According to GoodReads, I read 55 books this year. One of them was a DNF, though, and some of them were re-reads. Still, not a bad number, considering that I also wrote a bunch and held down my day job. Oh, and I went to a lot of hockey games.
Of that batch of books, here’s what really knocked my socks off, in no particular order!
(Do remember that these are only from the books that I personally read this past year and only my opinion. Your mileage may vary, as they say!)
Untrue by Kris Ripper
It’s not a secret that I’m a fan of Ripper’s work and I’ve espoused zir work before here, and this book and series (The Scientific Method) in particular. There’s something about Will, Hugh, and Truman that is so real. I swear these guys and all the people surrounding them could walk of the pages and exist. It’s been kind of amazing watching them grow and change over the years.
Untrue ripped my emotions apart and put them back together again. I had my heart in my throat and couldn’t breathe all that well for the first half of the book. Yes, the book is about being untrue to your partners, and the aftermath, and how Truman, but also Hugh and Will had to face their own issues together and reveal what they hide from each other so that they can have each other and their love into the future.
Where Death Meets the Devil by L.J. Hayward
This book and this series have blown me away. Set (mostly) in near-future Australia, it’s a slow burn romance between Jack Reardon, a super spy sent to infiltrate an organization that’s helping terror groups, and Ethan Bade, a highly skilled assassin who blows Jack’s cover. The book alternates from Then to Now, a year later, when Ethan comes back into Jack’s life.
The rest of the novellas and Book Two continue Jack and Ethan’s story.
I think the thing that surprised me the most about these books is how much I fell for Ethan, who is supposed to be a remorseless, cold-hearted assassin, and is actually a cinnamon roll with a very battered heart of gold.
Grumpy Fake Boyfriend by Jackie Lau
This book was just FUN. The book delivers what the title promises—a grumpy fake boyfriend who is also an author and who falls in love with his best friend’s little sister while pretending to be her boyfriend so that she can spend the weekend with her friends (including her asshole ex) without feeling like a third wheel, or having them feel sorry for her. Or her ex being smug.
Just the way these two interact is fun, and the sex is hot. I keep thinking back to it and feeling warm and happy.
The Wolf at the Door by Charlie Adhara
Kind of a different take on werewolves, wrapped in a romantic suspense. Cooper Dayton’s FBI career was ended when he was attacked by a werewolf. Now an agent at the Bureau of Special Investigations, investigating paranormal activity, he’s partnered up with Oliver Park, a werewolf and an agent of The Trust, a werewolf oversight organization to investigate a strange string of missing persons.
Cooper doesn’t trust Park at all, but can’t deny his utter attraction to the other man. This one was insta lust with a slow burn on anything happening. It’s mysterious and moody and lovely. The second book, The Wolf at Bay, delves more into Cooper’s past and strengthens the ties between Cooper and Park.
I can’t wait for the third, which promises a glimpse into Park’s past.
One-Eyed Royals by Cordelia Kingsbridge
I’m addicted to the Seven of Spades series. This is the fourth of five books in the series. You can’t read it without the others, and pretty much, there’s a ton of content warning with this series. It’s violent. There’s death. There’s addiction shown in all it’s horrible light. The MCs aren’t always the best people.
But oh man, it’s so so so good. This penultimate book sees the MCs at odds with each other all while a serial killer toys and toys and toys with them. The end is stunning and sets up for the final showdown.
If anyone spoils a Chip and a Chair for me, I will salt the earth for the decedents to the tenth generation.
Darkling by Brooklyn Ray
This is a darkly delicious New Adult paranormal romance about two members of a circle of witches who are on the cusp of both coming into their powers fully and realizing that they’re utterly in love with each other. Ryder is a fire witch, but also a necromancer. Liam is a water witch. They’re best friends who grow into lovers all while Ryder’s dark magic starts to become uncontrollable.
The only way to fix it is for Ryder to die and come back. But there’s no guarantee he will.
The second book, Undertow, continues the story of Ryder and Liam and their circle as the events in Darkling unlock a whole bunch of other stuff. I am looking forward to more books in this series!
A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra
This was wonderfully beautiful and hopeful book. It’s also, at time, raw and heartbreaking, but in a gentle way. Jude’s writing is almost dreamlike. Soft and calming. This is very much a New Adult book about two young men on the cusp of the rest of their lives and how they find love and acceptance with each other.
It’s also a book that deals heavily with the reality of living with a mental illness and how that affects, your relationships, and your life. It’s real and raw, but hopeful, so hopeful, and full of light. Reid isn’t his illness, but it’s a part of who he is, and Joaquim accepts that fully, even though it’s hard sometimes. There’s no stigma here. No platitudes, either. And that, by itself is a breath of fresh air.
If you want to see what else I read this year, my Goodreads list is here.