Like most of you, I am hoping for a better 2017 but I can’t say that 2016 was all horrible. Thanks to the book community I enjoyed some new works by authors on my auto-buy list, found some new-to-me authors, and was reminded of others I really should read more often. I also learned that burnout in one facet of life spills over into others. I remembered how much I enjoyed creating in the kitchen #RomBakeOff, sharing my successes, and laughing at my failures. I also learned as much as I love reading and talking about books, sometimes I need to shut everything off and color or fold origami to recharge my creativity and let my mind actually rest. In between all of these, the ups and downs of publishing, world and political events – authors kept creating, editors kept editing, and I knew I could always say I needed something to read and suggestions would appear. I also knew I could talk about upcoming/current books or even ones published long before my birth and find kindred spirits so thank you.
And now enough of my rambling, time for the good stuff, the list of books/authors who made a lasting impact on me over the past year. To make the list I had to read the book listed or the author for the first time in 2016 and it had to stick, very subjective I know. Minor disclaimer – I didn’t read as many new things this year as usual so if you were looking for something in particular I might not have read it. Please feel free to add suggestions for me to try something in the comments **grin**.
- Amanda Bouchet – A Promise of Fire Kingmaker Chronicles #1, completely blew me away. Book 2 is out now! Review to come.
- S.K. Dunstall – Linesman Linesman #1, I loved the intersection of music, communication, and space. Reminded me of how much I loved McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer trilogy.
- Todd Lockwood – The Summer Dragon The Evertide #1, DRAGONS need I say more? The vivid imagery, the heroine and her love for dragons, her family, and attempts to do the right thing. The struggle between religions and gods even in the face of war. The loss of innocence, trust, and a refusal to quit.
- Rhonda Mason – Empress Game The Empress Game #1, winning female gladiator, secrets, politics, bio-warfare, intrigue, tension, and treachery.
- Sarah Morgan – Sleepless in Manhattan – From Manhattan with Love #1. I picked this up at RWA this year and I honestly think it has one of THE best groveling scenes which also shows a deep understanding of the intricacies of women’s friendship. Might have hooked a sibling on this author.
- Lucy Parker – Act Like It I enjoy theater but this never would have hit my radar if it wasn’t for Sarah from Smart Bitches talking excitedly about it during brunch one late afternoon and I am so glad it did. I can’t wait for Parker’s next release coming in Feb.
- Jenny Schwartz – I glommed my way through The Collegium series when I saw one on Veronica Scott’s weekly Wednesday roll-up of new SFR. The mixture of demons, shifters, witches, magical threats of various shapes and sizes, the lust for power, and a Collegium at the center of it all was my catnip. I really enjoyed reading these and I am super curious to see what 2017 brings from Schwartz.
- H.E. Trent – Erstwhile The Jekh Saga #1 is SFR which is one of my favorite romance sub-genres. I certainly can’t resist aliens suspiciously similar to humans, conspiracies, lies, politics, family traditions, and a refusal to conform to what is expected. It also has a strong thread involving women who subvert the system.
- Holley Trent – I am going to say start with The Afotama Legacy series and move on from there. I discovered her browsing the Women of Color in Romance website and after reading the first one promptly devoured all of her PNR. See also the previous entry for her other name.
- Martha Wells – I have to be honest and say I had heard of her before and even found one of her stories on my TBR on my kindle. But it took me until this year and a sale to pick up one of her Stories of the Raksura collections and start reading. The next thing I knew I had to find more about the Books of the Raksura stories. I am curious about the new series/world she is starting this year.
MORE FAMILIAR NAMES
- Ilona Andrews – Magic Binds Kate Daniels #9 and One Fell Sweep Innkeeper Chronicles #3 I really think Andrews’ writing gets better with each new release and I am still able to go back and reread previous releases with enjoyment.
- Jacqueline Carey – Dark Currents Agents of Hel #1 such a fascinating premise and very different from the last series I read by Carey. Still need to go back and pick up the others in this series.
- Drake, Piper J. – Ultimate Courage True Heroes #2 the connection between the wounded dog, the wounded woman, and the wounded man was so amazing to read.
- Laura Florand – Once Upon a Rose La Vie in Roses #1 the final book I read in 2016 and so very good. The tension between hero and heroine, the bonds, roles, and expectations of family, the sensory descriptions… why do I wait so long between Florand reads? Pushed it on my family and promptly started catching up on her backlist.
- Thea Harrison – Moonstruck Moonstruck #1, review to come, brought me back to the feeling I had when I first read Dragonbound. So excited about Harrison’s writing and this other side of the Elder Races world.
- Anna Kashina – Assassin Queen Majat Code #3, this was a longtime coming and I was worried given how book 2 ended. But both Marlene my co-reviewer and I were quite happy with the outcome. I wonder what Kashina has in store.
- Shelly Laurenston – The Undoing Call of the Crows #2 strong violent women trying to prevent the end of the world, strong violent men who love them, ancient goddesses, gods, and their interference, over the top characters, humor, and passion. I love this series and Laurenston’s melding of greek, roman, norse, and contemporary.
- Carol van Natta – Jumper’s Hope Central Galactic Concordance #4 I am hooked on this huge universe, its diverse characters, the plots within plots, and how it reminds me of Asimov’s Foundation but is a lot more approachable. I also like how specific threads or characters tie the different installments together while allowing each to stand separately.
- Robin D. Owens – Ghost Talker and Ghost Maker Ghost Seer #4 and #5 provided higher stakes and huge steps forward in relationships, self-confidence, and character growth. Such an unusual series that Marlene and I both enjoy reading.
- Lisa Shearin – The Brimstone Deception SPI Files #3 and Wedding Bells, Magic Spells Raine Benares #7 both provide adventure, humor, danger, and very vivid worlds. I enjoy everything I read by Shearin.
- Nalini Singh – Allegience of Honor Psy-Changeling #15 WOW, ensemble cast book, tying up threads, starting others, plot movement, danger increases with hope of success and the transition between series arcs. Rock Wedding Rock Kiss #4 second chance at love and really pulled my heartstrings. Really enjoyed this series and how the close knit band-members have grown. Looking forward to a certain rugby family. Archangel’s Heart Guild-Hunter #9 Elena, Raphael, Sparkle, secrets from the past, and Archangels in agreement(!). All three of these were great installments in their respective series.
- Nikki Winter – Beastly Passions Verochka Pride #2 I discovered Winter years ago but lost track so it was an absolute delight to discover more PNR. This one with a clash of cultures, vengence, and once again fierce intelligent heroine who refuse to take anyone’s sh*t.
- Maisey Yates – Tough Luck Hero Copper Ridge #5 **giggles** enemies to lovers, drunk marriage, small town politics I really enjoy Yates contemporary westerns and her cast of characters. Reminds me of the joy I had in the historical westerns I read as an early romance reader.
2017 ANTICIPATED READS/CATCH UP READS
- G.A. Aiken – Dragon Kin
- Ilona Andrews – Innkeeper, Kate Daniels, Hidden Legacy
- Lauren Dane – Diablo Lake, Whiskey Sharp
- HelenKay Dimon
- Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott – Unbreakable Bonds
- Laura Florand
- Jeaniene Frost – Ian, Vlad, Broken Destiny
- Stacy Gail
- Yasmine Galenorn
- Anna Hackett
- Thea Harrison – Elder Races
- Faith Hunter – Jane Yellowrock, Soulwood
- Jeffe Kennedy
- Shelly Laurenston – Call of the Crows, Honey Badgers
- Courtney Milan
- Carol van Natta
- Janet L. Nye – The Cleaning Crew
- Michelle Sagara – Chronicles of Elantra
- Jenny Schwartz
- M.J. Scott
- Lisa Shearin – Raine Benares, SPI Files
- Nalini Singh – Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunters, Rugby Players
- Holley/H.E. Trent
- Martha Wells
- Nikki Winter