Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Featured Author, Features, New Adult, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, RomCom, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, This and That

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020! (The Year in Review)

A new Year and a new Decade has arrived!! It hardly seems possible that so much time has passed.

When I look back at the last ten years and think about the significant changes that have happened there is a lot that has occured and also a lot that has stayed the same. I’ve watched my children blossom from little girls into young women, but they are still amazing, beautiful girls with so much ahead of them in life and I can’t wait to see what amazing things they do with their futures. We’ve moved homes and jobs, we’ve lost family members and pets, but through every change we’ve also grown and adapted to who we are or who we will become.

For me, personally, when life throws me something I don’t enjoy dealing with I jump into a fictional world so I don’t have to deal with reality. What better way to escape the harshness of life than to see that someone else’s life is either more screwed up than yours or dream that you were living somewhere else instead of where you currently were or whatever fantasy you wish to escape to. Reading does that in the best way possible.

If you’d like to visit any of the places I escaped to in the past year feel free to read all the reviews for books released in 2019 Reviews

Please check out all the books released this past year listed under New Releases

Let’s get to why you’ve really checked out this page…the best books of 2019!!

The Best Of 2019

There were a lot of strong contenders for each category this past year, but that is never a terrible thing because that means I read a lot of really great books!! What makes it difficult is then narrowing all of those great books into just picking one favorite, so then yes, it is hard. Every author always deserves a “job well done”, their job is not easy. That job well done also goes out to everyone working in the book industry because a book is not raised alone, it takes a village to make it successful (yes, I’m using the child analogy. Just ask any author – their book is very much like birthing and raising a child).  But, enough with my blabbering….

*Every category is totally and completely picked by Kay Daniels Romance and all opinions are my own*

1. The Best Romance Novel of 2019:
    The Kiss Thiefby L.J. Shen

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Every year there seems to be a different, but almost similar WOW factor that jumps out among the books I’ve read.  This year the question that kept circling in my mind for best overall book was; What book did I remember (plot, characters, trope, etc…) and what author did I then continue to seek out as the year continued? 

Right out of the gate for 2019, I read The Kiss Thief by L. J. Shen. She was a new author for me this year (which also happened to be a personal goal I’d set – see Monthly Author Feature – L.J. Shen) and this also opened up my reading world to a new trope, the antihero. L.J. Shen writes the best broken men who seem so far gone to darkness, but Shen has this beautiful skill to write the strong women to bring these seemingly unredeemable men back from damnation. While these men most often look at themselves as the villian, they become the hero in the eyes of their love. Shen’s plots are emotional and angsty and drag you in with the wonder if the villain really will give up the darkness that resides inside. Will love really win or the darkness that has ruled in their heart for too long? Her books are always page turners and keep me up late into the night reading.

L.J. Shen writes a lot of New Adult angst, especially in a series, but if you haven’t read any of books yet or haven’t read this standalone novel, I highly suggest reading The Kiss Thief!! 

Here is the synopsis:

The Kiss Thief is like reading a modern day Romeo and Juliet, but so much better! It was hard to pinpoint an exact category because it contains aspects of New Adult Romance, Mobster Romance, Twisted Fairytale Romance, Contemporary Romance, Shakespeare, and then with some Mythology (which I loved) thrown in. I loved each small dash of flavor and it made for an excellent first read for 2019!!

A story of a Nemesis and a Villain with no chance at a happy ending. Where the prince doesn’t save the princess. He tortures her. And the beauty doesn’t sleep. She’s stuck. In a nightmare.”

Both Wolfe and Francesca are stubborn creatures – a story where pain and torment surface again and again, much at each others hands. There are so many pieces to move into play before either of them even consider the chance of liking one another much less considering a future where a mobster’s daughter and a senator can reside in peace vs. in pieces.

“Falling in love was so tragic.”

Francesca Rossi knows she lives in a locked cage, but is fine with the bars. What may seem weird to some, she doesn’t look at her life as anything but the way it should be. A long line of traditions that she has now been waiting for as she is finally ready for her life to begin. Within her family a Rossi bride has always received a box that contained three notes that would hold a piece of her destiny within them. The one time Francesca went against what the tradition said, she opened the box before her wedding day and read the first note. Upon discovering that she would know her true love when she received her first kiss Francesca took matters into her own hands and decided to seek out her childhood crush, knowing he had to be her true love. When the kiss happened, it was not her first love that Francesca kissed, but instead a wolf in sheeps clothing who devoured her. The wolf stole more than just a kiss as his plans were to stop at nothing until her entire world crumbled around her. Senator Wolfe Keaton was The Kiss Thief and Francesca was about to find out that she was caught in a wicked game. One that she knew nothing about, but would pay the ultimate price for.

“You stole my first kiss. Then my happiness. And finally, my life.”

Wolfe Keaton had wanted only one thing for so long – revenge. Little else mattered aside from bringing Arthur Rossi down to his knees. Taking his only daughter away from him, under the guise of outdated traditions was simply the cherry on top of his long awaited game plan. The fact that Francesca was a thing of beauty made his job just that much sweeter. Given his job with the state she would serve him well as a trinket tucked upon his arm at social gatherings, she was a rare treasure, one he hadn’t been counting on when he began his plan thirteen years ago.  Wolfe certainly didn’t expect to find his new fiancée intelligent and decent, a polar opposite from the man whose blood ran through her veins. His life would be so much easier if she was exactly like the man he was trying to take down, piece by piece. He’d do well to remember that she was just a pawn in his game and not a queen to sit by his side. He had no need for a happy ending with the woman he was soon to call his bride.

“He was hell wrapped in a heavenly rugged mask. He was fire. Gorgeous to eye, lethal to the touch.”

L.J. Shen knows how to write a highly charged story with an antihero like any other. The Kiss Thief is a high octane read that grabs you making you emotionally invested right from the start and has you turning pages late into the night.

2. The Best Romantic Comedy I read in 2019:
    Surprise, Baby! by Lex Martin & Leslie McAdam

Romantic Comedy should contain everything that is funny, sassy, make you laugh out loud while still falling madly in love with the characters. It can be a delicate balance between snorting constantly over antics and finding the hero sexy as sin, but a great writer (or in this case writers) did both brilliantly.

Surprise, Baby! is a book that is fun, flirty, dirty, and so, so loveable. While reading, I love to highlight special passages, funny sayings, or memorable moments…I just about highlighted this entire book. I was either in stiches laughing or sighing at all of the loveable/laughable breakout moments. Lex and Leslie are a phenomenal writing duo and I seriously cannot say enough great things about how much I enjoyed reading Surprise, Baby!

Here is the synopsis:

“There’s a fine line between lust and hate.”

Kendall Greer works in public relations and knows all about fixing messes and covering up mistakes. Hence, why Drew Merritt, one of Portland’s most eligible bachelors, is one of her biggest achilles heels. He hasn’t always been responsible, he’s actually been the complete opposite of responsible and a publist’s nightmare. Unfortunately, Drew hasn’t always been on his best behaviour around Kendall, actually he’s typically been at his worst when she’s been around, but you know there’s a fine line between lust and hate. 

“Since I’ve known Kendall, she’s yelled at me, lectured me, ignored me, talked over my head, talked down to me, and made sure that there was no chance in hell I’d ever be able to touch her. Kendall’s like a gorgeous IRS auditor – she’s out to prove me wrong, but the words that come out of her mouth make me hard.”-Drew

There is no denying, the attraction they feel towards each other, so when they find themselves stranded, locked away in a mountain cabin, they don’t try to fight what is lying beneath all the layers of bad decisions and bad history.

 “Drew 2.0 is…sweet. And dare I say thoughtful? I like this new side to him. More than I care to admit.” Kendall

As Drew and Kendall try to navigate their hot mess of a non-relationship, oops…surprise! Things get complicated.

3. The Best NA Book I read in 2019:
    Cruel Intentions by Siobhan Davis

Cruel Intentions is the first book in a trilogy, The Rydeville Elite series. So I can’t mention the first one without mentioning the others as well; Twisted Betrayal and Sweet Retribution. Siobhan is known for writing angsty, new adult novels, but this entire trilogy goes beyond anything she has written before. The Rydeville Elite series is not only filled with angst, but it is a dark, bully romance that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Each book is filled with so many twists and turns I seriously couldn’t turn the pages fastest enough to find out what happened next. 

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While Siobhan is known for her emotional, tear-jerking, great plot twists books, and Cruel Intentions was no exception, I had a few more emotions that popped up while I was reading; stunned, shocked, appalled, stomach-churning-but-couldn’t-look-away-intensity and I had to keep reading because I was now addicted to this book.

These were a new emotions for me. Reading this level of darkness and then the need to continue reading it was new. I can’t say I’m normally a fan of dark romance, but Siobhan fed me this trope in a way that I had to keep reading it, I was an instant addict, much in the the same way Abigail, the heroine, felt in seeking vengeance to everyone in her life who had caused her pain, even though she continued to get abused.

Here is the synopsis:

“In the power struggle between two elite groups, one feisty girl will bring them to their knees…”

Cruel Intentions ia a dark romance set in high school. There are a lot of adult themes; abuse, toxic relationships, blackmail, bullying…to just to name a few, but it’s a story of old money vs. new money. One were the children are pitted against each other all based on rules set by their parents and their parents parents and so forth. Abigail is set right in the middle of a battle, she is a pawn and she constantly tries to change her position on the board to become queen.

Abigail is the prime example of how in this world, women have little to no power. Women are only as good as their family name, the state of their virginity, and should be seen and not heard. Abigail Manning hates the world she lives in, but puts of the facade while she has to live in it.

We meet Abby at a very low point in her life, along with her savior, who unbeknownst to her is also her worst nightmare; Camden Marshall.

“I’m drowning in Camden Marshall, both hating and loving it at the same time.”

Cruel Intentions is a dark and twisted story filled with a circle of people that you don’t know who to trust. This is Abby’s everyday life; mistrust, deceit, vengeance. The old elite; Drew, Charlie, and Trent vs. the new elite; Cam, Sawyer, and Jackson. Abby is caught in the middle. A pawn who is pulled between the two worlds in the position for queen.

“How is it I crave the thing I hate the most?’ he whispers, his mouth moving to my jaw. “How do you do that? Make he want you when I despise you?”

Welcome to Rydeville High.

4. My new favorite-discovered-author-to-keep-reading in 2019:
   Charity Ferrell

I set a goal this past year to discover more new authors than I have in the past. Many months it was difficult to narrow down my favorite pick to just one because I discovered many new favorites and while this is a wonderful problem to have because it has opened up new tropes and new worlds I haven’t experienced before it is also a problem because my TBR list has grown to even wider proportions because I’m adding their books in like crackcandy and try to squeeze them in whenever I have time. It isn’t always possible with my review schedule, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t impossible.

Read Monthly Author Feature – Charity Ferrell to read more about my monthly goal and the feature I did on Charity.

I found Charity earlier this year and it happened to be with a book that was already four deep into a series. There was a ton to love about Just Neighbors, but what drove me to read the rest of the series this year (remember my squeezing in–and I definitely made time to squeeze), I loved everything she packed into her writing. Her stories contained depth, I really got to know the characters, to have a deep empathy with them while sharing laughs, steamy moments and crying over emotional times. Just Neighbors was more than just an enemies to lovers romance and while it can be read as a complete standalone, I had to learn more about the people of Blue Beech, so I did. I read Just A Fling, Just One Night, Just Exes, and Just Roommates this year too.

“Every day, my neighbor tells me to have a good morning.
Every day, I tell him to f*ck off.”

The book literally begins with the quote listed above. Further down Chloe’s inner monologue tells us “His voice and I share a love-hate relationship. It makes my panties wet, but I wish it belonged to someone who wasn’t an a**hole.” This has to be one of the best openings to a relationship between two enemies ever.

Right off the bat there are so many questions? What is with the animosity? What did the hottie do? Why is he so nice when clearly Chloe isn’t?

The racing of questions continued in my head while I was chuckling at the quick monologuing and cursing Chloe continued throughout several chapters at the beginning of this book. The aim of all her hatred, Kyle Lane her sexy neighbor, takes the verbal beating in stride, making me laugh even more.  Everything Kyle does only seems to infuriate Chloe further and so their cycle continues with great sarcastic wit.

But why?

“I seriously hate you more than the Grinch hates Christmas.”-Chloe

As their cat and mouse game continues you get glimpses into their past. Kyle has always been Blue Beech’s golden boy or born from a wealthy family. Where as Chloe Fieldgain was born on the wrong side of the tracks, or more appropriately from the trailer park. There is definitely a story there between them, but I won’t spoil what that is because, WHOA! You need to experience everything yourself.

When Kyle finds a way to eventually break through Chloe’s defences, which is both hilarious and steamy, she is also plagued with serious doubts. Mostly considering they have a past, but also with another huge cloud hanging over her. Unsure if they could actually be anything beyond “just neighbors with benefits” be prepared for lots of emotional ups and downs.

“This is it. No going back. I can no longer say I resisted the temptation of Kyle Lane. I’m throwing down the white flag with no apologies.”-Chloe

Just Neighbors is dirty, funny, and packs a whopping emotional punch at the end. A true moment of – Wow, I was not expecting that! – made this an exceptional read and had me searching for everything Charity Ferrell has ever written (to date I’ve read her Blue Beech series, but I still have others on my TBR pile to squeeze in).  This book is so dirty and sweet and a good book to start with if you haven’t read Charity before. I’m someone who doesn’t mind reading out of order, but you do you if you’re a stickler for reading in order and read the entire series today!

Find her on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and  www.charityferrell.com

5. The Standout Book of 2019:
    Praying for Rain by B.B. Easton

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Praying for Rain is a hard book to fit into one specific trope box. First off, it is an amazing book about two lost people; one clinging to hope and the other just barely hanging on until the end of the world arrives. Rain and Wes become unlikely allies in an apocalyptic world and find themselves working together to outrun the inevitable doomsday.

“None of this matters, and we’re all going to die.”-Rain

Thought provoking. Sexy and raw, on the edge of your seat page turning suspenseful and heartbreaking. The world B.B. Easton has created is like nothing you’ve ever read and you’ll be salivating for more when you finish. Luckily there is more as Praying for Rain is the first in a trilogy and B.B. is set to release the rest in 2020.

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“Supplies. Shelter. Self-defense.” -Wes

B.B. Easton takes us on a journey into a world filled with chaos, disorder and lawlessness where everyone is waiting for the final days before the apocalypse happens on April 23rd. The day when the four horsemen of the apocalypse appear and wipe out humanity. No one knows exactly how it will happen, just the date, and you’ve either learned to embrace the fate of the world, or perhaps fight against it.

If you haven’t learned to fight for survival, then you are on the brink of starvation, and so many people have given up hope. Rain is walking the brink of hopelessness. Wes has a different plan. Time is running out, the days are getting closer to April 23rd. Wes is doing everything to stick to his plan. Supplies, shelter, self-defense. Rain isn’t a distraction he needs, but he can’t seem to leave her either. Rain’s only wants to help, but in the end when the apocalypse happens and her only reason for living has become Wes. Will it be enough?

Can they survive what’s coming? Can they survive together?

B.B.’s writing is rich and detailed and I am so excited to continue the series and see where B.B. takes us next. If you enjoy dystopian worlds, apocalyptic, loss of humanity reads then I highly recommend this book.

6. The Sexiest Cover of 2019:
    Boyfriend Bargain by Ilsa Madden-Mills

The most tedious and strenuous job I have…picking the sexiest cover.  How will I ever survive? I’m not sure, but I’d do it all again, just for you.

So thank you once again to all the models that rock these photo shoots. You are the MVP’s who light up our dreams.

Tame and not so tame…hottest cover of 2019.

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Soooooo, you all know and love the standards on social media…yes, it’s there to protect us, but seriously, this photo isn’t showing anything more than the sexy V leading to the glorious garden hose of happiness. The rest is just pure imagination, which of course offended someone because the cover model had to have pants on when the book was released. Such a shame. A sexy, sexy, waste of a glorious V shame. So enjoy the view as much as you’d like because I know I do everytime I scroll past it.

Boyfriend Bargain not only had a hot cover, it was also a really good book. If you love new adult sports romance, I highly suggest this book. Zach or “Z” is a very relatable character. While he is a hockey god on campus, he suffers from anxiety. He hides his condition from everyone just trying to live his best life, but that’s not always the best thing to do.

“If people discover I have real issues with anxiety, I’m done in the NHL, all my dreams destroyed.”-Z

Sugar Ryan doesn’t have time to coddle someone like Z. She studies law which has rules and contracts and what she doesn’t want is complications or emotions tied into a boyfriend situation. However, she needs his help getting into law school so when Z agrees to a contract when he actually says yes to her fake boyfriend situation, Sugar couldn’t be happier.

“This crazy, harebrained idea will never work. Plus, I don’t have time for over-the-top, testosterone-driven superstar athletes. Until now, that is.”-Sugar 

These two don’t intend to fall in love, or even really care for each other, but life happens. Boyfriend Bargain is full of so much emotion and heart it is an excellent read.

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Thank you to everyone who follows or reads my blog. I look forward to a new year, a new decade and many new adventures. Happy New Year!

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*Every category is totally and completely picked by Kay Daniels Romance and all opinions are my own*

Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Features, This and That

2018 The Year in Review

The end of the year is right around the corner and I enjoy taking the time to reflect on what has transpired over the past year not only to dip my toes in the memories, but also to gain insight from any errors in chances of improvement.

For as long as I can remember I have always written down the books that I read. This is long before the invention of Goodreads or any other such app for said use. I actually used this little invention called a notebook and whatever writing utensil I had at my disposal when I finished a book. Back when I used said notebook, I wrote down the books by what year I read them, I kept track of my favorite authors, the series they wrote, and of course if I loved the book by doing what…by placing hearts beside the title (not stars-sorry goodreads you missed out on a stellar idea there). Back in the day I also recorded if I actually owned the beloved book as well since the local library was my friend and I was a broke teenager that eventually grew into a broke adult (okay, I eventually got a job to support my reading habit because I have this obsessive need to own the books I read. I like to read and then reread books, especially when a new book in the series is releasing). Needless to say, my bible of reading was a godsend on many occasions years ago (how many times have you wondered if you’ve read a book before 🙋🏼‍♀️), which is why I know the apps are so popular now-a-days.

Sooooo, this is why I continue to pull out the best of the best. It’s not an easy task and here’s my reason why; I thoroughly enjoy reading – I know if you are even reading this article you probably do too, but seriously I really do. Once again, I take you back to a time I can barely remember and my bookshelves were overflowing with books. From that time they were filled with Dr. Seuss and The Berenstain Bears to now my ereader is filled with every troupe of romance possible (and my bookshelves are still filled with many of my childhood favorites along with lots of my first romantic paperbacks – I refuse to part with so many wonderful reading memories,you did catch the part where I’m obsessed-right?).

But, back to the matter at hand, it has been a pleasure and an honor to read every book I have this year. A pure joy to help spread the news of cover reveals, new releases, teasers, excerpt reveals, blog tours, any and all of the above that helped spread the word of the authors hard work. I seriously enjoy the blog work I do, so if you have time, or missed out on anything from this past year:

Please check out all the books released this past year New Releases

OR

Feel free to read all the reviews for books released in 2018 Reviews

The Best Of 2018

There were a lot of strong contenders for the best book in 2018. I had a difficult time narrowing it down. Seriously. I was even debating on making honorable mentions, subcategories and so on and so forth I didn’t want to leave out any excellent books. This has been, so far, the toughest year to make a clear cut choice. So, back to what I saying up above; job well done to all of the authors for making this a tough call because every year should be this difficult.

So, without further ado the choices for 2018….

*Every category is totally and completely picked by Kay Daniels Romance and all opinions are my own*

1. The Best Romance Novel of 2018:
The Good Samaritanby R.C. Boldt

Like I said, I had trouble picking a book for this category, but once I really began to think about the books I was circling, here’s the questions that kept popping up in my mind and after I thought about them then the answer was easy. What book moved me once I was done reading it? What actually made a difference in my life? I love reading to escape, that’s a given, and I love, love, love a good romance story, but what transcended beyond the pages?

The winner for the Best Book of 2018 is The Good Samaritan. It had me thinking locally, nationally and hopefully globally. This book had me thinking of the “pay it forward”, “be kind to your neighbor”, “pass a smile”, etc… You name it, my mind constantly goes to the kindness concept because of this book. You never know what a stranger is going through and you never know where you may end up next and may need a strangers help. We should all treat others with more respect and kindness and the world would be a better place. We all know this concept and should practice this concept and yet, I know many of us don’t. Read The Good Samaritan and it will not only change how you look at others, but will also have you thinking about how you treat your fellow man.  Perhaps 2019 will be the year we can all be good samaritans.

Here is the synopsis:

Jude is living on the streets, a homeless man by choice. Why? That is something I’ll let you discover, but he feels the necessity to atone for his sins. While living among the lowest of the low, he secretly and selflessly helps those in need. His good deeds are picked up by the news who want to know who “The Good Samaritan” is, he has no desire to ever let his identity be discovered. He has no intention of ever returning to his former life, but when he meets Faith he may have no choice in hiding who he is anymore.

“Some might think I’d feel whole again by now, that I’d have gained some semblance of closure, but it hasn’t happened. Though the grief has lessened, the guilt remains. I haven’t paid enough for my wrongdoings.”-Jude

Faith thought she was a dead woman, that was until someone saved her life. She never thought she’d get to thank the man who rescued her, but he came back to check on her. The one snag in thanking her rescuer, her boss wants his story and she can tell he doesn’t want it told. Something about the homeless man calls to her, she should be freaked out by where her thoughts take her, but something says there is more to the man than what he portrays. Will getting to the bottom of who he really is push away the one man she really feels a connection to, but perhaps shouldn’t?

“I vow to do everything in my power to keep this woman safe. Even if it’s from myself.”-Jude

When someone actually likes you for you, flaws and all, you feel ten feet tall. It doesn’t take a lot to feel a connection, it just takes a spark and when you know a good person, you know. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes that person a while to believe it themselves because when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose, but when you begin to form attachments that’s when things change and begin to mean everything.

“As if sensing my attention, she glances up, and I stiffen in response. Because I’m me. Homeless. A guy with nothing to offer.”-Jude

Jude and Faith have nothing and yet everything to risk. Their story will inspire and move you in a way that I can hardly begin to explain, but I hope you enjoy and feel inspired like I did.

2. The Best NA Book I read in 2018:
No Tomorrow by Carian Cole

No Tomorrow is another book I read this year that left me gutted for days. It is also a book that has transcended the pages. I found myself referencing it in conversations, thinking about it while lost in thought, and knowing there are people who could be comforted by reading this story, but also who weren’t ready to read it given their emotional state of mind. 

What is No Tomorrow about? I hate giving too much away, but in this circumstance I will say this…In a time where anxiety, depression, and mental illness seems to be at an all time high, a book like No Tomorrow can seem hard to read, but for those of us who live with or know someone or love someone who suffer from any of these illnesses this book wrapped around me and comforted me like nothing ever has in my entire life.  I can only imagine the author as she wrote the book and how it had to have affected her. Writing this kind of gut-wrenching-emotional read. It had to be taxing because it was emotional to read. The story was well crafted, well written, and I enjoyed reading it immensely. 

Here is the synopsis:

No Tomorrow is not a typical love story. Carian Cole tweeted that you may get to a point where you will feel like tossing the story across the room. She isn’t exactly wrong, but the story is so compelling you’ll run right over and pick the story back up because you have to know what happens to these two people, so keep the book close by after you toss it.

Piper, in her youth, naivety, and belief in love is drawn to Evan “Blue” over and over again. The light that shines in him is a belief that continues to bring her back, even when he is filled with darkness. In her naive youth she wants to “fix” him and never gives up hope that he can be the man only she seems to see he can be.

Blue doesn’t believe he can be fixed, but if one person can do it it’s Piper. It’s the one time he feels normal, unfortunately that feeling never lasts for long. With the road calling his name he knows he can’t drag her down with his problems. If only he didn’t always mess up the good things in his life.

No Tomorrow will take you on a journey of life, love, and its tribulations. No life is perfect. No love is either. But perhaps we can find someone to share it with that makes life worth living through all of the tomorrows.

3. My new favorite-discovered-author-to-keep-watching (or reading) in 2019:
Heather M. Orgeron

Like picking a best book, I also had trouble narrowing down a favorite new author. I know, what trouble to have (not).  In 2018 I was introduced to several new authors that I rocked my world, but like picking a best book, I used similar qualifications to pick a winner and Heather came out on top. How? First, I looked over all the new authors that graced my shelves this past year and then counted up how many books I read by that particular author. It made sense that if I loved a new author I would read them often, right? Sure. As I scaled down my list I also used other qualifiers like content and ratings, etc…then I finally had to pick my winner.

Overall, I only read two of Heather’s books. Of all the new authors I had to choose from she seemed like the most unlikely candidate since I did read others more. But of her two books, it came down to; she impacted me the more than other authors whom I read more frequently. Heather displayed a huge writing range, full of emotional talent and she is only at the beginning of her writing career. Her ability to write a sidesplitting romcom and also expertly write a deeply gutwreching, emotional contemporary made me recommend both of her books repeatedly throughout the year.

 

I read Dopplebanger early on in 2018. I was LOLing so hard through this book I immediately recommended to a friend who said she needed a good laugh. She buys everything in paperback, bless her heart, but once she was done, she loaned the book to another friend because she loved the book as well!!

Heartbreak Warfare tore me up, chewed me up, spit me out and then slowly glued me back together. I cannot remember reading anything like this book ever. If you are looking for a life changing read, pick up this book. I promise it will change your life as well.

I look forward to reading what Heather brings to the reading world in 2019 because I will continue to recommend her writing to anyone looking for excellent books.

Find her on Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter, and  www.heathermorgeron.com

4. The Sexiest Cover of 2018:
Make You Mine by Tia Louise

So many books and so much sexiness. There were so many to gawk at…I mean choose from. It was a hard, yummy, eye-drying-out process, but I did it all for you (and maybe for some wallpaper ideas, but mostly for you). I’m such a good friend.

So thank you once again to all the models that rock these photo shoots. Thank you for all of the hard workouts and denying yourself sweets so we could enjoy your sexy abs and those mouth watering notches in the sides of your abdomen that point down to the real hidden treasure that is underneath your beltline.  You are the MVP’s who light up our dreams.

So without further ado….

The beard scruff, the intense stare, the pecs, the arms, and the way he’s holding his woman. Yes, please! Make me yours. Thank you Tia Louise for the sexiest cover of 2018!

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As 2018 ends and I move forward into a new year. I close out my records and open a clean slate. It’s been fun reflecting over what I read this past year and for many of the books I feel like the comic below…

However, I’m looking forward to the many new adventures I get to take and the new friends I will meet as I open the covers of new books (okay I really open the app on my electronic device, but you understand the meaning).

2019 book hangover here I come…

To everyone have a wonderful holiday season and thank you for tuning in.

Keep Reading, Keep Writing and Keep Dreaming!

*Every category is totally and completely picked by Kay Daniels Romance and all opinions are my own*

Book Reviews, This and That

2017 The Year in Review

Reflecting back on this past year; on one hand it’s hard to believe the time went by so fast and on the other it feels like it began a lifetime ago.

I made promises to myself as 2017 began, probably as most people do in the form of resolutions, but this was more than a New Years change of habit for me. 2017 was going to be the year that I devoted more of my personal time back to writing and reading.  Yes, I love to read and have always been a reader, aside from the few years I was lucky to read anything except a picture book to my children before bedtime, I always read for my own enjoyment. What I’m talking about was more of a commitment to finding myself once again.

When 2017 rolled onto the calendar almost 12 months ago my youngest was soon heading off to college and I needed to discover who I was again. I was becoming an empty nester and the thought had me salivating at all of the free time I would soon have on my hands, but I needed to make changes in how I was going to handle my free time.  And part of this change was losing myself in the literary world.

I wanted 2017 to be the year that I branched out and discovered new authors, or at least new to me. You see, I’d grown comfortable in reading my favorite authors. I wasn’t taking chances because reading them was like a warm blanket, coming home, and being fed a delicious home cooked meal. I’d reached a point where I wasn’t challenging myself as a reader like I had years ago.

So, even though I know I’ll continue to read my home cooked favorite authors, 2017 brought me a multitude of new authors, along with a bucket full of personal changes I wasn’t expecting.

I won’t go into a lengthy story, but here is a quick summation:

I began the year strong, both in reading and writing. Honestly, I was more put together than I had been in a long time. I was doing great and feeling really good at keeping up with my goals, but then my family had to step in and muddle things up.

In the spring my husband interviewed for a new job, by early summer he received news that he was chosen for that job. Our youngest daughter graduated high school, my husband began his new job and I was left with packing up and selling our home of seventeen years to relocate to a new area without help. Late summer was the beginning of my high-level-stress breakdown.

I had to back off on reading and writing to focus on family. With my children now away at school, I packed up the old house, quit my job of seventeen years, moved into a new house and community, all while playing counselor to my children that were left feeling the pangs of missing their old life. A life that they weren’t home much to enjoy anymore, but where they spent their entire childhood growing up. As much as I’d wanted to assure them that as they matured and made new friends the ache would pass, but I too was missing the people I grew fond of over the last seventeen years.

Fall was definitely a time of change. As much as I tried to get back on track with my lofty beginning of the year goals, it just didn’t happen. Here it is December and I can honestly say I’m just feeling that settled in feeling. Although I still have moments when I ask, “where is that…?” You can fill in the blank with whatever you want. Everything from glue to earrings to underwear. I seriously didn’t know where mine was the first few days I was here. That was unsettling to say the least. Thank god I’d packed some in my overnight bag. Geez.

Anyway, I’m just getting back in the groove and beginning to settle in to my new life, so 2018 better watch out because I want to begin a new future in my new home with a positive lookout.

Now that I’ve caught you up on what has been happening in Kay’s world, let me recap books that you shouldn’t have missed in 2017 and need to read if you haven’t done so already.

*Every category is totally and completely picked by Kay Daniels Romance and all opinions are my own*

1. The Best Romance Novel of 2017:
Unloved, a love story by Katy Regnery

Hands down Unloved, a love story was the best book I can remember reading in a very long time. I’m not discrediting any of the other books I love because I love a lot of books, but this book had a premise like nothing I’ve ever heard of before. It kept me on edge wondering how the two characters would even be able to work it out so it would be a love story. I know it’s in the title, so I wasn’t going to doubt Katy Regnery and her blatant use of calling the book a love story, but as page after page went by, I was beginning to wonder how in the world she was going to pull it off.  All I can say is she is a master storyteller and I love her for writing this book.

Here is the synopsis:

Cassidy Porter is the son of a serial killer. His father is convicted when Cassidy is just eight years old. His entire world is turned upside down at the young age of just eight. Moving from his hometown where he and his mother are now shunned, his entire life Cassidy is told, no. It basically becomes his mantra that he should never pass on his DNA, spread his evil seed, nor infect anyone in case he too becomes like his father and becomes a killer.

“I nod at him, vowing that the blood in my veins will never, ever infect another life. I will live quiet. And Paul Isaac Porter’s terrifying genes will die with me.”

As hurtful as it is that Cassidy wants to believe he is his own person and would never hurt anyone, he agrees to never pass on his genetic coding so he lives in solitude, never having contact with anyone. Living alone, unloved, until one day when he saves the life of Brynn Cadogan.

Brynn had been living a half-life for a little over two years. Her fiancé, Jem, had been killed in a mass shooting. How was she supposed to live the rest of her life when her love’s had been cut short? It didn’t seem fair. It wasn’t right. Jem, had loved the mountains, practically lived in them. It only seemed fitting that she bury a part of him in his beloved mountains. Against the advice of her family, and Jem’s she headed off for a climb that she wasn’t exactly fit for, but she was determined. That was until bad weather hit and she was forced to take shelter in a leanto with a man who gave her the creeps.

The last thing Brynn remembered was climbing the mountain, a horrible rain storm, and a creepy guy named Wayne, so how did she end up in a warm cabin looking at a man with one blue eye and one green? Why does she feel more comfortable in the presence of this stranger, whom she doesn’t even know, laying in a strange bed, in nothing more than a t-shirt and underwear, than she did stumbling upon Wayne walking up a mountain fully dressed? Something tells her to trust Cassidy and that is when the healing really begins.

Cassidy saved Brynn from what could have been a horrible tragedy up on that mountain. He constantly struggles with the man his family made him believe he was inside vs. the man he really is, the one Brynn sees he is, throughout their journey together. As much as Cassidy saved Brynn, she just as much wants to save Cassidy in return.

“Love. A word that keeps entering my mind lately. And I know it’s not possible, because of promises I intend to keep, but I can’t help the way I feel.”

Their story raised so many thoughts and questions in my own mind. Are you the product of your parents, whether it’s genetic or environmental? Do you follow the same path or are the proverbial black sheep always bad? For instance, if everyone is a doctor in your family do you take a different path and become an author? If your father is a serial killer are you genetically wired to follow the same path? Would you still love someone knowing who their parent was? Do you love the person and not their past?

I loved this story, I really cannot begin to express how much I loved this story, except to tell you that you need to read it. It was the best read of 2017.

Unloved

2. The Best NA Book I read in 2017:
Fake Fiancée by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Coming of age is never easy. Not only is it a time where you are trying to figure out this thing called adulthood, but it is also a time where you easily make a lot of mistakes and guidance is typically offered by your elders, but let’s go back to the beginning of this sentence…yeah the figuring out adulthood part. Most young adults would rather figure it out on their own (stubborn, I could place a few other choice words here, but you probably know them already) This has led to a boom in the NA category since this age in particular makes for an angsty, heartfelt, emotionally driven romance piled with all the age factors like school, parents, friends, society, you name it NA can deliver it.

I really had to think about what my favorite NA book was for 2017. I read a lot of really great ones this year, but since it came down to only picking one, I chose; 

Here is the synopsis:

Max Kent is the star quarterback heading into his senior year of college. There is buzz talk of him receiving the Heisman trophy which would definitely mean the NFL in his future. If Max played his cards right and didn’t screw up he’d have a real shot towards everything he’s worked for. And when Max wanted something there wasn’t much he wouldn’t do to reach his goal. His last long term girlfriend almost screwed up his winning season last year, so when Sunny shows up on his doorstep the first day of class he sees a great opportunity and runs with it.

Sunny Blaine was a long way from where she’d run from several years ago. With little to her name she was attending college, taking care of her grandmother, working to pay for school and frankly she didn’t have time for stupid, inconsiderate jocks. Miffed when a football groupie totaled her car, she had no qualms about letting the football jock who was basically an accessory to the crime (at least in Sunny’s book) hear about it. What she wasn’t prepared for was the instant connection that came after and the ridiculous proposal that shortly ensued.

Max and Sunny find a kindred spirit in each other, which quickly blossoms into friendship. When their friendship begins to burn into something more than they can handle will the inferno burn them and kill what they’ve built while they sit hopelessly on the sidelines watching it blaze out of control? Are they strong enough to make it through anything together?

“Sometimes there really is a bigger plan.
Sometimes there really is that one person.
Sometimes true love finds you no matter what.”

Max and Sunny were such a delight to read. I really didn’t want the story to end. For me, if I had a perfect description for what New Adult romance is, Fake Fiancée would be it. It captures the essence of youth, the budding relationship and choices young lovers make creating the pitfalls that happen when we doubt ourselves.

I can tell you, pick up this enjoyable read now, you won’t regret it.       Fake Fiancée

3. My new favorite-discovered-author-to-keep-watching (or reading) in 2018:
Veronica Larsen

Sometimes reading a new author is comparable to trying new food. The outside packaging makes the food look yummy, mouth-watering and so delicious that you just have to buy it and take it home that minute to make it, but once you do it tastes like crap. Wellllllllll, sometimes reading a new author is sort of like that. The pretty cover lures you in, the hot guy on the front is yummy, delicious, and you want to take him home and well you know…but once you crack open the book the content is just not yummy and delicious.

My goal this year was to read new authors. I knew I was potentially opening myself up to some unpalatable reading. However, on the flip side, I was also opening myself up to read a gourmet meal. I knew the chances and I was pleasantly surprised in sitting down to read multiple gourmet books. It made choosing just one author difficult, but after I narrowed it down I finally chose one and here is my favorite among the top chefs I read.

Here is why I chose Veronica Larsen as my one to keep reading into 2018:

Veronica has a beautiful flow of writing. She is able to pull you into the characters world so thoroughly I felt like I was living in the character’s apartment. I was drawn into their lives and it was effortless, riding the same emotional roller coaster as the characters were.

This is not the first time Veronica Larsen has done this to me. She makes me question the characters choices right along with them. Unlike other stories where I always root for the hero and heroine to fall in love, Veronica tells the story in a way that when the character is questioning if things should work out, I question the very same thing.
Maybe things would be better if they walked away.
Maybe things would be better if they just stayed friends.
Maybe, maybe, maybe…
I never do this, because I love, love, LOVE HEA’S. So this has to tell you that Veronica is really good at bringing you into the characters lives, their minds, their feelings and you empathize with them like you may not not do in other stories you read.

Veronica Larsen has written multiple books, the two above are just the two I’ve read in 2017. I plan to keep reading her angsty love stories and I hope you do too,

Find her on Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter, and  www.facebook.com/veronicalarsen

4. The Sexiest Cover of 2017:
Honey Bee by Heather Shere

Who says you can’t judge a book by its cover? Well…that unfortunately is true when it comes to its contents, but when it comes to the category of just gawking at sexy, delicious eye candy then YES!! you can totally judge a book by its cover.

This may be hard to believe, but this was the hardest category to decide on. There were a lot of yummy, yummy, ooh so tantalizing hot, hot covers released this past year. So thank you to all the models that rock those photo shoots. Thank you for all of the hard workouts you endured to create the sexy abs and those mouth watering notches on the sides of your abdomen that point down to what’s hidden underneath your beltline. Whooooo is it hot in here or is it all the covers I’ve just shuffled through in order to pick out the best one? The things I do in the name of romance.

So without further ado….

The beard scruff, the abs, the arms, and even the tush. Mmm, mmm, mmm Honey Bee brought it all. Thank you Heather Shere for the sexiest cover of 2017!

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As 2017 ends and I move forward into a new year. I close out my records and open a clean slate. It’s been fun reflecting over what I read this past year and for many of the books I feel like the comic below…

However, I’m looking forward to the many new adventures I get to take and the new friends I will meet as I open the covers of new books (okay I really open the app on my electronic device, but you understand the meaning).

2018 book hangover here I come…

To everyone have a wonderful holiday season and thank you for tuning in.

Keep reading, keep writing and good fortune.

 

*Every category is totally and completely picked by Kay Daniels Romance and all opinions are my own*