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Piper’s Reading Roundup: Top 15 Reads of 2016

Hey, all! It’s been a while since I posted one of these, but since 2017 is rapidly approaching, I figured I might as well save it for a big end-of-the-year post!

Without further ado, and in no particular order, these were my top 15 favorite reads in 2016. (Note: I did cheat a little by choosing series in a couple of places, and these are books I read this year but they weren’t all necessarily released in 2016.)

Being(s) in Love Series by R. Cooper – I’ve recommended plenty of titles by R. Cooper in the past, so seeing her on this list should come as no surprise. Instead of individual titles, though, I’m just going to mention her Being(s) in Love series as a whole. I have my particular faves (Little Wolf and A Dandelion for Tulip), but really, I just love this entire series. R. Cooper has created a world I wish I could live in. I love seeing familiar faces pop up throughout the books, and I love R. Cooper’s skill at writing slow-burn and unresolved sexual tension. It’s such delicious torment waiting for the characters to finally get together. The pining, friends. The pining. I highly recommend this series for fans of urban fantasy romance. There are fairies and elves and werewolves and dragons and all sorts of wonderful creatures and characters that will steal your heart.

 

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Staged by Kim Fielding – I admit to some hesitancy before starting this book. I’m generally not a big fan of books containing dub- or non-con elements, and slave fic can be pretty touchy for me too. The reason I took a chance on this book was the author. If you’ve followed my book rec posts in the past, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Kim Fielding. We have author/reader trust established, which means I know that no matter what she puts her characters through, she’ll get them to a happy (or happier) place by the end. I trusted her to do that here too, and I wasn’t disappointed. Fair warning, though – this is a lot darker than Kim’s usual work, and some parts were difficult to read, at least for me.

Misfits by Garrett Leigh – A couple of months ago I was in the mood to read a good menage story and I asked for recommendations on Twitter. Misfits was mentioned by nearly everyone who answered, and though I’d shied away from reading any of the Garrett Leigh titles I own because friends kept warning me about the high angst content, after several people – including Garrett herself – told me the story wasn’t overly heavy, I decided to take a chance. I’m so, so glad I did, because it was a lovely story and an instant addition to my favorites shelf. There was a bit of angst but nothing overwhelming, and I loved watching these three men come together. Highly recommended!

 

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Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley – Man, it took me way too long to read this book! I don’t know why I put it off for so long, even though I’d bought it when it first came out and multiple friends recommended it to me after its release. I loved pretty much every word. The angst, the yearning and attraction between Miller and Danny… I mean, it’s like my crack when it comes to books. I die for great UST (unresolved sexual tension). DIE, I SAY. And when they finally came together, it was scorching and I just wanted it to work out for them SO BAD. The ending was perfect. Highly recommended. (And damn, was I bummed when I realized McKinley didn’t have any other books for me to devour. /sadface)

Damned If You Do by Marie Sexton – This book was a pure pleasure to read. It had humor, mild angst, and SO MANY FEELS. Religion – or rather faith – played a huge role (obv, I mean, this is a book about a soul-acquiring devil falling for a Bible-quoting revivalist). I loved Sexton’s take on Hell. I laughed more than once, had a few heart squishy moments, and even got misty eyed toward the end. Whether you’ve read Sexton before or if she’d be new to you, I definitely recommend checking this out! (Also, heed the product warning from Samhain because if snakes aren’t your bag, a couple of scenes in this book might freak you out. Just a heads up.)

Power Play (Scoring Chances #3) & Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale – Full disclosure, I can’t claim to be totally unbiased here. Over the last year, Avon has become one of my best friends, and at this point I’m lucky enough to get to read her work as it’s being written (and we’re also currently writing a series together that was recently contracted by Riptide!). But I will say that my love of Avon’s work and our friendship both started sort of simultaneously. I was hooked with Breakaway and have loved everything I’ve read since. It’s been a trend so far with the Scoring Chances series that I’ve loved each book more than the last. Each book is infused with Avon’s trademark humor, skillful writing, and snappy dialogue. Watching her characters come together is always incredibly fun and gratifying — and sometimes heart-wrenching. Even if you’re not a hockey fan, I’d suggest giving this series a try. The books are about so much more than hockey, though if you’re a fan like myself, there is plenty here to keep the sports lover happy too.

 

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Farm Fresh (Naked Organics #1) by Posy Roberts – I loved how different this book was. It portrayed a “free love” commune in Oregon, which one of the main characters joins after encountering the intriguing Hudson, a man who lives/works in the Kaleidoscope Gardens and sells their produce and various other things during the farmers’ market on Jude’s college campus every week. Hudson and Jude come from similar backgrounds, but Jude is nursing some serious hangups when it comes to sex – guilt, shame, and memories of abuse at the hands of his parents, who think sex is for one purpose only: procreation. I was fascinated by the commune and Jude’s changes as he acclimated to life there. I’ve actually discussed the idea of a commune, although not quite this type, with friends in the past, and I think I’d love to live in such an environment. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, which features Hudson and Jude once again. They’re together at the end of this book, but their relationship is really just beginning. And as you can guess by this description and the blurb, this book is about poly/open relationships. If you’re not a fan of seeing sex happen with anyone outside of the main couple, then it’s probably best to avoid.

The Dead Past by Kate Aaron – Earlier this year I asked if there was such a thing as cozy mysteries in M/M. You know the sort – bookish librarian of bakery owner from a small town suddenly stumbles over a corpse and amateur sleuthing ensues. Someone mentioned the Puddledown Mysteries and I was intrigued enough by the blurb of the first book to try the sample. And when I came to the end of the sample I immediately purchased the book and kept reading right until I finished it. The story is set in a small British town in the wake of WWII. Hugo finds an elderly widow brutally murdered in the woods, only to have Tommy, the new groundskeeper on the property, appear on the scene mere minutes later. At first Hugo is suspicious, but then he starts to develop feelings for the mysterious Tommy as they bond in the aftermath of their mutual discovery. It’s a quiet, understated story in the manner of Agatha Christie or Louise Penny with no sex and very little physical contact. If you’re a fan of cozies, you’re almost certain to enjoy it. (I also read the next two books in the series and loved them too!)

The Benched Series by Misha Horne – This contemporary series starts with Rookie Mistake, and man, is it fun! Juno and Kyle are vivid, wonderful characters – especially Juno – and if you’re a fan of spanking and D/s elements, you need to be reading these shorts. The most recent one came out in October, and I’m eagerly awaiting more!

The Galactic Alliance Series by KC Burn – When this series was first recommended to me, I’d had the first book, Spice ‘n’ Solace, on my TBR list quite some time. I finally dove in, and I’m so glad I did! These sexy stories include fabulous characters and are perfect for anyone who’s a fan of sci-fi without an over-abundance of world-building and technical jargon to weigh the story down. I even asked KC Burn if there’d be more right after I finished the third book, which should tell you something. (She said yes, BTW. :D)

Tournament of Losers by Megan Derr – Friggin’ fabulous! If you like reading stories in which the hero has to compete in a tournament for their lover’s heart and hand, well, you will not find a better one in M/M! And it was written for me, after my shameless begging for this type of story on Twitter, so, you know, that made it extra special!

 

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Interborough (Five Boroughs #4) by Santino Hassell – I’m a big fan of this series, and this couple in particular. I’m really glad that Santino decided to revisit them and really cement their HEA. David and Raymond are by far my favorite couple in the Five Boroughs universe. Their chemistry is like whoa, and here we got to see them develop and strengthen as a couple in spite of some stressful life circumstances, which I think was necessary for the reader to believe their relationship can really withstand the test of time. They’ll be together forever. I know it! And it was good seeing glimpses of all the familiar 5B characters. That epilogue! I still haven’t recovered!

Must Like Spinach by Con Riley – I confess, it was the title of this book that first caught my attention. It was different – and I usually like different – and I’m so happy I decided to give it a go. It was my first book by Con Riley, but it certainly won’t be my last. I mean, what a gorgeous, character-driven, slow-burn romance! I loved the pacing. There was enough angst to keep it from being fluffy, and yet it was still a sweet story, and it perfectly fit my mood at the time. I know I’ll reread it again in the future, and I recommended it all over the place after I finished it.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – What can I even say about this book? It was my favorite read of the year, and I seriously doubt anything else I read in the next couple of weeks will even come close to knocking it from that pedestal. This is the sort of LGBTQ+ YA I aspire to write. I thought it was absolutely perfect, and if someday I produce a book that makes people feel the way Simon made me feel, I’ll consider my ultimate goal as an author accomplished. I loved it that much. All of the stars to this fabulous read. It’s one of the few books I own in 3 formats – audio, paperback, and ebook.

 

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Piper’s Reading Roundup – July & August

Hi, peeps! Since I slacked last month and didn’t post my reading roundup, this post contains my favorite reads from both July and August! So, without any further ado… 🙂

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Being(s) in Love Series by R. Cooper – I’ve recommended plenty of titles by R. Cooper in the past, so seeing her on this list should come as no surprise. Instead of individual titles, though, I’m just going to mention her Being(s) in Love series as a whole. I have my particular faves (Little Wolf  and A Dandelion for Tulip), but really, I just love this entire series. R. Cooper has created a world I wish I could live in. I love seeing familiar faces pop up throughout the books, and I love R. Cooper’s skill at writing slow-burn and unresolved sexual tension. It’s such delicious torment waiting for the characters to finally get together. The pining, friends. The pining. I highly recommend this series for fans of urban fantasy romance. There are fairies and elves and werewolves and dragons and all sorts of wonderful creatures and characters that will steal your heart.

Priddy’s Tale by Harper Fox – When have I read a story by Harper Fox that I didn’t like? The answer is never. Her writing is lovely, as always, and then we have Merou, a delightful merman! This was a beautiful story.

Best in Show by Kelly Jensen – When I bought this book, going by the adorable cover alone, I thought I was starting a cute contemporary romance. Little did I know, because I failed to read the blurb, there’d be paranormal elements – like witches and a shape-shifting cat. Lucky for me, that’s not a problem! I’m a big shifter fan, it has to be said, and at the time, this fluffy adorableness was exactly what I needed. If you’re looking for something light and funny, check this out!

Staged by Kim Fielding – I admit to some hesitancy before starting this book. I’m generally not a big fan of books containing dub- or non-con elements, and slave fic can be pretty touchy for me too. The reason I took a chance on this book was the author. If you’ve followed my book rec posts in the past, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Kim Fielding. We have author/reader trust established, which means I know that no matter what she puts her characters through, she’ll get them to a happy (or happier) place by the end. I trusted her to do that here too, and I wasn’t disappointed. Fair warning, though – this is a lot darker than Kim’s usual work, and some parts were difficult to read, at least for me.

Bitten by Mistake by Annabelle Jacobs – As mentioned earlier, I’m a shifter lover, so when I saw this pop up on my FB timeline I knew I had to try it. Loved the world-building and the unique take on shifter/werewolf lore and I’m hoping to see more books in this universe in the future.

Loud and Clear by Aidan Wayne – This title was recommended to me when I was looking for a light, low-angst read. It was very sweet and there were no explicit scenes, for the readers who prefer that. I would’ve happily read more about these two characters, but sometimes what I really crave is a short, sweet novella, and I got that with this book.

Misfits by Garrett Leigh – The other day I was in the mood to read a good menage story and I asked for recommendations on Twitter. Misfits was mentioned by nearly everyone who answered, and though I’d shied away from reading any of the Garrett Leigh titles I own because people kept telling me they were really angst heavy, after several people, including Garrett, told me the story wasn’t too heavy, I decided to take a chance. I’m so glad I did, because it was a lovely story and an instant addition to my favorites shelf. There was a bit of angst, but nothing overwhelming, and I loved watching these three men come together. Highly recommended!

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The Cobbler’s Soleless Son by Meredith Katz – As I said before, I’m sometimes in the mood for a good short story or novella. This story was one I bought on a whim after seeing Megan Derr mention the title. I’d never read anything by this author, but I liked the blurb, and I’m pleased to say, I enjoyed it very much. I like stories about/featuring demons and this one had a fairy-tale vibe that appealed to me. I was quite happy and charmed by it.

The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles – This was another title that got recommended to me when I was searching for good menage stories. I’d had it for years but never read it for some reason. Well, now I regret having waited so long! I loved the characters and the way their relationship developed. The story was smutty and fun and I found Josh to be very sweet. I also loved the secondary characters.

Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale – Full disclosure, I can’t claim to be totally unbiased here. Over the last year, Avon and I have become very good friends, and at this point I’m lucky enough to get to read her work as it’s being written (and we’re also currently writing together). But I will say that my love of Avon’s work and our friendship both started sort of simultaneously. I was hooked with Breakaway and have loved everything I’ve read since. It’s been a trend so far with the Scoring Chances series that I’ve loved each book more than the last, and this is no exception. Isaac and Laurent’s story is the darkest book in the series, but still infused with Avon’s trademark humor and snappy dialogue. Watching these two guys come together was really beautiful. Laurent needed someone like Isaac who was willing to look beyond Laurent’s cold, surly exterior to find the vulnerable person underneath… because that person is definitely worth knowing and desperately in need of the love that only someone like Isaac could give him. Recommended, of course! And even if you’re not a hockey fan, I’d suggest giving this series a try. The books are about so much more than hockey, though if you’re a fan, like myself, there is plenty here to keep the sports lover satisfied too.

Piper’s Reading Roundup – January & February

Hey, peeps! I know it’s been a while since I did one of my book recommendation posts. I’ve definitely read some great stuff since the beginning of the year, so let me rectify that now! These are the titles I’ve read and loved since January 1st. 

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Astounding! by Kim Fielding – It’s probably not a surprise to anyone who regularly follows me to see a Kim Fielding title on this list. I have yet to dislike anything I’ve read by Kim. Here we have Carter Evans, founder and EIC of Astounding!, a speculative fiction magazine that is fast approaching the end of its life. Then there’s J. Harper, an author who keeps submitting terrible stories to the magazine that Carter continually rejects. One day while drunk, Carter drafts and sends a crueler rejection letter than he would under normal circumstances, and subsequently, he sets out to find J. Harper and apologize. I loved this story and the entire cast of characters.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – What can I even say about this book? It’s my favorite read of the year so far and I seriously doubt anything else I read before the end of the year will knock it from that pedestal. This is the sort of GLBT YA I aspire to write. I thought it was absolutely perfect, and if someday I produce a book that makes people feel the way Simon made me feel, I’ll consider my ultimate goal as an author accomplished. I loved it that much. All of the stars to this fabulous read.

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Some Kind of Magic (Beings in Love #1) by R. Cooper – There’s no denying R. Cooper is an author of considerable talent. I’d venture to say she’s the strongest author in the genre at writing pining/mutual yearning. At least in my opinion. The UST (unresolved sexual tension) in her stories is so intense I have reactions anywhere from rage to tears. It doesn’t matter the story; I can always feel the deep, painful longing between her characters, and I LOVE IT. Seriously. If you enjoy UST and that will-they-or-won’t-they anticipation, that delicious, “Please just let him love you already” feeling, you need to try R. Cooper. I don’t think you’ll regret it!

Love You Like a Romance Novel by Megan Derr -This was a sexy story. I love Megan Derr’s rockstars. I love her writing. Hell, I just love her! She’s pretty damn swell. I’m an unashamed Megan Derr fangirl, and she’s another author who is fantastic at writing UST. She also wrote me a story called Tournament of Losers, which just came out last month and I cannot recommend highly enough. It was fabulous, and if you like reading stories in which the hero has to compete in a tournament for their lover’s heart and hand, well, I don’t think you’ll find a better one in M/M!

Blind Space by Marie Sexton – Speaking of sexy stories… damn! Y’all know I love me some men in lingerie, and I was thrilled to see that fetish explored here. Tristan and Valero were super hot together, but beyond that, I loved the world-building in this little sci-fi gem. It was just enough to tantalize me and make me want more. I’d love to see more stories in this universe!

Hunter of Demons (Spectr #1) by Jordan L. Hawk – I frequently see readers recommending Jordan L. Hawk, but I hadn’t read any of her work until this year. Now I can see why she has such a fanbase. I really enjoyed this story, and I’m looking forward to reading more in this series and more of Hawk’s work in general.

Hell for the Company (Brimstone #1) by Angel Martinez – What a delightful little story this was! I’m a fan of Angel Martinez, and I love the humor and tone in the Brimstone stories (I’ve also read the second one). It sort of reminds me of Firefly with the whole space western/pirates theme. Definitely looking forward to continuing the adventures of Shax, Verin, and Ness.

Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan – I love ranchers, cowboys, drifters, and stories about friendship, finding a home when you least expect it, and building a family not tied by blood. Cullinan pairs all that with BDSM and some sexy pony-play. This was dirty and kinky, but beneath the smoking hot sex was a surprisingly tender love story. Definitely recommended.

The Professor and the Smuggler by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon – This is one of my favorite author duos. They write interesting historicals in a genre that’s dominated by contemporary, and this is another reason I never hesitate to recommend them. I think they deserve more attention. Their stories always feel different and refreshing, and this opposites-attract romance was simply lovely. You can tell they know their stuff and they’ve done their research, but it never feels like I’m reading a textbook. I want authenticity in the setting, yes, but I also crave readability. I’ll DNF a historical romance that feels like it’s trying to teach me a history lesson. I don’t want to be bogged down by an overwhelming amount of detail, and I think Dee and Devon strike the perfect balance when it comes to this.

And those are my recommendations for January and February. What have you read and loved since the start of the year? Do tell. 😉 

Authors I’m Thankful For: Kim Fielding

Hey, all! Happy Thanksgiving to my readers who are in the U.S. 😀 Today I’m making the entire meal at home for the first time. It’ll just be me, my husband, our son, and my father-in-law for dinner, and then later in the day, I’ll be stopping by to see my parents who are mid-move and couldn’t host at their place like they normally would have. Since they’re going to a friend’s place for the day, I decided to do something small here. Hopefully all the food comes out okay. 😛 Wherever you are, and whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving or not, I hope your day is filled with good food and great company. ♥

Earlier this week I started up “Authors I’m Thankful For.” I was only going to do one a week between now and the end of the month, but I decided I wanted to showcase as many authors as possible, so I’m going with Tuesdays and Thursdays instead.

Up today is Kim Fielding. If you follow me on any social media, you’ve probably seen me gushing about Kim. I don’t keep the fact that I’m a fangirl a secret. Kim writes beautifully, and I never have any complaints about her craft, but I think what strikes me most about Kim’s writing is her characters. They just come alive for me–I cry with and for them, I cheer for them, I hope, suffer, and rejoice with them. To me, they feel real.

Kim has written three of my favorite books in the m/m genre: Brute, Speechless, and Rattlesnake.

These are all incredibly different books, but they share the common thread of overcoming odds, whether external or internal, and forming relationships that better both partners. Her heroes aren’t perfect. They might not be the best looking guys. But if you’re like me, they’ll tug your heartstrings, and you’ll want to reread their stories again and again.

If you haven’t tried Kim yet, you really should. I couldn’t recommend her more highly.

Piper’s Reading Roundup: September #books #recommendations #reading

Howdy, y’all! It’s that time again! These are the books I read and loved in September. It was a good reading month! 😀

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Bent Arrow by Posy Roberts – This was a thoroughly enjoyable novella. It was sweet and sexy and when I finished reading it, I was smiling. Recommended when you’re in the mood for a quick, engaging read in an interesting setting.

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.

The King’s Command (Bred For Love #2) by Revella Hawthorne – I loved the first book in this series. I loved this one even more and can’t wait for book three and the conclusion of Edward and Percy’s story. Love these characters! (And, well, I’m a fan of mpreg, so it gets extra points for that too.)

Home and Away by Samantha Wayland – I have so much love for this book, and it’s another one that got added to my favorites list this month. 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!

Crashing the Net by Samantha Wayland – Alexei and Mike were secondary characters I met in Home and Away, and when I realized they had their own book, I had to jump right on it. This was a lot different than Home and Away, but damn it was hot, and I thoroughly enjoyed these two characters and their chemistry and seeing how their relationship came together.

Betrothed: A Faery Tale by Therese Woodson –  This was different than I expected going in, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It was a cute, sweet romance. I loved the world building and the characters and I’m hoping there’ll be more to come in this world. Bonus points for the cover too, which is fab!

Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am an unabashed Kim Fielding fangirl. I have a favorite books list, as every reader does, and several of hers are on it. Rattlesnake was added to that list when I was only halfway through, and when I finished, I recommended this book 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.

What was your favorite read last month? You know I’m always looking for recs!

Happy October, peeps!

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. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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