This past year was a slow one for reading for me. I didn’t get to nearly as many books as I did in 2013 and the ones I did read weren’t as good as I would have liked. I guess some years are odd that way. I ended 2014 thinking I didn’t have any gems to mine for a “best of” post, but luckily I took a look back and was reminded that I really did read some books worth sharing in 2014.
All Broke Down by Cora Carmack – I shared this one in our collective post for our favorite books of the last year. If I am being honest, it probably wasn’t my favorite, but I had read it more recently than its competitors so it was fresher in my mind. That said, I do think this is a truly steamy read that is worth your time. I adored the male lead, Silas Moore. He is the kind of bad boy I wish I could have had a fling with in college. If you’re leery of the New Adult genre, this one would be a good place to start trying it out. It fits the typical elements of New Adult without being overly annoying and it is still plenty sexy.
Carolina Blues by Virginia Kantra – Kantra really has a strong series with her Dare Island books. All four have been great and Carolina Blues is no exception. There is a lot of depth to the characters and so much verisimilitude that you won’t feel like you’re reading another hackneyed small town romance. You don’t need to read the series in order so feel free to start with this one, although I highly recommend the previous three as well.
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen – I love pretty much everything by Allen. I dream of being able to write with the whimsy and magic that she infuses into her words. Allen had a battle with breast cancer in between the writing of Lost Lake and her previous book so getting to buy this book made me immensely happy because it showed that she had survived her ordeal and not lost that same sense of wonderment that made her previous novels so wonderful. Lost Lake deals with the revisiting of old memories as well as coping with loss, yet it has such a current of hope running through it that it is irresistible to me. I don’t want to give anything away, but I treasured the alligator parts of this story almost as much as the apple tree in Garden Spells, which is my all-time favorite by Allen.
Maybe This Christmas and Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan – Morgan became a favorite of mine over the last year so that is why she gets two books on the list. I really enjoyed both of these books so much and it is hard to choose a favorite between the two. I know that when I originally read them, I preferred Suddenly Last Summer, but I have found myself thinking more about Maybe This Christmas to the point where I would like to read it again. Both books have a lot of heart and address familial relationships, as well as getting over the past, besides just focusing on the main couple. I highly recommend this entire series.
Shimmer by Paula Weston – This actually would have been my over-all favorite book of 2014 for our AAR Staff collective post, however, I was reluctant to include it because it is hard to track down. It is technically not out in the U.S. yet (lucky U.K. and Australia, I’m jealous) but I love the series so much that I ordered it internationally. Maybe that means it could be my favorite book of 2014 and 2015 thanks to this release-date loophole? This is one where you need to read the whole series to understand the story and you won’t regret having to go back at all. All of Weston’s books are packed with action and romance with the perfect hint of paranormal. It is categorized as Young Adult but please don’t let that scare anyone away. The characters are all of adult age (just young, kind of, there’s a paranormal catch to that) and you will totally eat up Raffa. He is the sexy, mysterious angel your reading has been missing. There is still a lot of back story that has yet to be revealed about the main character Gabe (or Gabby) and I am on pins and needles waiting for the fourth book to answer my questions. For U.S. readers, you can get a hold of the first two books in the series in the states already and, if you love these as much as I did, you will probably be anxious to get your hands on Shimmer by whatever means necessary.