Scattered Thoughts Best Books of 2012

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What a spectacular year for great books in every genre from historical to fantasy! I have read so many wonderful books and series this year that it is hard to even begin to narrow down the list, although I have tried. What makes a book great for me? So many things, that it needs its own list.

The books I listed here are ones that moved me to tears and made me laugh out loud, they took me to places I have never been to see sights fantastic, miraculous, and awe inspiring. I have watched dragons soar and seen twin suns set over alien worlds. Through these wonderful authors I have met people who continue to stay with me through the power of their stories and the connectedness that I feel with each of the characters I have read about. Sometimes the books have taught me something about myself and how I looked at others or just gave me a deeper appreciation for my fellow beings.

I have grieved with men who have lost their soul mates, been with them as they worked through the trauma and loss, and celebrated as they moved forward with their lives. I watched men fall in love, whether it be with shifters, wizards, or just a man they met on the side of the road. Love lost, love found or lovers rediscovering the best about each other…that seems to know no boundaries as far as who you are and what world you inhabit. It doesn’t even matter whether the story is set in the past or goes far into the future. The authors and books listed here are ones that I cherish and return to often to visit with them once more. If you haven’t already read them, I hope you will add them to your list of must reads, as they are surely mine.

Oh, and by the way, this list is not complete. There are some wonderful books still to be released in the last two weeks of December, and there are some that I just missed from my own reviews. So look to see a revised list after the first of the year. Really there is something for everyone here. Happy reading!

Best Historical Book:
All Lessons Learned by Charlie Cochrane (Best Series) review coming in 2013
The Celestial by Barry Brennessel
The Mystery of Ruby Lode by Scotty Cade

Best Short Story

Eight Days by Cardeno C
Fair Puckled by Bella Leone
Lily by Xavier Axelson
Leather Work and Lonely Cowboys, a Roughstock story, by BA Tortuga
Too Careful by Half, a Roughstock story, BA Tortuga

Best Contemporary Romance – Standalone

Fall Into the Sun by Val Kovalin
Marathon Cowboys by Sarah Black

Fallout by Ariel Tachna

Good Bones by Kim Fielding

Legend of the Apache Kid by Sarah Black

Mine by Mary Calmes
Play It Again, Charlie by RC CooperScrap Metal by Harper Fox
Sidecar by Amy Lane

The Cool Part of His Pillow by Rodney Ross

 Best Novels – Part of a Series

A Foreign Range by Andrew Grey
Acceleration by Amelia C. Gormley
But My Boyfriend Is by KA Mitchell
Chase the Stars by Ariel Tachna
Cherish, Faith, Love & Devotion 4 by Tere Michaels
Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino
Full Circle by RJ Scott
Hope by William Neale
Inherit the Sky by Ariel Tachna (Best Series)
Second Hand, a Tucker Springs story by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux (Best Series)
The Journal of Sanctuary One by RJ Scott
The Melody Thief by Shira Anthony (also Best Series)
Who We Are by TJ Klune

Best First Novels
The Cool Park of His Pillow by Rodney Ross
Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander
Inertia by Amelia C. Gormley (Best Series)

Best Supernatural Book:
A Token of Time by Ethan Day
Crucible of Fate by Mary Calmes (Best Series)
Druid Stone by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Ghosts in the Wind by Marguerite Labbe
Hawaiian Gothic by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Infected: Life After Death by Andrea Speed (Best Series)
Riot Boy by Katey Hawthorne
The Gravedigger’s Brawl by Abigail Roux

Science Fiction Books:
Emerald Fire by A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder
The Trust by Shira Anthony

Best Fantasy Books:
 Black Magic by Megan Derr
Burning Bright by Megan Derr (Lost Gods series)
Chaos (Lost Gods series) by Megan Derr
Magic’s Muse by Anne Barwell
Poison by Megan Derr (Lost Gods series)
Treasure by Megan Derr (Lost Gods series)
Best Series – new books this year:
A Change of Heart series by Mary Calmes (supernatural)
Blue Notes series by Shira Anthony (contemporary)
Cambridge Fellows series by Charlie Cochrane (historical)
Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux (and Madeleine Urban) (Contemporary)
Faith, Love & Devotion series by Tere Michaels (contemporary)
Infected Series by Andrea Speed (supernatural)
Knitting series by Amy Lane (contemporary)
Lost Gods by Megan Derr (Fantasy)
Sanctuary series by RJ Scott (contemporary)
Sci Regency series by JL Langley (science fiction)

So Many Great Series, here are more of my favorites:

A Matter of Time series by Mary Calmes (contemporary)

Jewel Bonds series by Megan Derr (fantasy)

Superpowered Love series by Katey Hawthorne

Wick series by Megan Derr
Best Anthologies:

Three Fates
Animal Magnetism
Lashings of Sauce
Making Contact

I know that many books are missing but I just did not get to them this year, including JP Barnaby’s Little Boy Lost series, Andrew Grey’s Range series, and so many more.  Look for them in 2013.  Do you have a favorite I should know about?  Write me and let me know.

Review of Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander

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Rating: 5 Stars

At 26, Austin Glass appears to have it all. He’s a trust fund baby with a loving fiance. He drives fancy cars, wears tailored suits and is a decorated cop with his eye on advancement to the FBI.   His future is bright, shiny and planned out, including his rapidly approaching wedding.  Or is it.  Appearances are often deceiving, so the saying goes. And Austin’s glossy exterior hides a painful past,  bitterness and a self imposed isolation from all around him.

In a heartbeat, everything in Austin’s life changes the minute he spies a young man clearing tables in a dinner.  He’s supposed to be waiting for an informant but all he can concentrate on are the freckles sprinkled across the young man’s nose, red hair, and the tattered bunny slippers adorning his feet.

Peter “Rabbit” Dyachenko, wearer of said bunny slippers, is far older than his twenty years.  His life has been incredibly tough and traumatic.  Peter has done what he had to in order to survive, and its left its footprint on his back.  He’s no one’s fool and everyone is his target.  A case of murder and illegal aliens brings the two men together in a clash that forever changes each others lives.

Where do I start? Well, this story is just jaw droppingly good.  No,  it’s better than that.  It’s amazing. Its a stunning debut novel from Dani Alexander that blows you away from the very first sentence that introduces you to the world of Austin Glass.  Austin Glass is such a vivid, unique creation that he is on my list of all-time favorites characters.  The story is told from his POV, with dialog so amazingly genuine and realistic that I alternated laughing out loud with wanting to hit him on the head with a nerf bat depending upon his predicament, much like everyone who comes in contact with him.  Austin is sarcastic, whining, bitter, funny and good at interrogating criminals while antagonizing his fellow cops.  And his father, and his friends. His inner running commentary on his life and events is telling, the unhappiness seeping through as well as his recognition that all is not well in the state of Austin Glass.

Peter has him confused and off kilter from the beginning.  And you get it! You get it all, as Austin tries to cope with the demands of his job, his fiance, his perfectly laid out future with his increasingly obsessive need to see, to be with Peter no matter the cost.  And there is no doubt that it is going to cost him everything. There isn’t one false note here, nothing!  As Austin starts to unravel, you are right there with him on his emotional rollercoaster right to the shattering end.  And while it’s Austin’s voice in your head, all the other people circling  around his mental drainhole are just as authentic as he is. His fiance could be a one-dimentional obstacle in the way of love and happiness.  But Angelica is heartbreakingly real, and you feel for her as her future with Austin crumbles around her. I could not put this book down, often reading until 3am.  Then I had to go back over chapters the next day because I was too afraid I had missed something by being so tired.

This story has everything, laughter, angst, great characters, mystery, lots of bad guys, cartels, FBI, and hot m/m sex.  Oh, and did I mention a HEA?  It has that too.  But it’s the journey to get there that stays in my head.  I have been meaning to write this review for 2 days but I knew I was going to have trouble with it.  How was I going to keep from gushing? I don’t like to gush.  OK, I’m gushing.  And I always have a quibble or two…where are my quibbles?  Nada, zip, nothing.  And I can’t even say it’s too short, because it’s not.  It clocks in at around 450 pages on my Kindle.  Sooooooo……what to say, what to say?

How about brilliant, absolutely wonderful.  I always mention the publisher when writing a review so imagine my surprise when I learned it was self published.  Why are the publishers not beating this woman’s door down?  Shattered Glass and Dani Alexander deserve a much larger audience, as large as they can get.  So here is another drum banging out a call to all readers who love a great story.  Here it is!  Come meet Austin Glass and Peter Rabbit.  You won’t forget them and neither will I.

And my thanks go out to Chris over at StumblingOverChaos.  It is due to her that I have my copy of Shattered Glass and a new found obsession.  Way to go, Chris, and a thousand catnip toys to Chaos for this one.

Go to Goodreads for more quotes from Shattered Glass but here is a sample:

Shattered Glass Quotes:

“Do you know what I did to the last guy that called me Tinkerbelle?”

“Slept with him?”

Darryl was silent for a second. “After that.”
― Dani Alexander, Shattered Glass

“You’re rich, spoiled and used to getting your own way.”

“Not true. If I had my own way you would have kissed me and ridden me like a cowboy while screaming ‘yeehaw’.”
― Dani Alexander, Shattered Glass

Cover:  Dark and simple.  It’s good, fits in with the story but that is not Austin Glass, the suit is too ill fitting.  He wouldn’t be caught dead in a suit like that.  Available at Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads.