Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top 10 of 2015

Uggghhhh, you have NO freakin' idea how much I've agonized over this stupid list!  Like seriously so much that I almost didn't do it because I just felt like it was so much pressure. Last year's list, my first one, was incredibly hard.  I wanted it to be "just right" and incredible and perfect...and this year, I don't know.  I want the same but I want more.  I don't even know if that's possible and it probably isn't without me waxing poetic about each of my choices and I just don't want to do that.  I don't have the time, nor the inclination to do so.

So, I guess without further ado I present my 2015 list of my personal Top 10 Books, including the editor's synopsis so you know a little bit about them.  Please know how hard this was to narrow down.  Where a book is in a series, I generally mean the entire series. Just so you know...okay, for real this time, here we go.

10.  How to Kill a Rock Star, by Tiffanie DeBartolo
Written in her wonderfully honest, edgy, passionate and often hilarious voice, Tiffanie DeBartolo tells the story of Eliza Caelum, a young music journalist, and Paul Hudson, a talented songwriter and lead singer of the band Bananafish. Eliza's reverence for rock is equaled only by Paul's, and the two fall wildly in love. 

When Bananafish is signed by a big corporate label, and Paul is on his way to becoming a major rock star, Eliza must make a heartbreaking decision that leads to Paul's sudden disappearance and a surprise knock-your-socks-off ending.

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? 


I loved you once. A love I thought irrevocable. A love I mistakenly believed could transcend both time and circumstance. Under the influence of my dimwitted, naïve, traitorous heart, I became intoxicated with what I now know was simply a figment of my self-indulgent imagination. So drunk on the feeling, I couldn't see what was right in front of my face. So foolishly enamored, I blindly followed my heart into the depths of an emotion that would ravage me.

Years later, I know now what I wish I knew then. I am stronger. Smarter. Tougher. I will not allow myself to be broken again.

I loved you.

I raged for you.

I wept for you.

And now, I'm letting you go.

Author's Note: Under the Influence is the journey of two childhood friends that spans the course of five pivotal years in their lives. It is a story about their discovery of true friendship as it blossoms into first love, their experience of crucial sacrifice and ultimate betrayal, and their endurance of agonizing heartbreak on the way to finding lasting redemption.

*****Due to themes of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual situations and explicit language, recommended for readers 17+*****


My name is Calla Price. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m one half of a whole. 
My other half-- my twin brother, my Finn-- is crazy. 

I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I’m terrified he’ll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me. 

I’m doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I’m drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline. 

Dare DuBray. 

He’s my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I’m afraid, where I belong, where I’m lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me. 
He has the power to destroy me. 

Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt. 

Why? Because of a secret. 

A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming. 

You won’t either. 

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.

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 

4.  Never Never (almost-Trilogy), by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
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. 

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. 

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

And finally, we've come to MY favorite book of's not pretty, it's not filled with rainbows and flowers...but man, did it make me FEEL.  Feel so deep, so hard, so much.

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.

So there you have it folks, my favorite reads for this past year.  I also have a small list of what I'd call "Honorable Mentions" because they were such wonderful reads as well but just missed a spot on a narrow list like this.  Those Honorable Mentions include:  ConfessThe Way We FallBig Little LiesGusLeaving Amarillo, and finally Because of Sydney.  There's probably a few I've neglected and forgotten but I think I have most of them here.  Honestly, 2015 was a great year for books and reading; there was very little that I read that I didn't enjoy for at least some reason or another.

Here's hoping (and praying) to another great year ahead in 2016.  Keep living.  Keep loving.  Keep reading.

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