Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of 2010: Hotties and Debuts

I've saved my favorite character category for last, because any of you that really follow me on my blog or Twitter know that I really, really, REALLY love YA boys. I made my male character post earlier, that focused on the overall character. This one? The Hotties? It is purely the sex appeal. It takes more than some well placed words to make a boy drool worthy and hot, and it isn't as easy as you'd think. So the first part of this post is dedicated to the authors with the seriously hot boys that drove me wild.

Up after the Hotties are my Top Ten Debuts. I know most of these lists were 5, but debut authors are a force to be reckoned with in YA. Some of the nicest authors I've talked to are debuts, because they are so, incredibly, amazingly grateful to bloggers. That isn't to say authors with books already out aren't, but there is just something about the debut community. They have to set themselves out there, and show their talent, and for that reason, I'm doing the ten debuts of the 40 I read that really struck me.

The Hotties:

1. Adrian (Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead): From the first time he walked onto the page and said 'Hey little dhampir,' Adrian has had my heart. He is the epitome of sardonic playboy and I have yet to meet a boy that makes me swoon as much as him, as I metaphorically drag him to the bedroom. Just picture buzzed Adrian with that sexy little grin, and you know you want him too.

2. Wesley (The DUFF by Kody Keplinger): Don't hate the player, hate the game, because Wesley Rush is one sexy boy. He's a smooth talker, with the cocky lilt lacing every word he uses to get a girl in bed. Wesley Rush doesn't chase girls, because they find him, and for good reason.

3. Will (Firelight by Sophie Jordan): Sexy Man Musk Hunter Boy. Not sure much else is needed there. A boy that can make a girl literally steam (with good reason), drives a Hummer, and is well equipped (With weapons. Geez.) is a total hottie.

4. Ren (Nightshade by Andrea Cremer): Ren is everything sexy the term 'Alpha male' exudes. Dominant and powerful, aggressive in just the right ways to be a total turn on, and willing to go for what he wants. Holy crap, I wouldn't mind being pinned on a bathroom sink with this boy.

5. Cole (Linger by Maggie Stiefvater): Drugged out rockstar? Yes please. Sexy and naked? Also yes please. No, really. He spends much of the book naked. He doesn't hold back, he's reckless in the unpredictable basically sexy kind of way. Cole is like sex on a stick, and take the stick to mean what you want and apply it to this post and there you go.


1. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White: Fresh and original, funny and unique. Fantastic writing, distinct voice, and a very sprightly main character that is as bold and individual as they come. This one set the bar incredibly high for the genre, and though I love my steam and spice in a book, and have no qualms with language, this one is clean in the best way, without being a purposely smack in the face but simply being the world and character.

2. Freefall by Mindi Scott: Everything a contemporary should be. Issues and coming of age and pain and frustration, with some romance, family ties, and humor. A fantastic voice with some seriously smooth writing, and a great pace make this one one of my all time favorite reads.

3. Firelight by Sophie Jordan: Dragons. Hot boys. A main character who isn't perfect and isn't the star at school. A girl who had so much going for her and is suddenly literally uncomfortable in her skin. There is so much in this one, written so well and played out so perfectly. There is a strong romantic element but the worldbuilding behind it clearly well thought out. Not to mention, the steam....

4. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger: The striking romance in this one aside, Kody deserves so much recognition for facing body issues head on. She doesn't just give Bianca a hot boy to suddenly feel better about herself. Bianca learns to love herself in some very well done ways, and the character development in this book is phenomenal. There are several issues at hand, each one having its own purpose and space without being overbearing. The balance throughout is just fantastic.

5. Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala: I could not put this book down. I felt so many emotions reading it and this is one that sent my mind running with what ifs. Absolutely stunning and poignant, this one handles the issue of teenage pregnancy without holding anything back. The writing is stunning, and the story overall is just... amazing.

6. Split by Swati Avasthi: One of the biggest things when it comes to domestic violence that people think of is escape. Automatically, we tend to think the easiest thing. Once someone is out of that situation, they're better. That's not true, and Split does a guttingly real job of showing this. Jace is a mess if there ever was one, and this is another book I read in one sitting because I could not put it down. Read it. Learn from it. There is some pretty gut twisting content, but just because you don't read it doesn't mean it's not real. This one is painful in its realism, but so incredibly worth it.

7. Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu: For one, I love the ending of this one. Shocking, yes, but completely understandable. The mindset of this main character is so easy to fall into, and so easy to get. The fear and embarrassment prevail in an almost poignant way, and the issues this protagonist faces are like nothing else I've read.

8. Everlasting by Angie Frazier: This is one that made me realize historical shouldn't be an automatic turn off. I don't have a particular zest, in general, for historical fiction, but the writing in this one has such a great modern note while still easily building the world at hand. Add in the great characters and the supernatural element, and it really was a hit for me.

9. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves: Hilarious and demented and perfectly, deliciously twisted. For one, Dia Reeves does not hold back and I have so much respect for her on that front. She throws sex and language and possibly uncomfortable situations into her book and just runs with it. I found so much humor in this book, but amidst that is some pretty deep stuff. There is a great blend of character focus mixed with the monsters and worldbuilding. Add in the fantastic setting, and this one just needs to be read.

10. The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride: Maybe photography is a cliche, but Kristina uses it in such a beautiful way here. It plays into this one so perfectly, and is almost a character in and of itself with how it's used. The romance is perfectly pitched, and the give and take between the two friends is so heartbreaking, but so realistic. This one is such a great blend of light and dark and the overall nature of the book fits the title in so many ways.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best of 2010: Female Character and Previous Releases

Today's features are Best Female Character, and Best Previous Releases. I read several books this year that were released prior to 2010. Most of them I loved and recommend whenever I can, and didn't want to just completely ignore them in my year end posts simply because I was behind in reading them.

Female Character:

1. Ridley (Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl)
: Ridley is sexy and able to banter with the best of them. She doles out nicknames and creates havoc with every lick of her lollipop, but there is so clearly something else going on and something deeper. I have loved her since the first book and loved her more in this book. From hottest chick in YA to just best all around chick, Ridley takes it.

2. Kendra (Scars by Cheryl Rainfield): Strong, and whatever other similar word, is all I know to say for Kendra. The things she faces... the way she deals with it... the unfolding story. If only it were fiction, but it's real. It happens, and if you need any more proof then simply look at the author. Kendra has such amazing inner strength that I completely respect and so many people can learn so much from her. Does she handle everything perfectly? No. But that doesn't matter.

Chastity (Kiss It by Erin Downing): Chastity is different than a lot of other YA girls out there. For one, she wears her sex drive on her sleeve. She wants to lose her virginity. But. She doesn't want it to be to just anyone. She handles so many coming of age type issues, and makes such incredible strides in development, all while being entertaining and humorous.

Hanna (Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves): Hanna is crazy and something else entirely, but she fits quite nicely into Portero. Some of the most out there, wtf lines I've read come from Hanna, and she will always stay in my mind because of it. She's flagrant and frankly, she doesn't really care what you think of her.

5. Kendall (Freefall by Mindi Scott): Kendall struck me in a way I can't really describe. She's a mess of her making, but has such a beautiful inner strength that just makes a fantastic blend. She doesn't take Seth's crap, and she's manipulative but not so much so that it's a turn off. She is intense and passionate and will not be held back, and came off as so completely raw and real. While she was a side character in this book, this story could have just as easily been hers and she was developed so fully she played as a big, at least for me, as Seth. Now if Mindi would just write a book focused on Kendall...

Previous Releases:

1. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman: I fell in love with this story from the start. It opens easily enough but gets right into the accident that forces Mia into a coma- and a choice. The rest of the book builds her life. Her parents. Her boyfriend, Adam. It truly makes the reader wonder not only what she'll choose, but what would be best. I couldn't stop thinking about this one when I finished, questioning so many things.

2. Hate List by Jennifer Brown: Holy anger batman. I don't think I have ever been so infuriated, so emotional and so completely wrenched by a book as this one. Hate List tackles so many issues, completely unflinchingly, and doesn't for a moment let the reader relax. Every side of Valerie's pain comes through so strongly, from her mixed feelings about Nick to how she views everyone and herself, to even the problems with her family. And I don't think I will ever hate a parent in YA as much as I did her father. Reading about the changes in Nick through Valerie's eyes that led to his shooting the school... it puts bullying in such a raw light. I truly believe everyone, teen or adult, needs to read this book.

3. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams: 13 year old girl in a polygamist community is being forced to marry her 60 year old uncle. Grotesque in premise, and even more so in playout. But so. Incredibly. Good. I read it in one sitting, unable to tear myself away from it, despite the near physical pain I felt from this one. It does such an amazing job spotlighting something we don't want to think about, and handles it so tenderly. This is a complete must read.

4. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers: These girls make the Mean Girls look like newborn puppies. If you want to feel a range of emotions, see some astounding character development, and get right into the nit and grit of people, read this book. This one takes bullying to a new level, pitches it in a new light, and makes the reader fall for a character they would otherwise hate. The writing is amazing, the story heartrending, and the outcome so fitting and beautiful.

5. Diary of a Witness by Catherine Ryan Hyde: This is another bullying book, but completely different than the two before it. This is another must read across the ages, because oh man is there a story to tell in this one. It's male POV, but it's relatable even for female readers. Ernie is bullied, and stressed, and scared. But he has such incredible strength that comes through at just the right moments, and this book is truly a study of human nature and breaking points.

Book Review: Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves


Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.

It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….


The Short Version:
Perfectly demented and twisted in all the right ways but with plenty of depth, Slice of Cherry is a blend of enticing and grotesque. Kit and Fancy are perfectly pitched from the start before going through some fantastic, mirrored, related development, and the continued setting of Portero creates some very hilarious moments. With a small but well developed cast of secondary characters, and strong writing, this one most definitely delivers as a sophomore novel.

The Extended Version:
Fancy is the sister who gets the bulk of the attention throughout the book, starting out as the seemingly more compassionate of the sisters when she insists they don't simply kill an intruder when they have the chance. With the ability to see places in things like pools of water and mirrors, and finally being able to open one of the infamous Portero doors, she is set apart from her sister in a way that clearly creates some sibling rivalry. Fancy is quiet, letting her sister do all the talking, but very perceptive and intelligent despite her lacking people skills. She is also naive, however, particularly when it comes to sex, which creates some hilarious moments that Reeves has slipped in at just the right time.

Kit, at the start, seems colder and more unfeeling than her sister. The way these two play off each other and interact drives a large part of the plot, both at the beginning when they are joined at the hip and as things continue on when Kit starts to yearn for more than just her connection to her sister. Kit is more sexual than Fancy, creating another dissonance between them. More able to handle change, and torn between wanting someone apart from Fancy but not wanting to hurt her, Kit creates some well written, poignant moments despite the overall twisted nature of this book. Her development is handled perfectly despite the primary focus on Fancy, and the change from start to finish is concise and well understood for both girls.

The events that triggered Kit wanting more than Fancy are simple but the impact clear. From Franken, a classic example of falling in love with a captor, to the mystery that surrounds Gabe, Kit is in the midst of it while Fancy struggles to keep things the same. There is a clear change in the girls every time they pass through the door to the Happy place, where Fancy is suddenly in control and able to handle things in a way she doesn't do otherwise.

Fancy's frustration at her sister pulling away is very realistic and well handled, and even if some of her reactions seem extreme, Reeves did such a great job building her full nature early on that it isn't at all out of character. With plenty of hilarious responses and events, the laughs abound in this one, even at the sickest of moments. Ilan and Gabe, the two brothers that have an eye for the sisters, also play off each other very well, having a connection that is hard to define in the same way as Kit and Fancy's. The romance angle of this book is so fantastically well done, subtle in some ways and blatant in others. With no bars against sex, but mixed with Fancy's naivety in regards to it, Ilan and Fancy have some of the best banter around and his comments are memorable in their hilarity and timing.

Reeves' writing is strong, giving some fantastic descriptions and holding some comic relief moments that are perfectly timed for the reader without detracting from the story or overall scene. The cameo of Hanna and Wyatt also made for a great scene, and the entire sequence from start to finish was well paced, catering to the different aspects of both girls without lagging. Reeves is a master at the demented, and some of the ways she comes up with for the girls to kill people are incredibly original and well played.

There are some much deeper moments mixed into this book, bringing out some striking truths of human nature along with some perfectly intense scenes that last just long enough to drive the point home before shifting back into the overall lighthearted air of the book. Reeves has done a great job blending the same setting and world as Bleeding Violet with a new story, holding little crossover in plot, meaning, and characters. With several unpredictable twists in this book, and a very rapid climax of an ending before easing off to wrap things up with Fancy and Kit's story, Slice of Cherry is a fantastic read that is in a category all its own.

Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (January 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416986200
ISBN-13: 978-1416986201

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Best of 2010: The Jerks and The Best Writing

Today's featured categories are Jerk characters and writing. After characters, writing is the next biggest thing for me that makes or breaks a book. There are certain styles that work for me, and some that don't. It's personal preference of course, but since books are, well, written, I think giving some attention to this single aspect is just downright important.

And on the note of jerks. They are inevitable, in life and in writing. But what I like about it in fiction is how differently so many people can view the same character. My definition for jerks is very loose here, and really are just the ones that made me more mad than happy, or the ones that I seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY disliked. Basically, if my lasting memory was that they were a buttface, they were a candidate for this list.

It was with that I bring you today's Best of 2010 lists:

The Jerks:

1. Delaney (Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala): I'm not sure I've disliked a character (apart from some parents) as much as Delaney. Yes, there is a sympathetic element and we do find out why she acts like she does but man... some of the things she does in this book are just. Wow.

2. Will (Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare): Here's the thing with Will. In this book, he's a closed off, arrogant jerk. Can he be redeemed? Most likely. But right now, his emotional level is about on par with a slug's, and he most definitely knows how to hurt a girl right where it hurts. Yes, we see hints of what's behind the several feet thick walls that encase him, but as it stands with this book, Will's a jerk, no matter how hot he might be. And that, I think, is just one more testament to Cassandra's writing because I have no doubt I'll be saying something else later.

3. Carter (The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney): Ignoring the obvious fact that he's the date rapist in this book, what peeves me about Carter is that from the start, he doesn't get what's so wrong about it and he has the gall to try to make Alex at fault. Yes, its realistic and yes, it helps drive the story but man. I mostly just wanted to kick him in the balls and call it a day.

4. Christian (The Naughty List by Suzanne Young): He's cunning. And he's cute. And maybe he's a little charming. But that's just the way things go to get what he wants. What? He wants to go after a girl who's clearly taken? Well, why not! Yeah. Christian, you seriously ticked me off more than once, even if I sometimes wanted to hug you too. But then you had to go and do THAT, and it was all over. You're a punkass jerk.

5. Archer (Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins): Archer is the on again, off again kind of jerk that makes a girl think one thing then totally turns around and negates it. Okay so maybe he's tortured and conflicted. Maybe. And yes, this is another case where I will probably love him to death in book two. But hotness factor aside, at the close of Hex Hall, he's on my jerk list. Bring it on, Demonglass.

Best Writing:

1. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting: Holy hell can Kimberly Derting write. From flowing description to downright creepy killer perspective to some seriously hot and steamy make out scenes, she covers the range of it and it comes off completely effortlessly. Whether you liked this story or not, Kimberly's writing is something to completely appreciate.

2. You by Charles Benoit: This one's written in second person, and yeah, yeah, that's not done blah blah. But Charles did it, and he did it well. The perspective alone makes it stand out, but also just HOW he did it. I really felt like I was Kyle, the main character, while still knowing that it was Kyle's story. He blended the two sides so perfectly, and paced everything so well even within the narration.

3. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: It always amazes me these books are coauthored. The writing these two ladies make together is gorgeous and creates such great mental pictures. Add in how Southern they make everything, and how realistic that aspect is, and they have a spot in this Texan's heart.

4. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater: I'm not the first and I won't be the last to stay it, but Maggie's writing is lyrical. Flowing and embracing, it never ceases to strike me at how talented she is. Her use of contrasting images within a sentence are one of my favorite things about the writing, as is the small nuances that define the different perspectives she uses while still staying true to her style.

5. Freefall by Mindi Scott: No book has given me male POV envy quite like Mindi's. After reading this one, I looked at my own manuscripts and questioned how good I was at the male voice, despite what my beta readers have told me. But with this one.... Seth's logic is so... logical. His mannerisms so... male. Yet even with that, it isn't stereotypical and it isn't trying too hard. It is realistic and raw and makes Seth so vivid. The narration is very much Seth, while still being something female readers can enjoy and appreciate.

6. Compromised by Heidi Ayarbe: Stunning. That's about all I've ever been able to say about the writing in this one. There is such a strong emotional element infused in this one, lingering with hope to produce something fantastic. The setting is strong, the descriptions are bold, and overall, Heidi's writing just pulled me right into this one.

7. Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers: Courtney says so much with so little. At around 225 pages, this one is a pretty fast read but oh man, the story within those 225 and a large part of that is the writing. It is tense and emotional with a little humor mixed in at just the right amount of time, and add in the hints of danger and wow.

8. The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff: Three voices, three story lines, one smooth read. I picked this one up and couldn't put it down, and a large part of that was the writing. I like emotional books, but a huge element of that emotion is in the writing and man does Steve deliver. From seemingly endless feelings of loss and confusion to friendship and want, everything a teenager feels at any given moment is in this book.

9. Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber: The time period of this one is brought to life in the writing, which is not always easy to do. Add in the emotions that crop up, and the coming of age angle that is so stunning even for today's time while still being true to the setting, and it's clear Barbara knows how to write.

10. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White: Evie has one of the single most distinct voices out there for me. From page one, Kiersten makes her stand out. While Kiersten's natural sense of humor is clear in the book, the rest of it is all Evie. From her love of lockers to her upbeat outlook to her wit and quips, there is a little something for everyone in Evie and the entire time I read this book, just how striking and distinct the voice was kept coming to mind.

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This week's pick is Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari, coming from Scholastic June 1, 2010.

Summary: A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

My Thoughts: Post-Apocalyptic dystopian? Yes. Please. I love how completely real this end of the world setting is- how easy to imagine it really happening. The Sweepers concept most definitely piques my interest with how they are pitched in this premise. At first, they seem easy enough and keeping things clean. Then there's something more. From what they are looking for and all about to what's really going on with Lucy to, yes, Aiden (who, by the way, has one of the most swoonworthy names in my opinion), this one definitely seems to have plenty of great elements. The cover is fantastic, too. Very catching and hinting at the nature of the book while still staying mysterious.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Best of 2010: Male Characters and Fantasy/Dystopian

Today's featured categories are Male Characters and The Not-Real, which is basically anything that isn't contemporary. It's no surprise I read mostly contemps, so I'm lumping the dystopians/paranormal/fantasy together into one judging category.

Male Character:

1. Seth (Freefall by Mindi Scott): Seth is one of the most real characters I've read, not to mention there definitely a swoonworthy element to him. He's a slacker in some ways, but does have the drive to want to do something. He's sensitive in some ways, and a jerk in others with the reputation of his mess and jerk of a best friend to proceed him. There is such a strong character development that goes on with Seth as the book progresses, though, and it is realistic and well done and makes for a very dimension, likeable character.

2. Aiden (The Naughty List by Suzanne Young): Attentive and loving but still with jock qualities, Aiden has more depth than immediately clear. He's strong willed when he needs to be, but makes some mistakes at other times that even if you want to kick him where the sun don't shine, you still want to just hug him. With some great lines that come from him and some seriously memorable scenes that this boy stars in, Aiden is most definitely a character to remember.

3. Colt (The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard): Colt gets my heart because he's got the broken boy syndrome going on. The girl he loved died, and he can't even mourn openly because their entire relationship was a secret. As he tries to cope, and move on, there are some very trying events he goes through, and watching his progression is gripping and emotional and beautiful. Colt is most definitely a character that will stick with me, and is one to think of that things can get better even when they seem horrible.

4. Jace (Split by Swati Avasthi): There are probably more bad things to say about Jace than good, which is exactly why he's on this list. He is a survivor of abuse, but a big question is at what cost? There is so much told in his story, both through his eyes and from those around him that he can't even see. Jace has some huge things to face, and some questionable reactions, but in the end, the character development and just... who he is... is astounding.

5. Logan (Shade by Jeri-Smith Ready): Maybe he isn't the brightest, and maybe he makes some pretty big mistakes (like getting himself killed and becoming a ghost), but Logan has a big heart, and some great humorous side. Not to mention, he's in a band which adds to the hotness factor and who doesn't like a ghost that can jam? What makes Logan stand out more, though, is the fact that in the world of Shade, he's still very much real and human, apart from the whole ethereal thing. I got a strong sense of him, even as a ghost, and still remember some of the witty quips he can make.

The Not-Real:

1. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White: Very distinct voice, sassy and fun protagonist, and a seriously unique world make this one just an all around original hit. It's clean, with no steam, but that just makes it better here. Kiersten didn't have to rely on sex and steam to make her book noticed. It's just her talent and everything she put into it, from the vampires to the hags to the completely new characters. Oh, and Tasey. Let's never forget Tasey, for only a character like Evie could even pull off Tasey. There are just too many good things to say about this book, so go out and get it and see for yourself.

2. Firelight by Sophie Jordan: Dragons that can shape shift into people for cover. Awesome in premise, and fantastic in execution. With just the right amount of romance mixed in (and oh, lord, can Sophie Jordan write steamy romance), Firelight definitely coins the term paranormal romance. Jacinda is well fleshed out, and Will, the love interest, is so perfectly tormented and angsty that it will make anyone's heart melt. Add in the stunning ending that sets things up perfectly for book two, and Firelight is most definitely one to grab.

3. Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien: Astounding world building and gorgeous writing, with a relatable protagonist that grows tremendously, Birthmarked strongly defines what dystopian is all about. Set in a world that is easy to imagine while still remaining clearly something not realistic (for now), there are some huge elements in this one that all tie together so well. I was truly dumbfounded with some of this, and enthralled the entire time I read it.

4. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves: Slightly demented and making a new definition of crazy, Bleeding Violet is gritty in the best kind of ways. Hanna is crazy, but Portero (the town) is crazier. Sure, there's some gore and some very wtf scenes, but to me, it was all just so out there and put together so well it was usually comical. The worldbuilding is there and well done, but hidden underneath all the craziness going on which helps make it just that much better. Add in one very fantastic, visceral kiss and an awesome sense of humor throughout, and this is the one to grab if you want something different.

5. Everlasting by Angie Frazier: Female protagonist who is testing the limits for her time period, just the right amount of supernatural/magic, and an Irish sailor. Those are just some of the stand out things about Everlasting, but add in characters like the hilarious Ira or the questionable and intriguing Samuel, along with the way the writing fits with the time period while still holding enough of a modern note that it's easy to read, and this one has plenty of great elements that weave together perfectly.