I almost considered not doing a December list and just compiling those favorites into my big 2017 list, but I didn't think it was fair for December or those books to get the shaft. So here I am to give glory to the amazing things I read this month. And seriously, so much good stuff. I know I usually have more of a lead-in to these lists, but what the hell, I think I'm just going to jump right in! In no particular order:
I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and I still don't have words for it. First off, this woman can write. Her words draw me right in and I end up getting completely lost in her stories and devour them quickly. When Life Happened is no different. I can't say much about this one without giving a lot away, and if you've read my posts before, you know that's not how I roll. What I will say is that there was a point in this story that stole my breath. Seriously. I had to set my kindle aside and just live in my feelings for a bit. There are times where you just have to trust an author to get you through it, and if you reach that point with this book, just trust that Jewel E. Ann will definitely get you to the other side.
This is a year of anthologies for me. They were never something I was into before because I usually veer away from short stories. This year though I had the pleasure of reading a few different anthologies, and none of them disappointed me. This one might be at the top for me, though. I can't think of one story that was less than great, and so many of them left me wanting so much more, yet satisfied at the same time. If you like steamy, swoony stories and sports romances, this is the collection for you. Standouts for me were: Yard Sale by Charleigh Rose, Full Court Press by Kennedy Ryan, One Good Man by Emma Scott, The End Zone by L.J. Shen, and Back in the Game by Meghan Quinn.
Sometimes you hear a ton of hype about an author you haven't read before and you think, "there's no possible way they can live up to the hype." Most people give it a go anyway. Not me. I usually run the other way until I can't give in anymore. This book here, though? The minute I closed it I thought, "THAT'S what all the hype was about!" And it was right on. This book was so ridiculously good. The writing team behind Christina Lauren perfectly captured the excitement and angst and emotion and uncertainty of falling in love for the first time. But it's also so much more than that, so much more complex. Autoboyography is written so beautifully and authentically that I couldn't help but feel everything Tanner and Sebastian and even Autumn and Tanner's parents were feeling. It was that real and raw. This is one of those books I wish I could read for the first time all over again.
Untouchable is a debut novel that doesn't read like one because it's so well written. It was emotional, so steamy and sexy with a bit of angst mixed in for good measure. Monica and Max had so much chemistry, the secondary characters were well-developed, and there was so much humor and emotion that I compulsively turned the pages, stayed up almost all night, and finished it in one night. It was seriously that good. The one thing that kept standing out to me above all this is how real it was. The passion and love felt authentic, and when complications arose, Love ensured we understood and felt why these issues were happening. Untouchable has me dying to read her next book.
I love a good mystery/thriller, and I love great YA Fiction, mix those two together and you get. One of Us is Lying. It did not disappoint. Five students walk into detention, one doesn't walk out. Through alternating pov's of the surviving students, you come to learn that the victim's gossip blog may have been the motivation behind his death and that each student in that room has secrets they want to keep hidden. Through the course of the novel, not only are you trying to piece everything together to see if you can figure out what really happened and why, but you also come to care about each of them too. About halfway through I had a theory worked out that proved to be partly accurate. McManus threw a twist in there that I would have never seen coming, and man was the climax and resolution satisfying.
This is the first Keeland/Ward book I've read, and I loved it. Soraya and Graham were the perfect picture of opposites attract. While they never should have made sense, the sexy chemistry between them and their hilarious dynamic made them one of my favorite fictional characters. There was a twist I didn’t see coming, and yet the resolution of the conflicts felt mature and real. This was one of those books I found to be the perfect combination of sexy, sweet, and funny. I smiled so much reading this and then couldn’t stop thinking about the characters for days after.