Best of 2016! @entangledpub @HarlequinHeartwarmingAuthors @vastine7 @RachelBrimble @CLSkaggs @BooksBy_Sarah @RebeccaYarros @Sherilee_Gray @AdriennGiordano @MimiJeanRomance @MsMonicaMurphy @KTCastle_author @AlisonBliss2 @kennedyfoxbooks @CateBeauman @Naima_Simone

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Blitz for Catch a Fallen Star (Grace Note Records #2) by Amy Vastine w/a rafflecopter! @vastine7


On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Launch for
Catch a Fallen Star
By Amy Vastine

Sometimes hitting bottom can help you find what the important things in life are. Boone just hopes that Ruby will agree. We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out…

Launch – Note from the Author

Catch a Fallen Star is the second book in the Grace Note Records series. Readers might remember Boone from the first book, The Girl He Used to Love. Boone gave Dean quite a hard time and was often the reason for Dean’s headaches. I wasn’t sure I could make him into a hero worth rooting for but was up for the challenge.

Harlie’s Books – Review

“This book is easily the best Heartwarming book that I’ve read all year. . . . Ms. Vastine wrote an emotional yet somehow funny book that tugged at my heart. . . . Overall, I can’t wait for other readers to find this story. It’s perfection when it comes to the Heartwarming line. It’s everything I want and surprised in the end.”

Books, Dreams, Life – Excerpt

He gave her his trademark grin and lowered his voice, which had literally made women swoon. “You want me to sign something for you, pretty lady?”

See? He could be nice.

I Am A Reader – A Single Mother’s Guide to Parenting an Ornery Teenager

Ruby Wynn is a midwife who took over a practice from a woman who also wrote a monthly advice column for the local newspaper. Ruby feels confident about her ability to bring children into the world but doubts her skill at getting her own child through the ups and downs of life. Writing the column comes with the new job and she can’t help but feel like a fraud, telling others how to raise their kids when hers is nothing but trouble. Here’s what I imagine she might have written after a particularly difficult day with her teenaged daughter

Nicole’s Book Musings – Excerpt

“We have a celebrity in town. A megastar.”

“What kind of celebrity? A movie star?”

“Not someone from Hollywood. Someone from Nashville.”

Ruby’s interest diminished significantly with that revelation. Country music wasn’t her thing. Never had been, even though Levi loved it. She was more of a progressive rock kind of girl.

fuonlyknew – Excerpt

Those stormy blue eyes that had blown her over were now glaring at her through the slats of the porch railing. He somehow managed to look angrier than he had a moment ago.

Zerina Blossom’s Books – Holly’s Top 10 Reasons Ruby Should Date a Country Music Star

Ruby Wynn is a single mother, looking to find a way to get as far away from her deadbeat ex-husband because all he ever does is let their daughter down. She’s not looking to fall in love with someone else’s deadbeat ex-husband, even if he is a famous country star. Her best friend is a huge Boone Williams fan, though, and she’d give just about anything to live vicariously through Ruby.

Becky on Books – Review

“I really liked Boone and Ruby together, and Boone and Violet? So. Cute. Seeing her giving him grief for being old and famous and a bit full of himself at times was just too cute and kept him from growing too big a head. The romance of the story was sweet, and the healing that the families managed to do was inspiring. You’ll leave this one with warm fuzzy feelings for sure!”

Book Lover in Florida – Excerpt

Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Violet and her friend hanging around the display of lighters near one of the empty checkout lanes. They seemed quite interested in what the employees were doing and where they were looking. Violet put a lighter in her pocket and started for the door. Boone noticed that the guy by customer service who was almost certainly the store manager saw the same thing. He could only imagine how much trouble the kid would get into with a mother like Ruby. He deserted his cart and got to Violet right before the manager confronted her.

Reading Is My SuperPower – Review

“Funny and sweet and romantic, Catch a Fallen Star is more than just a story of two people falling in love. It’s also about family and addiction and recovery and restoration. Toss in a sassy teenager with lots of wisdom in spite of her occasional stupidity and this book becomes a new favorite.”

Christy’s Cozy Corners – Boone Williams

In Catch a Fallen Star, Boone is at a crossroads. He’s clean and sober but still struggling to get his life together. He’s come to Grass Lake, Tennessee to regroup and find a way to resuscitate his dying career. His record label has set him up at Helping Hooves, an equine therapy farm. The hope is the farm’s social worker can help Boone find the music that’s been missing since he stopped drinking.

Falling Leaves – Excerpt

Was Boone Williams apologizing to her a second time? Ruby wondered if she should pinch herself to make sure it was true. She tried to hold back her grin. “You totally overreacted.”

He scratched the back of his neck. His dark blue T-shirt was pulled tight across his chest. Ruby had to force herself not to stare, but she didn’t want to look into those eyes, either. Holly had made her paranoid.

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – Ruby Wynn

The last thing Ruby needs is for country music star Boone Williams to connect with her daughter. She doesn’t want another unreliable man to come into their lives. Trust is not something she hands over very willingly. But Boone proves to be more than meets the eye. Not only does he win over Violet, but Ruby can’t deny she’s beginning to fall for him.

Thoughts of a Blonde – Review

“Emotionally gripping! With the latest in her Grace Note Records series, Amy Vastine brings us the story of a legendary country music singer who has lost his way in life and is now on the verge of losing everything that ever mattered to him. The characters are flawed in a a “we’re all human” type of way, and are fighting their way up, trying to get their heads out of the ever sinking reality of their life. It’s edgy, it’s sad, it’s sweet … and the sass on this teen will have you laughing out loud! Loved it!”

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Review

“Their relationship follows a natural course, full of insecurities, triumphs, and fighting against their feelings. I could almost taste their joys and sorrows, which shows good writing. Overall, this is a book full of emotion and one that is enjoyable from start to finish.”

Getting Your Read On – Review

“This isn’t a romance in the typical sense, but more of the stories of many people with struggles and issues, fighting their way through and finding healing and help in each other. . . . I loved the natural progression of all the relationships in this book. It felt real and sometimes gritty but always with a glimmer of hope and healing on the horizon.”

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Review

“I really enjoyed this book. It captured my attention immediately and kept it throughout the story.”

underneath the covers – Catch a Fallen Star Playlist

This story features a country music star trying to revive his career. To get in the mood for writing a story about a country singer, I decided to scope out the country channels on my Spotify. This is foreign territory to me. I am more of a rock n’ roll kind of girl, but I actually found a lot of songs that grew on me. Country music is full of heartbreak and plenty of romance. There’s equal parts sass and sentimentality.

Heidi Reads… – Excerpt

He guided Ruby out of the studio. She almost tripped on her way down the last step, but Boone caught her.

“You okay?” he asked, steadying her on her feet.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below…

Catch a Fallen StarCatch a Fallen Star
(Grace Note Records #2)
by Amy Vastine
Adult Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 384 pages

December 1st 2016 by Harlequin Heartwarming

He’s got to save his career—and himself

Hitting rock bottom has landed country star Boone Williams in the middle of his worst nightmare: a recording studio on a horse therapy farm hours away from Nashville. He has no interest in dealing with his problems or writing a new album. And he’s definitely not interested in the gorgeous, feisty mom of one of Helping Hooves’s young clients. She doesn’t even know who he is! But his record label is one tabloid story from cutting him loose, and Boone can’t seem to turn around without bumping into Ruby and her daughter, Violet. Clearly, Boone’s not going to get what he wants. Could Ruby be just what he needs?

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

Other Books in the Series

The Girl He Used to LoveThe Girl He Used to Love
(Grace Note Records #1)
by Amy Vastine
Adult Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 368 pages
July 1st 2016 by Harlequin Heartwarming

The past will always be between them

He swore he’d never return home. Then a flat tire lands Dean Presley back in Grass Lake, Tennessee, and he’s forced to confront the woman he left behind. Faith Stratton was once the love of his life. Now her gifted brother could be the rising Nashville star Dean needs for his struggling music label. But it means taking Sawyer away from the horse therapy farm that Faith’s so proud of. That won’t be easy, especially since those old feelings that started all the trouble… Well, let’s just say he can’t go back there, because he doesn’t want to relive the memories of the terrible accident that drove them apart.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read. Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will win a grand prize of The Girl He Used to Love, A Heartwarming Holiday anthology, winner’s choice of CD or MP3 of Tim McGraw’s album Damn Country Music, and a guitar Christmas ornament (US only)
5 winners will win an ebook of A Heartwarming Holiday anthology and a 20% off coupon for a Heartwarming novel of their choice from Harlequin.com (open internationally)
5 winners will win The Girl He Used to Love (paperbacks US, ebook international)
– Ends December 23rd

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grab Our Button!

#Review of Catch a Fallen Star (Grace Note Records #2) by Amy Vastine w/a rafflecopter giveaway! @vastine7

 


On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Catch a Fallen StarCatch a Fallen Star
(Grace Note Records #2)
by Amy Vastine
Adult Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 384 pages

December 1st 2016 by Harlequin Heartwarming

He’s got to save his career—and himself

Hitting rock bottom has landed country star Boone Williams in the middle of his worst nightmare: a recording studio on a horse therapy farm hours away from Nashville. He has no interest in dealing with his problems or writing a new album. And he’s definitely not interested in the gorgeous, feisty mom of one of Helping Hooves’s young clients. She doesn’t even know who he is! But his record label is one tabloid story from cutting him loose, and Boone can’t seem to turn around without bumping into Ruby and her daughter, Violet. Clearly, Boone’s not going to get what he wants. Could Ruby be just what he needs?

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

This book is easily the best Heartwarming book that I’ve read all year.  And yes, I’ve read a lot of them.  Many by authors that I have read for years.  Ms. Vastine is a new to me author, so this came as a pleasant surprise.

Ms. Vastine wrote an emotional yet somehow funny book that tugged at my heart.  Here are my reasons why:

  1.  Teenage angst – Violet was a scream.  I could actually “see” the eye rolling at her mother.  And then we have Emma, Boone’s daughter.  I totally understood why she didn’t want to have anything to do with him.  But I also blame her mother, Boone’s ex for some of it.
  2.   The dialogue between Ruby and Violet.  Spot on and yes, I hope your daughter doesn’t get too upset with you later in life.  🙂
  3.   Boone – as a whole I really did like him.  I just wished that he had been a bit more assertive when it came to Dean and pushing the female singer on him.  I did, however, love his interactions with Sawyer.
  4.   Ruby – man, I wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley.  The cute meet with Boone is priceless.  Not to mention her thoughts afterwards.  Especially when talking to her friend Holly at the paper.
  5.   The secondary characters are well written and I can’t wait to see if Sawyer’s story is next.  Dean, though:  I might have to read his book to fully understand where he is coming from.
  6.   I’m not a horse person but I liked the scenes at the competitions.  I do like horses, though.
  7.   The exes in this book are just awful people.  They treat their daughters like complete crud and except their exes to bow down to them.  Not in this book.  Boone and Ruby finally have it out with their exes but it’s the teenagers that FINALLY get through to them.  In actions…not words.
  8. The romance is a slow build and it’s realistic.  Neither one of them wants to get involved but with the off-handed help of the teenagers…well, let’s just say, everyone is happy.

Overall, I can’t wait for other readers to find this story.  It’s perfection when it comes to the Heartwarming line.  It’s everything I want and surprised in the end.

Other Books in the Series

The Girl He Used to LoveThe Girl He Used to Love
(Grace Note Records #1)
by Amy Vastine
Adult Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 368 pages
July 1st 2016 by Harlequin Heartwarming

The past will always be between them

He swore he’d never return home. Then a flat tire lands Dean Presley back in Grass Lake, Tennessee, and he’s forced to confront the woman he left behind. Faith Stratton was once the love of his life. Now her gifted brother could be the rising Nashville star Dean needs for his struggling music label. But it means taking Sawyer away from the horse therapy farm that Faith’s so proud of. That won’t be easy, especially since those old feelings that started all the trouble… Well, let’s just say he can’t go back there, because he doesn’t want to relive the memories of the terrible accident that drove them apart.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read. Amy lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest

Tour Schedule

December 12th: Launch
December 13th:
Harlie’s Books
Books, Dreams, Life
I Am A Reader
Nicole’s Book Musings
December 14th:
fuonlyknew
Zerina Blossom’s Books
Becky on Books
Book Lover in Florida
December 15th:
Reading Is My SuperPower
Christy’s Cozy Corners
Falling Leaves
The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
December 16th:
Thoughts of a Blonde
Rockin’ Book Reviews
Katie’s Clean Book Collection
Getting Your Read On
December 18th:
underneath the covers
Heidi Reads…
i blog 4 books
December 19th: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will win a grand prize of The Girl He Used to Love, A Heartwarming Holiday anthology, winner’s choice of CD or MP3 of Tim McGraw’s album Damn Country Music, and a guitar Christmas ornament (US only)
5 winners will win an ebook of A Heartwarming Holiday anthology and a 20% off coupon for a Heartwarming novel of their choice from Harlequin.com (open internationally)
5 winners will win The Girl He Used to Love (paperbacks US, ebook international)
– Ends December 23rd

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grab Our Button!