, while I spent the other 50% crying. This is a kick-your-feet, blush-while-giggling, I-promise-to-ship-Andrew-and-Joel-until-the-day-I-die kind of read. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll be all the better for it, because this is one story – one couple and one series – you don’t want to miss.

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32592157

Blurb

When his sister reneges on her engagement to Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, actor Sebastian Hewel must play his most difficult role yet: impersonating his sister in order to restore the family name and pay off his father’s debt, inThe Actor and the Earl. But Anthony is shrewder than the siblings had guessed, and now Sebastian and Anthony have to decide how far they’re willing to play this part. InDuty to the Crown, Sebastian is happily playing the part of his sister Bronwyn, wife to the Earl of Redbourn, when the Queen asks Anthony to seduce Marie Valois to find out information about her father. With Marie and her brother, Lord Nicholas, both interested in seducing Sebastian, Anthony and Sebastian both have delicate roles to play if they’re to keep their secret. InForever Hold His Peace, Sebastian’s role as “Bronwyn” becomes more precarious when she is accused of witchcraft with planted evidence. Together, Anthony and Sebastian must decide if it’s time for Bronwyn to retire her place to protect their love. Over four centuries later, inSaving Crofton Hall, the current Earl of Crofton, Benjamin Redbourn, is not going to lose Crofton Hall without a fight. Ashley Niven is the perfect man to help make Crofton Hall pay for itself, if Benjamin and Ashley can get past their attraction to each other, and if the secrets that the house is hiding doesn’t destroy them first.

Review

The historical accuracy was incredible. Not only through the clothing, style and the social engagements required of someone close to the Court, but in the concern over a gay relationship, the slightly skeezy bars and gambling halls that kept a tight lip about whatever went on inside, even Sebastian being mistaken for a prostitute was so well handled and historically accurate. There wasn’t one single detail that wasn’t properly explored and thought through.

 Wow!
This was a fantastic, charming story that really lifted me reading-mood, after a few bad reads.
I loved the progression of the story, how naturally Anthony and Sebastian fit together, even before they knew each other. But I also loved that it wasn’t all smooth sailing, either. That Anthony had a son, a dead wife, a reputation and a whole lot of baggage as well as a real, valid need for a new wife, that the Queen had encouraged. On the flip side, Sebastian has nothing – no baggage, no scandals, no rumours haunting him, except those about his dead father.

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34865436

Blurb

The sea is full of jealously guarded secrets, but everything washes up eventually….

Betrayed by a trusted partner, Nathan figures he might as well be lost and heartbroken in the sunshine, and he heads to the coast of South Carolina, to stay with a friend and find a new direction for his life. But despite his efforts, he is lost in the fog, unable to find a guiding light and sometimes unable to find a reason to go on. His only respite from depression and anxiety is the soothing rhythm of the tides and the comfort he draws from proximity to the water.

When the sea sends a lifeline in the form of a strange and beautiful man, it’s easy for Nathan to ignore all the things that don’t add up about his new friend. But the tides can turn without notice, and it’s those mystical traits that will either finally lead Nathan safely to shore or drown him in confusion and despair.

Review

Wow! Beautiful. Original. Captivating. Perfect. Satisfying. I could write my whole review just in a list of words that would sum up how this made me feel and all that it was.

To start with, the Prologue was so touching.

The world-building and attention to detail was spectacular. Truly amazing.

When it comes to characters, there wasn’t anyone I didn’t love.

This will be a re-read whenever I need a pick-me-up. Whenever I need to cry or smile or just feel the wonders of the written word, this will be the one I pick up to wash me away into a place of peace and serenity. Stunning.

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