Another great year of reading is drawing to a close and looking back on some of the awesome titles, I am tempted to go back and read some of them again. Now that I have put this list together, I realize that just about every one is part of a series. Some of them can stand alone. Others are better read after enjoying earlier installments. But either way, for me, they are the cream of the crop from the year 2014.
The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison (The Hollows, #12) – This is the penultimate book in the Hollows series, and though the finale also came out in 2014, I felt this was the superior installment. This book gave me so many things I have been waiting for. You can really see Rachel’s growth and it sets up the path to where all of the characters are going in their lives. Plus Trent. So many reasons to love it. Read it as part of the series.
Click to purchase: The Undead Pool
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare (Castles Ever After, #1) – Tortured hero alert! I loved this book and its blind and scarred leading man. Ransom lives in seclusion in an old worn-down castle. He is content to stay hidden from the world until Izzy comes barreling in with assertions that the castle actually belongs to her. She is the perfect complement to his gruff cynicism and together, they are magic. This easily reads as a standalone.
Click to purchase: Romancing the Duke
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop (The Others, #2) – The Others has quickly become one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series. It’s so different from what else is out there right now. Bishop does such a great job of keeping her monsters monstrous. Meg is such a fresh and emotionally innocent character and Simon is wonderfully, unapologetically growly. There are great secondary characters in the Courtyard, which houses supernaturals of many kinds. These books are dark, but you can see hope found in the interactions Meg has with the Others she lives with. And did I mention Simon? (It bears repeating.) Read Written in Red first.
Click to purchase: Murder of Crows
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels, #7) – As much as I do love The Others, for me there is no Urban Fantasy series that compares to Kate Daniels. And this book is the best installment in the series to date. It’s a culmination of a long running series arc and it was so big in its scope; but it’s cohesive and extremely well done. Kate is such a kick ass heroine, but she’s more than that. I feel like I know her. Curran is sexy, strong, and so in love with her. I can’t imagine how any UF fan would not love this series –and this book in particular. Books like these are why I love reading.
Click to purchase: Magic Breaks
The Kraken King by Meljean Brook (Iron Seas, #4) – I may have broken Twitter gushing about how much I loved this book. Really. I’m kind of embarrassed. (Not really.) Steampunk isn’t usually my thing. But even though you won’t find a steampunkier series than this, Brook’s writing really transcends the genre. For me, the romance is just so fantastic, it could have been set on the moon. It was written as a serial, but has since been published as a single book. And though it’s #4 in a series, you can enjoy it as a standalone. I loved it so much, it inspired me to go read the backlist on the series. I was a big fan of Brook’s Guardian series and this, while different, is every bit as good.
Click to purchase: The Kraken King
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews (Hidden Legacies, #1) – This is my favorite new series. Hands down. I love Ilona Andrews like chocolate. This book straddles the line between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, with a feisty heroine and a morally ambiguous, powerful hero who’s in desperate need of lessons in humanity. The world building is fantastic. It’s sexy. It’s smart. It’s funny. It’s everything I have come to expect from the Andrews team. Made of win.
Click to purchase: Burn For Me
Dark Skye by Kresley Cole (Immortals After Dark #14) – I have been waiting for Lanthe and Thronos since Kiss of a Demon King. And it was totally worth the wait. The past few IAD’s were just ok for me, but this book reminded me why Kresley Cole is one of my auto-buy authors. Thronos is so deliciously angsty and tortured… and virginal. And I loved that Lanthe is strong and unapologetically sexually confident. Both of these characters come a long way over the course of the story and it’s such a great ride. You could enjoy this as a standalone, but it is probably better as part of the larger series.
Click to purchase:Dark Skye
Evernight by Kristen Callihan (Darkest London, #5) I never thought I could love any book in this series as much as I loved Firelight. Then I read Evernight. As the story begins, the hero is actually trying to kill the heroine. He blames her for helping a madman experiment on him. But it turns out that Holly is the only one who can help heal William of the torture he endures every day. Their relationship goes from hate to need to desire and eventually, love, in spectacular fashion. This book is unpredictable, engaging, and very sexy. I loved it. Much of the groundwork for this story was laid in the last book. You should probably read the series in order for maximum enjoyment.
Click to purchase: Evernight
Archangels Shadows by Nalini Singh (Guild Hunter, #7) At this point, I honestly can’t tell you whether I love Singh’s Guild Hunter or Psy Changeling series more. They are two of the best PNR series out there. While I enjoyed Vasic’s book, I have to say that the long awaiting Janvier and Ashwini story really knocked my socks off. Singh has been teasing us with the dance between these two since the very beginning, and it pays off in spades. Not only that, but we’re seeing repercussions from the last book and getting quality time with Raphael and Elena. The anticipation and teases from the previous books help make this really spectacular.
Click to purchase: Archangels Shadows
Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane, #7) – I love a good Beauty and the Beast retelling and Elizabeth Hoyt does it right. The hero is tortured –and a mute, gentle giant. He has escaped from an asylum and is wanted for a murder he didn’t commit. The attraction between him and the heroine is pitch perfect –so sexy. It gave me butterflies. This story takes a familiar trope and makes it fresh and surprising at times. And if you haven’t read any of the Maiden Lane books, don’t worry, you can enjoy this as a standalone. Hot… with a lot of heart.
Click to purchase: Darling Beast
Marked by Rebecca Zanetti (Dark Protectors, #7) – Rebecca Zanetti made me absolutely burn for this book. And it was everything I hoped it would be. Janie finally gets to come face to face with the man who has shared her dream world since childhood. And Zane is so much more than I (or she) ever expected. There are so many great surprises and an utterly satisfying conclusion to the story arc we started back in book one. Thank you, Rebecca, for giving me everything I wanted.
Click to purchase: Marked
Broken Soul by Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock, #8) – We finally move forward on the relationship arc. I almost fell down dead (in a good way.)
Cursed Moon by Jaye Wells (Prospero’s War, #2) – Not much in the way of romance, but a solid, fast moving UF plot, with some emotional kick.
Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover (Rule of Scoundrels, #4) by Sarah MacLean – Chase is a woman! And an emotionally complex one at that. I loved the power struggle in this book and the great twists MacLean has built up to here. A fabulous historical romance.
See any of your favorites on the list? Did I miss one that you loved? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’m always looking for a great read.