Shocked? You should be because I don’t do lists on the blog when it comes to the “best of”. I never have and I swore that I wouldn’t do it either. I feel like these kinds of lists are just bragging to other bloggers that you are better than they are. Bloggers are a different breed. I’ve been bullied by authors, publishers, and bloggers since I started blogging 9 years ago. I’ve almost quit a few times, too. Jealousy has reared its ugly head, too. I had to come to the realization that I will never be one of the “popular” blogs. I don’t go to cons where most of the “popular” go to and let’s face it, suck up to authors and publishers. They promise the world to them and most of the time they deliver. Blogs like mine don’t operate like that and I won’t sell my soul to be that blogger.
I have not and will not become a minion and I have my opinion, which is quite different from everyone else. I’m good with this because if you ever met me in person…what you see is what you get. Bad behavior is something that I can’t comprehend nor do I condone. I have many popular authors that other bloggers seem to adore that I won’t touch with a ten-foot pole. They burned me earlier in my blogging career and therefore, they are not welcome on the blog…ever!
So enough of my tirade. Here are my choices for the year 2016. In no particular order:
Catch a Fallen Star by Amy Vastine. Yes, it’s a Harlequin Heartwarming and its sweet. But this book is pure perfection when it comes to the line. Perfectly written, solid characters and a story that will tug at your heart. Plus, it’s got the kind of romance that just sneaks up on you. (Contemporary Romance, Sweet, series)
The Lucie Rizzo Series by Adrienne Giordano. Okay, so she writes Harlequin Intrigue but this series is a mystery series with romantic elements with laugh out loud comedy. It’s set in Chicago and deals with an Italian mob princess that is out and in love with an Irish cop. And the mysteries revolve around her dog business. I seriously can’t make this up but Ms. Giordano did and it’s the best. (Mystery, comedy, romance, series, sensual)
Saved by the Fireman by Rachel Brimble. My English Rose is the best. I’ve been with her since she started writing for the Wild Rose Press and she never disappoints. Never. And this Harlequin Superromance series is the best. I love Templeton Cove. (Contemporary Romance, sensual, series)
Breaking Him by Sherilee Gray. This is one of the launch books for Entangled Publishing’s Scorched line. Now, you know that I don’t review erotic anymore but the blurb intrigued me. Beautifully written erotic romance where the sex actually makes sense and is necessary. It’s raw, highly emotional and you will swoon throughout the whole book. It’s all about trust. (Contemporary Romance, erotic)
Size Matters by Alison Bliss. Good lord, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much reading a book. This is the book that you need to read if you have ever had body image issues (ME). Ms. Bliss has written a book that everyone one of us needs to read and realize that yes, size matters but it only matters to yourself. (Contemporary Romantic Comedy, spicy, series)
Bridesmaid Checklist: Marisol’s Wedding by KT Castle. This author sneaked up on me. I read the first book in the series and while I loved it, one of the girls was awful. Non redeeming. Still not after this book but her behavior from the first book makes sense. You need to read this series. (Contemporary Romance, spicy/sensual, series)
The Bachelor’s Auction by Naima Simone. Yes, it’s Indulgence by Entangled. They are my crack. Tropy, sexy and just what I expect from the line. This one was a treat. It’s a childhood friend’s to lovers trope that is written beautifully. You feel the love from the first encounter and it never lets up. (Contemporary Romance, spicy, series)
The Bridal Bouquet by Tara Randal. It’s another Harlequin Heartwarming, sue me. I love this line and this one deals with the bridal industry and a cop that is investigating a drug ring. Seriously. What makes this book special is that love is based on trust. Not just from a lover but from your family, too. Important message…that was well received. (Contemporary Romance, sweet, series)
The Bodyguards of L.A. County Series by Cate Beauman. Romantic suspense is what I cut my teeth on and Ms. Beauman doesn’t disappoint. My favorite in the series is Falling for Sarah. Beautifully written, creepy villain and a love story so romantic that you won’t believe it’s a suspense book. (Romantic Suspense, series, spicy)
God of Wine (Immortal Matchmakers series) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff. Paranormal is not my favorite but I just had to read this one based on the blurb alone. I nearly peed my pants when I read this one. Laugh out loud funny, features a heroine that is older and the secondary characters are the best. (Paranormal Romance, spicy, series, comedy)
Not a Hero by Sarah Robinson. This book has all the feels. A hero that has his demons from coming back from the war. A heroine that won’t let him fail and secondary characters that are spot on. If you are looking for a military romance, this one is for you. (Contemporary Romance, spicy, military)
Checkmate Duet: This is War & This is Love by Kennedy Fox. Travis and Viola. The perfect enemies to lovers story PERIOD. No one else comes close. These women obliterated the trope and made it their own. I dare you to read it and disagree with me. I double dog dare you. (Contemporary Romance, series, spicy/erotic)
Unforgettable (Untouchables series) by Cindy Skaggs. Again, romantic suspense at it’s best. This one involves the mob. Like I told Ms. Skaggs, I base all of my romantic suspense heroes to Noah Clayborne from Julie Garwood’s Buchanan’s series. Blake comes very, very close to Noah. Yes, Blake is that awesome of a hero. (Romantic Suspense, series, spicy)
Lastly, I have two surprises for the list. As most know, I don’t read YA/NA because most authors bring too much angst for me to the book. I had a great childhood and my 20’s were a lot of fun. Okay, almost too much fun. But I wasn’t abused, didn’t do drugs, etc. so I pretty much stopped reading the genres. Again, I was happy so I want my characters to have fun.
More Than Friends (Friends #2) by Monica Murphy. Like I said in my review, she “get’s” it. One of the most realistic books that I have ever read. It felt like I was reading about my own friends from high school and I’ve been out of high school for 32 years. Plus, Tuttle and Mandy. Enough said. A teen romance that is swoon worthy, believable and I need the sequel like yesterday. (Contemporary Young Adult, sensual, series)
Wilder (the Renegades #1) by Rebecca Yarros. Dear Lord in Heaven. Wilder. Wilder. Wilder. Extreme sports, college on a cruise ship and chemistry between people that will not be denied. And to think that Nova’s story is coming next month. I’m not sure the Kindle will be able to keep up. (Contemporary New Adult, spicy, series)
So I bet you are wondering where the other genres are like historical, sci/fi, fantasy, etc. I read them but I have learned from my readers to the blog, that their tastes are my tastes. If you are looking for m/m, erotic/BDSM, go to http://www.harliewilliams.wordpress.com. I review them over there. Plus, I review on Amazon under the name Brian’s Mom.
And yes, this blogger listens to what her reader’s comment/read/share when it comes to content. I started this blog for me to share my love of what I like to read. Again, not popular by industry standards but at the readers that I have, appreciate me. As do the authors.
So there you go. My top 14 books of 2016. Every one of these books is on my keeper shelf. Do yourself a favor and find that one author that you have NEVER heard about and read the book. Or pick a genre that you normally don’t read and take a chance. You might surprise yourself. I know that I did and I’m glad that I gave some genres another chance. I know that authors appreciate it when someone finds their little gem of a book and reads it.