Seeing as I could only recommend books I'd reviewed for Jessewave on that site as my top books of the year, I figured I'd post my whole list on here based on all the book I've read this year.
(That's not to take anything away from The Little Things, by Jay Northcote, the only book I reviewed for Jessewave this year that I deemed worthy of a mention)
So, here it is. Please bear in mind that I'm a doofus with Booklikes so this may take a couple of tries for me to get right...
1 – Slide. Garrett Leigh
Garrett Leigh is the standout newcomer of the year for me, and Slide was a debut novel that blew me away. I’m a sucker for hurt/comfort/angst books anyway, but with the added bonus of Pete the paramedic and Ash’s emotive tattoos I was hooked from the beautiful, haunting prologue. Slide is a rollercoaster, and not a perfect book by far, but for me, even the very few editing flaws were part of its charm. Slide is a book that will stay with me forever.
2 – The Little Things. Jay Northcote
Another debut novel that hugely impressed me. A very British book, full of ‘arse’ and ‘bloody’, I adore Jay Northcote’s boys and I found her voice in this book soothing, even when she cranked the angst up to her own subtle maximum. Great book, and together with V.M Waitt and Garrett Leigh, an author to watch. I'm officially a fan.
3 – Chase the Storm. V.M. Waitt
Cowboys and horses. Hay bales. Grief. Yeah, I liked this one. V.M. Waitt proved a compelling story teller and I enjoyed this western-styled contemporary very much. If you like horses, you’ll love this one. There’s one horse in particular who really made this book sing.
4 – Quid Pro Quo. L.A Witt & Aleksandr Voinov
With this pair, you know you’re going to get a quality piece of writing. Funny, hotter than hell, and with the typical Voinov punch, this is one series I can’t wait to explore more of. These two always push my boundaries to the max, and this left me more than a little hot under the collar. I’ll say it again: quality writing from the masters of this genre.
5 – Painting Fire On The Air. J.P. Barnaby
A brave book. A little dense on the angst, but Jude’s character drew me in and kept me there. Adored him taking care of Ben, and enjoyed the lessons on the more extreme side of BDSM. Not sure I’ll be trying fire flogging anytime soon, but J.P Barnaby painted (pardon the pun) a hell of a picture. A book with a searing message.
6 – Learning Curve. Kaje Harper
Kaje Harper is one of my favorite MM authors, and this series is one of the best out there. This installment is emotive and resonant, and I came away with a renewed love for characters that feel like old friends. Mac will always hold a special, frustrating place in my heart, and Tony is the husband I dream of when my own is being a douche.
7 – Bullet. Garrett Leigh.
Another Garrett Leigh triumph. Yeah, it’s porn fan fiction, but the depth packed into this novella is stunning. This author is a master at creating flawed, multi-layered characters. The tagline for this series is Beyond Porn, and I couldn’t put it better myself. A quick, dirty read with a bighearted bite.
8 – Blood Red Butterfly. Josh Lanyon
Lanyon’s best work for ages. None of the rambling mystery I’ve grown tired of and instead something short and sharp, and laced with real, complex emotions. I couldn’t put this novella down, and I may have growled a little when I reached the end. This is a book that left me a reborn Lanyon diehard.
9 – High Concept. Whitely Gray
A rather simple plot and concept, with some obvious tropes, but I enjoyed this book very much. The romance was sweet and tender, and sometimes that’s just what you need. One MC was out, one most definitely wasn’t. Throw in some Cop/FBI drama and my tube ride home was complete.
10 – Trusting Thomas. K.C. Wells
I’m not big into BDSM, but when K.C Wells writes it, I suddenly become a sucker. It ain’t perfect – no book on this list is – but, by God, it’s lovely. Age gaps usually give me the creeps, but the way Thomas cared for the young man in his care convinced me. A heartwarming read, and definitely one for the softies.
So there you have it. 2013 was an interesting year for me. Some big name authors put out some terrible books and several debut authors blew me away. Seriously. Three debut novels made up my top four. Lunacy, you might say, but it dang sure gives me hope for the future. Jay Northcote, Garrett Leigh, V.M. Waitt; all names to watch in 2014. And, of course, there’s old favorite like the Voinov/Witt collab, Kaje Harper and J.P Barnaby. And Josh Lanyon who restored my faith in him with Blood Red Butterfly. I began this list thinking I wouldn’t find ten books to pimp, but in the end, I reckon 2013 was actually a bit of a winner.
On a side note, I’d like to remind y'all that in the new year, I will be writing and reviewing for Joyfully Jay. I’ve had a blast on Jessewave, and I’m so sad to see the site close, but I’m looking forward to exploring new horizons.
So, it’s goodbye from me…for a few weeks at least, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Zac D (Grumpy ole' Isaac)