Best Books of 2016, Ramblings Style!

2016

**CLICK THE BOOK COVER TO READ EACH REVIEW WHEN APPLICABLE**

***Nikki’s Picks***

Well, 2016 has come and gone. Like most of America, I’m kind of glad it’s over. It was a long year full of trying times. 2016 did find me adding two additional reviewers (Liz and Kim) into the mix who have really been a blessing. Seriously, without them, and my original two reviewers (Pam and Michelle) I never could have kept going this long. On the book front, I didn’t get to read nearly as many as I would have liked, but the ones I did finish were mostly fantastic. Thank you to my reviewers, the readers, all the authors and all the publishing houses!

Rough and Tumble by Rhenna Morgan – What a fantastic book one in a new series! Viv and Jace dominate the pages and light them on fire! Sexy and action packed this one had me begging for more by the last page. I cannot wait to get more from this series! This is a cheat for me..well, for you readers, since it’s not out until Feb, but PREORDER THIS ONE!

Porn Star by Zara Cox – Porn Star was a fluke, surprise romance that I could not get enough of. I stumbled upon it and was quickly sucked into this world Cox had created. Her character building and supreme story telling ensured I will be back for more in 2017. Her hero, Quinn seems nearly nonredeemable, yet Cox managed to make me not only care about him, but end up loving him too. Definitely one for my keeper shelf!

Stoned by Mandi Beck – If you love unconventional romances, this one is for you. It skirts the line of acceptable in the genre and that’s definitely a draw for me personally. While it was at times hard to read, dealing with topics that are hard to get past, Beck weaves a tale of true love conquering all.

Beautifully Decedent by L.A. Fiore – Fellow readers have been telling me forever to try Fiore’s books. I picked this one up on a whim and instantly fell in love. While it’s 3rd in the series, I had no problems reading this one and I can’t wait to get my hands on some more. Dessert chef heroine and a hero who works with his hands? YES PLEASE.

Flight From Mayhem by Yasmine Galenorn – All the yesses to this urban fantasy that is #2 in a series about a paranormal investigative group. You do need to read these in order, but trust me, you’ll thank me. Superb world building and engageable characters, mixed with action packed pages? Perfection!

Appealed by Emma Chase – Male POV at it’s best. I loved everything about this book and then some. It was as hilarious as it was sickeningly sweet. I adore Emma Chase and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in 2017!

The Deepest Well by Juliette Cross – Historical paranormal romance get you going? Then you need to read this one! I generally love everything Cross writes, but this was definitely the high point so far! You do need to read the prior series in order to fully understand the dynamics at work in this one, but you’ll love those too. An urban fantasy/paranormal romance hybrid with enough heat to have you fanning yourself….

Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti – Zanetti is an auto buy for me. Always has been and probably always will be. Ever since I found myself riveted by her first book. Now she’s writing post apocalyptic romance and it’s a certified winner with me. Believable and heartfelt with edge, Mercury Striking sets the precedent for other authors trying to compete.

Ladies Man by Katy Evans – Another male POV book that had me cracking up and sighing with contentment. Tahoe (yes, that’s his name lol) was cocky and alpha and everything awesome. I’ve never seen a hero fight himself as much as he does. This is a book I could read again and again and still never be tired with!

The Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas – God, I lived and breathed this book while reading it! It was everything I want in a romance. Hot interludes, action and intrigue all balled up into an amazing storyline. I had to re-read this one almost immediately upon finishing it the first time. I still find myself thumbing through the pages to get to my favorite parts from time to time. Can’t recc this book enough!

Flash Of Fury by Lea Griffith – Yeah, I’m adding a number 11 because I couldn’t just pick 10. And it’s my blog, sooooooooo. You need to preorder this book RIGHT NOW! It debuts next year. It’s amazeballs to the millionth percent! Lea Griffith has struck gold with this new black op, military series. Action, smexyiness from page one and just downright gripping, this will break records next year, mark my words.

rough-tumble-by-rhenna-morganporn-star-by-zara-coxStoned by Mandi BeckBeautifully Decadent by L.A. FioreFlight From Mayhem by Yasmine GalenornAppealed by Emma ChaseThe Deepest Well by Juliette CrossMercury Striking by Rebecca ZanettiLadies Man by Katy EvansTheProtector12_RGB300flash-of-fury-by-lea-griffith

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***Liz’s Picks***

Sweet Talk (Previously Models On Top) by S.L. Scott – After meeting Danny Weston in other books by S.L. Scott, not to worry, you do not read any other book to read this one, he finally gets his own book. I loved every minute of this second chance at love story. Danny was sweet, caring, loving and downright gorgeous. You can’t help but fall in love with and root for Danny and Reese.

Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn – This was probably my favorite book I read in 2016. I have already read this book five times, both the book and in audio. This book broke my heart. Shane treated Kate horribly. The guilt he felt for sleeping with his wife’s best friend nearly broke him, even if his wife died a year ago. Their journey was long and hard, but love always finds a way. Nicole gave us a story that truly captivated us and made us feel so much.

Say You’ll Stay by Corinne Michael – To me, this is Corinne’s best work to date. I loved this book. This second chance at love story stayed with me for a long time. The story, the characters and emotions gripped me from the start. Presley and Zach were each other’s first love. Choices separated them apart and years later they are both dealing with regret and loss. Is there any chance left for them?

El Diablo by M. Robinson – So I binged-read M. Robinson in 2016. I had heard of her and her books for some time, but just had not had a chance to read her books. Let me tell you I was missing out! She is an amazing writer. El Diablo gutted me. Consumed me. Devastated me. This story spanned decades. So much regret, loss, death surrounds the man known as El Diablo, Martinez. Can he ever find love and happiness?

Loving Amber by Roya Carmen – This is a second chance love story with a bit of a forbidden twist. Amber lost her husband and brother two years ago, and she blames one man, Aiden Rogers, for their deaths. Aiden has always loved Amber, but one of his best friends won her heart first. Now she is within his reach, but he is everything she does not want. Can he show her how good they can be together?

Dirty by Belle Aurora – This book was a long time coming. We wanted more Twitch and what we got was a whole lot more! The twists and turns had me reeling. While some answers were provided, we end up with so many more. We get Julius story, with a little of Ling, and a whole lot of Twitch. I was at the edge of my seat throughout the story. I loved every word and cannot wait for the final book in the series.

Collecting the Pieces L.A. Fiore – I love the emotions depicted in this story. Some people are lucky enough to find love once in their life. But when you lose all you ever dreamed off, can you find happiness again? In this story, Sidney had a hard-young life. Never finding a place for her, she finds love and family when she meets Jake. He brings so much to her life. Tragedy left her shattered and starting over, even if she knows she will never love again. What she finds Abel Madden. And he makes her question everything. Can she find a second chance at love?

Mr. Match by J.A. Huss – I am cheating a bit with this one, as you have to read all four books before the final book in this series, but they are so worth it. In this book, we finally get all the answers to what has driven all the mysteries in the previous books. We find all the Misters and Mrs. working together, as we finally get Oliver Shrike’s and his Mrs. story. The twists and turns will keep you drawn in from the first word to the very last. Worth reading every book!

Road To Nowhere by M. Robinson – This story destroyed me. Creed was such a broken man in his short life. He has seen and lost so much. The only good thing in his life is Mia Ryder, the baby sister of one of his closest friends and nine years his junior. From their first meeting and through the years, she leaves quiet the impression on his life. In Road To Nowhere we get their journey through the coming years after they meet. It is not always an easy one, but you expect no less from this author! I cannot wait for book 2.

Trust by Jana Aston – I really enjoyed this story. Loved it! I laughed out loud so many times. This romantic comedy will make you laugh and just feel happy. Chloe and Boyd are amazing together. Chloe’s awkwardness is endearing. Boyd is hot, sweet, caring and just about everything we want in a man. I got lost in the story so many times. An amazing read and one of my very top favorite of the year.

Model On Top - Danny by S.L. ScottUnbreak My Heart by Nicole JacquelynSay You'll Stay by Corinne Michaelsel-diablo-by-m-robinsonloving-amber-by-roya-carmendirty-by-belle-auroracollecting-the-pieces-by-l-a-fioremr-match-by-ja-hussroad-to-nowhere-by-m-robinsontrust-by-jana-aston

 

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***Pam’s Picks***

Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen – I am such a fan of Ms. Bowen’s, her previous series blew me away and this new one has started out the same. I love the characters she has created, the heroine is a strong woman on her own and the hero compliments her perfectly, their road to love is hard to resist.

Blood Kiss by JR Ward – I have loved the Black Daggar Brotherhood series from the first time I picked up Wrath’s book, the alpha males and the amazing women who are their mates make this series fun, exciting and very sexy. I have missed a few here and there and know that someday I will eventually go back and read them, but when this book came up to read I was hesitant, not sure I wanted to hear about a younger generation, however I am so glad I did as it took me back to the Brothers and the entertaining and thrilling story telling of Ms. Ward.

Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt – This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I love how well Ms. Hoyt writes this tale of an irredeemable man, yet she weaves her magic and I am in love.

Doing It Over by Catherine Bybee – I have loved many of Ms. Bybee’s books and was very excited to see she is starting a new series. Her character development and intriguing stories are always entertaining and this is no exception. Wyatt and Mel are perfect together, their relationship starts out slow but if he could have changed the pace he would have. The chemistry between them sizzles and the time they are able to steal away by themselves is amazing.

The Angels’ Share JR Ward – I enjoyed this second book in the Bourbon Kings series immensely! Filled with emotion, mysteries and secrets, we are treated to a roller coaster ride from beginning to end. With family drama on the forefront, Ms. Ward keeps the romance between characters light. This is filled with a Soap opera essence that has me waiting anxiously for more. It has the pull of a train wreck, you hate what is coming next but you can’t look away because you might miss something.

A Covert Affair By Katie Reus – This is another thrilling romantic suspense in the Deadly Ops series. I have enjoyed each book, filled with danger and romance as we meet these enterprising heroes and heroines working under extraordinary circumstances.

A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen – This author has become one of my favorites, she writes fun, witty historical romances where the hero and heroine are a joy to read about. This is the second in the series that features a business called Chegarre and Associates, a unique partnership that helps the London aristocracy with troubling problems that are not to be mentioned. I loved these two; their witty banter had me smiling throughout. Yes, there were some sorrowful times when they each remembered painful pasts and a future that at times is unreachable, but the author used compassion and humor to create a wonderful tale.

Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh – I loved this one; we experience the conclusion of one story arc and the beginning of another. The change is smooth as the new story builds on the fall of Silence and what will be in the future. We were treated to visiting all previous characters that we have grown to love and then meeting some new ones that I hope will be part of new stories.

A Season of Ruin by Anna Bradley – I have been looking forward to this book since I finished A Wicked Way to Win an Earl. This author is a joy and her book continued my love of her voice and character driven stories. The hero and heroine go through transformations that had me wanting to read even when real life interfered.

Not Quite Perfect by Catherine Bybee – I adore anything Ms. Bybee writes and this was no exception. The characters are engaging and the dialog witty and fun, and the slow build-up of romance between the hero and heroine is well worth the wait.

 

Duke of My Heart by Kelly BowenBlood Kiss by JR WardDuke Of Sin by Elizabeth HoytDoing It Over Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allegiance of Honor by Nalini SinghA Season of Ruin by Anna Bradley

not-quite-perfect-by-catherine-bybeeThe Angels Share by JR WardA Covert Affair by Katie Reus

A Duke To Remember by Kelly Bowen

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***Kim’s Picks***

2016 has brought a lot of changes for my family and myself. I am thankful for so many things but I am so very happy to see the end of 2016.  I was extremely excited when the opportunity came for me to review books with the Ramblings From A Chaotic Mind crew.  I managed to review over 40 books and surpass my Goodreads challenge by 14 books this year.  With a TBR of over 300 books, it looks like 2017 will bring lots of good reading.  Happy reading to you all!

Boss by Sierra Cartwright -We’ve all read some books with a BDSM story line and there is almost always a portrayal of a uniformed and virginal woman. This is totally not the case in Boss, the story of Kelsey and Nathan. It was nice to read a story about a women who knew what she liked and didn’t act timid and shy. A definite change of pace! *May be a bit graphic for some readers*

Can’t Touch This by Tess Hunter – A brand new release from a new author, Tess Hunter, also known as Pepper Winters hit it out of the park on her first try. Who knew the queen of darkness was so funny?? There is so much lighthearted fun, great banter between the two main characters and so much great sex to this story, I cannot even begin to tell you everything.

Bedwrecker by Kim Karr – Kim Karr is a new author to me but I will tell you that i now anxiously await all her upcoming releases! I loved Keen and Maggie and Bedwrecker is an all around SEXY read!

Four Letter Word by J. Daniels – J. Daniels is my go to author. Ever since I picked up her first book, i stalk her on every platform to see what is coming next. All her books are divine by Four Letter Word has become THE book to put her right on top. Or so I thought….

Hit The Spot by J. Daniels – Well, she did it again. I really, REALLY loved Four Letter Word but my God, Jamie and Tori, characters from Four Letter Word, Book #1 in the Dirty Deed series are AMAZING. I really didn’t think she could top FLW but Hit The Spot is just spot on. I will continue my stalking to see if there are more books to be coming in the series. In the meantime, which are you….#TeamLoser or #TeamLegs???

Written in the Scars by Adriana Locke – Written in the Scars is not just a book, it is the story of life. The story of love, sadness, misunderstanding, every single emotion that you can think of rolled into one AMAZING story. I can honestly say, without a doubt, this is THE story of 2016. You will never, EVER forget this book. I truly believe this is Adriana’s best work to date.

Love Rehab by Louise Bay – Love Rehab is a really fun and sexy read. I enjoyed Mackenzie and Blake and their one night stand that turned into something so much more. Join them on the road to realizing just what they both need in their lives. You really find yourself rooting for these two characters to get it together and tell each other how they feel before it’s too late.

Mister O by Lauren Blakely – I have a girl crush on Lauren Blakely, plain and simple. I have yet to come across a story of hers that I didn’t like. Nick is trying to teach Harper how to date…although it is killing him to think of her with other men. The sex in this book….WHOA. From the role playing to the sexting to Nick’s fantasies about Harper, it was way beyond HOT. It will definitely give you some ideas 😉

The Sexy One by Lauren Blakely – Again…this woman just knows how to write. A sexy single dad Simon, who has nothing but love for his daughter’s nanny, Abby. What i really enjoyed was there was not too much angst, a light hearted read for a change of pace. I love how you can just feel the attraction Abby and Simon jumps off the pages!!

Uncontrollable by Shannon Richard – This book completely caught me off guard. I have never read Ms. Richard before but I absolutely adored this book. Beth and Tripp will steal your heart. Beth is now the legal guardian of her nieces and nephew after their parents die. Tripp is the neighbor Beth despises, until she sees him for who he really is. I adored the characters, the plot and the emotions in this book. This is not a book about sex (although it was very HOT) but a book about a relationship between a man, a woman, and all the “baggage” that comes with her.

bedwrecker-by-kim-karrfour-letter-word-by-j-danielshit-the-spot-by-j-danielswritten-in-the-scars-by-adriana-lockePageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00023]the-sexy-one-by-lauren-blakely

uncontrollable-by-shannon-richard cant-touch-this-by-tess-hunter

 

love-rehab-by-louise-bayboss-by-sierra-cartwright

***Michelle’s Picks***

Every December when this post rolls around, I expect to be mildly disappointed with my year of reading. Then I look back through the books I’ve read and I realize there were some damn good reads this year!

Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy – I loved everything about this book. The supporting cast of Jim Morgan’s men was a great mix of all kinds of badass alpha heroes. The hints at a future story between Liam and Sullivan were reminiscent of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series with Jules and Robin – one of my all-time favorites. This book was more than fine as a stand-alone, but I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I had read the series from the beginning. Elle Kennedy knows how to create a larger than life hero. The romantic scenes between D and Sofia were HOT. Just when I thought D had crossed the line one too many times, he would redeem himself in an endearing way that softened my heart right along with Sofia’s. My chest actually hurt at the end.

The Harder You Fall by Gena Showalter – If you can get past the ridiculous female names in this series, you’re in for a treat. I enjoyed the first two, but I almost dreaded reading this one because West was such a needy, moody ass in his friends’ stories. I had a hard time imagining him as hero material. Boy was I wrong. Talk about two people who want each other but are afraid to want each other. I loved his protectiveness and Jessie Kay’s (ugh} ability to talk him down from the ledge time and again. He was neurotic, OCD, overprotective…. basically full of psychological issues. Jessie Kay knew when to push and when to just deal, and it worked so well. Once they got past the “I want you so bad so I’m going to act like I hate you” phase, their romance was a pure delight.

The Obsession by Nora Roberts – Nora Roberts is a master storyteller, and this book is a prime example of why she has had dozens of bestsellers throughout her widely successful career. While some people complain about her often formulaic approach to writing, my theory is, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m more a fan of romance with a little suspense than mystery/suspense with a little romance, but I can make an exception for this book. This book was gritty and sometimes grisly, violent and emotional, with just the right amount of romance to make my heart happy.

Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis – It wouldn’t be my top 10 list without a book (or two) by Jill Shalvis. I loved everything about this book. Jacob was a wonderful hero. Tough, protective, smart and sexy – totally alpha without being a jerk. Sophie was funny and unpredictable and so perfect for him. I thought the way Jacob was integrated back into his family was done just perfectly, and when he and Hud finally mended their fences my heart melted. This book was warm and funny, emotional and steamy – just what I want out of a romance.

Chaos Bound by Sarah Castille – There is something about Sarah Castille and her tribe of Sinners that gets to me. Every.Single.Time. I’ve loved all of the books in this series, but something about this one really struck a chord in me. Chaos Bound is Holt’s story. We knew him as T-Rex in the previous books, but in this one we are introduced to a changed man. And WOW! He’s full of surprises and does not disappoint.

Shadow Rider by Christine Feehan – I could go on and on about this book, but nothing I could write would even come close to touching on how… larger than life Stefano and Francesca were. They started out with a kind of cat and mouse flirtation, which turned into a sexy seduction, and resulted in Stefano binding her to him so tightly she couldn’t leave if she wanted to. This book was the epitome of the damsel in distress being rescued by the white knight, or in this case the rich, powerful shadow rider who has money and power at his disposal. It was a slow journey for Francesca to find her way to trusting Stefano, but in the end they formed such an incredible partnership that he even learned to lean on her. I can’t wait for more books in this series!

Falling in Deeper by Shayla Black – Man oh man oh man. I was almost speechless after reading this book. Shayla Black has been one of my favorite authors for years, and the Wicked Lovers series has been satisfying to say the least. Sometimes, though, when I’ve been away from a series for a while, I’m almost afraid to delve back in because I don’t want to be disappointed. I felt that way when I started Falling in Deeper, but those feelings evaporated – quickly. What I loved the most about this book was the way the characters were transformed as their relationship grew stronger. Stone is determined to win Lily over as her Dom, keeping her safe and taking care of her every need. He is sexy and playful and understanding, but he knows when to be strict with Lily so her fears don’t overwhelm her. He tests both of their limits until they become comfortable with the D/s aspect of their relationship. I liked that the book wasn’t overwhelmed with Lily becoming Stone’s submissive. Shayla Black made it seem like that change in their relationship was a natural progression and exactly what Lily needed.

Good Earls Don’t Lie by Michelle Willingham – Oh, how I love to discover a new to me author who has an entire backlog of books I can look forward to reading. Michelle Willingham has been on my radar for some time, but I haven’t gotten around to any of her books until now. Good Earls Don’t Lie had everything you could want in an historical romance: emotion, humor and likable characters you will be rooting for.

One in a Million by Jill Shalvis – Wow. Just wow. Just when I thought I was getting to the point of “read one Jill Shalvis book, you’ve read them all”, I fall totally in love with another one. Tanner Riggs was NOT what I expected. I thought he’d be a moody, broody, tough to catch hero. Instead he was steady, sexy, caring and sweet. Callie was the one who was tough to catch. I loved him, I loved them together, and this book made me fall in love with Lucky Harbor all over again.

Nico by Sarah Castille – All I can say is merry early Christmas to me. I read Nico in one sitting, not because it was short (it wasn’t) or an easy read (it wasn’t that either), but because I.COULD.NOT.PUT.IT.DOWN. I don’t know how Sarah Castille did it, but she made me fall in love with a mob boss. She has a talent for taking larger than life heroes and making a romance with them seem attainable for any woman.

Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedythe-harder-you-fall-by-gena-showalterThe Obsession by Nora RobertsNobody But You by Jill ShalvisChaos Bound by Sarah CastilleShadow Rider by Christine Feehanfalling-in-deeper-by-shaya-blackgood-earls-dont-lie-by-michelle-willinghamOne In A Million by Jill Shalvisnico-by-sarah-castille

 

 

4 Comments

  1. oh wow…look at all of these!!! So many I loved as well. Allegience of Honor was so great, different from the other books but I liked what she did with it.

    Shadow Rider was a favorite of mine as well, i just couldn’t get enough of that book!!! So dang good.

    Hope 2017 is a great reading year for you.

  2. Wow – thank you for including “A Season of Ruin” in your picks, Nikki! I’m so flattered to be in such great company. Adding your’s and Kim’s picks to my TBR list – it’s out of control for 2017! Happy New Year!

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