Putting this list together made me sad. Why, you may ask? Because looking back at what I read in 2016 shows me that I have very few 5 star reads. There’s an overwhelming amount of 3-3.5 star reads and the MOST DNF books ever, in my life. Something needs to change next year. I definitely need to pick better what I read. But… I did manage to find some great books that I wanted to highlight here.
Say what? I’ve had Colleen Hoover as my author of the year a few years back and then my love affair with her stories sort of fell off after the last few releases. It just wasn’t getting to me the way her original work did. Then along came IT ENDS WITH US. It’s not all about the romance, it’s about the journey and the healing. The suffering and the struggle. Just the emotions that this book provoked in me. And to this day, it was one of the few releases that when I was looking back on my reads of the year it still brought me back to how I felt reading it. Great job with this one. And because I like to cheat, I’ll give you an honorable mention. My second favorite was ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS by Bryn Greenwood because GAHHHH that book and the writing were daring and just gave me ALL.THE.FEELS. Shouty capitals needed.
I was so undecided!!!! Not that you can’t tell I’m a mess because I have two choices for a few things on this list. But there were two books I read this series that are new to me and have left me wanting more from these talented authors. I give you CINDER first because this was a book of the month read on our GoodReads group and I was so happy this made me read it because otherwise I’ve been shoving this read to the side anytime someone recommends it to me. And it’s a great YA, sci fi and steampunk book rolled into one. I really loved this world. And the honorable mention goes to GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen because it’s just magically written in a way that was beautiful to experience.
I’ve been looking for a new good paranormal story most of the year. Then along came DEATH AND RELAXATION and, on a whim, I decided to give it a try. I loved the feel of this book. It’s a small town feel urban fantasy with quirky and fun characters and lots of craziness they get into with each book. A nice mix of paranormal creatures that go bump in the night and mythology with plenty of small town charm. I am looking forward to more in this series next year.
So this year I finished reading the first trilogy in the Kushiel’s Legacy and I couldn’t leave Phedre out of this list because she’s an epic character. Reading the second trilogy she plays a much smaller role and I can’t say enough how much the strength of this character and all the adversities she faces and pushes through with so much love for the service of her Goddess and for her loved ones. Truly a powerful heroine, a quiet strength that I admire.
Mark this day in a calendar… I’ve picked two GOOD BOYS for my favorite hero. Maybe it’s because the bad boys didn’t wow me as much this year, or the fact that these two good boys are so perfect you can’t help but fall completely in love, but that I did. It helps that they are both incredibly sexy as well and…. bearded. I guess that’s a thing for me? And I kind of love them equally so I just couldn’t pick. These good boys are the sweetest to their heroines, but once they are alone with the woman they want they are HOT. Perfection.
I have a thing for Daniel Dos Santos artwork. No one can do better. Every time a new Briggs cover comes out I am anxious and excited. I always want his work on my shelves! Just beautiful and perfectly Mercy.
I had several DNF books this year, and I even had some big letdowns that I managed to finished (and some were ok) but I had such high hopes for. I admit, I let my hopes get so high because of the hype. I had never read this author before. The style of writing (and I don’t know if it’s just this book or all his work) was so not for me. So much so that I felt compelled to write a DNF review because I just had so much to rant about.
This year was THEIR year. I feel as if they got two books with THE BEAST and BLOOD VOW as their story is the big focus of both, and I couldn’t have been happier. I love them and I loved seeing their struggles in a non-romantic way. Through all that their love was always a constant rock and I fell in love with Rhage all over again for it.
Yes, the sex is hot. I could pinpoint several scenes here from the first time Cora saw Ren at a party and watched him get a blowjob by some other girl, to the m/m scenes between Ren and Hayes, and the explosive things that can happen when Hayes takes on his role as a Dom for both Ren and Cora. But what makes each scene even better is the build up of their relationship and their connection. All the strings are so intertwined that you can’t separate the sex from the emotions and each one is more powerful than the next. Intense and scorching.
This couldn’t go any other way for me this year. She delivered some amazing books, but more than that it’s the feeling I get every time I read her words. I had a conversation with Annie recently about the atmosphere in her books. It’s tangible to me. I can read one word, one sentence, and I’m transported to the world she’s describing. I feel as if I know the characters (because… of course I do!). It just makes me giddy with excitement and happiness. And I cannot wait for another year of Ward releases to look forward to. They can never come fast enough for me.
ARC copy of HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN by Kristen Painter
CONSUMED BY FIRE by Anne Stuart
Hardcover copy of A SHOE ADDICT’S CHRISTMAS by Beth Harbison
SAFE AT LAST by Maya Banks
TAILORED FOR TROUBLE by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
NO ORDINARY BILLIONAIRE by J.S. Scott
ARC copy of DARK CAROUSEL by Christine Feehan
SIGNED copy of DARKER THAN DESIRE by Shiloh Walker
SIGNED copy of FATAL AFFAIR by Marie Force
UNDER THE DESERT SKY by Sara Luck
HANGING BY A THREAD by Jenna Sutton
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