Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 Recap: My 5 Star reads

It's very unsual for me to rate a book 5 stars because I'm stingy with my stars that way. Some years there are more 5 star reads than others, but in general my 5 star reads make up less than 10% of all the books I've read for the year.

What makes a 5 star read for me?

- The writing needs to be excellent. Great plot, perfect pacing, wonderful character development, well researched world building..

- I have to love both the hero and the heroine.

- When I'm reading, my breath needs to catch. It needs to make me oooh and aaah, gasp, put the book down to take a deep breath, then pick it back up again to keep going.

- This one is rather subjective, but the book needs to hit me at the right time and mood too. Sometimes a book can be 5 stars without all of the above just because I was in the mood for it. Right time, right place, right book.

- I have to "can't stop talking about it" and raving my friend Bambi's ear off about it.

- I have to "can't stop thinking about it". The book needs to stay with me, keep my brain going, haunt me, and cause a book hangover like no other. Maybe even make it impossible for me to read another book for a few days.

- It can be so moving, it makes me cry. Yes, please, ruin my make up!

So what was exceptional for my 2015? Not in any particular order ....

By The Sword and The King's Man by Alison Stuart

bkbkThese books are more historical fiction with a touch of romance than they are historical romance. Even so, they are extremely well researched and well written. I felt truly immersed in the times and could imagine living the difficult lives of the heroes and heroines of these books.

My full review of By The Sword

My full review of The King's Man

Going Back For Romeo by L L Muir

bkThis book was just silly and fun. It hit me at the right time and I was in the right mood for it. It made me feel and it made me cry. I'm a sucker for a time travel romance and the whole can't be together because he / she is from a different time thing. I always cry when they have to part, before they can be together forever again. Some people may not enjoy this as much as I did since it's not a book you can take seriously. It's just fun.

My full review of Going Back For Romeo

The Edge of Courage and Shattered Valor by Elaine Levine

bkbkThese stories tore out my heart. I fell in love with all the characters in these stories and the Red Team series features in my Favorite NewSeries of 2015 and Elaine Levine features in my Favorite New Authors in2015. The writing is intense and driven. The things the heros and heroines endure in the past and in the present break your heart. The supporting characters give the stories depth and continuity. All in all, these are stellar stories and I'm hooked on Elaine's writing, the series and the characters. I want a story for every one of the members of the Red Team.

My full review of The Edge of Courage

Behind The Scandal by M A Stacie

bkThis story was poignant and moving. What stood out for me was what the hero went through as he recovered from his addiction. His courage, his determination and his strength. I felt thoroughly moved by what he experienced.

My full review of Behind The Scandal

Love at Stake by Victoria Davies

bkThis story surprised the heck out of me. I was expecting lighthearted fun. I got intense and emotional. Victoria Davies is another winner for me as an author. She's also one of my Favorite New Authors for 2015.  This first book in the series in particular was very addictive. There was class segregation, there was prejudice, there was heartbreak. This was another one of thos stories where I felt the author tore out my heart. Each time the hero and heroine hit a bump, I bled a little for them. I HAD to know how it ended and this was one of the few books this year that had me chasing the ending.

Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross

bkWell hello, another Favorite New Author of 2015. I'm so predictable. To be fair, I read quite a few of Juliette's books prior to reaching this one. This one as I said in my review exceeded my expectations. It was a crazy wild ride with incredibly likable characters. Her world building is superb and characters hold my heart. Let's not forget her men. Her men make me want to take a walk on the wild side and do naughty, naughty things which I'm certain my Steve would not approve of.

My full review of Waking the Dragon

Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh

bkThis story, I knew would be a hit, since ... well, Nalini Singh! Like Behind the Scandal, this story was poignant and moving. There was so much pain, so much angst and drama, and yet all of it, so incredibly well done. I adored both the hero and heroine in this story. Everything about this story was right. It worked. Nalini Singh writes serious book hangover material.

My full review of Rock Redemption

As a bonus, this is the book where I had the most fun reading and the most fun reviewing this year. Loved it and giggled my way through the whole thing. I was on a reading and reviewing high for a while after thing one.

Taken by the Sheikh by Mel Tescho, Christina Phillips and Cathleen Ross (4 stars)

bkIt started with a discussion about alphaholes and how much we loved them. It moved on to whether any of the sheikhs in Taken were alphaholes and I just had to find out. This box set is super fun. It's got all the classic romance tropes I love thrown in with some gorgeous (like nothing in real life!) sheikhs and the fun task of trying to determine which of these sexy sheikh brothers was the biggest alphahole. You should read it and find out for yourself. I laugh and giggle thinking about it.

My full review of Taken by the Sheikh

There you have it. These are the books which got my stingy, stingy, 5 stars. Don't get me wrong, the 4 star books were great too but they didn't quite pack the punch of my 5 star reads.

What about you? What were your 5 star reads for 2015?

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