Happy Birthday, Janga! Wishing you sunshine, smiles, and happily ever afters today and always.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Our Favorite Romances of 2016


We're almost halfway through December and 2017 will soon be here. Seems like a good time to chat about those books published in 2016 that touched our hearts, tickled our funny bones, kept us peeking over our shoulders late into the night, and gave us heroines to admire and heroes to fuel our dreams. Janga, Manda, Nancy, Hellie and I have worked hard to whittle our lists down (and, believe me, it wasn't easy!) and bring you our favorite romances of 2016. 


Janga’s Favorites

Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long
I’ve known for years that JAL was one of the best historical romance writers around, and this year she proved that she is also one of the best contemporary romance writers around as well. I loved this book. It was a win-win-win for me— Hot in Hellcat Canyon was the best romance of the year, Britt and J. T. are my favorite couple of the year, and Hellcat Canyon is my favorite new series of 2016. And if anyone starts a list of the best quote from a romance novel in 2016, J. T.’s wedding speech gets my vote. All this plus a second book, Wild at Whiskey Creek, that is a stellar follow-up to JAL’s contemporary debut. Read our review.



My American Duchess by Eloisa James
One of the many reasons that I am a major Eloisa James fan is her ability to take even the tiredest conventions of historical romance and make them fresh and uniquely hers. I love her use of several tropes in My American Duchess, ranging from favorites like marriage in trouble and an American in London to some I’m kind of meh about such as love at first sight and twins to one I try to avoid, the love triangle. I ended up loving them all in MAD as Merry and Trent made their complicated way to an HEA—and I’ll never look at a pineapple again without thinking of this book. Read our review.



Do You Want to Start a Scandal? by Tessa Dare
A Week to Be Wicked is still my favorite Tessa Dare novel, but it is only a hair ahead of Do You Want to Start a Scandal? Charlotte Highwood is a thoroughly likeable character, intelligent and witty and self-aware despite her youth. I am so glad she said yes to her marquess. Piers Brandon, the Marquess of  Granville, is competent and confident, and he is also that too rare hero with a great sense of humor. Their story made me smile, giggle to myself, and chortle in seeming stereo, but it also had some poignant moments, including a surprisingly different look at Charlotte’s embarrassing, managing mother. Read our review.



The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie is another of my never-fail authors, and she proved why she deserves that status with the conclusion to her Chance Sisters series. As much as I love romances filled with lords and ladies, I also cherish those that offer atypical characters. Gracie does just that with Daisy, a cockney foundling who grew up in a brothel, and whose highest ambition now is to establish her independence as the most fashionable dressmaker in London, and Patrick Flynn, a handsome Irishman who earned a partnership in a shipping company through native ability, hard work, and luck. I love a self-made hero, and Patrick is a charmer who won my heart. This was a wonderfully satisfying end to a terrific series. Read our review.


Play by Karina Bliss (in the You Had Me at Christmas anthology)
I’m in love with Bliss’s Solid Rock series, and Play is my favorite novella of 2016.  When it’s done well, marriage in trouble is one of my favorite tropes, and it is done superbly in this story. Jared and Kayla’s love is real, but so are their problems. Bliss mixes humor, heartache, and all the tangled connections in a long and loving relationship in this story—and she avoids simplistic fixes. I laughed out loud at times, and I wiped away tears at others. Even though the story is short, I never felt cheated. I give this novella practically perfect marks for excellence across the board. Read our review.



Temptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh
I have a deep affection for historical romances that feature writer heroines that I trace back to my favorite heroines of girl books—Jo March, Anne Shirley, and Betsy Ray. I also love the wallflower trope, vicar heroes, and lucid, lyrical prose. Temptations of a Wallflower gave me all these things in one book. I described it in my review as “a gem of a book that blends feminist themes, engaging characters, and sensual romance that succeeds on multiple levels.” I added it to my Best of 2016 list when I first read it in April. A later, second reading reaffirmed my conviction that it belongs on this list. Read our review.



Secrets of a Soprano by Miranda Neville
Neville is one of those authors who always give her readers something a bit different. In this novel, she creates not only a wonderfully rewarding romance but also a look at the world of opera at a time when the public’s fascination with the stars of opera paralleled contemporary obsession with rock stars and top box-office draws. Neville honors the unwritten contract with her readers and gives Tessa and Max their HEA, but their journey to a blissful reunion is a fraught one—and Tessa’s celebrity is a realistic complication and a reminder that ours is not the first age to create and destroy idols. This is a fascinating and intelligent novel, so no surprise that it is one of my top reads of the year.



Good Dukes Wear Black by Manda Collins
There is something particularly sweet about seeing a friend whose unpublished manuscripts showed she had the spark produce a book that clearly places her among the best writers of her subgenre. Ophelia is an amazing heroine—intelligent, compassionate, and believable in her independence and risk-taking. Piers falls in love with her for all these qualities and supports her rather than trying to change her. Added to this superb characterization is an ideal balance of romance and mystery. Good Dukes Wear Black is on my list because of its merits, but my cheers are especially hearty because the author is my friend. Read our review.



First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
It has been more than twenty years since I first read It Had to Be You, the book that introduced the Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I knew on that first reading that I had a keeper to which I would return many times. I felt the same way when I read the eighth entry in the series. With its rule-bending heroine who hides her vulnerabilities and arrogant alpha athlete hero, First Star I See Tonight is vintage Phillips; but it also has a fresh, twenty-first century appeal with its private-investigator heroine and its hero whose heart proves to be as big as his ego. The snarky banter showcases SEP’s genius, and the humor hits the mark every time.



Her Hopes and Dreams by Terri Osburn
Heroines who are recovering from domestic abuse and heroes who struggle with PTSD populate the pages of contemporary romance with a regularity that threatens to dull reader sympathies, but Terri Osburn proves in Her Hopes and Dreams that a gifted author can still take these characters and present them with a power that packs a stunning emotional punch. Carrie Farmer and Noah Winchester give these social problems working-class faces and a painful reality that makes their hard-won happiness incredibly satisfying. That letter scene is one of my favorites ever. (I must have read it at least six times.) And, as with Good Dukes Wear Black, I’m waving two flags for Her Hopes and Dreams, one for splendid authorial achievement and one for joy in a friend’s success. 


I promised PJ that I would whittle my much-longer list of much-loved books of 2016 to just ten, but I have to award Honorable Mention to The Wicked Duke by Madeline Hunter, Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney, Sunset in Central Park by Sarah Morgan, When We Were Sisters by Emilie Richards, and The Earl by Katharine Ashe. 


Manda's Favorites

It’s been a weird reading year for me. I haven’t had as much time as usual to read and what I did read ended up being gloms of older books or rereads of old favorites. Even so, the new books I did read were outstanding. So Here’s my, admittedly subjective, list:


Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren
Every time I think the writing team of Christina Lauren can’t get any better, or that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew, they prove me wrong. A sexy, emotional story about two people who don’t think they’re together for the long haul, who end up falling hopelessly in love.





Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra
I love everything I’ve ever read by Virginia Kantra (and I’ve read almost all of them) but this story really got to me with its ex-con determined to do the right thing hero and abuse-survivor heroine who wants to do right by her child. I especially loved the slow build romance, and Gabe’s relationship with Jane’s son, but it’s ultimately the decency of the hero—and indeed all of Kantra’s heroes—that will keep me coming back as fast as she can write. Read our review.




Deep Dark by Laura Griffin
Whenever I think of authors who write long series set in the same world, I somehow forget about Laura Griffin. I think it’s because every book in her long running Tracers series feels like an individual. They might be set in the same world, but each of the characters and crimes is different enough that it’s all new and exciting every time. In Deep Dark, she teams up a former computer hacker turned Cyber Crime investigator for the Delphi Center and a world weary police detective who can’t help but be drawn to the gutsy techie with pink hair and a smart mouth. The mystery was satisfyingly complex and the romance was smoking. Can’t get much better than that!


Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James
There’s a secret at the heart of Lost Among the Living, so I can’t say too much about the romance other than that this pair broke my heart, then put it back together again. St. James’ books are hard to categorize since they’re part mystery, part romance, part horror, but her excellent, lyrical prose and inventive storytelling made this not only one of my favorites of the year, but of all time. She’s just that good. If you are at all interested in the period between WWI and WWII, or you’re a Downton Abbey fan, these books are for you.



Steadfast by Sarina Bowen
Sarina Bowen published several wonderful books this year (Rookie Move, I love you!) but Bittersweet is the one that I’ve thought about the most since I turned the last page. You see a lot about the opioid epidemic in the news, but not so much in romance fiction—even in romantic suspense, which seems like it would be be a good fit. And when you hear that the hero is fresh from a stint in prison AND an addict you might think this isn’t the book for you. That would be a mistake. Bittersweet is gritty, it’s true, and some of the aspects of Jude’s life aren’t pretty (he’s broke, and there’s no billionaire on the horizon to bail him out or set him up in a new life) but it’s also a wonderful story about recovery and survival and how love can survive even the most traumatic circumstances. And heroine Sophie is tough despite her good girl exterior, making her Jude’s perfect match.


First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
By now you might expect SEP to rest on her laurels, but with First Star I See Tonight, she’s proved she’s still got “it”—whatever “it” may be. It’s got a quirky heroine and a smooth-talking football player hero, and there are as many laughs as you’d expect from the author who introduced us to the “cereal killer”. But it also has a mystery plot, which, you know me, I LOVED. This book was just what I needed this year, and I was thrilled to spend a little time with some of my other favorite characters from The Chicago Stars series. Just happy sighs all around.





Nancy's Favorites

One particular writing project and months of remodeling have consumed much of my year.  I found myself reading some new books along with older ones I’d had for years, meaning to read them but never getting to them.   


Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney  
A soldier earl meets an unconventional woman in the mountains of Portugal at the end of the Napoleonic Wars.  As they defend her friends’ castle against marauding French troops, they’re drawn to each other. She thinks she’s too unconventional to appeal to a man, but can he convince her otherwise? Nice mix of romance, history, and action.  
Read our review.




Magic in the Stars by Patricia Rice
When an astrologer brings dire warnings to her cousins, they brush off her concerns. Theo, the hero, is an astronomer and has no use for astrology.  Still, Aster is determined to save Theo’s brother.  As she works to convince Theo of the threat, his knowledge of astronomy offers a chance to change her own star-crossed destiny.
Read our review.





Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
The latest installment in the Kate Daniels urban fantasy series has Kate and her fiancĂ©, the former Beast Lord, planning their wedding while battling the usual assortment of vampires and other paranormal beings.  A worse problem is that Kate’s father is interfering in Atlanta. As though that weren’t enough, prophecies predict that Atlanta will be doomed if Kate and Curran marry. 





Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts
This second book in the Guardians Trilogy is my favorite.  Annika, a mermaid, has a sweet nature that sometimes masks her steely determination and courage.  Magical traveler Sawyer, a vagabond at heart, is drawn to that sweetness. But Sawyer, too, has steel at his core.  The quest for the second star turns ugly when Nerezza’s minion captures Sayer and Annika. The final battle shows just how much each will risk to save the other. Read our review.




The Kill Sign by Nichole Christoff
Private investigator and security expert Jamie Sinclair goes to Mississippi to see Lt. Col. Adam Barrett, her military policeman boyfriend, after a long separation, only to have the reunion disrupted by a bomb. Working to find the bomber, she realizes her relationship with Barrett, complicated by a DEA Agent who’s attracted to her, is going in a direction she isn’t sure she wants. The events of the story bring clarity on a couple of points as well as a resolution to the plot.




Alone in the Dark by Karen Rose
Newspaper publisher and former Army Ranger Marcus O’Bannion meets a troubled young girl in an alley, only to have her shot before she can tell him her situation.  The homicide detective who responds to the call, Scarlett Bishop, and Marcus have met before.  There was a connection between them then, and working to solve the mystery of the young woman’s death, which ties into a human trafficking ring, brings them closer together.  Action, suspense,  dominate, but the romance is strong. 




Though these four books weren't published in 2016, Nancy read them for the first time this year and wanted to give them special mention: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley, Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase, Shadow's End by Thea Harrison, and His First and Last by Terri Osburn. 


Hellie's Favorites


I narrowed my list to 5 because I wanted to focus on the MOST memorable for me, though I loved so many more books and there will be books on everyone's lists where I'm all, "Oh, I loved that!", but these have sat with me, even after I've read them (thought WAWC is rather new, I think it's going to sit with me a long time.)


Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long
My thoughts as gushed on The Romance Dish were: “I just finished reading it tonight--and the black moments were SO BLACK and the groveling was so ROMANTIC and that speech he gave. *swoon* I cannot wait for further books in this series and am STOKED that the next book will have the sheriff and the girl at open mike night. But I want books for Casey and Kayla and even Franco--I really want one for Franco. *LOL* I even want a book for Truck. This is going to be as brilliant a series as the Pennyroyal Green series. I want to read it again; I want to highlight my favorite passages; I want to write odes to Julie Anne Long.” Read our review.



Wild at Whiskey Creek by Julie Anne Long
My thoughts as gushed on The Romance Dish were: “OH MY GOD. I loved this story. It was so RAW and emotional and there were so many times I wanted to drunk text Julie and go, "OMG, how do you know my friends? Did I introduce you?" because seriously that sheriff and arresting the "blood" thing SO HAPPENED in my life. That whole dynamic was just freaky to read. I swear Julie and I MUST be cousins or something. We must know the same people. And yes, the thousand little details that Julie uses that CREATE the world of Hellcat Canyon, the language, the visuals--it's just...I'm amazed and excited to read such genius and learn from someone who is such a master at this craft. The layers. The quirks. The emotion.”  Read our review.


Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
This book is on my keeper shelf because the opening scene is so damned hysterical, I wheezed all the way through it and my lunch co-workers were concerned for my health. When the heroine keeps trying to reassure the hero she has no designs on him for marriage (et al) and thus they must avoid each other at all costs. Why their marriage would be “an existence marked by tedium and punctuated by misery”, to which he says, “We’d be forced to base our entire relationship on sexual congress.” I then continued wheezing throughout the book.


The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath
This one nearly killed me. The hero is actually the younger twin brother-in-law of the heroine, and he promised his dying brother he would pretend to be him until the heroine has delivered their child safely. Clearly this is problematic in historical England because you can’t marry your brother’s widow, and we all know by the end of the book, they’re going to be madly in love with each other. How could a happy ending possibly work out? Oh, the angst! So, so lovely and romantic.




Love, Lies, & Spies by Cindy Anstey
This one is actually a YA Regency Romance. It’s more romp and sweet rather than sexy. A bit like the regency romances of old where you didn’t have sex until you were married—that sort—but you don’t miss it because you’re too busy cracking up at the antics and banter between these characters. Read our review.






If I were at add a 6th book, it wouldn't be a romance, but it's called "F*ck That: An Honest Meditation" by Jason Headley. I assure you it's brilliant and you'll want to add it to your keeper shelf. I think I've read it at least 12 times already.


PJ's Favorites

There were so many wonderful books published this year. I freely admit that narrowing my selections was extremely difficult but I managed to whittle my list down to eleven. Here are the books - in no particular order - that have continued to linger in my mind long after the final page was turned. 



Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long
Janga and I have had many conversations about this book. I wholeheartedly agree with everything both she and Hellie have said in their summaries above. Julie Anne Long is an extraordinarily talented wordsmith who didn't miss a beat in transitioning this year from award-winning historical romance to contemporary romance. She brings readers a hero and heroine we can cheer for, quirky secondary characters, laugh-out-loud humor, and heart-tugging emotion in a sigh-worth story that stays with me still, more than six months after I turned the final page.  Read our review.


Then He Kissed Me by Laura Trentham
Laura Trentham is quickly becoming one of my go-to contemporary romance authors. In Cottonbloom, a town divided by a river, a state line, and a long-simmering feud, Trentham brings readers a second chance romance featuring long separated childhood best friends: Nash (now a sexy, book-loving college professor) and Tally (a dyslexic heroine with a battered self-esteem who hides her vulnerability behind a mask of bravado). She infuses her books with humor, emotion, quirky characters, and heartwarming romance, bringing it all - including the town of Cottonbloom - to vivid life through her words. Read our review.




Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
I've been a fan of Dare's work since her debut and she has often been on my 'best of' lists but this book just may be my all-time favorite of everything she's written. I loved everything about it. I think I grinned from beginning to end. I'm grinning right now, just thinking about it. In this story, Dare pairs an adorably charming heroine with a thirst for adventure, no interest in marriage, and a determination to outwit her matchmaking mama with a sigh-worthy former diplomat (and secret spy) who discovers his perfect match in the most unlikely of places and circumstances. (Warning: Do not drink or eat anything while reading the first chapter of this book. Yes, it really is that funny!).  Dare perfectly balances humor and emotion along with her superb storytelling skills to deliver an all-encompassing, heart-tugging, feel-good romance that will elicit tears, laughter, and much joy. Read our review.


Claiming Her by Kris Kennedy
If you enjoy an exquisitely written Medieval romance with an intelligent, determined heroine, a sensual, equally determined hero, action, intrigue, romance, and sizzling passion, then you won't want to miss this book. While Lady Katarina battles to hold the Irish barony of Rardove for the English Queen, our hero, Aodh is committed to reclaiming the family lands that should rightfully be his, not by force but by wooing both Katarina and the people of Rardove to his side. Though, in the end, Aodh may be the one who is wooed. And me. I was thoroughly wooed. I've enjoyed all of Kennedy's books but this is my favorite. I admired Katarina, was immersed in the story from start to finish, and yes, seven months later I am still dreaming about Aodh. ::Sigh::



Because I’m Watching by Christina Dodd 
From beginning to end, this is a story that refuses to let go. Dodd uses every facet of her creative mind to expertly guide her characters – and the reader – through this compelling, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Filled with intrigue, anguish, forgiveness, hope, enough twists and turns to keep me constantly guessing, and a love that heals two broken souls, this unforgettable story earned my highest recommendation.  Read our review.




Wild Man’s Curse by Susannah Sandlin 
I forced myself to read this book slowly, savoring each word, absorbing the steamy, mystical, sometimes sensual, sometimes sinister life on the Louisiana bayou when what I really wanted was to race through the pages to discover what awaited around the next turn. In this first book of her Wilds of the Bayou series, Sandlin paints a vivid picture of life on the bayou, the people who call it home, the sizzling sexual tension and gradually developing romance between the hero and heroine, and a chillingly depraved villain who threatens it all. Wild Man’s Curse is one wild ride and I enjoyed every minute of it.  Read our review.




Deception Island by Brynn Kelly
This dark, unrelenting journey of non-stop action, passion, and suspense sucked me in and left me breathless. Thrown into the center of soulless villains engaged in murder, kidnapping, extortion, and human trafficking, my heart raced with fear for anyone in their sights and ached for those in their grasp. While the villains made my heart ache, it was Kelly’s flawed hero and heroine who surprisingly captured it. I was in this unlikely couple’s corner the whole way; gasping at the seemingly insurmountable obstacles they were forced to overcome, sighing at the unexpected, tender moments, delighting in the verbal swordplay, and clueless as to how Kelly was going to pull off the impossible, happy ending they deserved. It’s one heck of a ride from an exceptionally talented debut author. Wherever Brynn Kelly decides to take readers in her next book, you can count me in! Read our review.


Her Hopes and Dreams by Terri Osburn
Terri Osburn has been my friend for many years. I have watched her evolution as a writer with pride and pleasure. I've enjoyed all of her novels but Her Hopes and Dreams is special and with this book she's taken her writing skills to a new level. Like Janga, I appreciate the everyday characters in this book. They aren't rich, successful, or powerful. They are hard-working individuals who could easily be our neighbors and they have not led privileged nor easy lives but I have rarely met two characters who deserve happiness more. Osburn digs deep into the emotional scars carried by both as she expertly guides them through the tumultuous journey to their happy ending. 


Barefoot With a Bad Boy by Roxanne St. Claire
This long-awaited story of former CIA agents, Gabe Rossi and Lila Wickham is one of those books that reaches into your soul and doesn't let go. While deeply emotional, there's plenty of humor, riveting suspense, passion, and enough twists and turns to keep me guessing until the very end. It's the story of love lost, love changed, and love found - deep familial love, life-changing parental love, and the slowly evolving, ever challenging, soul-filling love between a man and woman that must overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles for a chance to grow, solidify, and give this couple the happy ending they so richly deserve. It's deep, complex, heart-stopping, heartwarming, and, in my opinion, one of the best books St. Claire has written. Read our review


My American Duchess by Eloisa James
After reading this book (the first time), I tried to think of a word to describe my emotions. That word is joy. This story - these characters - filled me with such joy. Trent and Merry are one of my favorite couples of the year. I love their humor (traditional, smitten, English duke vs outspoken, effervescent, American miss), their intelligence, kindness, and definitely their passion. I want to be their friend, to hang out at their estate, digging in the garden with Merry and playing with George, their adorable puppy. I want to read their story over and over...and over again. This standalone historical romance is Eloisa James at her finest. I adored it.  Read our review.


The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries
I've been a fan of Sabrina Jeffries' work for many years and many of her books have spaces on my keeper shelves but even among the keepers, The Study of Seduction holds a special place. This poignant, suspenseful, and sensual story touched my heart, keeping me entertained from beginning to end and landing Edwin and Clarissa a spot among my favorite Jeffries couples. Both Edwin and Clarissa are deeply affected by violent events in their pasts that had a significant role in shaping who they have become as adults; events that are deftly handled by Jeffries with a delicacy and sensitivity that are deeply appreciated. She brings a depth to their relationship, granting them the necessary time to gradually deepen their friendship and trust of one another while carefully navigating the desire that blossoms between them. The Study of Seduction is one of my favorites from an author whose books litter my keeper shelves.  Read our review.

Oh, come on. You had to know I wouldn't be able to stop at eleven! Honorable Mention goes to: My Fair Princess by Vanessa Kelly, The Rebel Heir by Elizabeth Michels, Magnate by Joanna Shupe, Stone Cold Cowboy by Jennifer Ryan, Good Dukes Wear Black by Manda Collins, A Date at the Altar by Cathy Maxwell, Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle, Wild at Whiskey Creek by Julie Anne Long, A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen and, though it isn't technically a romance, The Saints of the Lost and Found by T.M. Causey (one of the best books I've read in years).

So those are our favorites. Have you read any of them? Did any of our titles make your 'best of' list?

Tell us about the books published this year that you loved. 

One randomly chosen person who leaves a comment before 11:00 PM (PST) tonight will receive two of my favorites:a print copy of Wild at Whiskey Creek and a container of my handcrafted chocolates (includes nuts). U.S. addresses only




81 comments:

  1. I read My American Duchess and The Study of Seduction by Sabrina both of them are on my list of best read books this year. There are some others like It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover, The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne, and some more on my best read list

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    1. I have Kerrigan Byrne's books on my tbr pile. I need to get to those. I haven't heard of the Hoover book. Must check out. Thanks, Natasha!

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  2. several of my favs made the list. Some are on my TBR shelf so haven't read yet, one is in bag from library. Jo Bev's last book

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    1. Another book patiently waiting on my tbr!

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  3. I've just gotten back into reading after a long dry spell. I was happy to see some of my own favorites here. Clearly, I have a lot more to go as some of these are on my tbr list. It seems I also have some shopping to do!

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    1. Ahh...book shopping. One of my favorite activities!

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  4. What wonderful books. I enjoy Mary Balogh's novels greatly. This year there were so many fabulous and captivating books which I loved, Marlene by C.W. Gortner, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and Deception Island which was excellent.

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  5. I read The First Star I See Tonight, Hot in Hellcat Canyon & The Earl Takes All and liked them all. Other good books this year were Just Kiss Me by Rachel Gibson, Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn and Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan.

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  6. I love seeing where our faves intersect!! There are just so many, many great books. I'm so glad we get to celebrate them and rave about them here!

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  7. Most of the books I read are romances or mysteries. My list reflects that. In no particular order, below is my "best of" list, the 10 books and one short story that I rated "5" this year:
    Anything for You--Kristan Higgins (actually published end of 2015)
    The Crossing--Michael Connelly (2015)
    Three Truths and a Lie--Lisa Gardner (short story)
    The Saints of the Lost & Found--T. M. Causey
    Find Her--Lisa Gardner
    Fool Me Once--Harlan Coben
    Daughters of the Bride--Susan Mallery
    Hot in Hellcat Canyon--Julie Anne Long
    Home--Harlan Coben
    Do You Want to Start a Scandal--Tessa Dare
    The Bourbon Thief--Tiffany Reisz

    Honorable mentions are:
    My American Duchess--Eloisa James, City of the Lost--Kelley Armstrong, The Earl Takes All--Lorraine Heath, A Study in Scarlet Women--Sherry Thomas, The Hating Game--Sally Thorne, Wild At Whiskey Creek--Julie Anne Long, Jane Steele--Lindsay Faye, Damaged--Lisa Scottoline, The Wrong Side of Goodbye--Michael Connelly, Night School--Lee Child

    Thanks for sharing your lists.

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  8. Unfortunately, I tend not to read new releases because I'm too busy catching up on my TBR pile. :) First Star I See Tonight by SEP was awesome. Only Beloved by Mary Balogh was also really good, but I was sad to see the end of her Survivor series.

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  9. Great info! My American Duchess was excellent. I have some of the other books, but have not had a chance to read them. Better get going! I want to mention a favorite of mine this year - Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain. Really good in a different sort of way.

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  10. I love book lists! They are even more fun when they are lists of romance fiction. Give me any period of time, any subgenre (well, almost), any character type, and I can entertain myself for hours considering the possibilities and making my choices. :)

    And I always find it interesting to see what other readers have enjoyed most

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  11. I have read Tessa's, Eloisa's and SEP's books. All great! I have the Julie Anne Long, Sabrina Jeffries' and Terri Osburn's books on deck! Terri is one of my favorites!

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  12. This just added even more to my out-of-hand TBR pile :) Thanks for all you do, ladies.

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  13. Like wow!!! The lists are amazing. Quite a few of my faves in here. I heartily agree about Terri Osbornes book, what a satisfying , heart breaking , deep portrayal of two emotionally exquisite characters. I loved this book ! Eloisa , Tessa , Julie Anne, never disappoint and made my sneaking away from my college texts especially fruitful and delightful ! Great lists

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    1. Terri Osburn! Dang typing on my phone !!! Good friend and amazing author

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  14. Because I'm Watching by Christina Dodd was my favorite. Several that are listed were also on my list of favorite reads. Barefoot With a Bad Boy by Roxanne St. Claire, First Star I See Tonight by SEP, Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts and Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra. I need to get Julie Ann Long off my TBR list.

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  15. Well Shoot Fire! I have read quite a few of the books on your lists. Now I need to make a new list of my own of the books I need to read. Thank you for your choices. You have restored my faith in myself. This means that all the time I spend reading is because I am just like each of you. I am a book addict. But I have good taste.

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  16. My tbr list just grew! I find it hard to name favorites seeing as I read and adore so many books/authors!!

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  17. Sabrina Jefferies is always good!! And I too love lists like this. It's always good when trying to find a new author to read.

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  18. You have must listed part of my TBR/wish list on Amazon! I think my favorite book this year was Rescuing Rayne by Susan Stoker.

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  19. I love all of these books and the chocolates

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  20. Chocolates and books what more could you want for Christmas.

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  21. My favs were/are:
    Summer Bride--A. Gracie
    Duke of Pleasure--E. Hoyt
    Ashton: Lord of Truth--G. Burrowes
    My Brown-Eyed Earl--Anna Bennett

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  22. Lots of good books to add to my TBR list.

    Some of my top favorites:
    HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON by Julie Ann Long
    A DATE AT THE ALTAR by Cathy Maxwell
    CHRISTMAS WITH THE SHERIFF by Victoria James
    IF I ONLY HAD A DUKE by Lenora Bell
    DOING IT OVER by Catherine Bybee
    I WISH YOU WERE MINE by Lauren Layne
    SNOWFALL ON HAVEN POINT by RaeAnne Thayne

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  23. Thanks to everyone for sharing your favorite books of this year. I'm busy adding to my 'must buy' book list!

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  24. Her Hopes and Dreams is the only I've read but many are on my TBR list! Others I've read and enjoyed are Three Christmas Wishes by sheila Roberts, plus a couple RaeAnne Thayne.

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  25. I love anything by Eloisa James, Sabrina Jeffries, Tessa Dare and Karen Hawkins. I'm going to read the Firat Stars book by SEP soon.

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  26. I've read some of them, but lots of new ones for me to add.

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  27. I have not read any of these listed, but I did enjoy All The Little Liars by Charlaine Harris.

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  28. I have had a major mags lapse in reading these past 6 months. I think my stress would be relieved by reading, bit it hasn't. It really is a goal, starting at Christmas break, to read, read, read. I muss popping in here, and that is another goal...I look forward to many on the list, including Tessa Dare's.

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  29. I am a fan of many genres that range of historical romance to Christian to biographies to non-fiction. So here is a short list of those that I loved:

    Christmas in Paris - Anita Hughes
    My Brown-Eyed Earl - Anna Bennett
    The Perks of Being a Scoundrel - Jennifer McQuiston
    Belgravia - Julian Fellowes
    The Summer Bride - Anne Gracie
    The Widow - Fiona Barton
    The Royal Nanny - Karen Harper

    The list goes on. I have read and reviewed over 200 books in 2016 and am still reading/reviewing more. What would we do without the wonderful authors who work so hard to make our lives so complete? Thank you to all of them.

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  30. Yikes :X I ... think I maybe have read only one of these books?
    I'm actually working on my "favorites" list - but I'm waiting until the end of December, just in case. ;)

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  31. I loved the From Manhattan With Love series by Sarah Morgan and the Finding Chris Evans series.

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  32. I love these lists! They always give me more to add to my TBR. The ones that were published in '16 that I enjoyed the most were:
    Till Death Do Us Part, Amanda Quick
    What We Find and The Life She Wants, Robyn Carr
    Hot in Hellcat Canyon, Julie Anne Long
    several in the Nocturne Falls series, Kristen Painter
    Troublemaker, Linda Howard
    First Star I See Tonight, SEP
    Brotherhood in Death, JD Robb
    The Obsession, NR
    Daughters of the Bride and Best of My Love, Susan Mallery
    Reunion Pass and Christmas in Eternity Springs, Emily March and
    The Trouble With Mistletoe, Jill Shalvis.
    Wow, that's a lot of good books this year!

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  33. I;ve only read a few of those books so far, and several more are on my TBR list - so now I have some more to look out for!

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  34. I always love reading Sabrina Jeffries books and the latest is no exception.

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  35. So many of my favorites for this year! SEP, Annie Gracie, Amanda Quick, Eloisa James, Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins and Tessa Dare, to name a few, it was a good year for books.

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  36. I love the favorites lists, so many new books to read. I just finished Someone Like You by Lauren Layne. I gobble her books like chocolate. I also loved Kimberly Kincaid's book Skim Deep. It's the first in her new series.

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  37. I'm way behind on my reading. I have a few on these lists, but I haven't gotten to them. There5many on my want list!

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  38. Dark Promise by Christine Feehan was probably my fave because of the huge step forward in the series. It worries me it might mean it's coming to a close :-( Also, I'm not a huge fan of bdsm but I like the contrast with the other relationship that was decidedly NOT a bdsm relationship.

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  39. I've been reading mostly thrillers this year, but I've read a few romantic suspense. I'm currently reading Obsession by Nora Roberts and really enjoying it. I have a LOT of books in my TBR pile to keep me busy for a while. I'm reading book 47 of the year right now (goal is 50, I think I'm gonna make it!).

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  40. I've read The Study of Seduction and it was wonderful. There are several others that I am looking forward to reading, especially My American Duchess.

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  41. Thank you! I have been looking for some new books to read, and now I have a great starting point!

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  42. I read Fly with me by Chanel Cleeton. It's amazing. Such alpha men and strong women. Such amazing writing.

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  43. I absolutely loved Barefoot with a Bad Boy. :) Very good. Thank you for the awesome giveaway opportunity! Merry Christmas.

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  44. A lot of the books mentioned are on my favorites list as well especially Tessa Dare's Do You Want to Start a Scandal. I just loved that crossover of the Castles Ever After and Spindle Cove series!

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  45. I loved Lenora Bell's debut How the Duke was Won as well as Lisa Kleypas's Marrying Winterbourne!

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  46. So many fantastic authors! Love so many of these!

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  47. I've read quite a few of the historicals listed above. My favorite new Authors this year are Kerrigan Byrne and Joanna Shupe.

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  48. I recently discovered "A Lowcountry Summer" series by Mary Alice Monroe...and today I completed the series with 2016's "A Lowcountry Christmas". I hated to say farewell to these characters.

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  49. Have read several on the list, now starting a need to get list!

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  50. Not surprised to see My American Duchess, but surprised to not see Knave of Hearts, Because of Miss Bridgerton, Marrying Winterbourne or The Wicked Duke on anyone's list. I also enjoyed Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe and Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe very much!

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  51. I have read The Study of Seduction and I loved it, I would love to read My American Duchess.

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  52. I have read The Study of Seduction, My American Duchess, Barefoot With A Bad Boy and Magic in the Stars. There are so many good books that I have read this year. I have been keeping track on Goodreads and so far I have read 200 books this year.

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  53. I am in the middle of reading Bay of Sighs...but after reading this list, I have a list of my next books to read. Thanks!

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  54. Just got done rereading Karen Hawkins book again.. just love her books

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  56. Make Me Love You, by Johanna Lindsey.. I love everything she has written.

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  57. Eloisa James is one of my favorites!

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  58. Amazing list and a lot to add to my TBR pile.

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  59. I loved Katharine Ashe's The Earl and Tessa Dare's Do You Want to Start a Scandal among others. However, this was my year to discover new-to-me authors/genres: (fantasy/romance) Amanda Bouchet (Kingmaker Chronicles), Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels), Grace Draven (Wraith Kings); (mystery/romance) C.S. Harris (St. Cyr), Ashley Gardner (Captain Lacey), Deanna Raybourn (Lady Julia Grey), Anna Lee Huber (Lady Darby), etc. I am so excited to be broadening my horizons, but ROMANCE will always be part of the view! :-)

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  60. I haven't read these, but they're in my TBR pile! ! I really enjoyed Chasing I Do by Marina Adair.

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  61. A brilliant list my favourite was Eloisa James The American Duchess and Lorraine Heath wasn't bad it was great I've read so many good books this year Karen Hawkins Alexandra Hawkins, can't always get the marquis you want, it was brilliant. Joanna Lindsey though it wasn't a Mallory novel it was still very good .

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  62. There were so many great books this year. Stephanie Laurens new series is among my favorites. I can't wait for the last book to be released.

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  63. I love Sabrina Jeffries and follow her on Facebook. I would love to win since i love finding new authors to read. I love books

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  64. This was published in December 2015 but I loved Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz. One copy has been making the rounds in my family with great success. jenne.turner@unt.edu

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  65. Way too many to say just one. Anything by Karen Hawkins,etc

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  66. The only one of these that I read was My American Duchess. Wonderful. Funny.

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  67. The only one of these that I read was My American Duchess. Wonderful. Funny.

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  68. Anything by Julie Anne long, Sabrina jeffies, Susan Elisabeth Phillips, and Eloisa James are on my list to read, thanks for many more.

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  69. If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins was a favorite of mine this year. I had others but this one came first to mind. :-)

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  70. Several of my favorites made the list. I just finished "do you want to start a scandal" and loved it.

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  71. I see may of my favorites here, Mary Jo Putney, Sabrina Jeffries, Eloisa James, Karen Hawkin's, Julie Anne Long. We had a great year in books. ❤️❤️❤️

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  72. I have so many favorites this year it is impossible to list them all. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is one of my few favorite contemporary authors. Some of my favorite historical romance authors are Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Mary Balogh, Tessa Dare and Lorraine Heath. It is even more difficult to choose my paranormal romance and urban fantasy favorites: Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Darynda Jones, Anne Bishop, J.M. Ward, S.M.Reine, Sherilyn Kenyon are just a few.

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  74. I have so many favorites this year it is impossible to list them all. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is one of my few favorite contemporary authors. Some of my favorite historical romance authors are Eloisa James, Karen Hawkins, Julia Quinn, Mary Balogh, Tessa Dare and Lorraine Heath. It is even more difficult to choose my paranormal romance and urban fantasy favorites: Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Darynda Jones, Anne Bishop, J.M. Ward, S.M.Reine, Sherilyn Kenyon are just a few.

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  75. Have read several - Hot in Hellcat Canyon & Do You Want to Start A Scandal are 2 of my favs because they were so humorous. Loved My American Duchess and Nora Roberts new series. And I love how Lorraine Heath can take a story line that you think you're not going to agree with and write a fantastic story! Such wonderful authors - can't wait to see what 2017 brings!

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  76. I'm just now seeing this, but thanks so much, y'all! And thanks, PJ, for all your support. So glad that you enjoyed The Study of Seduction!

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