It’s hard to believe we find ourselves at the end of another year. Time flies when your nose is buried in a book, doesn’t it? But what and where would The Novel Approach be without our love of reading? Each year at this time, we work hard to compile our lists of favorite books to share with you, which is never easy. Twelve months and hundreds of titles means whittling down to our favorite few, which also means some wonderful books get left off the list in our effort to recognize those that were the most memorable.
We’ll be sharing these books with you over the course of the next week. That translates to some sixty titles highlighted by those of us who’ve been at TNA long enough to come up with a list. Some of the author’s names will sound familiar, some maybe not, so we hope to be able to introduce you to someone new along the way. To make that a better possibility, TNA is giving you the chance to win TWO of the featured titles, winner’s choice!
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED
And now, here they are, simply the best, Sammy and Tina style:
Going the Distance by John Goode: “I wish my review could give you some small idea of how gifted this author is—give you just a glimpse at how much you are going to love meeting Danny. But, alas, I am just a reviewer with few and simple words. Go buy this book. Read Going The Distance. You will be so glad you did—so delighted by this story, and I believe you, too, will find an author to add to your auto-buy list.”
Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt: “Once in a while, a novel comes along that simply stuns you with its capacity to move you. Then The Stars Fall was a gorgeously written, lush novel that flowed with such grace and beauty onto the page. I highly recommend this novel to you. It is a remarkable piece of literature that you will not want to miss.”
Hidden Gem by Lissa Kasey: “There was just so much to author Lissa Kasey’s novel, so many layers of subtext and plot twists that left me racing to learn more about Shane and Aki, Candy and Paris, and, yes, just who was torturing, dismembering, and killing the poor victims. Shane, so gruff and aloof, yet so determined to see justice done, to save his precious Aki and to maintain some semblance of his own humanity when the beast inside threatened to consume him every moment. The gentle and loving way he thought of Aki, the deep desire to save him, see him pampered and taken care of, kept safe, was so lovely. This was not your typical romance.”
Rainbow Connection : Volume 1 by BJ Sheppard: “Oh, BJ Sheppard, what have you done? Once again, the characters in this ongoing saga crash and bumble their way through life with such genuineness it makes your heart hurt to see them suffer the pitfalls of life we all must endure. I really wanted to wrap Liam up and take care of him, particularly as he watches the man he loves being drawn away from him piece by piece. But Manny, so stalwart, so loyal, surely he can be strong against the horribly vile and smarmy machinations of Rory? The sheer genius of this story is the author’s ability to give us this unique window into Liam’s troubled and oft times hilarious inner dialogue.”
Stranger on the Shore by Josh Lanyon: “With every turn of the card, Josh Lanyon pulls us more deeply into Griff’s psyche and, in doing so, invests us emotionally in Griff’s well being.
With an amazing cast of secondary characters and the coolly aloof yet intensely smoldering love interest, Pierce Mathers, Mr. Lanyon once again produces an intricately woven plot with mayhem and murder afoot that captures your imagination and leaves you breathlessly racing toward the finish.”
Strain by Amelia C. Gormley: “Amelia C. Gormley artfully creates a cast of supporting characters to guide Rhys and Darius in the right direction. Sometimes they provide a gentle nudge, other times a swift kick in the ass. The way the soldiers all come together to protect and care for Rhys helps them find hope themselves. The way Rhys and Darius come together foretells a future for mankind. If these two men can find their way to one another, anything is possible.
I’m so glad I chose to read Strain to rediscover my love of science fiction. I recommend that you infect yourselves immediately.”
The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick: “The Red Sheet is something I’ve not found very often. It is a story that I haven’t read. I couldn’t predict what was going to happen. I couldn’t figure out what had happened. But I couldn’t wait to find out. Mia Kerick unfolded Bryan and Scott’s story the same way one unfolds a new sheet fresh from the package. You open one fold at a time and use your hand to smooth out the line made from the sizing applied at the factory before it was packaged. In doing this, Mia re-emphasized the good and bad in all of us. She smoothed her hand over the belief that we have the power to overcome high hurdles, even if we are mere mortals. That smoothing reinforced the truth she was imparting.”
Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane: “Unlike the amazing Amy Lane, I have a limited supply of superlatives. There are only so many times I can say her books are good, great, amazing, astounding, etc. At some point, you all just have to know what my bottom line is: read this book.”
Bliss by Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau: “The amazing skill with which Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau develop these characters and let them reveal and see just the tiniest glimpses of truth, which enable them to realize all may not be as it appears, is a beautiful thing. I loved Rory and Tate! I wanted to see them triumph over the evil and prove that appearances ARE deceiving.
The secondary characters are as loveable and loathsome as they are intended to be. Rory’s boss is just the polar opposite of what he initially appears to be. It is rare that a bad guy is written to be as bad as this one and doesn’t read like too much of a caricature. This man felt real, and I wanted him to get the same treatment he had inflicted on so many others.”
Sex & Sourdough by A.J. Thomas: “A.J. Thomas has done what most writers dream of when they are early into their published career: she wrote a great book that makes me want more. More from her amazing brain and equally amazing computer. If this story was in there, I can’t wait to see what else she has floating around in her head. Sex & Sourdough drew me in with the title (read the book to find out it’s meaning!) and kept my attention until way too late at night because I just HAD to finish it. Oh, yeah, you may need a tissue or two.
This is a must read.”
29 thoughts on “Simply the Best: 2014 – The Year in Reviews and a Giveaway”
Thank you for your reviews and for the wonderful giveaway! I’d love to read these books, most of which are on my TBR list.
Thanks for this awesome giveaway!
Some wonderful books came out this it must have been hard to choose favourites.
tough choices to be made on this one ^_^
Thank you for a wonderful year of reviews, I always enjoy your review blog. Keep up the great work. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.
Thanks for the fabulous giveaway and introducing us to some many great stories.
Loved some of these books and the rest on my TBR. Great choices and wonderful reviews.
Thanks for a great year of reviews and posts! I have some of these books and others I would like to have. :-)
I would absolutely love a chance to win 2 of the best books of the year. I buy as many as possible, but there’s no way I could buy them all. I know it would be agonizingly hard to choose only 2, but I’m willing to give it my best. :-) Thanks for all of your reviews. It truly helps me decide what to buy.
love reading your reviews
please count me in
Thank you for a great year of reviews! This list of your best books is awesome too since I seem to have missed some of them. Thank you for the chance to win 2 of them.
Thank you for all of the reviews this year. I was introduced to so many amazing books.
Great choices & awesome giveaway!
Truly appreciate the hard work it takes to keep this site going for readers like me. I love seeing what everyone has enjoyed over the course of the year. Thanks for sharing and for the chance to win!
I love year end lists and reflections. Definitely adding some of these to my check it out list.
Thank you for another wonderful year of reviews and for a great giveaway!
Some books for me to check out. Thanks for the recommendations.
Quite a fantastic list you have so far. Thank you for the review and recommendations =)
What a wonderful selection of tittles. Some of them I’ve already read, some I’m just looking forward to it. Thank you for the chance. ;)
What a marvelous list. This will keep me busy well into the New Year. Please include me in the giveaway.
I’m really surprised I have only read two on the list. I did buy Bliss on preorder because I love Lisa Henry but I haven’t read it because I think it’s going to be too grim for me.
Thanks for the list of amazing books from this past year. I can’t wait tI read the ones I missed!
A fantastic list you have so far. Thank you for the review and recommendations!
Look forward to your reviews. Thanks for a great giveaway
GREAT GIVEAWAY Great authors Thanks for the chance. Happy Holidays
Hard to choose, all sound great!!!
So much, I loved Beneath the Stain…I still hurt over that book…
thank you for the opportunity to win. Some of these I have read and loved, others I look forward to investigating in the future!! :-)
Congratulations to Shirley Ann, the winner in Round One of our Simply the Best 2014 giveaways! :)