Abigail Roux, Aleksandr Voinov, Amelia C. Gormley, Amy Lane, Andrea Speed, Anyta Sunday, Astrid Amara, Ava March, Beau Schemery, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Carole Cummings, Charlie Cochet, Cornelia Grey, Dani Alexander, Diana Copland, Eden Winters, Edmond Manning, Elyan Smith, Ethan Day, Ginn Hale, Hayden Thorne, Heidi Belleau, J.C. Lillis, J.H. Trumble, J.P. Barnaby, Jennifer Cierra, John Goode, John T. Fuller, Jordan Castillo Price, Josh Lanyon, Joshua Martino, Kaje Harper, L.B. Gregg, M.J. O'Shea, Maria McCann, Marshall Moore, Mary Calmes, Missy Welsh, Nicole Kimberling, P.D. Singer, Paul Alan Fahey, Piper Vaughn, Rhys Ford, S.A. Reid, The Year In Reviews, Violetta Vane, Z.A. Maxfield

2012 – A Year In Reviews

Well, it’s that time of year again, the time of year when we all wonder where the days and weeks and months have gone, the time to reflect on some of the great books we’ve read throughout the year, the time of year I scratch my head and wonder if I’ll ever live long enough to read all the books I want to read (The answer? Pfft. No.), the time of year I wonder how the flip I manage to read as many books as I do in an entire year, and then wonder how I’m supposed to compile a list of favorites that doesn’t include more books than some people read in a year’s time. Top Ten? Piffles. I can barely pick the top ten in a single sub-genre, let along manage it for an across the board list. So, do I get a little creative in my selection methods? Probably. Is it honest? Definitely. Do I feel badly for leaving some amazing books off my list? Certainly. But I have to draw the line somewhere. ::sighs:: And for that I apologize to all the very deserving authors out there who should be recognized and celebrated for their brilliant work.

Quite a few of the books that made my list this year weren’t even published in 2012; that’s just when I finally got around to reading them. ::slow:: There is one book, however, that was published in 2012 that has managed to make me do something I’ve never been able to do in three years of putting together a year in reviews list: name a top pick for Best Book of the Year. Yep, that’s a first for me.

And since I’m always looking for the “next great read”, if there are books you’ve read this year that didn’t make my list, leave a comment and share so I can add it to my ginormous reading pile. :)

So, without further ado, here’s my list of Favorite Books of 2012:

Category One: Best Contemporary by a New To Me author

1. Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander
2. A Reason to Believe by Diana Copland
3. Aaron by J.P. Barnaby

*Honorable Mention: Inertia and Acceleration by Amelia C. Gormley*

Category Two: Best Contemporary by a Favorite Author
1. Armed & Dangerous by Abigail Roux
2. Sidecar by Amy Lane
3. Acrobat by Mary Calmes

*Honorable Mention: The Rare Event by P.D. Singer and One Small Thing by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea*

Category Three: Best Historical – 20th Century
1. Skybound by Aleksandr Voinov
2. Protection by S.A. Reid
3. Roses in the Devil’s Garden by Charlie Cochet

*Honorable Mention: Into Deep Waters by Kaje Harper

Category Four: Best Historical – 19th Century or earlier
1. As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann
2. When the Music Stops by John T. Fuller
3. The Affair of the Porcelain Dog by Jess Faraday

*Honorable Mention – His Client by Ava March

Category Five:Best Young Adult/Coming of Age (Contemporary)
1. End of the Innocence by John Goode
2. Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trimble
3. How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis

*Honorable Mention – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz*

Category Six:Best Young Adult/Coming of Age (Fantasy and/or Historical)
1. The 7th of London by Beau Schemery
2. The Winter Garden and Other Stories by Hayden Thorne
3. (In)visible by Anyta Sunday

Category Seven:Best AU/UF/Fantasy
1. Infected: Shift by Andrea Speed
2. Mnevermind 1: The Persistence of Memory by Jordan Castillo Price
3. A Token of Time by Ethan Day

*Honorable Mention: Irregulars by Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon, Ginn Hale & Astrid Amara*

Category EightBest Short Stories/Novelettes – All Sub-Genres
1. Clouds’ Illusions by Hayden Thorne
2. Bounty Hunter by Cornelia Grey
3. Zones by Elyan Smith
4. Portside by Elyan Smith
5. The War at the End of the World by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
6. Same Time Next Year by Eden Winters
7. Tinsel and Frost by Eden Winters
8. Oscar’s Soul by Missy Welch
9. Singing Alone by Jennifer Cierra
10. The View from 16 Podwale Street by Paul Alan Fahey

Category Nine: Best LGBT Non-Romance
1. Fontana by Joshua Martino
2. The Infernal Republic by Marshall Moore

Category Ten: Best Series – AU/Fantasy
1. The Wolf’s-own Series by Carole Cummings
2. The Rifter Series by Ginn Hale
3. The Infected Series by Andrea Speed

Category Eleven:Best Series – Mystery/Suspense
1. The Cut & Run Series by Abigail Roux
2. The Cole McGinnis Mysteries Series by Rhys Ford
3. The Romano and Albright Series by L.B. Gregg

Category Twelve: Best Series – Erotic/Kink/BDSM
1. The Dark Soul Series by Aleksandr Voinov
2. The Bound Series by Ava March

Category Thirteen Best Series – Contemporary
Tied for First place: (Seriously, I can’t choose)
1. The St. Nacho’s Series by Z.A. Maxfield
1. The Johnnies Series by Amy Lane
1. The A Matter of Time Series by Mary Calmes
1. The Tales From Foster High Series by John Goode

And now….

Finally, it comes down to my choice for Best Book of 2012, which goes to the brilliant and beautiful King Perry by Edmond Manning. I can say, with all honesty, I’ve never read a book quite like it in my entire life. Simply put, it is the reason I read and read and read, because every so often I find a book that leaves me both speechless and wanting to shout its praises from the rooftops at the same time. If you haven’t read it yet, do. Soon. Like maybe right now, soon. :)

Now it’s time to get to work on adding to my list for next year!

5 Stars, S.A. Reid, Smashwords

Protection by S.A. Reid

There’s a saying that goes something like, “life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” I’m a firm believer that some of those shining little breathless moments don’t take place in reality at all, but in the realms of the fictional people we invite into our lives. Those moments may come from a mere turn of phrase, or they may come from reading a book whose characters are unforgettable. More than a few of those breathless moments happened for me while reading Protection, not because the language of the narrative was exceptionally unique, but because the story itself was so tragically beautiful that it caused me to question my belief in the black and white of some actions which absolutely should not be forgiven, and reinforced my belief that there are times when hate and love truly can coexist within the confines of a single relationship.

Protection opens in pre-World War II England in the fictional Wentworth Prison, where Gabriel MacKenna is serving concurring life sentences for murdering his parents. Is there such a thing as justifiable homicide? That question gave me something to chew on as I learned more about Gabriel and the crime he’d committed. There’s no question he deserved to be where he was, but there’s also this gray area of understanding where Gabriel is concerned which allowed me to empathize with him on every level. He was such a dichotomy of behaviors, incredibly violent and philosophical about the justice he metes out—it’s necessary for his own survival as well as for those he chooses to protect, after all—yet there is a charisma and charm about him, an innate intelligence and aching quality to him that made him irresistible in spite of how much I tried to convince myself he should be entirely beyond redemption.

Dr. Joseph Cooper doesn’t belong in prison. He became the fall guy for a doctor who framed Joey for the death of a mother and her baby, tricking him into writing a confession that effectively robbed Joey of his life and locked the door to his cell before he’d even had the opportunity for a fair trial. The worst possible thing that could’ve happened to him upon his arrival at Wentworth was to catch the eye of Gabriel MacKenna, but that’s exactly what happened, and in Gabriel’s world, a doctor who murders a woman and her newborn child is due the sort of justice that Gabriel serves.

This book is a series of conflicts and contrasts. It contains scenes of rape and violence, which given its setting isn’t unusual or unexpected. What was entirely unexpected was that I found myself trying to justify Gabriel’s actions and his relationship with Joey, and there is a hypocrisy in my way of thinking; I freely admit it. How can love evolve from such a violent beginning? Need, desperation, the want of human touch and the desire to belong to someone can spring from even the most barren ground, it seems. Love can be a prison in its own right, and freedom can be empty when the person you wanted to share your life with isn’t there to share it with you.

These are men who draw a distinction between being queer and being “prison queer” and it’s an important difference to them—one is a perversion and the other is making the best of what’s available. But falling in love with someone who’s supposed to be nothing more than a way to scratch an itch crosses a line. It makes you begin to dream of possibilities of a future that can never happen. It makes you want things you’ve never wanted before and it makes you realize how helpless you are against your circumstances, and that is a heartbreaking reality that clings to me even now, long after finishing this book. Gabriel’s love for Joey intensified his already exaggerated need to protect what was his, and in the end, the depth of that love proved fatal.

S.A. Reid has written a story that challenges perceptions and confronts perspective. Protection is a book I’ll read again sometime; maybe the next time I’m in the mood to have my heart yanked out through my tear ducts. It’s painfully beautiful and beautifully painful in its defiance of the rules of traditional romance, and I loved that the author made me believe in and be grateful for all of its contrasts.

Buy Protection HERE.