Joanna’s Favorites of 2016

I joined the team of Red Hot Ladies in January and challenged myself to expand my reading choices past my usual go-tos. I’ve had my eyebrows raised and I’ve found writers I will love forever, from long-established authors to newbies who’ve contacted us at the blog and offered their work.

Throughout the year I’ve been editing my own novel, which is my new favorite and never ending pastime. Seriously – help, I can’t stop. Much respect for my co-reviewers, who published, drafted and dreamed big their own books this year – you guys rule and your work is sublime. On with my other favorite reads from the past twelve months:

 

Magic Binds (Kate Daniel #9) by Ilona Andrews

I’m pretty sure this novel will be on Jen’s list too. I love this series and rate this book as one of their best. The development of the relationship between Kate and Roland, her doting/murderous father, is fascinating. Curran made me laugh out loud, as did the side characters just being their excellent selves. The story is fast paced, compelling and tense, with little let up, and the world of post-shift Atlanta is just as awesome as it ever was. [Read more…]

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! [Read more…]

Shelly’s Favorites of 2016

What an amazing year for romance. I read some really good ones this year including a couple historicals.

If you’re a fan of Lisa Kleypas’s historicals and haven’t read her Ravenels series, you’re missing out. This was a new to me author and I couldn’t have been more pleased with Marrying Winterborne, book 2 in the series. Rhys and Helen’s romance was a sweet, fun and well told story about choosing what’s good for you in spite of what society says.

Each of the past few years, M.Q. Barber’s put out a story that I’ve really liked and this year was no exception. Finding their Balance is book 5 in her Neighborly Affection series and continues the story of Henry, Jay and Alice. Well worth the read in you’ve followed that series but I wouldn’t recommend as a stand alone.

I waited for Grace Draven’s book 2 in the Wraith Kings series, Eidolon, patiently. I wasn’t sure it would be worth it because I’ve been disappointed before but this one was absolutely worth the wait. Jen loved it too.

If SEALs are your thing, Embattled Road should be right up your alley. It’s the prequel to JM Madden’s Lost and Found series and it’s good short but good.

I’ve read everything put out by Christine Wenrick and when Leaving Lily Behind came out I was never so happy. It’s book 3 of the Men of Brahm Hills series continuing the saga of good versus evil, Dhampirs, vampires, humans and all things that go bump in the night. It’s tightly woven with the series just in case you’re tempted to read as a standalone.

One of my favorite writers is Allyn Lesley. She’s one of these authors who can pen a tale about an anti-hero and make you fall in love with him. Deeper, book 2 in her Descent series is no exception to that. Noah is no saint and Avi knows it.

Happy reading folks!

Honorable mention goes to:

Angel 6.0 – Concubine by Travis Luedke
A Bad Bit Nice by Josie Kerr
Happily Ever All-Star by Sosie Frost
The Devil’s Bedpost by Lena Hart
Falling by Allyn Lesley
Sucker Punched by Kelley Martin

Ronelle’s Favorites of 2016

I can’t believe we’re already looking at the closing act of 2016! It feels like just yesterday I was lamenting my lack of suitable swimwear and then the literal yesterday, I was dressing up as The Grim Reaper and escorting a Witch Doctor, Mavis from Hotel Transylvania, and a little Rainbow Dash around the neighborhood to collect candy. As for books, it’s been an…interesting year; I joined the ladies here at Red Hot Books, published my first novel, started my own blog, and got a whole new perspective on the weirdness that exists in the literary world. I found some new authors I’ll be following and read some passages that were just downright strange.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are my Favorites of 2016:

Master of Crows by Grace Draven
Adult Gothic/Dark Fantasy Romance

No, this isn’t a new release and no, I didn’t just read it for the first time this year, so why is it on this list? Because if it were a human man, I’d put my husband out on his ass and marry it in a heartbeat!

I love everything about this book and have lost track of how many times I’ve reread it. Ms. Draven has penned an epically beautiful dark fantasy romance that has all the elements of a masterpiece. Silhara, Martise, and Gurn were complex and had the depth of actual, real-life people. The world jumped off the page and the plot had me hooked from the jump. Silhara and Martise have become one of my favorite fantasy couples of all time.

Click to purchase: Master of Crows

Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson
Adult Paranormal Fantasy Romance

I wasn’t sure about this one at first, but I’m so glad I gave it a chance. A little slow to start and occasionally bogged down in world-building, what emerged was an excellent start to what I hope will become a favorite series. I loved Ellysetta’s strength and determination to have what her heart desired, in spite of all the cultural obstacles. As for Rain Tairen Soul, I don’t normally go for the tortured, broody type, but he did it so well and his character evolved so much that I couldn’t help but love him.

And the scene towards the end? *fans self* Not intended for young audiences and reader discretion is advised.

Click to purchase: Lord of the Fading Lands

Fletcher by AJ Adams
Adult Dark Erotic Fantasy

Here is another one I’d leave my husband for if it were a person. Ware and Lind set fire to the pages from their very first meeting and I simply could not put this down to do functional adult things, like eating, sleeping, and interacting with others. (Apparently, “Go ‘way, reading!” doesn’t count as functional interaction.) This is very much erotica rather than romance, but the plot was solid and just as enthralling as the sex—and that isn’t something I can normally say about the genre.

Read it. Right now. No, seriously, put down whatever you’re doing and get this book. You can thank me later in the comment section.

Click to purchase: Fletcher

Her Demigod Complex by Abigail Owen
Adult Paranormal Romance (Shifters)

When I saw the first line of the description “In love with her demigod billionaire boss”, I was pretty sure I was about to read some 50 Shades of Grey knock-off. I went into this expecting plotless, mindless, cotton-candy fluff, but since I was looking for a literary palate-cleanser before going on to something more serious, I figured that might not be so bad.

Wow, did I get so much more than I was anticipating!

There was a surprising amount of plot here and the characters were quite likable. So much so, that other books in this collection are on my TBR list.

Click to purchase: Her Demigod Complex

Red Winter by Annette Marie
YA Fantasy Romance

This is one of those books that will leave you breathless, hopeful, and completely devastated in the best possible way. You’ll be yelling at the author to just “hurry up and finish the next one already!” so you can find out what happens to Shiro and Emi. Or at least, I did. This book ripped my heart out at times, but then somehow managed to kiss it better and put it back. I do not usually enjoy YA, but Red Winter is very much an exception to that rule. I highly recommend this to lovers of contemporary romance with a realistic fantasy setting (you think that’s an oxymoron now, but just wait). Actually, scratch that. I just highly recommend it.

Click to purchase: Red Winter

Here are a few more ‘favorites’:
Favorite squicky line: “Today, Dugald’s cock was like a tasty roasted sausage, hot and thick in her mouth. Would it steam if she withdrew?” –Alice Derwent’s ponderings in Desire in Tartan
Favorite squee line: “Lie with me, Martise.” –Silhara of Neith
Favorite expletive by a character: Pretty much everything out of Lind’s mouth, but “Go lick Tyr’s hairy balls, fat-gut!” stands out.
Favorite couple: This one was a tie between Silhara/Martise and Ware/Lind. Both have chemistry that’s almost electric and the sparks fly from their first meetings.
Favorite cover: Challenging Destiny by Cherie Colver

Carrie’s Favorite Books of 2015

To be honest, this year was a difficult one, both personally and reading-wise.  I found it harder to connect to characters and had little patience for plots to roll out. Thankfully, this year is ending on a high note and I very much look forward to 2016!  Listed are a few of my favorite books this year…. [Read more…]

Shelly’s Favorite Books of 2015

I had a very good read from a new to me author, Serena Akeroyd. Menage Material, is the first in her La Belle sans Le bete series and was an absolute winner. It’s a menage (m/m/f) erotica set in France and tells the tale of a CEO, his botanist American wife and their cancer curing scientist lover.

Click to purchase: Menage Material
[Read more…]

Janell’s Favorite Books of 2015

As I look over the books I’ve read this year, I think it’s safe to say that this is the year that I stepped away from the ballrooms and carefully explored male/male romance. Also, I learned that not all billionaires are horrible alphas, which is a lesson that we all might need to learn one day. [Read more…]

Jen’s Favorite Books of 2015

It’s hard to believe we’re leaving another great year of reading behind us. In 2015, I found it more difficult to find books that suit my taste. I don’t care to read about billionaire bachelors, rock stars, step-brothers, biker gangs, or BDSM. Take a minute and think about how many titles fell into those categories last year.  I did a lot of backlist reading to fill in the gaps.

There were some really good new releases that I did enjoy; they were just more scarce. Here’s a look at some of the 2015 releases that really satisfied. [Read more…]

Review: The Duke and the Lady in Red by Lorraine Heath

duke and the lady in redReviewed by Jen

I can’t remember the last time I cried this much reading a book.  It says so much about Lorraine Heath’s ability to craft her characters that she made me care for them so much.  I expected a light story about about a rich rake, falling for a canny con artist.  But what I got was so much more.  Rosalind is a swindler, but that is the tip of the iceberg for her character; and it’s her backstory and its impact on the present that kept me reading, cover to cover, without putting it down once. [Read more…]

Jaimie’s Favorite Books of 2014

2014Reading wise I was pretty lucky in 2014 in that a lot of books I was anxiously waiting for came out, I found some great new authors, and my usual favorites continued to deliver.  Some of those books were better than others so here are my favorites of 2014!

do or dieDo Or Die by Suzanne Brockmann – This book was the first in a new series by Ms. Brockmann and I loved it.  The series is a spin-off from her popular Troubleshooters series so we got to see some old faces and meet new ones.  The story was fast-paced and I loved both the hero and heroine.  Definitely a series I’m going to follow. [Read more…]