I think everyone has that book (or a few) that we stowed away at first glance, skipped over because of some reason, or plain just wasn’t interested in but we gave it another look, read it, and berated ourselves thinking ‘why didn’t I read this earlier??’ Believe me, I’m guilty of this and in fact, my latest TOP recommendation Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn would fall under this category. I’ve had this book for a few months now and only recently did I decide to read it, discovering a hidden gem with this one. It got me thinking….what other books did I read this year would fall under this same category? I came up with 8 of the most memorable reads and made a list here. They weren’t all 5 star reads, but they all made a significant impact on me and I think about them from time to time.
They say in every guy’s life there’s a girl he’ll never forget and a summer where it all began. Well, for me, 1999 is that summer, and Brooke Sommerfield is that girl. But that was nearly nine years ago. And what they don’t tell ya is that you’ll blink, and both the summer and the girl will be gone.
I have no idea where Brooke ended up. She disappeared that same summer I met her. And kind of like when you move something on a wall after it’s been there for a long time and everything around it is faded, that’s how I feel about Brooke. She wasn’t there very long, but when she left, everything around her memory sort of dimmed. That is until a letter postmarked the year she left mysteriously resurfaces. And call me crazy—everyone else has—but I have to find her. I have to know what became of the green-and-gray-eyed girl who stole my last perfect summer. I have to know if she believes in second chances—because I do—even if they do come with good-byes.
Upon reading the blurb for this book, I knew it was one I had to read as soon as I got the opportunity. Some of my favorite books are second chance romance stories that take my emotions for a spin and through the ups and downs of these characters’ lives, somehow finding their way back to each other again gets me every. single. time. So as much as I was expecting to love this one, I just couldn’t because the author employed a clichéd and unrealistic plotline that lead me to wonder just where the romantic connection was, and on top of that inserted multiple time gaps (not a fan of those) to substitute for the story. Perhaps those looking for an overly sweet and cheesy romance will enjoy this book, but as a reader who loves romances where both the ‘sweet & sour’ sides of love are portrayed in order to make the story believable, this book was a letdown.
Her past is a secret—even to her.Discovering it will be the most dangerous move of her life.
TV reporter Laura Nilsson, known as the “Baghdad Babe,” spent eighteen months in an Al Qaeda compound after being kidnapped live on the air. Two years later, she’s still wondering why.
No rescue mission in Javier Corbray’s fourteen years as a Navy SEAL affected him the way Laura’s rescue did. No woman has stirred his protective instincts the way she has. And he wants her more than he’s ever wanted anyone.
As Laura and Javier’s passion ignites, so does Laura’s need to discover the mystery of her past. Especially when she learns that her abduction was not random—and that she’s still a target for a killer with an impenetrable motive. Now Javier will have to rely on his skills to keep the woman he loves from being struck down before she dares uncover the truth.
Pamela Clare is an author to behold in the romantic suspense genre. Utilizing her background as an investigative reporter and adding her experiences in her stories brings a gritty realism in each and every one of her books in this series. Her swoon worthy alpha male heroes and smart, sassy heroines combined with intricate, intense plotlines are what makes her books winners for me again and again. So only being able to give Striking Distance 3.5 stars cuts me because I love her characters, I love her writing, but several clichéd moments along with a weak romantic connection and mediocre suspense crippled this book for me.
Branded as the ‘Baghdad Babe,’ renown reporter Laura Nilsson was captured on air by terrorist forces and spent the next 18 months as a captive, repeatedly raped and brutalized. After being rescued by Navy SEALs and spending time recuperating and healing, she still doesn’t know why she was targeted.
I think it’s a true testament to the author’s writing when we can read a book over and over again and never get tired of the story or characters, almost as if re-reading the book for the 10th time is like the first. I know I have those special books that I can go back to and read and just know for sure that it’ll take me out of my book funk, inspire and invigorate me to read new books again, and provide me with 100% total escapism. If you’ve been following me on Facebook you’ve probably never heard me mention some of these books…most of these I read years ago and isn’t anything recent (so not many reviews I’m afraid since I hadn’t started blogging then), but special enough that reading them once just isn’t enough.
“Neither do I,” he said, his expression tender yet resolute. “So let’s make our own. We’ve done it before.”
2. Where I End and You Begin by Andra Brynn. I think of this book and my stomach gets flutters. The story is actually a chip off the author’s real life story (SO much admiration for Andra) and is equally heartbreaking as it is heartwarming. It’s a romance alright, but more importantly, a book about 2 people finding just what it is they want out of life and finding the courage to face their past fears to get it. It’s a very heavy read though (see quote below). Just be ready to feel.
“It was just a kiss – “
“Yeah, and King Kong was just a monkey.”
4. Lethal by Sandra Brown. For me, this book is like the Bible of the romantic suspense genre. You are sorely missing out if you love your reads with tons of action, a thrilling plot with complex characters and a toe-curling romance. Her books are more on the suspense side than the romance, but when things do start to heat up, watch out! The emotional impact hits home.
“You don’t have to give me flowers, Coburn. You don’t even have to hold me. Let me hold you.”
5. Slammed by Colleen Hoover. Oh.My.God. The FEELS! I think this was one of the first New Adult romances I read and I totally fell in love. With a book. It’s a forbidden romance that’s so inspirational and a life story hidden within. It’s the first book in a trilogy but honestly, this can be read as a standalone.
“Don’t take life too seriously. Punch it in the face when it needs a good hit. Laugh at it.”
6. Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare. Another book that’s a must-read for romantic suspense fans! Actually this entire series is outstanding but this book? It’s the pinnacle. A man on the run from authorities grabs the reporter heroine as a hostage but wait! They actually know each other….long before they each got caught up on different paths, they spent one night together under the stars baring their souls. What are the chances?
“It’s not so much where I want you, Sophie, as it is how. Nothing tastes quite like a woman, and no woman tastes like you.”
7. Surrender by Pamela Clare. This one’s from the same author but it’s historical romance, one of my all-time favorite genres. This is the first book and a standalone within her MacKinnon Rangers series revolving around 3 Highland brothers forced to fight for the British on the American frontier and how one of these brothers falls for the woman he rescues. This story was so sensual and whether or not you’re a fan of historical romance, you’ll be captivated by the alluring setting and characters just the same.
“She reached up, held his face between her palms. “How can I help but fret? You live wi’ death on your heels.”
“For your sake, lass, I promise to stay one step ahead.”
8. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. This is the 6th book in her Mortal Instruments series and not a standalone so you’d have to read the first 5 but can I just say something? It is SOworth it. Very few authors can make me feel like I’ve been transported directly into the fictional worlds they’ve created but Cassandra Clare does it again and again, with this series and the Infernal Devices series (see #9). Mark my words: you will cry reading these books. You will cry, you will feel, and you will wish that you never, ever had to leave the Shadowhunter world and return to reality. Do yourself a favor and pick up this series. Or the Infernal Devices series (see #9). Or both.
“There are memories that time does not erase… Forever does not make loss forgettable, only bearable.”
9. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. This is the 3rd book in the Infernal Devices trilogy and not a standalone so you need to read the first two but once again, it is SO worth it. If anything, this trilogy was even more well-written than the Mortal Instruments series (see #8) and made me feel every emotion possible while reading. This is the one and only series that has a love triangle that was 100% perfect and made me feel nothing but respect and love for these characters. Pick this one up too!! I actually have a series review for this trilogy if you’re interested!
“They say you cannot love two people equally at once,” she said. “And perhaps for others that is so. But you and Will—you are not like two ordinary people, two people who might have been jealous of each other, or who would have imagined my love for one of them diminished by my love of the other. You merged your souls when you were both children. I could not have loved Will so much if I had not loved you as well. And I could not love you as I do if I had not loved Will as I did.”