Sunday, July 26, 2015

Six Months of Wonder

Here we are half way through 2015 already!  Can you believe it?  Me neither, honestly.  I've been busier than ever this year reading like a fiend, doing my mommy job, working a ton and trying to keep up on this blogging adventure.  So far, so good though and I can't thank you enough for continuing to visit me here and reading my ramblings.  :)

So I decided it would be fun to do a rundown of my favorite books so far this year.  It will likely make my job at the end of the year much easier than it was last year; because trust me when I say choosing a top 10 at the end of last year was incredibly difficult and actually kept me up at night trying to choose the "right" 10 I wanted to include.  So, without further ado, may I present to you wonderful readers my TOP 10 BOOKS for the first half of 2015, in no particular order, mind you:

The Mason List, by S.D. Hendrickson 
     Today, 8:15 p.m.
I hurt. I hurt so deeply, I felt the pain searing in my bones and jabbing like a hot poker into my heart. I knew nothing would make it better as the memories pulled from the crevices of my mind, detailing the bad and the ugly, filling my thoughts with regret as I slipped into the darkness. . .
When I was eight, my mother was dying of cancer, my father lost his job, and the bank kicked us out of our house. I was forced to move to the strange town of Arlis, Texas where my father and I slept in our car in the hospital parking lot. Desperate and hopeless, we lived on fumes of our former life.
Then one night, everything changed forever. A knock on the car window brought a family into my life that I only wanted to shut out. I hated charity and I hated the Masons. Well, except one. He made it impossible to hate him.
Jess Mason had the biggest blue eyes and ornery smile of any boy I had ever seen. He was a ray of sunshine in my dark world. A boy full of adventure, dragging me across the meadow of Sprayberry Ranch; a beautiful Texas paradise full of horses and tree houses that got us into more trouble than anyone ever imagined.
Jess was my everything as a kid until we grew up and the rules changed. Instead of living happily ever after with a boy full of love. . . I destroyed it.
- Alex Tanner

     In the Bone there is a house. In the house there is a girl. In the girl there is a darkness. Margo is not like other girls. She lives in a derelict neighborhood called the Bone, in a cursed house, with her cursed mother, who hasn’t spoken to her in over two years. She lives her days feeling invisible. It’s not until she develops a friendship with her wheelchair-bound neighbor, Judah Grant, that things begin to change. When neighborhood girl, seven-year-old Neveah Anthony, goes missing, Judah sets out to help Margo uncover what happened to her. What Margo finds changes her, and with a new perspective on life, she’s determined to find evil and punish it–targeting rapists and child molesters, one by one. But hunting evil is dangerous, and Margo risks losing everything, including her own soul.

     When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

     If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare. 

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start. 
It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager. 
And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away. 

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all . . . a love story. 

     The only thing inevitable in love is despair. 

I knew from the start that he would wreck me. 
Nothing could have prepared me for the day he walked into my life ... 
or the day he walked out of it. 

I self-destructed. 

All that remained was a shell of the girl I once was. 

And I don't know if I'll ever recover.

    A Stone in the Sea ~ 

He wanted nothing at all... 

Until he found she had everything to give... 

Sunder lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Stone has everything--fans, fame, and fortune. He also has a heart full of bitterness and a reputation for a short-fused temper. But an outward reputation rarely reveals the true man inside. Facing assault charges after trying to protect his younger brother, Sebastian is sent to Savannah, Georgia to lie low until the dust settles in L.A. 

Shea Bentley is beautiful, kind, and hiding from the very lifestyle Sebastian has always embraced. 

When the mysterious, tattooed stranger begins hanging out at the bar where she works, Shea is quick to recognize he is nothing but trouble, but she's helpless to the way her body lights up every time his intense grey eyes tangle with hers. 

They both soon find themselves drowning in a sea of desire and passion that won't let them up for air. 

Sebastian knows firsthand secrets never die, and he's not the only one who's hiding them. 

Loving someone always comes with a price. But will it be Shea's past that costs them everything? 

    At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry. 

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

     Liam wasn't supposed to be my happily ever after.

He wasn't even on my radar.
He was my husband's best friend

-- forbidden.

But my husband is dead and I'm alone. I ache for him and I reach for Liam.

One night with Liam changed everything. Now I have to decide if I truly love Liam or if he's just the consolation prize.

*** Because I absolutely felt like I couldn't include the first without the second, which is just a continuation of the same story, I have two here.***

     Diamonds:   Bryna feels his eyes on her.   

Hot, seductive, enticing. 

He’s at least ten years older than her seventeen years, and he knows exactly what he’s doing to her with that look. 

Walking away would be the smart thing to do… 

But she can’t. Not that first night when he takes her home and claims her body. Not when he shows up in her life again with expensive gifts to win her trust. Not even when she’s falling for him, and everything else is falling apart…

     Gold: The prey becomes the predator.  

Love. That cursed four-letter word no longer belongs in Bryna’s vocabulary. The only four-letter word she knows now is gold.

…and fuck.

She’s well acquainted with that one. And that’s exactly what she plans to do. She’s no longer the golden girl, and when she meets a businessman who promises everything she could ever want from the arrangement, she intends to get her money’s worth. 

    Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. 
Complete strangers since this morning. 
He'll do anything to remember. She'll do anything to forget.  

So there they are, ladies (and gents), my favorite reads so far this year.  It was fun to go back through them all and re-live the emotions I felt while reading them, re-create the stories from memory, and think about what I loved about each of these books.  I'm generally NOT one to re-read a book.  There are VERY few that I've actually read more than once...and most of those are only because they were required reading in high school or college (like The Scarlet LetterRomeo & JulietThe Odyssey).  However, there are a couple in this list above that I liked so much, or touched me so deeply that I feel the need to actually read them again.  I feel like I need to be with those characters once again because for some reason, our story isn't quite finished.  What a strange feeling to have too because I've really never felt this way about a book and all of the sudden the urge to go back with these characters is very real and alive inside of me.

Thanks for taking a minute to find out what I'm reading, what I'm loving, and what I'm babbling about this week!  I've got loads of books that I have reviews waiting for so I will be posting more soon, I promise.

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