books

Favorite Books of 2014

Dougs-books

*Note this is a little late but it happens…

These are a few of the 278 books I read last year. No particular order, but all books that I enjoyed quite a bit this year. To keep up with what I read check me out on Goodreads. My reading Challenge progress and currently reading shelf are both also shown on my blog.

Fierce by L.G Kelso

Tori’s MMA career was taking off… until she beat the wrong man. Her training partner, nursing a bruised ego, snapped—shattering her trust and confidence.
Three years later, Tori’s keeping her fists to herself as she struggles to put herself through college. But when a group of gangbangers hassle her at work, old habits kick in and her fists fly. Max Estrada, a frequent diner customer, steps in and gets them out of hot water, but Tori is still fired… days before tuition is due.
With no other option, she’s forced to take a desk job at her old pounding grounds, where her demons still haunt the cage and the temptation to go glove-to-glove with familiar pro-fighter, Max Estrada, is too much. The sexy Colombian draws her back into the world of MMA and revives her dreams of becoming a professional face-puncher—until Will, her old partner and current Middleweight Champion, struts back into the gym. The secret they share is an unexpected liability to his career, and he’s determined to keep her silent.
With her life on the ropes, Tori will have to face the past for a shot at winning back her future, or carry the weight of a loss even greater than before.

Raw by Belle Aurora

***Author Note: This is not a love story. This is a story of love gone wrong.***
Growing up the way I did, you’d think I’d be more screwed up than what I actually am. Soon as I turned sixteen, I left that bump in the road I called home and took my chances on the street. Best decision I ever made.
Now, at the age of twenty six, I’m educated, employed and damn good at my job. My friends have become my family. Like me, they know what it’s like to grow up unloved. But the saying is true. The world makes way for those who know where they are going. That’s me. I know where I’m going and I’ll get there eventually. On my own terms and at my own pace.
But then there’s him. I feel his eyes on me. I see him hiding in plain sight. He watches me. He makes me feel. It’s unconventional. But it’s real.
I’m sure you’re wondering how a person falls in love with their stalker.
So am I.
This isn’t a story. This is my life.
***This book includes situations that some may find uncomfortable.

Give Me Love, Give Me Strength, Give Me Grace by Kate McCarthy

Book #1 in the Give Me series.
Evie Jamieson, a former wild child, is not only a headstrong, smart-mouthed trouble magnet, she is also a lead singer with a plan. That plan involves uprooting her band, including her two best friends guitarist Henry and band manager Mac, to Sydney to kick off their dreams of hitting the big time.
Jared Valentine is the older brother of Evie’s best friend Mac and also the man determined to make Evie his. They strike up a long distance friendship which suits Evie because she’s determined to avoid the distraction of love, not only because it doesn’t fit in with her plan, but because twice in the past it has left her for dead. Moving to Sydney, however, has put her directly in Jared’s path and he has decided it’s the perfect opportunity to make his play.
Unfortunately Jared, co-owner in a business that ‘consults’ in dangerous hostage and kidnapping situations, makes an enemy who’s determined to enact revenge. When his enemy puts Evie in his sights, Jared not only has a fight on his hands to make her his own, but also to keep her alive.
Is accepting the love he’s so desperate to give worth the risk to both her heart, and her life?
*Please Note: Kate McCarthy is an Australian author and Australian English, spelling and slang have been used in this book. This book is recommended for 18+ due to adult language and content.*

Book #2 in the Give Me Series.
Quinn Salisbury doesn’t think she’s cut out for this whole living thing. Even as a young girl she struggled. Just when she thinks she’s found a way to leave her violent past behind her, the only thing that’s kept her going is ripped away, leaving her damaged and heartbroken.
Four years later, she is slowly rebuilding her life and lands a job as an assistant band manager to Jamieson, the hot new Australian act climbing their way to the top of the charts. There she meets Travis Valentine, the charismatic older brother of her boss, Mac.
From his commanding charm to his confidence and passion, Travis is everything Quinn believes is too good for her, and despite her apprehension, she finds their attraction undeniable and intense.
When her past resurfaces, it complicates their relationship. Instead of reaching out for help, Quinn pushes Travis away, until a staggering secret is revealed that leaves her fighting for her very life.
Torn between running and opening her heart to the man determined to have her, can Quinn find the strength within herself to fight for her future?
*Please note: K McCarthy is an Australian author and Australian spelling, language and slang has been used in this book*

Book #3 in the Give Me series.
Casey Daniels has a past forged in Hell. Despite the friends, the endless supply of women, and the muscle car he spent years restoring, it still eats away at him.
Grace Paterson is in Sydney as a temporary bassist for Jamieson, the band Casey handles security for. She’s also infuriating, off-limits, and completely irresistible.
A deal is struck, and despite their intense and powerful connection, both think it will be easy to walk away. But life can be more ruthless than either of them ever imagined. Not only does Grace have a secret she’s desperate to keep, Casey has questions from his past that he’s willing to do anything to get answers for.
It’s not until someone wants one of them dead that Casey realises his love for Grace is the one thing he could never walk away from.
In a story of revenge, betrayal, secrets, and love, Casey will need to reconcile his past with his present, before the future he never knew he wanted is snatched away.
*Please Note: Kate McCarthy is an Australian author and Australian English, spelling and slang have been used in this book. This book is recommended for 18+ due to adult language and content.*

Underneath It All and The Space Between by Kate Canterbary

Book 1 in the Walsh Architects Series 

If I had known I’d have a hot architect balls deep inside of me before the end of the weekend, I’d have made time for a pedicure. Also, a little chat about not losing my shit at all the wrong moments.
Hindsight was a bitch, and karma…well, I didn’t know her story yet.

Book 2 in the Walsh Architects Series 

Some lines are meant to be crossed.
Patrick
That hair. That fucking hair. It was everywhere, always, and I wanted to tangle my fingers in those dark curls and pull. And that would be fine if she wasn’t my apprentice. Andy Asani was nothing like I expected. She was exotic and scary-brilliant, and the slightest murmur from those lips sent hot, hungry lust swirling through my veins. Outside my siblings, she was the only person I could name who shared my obsession with preserving Boston’s crumbling buildings.

Andy My wants were few: good eats, tall boots, sweaty yoga, interesting work. One incredibly hot architect with the most expressive hazel eyes I ever encountered and entirely too much talent in and out of the bedroom wasn’t part of the original plan. Apparently he was part of the package.
Wine was my rabbi and vodka was my therapist, and I needed plenty of both to survive my apprenticeship. Especially with Patrick Walsh leaving love notes in the form of bite marks all over my body.
*This is the second book in The Walshes Series, though it reads as a stand-alone novel.

Beneath This Mask by Meghan March

He loves me, and he doesn’t even know my real name.
The limelight that follows him could expose everything I’m hiding. But even knowing the risks, I can’t force myself to stay away.
I’m going to break his heart, but mine will shatter right along with it.
Will we lose it all when I reveal what’s beneath this mask?

UnWritten by Chelsea M Cameron

Blair Walton isn’t your average curvaceous tattooed children’s librarian. She’s also one half of bestselling romance author, Scarlet Rose. Along with her BFF Raine, she spends her nights writing books so steamy, she’s afraid they would shock her Southern conservative grandmother to death . . . if she knew about them. That’s why she and Raine write in secret.
On deadline for their latest book and out of ideas, Raine suggests (demands) that Blair find a guy and “do some research.” Declan Bennet has all the qualifications: He’s British, looks fabulous in a suit, has glorious blue eyes and gets bonus points for being an amazing single dad to his adorable son, Drake. But what starts out as a research project quickly turns into something much more. And Blair’s not the only one with secrets.

#Nerd by Cambria Herbert

Two people from completely different worlds are about to be thrown together…In more ways than one.
She wants to keep her scholarship. He wants to stay on the team. An awkward alliance doesn’t even begin to cover Rimmel and Romeo’s relationship.But that’s about to change.

It starts with a dare. An initiation. A challenge.
Quickly, it turns into more. But when you’re a victim of your status, there is no room for anything real. The rules are clear and simple.
Stick to your circle.
And never fall in love with anyone on the outside.

Rome, Nash and Rowdy by Jay Crownover

Book 3 in the Marked Men Series

Sometimes the wrong choice can be just right . . .Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed “bad boy” friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won’t let herself get burned again. She’s waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he’s returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome’s used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray.Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever . . .

Book 4 in the Marked Men Series

Saint Ford has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming of nurse. Focused on her work and devoted to her patients, there’s no room for love. She doesn’t need a guy making waves in her calm, serene life—especially when he’s the unforgettable hottie who nearly destroyed her in high school. Dark, brooding Nash Donovan might not remember her or the terrible pain he caused. But he turned her world upside down . . . and now he’s trying to do it again.Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them—or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense.When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?

Book 5 in the Marked Men Series

After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.Salem Cruz grew up in a house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.

Checkmate and The Game Plan by R.L. Mathewson

Book 3 in the Neighbor From Hell Series

There’s nothing worse than living next door to your childhood nemesis, except maybe being forced to share your dream project with him, being blackmailed into going along with something that was just wrong on so many levels, and having your hot cocoa stolen by the person that drove you to drink it in the first place.
As long as she has plenty of hot cocoa, a pair of pliers on hand and is able to resist Connor O’Neil’s bad boy charm then Rory James should be able to make it through this project with her sanity intact. If not….
She’d probably face a few more nights in jail, have a few more restraining orders slapped against her and lose her heart to the man that ruined her life.

Book 5 in the Neighbor From Hell Series

Spend the next 40 years in prison or break her lease early?
Normally she’d be able to say that this one was a no-brainer, but things have definitely changed since she was forced to move in across the hall from Danny Bradford.
A lot of things……
She wanted to get through one day, just ONE day without Danny Bradford doing something to test the limits to her control, but with that damn smile of his and his habit of leaving her contemplating manslaughter, she didn’t see that happening anytime soon.
He loved his family, but some days…….
It was too much, but that was okay, because his small neighbor living across the hallway provided him with endless hours of entertainment. Not on purpose of course, but did it really matter as long she made him smile?

Deeper by Robin York

When Caroline Piasecki’s ex-boyfriend posts their sex pictures on the Internet, it destroys her reputation as a nice college girl. Suddenly her once-promising future doesn’t look so bright. Caroline tries to make the pictures disappear, hoping time will bury her shame. Then a guy she barely knows rises to her defense and punches her ex to the ground.
West Leavitt is the last person Caroline needs in her life. Everyone knows he’s shady. Still, Caroline is drawn to his confidence and swagger—even after promising her dad she’ll keep her distance. On late, sleepless nights, Caroline starts wandering into the bakery where West works.
They hang out, they talk, they listen. Though Caroline and West tell each other they’re “just friends,” their feelings intensify until it becomes impossible to pretend. The more complicated her relationship with West gets, the harder Caroline has to struggle to discover what she wants for herself—and the easier it becomes to find the courage she needs to fight back against the people who would judge her.
When all seems lost, sometimes the only place to go is deeper.

Sweet Addiction and Sweet Possession by J. Daniels

Book 1

Wedding hookups never amount to anything.
Those who partake in this wicked little activity know the rules. Get in. Get laid. Get out. There’s no expectation of a relationship. It is what it is.
Dylan Sparks knows the rules. She’s familiar with the protocol. And she engages in the best sex of her life with a complete stranger at her ex-boyfriend’s wedding.
Reese Carroll doesn’t care about the rules. He wants more than just one night with Dylan.
And Dylan finds him too addicting to pass up.
Sweet Addiction is the story of one woman’s struggle to keep things casual, and one man’s desire to never let her go.

Book 2

A sassy, in-your-face baker. A panty-stealing, dirty-talking accountant. And a bathroom quickie that changed their lives forever.
Wedding hookups never amount to anything.
Unless that hookup knocks you on your ass.
For Dylan Sparks and Reese Carroll, the big day can’t arrive soon enough. Dylan, stressed to the max from overbearing mothers and last minute preparations, struggles to keep her sanity. As for Reese, he’s fighting to not only keep his bride-to-be safe from creepy investors, but also to make it to the actual wedding day without losing his mind in the process.
Throw in a crazy group of friends, and a bachelor/bachelorette party weekend getaway, and you have a recipe for the sweetest wedding of the year.
Reese Carroll and Dylan Sparks cordially invite you to read Sweet Possession.

Down and Out by Kelly R. Martin

“Tattooed package of sin.”
That’s how Savannah Ryan would describe her new boss, Declan Whitmore, the deliciously tatted and pierced fighter who holds the top spot in Boston’s newest underground fighting organization. She’d also describe him as bossy, arrogant, and–depending on what he does to piss her off that particular day–an asshole.
It’s that aloof attitude, along with Savannah’s witty comebacks and tight little body that land her on his radar. Unfortunately for her, Declan is relentless when he sets his sights on someone, both in and out of the ring. Unfortunately for him, this recently reformed bad girl is trying to go straight after heading down a dangerous path. She’s not going to make this easy for him. In fact, she’s going to make it–and him–very, very hard.
Declan’s not worried, though. He’ll have Savannah come hell or high water, because if there’s one word he’d use to describe her, it’s “MINE.”

Play by Kylie Scott

Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast-at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl.
Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls-especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?

Clipped Wings and Inked Armor by Helena Hunting

Book 1 

From her dark hair sweeping below her waist to her soft, sexy curves, Tenley Page intrigues tattoo artist Hayden Stryker in a way no one else ever has…especially when she asks him to ink a gorgeous, intricate design on her back. Yet for all her beauty, there is something darkly tragic and damaged about Tenley that Hayden is everything.
Covered in ink and steel, Hayden is everything Tenley has never dared to want, awakening a desire to explore more than the art adorning his stunning body. Trapped by a past that leaves her screaming from nightmares, Tenley sees Hayden as the perfect escape. Although he has secrets too, if they both keep themselves guarded perhaps their intense physical connection will remain only that.
But nothing, not even passion, can keep them safe from their pasts

Book 2

In the wake of losing Tenley Page, tattooist Hayden Stryker’s tumultuous past is haunting him. Plagued by nightmares about the murder of his parents, Hayden reaches out again to Tenley. Having run from the man she doesn’t believe she deserves, Tenley finally lays her guilt to rest. Despite their intense physical attraction, Hayden and Tenley struggle to repair their fragile emotional connection. As Hayden gets closer to the truth, he must find a way to reconcile his guilt over his parents’ death in order to keep the woman who finally cracked his armor, and found her way into his heart.

Decker’s Wood by Kristy Dallas

Decker Steele had it made…Penthouse apartment, VIP parties, girls on tap. You see, Decker Steele is the Pornography Associations award winning, money making machine. But what does a self-confessed, pussy pounding warrior do when his prized package begins to fail? Freak the ‘F’ out, that’s what!
Andi Jennings is the socially inept, geeky and awkward cousin of Decker’s best friend. Only she’s not so geeky and awkward anymore. Now she’s a smokin’ hot country bumpkin, with a smokey voice made for phone sex, and a pair of hot as hell cowboy boots. Everyone adores her, my porn star buddies, my mom and dad, my ‘equipment’.
So, the prized package isn’t so failing anymore, the catch is, it will only perform for Andi…My friend WITHOUT benefits.
What will the prince of porn do? The girl or the career?

Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young

Despite her outgoing demeanor, Olivia is painfully insecure around the opposite sex—usually, she can’t get up the nerve to approach guys she’s interested in. But moving to Edinburgh has given her a new start, and, after she develops a crush on a sexy postgrad, she decides it’s time to push past her fears and go after what she wants.
Nate Sawyer is a gorgeous player who never commits, but to his close friends, he’s as loyal as they come. So when Olivia turns to him with her relationship woes, he offers to instruct her in the art of flirting and to help her become more sexually confident.
The friendly education in seduction soon grows into an intense and hot romance. But then Nate’s past and commitment issues rear their ugly heads, and Olivia is left brokenhearted. When Nate realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he will have to work harder than he ever has before to entice his best friend into falling back in love with him—or he may lose her forever….

Best Albums of the Year 2014

There were some good albums this year, but this list is for albums that I have had on constant repeat and love every track on it. This is not an easy thing to accomplish, as most albums have a few songs that are really good and most are take or leave. The following albums are not ranked or in any order other than the time I thought about them to add to this list.

You+Me – Rose Ave. 

 

Little Big Town – Pain Killer 

 

Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line

 

Taylor Swift – 1989

 

Miranda Lambert- Platinum

 

Tove Lo – Queen of the Clouds

 

Eric Church – The Outsiders

 

WALK THE MOON – Talking is Hard

 

Death from Above 1979 – The Physical World

 

Divergent Soundtrack

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

 

Meg Myers – Make a Shadow

 

Music of Nashville

I am completely in love with the show Nashville. It is a little dramatic and soapy for me at times, but when the music comes on I fall right back in love. My favorite voices on the show are Hayden Panettiere and Sam Palladio, but everyone is fantastic. I have found some bands and other music by the groups/writers of some of the songs from the show too.

Below is a Spotify playlist that I follow that updates with the songs from the show. 

 

 

Here is a band that I found from the show. Striking Matches.

 

Music I Love 2010

NOTE: This post was originally written in June of 2010. I am going to do an updated post just like this one soon.

So I love music and have over the years found some bands and artists that I just can’t stop listening too.

First up a discovery I made part by accident and part through watching The L Word on Showtime. Uh Huh Her is Camila Grey and Leisha Hailey. I stumbled upon the EP through Itunes recommended albums and fell in love with this song. The next album refined the song even greater and it made me fall in love with the band even more. Their first album Common Reaction held even more treasures such as Wait Another Day, Dance With Me and Not A Love Song. This band always puts me in a great mood and there isn’t a song they have that I don’t love. Check them out:

Another band I can always listen to is The Kooks. I don’t know much about this band other than the fact that I love their sound. I heard “Always Where I Need To Be” in a movie and tracked down the song and band and instantly became obsessed. I seem to be really into Brit Pop Rock these days. My Favorite Kooks song right now:

I also have really been into The Lostprophets for a long time. I don’t know much about the band except that they are from Wales, but I have all their music and really enjoy all their songs. They are one of the few rock bands that have progressed and grown in their sound a great deal from record to record. They have constantly stepped it up and with each new record their sound has melded and defined my rock tastes at that time. This is an older Lostprophets song, “Burn, Burn”:

I totally am in love with a few local bands from Springfield, Mo and St. Louis. Ludo is a St. Louis band that I have been into for a while. They have a ton of humor in their music and released an amazing rock opera that is so beautiful that if you listen from beginning to end, you will truly be moved. It’s about a man that loses his wife and builds a time machine to go save her and his misadventures along the way. Broken Bride…It’s amazing.

Some other bands that I have recently gotten into are Broken Bells, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Astro Surfer, 30 Seconds to Mars, Flogging Molly,

Status

Blog Catch Up

So it has been a long while since I have updated anything on here….

A lot has happened in that time. I got married, went on my honeymoon in Aruba, remodeled the bathroom again, crashed my computer I have had for 10+ years, got another nephew, had a live in-house guest, started boxing and bicycling, broke my ankle and had to have surgery on it, found all kinds of new music, switched from Apple to Android.

OK, so not that much has really happened, but I’m back and hope to be posting on a semi regular schedule again.