Friday, February 17, 2012

My Favorite Books of 2012

I'm approaching my "Best of" post for 2012 a little differently than I did last year. Instead of trying to stretch my brain at the end of the year to recall which books I loved best --perhaps months after I read them-- I'm keeping a running post this year that I will update as we go along. They're listed by the month of publication.


by Kristen Callihan
It's part historical, part paranormal, part faerie tale and all good. This original take on the Beauty and the Beast theme was a big winner for me at the beginning of the year. It appears to be just a marriage of convenience between Miranda (the daughter of a merchant) and the enigmatic Lord Archer... but it's so much more. Our hero, Archer, is dark and mysterious. He wears a mask covering his face and he is deliciously tortured. The heroine is strong and loyal and the perfect woman to help tear down his walls and save him in every way that matters.

Click to purchase: Firelight

by Darynda Jones
This third installment in the Charley Davidson series is easily the best yet. It's action packed, sexy and so funny! If you're not familiar with the series, Charley is the grim reaper and a PI. She is irreverent and snarky. And she is in love with Reyes, someone --er-- more than human. Theirs is a rocky road, but it's so great to watch them stumble toward each other. A great twist at the end of this story has me panting for book 4.

Click to purchase: Third Grave Dead Ahead 

by Jennifer Estep
I was really worried when I finished Spider's Revenge. After all, that book resolved the major conflict facing Gin Blanco throughout the course of the series. It was the perfect swan song... the logical conclusion to Gin's story. But then Jennifer Estep delivered this: the best book yet in the Elemental Assassin series. The story follows our favorite assassin as she takes her little sister on vacation and learns that the Spider never truly takes time off. It's fast paced, emotional and unpredictable. Very, very good.

Click to purchase: By a Thread


by Thea Harrison
As much as I loved Dragon Bound and Storm's Heart, this latest edition of the Elder Races series is officially my favorite of the bunch. It centers on Khalil the djinn and his unlikely relationship with Grace, the young Oracle raising her sister's children. It's not a big, epic action book. It's a love story. It's sexy and it's romantic. Khalil is a fabulous hero. Harrison doesn't even try to make him human, and perhaps that is part of the reason why he is so captivating. I'd recommend this for fans of the series, but it would still be enjoyable for new readers.

Click to purchase: Oracle's Moon

by Stacia Kane
I want to kick myself when I think about the fact I almost gave up on this series during the first book. Because it is now one of my top UF series of all time. This book proves once again what an amazing talent Stacia Kane has. She has created a heroine who is fundamentally broken in a way that may not ever heal. And Kane stays true to that, never giving in and simply fixing her. Here we see Chess trying to just be happy, now that she has accepted her love for Terrible. But they have many more twists and turns --and obstacles to overcome. Throughout the story, I feel what Chess feels. I watch her running toward her own destruction and basically turn my insides into something resembling a pretzel. But I couldn't put the book down and I mourned it when it was over. (Not to mention, I think I may be in love with Terrible, myself.)

Click to purchase: Sacrificial Magic


by Abigail Roux 
The Cut and Run books are, hands-down, my favorite m/m series.  And this book proved that Abigail Roux has what it takes to knock my socks off, even without longtime writing partner Madeleine Urban.  It has such fleshed-out characters, they almost feel like real people I know. There is tenderness, rocking-hot sex, action, danger, mystery and humor.  This story brings Ty and Zane to a whole new level in their relationship, while incorporating characters from the Urban & Roux book Warrior's Cross... a genius idea that pays off in spades.  If you want to give m/m a try, start at the beginning of this series. If you're already a fan, I promise you, this installment does not disappoint!

Click to purchase: Armed & Dangerous

Lethal Rider
by Larissa Ione
If you asked me before I read this whether I thought I'd ever find pregnancy sex, sexy, I would have given you an unreserved "no." But Larissa Ione manages to do it here. And the sexy times are only a small part of what makes this book so good.  The world-building is amazing, the characters are engaging, and the plot kept me on the edge of my seat.  This is easily the best installment in the Lords of Deliverance series to date. Ione makes it even better as she incorporates her fantastic characters from the past.  It's really, really good.

Click to purchase: Lethal Rider


by Jeaniene Frost
Part of me will always hold a soft spot for my beloved Cat & Bones, but the last few books haven't really jumped out and grabbed me like the older ones.  I am happy to report that the magic I have missed is firmly in place with this Vlad spinoff.  Vlad is a sensational hero; cocky without ever being a dick to his heroine. The pacing is great and the sex is HOT.  Fans of the Night Huntress world won't want to miss this one.  And I think it would be an easy jumping in point for new readers as well. 

Click to purchase: Once Burned

by Elizabeth Hoyt
I didn't just love this book because it had a virgin hero.  Or because he was a mild-mannered school-master by day and a masked vigilante at night. It wasn't just the off-the-chain sexual tension or the uber-hot lessons in seduction. It was all of those things and more that made this historical romance a book that I could not put down.  I loved watching the stoic and repressed Winter break out of his shell as he fell in love for the first time.  (*swoon*)

Click to purchase: Thief of Shadows

by Michelle Willingham
This is another story made amazing by a fantastic hero.  I say all the time that I am a sucker for a tortured hero and that's true, but some are done better than others.  And Callum is done right!! He spent the past seven years in captivity. His torture ravaged his body and stole his voice. But the kindness showed to him by his captor's betrothed saved his sanity. Once he becomes free, he never gives up on the woman who touched his heart and changed his life. Go buy this book. Seriously.

Click to purchase: Tempted by the Highland Warrior  


Stars & Stripes
by Abigail Roux
I debated with myself about adding this one since I already have one from this series on the list. But the God's honest truth is that I loved this book so much that I couldn't live with myself if I left it off. The feel is very different than Armed & Dangerous. There is external conflict, but this is so much more a romance.  I am so invested in Ty & Zane and in their relationship and I feel like this book is a payoff on all the drama up to this point.  The sex is as hot as ever.  And it made my heart all mushy. Excellent.

Click to purchase: Stars & Stripes


by Anna Campell
I am such a sucker for a good Beauty & the Beast story.  Jonas Merrick is such a wounded and broken, scarred hero.  Branded a bastard and living a solitary life, his heart is awakened by the beautiful, innocent Sidonie. She agrees to give him seven days to seduce her, in order to clear her sister's gambling debts. There is no way either of them can know how deeply they will change each other's lives forever.  It's sexy and it pulls on the heartstrings.  A fantastic historical romance.

Click to purchase: Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed

I'll keep adding as the awesome books come in. Please share your 2012 favorites in the comments below!

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At Friday, February 17, 2012 at 10:30:00 AM CST , Blogger BookaholicCat said...

The only book I have read from that list is Third Grave Dead Ahead and I loooooved it!
I can't wait to read the other ones.

At Friday, February 17, 2012 at 10:43:00 AM CST , Blogger The_Book_Queen said...

This is a great idea--I always have problems trying to remember specifics about books (yes, sometimes even my top picks of the year) and when suddenly it's December and time to start creating the post, my mind is blank. Never a good thing. LOL. I think I'll have to do this as well! :)

I haven't read any of those books. Look forward to though! I read book one of Kane's series, but that's it. Never did pick up 2. Might have to one of these days...


At Friday, February 17, 2012 at 10:49:00 AM CST , Blogger jen7waters said...

Firelight looks awesome!! :0

At Friday, February 17, 2012 at 12:21:00 PM CST , Blogger Unknown said...

Firelight looks amazing!

I also wanted to let you know that I tagged you on my blog :D Hope you're doing well

Evie@ Paromantasy

At Friday, February 17, 2012 at 6:39:00 PM CST , Blogger Book of Secrets said...

Firelight was amazing. :-)

At Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 8:57:00 AM CST , Blogger Jennifer @ The Book Nympho said...

Well my best of 2012 are new releases but I read/listen to them this year.
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
Vampire Mistress by Joey W. Hill

At Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 10:45:00 PM CST , Blogger Amy said...

I really REALLY loved the intense, raw dark and twisted attraction between McKayla and Jericho Barrons in the Fever Series. His dark and silent bad boy stuff has me daydreaming still. Any of the above books or ones you know have a similar kick to them? I'm literally dying for more!

At Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 10:56:00 PM CST , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

There is nothing that I could compare to the Fever series. It's in a category all its own. I'm not sure what books you have read already, but if you are looking for dark and gritty paranormal romance, my first suggestion would be the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. You can get the deets here:

If you are looking for something more in the way of dark Urban Fantasy with an arresting relationship, I just finished glutting myself on Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series. It's unusual, but utterly captivating once you get into it. More details here:

Feel free to email me if you want to talk more specifics: jendaleen at yahoo dot com.

Hope that helps!

At Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 6:06:00 PM CST , Blogger Tyraa said...

Firelight was a fav for me too. Soo good!

At Monday, April 2, 2012 at 11:10:00 AM CDT , Blogger Annonymous... said...

Good them all.I also loved lothaire by kresley Cole and something ant witches by joey hill.Derek is yummy .my all time yum tu,m is jerricho........

At Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 9:58:00 AM CDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you review any of the Lynsey Sands books?

At Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 10:23:00 AM CDT , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

I've read one Historical Romance trilogy of hers:

I haven't read the Argeneau books. They're on the TBR pile, though.

At Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 8:01:00 PM CDT , Blogger Allison said...

Jen, that's a fantastic list! I've yet to read Firelight but it's on my TBR! I wholeheartedly agree with Lethal Rider & Third Grave Dead Ahead - I read all 3 together & was panting by the end! Can't wait for the next one :D

Anonymous, I've read quite a few of the Lynsey Sands Argeneau series & they're funny but not very meaty. They are the epitome of fluff, but if that's what you're looking for, they're perfect! I wouldn't read too many right after each other since some things get repeated, but Sands does have a very intriguing mythos behind her vamps & her heroes are quite delicious.

A few of my favorite books this year were:

LOVER REBORN (I'd reread it monthly if I had time)
Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas (one of my all time favorite authors, she really gets me to feel)
About That Night by Julie James
Divergent by Veronica Roth (even though it came out last year, this one really stuck with me)

At Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 8:03:00 PM CDT , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

I've heard good things about the Julie James book! I liked LR, but didn't love. I'm all-in for Lover At Last, though.

At Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 8:27:00 PM CDT , Blogger Jennifer @ The Book Nympho said...

I second both of those recommendations!

At Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 8:48:00 PM CDT , Blogger Melanie (@AudiobookMel) said...

I've heard good things about Firelight, but haven't read it yet. There have been some really good books out this year. I have a hard decision to determine which book to read first next week. Chasing Magic or Once Burned. Terrible or Vlad?? Decisions, decisions.

At Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 8:52:00 PM CDT , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

They are so, so different. That's like saying, Do I feel like a steak or hot fudge sundae?

Chasing Magic is heavy reading, while Once Burned is light and sexy. But you know I am a big fan of both authors!

At Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 9:38:00 AM CDT , Blogger Simply Natural Notions said...

D.B. Reynolds has a series out there...Vampires in America! I fell in love with it. :)

At Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 3:51:00 AM CST , Anonymous mizzmelai said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! For introducing me to Ty and Zane!!! My first m/m series.I read all six books in a week! And now I badly need sleep but I don't really care. I wanna reread the books again. Some of my girlfriends are now as addicted as I am.

More power!

At Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 4:18:00 AM CST , Blogger Jen at Red Hot Books said...

This makes my heart so happy!! Ty + Zane = 4eva

At Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 7:58:00 AM CST , Blogger littleread1 said...

What a good idea! I may have to do this for 2013. I admit to having a hard time remembering all the books I read in 2012. Thanks goodness for GR keeping track for me! :-)

I am working on catching up with many of these series. I feel like I am so far behind where I should be sometimes!


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