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Sunday, December 25, 2016

RFTC's Best Books of 2016

2016 was another great book year with some amazingly good releases and it was so difficult to come up with our favorite reads of the year. Collectively, we've reviewed around 600+ books here on the blog, so you can believe it was super hard to narrow down our top reads of 2016.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

This book. THIS BOOK! Yes it deserves all caps because this book was my handsdown my favorite read of 2016. In fact I liked this book so much I also bought and listened to it on audio. I loved this book. Some of the best banter I've ever read in a book. It was witty, sexy and I couldn't get enough. 

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Paper Princess was straight up crack for me. I think I pretty much read this in one sitting and I just couldn't get enough. This world and the characters that Erin Watt (authors Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick) created were so engrossing and just straight up crackalicious. 

Purchase: Amazon Kindle B&N | iTunes |

Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

I think this book might just be my favorite book from Sarina Bowen. 2016 was the year of Sarina Bowen for me as every book that I picked up from her I loved and Rookie Move was no exception. It happens to be my favorite trope (second chance love) and I couldn't get enough.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | B&N iTunes |

Turbulence by Whitney G.

Ahhh Whitney G....I don't think there's a book of hers that I've picked up and not loved and Turbulence was no exception. It's super sexy, features a super hot Alpha pilot (so hot) and I. Couldn't. Get. Enough. I don't know what it is about Whitney G. but damn she can write a sexy hero that you can't help but fall for.  

Purchase: | Amazon |

Appealed by Emma Chase

So technically I read this in 2015 but it was a 2016 release so I'm going to count it for this list. =) This book is probably my favorite book that I've read from Emma Chase. It was pretty much all of my favorite tropes in one book and I couldn't get enough of this one. I devoured this book in pretty much one sitting and it left me with the biggest smile on my face. Emma Chase just has a way with writing books from the heroes POV and I really think she's the best at it. This book was funny, sexy, smart and just so damn good. 

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle B&N | iTunes |

Honorable Mentions: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Landing the Air Marshall by Jennifer Blackwood, Hard Compromise by Samanthe Beck, Crazy Pucking Love by Cindi Madsen, Bittersweet/Steadfast by Sarina Bowen American Queen by Sierra Simone Royally Screwed by Emma Chase and Love Me Never by Sara Wolf.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid has a way with words unlike any author I have read before. One True Loves was so different from anything I have read before, and I devoured every word of it. This book was emotional and so real that I could not put it down. It is one of those that has stayed with me since I read it, making it one of my top reads this year!

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | B&N iTunes |

His Light in the Dark by LA Fiore

It isn't very often that a book leaves me speechless and makes me want to dive back in right after finishing it, but that is exactly what happened when I read His Light in the Dark. I loved everything about this book, and it was one of the best and most memorable books I read in 2016.

Purchase: Amazon Kindle | B&N |

Wicked Heart by Leisa Rayven

I adore Leisa Rayven and her books! Her Starcrossed series is one of my all time favorites, but Wicked Heart absolutely blew me away! Not only did I love the sexy and irresistible Liam Quinn, but Elisa Holt is one of my favorite heroines ever! It is rare for me to love the heroine as much as the hero in a romance, but that is exactly how I felt with Elissa. There wasn't a single thing that I didn't love about this story, making this stunning book a must read for me!

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

RoomHate by Penelope Ward

I am a huge fan of Penelope Ward's, and honestly I haven't read a single book from her that I haven't loved. RoomHate was every bit as emotional as I have come to expect from her books, but I really felt connected to Justin and Amelia in ways that I don't often feel with fictional characters. I loved everything about this book, just like everything I have from Penelope Ward. You can't go wrong with anything that has her name on it.

Purchase: Amazon B&N iTunes |

American Queen by Sierra Simone

This might just be the hottest book I have ever read! Sierra Simone always brings the heat, but American Queen was on a whole different level and I couldn't get enough. Captivated from the start, I couldn't put this book down for anything. Ash, Embry and Greer's story is just beginning in American Queen, and that cliffhanger left me begging for more!

Purchase: Amazon Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

Honorable Mentions: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen, Appealed by Emma Chase, Mr. President by Katy Evans, A Mess of a Man by AM Hargrove & Terri E. Laine, Being Brooke by Emma Hart.

Sugar Bowl Series by Sawyer Bennett (Part 1/2 were my favorites)
OK no 2016 favorite list would be complete without this series. This series, especially the first two installments, is just enthralling from head to toe. The relationship between the main characters is emotionally compelling. The suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat. And the writing just flows. It is hard to find an entire three part series where all three parts carry the day and are worth reading but this series is IT. If you didn’t pick it up in 2016, you have to start off 2017 with this series.

In The Barren Ground by Loreth Ann White

Every year Loreth Ann White lands on my best of the year list because she is really effin good. This installment is a mystery/suspense/romance that is stunning in its depth. The setting of this book is so well described that you know this author researches before she starts writing. The mystery will keep you guessing. And even though there is no actual sex in this book, the chemistry between the main couple is enough to carry the day on the romance. This book is a fantastic work of literature.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Lovegame by Tracy Wolff

This book is a total mind fu-k. You will be caught up and caught off guard and you won’t be able to put this down.  When it’s over, you’ll just sit in a corner rocking back and forth like ‘what the hell just happened to me.’ This is a book about love, raw desire, guilt, regret and redemption.  This is one of those books that stays with you long after it’s over that delivers characters that you will not forget.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Hook by Elizabeth Grace

This book was amazing because of both the characters and the story. In particular “Brandi” was one of the most memorable heroines I read this year. I don’t normally love books about hookers but her reasons for doing her job and her feelings about herself as a result were truly fascinating. This is part 1 of a duet, I had some serious issues with part 2 but this book still deserves a place on this years best.

Purchase: | Amazon |

Reason to Believe by Gina Gordon

I loved this book for the love. This book for me was 100% about the growth of the characters and their connection to one another. One of the main characters is a former porn star and the other a former escort. I never would’ve expected such a beautiful romance to develop between two characters like this. But I can honestly say that the love between these two was one of the best love stories I read this year. And yes, there is some great sex too. But still, in the end, what I remembered most about this book was the love.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Seduction in Session by Lexi Blake and Shayla Black

This book is a combination of absolutely everything I love in a book. Bossy alpha male with a heart, check. Smart girl with a smart mouth who doesn’t overdo it, check. There was mystery, suspense, scandal and smoking hot sex. I didn’t just get engrossed in the romance in this book, I was totally into the story. I was thoroughly entertained from the first page to the last page.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

Magnate by Joanna Shupe

I discovered Joanna Shupe listening to an audiobook and I found her to be very refreshing. When I started “Magnate” the first book in “The Knickerbocker Club” I was completely in love! I loved the hero and heroine, their chemistry, the setting, the time period the plot! I devoured this book and can read it over and over and not get tired of it!

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

Baron by Joanna Shupe

After I finished “Magnate” I was counting down to “Baron.” The book exceeded any expectation I could come up with. Equal to “Magnate” Ava/ Madame Zolikoff and William Sloane completely devoured my time because I could not stop thinking about them even after reading the book. The Gilded Age needs more of our attention! So fascinating! Mogul comes out in 2017 and I’m already adding it to my best of 2017!

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Google | iTunes | Kobo |

A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

MacLean I find always pushes a new limit in her books. I loved Lily so much in this book. Even if I didn’t love the hero-which I did- she was such a complex and raw character, that I could not stop reading about her. I love the modern theme and am counting down to the next book in this series.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

Reaper's Fire by Joanna Wylde

I’ve said it a million times and it’s still true, No one does MC like Wylde. I loved both Tinker and Gage. They had such amazing chemistry and the secondary stories had me on edge. I love this series so much and it never gets old.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman

Bowman never disappoints. Her “Playful Bride” series is what literary dreams are made out of. This is the sixth book in the series and she always provides fun and interesting love stories. I love her dialogue and the sweet quirkiness of her characters. 

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

Honorable Mentions: Duke of Sin and Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt.

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

My first pick isn't a romance at all it was kind of creepy and scary and took me completely by surprise.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Beautiful Maids All in a Row by Jennifer Harlowe

Second an almost love story, another suspense novel that I couldn't put down.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Third on the list is a RomCom by Sally Thorne. The Hating Game was a fantastic read very reminiscent of the sixties RomComs.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

My Darling Gunslinger by Lynne Baron

Fourth brings me to my favorite historical romance, everything I love about historicals.

Purchase: | Amazon |

It's a Fugly Life and Tailored for Trouble by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Lastly I have a tie but they are both by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff and both have a wonderful RomCom story with a much deeper meaning than at first glance.

A Date at the Altar by Cathy Maxwell

The romance between Gavin and Sarah started out as a battle of wills but turns into something so perfectly sweet. There were cheesy parts that I would usually hate, but I loved them none-the-less! It was a great finish to this trilogy that had my feelings pulled this way and that throughout.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

I found myself admiring Anna so much in this book. She was able to handle truly difficult circumstances with such poise, strength, and kindness. Avery was a character that grew on you as you learned more and more about him. I loved the way they fell in love with each other and fought their own troubles, too.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie

Daisy is such a strong female lead, and Patrick is so charming and genuine. They're love story is about so many things, and they have to do a lot of self discovery to really know what they want in life. I loved this conclusion to the Chance Sisters quartet.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

A Debutante's Guide to Rebellion by Kathleen Kimmel

I always find it to be incredibly impressive when an author can make me fall in love in the short time it takes to read a novella. Kathleen Kimmel nailed it with this one! I love it when the "outsiders" of popularity find love. The two main characters, Ezekiel and Eddie, are not socially comfortable, and they are both shy. They're love story was absolutely adorable!

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath

This collection of kick butt women was awesome! I loved learning about these women who you wouldn't normally have heard about in history class. The stories are also told in a modern voice, so it didn't feel like learning at all. The illustrations were beautiful, funny, and really captured the essence of each individual.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

Feverborn by Karen Marie Moning

It goes without saying that Karen Marie Moning and her Fever Series is one of my all-time favorites.  Not only do I love all of the characters, but Barrons and Mac? They are a power couple the likes of which others can rarely compare (plus, Barrons is my ultimate book boyfriend). This novel marks the second to last in the series, and it is one that shouldn’t be missed. Mac and Jada are on the verge of reuniting into the team we fell for early on in the series. They are being hunted, and stakes are high for not only them, but for the entirety of the human race. The Keltar and the Nine are also going head to head, and the action in this novel is exhilarating! Perhaps more astonishing is the cliffhanger in which Mac comes face to face with her greatest fear that will culminate in an epic finale against the Sinsar Dubh.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover is not only a very talented writer but she is able to convey messages with such depth from her beautiful words that I can’t help but have everything she writes on preorder. This story broke my heart, and yet mended it in ways I wasn’t even aware were possible. A tale of finding love, being broken by love, and coming to terms with needs versus wants will not only give the reader perspective, but capture their soul. This novel is near and dear to my heart as a victim of abuse, and I think that anyone who needs healing can start here.

Purchase: | Amazon Kindle | B&N iTunes |

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I knew after only reading the prologue, a mere few pages, that this story would break me. The story of Mallory (Mouse) and Rider is one for the ages. A teenager trying to find herself and learn to thrive despite her anxiety and fear, discovers that her childhood protector and love will be in her life again years later as she attempts to endure the harsh reality venturing out into the world. She learns to accept and love herself. Mouse learns to never give up, to just be and live. She is able to adjust her perception of the world in the wake of helping her soulmate to heal and eradicate his demons from their mutual past. This is a beautiful love story, and beautiful tale of learning to let go and grow.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |

Neighbor Dearest by Penelope Ward

This story made me laugh, smile, and ugly cry. I just loved Damien and Chelsea so freaking much! These two had off-the-charts chemistry and the story brought me to my knees with hysterical laughter and mega-watt smiles. There were plenty of little twists and the love these two shared once they braved the waters and let one another in was just so beautiful! Plus, who doesn’t love an angry artist type and a broken-hearted girl? Who doesn’t love a little bit of enemies to friends? Though it isn’t really enemies-to-lovers, these two do start off with bouts of mischief and insults before taking the plunge. You’ll love every minute!

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | B&N iTunes |

Balance by Lucia Franco

This book was by far my favorite of them all. I. Can’t. Even. It’s so bad, and such a guilty pleasure that I couldn’t help but frantically turn the page. While to subject matter is quite controversial, one cannot deny the beauty of the story, or the way in which the author portrayed her characters. Adrianna is a tense, driven, and beautiful teenager with a heart of gold. Kova is the instructor and a sexy, dominant, hardcore man with a will of iron that will set your teeth on edge and set your panties on fire at the same time. These two collide on multiple levels and the story will not only disturb you, but turn you inside out with its cringe-worthy moments, intense sexual scenes, frustrating angst, and emotional upheaval. I. Can’t. Even.

Purchase: | Amazon |

What were your favorite reads of 2016? Did any of our choices top your list?