We are coming to the close of another year and as I look back at the hundreds of books I’ve read, I’m amazed at just how books I’ve not only read, but loved. I’m either really good at picking books I know will work for me, or I’m just really easy to please, because narrowing down my top books of 2012 is going to be REALLY, REALLY hard!
I’m going to start with my favorite debut novel and author of 2012, a book that I picked up just a few weeks ago from Carina Press: Love in the Afternoon by Alison Packard. I adore all things contemporary romance, so when I read this blurb and saw this cover, I knew I had to give it a shot and see where the journey would take me. Holy crap am I am glad I picked up this book. It was full of amazing characters, a wonderful setting, and lots of sexual tension. Fans of Carly Phillips, Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery should DEFINITELY check this book out!
Next is a book that was written by two of my favorite authors under a brand new pen name. When I heard my paranormal romance favorites Bree and Donna were branching out to write smutty post-apocalyptic romance, I begged for a copy of Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha. Not only was this book totally off-the-charts sexy, but it also opened a world that is dark and twisted and full of everything I’ve come to love in my post-apocalyptic books. This is one that erotic romance fans do NOT want to miss out on.
I’ve been burned before with self-published books, and hate to admit that I’m hesitant to try them out. Despite the fact that I love the crackiness that comes from a Kristen Ashley book, I get equally frustrated by the lack of editing, grammar and general skill level in the books. Because of that, I’m usually the kind of girl that will pass on self-published book. But when Elaine Levine contacted me about reading the first book in her new romance suspense series Red Team - The Edge of Courage – I was intrigued by not only the overall plot, but also the PTSD issues the hero had to deal with. I am SO glad that I took on chance on this book, because Levine does such a beautiful job of not only putting out the best possible book she can, she also writes incredible stories with twisted suspense plots that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. This series is one not to be missed. Fans of Cindy Gerard will like the Red Team!
In 2012 I also went on a bit of a m/m reading binge. Between reviewers and Goodreads friends, I scoured the virtual bookshelves for new m/m authors and books. However, no one else could surpass my favorite author and series, so of course Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux made the list. Although Armed & Dangerous was released this year as well, and gave us a glimpse back into the mind of Julian Cross, Stars & Stripes was by far the better read IMO. I loved that we got to see more of Zane’s family life and got the chance to see Ty and Zane really come together and out as a couple. This book was more romance centric than the others in the series, and I for one thought it rocked my world!
This year I also discovered a new-to-me author via a free Carina Press giveaway. I love when publishers offer the first book in a series free, and I’ll be the first to admit that I usually get each and every book offered free, and more often than not end up buying more books in that series or by that author. In November, I went through the entire Fatal Series by Marie Force in one weekend. I gobbled up Nick and Sam like you wouldn’t believe. When the fifth book in the series, Fatal Deception, was released, I pre-ordered it and read it and fell even more in love. Following one couple through their relationship while solving high-profile and twisted murders might be my new favorite thing to do! Nick and Sam pulled me into their lives after the first book, and I can’t stop reading them anytime soon. I am so anxious for more in the series, and have picked up other books by Force as well.
Finally, I’d like to do an honorable mention of a book I read this year that wasn’t published this year. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of paranormal romance and Urban Fantasy, but had never really found straight fantasy romance to be my thing. However, when Has and Lou pushed me to pick up Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughn, I was swooning by the end. I loved the story, the characters, the old world feel, everything about it. I can’t believe I held out so long on reading this book. For anyone else who has Warprize on their TBR list, I’m telling you now: move it to the top, you won’t be disappointed. For everyone else, yes, you told me so!
So there it is… Now that I’ve finished writing this up, I’m actually surprised to see that almost all these books are from digital first publishers. Two books from Carina Press, two books self-published, and one from the new m/m publisher Riptide. I don’t know if this means I just happened to read more ebooks this year, or just wasn’t as impressed with the big name publishers or what. Either way, for me, 2012 seemed to be the year of the ebook, and I couldn’t be happier with the quality of books.
So there you have it. Have you read any of these books? Did any of these make YOUR favorite list? To share my love of my 2012 books, I’m going to giveaway one book to a lucky commenter. Just let me know which of my top 5 books intrigues you most, and why. The giveaway is open internationally and ends December 31st. Good luck!