2013 has been an amazing year of reading at UTC. Halfway through the year we countdown the best of the year so far, you can check that out here. Now it’s time to unveil the books that made their marks!
Best New Release: Touch & Geaux by Abigail Roux
If you want a book that’s going to get your heart pumping, TOUCH & GEAUX will give you that exhilarating rush you desire. I read this book in a matter of hours and felt every single emotion in the rainbow. Ty and Zane are my absolute favorites and their story will be one you’ll want to crush to your chest because you love them so hard.
Best New to Me: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
I wasn’t expecting to be so involved in this story. It starts off a little sweet with a great romance and then a massive twist happens that hits you right in the heart. I cried. And I cried hard. The next morning, I could still feel the ache in my chest because I felt so much pain with this book. This is definitely a book I will remember always.
Best New Series: The Secret by Jessica Sorensen
Sorensen touches on a hard subject: Depression and Anxiety. It makes the heroine, Ella a little difficult to understand. But every step of the way, I loved her character and felt such a connection to her. Micha is the type of man that every girl dreams of having. You get the sense that he will do anything for her. To me, that’s where the best romances stem from. And that’s why I fell head over heels for this series.
Fave Heroine: Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews
Bet you’re not surprised by this pick! My Kate Daniels obsession has only grown since reading Magic Rises. Kate continues to grow stronger, not just in her physical strength and skill but in her relations with her friends and her man, Curran as well. I guess it’s an added bonus that she always snarks and kick major ass while doing it too.
Fave Hero: Kane “Tack” Allen from Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley
Is there really anyone else that comes close? No. Tack is THE Alpha. He can be a jerk. But he can also switch that right around and be the most romantic man on the planet. For girls who like them bad but doesn’t mind a cuddle too, then this ones for you!
Best Cover: The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
This one was a tough one for me. There are so many great covers. But I always go back to this one because of its simplicity. There are no six pack abs, no kickass heroines with blades and a ‘I-will-beat-you-down’ stare. It’s just a kiss in the rain, but the passion still comes through potently.
Biggest Letdown: First Strike by Pamela Clare
I’m a huge I-Team and have been waiting years for something new from Clare. So when First Strike came out, I jumped at it like a ravenous beast but instead of finding the great chemistry and the spine-tingling suspense, I got a book that pushed too hard to be sexy.
Fave couple: Blay and Qhuinn J.R. Ward
At last. I’ve loved these two from the very beginning. Blay and Qhuinn have gone through hell and back to reach where they are now. But I think I can speak for the whole BDB community when I say that it was time and Ward delivered it beautifully. If forever had faces, Blay and Qhuinn would be it.
Best Sex Scene: Beyond Pain by Kit Rocha
When you read romances, you come across a lot of sex scenes but one particular scene ingrained itself in my head this year. If you’ve read Beyond Pain, the scene with Dallas, Lex, Rachel, Bren and Six is what I’m talking about. It was hot. It was blazing. It was fucking magnificent.
Best Debut: Protecting What’s His by Tessa Bailey
You know I love my dirty-talking heroes so when I discovered Bailey’s brand of heroes, I knew I had found a gem. It’s filth at its finest, people!
Author of the Year: Kristen Ashley
Rock Chick, Colorado Mountains, Dream Man, The Burg and Unfinished Heroes. These are the series of books I’ve read from KA this year. Each and every one of those books took me away from reality and made me laugh, made me cry, and made me laugh while crying. They are books filled with life and I think that kind of passion is hard to come by. KA absolutely rocked it this year with her stories of love, crime and family.
Best New Release – HEART OF OBSIDIAN by Nalini Singh
If I could’ve given this book more than 10 stars, I would’ve. Why? Because this was maybe one of the most anticipated books ever for me. This is the resolution of The Ghost, the biggest plot in the Psy-Changeling series since we started. And not only did we find that out but Ms. Singh exceeded all my expectations. The hero is probably the most intense and delicious I’ve read by her. The storyline was gripping and compelling from the first page until I turned the last one. I could’ve lived in that book forever, even if I didn’t get to breathe much from the intensity.
Best New To Me – PAINTED FACES by L.H. Cosway
PAINTED FACES pretty much blew me away. I love her voice and writing style, her humor and her wit. The way she writes unconventional stories that draw you in.
Best New Series – IN THE COMPANY OF KILLERS by J.A. Redmerski
This book was so out of the box that it couldn’t help but make an appearance on my BEST OF list! It’s dark and gritty and reads like a good action movie. It’s pulse-pounding and oddly enough, romantic. And so different from what I had read by this author before! Impressive and I can’t wait to read more.
Favorite Heroine – Tie between Harvester from REAVER by Larissa Ione and Daisy from AUTUMN BONES by Jacqueline Carey.
They are both kick ass, the way I like my heroines, but refreshingly vulnerable in their own ways. Harvester completely opened up a whole new side to her in REAVER. She doesn’t change completely, she’s still a bit of a bitch but I could sympathize with her! And maybe it has to do with the fact that I want her man badly! But she’s a cool chick! And then Daisy is just awesome. I met her last year in the first book in the Agent of Hel series. She’s just the kind of girl that could totally be your friend and hang out with you. She gets a bunch of hot guys and yeah she sort of takes advantage of that. She’s smart and kick ass but she doesn’t know it all. Sometimes she learns as she goes along. But she’s just the girl I want to be friends with and maybe rub in her luck with hot guys!
Favorite Hero – Casper from WICKED AS SHE WANTS by Delilah S. Dawson
This was a tough category because there are many worthy heroes. I picked Casper because, even though I liked him, throughout the series and novellas he’s gone on a downward spiral. To the point I was doubting that the author could redeem him and make me fall in love. And fall in love I did… and hard. All while enjoying one of the most original and satisfying worlds out there. Intense, sexy and sweet! I’m sold!
Favorite Couple – Dex and Perry from the EIT Series by Karina Halle
Are you surprised? Hands down my favorite couple. Because I’m addicted. Because I can’t wait to see what happens in their fucked up lives. And I can’t wait to see them happily ever after. Although I wouldn’t mind dragging that along a bit more so I can get more Dex & Perry sexy time! (We need more books!)
Biggest Letdown – BOUND BY NIGHT by Larissa Ione
Not that this book wasn’t good. This is probably because I had such high hopes for this book because, of course, this was Larissa Ione we are talking about. I think this series has a lot of potential but this first book didn’t quite achieved it yet in my opinion. I am still very excited to see what Ms. Ione does next with these characters.
Best Sex Scene – This is a three part tie for me.
Weird thing that with all the erotic romance I read I end up picking a few books that aren’t traditionally erotic (except one) although they are smoldering hot and intense. INTENSITY IS KEY! For the first pick I have the NOLA sex scene in COME ALIVE by Karina Halle where Dex gets creative and introduces a toy. Let’s just say as intense as Dex usually is with sex, and how much stamina he has, this one goes down as one of their best sex sessions. Then I have to (I’m obligated to, morally) mention THE PROFESSIONAL by Kresley Cole, Part I. I can honestly say that every single sex scene in that book can leave you whimpering and scrambling for some relief. But there is one particular scene in a closet that is highly worth mentioning! And how can we leave out Qhuay in LOVER AT LAST by JR Ward. Every second of the sex in this book was awesome. Never too descriptive, and a lot of people complained about that. But JR Ward managed to convey the emotions from each scene so accurately that it felt as if I was living them right alongside the characters. And because this book is all about angst, I’ll have to pick the infirmary scene when they were having rough, raw sex, full of emotion and despair.
Best Cover – Either SINS & NEEDLES by Karina Halle or THE DARKEST CRAVING by Gena Showalter
They are so different but I think both so eye catching. I had to narrow down one for Gena Showalter because I loved every cover by her this year but this one speaks to me with the colors, and the hot guy on the cover. These would both make me pick them up at a store even if I didn’t know the authors (who are both on my auto-buy list).
Best Debut – TANGLED by Emma Chase
What an entertaining book from the completely different perspective. I loved being in Drew’s mind and I can’t wait to read more from this author.
Author of the Year – Karina Halle
Yeah ‘cuz I devoured and loved almost everything she ever wrote this year! And loved every second of it!