I finally caved on GoodReads. For years, every time I finished a book, I’d jot it down in the back of my moleskine journal, scribbling out long titles and dates in the margins of a filling up Read list. So this year, I sat down, set myself a hundred book Good Reads challenge goal and got to work. As of today, May 22, I have read 34 books, putting me four books behind on the challenge–but I’ve got time! Of those 34, about 25 are romance novels. Here are my top five books or series from the list.
The Hard Ink Series, by Laura Kaye
I started this series in 2016, but finished most of the books this year. I’m putting the whole series down because, as I’ve said before, it’s amazing. It’s a Special Forces series filled with hot sex, subterfuge, a great plot and characters you’ll miss long after you finish reading. I honestly can’t pick a favorite book and there are a thousand reasons to read the whole series. Kaye is also really generous and shares short stories and hidden scenes when you follow her work. Seriously, this series is amazing.
The Raven Riders Series, by Laura Kaye
Obviously I stuck with her and followed the Hard Ink series into the Raven Riders. Is there anything sexier in the world than motorcycle bad boys protecting the people they love? We meet the characters from this series in Hard Ink, and it’s a natural progression from one to the next. I was worried I’d be disappointed, after how much I loved the first series, but I wasn’t. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll survive until the next book comes out in October. Seriously guys, help.
The Gaymers Series, by Annabeth Albert
I’m always a little hesitant when it comes to reading gay romance, not because I don’t enjoy it and support the genre, but for the opposite reason actually. A lot of authors of gay romance try and squeeze in every challenge or obstacle to face the gay community, past abuses, beatings, disapproving family members, gay therapy, all of them into every book.
True equality in this genre comes from not doing that, and instead representing gay or lesbian love with the same normalcy as hetero romance, as opposed to making the books representative of the entire history of the gay community. Albert does a pretty good job where this is concerned. Her stories are cute and sexy, no one is grappling with their sexuality, the challenges that face the couples are the challenges that might face any couple, and she’s baller at diversity when it comes to race, religion and physical ability. I look forward to reading more of her work.
The KGI Series, Maya Banks
I know how late to the game I am here, so you don’t need to tell me, haha. I’ve been avoiding this series only because it’s usually checked out from the library for weeks, but I got lucky on the first few books this time around and now I’m putting holds on the next one in the series as soon as I start a new one. This Special Forces series (are you seeing a genre theme?) is the quintessential Banks. It’s sexy, fast-paced and full of hunka hunka Kelly brothers in camo. Plus, there’s twelve books in the series and I’m all about that.
Seven Minutes in Heaven, Eloisa James
Anyone who’s poked around on the blog knows all about my undying adoration for Eloisa. She was the inspiration behind my renewed love for romance in college and the reason I started writing romance myself. In fact, her Desperate Duchess series, of which this is book #9 or #3 in the next generation, is my all time favorite romance series and that will never ever change. (Fine, top five for life. Hard Ink might be hedging it out for first.)
Admittedly, by the time this book rolls around, it’s a little tricky to keep all the characters and relationships and everything straight, but that’s okay. This book delivers all of Eloisa’s wit, charm and flirtation and we get to see some of our favorite characters from the original series causing trouble all over again. This book surpassed my ever-high Eloisa expectations.
These are just a few of the remarkable standouts in this genre that I’ve gotten my hands on this year. I consider myself incredibly lucky to learn at the feet – or pages – of such talented, interesting and different authors, and I look forward to delving deeper and wider into the romance genre and beyond. Drop me a line with some of the best romances you’ve read this year and I’ll add them to my TBR list! Maybe they’ll even be one of my next top five favorites! ♥