Kate’s Year in Review and Best Books List

Way back at the beginning of January, I set some reading goals.

1. I wanted to read 200 books before the end of the year,
2. I wanted to finish reading the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn (I had already read the first one and loved it), and
3. Anne challenged me to read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward (I reluctantly agreed because I don’t read vampires).

So how did I do, you ask?

1. I am at 193 books so far, and I’m pretty confident that I can read 7 more before the end of the year,
2. The last of the Bridgerton books is waiting for me to pick up a the library (and I can’t wait), and
3. I not only loved, loved, loved the Black Dagger Brotherhood, I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the next book The King on (*gasp*) 4/1/14.

In reviewing the books I’ve read this year, I noticed something. I read my way through a lot of new-to-me series. Some were newly published, others have been on bookshelves for years. Here are the ones that I loved and recommend:

Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward-obviously. I’m still not a huge fan of vampires, but I am a huge fan of the brotherhood. If you’re one of those few that haven’t tried the series yet and you like your romance with a bit of a bite (yes, that was a bad pun), you need to try this series. First book-Dark Lover.

The Bridgertons series by Julia Quinn-although I’m probably the only person who hadn’t read this series before this year, I’d recommend these books to fans of historical romance. The humor that runs throughout the books blends perfectly with the romance. I know I’m in love with them. First book-The Duke and I.

Dragon Kin series by G.A. Aiken-independent heroines, strong heroes, arrogant dragons, and humor that will make you snort out loud. What’s not to love? If you don’t mind shifters that end up with scales and flame-breathing abilities, this series is for you. First book-Dragon Actually.

The Chrysalis series by Elene Sallinger-BDSM relationships that don’t happen overnight. The buildup to these relationships is so perfect and the characters will have you following each high and low right along with them. Perfect for BDSM readers who prefer more emotion to their stories. First book-Awakening.

Tucker Springs series by L.A. Witt, Heidi Cullinan, and Marie Sexton-m/m series that mixes emotion and passion to sexy, steamy perfection. I can’t pick a favorite among this series. I highly recommend to any readers of m/m romances. First book-Where Nerves End (by L.A. Witt).

The Professor’s Rule by Heidi Belleau-m/m BDSM reads. The first one blew me away. It was something completely new. The second one was exactly the story I wanted and the third one left me wanting more and more. Luckily there are more coming to this series. These are around 50 pages each. If you read one series of short m/m BDSM books, this should be it. First book-Giving an Inch.

So now that I’m caught up on all of these series, what series should I attempt to complete for next year’s goal?

Anne’s Best of 2013 List

My 12 favorite reads of the year, in order from most super favorite to favorite.  I really tried to get this down to 10 but I couldn’t cut any more!  These were all wonderful stories!!!
1.  Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton (m/m, contemporary)
2.  The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers (novella, contemporary)
3.  Making It Last by Ruthie Knox (novella, contemporary)
4.  The entire Tucker Springs Series especially Dirty Laundry (m/m, contemporary)
5.  The Seduction Hypothesis by Delphine Dryden (contemporary, nerd, BDSM)
6.  Heating Up the Holidays by Mary Ann Rivers and Serena Bell (novella, contemporary)
7.  Wolf With Benefits by Shelly Laurenston (paranormal, shifter)
8.  Croc and The Fox by Eve Langlais (paranormal, shifter)
9.  College Boys by Daisy Harris (m/m, contemporary)
10.  Sweet Young Thang by Anne Tenino (m/m, contemporary)
11  Beyond Pain by Kit Rocha (Dystopian, erotic romance)
12. Toy Box by Delphine Dryden (novella, contemporary, BDSM)

Anne’s Series List

As I worked on my best of the year reads and my list of lists, I ended up with this long list that needed a post of it’s own:

Twelve Series I’m Still Reading  I’ve pretty much given up on Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan, too.  But there are some series that I just keep reading…
  1. The Rev. Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries by Julia Spencer-Fleming  – contemporary, small town set mysteries I read by audio.  Incredibly good.  I’ll even put up with some semi-cliffhanger endings, these are so good.  Start with In the Bleak Midwinter.
  2. In Death Series by J.D. Robb – set around 2060 in New York, with Eve, Roarke, and tons of secondary characters that are good enough to steal the scene from Eve and Roarke, which is saying something.  I audio this one, too.  Book 37 just came out this year.  Amazingly I think this series is just as good as when it started!  Start with Naked in Death.
  3. Rough Riders Series by Lorelei James – Contemporary set cowboy romance that includes ménage and men who love each other along with more traditional couples.  The first book was a train wreck for me, but I couldn’t look away.  Things improved drastically in book 2, and by book 3 I was hooked.  Start with Long Hard Ride, but remember the series gets better within a couple books!
  4. Tucker Springs by L.A. Witt, Heidi Cullinan, and Marie Sexton – contemporary set m/m romance takes place in the fictional college town of Tucker Springs. I kind of want to move there.  These books feel so real.  There’s humor, there’s a bit of angst, but really, really well done!  Start with Where Nerves End, though you’re fine to jump in anywhere – I read them terribly out of order!
  5. The Adrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon – I plowed through these last winter and loved them.  They are contemporary set mysteries with a running m/m romance throughout the series.  I don’t know if Lanyon will write more in this series, but I’m there if he does!  Start with Fatal Shadows.
  6. The Mercy Thompson series and the Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs – alternate universe (with werewolves, fae, vampires, and magic) urban fantasy with really good romances running through it.  Yes, it’s actually two series, but they are set in the same world and often overlap, so they are one series in my head.  Start with Moon Called. 
  7. Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews – Another urban fantasy with romantic elements.  Really good romantic elements!  Curran!  Even when the focus switches to Kate’s friend Andrea, they are still good reads!  Start with Magic Bites. But have the next ones ready to read, because you won’t want to stop!
  8. Beyond Series by Kit Rocha – Dystopian Romance in a post apocalyptic world.  The tone reminded me in some ways of the tone of the Hunger Games series, but the content is pure erotic romance and it’s done really well.  Start with Beyond Shame.
  9. Science of Temptation series by Delphine Dryden – contemporary set romance with nerds and BDSM?  The first one made me think of Big Bang Theory Fan Fiction, except that it worked really, really well!  Smart and kinky is a really good combo!  Start with The Theory of Attraction.
  10. Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward – This is total crack.  Just when i think it’s getting to be a little too much for me, I read another book and I’m hooked again.  Start with Dark Lover.  Suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the ride!
  11. The Pride Series by Shelly Laurenston  (if you want to be hard core, go read the 4 books of the Mangus Pack Series, too) These are laugh out loud, extra violent shifter romances that I just love.  Start with the two short stories in The Mane Event.  For extra fun, text the funniest lines to a friend and make them laugh, too.  (Kay and I do this.)
  12. The Kowalski Family Series by Shannon Stacey – this is really, really well done small town contemporary romance that will make you laugh a lot!  Start with Exclusively Yours.

So, what about you?  What are your favorite series?  And am I really missing out on something I need to read next year???