Top Romance Favorites of 2016

December 29, 2016 | Recommendations, Spotlight

 

We’ve almost reached the end of 2016, so it’s a great time to reflect on all of the books we’ve read this year.  Personally, I discovered several new-to-me authors that I loved, tried a new genre, continued and/or finished a couple of series, and found quite a few standalones that were extraordinary.  Some were uplifting, some heartbreaking, some dark, others were just plain amazing.

I decided that instead of a standard list, I would give you my favorites by (arbitrary, random, and just made up) categories.  So, without further ado, here’s my list of favorite reads from 2016!

Divider

favorite of all favorites!

These two books tied for first place as my favorite book of 2016.  One is a well-read and beloved author and one is a debut author who has tremendous talent.  Both are fantastic and I can’t recommend them highly enough!

Beard Science by Penny Reid

Beard Science by Penny Reid

My review  |  Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

Cletus finally got to tell his story.  I knew I would love his book, but I didn’t expect to adore the heroine, too.  This series has been amazing since the first book, but Beard Science was totally perfect and just so “Cletus”.    I can’t wait to see what happens next in Beard in Mind.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

Sally Thorne may be a new author, but she has written a quintessential enemies-to-lovers story that is incredibly smart and sassy.  So well written, so entertaining, and so enjoyable–I couldn’t stop reading it and I didn’t want it to end.  Ever.  I have a feeling that big things are in store for Ms. Thorne and her writing career.

Divider

favorite slow-burning romance

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

My review  |  Amazon

This should come as no surprise since I have done nothing but rave about this book since it’s release.  Mariana Zapata is a masterful storyteller and makes me appreciate every nuance of the characters and the dialogue.  She has given me an appreciation for slow-burning love in books and she’s the standard by which I judge other stories.

Divider

favorite book with a message

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

My review  |  Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

Colleen Hoover is one of the kindest humans I “know”.  She wrote this book as a reflection of her mother’s story and in the process, she has given thousands of women hope for a better future.  I have thought about this book several times since I finished reading, so it’s just one that sticks with you.

Divider

favorite sports romance

Forever Pucked by Helena Hunting

Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

I love when Helena Hunting writes silly and funny, but I also like when she gives us serious and sweet.  This book had both and I thought it was the perfect mix.  The characters are silly, yes, but there was so much sweetness and vulnerability between Alex, Violet, and the gang, that I wanted to give them all a hug and tell them everything would be alright.  I will always have a soft spot for these characters after reading Forever Pucked.

Divider

favorite twist I didn’t see coming!
Midnight Lily by Mia Sheridan

Midnight Lily by Mia Sheridan

Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

When I first starting reading Midnight Lily, I knew I was going to love it.  Mia Sheridan writes books that I adore, but I was wholly unprepared for the mega-twist that occurs right in the middle of the story.  It goes from being an “I know exactly what’s going to happen here” to a “WTF did I just read?!?” in a heartbeat.  I’m so glad that there was a support group on Facebook for this book because I had a TON of questions that needed answers.

Divider

favorite ‘what would I do?’ read

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

The blurb for One True Loves struck a chord and I knew I just had to read it.  The storyline was unique and captivating, but I didn’t expect to say, “what the heck would I even do in this situation??” so many times.  I found it fascinating and albeit, a teeny bit frustrating, but so very, very good.

Divider

favorite push out of my comfort zone

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo  |  Audible

This book pushed my boundaries and forced me truly think.  I know that it has gotten a bad rap, but until you read it, I really don’t think you can judge this book.  It’s inspired by true events, so that makes this story all the more poignant in my eyes.  Yes, the story is an emotional and heartbreaking one about a girl who finds love with a much-older man, but it is also about survival and choosing your own family in the midst of horrible conditions.  This book threw my comfort zone out the window, but I am so glad that I read it.

Divider

favorite romantic comedy/mystery

Jed Had to Die by Tara Sivec

My Review  |  Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

I’ve read several of Tara’s hilarious romantic comedies, but I really enjoyed the added mystery aspect of Jed Had to Die.  The humor kept me entertained and it also kept the story from being too morbid or depressing.  The romance between the coffee shop owner and the cop was hot and sweet, while the side characters were nuts.  The perfect balance, if you ask me.

Divider

favorite heartbreaking hero

Stroked Long by Meghan Quinn

Stroked Long by Meghan Quinn

My Review  |  Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

I was not expecting such a serious follow-up to the sometimes-screwy Stroked, but I adored Bodi’s story.  It is so different from anything I have read previously by Meghan Quinn, but it still retains her Virgin Romance Novelist vibe in the filterless heroine, Ruby.  It was a good mashup of super-sad/serious and humorous.  Also, Bodi’s mental state is handled perfectly and with care–plus, I wanted to bring him home with me and feed him cookies (and no, that is not a euphemism).

Divider

favorite horror/paranormal romance

Veiled by Karina Halle

Amazon

My, how I’ve missed Karina Halle’s paranormals! Veiled has an EIT (Experiment in Terror) vibe with all of the creepiness and horror, but I loved the new direction. This isn’t EIT 2.0, it’s better–Ada and Jay are like Buffy and Giles, but much hotter and sexier.  I will say that there were times where I thought I was going to have to sleep with the light on because it was scaring the pants off of me. I couldn’t stop reading, though, because I loved it!

Divider

favorite dark romances

The Enforcer by Kele Moon

My Review  |  Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

What is it about a tortured bad boy that makes them so hard to resist?  Tino’s story was so heartbreaking and raw, but I couldn’t stop reading it.  I felt the emotions of the writing and the connection with the characters, which I wasn’t prepared for at first. Kele Moon delivered with The Enforcer and I hope she repeats that magic in the second half of Tino’s story.

The Bad Ones by Stylo Fantome

My Review  |  Amazon

I kind of feared for my sanity after reading and loving The Bad Ones.  Think “American Psycho” meets “Kalifornia” and you’re on the right track.  While it’s definitely dark and somewhat depraved, it is so well-written that you can’t help but be sucked into an all-nighter with these psycho characters.

Divider

favorite fantasy

The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

My Review  |  Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

I don’t read fantasy book very often, but when they are written by one of my favorite authors?  Count me in!  Amy Harmon has such a way with words….they are pure poetry.  She took a timeless story and put it into a vividly imagined fantasy world.  It was beautiful and ethereal and tender and just plain amazing.

Divider

favorite historical romance

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

Amazon

Yes, there were two amazing books by Amy Harmon this year.  Her words just speak to my soul and I treasure each of her stories.  I have a hard time reading about atrocities and especially the Holocaust, but with Amy at the helm, my fears were completely unfounded.  She handled a taboo/forbidden romance set during a heinous time in history with grace and aplomb–I just needed to trust her and I am glad I did.

Divider

favorite mature YA

Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Paper Princess by Erin Watt

My Review  |  Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

This book was wholly unexpected and I am so glad I didn’t let the unknown pen name stop me from reading it.  Paper Princess was one of the most addictive books I have read in a long time and left me with a major book hangover to prove it.  I loved Ella and all of the Royal boys.

Win Some Lose Some by Shay Savage

Win Some, Lose Some by Shay Savage

My Review  |  Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

I wasn’t sure of what to expect when I started reading a book about a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, but what I got was absolutely amazing.  It is funny and heartbreaking at the same time, which definitely isn’t easy, and I think Shay Savage outdid herself with Matthew and Myra’s story.

Divider

favorite ending to a series

Beautiful by Christina Lauren

Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

Beautiful was the perfect title and the perfect ending to this series.  I enjoyed Jensen and Pippa’s story, but I adored the ending with everyone’s points-of-view.  It brought the whole series full circle and left me with a tear in my eye.  I wanted to know these characters in real life, so to say goodbye was bittersweet, but in true Christina Lauren style, they made it delightful and sweet.

Divider

favorite complete series read in 2016

Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

My Review  |  Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

Steadfast by Sarina Bowen

Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

Keepsake by Sarina Bowen

Amazon |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo

The True North series was released in its entirety throughout 2016, for which I was thankful.  I was glad that I didn’t have to wait long between books to get my fix of these ruggedly yummy men.  I fell in love with the grumpy farmer and perky chef, continued the lovefest with the reformed bad boy and his second-chance love, and the big love kept right on going through the story about the runaway cult member who found a forever family with the Shipleys.  It’s such an amazing series.

Divider

So, that’s it for my unconventional year-end list!  What were some of your favorite reads from 2016?  Let me know in the comments below!

Divider

Want even more favorites?  Check out some of my friends and their top reads of 2016!

I Love Book Love  |  Book Babes Unite  |  Crazy World of a Book Lover  |  Dirty Girl Romance  |  Stacey is Sassy  |  Relentless Romance  |  Rachel Reads Ravenously  |  Vanilla and Spice Books  |  Smokin’ Hot Book Blog  |  Feeding My Addiction  |  Read More Sleep Less  |  Wrapped Up In Reading  |  Reading Frenzy  |  Foxy Blogs  |  Steamy Reads | About That Story

Missing posts? Have them sent to you via email!

One response to “Top Romance Favorites of 2016

Leave a Reply