What a year! I never imagined I would read so many books in 365 days, and I actually have my aunt to thank/blame for it. In September of 2013, I was visiting my aunt in Atlanta when she told me that she sets a goal each year to read 52 books, one for each week of the year. She pulled out her yearly book lists and we looked through them together. At that point, she had never actually reached her ultimate goal, but got close a time or two. I thought it would be a fun little experiment to try out for myself the following year. Little did I know how much this “New Year’s Resolution” of mine would impact my 2014.
To say that I surpassed the 52 book goal is a bit of an understatement. I think I reached that number by March. But it wasn’t until a vacation to Grand Cayman in July with my sister that an idea started to form in my head. I loved reading all of these romance novels (my genre of choice/addiction), but I had nobody to discuss them with. The majority of my friends and family never seemed to find the spare time to read, and when they did it was either mystery novels or non-fiction. Not exactly the smutty sexy stuff I was reading. So, while sun-bathing in my lounge chair on a beach in Grand Cayman I thought to myself, “What if I started a blog where I reviewed romance novels, and put my opinions out there for others to see?” Alas, when I returned from vacation, Romance Novels for the Beach was born. You know that picture I have for my profile/avatar? That’s me jumping on the beach in Cayman. I thought it appropriate to use for my blog, as that’s where I first got the idea to begin this crazy journey of being a book blogger.
I never thought my blog would get as much attention as it has these last five months, and for that I have all of you to thank. I wish I could thank you all individually, but good God! We’ve all got places to go, people to see, and New Year’s parties to get to. To date I am just shy of 1500 total followers. I doubt I’ll go over that number by the end of this year, but here’s to hoping. I do love sharing comments with all of you, and especially those who are repeat readers. A few of you have asked if I’ve written a romance book of my own, or have plans to do so. The answer to that is a big resounding no. I have nowhere near the talent nor the patience necessary to sit down and organize all of my thoughts into a full-length book. I’ll just have to settle with judging other people’s work 🙂 Another unexpected bonus of this blog: all of the amazing authors who have asked me to review their books. You all have so much more talent and bravery than I, and you should be nothing but proud of your accomplishments.
By this point I’m sure you all are screaming at your computer or iPhone screen, “So how many books did you read already?!”. Oh, did you want me to tell you that little number? Alright then, don’t get your panties in a twist. Although with the kind of books I’ve been reading lately, that’s kind of a common occurrence. Tee hee. Anyway, the total number of books I read in the year 2014 was…drum roll please…approximately 247. Why approximate you ask? Well, I keep track of all of my books using this system called Calibre (best thing ever, you should totally download it), and some books were short novellas, while others actually contained multiple books from one series combined into one Kindle file, so the exact number is a bit hard to track down. But there you go, with a goal of 52 books I read a total of 247.
Some of you might be wondering what my goal is for next year. Here it is: read FEWER books!! My God, did I ever see the light of day? Or have a social life? Actually, I manage a pretty good balance of work life, social life, and blog life, but still! Imagine what I could do with myself if I only read 100 books instead of over 200. I’ve decided to not put a number on it though, because I think that’s what got me into this pickle in the first place. Once I exceeded 52 books I wanted to see how far I could actually go. Next year I’m just gonna read however many books I can, whenever I can. Ugh, I have a feeling that by the end of 2015 I’ll either read 20 books, or over 300. Can’t wait to get started!
Overall, it’s been a great year for reading. I’ve encountered some amazing books, and I’ve also read some that made me want to chuck my beautiful Kindle against the wall. Poor little thing never did anything to deserve such violence. Below I’ve decided to include a top ten list of my favorite novels of the year. If you come across a book that sounds interesting, you can just click on it and a new page will open up to where you can view it on Amazon. Who knows? Maybe you’ll have to add a few to your 2015 TBR list! Happy reading everyone, and I hope you have a very Happy New Year!
1. Both Sides of Love by Kimberly Wenzler– one of the best and most emotionally intense books I read all year. An amazing look at how one woman’s secret could impact multiple relationships in her life.
2. From Rags by Suzanne Wright– Jaxxon and Connor first met in foster care, but haven’t seen each other in years. Now that they are both successful adults, Connor tries to reconnect with Jaxxon, but she’s still pissed that he left her alone years before.
3. Defying the Odds by Kele Moon– The first book in an amazingly addictive series! Melody is on the run from her abusive ex, and has trouble trusting others. But UFC fighter Clay is all kinds of alpha male who has the urge to protect and love her.
4. Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye– Ah, I want to read this book again. This is definitely the best ‘trapped in an elevator’ love story I’ve ever come across. We have a scarred hero, and two lovers trapped in the dark. What more could you ask for?
5. Sudden Response by R.L. Mathewson– You’ve got to love two friends who decide to become more. These two emergency responders can’t fight the attraction which has suddenly crept up on them. And I can’t fight my love for this book!
6. Tangled by Emma Chase– Another first book in a series which is awesome. The book is told from the male POV, which I love! Drew is a total playboy, but doesn’t know how to adapt when his feelings focus on just one woman who already has a man of her own.
7. Driven by K. Bromberg– This book is freakin’ intense, and just leads to a trilogy which is more mind-blowing. We have a woman dedicated to helping others who comes across a billionaire playboy. When she says no, he just pursues her more and more. But he has a history of his own which could have a devastating impact on their relationship.
8. Protecting What’s His by Tessa Bailey– This book has comedy, sexy love scenes, neighbors falling in love, and a man in uniform. Need I say more?
9. Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica Clare– Most of you know how much I love the Billionaire Boys Club series, and this is actually the second book in that series. Hunter considers himself to be a scarred and ugly beast, but when he comes across the beautiful Gretchen he wonders if she might be the one who can look past his physical appearance and love him for who he really is.
10. Perfection by R.L. Mathewson– This is one of my favorite books in the Neighbor from Hell series, but I definitely recommend you read the entire series from the beginning. Every book is funny, sexy, and has a great story. The fact that the 5th book just came out a few days ago has me beyond excited! The reason I enjoyed this book more than all the others is that it deals with a woman who is overweight, and the man who falls in love with her even though she isn’t model-thin.