Best of 2014: Francesca’s Picks!

Posted December 30, 2014 by Francesca in Best Of / 10 Comments

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BEST NEW RELEASE: BURN FOR ME by ILONA ANDREWS

burnformeReview

I absolutely love Ilona Andrews and I was really excited about this new series, but somehow I went into this book without any expectations.  I knew I didn’t want it to be like reading the Kate Daniels series, that was it.  I cannot tell you how much this book grabbed my attention from page 1 until the end.  I was riveted.  The world is AMAZING, the plot is full of actions and twists and everything I LOVE in urban fantasy.  The characters?  I’m in love with everyone!  This was one of the few books I read this year that kept me totally glued to ever word, holding my breath at times, panting from the sexual tension alone, and left in the end starving for more.  I NEED MORE….NOW NOW NOW NOW!

BEST NEW TO ME BOOK: WRITTEN IN RED by ANNE BISHOP

written in redReview

Annie read this book a while back and then Suzanne jumped on the bandwagon.  They both loved the series and I trust my lovely UTC chicks so I picked up WRITTEN IN RED.  And I was blown away!  It’s been a while since I’ve read a new UF series that’s this good, this intricate, this gritty.  With so many layers and mysteries still left to uncover, this is one of my best finds this year.  Well, it was never really hidden but you get the picture.  MUST READ recommendation for everyone that loves UF.

BEST NEW SERIES: REASONABLE DOUBT by WHITNEY GRACIA WILLIAMS

reasonabledoubtReviews

I don’t think I read too many new series this year.  I’m shocked actually!  I picked up the first episode of the Reasonable Doubt series on a whim after seeing all the hype online.  I didn’t really trust the fact I would enjoy it but it really surprised me.  Especially because it’s a true jerk hero.  I wanted to kick him in the nuts most of the time, but that is part of his appeal.  This was a quick and fun little series (now available as 1 ebook).  But most of all, it was also emotional and very hot!

FAVORITE HEROINE: RACHEL MORGAN from THE WITCH WITH NO NAME by Kim Harrison /
MELANTHE from DARK SKYE by Kresley Cole

WITCHNONAMEReview

We say goodbye to Rachel Morgan.  And what a different Rachel we got to see in THE WITCH WITH NO NAME.  Although we also got THE UNDEAD POOL this year!  Double whammy.  Rachel has been such a beloved heroine of mine for so many years.  I’ve gone through he ups and her many owns.  And in this last installment, she was the perfect blend of it all.  A little more vulnerable, a little more wise.  Still battling her self doubt and confidence.  What’s the right or wrong thing to do. Still being selfless.  I couldn’t have been happier with the ending to this series because honestly, she deserved her HEA.  I definitely shed a tear or two in this bittersweet ending and I’m still happy to see this beloved series end on such a high note.

darkskyeReview

There isn’t enough to say about this book.  This was seriously competing for one of my favorite books of the year and it’s definitely in the Top 5.  I loved everything about it but Melanthe was a big part of it.  I loved seeing her journey.  Her vulnerability when she was young, the hurt she experienced, the broken trust.  The hate and revenged she’s carries for years.  But also the love.  What a complex character she is and so totally loveable.  This brought back my love for paranormal this year and showed me how PNR can still get to me.

Honorable mention in this category….. All of L.H. Cosways’ heroines.  Because I want to go out drinking and hanging out with them.

FAVORITE HERO: All of L.H. COSWAYS’ heroes

killer-queen-by-l-h-cosway sixofhearts stilllifewithstrings
Review                                           Review                                              Review

I am a greedy pig.  I know.  I couldn’t pick just one!  I melt for these men.  Nicholas, my first L.H. Cosway love, came back with a vengeance this year in KILLER QUEEN.  I really didn’t think I could fall in love with him more but KILLER QUEEN slayed me.  I am forever at his mercy.  He owns my soul.  He is THE man.  But look, she does it again!  I am just as in love with 2 other men written by L.H. Cosway.  Jay Fields, the illusionist starring in SIX OF HEARTS and Shane Arthur from STILL LIFE WITH STRINGS.  Studs the both of them.  I want to marry all of them.  Or at least kidnap them and keep them locked in my basement for my personal enjoyment.  Gah!  I’m obsessed.

BEST COVER: LOVE, IN ENGLISH by Karina Halle

love-englishReview

I am so in love with this cover it’s not even funny.  It’s a graphical masterpiece. I love the colors, the effects, the hair, the feel of it.  Just *sigh* perfection.

BIGGEST LETDOWN: COLLEEN HOOVER
uglylove maybe someday
Review                                           Review

I am sad and shocked both at the same time.  Colleen Hoover might’ve just been my favorite author of 2013.  I gobbled up everything she ever wrote and loved every bit of it.  In 2014, I just couldn’t connect.  Both her major novels this year were let downs for me.  I was so pumped to read them and I found myself hating one thing or another.  I don’t think it’s necessary to go into details, I’ve done that in my reviews (3 Stars both).  But the fact of it is that I love this author so much, I couldn’t help but being let down that these were less than 5 Stars.

FAVORITE COUPLE: CARSON & CAROLYN from COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY by Lorelei James

COWBOYTAKEMEAWAYReview

The couple that started it all.  This was a sad year for me, seeing so many favorite series come to an end.  All of them going out with a bang!  I wasn’t sure I really wanted or needed to read this story when it was first announced this was the last couple.  There are still so many characters I wanted.  But trust Lorelei James to do the right thing.  This was the PERFECT ending.  I cried, I bawled, I laughed, I panted right along with these two.  Their life long romance and lasting love tugged at every string of my heart.

BEST SEX SCENE: RIVAL by PENELOPE DOUGLAS / MIDNIGHT ACTION by Elle Kennedy

RivalReview

The sex between Fallon and Madoc is HOT.  Off the charts hot.  There is one particular scene in this book that I just can’t forget.  Fallon runs out on Madoc, and they’re both mad as hell.  When he catches up with her he jumps out of his sports car in the rain grabs her and there’s some hot angry sex going on out in the rain, on the hood of Madoc’s car.  *purrrrrrr*

Midnight ActionReview

I can almost put every sex scene in this book under this category.  There’s years of hate and hurt between Noelle and Jim.  Some serious build up and sexual tension throughout this series that just EXPLODES in this book.  Squirming is putting it mildly.   There’s sex in the open (how about on the balcony overlooking a society party), there’s sex in private.  I thought the best way was to just show you a sample…

“I want you to look at me while I fuck you.”

When she didn’t obey, he curled his fingers around her thick braid and yanked hard.  “Look. At. Me.”

or

His desperation fascinated her.  He was coming undone right in front of her.  The cords of muscle in his neck popped out from the strain.  His warm, male flesh took on a sheen of sweat.  The pistoning of his hips grew erratic, frenzied.

The mattress squeaked in protest and the headboard whacked against the wall, but Jim didn’t slow down.  Didn’t show mercy.  He pummeled into her, over and over again, flesh slapping flesh, his slick chest crushing her breasts.

or maybe this one is better?

“I think I’m going to lick your pussy when we get back to your place.”

Do you now see the theme here? Yeah, lots and lots of angry sex.

AUTHOR OF THE YEAR: L.H. COSWAY

lhcosway

This woman rocked it this year!  I feel like an addict looking for her next fix every time I think about an L.H. Cosway book.  I love the stories, the heroes, the heroines.  All. Of. It!

 

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for Angela’s Best of 2014!

Missed our previous posts:

Annie’s Best of 2014 Picks

Suzanne’s Best of 2014 Picks

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Francesca

Blogger/Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
I’m a 30 something sun lover living in the Big Apple (read New York).I’m a book and coffee addict and lover of all things elephants.

I get easily distracted by pictures of sexy guys and have tons of book boyfriends.I keep all my alpha males chained to my basement and guard them fiercely.*Back off bitches*I like to see Jason Momoa as a lot of those boyfriends, because ….. mmmmmmm JASON.MOMOA!

I’m a part time graphic designer (yes, everything you see on UTC has been done by me), run my husband's business from home and on a good day I’m a self appointed superwoman (she who can do it all).I love blogging with my girls and I couldn’t do it any other way!My first love is everything paranormal, but in the past few years I’ve re-learned to love contemporary romance.Every once in a while I like to mix things up with a historical romance, a steampunk or an LGBT book.Because I need variety to avoid book slumps.I don’t always need an HEA although I prefer one, and I love authors that can rip my heart out and make me ugly cry.
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NelleAmy RAround the Book Blogosphere #20 — Unique Reading Challenge and Best Audiobooks of 2014Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading AddictUnder the Covers Book Blog Recent comment authors
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Timitra
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Timitra

I loved Burn For Me, Cowboy Take Me Away (such a great end to the series) and Love In English

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

Really enjoyed burn for me…was sad to see the hollows series end but you’re absolutely right how rachel changed!…love lorelei james…and wow those were some pretty hot sex scenes

Sophia Rose
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Sophia Rose

I really need to try the Anne Bishop series and the new Ilona Andrews. Nice list, Francesca!

Lupdilup
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Lupdilup

Awesome Francesca! I have to add Reasonable Doubt. I still can get pass half the audiobook of Dead Witch Walking! What’s wrong with me?!…LOL
I wish you guys a wonderful New Year, and that everything your hearts desires comes to be!

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Under the Covers Book Blog

Hey Loupe! I STRUGGLED through DEAD WITCH WALKING. I considered not continuing the series but I had already bought the audios through book 3 so I pushed through and thank God I did! I hope you can push through the first one. This is a series with the worst first book syndrome ever. LOL

Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict
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Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict

Those were a couple of my favorite heroines too. Midnight Action sounds AMAZING!

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Around the Book Blogosphere #20 — Unique Reading Challenge and Best Audiobooks of 2014

[…] the Covers Annie, Francesca, and […]

Amy R
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Amy R

I really enjoyed books by LH Cosway and Lorelei James.

Nelle
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Nelle

Allright, this makes 2 Best of 2014’s I’ve seen Dark Skye on. I was listening to it but never got back to the 2nd half! Definitly re-downloading it from Audible! My GR’s just got a workout! I am a MEGA FAN of Kim Harrison and Rachel Morgan! She’s actually the only UF I’ve read, but now I’m adding Anne Bishop! And Holy Sex, Batman!!! Midnight Action just got added!! Love some angry sex!! Sounds HOT!

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Under the Covers Book Blog

😉 Glad you found some good stuff here Nelle!