Hi, everyone! I’m back for my annual Best Reads post. Although I’m retired, I wanted to come back to write this, at least one last time. I may not write anymore, but I still love to read. On that subject, I just got myself a Kindle Paperwhite 3 for Christmas. I’ve had the Paperwhite 1 since the year it was released. Needless to say, I kept it a long time. I hesitated to upgrade because I didn’t think it would be worth it. Now that I have the 3, I am amazed by how much better the screen is. For one, the light looks less like light, if you can picture what that looks like. The result is a whiter, more paper-like look. I really wish I’d upgraded earlier!
I thought I wouldn’t upgrade until the Paperwhite got a color screen. That seems a long way off, though. I think all the Paperwhite 4 will have new is waterproofing and a slightly better processor. Anyway, I’ll get on with my list. I’m starting at #12, and go down to my #1 read. These are closer choices than in previous lists, though. It was a bit hard to pick ones over others; #12 isn’t necessarily worse than the rest, for instance. Here it is:
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Another year is almost at an end. This just doesn’t cease to amaze me, though with less intensity. When it’s the start of the year I can’t wait for it to end. Then when the year ends, I wish it lasted longer. Part of the reason is that I wish I could accomplish more. In 2016, I’ve published no more novels. My last one was In A Greater Reality, back in November ’15. This year, I canceled a project I was working on, so that slowed me down. Now I’m writing a new sci-fi novel I’m very excited about.
As 2016 is the fourth year I’m tracking my books finished in Goodreads, I finished less new books. I’ve been instead re-reading old ones. Three years is, well, pretty long to go without revisiting novels I liked in the past. So once again, the pool to choose my best reads from is smaller. That means that this year, the list will be 10 books long. As usual, I include a star rating and a short summary of the books chosen. I’ll start at 10 and go down until reaching my #1 read of the year. Without further ado:
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Last Monday was the second anniversary of the Dream Date series. I self-published the first book (of the same title) on August 15, 2014. I’d always wanted to be a published writer, and that was the first time I achieved my goal. Technically, it’s the second book I wrote, but I no longer count the novella that came before that. The reasons for this can be found in my FAQ section. Anyway, Dream Date was my first foray as a published author. I chose New Adult romance as my genre because, well, I like women very much and wanted to write about a gorgeous one.

Since one book wasn’t enough to tell the story of Amanda Tilley and Nathan Ferland, I released a sequel titled Devoted to Her. It allowed me to introduce new characters (which was exciting) and flesh out some of the supporting characters. One of them in particular really struck my interest: Kayla Moran. I want to write a book about her, but I’m busy with my sci-fi ideas now. And also, I don’t want to rush with a half-hearted story. If I’m writing that book, I want to do it right and have a decent story.

Today I’m going to post some trivia about the Dream Date series. This includes character inspirations and other stuff I haven’t written about before. Here it is:

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Since I released my debut novel Dream Date, I can hardly believe I’ve finished and self-published two more books. That would almost have been a trilogy. I wanted to release a third Dream Date novel focused on the character of Kayla Moran. The project had to be put on hold because the series still isn’t popular enough to make writing another entry worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I will write Kayla her book eventually. At the moment, I have other priorities, though. I’ve made my foray into sci-fi, which is a more time-sensitive genre (the stuff one writes about that doesn’t exist yet may be a reality in a decade or two)

Over the course of editing a book, you almost always end up having to cut stuff. It’s just an unavoidable part of the process. As it’s been over a year since I published Devoted to Her, the time is fitting to post that book’s deleted scenes. Some of these make the early drafts of Devoted to Her considerably different from the finished work. I’m quite proud of it. The book turned out just as great as I wanted it to be. Here are the deleted scenes. They’re not in any particular order, but they really aren’t meant to be. Enjoy:
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fall-with-me-juliepartickaFALL WITH ME

Author: Julie Particka
Published on: April 28, 2014
Genre: New Adult, romance
Published by: Macmillan, Entangled: Embrace
Format: E-book, paperback, audible

A new adult novel from Entangled’s Embrace imprint…

Love is patient. Revenge is sweet.

In the game of love…

Dumped by her college boyfriend for her best friend, the last thing Jenna Brandt needs to deal with is working beside her backstabbing-BFF’s hotter-than-hot brother. But when he offers her a chance to get some revenge on her ex, she can hardly say no–even if spending more time with Sutton puts her heart in jeopardy all over again.

Someone’s going to get hurt…

Sutton Bell has had a thing for Jenna since they were in high school, but after one screwed-up night, she didn’t want anything to do with him. Now, with just the summer before he leaves to begin his new career, Sutton’s determined to convince Jenna he’s not the player he used to be. But saving his sister from making an awful mistake may mean losing Jenna for good.

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THE SWEETEST GAME (The Perfect Game, #3)

Author: J. Sterling
Published on: December 25, 2013
 New Adult, contemporary romance

Published by: Lake Union Publishing
Format: E-book, paperback, Audible

The third (and final) installment in Jack & Cassie’s epic love story is here!

“It’s one hell of a sledgehammer to the chest when your baseball career comes to an end. It’s like you finally realize that baseball never loved you back. All the sleepless nights, the hours spent at the gym trying to stay fit, the conditioning, the training, the mental preparation, the holidays missed, the birthdays passed, the memories you didn’t get to make with your family … all for what? It’s not like baseball lost any sleep over you. She didn’t stay awake for nights on end, trying to figure out how to make you a better player. She didn’t care. Baseball’s a business. A sport. A game. And as much as my entire life has been wrapped up in it, it’s time to let it go.” – Jack Carter

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THE GAME CHANGER (The Perfect Game, #2)

Author: J. Sterling
Published on: June 25, 2013
 New Adult, contemporary romance

Published by: Lake Union Publishing
Format: E-book, paperback, Audible

Jack appeared at my door last night after six months of no communication wearing a Mets jersey and holding a dozen red roses. He told me he was sorry, that he loved me, and that he would earn my trust again. It took everything in me to not fall apart at the mere sight of him. I wanted to take him back into my life, but I needed to know that this time it would be forever…

In J. Sterling’s highly anticipated follow-up to her USA Today bestselling novel The Perfect Game, Jack and Cassie quickly realize that their new lifestyle can often be cruel and unforgiving. Their happiness is put to the test as the past is never truly far behind.

How do you stay together when the world’s trying to tear you apart?

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