Friday, November 24, 2017

Underrated Books; Day Five!

A huge thank you to everyone who has participated in this fun week all about the book love. 
I've had so much fun looking at everyone's book and author choices and even adding a few books to my reading pile, not that it needed any help but oh well right? :P

I thought I would end the week with my top choices for those books that I just couldn't get enough of and wish I could make everyone read. 

First up, The 19th Year series by Emi Gayle. This series is just so much fun and I discovered it when it first was released back in 2012 when the publishing company asked me to read and review the first book. I never looked back after that, I was hooked. 

Book Description:

What eighteen year old Mac Thorne doesn't know will probably kill her. In exactly eight months, five days, three hours and thirteen minutes, Mac has to choose what she'll be for the rest of her life. She has no choice but to pick. As a Changeling, it's her birthright. To Mac, it's a birthchore. Like going to school with humans, interacting with humans, and pretending to be human during the pesky daylight hours. Once darkness descends, Mac can change into any supernatural form that exists-which makes her as happy as she can be. That is, until Winn Thomas, the biggest geek in her senior class, figures out there's more to what hides in the dark than most are willing to acknowledge. In this first of the 19th Year Trilogy, Winn might know more about Mac than even she does, and that knowledge could end their lives, unless Mac ensures the powers-that-be have no choice but to keep him around.

I know I've talked about this series before but only because it is a favorite and I really do wish I could make everyone try the first book because I just know they would fall in love with it too after reading it. It has been so much fun getting to know these quirky characters and fans of the Charley Davidson series need to meet them. I'm so glad this series is still going strong.

Book Description:

Little girls are vanishing from Deadwood, South Dakota. Fearing her daughter might be next, single mom, Violet Parker, is desperate to find the monster behind the abductions. With her savings dwindling and just three weeks left to sell her first house or lose her Realtor job, Violet is ecstatic when a handsome jeweler hires her to sell his century-old, Victorian masterpiece, until she sees the dilapidated dwelling. Now, if she could just convince her only buyer to stop rejecting vintage homes as if they're haunted. Short on time and long on worry, she refuses to give up her dream of a fresh start in Deadwood. But with a malicious coworker trying to get her fired, a secret admirer sending her creepy messages, and a sexy stranger hiding skeletons in his closet, will Violet end up as one of Deadwood's dearly departed? 

Another great series that I wish more people knew about. This series always makes me laugh and as I've gotten older I've discovered that I really appreciate being able to have a good time while reading. There is just something about those books that can leave you smiling that you have to love.

Book Description:

Opal Fire is a paranormal mystery with a splash of romance and a helping of humor. 

Stacy Justice did not expect to be set on fire that night, but being raised by witches prepares one for life's little surprises. In fact, she isn't the least bit shocked when her cousin is accused of arson, or when her divorced grandparents sign up for a marriage retreat, or even when her own boyfriend hauls her off to jail. But when a decades-old secret is discovered within the walls of her cousin's bar, even Stacy is rattled. Now, someone wants her dead and she finds herself dodging angry motorists, exploding chickens and a very creepy man who lurks around every corner. As she begins to dig up the past, Stacy learns that even those closest to her have something to hide--and she's about to discover a destiny she never imagined.

So this one isn't quite underrated as the others since it does have over 1000 reviews on Goodreads but I do think it is one of those series that needs more attention either way because it is fantastic and since it has been finished for a few years now, probably one most historical fans that are new to the genre might not know about. Plus is has a slight paranormal edge that is hard to resist. 

This author is fantastic and her spin off series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine as well. 

Book Description:

These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.
Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a long-standing physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that Sir Edward has been murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers the damning paper for herself, and realizes the truth.

Determined to bring her husband's murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.

If you love a good, well written story all about the anti-hero, then you need to meet Meda. I freaking love her and still think about this series even though it has been years since I've read it. 

Book Description:

Meet Meda. She eats people.

Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.

They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.

Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.

The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it. 

Sarah Fine is an amazing author and I could recommend almost all of her series to you but this one, this duology is one that is seriously underrated. It is a play on the classic Phantom of the Opera and it is fabulous. Set in a steampunk world, it is pretty hard to resist. 

Book Description:

There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her... for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her... and she might go down with it.

Again who doesn't love a good villain, especially a story told from their POV? I loved this, I can't even begin to explain why other than I loved the uniqueness of it and while you might have heard of it, for some reason still very few people have reviewed it on Goodreads. So, if you love a good thriller told from the anti-hero, no plain up, the villain of the story, read this. You won't regret it. 

Book Description:

"The truth is I hurt people. It's what I do. It's all I do. It's all I've ever done." 

He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him. 

What you don't know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he's carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he's holding there against her will—one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her. 

This is how it's been for a long time. It's normal... and it works. Perfectly. 

Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room... the others. He doesn't need any of them anymore. He needs only her. But just as he decides to go straight, the police start to close in. He might be able to cover his tracks, except for one small problem—he still has someone trapped in his garage. 

Discovering his humanity couldn't have come at a worse time.

A lot of people have heard of this author but have you heard of this series? I read the first book and fell in love with it and was so bummed that the second book wasn't out in the states yet. Waiting was agonizing but when it finally came out I read it and loved it every bit as much as the first. It was so much fun. Set in a dystopian world, it was creepy good with how realistic it could seem at times. I loved it. 

Book Description:

What if a microchip could identify your perfect match? What if it could be used against you and the ones you love?

Eight years ago, Mercer Corporation’s M-Bands became mandatory. An evolution of the smartphone, the bracelets promised an easier life. Instead, they have come to control it.

Two years ago, Maggie Stevens watched helplessly as one of the people she loved most was taken from her, shattering her world as she knew it.

Now, Maggie is ready. And Quentin Mercer—heir to the M-Corp empire—has become key to Maggie’s plan. But as the pieces of her dangerous design fall into place, could Quentin’s involvement destroy everything she’s fought for? 

In a world full of broken promises, the ones Maggie must keep could be the most heartbreaking.

I could probably go on forever with recommendations but for now, these are my top choices. All of these are wonderful books and all of them seriously need more people to read them and rave (hopefully in a good way) about them. 

Hope you found something this week that interested you and most importantly that you will read and love.

Again, a huge thank you to everyone that has participated, either through the blog posts or comments!! I love this community and am so glad I am a part of it. :D

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Underrated Books and Author Love: Day Four and Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone in the states that is celebrating is having a fabulous Thanksgiving and getting to eat lots of yummy treats and spend time with loved ones. I love this time of year and how warm and cozy it can be sitting inside surrounded by those that you care and love about most.

I debated on whether or not to just do a Thanksgiving post today or to continue with the underrated theme and I decided to go with it. After all, it is about a day of gratitude and I really am grateful for those authors and books that make my reading time so much fun. I really do love to read more than just about any other hobby I have and I couldn't imagine my life without books. 

So today's post is brought to you by Debbie from The Reading Frenzy . If you haven't checked out Debbie's blog yet please do so. She is a huge romance fan and she is always showcasing and reviewing some amazing titles along with some mysteries and others too so there really is a bit for everyone. Definitely take a look!

Today she is bringing us not only books but an author, which I am loving because how often do you find an author that writes in such a wide range of genre and almost all of her books are wonderful? Not too often.

So here is what Debbie has to say about author Donna Augustine and a few of her books she highly recommend:

Just by accident I found a fabulous author who is a master storyteller in the UF/Fantasy genre. Her characters are intelligent, savvy and street smart but still have vulnerabilities and readers get a front row seat to their maturation. Her series usually star a spunky lady and there’s usually a budding romance or two during her tales. She’s lucky that she’s able to support herself with her writing however I still think she deserves a little red carpet treatment.
I’d like to introduce Donna Augustine.
Here’s her Website where you can find more information on her series.

Book Description:
Two days ago, Jo Davids was a waitress by night and a college kid by day, with the unnerving problem of things floating around her.
One day ago, Jo's sexy boss, Cormac, noticed her for all the wrong reasons when she witnessed a man transform into a monster in the basement of his casino.

Today, Cormac ordered her shot. If he's real lucky, she won't die. Because if she does, all hope is lost.

Book Description:
People say karma's a...well, you know. Personally, I don't think I'm that bad. It's not like I wanted this job. I wasn't even in my right mind when I accepted the position.
Now, I'm surrounded by crazy coworkers like Lady Luck, who's a bit of a tramp, and Murphy's Law, who's a bumbling oaf. But the worst is Fate. He's got a problem with transfers like myself, and I have to see him constantly. It's unavoidable. We're hunting the same man—my murderer.

Book Description:
My name is Dahlia but I’m called a Plaguer, a person who survived the Bloody Death. When the virus first hit the world, it ravaged the human race. I thought I was lucky to survive it but survival comes at a cost. Ever since the sickness, I see things and I’m hunted for these visions. 

Some seek me out because they want to keep their secrets safe. They don’t want the world to know the truth of what they are. Others, like Dax, want my knowledge. Dax has secrets of his own but as long as he helps me evade the Dark Walkers, he can keep them. 

This book is for all the Plaguers, the truth sayers branded and marked as liars, often hunted and sometimes forgotten. This book is for the girl who was right. 

Book Description:
Ollie Wit is the strongest Shadow Walker born in decades but it’s a gift with a steep price. 

Walking in the Shadowlands can bring untold powers and spells, and even greater risks. Every step into that other world brings her closer to the monsters that have haunted her since a child, destroyed her family and wreaked havoc all around her. 

Kane knows Ollie is the key to getting the spell he needs and he’s the answer to ending her torment. But it’s a bargain that brings her closer to her own destruction. Even if she succeeds, will she be able to walk away from the newfound power that comes with walking in the Shadowlands? 

Book Description:
Sometimes I wonder what life was like before magic burst into existence, before the Magical War of 810 destroyed our world. What it was like before there were Wyrd Blood, or we were forced into hiding.  

And that's what I've been doing for years, hiding me and my crew. But that's about to end. My crew is starving and things are getting dire. When I get desperate enough to try and steal from Ryker, one of the toughest men in these parts, things go bad and my Wyrd Blood origins are outed.  

But it's not all bad. Ryker can help keep me alive from the mysterious illness that's been plaguing me. He can also feed my crew. The only thing I have to do in return is start another war.

A big thank you to Debbie for all the wonderful books to check out, I know some of these are also in my TBR pile.

I hope everyone has a safe and lovely Thanksgiving and a safe day tomorrow if you are brave enough to venture out for Black Friday sales. 

See you tomorrow for my top picks that haven't already made the list. ;) 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Underrated Book Love; Day Three!

Hope you are all having a fantastic Thanksgiving week! What better way to show our thanks to those amazing authors out there than by sharing our most favorite books with everyone. This week is all about those books that are underrated. You know the ones, the ones that are fabulous but for whatever reason not a lot of people know about them or have read them. 

Today I have Christy from Christy's Love of Books here to tell us just a couple of those books and why we should pick them up and read them. And also Heidi from Rainy Day Ramblings. Both Christy and Heidi are bloggers I also consider friends. Both have fantastic blogs so do't forget to check them out as well!

First up is Christy, whenever she recommends a book to me, I know I need to take notice because she finds some amazing hidden gems to read. Needless to say, my TBR pile is as big as it is in part because of her, she has yet to let me down (so no pressure or anything with your next recommendation). ;) 

So check out her recommendations and grab a couple, or you know, all of them because I know you won't regret it. 

Must Love Otters by Eliza Gordon 

Book Description:

Hollie Porter is the chairwoman of Generation Disillusioned: at twenty-five years old, she’s saddled with a job she hates, a boyfriend who’s all wrong for her, and a vexing inability to say no. She’s already near her breaking point, so when one caller too many kicks the bucket during Hollie’s 911 shift, she cashes in the Sweethearts’ Spa & Stay gift certificate from her dad and heads to Revelation Cove, British Columbia. One caveat: she’s going solo. Any sweethearts will have to be found on site.

Hollie hopes to find her beloved otters in the wilds of the Great White North, but instead she’s providing comic relief for staff and guests alike. Even Concierge Ryan, a former NHL star with bad knees and broken dreams, can’t stop her from stumbling from one (mis)adventure to another. Just when Hollie starts to think that a change of venue doesn’t mean a change in circumstances, the island works its charm and she starts to think she might have found the rejuvenation she so desperately desires. But then an uninvited guest crashes the party, forcing her to step out of the discomfort zone where she dwells and save the day … and maybe even herself in the process.

 It's a hilarious and adorable little romance. The sequel is great too! 

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman - This is such a fun book that had me in stitches from laughter. 

The Burning World by Isaac Marion 

Book Description:

R is recovering from death.

He’s learning how to breathe, how to speak, how to be human, one clumsy step at a time. He doesn’t remember his old life and he doesn’t want to. He’s building a new one with Julie.

But his old life remembers him. The plague has another host far more dangerous than the Dead. It’s coming to return the world to the good old days of stability and control and the strong eating the weak, and stopping it will require a frightening journey into the surreal wastelands of America—and the shadowy basement of R’s mind.

 Okay, this is the sequel to Warm Bodies, which is actually well known. This one isn't getting the attention it deserves, though, and it bums me out. It really feels like a whole other beast and, in my opinion, a lot better than the first book. 

Black Iris by Leah Raeder 

Book Description:
It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all. 

It's a dark read with an unreliable narrator and effed up characters. I love the heck out of it! 

Thank you so much Christy for all the fabulous recommendations!!

And now Heidi's recommendations. I love whenever Heidi recommends me a book because I know it will be something I might not have even looked at twice yet once I've read it, I can't believe I went so long without having said book in my life. Heidi's blog is fabulous as well because she reads a wide variety of books and not all of them are typical A list books, as in not the current rage or hot item YA read. Instead she reads whatever suits her at the time and so many of them are fabulous and new to me reads that I love discovering each day what new gem I will find. Definitely check out her blog with the list above if you haven't visited her yet.

Heidi's Recommendations:

I am delighted that Ali asked me to share some of my favorite reads that I think more people need to read. Here are my picks:

Lilac Bouquet by Carolyn Brown: I adore Carolyn Brown, she writes the best comfort books.
This book ended up being a five star favorite for me, and I feel like it has gotten overlooked.
This was a story with heart and soul. It made me sad and it made me happy. This is a book that reminded me to grab hold of life and live it. I could go on and on, but I am not going to. Just take my word and read this book.

Book Description:

Come hell or high water, Emmy Jo Massey will have a wedding. After three generations of Massey women with children out of wedlock, she wants the whole town of Hickory, Texas, to witness the legitimacy of her union with Logan Grady. But dream weddings aren’t cheap. So she accepts a highly lucrative stint as a home health assistant to retired realtor, and town recluse, Seth Thomas—a decision her great-grandmother Tandy is dead-set against.

Seth isn’t happy about it, either. The eighty-two-year-old doesn’t want a “babysitter”—much less a Massey—something he makes clear when Emmy arrives at his house, an empty mansion built for the woman who broke his heart. But as Emmy stays and the two eventually open up to each other, she learns the reason behind a feud between Seth, Tandy, and Logan’s grandfather Jesse Grady that goes back six decades. She also uncovers a secret that forever changes how she sees her past and her future…

Ellie Jordan Series by J.L. Bryan: I was lucky enough to become acquainted with Mr. Bryan early in my blogging journey. He has been kind enough to send me copies of all of his books from the Ellie Jordan, which is a series I love. If you like ghost stories, this is the series for you.

It follows Ellie Jordan whose job is to hunt and trap ghosts. Each book delivers another
terrifying tale, and I am always eager for the next one. The first book is free on Amazon, so do yourself a favor and check it out.

Book Description:

Ellie Jordan’s job is to catch and remove unwanted ghosts. Part detective, part paranormal exterminator, Ellie operates out of Savannah, Georgia, one of the oldest and most haunted cities in North America.

When a family contacts her to deal with a disturbing presence in the old mansion they’ve recently purchased, Ellie first believes it to be a typical, by-the-book specter, a residual haunting by a restless spirit. Instead, she finds herself confronting an evil older and more powerful than she’d ever expected, rooted in the house’s long and sordid history of luxury, sin, and murder. The dangerous entity seems particularly interested in her clients’ ten-year-old daughter.

Soon her own life is in danger, and Ellie must find a way to exorcise the darkness of the house before it can kill her, her clients, or their frightened young child.

Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman: I was a huge fan of Vengeance Road when it came out in 2015. Bowman delivers another winner with Vengeance Road. This is a companion novel, but it is just as thrilling, gritty and intense as the first. If you love a good western, do not miss this one. I am surprised that it isn’t getting more buzz.

Book Description:

When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece's path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

In this thrilling companion to Vengeance Road, dangerous alliances are formed, old friends meet new enemies, and the West is wilder than ever.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren: This book is absolutely fantastic. It is beautifully written, thought provoking and wonderful. The story features a forbidden romance between a bisexual boy living in Provo, Utah, Mormon country. He falls for the bishop’s Mormon son. What follows is for you to find out. I was amazed by this one.

Book Description:

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him. 

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman: I have been singing this books praises since I read it last spring. I have begged all my blogger friends to read this one because I loved it so much. This is a heart warming, funny, and emotional story as one woman learns to live and love again after joining a garden group. Think Breakfast Club meets the gardening club. Read it.

Book Description:

Not since Good Grief has a book about a young widow been so poignant, funny, original, and utterly believable. A compelling debut novel about loss.

Give grief a chance ... 

Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years - ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she's just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she's becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed. 

At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks - like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there's that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can't be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity. 

After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she'll soon discover - with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners - is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not… 

I can’t tell you how much I loved all of these books. They are wonderful, and I want more
people to read them!

Thanks, Ali for hosting this fun event. I can’t wait to check out some of the other


Thank you so much Heidi for being here and for all the wonderful new books to check out as well!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Underrated Books; Day Two!

Hey everyone! I'm so excited today to have both Melanie from Hot Listens and Lorna from Rabid Reads on here today! Both of these women are amazing and they both happen to co-blog on two great blogs so if you haven't checked out their blogs yet, definitely do. They always have something for the fantasy and paranormal lover to discover, I know I've found a lot of great series and authors to try because of these two. Plus, Melanie reviews a lot of audiobooks so if you are interested in those, definitely check out her reviews, they are fantastic! 

First up Melanie's books and recommendations!

Five Most Underrated (or Unknown) Books/Series

The Order series by A.C. Donaubauer

Book Description:

A clumsy step, the wrong branch to hold on to and a bump on the head to leave her unconscious – no more than that causes Eryn’s life to turn upside down and to suddenly find herself in the capital city as a prisoner to the king. 

She is determined to keep her magical abilities a secret in a kingdom where magicians have only ever been male as long as anyone knows. That doesn’t work out that well, though. The Order, the governing body for magicians, and the king seem to have their own plans with her, none of them caring in the least that she just wants to leave that blasted city behind and return to the peace and quite of her profession as a healer. 

And then there is Enric, a high ranking magician in the Order thanks to his considerable strength, who seems to find watching her struggles an amusing diversion. 

This is a fun fantasy series. It is set in a world without technology, but many of the people have magic. The kingdom's military is run by a magical group called The Order. Only men in the kingdom have magic, that is until Eryn's cover is blown. This series is filled with fun characters and some good banter. The stories are long, but I get lost and the stories and forget about the book's page count. The characters are really amazing. There are so many of them I love. There is fun banter between them too.

Gifted series by Jenna Black

Book Description:

Politics and magic make dangerous bedfellows.

Deep within the Order, the seeds of corruption have taken root. While younger generations of the Gifted have embraced modern democratic values, a secret society of old-guard zealots seek a return to the past, when only European men of distinguished bloodlines held power.

Now, three venerable European families and a maverick American each plot to seize control of the Order and shape it to their will. A cutthroat game of political intrigue will decide the winner; and the stakes couldn't be higher, for ruling the Order carries with it the power to grant—or deny—an afterlife.

What begins as a battle of wills could turn into an all-out war. And magic could prove deadlier than any missile. 

I think this series doesn't get the credit it is due because it is very difficult explain the story. The story in this series is very complex and told from several POVs. People in this world are given gifts by the Anima (the Force in Stars Wars is my closest comparison). The Anima is a group of spirits of ancestors who are deemed worthy. There are political plots, murders and other great suspense in this series (which currently consists of two books, not sure if more are coming). The characters are very well developed and really kept me rooting for some and against others.

Megan Chase series by Stacia Kane

Book Description:

Megan promises listeners to her new radio call-in show that she'll "slay their personal demons," and they believe her. So do the personal demons... although she doesn't know it, Megan is the only human without a demon on her shoulder! Megan and her allies -- a demon lover who both protects and seduces her with devilish intensity, a witch with poor social skills, and three cockney guard demons -- have to deal not only with the personal demons, but a soul-sucker, ghosts of Megan's past, and a reporter who threatens to destroy Megan's career!

Stacia Kane is best known for her Downside Ghosts series. Prior to that series, she wrote a fun trilogy about a radio psychologist who wants to help her listeners purge their personal demons. Little did she know that personal demons are an actual thing and that she will become their leader. This series has some really fun characters, my favorite are "the brothers", Malleus, Maleficarum, and Spud, who surprisingly end up being Megan's stylists. This is a fun Urban Fantasy series that will make you laugh and is also full of sexy steam.

Olivia Lawson, Techno-Shaman series by M. Terry Green

Book Description:
Even for a techno-shaman, a kachina in the bedroom isn't exactly part of the drill. When Olivia Lawson wakes to find one towering over her, she panics. A Hopi god visiting the real world isn't just wrong-it's impossible.

Or is it?

Soon Olivia learns that the kachina is the least of her worries. As she struggles to save her clients, clashes with other shamans, and fends off the attacks of real-world vigilantes, Olivia finds herself in the destructive path of a malevolent ancient force intent on leaving the spiritual realm to conquer this one.

Left with few options, Olivia is forced to defy centuries of shaman prohibitions. As she and her allies risk everything in their bid for survival, Olivia ultimately learns that the rules are there for a reason and that breaking them has a terrible cost.

I read the first book in this series back in 2012. I read a wonderful review from Red Hot Books that convinced me to try this series. I really enjoyed this new take on shaman (which is not something that I've read a lot of). Livvie goes into the Underworld to bring souls back to their bodies. She really likes to help people and she generally helps people who no one else can help. This world is full of gods and another world, separate from the one we live in. The story is also full of great characters. As I was researching this post, I realized that I've read the first three books, but I didn't realize that there are now five books in this series. I will have to start at the beginning, but they are now available on audio, so that will make it fun to revisit this series and finish it this time.

Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas

Book Description:

Emily Vargas has been taken captive. As part of his conditioning methods, her captor refuses to speak to her, knowing how much she craves human contact. He's far too beautiful to be a monster. Combined with his lack of violence toward her, this has her walking a fine line at the edge of sanity.

Told in the first person from Emily's perspective, Comfort Food explores what happens when all expectations of pleasure and pain are turned upside down, as whips become comfort and chicken soup becomes punishment.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a story about consensual BDSM. This is a story about “actual” slavery. If reading an erotic story without safewords makes you uncomfortable, this is not the book for you. This is a work of fiction, and the author does not endorse or condone any behavior done to another human being without their consent.

This book isn't for everyone. No one wants to be in the position that Emily finds herself in. At no point the author make you think you should want to be in the character's position. Emily is a motivational speaker. She is at a conference and then she wakes up blindfolded and tied to a chair. This story takes us through the psychological aspects of Emily's captivity through her own eyes. The story is all the more intriguing as the capture doesn't ever speak to Emily. He shows her what he wants through facial expressions, touch and sometimes even in books that he gives her. I've read this story several times and each time I continue with that same amazement. If you like psychological thrillers and don't mind detailed written sex scenes, this is a great story for you to try. This isn't a romance. There isn't going to be a romance HEA, but I think in the end, Emily gets what she wants.

Thank you so much Melanie for all the fabulous recommendations!!

Up Next, Lorna's picks:

Book Description:

Thaleia Llorente isn’t afraid of the dark, and doesn't believe in the supernatural, but when an incident during a party on Halloween night sends her fleeing into the woods in search of seclusion, she’ll come face to face with one of the creatures she had thought lived only in myths and legends. 

Bitten, she’ll need the protection and the help of Icarus Quirinus, her newfound and loathed alpha, to guide her through her transformation and descent into the dangerous world of lycan. Despite his constant need to dominate her, she feels an irresistible and undeniable attraction to him, but can they look past their differences, or will the secrets he holds and her refusal to cede, drive them further apart?

Feral by Anne Berkeley was the first book I thought of when asked to compile this list. I was hooked by the story line pretty much immediately while beta reading. Eighteen year old girl gets attacked and turned by a werewolf and is taken in by a werewolf family of brothers afterwards. She can't go home and as a rare female werewolf, she is either hunted or will be hunted by unscrupulous werewolves looking to sell her to the highest bidder. She falls for the handsome older brother/alpha of the family and he becomes her protector. Shifter book readers will love this story for not only the romance, but the snark and humor involved.

Book Description:

Lois and Clark meet Twin Peaks in this star-crossed twist ...

When Geri McKenna takes leave from her dead end assistance columnist job to go home for her brother's wedding, she thinks its just a happy coincidence that her old teen crush, Sean Eastman, has returned to town after being MIA for eight years. Blinded by his looming height, crystal blue eyes and the guns he's grown since high school, it doesn't even enter her mind that Sean's unexpected reappearance coincides with the mysterious disappearance of a woman in nearby Algonquin Park. 

Until Geri travels to Shag Lake to get the scoop on the hottest story to hit the Internet and runs head on into Sean Eastman at the crime scene.

Now he's her prime suspect in an investigation that is leading Geri into the covert world of an alien cover-up. So when Sean knocks down her hotel room door intent on taking her into hiding from men who want to shut her down permanently, Geri must decide if Sean is being honest, or acting on behalf of the organization that wants her dead.

Shag Lake is the debut urban fantasy adventure by Susan McEachern, award-winning author of the young adult Sunset Rising Trilogy penned as S.M. McEachern

Shag Lake by Susan MeEachern is easily one of my favorite reads for 2017. It's full of romance, good characters, action, and paranormal/science fiction elements. It's even very loosely based on a true event that happened in Canada. Aliens, big foot, murderers? It's all here in this amazing book. Even though I am not a big science fiction fan, this book was one I won't easily forget. 

Book Description:

Mediator Ayala Storme handles PR by day and kills demons by night. She avoids Mediator luncheons and a fellow Mediator who’s been trying to get in her pants for years. She does her job. She keeps her sword clean and her body count high. But when a rash of disappearances leads her to discover that Nashville’s hellkin are spawning a new race of monster in human hosts, Ayala will be the first line of defense against these day-walking killers. 

That is, until one of the creatures saves her life. 

Ayala's new knowledge of the hybrids' free will challenges everything she's ever known about her job. Racing the clock while trying to outrun her comrades and enemies alike, she's not sure who will catch her first... 

Storm in a Teacup by Emmie Mears was the start of an amazing urban fantasy series-one that never fell below a five star rating for me, for all four books. It takes place in an alternate United States, one that has demons trying to take over. The main character, Ayala, is a demon hunter by night, public relations rep by day. This book blew me away with how different the premise is, as well as how fascinating of a character that Ayala is. 

Book Description:

A desire that won’t be denied…

London, 1860.

It’s the night of the Masked Ball, one of the most elegant events among London society and a chance for Emily Adams to pretend she’s someone else. Someone who isn’t penniless and hailing from a scandalized family. Someone who hasn’t been told by doctors she has less than a year to live. Behind the mask, Emily can put painful recollections aside and focus on her mission: to find a man to give her a first kiss. 

A hunger that can’t be tamed . . .

Malcolm MacRoyce is on a different kind of hunt, one he knows all too well. A ball among English aristocracy is the last place the immortal Highlander would expect to find himself, but tonight he’s in pursuit of one of his kind who’s been terrorizing London—leaving a trail of bloody murders in his wake. Since Malcolm was cursed centuries ago, he has lived by a strict code and has sworn vengeance on those responsible for his transformation, a vengeance that has gone unsatisfied ---until he meets what he has waited centuries for: the reincarnation of the woman he’d once loved…the same woman who damned him.

After a chance meeting in a shadowy garden, Emily can’t deny the attraction between her and the mysterious Scotsman. But can she trust this stranger who looks at her as if he knows her very soul? Or shake the sense that Fate is playing a game with them both.

Some desires last a lifetime—this one is eternal.

Eternal Hunger by Ainsley Evans was another surprise read for me this year. A brooding vampire that hates what he is, meets a young woman at a ball in historical London. She's slowly dying, and all she wants is her first kiss. To him, she is the spitting image of his wife who died centuries before. The story was extremely creative in its world building, as it had a completely new spin on how vampires came to be. This book was both a romance and a mystery/thriller due to the hero investigating murders by other vampires. Non-stop 5 star read for me!

Book Description:
I feel his emotions in living color. As if they are my own. 

If he’s angry, I rage with him. If he’s grieving, I do too. When he thinks about the past, I’m right there, walking beside him. I am the window to his soul, and yet, in spite of that, he’s a riddle with no solution. 

A puzzle with too many missing pieces.

We always want what we can’t have. All I wanted was some peace and quiet. To fall in love with someone untouched by the magic of Woodland Creek. I craved normalcy.

But not as much as I craved him. 

When he returns to town a broken hero, there’s no choice to be made. I will reach him when no one else can. Together, we will face a future he doesn’t want.

Why? Because our love is pure magic. 

Dearborn by Jenni Moen was a wonderful five star read for me about a small town waitress with magical abilities and the broken man that comes back to town after fifteen years away. He was once her friend in high school, but now a stint in Afghanistan has done a number on him.  Of course it's a  romance, and while the romance was the big and best part of the book, I loved the idea of a town full of supernatural creatures sharing space with clueless humans. This one definitely needs a bigger audience as PNR fans would love every minute of the read.

Thank you so much Lorna for all the wonderful recommendations!