Ronelle’s Favorites of 2017

This list was a little hard to put together because, to be frank, I read a lot of not-so-red-hot books this year. BUT there were a few that stuck out and that I enjoyed enough to put on my 2017 list! Here they are, in no particular order:

Poison and Mercy by EC Elvedeane
Not, in fact, a safe read for “girls”, but a really good choice for adults of either gender who enjoy strong heroines, steampunk, and erotica.

Golden by RL Mosswood
I finally took the plunge into M/M romance this year and my first attempt was not a good one. I won’t name names, but let’s just say the constant use of adjectives making it sound like characters are being electrocuted is not sexy.

But I digress.

“Golden” was novella-length, yet it still managed to develop a compelling relationship and intriguing plot. The reverse-harem was surprising and The Dragon managed to be pretty intimidating even though she isn’t physically present for the vast majority of the story.

Escaping Fate by Regine Abel
Sci-fi romance isn’t something I’ve read much of, but I’m glad I’ve picked up this series. The tried-and-true tropes are there but with enough new and interesting detail to make them fresh and exciting. I loved Amalia from the jump and her boys are pretty hot, too.

Dalí by EM Hamill
Another sci-fi entry for me, which is kinda unusual. Romance wasn’t at the fore of this story, but it colored the plot heavily. “Dalí” was complex, complicated, and heart-breaking.

And I loved every second of it.

Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
Another new experience for me this year was my foray into steampunk and Gaslamp. I had a vague understanding that they existed before this (I’ve seen steam-punky things on the internet and it always looked kinda cool), but have never picked up anything in those genres. I enjoyed the dark atmosphere and the melding of historical and sci-fi that made up the backdrop of this romance. There should be a sequel coming out soon, so watch for my review!

Thrones of Desire by Mitzi Szerato
This was an audiobook anthology that I stumbled upon while browsing Audible in a fit of boredom (that happens a lot). I loved it and the story lengths suited my somewhat curtailed attention span at the time. The stories span the spectrum of all things fantasy, so if you enjoy that as much as I do and you don’t mind some down-and-dirty, then this would be a great listen…just maybe with headphones if you insist on being in public, ok?

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
When we got the review request for this one, it didn’t occur to me that 1) it might not be a new book and 2) Jen might already have reviewed it. It was published in 2011 and Jen reviewed it in 2012. Oops. Still, it was a fun and hilarious urban fantasy that put an interesting twist on an ages-old character (Grim Reaper).

Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine Abel
While I still wish Ms. Abel had made this a full-length novel, I loved the story. I won’t like, though; when I first read the blurb, I joked with the other RHB ladies about how the temptation the heroine had to avoid for a year was going to be cock-related.

But it wasn’t. It was so, so much better and the blossoming romance was just a bonus.

No Shit, There I Was
This one wasn’t a romance, so I felt kinda tricked when I realized that. However, I tend to enjoy anthologies and this one was hilarious enough to make up for the lack of steam. Like all anthologies, not every entry was fantastic, but there are a couple of shorts in here that I’ve reread since my review went up, and they never fail to make me laugh.

Fire’s Kiss by Brittany Pate
This. This right here is the embodiment of my favorite type of book: strong fantasy elements, powerful romance, a good plot, and compelling characters. Fantasy romance/romantic fantasy, people, is my jam. While I felt like the villains could have been better developed and the suspense drawn out a little more, I really did enjoy this book and will be keeping an eye on this author.

And what would a list like this be without a few, er, honorable mentions?

Weirdest book I read: Chest of Bone by Vicki Stiefel
Joker: We’re just having an argument over personalization of my workspace.
EDI: Cerberus regulations are clear, Mr. Moreau. Personalization does not include grease on my bridge cameras.
Joker: It’s just mad that all its footage of me looks like a dream sequence.
Pretty much how I felt while trying to process this book.

Best Mental Image from a Title: Napoleon’s Rosebud by Humphry Knipe
Think about it for a second. You’ll get it. 😉

Favorite Cover: The Undying King or Bluebeard’s Curse
I generally love Grace Draven’s cover art and “The Undying King” was no exception. It just…sets the mood. I felt the same about “Bluebeard’s Curse”. The cover is honestly what snagged me on that one and got me to pick it up. And yes, I am a shameless and admitted judger of books based on their covers.


Don’t miss Jen, Sara, and Joanna‘s favorites too!


  1. Wow! I’m so honored to have my first two published books making your list! And now you make me even happier I didn’t change the cover on Bluebeard’s Curse! Much love! <3

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