Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Books of 2014

Friday we will be revealing the winners of the 2014 Swoony Awards, but I couldn't wait to share my favorites.  I read over 240 books this year and I wanted to share them with you (I stuck with only the books I read that were published in 2014), so here are my top 14 favorite novels of the year!

#1 Lady at Arms by Tamara Leigh
#2 Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson
#3 Falling For Rayne by Shannon Guymon
#4 Under a Georgia Moon by Cindy Roland Anderson
#5 A Cliché Christmas by Nicole Deese
#6 Son of War, Daughter of Chaos by Janette Rallison
#7 All's Fair in Love and Weddings by Christine Feldman
#8 Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae 
#9 Lady Emma's Campaign by Jennifer Moore
#10 Bewitching the Knight by Diane Darcy
#11 Fiancé by Fate by Jennifer Shirk
#12 Split Second by Kasie West
#13 Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen
#14 The Longing by Tamara Leigh

Technically, they're all number one! I loved each of these books and would recommend them to anyone! It was hard choosing just 14 since I read so many amazing books this year, but these ones really stuck with me and will be ones I'll be reading again!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tess in Boots by Courtney Rice Gager

Tess in BootsTess in Boots by Courtney Rice Gager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do you ever get a feeling you're going to love a book before you even start? I sometimes get "book vibes" before I start a book just knowing I'm not going to want to put it down.

This is one of those books that you can't say much about without giving things away. I liked that as I was reading I didn't know what was going to happen. I had my ideas, but I had to fight to not jump ahead to make sure I was right. I love that in a book! I was easily sucked into the story and Tess, our heroine, was easy to like and root for. The book opens with Tess about to be proposed to, at least that's what she thinks is going to happen. Things don't go as planned and soon her well ordered life is turned upside down. I liked the journey her character goes through and how she is able to really take a look at her life and who she has become and who she wants to be. I also liked seeing her reconnect with her twin brother. I love reading about close sibling relationships, since it reminds me of my own brothers.

There is a bit of a love triangle, but its handled really well and uniquely. You're not really sure what will happen (and again I had a hard time NOT peaking to see how it would end) and it was fun to see how each relationship evolved. Is that vague enough?

Overall, a very engaging read. I will definitely read it again and look forward to seeing what Ms. Gager comes up with next! Go grab a copy...right now! Make it an early Christmas present, you won't regret it!

Romance: Clean
Language: None that I remember
Religious: Very mild

Source: Amazon Kindle

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Monday, December 8, 2014

2014 Swoony Awards Blitz with Giveaway

What Are the Swoony Awards?
The Swoony Awards were created to recognize excellence in clean fiction. There are so many books published every day and it can be hard to find the ones worth reading. We want to help recognize authors who write entertaining books that are wholesome. It’s our hope that each year we will help provide everyone with a great list of books to read and maybe introduce them to new authors.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?
-Publication Year: Only books published during the current contest year may be nominated. To be fair to all books, contest dates will run from December 1, 2013 – November 31, 2014.
-Clean romance: No sex or closed door, low/mild innuendo. Only M/F romances.
-Language: None/mild, anything over a handful of profanity (especially the more offensive words) would not be considered clean.
-Violence: None/mild
-Other: Nothing overly dark, depressing or heavy subject matter

Novels, novellas and short stories are all eligible for nomination, no limits on page number. Any (clean) genre is eligible (i.e. contemporary, fantasy, mystery, historical, etc.).

Each voter is able to choose up to 100 books to vote on or nominate each contest year. There is no cap on the overall number of books nominated.

How Are Winners Selected?
We will be accepting entries throughout the year and the winners announced the first week in January. There are fifteen award categories (i.e. Best Novel of the Year, Best Historical, Best Contemporary, etc.). Winner’s will be announced via our blogs (Bookworm Nation, KJ’s Book Nook and Katie’s Clean Book Reviews) and through Goodreads Swoony Awards Group.

Since this is a reader’s choice award the winners are determined by a combination of the number of votes received and how high the voter rated the book and what rank the voter gave each book they voted for.

Who Are We?

Kathy (Bookworm Nation)
I've been hosting a book review blog, Bookworm Nation, for over five years. I love to read and review books. And of course, I love to discuss books! A few years ago I started the Goodreads group, Happily Ever After Book Club. It's through Goodreads that I met Katie, Kathy Jo and Heidi and while discussing our love of books one day we thought it'd be fun to host our own Reader's Choice award. We're excited to introduce the Swoony's this year, it's going really well and we look forward to hosting it for years to come. 
Contact Info for Kathy:
Twitter: @bookwormnation
Kathy Jo 
Kathy Jo (KJ's Book Nook)
This may come as a shocker but I have NOT always been a little bookworm. In fact growing up I was not the kid you saw jumping at the chance to read. I was the one that just did it to make my teachers happy. That silent reading time during school?! Yeah.. I was the kid napping! ;) About 12 years ago someone loaned me a book and said I just HAD to read it. I took it just to get them off my back and much to my surprise I could NOT put it down! And from then on I would read... but only that one author. I refused to read anything else! It wasn't until 2009 when 2 of my favorite people introduced me to the Twilight Series that I actually started branching out. And ever since then I haven't been able to STOP reading! ;) About 5 months ago I decided to start a book blog and I have been loving it! I get to be another voice for all the amazing authors that I love! How cool is that?! And of course through my adventures in reading I have been able to meet some amazing women who love books just as much as, if not more than, me! I love chatting with them about all the books we read! We have become such great friends that at times I forget that I've never really met them in person! Books just have a way of bringing people together! My reading choices vary... I love a lot of different genres.With that said... I am not ashamed to admit that I am a romantic and I love fluff! As long as it's clean and has a HEA, I'll definitely give it a try! Any book that gives me a break from reality and puts a smile on my face is definitely a book for me!   
Contact Info for Kathy Jo:
Twitter: @kjincali

Katie Watkins 
Katie (Katie's Clean Book Collection)
I started blogging about a year and a half ago. I've always loved to read and talk about books--it's my obsession. The first book I learned to read on my own was Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. I love a lot of different genres, but my favorite is clean romance, which is perfect for the Swoony's! I've had a blast meeting new friends who enjoy the same types of books that I do.

Contact Info for Katie:
Twitter: @lilacqueen75

I'm a mother of four amazing kids and married to my own Prince Charming. I love to read, kiss my handsome Prince, bake, run (because I love to bake), ride horses, play sports, and spend time with my little family. I first fell in love with reading at a very young age because of my sweet grandmother who always took the time to read me my favorite books over and over again. She could never tell me no. My wonderful mother is also entirely addicted to reading and we love to "talk books" late into the night....and plot how we are going to buy more. :) I adore clean, happily ever after books, and I've loved getting to know so many other women who do as well. Who knew books would be the reason I would meet some of the dearest people in the world?! 
Contact Info for Heidi:

Note to Authors:
If you’ve written a book that matches the above criteria fill free to nominate it for a Swoony! Don’t be afraid to promote the award or to let your fans know your book is up and that it needs votes. We are doing some promoting, but sometimes a Facebook, Twitter or blog post directly from the author is the best way to let your fan base know your book has been nominated. Only books with a minimum of THREE votes will be added to the official nomination list found on the Goodreads Swoony Awards group page. Winners will be announced January 2015.

To stay up to date on voting and nominations, please join our Goodreads Swoony Awards group page!

Note to Readers:
If you’ve read a book this year that you think is awesome…VOTE! This is a great way to let authors know you appreciate all that hard work. You can vote for up to 100 books on the list. We’ve also learned that the order you rank the books you vote on does affect the overall score of the book. So take a minute and make sure you have your books in the order you want them. Invite your friends to vote! Voting ends December 31, 2014.

The 2014 Swoony Awards is now accepting nominations and votes for your favorite books of the year. Polls will be open until December 31, 2014. 

Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

As a thank you for making the Swoony Awards a success,
we'd like to offer an Amazon gift card! The winner will
have 48 hours to claim the prize. Only valid
where Amazon gift cards may be used. You must
be 13 or older to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dark Destiny by Kari Gray

All Lily Bordeaux wants is a shop of her own in the French Quarter, but the family legacy, passed down from her Salem witch ancestors, is bearing down on her despite her efforts to avoid it. A series of events place her in danger, but an old friend from college, Bennett Duschesne, may be the one person who can convince her to confront her past demons and embrace her gifts. As she grows closer to Bennett, evil forces threaten to destroy everything she loves. Will she have accepted her family legacy, only to find she was too late?
I’ve read all of Nancy C Allen’s (aka Kari Gray) books and was so excited when I saw she was going to be writing a new paranormal novella series. I got it the day it came out and devoured it in one sitting. She really can write any genre!

Lily is a descendent from the Salem Witches, but after losing her parents she doesn’t want anything to do with her “powers” and closes them off. Then one day she awakens after a bomb exploded at her aunt’s boutique and she realizes she should have been honing her powers, not ignoring them. To get answers and to protect her aunt she opens herself up to her powers and goes on the hunt for an elusive talisman. I thought this was a fun novella; a lot is packed in to the 118 pages!

Lily was a likable heroine, I liked that she was strong and wanted to take matters into her own hands. I also liked that she was willing to accept help when she needed it. I liked the romance with her and Bennett. They had been friends for a long time and had drifted apart when he started dating another girl. They’re reunited after the explosion and realize the depth of their feelings. The romance was sweet, a little fast, but considering the length of the novel and the fact that they had known each other before made it believable. The overall story was fun and I look forward to reading the rest of the series! Beautiful cover!

Content, PG:
Romance: Clean, mild innuendo (a little steamier than her other books, if I remember)
Language: Mild (H, D, S)
Violence: Mild

Source: Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rough around the Edges Meets Refined by Rachael Anderson

Rough around the Edges Meets Refined (Meet Your Match, #2)Rough around the Edges Meets Refined by Rachael Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another hit by Rachael! I loved this one and stayed up way too late to finish it. I kept saying "just one more chapter" until I ended up finishing the whole thing!

Cassie is a recent widow and trying to get back on her feat and discover who she is and what she wants to do with her life. She does not want another man around telling her what to do, so she has her guard up with Noah enters her life. It doesn't take long for his charm to work through her walls. I liked Cassie, she was easy to relate to and to root for. I was glad she got a second chance at happiness. I liked the growth her character went through and it was nice to see her discovering herself again. Noah was great! I liked him in the first book and it was fun to see him and to reconnect with his sweet daughters. I loved the romance between Cassie and Noah and how their relationship developed. They have great chemistry together! I liked that there was more going on with them besides the romance though, they both have lost spouses and have their own issues to work through.

This is a companion novel to Prejudice Meets Pride and it was fun seeing characters from the first book make an appearance. I love Rachael's books and always have to stop whatever I'm doing when a new one comes out so I can dive in! This was a real page-turner, I read it in one sitting and loved every minute! Highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a great heartwarming romance!

Romance: Clean

Source: Received complimentary copy from author in exchange for honest review.

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