BEST BOOKS THAT I READ THIS YEAR

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Another year has passed. I’m slightly alarmed at how quickly time flew by. It doesn’t seem like it’s been a year since I wrote my first “best books I read” post. I’ve been enjoying my time. By enjoying I mean that I’ve been busy writing new books and reading others. After beating my Goodreads Challenge again, I’ve spent the last two months of the year reading books I already read before.

Like I did a year ago, I’m once again picking the best 12 books that I’ve read in 2014. They don’t have to have been published this year. These picks will have a star rating and a short overview, where I’ll talk about them. Here they are:

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1. BROKEN SYMMETRY BY DAN RIX

My rating: 5 stars – Absolute must-read. It’s amazing!!!

I bought this book mainly because of the plot description. A girl that can walk through mirrors? That sounded cool. The cover didn’t do much to draw me in, but after reading the book, Broken Symmetry was nothing short of amazing! This book is about much more than a girl’s escapades into alternate worlds, like I thought it would be. Blaire Adams, the main character, has no idea what awaits at her new “internship”. She also doesn’t know how special she is. A thing I liked about this book is that the author clearly did extensive research on genetics and the physics of walking through mirrors. Everything felt credible, if not real. Don’t start this book at night, or you’ll stay up until morning!
Comments: The Kindle “Go To” Table of Contents had extraneous links. It seemed unfair to deduct even half a star for that or for the unimpressive cover, though.

2. KILLER AMBITION BY MARCIA CLARK

My rating: 4.5 stars – A stunning page turner!

This is the third installment in a mystery series featuring LA prosecutor Rachel Knight. I liked the previous two books, so I was eager to read this one. As a Special Trials prosecutor, Rachel Knight gets to deal with the most high-profile cases. In this book, Rachel gets a case as high-profile as it gets. The daughter of a billionaire Hollywood director has been kidnapped, presumably by a guy she was dating. Now it’s up to Rachel and her friend Detective Bailey Keller to try to find the girl alive and send her kidnapper to jail. Unfortunately, things aren’t as simple as they seem. This time, Rachel will need a great amount of luck to uncover the truth and unmask a man hungry for power. The culprit was so determined to keep the truth concealed that Rachel almost loses the case!

3. NO TURNING BACK BY TIFFANY SNOW

My rating: 4.5 stars – A stunning page turner!

If you like fast-paced, thrilling romantic suspense, you need to check out this series. As you’ll notice, the titles all have a word with turn in it. That’s a nod to the main character, Kathleen Turner. Unless you’re too young to get the reference (like me), this is an original character. Kathleen is an average college graduate seeking a career as a lawyer. In the meantime, she is a “runner” at a prestigious law firm. Kathleen’s life is ordinary, until she meets Blane Kirk. He’s one of the partners at the firm. Their first encounter is embarrassing, prompting Kathleen to avoid him. They are brought back together after Kathleen’s friend and neighbor is murdered. Kathleen is determined to pursue justice, despite having no idea of the danger she faces. Blane, unable to convince her to desist, resolves to protect Kathleen. Along the way, the two of them slowly fall in love. No Turning Back might seem slow at first, but hang in there. You’ll enjoy this series.

4. UNBOUND BY CAT MILLER

My rating: 4.5 stars – A stunning page turner!

The popularity of vampire fiction has all but subsided this year. I haven’t read much of it, so I’ve been searching for great books in the genre. This one of the best I found. Unbound is a vampire romance with mystery and superhero elements thrown in. The book centers on Danielle Vaughn, an “ordinary” girl who has no clue about her royal lineage or her true nature. As she comes of age, Dani (as they call her) experiences changes that she doesn’t understand. Only when she meets a handsome man at a club (who is a vampire) will Dani begin to uncover the truth as to her heritage. However, Dani doesn’t know that entering the vampire society puts her in the sights of a rogue vampire hunting others like her. Vampires with special abilities. Now, Dani must accept the protection of the Wrath (a cool-named SWAT-like vampire army) and the man who has fallen for her.

5. DISCRETION BY ALLISON LEOTTA

My rating: 4.5 stars – A stunning page turner!

This is the second book in a mystery series following Anna Curtis, a prosecutor. I listed this one here because I liked it better than the first. Anna specializes in sex crimes. In Discretion, she investigates the mysterious death of a beautiful young woman at the U.S. Capitol. The death is fishy in that the woman fell from a Congressman’s balcony. She also happens to be an expensive escort. Having been cleared from a scandal in the first book, Anna Curtis sees this new case as a way to advance in her career. Unlike her first case, where Anna risked her credibility, this time she will risk her life. In the end, the answer to whodunit? is going to be unexpected. The twists and thrills in this book make it an excellent read. As with Killer Ambition, it’s very hard to guess who the culprit is. I enjoy mysteries like this, those that keep you guessing.

6. DARE YOU TO BY KATIE MCGARRY

My rating: 4.5 stars – A stunning page-turner!

Once again, I’m selecting the second book in a series. Pushing the Limits was a good book, but I liked this one better. Ryan and Beth’s romance story felt more…gripping than Echo and Noah’s. Beth Risk (yes, ironically that’s her last name) was introduced in the first book. She is described as a skater girl with a tough exterior. Beth doesn’t have many friends, nor does she seem to want any. Unbeknownst to anyone, Beth has had bad luck in life. After beating up her abusive stepfather to protect her mom, Beth is sent to live with her uncle, a successful baseball player. Soon, she crosses paths with Ryan Stone, a guy Beth ran into not long ago. Ryan is an aspiring baseball player…and he enjoys dares. Asking Beth out on a date is the only dare he has ever lost. Now, the challenge draws Ryan to her, even risking his dreams. Beth, despite her tough shell, finds Ryan slowly penetrating her defenses. Will this pair of misfits end up together, or will they take the easy road?

7. FLAME MOON BY KJ JACKSON

My rating: 4.5 stars – A stunning page-turner!

This book drew me in as soon as I started reading it. I enjoyed it so much that I read the entire trilogy back-to-back. I’m a fan of sci-fi, especially stories with characters that have special abilities. Flame Moon centers around the character of Skye Walters. She wakes up on the side of a river one day, amnesiac. Skye can’t remember where she comes from or how she got there. She is found and taken in by a man named Aiden. Skye is taken to his house (which is on a mountain town), waiting for her memories to return. After an accident in which someone close to Skye dies, new powers manifest themselves. Aiden, who also has powers, little by little lets Skye know what she is and how he found her. Soon, Skye also learns more about the new world she was oblivious to, and the chain of events that she has unwittingly set into motion.

8. LATE CALL BY EMMA HART

My rating: 4.5 stars – A stunning page turner!

I haven’t read many books by Emma Hart since the Memories series. I thought she would become something like a female Nicholas Sparks. However, most of her new books are of interest to women. You know, those ones that rant about the male protagonist and his sexiness and what have you (shrug). This book drew me in because of the female protagonist, Dayton Black. The book’s description was also intriguing. I wasn’t fazed by this book, especially after reading On Dublin Street. There are a lot of sexy scenes, but Late Call has a solid, riveting plot and well fleshed-out characters. I also liked the setting. One funny thing: at my age, I had no idea there was a restaurant inside the Eiffel Tower! Anyway, Emma’s talent really shows after the several books she’s written in the past year (the number of which is impressive). Dayton has enough personality to be memorable.

9. SHE CAN HIDE BY MELINDA LEIGH

My rating: 4.5 stars – A stunning page turner!

Melinda Leigh’s She Can series has been very successful. I enjoyed all of them, especially the later ones. All of the books in the series share several characters, but they are stand-alone. You don’t have to read the previous books to enjoy this one. She Can Hide’s damsel in distress is Abby Foster. She wakes up inside her car in a frozen river. Luckily, Officer Ethan Hale shows up to save her life. We later find out that Abby is a little secretive, and that she moved to the small town hiding from a troubled past. Ethan finds out that there’s someone trying to kill Abby. He decides to protect her, feeling attraction toward Abby despite trying to be professional. I never guessed who Abby really is or who she’s running from. This is another great entry in the She Can series by Melinda Leigh.

10. THE LAST HOUR BY CHARLES SHEEHAN-MILES

My rating: 4 stars – Seriously liked it!

I didn’t really like A Song for Julia, so I took some time before reading another Sheehan-Miles book. This one is considerably better, IMO. Despite transitioning between the past and the present, The Last Hour keeps you turning pages to learn what happens next. Beware that this is a tragic romance, so there’s a bittersweet ending. It follows 27-year-old Carrie Thompson, married to U.S. soldier Ray Sherman. They’re leading a pretty normal life, until disaster attacks on both fronts. Carrie’s prestige as a Ph. D. is put into question, and Ray suffers a traffic accident. As he fights for his life, the book goes back over the events that led up to that point. The Last Hour is gripping, and best read without spoilers, so I won’t mention anything more.

11. THE THIRST WITHIN BY JOHI JENKINS

My rating: 4 stars – Seriously liked it!

This is another good vampire romance book that I found this year. At first, The Thirst Within wasn’t that remarkable, though it still was an interesting read. As I progressed through the book, it started to get better and better. The main character, Tori, is an orphan who recently moved across the country after the death of her last remaining grandparent. She is sent to live with another family who try their best to convince Tori they’re happy she’s there. Shortly after, she meets a charming guy named Thierry. It seemed like a chance encounter at first, but he becomes a mainstay throughout the book. They hit it off and grow close to each other in a short amount of time. Tori eventually discovers the secret that Thierry is keeping. Not only that, there’s a twist at the end which I find refreshing for a vampire novel. Just like Unbound, this book exceeded my expectations. I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment.

12. ASYLUM HARBOR BY TRACI HOHENSTEIN

My rating: 4 stars – Seriously liked it!

As I’m a fan of mystery books with strong female leads, I got this book while it was a Kindle Daily Deal. Asylum Harbor was good enough that I didn’t regret purchasing it, especially at that bargain of a price. The book is the first in a series following Rachel Scott. She’s a detective of sorts, the head of a search and rescue company called Florida Omni Search. In this book, Rachel and her company are tasked with finding out the whereabouts of an Amber Knowles. She’s the daughter of a Florida governor, and has vanished without a trace. Rachel and her crew travel to the Bahamas to see the cruise in which Amber was last seen. What Rachel doesn’t know is that the case will turn out to be more than a simple missing-person case. She will have to race against time to save Amber’s life. Luckily, Rachel isn’t shackled by jurisdiction or any of the stuff that restrains regular law enforcement.

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And that’s it! I’ve also updated the list from the previous year. You can read it by clicking here.

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