My Favorites Of 2013

Mandy's Favorites 

2013 Favorites

I had so many wonderful reads in 2013 ( not all were published in 2013, I just read them this year) and it is almost impossible to choose, but a few of the books left me feeling happy and wanting a reread right away.
I'm sure I've forgotten a few and I'm already kicking myself for the ones I've unintentionally left off my list.

Playing For Keeps by Lexi Ander

Full disclosure, this is the story that came from the picture I posted when the m/m GR group opened the picture prompt event LHNB. ( a picture, which I had been hoarding just waiting for the chance to have their story told)

I think m/m/m stories are my favorite kind, but most of the stories are how the guys get together, but I know that the HEA is really just the beginning and how much harder would it be in a ménage? 
I loved the sexual tension that ran throughout the story, there was only one sex scene but that one was hot. 
The guys are so different, yet perfectly matched. Brock being self conscious about his body, yet his guys loving exactly that which bothers him. AJ all quiet and controlled, except when it counts. Trent growing up with that kind of dad, poor guy, but he does have an awesome mom, and being an openly gay college football player takes some major guts. 
All of that is shown in this story, but me being me, and because Lexi only just whet my appetite for these three guys...I need more and... guess what? Lexi said there is gonna be more, she's planning on writing a novel about these guys, color me happy, thrilled and over the moon. Can't wait. 

And another shout-out Lexi wrote another LHNB picture prompt story Fated which really rocked the shifter/kilt fetish I have going. 

A Dirty Drag Collection ( Dirty Drag #1,2 and 3) by Kyle Adams 

This is a great free series, all three Dirty Drag books in one book.
Ashley is a sexy, trash talking, high heel, short skirt wearing, totally irreverent and unrepentant guy. One night at a bar he meets Rick, the quick bathroom hook-up turns into a boob napping start of a relationship with a very satisfying conclusion. 
I laughed and smiled the whole time reading these, the one liners and banter between these guys is great, it has a touch of sensitive Ashley and romantic Rick thrown in for good measure . It's a sexy easy fun pick-me-up read and I recommend it to everyone looking for a little happy. 

I've read and loved everything Kyle Adams has released so far, always leaves me smiling.

Boy and His Dragon by R. Cooper 

Dr Philbert Jones needs an assistant, desperately, the man umm..I mean dragon, might be brilliant, but he leaves notes in books, leaves those books wherever, has nothing organized and has so many valuable things he even loses them in his own house. 
Arthur MacArthur is in financial straits, so he jumps at the chance to be 'Bertie's' assistant, not only can he earn good money, but he is doing what he loves.
Bertie soon realizes what a 'treasure' he has in Arthur...
I won't go into more, except to say it is a very romantic love story, they don't get it on till 80% but the attraction and affection and love is palatable.
This quote just sums up Bertie's feeling so well. *sigh* 
"Don’t be. You were breathtaking, pet. To think one such as you…. I would have waited much longer for much less. For you, Arthur, I would wait until Doomsday, don’t you see? For you I’d serve."

Keeping Sweets by Cate Ashwood

I have a thing for porn industry books and add in a young unloved virgin and a jaded star in the business, and it's the book for me.
I love it when a book makes me 'feel' the emotions the characters are going through, and this one did it.
I mean this quote: 
“I brought this back for you,” Bran said. “It reminds me of you. So fragile and perfect, but withstanding everything life has thrown at you to come out the other side just as perfect.”
*sniff* someone needs to come mop me up. :)
Anyway I am sure to reread this one.

Whitewater by Meredith Shayne

So sweet, I swear this is like dessert, but without the calories and the sugar shock, of course Luke is a baker and his creations are described in detail in this book, which really isn't fair, I wanna try all them all.
Luke is a great guy, he has loyal friends, a bakery he is passionate about and he perseveres even when assholes judge or mock him by his disability. My heart broke just a little bit for him every time he was so self conscious and afraid of how Cam would see him, or see how other people would look at him, and always worrying if Cam noticed. 
But Cam's growth, of seeing what is important and who is important was so great to watch, and Luke hopefully, finally seeing he is just as worthy and just as wonderful as 'guys like Cam'. I loved it, and really, I am a HUGE fan of groveling and boy Cam did a wonderful job groveling, really, excellent. It took Cam a while to see what was right in front of him, but when he did I was so worth it. 

Superhero Eli Easton

LOVE this book. 
Here's a quote from Jordan: "Damn, he looked fine in that burnt orange and black singlet with the big white W on his chest. As it was wont to do, my heart did a happy little squiggle in my chest before flopping over and surrendering in a puddle of goo.”

Jordan perfectly sums up how I feel about this adorable little YA story. I turned into a Mandy-shaped pile of goo. 

I have read a few of Eli Easton's stories this year and enjoyed all of them.

Gumption& Gumshoe by Alex Kidwell

Seriously, I had a smile on my face almost the whole time I was reading this, it was just a great big squishy hug read. Love it, love it, love it.
First, August, he's our MC and a chinchilla shifter , he's awkward, nerdy, klutzy and clumsy. He's also a bit overweight and is unhappy about that, or rather is maybe made to feel uncomfortable about it.
His love interest, or rather his secret crush is also his landlord, the older, grumpy but very sexy Sam.
I can heartily recommend this fuzzy happy feel good read

Love Lessons by Heidi Cullianan 

Short version: I loved it . I am a sucker for sappy and sweet and Disney HEA. And this one delivered! 
Kelly appears to be a hot mess, every allergy known to man, sheltered and naive, waiting for Prince Charming and he wants the Disney fairy tale. 
Then we have Walter, he appears all together and seems to have it all, but he's just as messed up as Kelly, just in a very different way.
This was an excellent friends to lovers story, a story of coming out, looking behind the curtain, love, all kinds of love, friendship and loyalty.
And I have to add, at least for me BEST FIRST KISS EVER! 
Kelly, really is a sweetheart, I think Walter described him best this way : “I think that’s my favorite thing about you. You’re a happy-seeking missile. The damnedest thing is, you almost always find it.”
Walter is wonderful, caring and so damn good. I really felt for him and am so glad he found Kelly and that he finally has someone who puts him first. “Don’t you think it’s time someone gave up everything for you?”
So, I got my HEA and my sappy side is now sighing in happiness and I am sure this will be a reread for me! 

The Tin Box by Kim Fielding 

When I finished the last page of this book, I had to take a deep breath and attempted to get my wayward emotions under control.
This is a powerful story, it had me crying, angry, frustrated and mad. It also had me laughing and smiling and happy.
I don't really want to say any more, I want William and Bill to tell their story and hope that it touches everyone else the way it touched me.

And as a side note I want to give a shout out to Kim Fielding's free LHNB story Treasure.
This one actually got my heart rate up, Julian is so brave and loyal, Kit is such a hero, the townspeople rock, and the sword fight had me reading as fast as I could..just to see what happens. 
Oh what I wouldn't give for an epilogue.

The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes

I admit I was wrong. ( try and keep it together people) 
I thought this book would be a regular GFY trope. Alec would fall for the 'straight' guy and pine for him and the unfairness of it all. Dylan would, after an internal war with himself realize that he's actually 'gay', at least for Alec. The ex would be an asshat and be miserable after letting Alec get away. Like I said, I was wrong.

I found this story to be so much more.

But soon the 'backup boyfriend' turns into a real friend and then more.
The sex is hot and despite what I thought, Dylan has no problem sleeping with Alec.
He doesn't worry about his 'manliness' or question his sexuality at all. It is as it is. I found that very refreshing.
“What does that even mean?” Agitated, Dylan strode a few steps away before turning to pace back. “Fifty percent gay? Fifty percent straight? Can I be ninety percent of one? Ten percent of another? I’m not part this or part that. I’m just me.” He came to a halt in front of Alec. “A hundred percent whole me.”

I loved watching these two men fall for each other, even if there are some very serious issues touched on in this book, but it never felt dark or depressing.
I think this was a great story, I really enjoyed it and read it in one sitting, definitely recommended. The epilogue was worthy of a big happy sigh.

Falling In Love With Crazy by Dane Waters

Wow. That was a ride. I had to take a deep breath and honestly wipe a few tears away at the end of this one.
In theory I shouldn't have liked this story. It starts out light and silly, with lots of banter and crazy behavior, there is a plot twist I'm not a fan of and tons of drama and melodrama - but I did like it. A LOT.
After the first few chapters of silliness and a bit of stalkerish and pushy behavior, I fell for Ryuu. And I felt for him.
He had fallen in love with a very complicated and sick man.
It got serious and my heart broke a little along with Ryuu's, broke for Daniel: “Ryuu’s heart was breaking as he realized, for the first time, what crazy really was. It wasn’t cute. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t something to joke about. It was scary as hell, and he was losing Daniel to it.”

Honorary mentions:

You Get Full Credit For Being Alive by Cari Z
This story was part of the m/m group awesome picture prompt LHNB event.
I loved this story, it was a mixture of deceit, redemption, second chances, hurt-comfort, perseverance, forgiveness, cloak and dagger, a dog, and some sadness and some sweetness. 

#First Impressions #Second Chances by Heidi Belleau 

I loved this free LHNB story. Yes, I did. 
I wasn't sure I would, the way it starts I sympathize with Jonah but I don't really like him all that much, but that changes throughout the story.
I don't want to give too much away, because reading how this enfolds is all part of the fun, but Jonah is a young, vain, insecure, self-conscious, neurotic, social media addict with a very soft heart and very sweet core he tries to hide. He also could be a fashionista poster child. He also has some awesomely funny thoughts in this story. Great one-liners running around that boy's head. 
Sebastian, ah, what to say about Sebastian except he is a sweetheart, and I love him and I'm so glad ...ack..I have to control myself not to give anything away with my gushing..
But they are so opposite that it fits, and I think they are going to compliment each other so well. 
Oh and before I forget, the author nailed the prompt picture, she got that scene in her story and I love how. 
I would be thrilled to read more of these two. 

Sweet as Chili Pepper by Veronica Sloane 
Landslide by Mary Calmes