I read a lot of good books this year especially urban fantasy and contemporary romance. I am, in fact, over the moon happy that fun romantic contemporary romances are back. I am also sad that historical romances, for the most part, are disappointing right now with very few exceptions.
Two books that are intentionally absent that were originally in consideration for this list that I do want to mention are The Last Hour of Gann (yeah fascinating, but it just wasn’t awesome for me) and also, I’ve got to leave Heart of Obsidian off this list. Why? Because I feel the anticipation and buildup of Caleb as a hero is what I loved. Not the book itself.
Those major shockers set aside, here are the books I 100% adored. That were without any “but..” or “if only…” notes and that I straight up loved. In order of my love.
Night Blade by JC Daniels
Without contest, best book of 2013. I’ve read it at least six times and I hard core sob every time. It is a world of shifters and magic that is unique, brilliantly written, and the #1 series I recommended this year. If you’re reading this Shiloh Walker, I demand more of this series. ASAP. Please. Thank you. Goodreads l Kindle
Skies of Gold by Zoe Archer
I read a lot of Zoe Archer this year, and I loved them all. But I need to pick just one of her books to put on this list it is, hands down, without contest, that book is Skies of Gold. She nailed every single scene. Page. Word. It is truly what a romance novel should be. Nobody is writing anything close to what Archer delivers in this steampunk inspired world, or anything like her gritty new series (also intensely excellent!) that is more straightforward historical romance. Review l Goodreads l Kindle
Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
Best contemporary romance this year. Hands down. I thought the title was silly when I saw Jane of Dear Author tweet it and so I grabbed it on a whim. Whoa baby. This was such a light, fun, absolute delight of a read. Definitely a best of 2013. Review l Goodreads l Kindle
Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Tori made me read this – and holy heck I’m glad I did. It is so beautifully written – you have to read it to understand. The heroine has never been out in the real world, she’s fragile and weak and yet she has such inner strength. Amazing read, can’t wait for the next in this series. Worth hardcover price for sure. Goodreads l Kindle
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
Tessa Dare’s final installment in Spindle Cove, and one of the finest too. Oh how I adore the way she blends humor with emotion, tender moments and romance with rich characters. In my mind, Dare is the best let’s call it ‘traditional historical’ romance author right now. Review l Goodreads l Kindle
Galilee Rising by Jennifer Harlow
An amazing read full of heartbreak, struggle, and how if you keep trying the road of fate might take you someplace beautiful. This author holds nothing back and this is by far the best second book in a trilogy I’ve ever read. It is strong all on its own and is a story that somehow manages to stand alone and be a part of the bigger story all at the same time. Review l Goodreads l Kindle
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Heart of Venom Jennifer Estep
She ripped out my guts and gave them back to me better than before with this book. Why aren’t you reading this series? It is truly amazing. This was one of the strongest in the Elemental Assassin series of recent memory too. Loved every page. Review l Goodreads l Kindle
Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
Oh was I late to this party, but so glad I read this one. There are few things I like better than a contemporary romance where the characters dislike each other, are attracted to each other, antics ensue, romance and HEA wins. This book had me laughing, giggling, and unable to put it down. Goodreads l Kindle
The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale
It was such a fun read, and I so adored reading about characters who did not particularly like each other at the start find that not only might they fall in love – but that their connection may be far better, richer, and more amazing than either ever thought possible. The author’s writing was so well done. She breathed life into these characters, gave them personality and voice to make them stand out, and really balanced out the humor, lightness, and some deeply romantic and tender moments. Review l Goodreads l Kindle
The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan
Courtney Milan’s Countess Conspiracy is an absolute triumph. It heartbreakingly beautiful, each word crafted with care and every scene building to an ending that brings it all together. Goodreads l Kindle
Now in 2014, I very much need to see some more memorable heroes, as this was a pretty weak year for new fictional boyfriends.