I read 222 books this year, which is low for me, but I overall I had a pretty good year. Thirteen absolute favorites – four of which are paranormal, two m/m, and one that doesn’t have a happily ever after (don’t freak out!). Here they are in no particular order:
Megan Hart doesn’t make it easy – sometimes it’s horrifying. Sometimes it’s really sad. I’m not sure I smiled, but I was engaged the entire book. It’s dark and tragic, but with a HEA.
Everything I Left Unsaid and The Truth About Him by Molly O’Keefe – A two-book series, this erotic romance is a little dark, with some good suspense and a heroine I adored. Both books are excellent. From my review:
I gave the first one a B+ and this one gets a solid A from me. The romance, the suspense, the erotic darker edge – so well done. Raw, erotic and emotional. With an amazing heroine and a cast of characters that give this book an exciting edge.
Land of the Beautiful Dead by R. Lee Smith – This author writes the most different books. A non-human hero, a human heroine. Violent. Dark. This one has a very solid HEA, which isn’t always the case with this author. As I say in my review, take a chance with her. This book is less violent than her others and a good one to start with.
I’m always itching for everyone to try this author. Her books are different – violent, erotic, thought-provoking. I know her voice isn’t for everyone, but if you ever want to take a chance….
Badger by Cara McKenna – This is the book without a happily ever after – it has a romance aspect in it, but it’s not a romance book. I debated putting it on this list but damn it – this book has stuck with me for a long time and if you like very dark (very dark) erotic books – try this one. It’s sad, but so well done.
Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino – A second chance love story – the hero and heroine were in love but then things happen and they break up and 15 years pass, and then they reunite – and then more things happen that about killed me. So good. I had never read this author before. She made me feel things.
Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews – This book is on every Smexy Reviewer’s favorite list. I don’t even know what else to say except the same thing I say every single year – Gordon and Ilona Andrews are the BEST story tellers. The end.
And this author writes the best sexual tension and sex scenes. It takes a little while for Riley to open himself up but once he does…it’s so sexy. They have great chemistry and the romance is both sweet and intense.
This book is delicious. It combines the tropes of best friends to lovers and gay for you. It’s adorable and super sexy. It made me smile and feel all mushy. The romance takes place at a summer camp. I thought I loved road trip romance the most, but damn it – give me more summer camp romance!!
I adored this book! A grumpy hero, a heroine who knew he was grumpy and gave him a hard time about it, and the book made me laugh out loud a few times.
Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs – An excellent paranormal series. If you aren’t reading this series, you are missing out. It can be read separate from her Mercy Thompson series. (I think it’s better and more consistent than her Mercy series) (review)
Radiance by Grace Draven – If you read one book off this list, read this one. It’s a fantasy romance that is outstanding. There is a HEA, but there is also more to come (book two releases next month). (review)
“Woman of the day,” he said slowly. ” You mean everything to me.”
I’m still swooning.
I also loved:
Shadow Fall by Laura Griffin – great romantic suspense.
Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker – orthodox jewish romance.
Hollywood Dirty by Alessandro Torres – hollywood actor moves to small town
The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev – the best sexual tension I read this year
Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai – well done erotic (“Make me suck it,” she whispered.)
True North by Liora Blake – Rock star hero, widow heroine.
Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane – very sexy, dark romantic suspense.
Anticipation by Sarah Mayberry – great friends to lovers
Acute Reactions by Ruby Lang – heroine is an allergist, hero is her patient. Funny and good banter
Hearts of Fire by LH Cosway – hero is a fire eater in a traveling circus.