YAY!!!! It’s our book-bud/super-angst-lover (fellow “Marmy” member), Grey’s list, and I can’t wait to explore this one!! I just LOVE how she went into depth describing each of her favorite book picks, because it gives me so much insight into not only her experience with the story, but how much I know I will connect to it, too. YAY ME!! YAY US!!!
“Another year…another list! You all know how wordy I am, so it is probably in your best interest to pull up a chair and get a snack, or your favorite cocktail. (Amy, if you would do the honors, please?) Get comfy – this is a long one!
I’m pretty stingy with my 5 star review/ratings. As a matter of fact, I’ve only given out 10 this year….so what do you know? You’re going to get those – plus a *few* honorable mentions, because I’m a brat who can’t follow the rules. *blows Maryse a big kiss*”
In order of appearance this year, not for any other reason… Let’s do this!
Until You: The Fall Away Series by Penelope Douglas. Surprised? I was a little surprised that a sequel, which could almost be argued was a rewrite of the first book in the series AND written entirely in the male POV (which I sometimes have a harder time connecting with), could get my first 5 star rating of the year. However, that is exactly what the follow up to Bully did.
Until You, allowed us to get inside Jared’s head to see things from his side of the story. What is better, is the added bonus of new scenes and chapters too. Don’t worry, it isn’t a verbatim repeat of the first book with just his feelings overlapping it. As I write this, I’m not sure why Bully only got 4.5 stars. I wracked my brain trying to think of what was lacking, but so far I haven’t come up with anything.
With that said, I was apprehensive about reading basically a rehash of a story I’d already read. However, I’ve never been so happy to have bitten the bullet! Getting Jared’s POV gave me what I didn’t realize I was missing. His brokenness, but the obvious love he has for his childhood best friend Tate… *sigh* I loved this book. Just typing their names, almost a year later, makes me want to pull the whole series back up on my kindle and reread it again! If that doesn’t tell you something, it should!
One passage in particular, when the duo had squared off in a classroom and Tate had spat a nasty barb to Jared about his parents not wanting him, just gutted me. In 2 sentences, Ms. Douglas gave us a glimpse into Jared’s head and brought me to tears…
“I didn’t forget to breathe. I just didn’t want to anymore.”
Yeah…easily a 5 star for me. Jerk-face bullies and their extra smooshy armored hearts…I love them!
For my next 5 star read, I chose THERAPY by Kathryn Perez. This book. It broke me. There were parts that I had to physically walk away from. Puffs Plus and Godiva chocolate got me through. At one point, I’m fairly certain you all remember me posting about wiping my nose with chocolate wrappers instead of tissues… Well Therapy is the reason why!
Marmy, Table for one! It hurt. The intensity of highs and lows Jessica and Jace felt… it gutted me. The complexity of feelings that Ms. Perez was able to weave into words was so incredibly potent. I had to take a couple of days before I was able to even write the review, because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to rate it.
“They say monsters live under beds. They’re wrong because our mind is where monsters truly reside.”
How true is that quote, btw? Take a minute and let it sink in. Depression is real folks. It’s real and it’s scary. It’s so isolating and people live with it…and die from it every single day. Yeah… deep, right? Whew. I need more Godiva or a chilled glass of pink Moscato. Or both. At any rate, the book. While a very difficult and gut wrenching read… was absolutely sensational.
Next up! Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. I absolutely was riveted by this story. Horrified, thinking that this could happen to anyone of us in a foreign country. Truly masterful storytelling. Just writing the title, brings back the heebie jeebies I got while reading it. This was about a group of kids on a senior break trip, and one of the girls wound up dead…. another accused of killing her and she lands in a foreign jail, as does her boyfriend. As time marches on, she is denied bail, meanwhile her boyfriend is released under sketchy circumstances and we wonder if she will rot in this prison forever! Wow… the psych thriller aspect of the whodunit really kept me on the edge of my seat! A supremely well written tale, highly recommend to anyone that enjoys an intense journey that keeps you guessing until the very last minute.
Ah, the only PNR on the list. And quite possibly, my top pick for 2016…but shhh… don’t tell Maryse, I told her I couldn’t be pinned down…. *giggle* Playing with Monsters by Amelia Hutchins. If you could see me right now, you’d see the HUGE smile on my face. Legitimately, I’m smiling SO big! I absolutely FLoved it!! It had been a while since I’d handed out a 5 star review… 5 months to be exact. (I went back and counted!) I’d read upwards of 60 books since then. I admit it, I’m a tough critic. But this book, it had everything I was looking for!
Angst… oh, it had the ANGST in spades! Hot sexy times… ooh, sound the alarm on that front too! A complete, jerkface a$$hole and a sassy, independent young woman and how they…um, clash, yeah, that’s the right word. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Just an intriguingly fascinating paranormal story that I didn’t even know I craved!! Man, I cannot WAIT for the next part of this series to come out.
Tight by Alessandra Torre, I know, I know, I know. I was really slow on the uptake here. All I can say is THANK YOU!!! If it wasn’t for all of you and the best of 2015 lists, touting how great this book was, I wouldn’t have known about this amazing book! It’s a little different than the author’s usual style, a bit edgier and darker… but I like dark…and edgy, and edgy dark…LOL, so I was cool with it. And let me be perfectly blunt, Ms. Torre can throw down with the smut… humina, humina! A small time girl going through a bit of a sexual drought and a worldly man that sweeps her off her feet… but he’s hiding something. Recipe for excellence, right? Yep, that’s what I thought, too!
Gah, my July was AWESOME!!! I read the previous two books and the next three, in the span of a month, it was fantastic. Although, since then I felt quite the book hangover, I must say! Into the Light (The Light Series Book 1) by Aleatha Romig– This book. Holy sh*t! This part one of two, is about a woman who wakes up blind with no memory and in a cult… and she has very conflicted feelings about her husband. What a ride! I thought I had it, swore I knew what was going on then – blam another twist. Aleatha-ed again! She’s a wizard, this author! I accomplished nothing all day but read the book… and I considered it a great day! I cannot wait for part two of this series, I’ve just got to know how this all plays out! (as an aside, part 2 is now out…and we can find out how this all plays out! so you all don’t have to wait!!!) This was a definite 5 star pretzel tummy, twisty turny brilliant masterpiece, my favorite kind!
Eminent Love by Leddy Harper. 5 heart wrenching, ugly cry inducing stars. This book. I joked that I may never read another by the author because she ripped my heart out and sent it through the shredder, I was kidding, of course. But, it was that intense. Once I started this story, I literally didn’t put it down. The love story of Creed and Layne was told almost exclusively from Creed’s POV, which as I said earlier, can sometimes be a hard sell. That is, a female author writing a male POV, but not in this instance, she nailed it, in the most heart wrenching way.
I don’t want to give spoilers… but the long and the short of it is, that they were “heart mates.” The “Yen and the Yang”. Together for 5 years while they battled through college and “things”. The readers were treated to some sexy times too, not too over the top or raunchy. Then Creed and Layne graduated and just when we thought everything was going to be set, she accepts a job and moves across the country… what the what?!?! *Insert angst here* For a year, they are separated until he decides he can’t live without her and is going to drive across the country to fight for her… which is how the majority of the story is told. Each chapter being divided between ‘the Now’ and ‘the Then’. It was just… wow. Yeah, keep the tissues handy!
No list is complete without something from Tiffany Reisz…and this one isn’t either. So… here we are. Something Nice written by the fabulously talented, Tiffany Reisz! A little novella that she gifted to everyone on her mailing list. It made the end of my July so much nicer. I have missed my Sinners something awful. “All is fair in love and sadism.” *giggle* The only thing that would make me happier… is if I got my novella about Zach and Nora’s free week… I’m still waiting on that one, Tiffany!
The most controversial book for me to add to this list… It Ends with Us: A Novel by Colleen Hoover. No question that it is a 5 star read. I had to let my feelings sort of marinate for a while before I could type a review because I was very conflicted over what I was going to say. CoHo… Damn. This Book. I started it at 9pm at night and finished it at 215am the next morning. However, it kept me awake for long – long after that. This is one of those books that is going to stay with me, probably for the rest of my life. And for that alone, it earns you one of my hard won 5 stars. You, Colleen Hoover are brave and bold. And I applaud you, for raising awareness of such a swept under the rug issue, especially adding such a personal notation at the end of your book… you are a trailblazer and should always hold your head high. Be proud!
Rarely in life, do you get a glimpse into a world where you are so conflicted over what the “right” choice is. What the right choice for one person is, may not be the right choice for someone else. The night I read the book, I blew up Maryse’s blog, I obliterated R’s Twitter DM… I was in short, a hot mess reading it. I stood up, I sat down, but I never, not for one second, did I stop reading. I had to know what happened to Lily Blossom Bloom Kincaid.
I laughed, I cried, I ached…then I cried some more… then I was furious… at more than one person strangely enough. The love stories told in “It Ends With Us” pulverized my heart with a mallet and then sent it through a meat grinder… I felt for all of them, because I don’t feel that Ryle, Lily, Atlas or Emmy got the ending they necessarily deserved… gah, maybe I wasn’t ready to write the review after all!?!? But be that as it may, here it is.
The last of my 5 stars was way back in August! Far too long ago! That needs to be rectified ASAP! But luckily for you all, it’s a fantastic read! The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson. I started this book and almost immediately stopped to delete it. The prologue hit way too close to home for me and I wasn’t sure I could get through. But… It was on my spreadsheet and recommended by at least 6 of my fellow blog buddies from the best of 2015 list and I needed a 5 star. I’d become a bit of a glutton. I’m not spoiling anything as I said, it comes right out in the first pages of the book. The MC is Liz and the book follows her as she tries to emotionally recover from the devastating loss of her husband from brain cancer. A young widow and mother of 4 children who are in their own state of flux. She is working to get through the 5 stages of grief, and really just to get through each day. This book was incredibly well written and just made you feel like you were right there inside Liz’s head for every raw, sometimes painful, sometimes frazzled moment.
The only possible criticism I have is that I felt the ending was rushed, and I would have liked a little more of the wrap up. Not enough that I would pull a star away however. 5 pop tart and wine stars!
- Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas;
- Blur (Changing Colors Book 2) by N.A Alcorn;
- Forget (Changing Colors Book 1) by N.A. Alcorn;
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production by J.K. Rowling;
- Beautiful (The Beautiful Series Book 10) by Christina Lauren;
- Tapping the Billionaire (Bad Boy Billionaires Book 1) by Max Monroe and
- White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements Book 1) by Jennifer Armentrout.
“Ok… I’m out! Thank you if you’ve managed to get through all of this…you deserve to give your eyes a bit of a rest now LOL! Happy New Year and may we all have marvelous 2017’s full of great reads!! XOXO, Grey”
Check out more of Grey’s favorites!