2017 Favorites

By now I’m well aware your TBR and Christmas wishlists must be overflowing from all the wonderful “Top 2017 reads” lists already making the rounds on each and every book blog. Right?

Come on, between book addicts, we can admit it… There’s always a reason to add more books to our shelves. Top reads of the week, the month, I don’t care. Just let me add books to my TBR. Also, I like to make lists. Lists make me happy!
Let me add my stone to the edifice by sharing  with you my favorite books read in 2017! No particular order, I gave 5 stars to  all the books in this post and I would re-read them without hesitation. I most probably will very soon!
Most of those earned their place on my bookshelf at home and are patiently waiting to be autographed at book signings, others are sitting on my Kindle ready to be read again. Some are pure fun, others are sure to make you swoon while others might pull at your emotional strings and crack open your cold little black hearts… (From a cold hearted bitch to another, I cried tears I didn’t even know I had!) 

Make sure to read until the end of the post, there’s a link to my facebook giveaway, you can enter for a chance to win your own top 3 favorite books and a $10 amazon giftcard, and of course, it’s open internationally.
Don’t forget to take a look at a few of my favorite blogs’ lists at the end of this post as well, so you can be inspired and add books I haven’t had the chance to read yet. Yes, I intend to read ALL the books. All the best. All the… Right, in this life and the next one.
And the next.

Continue to read for details on each book!

Synopsis of each book behind its cover. Just hover on, the book cover will “flip”.

Hover on for Synopsis

A Charm Of Finches

"I swear. Give me one more chance and I will make the most of it."
Ex-hustler Javier Landes is asking for his third chance at love. The third time proves to be the charm when he meets a Manhattan art therapist named Steffen Finch. What starts as casual and curious deepens into a passionate relationship--everything Jav has ever wanted, and everything he fears losing.
Stef's business card reads Curator & Sailor. His creativity and insightful nature have made him into a talented therapist, the one to call for tough cases. His professional success can't conceal a deep desire to connect with someone, but Javier Landes is the last person Stef expected.

Geronimo "Geno" Caan is Stef's most challenging case. Shattered physically and mentally after a brutal sexual assault, Geno learns to let art express what can't be spoken aloud. But as Geno's attachment to Stef intensifies and spills onto Jav, the boundaries between professional and personal begin to blur.
Over the course of a year, Jav, Stef and Geno form an unexpected and unconventional triangle, revealing how men make love in times of war and how love is a great wisdom made up of small understandings. The long-awaited second book of the Venery series, A Charm of Finches is an epic tale of survival and secrets that will stay with you forever.

A Charm of Finches by Suanne Laqueur

This story is everything. Everything I can possibly hope for when I open a book and wish for an escape, genuine characters, an heartbreaking story and although not a romance, the most romantic gestures and acts of kindness I’ve been given to read in a long time if not ever. Pertinent, powerful and most of all BEAUTIFUL, I cannot recommend it enough. If you are a romance reader, you’ll feel touched at some level but do not expect to be cuddled into something sweet and fluffy.
This book is LIFE and brings out the best and the worst of it : the grit, ordeals, hurts, sorrow, joy and happiness. This book, although addressing a very serious subject, was the most UPLIFTING ever. This is the next level. This is real LIFE romance. It gives you the dark and gritty, NO DRAMA, no contrived angst, just real honest people you want to see happy in the end.
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Everyday History

Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert into a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.
Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. But when Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben with details from their weekend together and trigger feelings too strong to avoid. As Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and further out of touch, Ruben stretches to close the gaps that separate them.

Everyday History by Alice Archer

Everyday History is probably my special gem of 2017. I loved everything about it. The taboo premise of a teacher/student trope and the angsty feel of love story doomed from the start…
The fascinating declaration of love of a history professor to his  former student through his everyday history…
The prose here is quite special, poetic, something I’ve never read before. Just gorgeous. It was so riveting I couldn’t put the book down.
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The Night Mark

Faye Barlow is drowning. After the death of her beloved husband, Will, she cannot escape her grief and most days can barely get out of bed. But when she's offered a job photographing South Carolina's storied coast, she accepts. Photography, after all, is the only passion she has left.
In the quaint beach town, Faye falls in love again when she sees the crumbling yet beautiful Bride Island lighthouse and becomes obsessed with the legend surrounding The Lady of the Light—the keeper's daughter who died in a mysterious drowning in 1921. Like a moth to a flame, Faye is drawn to the lighthouse for reasons she can't explain. While visiting it one night, she is struck by a rogue wave and a force impossible to resist drags Faye into the past—and into a love story that is not her own.
Fate is changeable. Broken hearts can mend. But can she love two men separated by a lifetime?

The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

Mystery, time travel and epic love story… The Night Mark was like being transported in my own personal fantasy.
Tiffany Reisz crafted here a fascinating tale and kept me riveted from start to finish, hoping, yearning, needing to know what the hell was going on. Striking characterization and beautiful environment descriptions will assuredly take you right at the story’s heart. Diving in is not an option!
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The One In My Heart

When Evangeline Canterbury meets the gorgeous, intriguing doctor next door, all she wants from him is a bit of distraction, to help her get over a few rough days.
Her one-night stand, however, has other plans: He needs an accomplished and presentable girlfriend to bring before his parents—and for six months of her time, he is willing and prepared to spend an obscene amount of money.
Nothing but trouble can come of such an arrangement. But can Eva stop herself? Or will she fall headlong in love with a man who will leave her when their contract expires with a smile, a check, and hardly a backward glance?

The One In My Heart by Sherry Thomas

This book combines so many of my favorite things I truly wondered if the author didn’t write it for me. References to many fandoms (Star Wars, LotR), unrequited love, fake couple trope, all of it wrapped in  the most playful and engaging banter between the hero and heroine made of me the happiest romance reader on earth. That’s right. Seriously, pick this one up, or else…!
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The Duchess Deal

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…
Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.
His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.


But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

YOU READ IT EVERYWHERE ELSE. And you know what? IT’S TRUE!!!
The Duchess Deal is, indeed, AMAZING!!!
If you never tried or really enjoyed HR before, please pretty please pick up this one and be AMAZED.
The hero, The Duke of Ashbury is hilarious, he’s mean and what he wished for, he’ll get… and more. Emma Gladstone might be desperate but she also has some backbone . I’m in love with her!
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The Duke

He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners...
Strong as a Viking.  Handsome as Adonis.  Rich as Midas. Collin "Cole" Talmage, Duke of Trewyth, is the stuff that legends are made of.  He's the English Empire's golden son--until fate has its way with him. Cole's family is killed and his closest comrade betrays him on the battlefield, leaving him gravely injured. But Cole is not one to dwell on misfortune. He is a man of duty, honor--and desire. And now he's ready for the fight of his lifetime...
Imogen Pritchard is a beautiful lass who works in a hospital by day and as a serving maid at night. Years ago, when she was young and penniless, she ended up spending a scandalous night with Cole, whose tormented soul was matched only by his earth-shattering passion. Imogen entered a marriage of convenience--one that left her a wealthy widow--but she never forgot Cole. Now that her long-lost lover has turned up in her hospital, injured and with no memory of her, Imogen is torn: Is it a blessing or a curse that their past remains a secret to Cole, even as his new passion for her leaves him wanting to protect and possess her...at all costs?

The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

There is something about grouchy heroes, maybe the challenge to get past their prickly facade when everyone else failed? To witness those males fall hard for a woman is EVERYTHING and no one else does it better than Kerrigan Byrne. Her whole Victorian Rebels series is amazing that way, with a perfect balance between mystery, erotic enchants and romance. The Duke was truly my favorite, not only it featured my favorite heroine, Imogen, so strong and resilent she made my heart full, but it also contains the best grovel of 2017. Gah! If you like a good grovel, guys, this book! GET IT.
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The LayOver

Eight years ago, Ondro Smrek fled Slovakia and the bigotry that drove his first lover to take his own life. The demons proved impossible to outrun, though, and now, desperate for somewhere to belong, Ondro is returning to start over. During a layover in Basel, Switzerland, he meets Jamie, an American living in Scotland who is as brilliant as he is beautiful.

Jaded Ondro never would have guessed he could fall in love during a brief layover—until now. When he is put in a position to offer Jamie comfort without hope of recompense, Ondro doesn’t hesitate. Soon, he catches a glimpse of the home he longs for. But with their separation looming, confessing his feelings would only lead to pain and humiliation. Life has taught Ondro not to hope, but then, he never believed in love at first sight either....

The Layover by Roe Horvat

This novella left me more satisfied than full lenght novel. This says a lot about Roe Horvat storytelling. The writing, the character development, the connection and chemistry, the premise, the development of the story…
I fell in LOVE with it all and especially the author’s clever and beautiful writing. It reads flawlessly and makes you avidly turn the pages.
A M/M story that really feels genuine, giving insights to a very serious matter, while still delivering endearing, meaningful romance. Just perfect.
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Roomies

Marriages of convenience are so...inconvenient.

For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions.

Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago.

Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

Roomies by Christina Lauren

Marriage of convenience trope at its best, hero is an Irish singer stuck in New York with no visa and get rescued by the heroine who propose to marry him to help him stay in the country. Oh did I mention the heroine has been crushing on him from afar for a while? So it has this ‘unrequited love vibe’ I just ADORE! Gah!
Look no further, this book is GLORIOUS and adorable! It delivers everything I love about Christina Lauren : the steam, the comedy, endearing and touching characters… A must!
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Dating-Ish

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 1) She’s fed up with online dating, 2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 3) She knows how to knit.
After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of humankind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:
Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

Dating-Ish by Penny Reid

You know what I like? I like that I don’t need to present Penny Reid anymore. She’s a must read for any romance reader, but if you still haven’t read her, Dating-Ish is the perfect book for you!
Have you ever experienced the rush and anxiety of a blind date? The pressure behind online dating? It doesn’t matter if you didn’t, you’ll feel how awkward and stressful such a date can be and sympathize with Marie, the heroine, navigating through dick pics, fake profiles and impostors until her fateful date with Matt.
But there is so much more to Dating-ish. Unrequited love addicts will get their fill of sweet and delicious angst. The kind that makes you want to take rein of the story and make the heroes together NOW.
Datingh-ish is brilliant that way. You’ll love it but hate it almost as fiercely. Unrequited love? My favorite kind of romance! Unrequited love between best friends? Even better. And the growing friendship between both main characters felt so genuine, so real, so sweet…
Gah! All the feels for this strangers / enemies / friends to lovers story orchestrated by… robots.
That’s right. Robots are responsible of it all.
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The Seven Goodbye Paradise

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

I could give you many reasons to read this book, but ultimately I’ll only say this : sweetest read I’ve had this year.
I mean it. Despite the setting, despite the struggles and doubt both our boys are faced with, despite the uncertainty of a life together, despite the fear of rejection, despite all the ugliness our characters faced off being rejects from a religious cult and gay… Sarina Bowen delivered the sweetest and sexiest story ever. Josh and Caleb make the loveliest, cutest, adorable couple. Really. (Yeah, I’m aware I sound smitten and shit. I might even have swooned and teared up a little reading this book. So. Err. ) Also… the book was freaking HOT.

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The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Oh Evelyn Hugo… I’m in love with you.
I don’t know where to begin and how to explain how much I loved this book. Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote an amazing, compelling tale and gave such a fascinating voice to her character, Evelyn Hugo, I forgot I was reading a work of fiction.

Within a few pages I felt personally invested in her story and so engrossed with the possibilities of what she could reveal that I literally disconnected from real life. It was just me and Evelyn. I had eyes only for her.

I adored everything in this book, from Evelyn’s modest and sad upbringing, the ruthless aspect of the Hollywood film industry through the decades, the struggles of being an opinionated woman within a pool of paternalistic sharks, the difficulty to keep a balanced life despite celebrity and the heartbreaking choices one must make to protect their loved ones. Sigh.

This book was everything, suspenseful, fascinating, poignant, full of hope. Just all around amazing! 

I would recommend to avoid revealing reviews about this book, best is to go blind. The romance aspect is heartbreaking, romance readers lovers of missing chances, second chance at love will love this book. Readers seeking diversity in romance should definitely give this one a chance as well. There is so much more I would like to say but I would have to spoil the best of this story for you and I just can’t do that. Just read the book. READ IT.

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Illegal Contact

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love. 

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin's timeout is over…

Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Let me start by saying this : I don’t even like football. BUT I’m a sucker for opposites attract tropes and Santino Hassell crafted here the perfect balance between sweet, snark and steam in this contemporary featuring a brooding football player and his new imposed PA who happens to be the perfect Clark Kent look-alike, only with a smart mouth on him too. The dialogues between Noah and Gavin are so genuine and engaging you just don’t want them to ever shut up! It’s that entertaining. Seriously, add to this feelings, flirtation and humor and there was no putting it down. I felt trapped by Gavin and Noah growing chemistry, engrossed by their developing friendship, riveted by their thriving banter and just mesmerized by their lovemaking. (Book 2 is equally amazing, if not better 😉 )
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Hardball

Perfect ass.
Perfect arms.
Perfect swagger.
They call Dash Wallace the Diamond King.
He’s the hottest commodity in baseball and in the bedroom.

When he runs the bases, every woman’s eyes are glued to his stunning body and a smile that puts the night lights to shame.

I’m no queen. I’m a regular girl with a regular job. I just watch him on TV and from the bleachers, season after season.
Girls like me grab a guy like that one in a million times.
My number just came up, and he is as spectacular in bed as he is on the field.
But there’s not a woman in the world who can distract Dash Wallace from the game. Not for a moment. Not even me.

Until the night I do. And everything changes.

Hardball by C.D. Reiss

I don’t even like baseball… LOL! I guess I could start all my sport romance reviews like this since I happen to be completely disinterested in sports in real life. (feel free to judge)
Anyway, a librarian that might become my favorite heroine ever, a baseball player with enough layers to strip and keep you tied up… Imperfect and multi-faceted characters making for the PERFECT romance story. I’ve just struck gold with this book!
So many sides of Dash Wallace. I needed to figure him out. None of them I’d want to get rid of. Especially not his dirty talk.
Okay I’m a goner for dirty talk and Dash had it JUST RIGHT.
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The Hot Shot

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.

No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan

This is yet another occasion for me to point out sport isn’t my thing… Or maybe sports romance really IS my thing after all! The whole “Game On” series by Kristen Callihan was amazing but The Hot Shot probably became my favorite and there are 3 reasons for this : Amazing banter, off the charts steam and swooning epilogue. Oh and let’s add their first kiss to that list. That KISS. UNF.
If you are in the mood for a feel good story and a sport romance, then you’re all set here. (and don’t forget to get the rest of the series… 😉 SO worth it!)
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By The Hour

Dr. Elle McCray has a plan. Work hard. Be the best. And do it alone. After her ex-husband’s betrayal, she’s learned being feared is a hell of a lot easier than being humiliated. So when trouble personified, Lane Cannon, dares to flirt with her, she shuts him down cold. Too gorgeous. Too cocky. And his job as The Grove’s sexual surrogate is to sleep with patients. No, thank you.

Former escort Lane Cannon has spent enough years with people looking down on him. Stupid. Trailer trash. Rent boy. He’s heard it all. He’s worked too hard to shed his past to let some haughty doctor cut him down. But something about Elle’s ice queen act has his dominant instincts perking up and his body taking notice. He can’t walk away.

After an evening of verbal sparring turns into a night of steamy hate sex, Lane’s ready for round two. But Elle proposes a business deal. How better to keep things strictly physical than to pay him for his services?

Lane wants her, not her money. But he’ll play along in exchange for one thing—all the control. It’s only supposed to be a dirty little fling between colleagues, but these two are about to learn a lesson in love…by the hour.

By The Hour by Roni Loren

So much tension, so much animosity, so much feelings in this book, I devoured it all! By The Hour was an intense enemies to lovers romance and Roni Loren fleshed out such complex and sensitive characters it was a pleasure to watch Ice Queen Elle McCray, cold and distant doctor unravel and get tangled with her supposedly nemesis, former male escort Lane Cannon. Hate sex has never been that entertaining.
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Bloodguard

Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.

Tendra:
One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan:
How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change my destiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

Bloodguard by Megan Erickson

Fast paced, sexy and fun, this PNR by Megan Erickson was a great start to a new series by successfully mixing romance, heartache, humor and action. Megan Erickson hooked me from page one, with Blood Guard, she put her own spin on Vampires and gave life to interesting and complex characters, opposing snark and bite. 
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Lost and Found Sisters

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.'s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she's looking for a missing piece she can't find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn't quite fit in right away, she can't help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there's another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn't a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she's searched so long for.

Lost And Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Lost and Found Sisters was what I like to call a signature Jill Shalvis.
You get the small town setting and lovable secondary characters, a strong and resilient heroine with a looney side to her, a strong alpha male hero who’s the epitome of the good guy, the tongue in cheek humor, compelling dialogues and character’s back story, the palpable chemistry between hero and heroine, the tension, the yearning… And to top it all the emotional journey. Lost and found Sisters was a tiny bit different than Shalvis’s previous books, the romance wasn’t the only angle of the story but still a nice and sweet thread to get ahold of. Her writing just does it for me, her books make me feel good and this one was no exception.
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The Time In Between

After a painful loss, Cady Moreland is coming to Magdalene to start the next chapter of her life. A chapter that began eighteen years ago but had a heartbreaking ending. The time in between was full of family and friendship, but Cady could never get the man she fell in love with all those years ago out of her heart.

Coert Yeager has learned to live without the girl who entered his life right when she shouldn’t and exited delivering a crippling blow he never would have suspected. The time in between was full of failing to find what he was missing…and life-altering betrayal.

But when that girl shows up in Magdalene and buys the town’s beloved lighthouse, even if Coert wants to avoid her, he can’t. A fire in town sparks a different kind of flame that won’t be ignored.

As Cady and Coert question the actions of the two young adults they once were thrown into earth-shattering circumstances, can they learn from what came in between and find each other again?

The Time In Between by Kristen Ashley

The romance aspect in this story was simply golden. Amplified by the fact that one true love reconnects, the relationship between Cady and Coert was just adorable as it was passionate. After overcoming their issues, they just both dived into it, no holds barred, not wanting to lose any more time. The result is an intense and burning connection, a feeling of urgency to make up for lost time, Kristen Ashley once again upholds her status as a romance and erotica author gratifying us with sensual and steamy sex scenes . All in all, it felt beautiful!
If you like the heartbreak of a second chance at love, slow burn romance that runs emotionally high but still manages to give light and sweet heart warming moments, if you read romance for that satisfying HEA then don’t hesitate and visit The Time in Between.
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Dear Aaron

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

A slow burn romance in true Mariana Zapata’s fashion. Sweet, light and ultimately satisfying. I just can’t help but being drawn to love stories with long distance settings. The premise of meeting and growing a friendship with someone through letters feels very personal for me and I loved the many exchanges between Ruby and Aaron. We’re talking slow pace here, with no expectations at all but then something develops and I can assure you, Mariana Zapata delivers ALL THE FEELS. 
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Dirty Mind

Alexander Popescu is a university lecturer in a quiet German town. He’s a respectable man in his thirties who stays fit, has a decent career and travels alone—his only vice is an occasional greasy meal. And beer. And violent computer games. Nobody has to know about the other Alex—the acclaimed porn writer. His ingenious erotic fantasies earn him good money and keep his capricious mind harmlessly entertained.

When his young friend and protégé Christian transfers to Freiburg for medical school, Alex is overjoyed…and terrified that Christian will find out about Alex’s indecent alter ego. The time they spend together, as lovely as it is, could overturn Alex’s carefully balanced life. Suddenly, the writing is not good enough, his hair seems to be thinning, his careful hookups leave him unfulfilled, and his dreams are haunted by the innocent young man he’s vowed to protect.

However, Christian is not a boy anymore. He’s a grown man of twenty-one, clever and deadly attractive. And he’s hiding some secrets of his own.

Dirty Mind by Roe Horvat

Just read this blurb. Do you blame me for picking this one only because a respectable professor falls for his younger protégé? Okay maybe the fact that said respectable man secretely writes porn played a hand in my decision too. But ultimately, it’s knowing Roe Horvat had another tantalizing romance to deliver, sweet, raw feelings and everything in between, thant made me do it. There is just something about this author particular writing;compelling and riveting and entirely satisfying.
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Hate To Want You

One night. No one will know.

That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts—and the last names that made them enemies.

Until the night she didn’t show up.

Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want . . . so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?

Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence—and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.

Being together might be against all the rules . . . but being apart is impossible.

Hate To Want You by Alisha Rai

This book combines so much things I love :
▸friends to lovers
▸second chance at love
▸nemesis families
▸forbidden love
The book seemingly starts with lust and hooks you in this way, only to reveal little by little layers of feelings. The angst, the craving, the regrets, the unrequited love… And with all this, the anticipation, the promise that Livvy and Nicholas are going to get their HEA… 
I couldn’t let go of the book once i’d started it!
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Take The Lead

The first in a sizzling new series about finding love on and off the dance floor from #OwnVoices author Alexis Daria.

Gina Morales wants to win. It’s her fifth season on The Dance Off, a top-rated network TV celebrity dance competition, and she’s never even made it to the finals. When she meets her latest partner, she sees her chance. He's handsome, rippling with muscles, and he stars on the popular Alaskan wilderness reality show Living Wild. With his sexy physique and name recognition, she thinks he’s her ticket to the finals—until she realizes they’re being set up.

Stone Nielson hates Los Angeles, he hates reality TV, and he hates that fact that he had to join the cast of the The Dance Off because of family obligations. He can’t wait to get back to Alaska, but he also can’t deny his growing attraction to his bubbly Puerto Rican dance partner. Neither of them are looking for romantic entanglements, and Stone can’t risk revealing his secrets, but as they heat up the dance floor, it’s only a matter of time until he feels an overwhelming urge to take the lead.

When the tabloids catch on to their developing romance, the spotlight threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their careers and their shot at the trophy. Gina and Stone will have to decide if their priorities lie with fame, fortune, or the chance at a future together.

Take The Lead by Alexis Daria

So here’s the thing. I don’t like Dancing With The Stars.
I really don’t care for it. At. All.
And yet I picked this book.
And furthermore… I LOVED IT.
I mean, although not a fan of the show, I always wondered about dancers acting so in tune and showing off scorching chemistry on the dancefloor… Was this only for show, or could there be more? Yeah, I must admit the romance reader in me fantasized about the idea of the dancer and the celebrity falling for each other.
I’m sure it must have happened in the show, I’m not following at all so I can’t say for sure but this sounds like a good premise for romance, right? At least in this book, it totally was and I was mesmerized by the slow build and the friends to lovers aspect.

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So Over You

Three estranged sisters struggle to sustain their late father’s failing hockey franchise in Kate Meader’s sizzling Chicago Rebels series. In this second entry, middle sister Isobel is at a crossroads in her personal and professional lives. But both are about to get a significant boost with the addition of a domineering Russian powerhouse to the Rebels....

Isobel Chase knows hockey. She played NCAA, won Olympic silver, and made it thirty-seven minutes into the new National Women’s Hockey League before an injury sidelined her dreams. Those who can’t, coach, and a position as a skating consultant to her late father’s hockey franchise, the Chicago Rebels, seems like a perfect fit. Until she’s assigned her first job: the man who skated into her heart as a teen and relieved her of her pesky virginity. These days, left-winger Vadim Petrov is known as the Czar of Pleasure, a magnet for puck bunnies and the tabloids alike. But back then... let’s just say his inability to sink the puck left Isobel frustratingly scoreless.

Vadim has a first name that means “ruler,” and it doesn’t stop at his birth certificate. He dominates on the ice, the practice rink, and in the backseat of a limo. But a knee injury has produced a bad year, and bad years in the NHL don’t go unrewarded. His penance? To be traded to a troubled team where his personal coach is Isobel Chase, the woman who drove him wild years ago when they were hormonal teens. But apparently the feeling was not entirely mutual.

That Vadim might have failed to give Isobel the pleasure that was her right is intolerable, and he plans to make it up to her—one bone-melting orgasm at a time. After all, no player can perfect his game without a helluva lot of practice...

So Over You by Kate Meader

I finished ‘So Over You’ by Kate Meader a couple days ago and absolutely ADORED it. The hero is Russian, but so far away from the romance cliché;you know.. the mafia hero. This one, although stubborn and the brooding type, is to swoon for. Yes, he does have this frozen Siberian cold demeanor about him. Yes he can be a jerkface. Yes he acts often like an asshole (but we love prickly heroes, right?)… but it’s just a facade, see, the man is the sweetest ever. Everything about him was perfection.
And because English is not his first language, I truly loved his manner of speech, very… proper and dated. Imagine him talk like a Duke from a historical romance would.
And when he switches to Russian… Sigh. This a new thing for me. I got turned on by Vadim talking Russian! So, the hero is pretty much perfect—IMO— but what about the heroine? Isobel Chase is not only a perfect match for him, she is snarky, independent and just… real. The banter between them is hilarious and entertaining, the chemistry blazing and the steam… WOW.
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Fast Connection

After a decade of serving in the Army, everyone still expects me to be Dominic 'Nicky' Costigan--the skirt-chasing player. They don't know I've been spending my days trying to figure out my post-military life. Including how to pick up guys.

When I meet Luke on a hookup app, he makes it clear it's for one-night only. That's fine with me, because I'm down to see what this silver fox can do. But after I arrive at his doorstep, it doesn't take long to realize we have serious chemistry, and we end up meeting again.
He's got more walls around his heart than a military base, but I think he's as addicted to me as I am to him. He can't resist me for long. I mean, who can? Except Luke's rules exist for a reason, and when I test his limits, things get complicated. Maybe too complicated.

Fast Connection by Santino Hassell/Megan Erickson

I binged on this whole series, got really hooked with book 1 and didn’t believe it could get any better but this was before being introduced to Luke Rawlings. UNF! Single dad. Silver fox. Former soldier too. Cold, distant, brusque. Complete opposite to Dominic Costigan and his cocky attitude whose charm comes from his naivety and the candid way he has to just blurt things out. They meet through an online hook-up app and the parameters are just clicking. This book and all the others are hot and seriously addicting! 

See? This is why I love chatting books and read The Angry Reader’s reviews. She can form an expert and straight to the point appraisal of her likes and dislikes. Same goes for her favorites reads this year. A TOP 3! (As opposed to my… top… er… many favorites of 2017. I stopped counting after 12.)

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Beartown

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Head and shoulders over anything I read this year (or in the last 10 years) this “book about hockey” had my bleeding and gasping for air – and it hurt so good.

Everyone has a thousand wishes before a tragedy, but just one afterward.
I quit trying to highlight quotes by the end of the first chapter because every word was solid gold. I’m not a re-reader, but I’ll read Beartown again soon chasing just a glimmer of what it made me feel when I first read it. 
Never trust people who don’t have something in their lives that they love beyond all reason.
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A Charm Of Finches

Ex-hustler Javier Landes is asking for his third chance at love. The third time proves to be the charm when he meets a Manhattan art therapist named Steffen Finch. What starts as casual and curious deepens into a passionate, soulful relationship—everything Jav has ever wanted, and everything he fears losing.

Stef’s business card reads Curator & Sailor. His creativity and insightful nature have made him into a talented therapist, the one to call for tough cases. His professional success can’t conceal a deep need to connect with someone, but Javier Landes is the last person Stef expected.

Geronimo "Geno" Caan is Stef's most challenging case. To cope with his ordeal, he's allowed an alter-ego called Mos to make decisions, and now lives a double life within a web of lies. Under Stef’s navigation, Geno uses art to express what Mos forbids to be spoken aloud. But as Geno’s attachment to Stef gradually extends to Jav, the boundaries between professional and personal begin to blur.

Over the course of a year, Jav, Stef and Geno form an unexpected and unconventional triangle, revealing how men make love in times of war and how love is a great wisdom made up of small understandings. The long-awaited second book of the Veneryseries, A Charm of Finches is an epic tale of survival and secrets guaranteed to make you think and feel and remember.

A Charm Of Finches by Suanne Laqueur

The joy in reading one of Suanne’s books is the honest emotion she wrings from a reader. There are authors everywhere trying cheap tricks and utter bullshit to manipulate a reader into “feeling.” Suanne comes to the table with the skills to hit you with wave after wave of real heartbreak and redemption rather than tawdry crap that elicits eye-rolls and tummy aches. Neither exactly “M/M” or “romance” it’s a book that moves outside the confines of genre to create a reading experience.
I’m right here, Jav. You can wake me up to check anytime you want…
Absolutely beautiful writing combined with an overflowing story of redemption to bring a reader to her knees – and then to a literary apex.
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The Queen & The Homo Jock King

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Sanford Stewart sure doesn't. In fact, he pretty much believes in the exact opposite, thanks to the Homo Jock King. It seems Darren Mayne lives for nothing more than to create chaos in Sandy’s perfectly ordered life, just for the hell of it. Sandy despises him, and nothing will ever change his mind.
Or so he tells himself.
It's not until the owner of Jack It—the club where Sandy performs as drag queen Helena Handbasket—comes to him with a desperate proposition that Sandy realizes he might have to put his feelings about Darren aside. Because Jack It will close unless someone can convince Andrew Taylor, the mayor of Tucson, to keep it open.

Someone like Darren, the mayor’s illegitimate son.

The foolproof plan is this: seduce Darren and push him to convince his father to renew Jack It’s contract with the city.

Simple, right?
Wrong.

The Queen & The Homo Jock King by TJ Klune

I embarrassed myself reading this one. Laughing and crying simultaneously so that my husband thought I had lost my mind. Impossible to explain to him that this book made me so happy that it made my heart ache. 
I don’t want just part of you. I want all of you.
If you’re looking to read a book with an 87% chance of shooting wine out of your nose that is also totally heart-warming and sweet you shouldn’t miss this book (or anything by TJ Klune!)

Honorable mentions

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haasunexpected, twisty and fun – this whodunit had me grinning on the edge of my seat.
 
The Trespasser by Tana Frenchyou can’t read this one if you haven’t read the rest of the series. And if you’re not reading Tana French what are you doing with your life???
 
Accidental Witness by Sam Mariano – I expected this book to be a little silly and over the top – it totally was. But it also grabbed me with edgy characters that you can’t decide if you love or hate, an intense storyline, and the set-up for an entire series that leaves you unsure whether you’re cheering for good or evil
 
Open Season by Linda Howard – I discovered Linda Howard this year – and that made 2017 fabulous. Nearly everything she reads goes down smooth and easy while keeping me totally entranced. I think this year I read everything she has written – no regrets
 
The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth – political thriller done right. Enough detail to make the book interesting without smothering a reader in useless CIA crap. I loved this smart read. 
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