An Unsuitable Heir by KJ Charles
While I agree with Caz that the romance itself is a bit underdeveloped, I loved this story! Pen was such an interesting character, I loved how Charles wrote him, and how that part of the story developed. And the mystery was finally solved! The entire series was really well done, the twists and turns of the overarching story were captivating, and I was more than satisfied by the ending to the story.
The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst
I am a Durst fangirl – I got to meet her this past summer and may have gone juuuust a bit overboard when talking about my favorite of her YA novels, Ice. I had purchased a copy of The Queen of Blood for that trip, and then got a signed copy of The Reluctant Queen, and I was (and still am) over the moon. In the first of the series, you get a hint at romance, but it’s definitely taken a back seat to the story of the land and spirits and this amazing cast of incredibly strong (and beautifully flawed) women. The second took that cast and made the story just sing. Instead of a young girl with a “destiny,” the heroine is an older woman with children, and her motivations are beautifully written. (It also sets up book three, due out in May, and I want it right now oh my goodness).
Draakenwood by Jordan L. Hawk
The story of Widdershins is fabulous, the end. It’s all the best bits of the Cthulu mythos mixed with great characters and far enough removed from the insanity that it’s so much fun to read. There’s definitely a pervading darkness to the series, and especially this installment, but I love it.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
I almost didn’t add this one, because, as I said in my review, the whole mystery bit just didn’t work for me. But I loved the women in this story so much, and their enthusiasm was beautiful.
The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian
This one came out in February and I just read it 2 weeks ago. Sigh. Like I said, it’s not been a good reading year for me. That said, I think this was my favorite of the trilogy. I just adore it. There’s a whole mess of plot going on, but the romance of the two leads shines through beautifully (even when they are trying to deny it).