I want to give HUGE thanks to everyone who has followed, emailed, messaged, and just flat-out supported me and this blog in general! Since starting this blog back in spring of 2011, I have read so many incredible books, made so many wonderful friends, teamed up with some fantastic authors to help spotlight their wonderful titles, and of course kept and made so many amazing followers. It truly blows my mind how wonderful the Romance community in general can be! Thank you for making my 2012 so grand!
In 2013, I hope to get back to more reviews, to bring you even more fun giveaways, introduce tons of new authors, and support my long-time favorites. G-d bless, and I hope that your 2013 will be your best year yet. ~Jess, The Romanceaholic
The Best of the Best: 5 Stars
These books received a 5-Star review from me — for 2012, I tightened up my criteria for ratings quite a bit, making it much harder to receive a 5-Star rating here on The Romanceaholic. These are books (in no particular order) that made that final cut.
A brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist-shrouded streets of London… When Nowhere is Safe Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?
Blade is known as the master of the rookeries–no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.
When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel–or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.
Miriam is trying. Really, she is.
But this whole “settling down thing” that Louis has going for her just isn’t working out. She lives on Long Beach Island all year around. Her home is a run-down double-wide trailer. She works at a grocery store as a check-out girl. And her relationship with Louis–who’s on the road half the time in his truck–is subject to the piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does.
It just isn’t going well. Still, she’s keeping her psychic ability–to see when and how someone is going to die just by touching them–in check. But even that feels wrong somehow. Like she’s keeping a tornado stoppered up in a tiny bottle.
Then comes one bad day that turns it all on her ear.
Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades—has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.
So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters—especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.
Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails—she’s dead.
If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee…
Accused of betraying the Bloodhound Guild, Archer’s only chance to regain the trust of his fellow hounds is to earn it–one dangerous job at a time. Crystal Springs may be the worst yet. The town has been deserted by all but the poor and the desperate, yet the vampires stalking the edges of the settlement haven’t closed in for the kill. Question is, why?
Grace Linwood, professional liar, has been hiding under the guise of a border schoolteacher for so long, she’s almost fallen for her own con. The frontier was supposed to be her chance at a respectable life, but now the cowardly part of her wants to flee. When Archer catches her considering a run for safety, she knows it’s only a matter of time before he sees through her charade.
They become reluctant allies in the quest to uncover the mysteries of Crystal Springs, but every unraveled knot ties them closer together. They both know their pasts are too shattered to hope for a future–until their investigation uncovers a secret. One that could make betraying the Guild their only path to redemption.
When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.
Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks. As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.
Magic-wielding Churchwitch and secret addict Chess Putnam knows better than anyone just how high a price people are willing to pay for a chemical rush. But when someone with money to burn and a penchant for black magic starts tampering with Downside’s drug supply, Chess realizes that the unlucky customers are paying with their souls—and taking the innocent with them, as the magic-infused speed compels them to kill in the most gruesome ways possible.
As if the streets weren’t scary enough, the looming war between the two men in her life explodes, taking even more casualties and putting Chess squarely in the middle. Downside could become a literal ghost town if Chess doesn’t find a way to stop both the war and the dark wave of death-magic, and the only way to do that is to use both her addiction and her power to enter the spell and chase the magic all the way back to its malevolent source. Too bad that doing so will probably kill Chess—if the war doesn’t first destroy the man who’s become her reason for living.
Anne Wynter’s job as governess to three highborn young ladies can be a challenge – in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he’s the first man who has truly tempted her, and it’s getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.
Daniel Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger, but that’s not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family’s annual musicale, he vows to pursue her. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending …
She will not give up…
Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.
He cannot give in…
Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…
In the gleaming heights of Victorian London, a world of deception awaits an unconventional Society lady whose taste for adventure makes her a most formidable adversary . . .
Though Society demands that I make a good marriage, I, Cherry St. Croix, have neither the time nor the interest. I am on the trail of a murder with no victim, a mystery with no motive, and the key to an alchemical formula that could be my family’s legacy.
Yet the world is not so kind as to let me pursue simple murder and uncomplicated bounties. Above the foggy drift, an earl insists on my attention, while my friends watch my increasingly desperate attempts to remain my own woman. From the silken demands of the Midnight Menagerie—to whose dangerously seductive ringmaster I owe a debt—to the rigorous pressures of the peerage, all are conspiring to place before me a choice that will forever change my life.
ALL FEAR THE ENEMY OF OLD
Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness— until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.
A DEADLY FORCE DWELLS WITHIN HER
Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.
CENTURIES OF COLD INDIFFERENCE SHATTERED
Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millenniaold blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her?
As a second daughter, Grace Andreas never had to worry about the intrigues of the Elder Races. But when her sister, Petra, and Petra’s husband are both killed, Grace inherits the Power and responsibilities of the Oracle of Louisville, as well as her sister’s two young children – neither of which she is prepared for.
Yet, she is not alone. Khalil, Demonkind and Djinn prince of House Marid – driven by his genuine caring for the children – has decided to make himself a part of the household both as their guardian and as an exasperating counterpoint to Grace’s impudence toward the Elder Races.
But when an attempt is made on Grace’s life, she realizes that Khalil is the only one who can protect her – and offer her more than a mortal man…
Elite 8th Wing pilot Celene Jur was taken captive after a mysterious device temporarily disabled her ship’s controls. Three solar months later, when Celene receives intel on the man who built the device, she’s ready to get the bastard. Only problem is, the higher-ups think her mission partner should be Nils Calder, a tech-head who can understand the disabling device. The attraction between them is electric, but Celene needs a soldier who can watch her back as she exacts her revenge.
Nils knows his department is nicknamed NerdWorks. Pilots like Celene think the closest tech geeks come to combat is all-night Nifalian chess tournaments. But behind the NerdWorks insignia on his sleeve Nils is an able fighter, ready to prove himself and gain Celene’s trust.
The desire between them is unexpected, but with the fate of thousands hanging in the balance, the hotshot pilot and the tech genius must succeed in their mission—no matter the cost.
The writer becomes the story when crime reporter Mia Hale is discovered on a Jacksonville beach, bloodied and disoriented, but alive. She remembers nothing, but her wounds bear the signature of a sadistic serial killer. After years lying dormant, The Collector has resumed his grim hobby: abducting women and taking gruesome souvenirs before dumping their bodies. But none of his victims has ever escaped and he wants Mia back, more than he ever wanted any of the others.
FBI agent Eric MacFarlane has pursued The Collector for a long time. The case runs deep in his veins, bordering on obsession and Mia holds the key. She’ll risk everything to recover her memory and bring the madman to justice, and Eric swears to protect this fierce, fragile survivor. But The Collector will not be denied. In his mind, he knows just how their story ends.
Rachel Miller thought her next job was a run-of-the-mill haunting. As a member of the Order of Rescue Mediums it’s her duty to release trapped spirits from the earthly realm. But when called to client Sylvia Elkeles’s house, she finds a wraith who doesn’t act like he should.
The Order considers the wraith an extreme threat and Rachel may be forced to use a barbaric ritual to free him—a ritual that comes with a heavy personal price. If she fails to humanely release the wraith, she’ll have her supernatural abilities bound.
When Janus Ostara—local supernatural mob boss—shows up demanding her attention, and Sylvia keeps secrets that may place Rachel in mortal danger, she doesn’t need her abilities to know something darkly sinister is at play.
Between uncovering Sylvia’s disturbing motives, and avoiding Janus, Rachel has enough on her hands without dealing with a wraith who may not realize he’s supposed to be dead…
Awakened in the middle of the night by a future version of herself, Kris Davenport is given a mission; go forward in time to save the world and his life. Of course, her future self doesn’t tell her who he is, just sends her into the abyss and straight into an alien invasion.
He turns out to be ConRad Smith, the callous, untrusting Commander of Earth’s army and the world’s last defense. There’s only one way to know for sure if this strange woman is an alien spy, slice her throat. Except, he didn’t anticipate the heat he would feel as he interrogates the hot-tempered, warm-blooded woman. For a man whose sole focus has been survival, she’s more temptation than he can handle. But a world on the brink of destruction leaves no room for love; and time is running out.
My name is Amelia Gray. They call me The Graveyard Queen. I’ve been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I’m coming to think I have another purpose here.
Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to a hidden grave I’ve discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of this town—this withering kingdom—and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth.
They can’t all be 5-Stars, but these books are all firmly on my Keeper Shelf for 2012, and I would highly recommend every single one of them. They are loosely organized below by category.
So, you made it through all of that did you? Great! Do you know what that means? That means it’s Giveaway Time!
I’m giving one lucky winner their choice of any single title I’ve mentioned above, in ebook or print format (whenever available).
Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below!