Thursday, December 31, 2015

ARC Review: Don't Drink The Holy Water by Bailey Bradford

Don't Drink the Holy Water (The Vamp for Me #4)
Blurb:

Being left for dead sure has a way of changing a man.

All West wanted was one night of fun. He’d taken on the responsibility of raising his younger siblings after their parents died, had done so out of love, but he was a young man and he just wanted a chance to live like one for a few hours.

It almost cost him his life. It certainly meant his life was changed forever, and along with his life, the lives of his siblings. They were all exposed to a secret world they’d never known existed. Vampires.

Human children living alongside vampires…seemed unusual. Claude, the coven leader who saved West and his brothers and sisters, doesn’t have accommodations for kids. He finds one coven in the country that does, and sets about making a home there for West and his family. Before he sends West away, West meets an intriguing man, Axel, whom he encounters again months later. The attraction between them is strong, but there is more to consider than just how sexy Axel is.

Nothing in life is easy, whether you’re a vampire or a human.


Reader Advisory: This book contains references to sexual assault and violence.




My rating:




Book 4 in this series, which I adore, takes off right where book 3 left off - with West turning into a vampire after Claude bites him and gives him his blood.

West wakes up a bloodsucker and isn't too pleased about it. As newly made vampires also tend to sort of fall in love with their maker, and West has a bunch of siblings to take care of, Claude decides that it's best for West (and for Claude's peace of mind) to send West and the kids off to live with another coven.

Except before they leave, Claude takes West out into the desert, where West stumbles upon Alex, lost and confused, and falls. Hard.

But they move before he can figure out what's happening, and he and the kids start to acclimate in the new coven, when West runs across Alex again.

From there, this story unfolds as a sweet romance between a vampire and his human. Out of the 4 books published so far (where's the next one, Bailey?), this is probably the sweetest and most romantic. See, West tries to woo Alex, tries to do right by him, tries to be the man he wishes he had met when he was still human, and of course, there are the kids to consider, who also have to approve of West's beloved.

ARC Review: Out! by J.L. Merrow

Out! (Shamwell Tales, #3)Blurb:

When the costs are added up, will love land in the black?

Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet—at least, the small part of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Divorced when he could no longer deny his sexuality, he’s sworn off his workaholic ways and moved to Shamwell with his headstrong teen daughter to give her a stable home environment.

His resolve to put his love life on hold is severely tested when he joins a local organization and meets a lively yet intense young man who tempts him closer to the closet threshold.

Patrick Owen is an out-and-proud charity worker with strong principles—and a newly discovered weakness for an older man. One snag: Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter, and Patrick will be damned if he’s going to start a relationship with a lie.

Between Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and a camp, flirtatious ex-colleague who wants Mark for himself, Patrick wonders if they’ll ever be on the same romantic page. And when Mark’s former career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, it could be the one stumbling block they can’t get past.

Product Warnings: Contains historically inaccurate Spartan costumes, mangled movie quotes, dubious mathematical logic and a three-legged pub crawl.





My rating:




This book, 3rd in the Shamwell Tales series, can be read as a standalone, and no prior knowledge of the previous books is required.

It's a comedy of errors, false starts, and false assumptions between somewhat stuffy ex-accountant/tax advisor Mark (39), who's recently moved to Shamwell with his teenage daughter, and Patrick (25), who works for the local charity SHARE. They first meet over a pint or five, when Mark joins the Spartans, the local club of men from 25 to 45.

Patrick isn't sure Mark is gay, Mark is sure he is, but doesn't want to be out because he's afraid of how his teenage daughter will react. There's also an ex-wife who's portrayed as a bit of a hag, understandably so, because after years of marriage, Mark came out to her and they divorced. Rounding out the cast of characters are Mark's ex-PA David, who's a wee bit on the flamboyant side and hopes to have a chance with Mark, Patricks's mum, and Fen/Florence, who's Mark's daughter.

The book is really well-written, engaging, with a nicely flowing plotline. The author does a fantastic job describing the challenges Mark faces when dealing with a mostly grumpy teenage girl who's been plucked from her normal life to suddenly live with dear old dad, lusting after Patrick but afraid to make a move, fending off David's advances with somewhat hilarious results, preparing for the Spartan induction ceremony, participating in a fundraiser run and failing, and the repeated misunderstandings, false assumptions, and interruptions that are plaguing his relationship with Patrick.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

ARC Review: Tied to Trouble by Megan Erickson


Blurb:
Chad Lake only showed up at his sister's party for the free food, but when he spots an uptight nerd at the edge of the crowd, he can't resist trying to ruffle the guy's perfect bow tie and impeccable hair. The hottie's ready for him, though, and in the end, it's Chad who's left wide-eyed, his ears still ringing with the filthy things Bow Tie whispered in his ear. No one gets the upper hand on Chad. Ever.

Owen Hawkins has heard all about the cocky Adonis from Chad's sister—the same sister who holds Owen's career advancement in her hands. He has every intention of steering clear of the other man…until Chad's sexy taunts push him too far. There's something intriguing about Chad, and even though Owen knows that getting tangled up with the infuriating man is trouble, he can't seem to stay away…

This is part of an M/F series but can be read as standalone.



Dani's rating:




What I LURVED:

- Owen

- BOW TIES

- Owen & bow ties

- Owen with a bow tie ON

- Owen with a bow tie OFF

- Owen with a bow tie wrapped around his dick

- Read that last sentence again.

This book is fun and very (VERY) SEXY. I was never bored.

But I was annoyed. With CHAD. More than once.

Owen is such a hot geek, all uptight, smart, and organized, but a total sparkler in bed. It's so hot when geeks get toppy.

But Chad ... Chad doesn't deserve Owen. He just doesn't. He's a douche time and time (and time!) again. He's insecure and has the emotional maturity of a 13-year-old. He does change ... eventually, but I was not as quick to forgive as Owen. So Chad was a problem. At least for me.


Book Review: Once in a Snowstorm by Ofelia Grand


Blurb:
Daring a snowstorm might not be the smartest thing Aiden has ever done, but he can't stand being in his flat a moment longer. With only three days to Christmas, he doesn't want to be alone. He wants a place to belong, wants people around him who won't look down on him. He might not find all that at his mother's place, but at least it's better than being alone in the city. If he can make it there, that is.

Tristan is looking forward to a quiet night in front of the TV, but instead, he has to save an idiot in designer clothes from freezing to death in his forest. Tristan tries not to notice the man's good looks, just like he has tried not to notice any man's good looks for the last seven years. He knows where relationships go and is far better off living alone, with his dog, in his cabin.

Aiden is driving Tristan mad with his bratty comments and irresponsible ways, and Aiden is going crazy from Tristan's judgmental attitude. Luckily, in a few days, the weather will clear up, and the two men won't have to be together any longer. But will a few steamy nights with the grumpy lumberjack change Aiden's mind about wanting to leave? And will Tristan still want to go back to his peaceful, predictable life without fear of getting his heart broken?


Dani's rating:




Tristan is a REAL lumberjack.

He lives with his dog in a remote cabin in a small town in the middle of nowhere.

His life is routine and ordinary until a few days before Christmas when he rescues Aiden, in his fancy, impractical sneakers, from freezing to death in the woods.

I loved Tristan and melted every time he called Aiden "darling." Aiden was a little too defensive for his own good, which made more sense once I realized his mother's the kind of person you push in front of a bus and walk away whistling.

The scene with Tristan's ex felt random, and I wish the epilogue had been set further in the future, but Aiden and Tristan FIT.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

ARC Review: Out of Bounds by A.R. Barley

Out of Bounds
Blurb:

When the weather outside starts cooling down, inside the dorm things are heating up. Can these college roommates fall in love without going out of bounds?

Beaten and heartbroken, Jesse Cole is placed in a new dorm room after his last roommate attacked him. Just wanting to be left alone to heal in peace, he's shocked when tall, dark and dangerous-looking Nick Moretti walks in.


Nick doesn't have time to tiptoe around his new roommate—he's too busy working in order to pay for school. But something about Jesse brings out his protective instincts. As their cautious friendship grows and becomes loaded with sexual tension, he wants to make Jesse comfortable.


Enter the perfect plan: a line of tape down the center of the room. Boundaries established.


But as innocent movie nights become hours-long temptation marathons, and whispered chats from across the room delve into straight-up dirty territory, crossing the line has never been so satisfying.


Todd's rating:




I loved established M/F author Aleah Barley's first foray into writing M/M (under the pen name A.R. Barley). I saw the book on NetGalley and was immediately pulled in by the blurb.

Yes, I was hesitant, as I didn't see any other books by A.R. Barley, but have had decent luck rolling those new (or new to me) M/M author dice on NetGalley lately, having run across such gems as Megan Erickson and J. Leigh Bailey, so I gave this book a shot. And I was not disappointed in the least.

This story was so touching, tender and full of feels that the book grabbed my attention and held on from the very first chapter.

As the story begins, 19 y.o. Jesse has been severely beaten by his roommate, Ryan, after mistakenly taking his flirty behavior as the green light for a kiss.

Jesse then flees into the cold night and is discovered by Kelly, a resident assistant in a senior dorm, and taken to the hospital to get patched up.

But the interesting parts of the story truly begin when Kelly places Jesse in a room with Kelly's gruff, people-hating ex-boyfriend, Nick.

Nick is a huge, muscle-bound bruiser, with a penchant for getting into fights, so Jesse is immediately hesitant to relax around his new roommate and trust the guy.

However, Nick's been kicked in the teeth by the world a few times himself in his 24 years, so he recognizes Jesse's fragile state and puts forth a very uncharacteristic extra effort to make him feel comfortable in his new home.

And home is really what I ultimately saw this book as being about. Feeling entirely lost and adrift, then connecting with that one person who makes you feel whole again. Like you were genuinely cared for, cherished and loved. Finally safe. Finally home.

I adored seeing how strong and committed that Nick was to a very shaken Jesse for the majority of the story, then how, at the end, it was Jesse who found the strength that the two needed to persevere when things got tough.

To me, that give and take was very realistic and I loved it. Plus, as an added bonus, the quiet, insecure Jesse turned out not to be quite to timid when push came to a big ole' sexy shove, either.

The sexy bits of the book weren't in every chapter, but when they did make an appearance, they were invariably smoking HOT.

The steamy scene where the boys come together (quite literally, oops) across the line of gaffers tape, put down to bisect the room into Jesse's side and Nick's side to help Jesse feel safe? With Nick ending up on his knees?

Book Review: The Winter Spirit by Indra Vaughn


Blurb:
Nathaniel O’Donnelly likes his life quiet, his guests happy, and his ghosts well-behaved.

Although a boyfriend wouldn’t go amiss. Someone to share his beautiful B&B with, even if it is in the middle of nowhere and he’s long past the wrong side of thirty. Problem is, Nathaniel’s living with a ghost who thinks he’s cupid, and whose arrows fly a little too straight.

Gabriel Wickfield had the unfortunate luck of dying before his time, and now he’s stuck trying to make romance happen to earn his right to move along. Not that he’s bored in the meantime—Nathaniel is just too easy to tease. And also a little bit scrumptious…

With the curse reaching its expiration date, Gabriel needs to make a final match this Christmas. Without it, nothing but darkness awaits.

Love can conquer all, but can it beat death?


Dani's rating:




Heartwarming and SWEET, The Winter Spirit is as much about forgiveness as it is about love: forgiving others, yes, but most of all, forgiving yourself.

Nathaniel's B & B is haunted, but he's quite fond of Gabriel, the friendly ghost in the prim suit. Sometimes Nate doesn't see Gabriel for weeks or months, but even with the tricks Gabe plays, Nate looks forward to seeing him in reflective surfaces, teasing him, and being teased back.

When Nathaniel's first crush seeks him out, it's a dream come true ... or is it?

I loved Nate's voice (we get his first-person POV), and I appreciated that he wasn't a perfect MC.

Nate has a bit of a belly, of which he's quite self-conscious; he's quick to judge, but also quick to apologize. He's a fair employer and a good friend. He's a hard worker and an amazing cook. He's just this real guy, and he deserves to be happy.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Book Review: No House To Call My Home by Ryan Berg

No House to Call My Home: Love, Family, and Other TransgressionsBlurb:

Underemployed and directionless, Ryan Berg took a job in a group home for disowned and homeless LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) teenagers. His job was to help these teens discover their self worth, get them back on their feet, earn high school degrees, and find jobs. But he had no idea how difficult it would be, and the complexities that were involved with coaxing them away from dangerous sex work and cycles of drug and alcohol abuse, and helping them heal from years of abandonment and abuse.

In No House to Call My Home, Ryan Berg tells profoundly moving, intimate, and raw stories from the frontlines of LGBTQ homelessness and foster care. In the United States, 43% of homeless youth were forced out by their parents because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Berg faced young people who have battled extreme poverty, experienced unbalanced opportunities, structural racism, and homophobia. He found himself ill-equipped to help, in part because they are working within a system that paints in broad strokes, focused on warehousing young people, rather than helping them build healthy relationships with adults that could lead to a successful life once they age out of foster care.

By digging deep and asking the hard questions, and by haltingly opening himself up to his charges, Berg gained their trust. Focusing on a handful of memorable characters and their entourage, he illustrates the key issues and recurring patterns in the suffering, psychology and recovery of these neglected teens.

No House to Call My Home will provoke readers into thinking in new ways about how we define privilege, identity, love and family. Because beyond the tears and abuse, the bluster and bravado, what emerges here is a love song to that irrepressible life force of youth: hope.



My rating:




I received this book for free from the author's publicist after being alerted to its existence by Heidi Cullinan. Thank you, Tom, for sending it, and thank you, Heidi for bringing it to my attention.


It's heartbreaking to read about these kids, thrown away by the people who were supposed to love them and protect them, trying to find their place in life, and failing miserably, despite the efforts of the social workers who give so much of themselves to help them.

It's heartbreaking to know that this is real life, that this sort of thing happens every day in every city and state in this country, and there aren't enough resources to save them all.

It's heartbreaking to know that LGBTQ kids have little hope and little chance of making it, simply because of who they are and whom they love. Abused, neglected, thrown into the streets, they resort to drugs to numb themselves against the pain and anger, sex for hire to buy the drugs, lashing out at the very people who are trying to help them. Some of them are HIV+, and their chances are even more bleak. Antiretroviral drugs aren't cheap and must be taken regularly to work - an option these kids don't often have.

In this memoir, Ryan Berg paints a bleak picture of real life for these kids in the New York foster care system, chronicling his experience as a residential counselor in two different group homes for LGBTQ teens, most of whom are POC. He tries to help them prepare for life after the group home, when they age out of the system, but realizes quickly after starting in that position that the adversity these kids face is nearly insurmountable, for various reasons.

ARC Review: Three Sheep to the Wind by J.L. Kindle

Three Sheep to the Wind
Blurb:

The Banner Brothers are trouble—aggravating, infuriating, distracting trouble. Rich has his hands full taking care of his own sheep, he doesn't need the added frustration of the Banner Brothers and the way their llamas can't stay on their side of the fence. Every time Rich starts to get a leg up, something else goes wrong, and it's always the Banners who are there to bear witness. The only thing worse than them always being around is if they ever catch on to the fact he doesn't really want them to go.





Todd's rating:






Meh, this one didn't totally work for me.

Although there were some cute parts with the young llama who thought the dog was its mom, the hair braiding and the brothers letting Rich know that they intended to court him, I just didn't really feel it.

The flirting and romance felt a bit swallowed up by everything else, so when the three men finally ended up in bed together, after a near-fatal accident, I was scratching my head that the doctor was hardly gone, yet here the three were getting busy and talking about DP'ing. (You look it up, I'm not saying it.)  ;- )

And there isn't any explanation as to whether or not the two brothers have been a serious couple before they meet Rich or for how long. And, if so, what was the motivation to add Rich into the mix for a long-term ménage situation?

I think the story would have felt more well-rounded, if I'd have been provided with a bit more background info there.

Blogtour: Nicolas by Dianne Hartsock



Please say hello to Dianne Hartsock and 

Nicolas 





Blurb:

Betrayed by a lover, Jamie rents an isolated cabin on Lake Huron, wanting only to be left alone. Instead, he is pulled from his solitary existence as an artist and tumbles headlong into the legend of Saint Nicolas.
As a young man, Nicolas accidentally killed a man intent on murdering three children, only to have the man's malicious spirit rise up against him. Fleeing through the centuries from the Krampus, the evil troll-like creature that dogs his steps, Nico finds refuge with the young artist who takes him into his home and bed. But Jamie has questions. Who is Nicolas, and why does the Krampus want to destroy him?
When the Krampus begins to torment and torture anyone Nico comes in contact with to punish him, Jamie’s life is put in danger. And Jamie isn’t sure whether he can help Nico defeat his nemesis or if he’s merely a pawn in the Krampus’s game.


Excerpt:


Jamie startled awake. “What?”

He had trouble breathing, the crushing weight on his chest seeming to have followed him up from his dreams. But that couldn’t be right. He’d rented the cabin for its isolation. No one should be there. Did he still dream?

A warm breath brushed against his cheek, sending a shiver of dread and strange anticipation through him. “Easy, baby,” a silky voice whispered in the darkness. Sharp teeth nipped his earlobe and pleasure and pain sparked along his nerves. His eyes adjusted to the moonlight filtering through the sheer curtains, and he stared in amazement at the man gazing at him with wild green eyes, long pale hair, high cheekbones and a slender neck he craved to run his tongue along.

The stranger laid his weight on him, driving the air from his lungs and making Jamie struggle for every breath. Shifting position, the man sealed his full lips over Jamie’s, drawing a long groan from Jamie when an impossibly large cock slid against his. In sudden panic he reached to shove his unknown visitor away and touched hot skin and lean muscles. Of their own volition his hands roamed lower, following the curve of the stranger’s back to the rounded swell of his ass. He drew a quick breath and the man laughed into his mouth, pushed his tongue deep, thrusting inside to match the movement of his hips as he ground against Jamie’s aching dick.

Heat pooled in Jamie’s stomach. God, what was happening? The thing in his bed looked like a man, but his every instinct shouted otherwise. His skin was warm when it should have been cold from being outside. And how had he gotten in? All the windows and doors were locked tight against the winter storm. It was as if he’d just materialized in Jamie’s bed. “Who—”

He cried out when a hand pushed between them and grabbed their cocks, stroking them together until he lost the ability to think. So close! He grabbed onto the man’s firm ass and yanked him tighter against him, rising up to shove into his strong grip.

The triumphant hiss in his ear shot ice through his veins. “So naughty.”

“No!” Jamie struggled to sit up, scrambling back against the headboard. He blinked, finding himself alone in the room, only his ragged breaths disturbing the silence of the cabin. A forgotten anxiety knotted his stomach. Naughty. He hated that word, tossed about by the boys he once knew in school. The ones he’d suck off behind the gym, desperate for a gentle hand in his hair, balm against his loneliness. He’d been terrified his parents would find out he was different, that he liked girl things and found boys much more exciting than he should. They would know he was gay and there would be hell to pay for their freak of a son.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

BEST OF 2015







BEST OF 

Image courtesy of: Vector Open Stock




Welcome to our round-up of the 10 best books we've read all year. 


Dani's choices:




Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt, #1)Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan - Heidi Cullinan is a master. The prose here is flawless. Jeremey and Emmet are each given a VOICE to write their own story: a story finding the person who understands you, accepts you, COMPLETES you. 







RattlesnakeRattlesnake by Kim Fielding - Despite the tears, this is a HOPEFUL story, a story about family, friendship, and coming home. A story about trusting enough to stay. 









Status Update (#gaymers, #1)Status Update by Annabeth Albert - I loved this book so hard that when I finished, I started all over again. I cannot let Noah and Adrian go! So much sweetness! And steam! And humour!








Winter OrangesWinter Oranges by Marie Sexton - This is a poignant, romantic, magical story, perfect for every season!










Trust the Focus (In Focus #1)Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson - Seriously, I am blown away by the polished, engaging quality of the writing and the raw beauty of this ultimate new adult, best-friends-to-lovers, road trip story. 








SignsSigns by Anna Martin - I loved this story. I believed in this HEA. What a lovely, hopeful, uplifting read! BEAUTIFUL!











A Fortunate BlizzardA Fortunate Blizzard by L.C. Chase - This is a story about epiphanies, about meeting The One just as time is running out. It's a story about trust. And hope. 










Here For YouHere for You by Skylar M. Cates - This book is about grief. It’s about friendship and family. It’s about being brave, risking your heart, and trusting yourself enough to let go and love.







The Deep of the Sound (Bluewater Bay, #8)The Deep of the Sound by Amy Lane - When the HEA comes, you'll feel it in your gut. After all, the things most worth having aren't always easily earned. 








Blueberry BoysBlueberry Boys by Vanessa North - This book is romantic and tender with some intense sexy scenes. It's a quiet story about family and faith ... finding yourself and finding love. 










Todd's choices:


The Lightning-Struck HeartThe Lightning Struck Heart by TJ Klune - Hysterical and irreverent.









Trust the Focus (In Focus #1)Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson - Justin and Landry’s chemistry. Ahhh…










After School ActivitiesAfter School Activities by Dirk Hunter - Funny as hell and the parents were amazing.









Winter OrangesWinter Oranges by Marie Sexton - Ridiculously sweet holiday read. 










MisfitsMisfits by Garrett Leigh - Hot. As. Hell. The chemistry just worked for me.










A Restored Man (The Men of Halfway House, #3)A Restored Man by Jamie Reese - Really funny and I loved how the MC’s were truly there for one another.









Victim of LoveVictim of Love by Darien Cox - Crazy and hot fun.











Kick at the DarknessKick at the Darkness by Kiera Andrews - A great zombie story, never a dull moment, lots of feels.










SecretSecret by Kindle Alexander - The heat was scorching and the ‘wife’ was amazing.










Here Without You (One Voice, #2)Here Without You (One Voice #2) by Mia Kerick - Angsty NA MMM goodness. I love those boys.












Heather's choices:




Forget Me Not (Mnevermind #2)Forget Me Not by Jordan Castillo Price











Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt, #1)Carry The Ocean by Heidi Cullinan










Changes (The Dresden Files, #12)Changes by Jim Butcher










The Suffragette Scandal (Brothers Sinister, #4)The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan













RattlesnakeRattlesnake by Kim Fielding










Winter OrangesWinter Oranges by Marie Sexton










How to Walk Like a Man (Howl At The Moon #2)How To Walk Like A Man by Eli Easton










The WitnessThe Witness by Nora Roberts











Turn Coat (The Dresden Files, #11)Turn Coat by Jim Butcher











Perfect ImperfectionsPerfect Imperfections by Cardeno C.












Rosa's choices:



The Inauspicious List (Chance Assassin, #3)The Inauspicious List by Nicole Castle - Because Castle knows how to make blood-soaked assassins funny and romantic and I LOVE IT.









Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8)Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews - The latest book in my favorite UF/PNR series. I rarely read MF anymore, but when I do it's usually by the Andrews. Their books are funny, creative and exciting.








Little Wild AnimalLittle Wild Animal by DiscontentedWinter (Lisa Henry) - I had to get a fanfic in here. This one's by one of my favorite MM authors, Lisa Henry (writing as DiscontentedWinter), who writes AWESOME Sterek (Stiles/Derek from Teen Wolf) fics.







Early Graves (Dave Brandstetter, #9)Early Graves by Joseph Hansen - The most recent book I've read by Joseph Hansen. He was a freakin' GENIUS and you all should be reading him. Start with Fadeout (Dave Brandstetter #1) and then tell me how right I am.







Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro, #2)Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane - I love serial killers. I love Kenzie and Ang, Lehane's main characters. I love how Ang is a real person and not just some dude's idealized version of a woman. But, whatever, if you like a well-written book with lots of dead bodies, you'll find it here.







Kick at the DarknessKick at the Darkness by Keira Andrews - Thanks to a friend, I am now addicted to anything with zombies in it. This one's awesome because it has zombies AND dude on dude action. Also, one of the characters looks exactly like Derek Hale from Teen Wolf. Ehhhhxcellent. 7. Channeling Morpheus series by Jordan Castillo Price - Vampires and JCP, what can be better?




Infected: Epitaph (Infected, #8)Infected: Epitaph by Andrea Speed - This series is by turns fantastic and frustrating. You don't get all the answers and sometimes I wonder if that's because it's just true to life or it needs to get the shit kicked out of it. Still, one the best UF series ever, whether you like MM, MF or MFMMMMFFTTTBBBB whatever.






Bloodlines (Boystown #7)Bloodlines (Boystown 7) by Marshall Thornton - The latest in Thornton's Boystown series which takes place in 80s Chicago. I LOVE Nick Nowak and I LIVE for these books. This book was lighter in tone which I think was necessary after the last two emotionally fraught books. Still absolutely excellent.




Take the Long Way HomeTake the Long Way Home by JA Rock - I don't even know what to say about this book. I'm not sure I'll ever read it again because the experience blew me away and how can you repeat that?









Arielle's choices:



Darkfever (Fever, #1)The Darkfever Series by Karen Marie Moning - This series captured me so much that I literally turned down tickets to a James Taylor concert at Tanglewood so that I could keep reading. Mystery, monsters, sexy ladies, sexy men. Just an amazing, addictive read.






Kiss the Girl (Soho Loft, #1)The Soho Loft Romances by Melissa Brayden - based on my reviews of this series, I think it's pretty obvious that I love this author. Her books are sexy, sweet, and just the perfect amount of angst. You know it's going to turn out well for the characters, but the journey is actually enjoyable.






Yes PleaseYes please by Amy Poehler - I don't even know what to say about this. Amy Poehler is a mad genius.










Winter's HarborWinters Harbor by Aurora Rey - Super light, uplifting, sexy read. Plus, it's set in Provincetown, which is not of my favorite places.








The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, The Power Behind Five English ThronesThe Greatest Knight by Thomas Asbridge - unadulterated pure historical fascination. This books shows us a glimpse of what knighthood was really like in medieval times.









The Gravity Between UsThe Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer - Sexy, relatable characters. This book was really well written, and as evocative as it was genuine.








The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir - This was by far the best book I've read all year. The suspense! The action! I could write a whole book on this book.







Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and ScientologyTroublemaker by Leah Remini - A sneak peek into the world of Scientology. One of the most interesting reads of the year, for sure.







The Princess and the PrixThe Princess and the Prix by Nell Stark - Sexy, well researched, and there's even a Royal Deflowering.









Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently #1)Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Douglas Adams - Typical Douglas Adams quirk, which has always been right up my alley.










Anna's choices:




Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, by C. Kennedy

What a ride! What an amazing story. I’m still reeling. And so full of hope, for the future, for the future of these boys, all our boys.
And then there is the momentous message to abuse victims and survivors that there is a future, also for them. That there is hope for sunshine and love, in all our futures.





A Solitary Man, by Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy
This story just speeds off from page one, running, dashing, skipping, and jumping obstacles.
It is a rush and a half—this storyline grabbed me by the collar, shook me to the core, made me scream, rave, laugh, rejoice.




Home and Away by Samantha Wayland
What a little gem this turned out to be. Hockey players, a cute British gentleman, fun neighbors, and lots of cuddly times.









Silver Scars by Posy Roberts
This book is a beautiful and hard read. I am constantly amazed at how this author manages to space from silly and funny, to real and harsh.
Read this. You won’t regret it.





Misfits by Garret Leigh
Wow. Simply wow.
This was better than good. This was dang good. Actually, this is the first time I’ve read about an open relationship that I actually believe in. And then see it turn into a ménage that is truly believable, to boot.







Cronin’s Key by N. R. Walker

I seriously thought I would never read another vampire book again in my life.
Right?!
And there goes Walker, writing me one that I just fall into and roll around in and fall in love with and just simply adore.







True Brit by Con Riley

Riley is adding more diverse figures in this story, with a backdrop of London, Cornwall, and Afghanistan. Soldiers, mothers, mansions, and project housing, all in one huge swirl of her paintbrush.
I loved this. I loved the fandom aspect (that not everybody will get, but that’s okay), I loved that Ed (-ward) got whiplash, and I loved the nod to the boy bands out there. I loved that the bad-guys don’t always win, and that smarts can still out-maneuver them.




Silent by Sara Alva

This story is heartrending. Sad. Full of devastation. Kids and drug dealers. Young people who probably never stand a chance.
And yet.
In the middle of all this misery is a young man of 15, standing tall, doing his absolute best. He mucks it up, of course, because he is only fifteen years old. But he tries. Oh, lord, but he tries.



Hero by Perry Moore

This book was a ride and a half! And then yet another ride!
I haven’t had this much fun in a long time, and still, there were moments of near despair here. YA at its very best.
What a fantastic book.







Red Dirt Heart #4 by N. R. Walker

So, author. You proceed to break my heart in so many pieces I’m still looking for some of them. Then you go on and mend it, like it was never broken in the first place.
As I sit and read, I get lost in the red dirt trails, and I rightly don’t know where I am when I look up from the pages. It takes a moment to realize that I am in my home, not in the outback, struggling.






Sandra's choices:





Get Your Shine OnGet Your Shine On by Nick Wilgus - A Southern story as if pulled from real life. 









How To Be A Normal PersonHow To Be A Normal Person by Tj Klune - I still don't have words to do this book justice. Brilliant, sweet, and thought-provoking. 








Make Me Soar (Collars and Cuffs, #6)Make Me Soar by K.C. Wells - BDSM romance heavy on healing/hurt/comfort - wonderfully done. Made me cry more than once. 








Falling AwakeFalling Awake by Kage Alan - like nothing I've read before. Like nothing this author has written before. Brilliant. 










I'm The Guy You HateI'm The Guy You Hate by Isa K. - a diamond in the rough, not really a romance, but a character study of two damaged individuals who cannot save each other, but only themselves. 











Falling From The SkyFalling From The Sky by Nikki Goodwin - a realistic, meaningful YA romance that deals with real issues and contains fully formed characters. Color me surprised.









Dogwood Days (Holly Creek, #1)Dogwood Days by Poppy Dennison - adorable fun romp set in a small southern town. Loved this. 









Winter Wonderland (Minnesota Christmas, #3)Winter Wonderland by Heidi Cullinan - the 3rd book in the Minnesota Christmas series, we finally got Paul's story. Magical, emotional, and beautiful. 








An American Homo in ParisAn American Homo In Paris by Vanessa North - my prompt for the M/M Romance's group's Love Is An Open Road 2015 challenge, this was everything I hoped it would be and more. 









Muscling ThroughMuscling Through by J.L. Merrow - sheer brilliance, excellent narration, and two characters who are perfectly imperfect. Absolutely loved this! 












So there you have it, dear readers, our best of the best for 2015. Tell us yours in the comments!

We look forward to a fabulous reading year in 2016 as well - lots of awesome books to come.

Thank you for joining us today, and all days you visited this year. We hope to see you again next year!

Much love to you all, and happy reading!















All links point back to the books' Goodreads pages.
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