As the voting continues in our Sinfully Readers Choice Awards: Round One Nominations. We thought, this week, we would take this opportunity to share with you our favourites for 2015.
Now it’s Mark’s turn to share his 2015 favourites with you, so read on for;
Mark’s Favourites of 2015
Oh wow! Once again 2015 has come and gone in what must feel like a blink of an eye. As with previous years 2015 has been filled full of literary treats from all corners of the M/M world for me. As always it’s a labour of love trying to fit in work, family and friends, freetime stress, gardening, etc. around the blog but I do it gladly as this is a real passion for me and I just love this genre that goes from strength to strength each year. It’s been a year full of scandals, full of surprises but above all it has been year full of great books.
2015 has been a wonderful year for the community and Gay Romance and we have been blessed with some outstanding reads and amazing authors! So time to get cracking and share with you what has thrilled me this year in the M/M world.
Book of the Year
OK, so looking at what I read last year I’m now sat here with my hands on my head thinking where on earth do I start? I would like to choose all of them. Geez, there were definitley a few highlights for sure, so to mention but only a few I would have to say A Restored Man by Jaime Reese, her Men of Halfway House series never fails to wow me on all levels and hoping another book will be coming in the series. Also Passing Through by Jay Northcote a book that deals with the difficult subject of bereavment but beautifully written, emotional and was a real tear jerker for me. However, just like in the film Highlander, “There can be only one!” So my choice of book for 2015 is………
by Melissa Collins
This book pulled all my emotional strings in 2015. Melissa’s characters are beautiful. Repaired is another example of why I love this author and her beautifully intricate romances. Ms. Collins never fails to capture my attention, my heart and soul with her emotional, effortless and poignant writing style. I love how she took these two men from different worlds and showed us how even when our lives seem to be a mess and heading in a direction that you may never have expected, even when there are twists and turns you may not see coming, love can show us the way.
Author of the Year
Author of Year is another one of those almost impossible categories to choose just one. There are so many author’s out there who are a one-click buy for me without giving it a second thought. Among those are Josephine Myles, JL Merrow, Harper Fox, yes I love the Britishness of these authors. From across the pond Melissa Collins, Carter Quinn, Brad Vance, Lisa Henry and also not forgetting down under with Anne Barwell, Julie Bozza, N.R. Walker and Sean Kennedy. All of whom I would buy their books blind knowing that I will never likely be disappointed. Far too many to mention here. However, my author of the year is……………….
Marie Sexton for me is the queen of angst, heartbreak and a happy ending. She puts all her characters through hell and back whether it’s a broken character with a bad history or a character that has fallen on hard times. However, she always puts them back together again giving them a glorious HEA and reducing to me to tears almost every time. Her writing is sensitive, flows beautifully and wrings every ounce of emotion out of each character. But above all an important element for me here is also consistency. The standard of Marie’s book are always high. Some of my Marie Sexton highlights of 2015 are her book Winter Oranges and Lost Along The Way.
Debut Author of the Year
OK, so now we get to the category that I believe is always the most hard earned one. It’s a difficult enough thing to write your very first book but then to make sure it’s one that captures the imagination, where the writing is good, the characters come alive and the plot interesting is a tall order indeed. As a reader you always take a risk with a debut author too, so it’s a great delight when you discover one that has just wowed you with his / her first book. Therefore this category for me is also the one that deserves the most recognition. I had several candidates but one debut author with his debut novel stood out for me in 2015 and this is………..
I took that chance and picked up a book from a new and for me unkown author. Well, I’m very happy I did. Jordan blew me away with his debut novel Home Is A Fire. This is a delightful story, wonderfully written with vibrant characters and a wonderful romance. The story lives from the dynamics of the characters. Their connection with each other, their shared history, all wrapped up in a Southern background. I will definitely be reading more from this author and watching for any new books he brings out.
A series is one thing that some people love and some don’t. Some buy and read the book immediately others wait until all parts are published before embarking on a series. However you do it, it can’t be denied that a good series needs certain qualities. It needs to leave enough room for continuation and character development. It needs to keep the reader interested through more than one book. It needs to be interconnected with the previous books and characters’ history. We all have our favourite series and to mention one of mine has to be the Tyack and Frayne Mysteries by Harper Fox. However, that is not my winner here. For this category the one series that had me firmly in its grip and had me in a fever until the next book came out is…………..
The Vanished Trilogy
by Carter Quinn
From the very first book published in 2014 I have never waited so long nor so impatiently for the following two sequels in my life. The final two parts were published in the latter part of 2015 and my goodness was I a happy man. The first two books end on such cliffhangers they have you tearing your hair out, biting your nails and suffering from withdrawal until the final part was published in December of 2015. Phew! I devoured all three books practically reading them in one sitting. Suspense at its best, combined with a fantastic story and super characters. I’m almost sad the series has ended. However, I don’t think I would have survived waiting for another……. to be continued……….
Favourite Character Couple
For me this is the category that needs very skillful writing to endear my heart, senses and imagination to fictional characters. We all know they don’t exist really but they have to feel for me as though they do, that they are real, have good dynamics and also complement each other. So without much ado…………..
Tyack and Frayne
by Harper Fox
I just love these guys! Well, I must admit that I’m not totally unbias as all the Tyack and Frayne Mystery stories are based in my home county of Cornwall in south west England. I guess that’s one reason I can relate totally to their imagery and backdrop. But more than that they complement each other beautifully, from meeting each other for the first time in the first book to becoming a solid, steady and loving couple by the end of the last book. I loved how their relationship developed. These guys have won a place in my heart and whether or not we will ever hear from them again for me they are living out their lives in my home county of Cornwall, still wrapping up more mysterious goings-on with a celtic slant.
Cover of the Year
Am I a cover whore? Well, I would like to think I’m not but honestly I can’t deny that a cover will pique my interest to get me to read the blurb and then maybe going on to reading a book. I had this experience once again in 2015 with one particular cover this year and that is………..
A Place Called Winter
by Patrick Gale
Roberta Murray / Millenium Images (background)
Zodie Hawkins / Trevillion Images (man)
Sometimes the most unintended actions can turn out to be the most splendid surprises. When I was home in Cornwall this September on holiday visiting my family, I spied this book out of the corner of my eye in the shop window of Waterstones bookshop in Truro. First of all the cover caught my eye. Seemingly innocuous at first sight but then the wilderness and solitude of seeing a single man with a suitcase drew me in for a closer look. My heart just reached out to this forlorn image, one that spoke of loss and yet maybe a new start. A story needing to be told. Then after reading the synopsis I was immediately intrigued, it had “buy me” written all over it.
Favourite Read of 2015 NOT Published in 2015
OK, now it comes to that category that has had me researching what books were published when. After I sorted out the ones published before 2015 I had my first short list and now it was down to the next impossible task of wondering which one of these books stood out the most. It always amazes me how many books just slip through my fingers each year without getting read. I’m so pleased though that some do get read and I’m so delighted to have got around to them eventually. Better late than never I guess is the motto of this category! Well, after a lot of deliberation I settled on……..
The Tin Box
by Kim Fielding
A book that evoked so many emotions in one read I was left dazed and awed at this story. It was a wonderful balance, one minute you are smiling and laughing at Colby, the next you are sobbing your heart out for Bill. I just can’t say enough how this story affected me. A story where the past meets the present but shows us how we have come so far and can celebrate what we have achieved. A story that shows us love will always prevail no matter how hopeless the situation, no one can be robbed of the way they feel about someone.
Favourite Audiobook Published in 2015
I listen to a lot of audiobooks so feel it’s only fair that it now gets a category of its own. It has most definitely been an up and coming industry in the M/M world. Combined with the narrators a book brings with it a whole new dynamic. I usually listen to them in my car as due to work I spend a lot of time on the road and what better way to pass away the miles than listening to an M/M audiobook. There are however hidden dangers. Sitting in the car after I’m already home waiting for the last chapter to end as I just have to know what is happening next or arrive at the car park wind down the window to get my parking ticket from the machine while in the middle of an erotic scene and then listen to how it all echoes around the car park for everyone to hear – lol! Oooopps – but I have a thick skin! Anyway, the winner of this category for me is……………
My Big Fat Southern Gay Wedding (A Southern Thing #3) by Sara York
I can only say that this whole series affected me deeply. Not only the third audiobook released in 2015 but all of them. A beautiful journey of two boys, fighting for their love, never giving up and becoming stronger than they ever were. Big sighs all round. I’m a self-confessed, unashamed, romantic sap and this last book hit home like no other. Yes, this last book which sees Jack and Andrew reach their final and incredible happy end. It was a long journey, hard fought and after all they had been through all the more deserved than any other HEA I have ever read. Yes, I think I cried a river at the beginning of this book, in the middle and at the end. Tears of desolation and joy.
Favourite Audio Book Narrator of 2015
Now this is a category that is as important as the book itself if not even more personal. A narrator can either make or break a story. The voice characterisations have to be spot on to make the listening experience credible. But all the narrator has is his depth of voice to bring across all that emotion contained within the pages of the book, he can’t rely on facial expressions, a real talent indeed. A narrator will either have you sitting on the edge of your seat in anticipation, have you crying with sadness or joy or have you snoring with boredom in five minutes. So my narrator of 2015 is………….
So where do I begin? I first heard Jason narrating A Southern Thing series by Sara York and it was absolutely, perfectly narrated. The emotion that Jason Frazier manages to get into his voice characterisations are fit for a film. To be honest this whole series should be made into a film. I loved every minute of it and Jason brought me to tears so often throughout this book it really is a testament to his craft. Jason is my voice of 2015.
It was a delight to be able to share with you a few of my highlights from 2015. An almost impossible task with so many treasures, talented authors and narrators out there. I always feel like I should have mentioned more but I guess that’s the nature of any award ceremony.
Speaking of award ceremonies……..
Now it’s YOUR turn, if you haven’t already voted for you favourite’s of 2015, pop along to our Readers Choice Awards: Round One nominations to have YOUR voice heard.
Click on the picture below
Christmas may be over but I have a little gift for one lucky reader, a Kindle eBook from your TBR list! All you need to do is answer my following question in the comments below:
Who would you like to win one of the above categories and why? Don’t be shy now. Give some of your favourite authors a little love and recognition.
PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT SO WE CAN CONTACT YOU IF YOU SHOULD BE OUR LUCKY WINNER!
::: And the winner is…. Rodney ……. CONGRATULATIONS! :::