In 2016 I discovered several new authors as well as an appreciation for a few I’d almost dismissed. I looked for humor as well as great character moments in my top ten choices; however there were plenty of standout books that could have pushed this list to a top twenty.
The Mother Road by Meghan Quinn
A humorous look at a woman making peace with her mother’s legacy and finding a deep love with the man she left behind. I laughed so much at this outrageous family road trip from hell.
Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen
A mature, confident business woman meet her match in a stubborn and intelligent Duke. I loved the complex dance of their courtship but was more impressed with a fully realized independent woman who doesn’t surrender that strength to get her happy ever after.
The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne
No recent author does the dark and damaged Hero better than Kerrigan Byrne. Her deft hand makes you feel deep compassion for a cold-hearted assassin, and yet there is so much warmth in his emotional awakening.
Us by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
After all of the declarations of love in the first book, Him, the author team follows it with a good look at what comes next for a man coming to terms with his bisexuality. Partners deal with the stress of a relationship forced to remain in the closet and personal successes sometimes come at too high a cost.
To Lure a Proper Lady by Ashlyn Macnamara
Many of my top picks for the year introduced heroes outside of the standard Wealthy Peer/Gentleman mold. A cynical Bow Street Runner on the case for a Lady protecting her family had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing, but the highlight was the layered portrayal of both main characters finding true love together.
Forevermore by Kristen Callihan – The Darkest London series was one of the best all-around Historical/Paranormal hybrids and this final installment was bittersweet to read. Ms. Callihan wraps up loose ends, gives each character a satisfying ending and lets her fans enjoy one last look at this paranormal world full of incredible things.
A Spring Deception by Jess Michaels – Another common man finding love among the upper classes, in this case with the added twist of a secret identity throw into the mix. Jess Michaels was a new to me author at the beginning of the year who quickly became an Auto-buy name by the end.
Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Awkward comedic situations, lighthearted characters and a whole lot of joy abound in a story that embraces the idea that opposites attract. This book was just pure entertainment with no dark subtext or angst to get in the way of all the fun.
Unmasking Miss Appleby by Emily Larkin
When my fellow reviewer Caz recommends an author, I listen! The typical Woman-in-Pants historical trope is set on its ear by folding in magical elements to create situations that ask interesting questions on personal identity. Discovering this series was an unexpected treat.
Moonshadow by Thea Harrison –A book that revitalizes a popular series with new characters, new adventures and a surprising amount of heart. Ms. Harrison takes full advantage of her self-published platform to write the story that fans like me will appreciate while also opening the door for new readers to discover this intricate paranormal world.