Reader Favorites – Kandace’s Top Favorite Books List:

by Maryse on March 26, 2016 · 23 comments

in Book Recommendations

Kandace and me! :D

Kandace has been my book-bud for YEARS now!! We hang out online, comparing book notes and recommendations, we meet up at book conventions and in fact, she’s here with me, at my house, right now!! My very own online book friend come to life!! :D

And while Kandace is part of our “Facebook crew” she joins in here on the blog, every once in awhile, too! Wanna get to know her book-tastes??

The first book she remembers reading:

“…admitting this is going to totally show my age but the first book I remember reading was ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ by Judy Blume.” <— Sidenote: She totally did the *I must… I must…* ahem… exercise, yesterday. Tee hee!! :P

She REALLY wants Jane Harvey-Berrick‘s entire set of signed books! LOL!!!!!

“I’ll give you my first born spawn for this signed set? He’s potty trained and can make his own PB&J sandwich.” <— sidenote*snort* He is pretty darn cute!!!!

She loves M/M! (I giggled when she wanted to tell me about a few of ‘em for THIS list, but was side eyeing her husband who was in earshot, and said… “ummm… I’ll tell you later.“) LOL!!!

Kandace: I’m obsessed with Danio, Aiden, Xavier and Carson. I loved Dangerously Happy and I was so nervous if I would love Xavier’s story with the same intensity. I freakin loved Bad Things even more than DH. I feel you should read Dangeriously Happy before you read Bad Things. The characters are too connected. I sighed when Danio and Aiden showed up in Bad Things. Varian Krylov is an auto buy for me.

She loves angst and has read a bunch that I haven’t yet!!

Kandace: I binge read 3 of Lauren Layne’s books this month (Blurred Lines, and 2 Oxford series books). I’ve never read anything by her before, Her books have a little bit of everything: humor, chemistry, tension and angst. Plus the books were super hot between the sheets. Her men are dirty talkers and her girls are full of sass. I’m looking forward to,starting her other series.

Kandace: Girls!! Read The Ground Rules (Book 1)!! I promise every negative or nervous thought you’re feeling is way worse in your head than how it plays out in the book. It’s so good. I had butterflies the entire story.

Kandace: Finished the series last night. I truly loved it. It really makes me think about how many children have grown up homeless and have lived most of their life on the streets. I hope anyone who picks it up connects the same way I did. Book 1 and 3 were my favorite.

Kandace: Waiting on the Sidelines (IMO) felt like coming of age story. I liked it because it was completely different than everything else I’ve read this year. The YA angst was a refreshing change. Every once in a while I need a change up to cleanse my mind.

Kandace: My favorite KA book was At Peace. I loved Violet and Joe’s story. I loved the way her protected not only Violet but her girls as well. The story had the perfect amount of mystery, suspense, family, crime, love and romance.

Ready for her ABSOLUTE FAVORITES list?

“Funny how we all have a different list! Just goes to show there is a book written for all of us.”

Making Faces by Amy Harmon – “Gave me that childhood crush… I felt like I was back in high school… that giddy feeling, you know when you like a boy. And plus it was all the relationships, her cousin… all of it.”

Captive in the Dark (The Dark Duet Book 1) by CJ Roberts – “It was the darkest book that I ever read, and I felt ashamed for liking it… did you feel that way, too? It started my dark addiction… your worst fears coming true. You’re reading about your worst fears like kidnapping and rape and slavery and all that stuff…” <— sidenote Yes!! I agree!!

Outlander: A Novel (Outlander, Book 1) by Diana Gabaldon <— “It was just an epic story… I mean you know! You read it! I never read any of the other books yet… but that scene… with him. Jamie Frasier. You don’t need to say anymore.”

The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman Trilogy Book 1) by Paullina Simons <— “For me it was more of a journey of surviving the war than a love story. When they were hungry… I was hungry. When they were cold… I was cold.  She just wrote it so real. A journey… these people living in that time, and Tatiana was so strong and I loved reading about her.”

Message from Nam by Danielle Steele <— That one is a childhood favorite and I think I read it five times. I don’t even know if I’d like it now, but it’s about this girl and this guy and they get married, and he goes to Nam and he dies… and she is a reporter and she falls for someone else… Oh you know what? I think I liked it, because it was the first story where a character died. I remember bawling and bawling and thinking how is this girl going to get over this? You think you have your soulmate but then you find another love… you know. I was a teenager!”

The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson <— That book hit every emotion a human being can ever have. I never cry-laughed in one sentence. Those sobs would sneak up on you… I actually think that this book actually made me refocus. That one scene where she is pulling away and her kid wants her to hug her, and she goes back… it’s like kind of like you have to live each moment because you never know when it’s going to be your last.”

Beautiful Disaster: A Novel by Jamie McGuire <— Travis. No more needs to be said. I think that book was the first new adult book that I think I read.

Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens <— is the reason anxiety medicine was created. Hahahah!!! Thoughts was the one book that I wanted that feeling again… something about the secret touches in that book… like in the kitchen he’d rub his fingers across her back… ahhhhhhh. I only read that book once and I remember those.

Emi Lost & Found Series by Lori Otto – The whole entire series was probably the most I’ve ever cried. It was so emotional and you can’t talk about it at all, because of spoilers…

Slide (Roads Book 1) and Rare (Roads Book 2) by Garrett Leigh <— “Have you read ‘Slide’ and ‘Rare’ by Garret Leigh. Ash is so messed up. It’s a dark edge read. My favorite MM books of 2014. If you liked Varian’s books I think you would like Garret’s Slide series too.”

Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane <— “Girls! If you’re in the mood for a really good MM read, I highly recommend Amy Lane’s newest one ‘Beneath the Stain’. I finished it yesterday and I can’t stop thinking about them. I keep rereading sections. This books couple may have trumped Pete and Ash from ‘Slide’ and ‘Rare’ as my favorite couple.”

Escape From Paradise by Gwendolyn Field <— “It’s another book about reading about your worst fears… kidnapping, ya know? It gets your heart so pumpy and so intense!” <— sidenote: :P Pumpy! I LOVE IT!!!

Reason To Breathe (The Breathing Series, Book 1) by Rebecca Donovan <— “I was really mad that it took so long between books ’cause she left you with killer cliffhangers for a long tim, but I still think about the book all the time. OMG the ending, and I was all… what? Did she die?!!!” <— sidenote: not a spoiler… ’cause 1.) she who? And 2.) did she, or didn’t she? ;)

Love Unscripted:The Love Series, Book 1 by Tina Reber – “That was just… how do you describe that book? The ultimate dream fantasy. Girl’s working in a bar (owns the bar, right?) and meets ahhhh this dream guy… he’s famous. It’s such a big book that you get so immersed in their story and you feel like you’re there at the bar with them… and when he walks in your heart gets all pumpy again. It’s Ryan Christensen. I wanna be Mrs. Christensen. Back off Sherry! :P

Something Blue: A Novel by Emily Giffin <— “This was more of a chick-lit type book, I picked it up on my way to Arizona at the airport and that book sparked my reading again and made me buy a Kindle. These two girls are best friends and one friend is getting married to another guy, but there’s a moment between the best friend and the guy and it sparks a whole chain of events.”

Songs of Submission Series by C.D. Reiss <— “I’ve read a lot of Dom/sub series, but this one doesn’t really seem… “out there”. She needed to be dominated by this guy and he needed to dominate her. It wasn’t all show and production, it was just… real.”

Surviving Raine: Surviving Raine Book 1 by Shay Savage <— “This story is about an alcoholic who is detoxing after a shipwreck and he’s such a jerk to Raine (the other survivor) but watching him soften to her was just so… I don’t even know the word. Precious. And yet… he never stopped being an a$$hole. LOL!!!! He hated her but yet he’d offer her the first fish (or whatever… something like that). Did he like her or did he hate her? And you never knew what Raine was thinking… we never got her POV but his POV was awesome. I would have dumped his butt over the dingy.”

Funny sidenote! While Kandace and I were talking about this book, her husband overheard us and said…

Kandace and me… and her husband none too impressed with our stories. Tee hee! :P

“He gave her the first fish? neutral

So we explained…

“Yeah but!!! They were stranded on a dingy hoping to find land, and he was a drunk that was detoxing and he’s such a jerk and so mean to her… and we hated him…!!!”

And then her husband said…

“But… he gave her the first fish. confused

And we were all…

“YES!!!!! And we loved him…”

Yes… he eye-rolled rolleyes and left the room.

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella <— When it was first released, I thought it was the best book ever. I don’t even know if I would like this book as much now, but there was something SO funny with her confessing her deep dark secrets to the passenger next to her, on the plane as the turbulence freaked her out, and then she comes to work and discovers that was her boss and he now knows everything about her. This is definitely a chick-lit book. Lots of friendship dynamics in it too… the guy putting the coffee grounds in the plants… funny. If you work in an office, I think you can appreciate those kinds of office romance books more.

Fearless: The Complete Novel (Dartmoor Book 1) by Lauren Gilley <— “FEARLESS was sooooooo good. It has a Cat Porter feel mixed with Madeline Sheehan grit. …I can’t stop talking about my love of Mercy and I figured sooner or later my friends were going to put a gag order on me.”

Still Life with Strings by L.H. Cosway <— This girl is some sort of street performer, and this guy is totally drawn to her, and he’s rich and she’s kind of poor and doesn’t have much going for her, but takes good care of her brothers and sisters. There’s a few twists in there so I gotta be careful… something you discover about one of the characters. I just really like L.H. Cosway’s writing in general. I think she’s one of my writing soulmates you know? I just really loved that story.


I’m saving her hand-written favorites list forever! It’s now officially a part of my book-memorabilia. :D

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

bev March 26, 2016 at 6:06 PM

The last fish~lol. Now he knows what to do when your upset with him.
I have not read many of these-always nice to have new books to add to the tbr.
Hanging out and talking about books, sounds perfect.

Jen March 26, 2016 at 7:46 PM

Still Life With Strings is one of my favorite books! No one ever talks about how awesome it is!

Sherry D :) March 26, 2016 at 8:14 PM

And here sits two beautiful friends of mine who for some reason think they can have BOTH my book boyfriends.
Zsadist AND Ryan are mine forever and always <3

"Back Off Sherry!" Haha….Good One Kandace ;)
Love you both despite…

Amy March 26, 2016 at 8:15 PM

Well, look at you two pretty ladies!!!! That picture is lovely! :D

I like your list, Kandace!! I’ve read Beautiful Disaster (of course), Thoughtless (wish I could read it again for the first time), Emi Lost and Found series (I swear I had red, puffy eyes throughout most of book 2 from snot-crying), Love Unscripted (still get butterflies when I think of that one!), Songs of Submission series (seriously freaking hot with a dash of angst, that series) and Surviving Raine (not a fan of male-POV, but this was one of the exceptions).

And…AND!!! I loved Waiting on the Sidelines and the sequel!! Yes, it was teenage angst but it was ANGST! And we love angst in just about any form, don’t we? ;)

SallyReadsTooMuchSoWhat March 26, 2016 at 9:06 PM

Awwww I LOVE that you two got together and I love you both ❤️

Jennifer March 26, 2016 at 9:47 PM

Great list…love and read most on your list. I remember reading Can You Keep a Secret? At the pool on a cruise ship and a fellow lounger asking what I was reading because I was laughing and giggling so much during the flying scene! Great laugh out loud book!

Teri W March 27, 2016 at 12:20 AM

Kandace so many on your list are my favorites too especially Beneath the Stain, that is one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. Thoughtless, beautiful Disaster, Love Unscripted…..ahhhhh. So good. So I just downloaded Slide upon your recommendation. Thanks!

Lisa March 27, 2016 at 2:22 AM

Great list Kandace and Maryse. Im wish listing a few of these….Still Life and Oxford series. Ive read all the others besides Outlander and loved them all too.

Kandace M March 27, 2016 at 9:40 AM

Teri – I still think of Mackey and his crew from Beneath the Strain.

Fabi March 27, 2016 at 9:43 AM

Kanadace, so many (maybe all) of your favorites are also mine. It’s no secret I read a lot of mm along with my CR reads. But, I just fell in love with you for your Krylov taste. Bad Things ended up in my all-time favorites list since I kept re-reading it over and over. In fact, it’s been whispering my name again lately. Thank you for sharing your list. It’s awesome!

Fabi March 27, 2016 at 9:45 AM

*blush* sorry about my typo on your name. I’m mostly posting from my phone and when I get in a hurry or excited the keypad defeats me.

Ashley March 27, 2016 at 10:47 AM

Thanks Kandace ~ I have read so many of your favorites too and loved each and every one! I will have to check out the others that I haven’t read yet :) . I just finished Secondhand Smoke the latest in the Dartmoor Series and am still loving it; I am so hoping for a book or novella centered around Tango/Kevin….that boy just HAS to get a happy ending!

Roya Carmen March 27, 2016 at 11:55 AM

So many good books!! I love all Sophie Kinsella books! But I haven’t read one in a while… perhaps time to read ‘Can you keep a secret’ again! :)

Tessa March 27, 2016 at 4:09 PM

Gah, typed this yesterday and didn’t hit submit.

So many goodies, but I forgot about Can You Keep a Secret. Hilarious! Thank you for reminding me of that gem. It was so funny and sweet with angst. :D

Message from Nam, that was sad! Gah, I refused to read it again back when re-reading was the only way to read a book. (Like you, I was young when I read it. hehe ) SAD! Then again, my favorite from her is Kaleidoscope. That wasn’t exactly sunshine and roses. (My heart still clenches thinking of her life.)

I’ve read a bunch. so you have me super curious about the rest. *last fish lol*

Cheryl March 27, 2016 at 6:05 PM

Kandace I have read just about every book on your list and I agree Jamie Frazer nuuf said.!! Great picture of you two!! :)

Lisa March 27, 2016 at 7:30 PM

Ashley FYI Tango’s story is up next!!! It’s titled Loverboy and is book five in Dartmoor Series (not counting the Novella). I adored this series and it has set me on a MC bad boy fest this year. Onto Signal Bend series at the moment but trying to catch up on my tbr list in between books.

Lisa March 27, 2016 at 7:33 PM

What a great looking pair of book nerds you two are….and I love the pained expression on Kandace’s husbands face…it look familiar…think I’ve seen that very same expression on my hubby’s face…through a book fog of course so I can’t be certain. ;)

Kandace M March 28, 2016 at 8:20 AM

Lauren Gilley has 2 free novellas on Wattpad that tie into the Dartmoor series. Snow in Texas is about Mery’s brother Colin.

Jill D March 28, 2016 at 8:45 AM

We all <3 Kandace, her list has a few I'm gonna need to check out. Love the M/M too Kandace ;)

MichelleS March 28, 2016 at 6:42 PM

Fantastic list. So many favorites of mine up there! Glad to see Datrmoor series made your list. Sounds like you have very very similar taste, those are all male & female leads I adored… So I’m jotting down any on your list I missed.

Maryse March 29, 2016 at 12:32 PM

LOL Sherry!!! You crack me up. Gah I love you guys!!! :D

Julie March 31, 2016 at 12:32 PM

I read Blurred Lines this week after your rec’d it and love it! Great dialogue and characters. Can’t wait to read more from this author!

Kandace M March 31, 2016 at 11:36 PM

Julie, So happy you enjoyed Blurred Lines. I enjoyed binge reading this author’s books.

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