Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Between the Pages - Books I Read in 2013

What an amazing year 2013 was for me in regards to reading! I set a new record for the number of books read within one year (my database total was 270 and my Goodreads Challenge total was 285). I reread several newer books: The Fifty Shades Trilogy (9th reading), Beauty from Pain, and Surrender Your Love. I also bought and read the Kindle versions of a few books I read years ago: Slow Heat in Heaven, Where There's Smoke, It Had to Be You, and Family Blessings. I borrowed 16 titles through our library system and purchased a total of 379 books—mostly Kindle, but also audiobooks and a few signed paperbacks. Only 7 of the books were not categorized as any kind of romance, and all of those were mysteries.

I meticulously reviewed my database and Goodreads shelves in selecting the favorites listed below. I arbitrarily decided upon the categories but was careful in considering which books deserved each designation.

I'm all about focusing on the positive when it comes to books, but in 2013 I also ended up adding more books (8) to my did-not-finish shelf than in any previous year. Although, I hope to return to two of the books at some point.

The books I've chosen as my favorites are the ones that evoked the most emotions ("feels") in me. Those whose characters I cared about the most and whose stories I didn't want to end. *dreamy sigh*

2013 was also the year I attended my first author signing. I had hoped to go to Book Bash in Orlando last June but that wasn't possible. Instead, I was able to attend the Richmond Author Event, which was ideal in location and size for this first-timer. I can't adequately express how joyful I felt being there amongst so many of "my" authors and the other passionate readers. My fingers are crossed that the event organizers plan another event for Richmond in 2014.

Richmond Author Event: Jennifer L. Armentrout and Me
Jennifer L. Armentrout and Me
The photos I took at the event plus all the autographs I received are here:
I will be welcoming 2014 with over 100 books and audiobooks on my to-be-read shelf. Not only am I anxious to read the upcoming books I listed below, but I'm also anticipating the unexpected gems that end up on my reading device. I look forward to being in the proper mood to read some of the literature, general fiction, and non-fiction Kindle books I already have, and I very much hope to finally get that Kindle Paperwhite I've been wanting for so long. I've read nearly 700 books on my tiny iPod touch and am more than ready to graduate to a larger eReader.

I'd love to know what you think, and I wish you very enjoyable reading in 2014! 

My Favorites Published in 2013
(alphabetical by author)

Single Titles

True Love Story by Willow Aster (reviewed here)
Forever, Jack by Natasha Boyd (reviewed here)
Beauty from Pain (Beauty #1) by Georgia Cates (reviewed here)
Tangled (Tangled #1) by Emma Chase (reviewed here)
Striking Distance (I-Team #6) by Pamela Clare
Wicked Beat (Sinners on Tour #4) by Olivia Cunning
Try (Temptation #1) by Ella Frank
This Girl (Slammed #3) by Colleen Hoover
Beautiful Stranger (The Beautiful Series #2) by Christina Lauren
Beautiful Player (The Beautiful Series #3) by Christina Lauren
Eyes Wide Open (The Blackstone Affair #4) by Raine Miller
Nocturne by Andrea Randall and Charles Sheehan-Miles
Lick (Stage Dive #1) by Kylie Scott (reviewed here)

Series Titles

Driven Trilogy - Driven by K. Bromberg
His Wicked Games Series - His Wicked Games by Ember Casey (reviewed here)
The Real Series - Real by Katy Evans
The Stark Trilogy - Release Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me by J. Kenner (reviewed here, here, and here)
Inside Out Series - Being Me and Revealing Us by Lisa Renee Jones
The Secret Life of Amy Bensen - Escaping Reality and Infinite Possibilities by Lisa Renee Jones
Fixed Series -
Fixed on You) by Laurelin Paige
With Me in Seattle Series - Play With Me, Rock With Me, and Safe With Me by Kristen Proby
The Fighting Series - Fighting for Flight and Fighting to Forgive by J.B. Salsbury

Favorites by Category

Favorite Mainstream Romance - Two of a Kind (Fool's Gold #11) by Susan Mallery, (runner up) Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
Favorite Contemporary Romance - Forever, Jack by Natasha Boyd (reviewed here)
Favorite Romantic Suspense - Striking Distance by Pamela Clare, (runner up) Deadline by Sandra Brown
Favorite Inspirational Romance - Losing Hope (Hopeless #2) by Colleen Hoover
Favorite Paranormal Romance - Blood and Sand (Elemental World #2) by Elizabeth Hunter
Favorite New Adult Romance - Wait for You by J. Lynn (reviewed here), (runner up) One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths #2) by K.A. Tucker (reviewed here)
Favorite Romantic Novella - (tie) First Strike by Pamela Clare and Light Me Up by Cherrie Lynn
Favorite Romantic Series - The Stark Trilogy (Release Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me) by J. Kenner
Favorite Audiobook - Eyes Wide Open (The Blackstone Affair #3) by Raine Miller and narrated by Shane East with Grace Grant, (runner up) Beautiful Stranger (The Beautiful Series #2) by Christina Lauren and narrated by Jonathan R. Cole and Grace Grant
Favorite Mystery - Death Angel (Alexandra Cooper #15) by Linda Fairstein (reviewed here)
Favorite Romantic Hero - Jack Henry McLachlan (The Beauty Series by Georgia Cates)
Favorite Romantic Heroine - Laurelyn Prescott (The Beauty Series by Georgia Cates)
Favorite Romantic Couple - Damien Stark and Nikki Fairchild (The Stark Trilogy by J. Kenner)
Favorite Alpha Male - Remington Tate (The Real Series) (Remy reviewed here) by Katy Evans
Favorite Debut Author - Willow Aster for True Love Story, (runner up) Leah Raeder for Unteachable

Most Pleasant Surprise - Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken
Most Luscious Romance - No More Wasted Time by Beverly Preston (reviewed here)
Most Erotic Romance - Edible (Exquisite #3) by Ella Frank, (runner up) This Man Confessed (This Man #3) by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Most Outside My Comfort Zone - Never Have I Ever by August Clearwing
Most Heartrending - Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (I'm cheating by one day with this one which was published on December 31, 2012!)
Most Humorous - Tangled by Emma Chase
Most Tormented Hero - Ethan Blackstone from Eyes Wide Open by Raine Miller
Most "Kick-Ass" Heroine - Brooke Dumas from The Real Series by Katy Evans
Most Guilty Pleasure (Love them through all their darkness!) - The Consequences Series (Consequences, Truth, and Convicted by Aleatha Romig, (runner up) The Artists Trilogy (On Every Street, Sins & Needles, Shooting Scars, and Bold Tricks by Karina Halle
Most Striking Cover - Eversea by Natasha Boyd

Most Anticipated Books of 2014

Crashed (Driven #3) by K. Bromberg
Beauty from Love (Beauty #3) by Georgia Cates
Twisted (Tangled #2) and Tamed (Tangled #3) by Emma Chase
Sinners at the Altar (Sinners on Tour #6) and Sinners in Paradise (Sinners on Tour #7) by Olivia Cunning
Captivated by You (Crossfire #4) by Sylvia Day
Fatal Jeopardy (Fatal #7) by Marie Force
Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander #8) by Diana Gabaldon
Maybe Someday and Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
No In Between (Inside Out #4) by Lisa Renee Jones
Hard As You Can (Hard Ink #2) by Laura Kaye
Be with Me (Wait for You #2) by J. Lynn
Rare and Precious Things (The Blackstone Affair #4) by Raine Miller
Forever with You (Fixed #3) by Laurelin Paige
The Raven (expected publication date 02/03/2015) by Sylvain Reynard
Play (Stage Dive #2) and Lead (Stage Dive #3) by Kylie Scott
Breakable by Tammara Webber

 Individual First Time Reads of 2013

(The (a) following a book's title designates an audiobook.
A rating of zero denotes a book that defies a rating.
Table best viewed in landscape mode on mobile devices.)
Books I Read in 2013

Author Title Publication Year Reading Date My Rating
Adams, Dee J. Living Dangerously 2013 5/24/2013 8
Adler, Unknown; Holt, Unknown Champagne Showers 2012 6/22/2013 6
Adler, Unknown; Holt, Unknown Shattered 2013 6/23/2013 8
Adler, Unknown; Holt, Unknown Surrendered 2013 6/23/2013 6
Alcott, Kate The Dressmaker 2012 3/20/2013 8
Allred , Katherine The Sweet Gum Tree 2005 5/25/2013 10
Amelie, Fisher Vain 2012 4/18/2013 10
Amelie, Fisher Greed 2013 12/24/2013 6
Andre, Bella One Perfect Night 2013 7/28/2013 8
Anthony, Raine Phoenix 2013 10/24/2013 8
Ashley, Katie Music of the Heart 2013 3/30/2013 6
Ashley, Kristen Own the Wind 2013 4/2/2013 0
Ashley, Kristen Fire Inside 2013 6/7/2013 0
Ashley, Kristen Raid 2013 2/28/2013 0
Aster, Willow In the Fields 2013 9/17/2013 10
Aster, Willow True Love Story 2013 3/4/2013 10
Banks, Maya Rush 2013 5/7/2013 6
Banks, Maya Fever 2013 5/17/2013 8
Banks, Maya Burn 2013 9/23/2013 8
Bowen, Rhys The Face in the Mirror 2013 3/9/2013 8
Bowen, Rhys The Family Way 2013 4/10/2013 8
Boyd, Natasha Eversea 2013 6/11/2013 10
Boyd, Natasha Forever, Jack 2013 11/30/2013 10
Bromberg, K. Driven 2013 12/26/2013 8
Bromberg, K. Fueled 2013 12/29/2013 8
Brown, Sandra Deadline 2013 10/1/2013 10
Brown, Sandra Slow Heat in Heaven 2013 3/19/2013 10
Brown, Sandra Slow Heat in Heaven (a) 2008 8/26/2013 8
Brown, Sandra Where There's Smoke 2013 5/25/2013 10
Cameron, Chelsea M. Deeper We Fall 2013 2/5/2013 8
Cameron, Chelsea M. Faster We Burn 2013 4/21/2013 8
Cameron, Chelsea M. Sweet Surrendering 2013 11/15/2013 8
Carlino, Renee Sweet Thing 2013 7/25/2013 8
Carmack, Cora Losing It 2012 3/17/2013 8
Carmack, Cora Keeping Her 2013 10/26/2013 8
Carmack, Cora Faking It 2013 6/16/2013 8
Carmack, Cora Finding It 2013 11/10/2013 8
Carr, Robyn A Summer in Sonoma 2010 1/24/2013 8
Carr, Robyn The Wanderer 2013 3/27/2013 8
Carr, Robyn The Newcomer 2013 7/7/2013 8
Carr, Robyn The Hero 2013 9/3/2013 4
Casey, Elle Shine Not Burn 2013 7/12/2013 6
Casey, Ember His Wicked Games 2013 8/28/2013 10
Casey, Ember Truth or Dare 2013 8/29/2013 10
Casey, Ember Sweet Victory 2013 11/21/2013 8
Cates, Georgia Beauty from Pain 2013 3/12/2013 10
Cates, Georgia Beauty from Surrender 2013 5/30/2013 10
Chase, Emma Tangled 2013 5/27/2013 10
Chase, Emma Holy Frigging Matrimony 2013 12/5/2013 8
Clare, Pamela Extreme Exposure (a) 2012 6/18/2013 8
Clare, Pamela Hard Evidence (a) 2012 6/5/2013 8
Clare, Pamela Unlawful Contact (a) 2012 7/29/2013 8
Clare, Pamela Naked Edge (a) 2012 8/19/2013 8
Clare, Pamela Breaking Point (a) 2012 8/31/2013 8
Clare, Pamela Skin Deep (a) 2013 10/6/2013 8
Clare, Pamela First Strike 2013 10/20/2013 10
Clare, Pamela Striking Distance 2013 11/6/2013 10
Clare, Pamela Ride the Fire 2013 2/11/2013 10
Clare, Pamela Upon A Winter's Night 2013 12/20/2013 8
Clayton, Alice The Unidentified Redhead 2010 5/9/2013 8
Clearwing, August Never Have I Ever 2013 4/8/2013 10
Cole, Courtney If You Stay 2013 4/17/2013 10
Cole, Courtney If You Leave 2013 8/9/2013 8
Cunning, Olivia Share Me 2013 4/20/2013 6
Cunning, Olivia Tempt Me 2012 1/9/2013 4
Cunning, Olivia Take Me 2012 1/16/2013 8
Cunning, Olivia Touch Me 2013 4/19/2013 10
Cunning, Olivia Tie Me 2013 6/21/2013 10
Cunning, Olivia Tell Me 2013 10/3/2013 8
Cunning, Olivia Rock Hard 2011 1/1/2013 8
Cunning, Olivia Hot Ticket 2013 2/8/2013 8
Cunning, Olivia Wicked Beat 2013 8/22/2013 10
Cunning, Olivia Double Time 2012 9/18/2013 8
Darhower, J.M. Sempre (Forever) 2012 2/14/2013 10
Dawes, Casey California Sunset 2012 1/28/2013 8
Dawes, Casey California Wine 2012 6/20/2013 8
Dawes, Casey California Homecoming 2013 7/5/2013 8
Dawn, Nyrae Four Summers 2013 6/12/2013 8
Dawn, Nyrae Measuring Up 2012 2/18/2013 8
Dawn, Nyrae Charade 2012 1/27/2013 8
Dawn, Nyrae Facade 2013 7/26/2013 8
Day, Sylvia Afterburn 2013 11/2/2013 8
Day, Sylvia Bared to You (a) 2012 10/30/2013 10
Day, Sylvia Entwined with You 2013 6/4/2013 10
Donovan, Rebecca Out of Breath 2013 7/15/2013 8
Evanovich, Janet Notorious Nineteen 2012 3/26/2013 8
Evans, Katy Real (a) 2013 10/7/2013 8
Evans, Katy Real 2013 4/30/2013 10
Evans, Katy Mine 2013 11/7/2013 10
Evans, Katy Remy (a) 2013 12/19/2013 8
Evans, Katy Remy 2013 11/26/2013 10
Fairstein, Linda Death Angel 2013 8/16/2013 10
Force, Marie Fatal Mistake 2013 6/19/2013 10
Force, Marie Waiting for Love 2013 2/20/2013 8
Force, Marie Time for Love 2013 8/2/2013 8
Force, Marie Meant for Love 2013 12/22/2013 10
Frank, Ella Blind Obsession 2013 4/15/2013 10
Frank, Ella Exquisite 2012 2/10/2013 10
Frank, Ella Entice 2013 2/12/2013 10
Frank, Ella Edible 2013 7/4/2013 10
Frank, Ella Try 2013 11/16/2013 10
Dean, Alicia Lady in the Mist 2012 3/28/2013 6
Gabaldon, Diana A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows 2012 1/5/2013 6
Garvis Graves, Tracey On the Island 2012 1/2/2013 10
Garvis Graves, Tracey Uncharted 2013 7/7/2013 10
Glines, Abbi Twisted Perfection 2013 4/22/2013 6
Glines, Abbi Never Too Far 2013 3/1/2013 8
Glines, Abbi Forever Too Far 2013 7/21/2013 8
Godwin, Pam Beneath the Burn 2013 10/6/2013 8
Halle, Karina On Every Street 2013 4/27/2013 8
Halle, Karina Sins & Needles 2013 5/2/2013 8
Halle, Karina Shooting Scars 2013 10/19/2013 10
Halle, Karina Bold Tricks 2013 10/20/2013 8
Hawkes, Cora Rocked Under 2012 2/26/2013 8
Hebert, Cambria Torch 2013 10/26/2013 6
Higgins, Kristan The Best Man 2013 3/23/2013 8
Higgins, Kristan Fools Rush In 2011 5/30/2013 6
Hill, Joey W. Natural Law 2004 10/13/2013 10
Hobman, Lisa J. Bridge Over the Atlantic 2013 8/11/2013 8
Hoover, Colleen Losing Hope 2013 7/9/2013 10
Hoover, Colleen Finding Cinderella 2013 10/18/2013 10
Hoover, Colleen This Girl 2013 5/16/2013 10
Hornsby, Kim Necessary Detour 2012 2/22/2013 6
Howard, Linda Shadow Woman 2012 3/11/2013 6
Hunter, Elizabeth Long Ride Home 2013 10/13/2013 10
Hunter, Elizabeth Shifting Dreams 2013 3/17/2013 8
Hunter, Elizabeth Building From Ashes 2012 10/17/2013 8
Hunter, Elizabeth Waterlocked 2013 6/17/2013 6
Hunter, Elizabeth Blood and Sand 2013 6/1/2013 10
Hunter, Elizabeth The Genius and the Muse 2012 1/1/2013 8
Hunter, Elizabeth The Scribe 2013 11/1/2013 10
James, Nicole Outlaw 2013 4/19/2013 8
Jones, Lisa Renee Escaping Reality 2013 11/11/2013 10
Jones, Lisa Renee Infinite Possibilities 2013 11/12/2013 10
Jones, Lisa Renee Rebecca's Lost Journals, Volume 1: The Seduction 2013 6/8/2013 6
Jones, Lisa Renee Rebecca's Lost Journals, Volume 2: The Contract 2013 6/8/2013 6
Jones, Lisa Renee Rebecca's Lost Journals, Volume 3: His Submissive 2013 6/8/2013 6
Jones, Lisa Renee Rebecca's Lost Journals, Volume 4: My Master 2013 6/8/2013 6
Jones, Lisa Renee Being Me 2013 6/13/2013 10
Jones, Lisa Renee The Master Undone 2013 8/12/2013 10
Jones, Lisa Renee Revealing Us 2013 9/11/2013 10
Jordan, Skye Reckless 2013 9/9/2013 10
Jordan, Skye Rebel 2013 12/31/2013 8
Child, Maureen A Pocketful of Paradise 2012 3/8/2013 6
Kaye, Laura Hard As It Gets 2013 12/5/2013 10
Kaye, Laura Hearts in Darkness 2011 2/3/2013 10
Kenner, J. Release Me 2013 1/22/2013 10
Kenner, J. Claim Me 2013 4/23/2013 10
Kenner, J. Complete Me 2013 7/31/2013 10
Kenner, J. Take Me 2013 12/16/2013 10
Kent, Claire Escorted 2012 2/25/2013 8
Landay, William Defending Jacob 2012 1/10/2013 8
Lauren, Christina Beautiful Bastard 2013 5/14/2013 6
Lauren, Christina Beautiful Bitch 2013 8/12/2013 8
Lauren, Christina Beautiful Stranger 2013 8/6/2013 10
Lauren, Christina Beautiful Stranger 2013 5/22/2013 10
Lauren, Christina Beautiful Bombshell (a) 2013 10/4/2013 8
Lauren, Christina Beautiful Bombshell 2013 9/7/2013 8
Lauren, Christina Beautiful Player 2013 11/22/2013 10
Lauren, Christina Beautiful Beginning 2013 11/24/2013 8
Leighton, M. Up to Me 2013 1/13/2013 8
Leighton, M. Everything for Us 2013 9/16/2013 8
Leighton, M. All the Pretty Lies 2013 11/19/2013 8
Lilley, R.K. In Flight 2012 2/6/2013 6
Lilley, R.K. Mile High 2012 2/16/2013 4
Lilley, R.K. Grounded 2013 2/17/2013 8
Lippman, Laura Charm City 2009 7/1/2013 6
Lynn, Cherrie Light Me Up 2013 4/5/2013 10
Lynn, Cherrie Breathe Me In 2013 6/14/2013 8
Lynn, Cherrie Take Me On 2013 12/27/2013 8
Lynn, J. Frigid 2013 7/20/2013 8
Lynn, J. Wait for You 2013 4/7/2013 10
Lynn, J. Trust in Me 2013 12/18/2013 8
Mac, J.L. Wreck Me 2013 6/2/2013 6
Mac, J.L. Restore Me 2013 6/2/2013 8
Mallery, Susan Just One Kiss 2013 6/8/2013 8
Mallery, Susan Two of a Kind 2013 7/11/2013 10
Mallery, Susan Three Little Words 2013 8/3/2013 10
Mallery, Susan Christmas on 4th Street 2013 10/13/2013 8
Malpas, Jodi Ellen Beneath This Man 2013 1/18/2013 10
Malpas, Jodi Ellen This Man Confessed 2013 7/4/2013 10
Malpas, Jodi Ellen This Man Trilogy Keepsake Book 2013 8/15/2013 10
Marton, Dana Deathscape 2012 1/24/2013 6
Mathewson, R.L. Perfection 2011 1/3/2013 6
Maxwell, Gina L. Rules of Entanglement 2013 3/31/2013 10
McGarry, Katie Pushing the Limits 2012 2/24/2013 8
McGuire, Jamie Walking Disaster 2013 4/3/2013 8
McHugh, Gail Collide 2013 2/2/2013 6
McKenna, Cara After Hours 2013 5/6/2013 10
McKenna, Cara Willing Victim 2010 8/3/2013 8
McLaughlin, Heidi Forever My Girl 2012 1/15/2013 6
Millay, Katja The Sea of Tranquility 2012 5/12/2013 10
Miller, Linda Lael Big Sky Country 2012 6/20/2013 6
Miller, Linda Lael Big Sky Mountain 2012 6/26/2013 6
Miller, Linda Lael Big Sky River 2013 7/2/2013 6
Miller, Linda Lael Big Sky Summer 2013 8/27/2013 6
Miller, Raine Naked (a) 2013 8/8/2013 10
Miller, Raine All In (a) 2013 8/12/2013 10
Miller, Raine Eyes Wide Open (a) 2013 8/13/2013 10
Miller, Raine Eyes Wide Open 2013 5/14/2013 10
Miller, Raine Cherry Girl 2013 12/2/2013 8
Montes, E.L. Disastrous 2012 1/26/2013 6
Montes, E.L. Cautious 2013 10/9/2013 8
Moyes, Jojo Me Before You 2012 5/26/2013 10
Mummert, Teresa The Note 2013 4/5/2013 6
Erickson, Karen One Week Girlfriend 2013 2/18/2013 8
Erickson, Karen Second Chance Boyfriend 2013 4/9/2013 8
Paige, Laurelin Fixed on You 2013 12/18/2013 8
Paige, Laurelin Found in You 2013 12/18/2013 8
Park, Jessica Flat-Out Love 2012 1/11/2013 8
Park, Jessica Flat-Out Matt 2013 6/29/2013 4
Pettersen, Bev Color My Horse 2011 9/13/2013 6
Phillips, Carly Serendipity 2011 4/4/2013 8
Phillips, Carly Kismet 2011 4/11/2013 6
Phillips, Carly Fated 2012 4/11/2013 6
Phillips, Carly Destiny 2012 4/12/2013 8
Phillips, Carly Karma 2012 4/15/2013 8
Phillips, Susan Elizabeth It Had to Be You 2009 1/19/2013 10
Pierce, M. Night Owl 2013 10/29/2013 6
Preston, Beverly No More Wasted Time 2012 8/5/2013 10
Preston, Beverly Shayla's Story 2013 8/6/2013 8
Proby, Kristen Under the Mistletoe With Me 2012 1/9/2013 10
Proby, Kristen Fight With Me 2012 1/4/2013 10
Proby, Kristen Play With Me 2013 3/2/2013 10
Proby, Kristen Rock With Me 2013 5/4/2013 10
Proby, Kristen Safe With Me 2013 9/24/2013 10
Raeder, Leah Unteachable 2013 9/21/2013 10
Redmerski, J.A. The Edge of Always 2013 11/8/2013 8
Reed, J.C. Surrender Your Love 2013 3/21/2013 8
Reed, J.C. Conquer Your Love 2013 10/23/2013 8
Reed, J.C. Treasure Your Love 2013 10/23/2013 8
Reichs, Kathy Bones in Her Pocket 2013 8/20/2013 10
Reichs, Kathy Bones of the Lost 2013 9/6/2013 8
Reyes, Elizabeth Noah 2012 1/31/2013 6
Roberts, Nora Chasing Fire (a) 2011 10/1/2013 8
Roberts, Nora Whiskey Beach 2013 4/17/2013 10
Romig, Aleatha Consequences 2011 9/28/2013 6
Romig, Aleatha Truth 2012 9/30/2013 6
Romig, Aleatha Convicted 2013 10/11/2013 6
Ryan, Kendall Hard to Love 2013 1/14/2013 8
Ryan, Kendall Resisting Her 2013 6/9/2013 8
Salsbury, J.B. Fighting for Flight 2013 3/9/2013 10
Salsbury, J.B. Fighting to Forgive 2013 11/20/2013 8
Scott, Kylie Lick 2013 7/17/2013 10
Seiters, Nadene Trouble 2013 8/3/2013 6
Sheehan, Madeline UnBeautifully 2013 5/21/2013 8
Sheehan-Miles, Charles A Song for Julia 2012 12/16/2013 8
Sheehan-Miles, Charles; Randall, Andrea Nocturne 2013 10/25/2013 10
Snow, Emily All Over You 2012 1/3/2013 8
Spencer, LaVyrle Family Blessings 1995 12/8/2013 10
Stahl, Shey Waiting for You 2013 3/14/2013 4
Stewart, Barbara Rock and Roll Never Forgets 2013 9/22/2013 8
Stunich, C.M. Losing Me, Finding You 2013 5/1/2013 6
Sykes, Julia Monster 2013 4/13/2013 8
Sykes, Julia Traitor 2013 4/13/2013 8
Sykes, Julia Avenger 2013 5/5/2013 8
Taylor , J.S. Close Up and Personal 2013 3/24/2013 8
Taylor , J.S. The Berkeley Method 2013 3/25/2013 8
Taylor , J.S. The Director's Cut 2013 5/19/2013 6
Taylor , J.S. The Final Act 2013 8/24/2013 8
Tucker, K.A. Ten Tiny Breaths 2012 1/20/2013 8
Tucker, K.A. One Tiny Lie 2013 7/23/2013 10
Tucker, K.A. Four Seconds to Lose 2013 11/9/2013 8
Van Dyken, Rachel Ruin 2011 8/30/2013 10
Ward, J.R. Lover Unbound 2007 1/17/2013 7
Webber, Tammara Here Without You 2013 10/27/2013 10
Webber, Tammara Easy (a) 2012 10/16/2013 10
Wilder, Jasinda Falling Into You 2013 5/28/2013 6
Wylde, Joanna Reaper's Property 2013 3/30/2013 10
Young, Samantha Until Fountain Bridge 2013 5/27/2013 6

Exported from BookCollector 12/30/2013 5:10:15 PM

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Book Review: Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye

Title: Hard As It Gets
Series: Hard Ink #1
Author: Laura Kaye
Rating: 5 out of 5
Published: 11/26/2013
Publisher: Avon
Genre(s): Romantic Suspense


Tall, dark, and lethal...

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey's tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome--pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He's left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander's daughter. Loyalty won't let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it, too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn't expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.

Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge...


Hard As It Gets is the first in a projected new series of four books by Laura Kaye. It is a 373 page romantic (erotic) suspense set in Baltimore, Maryland. The hero is Nick Rixey, an ex-soldier in Army Special Forces driven to take an Other Than Honorable discharge, and who is now co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo. The heroine is a nurse, Becca Merritt, whose missing brother left her a note to go find Nick. She was also the daughter of Nick's late commanding officer, a CO who Nick and the other surviving members of his team knew to be at fault for the lethal ambush that changed the course of their lives. The secondary characters are Jeremy Rixey, Nick's younger brother and business partner, Jess, Nick and Jeremy's employee, Miguel Olivero, a private investigator friend of Nick's, and Nick's ASF buddies, Beckett Murda, Edward Cantrell, Shane McCallan, and Derek DiMarzio. The main plot covers the course of action taken by Nick, Becca, and his team to find and rescue Becca's brother, Charlie. The goal of the story is achieved, and this installment concludes in a positive way.


Hard As It Gets is the fourth book I've read by Laura Kaye; I enjoyed the preceding three (Her Forbidden Hero, One Night with a Hero, and Hearts in Darkness) very much! Couple that with this book being categorized as romantic suspense, my favorite genre, I'd say the odds were in my favor to find it amazing!

First, I'd like to mention how much I liked and admired the hero, heroine, and all the secondary characters in this novel. It was a pleasure getting to know them, and in a fancifully immersed reader kinda way, I felt honored to spend time with them. Beginning with the heroine, Becca Merritt, I'd say she is an ideally written female protagonist of this genre: capable, intelligent, and confidently sexy. Further, she shows remarkable control during several dangerous situations; but once the immediate danger is over, she allows herself to be comforted by the hero.

For example, here is what Nick thinks of Becca's self-control:
She’d called for help. Armed and defended herself. And held it together when help arrived. Smart f**king girl.
And an example of how she accepts Nick's tenderness:
“I’m not crying,” she said despite the wetness plain on her face. She shook her aching head, then pressed her cheek into his hand. “I’m not.”
See, perfect romantic suspense heroine!

She's a nurse so she can patch up the heroes when they're injured. She also allows herself to overreact during highly emotional moments but feels bad about it afterward.
“I just wanna kill someone right now. Which is . .  . a really f**king bad thing for a nurse to want to do.”
She has an unassuming sense of humor that often surfaces when she's nervous.
Jess: “Because, unlike you, I had sex last night and the guy ripped my thong off. Are you satisfied?”
Jeremy’s expression froze.
“Probably not as well as you are,” Becca said.
She's not afraid to tell the hero what she wants, but I didn't find her behavior smutty.
“I’m horny. And you’re hot as hell. And we’re clearly trying to be good. Although, I’m not sure why, exactly. And, anyway, I don’t want you to move. Because I like the feel of you. And I—”
I repeat. I really liked her. Now, on to Nicholas, excuse me, Nick—he hates to be called Nicholas: six foot three inches, chocolate brown hair, light green eyes, very muscular, has tattoos, does tattoos, drives a Dodge Challenger, and then there are all the wonderful character traits. Oh my, he is a hero in every (romantic) sense of the word. *fanning myself* He may be weary and jaded, but he is not entirely closed off. He has these words tattooed on his side, and they speak volumes toward his character:


Living life by his strong moral code doesn't mean Nick won't be respectful when he talks dirty to Becca. :)
“Because I want to make you hold onto that bag while I bury myself in you so hard and so deep you don’t know your own name. But then tomorrow, in the light of day, when your brother’s still missing and we’re still trying to figure out the mystery of who broke into your house, getting f***ed by a stranger in a warehouse will be just one more thing you have to deal with. And I won’t do that to you.”
When Nick's buddies show up to help find Becca's brother, Charlie, well, all that romantic hero goodness gets multiplied by four: Beck, Easy, Shane, and Marz are gallant and gorgeous! (Just a thought that has me a tad bit concerned: Laura Kaye says there will be a total of four books in The Hard Ink Series, yet there are five handsome heroes. :\ )

I think Ms. Kaye does an outstanding job keeping the storyline suspenseful. There are clues to decipher and several edge-of-your-seat violent confrontations. In between those immediately dangerous times and the looming concern for Charlie's well being, there are several lighthearted moments—some much-needed levity, like this:
 “You seriously do ink?” Shane asked, hiking Becca’s medic kit on his shoulder.

Rixey braced. Oh, goody, something else for him to ride me about. “Yeah, I seriously do. Occasionally.” He shrugged.

“You any good?”

“Bare some skin and find out.”

Shane grinned, his expression making it clear he enjoyed harassing Nick. “If you wanna get me out of my clothes, lovah boy, you gotta wine and dine me first.”

What I Liked: Jeremy's naughty novelty shirts, Jess's ribald sense of humor, the page-turning chapter conclusions, the sharp writing and editing, and the delightfully fresh "soldier speak" the guys used to communicate with each other.

What I Didn't Like: No name for the puppy yet, really?! ;)

I Would Recommend it to mature readers who appreciate a suspenseful and erotic tale featuring military heroes with tattoos. Although it contains some explicit language and some sizzling scenes between the hero and heroine, I felt it was smexy (smart and sexy) rather than smutty.

The Next Installment: Hard As You Can has a release date of February 25, 2014, and will feature Shane McCallan as the hero.


Frank Merritt had stolen his career, his reputation, six of his best friends, and his f**king ability to sit or stand for any length of time without wanting to whimper like a little girl. ~ Nick
 I can’t believe I’m doing this. It was like an episode of Nurses Gone Wild. If such a show existed. Which it probably did. ~ Becca


“Damn,” Jess said, plopping onto one of the couches. “I think I should’ve joined the Army. Cause I would ride that convoy all day long.” Her face squinched up. “Not Nick, I mean. Just, you know, the other three.” ~ Jess

Autograph from the Richmond Author Event 12/14/2013!