Hiya, friends! 2014 has been such a great year, and, personally, my Twitter feed and TBR list would not have flourished like it did without the influence of Dahlia. As a debut writer and fantastic blogger, it’s been a pleasure to check out her work, read about her adventures in publishing, and know she is always available for a book recommendation!
We’re thrilled to have her on Rather Be Reading Blog chatting about her favorites in the world of new adult books, especially as she prepares for the December 9th release of Last Will & Testament! More info on her latest contribution to new adult can be found below but before that, make sure your wallets and TBR lists are handy!
Thanks for having me, Estelle & Magan! Anyone who knows me at allllll knows I pride myself on my book recs, but because I blog primarily about YA (at both YA Misfits and Barnes & Noble), I don’t get to talk about NA as much as I’d like. (Except, on Twitter, where I talk about everything I like all day, every day.) So I was really excited when Rather Be Reading Blog asked me to share my recs for my favorite NA novels of the year, especially because I think it’s been a pretty great one for the category.
So, without further ado, here are my 2014 NA faves:
Deeper by Robin York – I had never read a novel by Ruthie Knox before embarking on this one under her NA pen name, but I knew I had several friends who were die-hard fans. And now I totally see why. Deeper grabbed me from the very first chapter, with the main character’s misery and strength and fierceness and growth and candor and ugh, just everything. As I said to the friends I promptly encouraged to read it when I finished, it’s full of the same tropes as lots of other NA, but there’s something about the way York writes them that made me believe them for what felt like the very first time. I know the “revenge porn” theme isn’t for everyone, but I just found it relevant and well done and good lord can York write a sex scene.
The Year We Fell Down and Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen – My good friend Katie recommend Bowen’s books to me, and I promptly devoured all three Ivy Years books in one week. Much as I’ve been loving NA lately, it’s pretty sorely lacking in diversity, so the fact that the series features a romance between two disabled students (one temporarily, one permanently) and one between two guys is pretty freaking huge. These books are sweet fun, and I’ll definitely be buying the next installment on release day.
Make it Count by Megan Erickson – What was really notable to me this year was the amount of light NA I enjoyed. That was something I really hadn’t been finding in NA, so Megan Erickson’s books were a serious gold mine. They’re so much fun, the characters have so much personality, and I particularly loved this first one for featuring a main character with dyslexia.
Swimming to Tokyo by Brenda St John Brown – Oh man, this book. I don’t know what I thought I was getting with it, but it was such a pleasant breath of fresh air. One of the traits I prize absolutely first and foremost in a person is being non-judgmental, and it struck me as I was reading that that was exactly main character Zosia. I just respected her in a way that felt really cool. Add serious chemistry between her and Finn, real family background, and the Tokyo setting, and you have a book that not nearly enough people are reading.
Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh – Hot. Hot hotness. Cade is a tattooed chef, Winter’s a BAMF, and together, they’re just hot. I’m such a sucker for both guys who cook and girls with an edge, so I really loved this pairing and their chemistry, and the secondary characters too. I’ve been following the teasers for the next book in this series, and holy hell yes, I will be buying that.
The International School series by Chanel Cleeton – This was originally a duology, and now there’s a third book—French Kissed—I haven’t yet read but absolutely will. I love the setting of the international school and the diversity of the cast, not just because it’s nice to actually see diversity, but because the cultures of the different characters are really utilized in the personalities of the characters and the school’s social structure.
The Star Thief by Jamie Grey – I am so not a sci-fi person, but this one by Jamie Grey was a lot of fun. Super sexy, cool heroine with a great voice—definitely a pleasant surprise for almost-strictly-contemp me.
And finally, speaking of spec-fic NA, I loved The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian, as well as the subsequent “insanely hot lesbian novella” (extremely accurate description), Our Broken Sky. I loved the concept and the writing style; perfect for a book that sort of straddled the lines of horror, thriller, and dystopian. And given the serious dearth of f/f NA, that novella was very appreciated.
Those are some favorites, but there were a lot more I enjoyed this year, and a lot of authors—both listed here and not—I’ll be keeping an eye on in 2015 and beyond. I’m so excited to be joining their NA ranks now, and I hope you guys like Last Will and Testament as much as I loved these!
Thanks so much for stopping in, Dahlia!
More on Last Will & Testament (December 9, Smashwords): Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she’s acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she’ll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn’t exactly Lizzie’s biggest fan.
But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you’re ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks… and that she’d like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he’s not the kind of guy who’d ever reciprocate.
Until he does. Until they turn into far more than teacher and student. Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.