So I’ve done it for the second time in a row. I know. But I just couldn’t help it this year. What’s surprising is what IS NOT on the list. I didn’t read a lot of romantic suspense (at least for the blog) and only 3 books made the list. A lot rom-com’s made the list. I needed to laugh this year and I did…a lot! Some New Adult books made it, too. Some debut authors, new to me authors and personal favorites. Another surprise is that a paranormal didn’t make the list at all.
I don’t want to get preachy this year but I’m not sure what is going to happen. I’ll still be blogging and reviewing. But I probably won’t be reviewing as much as I did. Working as a substitute teacher is a full-time job for me now. I work pretty much every day now and I love it. Baseball season for Thad and Brian is going to start next month and let’s not forget that we are going on a 7-day cruise during our Spring Break. We can.not.wait either. Cozumel, Jamacia, and the Grand Caymans here we come. If you can believe this, it will be our first family vacation EVER. No family, no friends. Just the 3 of us.
I did accomplish some things that most bloggers already knew how to do. I’m old and a bit slow when it comes to being on trend. This blog will be 10 years old in October and I couldn’t be prouder of what I’ve done, the authors that have been on and the friendships that I have made just blogging. That said, here goes to what I’ve learned:
- Goodreads – I was challenged last year in Monica Murphy’s group to sign up for the Reading Challenge. I signed up to read only 50 books and ended up reading 87 books. This year my goal is 75 books.
- Hashtags – Still learning this but I’m getting more retweets because of them. And followers.
- Instagram/Pinterest – Still learning but I’m doing some Instagram only posts. It’s been fun and interesting all at the same time.
- Learning to say no to me. One of the hardest things a blogger/reviewer can learn. I’m not Wonder Woman and I have a life outside of the publishing world. I intend to keep it that way.
- No matter what I say or do, I’ll never be an author’s assistant, work for a publisher, or make a buck writing. Yes, after too many “no’s”, being laughed at and then told no way in hell, I decided to just forget about it.
- In reference to #5, this is also why I won’t be blogging as much as I have in the past. I feel like, at times, that my blog is just a joke to some. To me, it’s not. You try to do this for almost 10 years. Sure, I don’t have a posse of reviewers, authors beating down my door, networking at conventions/conferences but I think I do alright.
- Its okay to review a book and post to Amazon, Goodreads, etc. and NOT the blog. I’ve been doing that a lot lately and I love it. No pressure to post to the blog because of scheduling.
And I’m loving using Gifs!
Here are my top 20 books for 2017 in no particular order.
- Ethan’s Daughter by Rachel Brimble. I know, she makes my list every year but this book is bittersweet. It’s the second to last book of her excellent Templeton Cove series. And yes, I have read book #8 and I cried a bit. I can’t believe the series is over but I know that my English Rose won’t leave me hanging when it comes to her books. But I will however still be in the corner trying to process it all. (Contemporary, Harlequin, romance, series, sensual)
- Claimed by the Cyborg (Cy-Ops #5) by Cara Bristol. As I said in my review, why are you NOT reading this series? It has alpha men, strong heroines, just enough sexy times and action/adventure. Ms. Bristol doesn’t dumb down the sci-fi to her readers and the plots are relatable. (Romance, series, spicy, action/adventure, Sci-Fi)
- OH Henry (OHellNo series #2) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff. I will admit that New Adult is finally growing on me. The books that I have read last year are relatable, funny as hell, sexy and the characters just make sense. I’ve told yall a million times. My teens and 20’s were a blast. Maybe too much of a blast but my life isn’t angsty like most books in this genre. Ms. Pamfiloff just nails it with this series. I can’t wait to see what she has in store with book 3. (Contemporary, New Adult, series, romance, funny, spicy)
- Why the Earl is After the Girl (Ways of Love #1) by Tabetha Waite. Debut author. Took a chance. Glad that I did. Loved this book. I have read the second book in the series and waiting impatiently for the 3rd one. You really need to check her out. (Historical, romance, series, debut author, sensual)
- Mr. Dirty (a London Billionaire standalone) by Nana Malone. Ms. Malone is fast becoming an auto-buy author for me. She writes funny, sexy as hell, fast-paced books about characters that you really care about. Plus, there is depth to the story and characters. (Contemporary, romance, spicy, series)
- His Baby Dilemma (Indian Shores novel) by Catherine Lanigan. This is one author to watch out for. She writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and I just can’t get enough of her writing. Her characters come to life for me and this book, in particular, is her best yet. Yes, its sweet but trust me, you don’t miss the sexy times. (Contemporary, romance, Harlequin, series, sweet)
- Nudes (Exposed #1) by Sarah Robinson. Her book Not A Hero made my list last year and she didn’t disappoint me again. Brilliant writing, engaging characters, and a plot that is on topic. (Contemporary, series, romance, spicy)
- Girl Crush by Stephie Walls. This book. It was my favorite rom-com of the year. I never laughed so hard at someone trying to bat for the same team because men just suck. This one has stayed with me for a long time. (Contemporary, romance, romantic comedy, spicy)
- Force & Enforce (The Force Duet) by Minx Malone and Nana Malone. The only romantic suspense book to make the list this year. I just so love this writing duo. The Shameless duet was superb and my review of Deep is Monday. Even though the books are duets, it centers around a security agency and the guys are just too hot, dirty talking, take no prisoners alphas. Of course, the women are kick ass, too. (Romantic Suspense, series, spicy)
- His Fake Alien Fiancee (Out of this World #2) by Patricia Eimer. I challenged myself to read some sci-fi last year and let me tell I’m glad that I read this one. It’s relatable, it happens on earth and our heroine is just flat out funnier than hell. It read more like a rom-com but the sci-fi is there in spades. If you are looking for a hilarious sci-fi romance, pick this one up. You won’t be disappointed. I will tell you that I haven’t picked up the other books in the series. I know, I suck. (Sci-Fi, Romance, series, spicy, comedy)
- Christmas at Cade Ranch (Rocky Mountain Cowboys #1) by Karen Rock. Another Harlequin Heartwarming by one of my all-time favorite authors. Ms. Rock never disappoints and this series is no different. And yes, I’ve read the second book in the series. This series deals with real issues that most people face every day. Plus, it has cowboys. (Harlequin, contemporary, romance, series, sweet)
- Ruck Me (a Dublin Rugby romance #2) by Rebecca Norinne. A new author to me and it’s a New Adult. OH.MY.GOSH. Ireland, the accent, Rugby. I was a goner before I even read a page. This one deals with more real-life issues that people at this age experience and she doesn’t gloss over it. It could be considered over angsty but I fell in love with the characters and couldn’t stop reading. I’ve read the first book in the series and it was just as good. Now I need #3. Did I mention Ireland? Pubs? Rugby? (Contemporary, romance, New Adult, series, spicy)
- Leather Pants (Happy Pants Cafe #2) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff. *swoon* This book wasn’t what I thought it was going to be and I’m glad. Ms. Mimi doesn’t disappoint with her contemporaries and this series is perfection. You will definitely fall in love with Mr. Leather Pants. (Contemporary, romance, series, spicy)
- Forever (a Friends Novel #3) by Monica Murphy. #CuddlewithTuttle This series has all the feels of what a Young Adult novel should be. Angsty, a swoon-worthy hero and heroine, the friends that you want to slap and I really felt like I was back in high school. Ms. Murphy just nails it with this book. She must have snuck into a high school and took notes, like Cameron Crowe because a lot of what she wrote, I experience as a substitute teacher at our high school. (Contemporary, romance, series, Young Adult)
- The Billionaire in Her Bed by Regina Kyle. An Indulgence title that didn’t disappoint. In fact, I kinda wish it were longer. Ms. Kyle writes about a topic that is so newsworthy, relatable and being able to find the family that you were looking for. Yes, these book is about rich people or the fact that come from money but she writes it in such a way, that money isn’t the issue. This was my first book from Ms. Kyle and won’t be my last. (Contemporary, spicy, romance)
- Meadow Shores series books 1-4 by Eva Charles. Why are you NOT reading this series? It’s about grown-ups. Yes, real grown-ups and how they relate to their jobs, their families and ultimately, their love partner. One book sticks out to me and that’s Petite Madeleine. Drew and Cassie’s story is a second chance romance that just hits all the buttons for me. But of course, all the books hit the button but this one…it just stuck. Oh and Ms. Charles is redoing the covers. (Contemporary, romance, series, spicy)
- Reckless Need (Hearts Temptation novel) by Scarlett Scott. A spicy, well written historical that I just couldn’t put down. This one dealt with a submissive man and a woman that just might be what he needs. Yes, they are married, but their secrets almost consume them. I loved the interaction between the other couples, too. (Historical, spicy, series, romance, BDSM elements)
- In Walked Trouble (Under Covers @3) by Christina Elle. Run. Don’t walk to get this book. Ms. Elle will surprise you with your dialogue, humor, action, pacing, and characters that you will become invested in that you will laugh and at times cry for them. Perfection in my book. And it’s only her SECOND BOOK. And the grandmas. Too much. (Romantic Suspense, comedy, military, series, spicy)
- Blame it on the Bet (a Whiskey Sisters novel) by L.E. Rico. Hennesey, Bailey, Walker, and Jamieson walked into a bar. Oh wait, they own the bar and seriously, those are their names. This book has all the feels for me. It’s character driven, the priest is hilarious, there are cats in costumes and Hennessey and Bryan are just too loveable but stubborn to ignore. I can’t wait to find out about the other sisters. (Contemporary, romance, series, sweet)
- Undercover Attraction (the O’Malley’s #5) by Katee Robert. *thud* This series. Mafia and I don’t read mafia romances. But there is something about the O’Malley’s that I just can’t get enough of at this point. This is a must-read for anyone that loves action-packed, hard loving, dirty talking men and the women that somewhat tame them. And the covers are totally lickable. Just saying. (Romantic Suspense, spicy as hell, series)
So there you have it. I read more than 20 books but those are my top picks for last year. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings me to read.
If you are looking for me on Amazon, my reviewer name is Brian’s Mom. I know, not original but it works. On Goodreads, it is Harlie Williams.