Joanna’s Favorites of 2017

With so many great and excellent reads published this year, I had a hard job settling on a short list. Some of my favourite authors have been knocking it out of the park with their releases, and I’ve made brand new finds who I’ll one-click forever.

How about you? Found a book that’s given you joy? Let me know.

Burn For You by J.T. Geissinger

Chef Bianca Hardwick goes head to head with rude, gorgeous and damaged Jackson “The Beast” Boudreaux in this tale set in the Deep South. It’s all accents, sumptuous recipes and fiery tempers, with a dollop of an arranged marriage. And I adored it.

Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes

Princess Brinley Cantrell is the younger sister, the naughty though well-meaning spare who suddenly becomes first in line for the throne. In this novella she’s got to come to terms with her new future, while trying not to be in love with the prince who was meant to marry her sister. Doesn’t work so well when they’re caught by a tour group kissing in the library. Oops.

The Bride by S. Doyle

Five books in this series came out this year, which is just great for people who love to glom i.e. me. In this, the first, sixteen-year-old Ellie is orphaned and poised to lose her home and be put into foster care. Her father’s ranch hand, Jake, ten years older and dutiful as the day is long, offers a marriage of convenience so she can keep the ranch. Due to her age, it takes several novellas to resolve this to HEA, and I followed them every step of the way.

Good Boy (WAGs, #1) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Blake! An overgrown puppy of a bruiser hockey player. He’s such a lovable character, with his ridiculous language (cheezus!), his outlandish LOUD family, and his damn sexy self. Yum. He meets his match with stubborn Jess, who flits from career to career and is trying so hard to organize her brother’s wedding and not get distracted. Yeah, that doesn’t work out for her, which is great as these two were so much fun together.

Wait For It (Everything I Left Unsaid #4) by Molly O’Keefe

Changing tone a little here, to the queen of burn-your-heart love with a nice dash of angst. Tiffany is a single mom trying to keep her head above water. Wealthy but reclusive Blake (huh, look at that! Two Blakes in a row) is her a-hole ex-husband’s brother, and the two men couldn’t be more different. Blake originally pays Tiffany off so she doesn’t try to attach herself to his mother, but he couldn’t have been more wrong about her.

“You have constellations on your thigh, Tiffany,” he said with perhaps the sexiest smile I’d ever seen in real life. “I’m just studying them in case I get lost.”

Ruckus (Sinners of Saint #2) by L.J. Shen

I have a guilty pleasure in heroes who start off as total douchebags then need to heal in order to be worthy of the heroine. ‘Hothole’ Dean and Rosie have burning sexual tension, despite him sleeping with anything that moves and generally abusing himself, oh, and previously dating her sister (far less ew than expected). Our heroine has cystic fibrosis and isn’t so robust, so Dean’s fire lights her up just as she’s always been the one for him, and he can’t stand the fact that she might one-day die.

“They say the brightest stars burn out the fastest. They’re right.
She sets my mind on fire.
All smart mouth, snarky attitude and a huge heart.
In a world where everything is dull, she shines like fucking Sirius.”

Start With Me (Start Again #3) by J. Saman

Contains one hero who will do anything to get the woman he loves, and a heroine who can’t and won’t commit, even though she feels the same. Kyle is the brother of Claire’s boss, and despite their startling attraction and instant connection, she keeps him firmly in the friendzone – an unsatisfying place for both of them. She’s smart and loud-mouthed, he’s sexy and patient. They fit together so well and I got all the feels as broken-hearted Kyle tried over and over again to make Claire stay with him.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Okay, so I know this isn’t a 2017 release but I’ve only just read it, it’s adorable, and they’re making a film of it so you ought to pick it up if you’re a fan of YA and the sweetness of first love. Simon is a teenager in high school. He’s gay, and recently entered into an email exchange with someone named Blue. Who is Blue? How are they so GD sweet together but never met? How are his friendship interactions just so interesting? A very satisfying read.

Honorable mentions go to:

The Scribe (Irin Chronicles #1) by Elizabeth Hunter – another oldie but very goodie, with old world locations, a heroine who hears voices and her fated angel-descendent mate

The Air He Breathes (Elements, #1) by Brittainy C. Cherry – about two people, both bereaved of their partners who use each other but fall in love

The Hot Shot (Game On #4) by Kristen Callihan – the cover is one of my favourites of the year, representing a picture the photographer heroine takes of the hockey player hero

Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne – a stuffy business man and a socialite meet in the lobby as she’s getting home, and he’s heading to work. Too cute.

Don’t miss Jen and Ronelle’s top picks too!

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