Hi, gang, here we are with Round Three of some of our favorite books of 2015. Today we have Lynn, Karen, and Maryann here to share their Top 5 picks of the year. And, of course, there’s a chance to win a few of the e-books listed, so be sure to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.
I’ve added something a little bit different to the Rafflecopter for today and for our final picks on Thursday–answer the poll and tell us what book covers, of the ones nominated, you love most, and help us pick the Best Cover of 2015! When the voting closes, there’ll probably be a giveaway too. 🙂
Lynn’s Top 5:
- Return to Me by James Oliver French
Wow, this story was an amazing read. I had expectations when I started the book but set them aside, one by one, the deeper I read. The complex inner workings of Todd, the main character, is the true focus of the story and kept me fascinated. We see him meet a man while they are both in college, and their relationship blossoms quickly. Still, this is not your typical romance. The author goes places I did not expect, which I appreciate. And there is neither a HEA, nor does it have a HFN. Just putting that out there. You’ve been warned.
- Jesse’s Diner by Cardeno C.
What I loved most about this story was its simplicity. Right to the point, no angst, no miscommunication. Just two people finding love and companionship for all the right reasons. I thought I would have a problem with the age difference between the characters, but the author did such a great job with making them equals that age was never an issue.
- Small Steps by Chris McHart
I will say the author did a tremendous job in keeping this story real, in the alcoholism storyline and the havoc which this disease can cause. Seeing the aftermath and how it can truly change the lives of so many people was very realistic. Bottom line: it’s a story of acceptance, forgiveness and learning to love and be loved.
- Vanished 2 by Carter Quinn
OMG, this book. This is a gripping psychological thriller/mystery that takes a hold of you and doesn’t let go. An edge-of-your-seat read that makes you think you know what’s going on, then BAM, it takes another turn; a turn you never saw coming. A roller coaster ride that makes your stomach plummet, and, just as quickly, has your heart racing. Yes, it’s all that and more. As readers we have our own expectations of what we think should happen, and what we think will happen, but then at times the reality of what does happen is a letdown. With Vanished 2, it’s the total opposite. We never know what’s going to happen, so it exceeds any expectations we ever had.
- Pent Up by Damon Suede
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I would definitely call Pent Up a GFY story. I loved going on the journey with Reuben as he comes to realize that, yes, he is attracted to a man. His struggle to keep sober was real and, at times, heartbreaking. I really liked seeing two men at total opposite ends of the spectrum getting together and literally saving each other. It may be cliché, but it worked.
Karen’s Top 5:
- Fish Stick Fridays by Rhys Ford
In Fish Stick Fridays (along with every other book I’ve read by this author), she does an amazing job with the details. While reading, you can almost see, feel, smell, hear and touch what’s happening around the characters you’re reading about, and she does it without being wordy or drawn out. Such talent. I’ve decided that I can no longer say every one of her books is my new favorite. I think they are all amazing, and this is another to add to the list.
- Against the Grain by Charlie Cochet
Although the first books all revolved mostly around Dex and Sloane, they really showcase the entire team, and this book is Ash and Cael’s story. We get a little more background on things that have made these two who they are, and I don’t think their story could have been done any better than it was. Even though there was a change in the MC in this book, it still focuses on the team, so you still get snippets of all of the guys and girls we love. I liked getting a look at the team from a different perspective and to get to see a how Ash and Cael view the crazy going on around them. I seriously want a friend like Dex.
- Moment of Silence by Karen Stivali
As much as I loved Collin and Tanner in the first three books of the series, I think Moment of Silence is my favorite so far. There was something really sweet about Jason and Quinn. Although the attraction between the two was pretty evident right from the beginning, it was nice watching these guys hang out and become friends before things became hot and steamy between them; then…whew, things were definitely hot.
- Out of the Blues by Mercy Celeste
I am usually not a huge fan of angst or tear-your-heart-out books—truthfully, I have enough tears in my real life and reading is my escape from that—but I can honestly say I have no problem picking up a book by Ms. Celeste, knowing it is going to rip me to shreds. The stories are really just that good, and Out of the Blues is no exception.
- The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune
Gary and Tiggy…I really don’t even have the words. Most awesome hornless gay unicorn and half giant ever! Throughout the entire story I kept flipping between who was my favorite character and finally just decided there was no favorite. I love them all. There really isn’t a character mentioned that I didn’t love for what they brought to the story. I can’t even tell you how happy I am that I currently don’t have any books lined up behind this one to review so that I can immediately do a re-read of it.
Honorable Mention: BOSS by Ashley John
Maryann’s Top 5:
- Blood & Dirt by Lloyd A. Meeker
After reading Blood & Dirt I have definitely become a fan of Lloyd A. Meeker and the Russ Morgan Mystery series. This is the second installment, so if you have not read Enigma, it’s a must read before Blood & Dirt. Mr. Meeker takes us on another roller coaster ride, with so many clashing personalities for Russ to examine before he can solve the case.
- Dark Economy by M. Keedwell
Dark Economy is set in London, in 1829, and the author has really brought this time period to life. The writing style, settings, and the old English accent give the book its historical feel. We find that it’s also a time of indecision in the medical field, as well as intolerance toward gay men. It’s quite the page turner, full of suspense, danger and humor.
- Shiver by Jocelyn Drake & Rinda Elliott
Shiver was a surprise, a fast paced page turner filled with danger, suspense, wild fight scenes, and a crazy descriptive car chase. And, was not without humor. Oh, and the passion will tug at your heart strings. Jocelyn Drake and Rinda Elliott are just amazing with the written word. I seriously think this will be an exciting series. It left me hungry for more!
- Outcast Cowboys by Sarah Masters
Sarah Masters is one of my favorite authors, so I decided to see where she was going with Outcast Cowboys since cowboys and ranches are not usually what Ms. Masters writes. I was not disappointed in this page-turner at all. Outcast Cowboys is heartrending, with a dark psychological feel, and is a little eerie too, as death seems to be a part of this ranch—along with a horse that has a mysterious role. The book does have a warning about non-consensual sex, but it also contains several suicides, which might be disturbing to readers as well.
- And a Smile by BA Tortuga
BA Tortuga takes us back on the rodeo circuit with the Roughstock series in And a Smile. Coke Pharras, Dillon Walsh, and the bullfighters give us rodeo action packed with dangerous bulls, the bullfighters taking risks to keep the riders safe–and it seems like the bulls are winning.
The Fine Print:
*Must be 18 years old or older to qualify
*Void where prohibited by law