Best Books of 2015 + Giveaway!

Can you believe it’s already the end of 2015!? It went by SO fast, and yet it’s been an amazing year filled with so many incredible books. I read over 300 books this year (what!?) and I STILL have a never-ending TBR, which I’m sure will last me my lifetime. So to celebrate the end of the year, I’ve compiled my list of my top 15 books of the year, PLUS a fantastic giveaway to win one of the books below and a $15 gift card! It was so hard to narrow down to 15, but I really tried. So here they are alphabetical order (except for one)! Let me know in the comments what your favorite books of 2015 are!


1. Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Kulti by Mariana Zapata

My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads

KULTI!!!!! Hands down, Kulti is my absolute FAVORITE book of the year!!! This book is the only one out of order because it’s seriously the BEST book I’ve read this year. It was just so easy to choose my all-time favorite, because Kulti is that amazing and more. This was my first read from Mariana Zapata, but I know it won’t be my last. I adored EVERY single word of Kulti – the hilarious, sassy heroine, the moody, sexy hero, the friends to lovers romance between them, even soccer. This is simply romance at its finest.

“Every single thing that has ever happened in my life has led me here, Sal. Destiny is a ladder, a series of steps that takes you where you’re supposed to go. I am the man that I am, and I have done the things that I’ve done, to get me to you.”


2. Risking it All by Tessa Bailey

Risking it All by Tessa Bailey

Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

I went on a Tessa Bailey reading marathon this year and literally read every single one of her books, and Risking it All is seriously my FAVORITE of them all! BOWEN!!!! I’m obsessed with this alpha bad boy. The love he has for his heroine, the way he’ll do anything for her and to protect her, his dirty mouth… it takes my breath away. Risking it All was the perfect bad boy-good girl read!

“Ah, sweetheart, I don’t fuck around with virgins.” His head dipped, teeth closing around her ear and tugging. “But I’ll get down on my knees and eat that untouched pussy like a motherfucker.”


3. Zack by Sawyer Bennett

Zack by Sawyer Bennett

My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads

Zack is my faaavorite Sawyer Bennett book to date! This was the perfect forbidden love story between a widowed single father and his son’s babysitter. It was sweet, charming, emotional, surprisingly funny, and seriously hot as hell. It’s also a hockey romance (who doesn’t love those!?), so for fans of sports romances, you definitely need to read this book (and series). Each of the books in the Cold Fury Hockey series can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend read them in order.

“You were what has been missing all my life.”


4. The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

I still cannot get over how freaking HOT that cover is. Just look. at. it. I adore every one of the books in the Game On series, but The Friend Zone is without a doubt my favorite of the series so far. It’s a friends to lovers book, which is my all-time favorite trope, so how could I not love it!? It’s a fantastic NA sports romance with hilarious characters and the sweetest, most heart-warming romance there is. Gray just makes me SWOON!

“The fact is, Ivy, for me, there is one absolute truth. The sum of my existence equals you.”


5. The Master by Kresley Cole

The Master by Kresley Cole

Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

I have to admit, I’ve already reread The Master at least five times over the course of the year. I wasn’t a big fan of the first book in The Game Maker series, but when I read this second one, it blew me away. I was seriously addicted to Cat and Maksim’s story! Cat is one of my favorite heroines ever, because she’s just so hilarious and sassy and doesn’t hold back from Maksim. And holy god, Maksim!!! He is sex on a stick. If you’re looking for a fantastic erotic romance, you absolutely NEED to read The Master!

“You aren’t done with me yet?” He pinned my gaze with his own. With a surprisingly smooth accent, he told me, “Nunca voy a terminar contigo.” I’ll never be done with you.”


6. Aflame and Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Aflame by Penelope Douglas Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Aflame: My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
Corrupt: Character Q&A • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

I’m cheating here a little, including two Penelope Douglas books, but I had to! Aflame and Corrupt are my two favorite reads from Penelope this year. First off, I am so, so happy she decided to write Aflame. Even though I was hesitant to read it, it really did feel like the right direction for Tate and Jared, and I couldn’t be happier with the way their story continued in Aflame. This book is the perfect ending to one of my all-time favorite couples, but mainly, I just LOVED reading about Tate and Jared again.

“For better or worse, you’ve been my other half since I was ten years old, and I can’t imagine a future I’d want without you in it. You’re the love of my life.”

As for Corrupt, this book totally messed with my mind. It left me speechless in the best way possible – I had such high expectations since the second this book was announced, and I wasn’t disappointed. Rika and Michael’s story consumed me, and I honestly still can’t get it out of my mind. It’s an unforgettable, gritty, thrilling read, and if you like dark erotic romances, you absolutely MUST read this book.

“Our scrapes and bruises, tattoos, scars, smiles, and wrinkles told our stories, and I didn’t want a pristine piece of wallpaper. I wanted her and everything she was.”


7. Manwhore series by Katy Evans

Manwhore by Katy Evans Manwhore +1 by Katy Evans Ms. Manwhore by Katy Evans

#1 ~ Manwhore: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Manwhore +1: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ Ms. Manwhore: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

Malcolm. Freaking. Saint!!! AHHH!!! This gorgeous billionaire stole my heart and took my breath away! Katy Evans knows how to write alpha-males, and she hit it out of the ball park with Malcolm Saint. If you love heroes who will sweep you away, you absolutely must read the Manwhore series. I am obsessed with this series!!

“Do you know what I’d do for you?” A huskiness enters his voice as he circles my chin with his thumb. “You’re the only heaven I will ever know, Rachel”–He looks into my eyes–“and if you were a hell, I’d sin my whole life just to stay with you.”


8. Bad Habits series by Staci Hart

With a Twist by Staci Hart Chaser by Staci Hart

#1 ~ With a Twist: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Chaser: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

I’m so happy to have discovered Staci Hart this year. She’s a new-to-me author and I LOVED her Bad Habits series. Each of the books in the series can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading them in order, because each is very closely connected to each other. With a Twist is a charming friends to lover romance and Chase is the sexy older brother’s best friend trope. All of the characters in the series are written so well that they felt real to me, and I can’t wait for the third and final book!

“I’ve been around the world, and I thought I’d seen everything it had to offer until that night, until I saw you. In all my life, I’ve never seen anything so beautiful, not standing in the Blue Mosque or the Taj Mahal. Not in the streets of rome or canals of Venice. Making you smile gives me life. Making you laugh gives me hope. Making you happy is all I want, other than to keep you.”


9. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November Nine by Colleen Hoover

My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads

What’s a top favorite list on Booklovers For Life without Colleen freaking Hoover!? And it just so happens that November 9 is #9 on my list! You guys, I loved this book. It was such a unique, addicting read. CoHo’s writing is flawless as always, and the fascinating storyline (the main characters meet once a year) kept me riveted to the pages. If you haven’t read Colleen Hoover’s books yet, you really need to get on that. Her books are NA at its finest!

It took four years for me to fall in love with him.
It only took four pages to stop.


10. Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy

The Deal by Elle Kennedy The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

#1 ~ The Deal: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Mistake: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

The Off-Campus series just might be my favorite sports romance series of the year. I LOVED The Deal – this is a must-read NA book. I didn’t think Elle Kennedy could top it, but I was so wrong. The Mistake, Logan’s story, is definitely my favorite of the series so far. Logan is hilarious and so adorable, and the way he makes his mistake up to Grace makes for an incredibly entertaining read. This book – and series – is well-written, funny, heartwarming, so freaking sweet… You absolutely need to read it if you haven’t already. (And btw, The Score is SOOOO GOOD!)

“I need you. I can’t stand the thought of being without you.” He releases a shaky breath. “You’re the last person I think about before I go to sleep, and the first person I think about when I open my eyes in the morning. You’re it for me, baby.”


11. Elements of Chemistry series by Penny Reid

Attraction by Penny Reid Capture by Penny Reid Heat by Penny Reid

#1 ~ Attraction: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Heat: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Capture: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#1-3 ~ Elements of Chemistry Bundle: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

I’m so ashamed to say that I only started reading Penny Reid this year. I have seriously been missing out! She writes the best, SMART romances with witty characters and fantastic stories. The Elements of Chemistry series is my favorite of hers yet – I loved Katy and Martin’s journey of a romance. I loved the way their characters developed and grew over the course of the series. Their story is funny, sweet, addicting, and so much fun to read.

“Why do people care about each other? What is attraction? I can’t give you a list of reasons why I react to you like I do. This isn’t an equation to balance. You’re the one I’m always thinking about. It’s you. It just is.”


12. Fuel the Fire by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Fuel the Fire by Krista & Becca Ritchie

My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

Rose and Connor make up my all-time favorite power couple!!! I adored them in Kiss the Sky and fell in love with them even more in Fuel the Fire. This book was… phenomenal. I’m so glad Rose and Connor got a second book, but I’m going to miss them so much! They are unique and endlessly fascinating and I could honestly read about them forever. And just for the record, the Addicted/Calloway Sisters series is my FAVORITE NA series of all time, so if you haven’t started it yet, I can’t recommend it enough!

There are rare people who will fuel the fire inside of you, who will awaken a dormant passion, who will challenge you, who will push you and better you. She alone is my rarity.


13. The Hotter You Burn by Gena Showalter

The Hotter You Burn by Gena Showalter

My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

I had no idea what I was in for when I started The Hotter You Burn – I found myself utterly charmed by this book. Gena Showalter has written an absolutely delightful, feel-good, heartwarming romance that I can’t recommend enough! It’s equal parts wickedly sexy and heartwarmingly sweet. The humor in this book had me giggling so hard, and it was just so easy to fall in love with the characters and story. I can’t wait to read the other books in The Original Heartbreakers series after reading this gem of a novel!

“There is nothing I won’t do for you, and nothing I won’t do to keep you. You’re it for me. My one. My only.”


14. Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Enigma by Nalini Singh

My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

Naasir’s book was a long time coming, and Nalini Singh did NOT disappoint. This book was captivating, sensual, heart-pounding, and unputdownable. I don’t read paranormal romances much these days, but reading Archangel’s Enigma reminded me of all the reasons why I love that genre. Naasir stole my heart and I was swept away by his and Andromeda’s romance. The romance is truly one of the best I’ve read from Nalini Singh, which is saying something, because her romances are top-notch.

“If you’re mine, you’re mine. And I’m yours. Today, tomorrow, always.”


15. Untamed by S.C. Stephens

Untamed by S.C. Stephens

My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

Untamed is the book that surprised me the most this year. I didn’t like Kiera and Kellan in Thoughtless, and I honestly thought I’d never pick up another book in that series again. But Untamed had me curious since it was Griffin’s story… and it simply blew me away. It took me a while to get into it, since Griffin is just so crass, but by the end of it, I nearly wanted to cry, I was so emotional. This book was surprisingly so much more meaningful and heart-wrenching than I’d expected, and I applaud S.C. Stephens for the incredible way she wrote Griffin’s character development. I’ve never felt more proud of a character than I had when I with Griffin when I finished his story.

I’d been handed fame on a platter and hadn’t appreciated it until it was too late.


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2 winners (open internationally):
Your choice of TWO of the listed favorite books (paperback or ebook) + $15 GC!
Your choice of ONE of the listed favorite books (paperback or ebook) + $15 GC!

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lacey


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Early Review: Untamed by S.C. Stephens

Untamed by S.C. Stephens

Untamed by S.C. Stephens
Series: Thoughtless #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 3rd 2015
Links: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

#1 New York Times bestselling author S.C. Stephens brings us the next book in her Thoughtless series!

The spotlight doesn’t only shine. Sometimes it burns.

Being the bad-boy bassist for the world’s hottest band has earned Griffin Hancock some perks: a big house, a fast car, and most importantly his incredible wife, Anna. The one thing it hasn’t brought him is the spotlight. Anna tells him to be patient, that his talent will win out. But Griffin is through waiting for permission to shine.

Without warning, Griffin makes a shocking decision and takes the gamble of a lifetime. Suddenly he’s caught up in a new level of lights, cameras, and chaos. One that pushes his relationship with Anna to its limits. Anna has always found his unpredictable behavior sexy, but lately he’s seen an ache in her eyes–and it has his soul in knots. Just as the recognition Griffin seeks is finally within reach, the thing he loves most in life could be slipping through his fingers…

HOLY SHIT!!!!! I am SHOCKED, utterly shocked, at how much I loved Untamed. I can firmly say I was NOT a fan of Thoughtless (I loathed Kiera and Kellan), but I liked Griffin for the most part, so I thought I’d give his book a chance even though I hadn’t finished up the series… and I’m so glad I did. This book was so much more than I expected, so much more emotional and meaningful, and I loved it. Untamed is jam-packed with hilarity and heart-wrenching moments (I even freaking teared up at some parts, and I am NOT a crier for books), and I am just so impressed with the way Griffin is portrayed. I applaud S.C. Stephens for her wonderful storytelling and brilliant character development – especially since I almost DNF’ed this book. So if you’re like me, and feel like giving up on this – on Griffin – I promise that if you keep reading, he will surprise you in the best of ways and it will totally be worth it in the end.

Fuck being lead guitarist. I could be lead everything.

Griffin, bassist for the D-Bags, is rude, obnoxious, and from the other members’ POVs, he doesn’t really contribute to the band. He’s kind of there to always make a mess of things. And his way of thinking is just… awful. It’s practically pornographic and very, very arrogant. I almost couldn’t keep reading Untamed, Griffin was so idiotic and ridiculous. But somewhere along the way… I felt sorry for him, which I’m guessing is the author’s intention. Griffin is tired of living in the shadows of lead singer Kellan Kyle, who gets all the fame and glory. All he wants is just a little spotlight on him, but time and again, everyone refuses to give him even five minutes of it. They all have zero faith in him, and I felt so sad for how he never even gets a chance to really prove himself. My feelings about Griffin – amazingly – slowly changed from annoyance to sympathy, and he went from being a moronic character to someone with depth and issues.

I’d had it all, and now… I had nothing.

Oh, Griffin made my heart hurt. He makes a life-changing decision that not only affects him and the band, but also his pregnant wife and daughter. He’s a literal train wreck waiting to happen – actually, not even. He’s a train wreck that is HAPPENING. I wanted to reach into the pages and strangle him for the dumb, desperate decisions he makes, but when things start spiraling out of control and he starts to lose everything, I wanted to cry for him. His fall from the top hurts, and I almost couldn’t keep reading because of how my heart broke at how hard he crashes to the bottom.

“…more people care about you than you think. But… it’s like your ego is a force field… it pushes people back, instead of letting them in. You’d see the world differently if you opened yourself up to the possibility that…”
… “That what?” …
“That you’re an imperfect person… just like the rest of us.”

The best part about Griffin is definitely the way he is with his family, no matter the horrible decisions he makes. He adores his wife, daughter, and the upcoming baby, all of whom I adored as well. I don’t really remember how I felt about Anna when I read Thoughtless, but I absolutely loved her in Untamed. She’s a kickass woman, mom, and wife, and she’s the only person who endlessly supports Griffin, even when it seems like she shouldn’t. I truly enjoyed reading about her character, and I loved that she and Griffin were just perfect for each other. She’s pretty much the only woman who could handle Griffin, and for that I admire her.

I’d been handed fame on a platter and hadn’t appreciated it until it was too late.

This book is definitely eye-opening, both for Griffin and the reader. Griffin’s heart-wrenching fall from the top and his climb back up is a tumultuous journey that is truly incredible to witness. S.C. Stephen’s writing had me feeling like I was there right alongside Griffin through his ups and downs. And as emotional as this book is, it’s also pretty freaking hilarious. I laughed so much at all the insanely ridiculous, inappropriate things Griffin says and does. Also, I’ll admit, Kellan and Kiera grew on me later on in Untamed – they were pretty much the only supporters of Griffin, besides Anna. Plus, I was highly amused by how Griffin thought they were annoying.

Untamed is so worth the read. Griffin makes HUGE changes in his character as he learns to be the person his family and band deserve. I’m honestly so proud of Griffin right now after finishing this book – and I’m so impressed with the way S.C. Stephens was able to make me change my feelings towards him! The way he learns to appreciate the life he has is just beyond incredible and I’m so glad to have read his story.

“Mrs. Anna Hancock… you are my best friend, my partner in crime, my reason for living, and the only thing that really matters to me. Forever only scratches the surface of how long I’ll love you.”

4.5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Thoughtless series

Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens Thoughtful by S.C. Stephens
Effortless by S.C. Stephens Reckless by S.C. Stephens Untamed by S.C. Stephens

#1 ~ Thoughtless: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#1.5 ~ Thoughtful: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Effortless: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Reckless: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Untamed: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads


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Release Day Blitz + Excerpt & Giveaway: Untamed by Jessica Sorensen

Untamed banner

Happy Release Day to Jessica Sorensen! Untamed is LIVE!

Untamed by Jessica Sorensen

Untamed by Jessica Sorensen
Series: Unbeautiful #2 (full reading order below)
Release Date: February 27th 2015
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Emery
No matter how hard I try, I never seem to be able to escape my family’s world. Their madness controls my life, just like insanity consumes my mind.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s real.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell who I really am. The person everyone sees? Or the one I keep trapped inside?
I wonder which person Ryler sees. Just like I wonder who I can trust.
Wonder. Wonder. Wonder. 
I wonder too much.
I wish I could just find a way to escape it all and finally be free.

Ryler
I live a double life and sometimes I hate myself for it. Watching Emery fall apart—pretending I don’t care—is killing me inside.
I want to tell her the truth, but I also want a new life.
Want. Want. Want. 
I want too much.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell what I really desire.
I wish I could be free from the confusion, free from this life.

Buy Links:
Amazon • iTunes • B&N • Kobo

Now here’s an excerpt from Untamed! ❤

excerpt

“If you want to dance, dance. There’s no judgment at these things, which makes them pretty awesome.”

She smiles, and then threads her fingers through mine. “Okay, let’s dance, then.”

I don’t bother mentioning that dancing can be extremely sexy when done under the right circumstances—circumstances that usually include alcohol and sexual tension.

At first, Emery is cautious, keeping her distance from me as she rocks her hips to the music. I move with her. I’ve never really been into dancing, but I can rock out to a little garage rock any day. The longer the song goes on, the more into it she gets, until she finally spins around and presses her back against my chest. That’s when the two of us decide to start playing a dangerous game of Want But Can’t Have. A very, very dangerous game that is really fucking tortuous to play yet impossible to give up.

Emery starts grinding her hips to the sultry beat of the song. With each movement, her ass brushes against my cock, making me go rock hard. I grip the curves of her hips and my hands unnecessarily slip underneath the bottom of her shirt. My fingers delve into her soft flesh, and I bite back a moan. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve forgotten just how soft her skin is, how amazing she smells, how incredible she feels against me.

She shivers from my touch and presses closer, rolling her hips and driving my body absolutely mad. She repeats the movement over and over again, until finally, I damn near lose my mind.

Gripping her waist, I spin her around to face me. “I thought you didn’t know how to dance?”

Reading Order: Unbeautiful series

Unbeautiful by Jessica Sorensen Untamed by Jessica Sorensen

#1 ~ Unbeautiful: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Untamed: EbookPaperback • Goodreads

about the author

Jessica SorensenJessica Sorensen is a #1 New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author who lives with her husband and three kids in Idaho. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.

Social Media Links:
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3 ebook copies of Untamed

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