Best Books of 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The clock is ticking down to 2016, and with it comes a slew of books I cannot wait to read. But before I dive into what’s coming, it’s time to take a look back at the books of 2015. I read 169 books this year, some great, some incredible, and (fortunately) only a few that I don’t care to revisit. I tried 65 new (to me) authors, and once again found some amazing authors whose books I cannot do without (Lilah Pace is now an autobuy author and I will definitely be glomming up Jeanette Murray and Amanda Weaver’s backlists). And finally, I participated in my sixth A to Z Reading Challenge, a fun challenge that usually leads me to at least a couple of books I might not have moved to the top of my TBR pile otherwise.

I read a number of excellent books this year, but I did manage to narrow the list down so I could spotlight the best of the best that I read in 2015:

Wit and Sin Best Books of 2015

Top Fifteen Books of 2015
Top Re-Reads of 2015


My Top Fifteen Books of 2015

Note: My picks weren’t all published in 2015 (two are even January 2016 releases), but all were new-to-me reads for the year.
Also note: The books are alphabetized by title as I love them all equally

Asking for It Cover 1. Asking for It (Asking for It, Book 1) by Lilah Pace
My Review | Buy Link






Begging for It Cover 2. Begging for It (Asking for It, Book 2) by Lilah Pace
My Review | Buy Link






Blood Kiss Cover 3. Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy, Book 1) by J.R. Ward
My Review | Buy Link






The Deal Cover 4. The Deal (Off-Campus, Book 1) by Elle Kennedy
My Review | Buy Link






Dearest Rogue Cover 5. Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, Book 8) by Elizabeth Hoyt
My Review | Buy Link






Grave Phantoms Cover 6. Grave Phantoms (Roaring Twenties, Book 3) by Jenn Bennett
My Review | Buy Link






Ink and Bone Cover 7. Ink and Bone (The Great Library, Book 1) by Rachel Caine
My Review | Buy Link






Obsession in Death Cover 8. Obsession in Death (In Death, Book 40) by J.D. Robb
My Review | Buy Link






Off the Clock Cover 9. Off the Clock (Pleasure Principle, Book 1) by Roni Loren
My Review | Buy Link (*2016 release*)






Playing Knotty Cover 10. Playing Knotty by Elia Winters
My Review | Buy Link






Rock Chick Cover 11. Rock Chick (Rock Chick, Book 1) by Kristen Ashley
My Mini-Review | Buy Link




Rock Chick Redemption Cover 12. Rock Chick Redemption (Rock Chick, Book 3) by Kristen Ashley
My Mini-Review | Buy Link




The Score Cover 13. The Score (Off-Campus, Book 3) by Elle Kennedy
My Review | Buy Link (*2016 release*)






Shards of Hope Cover 14. Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling, Book 14) by Nalini Singh
My Review | Buy Link






This Book Will Change Your Life Cover 15. This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver
My Review | Buy Link









My Top Re-Reads of 2015

Aidan and Ethan Cover 1. Aidan & Ethan (Seeking Redemption, Book 1) by Cameron Dane
Buy Link






Devil in Winter Cover 2. Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, Book 3) by Lisa Kleypas
Buy Link






Festive in Death Cover 3. Festive in Death (In Death, Book 39) by J.D. Robb
My Review | Buy Link






Slave to Sensation Cover 4. Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
My Review | Buy Link

Review: The Score by Elle Kennedy

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Score by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus, Book 3
Publisher: Elle Kennedy
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance The Score Cover
Release Date: January 11, 2016
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Elle Kennedy Reading Order

He knows how to score, on and off the ice
Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she's going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over
Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.

Like its hero, The Score should come with a warning: too sexy for words. Elle Kennedy has pulled off a hat trick – this third Off-Campus novel is as swoon-worthy, funny, and utterly addictive as The Deal and The Mistake.

I’ll be honest, going into The Score I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Dean. I knew from the first two Off-Campus books that he was cocky, brazenly sexual, and fun to read about, but I wondered if he had the makings of a good hero. I shouldn’t have doubted Ms. Kennedy for a second. Dean isn’t just a good hero, he’s a great one. The first two books in the series only show the tip of the iceberg, the face Dean shows to the world. He is shameless, loves sex, is funny, and “Confidence” could be one of his middle names. But he’s also extremely smart, self-aware, honest, and has an incredibly big heart. He has a liveliness that simply springs off the page and yes, he practically oozes sensuality, but it’s the way he wholeheartedly cares for people – and how he shows he cares without even seeming to realize it – that sealed the deal for me.

It takes a strong heroine to hold her own on the page when the hero is Dean, and Allie is definitely up to the task. She’s incredibly talented, hardworking, and funny – the kind of heroine you would love to be friends with. She’s at a crossroads in her life when she first hooks up with Dean, and I loved watching her find her way and grab hold of her future over the course of the story. It may be a spur-of-the-moment hookup that brings Dean and Allie together, but it’s clear from the start (to readers, if not to the characters themselves) that these two have the potential to go the distance. Their chemistry, banter, and emotional connection made the pages of the story fly by. And watching Allie and Dean bring out the best in each other and grow both as individuals and as a couple was fantastic. As a pair, they’re by turns sweet, hilarious, and heartwarming. It also would be an absolute crime not to mention their erotic connection. Because The Score is off-the-charts hot, with Dean and Allie steaming up the page right and left like nobody’s business.

The Score is both a sexy-as-sin romance and story about growing up, and the two elements blend seamlessly thanks to Ms. Kennedy’s talent. Dean and Allie face serious obstacles and real life issues that aren’t easy to handle. What makes the story work is that they don’t always handle things perfectly. Allie and Dean are flawed, and they recognize that, which makes them endearing and interesting. I can’t say more without spoiling the story, so suffice it to say that there’s not a storyline in this book that isn’t compelling. On a lighter note, it would be remiss of me not to mention Dean’s roommates, Garrett, Logan, and Tucker, along with Allie’s best friend, Hannah. The secondary characters light up the page even more, adding more heart and a number of moments that made me grin. I dare fans of the series old and new not to be charmed by our favorite Briar students. Add in a curveball involving Tucker that I did not see coming and it’s a guarantee that I’m not going to be the only reader who can’t wait to read the next Off-Campus book. While I wait, I’m more than happy to fall in love with Allie and Dean all over again with multiple re-reads of The Score.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Stealing the Bachelor by Sonya Weiss

Monday, December 28, 2015

Stealing the Bachelor by Sonya Weiss
Series: Stealing the Heart, Book 3
Publisher: Entangled: Bliss
Genre: Contemporary Romance Stealing the Bachelor Cover
ISBN: 9781633754096
Release Date: January 11, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

She needs his help, but he has a price…

Having missed out on the "drop-dead-gorgeous" gene in her family, Ann Snyder decides to kick a little butt in the business world instead. That is, until her skeezy manager's "side business" has the FDA raiding her chocolate shop. Now Ann's in huge trouble…and the only person who can help her is the adorkable guy who completely humiliated her in high school.

Lawyer Eric Maxwell has been in love with Ann as long as he can remember. He figured he never stood a chance-don't the beautiful girls always prefer the bad boys to the nerds? So he makes Ann a deal. He'll provide her with free legal services...if she'll move in and help transform him from nerd-without-a-clue to bona fide bad boy.

And once the transition is complete, all he has to do is prove that he's the only bachelor for her…

Stealing the Bachelor hits the ground running and never loses its energy. Sonya Weiss’s third Stealing the Heart story is fast-paced, fun, and too cute for words.

When Ann finds herself in a world of legal trouble after trusting the wrong man, she turns to the only person who can keep her out from behind bars: Eric Maxwell, local attorney and the guy who embarrassed her in high school. What Ann doesn’t know is that Eric has been head-over-heels in love with her for years, but he never seems to say the right thing around her. Eric’s happy to help Ann out of her bind, but he also knows this is his once chance to get Ann to notice him. So he proposes a trade: he’ll provide her with free legal services if she’ll help him go from geeky good guy to sexy bad boy – aka the kind of guy Ann has always gone for.

Stealing the Bachelor has a fun premise, and it works for the most part, thanks in large part to Eric. Ms. Weiss has definitely created a swoon-worthy hero in him, and it’s clear from the start there’s no reason for him to change. He’s smart, sexy, has a giving heart, is adorably geeky but not overly so, and is completely gone over Ann. What’s keeping them apart is a series of misunderstandings, and this is where Stealing the Bachelor falters. It’s tricky to have a story where what’s keeping the heroine and hero apart is a misunderstanding that could easily be cleared up by a simple conversation, and the lack of communication between Ann and Eric was a bit frustrating at times. Where the story also faltered was its fast pace. The book moved so quickly that certain plotlines weren’t as fleshed out as I’d have liked, which lead to obstacles appearing and disappearing without warning. Still, I cannot deny that even with these issues I was charmed by the story overall. Ann and Eric made me smile more than once and I was happy to get swept up in their love story. I haven’t yet read the first two Stealing the Heart books, but I definitely will be picking up Stealing the Groom and Resisting Her Rival soon.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: New Leaf by Catherine Anderson

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New Leaf by Catherine Anderson
Series: Mystic Creek, Book 2
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance New Leaf Cover
ISBN: 9780451418357
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

When Taffeta Brown was viciously betrayed by her wealthy husband, she lost everything—including custody of their daughter, Sarah. Now that Taffy has moved to Mystic Creek, Oregon, to start over, she unexpectedly meets the one man who might help her get Sarah back.

Barney Sterling, a local lawman, finds himself drawn to the lovely, guarded Taffy, but he’s stunned by her proposition—that they marry immediately to improve her chances of regaining custody of her daughter. Barney takes marriage too seriously to commit himself to a woman he hardly knows. Yet soon his sympathies fall with the desperate Taffy, and pretending to be in love becomes the easiest part of the plan. But they have no idea what they’re up against, or what they’re willing to risk to make a miracle come true in Mystic Creek.

Taffeta Brown has moved to Mystic Creek in order to rebuild her life and regain custody of her daughter. She has no interest in attracting attention and having her past come to light, so when handsome deputy Barney Sterling catches her eye, she decides to keep her interactions with him strictly in the realm of nighttime fantasies. Then a late-night noise complaint throws her in Barney’s path and suddenly she has his attention. It’s then that Taffeta decides to change her plan of action. She needs help to get her daughter back and who better to assist her than a lawman with a sterling reputation? Taffeta proposes a marriage of convenience to improve her chances and repair her reputation, and to her surprise, Barney agrees. But somewhere along the line, what starts as a marriage-in-name-only begins to feel all too real…

New Leaf is a somewhat difficult book for me to review. On the one hand, it’s sweet and charming, featuring characters who are nearly perfect. On the other hand, there’s something just slightly off about the central characters and their actions that kept me from enjoying the story. To start, everyone in the story reads far, far older than the author tells readers they are. It makes sense in some ways for Taffeta, who has lived a hard life and thus would be more mature than her years. Barney, however, shocked me when I learned he was under thirty. When you add in the fact that the main characters – all born and raised Oregonians – speak like they’re from the South, it’s impossible not to be pulled out of the story by the characters’ speech. Everything about this story felt old-fashioned – which I would enjoy – but it wasn’t at all organic. The pacing was uneven, the type of story it was changed and not in a seamless way. Most of all, I found myself deeply frustrated by Barney. He’s supposed to be this perfect hero with a heart of gold, and most of the time he reads that way, to an unbelievable extent. However, he was incredibly focused on Taffeta’s looks, not noticing her until she wore makeup, then asking her over and over to dress sexier and alter her appearance.

New Leaf isn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. The story has charm in parts and all the good guys wear white hats while the bad guys wear black. However, the dialogue was stilted, I never connected with the characters as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t suspend disbelief well enough to enjoy the book, and the last quarter of the story took a religious bent I was not expecting. I don’t think I’ll be returning to Mystic Creek, but I would try Catherine Anderson’s work again in the future.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour: My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis

Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Kind of Wonderful Blog Tour

If you've visited Wit and Sin a time or two, then you probably know I'm a huge Jill Shalvis fan. Her books are always funny, sexy, and wonderfully entertaining. Her upcoming Cedar Ridge novel, My Kind of Wonderful, is no exception, which is why I'm delighted to be a part of the blog tour. My review of My Kind of Wonderful can be found here, and if you scroll down on this post you'll find a Q&A with Jill Shalvis, information on the Cedar Ridge series, and a giveaway from Ms. Shalvis's publisher, Forever!


Q&A with Jill Shalvis:

Q: What can you tell us about Bailey and Hudson that we won’t find in the book?
A:
That someday they’re going to have twin boys that will drive them as crazy as Hud and his own twin Jacob drove his mother… :)

Q: What has been your favorite experience as a writer?
A:
Getting to meet so many readers. I’m a reader first and foremost, so it’s like I’ve found my people! But that said, there’s nothing like walking the aisles of Target or Walmart and coming across your books on the shelves.

Q: For readers who have never read a Jill Shalvis book, what would tell them they can expect from your stories?
A:
A warm, sexy, funny contemporary romance with hot guys who aren’t too alpha to gall in love and admit it, and a guaranteed happily ever after.



About My Kind of Wonderful:

My Kind of Wonderful CoverBailey Moore has an agenda: skiing in the Rockies, exploring castles in Europe, ballroom dancing in Argentina. Now that she has a second lease on life, she’s determined not to miss a thing. What she doesn’t realize is that item #1 comes with a six-foot-one ski god hot enough to melt a polar ice cap. She doesn't want to miss out on him either, but Hudson Kincaid isn’t the type of guy to love and let go. And as gorgeous as Cedar Ridge is, she’s not planning to stick around.

As head of ski patrol at his family’s resort, Hud thinks he’s seen it all. But never has he run into someone like Bailey. She might look delicate, but her attitude is all firecracker. And her infectious joy touches something deep within him that he's been missing far too long. Now he'll just have to convince Bailey to take a chance on her biggest adventure yet…something rare and all kinds of wonderful.

My Review | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BAM! | iTunes | Google Play



Start from the beginning with book one in the Cedar Ridge series, SECOND CHANCE SUMMER!

About Second Chance Summer:

Second Chance Summer CoverCedar Ridge, Colorado, is famous for crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, and pine-scented breezes. And it's the last place Lily Danville wants to be. But she needs a job, and there's an opening at the hottest resort in her hometown. What has her concerned is the other hot property in Cedar Ridge: Aidan Kincaid-firefighter, rescue worker, and heartbreaker. She never could resist that devastating smile…

The Kincaid brothers are as rough and rugged as the Rocky Mountains they call home. Aidan has always done things his own way, by his own rules. And never has he regretted anything more than letting Lily walk out of his life ten years ago. If anyone has ever been in need of rescuing, she has. What she needs more than anything are long hikes, slow dances, and sizzling kisses. But that can only happen if he can get her to give Cedar Ridge-and this bad boy-a second chance…

My Review | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BAM! | iTunes | Google Play



About Jill Shalvis:

Jill ShalvisNew York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Find Jill Shalvis on the Web: Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Giveaway

Enter here to win a copy of My Kind of Wonderful!:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis
Series: Cedar Ridge, Book 2
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance My Kind of Wonderful Cover
ISBN: 9781455586783
Release Date: December 22, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Bailey Moore has an agenda: skiing in the Rockies, exploring castles in Europe, ballroom dancing in Argentina. Now that she has a second lease on life, she’s determined not to miss a thing. What she doesn’t realize is that item #1 comes with a six-foot-one ski god hot enough to melt a polar ice cap. She doesn't want to miss out on him either, but Hudson Kincaid isn’t the type of guy to love and let go. And as gorgeous as Cedar Ridge is, she’s not planning to stick around.

As head of ski patrol at his family’s resort, Hud thinks he’s seen it all. But never has he run into someone like Bailey. She might look delicate, but her attitude is all firecracker. And her infectious joy touches something deep within him that he's been missing far too long. Now he'll just have to convince Bailey to take a chance on her biggest adventure yet…something rare and all kinds of wonderful.

My Kind of Wonderful is exactly that – my kind of funny, charming, heartwarming, wonderful romance. Bailey, Hud, and the entire Kincaid family will make you laugh one moment, then tug on your heartstrings the next.

Bailey Moore has spent a good portion of her life battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Against all odds she triumphed and now is determined to not play it safe and truly live. I loved Bailey; she has a determined mind and a caring heart. Her fight against cancer may have taken its toll on her body, but her spirit is undeniably bright and she simply charmed the heck out of me from the moment she appeared on the page. Falling in love isn’t on Bailey’s list of adventures, but when she lands in Cedar Ridge – and mistakenly in the path of Hudson Kincaid – she ends up making an unexpected detour. Hud is strong and sexy, but also a workaholic who takes too much on his shoulders and carries old wounds he doesn’t want to heal. I loved that Hud doesn’t see Bailey’s battle with cancer as defining her, as other (well-intentioned) people in her life do. He sees her for the talented, sexy woman she is. Bailey, in turn brings joy to Hud’s world, making him come alive in a way he hasn’t been in years.

Neither Hud nor Bailey think their initial flirtation will ever be anything more than some seasonal steamy fun, but it’s clear to readers (not to mention Hud’s family) that these two are meant to be. Their road to happily ever after isn’t all smooth sailing, as both at one point or another put up barriers. They have to face their fears and take a chance if they want things to last. But every bump in the road is worth it because these two have fantastic chemistry and make the pages of My Kind of Wonderful fly by in a flurry of funny, sizzling, and sometimes heartbreaking scenes.

It wouldn’t be a Jill Shalvis book if there weren’t some of the author’s trademark hilarity, and in My Kind of Wonderful the Kincaid family had me grinning more often than not. The Kincaid siblings’ hijinks add a lot of humor to the book, but what makes the family as a whole special is their clear love for one another. The comedic moments in My Kind of Wonderful draw you in, but it’s the book’s strong heart that makes the story stay with you. I absolutely adored Bailey and Hud and I cannot wait to read the next Cedar Ridge story, Nobody But You.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Final Move by Victoria Denault

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Final Move by Victoria Denault
Series: Hometown Players, Book 3
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Contemporary Romance The Final Move Cover
ISBN: 9781455564057
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Hockey legend Devin Garrison thought he blew his shot. But his relationship with Callie Caplan just went into overtime.

Sexy, rich, and one of the biggest stars in the NHL, Devin Garrison has always been the one who had it all. That is until his marriage falls apart and he realizes he has to start over. If he’s honest, there has only been one woman who ever really excited him – Callie Caplan. They shared a night that was hotter than the late-summer sun, but in an instant – Callie was gone, pretending it never happened.

Callie Caplan isn’t the wild child people think she is. It's true she’s avoided relationships, but only because she's seen how crazy love can be. And her messy, imperfect life is crazy enough without opening her heart to a man – even one as picture perfect as Devin. But when fate brings them back together – just as they need each other most – Devin is determined to convince Callie that what she’s feeling is real. And this final play may be their chance at forever…

Victoria Denault blends romantic fantasy and messy, complicated reality with great results in The Final Move. Devin Garrison has always wanted a wife and a family, but the perfect life he set up for himself is falling apart. Now going through a divorce, Devin is on the brink of getting lost in a downward spiral. Luck is on his side, however, and it brings Callie Caplan back into his life. The Garrisons and Caplans have always been close, but almost no one knows that Callie and Devin almost started something a long time ago. Callie needs a place to stay while she’s in town for work and Devin is happy to help her out, especially when she puts a stop to his self-destructive behavior. What he doesn’t count on is their old attraction flaring back to life. Callie doesn’t do relationships, so Devin will have to convince her to overcome her fears and take a chance on him.

I love a good hockey player hero, and Devin is an interesting, flawed one. There’s a core of sweetness to him when we first meet him in the past and I loved that about him. He loses that – understandably – when we get to the present and he’s going through a divorce. Devin’s life is in shambles and he doesn’t take it well, going through alcohol and women right in front of Callie. It’s not pleasant to read about and I was often frustrated with Devin. However, because I’d already been hooked on Devin from the beginning of the book, Ms. Denault had me rooting for him to pull himself out of the hole and become the hero I was hoping for. And when he did, The Final Move really took off.

Callie sees Devin at his worst and best and doesn’t flinch. She’s a strong, sassy heroine with a generous heart she’s terrified of risking. Callie has seen her family members devastated by heartbreak and doesn’t want to have that happen to her. Devin is the one man who has ever gotten past her armor and he and his young son grab her heart before she even knows it’s happening. I adored Callie and wanted to see her find the love she so deserved.

Devin and Callie have explosive chemistry and The Final Move definitely heats up once these two get together. But the road to happily ever after is filled with obstacles, Callie’s fears and Devin’s relationship with his soon-to-be-ex chief among them. Devin’s divorce is a major factor and I like that Ms. Denault didn’t sweep this under the rug, especially considering there’s a child involved. The one issue I had with this part of the book is that toward the end, Ms. Denault seemed to keep comparing Ashleigh, Devin’s ex, to Callie in order to make Callie look better. As a heroine, Callie does just fine standing on her own and almost pitting them against one another doesn’t do the story or the characters any favors.

The Final Move is the third Hometown Players book, but it can be read as a standalone. All the Caplans and Garrisons play supporting roles, which will no doubt charm fans of the series. There was a lot I enjoyed about The Final Move – Callie as a heroine, the mix of sweetness and spice in her relationship with Devin, hot hockey players – and it’s definitely a story I sat back and thought about for a while after I finished it. Whether you like sports romances in particular or just enjoy a good love story with flawed characters, The Final Move should definitely entertain.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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