My Top 10 Books of 2017

Best of 2017

Well, this year has come to an end. It was like riding the crazy train all year long. In terms of books, I thought the year started off strong, hit a pretty significant slump and then once fall rolled around, boom we had so many amazing books it was hard to keep with all the awesomeness coming my way. I swear I read five-star after five-star books for six weeks straight. Thanks to all of you on here, I love finding great recommendations from y’all and seeing your thoughts on the books that I loved or felt blah about.

Overall my favorite book of the year: Edge of Glory by Rachel Spangler
This one hit on everything I love the most when it comes to a romance book. Captivating characters, one being an ice princess. Yessss! Then make them badass athletes with a slow burn hate to love scenario. Well, you go me. I was hooked. This one just resonated with me and easily goes into my must read again and best ever categories.

Tricky Chances: The Clinical Years (Tricky, #2) by Camryn Eyde
As close at it can be this one was right up there. So, so good. Ice princess medical student. A heartbreaking breakup and then that good old get the girl back with laying all the emotions out there. I love this series.

Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O’Beirne
An absolutely delightful book that was a breath of fresh air. So full of diverse characters and two mains who are just amazing. Emily O’Beirne is just an amazing writer, and in this book, she took her amazingness to a whole other level.

Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson
Halfway through this one and I wanted to close it and start it back over. It was so damn good that I wanted to savor every chapter. This one was outstanding. Loved it!

Worthy of Trust and Confidence (Agent O’Connor, #2) by Kara A. McLeod
You have a fantastic mystery, a ton of corruption and a love story that just won’t quit. The two main are badass Secret Service agents with smoldering hot chemistry. I don’t need to say much more, do I?

Known Threat (Agent O’Connor, #3) by Kara A. McLeod
Yeah, the follow-up is one here too. This series has me hooked for sure. This book was one of the ones I was most excited about. Oh, and it so delivered! This one is better than the predecessors. It will stick with you long after the last page and have you impatiently waiting to meet up with these characters again.

Making a Tinderbox (The Tinderbox Tales, #1) by Emma Sterner-Radley
This is one of those books you find and just turn to mush because it did everything right. It took a hold of my heart, as sad as I was that the story was over, I was dazzled by its brilliance as well. I am so glad there will be more in this series.

The Brutal Truth by Lee Winter
Tension, oh that glorious sexual tension. This was a long slow burn that was delightful. Everything about this book is done right. The writing is crisp, the characters, well they were amazing and the dialogue could go from biting to amusing at the flip of a page.

The Price of Cash by Ashley Bartlett
Ashley Bartlett has me spellbound with this series. This is one of the other books that I was so excited about finally getting my hands on this year. I love how she writes, it’s fast-paced and sharp. Her characters are multi-faceted that live their lives in a grey area of a whole lot of wrong but is it really that bad? This is the moral dilemma of epic proportions that haunts both or our main character. Cash the lovable drug dealer and Laurel the undercover cop that is head over heels in love with her. SOOOO GOOD!!!!

Repercussions by Jessica L. Webb
A roller coaster ride of awesomeness is what this book is. Twists and turns with a ton of sexiness. This psychological thriller like no other is the f/f romance genre. You cannot put this one down once you start. 

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Known Threat (Agent O’Connor, #3) by Kara A. McLeod

From Kara A. McLeod’s first book to her now third book, there has been such a progression from really good to phenomenal. I was enthralled by her third installment of her Agent O’Connor series. She made my heart race, my emotions jump all over the place, I was taken right into the book, real life be damned.

McLeod has become a master in on writing a fantastic story with main characters that exude fortitude, strength kindness and underneath it all, raw vulnerability. It hard not to be captured by this series, I can easily say this is one of the books I have been most excited about this year.

Like I have said before this is a series, each book building off of each other. Do not start here, you want to pick up Actual Stop and then Worthy of Trust and Confidence. Without a doubt, this is a damn good series and you will not be disappointed have three amazing books to devour.

Special Agent Ryan O’Connor returns to action after being somewhat physically and emotionally recovered from her bullet wounds. Back to active duty and dealing with the craziness that life continues to throw her way. When we ended the second book, we knew that Ryan’s girlfriend, Special Agent Allison Reynolds was having some type of an issue with her boss Beau Byers. Well, get ready for that onion to be peeled. It’s picked right off the headlines of today’s papers and it is enough to make your blood boil for both of the Agents.

The Beau debacle is just one iron in the fire. Ryan has another monstrous disaster to put out. Her sister has been captured by a madman. Remember the paranoid schizophrenic from the last book who thinks the president’s daughter is his wife. Well, Adam Royce Walker is back and has taken Ryan’s sister as a way to meet up with Zoey Carmicheal.

This is a heart-stopping adventure that will drag so many emotions from you. My heart broke for all the ladies involved. There are parts of this book that will crack your heart into tiny fragments. One part, in particular, will cause you true anguish.

While I say this, I’m also saying its worth it because this book is so, so good. You are there every moment, McLeod transports you into the story and never takes you out of it until the very last page is turned. The book will stick with you and have you impatiently waiting to meet up with these characters again.

This one surpasses the first and the second in the series. Not an easy feat to do. The best of the series so far! I cannot wait for the next one. Kara A. McLeod, you have stolen my heart with this series. If you read this review, thank you!

A big 5 out of 5 stars

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Worthy of Trust and Confidence (Agent O’Connor, #2) by Kara A. McLeod

Kara A. McLeod knows how to write a great story with characters that have strength and at the same time are vulnerable. A hard mix but when is done well gives the reader a character that is absolutely captivating. Worthy of Trust and Confidence, gives you not one but two leading ladies that will capture your heart.
First off if you haven’t read Actual Stop you need to stop right here and go read it. You cannot read this one first, you’ll be totally lost. Take it from me it’s damn good and you want this in your life.

We pick back up with Special Agent Ryan O’Connor recovering from bullet wounds after the assassination attempt on Iran’s president. Ryan is haunted by the death of her former lover and riddled with guilt because she survived and Lucia didn’t. She holds back her pain from everyone, including her now girlfriend, Special Agent Allison Reynolds. Why to be tough? No that’s not it, but because she doesn’t want Allison to feel guilty as well. Her text message saved Ryan but cost Lucia the ultimate price. Ryan wants to shoulder that guilt all herself, even though she desperately needs to talk about it. She also is walking on eggshells with Allison. Old wounds from the past keep her from leaning too heavily on the love of her life. She doesn’t want to screw it up when they just go back together. All the while Allison’s heart is breaking Ryan won’t open up, she is also dealing a boss that is causing her hell on Earth.

So while the last book was a little heavy-handed on secret service procedures, this one is not. Not at all, this is an action-packed adventure with two badass female leads with smoldering hot chemistry. Once I got started, there is no way in hell you could have dragged this book from me. I needed to finish this one. It is that good! You have a fantastic mystery, a ton of corruption and a love story that just won’t quit. This one surpasses the first in the series and is every bit deserving of its five-star rating.

5 out of 5 stars

Actual Stop by Kara A. McLeod

This is one of those books that the cover actually sold me on the book. I like a good cop procedural but sometimes it has too much crime. (That’s probably an oxymoron, right, too much crime, but you know what I mean, you read romance novel too!) I will confess the romance is what I want, catch the bad guys sure, but let’s have more smoldering romance than chasing villain’s, okay.

Special Agent Ryan O’Connor is a secret service agent that works the on the Protective Intelligence Squad handling threat cases. Ryan has finally got her life back on track after having her heart shredded by the love of her life. Ryan uses oodles of duct tape and pieces back her heart to finally begin dating again. She has entered in to new relationship with a one of NYPD’s finest. The only problem is Lucia feels way more attached that Ryan does.

Enter the heart breaker herself, Special Agent Allison Reynolds. This is secret service agent is one of Mr. President’s own guard. She is calm, cool and collected in a constant storm of chaos. Ryan is her weakness though. You can tell as soon as they come back together to work a detail to guard the President as he travels into the city. The old flame is back, but what is it she’s after?

So my thoughts on this one are mixed. I really, really liked it, well most parts of it. What I love specifically is the angstiness of it. Ryan and Allison have chemistry. HOT!!! It’s obvious as soon as they see each other again after their four year hiatus.  To me as the reader the attraction and dynamic these two had just jumped right off the page. I loved the parts of the story where these two were together and trying to navigate how to be friends and colleagues.

What I was not a huge fan of is too much detail about the Secret Service. Too much procedural stuff, details that are important to the line of work sure, unglamorous at times, but still just a smidgen will do. I understand why it was there it just became rather dry. This is what may turn some reader off, but if you can look past this there is a diamond in the rough.

For me Kara A. McLeod’s first novel Actual Stop is a big hit. I thought this book had emotion and I loved it. The feelings Ryan has for Allison is dynamic, the emotions and intensity of their attraction just pulled me in chapter after chapter. While reviews maybe mixed, I quite frankly loved this one.

4.25 out of 5 stars

I was given this book by Netgalley & Bold Strokes Books in return for an honest review.

Actual Stop
by Kara A. McLeod
Link: https://amzn.com/B01FUM2XT8

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