Wordy Wednesday: My favorite reads so far this year
This past holiday weekend has me all discombobulated. I didn't get my giveaway post scheduled until the last minute, I didn't post a Music Monday AT ALL, and I forgot to line up an excerpt for today.
Then it occurred to me: the year is half over. Maybe I could share my favorite reads so far this year. As with my 2010 list, these books weren't necessarily released the first half of 2011. I just read them this year.
And you'll probably recognize a few :)
Breathe, Sloan Parker (Amazon)
Lincoln McCaw lost everything -- his home, his job, his partner -- after he caused a fatal accident. A year later, he's drowning the guilt and despair in whiskey, but he needs to move on. His sister and her kids are counting on him. Then he meets a man who ignites a passion Lincoln thought he’d never find. Too bad one night is all they can have together. Now he needs to figure out how to turn away from the only person who makes him feel alive…before whoever is sending him threats decides Lincoln needs to suffer more than he already has.
Jay Miller is surrounded by grief and misery until he finally gives in to all those years of sexual fantasies about being with another guy. Realizing he’s ended up in the arms of the man who caused his wife’s accident, he tries to pull away. But how can he give up a friendship he needs more than anything -- a friendship and a love that could save him? He may not have time to make the choice before someone else destroys it all.
Hot Head, Damon Suede (Amazon)
Where there's smoke there's fire.
Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feelings for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181: Dante Anastagio. Unfortunately Dante is strictly a ladies' man and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For 10 years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish.
Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do… until Dante is nearly bankrupt and proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay-porn website where uniformed hunks get down-n-dirty… Now Dante wants them to appear there— together.
Griff may have to guard his heart and live out his darkest fantasies on camera. Can he rescue the man he loves without wrecking their careers, their families, or their friendship?
The Cranberry Hush, Ben Monopoli (Amazon)
Vince Dandro might be going through the quietest quarter-life crisis of all time. He lives alone, works at a comic book shop, and has a crush on his coworker he can't seem to act on. His life is just fine, but only just fine. Everything changes when Vince's long-lost friend Griff shows up at his house in the middle of a blizzard. They were roommates in college, so close back then that Griff's girlfriend called them "lifebuddies" -- but Vince's love for Griff ended the friendship, he thought, forever. They haven't spoken in years. Why has Griff shown up again? And, more importantly, can Vince handle his return?
Vince and Griff are two twentysomethings struggling to find their places in the world and in each other's lives. This is a story of friendship and love, both unrequited and requited, and learning how to fly through the post-college void, where sometimes the only sound you can hear is The Cranberry Hush.
Nothing Ever Happens, Sue Brown (Amazon)
Andrew’s life is a cliché: he’s a gay man trapped in a loveless marriage, thanks to his religious, overbearing mother. Then a new couple moves in down the street, and Andrew finds himself falling for Nathan in a big way. Nathan is straight, married, and just about to be a father, but after one fateful night out together at a club, Nathan has to face the fact that his feelings for Andrew go way beyond that of a friend and neighbor.
When Andrew’s wife asks for a divorce, both men’s lives are thrown into disarray. Arguments about their responsibilities to their wives and children, doubting themselves and each other, and some harrowing lies pull them apart… but they never leave each other’s thoughts.
Life After Joe, Harper Fox (Amazon)
It's not the breaking up that kills you, it's the aftermath.
Ever since his longtime lover decided he'd seen the "heterosexual light," Matt's life has been in a nosedive. Six months of too many missed shifts at the hospital, too much booze, too many men. Matt knows he's on the verge of losing everything, but he's finding it hard to care.
Then Matt meets Aaron. He's gorgeous, intelligent and apparently not interested in being picked up. Still, even after seeing Matt at his worst, he doesn't turn away. Aaron's kindness and respect have Matt almost believing he's worth it-and that there could be life after Joe. But his newfound happiness is threatened when Matt begins to suspect Aaron is hiding something, or someone...
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (Amazon)
It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.
This he said/she said romance told by YA stars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a sexy, funny roller coaster of a story about one date over one very long night, with two teenagers, both recovering from broken hearts, who are just trying to figure out who they want to be—and where the next great band is playing.
Told in alternating chapters, teeming with music references, humor, angst, and endearing side characters, this is a love story you’ll wish were your very own. Working together for the first time, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have combined forces to create a book that is sure to grab readers of all ages and never let them go.
All Stirred Up, Z.A. Maxfield (Amazon)
Brendan Blankenship’s life is going exactly as he planned. He’s the CEO of an engineering firm that manufactures – among other things – automatic defibrillators, he’s got a great relationship with his twin brother, Evan, and their offbeat, colorful mother, and he has a veritable smorgasbord of men to choose from every weekend if he wants to have a little fun. Sure, he’s high strung, but that goes with the territory of type A personality and coffee achiever.
After Brendan and his mother witness a completely random tragedy his carefully controlled life begins to fall apart. First he starts having nightmares and panic attacks, and then he loses focus in his daily life. His board of directors insists he take a vacation at a so-called “relaxation destination” and to make matters worse, they’ve hired a stress management consultant to accompany him.
Enter Dirk Melovitch, whose job it is to help Brendan learn to relax. Unfortunately, from the moment they set out together, everything goes terribly, horribly wrong. What happens when a messed up, stressed out businessman and a newly licensed therapist with an old hippie soul embark on the trip from hell?
Keeping Promise Rock, Amy Lane (Amazon)
Carrick Francis has spent most of his life jumping into trouble with both feet. The only thing saving him from prison or worse is his absolute devotion to Deacon Winters. Deacon was Crick's sanity and salvation during a miserable, abusive childhood, and Crick would do anything to stay with him forever. So when Deacon's father dies, Crick puts his college plans on hold to help Deacon as Deacon has helped him.Deacon's greatest wish is to see Crick escape his memories and the town they grew up in so Crick can enjoy a shining future. But after two years of growing feelings and temptation, the painfully shy Deacon finally succumbs to Crick's determined advances and admits he sees himself as part of Crick's life.It nearly destroys Deacon when he discovers Crick has been waiting for him to push him away, just like Crick's family did in the past. When Crick's knack for volatile decisions lands him far away from home, Deacon is left, shell-shocked and alone, struggling to reforge his heart in a world where love with Crick is a promise, but by no means a certainty.
What were some of your favorite reads so far this year?