Top Reads of 2016

It’s hard to believe another year is almost over! I read so many good books this year that it was difficult to narrow it down, but here are my favorites, in no particular order. To learn more about any of these books, follow the links to my review.

Must Reads- These are the stories that I’d most highly recommend. In fact, just thinking about them makes me want to go re-read them immediately.

cold-shotYou're the One That I Want

where-two-hearts-meetAn Elegant Façade     

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey As much as I enjoyed her first series, this book starts out even better. I’m looking forward to the next story.

You’re the One That I Want by Susan May Warren Never has a series of books made me shed so many tears as this one did, but I loved every one so much. This is the last book in the series and I’d definitely recommend reading them all in order.

Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson Prince Edward Island, romance, and excellent food. Need I say more? Caden is the closest heroine to myself I’ve ever met, so I absolutely adored this story.

An Elegant Façade by Kristi Ann Hunter If you enjoy Regency romance, this series is one of the best I’ve ever read. I loved the unique twist of seeing some events that happened in the last story through different characters’ perspectives.

Top Contemporary Romance This was a tough category to narrow down to my top four. As several excellent authors had a couple of books releasing this year, I’ve combined them. My top picks are:

Like Never Beforekeep-holding-onThe Goodbye Bridejust-a-kissthe-red-door-innsea rose lane

Like Never Before and Keep Holding On by Melissa Tagg The Walker Family series has been excellent. Who wouldn’t want to live in the charming quirky town of Maple Valley?

The Goodbye Bride and Just A Kiss by Denise Hunter If you enjoy plenty of kisses in your romance while still keeping it clean and inspirational, Denise Hunter is the author for you. I adored this series and was sorry to see it end.

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson The first book of the Prince Edward Island Dreams series is full of charm and emotion. And how about the gorgeous cover? I really need to visit someday.

Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon Hope Harbor is another one of those charming fictional towns that I’d love to move to. Irene Hannon is a top storyteller and writes both contemporary romance and suspense equally well.

Top Historical- While I didn’t read as many historical books this year, I did have a few that really stood out.

ReluctantDuchess_mck.indda-lady-unrivaledA Heart Most Certain

The Reluctant Duchess and A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White This author was a fantastic new discovery for me. I read The Reluctant Duchess and fell in love with the hero. And the heroine in A Lady Unrivaled was perfectly entertaining!

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears One of the more surprising stories for me, I didn’t expect this one to be as excellent as it was. I was anticipating a lighthearted romance, but this one had some great depth.

Top Suspense

hazardous-holidaytangled-websWithout Warning

Hazardous Holiday by Liz Johnson I really enjoyed the modern day marriage of convenience plot of this book. The suspense and danger was well written and felt realistic. Plus, Zach is a charming, honorable hero. Great book if you’re looking for a quick read.

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon You know a story is well written when you’re sympathizing with the villain as you learn his motivations. Great conclusion to an excellent suspenseful series.

Without Warning by Lynette Eason If you enjoy strong heroines, this one’s for you. The team of female bodyguards this series is focused around make for some interesting stories.

What about you? Which great books did you read this year? Do you agree or disagree with my picks? I know there are so many more that I didn’t get a chance to read. Otherwise I’m sure they would’ve been included. Check back next year for the upcoming books I’m looking forward to most eagerly. Wishing you all a very happy New Year! May you all be blessed with plenty of good books to read.

 

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Hazardous Holiday by Liz Johnson

hazardous-holidayWow! This was such a well written and unique story. It was a little different than the usual Love Inspired suspense because of the modern marriage of convenience angle, but that made it all the more interesting to me. Great characters, plenty of danger and some great plot twists combined for a story that was impossible to put down!

Plot: When widow Kristi Tanner’s son, Cody, is ailing and in need of a heart transplant, a temporary marriage to her husband’s cousin will provide her with the financial security and proximity to better hospitals that she needs. During the first year of their ‘marriage-in-name-only’ Navy SEAL Zach McCloud is deployed overseas. Upon his return, the family is nearly run off the road quite deliberately. With threat after threat coming at them and Cody’s health failing while he waits for a new heart, it will take everything Zach has to keep his family safe. All the while, both Kristi and Zach must guard their hearts, for they didn’t intend to make the marriage permanent.

Characters: Zach is definitely my kind of hero! You’ve got to love a man that will step up and take care of a child that’s not his own. I always enjoy a story of unrequited love, and Zach’s had a thing for Kristi since he was 18. Kristi is such a great mom and she’s willing to do anything to protect her son. My heart just goes out to her as she’s struggling with her son’s illness. I loved how much faith and trust that six-year-old Cody had! His character was so well written and genuine.

Recommendation: I’d highly recommend this book, and any other by Liz Johnson. It kept me guessing what would happen until the end. If you enjoy Romantic Suspense, you’ll love the non-stop action of Hazardous Holiday. It’s part of the Men of Valor series, but completely stands alone.

Rating:  5/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review is my honest opinion.

Christmas Conspiracy by Susan Sleeman

christmas-conspiracyWhile I’ve been waiting since the beginning of this series to learn Jake’s story, I’m sad to see the First Responders come to an end. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the team. I love the camaraderie they have. Each story has been so well-written, packed with mystery and suspense. Christmas Conspiracy was a great conclusion to the series.

Plot: When  there’s an intruder at Rachael Long’s day care, she’ll do anything to protect the baby that’s currently in her care. The First Responders show up and team leader Jake Marsh is able to rescue Rachael and baby Kelly. While Rachael saw the attacker, she was drugged at the time and is unable to remember, but the attacker doesn’t know she can’t identify him. When Jake realizes Rachael’s still in danger, he takes on the job of keeping her, Kelly, and Kelly’s mother safe.

Characters: Rachael and Jake were both wounded. She lost her husband and unborn child and is reluctant to risk her heart again. Jake is still dealing with the guilt from an accident in his childhood, which makes him determined to be a protector.  I loved how the author introduced several characters that all looked suspicious. It kept me guessing until the end.

Recommendation: I’d highly recommend this book, and the entire series, to anyone who enjoys a great inspirational suspense story. Sleeman always has great details to the investigation in her stories.  I always enjoy how accurate they feel. While Christmas Conspiracy is the last book in the series, it can be read as a standalone.

Rating:  4.5/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review is my honest opinion.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Check out these giveaways I have going on and leave a comment on those posts to enter. Great odds of winning!

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck *Plus GIVEAWAY!*

Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl *PLUS GIVEAWAY!*

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck *Plus GIVEAWAY!*

the-wedding-shopHauck is a master storyteller and expertly weaves her characters’ lives into a moving story. Full of heart, The Wedding Shop exceeded my expectations and was difficult to put down. I really enjoyed the dual timeline, telling both the present day story of Haley and the historical tale of Cora, a previous owner of the Wedding Shop. I found myself very emotionally invested in their lives.

Plot: In the present day, Haley Morgan finishes her military career and returns to her hometown to honor her friend Tammy’s memory by fulfilling their childhood promise to re-open The Wedding Shop. Tammy’s former fiancé , Cole Danner can either help or hinder her goal. As a contractor, Cole has the ability to help Haley restore the Wedding Shop, unless the town council accepts his bid to tear it down. Eighty years earlier, shop Continue reading

Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl *PLUS GIVEAWAY!*

fatal-frostDefenders of Justice Series, book 1

While I found this story to be a little slow paced at the beginning, I really enjoyed how the author threw in enough twists to keep me guessing. This is a tough one to rate, because I really liked the story idea and the characters were well-written, but it took a little while for the story to capture my full attention. I enjoyed how the three main character interacted. The friendship Mercy had with Tally was just as much part of the story as the romance between her and Mark. I was expecting to see a little more romance develop. Mercy and Mark had a relationship in the past, but as the bulk of the story occurs in just a few days, there wasn’t much chance for them to really start anything.

Plot: After a dinner meeting with her father, U.S. Marshal Mercy Brennan has the unwanted attention of gangs and drug cartel, who believe her father passed something on to her. As soon as Mercy’s supervisor is aware, he assigns Mercy’s former boyfriend Marshal Mark St Laurent and Mercy’s good friend Tally Williams the duty of getting Mercy out of town. As the trio head to the middle of nowhere to investigate some suspicious activity regarding a protected witness, a car accident leaves them struggling to survive.

Recommendation: I recommend this book for those who enjoy inspirational suspense with just a hint of romance. I’m curious to see if these characters will show up in the next book, because I’d like to see more of their stories.

Rating: 3/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House. This review is my honest opinion.

I’m giving away one copy of this book to a lucky reader. Just tell me if you’re a fan of inspirational romantic suspense. If so, who are some of your favorite authors? Giveaway is open for US mailing addresses only, please. Giveaway ends on Dec. 7th at midnight. Happy reading!