Jen’s Favorites of 2016

I haven’t read quite as many books this year as I did in years past. Part of the reason is the huge life changes that came with a new job and a major move for my family. The other came with my sudden burning desire to write a book of my own.

So my reading list was shorter, but I still found some great titles in 2016!


Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs. The Mercy Thompson series shows it’s as strong as ever with its ninth installment. The book isn’t as action packed or quite as dense with the mythology as some of the others in the series. But I think I enjoyed it more for its character focus. I love Mercy and Adam when we see the depths of their feelings for each other. I love it every time Mercy is an underdog and she wins against the odds. I love Ben. I love Jesse and Zee, and even the volcano-dog-guy is growing on me. Very good.

Click to purchase: Fire Touched

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. I completely adored this book. It is an enemies to lovers story done right with an historical backdrop. These two characters are just so much fun in their sniping and snarking, I was completely entertained from the first page until the end. They’re so fleshed out, I felt like a really knew them. I believed in them –and their awakening towards each other. The dialogue is witty and entertaining. The pacing is pitch perfect. And we’re set up with a strong cast of characters for future books. I was totally entertained and satisfied with the entire story.

Click to purchase: Because of Miss Bridgerton


Only Beloved by Mary Balogh. I was of fan of the entire Survivors Club series, but this final installment was easily my favorite. These books are set in the aftermath of the Napoleanic Wars and all of the “survivors” are damaged in some way. This book focused on George, the patriarch of the group. I loved the mature relationship that grew between this older hero and heroine. I especially loved George and the steadfast way he took care of his fellow survivors. And it was great to see everyone get their HEA in the end.

Click to purchase: Only Beloved


A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet. This awesome fantasy romance was a runaway hit for many reviewers this year and it was easily one of my favorites. This book engaged me from the very beginning. It’s interesting. The world building is a cool blend of Greek mythology, magic, and elements unique to the story. The main characters are solid, and best of all, I cared about them. It’s got that indefinable spark that made me connect and invest in what was happening. I can’t wait to see where the series goes next.

Click to purchase: A Promise of Fire


Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare. This author’s books are like candy. This one made me laugh. It gave me two solid characters that I cared about. And it gave me a romance I could root for. It’s a Spindle Cove book, but it takes place at a house party, where the heroine’s overzealous mother is determined to make her a match. But the target ends up being a spy. He’s damaged and the love story is just fantastic in every way.

Click to purchase: Do You Want to Start a Scandal

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews. The books in this series blow me away. Every. Time. If you’re not already reading Kate Daniels, you are missing out. This is the book where Kate and Curran are finally supposed to get married. But nothing comes easy for these two. A war with Roland is looming on the horizon, and thanks to some visions from an Oracle, Kate knows that her time is running out and the wedding is destined to be the catalyst. The story is full of action and reveals, snark, heart, suspense, and satisfaction. It’s Urban Fantasy at its finest. I have so many favorite parts that I can’t list them all. You just must read it. Really.

Click to purchase: Magic Binds


Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt. Here, Hoyt turns her Ghost of St Giles theme on its ear with a female Ghost. I loved the heroine, Alf. She is such a great blend of hard cynicism and loving warmth. The sexy times are steamy and satisfying. The ending gave me everything I wanted. And the setup for the next book has me excited.

Click to purchase: Duke of Pleasure


Moonshadow by Thea Harrison. I really kind of loved this spinoff in the world of The Elder Races. The hero and heroine are like oil and water, but they are so hot together. The sexual tension between them is phenomenal. The payoffs were written to perfection. The love is kind of Insta, but there’s so much great stuff happening in the story, it didn’t bother me the way it normally does. A great place to jump in if you haven’t read from Harrison before.

Click to purchase: Moonshadow


  1. Ah, I knew we’d overlap with Kate Daniels. Great list!

  2. Hello, book twin! I always save your favorite list because I love all of your reviews and book choices. I have read most of these books and loved them! I need to catch up on Mercy Thompson. I did read Sarah Mass this year and loved both of her series.

    • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

      That’s awesome! You have great reading taste! I haven’t read Sarah Mass, but I will head over to Goodreads and check her out.

  3. oh you have a great list here!! And some great authors here. I love Elizabeth Hoyt but still need to read her latest release. And yeah gotta have Illona Andrews on that list right? Curran and Kate are fabulous. And didn’t you just love Promise of Fire??!!! So fabulous, you will love Breath of Fire.

    • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

      Ilona Andrews is always on my list! (At least I am consistent.) I have Breath of Fire in my TBR, but I’ve been so busy writing that I haven’t had the chance to read it. Soon, though, I promise!

  4. I added A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet to my TBR because you liked it so much. I know it’s been a fave for many but if YOU love it, I need to check it out.

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