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The Best of 2016: LinnieGayl’s List

When 2016 started I was in the midst of a nearly three-year long reading slump, and close to quitting as a reviewer here. For the first time this lifelong reader struggled to start any books, let alone finish them.  Instead of eagerly looking forward to squeezing in reading whenever possible, I could go days on end without reading anything. Fortunately, I’ve broken out of the slump and have so far read 114 books this year, including a number of DIKs. I primarily broke out of the slump by reading a variety of genres in both fiction and non-fiction, always simultaneously working on at least three books. But while some of the non-fiction proved interesting, none broke into my Top Ten of the year. My best reads of 2016 are primarily contemporary romances, and are dominated by Sarah Morgan; and also includes a couple of historical mysteries, and a steampunk. My favorites, in no particular order, are:

When All The Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

I’m loving JAK’s return to straight romantic suspense and this delivered for me both in terms of a fantastic hero and heroine and with an intriguing mystery.



A Terrible Beauty by Tasha Alexander

The latest in the author’s Lady Emily series is set on Santorini. I found the mystery interesting, and continue to like where the author is taking Lady Emily and her wonderful second husband Colin.


Imprudence by Gail Carriger

The second in the author’s Custard Protocol series not only offers the further adventures of Rue and her crew but also some bittersweet moments with Rue’s parents (the hero and heroine of the author’s Parasol Protectorate series. I loved this, but don’t recommend starting at this point in the series.


Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

I loved everything about this first in the From Manhattan with Love series, the characters, the romance, the setting – this series has it all.


Sunset in Central Park by Sarah Morgan

I love friends to lovers stories and this second in the From Manhattan with Love series truly delivered.


Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

I didn’t expect to like this as much as the earlier entries, as Eva – a hopeless romantic – seemed too sappy for me. But Eva proved to have depth, and the brooding Lucas is a fantastic hero.  Much to my surprise, this final entry in the From Manhattan with Love series is my favorite!


A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Unlike so many of my colleagues here, I’ve never been able to appreciate Sherry Thomas’ historical romances. But I was intrigued by the descriptions of this mystery, featuring a female Sherlock Holmes, and decided to give it a chance. Oh my!  Charlotte Holmes is a fantastic, unorthodox character. I can’t wait to see where the author takes her next.


Love on her Terms by Jennifer Lohmann

This category romance doesn’t pull any punches, featuring a heroine with HIV and a hero whose beloved wife committed suicide. It was fascinating watching these two very different people navigate numerous minefields to get their HEA.


Dating the Guy Upstairs by Amanda Ashby

This is another fun friends to lovers romance in which the hero and heroine almost accidentally discover that there’s something more between them than friendship.


Fall by Karina Bliss

Risethe first in the author’s Rock Solid series, was a DIK for me last year, and this second entry is as well. The action picks up here where Rise ended, and we get to see how the repercussions from events in the first book play out on other members of the band. I was hoping for Dimity’s story, and pairing her with Seth proved a great choice. These two seeming opposites are each incredibly complicated, and I love seeing them work their way into a real relationship.



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