After taking a blog break, I have gotten ridiculously behind on reviews. To be honest, I was behind on them before my little break.
This post includes all of the books I’ve read recently that are now on my absolute favorites list. They are must reads – go add them to your list now!
Making Faces by Amy Harmon
Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.
Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beastwhere we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us.
This book left such a lasting impression on me. It was so fantastic that I immediately ordered a paperback copy for my bookshelf. I’ve had reader friends tell me for years that I needed to try Amy Harmon’s books, and I regret ignoring their advice for so long. This book is perfection. I really couldn’t say enough to do it justice. Just go read it now, I swear you won’t regret it.
Undecided by Julianna Keyes
Nora Kincaid has one goal for her second year of college: be invisible. Last year’s all-party-no-study strategy resulted in three failed classes and two criminal charges, and if she messes up again she’ll lose her scholarship. But there’s one problem with her plan for invisibility, and his name is Crosbie Lucas: infamous party king, general hellraiser…and her new roommate’s best friend.
Crosbie’s reckless reputation and well-known sexcapades aren’t part of Nora’s studious new strategy, but as she’s quickly learning, her new plan is also really boring. When Crosbie’s unexpected gestures of friendship pull her head out of her books long enough to see past his cocky veneer, she’s surprised to find a flawed and funny guy beneath it all. The muscles don’t hurt, either.
But as Nora starts to fall for Crosbie, the weight of one of last year’s bad decisions grows even heavier. Because three failing grades and two misdemeanors are nothing compared to the one big secret she’s hiding…
I have been a fan of New Adult for several years, but lately I find they aren’t living up to my expectations. My tastes have evolved where I’m enjoying a wider variety of genres, and my go-to is no longer NA. In fact I had been steering clear of NA for a long time, until this book was recommended to me by several readers. It blew me away! I absolutely loved every minute – it reminded me of why I used to love NA so much. Definitely a must read for all New Adult fans!
The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
Swallow, daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heaven or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, daughter. Stay alive.
The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would sell his soul and lose his son to the sky.
My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.
But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?
This was actually the first book by Amy Harmon that I read. I’m not one to pick up fantasy very often, but so much buzz was surrounding this book that I wanted to try it. It started my Amy Harmon love fest, and I can’t recommend this book enough. If you enjoy fantasy with the added bonus of romance (but not overly done), you must try this book! I’ve been on the hunt for another book like it, so if you have any recommendations please share!
A Different Blue by Amy Harmon
Blue Echohawk doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn’t attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.
This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don’t know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can’t love you back might be impossible.
When I said I was on an Amy Harmon binge, I wasn’t kidding. Now, this one took me a little longer to get in to – I initially had a hard time liking and sympathizing with Blue. But once I got into the story that all changed. I can see why this book is so popular, and I would definitely recommend it!
Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.
The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.
At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.
Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.
They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.
This book was such a fantastic surprise. I had never read anything by this author, but was intrigued by the synopsis for this one. It was my version of a perfect romance, one that kept me glued to the pages and sad when it ended. I love stories that include amazing side characters, and to my delight, the author made this a series (of stand alones). I was so impressed with this book that I immediately preordered the next book in the series.
Steadfast by Sarina Bowen
She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.
Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there’s no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.
For Sophie Haines, coming face to face with the man who broke her heart is gut-wrenching. Suddenly, he’s everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never turn up volunteer in the church kitchen.
She knows it’s foolish to yearn for the man who returned all the heartsick letters she wrote him in prison. But the looks he sends her now speak volumes.
No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie’s police chief father. But it’s a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.
Book two was even better than the first, if it’s even possible. I loved Jude – he was fighting to get his life back on track, and was so determined not to fall back into old habits. It was admirable and my heart hurt for him the entire book. I loved how noble he was. He definitely stole my heart. Now I can’t wait for the third book to be released!
Bossman by VI Keeland
The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn’t exactly make a good impression.
I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.
He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.
So I told him to mind his own damn business―his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business―and went back to my miserable date.
When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.
I couldn’t help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room. Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.
When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.
But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us―telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.
My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.
When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I’d never see him again.
I mean, what were the chances I’d run into him again in a city with eight million people?Then again…
What were the chances a month later he’d wind up being my new sexy boss?
I don’t know what I expected when I picked up this book, but once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. I loved everything about it – the banter, the romance, the sexy times, even the heartbreaking moments because they felt real and made this book so much more than a cheesy sex-filled romance. This book had heart and real emotion – I’m definitely going to read more by this author in the future!