Did 2016 fly by or what? Holy moly! Where did the year go?! Jennifer and I had such an amazing year in books it was almost impossible to pick our favorites. Of course there was one particular book that we’re STILL fighting about…
What? That husseh started it dammit! She wants my man Gabriel from THE PAWN. I’m having NONE OF IT!! He’s mine. MINE! You hear me, woman? But I digress. Let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming, shall we?
LANA’S FAVORITES OF 2016
BACKFIRE by Keri Lake
No one and I mean NO ONE writes a gritty, dark romance quite like Keri Lake. The woman is a freaking rock star. But this book? It’s official; I had PTKD (Post Traumatic Keri Disorder). The woman has ruined me. This book? I hope you all have your big girl panties on, because a walk through the meadows with unicorns it. Is. Not.
Backfire is dark, gritty, and unapologetic. You’ll be reading it with your heart in your throat and your stomach twisted up in knots. It’s violent, a touch depraved, darkly erotic, action packed and absolutely, positively unputdownable. The story is filled with so many unpredictable twists and turns that it will make your head spin! It’s brilliantly written and I will even go so far as to say this was darker than Ricochet and that’s saying something, trust me.
PERFECT RAGE by Nashoda Rose
You know when you spend years waiting for a certain character’s story. You build it up in your head. Your eager anticipation can really get the best of you. So I was equal parts excited and nervous for Connor’s book. It couldn’t possibly live up to all my expectations, right? I mean, at this point they were highly unrealistic. But leave it to Nashoda Rose to not only live up to it, but blow all my expectations out of the water. I loved and I mean LOVED this book.
This is not a book you can read out of order. You need to read the entire Unyielding series in order to understand the complexity of the story and especially the events that led to finding Connor. While the author does a fantastic job with a recap, you’d still lose a lot of info not having read the first two books.
After the scene at the end of Perfect Ruin, I’ve been practically salivating for this book. I had no idea what the tie between Catalina “Alina” Diaz and Connor was, but this book finally gave me that. Oh boy did it give me that. I think I must have been reading with a lump in my throat the entire time. Connor and Alina’s story is devastating and heart-wrenching. Pure gritty, angsty perfection!
DISCLAIM by Pam Godwin
It’s no secret that I love dark romance, and it’s also no secret that I’m EXTREMELY picky when it comes to it. It’s easy to throw in some violence and shock value and call it a day. But at the end of the day, that’s not what makes a truly masterful dark romance. Only a few authors truly pull that off and there’s a reason Pam is my go-to author for dark romance; the woman writes some of my favorite anti-heroes.
Pam Godwin is the queen of dark romance and she crafted the perfect couple with Camilla and Matias. They were a ying and yang of dominance and submission. They were dark and darker. They were pain and pleasure. They were devastatingly perfect. I loved every single page of this book!
THE ENFORCER by Kele Moon
When it comes to Kele Moon, I don’t have enough praise in the world to cover all of her talent. She writes some of the most emotionally gripping, enrapturing romances I have ever read. She’s a master of creating characters that burrow into your heart and stay there. They become part of your very being and no I’m not being even a little melodramatic. Her books are THAT good. But The Enforcer?
And so raw it’ll make your heart bleed.
I say this each and every time I finish a book by Kele Moon, but unbelievably she only continues to get better and better. And that’s saying a lot considering how much I loved The Slayer. But Tino’s book? This was something else entirely. Kele truly takes you to the dark and violent underbelly of the New York mafia. She spares no details. None. You’ll read it with your gut twisted and your heart in your throat the entire time just like I did.
THE PAWN by Skye Warren
Why are Jennifer and I STILL fighting over Gabriel? You’ll have to read this book to find out. And if you’ve read it, then you already know the answer. Gabriel is easily my favorite anti-hero that Skye Warren has written to date.
This powerful story sucked me in from the very first page. I’m STILL thinking about it weeks later.
The Pawn was easily my favorite by this author to date. Gripping. Captivating. Magnetic. Dark. Erotic. It was EVERYTHING I love about a dark romance. It’s not gratuitous violence and scenes thrown in for pure shock value. It’s a mind fuck. An incredibly written, twisty, and delicious mind fuck that I couldn’t put down from beginning to finish; with a heroine you’ll want to root for, and an anti-hero that you’ll want to hate only slightly more than you love him.
Now if you’ll excuse us, Jennifer and I are off to respectfully and peacefully discuss dibs of Gabriel once more…
BLACK SWAN AFFAIR by K.L. Kreig
So here’s the thing; I do NOT read love triangles. They make me cranky and stabby. True story. What? We all have our limits, mkay? But something about this blurb just sucked me in. My curiosity got the best of me. Then my lovely friend Nashoda told me that it had my name written all over it and I should check it out, I figured, I have to read it. And let me tell you, she was NOT wrong!
This book blew me away. It was masterfully written, multi-layerd and perfectly developed. I found myself kicking my own butt for not reading this author before. Because after this book? She’s on my auto-buy list. No. Questions. Asked.
If you’re thinking this is a typical love triangle, you couldn’t be more wrong. That blurb doesn’t even begin to do this book justice. It’s so much more than a woman who can’t have the man she wants so she settles for his brother. This is not a black and white story. It’s settled very firmly in the gray. It’s a must read. TRUST ME.
UNBREAK MY HEART by Nicole Jacquelyn
The angst! THE ANGST! OMG THE ANGST. I love a good dose of the double A. Angst and alphaholes that is. Nom nom nom. And boy did this book have both of those in spades. I’m not even kidding. And it was SO delicious.
I picked it up and read it straight through because I couldn’t bear to put it down for even a second. I was an ugly crying, sniveling, raging mess the entire time and loved every painful second of it.
Unbreak My Heart is an unbelievably gripping story of love and loss and second chances. This book absolutely owned my heart. It was a compelling, angst-filled, emotional, and completely unputdownable read from beginning to finish. You will love to hate this hero and then you’ll just flat out love him.
Since this is a duet, I’m counting it as one (What? You don’t expect me to pick one do you? It’s like picking your favorite child. Impossible) I loved both of these equally. Aly Martinez seriously outdid herself with this story. While it is a duet, each book is a story of a different couple, with the story line developing throughout both books.
This was Aly’s best work to date and I’ve loved the woman’s entire backlist. If you’ve read it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t, don’t miss a second more. You NEED to experience this gripping and emotional story. A story of two different couples whose lives intertwine in the most devastating of ways. Trust me on this, if you read any book of this author, make it these two. You won’t be sorry.
PAPER PRINCESS by Erin Watt
Book crack. That’s what this was. Complete and utter book crack. My god! Imagine if there was a love child of Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl, because that’s what this was. While it’s marked YA, I’d say it’s more NA in the scenarios. It is a trilogy that you’ll want to read back to back because those damn cliffhangers will get you.
I don’t remember the last time I was THAT enraptured in a book. There was so much teenage drama and angst and I just gobbled it right up with a spoon. Yum!
PUNK 57 by Penelope Douglas
Without fail, this author shows up on my favorites list each and every single year? Why? Because her style of writing just does it for me. She writes angsty NA with alphahole heroes and strong and witty heroines that give as good as they get. She writes some of my favorite enemies to lovers trope and some of the best angst I’ve ever read. Suffice it to say, she’s been on my auto-buy list since the first book I read by her.
If you’ve read Corrupt, you’ll definitely appreciate this book and a few connections that it has to the world and characters from Corrupt. As for the book itself? Pure Penelope Douglas book crack as always. I loved it!
SPARKING THE FIRE by Kate Meader
If you follow my blog, then you already know my love for this author. She’s written some of my very favorite enemies to lovers trope books. Her Hot In Chicago series happens to be one of my favorites and she seriously hit the spot just right with book 3 in this awesome series!
If you haven’t read this series, you’re seriously missing out. If you haven’t read anything by this amazing author, you’re seriously missing out. And if you haven’t made plans to meet Wyatt Fox, then you’re SERIOUSLY missing out!
Kate Meader is going to spoil me with her awesomeness soon, but you won’t hear a peep of complaint out of this reader.
FOUR LETTER WORD by J. Daniels
Oh the swoons! The swoons I tells ya! I adored this book. As much as I love all things J. Daniels, this was my favorite book by her to date. It had everything; a sassy heroine, a broody alpha, amazing banter, fantastic secondary characters, and a romance so sizzling it may set your kindle on fire.
Four Letter Word marks book 1 in J’s brand new Dirty Deeds series and I’m seriously in love. If you haven’t read any book by this author yet, I highly recommend you start with this one. You won’t be sorry.
FIRST AND FIRST by Santino Hassel
I loved everything about their romance; the raw sexuality, the realness, the slow burn and the tension. It wasn’t your typical, wrapped in a perfect little bow sort of story. But it was perfect nonetheless.
Santino Hassel introduces you to a world that’s hard to leave even once you finish the book. You find yourself thinking about these characters long after reading the final page. You crave more and yet you’re also surprisingly satisfied with how it ends. I’m not sure how this incredibly talented author had flown under my radar up until now, but I will be rectifying my mistake by reading his entire backlist and all future releases to come. I recommend this book to any MM fans out there. Seriously. This is an absolute must read. If you don’t fall in love with these characters when you read it, then we’re simply not reading the same book.
LOVING YOU EASY by Roni Loren
Do you love broken and broody alphas?
Do you love seriously hot MMF menage romance?
Do you want all of those things in one incredibly satisfying read?
WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ THIS BOOK YET???
Even if you haven’t read any other book in this series, and you love an incredible well written MMF romance, this book is a must read. You can easily enjoy it as a standalone but I highly recommend the rest of the series because it’s just as good. I can’t believe this is already book 9, but I never want it to end.
SOMEONE LIKE YOU by Lauren Layne
If you’re anything like me, then you’ve been both eagerly anticipating and dreading Lincoln’s book. Anticipating it because you love those irreverent playboys, and dreading because you’re afraid that you’ve been building up your expectations in anticipation. Lincoln’s story was the one I’ve been waiting for since Irresistibly Yours. It’s been a long, painful wait. But after finishing this book in one sitting, I can tell you that it was every single minute, hour, day, and month of the wait. It didn’t meet my expectation. Heck no! It blew them away. Lincoln Mathis took everything I had thought I knew about him and took me on a rollercoaster of emotion. I laughed, I cried, I freaking swooned! I adored everything about this story. EVERYTHING.
If you’ve enjoyed the rest of the Stiletto and Oxford series and you’ve been anticipating Lincoln’s story as much as I have, this is a must read. But have a box of tissues ready, because you won’t come out of it unscathed. Be ready to shed some tears and swoon over the perfect imperfection that is Lincoln Mathis.
JENNIFER’S FAVORITES OF 2016
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Of all the books in the world, you should read this one. It is THAT BOOK. That book that you remember forever. That book that makes you laugh until your stomach hurts. That book that makes you cry in the best way possible. That book that you will keep on your bookshelf forever. That book that you want everyone to read. And YOU should.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Enemies to Lovers!!!! My favorite trope! This book checked all of my boxes. And it was so unique and so well written. I am still shocked that this is her debut novel. Because Sally Thorne needs to write all of the books. And I will read all of her books.
The Pawn by Skye Warren
Uber-alpha-hole in the hizouse!!!! And I have licked him, so he’s miiiiiine! Lana are gonna have to have a throw-down because I don’t think either one of us are giving up on Gabriel.
And this is just the first book! Lol! We might combust when The Knight comes out.
Tonic by Staci Hart
I have a confession. I am in love with Staci Hart. And this is the only book I have read of hers. I know! I am horrible person, but one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to read all of Staci Hart’s books! Another enemies to lovers (I have a problem! I know!). This books i full of FIRE and ICE, and I was just left a pile of goop in the end.
Worked Up by Tessa Bailey
This book made all my dreams come true. My #pmb dreams. (That’s “Pouty Man Bear” for all you crazy people who aren’t obsessed with everything Tessa Bailey like me). This book can be summed up in One Word……Duke. I’m basically a Super Fan of Tessa Bailey, y’all. All I want for Christmas is Tessa Bailey locked in my basement. Is that too much to ask??!!!
Wicked Sexy by J.T. Geissinger
Welcome to my favorites, J.T. Geissinger….we are all mad here. I was pleasantly surprised by this book because I had never read this author before. It was the perfect mix of everything. The witty dialogue….I ate it up. All the feels…I ate them up. And of course it is enemies to lovers (this is a common theme to my favorites). Ugh. I need to reread this book!
Favorite MC Club
Fearless by Lauren Gilley
This book is like MC Club Literature, you guys. Lauren Gilley has such a way with beautiful words and I just get swept up in them. This was my first book I’ve read of her, and it’s definitely one of my favorite MC Club books and series. I am a fan for life of this amazing author, and I am begging that you give her a try.
Favorite Young Adult
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell = Life-changer. I heard about this author, and this book sat on my TBR for the longest time, and I regret putting this book off. Because…..dayum. I haven’t jumped into her other books, but I know I will love them and they just won’t be enough because I will always want more Rainbow Rowell, more of her characters, more of her stories.
Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Tessa Dare is one of my go-to favorite HR authors. I know that I will get lost in her books, and I definitely did with this one. It is witty and smart. This book is one giant SWOON. I love how unique Tessa’s stories are, and this one is definitely unique, putting a twist on James Bond and Clue.
Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh
Lana book-pushed Nalini Singh on me, and I finally caved and started this series this year, and I am so glad she did! Because WOW! I have stepped into the rabbit hole in this series. It is so creative with layers upon layers of awesome. I know that I haven’t even touched the surface of this series because there are SO many books in this series, but this was my favorite one in the series I read this year.
Sebring by Kristen Ashley
Bucket List Item #1 = Meet Kristen Ashley. This woman. I mean…..seriously. This book rocked me to my core. All the feels inside the feels are in this book. And of course, it is so hot it scorched my eyelashes from reading it. I adore Mafia Romance, and this one just surpasses all!
Favorite Sports Romance
The Baller by Vi Keeland
I love me a good Sports Romance, and this one mixes with my absolute favorite trope on top with whip cream (ok, I added the whip cream)…..Enemies to Lovers!!!! When the characters hate each other so much that the lust just builds and builds and it scorches them into loving each otherrrrr!!!
Did we miss some of your favorites? We’d love to hear about them in comments below! Tell us about some of the favorite reads you had this year. As you noticed, not all of ours were necessarily released in 2016 but it was when we read them, so it counts 🙂
We didn’t get a chance to review all the favorites mentioned on our list, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t blown away by the book. Just that we were lazy or real life got the best of us. Each book mentioned on our list was a HUGE 5 star read for us and we can’t recommend it to other readers enough! Now bring on the awesome reads of 2017! WE’RE READY FOR YOU!!!