Posted in About me, Obsessions, Reading

2015 review: My favorite books and music of the year (and BT Urruela!!!)

I thought about doing an introspective end-of-2015 post, but since I kind of laid my soul bare here, I’m going to skip the deep thoughts for my last post of the year. (Update on that, though: I start Judaism 101 classes on January 10th at a local synagogue. I’m excited! Went to my first Shabbat service last week and it was fascinating.)

Anyway, for my final post of the year, I’m going to talk about my favorite books and music of 2015. So, without further ado —


My heart beats for romance novels. It has since I was about 12 years old and read my first Lavyrle Spencer novel, and it always will.  They are the majority of what I read, and the only thing I write. I’ve read about 175 books this year, and I’ve read a lot of really great ones, but below are my favorites of my favorites for the year.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – What can I say about this book? An American student ends up living next door in the dorms at Oxford to the future king of England (a la Prince William) and they have a tumultuous relationship. The angst at 49% (I only read ebooks) was beautiful, and the story has made me slightly obsessed with the royal family, especially Prince Harry!  The authors aka Fuggirls feed that obsession through their site, Go Fug Yourself, so there is always Prince Harry (and Wills and Kate) in my life, and I now cannot help but to secretly-not-so-secretly harbor a tiny unrequited love shippy thing between Harry and Kate. How can you not!?!?!! (Amazon)

Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott. I love that an Australian set this series here in the Pacific Northwest, and it’s impossible not to love a series about four hot dudes from a rock band falling in love one-by-one. The best book of the series was the third one, Lead. The angst in that book was absolutely delicious. I love books that make me cry and this one did it with gusto! Jimmy was a broken, messed up guy, and Lena came in to kick his butt into shape. When she realizes she has feelings for him and it’s time to exit stage left, he has other plans. I love romantic heroes who are too dense to recognize their emotions, and Jimmy takes the cake! (Amazon)

I’ve saved A Lover’s Lament by BT Urruela and K.L. Grayson for last because not only is the book moving, but BT Urruela has become my favorite “public person” of 2015. The book is a beautiful story told in alternating voices as Katie and Devin, childhood sweethearts, reconnect while he’s fighting in the Middle East and she’s dealing with a powerful, crippling loss back home. The story was another angst-filled ride that left me in tears, and a majority of that is due to the fact that the story had an incredibly raw feel. After all, BT was able to draw from his own combat experiences to make Devin’s story gritty. An added bonus is that the hot, shirtless soldier on the cover? Totally BT!!! (Amazon)

So about BT –


BT is a glorious human being that I stumbled upon this year thanks to his work modeling for Michael Stokes.  BT is not only a perfect specimen of holy hunky hotness (who also happens to be a romance cover model for other books besides his own ANNNNND is currently writing his first solo book (which I would pre-order already if it were possible because HELLO, it’s BT!!!)) but he’s also a guy who has dedicated his life to helping wounded combat vets like himself re-acclimate to society through VetSports. His soul is beautiful, which makes him all the more attractive (if that’s even possible!) He’s got a great social media presence and, to be honest, his smile should win awards. Or toothpaste commercial endorsements. (He’s the kind of person that I imagine causes weird, ethereal beams of light to shine from seemingly nowhere and illuminate him wherever he goes.) As an aspiring writer myself, his face (and everything else) has wormed their way into my brain and a new character was born, whose story I’m now telling. So BT, thanks for being my muse! If you want to follow BT, you should. Like, now. His website is here, along with Twitter, FB, and Instagram. Go check him out. I’ll just be waiting here for you to report that you, too, are in celebu-love…


All of the music that has rocked my world this year, I’ve discovered in the last four months of the year.  What’s interesting, is that the music I’m talking about is all in the country genre of which I am, generally, not even a fan.

So first up is Sam Hunt. ERMIGAHD Sam Hunt. I love him so much. His Georgia drawl. His smile. His energy on stage. His e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  I discovered “Break Up in a Small Town” in September, then bought his album Montevallo, then bought the re-release of his mixtape Between the Pines and since all of that, 90% of what I listen to is him. He is so talented, so charismatic. His lyrics are insightful, his take on music totally unique, and he also happens to be completely freaking dreamy. 

Next up is Chris Stapleton. For full disclosure, I was incensed after Chris beat out Sam at the CMAs, so I decided to check out his album, Traveller, and I’m so glad I did. His raw, incredible voice blows me away. I’m also charmed by his relationship with is wife, Morgane, who sings back-up for him.  Below is my absolute favorite song off the album – “Fire Away.”

Finally, the song “Dirt” by Florida Georgia Line. I haven’t listened to much of their music, but this song just socks me in the soul. Maybe because I just bought my own piece of dirt and I love it so much, or maybe it’s just a catchy song.  Regardless, it’s beautiful!

So that’s it for me. Gushing over for now. Happy New Year!


Writer, blogger, wife, full-time career woman, reader, crafter, dog mom, amateur historian, lover of liberal causes, proud Jewish woman. Dream of climbing Mt. Rainier. Although a Hoosier by birth, the Pacific Northwest is my home.

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