Category Archive: Young Adult

  1. My Best Reads of 2017

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    This is a repost from the Lovecats Downunder blog…

    It’s the time of year where I share with you the best things I read in the last twelve months! I read 38 books in 2017. Not my best effort in recent years, and it’s definitely something I want to concentrate more on in 2018.

    Okay, here the books I loved reading in 2017…

    Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo
    When I looked back to last year’s list, the first book of this trilogy was on it. The Grisha Trilogy started strong and ended strong. I LOVED it! Fabulous high-fantasy YA trilogy with a Russian bent. These books kept me turning the pages like crazy.

    The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
    This won’t be for everyone. It’s a thriller about a Cam Girl who won’t ever leave her apartment because she has the desire to commit murder. However, she’s forced to leave the sanctity of her home when the life of a young girl is at risk, and she’s the only person who can save her. Another page-turner. Highly recommend!

    Wicked Sexy by J.T. Geissinger
    Romantic suspense novel with a kick-ass Hello Kitty-wearing hacker heroine. I might be in the minority here in Romance Land, but I read as much for the heroine as the hero. If the heroine doesn’t grab me, I’m out. This book is the perfect blend of great writing, snappy banter, and awesome tech suspense.


    Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren
    Super fun. This is another quite heroine-centric story which involves a drunken Vegas wedding and a subsequent whirlwind romance in Paris. There’s sexy costumes and role play, great writing and and a totally sweet HEA.

    The Shattered Court by MJ. Scott
    Wonderful high-fantasy romance that sucked me in and wouldn’t let go. I’m not at all surprised it was a RITA finalist in 2016. Beautiful writing, great world building and an interesting magic system all compliment an interesting, unique romance.

    A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
    Another fantasy romance. I know, it must be turning into a favourite subgenre of mine! This one is glorious. Interesting magic system, gruff by swoon-worthy hero and a spitfire heroine. Even if you’re not normally into fantasy, I still recommend giving this a shot. Impeccable character development make this worth the read!

    My TBR for 2018 is already crazy overflowing, but here are a few books sitting high up on the list:

    • Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
    • The Forbidden Heir by M.J. Scott
    • The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren
    • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
    • Pretty much anything and everything by Lauren Layne and Sarah Morgan (I’m trying to get up to date with both their backlists)
    • All the books coming out with Harlequin’s new Dare line!! So excited for this launch.
  2. Best books of 2014

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    As I mentioned in my 2014/15 Reading Goals Wrap Up I read a total of 61 books this year. I’m pretty darn happy with that! Because I really enjoy sharing the books I adore with you I wanted to do a “Best Books of the year” post where hopefully you’ll find a new book or a new author to love out of this list! (I also did one of these in 2013.)

    Note: These are books I READ in 2014 but they were not necessarily published in 2014.

    Gone Girl (2012) & Sharp Objects (2005) by Gillian Flynn – While Gone Girl is by far the better known of these two books, Sharp Objects is what started my love for Gillian Flynn. It was also her debut novel, which is pretty damn amazing considering it’s a hell of a book. If you like twisted people doing twisted things to one another, then this is just what you need to read.

    Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (2011) – An unconventional, charming romance. I’d heard great things about Rainbow’s writing and I devoured this book in two days while on a trip to Sydney right before the RWA conference. Told totally from the male POV, this book is funny and focuses mostly on the growth of the protagonist. But there is a hefty sprinkling of romance. I loved it.8909152

    Lick by Kylie Scott (2013) – This was one of the books in my RWA goodie bag. I had major ear problems through the conference and I started reading this because I was trying to distract myself from the pain. I hadn’t intended on it being anything but a distraction, but Kylie’s writing drew me in and this passionate rockstar romance totally captured me. Funny, a little angst-y and a whole lotta sexy.

    Tampa by Alissa Nutting (2011) – This was a tough book to read and yet I also couldn’t drag myself away. It’s a taboo topic, which definitely won’t be for everyone, and I can’t say I ‘liked’ the story given the subject matter. But it was utterly gripping, very well written and totally unique.

    Uncovered by Love by Madeline Ash (2012) – This book was nominated for a RBY the first year I attended the RWA conference in 2013. It’s a brilliant book. The writing is beautiful, the characters real and emotional, it’s clever and utterly romantic. The very best of what a category romance should be.

    A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (2011) – This book SLAYED me. I was sobbing at the end and it is easily one of the best books I’ve read. EVER. It’s sad but so beautiful at the same time. A work of art.

    Not Until You by Roni Loren (2014) – This had everything that I look for in an erotic romance. High emotion, playfulness, hot sex, well-motivated characters, great writing. This was the latest in a series, so now I’m going back to the start.

    Honorable mentions go to:

    What were your best books of 2014? Let me know so I can add them to my list of books to read this year <3

  3. Top Books of 2013

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    Of the 57 books I read this year there were some I enjoyed, some I hated and some that I cuddled when I closed the back cover…seriously. Here are my favourite books of the year (read in 2013, though not necessarily published in 2013) in no particular order.

    The Bloody Chamber and other stories by Angela Carter (1979) 

    This collection of short fairytale re-tellings is superbly written with an eerie and ethereal tone. One of my favourite quotes from a book comes from the story for which this collection is named:

    “And I saw myself, suddenly, as he saw me… And, for the first time in my innocent and confined life, I sensed in myself a potentiality for corruption that took my breath away.”

     It’s not a book for the faint of heart, but if you love unique, dark stories and lyrical writing then you have to read this.

    Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (2009)

    The follow up to The Hunger Games, which I read in 2012, was as gripping as I’d hoped it would be. I enjoyed the ‘slower’ part of Catching Fire, where the politics of Panem were explored, and the ‘games’ part of the book which was somewhat similar to THG. Sadly, Mockingjay didn’t live up to the first two books in the series, however this is the first series of books I’ve ever completed so that’s saying something about Suzanne Collins’s writing and storytelling abilities. I know this series is old news, but I highly recommend it…even with the let down of an ending.

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    Divergent by Veronica Roth (2012)

    This fast-paced, dystopian YA novel that set the internet abuzz in 2012 and it was one of my first reads from the year. It was all to easy to devour Divergent because the story flowed and the ‘world’ was intriguing. With the moving coming out soon you might want to read this before you see it – there are plenty of twists and turns, and I personally prefer reading them than watching them first.

    Imprisoned by a Vow by Annie West (2013)

    Obviously, I love romance novels and have to include a few in my list. Things I look for in this genre are: intelligent writing, uniquely flawed characters and a unique twist on popular tropes. This book has it all; a traditional marriage of convenience storyline with one of the most interesting heroine’s I’ve ever read, told in a sharply intelligent, yet warm voice. As far as category romance novels go, this is exactly what I want.

    Tarantula by Thierry Jonquet (1984)

    This book stayed with me in the most unsettling way. It’s a horrible story, when you strip it down to its bones – about a person doing horrible things. But it’s so gripping. The story arrests your attention in that shouldn’t-look-but-can’t-look-away feeling, and though I predicted the ‘twist’ well ahead of time, Tarantula still shocked me at every turn. I loved it in a sickening kind-of way.

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    The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (1955)

    Another unsettling book, with a tortured, evil protagonist that you can’t tears your eyes from. I adored the movie of this novel when I saw it years ago, and I loved the book even more. It’s a crime novel that follows the criminal rather than the investigator or victim, set in Manhatten and Italy in the 1950’s. Fabulously written, chilling to the bone. I definitely want to read more Patricia Highsmith.

    A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh (2009)

    I don’t read a lot of historical romance novels, though I do enjoy them when I’m in the mood. Mary Balogh’s writing is lovely, peppered with detail that doesn’t overwhelm and draws you in like a warm embrace. This novella was a short read and again the ‘twist’ wasn’t a surprise, but I got that delicious ‘happy ever after’ glow when I finished this book and it made me want to read more historicals.

    The One That Got Away by Kelly Hunter (2013)

    This was the book that made me want to write for Harlequin KISS. Part of the launch for this line, Hunter’s story is a lot darker than the cover and title would suggest. I loved the unique relationship between the characters in this book, it was certainly something out of the ordinary for a category romance novel. Though it was a bit less steamy than I like (so sue me, I like my books spicy), what it hid from the reader in the sex scenes it more than doubled in emotion depth.

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    Wish by Kelly Hunter (2012)

    This one was nominated for a RBY at the Romance Writers of Australia conference that I attended back in August, and rightly so. While short, Wish was packed full of subtle character development, slow burn romance and vivid outback settings. While rural romance is not usually my bag, I adored this story and wanted to read it again the second I finished. Kelly’s writing is realistic, engaging and a delight to read.

    What were your favourite books for 2013?