Friday, January 1, 2016

December Top Reads #Reviews #Giveaway

I know I already did my Best Of 2015 reads. But, every month I close the month off with my favorites of the month and this one is no exception. I read many books, as usual, and have come up with my top favorite of December. Now remember the publication date doesn't matter, just that I read the book in December. You'll read my review to each book, a link so you can buy it if you'd like, and end it all with a giveaway of course. So let's get down to it...

Resurrecting Hope by Shell Taylor

Adam Lancaster can’t imagine how his life could possibly get any better. He’s on the cusp of moving in with his boyfriend, Elijah Langley. Their charge, Kollin Haverty, finally has a loving, stable home environment, and Home for Hope is up and running, keeping over fifteen LGBT youth off the streets at night. But one phone call from his birth mother, Jessica Lancaster, is all it takes to unravel Adam’s carefully constructed new life.

Informing Adam his grandfather has died, Jessica expresses remorse for abandoning Adam to the state and begs him for a chance to be part of his life again. Jessica’s true colors eventually shine through her fa├žade, and Adam is devastated all over again when he discovers she is only using him to get her hands on the valuable inheritance his grandfather left him. Jessica’s betrayal forces Adam so far inside his own hell, not even Elijah or Kollin can keep him from abandoning all of his responsibilities and running away. Adam will have to dig deep to find the strength to confront his birth parents, heal once and for all, and earn back his place with his new family.

My Review:
Okay, now on to the review. So, Book one (Redeeming Hope) kinda sorta ended on a bit of a cliffy. Nothing massively drastic but we were all GASP! Like everyone, I was eager for book 2!

Resurrecting Hope is a much darker, very emotional, chaotic ride for your heart & soul.
Adam comes face to face with his past... his biological mother, Jessica. And she's a horrible, blood sucking, witch of a woman! She's the puppet master to Adam's puppet and boy does she like to play with him. She's as bad now as she was when he was a child and it's so heartbreaking to go through with him.

Adams crawl back inside himself was raw, gritty, and honestly I ached.

Adams "go to" decision to run away from reality throws Elijah and Kollin for a loop and the loss they feel is palpable in the writing. Especially for Kollin.

This is a literary rescue book. You seriously need to strap in and hold on.

How to be a Normal Person by TJ Klune

Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he's fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

My Review:

Many of my friends kept telling me to read this. They said I'd love it. They told me I'd laugh until I cried... they were so right. I did laugh... a lot. I found myself sitting on my bed reading passages of this book to my husband and HE was laughing so hard.

Gus is one of the most brilliant characters I've ever read. I don't know if it's because I actually get him. Like, so much of his mind I understand. I'm weird, and my whole life I've been told I'm an oddball and I do strange things. I don't conform. Well, Gus is so much like that and I got it. He is so refreshing. Watching him and Casey was like the best banter. Whether they were stoned talking about silly book plots, or telling each other that they wanted to go on like a billion dates forever, or simple just were. It was a wonderful thing to witness.

All the characters in this story were perfectly done. The We Three Queens were excellent. Hilarious. Lottie with her lattes and her drag queen hair. Even Casey's friends. I will also never be able to call my internet provider ever again without laughing my butt off.

This is the sort of book you read when you are really looking to connect with something. It's a feel good, be good, kind of book. It's a book that says, be who you are, love who you are, and find people who are searching for the same thing.

Well done!

Sunset Park by Santino Hassell

Raymond Rodriguez's days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.

David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.

Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.

My Review

I am thoroughly convinced I will read anything Santino writes. Sunset Park is brilliant. When I read Sutphin Boulevard and we met Raymond for the first time, I wanted inside his head so badly. I very much underestimated that guy. He is rough and tough but watching him with David was like witnessing a miracle. I loved their tender moments and their raw moments. The dialog was outstanding. The flow was flawless. Santino knows how to write an engaging tale. I brought my kindle everywhere so I could read Sunset Park every spare moment I could.
I wish I could pinpoint my favorite part of this book but I just can’t. Everything mattered. All of it was important. And I once again have a book hangover. Santino Hassell is by far one of the best authors in this genre. He brings a gritty, raw, unique, and creative edge that you just don’t see very often.
High praise for Sunset Park and pretty much all of his books.

Part & Parcel by Abigail Roux

Nick O'Flaherty and Kelly Abbott had their happy ending in sight when a friend’s call for help almost ended with them losing it to the blade of a knife. Now, in the aftermath of near-disaster, both men are trying to heal and move on.

Moving on together, though, is harder than either of them realized it would be. Kelly struggles with simply being a lover instead of the Doc, while Nick is mired in his recovery. The distance between them inches along in stilted silence.

Desperately seeking solace, Nick finally gathers the courage to sort through the possessions his dear friend and fellow Sidewinder teammate Elias Sanchez left him when he died. Instead of comforting memories, Nick and Kelly find a stack of letters and strict instructions from Eli that prompt them to send out a call for assistance. With Eli’s letters in hand, Sidewinder sets out on one last mission together, seeking peace and absolution from beyond the grave—and from each other.

My Review
Sidewinder is back and I have to say I was surprised by this book. It isn’t the action and explosions I’m used to. This was a much more sentimental addition to this series… to these guys. A lot of self-discovery and the uncovering of lies. We found out A LOT of stuff about Nick, Kelly, Owen, Digger, and Ty in this book. I kept reading it thinking, “Any minute now a building is going to explode.” But nope. It was tempers that exploded. There was so much emotion to this story. I felt like, in order for there to be a future for these guys they needed to clear out the cobwebs. There was so much mess in their heads I’m shocked they could stand. There was of course love. Hot intense love. That was a beautiful thing. This book was a long time coming and I adored every second of it.

Focus on Me by Megan Erickson

Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert, and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.

Riley only intended to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option…

My Review

Megan Erickson is absolutely a master at writing. This book is out of this world amazing. It deals with REAL issues and what happens when you love someone so much you have to admit defeat and turn away so they can get the help they need. There’s a poetry to Megan’s words. They wrap around your heart like vines, ever growing, always searching. I felt that way through this whole tale. Riley is so very broken, internally shattered by a silent enemy. One so controlling it literally fights your will to live. We read this book through Colin’s eyes and seriously, the struggle is real! We only get into Riley’s head through email correspondence with Landry (From book one Trust the Focus). This book is brilliant, touching, refreshing. A must MUST read!

Buy on Amazon

Claimed by the Order by J. Johanis

He failed to save himself. Is he strong enough to save his lover?

Young and eager to join the social playground of the gods, Marduk enters his first day of college at the exotic mountain retreat at the Temple of Power. But he swiftly falls into the clutches of a secret order. Confronted by the powerful gods who wish to claim him, Marduk is defenseless. His only way out: to lure another virgin god into the Order.

Content Advisory: m/m sex, graphic violence, non-con, & abuse. Intended for mature readers.

My Review:
Right off the bat the author gives you trigger warnings. As a matter of fact she warns you on all the sites you can purchase this book AND she even warns you again before you actually start the story. So, if you proceed after all that then you really can’t complain about the brutality of this book. And it is brutal. Without giving much away, it’s about a group called The Order which is filled with Gods. These Gods take a pet and well, this pet pretty much suffers until a new pet takes his spot and he or she becomes a member of The Order as well. That’s it in a nutshell. Currently, Marduk is the flavor of the month and it’s ugly. It’s horrific what he goes through. Betrayed by a friend. He is thoroughly violated. But he also falls in love and as they say, all you need is love. This is a dark erotic fantasy. A sexual story deviant in nature. It is also extremely well written. Though not for everyone J. Johanis does an outstanding job bringing you into the terrifying, thrilling, and erotic world. Her descriptions are so detailed and it’s got quite an ensemble. Not once did I find myself confused.
Dark as this is. Violent as this is. It is also an amazing story.

Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton

Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

My Review:

What a lovely, creative, and entertaining book this was. As perfect as it is for the holiday season, I could read this any time of the year. Without giving things away: Jason buys a house, there’s a strange hologram kind of guy he sees wandering in his guest house. Then there’s a globe that this guy is in and… okay I can’t explain this to save my life. But, the whole time I’m reading it I’m thinking, “This is so creative. What a great concept.” Of course as a snow globe collector I immediately took all my globes out, washed them up and have them by the window now.
This is a true love story. One that will touch your heart and have you falling hard. Ben is a breath of beautiful fresh air. He’ll break your heart and make you love life more.
Marie Sexton has written a touching tale.

 You have the chance to win one of these top reads! I will gift one person (TO THEIR KINDLE) their choice! Simply enter the rafflecopter below. Contest will run until January 12th! 
Winner will be emailed so please be sure to check your spam!

Thank you and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I enjoyed several, but I loved Riley Hart's Crossroads.

  2. A book of short stories by Anne McCaffrey about the Dragonriders of Pern. Very delightful read!

  3. I really liked Dom of Ages by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams.

  4. I enjoyed so many. The only title I can clearly remember is Broken Records because it's the one I just read. I have a list of favorites but I just started alphabetizing it so i'm lost as to when I read them! I guess I should have put a date on them.

  5. I loved Focus on me and Winter Oranges. Will have to check out the others on your list.