Each year we ask our staff to share the romance, the one romance, they read this year they’d pick as their favorite. This year, they’ve picked more contemporary romance than anything else although other sub-genres are represented as well. Where we reviewed a book, we’ve linked to the review and, as usual, clicking on the book cover will take you to Amazon.
What do you think? If there’s a book we missed, please let us know below! Thanks!
I will choose Something Like Happy by Eva Woods. Even though it was a tearjerker, it was funny and sweet, had great characters and was a real surprise to me. I will definitely be checking out future books by the author.
I already submitted my best of 2017 when Deal Maker was released in late December, and that’s too bad because it was the best thing I read all year. Charming, funny, romantic, steamy, sexy…it’s all those things and more.
Jude is a model and all around great guy with a wicked sense of humor. Unlucky in love, he’s wary (that’s an understatement) of relationships, and he flits from man to man, never committing himself to any of his partners. But he knows what love looks like – he comes from a supporting, close-knit family, and although he longs for the same, he doesn’t believe he’ll ever have it. Asa Jacobs is a famous actor in the midst of a comeback after taking time off to raise a young son. Easy-going, generous and warm, Asa has similarly been unlucky in love. After a failed relationship with a man who took advantage of his wealth and fame, he’s reluctant to trust anyone again. But everything changes when Jude, at the behest of a friend, shows up to interview for a live-in position as Asa’s personal assistant. The two hit it off and agree Jude will spend the summer working for Asa until he can find a permanent replacement…until Asa asks Jude for references and discovers he’s a model. Asa goes from friendly to frosty in the blink of an eye, assuming Jude is just as vapid and shallow as his ex. So Jude sets out to prove him right. Oh reader! Jude is so naughty and mischievous and sly and Asa is so bewildered and angry and confused…and they like each other so much.
Deal Maker hits it stride from the moment these two meet. I laughed out loud, swooned and sighed reading it, and I simply loved everything about it. The principals and secondary characters are terrific, the settings are captivating, and there’s a kid. AND he’s awesome too. I think Jude called him ‘epic’ in one scene, and friends, he is. So is this book.
Buy it at: Amazon
It’s a very dark romantic suspense novel with two plotlines that converge halfway through the novel. The two main characters have incredible chemistry, and the book as a whole has remained with me months after I finished it.
Reading about losing someone to cancer is always difficult, even more so if you’ve been a caregiver during a loved one’s final days. The death of the heroine’s sister in this book serves as a catalyst for bringing together a family, uniting a man with the daughter he was unaware he had and introducing him to the child’s aunt with whom he shares a powerful attraction. Realistic without being morbid, sweet without being cloying, Dancing in the Rain will make you believe in the love that grows from ashes, strong and beautiful for the hardship it’s endured.
(You can read Kristen’s B+ review here.)
Nobody writes angsty, sensually-charged, historically detailed romances like Meredith Duran, and this story of the corrupt politician who loses his memory and the young woman who takes advantage of his weakened state is utterly compelling. The way the author transforms Crispin Burke from a ruthless, conscienceless politician to a man of honour and sound principles who genuinely wants to make the world a better place is brilliant, but more importantly, it’s believable because elements of the ‘old’ Crispin are there, too, and he’s becoming the man he was always meant to be. The political background is interesting, well-researched and smoothly incorporated so the reader never feels as though they are being given a history lesson, and the plot which gradually emerges is intriguing and suspenseful. Add in the wonderful romance and two compelling but vulnerable and flawed protagonists, and you’ve got an un-put-downable book kept me enthralled from start to finish.
I’m generally not a fan of rock star romances which means that Jenny Holiday had a lot of work to do to sway me to love her late 2017 release. The story of an up and coming musician who has to hide his bisexuality for the sake of his band’s reputation and the pediatric doctor he meets on a commuter train tugged at all the right strings for me. From the baring of souls to a stranger moment that starts off their friendship, to the slow burn romance that follows, to the conflict they must overcome to be together, it all worked for me. It’s got a combination of laugh out loud moments, bittersweet scenes, and eventual sexy times that show the depth of Jesse and Hunter’s true feelings for each other. This LGBTQ romance doesn’t shy away from tough personal decisions and delivers a wholly satisfying happy ending.
Imagine Joan Jett falling in love with David Huxley and you’ll have the formula for Sarah Title’s latest big-hearted small town romance, my unquestioned favorite out of this year’s crop of strong contemporary novels. Solidly written and very smart, it’s also liable to get you giggling.
This year, for a variety of reasons, I needed a book that would make me smile. Wilde in Love has more to it than just whimsy(though there’s plenty of that) and the end result left me with a big smile on my face.
This book just hit on everything I like, and has probably gotten the most re-reads of all my favorite 2017 books. It’s an epic fantasy tale about great powers unleashed, involves lots of secrets and a delicious romance, and is set in a well-crafted world with wonderful characters. I’ll be revisiting it for a long time to come.
It is incredibly difficult to choose a book that really topped 2017. I think Hate to Want You edged out the competition by a hair. Maybe because I read it later in the year so it’s fresh in my memory. Maybe because it hooked me from the first pages. Either way, I really loved the angst that Nico and Livvy brought to the pages. I started reading this, no joke, while eating breakfast in a Cracker Barrel and couldn’t stop. I ended up plowing through the book and the sequel in no time at all. Rai has such an original, sexy voice that can’t be beat and her books ratchet up the emotion. Within a few pages I knew that Rai would be an author I’ll be looking for consistently in the future.
My top read of the year was a funny, realistic, honest, sexy, and deftly written contemp about two Chicago journalists falling in love while pursuing their careers. I’ve called it a hybrid of The Hating Game and a Julie James novel, and I hope that convinces more people to give this less well-known author and e-only release a try. I just loved it.::::
2017 was a tough year for me. Which is why, when I try to pick between Jennie Melamed’s Gather the Daughters and Julie Anne Long’s Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap, I’m going with the latter and choosing joy.
(You can read Kristen’s DIK here.)
I liked the first two books in this series but they didn’t wow me. This one did. I loved Max, Avalon, and their crazy, fucked-up love story. This book is funny as hell, wonderfully smutty, and a joy to read. (Thinking about the battle of the bands–it’s not what you think–still makes me smile. And the goats.)