My Favorite Books of 2014!!!

fave book meme

So, here we are at the time of the year when everyone compiles their lists of favorite books, movies, albums, etc. I read some pretty AMAZING books this year, so it was quite hard to put this list together and so I decided to go with the ten books that immediately came to mind and that I could clearly remember how they made me feel.

Books 5-10 are not in any particular order, but the top 4 are in order. Remember this list is based on my personal reading preferences and no one elses. So, here we go:

She That Findeth by Kim Brooks

She That Findeth by Kim Brooks

 

Ten years of believing, yet still no husband in sight for Shenita Love. The Bible does say “Wait on the Lord,” which, for Shenita, means waiting for God to deliver her a soul mate. Then again, God helps those who help themselves.

On her thirty-fifth birthday, Shenita’s fear of never starting a family has reached a fever pitch. Her trusty “rule book”—filled with guidelines for dating—simply isn’t cutting it. Soon Shenita is signing up for online dating sites, hitting on men at sporting events, and putting herself out there in ways she never imagined.

When Shenita stops playing by the book and takes matters into her own hands, she finds anything can happen.

Meanwhile, her closest friends are struggling with their own issues of sexuality, acceptance, divorce, insecurity, and financial strain. Always the faithful shoulder to lean on, Shenita wants to be there for them, but her desire to find a man leads her to an unforeseeable circumstance. A place where she must examine her relationship with God and reconsider her priorities.

Fate. That is the only word that can describe the perfect timing that this book came into my life. Shenita has been waiting for the Lord to send her a mate, but she gets tired of waiting. She decides to be an active participant in life and a whole new world opens up to her.

The storyline in She That Findeth is captivating and one of the more realistic that I have ever read. Shenita’s circle of friends have issues that mirror those that I have experienced with my friends and their way of handling them seemed to be quite normal. Things were not glossed over in this book, yet it kept the integrity of being christian fiction.

The secondary characters are just as instrumental to this book as the main character, yet they do not deter from the Shenita’s story. She That Findeth is a story of friendship and how we must never lose sight of God’s Word or question His timing. Brooks is an excellent storyteller and I look forward to reading more from her.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/She-That-Findeth-Kim-Brooks-ebook/dp/B00DPM7X6O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419097334&sr=1-1&keywords=she+that+findeth

Blue Butterfly by Marian L. Thomas

Blue Butterfly by Marian L. Thomas

Precious Blue Johnson, young, country and naive, from Lutts County, Georgia, is traveling to the energizing city of New York to search for her birth father and perhaps make history by becoming the first black ballerina.

Her simple mocha skin and thick lips will put her in the center of a movement, expose secrets and unlock the past as she steps onto the stage as the Blue Butterfly.

She will be guided by the vivacious and wise Ms. Ann and fall in love with the alluring Ray Silvers.

Ray brings the whole package. Enchanting eyes, a bright future as a doctor, and a willingness to love completely. To Precious, he is perfect. Except Ray’s package includes his deadly past. Will their love survive the one person who could end it all—his drug-addicted mother?

First, let me say that Blue Butterfly has one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen! That alone had my expectations quite high for the content, and I am so happy to say that the book did not disappoint. Blue Butterfly is a book of perfection.

Precious Blue Johnson’s life was turned upside down when her dad kicks her out of his home. Blue meets Ms. Ann who welcomes her into her home and forever changes her life. Ms. Ann introduces Blue to the world of ballet and and the story soars from there!

Marian Thomas tells a young mixed girl’s life story as she begins to move into a predominately white community. Blue Butterfly is quite believable as any brown girl that has entered a world outside of her own community, will truly be able to relate. Every word seems to sing off the pages. Blue Butterfly is full of emotional depth. I found myself rooting for the characters and cheering for them to overcome and claim the victory!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Butterfly-Marian-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00JETDF5A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419097490&sr=1-1&keywords=blue+butterfly

Alluring Surrender by Skye Turner

Alluring Surrender by Skye Turner

Cruz Edwards is the talented drummer of Bayou Stix, the most famous rock band in the country. Behind his drum set, he’s a god. Playing is his escape from his tormented past. He’s a deeply tortured man and the scars of his conception and parentage run deep, so deep his friends worry that eventually he’ll sink into the abyss of his own making.

Tifanie Jeffries- Bellaforte is a fiercely strong woman. Her upbringing is the polar opposite of Cruz’s. She’s never wanted for anything and comes from one of the most influential families in Louisiana history. Her privileged upbringing smothered her and she’s worked harder than anyone to prove that she is capable of anything she sets her mind to. She is living proof that character and hard work are more important than a family name and wealth. She’s shunned her life of luxury and supports herself as a brilliant paramedic.

Other than being behind his drums, Cruz is used to hiding from the world and only allows his beloved momma and trusted group of friends a front row seat to his true self. Tifanie is used to getting what she wants, not because she feels entitled, but because she’s willing to work for it.

What happens when a strong woman who refuses to give up meets a man who’s only known despair?

What happens when the walls you’ve built around yourself are pulled down one by one?

What happens when the biggest challenge of your life is overcoming yourself?

Sometimes the things that prove you’re strong come from allowing yourself to surrender.

I haven’t written a full review on this book yet, but I hope to do so by the end of the year. Alluring Surrender is the final book in the successful Bayou Stix series, and I truly believe that Skye Turner saved the BEST for last. This book has quite a bit of depth as it deals with serious topics such as classism, interracial dating, and self-worth issues. And, not only does Alluring Surrender touch on those issues, it has a ton of HEAT which makes it a book of perfect balance. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it!!!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Alluring-Surrender-Book-Bayou-Stix-ebook/dp/B00O3GPDKO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419097582&sr=1-1&keywords=alluring+surrender+skye+turner

Forgive Me by Stacy Campbell

Forgive Me by Stacy Campbell

In this fast-paced sequel to the debut novel, Dream Girl Awakened, five characters come to grips with their pasts amidst broken friendships, infidelity, grief, and loss.

Aruba Dixon has hit rock bottom. After two years of marriage, her second husband has died of Lou Gehrig’s disease, and she finds herself wanting to end it all. A botched suicide attempt makes her parents reach out to her ex-husband, James, for assistance. Up until that late-night phone call, James is living the golden life of success and wealth, but now everything is about to spin out of control… Meanwhile, Tawatha Gibson is grateful for the chance to be free again. After serving five years in prison, she is released on a technicality. Though shunned from those she loves most, Tawatha clings to the dream that she will be given another chance to start anew. But when her daughter, Aunjanue, learns about her release from prison, she’s not sure she can celebrate her mother’s freedom, let alone forgive her.

Then there’s Victoria Faulk, who struggles with forgiving and forgetting. After a messy divorce, she wrestles with feelings of inadequacy and doubt. When her new beau, Emory Wilkerson, proposes in front of family and friends, she knows she’ll never be happy until she forgives the one person who hurt her—her old “friend,” Aruba Dixon.

As the events unfold around the lives of these women, they face the challenge of letting go of the past and building new bonds. Will they come full circle and learn to move on, or will their past mistakes follow them forever?

It is always nice when I pick up a sequel and I don’t have to fill in the gaps from whatever time may have lapsed from the previous one in the series. Forgive Me does an excellent job of continuing the story from Dream Girl Awakened. It is hard to write this one without giving spoilers so I will focus on the author’s writing style.

The tone throughout the entire book was to my liking. It flowed perfectly and somehow in spite of some major personality flaws I was able to feel personally connected to each character. I don’t know if there was ever a title that fit more appropriately to the content within the book then Forgive Me. This book is all about forgiveness and what it entails to reach not only the point to forgive but to accept forgiveness from others. Stacy’s debut novel, Dream Girl Awakened was one of my favorite books of 2013 and it brings me such great joy to know that she avoided the sophomore slump with Forgive Me!!! I highly recommend this book!!!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Forgive-Me-Novel-Zane-Presents-ebook/dp/B00DPM7YGI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419097687&sr=1-1&keywords=forgive+me+stacy+campbell

After the Rain by Renee Carlino

After the Rain by Renee Carlino

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a deeply emotional contemporary romance about the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.

Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina’s hopes for the future come to an end.

Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate’s career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart.

“In all my years, I’ve learned that life delivers many storms for us to weather. Some will be slow, brooding, quiet beasts, and others will be loud, thunderous, and frightening. But if you’re willing to look close enough, no matter how devastating the storm may be, after the rain you’ll always find new life sprouting in the aftermath.”

After the Rain came across my kindle at the most perfect time in my life. I haven’t written a full review for this book yet, but let me say that Renee Carlino has written a masterpiece with this one! I have said this before, but Carlino is one of my “go-to” writers as she can do no wrong in my eyes. The flow, the tense, the sequencing, the amount of humor, pain, angst, and emotions is true artistry and a work of perfection. If anyone has been through any type of storm, then this is a book they will truly enjoy!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/After-Rain-Novel-Renee-Carlino-ebook/dp/B00GEEB47O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419097793&sr=1-1&keywords=after+the+rain+renee+carlino

The Replacement Wife by Tiffany L. Warren

The Replacement Wife by Tiffany L. Warren

Atlanta’s most eligible widower isn’t looking to remarry–but for one woman, that’s a mere detail. . .

Five years after his beloved wife’s death, wealthy Quentin Chambers still hasn’t returned to the church or his music ministry. Even his home is now devoid of music, and without his attention, Quentin’s five children are out of control–until his mother steps in and hires him a live-in nanny. Montana is pretty, compassionate, church-going, and even has a beautiful singing voice. The children take to her right away, and soon Quentin finds his heart opening to faith–and love–once more. But not everyone loves Montana. . .

A “friend” of Quentin’s first wife, Chloe has been scheming to become the next Mrs. Chambers since the funeral. Now she’ll do whatever it takes to get rid of Montana–including blackmail, theft–and digging up a troublemaking man from Montana’s past. But Chloe’s got secrets of her own, and the tables may turn with a twist she never sees coming. . .

I still need to write a review for this book, but let me say that The Replacement Wife is not a book to miss! I absolutely love when I can read a book that deals with faith and is classified as christian fiction, but it isn’t overly preachy. The Replacement Wife had me talking to the book (yup, I actually have the paperback of this one) because some of the characters were simply off the chain! The Replacement Wife is a powerful story of forgiveness, redemption, what happens when we are at a crossroads in our faith and we must decide to either have faith or to give up, and of course, there is a love story!!!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Replacement-Wife-Tiffany-L-Warren-ebook/dp/B00NTAV192/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419097926&sr=1-1&keywords=the+replacement+wife+tiffany+l.+warren

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Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith

Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith

What if overcoming the legacy of American slavery meant bringing back that very institution? A young black attorney is thrown headlong into controversial issues of race and power in this page-turning and provocative new novel.

Martin Grey, a smart, talented black lawyer working out of a storefront in Queens, becomes friendly with a group of some of the most powerful, wealthy, and esteemed black men in America. He’s dazzled by what they’ve accomplished, and they seem to think he has the potential to be as successful as they are. They invite him for a weekend away from it all—no wives, no cell phones, no talk of business. But far from home and cut off from everyone he loves, he discovers a disturbing secret that challenges some of his deepest convictions…

Martin finds out that his glittering new friends are part of a secret society dedicated to the preservation of the institution of slavery—but this time around, the black men are called “Master.” Joining them seems to guarantee a future without limits; rebuking them almost certainly guarantees his death. Trapped inside a picture-perfect, make-believe world that is home to a frightening reality, Martin must find a way out that will allow him to stay alive without becoming the very thing he hates.

A novel of rage and compassion, good and evil, trust and betrayal, Forty Acres is the thought-provoking story of one man’s desperate attempt to escape the clutches of a terrifying new moral order.

There’s only one word to describe this book: MESMERIZING!!! I can honestly say that I have never read a book like this before in my life. Forty Acres made me feel uncomfortable and made me question what I would do if I was the main character, Martin. The lies, deceit, and the role reversals made this a perfect thriller!!!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Forty-Acres-Dwayne-Alexander-Smith-ebook/dp/B00GEEB6X6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419097990&sr=1-1&keywords=forty+acres+dwayne+alexander+smith

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The Last Exhale by Julia Blues

The Last Exhale by Julia Blues

Marriage isn’t easy—especially without honesty. In this exploration of love, intimacy, guilt, and infidelity, two people learn what happens when their feelings get in the way of the truth.

For Sydney Holmes and Brandon Carter, love is losing its strength. Infidelity is the side effect of both of their broken marriages. Now, struggling to pick up the pieces, each is clinging to the hope that lasting love still waits for them, inside—or outside—of marriage.

Sydney’s not happy. Ever since marrying the wrong man, she’s regretted her decision to marry for the ring—not for her husband. Now, nearly seven years and two kids later, it’s not so easy to walk away. When a man drops into her life who gives her the oomph she’s been missing, she may be on the verge of making another wrong decision.

Brandon’s hurt. The death of his son was painful enough, but now he’s faced with losing the love of his life. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t make his wife love him. But soon the attention of another woman begins to mend his shattered ego. He moves out, and just as his new life grows comfortable, the reason his wife pushed him away surfaces, and Brandon must decide if the love they once shared is worth holding on to.

Love is the muscle of marriage. Both partners have to work to keep it strong and healthy, and without it, a marriage has no chance of survival. In The Last Exhale, Sydney and Brandon uncover the truth of what it really means to love—for better or for worse.

“Again, I see the truth he refuses to speak. I will no longer play this game with him. Just like the last exhale-when the lungs release all of the air in its capacity-this marriage has released all of the lies it’s used to keep it alive. I twist the engagement ring and wedding band off my finger. Release the weight. Grab his hand, open his palm. Place the rings inside. Yes, Eric. This is it for us.”

Very rarely do I feel the need to contact the author after reading a book, and that is exactly what I did as soon as I finished The Last Exhale. This book hit on every single emotional trigger I look for in a book.

A loveless marriage and/or one when a person realizes they probably shouldn’t be in it anymore for whatever reason is something that quite a few folks can relate to. I am normally pretty good at figuring out plots, but there were some twists and turns that I definitely did not see coming in this book. I thought Julia outdid herself with her debut, Parallel Pasts, but The Last Exhale is a true work of perfection!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Exhale-Novel-Zane-Presents-ebook/dp/B00GEEB8DE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419098073&sr=1-1&keywords=the+last+exhale

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Arsen by Mia Asher

Arsen by Mia Asher

One glance was all it took…

I’m a cheater.
I’m a liar.
My whole life is a mess.

I love a man.
No, I love two men…
I think.

One makes love to me. The other sets me on fire.
One is my rock. The other is my kryptonite.

I’m broken, lost, and disgusted with myself.

But I can’t stop. This is my story.
My broken love story.

“I can feel myself withdrawing from him. From his love. From my marriage. And there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Nothing.”

OMG, right from the beginning I thought “This book is going to be AMAZING!” Cathy has given up on her marriage and her husband Ben. This is her story and boy what an emotional ride Mia Asher has given us!!

It is raw and real. Anyone that has been through a breakup can totally relate to the feelings of disconnect that Cathy is feeling at the beginning of the book. The issue that is driving Cathy away from Ben hit me like a ton of bricks and it brought about a sadness that touched me to the core.

Then Arsen enters the picture. He is young, sexy, and wants Cathy. For quite awhile they keep their attraction under control, but then one day it changes. I really wanted to dislike Cathy at this point, but Asher’s writing style made it hard to do so.

“Cathy, meeting you was chance, falling in love with you was destiny, and loving you is my reason to exist.”

BEN!!! He is quite possibly the most realistic male character I’ve ever seen in a work of fiction. He is one of the good guys. Normally when reading a book, I mainly identify with the female lead, but in Arsen, I identified most with Ben. Anyone that has had their heart broken, been disappointed, and publicly humiliated will identify with him. He simply wants to love his spouse and enjoy married life.

Arsen is gut-wrenching. This book is about grown adults who are in realistic situations. It gets ugly, painful, and even at some parts it is beautiful. It is one of those books where you could switch out the character’s names and put people from your real life and it would read just the same. This book stayed with me long after I finished the last page. If you have not read Arsen yet, then I would HIGHLY recommend it!!!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Arsen-broken-love-story-Asher-ebook/dp/B00EPZUSYY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419098222&sr=1-1&keywords=arsen+mia+asher

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A Wanted Woman by Eric Jerome Dickey

A Wanted Woman by Eric Jerome Dickey

The twenty-first novel from New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey, a steamy thriller set in tropical Barbados

She is a woman of a thousand faces, an assassin who could be anyone, anywhere.

The Trinidad contract was supposed to be simple: to make a living man become a dead man. When the job goes bad under the watchful eye of a bank security camera, there is nowhere for agent MX-401, known as Reaper, to hide from the fearsome local warlords, the Laventille Killers.

Her employers, the Barbarians, send her to Barbados, the next island over, barely two hundred miles away, with the LK’s in hot pursuit of the woman who took many of their own. With the scant protection of a dank safe house, no passport, and no access to funds, an island paradise becomes her prison.

While she trawls for low-profile assignments to keep her skills sharp and a few dollars in her pocket, Reaper discovers that family ties run deep, on both sides of the fight. Will the woman everyone wants, who has lived countless lives in the service of others, finally discover who she really is?

In A Wanted Woman, New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey delivers an adrenaline-pumping rush of a read.

If you are looking for nonstop action with a roller coaster ride that will leave you speechless then A Wanted Woman by Eric Jerome Dickey is the book for you! The setting is Barbados which already makes for a sexy backdrop and then you add an unlikely assassin and the impeccable writing skills of EJD and that equaled me being up all hours of the night reading. There were so many twists and turns that each page left me wondering what would possibly happen next.

Eric Jerome Dickey has been my favorite author for quite some time now, and I am still in awe of his writing skills. A Wanted Woman reads as if it should be on the big screen and assassin MX-401 is worthy of action hero status just as other strong female characters like Evelyn Salt and Cataleya Restrepo. Whether writing erotica or action, EJD has a way of capturing the female spirit and nuances better than most and that is why he continues to be at the top of my list of authors that NEVER disappoint!!!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wanted-Woman-Eric-Jerome-Dickey-ebook/dp/B00DMCPO9U/ref=sr_1_1_ha?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419098392&sr=1-1&keywords=a+wanted+woman

And, there you have it and now I can’t wait to see what AMAZING books will come across my way in 2015!!!

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