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Posted by Piper Vaughn
Because everyone else is doing it (and I usually do too), here are my favorite reads of 2015. I’d intended to save this post for January 1st or 2nd, but it feels like a good way to end the year. 😀 (Note: My list is based on when I read the book, not the year it was published.)
Rarely Pure and Never Simple – Angel Martinez
This is dystopian sci-fi at its finest. I loved the characters, the writing, the world-building and suspense, and of course, I always love a man with a lingerie fetish. 😉 Can’t wait for more in this world.
Here Without You by Mia Kerick – This was the followup to Kerick’s YA novel, Us Three. The boys are older and two of them are trying to navigate their first year of college while the other stays behind in their hometown to protect his sister from their abusive guardian. Things get pretty angsty toward the end there, but I was thrilled to see these guys a bit older and to see how their relationship had progressed. If you enjoyed the first book, I definitely recommend reading this one too.
Axel’s Pup (Werewolves & Dragons, #1) by Kim Dare – It’s no secret I’m a Kim Dare fan. I’ve read the vast majority of her work and count some of her books as my favorites in the genre. I really enjoyed this one. Loved the world-building and the unique take on shifters and it included all of the things I love from Kim Dare — solid writing, lighter BDSM, and a strong Dom who’s besotted with his sub. Bonus was the whole motorcycle club element. Really looking forward to more in this universe.
Dragon Slayer by Isabella Carter – This book had everything I love. Great characters, UST (unresolved sexual tension), dragons, solid, engaging writing, and a believable arranged/forced marriage romance. Good stuff. (And don’t just take my word for it! It was a 2014 Lambda Literary Award finalist, so that should tell you something too.) I can’t wait for book 2!
How to Walk Like a Man by Eli Easton – Roman… oh, Roman. I loved him to pieces! I adored How to Howl at the Moon, the first book in this series, but this book was even better. Roman is such a fantastic character and I love the world-building and lore in this universe. So good, and so different!
Sloe Ride by Rhys Ford – Well, what can I say about the magnificent Rhys Ford? She has a way with the written word that truly astounds me and fills me with admiration. I love her Sinners series, and I’d been looking forward to this story since I first read about Quinn and the other Morgans. Fabulous, as always.
Home and Away by Samantha Wayland – I have so much love for this book, and it’s another one that got added to my all-time favorites list. We have a closeted hockey player, a former figure skater, and my beloved jock-meets-nerd type of scenario. Add some UST, a pair of awesomely written kids, and secondary characters I loved, and I had not a single complaint!
Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding – After I read this book, I recommended it far and wide. It was a slow-moving, quiet story, a character study, gorgeously written, and one that will stick with me for a long time to come.
Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell – I loved this book, and well, I’ve already said it all in my Goodreads review, so check that out if you want to know my reasons. Suffice it to say, if you like your contemporary romance with some grit and lots of sexual intensity, you will enjoy this book. And I loved the sequel, Sunset Park, even more! Yes, I’m a Raymond girl for life. I adored him, and I loved his relationship with David. Their chemistry is off the charts amazing. These guys. Sigh…
Breakaway by Avon Gale – I squeed all over Facebook when I finished this book. It was like sweet balm for my hockey-loving soul. I loved awkward, endearing Lane, and Jared, the other MC, and all the other secondary characters, especially Zoe and Riley. I was so happy when I read the last page I wanted to throw my gloves off and punch someone in the face! (This is the highest compliment I can think to give a fellow hockey fan.) Recommended!
Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton – This was my final read of the year, but undoubtedly one of my favorites. I shed a few tears when I read the last page, but not sad ones. In fact, this story made me incredibly happy, and really, I can’t ask for more in a book. And, of course, Marie’s writing and characters never disappoint.
Reawakening (Forever Dead) by Charlotte Stein – Now, I realize most readers who follow this blog might strictly read M/M, but I couldn’t leave this book out of this post because it was just that awesome. In the wake of a zombie apocalypse, June finds herself saved by two very different men and falls in love with them both. This had horror, humor, and everything I’d expect from a zombie romance, along with a couple of damaged heroes and some seriously steamy sex. I mean… I was blown away and I desperately wish we could see more of their story, though the author has no plans to write another story for these three characters. This went on my “to reread” pile the moment I finished it.
And for a non-M/M story that still fits under the GLBTQ umbrella…
Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff – You would think that this book wouldn’t work for me. It’s a love story, but it’s told in 2nd person POV and you never know the gender of either the protagonist or the love interest. And yet… it was really beautiful.
I think the issue of Kid’s homelessness was glossed over a bit in terms of how difficult that reality would be, but I still appreciated that the author was trying to bring attention to the disproportionate amount of LGBTQ homeless youth out there. It’s said by Kid’s father that Kid “can’t decide to be straight or gay or a boy or a girl,” so I definitely do count Kid as falling under the LGBTQ acronym, even if we never know if Kid’s relationship with Scout is same-sex or otherwise. Some readers complained that not knowing removed their ability to connect with the characters, but that didn’t bother me at all. Maybe because I can relate to gender identity issues and not knowing or not wanting to claim any specific label.
A gorgeous book, and a love song to Brooklyn too.
And those were my favorite reads of 2015! Feel free to leave yours in the comments. You know I’m always looking for my next favorite. 😉
Happy New Year, everyone!