Ashley 2016 Favorites
Harold (Theosophi 2) by T.A. Creech
This delightful novella is about a grumpy angel falling to earth and the former soldier who falls in love with him. See my review for more details!
Hexmaker (Hexworld 2) by Jordan L. Hawk
The second book in the amazing Jordan L. Hawk’s Hexworld series, this book follows the fox shifter Malachi and the forensic hexman for the Metropolitan Witch Police Dr. Owen Yates . When Malachi, a thief, is wrongfully accused of murder he is only just saved by Owen who happens by and who Malachi recognizes as his Witch. The two are drawn together and must solve the case as a team, and fall in love as they do so.
I loved these characters and the masterful world building I’ve come to expect from Jordan L. Hawk. I liked how Owen and Malachi contrasted with each other, and I liked seeing characters from the previous books make appearances.
Abel’s Omega (Mercy Hills Pack 2) by Ann-Katrin Byrde
This is the second book in the Mercy Hills Pack series, and by far my favorite. This M-preg novel tells the story of wolf shifters Baxter and Abel. Bax is an omega whose abusive mate dies unexpectedly, leaving him and his four children without a home and without a place in the pack. Hatching a plan to go to another, kinder pack and begging help seems like the only thing to do, which leads Bax to Mercy Hills where he finds a home and he and the Alpha Abel find comfort and love with each other.
M-preg novels are a guilty pleasure of mine, and none have been as wonderfully built or complex as this one! I loved the characters and the involvement of all the children, I loved the world and how the author didn’t back away from darker themes (including abuse, rape, and suicide), and I loved the happy ending and how the series does seem to be building toward something. I just adore this book!
How to Wish Upon a Star (Howl at the Moon 3) by Eli Easton
The third in the Howl at the Moon series, this is the story of Dr. Jason Kunik and Milo. Both are dog shifters, or quickened, Dr. Kunik who was born human and Milo who was a hospice comfort dog who gained the ability to become human. The two have a lot to teach each other, and a lot to do to save the town from a disastrous disease.
This is an adorable story! I adore the cold and distant Dr. Kunik and I adore the lovable Milo. The two complimented each other wonderfully, and the story was well built and wraps up in a perfect bow.
Rag and Bone by K.J. Charles
I don’t just read shifter books!! Rag and Bone follows magic user Crispin and waste-man Ned, whose story began in the short story “A Queer Trade”. Crispin is struggling to learn the proper way to use his magic, and he and Ned are also working to make their new relationship work. When tragedy strikes one of Ned’s neighbors and the Justiciary don’t help, Ned and Crispin must work to solve the mystery before it’s too late.
I’m a sucker for all of KJ Charles’ books, and this is one of my favorites. Crispin is delightfully timid and sweet, and Ned is so wise and kind. The story is dark, eerie, and so well set up. Just wonderful!
Barb 2016 Favorites
Wolfsong by TJ Klune audiobook narrated by Kirt Graves
Absolution by Sloane Kennedy audiobook narrated by Joel Leslie
Dinner at Fiorelli’s by Rick R. Reed audiobook narrated by Joel Leslie
How to be a Normal Person by TJ Klune audiobook narrated by Derrick McClain
A Second Harvest by Eli Easton
Blank Spaces by Cass Lennox
Beyond the Sea by Keira Andrews
Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan
Tied Up in Knots by Mary Calmes
Empty Net by Avon Gale
Diane Allan 2016 Favorites
Maybe I’m getting better at these annual lists since I managed to get to 11 – the fact that two listings are authors who had a combined 12 releases this year is irrelevant (that is my story I’m sticking to). I love books though and each year, especially through reviews for Hearts, I have gotten the opportunity to read lots of great books. And what constitutes great for me is getting emotionally invested in the characters, a great story, well written characters, a good flowing plot, beautifully created worlds, being swept into an amazing adventure and sometimes, if I’m really lucky, the books have any combination of those, sometimes all of them!
Walking by Faith by A.M. Liebowitz
I was lucky enough to come across this one on the review list, it was actually the second book, and I immediately got the first one after reading this one, mostly because I wanted more of the characters, not that I felt anything was missing. It is a powerful story, wonderful characters, well written and the current period and flashback is handled so well, the story just struck me and I loved it!
Painting with Fire: A Survivors Find Love Novel by Lissa Kasey
We have not reviewed this one (although I’d be happy to!), this is a contemporary story from Lissa Kasey and a beautifully written, character driven story with people who, on paper, perhaps don’t make sense, but as the story shows, maybe that’s when they can be the right person to connect with – romantically as well as with friendships. Bastian and his aunt Jessie are family outcasts, but they are also survivors, Charlie is Jessie’s fellow wildfire firefighter and bestfriend. The characters soundly pulled me in to make this one of my favorites for this year.
A.M. Arthur – Yup, I am putting A.M. Arthur in here as an author again because there were too many wonderful books to choose just one! Amongst the 2016 releases were Fractured Hymns, a stand alone story; Say It Right and Come What May, the first two books of the All Saints series; Steady Stroke, the second book of the Off Beat series and The Heart as He Hears It which was the third book of the Perspectives series. Such great characters, imperfect and vulnerable with challenging situations that come across as so real that you believe you know these characters, that you will meet these characters or that you just want to! Still one of my favorite authors since my first book so naturally, a favorite each year!
Angel Martinez – Yes, I put Angel on the list for 2015 as well but like with A.M. Arthur, I am repeatedly amazed and impressed with the strength of this author’s writing and the addition for Angel, since she writes urban fantasy, science fiction and paranormal, the world building makes the characters and the worlds she creates seem so real and I’m really disappointed I likely will not meet Hades, Dio, Kyle, Kash, Kellen and all these other characters I love so much! Some of the releases on this year’s list were actually on my 2015 list, but due to one publisher closing out, they are second editions that have been expanded by quite a bit – Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters and The Pill Bugs of Time (Second Edition), and I got to review them both again (go me!); Brandywine Investigations: Open for Business – also a second edition, also expanded with a gorgeous new cover for the first three stories! Wild Rose, Silent Snow and Boots, the Tilted Fairytales got rereleased this year with new covers and I loved them both! Also, Kellen’s Awakening was released this year, the third book in the Aura series that Angel has been doing with Bellora Quinn. It is a result of reading Angel’s work that urban fantasy is probably my favorite sub genre and primarily because I feel I could, and I really want to, walk into these worlds! Great characters, excellent world building and just such enjoyable reads!
Flight – Queer Sci Fi’s Third Annual Flash Fiction Contest
If you are not familiar with the Queer Sci Fi site and Facebook page, they do an annual flash fiction contest with their members, many of whom are authors, where they have a subject and from that, they have to come up with a 300 word story based on the prompt. This is the second year they have compiled the stories, it is also the first year Mila May did the cover art as well as graphics from the winning stories. It is a fantastic collection covering several sub genres and if you like science rfiction, horror and paranormal, a collection like this could lead you to some new favorite authors!
The Red Thread by Brian Ellis
A powerfully emotional book that really takes you on a visceral journey of what depression can be like for one young man, Jesse. Included in the journey is how the people who care about him try to help or at least be supportive, including Adam, a young man with a stutter who cares for him. I loved the characters, the story, the journey and the amount of tissue I had to go through to read it! I also liked that considering the subject matter, things did not wrap nicely for either character, but they made progress, which made it seem a bit more real.
Breathing Betrayal by Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham
Another urban fantasy series I got started on, that I can hardly wait for the second book! This one is on the idea of elemental gifts – so air, water, earth, fire and a research program in London, England. Twisty and sexy was how I described it in the review and that is still the case. It was adventurous, exciting, grea characters and I should not be surprised since I am already a fan of Bellora Quinn with the Aura series she has been doing with Angel Martinez!
Storming Love: Meteor Strikes – Angel & Griff by Ethan Stone
For all the Ethan Stone books we have reviewed, this was not one of them, unfortunately. Angel is a man with regrets after the loss of his husband, a meteor strike brings him to Griff, who is from another planet who escaped to earth with his mate. The aliens are being hunted, Angel chooses to help Griff and through it, they both may heal each other. This was a great adventure story, and Ethan also managed to make me cry – as always, I like this talent in authors!
Winter Prince by R. Cooper
I got to review this one back in March and I am a fan of this author anyway, and I really enjoyed this one for the fantasy, fairytale feel to the story. I loved the characters, the emotional journey you take with them and balancing tradition for the setting the world is in with the heart of the characters.
Tartan Candy by KC Burn
Barb reviewed this one and her first line says it all – kilts, need we say more?!? Actually, while that may make you look at the book, I’d like to think the fantastic characters and great story that goes with it would keep you hooked into the book and make it a favorite because there are some challenges to overcome for both sides and it is very well done! Beautiful story and lovely characters, I just loved it when I read it.
Fixer-Upper by Meg Harding
I described this one as having heart, humor and passion when I reviewed it, and that description still covers it. I loved the characters of Jake and Dakota, not to mention the secondary characters. It is a great story of new beginnings and learning new things about yourself.
Lucy 2016 Favorites
Seriously, I am SO stingy when it comes to “I’ll keep it forever” books. For me, a perfect book is one I would read over and over and over, never getting tired of it. A book that makes me laugh, cry, connect with the characters to the point where I have all the feelz no matter how often I read it. The books I binge reread when I’m having a bad week. While I like most of the books I read, these are the ones that in 2016 (a year dreadfully needing some positive), I absolutely loved. I’ll let my reviews speak for my thoughts, so in no particular order…
The Weight of It All – NR Walker
The Wrong Kind of Angel Ruby Moone
A Christmas Kiss – Annabelle Jacobs
Regency (anthology by Megan Derr Yes, I know it wasn’t written in 2016 but I didn’t read ituntil 2016 so it makes my list. Megan Derr does historical the right way. In Regency, I adored the characters, the setting, the lyrical flow of the writing and the way the stories (it is an anthology) connected to each other.
Custom Fit – Josephine Myles
Resistance – Lillian Francis
Shutdown Pair – VL Locey
The Private Secretary – Summer Devon
Double Scoop – Clare London Patrick and Lee. FINALLY.
Convincing the Secretary – Ava March Historical with Edward from Convincing Leopold. We get to see he is such a better person than he seemed in that story and I loved the sweetness of it. And again, you know, historical.
My Summers With Benny – Caitlin Ricci
When Was the Last Time – Kelly Jensen
Legal High – Eleanor Midhurst
Love Vs The Limelight – Manda Olie
A Stroke of Luck – Posy Roberts
Wendy 2016 Favorites
|Title||Author||Reviewed on Hearts?||Why I loved it!|
|Loving the Master||Lynn Kelling||Yes||Seeing that 3 of this author’s books are among my favorites for 2016, it says something about her style! Love and kink combined in the best possible way in this one.|
|A Heart for Robbie||J.P. Barnaby||No||Knowing this was based on a real-life experience made it very poignant, plus I got an autographed version from the author. So cool!|
|All Kinds of Tied Down
Fit to be Tied
|Dangerous jobs and hot sex – need I say more? I loved these guys as much as another pair of favorite characters by the same author, so she creates matches made in heaven for me!|
|Caged Jaye||Lynn Kelling||Yes||Because the loss of innocence in such a brutal manner completely broke my heart, and yet I was amazed by Jaye’s ability to survive.|
|Loving Jay||Renae Kaye||No||I’m totally enchanted by the thought that when someone discovers “the one”, it may make you discover some things you didn’t know about yourself. A warm and fuzzy gay-for-you story!|
|A Fortunate Blizzard||L.C. Chase||No||This fell squarely in the sappy romance category and brought a tear or two to my eye with an exquisite HEA!|
|Rattlesnake||Kim Fielding||No||The appreciation grew slowly just like the reasons for Jimmy to stay anchored vs. drifting to the next town, then suddenly, wham – loved it!|
|Wolfsong||T.J. Klune||Yes||Because every one of my senses was engaged to make this one truly epic and awesome.|
|Endings and Beginnings||K.C. Wells||Yes||It was like the fondest journey down memory lane as the book revisited my favorite prior couples of the series and left everyone with their HEAs.|
|Concubine||Jill Knowles||No||Because Kael’s spirit remains strong despite being reduced from a Prince to a concubine, and the ownership truly goes both ways!|
|Wes’ Denial||Joseph Lance Tonlet||Yes||If there were ever two MC’s totally made for one another, these two would have to top the list. I couldn’t wait for this sequel (and not sure I’ve totally forgiven the author for the “memorable” epilogue).|
|Defenseless||A.J. Rose||Yes||For showing that no matter how crappy life can get, love wins in the end.|
|Unearthed (The Dungeon Black Duology #1)||Kora Knight||No||Because I was totally intrigued by these guys when introduced in the Upending Tad series, and holy hot sex scenes!|
|bare||Lynn Kelling||Yes||Vulnerability demonstrated at its best with lots of psychological nuances.|
|The Secrets in My Scowl||A.E. Via||Yes||Topped my list of favorites in the opposites attract category. Grumpiness doesn’t stand a chance when the right man comes along!|
|Walking on Thin Ice||Jocelynn Drake||No||A new holiday favorite that ended with me melted in a pile of goo and a new appreciation for cereal!|