Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bambi's Top Books of 2016

Hello readers!
I hope everyone is starting off to a good New Year. I am ready to rock 2017! There are some changes coming to the blog, so stay tuned for those. However, before we can officially say goodbye to 2016, I need to pick my top reads for the year.  As you can see from my Goodreads spread below, I had an exceptional reading year. 

Bambi's 2016 Reading Challenge / 295 of 250 books

I do hope 2017 is as bountiful... having a hard time picking favorites is a first world problem that I love to encounter. Because its so hard for me to pick, I list my picks a little differently. Instead of doing a countdown style list, I recognize why each book made it to the top of my pile. So take a gander below at my cream of the crop for 2016!

Best New Series
Soulwood by Faith Hunter
Faith Hunter is a new-to-me author this year, but I jumped on the chance to read a new urban fantasy series. This one is just so unique that I couldn't get enough. Between Nell's back-country common sense and the magic of her woods, she was my most interesting heroine of 2016. 

Best Contemporary Romance
My Review
Bounty by Kristen Ashley
It's not a secret that I don't read a ton of contemporary romance. However, Kristen Ashley is the exception for me. She writes alpha heroes that are good men, and heroines that don't annoy the heck outta me. I like that her characters are mature (none of the new adulters, thanks) and they act like adults. Bounty featured one of my favorite characters of Kristen's - the mysterious Deke - the knight in shining armor for several prior heroines when they needed to be rescued most. 

Most Likable Hero

My Review
Discovery of Desire by Susanne Lord
Susanne Lord has made my list again this year, just like she did last year with her debut novel, In Search of Scandal. Seth Mayhew was the most eminently likable hero that I have come across in a long time. He was somewhat big and bumbling, a little awkward, but uber-personable and a wonderfully sweet flirt. I think this is the first genuinely nice guy hero that I have fallen for... and I predict you will too.

Most Enthralling Suspense

The Light by Aleatha Romig
This new series by Aleatha Romig is a total mindfeck, let me tell you. There were times when I didn't know who was getting indoctrinated... our heroine or me! There is a sinister cult, a heroine with an unknown identity, an anti-hero, and more danger than you can shake a stick at. Both of these books had my adrenaline going so high that I couldn't sleep until I got to the end. If you are suspense or dark romance fan, I think you will like these.

Favorite Hero

My Review
The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy
Just thinking about this book makes my mind turn off and say Mmmmmm, King Nakoa KaoPo. This hero helped me express my Jason Momoa fantasies... he was a fierce softie when it came to the heroine, Dafne. There are just so many good things about this book that I can't sum it up, so check out my review.

Best Ugly Cry

My Review
Fly with Me by Chanel Cleeton
Chanel Cleeton was another new-to-me author this year, and we started off with a bang. This military romance was deep and lusty and mature... all my favorite things in a contemporary romance. But have your tissues ready - military relationships are stressful and you will get twisted up in this story.

Best Historical Fiction
My Review
America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
It's really too bad that they don't give us books like this to read in school, because I would have learned much more about history. While some of this book is fictional, the fiction part is very light. This story is about Thomas Jefferson and his daughter, Patsy. All of Jefferson's dialogue was taken directly from some 18,000 letters that he wrote over his lifetime. The authors did an exceptional job with their research and formulating a story that would captivate and educate the reader.

Most Redeemed Character
My Review
Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley
I was extremely nervous to read Midnight Soul because of who the heroine was... Franka. You see, Franka was a semi-villain in the previous books of this series and I hated her with a passion. So I didn't think I could ever get behind her as a heroine, particularly in light of her viper-like tongue. But I should have never doubted Queen KA - she hooked me from the first chapter and I couldn't get enough.

Best in Continuing Series
Three Way Tie!

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews, Bitter Bite by Jennifer Estep, Archangel's Heart by Nalini Singh
Okay okay, so I know I'm cheating. But I just could not pick between these three! Ilona Andrews, Jennifer Estep and Nalini Singh are masters of paranormal and urban fantasy. These are series that I have read and re-read, and I really wish they would never end. 

Favorite Historical Romance Series

Victorian Rebels by Kerrigan Byrne
Kerrigan Byrne writes historical romance with a dark edge, and I love every minute of it. While The Highwayman was released in 2015, I did not read it until January 2016... which set me on a path of anxiously awaiting the next release. I couldn't get enough of these dark and broody heroes and, lucky for me, the next book in the series (The Duke), will be released soon!

That's it for me for 2016. I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year and I hope you will join me for a bright and shiny 2017.
Happy New Year!