My Favorite Romance Novels of 2016 (So Far)

Ever have one of those starts to the year where you feel like you're running and running and never quite catching up? That's me right now. I've been working my butt off getting three books ready for release this fall (as well as a re-release of my novella The Wedding Week in June), and I've been working through some special work projects for my day job. I hate falling back on the cliche excuse, but I've been busy. Still, I try to make time to read even if it's not quite as much time as I'd like. So here's a highly unscientific list of what I've been able to read* and enjoy so far this year:


So Sweet, by Rebekah Weatherspoon

So here's the deal. I know Rebekah Weatherspoon's incredibly smart and funny on Twitter, and I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to her at RWA last summer so I got to see all that in person. This means I should have realized her novella So Sweet was going to be just the right sort of funny-sexy-give-me-more-now-damnit but apparently I wasn't thinking straight because it was reallyfunny-sexy-give-me-more-now-damnit. Now everyone please go buy this book so we can all talk about Kayla and Michael. #okaythanksbye

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51kXbNdEUYL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_Stay With Me Forever, by Farrah Rochon

I want to apologize. This is the first Farrah Rochon book I've read of the several that have been stacking up on my TBR, and I feel like I've let all my friends down in not evangalising for her books before this. Stay With Me Forever is sharp and smart and sexy—just the sort of book that reminds me why I fell in love with category romance so many years ago. The hero is delicious, but the tough-but-noble heroine really steals this Louisiana-set book. Also, can I just say that this has nothing to do with the book but isn't that a gorgeous cover?

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Rushing to Die, by Lindsay Emory

Margot Blythe's back for another sorority sisters' mystery! I was thrilled when Lindsay announced there would be a sequel to her Sisterhood is Deadly and—true to form—I gobbled it up in an afternoon. Fun, funny, and sharp with a sexy police officer to boot, I absolutely love this cosy mystery series and can't wait to find out what happens next.

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619mS0eE2kL._AA300_No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, by Sarah Maclean

I'm going to pivot to audiobooks for a moment. I might not have had a huge amount of time to read this winter, but I did have to do some mundane things like commute and cook. Enter audiobooks. This was my first, and for about a week afterward I heard my own revisions in narrator Rosalyn Landor's delicious voice. I love the Rule of Scoundrels series (the second is still my favorite) and was happily surprised to find listening to the book a delightful experience.



The Splendour Falls, by Susanna Kearsley

This book isn't a romance but what RWA would have called a novel with "strong romantic elements" until they did away with that category at the RITAs (RIP). I picked The Splendour Falls up at an RWA long ago, and it took me until February to finally read it. I'm so happy I did because it fits this lovely subgenre of books about inevitably English women going somewhere charming like France, meeting a bunch of interesting characters, solving a low-stress mystery, and dealing with some link to the past. This is sink into an armchair with a cup of tea reading.

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*Sadly I can't talk about a couple really enjoyable RITA judging books I read in February because of contest confidentiality. Maybe one day I'll be able to innocuously slip them into a roundup and no one will be the wiser.

Books for All!

So yeah, that was a longer blog hiatus than I meant to take. Sorry about that, everyone. The good news is that amid all of the day job and professional writer craziness, holidays, and family time, I actually got a lot of reading done. Several transatlantic flights will do that to a girl.

So here's a big, long list of what I've read recently and am happy to recommend.

Romance & Erotica

Agnes Moor's Wild Knight Agnes Moor's Wild Night

by Alyssa Cole


Short and deliciously not sweet. This is a multi-cultural historical erotic romance set in Scotland, and I can't gush enough about it. The rafters of a great hall never saw so much action...


Radio Silence

by Alyssa Cole

Amazon | B&N | iBooks

I'm shamelessly plugging an Alyssa Cole that you can't read yet (sorry, not sorry). It's on pre-order until February 2nd, but I got an ARC and guys. Guys. I had no idea that I was into post-apocalyptic romance with hot Korean doctors, but I am. I really am.


Blamed: A Blood Money Novel

by Edie Harris

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A little bit James Bond, a lot of hot romance with a sexy British hero. What more do you need?


Stripped (Volume 1)

by Alexis Anne


We're several volumes into this very sexy rockstar romance from Alexis Anne. This is another I've been getting sneaky early reads of, and it's hot. Very hot. The hero, Travis, also has a knack for being sexy and tender at the same time. Perfect.


How to Fall

by Mary Chris Escobar

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If erotic romance and rockstars aren't your thing, take a look at this book. It's a women's fiction with a sweet, slow burn romance that develops over a summer.

Literary Fiction


Dept. of Speculation

by Jenny Offill

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I went on a depressing reading streak somewhere in late December-early January, and that's when I read this book. Yes, it's depressing (it's about the rise and fall of a marriage), but, man, is it good.


Dear Committee Members

by Julie Schumacher

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An epistolary novel told entirely in letters of recommendation written by a cynical, sardonic, egotistical English professor at a second tier university. This book is a masterful send-up of academic life.



My Salinger Year

by Joanna Rakoff

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My Salinger Year manages to capture the feeling of being a twentysomething year old woman living in New York City, broke but hopeful (and in a terribly dysfunctional relationship with a man you know you won't wind up with). The writing is masterful. My sister and I both reached the 40 page mark before realizing that this is a memoir and not a novel. I didn't want it to end.


Outliers: The Story of Success

by Malcolm Gladwell

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To say that Outliers is out of my comfort zone is an understatement. Normally I would never pick this book up, but it was recommended so ardently that I took a chance. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Gladwell has an easy way with narrative, and his work makes you think about how you look at the world.


Inheritance: The Story of Knole and the Sackvilles

by Robert Sackville-West

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I'm a sucker for family histories of the English aristocracy. There's enough scandal and bad behavior in this book to make parts of it read like a novel, and it has added interest in being tied in with the history of the house.


Bad Feminist: Essays

by Roxane Gay

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 I love Roxane Gay's collection of essays on everything from feminism and culture to Scrabble and questionable adult life choices. Some of the essays work better than me for others. I tend to get the most from her personal anecdotes or reviews of works I've engaged with (The Hunger Games books and movies). Although Gay doesn't believe in trigger warnings, I will say that if you're sensitive to rape accounts you're going to want someone one to screen some of the essays in the Gender and Sexuality section.