Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Favorite Reads for 2016

This year was different, not only publishing-wise but reading-wise. I'd set my reading challenge on GoodReads at 200 books for 2016 which in the past was easily obtainable. This year I didn't make it. Only by 10-ish books, but still, it was weird I didn't read more.

Looking back to August and September I read all of two books. Don't tell my husband but I did buy more books than I read this year. An old habit that I keep telling myself I'll break. I tell myself that I'll not buy anything more until I catch up the TBR... LMAO! It would take years of nothing but reading to catch up.

Part of the reason for the drop in reading was I worked my tail off. Another is I've been trying to keep a daytime schedule, so no staying up until 3 am reading. Then when I was in the mood to read, I reread my favorites--a lot.

This year's list I was able to keep to nine... authors... I know, it's not fair but those who had multiple releases this year I sorta just gobbled them up like the cookie monster. So bare with me. :)

I LOVE Dance With The Devil series. I have them in all available formats, ebook, print, and audio (where available) The Sword of the King was my favorite book in the series until Shield of the Dragon came out. It has action and smexyness as it continues the story begun in the Sword of the King. There is character crossover from another book in the series which made me squeal (literally) with excitement. And the dragons in this series, I adore them and their nature. 

Megan Derr had several releases this year that I consumed as if I was quenching a thirst. Wiggle & Sparkle about paranormal agents who were a gender fluid kracken and a unicorn. Lynn was wonderfully cranky and possessive and an expert at pissing people off. But Anderson proved to be different than the other unicorns but for all of Lynn's gruff demeanor, he has his insecurities.

Other releases that I devoured and put on my favorites shelf, The Only Option. I love dark characters like necromancers that can make me relate to them to the point I want to bring them home with me. And yes, dragons. :) Then there was Pirate of Fathoms Deep, the second book of Tales of the High Court. Loud and blustery Lesto falls in love with an ex-criminal. It just melted my heart how he yelled and stomped and then Shemal would appear and Lesto was all sugary sweet. LOVED. Then there was The Painted Crown the second book in the Unbreakable Soldiers series. Istari is one of those wounded characters that just breaks your heart from the beginning. He's scarred inside and out and I wondered when he was going to catch a break. So, so good.

Okay, moving on to my next obsession, Sloane Kennedy's Protectors Series. Originally, I wanted to read Absolution because it was M/M/M. (Really, there isn't enough poly out there.) That one read made me look at the backlist so that I could become acquainted with other works by Kennedy. Each book in this series came out steadily throughout the year. They are all what I think is called "hurt/comfort", which admittedly I don't read much of because I have problems with angst sometimes. If there isn't a good balance between the hurt and comfort then I can't finish. But this series has a good balance plus there is also suspense and mysteries to solve.

The Captain's Men was just simply fun and sexy. Lots of smexy times and every time I think of this series I smile. Reading it made me happy. Each of the characters are distinctly drawn and different from each other. I was sad to see the series end but it's one that I re-read often because I like how I feel when finished. 

You know I love dragons and I'm always excited to find good dragon stories. This was my first experience with Jaye McKenna and definitely won't be my last. Burn the Sky and Blackfrost were so awesome. A fantasy setting with great writing and stories. I want more of this world and dragons. I definitely checked out McKenna's backlist and look forward to her psi series. :)

Five Minutes Longer is what I'd consider a dark version of a superhero story. Some humans are suddenly becoming enhanced in puberty. They are rejected and feared but the FBI is considering putting together an enhanced/human team to deal with criminal enhanced. Finn, the human in this equation, is put in a sink or swim situation when he isn't really qualified to be a FBI agent. Everybody is waiting for him to fail but he turns out to be a better fit the job than anyone imagined.

A new addition to my auto buy author is Archer Kay Leah. I often buy books because of the cover. It's a weakness, I know. But that weakness is what brought A Question of Counsel (a lesbian fantasy romance) to my attention. I fell in love with the characters and world which lead me to pick up the second book in the series, Four (a gay fantasy romance). In between those came For the Clan which is a MMF romance set in a futuristic dystopia world. It doesn't matter what she writes, I'll definitely be reading it. :D

When I look for a sci-fi romance this is what I want every single time. Slow burn romance with intricate plot, species different in thought and form from humans, and a patient love that puts the other person above all else. Something I can't put down regardless of time or place. I love this series and each book gets better and better. Cosmic Inception is the third in the series and hopefully not the last. I think I might cry if there isn't more to come. 

The Horse Mistress is a book that I thought would be about a woman pretending to be a man because of the cultural structure of the society she lived in. It turned out to be much more. Carival sees himself as a man in the wrong body and questions his gender. I read him as gender fluid at times and transgender in others. Only a small part of this story is about Carival questioning his gender identity, the plot of this first book is about Carival travelling with the village's best warrior and their one remaining priest to the nearby village. Their quest is to convince the head of the village to ally with them against an invading force. There are five books to this series but I've only read the first one because I haven't had time to allow myself become engrossed in the series. Once I start reading the rest, I won't stop until I'm finished. 

The final addition to my "top ten" is Soul Breaker. This isn't a romance but a new adult, urban fantasy with a bisexual protagonist. Cal is only twenty-two and has seen things that would make most humans insane. But Cal is made of sterner stuff and went through the academy for the Department of Supernatural Investigations. Unexpectedly, he finds himself assigned to an elite team that is mourning the loss of a team member. Cal has to prove himself and figure out how to stay alive. I LOVED Cal. He's 22 and inexperienced and it shows every time he's wowed. But he's also determined, loyal, and will do what is right every time even when he's quaking in his boots. I listened to the audiobook while trying to get the holiday blankets crocheted and was so disappointed that the next book in the series wasn't on audio yet. Go read it!!

Well, that's it! My favorites of 2016. What were yours??