★ 2015 FAVORITES ★My best reads this year
And another year of fabulous reads takes end!
Compared to 2014 and 2013, I seem to have slowed down my pace a little, “only” reading a meager 250 books this year. (2014 was a voracious year, with 536 books read) But I’m not even counting the many re-reads or all the novellas and short stories.
So, I’ve read less but it feels like I’ve read MORE. I had less 1 or 2 stars and only a few books I could not finish. Even the 3 stars ratings seem to be regressing.
But look at all the 4 and 5 stars! I’m impressed with how many great books I could find this year, and grateful for so many wonderful stories.
Some will stay with me a long time, some will be forgotten—only to be re-read later— and some will take place in the form of paperbacks on my already over crowed shelves. (A trip to Ikea is in order soon.)
So which are the books I loved this year? Here are a few, mostly 5 stars.
Which where YOUR favorites in 2015? Leave me a comment, I’d love to know if I missed must reads this year.
Please share with the class!
The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur
By far my favorite book this year. It stole the light from all the books I’ve read in 2015. Magnificent second chance at love, exquisite and enchanting writing, raw and brutal feelings.
I took my time deciding to open it because I knew it wouldn’t be an easy and light read, but oh boy. I fell in love with fictional characters and still cannot let them go.
The author did a spectacular job with character’s development and I’ve found myself devouring this book page after page, intent on discovering if my “friends” would be okay in the end. I didn’t have a choice but to care for them!
What really drew me in was Suanne Laqueur outstanding writing.
Pure magic is happening within the pages of The Man I Love and I can’t recommend this book enough. READ IT.
The Man I Love was without a doubt THE BEST book I’ve read this year. I took my time deciding to open it because I knew it wouldn’t be an easy and light read, but oh boy. I fell in love with fictional characters and still cannot let them go.
The author did a spectacular job with character’s development and I’ve found myself devouring this book page after page, intent on discovering if my “friends” would be okay in the end. I didn’t have a choice but to care for them!
What really drew me in was Suanne Laqueur outstanding writing.
As a college freshman, Erik Fiskare is drawn to the world of theater but prefers backstage to center stage. The moment he lays eyes on a beautiful, accomplished dancer named Daisy Bianco, his atoms rearrange themselves and he is drawn into a romance both youthfully passionate and maturely soulful. Their love story thrives within a tight-knit circle of friends, all bound by creativity and artistry. A newcomer arrives–a brilliant but erratic dancer with an unquenchable thirst for connection. And when this disturbed friend brings a gun into the theater, the story is forever changed. Daisy is shot and left seriously injured. And Erik finds himself alone in the aisle, looking down the muzzle of a pistol and trying to stop the madness. He succeeds, but with tremendous repercussions to his well-being and that of his loved ones.
Traumatized by the experience, Erik and Daisy spiral into depression and drug use until a shocking act of betrayal destroys their relationship. To survive, Erik must leave school and disconnect from all he loves. He buries his heartbreak and puts the past behind. Or so he believes.
As he moves into adulthood, Erik comes to grips with his role in the shooting, and slowly heals the most wounded parts of his soul. But the unresolved grief for Daisy continues to shape his dreams at night. Once those dreams were haunted by blood and gunfire. Now they are haunted by the refrain of a Gershwin song and a single question: is leaving always the end of loving?
Spanning fifteen years, The Man I Love explores themes of love and sexuality, trauma–physical and mental–and its long-lasting effects, the burden of unfinished business and the power of reconciliation. Through Erik’s experience we reflect on what it means to be a man, a son and a leader. A soul mate, a partner and a lover. What it means to live the truth of who you are and what you feel. What it means to fight for what you love.
Ninja At First Sight by Penny Reid
You know these books that are so good they put you off reading anything else? That’s what happened to me after reading this end of year treat by Penny Reid.
This novella is the prequel of the most expected Happily Ever Ninja, book 5 in her Knitting in the City series.
Penny Reid did the unthinkable with this little nugget, she managed to make me fall in love with Greg and put him on top of my book boyfriends. Yes, I’m even thinking putting him before Drew from “Beauty and the Mustache”. Greg sounds like the dream man on paper. Overly smart, ripped, funny, sarcastic and in love with his wife, Fiona. And no, the fact that he is a devoted husband and father doesn’t stop me from thinking he is MINE.
Because it’s Penny Reid. Because this author has the ability to make a simple romance book funny, sexy and highly entertaining without added drama. Her writing is inviting and her heroines’ inner monologues are just hilarious. I’m in love with this series and I’m convinced Greg and Fiona will blow my mind this year with the release of Happily Ever Ninja.
Because I can identify myself to her heroines and lust over dream men. Because her books are different from everything I’ve ever read.
If you haven’t read a Penny Reid’s book yet, DO IT.
‘Ninja at First Sight’ is a prequel standalone novella for Knitting in the City book 5, ‘Happily Ever Ninja’.
‘Ninja at First Sight’ is 40k words.
This novella is the expanded origin story for Greg and Fiona. The first 16k words of this novella are from the short scenes included in ‘Scenes from the City’, which is no longer for sale.
The Paper Swan by Leylah Attar
2015 brought some new authors to me and Leylah Attar is one I’m so happy to have discovered!
I first heard about her “53 Letters for my Lover” book and absolutely loved it. A few weeks later she was releasing this new story and made it to my “auto-buy” list. The Paper Swan is one of those second chance at love romance with a twist you HAVE TO read. Full of angst, gripping, with a lot of heartache but with a welcomed HEA. Just a warning, be sure to read only non-spoilerish reviews. You want to dive into this as blind as possible!
Because I love second chances at love stories. Because Leylah Attar’s writing just pushed me to read furthermore. Even when things where getting difficult I couldn’t put this down!
The first lines of the book will literally hook you in. Go ahead and try it, you won’t be able to stop!
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.
For 21 days she held on.
But on Day 22, she would have given anything for the sweet slumber of death.
Because on Day 22, she realizes that her only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.
A haunting tale of passion, loss, and redemption, The Paper Swan is a darkly intense yet heartwarming love story, textured with grit, intrigue, and suspense. Please note: This is NOT a love triangle.
The Slayer by Kele Moon
Along with Lori Foster, Kele Moon is my absolute go to author if I want a good “fighter’s romance”.
Kele Write beautiful stories that I keep thinking would make damn good movies. I loved all her books and Chuito’s story just surpassed all her previous ones. I don’t know how she does it but every new book she writes is better than the last.
Because despite what one would think, Kele Moon stories run on a deeper level than just the basic “boy meets girl/boy fights for girl/boy loves girl”.
She writes complex characters and takes extra attention to the story’ setting. To me, everything felt REAL. The MMA world, the young men struggling to get out of the streets, the gangs… Everything feels genuine and not just put there for the sake of a good story.
The Slayer has everything to make any romance reader happy : Forbidden love, opposites attract, tortured hero, friends to lovers, a well balanced action/romance ratio, smoking hot scenes (explicit content), a genuine camaraderie between the male characters, all wrapped up in flawless writing.
Yes, The Slayer is an erotic level, but it doesn’t make this book justice to categorize it. It just a damn good book!
She was an angel.
Two people who should’ve never met, let alone become friends, but it’s not until they give into the dangerous passion that’s been simmering under the surface for five years that things go to hell.
On the outside, Chuito ‘The Slayer’ Garcia is on top of the world. He’s successful. He’s wealthy. He’s a champion MMA fighter surrounded by friends who support him, but they don’t know what he was before he came to Garnet.
Now his past is churning up demons he can’t ignore. Chuito knows he needs to go back to Miami to end it, but there’s something holding him back, a single temptation he can’t resist before leaving.
She’s the one drug he can’t give up…even if it destroys them both.
Dictatorship of the Dress
Calling out to all nerds and geeks!!!
The heroine of this book is a comic book artist and works for Marvel.
There. Yes. It should be reason enough for you to get curious and one-click this pretty. But if it isn’t, or you’re wondering what is Marvel (stop it right there—I don’t believe you.), maybe you’d be more receptive to know this was written by the author of Louder Than Love , Jessica Topper.
One of my favorite book of 2013 AND my favorite Rock God book. Here you go, 2 book recs for the price of one!
A young comic book artist, a computer geek, both unexpectedly meeting on plane.
This sets things up nicely don’t you think?
I really enjoyed this strangers to lovers story, The heroine, bearer of her mother’s wedding dress, is going to take a walk on a wild side and do out of character’s things with Noah, when both end up sharing a room after a string of bad circumstances.
The author’s voice is truly unique and delivered here a truly emotional romance story.
As the dress-bearer for her mother’s wedding, comic book artist Laney Hudson has a lot more baggage than the bulky garment bag she’s lugging from New York to Hawaii. Laney is determined to prove she’s capable of doing something right, but running chores for her mom’s fairytale nuptials is proving to be a painfully constant reminder of her own lost love.
So when she’s mistaken for the bride and bumped up to first class, Laney figures some stress-free luxury is worth a harmless white lie. Until the flight crew thinks that the man sitting next to her is Laney’s groom, and her little fib turns into a hot mess.
The last thing Noah Ridgewood needs is some dress-obsessed diva landing in his first-class row. En route to his Vegas bachelor party, the straight-laced software designer knows his cold feet have nothing to do with the winter weather.
When a severe storm leaves them grounded in Chicago and they find themselves booked into the last available honeymoon suite, Laney and her in-flight neighbor have little choice but to get better acquainted. Now, as her bridal mission hangs in the balance, perhaps the thing Laney gets right is a second chance at love.
Hearts of Fire by L.H. Cosway
I’m a huge fan of L.H. Cosway. She writes romances novels like she would fantasy and it certainly works wonders! She sets her stories in a unique and colorful universe, writes complex and emotional stories all wrapped up in magic. Her books are something I always look forward to and will drop anything else to read them. Yes, THAT good.
Hearts of Fire is the second book in L.H. Cosway’s Heart series and probably my favorite so far. Why? Because everything in this book is made to fantasize. The hero— Jack McCabe, for one. The author’s inspiration for him is the one and only Jason Momoa. (Don’t tell me you need to be educated on who is Momoa. But if you must have fun with google or Pinterest. Go ahead.) Jack McCabe is a firebreather for Spectakullar circus and a tortured hero. Enter the picture, Lille, young artist having in mind to live on the wild side for once. The romance was slow paced with a lot of build up, both characters having a magnetic chemistry that kept me riveted to the pages. This book was pure delight, magic and super sexy!
The Circus Spektakulär is proud to present Jack McCabe: Fire-breather, knife-thrower, risk-taker.
My house burned down when I was just a boy, robbing me of both my parents.
Now I breathe fire, eat the poison that almost killed me.
Crowds come to see me night after night. Men for the spectacle, women for the thrill. I’m an oddity to be stared at and desired. With each flame I spit, I risk my life.
I wear scars on my body that will never go away, but the scars inside my head are far more difficult to overlook.
My brother doesn’t know me, and if I have it my way he never will.
Life was going exactly the way I’d planned until Lille came along. She wanted to run away with the circus, have an adventure, but this world was never meant for her.
I try to keep her safe, because she doesn’t know the dangers that are out here on the road. She doesn’t know the monsters that lurk behind the bright lights of the ring. In truth, I could be considered one of them.
We were fashioned from different cloths, never intended to mix. So I watch her. I try not to touch, even when her eyes invite me.
Join us in the Spiegeltent and let us give you a show. Allow my Lille to draw a picture for you in paint and sweat and skin.
The truest love is always the hardest to let in.
This is a standalone romance that tells the story of Jack McCabe, Jay Fields’ long lost, presumed dead brother. It is not necessary to have read Six of Hearts in order to enjoy Hearts of Fire.
King of Hearts by L.H. Cosway
C’mon. I told you just before I was looking for this author’s every books. It’s no wonder I was dying to get to know more about King—a character we met in Hearts of Fire. 😉
Because only L.H. Cosway knows how to write contemporary romances and still makes me believe I landed in a fantasy land. I loved to learn more about King’ story and fell in love with Alexis, the heroine. This book not only was emotional and sexy, it was fun! It had everything, a romance office, a tortured hero, a second chance at love… And a swooning HEA. Absolute must read!
Welcome to the City, London’s most prestigious square mile, where finance reigns and Oliver King is a rising prince.
I used to rule the world.
There might be wolves on Wall Street, but there were crocodiles in Canary Wharf. Some of us craved money. Some of us craved power.
I liked money, and power had its advantages, but what I really wanted was to excel, to surpass the men who came before me. I never cared much for love and romance until I met Alexis.
I could feel it the very moment she walked into the interview, with her outspoken charm and vivacious personality. She cast all the others in shadow, made me laugh when life held no humour. Our friendship should have remained professional, but it wasn’t long before the lines started to blur.
You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? Well, I never foresaw where my plans would lead, and only in my darkest hour did I finally see the light…
You can have all the money and prestige in the world and still be the poorest man alive. And love, well, I hate to use a tired old cliché, but love can be the thing that truly sets you free.
★ This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak ★
OCD People, calm your tits. This is the first book I’ve read by Brenda Novak and it completely hooked me on the Whiskey Creek series! And yes, I started with book 8. But to my defense this is a perfect standalone, so you don’t have to read the 7 previous books to enjoy the gem that was “This Heart of Mine”.
This book, once again was pointed to me by Lana from Dirty Girl Romance (seriously if you aren’t following her yet, do it now). She told me to read the blurb, and yes, from this alone I knew it could be exactly what I love in contemporary romance. Second chances at love are my weakness, but throw an unrequited love in the mix?
I was a goner. This book was deliciously angsty and ends on a super sweet HEA.
I wasn’t lying when I said I was hooked on this series, I ended up reading the 5 first books in a row right after finishing “This Heart of Mine”.
First love. Second chance?
As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him�especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next.
Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob’s father isn’t exactly welcoming.
Riley doesn’t trust Phoenix, doesn’t want her in Jacob’s life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he’s about to find both!
★ The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan ★
Yes this book is NA. And yes, NA isn’t my forte. Because? Because I can’t stand idiotic behavior. I’m all about logic and pondering your decisions and young characters tend to act the exact opposite.
But this book? Ah! I loved it! So hot, fun, the perfect feel good book! Kristen Callihan definitely made it up to my “look forward to” author’s list.
Because within the first pages I knew, I KNEW, this book was going to be a hit for me. It started with sexting. And sexting / emails— any kind of correspondence in a romance book is a drug to me. And it was brilliantly done here. The chemistry between the characters. The friends to lovers story. All of it perfectly crafted.
Now, something I can’t leave out and that I’m sure you’ll appreciate, the hero—Gray, is a reformed manwhore. Need I say more?
The heroine is another reason I LOVED this book. Ivy was my kind of woman, sassy, no pushover, fun and smart. That’s always a welcome change.
So all in all you have this, a manwhore, a serious but hilarious (it’s a thing, honest) young woman, an out of this world banter through texting, a friends to lovers trope all wrapped up in a too sexy package. Now, seriously, go pick this one up if you are one of the few still missing out!
Gray doesn’t make friends with women. He has sex with them. Until Ivy.
The last thing star tight-end Gray Grayson wants to do is drive his agent’s daughter’s bubblegum pink car. But he needs the wheels and she’s studying abroad. Something he explains when she sends him an irate text to let him know exactly how much pain she’ll put him in if he crashes her beloved ride. Before he knows it, Ivy Mackenzie has become his best texting bud. But then Ivy comes home and everything goes haywire. Because the only thing Gray can think of is being with Ivy.
Ivy doesn’t have sex with friends. Especially not with a certain football player. No matter how hot he makes her…
Gray drives Ivy crazy. He’s irreverent, sex on a stick, and completely off limits. Because, Ivy has one golden rule: never get involved with one of her father’s clients. A rule that’s proving harder to keep now that Gray is doing his best to seduce her. Her best friend is fast becoming the most irresistible guy she’s ever met.
Which means Gray is going to have to use all his skills to win Ivy’s heart. Game on.
★ Truth or Beard by Penny Reid ★
I know, I probably should have created a line saying : ALL PENNY REID’S BOOKS!
Because this author never disappoints. EVER. Truth or Beard was another win and a great start to a new series, you definitely want to meet the Winston Brothers!
Because of the humor.
Because of the swooning romance.
Because of the Winstons Brothers.
Because Penny Reid happened.
Not all who wander are lost. — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring.
Maybe it was the first line of the book. I mean, opening your novel with a J.R.R Tolkien quote is bound to guarantee any author my undivided attention.
Maybe it was the cover. You cannot honestly say that this “point de croix” book cover isn’t intriguing at least a little bit. Right? Right.
Maybe it was the BEARD. Let me just say for complete disclosure that I’m quite the pogonophile and any book cover featuring a beard, scruff or mustache is enough to pique my interest.
Or Maybe it was just Penny Reid’s fault. Let’s just blame it all on Penny. She was, after all, the one coming up with these insane ideas, telling the tales of 6 bearded fantasy men.
From the day she released Beauty and the Mustache, I knew I had to make further acquaintance with the Winston Brothers. My level of interest for these guys is very simple. If Penny Reid hadn’t keep her promise to deliver more Winston Brothers, I would have gone all Misery on her. That’s right.
Good feels guaranteed and a possible addiction to beards.
Penny Reid is now responsible for any urge you’ll feel to convince the men in your entourage to grow… a beard.
Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!
Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life. His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…
But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang.
Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-headed heart is she willing to risk?
Everyone in Green Valley, Tennessee knows that the six bearded Winston brothers have been imbued with an unfair share of charm and charisma… and are prone to mischief.
Truth or Beard is book #1 in the Winston Brother’s series. Each book is a standalone, full length (120k words), contemporary romantic comedy novel, and follows the romantic exploits and adventures of one of the six Winston Brothers.
★ Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy ★
A great surprise with this book I’ve seen most of my friends rave about. It was on my radar, Elle Kennedy being part of this duo, but I never heard of Sarina Bowen before. Nice discovery, both the book and the author. This one is the book you need to just feel good. Promise, smile on your face and racing heart inducing moments. I loved it!
I don’t know about you but for me it was the warning at the end of the blurb that made me pick this pretty : “contains sexual situations, hotties on hockey skates, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.”
Like I could say no to THAT. And honestly this book delivered what it promised. It was super cute, sexy as hell, and made me wonder why I’m not reading more M/M books.
Not that I’m a huge M/M reader, but I’d definitely recommend this one if you never tried this genre.
They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?
Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.
Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.
Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—
can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.
Warning: contains sexual situations, hotties on hockey skates, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.
★ Friction by Sawyer Bennett ★
I’ve read this book in one sitting. That’s how I’m selling it.
I loved Sawyer Bennett previous books in her Legal Affairs series and Friction all but made it on top of them all! Enemies to Lovers tropes are your thing? Don’t wait a second more!
Now, I’ve read a few books by Sawyer Bennett, and I must say, every time she writes a romance related to the lawyer’s world it’s a complete success for me! I knew about the hotness factor of her stories, the lady is quite talented when it comes to write sexy scenes. Smoking hot sex scenes. But mixed with a world she knows well—she’s a lawyer— the plot and background story, the chemistry between her characters, she takes it up to an all new level.
This book was just perfect in every way!
The story starts off as one of the nicest trope ever in the romance genre, an enemies to lovers one.
The banter alone is worth reading Friction. Leary was the perfect heroine, smart, fierce and determined. She sure knows how to strike but she probably was a bit quick to judge Reese Holloway.
The man may be all polite and slick in court, but underneath lies an alpha ready to pounce.
I loved that in Reese’s character. He was a perfect balance of the good guy and asshole and domineering in the bedroom. Seriously now, you must read this one!
At the powerhouse law firm of Knight & Payne, winning comes first and ethics a distant second. Leary Michaels uses her female charms to daze opponents, and it’s always worked well—until now. On her most personal case yet, she finds herself going up against a defense attorney just as skilled, shameless, and seductive as she is.
Reeve Holloway has never met a woman as sure of her own sexuality, or as ruthless in wielding it, as Leary is. But he won’t be toyed with. What Leary starts, he’ll finish—in the courtroom, the bedroom, or any-damn-place he wants. The sex is uninhibited, electrifying, and absolutely against the rules. Reeve’s job is to ruin Leary’s case…even if it destroys her in the process and costs him the woman he’s come to love.
★ Hold On by Kristen Ashley ★
I’m huge Kristen Ashley fan. I discovered her not so long ago, mid 2013, but again, it’s at this time I started reading romance novels. I think I pulled off a disappearance act when I first picked up “Mystery Man”. The thing is, it was so good, I ended up reading 7 or 8 of her books in a row. Yes, her 600 pages books back to back.
What do you want? When something’s good, I tend to get greedy. Same thing happens with chocolate all the time!
Hold On was an awesome surprise. I love this series but more than that, one of my favorite KA hero is Joe Callahan from At Peace which is book 2 in this series. Well get this : Merry from Hold On almost dethroned Joe from its top place. Almost. Let’s just sit them next to each other!
Hey, you know what I’m going to say.
Because Merry was one of the best alpha males KA wrote.
Because the angst was just so good.
Because of KA-isms. The over descriptiveness. The color of the drapes, the color of Cherry’s nail polish, the style of her shoes… I love all this. Truly.
The out of this world hot sex. Hey, KA writes erotic romance.
But as much as I LOVE all of the above… What really made this book so GOOD for me was the epilogue. I cried. And I never cry. EVER.
But the epilogue was just so… beautiful. Tears of joy are awaiting. Go read your book!
Since she was young, Cher Rivers knew she was not the kind of girl who got what she wanted. A girl who could hope. A girl who could dream. She knew a happily ever after just wasn’t in the cards for her.
In love for years with the last bastion of the ‘burg’s eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.
The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia’s children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett “Merry” Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.
Until the night when Cher took Garrett’s back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her.
★ Even The Score by Kate Meader ★
Even the Score was a true surprise. I love Brazen imprint, they promise a sexy and light story, the perfect quick read. I got this and even more with my first Kate Meader, another great author find this year. She has a unique, witty voice. Her heroines are tough but lovable and her heroes obnoxious jerks. Hey now, lovable jerks if you must ask. (It is a thing.)
Because this book completely took me by surprise. The chemistry between the characters made this book for me. The banter, helped by a “hate to love you” trope was delicious and highly entertaining. Of course it was super sexy, it’s a Brazen book after all, but the backstory was good enough to make of Even the Score a perfect mix of rom-com and erotic novel.
This book is not to be missed, be sure to have it ready on your e-readers!
He’ll make her an offer she can’t refuse…
Actress Tess McKenzie is performing in the Tenth Circle of Showbiz Hell-dinner theater. All she really wants is to start a theater of her own. Then Tess receives an offer she can’t refuse. She’ll get her funding…if she pretends to be the fiancée to her nemesis, Texan property tycoon Hunter Dade. If she’s going to pull this off, she’ll need all the luck she can get. Break a leg, indeed.
On the verge of a big business deal, Hunter needs to hire a fiancée. He hasn’t quite forgiven Tess for ruining his wedding, but when their chemistry goes from combative to straight-up lust, the “no sex” clause in their mutually beneficial arrangement is tested. Which is a serious problem, because if Tess isn’t careful, she’ll go from breaking a leg to breaking her heart…
★ Frisk Me by Lauren Layne ★
Lauren Layne has become an incontournable author for me. The romance genre I’m really addicted to is contemporary and she just manage to hit the spot every time for me. Her stories are always a perfect mix of romance, lovable characters—and secondary characters, well structured back story with a hint of sexy and high dose of humor.
Because more than the romance part, I got to meet a whole group of characters, the Moretti Family, with Nona, the grandmother, who literally stole the show by her hilarious lines.
The enemies to lovers trope helping, Luca and Ava both delivered quality banter, sarcasm, dirty jokes and made their possible to annoy and get each other mad. It was hilarious to watch them fight and pretend they didn’t want each other. All the while waiting for each other to cave in and submit.
The steam was without a fail matching their attraction and incessant bickering, Lauren Layne delivering some truly hot between the sheets scenes!
Frisk Me offered heartfelt romance and bona fide hilarious moments that will make you wish to be a Moretti.
Officer Luc Moretti had no idea that his dive into the East River would have him drowning in a media frenzy. No matter how many times he tells reporters he was just doing his job, they’re determined to make him into NYC’s newest hero. Coming from a long line of NYPD’s finest, Luc knows that being a cop has nothing to do with headlines and viral videos, and he’s more than ready to get back to life away from the cameras-until he meets the gorgeous but jaded journalist assigned to film a TV special on him . . .
Ava Sims may be the only woman in NYC who isn’t in love with Officer Moretti. That’s why she’s going after the real story-to find out about the man behind the badge. Ava’s determined to keep things strictly professional, but the more time she spends around Luc, even she has to admit there’s something about a man in uniform . . . and she can’t wait to get him out of his.
★ Servicing the Target by Cherise Sinclair ★
If you read erotica, you probably get around and tried a few BDSM story lines. No?
Well if you haven’t give this genre a try because let’s say… you’re tired of all the 50 shades books out there, let me stop you right here and invite you to discover a brilliant and talented author : Cherise Sinclair.
I’ve read my fair share of BDSM books in the past few years and I know what will turn me on or not. A big turn off are heroes turning assholes under pretense to be alpha doms. Disrespecting the heroines under pretense they’re submissives, therefore pushovers. Hell no.
And here comes Cherise Sinclair. Her Doms are most certainly alphas, but always respectful of their partners. They’re all caring and gentle men. Sigh.
So you get true love stories, solid story lines all wrapped up in tasteful erotica.
I think the main reason as to why this set up worked for me is that the hero, Ben, although submissive in the bedroom, was über alpha male the rest of the time. A strange and unusual mix that really made Servicing the Target one of my favorite Masters of the Shadowlands so far.
As usual, the sex scenes were scorching hot and I’ve found myself absolutely enthralled by the heroes connection and demonstration of trust and love.
Servicing the Target, book 10 in the Club Shadowlands series, was not only a brilliantly written Bdsm erotica novel, but a charming and endearing love story as well.
A discharged Army Ranger, Ben considers his job as a BDSM club security guard to be an excellent hobby. He’s never been tempted to join in. But everything changes when the notorious Mistress Anne inadvertently reveals the caring heart concealed beneath her Domme armor.
Now, he’s set his sights on the beautiful Shadowlands Mistress. Maybe he’d considered himself vanilla, but she can put her stiletto on his chest any day, any time. He’ll trust her delicate hands to hold his heart. And if she wants to whip his ass on the way to an outstanding climax, he’s just fine with that too.
Sure, he knows she likes “pretty boy” slaves. And he’s older. Craggy and rough. And six-five. Minor hindrances. The mission is a go.
★ Sustained by Emma Chase ★
Emma Chase definitely is an author I’m always looking forward to read. She is a master at writing male POVS and Sustained once again proved her skills. This book was everything I love, sexy, fun, cute, emotional… The perfect romance story!
Because… Emma Chase.
Not a reason enough for you?
Because last year I met this author at 2 book signings and hearing her talk about how she was writing her male characters (with lots of help and intakes from her brothers) and hearing her talk about the upcoming release of Sustained was just enough to sold me on this story.
Because Jake is a reformed manwhore, because he is not a perfect man, far from it, but given a reason to care he becomes a damn lovable one!
This book was so…. SWEET! Heartwarming, hilarious, the inner voice of the character and his vision on the new world he’s stepping into (family) was hilarious.
More than the romance, what I loved in this book was the kids. Jake and the kids. What is it with us women at a sight of a fine man gifted with kids?
Sustained is truly a must read and there is no questioning its place on my top 2015 reads!
A knight in tarnished armor is still a knight.
When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand.
Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be.
Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I’m going to Mommy and Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal’s office.
Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her…and the kids.
And that—that, I know how to do.
★ Thick Love by Eden Butler ★
I discovered Eden Butler last year with one of the most angsty book I’ve ever read! And it was a New Adult book at that!
But oh how I loved it all. Thick Love is the story of Keira and Kona’s son from book 1 : Thin Love. (Also a must read)
Because I was dying to get Kona’ story and Eden Butler certainly made it live it up my high expectations!
A good part of the book focuses on a beautifully crafted push and pull dance between Aly and Ransom. A slow burn of awakenings, a passionate and vibrating power play between both characters baggage and their will to make it through.
The genius idea the author had to use dance as a tool to unite and reunite the characters, make them feel, hate, love, created a perfected build up and chemistry for them. Both revealing themselves to the music.
I most certainly enjoyed the dynamic of Thick Love, never faltering in her writing, Miss Butler created a worthy sequel to Thin Love.
He doesn’t ask their names.
He doesn’t deserve to know them.
Ransom Riley Hale’s friends think his life is charmed: first string as a freshman on a championship-winning college football team. A father with two Super Bowl rings. A mother with platinum albums and multiple Grammies under her belt. But that brilliant shine on the surface hides the darkness beneath; it’s all Ransom has ever known.
Despite the shadows he walked in, once there was a blinding light fracturing the darkness. It brought the promise of hope and happiness. He’d been careless, filled with pride and stupidity and lost that light. Ripped it from the world.
Now, the shadows are dimming again. Aly King surges into his life threatening to pull him from the darkness. She is everything Ransom can never be again. Her light feels too warm, promises him that there is more waiting for him beyond the shadows.
But the shadows are relentless, resurfacing when he thinks he is safe, and Ransom knows he must keep Aly from them too before he pulls her down into the darkness with him.
★ 53 Letters for my Lover by Leylah Attar ★
It’s with this book that I first discovered the brilliant author that is Leylah Attar.
After a lot of hesitation I picked this book last July and still beat myself up for having waited so long to read it!
53 Letters for my Lover was different from the romance books I was reading and really felt like a breath of fresh air. If I had to rank my 2015 Favorites, this one would be in the top 3.
I loved everything about this book. The writing first, it was compelling, I fell under the charm of this author’s writing.
The premise then, the back and forth between present and past, the life struggle of Shayda and her life torment, Troy Heathgate. A forbidden love, a beautiful life story. Highly recommended!
Shayda Hijazi—the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect daughter. For thirty-three years, she has played by the rules, swallowing secrets, burying dreams and doing whatever it takes to anchor her family. Shayda Hijazi is about to come face to face with the one thing that can rip it all apart, the one thing her heart has always been denied: Love.
Troy Heathgate—untamed, exhilarating, dangerous—a man who does exactly as he pleases. Life bends to his will. Until he comes across the one thing he would give it all up for, but can never have.
Born on the same day in opposite corners of the world, their lives collide. And nothing is ever the same again.
Spanning three decades, 53 Letters for My Lover is a fiercely sensual, emotional ride to the heart of an epic, forbidden love that defies it all—an intimate exploration of love, loyalty, passion, betrayal, and the human journey for hope, happiness and redemption.
★ All I Want by Jill Shalvis ★
I’ve said it many times, but let it be said once more! Jill Shalvis is my happy place!
She’s one of the very few authors who can give me happy feels from page one to the end of the book.
Her Animal Magnetism series is in my opinion the next best thing next to her Lucky Harbor series. An imaginary world that I only wish was true, and knowing that if it was I would move there in a minute.
Because Jill Shalvis wrote it?
I’m kidding (maybe…).
I loved everything in All I Want, the inner thoughts of Zoe, snarky and quirky heroine, the all around good guy vibe from Parker, the steamy sex scenes, the banter… All of it!
All I Want was a great mix of romance, suspense and feel good times, it sure will leave you with a huge grin on your face and a need for more, more of Jill Shalvis men. (Overindulging is recommended!)
Pilot-for-hire Zoe Stone is happy to call Sunshine, Idaho, her home base. But her quiet life is thrown for a loop when her brother’s friend Parker comes to stay with her for a week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife special agent is a handsome flirt with a gift for getting under her skin. And the situation only escalates when Parker hires her to fly him around the area while he collects evidence on a suspected smuggler.
Now she has to live and work with the guy. But when they’re in the air, she sees another side of him. He’s driven, focused, and sharp. And while he enjoys giving commentary on her blind dates, she quickly realizes with a shock that it’s Parker who gets her engines going…
★ Nuts by Alice Clayton ★
Alice Clayton is on my auto read list of authors, I fell in love with her rom-com skills and Nuts certainly live it up to it!
Let it all be clear from the beginning. I think this book was written with the intent to deliciously torture the reader.
I mean, Alice Clayton could have warned a girl you know?
I don’t know, maybe some kind of warning in some huge and bold font on the front cover :
PACK A SNACK AND READ.
DO NOT READ ON AN EMPTY STOMACH
YOUR DIET IS DONE NOW, HAPPY READING THOUGH (not that I even know what diet means, ahah!)
In other words, if you are a bit of a masochist, then by all means, read on an empty stomach.
If you usually read with a snack nearby, then you’ll survive the delicious temptation that is NUTS.
Alice Clayton delivers here one of the best rom-com I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time. I laughed so hard, I swooned (I did, for real) I secretly wished I was Roxie and I never wanted her story with Leo to end. After reading her Unidentified Redhead series and Wallbanger a few years back, it’s true that I was pretty much sold on her anyways. I love her writing style, she takes really good care of her heroes’ characterization and you don’t have the choice but to grow attached to them.
Nuts was definitely romance of the slow burn kind, the best kind. Miss Clayton painstakingly building up tension and interest between the main characters, not rushing them but letting us familiarize with them. I loved every little tidbits she fed us, each little crumbs about Roxie and Leo.
After losing almost all of her clients in one fell swoop following an accident involving whipped cream, private chef to Hollywood’s elite Roxie Callahan gets a call from her flighty mother, saying she’s needed home in upstate New York to run the family diner. Once she’s back in the Hudson Valley, local organic farmer Leo delivers Roxie a lovely bunch of walnuts, and soon sparks—and clothing—begin to fly. Leo believes that everything worth doing is worth doing slowly…and how! But will Roxie stay upstate, or will the lure of West Coast redemption tempt her back to Tinseltown?
★ Playing with Fire by Kate Meader ★
So, I had the immense pleasure to discover Kate Meader a few weeks before reading “Playing With Fire” and fell under the charm of the feel good vibe of her books.
And between you and me? This transformed in an honest author crush after reading “Playing With Fire“.
Because the banter alone made this book worth reading.
Because the male lead is the epitome of domineering asshole but in a good way. (It’s a thing. )
Because the heroine as named…. Alexandra.
And it made things to me to read the hero talking dirty… to me. To HER!
Same differences. 😉
As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas…
Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken…
★ Fighting Silence by Aly Martinez ★
New author to me this year, I have to thank my good friend Lana from Dirty Girl Romance Book Blog for this one. Honestly I was pretty much sold on with the blurb but it came to me with such a high praise, I had to pick it up.
This story literally stole my breath away. Poignant, emotional, full of hope, Fighting Silence tells the story of Till Page and Eliza Reynolds. Second chance at love trope, tortured hero, this book had everything I’m looking for in romance. I loved the romance part, of course, but I think loved the Page brothers together even more. Must read!
Sound is an abstract concept for most people. We spend our lives blocking out the static in order to focus on what we believe is important. But what if, when the clarity fades into silence, it’s the obscure background noise that you would give anything to hold on to?
I’ve always been a fighter. With parents who barely managed to stay out of jail and two little brothers who narrowly avoided foster care, I became skilled at dodging the punches life threw at me. Growing up, I didn’t have anything I could call my own, but from the moment I met Eliza Reynolds, she was always mine. I became utterly addicted to her and the escape from reality we provided each other. Throughout the years, she had boyfriends and I had girlfriends, but there wasn’t a single night that I didn’t hear her voice.
You see, meeting the love of my life at age thirteen was never part of my plan. However, neither was gradually going deaf at the age of twenty-one.
They both happened anyway.
Now, I’m on the ropes during the toughest battles of my life.
Fighting for my career.
Fighting the impending silence.
Fighting for her.
Every night, just before falling asleep, she sighs as a final conscious breath leaves her.
I think that’s the sound I’ll miss the most.
★ The Fall Up by Aly Martinez ★
Another hit by Aly Martinez! This standalone book really had everything set up to my liking : Pop princess falls for the next-door-type guy, great banter and sexy shenanigans. An emotional ride but with a sweet HEA.
Because Aly Martinez created the perfect balance between such serious subjects by including light and fun into the story. The banter between the characters was to die for, the chemistry between Sam and Levee really sparkling and with the addition of great secondary characters she truly managed to get what could have been such an heavy story, UP there.
I wanted to jump.
He made me fall.
As a celebrity, I lived in the public eye, but somewhere along the way, I’d lost myself in the spotlight.
Until he found me.
Sam Rivers was a gorgeous, tattooed stranger who saved my life with nothing more than a simple conversation.
But we were both standing on that bridge for a reason the night we met. The secrets of our pasts brought us together—and then tore us apart.
Could we find a reason to hold on as life constantly pulled us down?
Or maybe there’s only one direction to go when two people fall in love at rock bottom—up.
★ Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras ★
Beautiful and poignant. Paper Hearts by Claire Contreras made it really hard for me to pick another book after it. This book truly had me in a huge hangover and I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters for a while! Absolute must read! (I loved it even more than Kaleidoscope of Hearts)
Because I’m a sucker for second chances at love romance tropes.
Because Claire Contreras crafted this beautiful story with such care that she made it unforgettable for me.
Jensen was one of my favorite hero this year and he was the light of this book. I can guarantee you’ll fell for him too.
I lost her.
No. I threw her away.
She was my best friend.
I was never supposed to fall in love with her.
I was careless.
She was heartbroken.
I thought I was doing fine. But here she is, years later, forced to work with me, reminding me why I fell in love with her in the first place.
And this time I’m going to do everything in my power to never let her go.
★ Licked by Brooke Blaine★
Another new find this year! Brooke Blaine, consider yourself stalked!
This new to me author completely surprised me with the perfect light, fun and sexy romance.
Because Brooke Blaine delivered here the perfect rom-com book!
Hilarious, sexy and light. No unnecessary drama here but the perfect sexy and fun romantic comedy that’ll get you that huge smile on your face you need.
As the owner of Licked, an eclectic ice creamery and bar, Ryleigh Phillips doesn’t have time for that love stuff. Serving up Nibble My Nuts sundaes and Drunken Sailor boozy shakes are as close to an orgasmic affair as she’s had in months thanks to her expanding empire—until the night of her ten-year high school reunion.
When Ryleigh’s crush, gorgeous ex-football god Cameron Mathis, comes streaking into her life (literally—streaking), she begins to wonder if she really can have it all.
Wouldn’t it just figure that the moment you think life is perfect is when it falls spectacularly apart?
Enter Hunter Morgan, the contractor in charge of Licked’s renovations. Devastatingly handsome, and a smartass to boot, he’s got his eyes on Ryleigh from the moment he finds her passed out on his couch (yeah, that’s a long story). There’s just one tiny complication—he happens to be Cameron’s best friend.
When the lines between relationships and friendships blur, and it’s impossible to choose between two delicious flavors, what’s a girl to do? Taste a sample of each? Or go out and get LICKED?
★ Alasdair by Ella Frank ★
Every now and then I like to indulge in the M/M genre and Ella Frank is an author my friends keep recommending if I want some male on male action. So when I heard she was coming up with a PNR one, I jumped on the occasion. My first love is paranormal. Why would I say no to an erotic paranormal story by Ella Frank?
Alasdair was such a nice surprise, I’m glad my perverted and adventurous side pushed me to read it, it was everything it promised to be. Captivating and alluring, I read Alasdair in one sitting, if you don’t count the moment I had to leave the family room to continue reading in another room, this book was so deliciously filthy I felt dirty reading in the same room as my kid. What I can tell you is that Alasdair was a mysterious and suspenseful story, mixing efficiently the paranormal factor to greek mythology. And as you probably understood, some damn good erotica.
There you go.
A dangerous allure…
Alasdair Kyriakous is one of the most feared and ruthless vampires in existence. Bestowed eternal life by the Ancient Vasilios, his name carries much weight across the continents.
But he is a mystery to his kind, an anomaly among the self-indulgent. While he enjoys the pleasures of the flesh, he is exceptionally particular in who he takes them from, priding himself on his ironclad self-control.
Yet with one look, and one man, his control will become a thing of the past, and Alasdair will discover—eternal life doesn’t always last forever…
A deadly attraction…
Thrust into a world he never knew existed, Leo Chapel has awoken in his worst nightmare. One that is being orchestrated by the dangerously, mesmerizing vampire, Alasdair.
He’s taken him hostage, convinced that Leo is hiding something after he managed to incapacitate him, and has vowed to do whatever is necessary to discover what that is—even if Leo himself has no clue.
A forbidden desire that could destroy a race…
Brought together by a force neither are aware of, both Alasdair and Leo are ignorant that they are pawns to a higher power. All they know, is the more time they spend trying to uncover the others secrets, the stronger the attraction becomes.
But enemies are watching, from afar and from within, and when decisions that will alter lives and destinies have to be made—can a dead grey heart learn to beat again?
★ Beautiful Secret by Christina Lauren ★
As a self professed fan of this awesome writing duo, this one was one kink away to bust Beautiful Player from my top books! One of my favorite book from this series!
An office romance, the taste of secrecy and forbidden… This book started excruciatingly slow but boy did it deliver! So good! Christina & Lauren did a terrific job with Beautiful Secret, making it really hard to stay faithful to Will from Beautiful Player!
AN UPTIGHT BRITISH EXECUTIVE. AN ADVENTUROUS AMERICAN NEWBIE. A SEXY INTERNATIONAL SCANDAL IN THE MAKING.
New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author Christina Lauren’s Beautiful and Wild Seasons series hook up in Beautiful Secret for an erotic intercontinental romp that celebrates the best of both worlds!
When Ruby Miller’s boss announces he’s sending her on an extended business trip to New York City, she’s shocked. As one of the best and brightest young engineers in London, she knows she’s professionally up to the task. The part that’s throwing her is where she’ll be spending a month up close and personal working alongside—and staying in a hotel with—Niall Stella, her firm’s top urban planning executive and The Hottest Man Alive. Despite her ongoing crush, Ruby is certain Niall barely knows she’s alive…until their flirty overnight flight makes him sit up and take notice.
Not one for letting loose and breaking rules, recently divorced Niall would describe himself as hopeless when it comes to women. But even he knows outgoing California-girl Ruby is a breath of fresh air. Once she makes it her mission to help the sexy Brit loosen his tie, there’s no turning back. Thousands of miles from London, it’s easy for the lovers to play pretend. But when the trip is over, will the relationship they’ve built up fall down?
More 2015 favorites
Here are some more great reads that I loved this year, click on each vignette to read the synopsis.
Want more best of 2015 romance books?
check these Top Picks by some of my blogger friends
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What it means really is that a majority of the links I used for books on this blogs could help me earn a few $ to get this blog running. I use all my amazon Affiliates earnings to create giveaways for the readers of this blog. I do not make any profit from it.
I love your list and I’m glad that we shared some faves this year 😉
There are some which I haven’t read but the first book has me intrigued since you blended it to your cover so it must be pretty special. Definitely checking that one out.
Great list! But the why I loved Playing with Fire is for something else…
Than kyou, Maria! I just updated it! <3
Just goes to show I actually read through everything! And Playing with fire was on my best of 2015 list too 😀
I LOVE your new banner! And this page is gorgeous, your design is crazy spectacular!! Fabulous list, too! <3 <3
Thank you so much, Angela! You had awesome picks yourself! Let’s hope for even better books in 2016! <3
I have only read a couple of books in that list but i will be adding the rest to my to reads thanks xx
That’s the idea, Simone! Hopefully a few of these will be as much as a success they were for me! 🙂
Oh wow! Thank you so much for loving Licked!! <3 Muahhh my little graphic queen!
Aaah! But Brooke, your book was such a breath of fresh air! I truly loved it. And I’m looking forward the next ones! <3
I had several of these books in my best of 2015 folder too (it’s got 85+ books on it on GR)! It was really hard to narrow it down (I see you had the same problem LOL) – I was trying for a top 10 but made it to a top 15 – here’s my list http://straightshootinbookreviews.com/maria-rose-favorite-books-2015/
I tried to narrow it down 15, Maria. Couldn’t do it! All these books needed to be mentioned. ALL of them. <3 (And awesome top 15!!!)
Honored and privileged to be on this list and god dammit, I want you for my web designer. Bad.
Emma, I swear my next gift for you is an incomplete series. You’re asking for it! lol <3
Thanks for including Dictatorship of the Dress on your list, Alleskelle! Thrilled to hear you enjoyed Laney and Noah’s adventure!
Thank you so much honey! Hope you love the final TL novel! ♡♡♡♡♡