I’m new here at Joyfully Jay. I’ve only been able to write a few reviews, so I’ve been given a few liberties while choosing my best books of 2012. We haven’t reviewed all of these books, but I’m determined to remedy this situation ASAP. Our only qualification for our Best Of list is that we read the book in 2012. I started reading books in the genre around the beginning of this year. And then I devoured 300 books. So literally everything I’ve read could qualify for this list. You don’t know a lot about me or my taste, so let me explain: I will always choose funny over sentimental. I’ll always choose an original experiment over a tried-and-true standard. And I love a little (a lot of) kink. So be warned and read responsibly. I can’t imagine that you won’t love each and every one of these books, and I hope to have them all reviewed very soon. Happy Reading!
#1 Woke Up in a Strange Place by Eric Arvin
This book is not frivolous. It’s deep and emotional and beautiful. And even though I read 300 books this year, this one stood out as the one that touched my soul. Eric Arvin has a way of making you become sappy and sentimental, even if you’d rather not. Then, after he’s made you think and feel and all of that mushy stuff, you realize you’re a better person because of it.
#2 Stockholm Syndrome by Richard Rider
Here is a perfect example of everything I love in books. It’s violent and funny and disturbing and heart-breaking and morally ambiguous. Valentine and Lindsay are hands-down my favorite couple. They are perfect in their imperfection. There are three of these, and you’ll want to read them all. Then you’ll want to keel over and die in a well-earned state of contentment.
#3 Bear, Otter, and the Kid by TJ Klune
Oh, the wit. TJ Klune is, in a word, brilliant. The Kid is a magnificent creation. This story is not only laugh until you puke your guts out funny, it packs an emotional punch. I never wanted this story to end and, thankfully, it’s the first of a trilogy. If you’re the only person on the planet who hasn’t read this yet, set aside some time. You’ll love spending it with these guys.
#4 Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger
This book was published all the way back in 2004, around the dawn of civilization. A “classic”, if you will. It’s really hard to give a description any justice, so all I’ll say is it’s so clever, it will make you giddy. Travis and Craig make me swoon. They belong together more than any two characters I’ve ever read.
#5 How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis
The fact that J.C. Lillis has not been writing books for me for every second of my life seems a terrible tragedy. The concept is genius. A super-fan vlog about a cult TV show is then infiltrated by a bunch of fangirls who, in their fervent desire to create a gay romance that does not exist, facilitates a real gay romance through their works of fan fiction. It’s all very meta. And hilarious. And I couldn’t love it more if it was my own child that grew money instead of hair.
#6 Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane
You know that Amy Lane’s motto is: “Angst and Pain, Amy Lane.” Goodness gracious, this is the quintessential work of angst and pain. Add to that angst a super hot look into the world of porn, and you have a book that simultaneously turns you on and also makes your gut churn. It also has a hard-earned HEA that makes it all worth it.
#7 Sno Ho by Ethan Day
Why oh why are you making me choose between all of my Ethan Day favorites? It’s kind of rude. This one, though, is super cute and sexy and has the trademark hilarious Ethan Day dialogue we all love. But you should really read all of his stuff. It’s the right thing to do.
#8 Know Not Why: A Novel by Hannah Johnson
You haven’t heard of this one? I will try to be sympathetic and try not to be piteously disappointed that you haven’t read it yet. This is the kind of book that has witty, ridonkulously brilliant dialogue that you know in real life no one is bright enough to speak, but you just don’t care. Howie is my favorite character in the history of the world. He takes a job at Artie Craft’s Arts n’ Crafts to bed some hot girls, but his plan goes awry in a big way.
#9 The Coil by L.A. Gilbert
I’m hoping the selection of this book proves that I do have a heart. This story is so sweet. And as a mom of an autistic child, I think it perfectly captures how challenged yet blessed and awe-struck you feel to have the job. Simon is a single dad to an autistic son, and trying to fit adorable twink Mattie into the equation is proving difficult.
#10 Homo Action Love Story! A Tall Tale by Ben Monopoli
Ben Monopoli has written three books, and they’re all fantastic. But this one is everything. It has adventure and romance and sweaty professional paintballers. (I love just saying “paintballer”.) It was so good, I wanted to yell obscenities at the top of my lungs. The really bad ones. This really is the highest compliment, even if it seems weird.
Since apparently I can’t create a Best 150 books of 2012 list and still maintain a sense of credibility, I’m listing a few extras in my Honorable Mention categories. I love them ever so much.
Best Young Adult
Something Like Summer by Jay Bell
Every Time I Think of You by Joe Provenzano
Rough Canvas: Nature of Desire #6 by Joey W. Hill
Under Contract by Helen Saito
The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles
Beyond Complicated by Mercy Celeste
Best Free Stuff
The Condor by Isa K.
Chemistry by myheartisinohio
Best for a Laugh
Gilliflowers by Gillibran Brown
Take My Picture by Giselle Ellis
The Author Who Could Write a Book About the History of the Phone Book and I’d Pay a Fortune For It, Read it With a Smile, and then Give It a 5-Star Rating Because I Love Her and Her Alpha-Males So Much I Want To Kidnap Her and Keep Her in My Attic