Monday, 31 December 2012

Best Books of 2012

Source
This year has come to an end and when I look at all the books I've read in 2012 I realize that there are so many brand new favourite authors and series I have discovered that 2012 has indeed been a great year! Let me share with you my favourite reads of 2012 in no particular order (as you can see most are historical and contemporary romances):

Best Historical Romances

Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow 

As soon as I read the first couple of sentences of Heather Snow's debut novel I knew it would be a terrific read, and it was. I devoured it, loved it, and had withdrawal symptoms once I finished it. Since then Book #2 Sweet Deception has been released as well, and now I'm counting back the days until I can read Book #3, Sweet Madness. If by any chance you haven't read this series yet, do, you'll discover a beautifully written series where romance and intrigue are masterfully interwoven, with loveable and complex characters. 


The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle

Another new author I have discovered. Leigh Lavalle's fluent and evocative writing style is enchanting, another HR author to put on your wishlists!


Ruined by Rumor by Alyssa Everett
  
This book reminded me so much of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Not because of the set up but rather due to the same feeling and enjoyment it caused. The hero is swoon-worthy, the writing is romantic and light, a true delight! I loved it and have become a big fan of Alyssa Everett!


Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin

Another big discovery this year: though I have heard Lori Handeland's name in the PNR releases, this was the very first novel I have read from her, and I found it captivating! The Western setting and the unusual hero and heroine were amazing! I became a die hard fan of her Once Upon a Time in the West series!


Best Contemporary Romances

Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox 

And in February I have discovered Ruthie Knox who has since become one of my favourite contemporary romance authors. Ride with Me was one of the biggest surprises of 2012, as I was seriously doubtful how enjoyable a romance which is completely set around cycling and athlete characters would be, but Ruthie Knox blew me away! I'm sold, and now I don't even ask what her next book will be about, her name is enough for me to pick it up! :-D


In Bed with the Opposition by Stephanie Draven

This was another book which blew me away. Many blogger friends stayed away from this book as it was set around campaigns and elections, but it was a true gem: funny, sexy and heart.warming, I loved it!


Just for Fun and Just a Kiss by Erin Nicholas

You know how much I LOVE the Bradfords series (you can read my reviews of Book #1, Book #2, Book #3) and the 4th and 5th books were released in 2012. They were both wonderful, seriously Erin Nicholas just gets better and better! :-D


The Billionaire's Christmas Baby by Victoria James

A perfect Christmas story: emotional, moving and heart.warming, it will leave you with a big happy sigh at the end :-)


Best Erotica Novel

That Filthy Book by Lily Harlem and Natalie Dae

I have read quite some steamy stories but this one stands out: it was scorching hot and the respect and affection between the hero and heroine made it truly memorable. I loved it!


Best Urban Fantasy Novel

Sins of the Son by Linda Poitevin

This was the 2nd book in Linda Poitevin's Grigori Legacy series, and maybe even better than the first one. It was a heart-squeezing, nail-biting and adrenaline inducing rollercoaster ride kind of a story! Terrific! :-D

And what were some of your best reads in 2012?


Books Read in 2012

Books read in 2012


January (13)

1. The Last Slayer by Nadia Lee (Book #1 in the Heartstone series)
2. To Walk the Night by E.S. Moore (Book #1 in the Kat Redding series) (currently reading)
3. Supernaturally Kissed by Stacey Kennedy (Book #1 in the Frostbite series)
4. Blushing Violet by Ann Mayburn
5. Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter (Book #1 in the Royal House of Shadows)
6. Accused by Kate Kaynak (Book #4 in the Ganzfield series)
7. Seducing the Myth ed. by Lucy Felthouse
8. Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee (Book #1 From the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series)
9. Impulse Control by Sara Brookes (Book #1 in the Sypricon Masters series)
10. Priestess of the Nile by Veronica Scott
11. Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox *
12. Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow * (Book #1 in the Veiled Seduction series)
13. One Perfect Night by Rachael Jones


February (12)

14. Enticed by His Forgotten Lover by Maya Banks (Book #1 in the Pregnancy & Passion series)
15. To Touch a Sheikh by Olivia Gates (Book #3 in the Pride of Zohayd series) - DNF
16. Busted in Bollywood by Nicola Marsh
17. Caught in Heat by Miranda Stowe (Book #1 in the Half-Breed Shifters series)
18. Slayer's Kiss by Cassi Carver (Book #1 in the Shadow Slayers series)
19. The Rogue Pirate's Bride by Shana Galen (Book #3 in the Sons of the Revolution series)
20. Mask of the Gladiator by Georgie Lee
21. A Waltz at Midnight by Crista McHugh
22. Dreams of Wolf by Miranda Stowe (Book #2 in the Half-Breed Shifters series)
23. The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst
24. Table for One by Ros Clarke
25. Rule of Three by Kelly Jamieson


March (15)

26. Nightfire by Lisa Marie Rice
27. Love is a Battlefield by Tamara Morgan
28. On One Condition by Diane Alberts
29. The Duke Is Mine by Eloisa James
30. The Professor by Cathy Perkins
31. How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back by Sophie Barnes
32. Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis (Book #3 in the Lucky Harbor series)
33. Time Out by Jill Shalvis
34. Body Temperature and Rising by K.D. Grace (currently reading)
35. Still Hot for You by Diane Escalera
36. A Holiday Affair by Annie Seaton (DNF)
37. Weekend Agreement by Barbara Wallace
38. Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire by Nina Croft
39. Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck
40. Something About You by Julie James


April (13)

41. The Perfect Impostor by Wendy Soliman
42. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Book #1 in The Hunger Games series)
43. Improper Relations by Juliana Ross
44. A Lady's Revenge by Tracey Devlyn (currently reading)
45. That Filthy Book by Natalie Dae and Lily Harlem*
46. Sins of the Son by Linda Poitevin (Book #2 in the Gregory Legacy series)*
47. Master of Sin by Maggie Robinson (Book #4 in the Courtesan Court series)
48. The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle*
49. Lessons in Indiscretion by Karen Erickson (Book #2 in the Merry Widows series)
50. Under His Protection by Karen Erickson (Book #1 in the Protect and Defend series)
51. My Wicked Gladiators by Lauren Hawkeye
52. Undone by Lila DiPasqua (Book #4 in the Fiery Tales series)
53. The Fireman Who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard (Book #1 in The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series)


May (17)

54. About Last Night by Ruthie Knox
55. Unclaimed by Courtney Milan (Book #2 in the Turner series) (re-read)
56. Hunting the Shadows by Alexia Reed
57. By Surprise by Alyssa Turner
58. Chairman of the Whored by Lucy V. Morgan
59. A Hint of Frost by Hailey Edwards (Book #1 in the Araneae Nation series)
60. The 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook by Christy Dorrity
61. A Gentleman Says "I Do" by Amelia Grey
62. Can't Buy Me Love by Molly O'Keefe (DNF)
63. Bad Girl Lessons by Seraphina Donavan
64. Always A Bridesmaid by Cindi Myers
65. Someone Else's Fairytale by E.M. Tippetts
66. Seductive Reunion by Virginia Cavanaugh
67. My Fair Concubine by Jeannie Lin
68. The White Swan Affair by Elyse Mady
69. Just for Fun by Erin Nicholas *
70. Her Forbidden Hero by Laura Kaye


June (19)

71. Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn (Book #1 in the Gamble Brothers series)
72. Ruined by Rumor by Alyssa Everett *
73. Three Weddings and a Murder by Tessa Dare, Leigh LaValle, Courtney Milan and Carey Baldwin
74. Cinderella Blues by Obren Bokich (currently reading)
75. Rope Me In by Cerise DeLand
76. Passion Awakened by Jessica Lee
77. Thief by Ava March
78. Alien Revealed by Lilly Cain (Book #1 in the Confederacy Treaty series)
79. Lady Alexandra's Excellent Adventure by Sophie Barnes
80. Second Chances by Rita Orberlies
81. How to Be a Proper Lady by Katharine Ashe (Book #2 in the Falcon Club series)
82. Bind Me by Stacey Kennedy (Book #1 in the Seduction Pact series)
83. In-Flight Delight by Francesca St. Claire
84. An Introduction to Pleasure by Jess Michaels (Book #1 in the Mistress Matchmaker series)
85. Try Me by Diane Alberts (Book #1 in the Take a Chance series)
86. The Watchmaker's Lady by Heather Massey
87. Luscious by Amanda Usen
88. When a Dragon Lusts a Woman by Dagmar Avery and Charlotte Steele (currently reading)
89. First Do No Evil by Carey Baldwin


July (16)

90. Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander (Book #1 in the Edie Spence series)
91. The Baron's Governess Bride by Deborah Hale
92. Beg for it by Stacey Kennedy (Book #2 in the Pact of Seduction series)
93. The Officer Says "I Do" by Jeanette Murray (Book #1 in the Semper Fi series)
94. Deep Dark Secret by Sierra Dean
95. The Tiger's Tale by Nara Malone
96. The Naked Truth by Lilly Cain (Book #2 in the Confederacy Treaty series)
97. Marry Me by Karen Stivali
98. Too Hot to handle by Aleah Barley
99. A Wild Night's Bride by Victoria Vane (Book #1 in the Devil DeVere series)
100. Just for Fun by Erin Nicholas (Book #4 in the Bradford series)
101. Lord of Fire and Ice by Connie Mason with Mia Marlowe
102. Heavy Issues by Elle Aycart (Book #2 in the Bowen Brothers series)
103. Until There Was You by Jessica Scott (Book #2 in the Coming Home series)
104. The Tarnished Jewel of Jazaar by Susanna Carr
105. The Virgin Huntress by Victoria Vane (Book #2 in the Devil DeVere series)


August
 (11)

106. Planning for Love by Christi Barth (Book #1 in the Aisle Bound series)
107. Sweet Deception by Heather Snow (Book #2 in the Veiled Seduction series)
108. Tall, Dark and Divine by Jenna Bennett (Book #1 in the Bagging a Greek God series)
109. The Oil Tycoon and Her Sexy Sheikh by Ros Clarke
110. Wrong Bed, Right Guy by Katee Robert
111. Seducing Cinderella by Gina L. Maxwell
112. Pleasures of a Tempted Lady by Jennifer Haymore (Book #3 in the Donovan sisters series)
113. Not the Marrying Kind by Nicola Marsh
114. A Study in Seduction by Nina Rowan (Book #1 in the Daring Hearts series)
115. The System by Heather Lin
116. Ravish Me by Cindy Jacks


September (14)

118. Bad Boys Do by Victoria Dahl (Book #2 in the Donovan Brothers Brewery series)
119. Timeless Desire by Gwyn Cready
120. An Illicit Temptation by Jeannie Lin
121. A Vengeful Affair by Carmen Falcone
122. Misplaced Princess by Mari Carr and Lexxi Cooper
123. A Question of Trust by Emma Hillman
124. Take it Like a Vamp by Candace Havens
125. West of Want by Laura Kaye (Book #2 in the Hearts of the Anemoi series)
126. Crazy Love by Nicola Marsh
127. Clean by Alex Hughes (Book #1 in the Mindspace Investigations series)
128. Ashwyn by Nadia Lee
129. In Bed with the Opposition by Stephanie Draven *
130. Taming the Tycoon by Amy Andrews
131. When You Give a Duke a Diamond by Shana Galen (Book #1 in the Jewels of the Ton series)


October (11)

132. The Devil You Know by Victoria Vane (Book #3 in the Devil DeVere series)
133. Back to You by Jessica Scott (Book #3 in the Homecoming series)
134. Worth the Challenge by Karen Erickson (Book #3 in the Worth It series)
135. The Devil's Thief by Samantha Kane (Book #1 in the Saint's Devils series)
136. Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin (Book #1 in the Once Upon a Time in the West  series)*
137. Worth the Scandal by Karen Erickson (Book #1 in the Worth It series)
138. Contract for Marriage by Barbara DeLeo
139. Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
140. Lord Gray's List by Maggie Robinson (Book #1 in the London List series)
141. For Desire Alone by Jess Michaels (Book #2 in the Mistress Matchmaker series)
142. Entangled an anthology


November (9)

143. Whatever You Like by Maureen Smith
144. The Spanish Billionaire's Hired Wife by Rachel Lyndhurst
145. ACT of Redemption by Jenna Bennett (Book #1 in the Art Crime Team Mystery series)
146. A Royal Pain by Megan Mulry (DNF)
147. Jane's Gift by Karen Erickson
148. Operation Cinderella by Hope Tarr (Book #1 in the Suddenly Cinderella series)
149. Just What I Need by Erin Nicholas
150. Wedding Dress Sale by Natale Stenzel
151. Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker (Book #1 in the Black Knights Inc. series)


December (18)

152. How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English (Book #1 in the Shakespeare in Love series)
153. No Mistletoe Required by Jeanette Murray
154. We'll Be Home for Christmas by HelenKay Dimon
155. Ask Her at Christmas by Christi Barth
156. The Best Thing by Jaci Burton
157. Romancing the Holiday by HelenKay Dimon, Christi Barth, Jaci Burton
158.The Scandalous Dissolute No-Good Mr. Wright by Tessa Dare
159. Compromising the Marquess by Wendy Soliman
160. Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep (Book #1 in the Bigtime series) re-read
161. Hot Mama by Jennifer Estep (Book #2 in the Bigtime series)
162. All I Want for Christmas is a Duke anthology by Delilah Marvelle and Máire Claremont
163. The Billionaire's Christmas Baby by Victoria James *
164. A Cinderella Christmas Carol by Hope Tarr  (Book #1.5 in the Suddenly Cinderella series)
165. The Misbehaving Marquess by Leigh Lavalle
166. I Need You for Christmas by Leah Braemel
167. Room at the Inn by Ruthie Knox
168. Sugar Rush by Rachel Astor (currently reading)
169. Sex, Lies and Surveillance by Stephanie Julian (currently reading)

* 2012 Top Reads


To see the list of books read in 2010 click HERE and for the books read in 2011 click HERE.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Book Review: The Billionaire's Christmas Baby by Victoria James

Title: The Billionaire's Christmas Baby
Author: Victoria James
Release Date: 19 November 2012
Number of pages: 206 pages
Source: ebook copy provided by the publisher for review
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Read an excerpt

Grade: 5 stars

Novellus perfectus!

2012 Top Read
Goodreads appetizer: Jackson Pierce didn’t make his fortune entertaining every half-cocked idea, especially one involving diaper changes. Not even the cute brunette who links him to the baby in her arms can crack his icy heart.

A baby on the doorstep is the least of Hannah Woods’s problems—she has to find the baby’s uncle, or the child will end up in foster care. She sleuths her way to the reclusive CEO’s doorstep only to find six feet of holiday sexy—and a door slammed in her face. But when Jackson comes around and urges they marry for little Emily’s sake, Hannah finds herself falling for the jaded billionaire and wishing for a holiday miracle of their own…

My Thoughts: You all know how much I love the holidays and holiday romances (Christmas Lover and Holiday Reading Challenge host here), and still with all my incredibly high expectations and positive prejudices this story managed to surpass them all and blow me away! Yes, Victoria James' debut novel was that good and even more!

The Billionaire's Christmas Baby is a wonderfully emotional story, and despite the romance being featured centre stage, I would still say that there are so many other important facets to this story (adoption of a little girl, less than ideal childhoods, problems of the foster care system, estranged family members, warm-hearted quirky neighbours, and I could go on), that I am positive that even those readers, who although like to have some romance in their stories still prefer them to have a fully developed storyline, would be very happy with it.

The chracters had complexity and were nuanced; they were both well developed, three-dimensional and interesting. Jackson was a beautifully scarred and grumpy hero, who although having a warm and generous, protective heart due to him having been hurt and disappointed before is quite the grouchy, standoffish grinch. And Hannah, despite having quite a lot in common with him when it comes to their childhood was his polar opposite: open, trusting, friendly. Optimistic, not only believing in happy endings happening but also in working for making them happen. I loved her sunny disposition, belief in her goals and her passion and dedication. She was an amazing heroine, one to look up to with respect.

Victoria James is not afraid to include the darker parts of life by mentioning foster homes and less than ideal childhoods in a romance story, and although I very much enjoy my romances light and fluffy (since I read them for escapism), thanks to her masterful writing they didn't weigh down the story and didn't add gloom to the romantic ambiance, so have no worries that you'll get a heart-wrenching angsty story. What you'll get is a heart-squeezing, heart-warming, beautifully moving emotional story that will make you appreciate the magic of the holidays and love.

Verdict: This story simply enchanted me. I devoured it in one sitting and even after having reached "The End", its message and its characters stayed with me. Victoria James touched me with her words and made me part of her characters' lives for a couple hours and I thank her for that. I thank her for the wonderful experience that The Billionaire's Christmas Baby was and I will definitely keep my eyes open for more stories from her, and take note Dear Readers, you don't want to miss out on this magical story.

The Billionaire's Christmas Baby is a beautiful romance and an emotional story on several levels. It is the perfect Christmas story that will leave you with a happy sigh, believing in love, goodness and happy endings.

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Cover: 9/10

Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.

Buy it:


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Let It Snow Books: Guest post by Nadia Lee + Giveaway


Today is the last day of our Let It Snow Books 2012 Event and I hope you enjoyed getting to know more about how some of our favourite authors and their characters spend the holidays. But before we say farewell I would like to welcome our last guest to end the event with a bang, please give the warmest welcome to the lovely Nadia Lee, author of some wonderful fantasy romances, contemporary romances and magical romances! Nadia brings us a special treat: the whole main cast of her Ever After books! :-D So read on, enjoy getting a glimpse of how the Beast and the Wicked Witch celebrated Christmas this year and you could even win a great novel! ;-)


How Nadia Lee's Ever-After Cast Celebrated Christmas

Hello, everyone! Nadia Lee here; thanks for having me. Today I want to share with you how my fairy tale characters from Ever After series celebrated their Christmas this year, since they're all in the same room for once! :) Fairy Godmother?


Oh my goodness, let me see... I was invited to twenty royal balls on Christmas, but had to decline all but two because I can only go to so many parties. Even I can't be in two places at once! But to show how sorry I was to make my excuses, I sent just the cutest charms -- they're the color of robin's eggs -- to everyone. They will protect the wearers from one minor hex. (lowers voice) My sister can be a bit prissy about not getting invited, and you know how unpopular she is...


(in a very loud voice) I heard that! (turns to me) God, she's such a snotty *******. Anyway, my Christmas was quite fun. I crashed a party as usual and cursed a few people. It was just brilliant, how I did it. Whatever their lips touch becomes stone! No kissing, no eating, no drinking. Then afterwards, I went to Edward's little party, because he remembered to invite me!

Edward the Beast (A Happily Ever After of Her Own)

(in a stage whisper) I had to invite her. Melinda might be with child, and I didn't want to earn my aunts enmity. You know how she can be. (in a normal voice) Yes, I do so love a family party. It was just me, my consort Melinda and my dear aunt the Wicked Witch. We ate a honey-glazed ham, and had apple and peach pies for dessert.


Oh yes, Edward does like his desserts. Thankfully he has a great metabolism. (turns to a handsome man next to her) How was your holiday, Prince Robert?

Robert the Frog Prince (One Kiss)

Superb in all respects. We held the official engagement ceremony on Christmas Eve. We were supremely honored to have the Wicked Witch -- er, that is, my godmother -- come and join us.

Molly (One Kiss)

Very true. She gave us an intriguing talisman. It's black and round and has strange symbols girdling the edge... (lowers voice) I'm not sure what it does though.


It's a get-out-of-jail-free talisman. In case you ever forget to invite me to a party. Got it?

Molly (One Kiss)

Ah! Of course! Not that that would ever happen, haha. (turns to me) In any case, the ceremony was ever so grand. (dreamy sigh) The line of people who came to congratulate us...! But most importantly, our love hasn't faded at all. I confess I was a bit worried that Robert might change his mind once his elation over the broken curse faded.

Robert (One Kiss)

My dear, I swore to you my love would never diminish. And how did you celebrate your Christmas, Nadia?

Me

We had a small family dinner with a home-cooked roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and cake. Then we exchanged gifts. Our infant son was very happy with his new toys and books. Thanks for asking.


And you didn't invite meeeeeeeeeeee??

Me

Oh gosh, look at the time. I've imposed on you all too much. (hastily gets up) Bye bye! I have to go pick up my son from daycare before it closes! I'll see you guys later...

====

Whew! Looks like I barely managed to escape the Wicked Witch's wrath. :) Share how you celebrate holidays this year for a chance to win a free copy of either A Happily Ever After of Her Own or One Kiss (your choice!).

Thanks, and have a spectacular holiday season!


Bilingual former management consultant Nadia Lee has lived in four different countries and enjoyed many adventures and excellent food around the globe. In the last eight years, she has kissed stingrays, been bitten by a shark, ridden an elephant and petted tigers.

She shares an apartment overlooking a river and palm trees in Japan with her husband, baby boy, winter white hamsters and an ever-widening pile of books. When she's not writing, she can be found digging through old Asian historical texts or planning another trip.

Connect with Nadia at:



A Happily Ever After of Her Own by Nadia Lee

Melinda Lightfoot, a preschool teacher with an unusual ability to flit in and out of fairy tales, never thought she would get into trouble...

...until the Fairy Tale Police arrest her while she is in Beauty and the Beast. They offer her a deal: Find Beauty, who left the story when Melinda trespassed into it, or be charged with the ultimate crime -- Fairy Tale Killer. If that's not bad enough the Beast tags along in search of his true love, and Melinda starts falling for the fairy tale prince. She must choose between doing the right thing and having her own happily ever after.

Warning: This title contains the following: Fairy Godmother, the Wicked Witch, dysfunctional fairy tale families, ax-wielding executioners and a happily ever after (or two).


Buy at Amazon - other stores


HE IS A LEGEND...

Robert is a royal prince cursed into his current predicament: remain a frog until he can get someone to kiss him...willingly. After years of searching, he finally finds a suitable royal princess.

SHE IS BUT A HUMBLE MAID...

Practical maid to the royal princess, Molly promises to help Robert in return for gold enough to fund her retirement. She doesn't want to waste her youth waiting on someone as capricious and shallow as the princess, instead of living her life.

BUT LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES...

Unexpected problems unravel Robert's plan. The princess thinks frogs are disgusting, and his evil cousin shows up to steal both the princess and the throne that rightfully belongs to Robert. To compound matters, all he can think about is the quick-witted Molly.

But to undo the curse and inherit the throne, Robert must have a kiss from a royal princess and marry her.

What's a cursed prince to do?

Based on THE FROG PRINCE.

Warning: This title contains the following: Fairy Godmother, a killer punt, porcupines of evil, the Wicked Witch's justice and a happily ever after (or two).

Buy at Amazon - other stores

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Nadia has generously offered a copy of either A Happily Ever After of Her Own or One Kiss (winner's choice) to a lucky commenter!

 

To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 January 2013!

Good luck!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Let It Snow Books: Guest Post by Hailey Edwards + Giveaway


I will honestly admit I was afraid of the fantasy genre. I feared it was too complicated and far-fetche so I kept away. But that all changed thanks to Hailey Edwards, who converted me with A Hint of Frost, the first book in her Araneae Nation series, which I loved! And now I'm taking small steps and discovering more and more of this exciting new genre. Today Hailey stops by to tell you about some of HER best reads of 2012 and for a chance to win one of her books just tell us which books YOU loved in 2012 :-) 


Top Twelve of 2012
by Hailey Edwards

Stella gave me the great idea to make a list of my own to share with you all today. I love books. I love talking books, reading books, gifting books, and yeah. I even like writing them. ;)

This was a stellar year in terms of finding new authors and getting hooked on new series. Since word of mouth is my favorite way to learn about new books, let me tell you all about these.

Here are my top twelve reads of 2012 in no particular order. Some I loved, some I liked, some I took issue with, but they were still the best of what I read this year.


1. Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days) by Susan Ee. I loved this book. Great pacing, characters, and the spin on angels? It wowed me. I love the idea of angels, but I have never read an angel book and come away from it satisfied. This book changed that.



2. Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy) Robin Hobb – First off—my dad loves this series. He’s been after me to read them for years. I finally got the flu and was stuck in bed this past week and decided to give them a try. Such a rich, detailed world and fantastic characters. I love Burrich. He really holds the trilogy together for me.



3. First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson) by Darynda Jones – I put off reading this series because I had heard so many glowing reviews that I thought it could never live up to the hype. It was another of my Flu Reads, and I loved it. The author’s sense of humor meshed with mine, which rarely happens, and the story itself was refreshing. Great characters and a smoking hot hero? Sign me up for book two, please!



4. Poison Princess (Arcana Chronicles) by Kresley Cole – I don’t read a lot of YA. I tried to change that this year, so when Kresley Cole’s new series debuted, I snagged a copy. Let me say this…I didn’t read the blurb. I just saw “Kresley Cole” and bought it. About one-third in my mind was blown. Love, love, love the hero. Jack is my favorite hero of 2012. (I have a thing for Cajun accents. *swoon*)



5. Iced: A Dani O’Malley Novel – I’m a huge fan of Karen Moning’s. I actually credit her books with making me want to write my own. I found her through her Fever books, and I really loved the first two in that series. I feel like Iced is right up there with them. I was hesitant to read it because Dani was the narrator and, well, I didn’t know if I could handle an entire book told in her pov. She’s hyper and annoying at times, but you can see the character growing and evolving, and I dig that kind of thing. Plus this book had a very clear story arc that wrapped in a single book. Love that. I’m not a cliffhanger kind of girl. So even though I put off buying Iced, I’m on board for the rest of the Dani novels.



6. How to Drive a Dragon Crazy (Dragon Kin) G.A. Aiken – Dragon Kin books are a guilty pleasure of mine. They’re goofy and over the top, hot and funny. They’re feel good reads that I snap up on release day every time. This particular book dealt with a couple I have been anxious to see finally get together. As is often the case with highly anticipated couples/books, I felt a little let down in terms of the romance, but I really enjoyed this book overall.



7. Thirteen (Otherworld) by Kelley Armstrong – I loved and hated this book. I am a huge fan of the Otherworld series. Bitten is the best werewolf novel I have ever read. I love these characters and that world, and Thirteen marked the end of that. While the book was fast-paced and the story gripping (this was another long awaited h/h pairing), it hurt to read that final page and realize war had broken out and the characters would be forever fighting a battle we could no longer witness.



8. Tricked (Iron Druid Chronicles) Kevin Hearne – I enjoy this series. What I love about it is the mythology you learn and the narrator’s druid skills. I love his dog too. What I don’t like is how thoughtless Atticus can be. There is a difference between doing great harm to save yourself and doing great harm because you can, or because the result would make your life easier. My mom loves this series, so I keep reading so she has someone to talk to about them. But I am waiting for some character growth to happen.



9. Death Blows: The Bloodhound Files by DD Barant – Angela James recommended this book on Twitter with enough enthusiasm that I picked up a copy. It was perfect. The pacing, the jokes, the action, all perfect. Flawless even. I really enjoyed it. Book two is solid, but book three made me decide this series was not for me. Still, the first book can be read and enjoyed as a standalone, I think.



10. Lothaire (IAD) Kresely Cole – Oh how I loved this book. At first the heroine made me go huh? But she grew on me and is a good match for Lothaire. She humanizes him in a way another heroine couldn’t have done. (Though it did have the side effect of making me say Do pizdy there for a while.) A solid addition to the IAD world and an introduction to KC’s other new series, the Dacians.



11. Heart Secret (Celta) by Robin Owens – The Celta books are favorites of mine. I am sad that the previous generation of heroes and heroines have been left behind in favor of following the younger generation, but honestly, there are so many Celta books now, that’s the path that makes the most sense. For me, I had rather follow up on the lives of the many children introduced in the first half of the series than on characters introduced solely for the purpose of continuing the series, ones that I have no emotional attachment to. The Celta world is so inventive, and I love the rules of their society. I definitely recommend this series to lovers of science fiction romance and fantasy romance.



12. Cold Days (Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher – I haven’t actually read this one yet, but it’s on my Kindle waiting for me. Dresden Files is my favorite urban fantasy series. When you read Harry, you feel how beat down and tired he is. How world weary and worn he is. But he rolls out of bed every day determined to make a difference in the world. He makes bad decisions, he does things even he doesn’t agree with, but it’s never done for a selfish purpose. If Harry does something, it’s to make the world a better place, and that’s why I admire him. His life could be so much easier if he were a different sort of wizard. I like that Harry takes the hard road. Every. Single. Time.

How about you? What book did you read and love this year? Leave me a comment and you’ll be entered to win your choice of title from my backlist in any digital format.


Hailey is a wife turned mother turned writer, who loves her husband, her daughter and alone time with her computer. Whenever southern living strikes her as too ordinary, she can be found squinting at her monitor as she writes her next happily-ever-after or with her nose glued to her Kindle’s screen. Wings and/or cupcakes are usually involved…

You can find out more about Hailey and her books at her website / blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads.


Book #1 in the Araneae Nation series

Hope dangles by a silken thread.

When the head of the Araneidae clan is found poisoned in her nest, her eldest daughter, Lourdes, becomes their clan’s new maven. If her clan is to survive, she has but one choice: she must marry before her nest is seized. All she needs is a warrior fierce enough to protect her city and safeguard her clansmen. Such a male is Rhys the Cold.

Born the youngest son of an impoverished maven, the only things Rhys has to his name are his sword and his mercenary reputation. His clan is starving, but their fondness for the flesh of fellow Araneaeans makes them unwelcome dinner guests. Torn between loyalty to his clan and fascination with his future bride, Rhys’s first taste of Lourdes threatens to melt the cold encasing his heart.

Amid the chaos of battle, Lourdes’s sister disappears and is feared captured. Lourdes and Rhys pursue their enemies into the southlands, where they discover an odd plague ravaging southern clans as it travels north, to Erania. Determined to survive, Lourdes will discover whether she’s worth her silk or if she’s spun the thread by which her clan will hang.

Warning: This book contains one mercenary hero with a biting fetish, one determined heroine who gets nibbled, and an answer to the age-old question, “What does dragon taste like?” Matricide and sibling rivalry are available upon request. The house special is revenge, best served cold.



Book #2 in the Araneae Nation series

The only way to save her is to bind their souls as one.

Born with the ability to communicate with the dead, few things take Mana by surprise. But when a canis lopes into her life, announcing himself as the long-dead father of a childhood friend, she’s shocked. To make matters worse, he has a dire message that she alone can deliver.

Now Mana must face Vaughn, the male who inspired one too many girlish fantasies, and impart the spirit’s message—without acknowledging her source—so the soul can be laid to rest.

With rumors of a burgeoning clan war setting his nerves on edge, the last thing Vaughn needs is for an innocent to get caught in the crosshairs. But the woman he remembers as an awkward girl refuses to leave his side until he’s heard her out. That’s not the only change in her that calls to him. Her kindness soothes his battle-scarred soul—and he craves her in ways a warrior shouldn’t.

When they are both captured, they learn of an even greater threat. The plague devastating the southlands has come to his clan home. And his best—and only—chance to keep his people alive is the female who walks among the dead.

Product Warnings: This book contains one fierce hero with a nose for danger, one stubborn heroine who smells like trouble, and one wolfish spirit who makes most relationships with the in-laws seem downright tame. Fur, fangs and some biting should be expected. But never fear, the hero has a sword, and he knows how to use it.

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Hailey has generously offered winner's choice of any of her backlist titles to a lucky commenter!

To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 January 2013!

Good luck!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Let It Snow Books: Interview with Jennifer Estep + Giveaway


Today's guest pens 3 fantastic series, all of which are some of my favourite ones: she is the creator of the Elemental Assassin series, the Mythos Academy series, and the beloved Bigtime series, she is none other than Jennifer Estep! Jennifer had an extra reason to celebrate this Christmas, since Crimson Frost, the 4th novel in her Mythos Academy series was released on December 24th! Join us as we discuss holiday preparations and favourite Christmas treats, and you could even win a brand new copy of Crimson Frost!

Stella: Hi Jennifer, Merry Christmas! It’s my pleasure welcoming you to the Let It Snow Books event, thanks for coming by! So now that we are in the middle of the holidays, let’s talk about what makes the holidays so special :-)

Jennifer: Hi, Stella. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you too! Thanks for hosting me on your blog. I appreciate it.

Stella: Is there anything special you usually do for the holidays? Any traditions?

Jennifer: Well, it’s a little late to talk about this one now, but I like to put my Christmas tree up on Thanksgiving morning while I’m watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. That way, I can enjoy the tree all through the holiday season. Another tradition that I have is to listen to some holiday music while I’m wrapping presents. I think the music makes it more fun.

Stella: Do you have any favorite holiday themed stories (movies or books)?

Jennifer: I like the old Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special that they show on TV every year. Also, it’s not really holiday-themed, but I also enjoy watching The Sound of Music when it comes on TV around the holidays every year.

Stella: What’s your favourite thing about the holidays?

Jennifer: My favorite thing is spending time with family and friends. I also like finding a gift, especially if it’s a book, that I think someone on my list will love.

Stella: What makes you feel that Christmas time is / the holidays are finally here? (For me it is smelling the mulled wine and roasting chestnuts at the Christmas fairs and seeing the lights being put up around town in November :-D)

Jennifer: For me, it’s eating my mom’s turkey and dressing on Thanksgiving. That makes me feel like it’s really the holiday season again.

Stella: Please complete: Christmas/the holidays wouldn't be the real deal without...

Jennifer: Christmas carols.

Stella: Since this whole event is about the Best Books we read in 2012, could you tell us some of your favorite books you’ve read this year?

Jennifer: Some of the books I’ve enjoyed this year include The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen, Touch of Power by Maria Snyder, and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

Stella: We all love Christmas holidays, but I was wondering if there’s anything about them that you find annoying?

Jennifer: I get a little annoyed when the stores start putting out Christmas stuff before Halloween. LOL. And I don’t like fighting the crowds at the stores during the holiday shopping season.

Stella: Your Mythos Academy and Elemental Assassin characters are all participating in a Secret Santa, who got whom, and what did they give each other?

Jennifer: Good question! In my Elemental Assassin series, I would say that my heroine, Gin Blanco, is getting a fancy, stylish cashmere sweater from her foster brother Finnegan Lane – something that wouldn’t last very long since Gin moonlights as the assassin the Spider. That sweater would be ripped, torn, and ruined in the first fight that Gin got into.

In my Mythos Academy series, I would say that Gwen and her Grandma Frost will continue their tradition of giving each other something snowflake-related as a joke about their last name being Frost. Gwen would probably get Grandma Frost some cookie cutters shaped like snowflakes, while Grandma Frost might get Gwen some glow-in-the-dark snowflakes to decorate her dorm room at Mythos Academy.

Stella: What is Gwen’s favourite holiday dessert?

Jennifer: Well, in the Mythos Academy books, Gwen’s grandma likes to bake, and Gwen has a sweet tooth, so she probably likes just about everything that Grandma Frost makes. LOL. But if Gwen had to pick one, I would say a chocolate cake fresh out of the oven.


Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin adult urban fantasy series, the Mythos Academy series (urban fantasy series for young adults) as well as the Bigtime series, a tongue in cheek funny superhero paranormal romance series.



To learn more about Jennifer and her books find her at




Book #4 in the Mythos Academy series

For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will.

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming.

I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself...

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Jennifer has very generously offered a print copy of Crimson Frost to a lucky commenter!


To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 January 2013!

Good luck!

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