Monday, January 16, 2017
2016 IN REVIEW: Favorite Reads
HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION by Jeremy McCarter and Lin-Manuel Miranda (nonfiction)
A big part of 2016 for me was my obsession with the musical Hamilton so this glossy tome was destined to be a favorite. I loved the story of how the musical was created paired with the lyrics/annotations. The photographs were also beautiful and made it something I will page through again and again.
LISTEN TO THE MOON by Rose Lerner (historical romance)
A fascinating Regency romance featuring a marriage of convenience between a valet turned butler and a housemaid turned housekeeper. The characters are richly drawn, the love story is engrossing, and the historical details just made my inner history nerd squeal with excitement.
DUKE OF SIN & DUKE OF PLEASURE by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical romance)
The Maiden Lane is one of my favorite currently running series and the two installments we got in 2016 show that it is getting better every time. The 1730s setting continues to fascinate me as does the author's tendency for unorthodox pairings and gritty storytelling.
VISION IN SILVER by Anne Bishop (urban fantasy)
The third book in the Others series and showcases how wonderful these books are. The development of the heroine is subtle, but powerful. The world building is mind-blowing and the action keeps me turning pages late into the night. I still need to read the fourth installment in time for the release of book five, but that won't be a hardship when the series is this fabulous.
BAYOU MOON by Ilona Andrews (paranormal romance)
Book two in the genre-bending Edge series which features a changeling soldier who almost stole the show from the main couple in the first book and is pulled back into the world he left forever. William is one of my favorite heroes of 2016 and his romance with the determined, kick-ass Cerise was full of action and chemistry. Also, I have to give a shout-out to the authors for the killer world building.
RADIANCE by Grace Draven (fantasy romance)
An arranged marriage romance between two humanoid species in an alternate world. The slow burn of the love story, the development of all the characters (main and secondary), and the attention to detail are highlights of this beautiful book.
STARS ABOVE by Marissa Meyer (YA science fiction)
I don't read much young adult fiction these days, but I always make an exception for Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series. Her sci-fi twists on fairy tales are so engrossing and this anthology, which features nine novellas that help flesh out this already wonderful series. My personal favorites were the wedding epilogue, the reverse POV of when Kai met Cinder, and the loosely connected retelling of the Little Mermaid.
FORBIDDEN by Beverly Jenkins (historical romance)
I have been meaning to try Ms. Jenkins for years and 2016 was when I finally took the plunge. Her writing is as exquisite as my fellow readers have said and the premise of a businessman passing as White and the woman he can't resist. My favorite aspect was the heroine who has gone through so much stuff and still retains her determined personality.
SAVING THE CEO by Jenny Holiday (contemporary romance)
Jenny Holiday was one of my favorite "discovered in 2016" authors. I am very picky about contemporary romance, but her snappy writing style and Big City settings just work for me. This is my favorite of her 49th Floor series, but I highly recommend all four of the books. What makes this one stand out to me is the twist on the pretend relationship and the math genius heroine.
KINGS RISING by C.S. Pacat (fantasy romance)
I first started reading this addictive fantasy story when it was being published on the author's LiveJournal. I (and the other Captive Prince fans) had been waiting for the conclusion for five years and it did not disappoint. Damen and Laurent are one of my favorite all-time couples and the twists and turns of this book had me reading way into the night.
MAGNATE by Joanna Shupe (historical romance)
The Gilded Age setting helped this book (and series) stand out to me in 2016. I also loved the class differences between the self-made millionaire hero and the upper crust heroine who wants to start her own brokerage firm. I also enjoyed the "snowed-in" aspect which helped force these two to finally admit their feelings.
A PROMISE OF FIRE by Amanda Bouchet (fantasy romance)
I bought this debut on its release date after seeing a ton of gushing reviews/tweets/posts about it and it was the right decision! Cat is such an amazing heroine and her romance with the gruff, but sweet Griffin had me laughing and swooning. I also loved the Greek mythology that peppered the fantasy aspect of this world.
KATE DANIELS SERIES by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)
2016 was the year that I got caught up on the popular Kate Daniels series and it was an amazing ride. Curran and Kate are fantastic as are the other series characters like Andrea, Jim, Roman, Derek, and Julie. I am sad that the series will ending in 2017, but it will always have a place in my heart.
GUILD HUNTER SERIES by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy)
This is also the year that I caught up with Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter books. I read eight installments and am always left wanting more. Elena, Raphael, Janvier, Ashwini, Illium, Dimitri are all so fantastic and the political machinations really help this series stand out.