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Authors I’m Thankful For: Jordan Castillo Price

While the various authors I’ve pimped over the last few weeks make up only a mere fraction of all my favorites, you know I couldn’t end the month without sharing some JCP love!

PsyCop is one of my favorite book series ever, and Vic is one of my favorite heroes. PsyCop starts with Among the Living, which I could only describe as “perfect” the first time I read it. I’ve subsequently read it another 3 or 4 times. But as much as I adore the PsyCop series, I’d also like to pimp some of Jordan Castillo Price’s lesser known work.

First, there’s Meatworks, which I had the pleasure of beta reading. I knew then that it was one of her best books. It’s different from everything else out there, and it’s not your traditional romance. As I said in my review, JCP defies formulas and breaks molds when it comes to her writing. That’s something I greatly admire.

Then there’s The Starving Years, which I lost my mind over when I read it. It’s set in a dystopian, alternate universe and I’d consider it a thriller with romantic undertones as opposed to a romance. It was well-written, riveting, and left me with a hardcore book hangover. And what makes this book even cooler was that it started as a serial with a “choose your own adventure” type of concept. That’s right, readers had input into this story after every chapter, and it takes mad skill to to pull together a story of this caliber under that kind of pressure.

And of course I can’t leave out The Persistence of Memory, the first book in JCP’s Mnevermind series, set in alternate-reality Madison, Wisconsin. It reminded me of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is one of my favorite movies, and the story itself was totally fascinating and once again, unlike anything else I’ve seen in m/m. That’s the great thing about JCP’s stories – while they’re always written with her signature talent and style, you’re always guaranteed a unique, incomparable experience.

And lastly, I must give a little shout out to her stories in the Petit Morts collection. I LOVE a well-written short story. Sometimes I just don’t have the time or energy to invest into something longer. I want short, sweet, and quick. With JCP, you’re also going to get a fantastically written story – and having done numerous shorts myself, I know how difficult it can be to try to craft something of this length. One of my particular favorites from this collection was Wishink Well. But Moolah and Moonshine, Spanish Fly Guy, Pretty Ugly, and Hue, Tint, and Shade all deserve to be mentioned! (Note: IMO, these are best read in order.)

Happy reading, everyone! If you’ve never read JCP before and want to try out some new-to-you authors in 2016, I can give her nothing less than my highest recommendation. ♥

 

 

 

Authors I’m Thankful For: Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon

Hey, all. So, life sort of hit me in the metaphorical nuts last week and I didn’t get a chance to write up my gratitude posts. Maybe I’ll double up on some, or possibly I’ll just call last week a wash, but I’m hoping I can finish out the month without any other blips. Cross your fingers for me. 😛

Today I’m grateful for Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon. If you’re a historical romance fan and you haven’t read this duo, well, you should rectify that posthaste! I like them both together and separately, and they don’t just write historical romances, for those who prefer contemporary. Individually, they also write other genres, but it’s their historicals I love most.

Some of my favorites by these fabulous ladies are: The Gentleman and the Rogue, Mending Him, The Gentleman’s Madness, The Bohemian and the Banker (set during the 1901 Paris Expo, which I hadn’t seen in M/M before this book), and Seducing Stephen. They have a couple of newer titles out too, including a cute Christmas short called Simon and the Christmas Spirit, but you seriously can’t go wrong with whatever book you choose by these two. Give them a shot, if you haven’t already! And if you’ve never attempted to read a historical before, I’d further recommend their books as a starting point because they’re not overly bogged down by factual details. In my opinion, there’s just enough to show they’ve done their research and know their setting without making you feel like you cracked open a history book.

Happy reading, friends!

 

Piper’s Reading Roundup: June – August

Hi, everyone! It’s that time again. With traveling and being ill, I missed posting my reading roundup the last few months. I’m now going to rectify that, just in case anyone actually follows these posts. 😛

These are the books I read and enjoyed throughout June, July, and August. 🙂

PRc6NRaY

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, which I know the author is working on now.

Seducing Stephen by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon – As I’ve said before, Dee and Devon are one of my favorite author match-ups. I’m never disappointed in their stories. I always love the characters and root for them and this was certainly no exception. Recommended for the historical fans out there, if you haven’t read it yet.

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.

Tail Slide by PD Singer – This was a fun little read about an otter shifter who likes to snowboard and the guy he meets while shredding powder on his favorite mountain. Very cute.

Yours, Johnny by Hollis Shiloh – I’m a big fan of Hollis Shiloh. Generally, her stories don’t have a high heat content, so if that’s what you seek, Shiloh might not be the author for you. However, if you don’t mind non-explicit or low-sex stories, Shiloh might be right up your alley. She has a great style, and this one was touching and bittersweet. I enjoyed it immensely.

Where There’s Smoke by Nico Jaye – Sweet, cute, smufftastic! There’s a firefighter and a kitty. What more could you ask for?

Claiming His Mate by Lissa Ford – This is book #1 in Ford’s Rogue Alpha series, and fair warning, it’s not a complete story. You have to read all 3 books to get their entire arc. If you don’t mind that and you like shifters, enemies to lovers, military/special ops elements, and locked-in-a-cabin-together scenarios, you’ll probably enjoy this.

FREEBIES

All of the stories below are part of the M/M Romance Groups’s “Love is an Open Road” event, which means you can download them all for free

The Frat Brat by Nico Jaye – More smuff (smutty fluff)! This was short and sexy with very light D/s elements. Frat boys, car washes, wet T-shirts, and a multicultural couple… is it getting hot in here?

Salvaging Toby’s Heart by Lexi Ander – Tentacles, people. TENTACLES. And a great hero in the form of Sol. Lexi rocks, and I love the world she created here (and I say we need more stories in this world!).

The Downs by Kim Fielding – Well, it’s Kim, and make no bones about it, she’s one of my favorite authors in this genre. This story lives up to everything I’ve come to expect from Kim — vivid characters, excellent world-building, and the sort of writing I can’t find any fault with. Highly recommended!

Bare-Knuckle Love by KA Merikan – This story. I’ve read a couple of Merikan shorties before this, so I’m familiar with their darker style, and frankly, I loved that they didn’t pull any punches with this story (pun intended). I mean, we’re talking about a motorcycle gang member — leader, actually — and an MMA style fighter. No one should be expecting tenderness or whirlwind romance. This story is gritty, dirty, violent, and intense. It’s also hot as hell. I loved it.

Above All Else by Dayton Idoni – More dragons! Enemies to lovers in a fantasy setting. This was sweet, very unique, and it’s non-explicit for those who prefer that. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think the cover reflects the story well.

Wolf’s Honor by Laylah Hunter – This was very short and I was left wanting more — in a good way. I could have easily read a full length novel about these characters. We had a character with a traumatic past, some hurt/comfort, an alpha worthy of running a pack, and well, the rutting and knotting certainly didn’t hurt. 😉 I think I need to go reread it…

Moondrop by Katey Hawthorne – I loved this story! It was sweet and sexy. I loved the world, the tone, the characters, and the writing. It’s urban fantasy/paranormal and definitely not a hot and smutty fast-paced affair, but I was swept away by it and I’d love to read another story in this universe.

MFM

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 that’s all, she wrote! What have you read and loved recently? I’m always looking for recs!

Backlist Spotlight & Audiobook Giveaway: One Small Thing

Hi, everyone! May the 4th be with you! ♥

may-the-4th-be-with-you

I know I said I’d be doing these on Sundays, but today, Star Wars Day, is a special for One Small Thing. See, one of our main characters, Erik, is Star Wars obsessed (to put it mildly). He loves the movies and uses them as a sort of therapy (if you’ve read the book, you’ll understand). As such, on the 3 year anniversary since One Small Thing was originally released, we thought it would be cool to spotlight the book!

I don’t know how it’s gone for MJ, who has a lot more solo titles out than I currently do, but One Small Thing has certainly been one of my most successful books to date. It all started when I had a random thought about a flamboyant young gay man who unexpectedly finds himself with a newborn. It went on from there and I bounced my ideas off MJ as I was planning. Originally, I had planned to write the story alone, but when I tried starting it in third person, it just wouldn’t flow. Eventually I decided I needed to switch it to first, but then I thought that alternating POVs would be best and I worried about being able to create two distinct first-person voices on my own. I was discussing with MJ and asked her if she wanted to come on board to help me write it, since we’d recently co-written Moonlight Becomes You, the first book in our “Lucky Moon” series. She said yes, and voila, here we are with One Small Thing. Even years later it remains near and dear to my heart.

To celebrate the anniversary, I’d like to give away another copy of the audiobook, which just came out last month. 

audiobook

Blurb:

“Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.

Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of many – and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.

Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.

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To enter, simply comment on this post. (Be sure to list your email address in the appropriate box when commenting so I have a way to reach you!)

Closes: Saturday, May 9 @ 11PM CDT

Optional: 

For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following:

-Spread the word about this contest (tweet, reblog, put it on Facebook, put it on Tumblr). Just leave a link to said post about it in your comment.

-Like my official Facebook author page (But be sure I know what name you “liked” it under.)

-Follow me on Twitter and/or add me as a favorite on Goodreads.

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Disclaimer: This contest is open to adults age 18 and up. Your comment confirms that you are of legal age. Prize will be gifted on Audible.com. You must have an account there to download the audiobook.

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Buy it now!
Dreamspinner (ebook) ~*~ Dreamspinner (paperback)
Amazon (ebook) ~*~ Amazon (paperback)
Barnes & Noble (ebook) ~*~ Barnes & Noble (paperback)
ARe (ebook only)
Kobo

Audiobook
Audible | Amazon

Translations available in French, Italian, German, & Spanish! See the book page on my website for details.

Backlist Spotlight: The Party Boy’s Guide to Dating a Geek

Hey, all. Have you ever wondered what would happen if a party boy needed a guide to win the affections of a geeky heartthrob? Well, Xara X. Xanakas and I explored that exact concept in our book, The Party Boy’s Guide to Dating a Geek.

Those who’ve read it know that each chapter includes of brief excerpt from the “guide” Ash buys in the story to try to win over his man (to be). Full credit goes to Xara for writing those excerpts. They were tailored to the events in each chapter, and I think she did a fantastic job. The excerpts are funny and fitting, and I really hope people got a kick out of them while reading this story.

If you like opposites attract and the combination of a nerdy guy with a club-hopping wild child, then Party Boy might be right up your alley! It’s been translated into French, and for the audiobook lovers, it’s also available as an audiobook narrated by Paul Morey.

PartyBoysGuide

Ashley Byrne only wants one thing in life: to finish his tattoo apprenticeship and fulfill his dream of owning his own shop. In the meantime, he spends his nights partying, flirting, and having sex. After all, what else is there for him to worry about? Aside from his hair and his clothes, not much. He’s hot, and rest assured no one knows it better than him. He’s also used to getting what he wants—until he meets Felipe Navarro.

Fee Navarro has everything he needs: a great IT job, a nice apartment, and all the high-tech toys his geeky heart could ever want. He doesn’t do casual, and he knows guys like Ash are nothing but. Ash may burn hot for Fee, but Fee isn’t willing to take a chance on a vain, little party boy with too many tats and an oversized ego. He wants someone to share his life with, and he won’t settle for anything less. Too bad Ash has never been the type to give up easily. He has a plan, and he’s not stopping until he proves he’s more than just a pretty face—he’s someone worthy of winning Fee’s heart.

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Buy it now!

Less Than Three Press
Amazon (ebook) ~*~ Amazon (paperback)
Barnes & Noble
BookStrand
ARe
Kobo

French – Comment séduire un geek, manuel du fêtard

Less Than Three PressAmazonBarnes & Noble – Kobo (ebook)
AmazonBarnes & Noble (paperback)

Audiobook:

Amazon
Audible

Piper’s Reading Roundup: March

Hi, folks! It’s that time again. I’m a little behind schedule, but here are the books I read and loved in March! 😀 

The Gentleman and the Rogue by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon – This book is a few years old, and I don’t know know why it took me so long to read it, being that I’m a huge historical fan, but I’m so glad I finally decided to dive in. Bonnie and Summer are one of my favorite author collaborations. Not only do I love their combined style, I always love their plotlines and characters. This book was no exception. The whole rich guy falls in love with a prostitute trope is one of my faves (Hello, Pretty Woman!), and this book didn’t disappoint. Recommended for any Regency fans out there.

Grown-Up by Kim Fielding – I am an unabashed Kim Fielding fangirl, and I buy her books blurb unseen. This was a cute, opposites attract contemporary romance. Short and sweet and perfect for when you need something light to pick you up. I highly enjoyed it!

He’s Just Knot That Into You by Nico Jaye – Werewolves, knots, and Nico’s trademark smuff? How can you go wrong? Cute and funny with an interesting take on shifter lore. And I do so love that title.

The Slave by Kate Aaron – I’m not typically a fan of slave fic and most times I tend to avoid it, but a friend asked me to read this to tell them what I thought, and I ended up getting sucked into the story of Tam, Kai, and their master. I really enjoyed this book. But fair warning: it ends on a cliffhanger, so it’s a good thing all the books are available! I’m looking forward to completing the trilogy.

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I also ended up reading a good amount of fanfic last month. All of it was Sterek (natch). These were my faves, for anyone looking for recs.

For those who don’t know, Lisa Henry writes Sterek fanfic under the name of DiscontentedWinter. I loved all of these fics by her.

I know Where Babies Come From, Derek (Awesome)

Balloon Animals Are Awesome

Stiles Stilinski is a lying liar who lies

Bite Marks and Bendy Straws

Eyebrows and the Scientific Method (Hilarious!)

I also read A (Sort of) Fairytale by briecheesie. Stiles gets turned into a fox by a witch and there are tons of gratuitous Princess Bride references, which we all know I can appreciate. 😉

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What was the best thing you’ve read lately? Inquiring minds want to know! 

Backlist Spotlight: Love Rising

Hi, guys! It occurred to me that those of you who are new to my work might not have heard about some of my backlist titles. So, for the next month or two, I’ll be using Sundays to spotlight my older books.

Today is all about Love Rising.

A little background for this story. It started off as a birthday present for one of my friends. They’d posted prompts on their blog, asking if any of their author friends were willing to write a story as a gift. One of the prompts asked for mermen, and since I’ve always been a fan of The Little Mermaid, I took it on as a challenge to myself.

Love Rising is the result. It’s about Francis, a former indentured servant who escaped a master who tortured and abused him, and Wick, the merman he finds washed ashore. It’s set on Isla Sagrario, a fictional island, which was first mentioned by name in my pirate story, Black John (from the Dreamspinner Cross Bones anthology).

If you like mermen and fairytales, give it a shot! It features my favorite of all my covers so far, drawn by the fabulous and talented Anne Cain.

 

LoveRising - Anne Cain - 300x450

 

Blurb:

In the 1700s on the island of Sagrario, men who love other men find safe haven. For Francis Holland, an escaped indentured servant, Sagrario offers nothing but loneliness. His life begins to change when he finds Wick, a merman, washed ashore.

When Wick awakens under Francis’s care, Francis returns him to the sea at his request. Soon after, they begin to meet in secret, and gradually, Francis blossoms under this new companionship. However, a merman is a difficult creature to entrust one’s heart to. With one trapped on land and the other at sea, the differences in their species threaten to keep them apart forever. It may not be long before Wick is gone, taking Francis’s reason to smile with him.

Note: Set in the same world as my story, Black John, but can stand completely on its own. Black John does not have to be read prior to reading this one.

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Buy it here:

Dreamspinner Press
ARe
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Piper’s Reading Roundup: February

Hey, all! My reading picked up a bit in February. Right now I’m sitting at 26 books for the year (and 18 of those were last month). These were my favorite reads from February. Sharing the love.

In no particular order…

How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton – This was a sweet, funny, adorable read and absolutely perfect for my down mood lately. I really enjoyed it and recommend it, if you’re a fan of cute and fluff, which I most assuredly am. And I’m very happy to know there’ll be a story for Roman later this year!

Bayou des Enfants (Rougaroux Social Club, #4) by Lynn Lorenz – I’m a big fan of this series but hadn’t gotten around to reading this offering until last month. Scott and Ted are probably my favorite couple in this series, so I was really glad to revisit them and to see their family completed — even if it wasn’t exactly when or how they planned. Recommended for fans of the series. I don’t think it would stand well on its own, though, so if you haven’t read any of the previous books, I’d recommend starting at the beginning.

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 guardian, their abusive uncle. 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.

Infected: Paris by Andrea Speed – I reviewed this book last week, so it probably surprises no one to see it on this list. If you want my in-depth thoughts, you can find them here.

Checking Out Love by R. Cooper – This was probably my favorite read of the month. Everything about it just worked so well for me. It was short, funny, charming, and features a nerdy librarian and an equally nerdy college student with no brain-to-mouth filter. For me, it was perfect. I gushed about it all over my social media accounts the day I read it. Awesome stuff.

Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala – This was a lot of fun. Ondry, the alien in this story, is just fantastic in the way he wants to protect and tries to understand Liam, despite the differences in their cultures. I really enjoyed the story.

Taxes and TARDIS by N.R. Walker – I’m not sure why it took me so long to read this story. It matches up a blue-collar guy with a geeky accountant, and really, anyone who knows me is aware that this type of story is right up my alley. This was really cute, and I know I’ll likely read it again.

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.

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So, what did you read last month? Any standouts? I’m always looking for recs, so feel free to comment!

Piper’s Reading Roundup

My reading has gotten off to a slow start this year. I’ve only read 8 books in the entire month of January. To be fair, for the first half of the month, I was writing at full-tilt to meet our January 15th deadline. Fortunately, we got our manuscript turned in a whole day early. Now… we wait. But I have another deadline coming on March 15th to keep me occupied.  😉

Before I dig into Gavin’s story this month, these were my favorite reads from January. They weren’t necessarily published this month, just books I happened to read.

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.

A Wealth of Unsaid Words – R. Cooper

I’ve been on a bit of an R. Cooper binge over the last month or so. I realized one day I owned all her books but hadn’t read any. I remedied that with her Christmas story, Casper Gets His Wish, in December, and since then, I’ve read 3 more. This one affected me the most strongly.

It was poignant and masterfully written. As someone who’s struggled with depression all my life, I especially related to Alex, the main character, who suffers from bipolar disorder. I cried throughout most of this novella, and I highly recommend it. It’s so much more than just a holiday story, even if it revolves around the Christmas holiday.

Elements of Retrofit – N.R. Walker

I loved the start of this May/Dec series. And what can be said, really? N.R. Walker is a gifted writer and an M/M fan favorite. You can’t really go wrong. I’ve never been disappointed with a book of hers, and this was no exception. I loved Tom and Cooper and I’m looking forward to finishing the series.

Wolf’s Sacrifice – Draven St. James

I’d been looking forward to this story ever since I read Scent of a Wolf, the first book in Draven’s “Pack of Light” series. This is the story of Liam, a wolf who was blinded by experiments done to him while being held in captivity, and his mate, Sean. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend reading this if you haven’t read the first book, as a lot of what happens ties into events in Scent of a Wolf, but if you’re looking for a unique shifter series to try, I’d say give this one a shot! I very much enjoyed this book.

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What have you been reading since the New Year? Any favorites? I’m always looking for recs, so feel free to comment. 😀 

Piper’s Favorite Reads of 2014

Hey, everyone! This time of year you’ll see a bunch of these lists popping up, but I always love to share my favorite reads, so I’m hopping on the bandwagon. 🙂

Note: While these are the books I read and loved in 2014, not all of them were actually published this year. They might just be new-to-me, but I want to show them some love either way. These are all books I rated 5 stars. I’d include my 4-star reads, too, but we’d be here all day. 😉

Now, in no particular order:

Phoenix (Death Rose #1) – Melanie Tushmore

I really can’t praise this story enough. Set in the 80s, in the height of hard rock and glam metal, we have the story of artist, Alex, and his ultimate crush, guitarist Danny Death. We see Alex as a youth when he first encounters the band and follow him into adulthood. I enjoyed every minute of it.

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Meatworks – Jordan Castillo Price

I think my quote from earlier this year says it all:

Life in Desmond Poole’s world is dark and messy and full of self-destructive choices. He’s not your traditional romantic hero, and Meatworks is certainly not your conventional, feel-good romance. The characters are damaged and their path to love rocky. Yet that in itself is the appeal. Jordan Castillo Price breaks molds and defies formulas. Her work is always a breath of fresh air for its grittiness and realism. Meatworks is no exception. If you’re anything like me, it’ll dig its hooks in you and refuse to let go, even weeks after you reach the final page.

These characters are flawed. They’re real. And as always, JCP is a master of her craft.

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Hell & High Water (THIRDS #1) – Charlie Cochet

If you’re into M/M and you haven’t heard of Charlie’s THIRDS series, where have you been hiding? For the paranormal lovers, these books have it all. Shifters, alpha males, action, humor, smexiness, mystery. Even if you’re not a paranormal fan, you might enjoy this series. It’s definitely worth checking the first one out.

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Better Than New – Charley Descoteaux

This was such a gem. It was a free short story, part of the Love’s Landscapes offerings, and dealt with a disabled hero and some hurt/comfort. I loved it from start to finish, and I highly recommend it.

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Static – LA Witt

This book meant so much to me for such personal reasons that I left a comment on LA Witt’s Facebook wall to thank her mere moments after finishing it. It’s labeled as a shifter book, but it’s really so much more, and addresses gender identity issues in a way I’d never read before.

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The Border – Kim Fielding

It’s no secret that I love Kim Fielding’s writing. She wrote a couple of my favorite books in the entire genre — Brute and Speechless — and her stories are never lacking in emotional depth and the sort of prose I can only hope to aspire to. This little novelette packed so much story into so few pages. It earned a spot on my favorites shelf, and I’m sure I’ll reread it again and again.

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Life After Death (Infected #3) – Andrea Speed

Another not-so-secret love of mine is Speed’s Infected series… but it took me a long, long time before I worked up the courage to start this book. If you’ve read the previous books in that series, you might know why. To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into details, but I will say that my emotional journey with this book — and the entire series — will stay with me for a long time to come. Forever, in fact, since I have a tattoo in honor of the main character, Roan.

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As He Watches – Finn Marlowe

This is another freebie, part of the Love Has No Boundaries stories offered from the M/M Romance Group in 2013. I have a bit of a fetish about men in lingerie, and this book hits that spot in such a good way. It’s BDSM, there’s some humiliation, and it’s hot as almighty hell. I’ve already read it twice.

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Protection – SA Reid/T. Baggins

This book wrecked me. WRECKED. I only downloaded it originally because it was free on Amazon, but boy, am I glad I did. I only had the vaguest idea what it was about before it started, which was both a curse and a blessing. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but if I had, I might not have taken a chance on reading it, and that would be tragedy. This book was amazing, and definitely a standout among the books I’ve read this year.

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Tequila Mockingbird – Rhys Ford

What can I say about Rhys Ford? She is amazing in every single way and has a mastery of the language I doubt I’ll ever possess. Her Sinners series is one of my faves. Love, sex, mystery, music, and characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Read her books!

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That Last Thing He Needs – JH Knight

This was a great story that reminded me of one of my favorite TV shows, Shameless. This is the story of Tommy O’Shea, who is struggling to raise his seven siblings without any help from his drug and alcohol abusing parents. At its heart, this story was about family — the one you’re born into, and the one you build for yourself. I loved these characters and I’m so happy to have had a chance to be part of their world for a while.

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Of Last Resort (Princes of the Blood #1) – Megan Derr

Megan Derr is one of my longtime favorite authors in M/M. I reread her stories constantly. Her Princes of the Blood series started earlier this year with Of Last Resort, which I absolutely loved. We have a plain hero rejected by his fiance when he decides to undergo the “Blooding” to try to become a Prince of the Blood. No one expects him to survive, but of course, Raffé surprises everyone, himself included. If you’re a fantasy fan, definitely check this out. The other books are just as good.

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 Sixty Five Hours – N.R. Walker

This is yet another free read, and it is fantastic. We have humor, enemies-to-lovers, hot sexy-times, and Walker’s engaging style and strong characters. Really, what more could you ask for?

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Mark Cooper versus America – Lisa Henry & JA Rock

Yay for more lingerie! Love, love, love this book. So hilarious, so well-written, so frickin’ hot! Go forth and read it!

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The Other Guy – Cary Atwell

This is a book I don’t even remember why I purchased. Something about the cover drew me in, maybe, and it sat on my Kindle for ages until I was on vacation earlier this year. Man, did I regret not reading it sooner. It was amazing. Funny, engaging, friends-to-lovers, which is one of my all-time favorite tropes. I enthusiastically recommend it, especially to those of you who like “fade to black” or non-explicit sex scenes.

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(Watch Me) Break You – Avril Ashton

Avril’s stories are often dark and gritty, but man, when her characters fall, they fall hard. The emotions are intense, the sex is always scorching, and you can rely on her for a happy ending despite the odds. Plus, she includes all sorts of interracial/multicultural relationships. This is why she’s one of my faves, and this book did not disappoint. It contained all of my favorite things about Avril’s writing, plus ventured places she hadn’t gone before, which I appreciate.

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Then the Stars Fall – Brandon Witt

This was a family-focused story that also deals with grief and the prejudices involved with being an openly gay man in a small, conservative town. There were kids and pets and lots of vivid secondary characters, plus a slow-burn romance, which I tend to adore, as I love sexual tension. It was lovely. I even bought the paperback and asked Brandon to sign it at GRL, I loved it so much. And it’s another one for the readers who prefer non-explicit stories.

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Brothers of the Wild North Sea – Harper Fox

Wow. I would probably call this my second favorite read of the year. I can’t describe how much I loved this book. The history, the magic, the enemies-to-lovers romance in the truest sense of the term. Harper Fox is a brilliant author with such immense talent I can’t help but feel awed when I read her stories. They are really a gift. This book was gorgeous, and nothing else I say can do it justice.

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Second Skin – Genna Donaghy

This book was fun and different and has gotten a lot less attention than it deserves, in my opinion. I loved everything about it, the characters, the story line. Everything.

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Bone Rider – J. Fally

Brilliant! This was easily my favorite book of the year. I loved it so much. Humor, action, romance. Simply awesome. Some people might not be fans of all the different POVs, but I thought it really worked. It couldn’t have been told any other way. I will buy anything else J. Fally releases without question based on my love for this book. It really felt like watching a movie, a la Die Hard. I gushed about it everywhere.

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And those were my favorite reads this year! I might add to this list if I read something amazing between now and New Year’s Eve, but for now, these were the books I enjoyed reading most.

What were yours? Any books to recommend?

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