Alright, 2016 is finally coming to an end. I didn’t get to read nearly as many books as I wanted to this year, but I did read some really good ones. My favorites of 2016 don’t all have 2016 release dates, but this year is the first time I read them. They’re numbered because it’s a top ten(ish) list, but they aren’t listed in order of favorites. I think I’d cry if I had to make that distinction.
1) Omega Series: First Omega, Second Alpha, Third Mate by Rebecca James
Since I binged all three of these at once, I’m listing them all together. I’ve only recently started reading m-preg. And I loved this series. There was just something about the rough alphas and the adorable omegas. I was legitimately scared when two of the characters were in trouble in the human world. And somehow, even though they didn’t get much screen time, Leo and his little mate, Sam, were my favorites.
2) Grand Opening from the Kiss of Leather series by Morticia Knight
I’ve enjoyed the other books in this series so I was excited to read this. And I’m a sucker for stories with established couples who are trying to work through problems in their relationship, like Master Josh and David. There was lots of tension as the Masters work to get the club opened and Josh and David try to get their relationship back on track. I particularly loved Master Gavin assisting Josh. That was perfect! No offense to Master Josh, but when he learned his lesson I was cackling with glee. And of course, I’m panting with excitement for the next in the series: Gaining Trust. Like Ms. Knight said, Master Jordan and Chuck are about to set the air on fire, and I can’t wait to see it. January 24th, baby!
3) Don’t Twunk With My Heart by Renae Kaye
When I want fun and flirty, Renae Kaye is one of the authors I turn to. Don't Twunk With My Heart delivered on that. But there were more serious parts to the story as well: domestic violence, body issues, and ageism especially. I appreciated seeing those real-life issues handled in a way that wasn't too heavy, but still gave them the attention they deserved. And of course when I wanted the cute, Twunk was there with sideline warfare and dance parties.
4) The Slave, The Soldier, The Master from the Free Men series by Kate Aaron
This was a wonderful series. And again, I binged it all at once, so I’m listing them together. The Soldier and the Slave were particularly well done as characters. But the stress the Master carried made my heart ache for him as well. I thought the pacing in the buildup of both their relationship and the overarching story was perfect. The world building was really well done as well. And I was so very happy with the conclusion.
5) Guarded by Cat Grant & L.A. Witt
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. I read this to the end. Then I immediately paged back to the beginning and started it over. That’s how much I enjoyed this one. Oh man, the vulnerability in rock star Jordan Kane just broke my heart. And Jase! So sexy. Such a good match for the rock star. It was a gorgeous story. Please read it. That’s all I have to say. Except, BRB about to go and read it again. ;-)
6) The Captive Prince Trilogy: Captive Prince, Prince’s Gambit & King’s Rising by C.S. Pacat
This came into my sphere of reading at just the right time. I’ve been wanting to start reading historical and historical fantasy books again. I asked for a rec on Facebook and several people suggested this series. I was completely enthralled. Laurent was my favorite. I really liked his cool precision and distance with passion and vulnerability hiding beneath. One of the books in the series was nominated for Goodreads Romance of the year (sorry I’m spacey and forgot which one). It got my vote.
7) Aces & Eights by Rain Carrington
I found this on Twitter after I saw Lyssa Dering live-tweeting her love for it. I checked it out and was in love! Eight was a little rough, but that’s just who he was. Besides, his roughness was what Kale wanted, and there was love underneath it. The side story was awesome too and I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series. But my favorite part was Eight calling Kale his Chiquito. SWOON.
8) Given the Circumstances by Brad Vance
I’ve seen Brad Vance’s name all over the m/m romance world but for whatever reason, I’m just now getting to his books. What I like most about the story, was how well the characters were drawn. I feel like I got so into the characters’ heads, especially Roger. He was just such a wonderful man. Even the way the author wrote him as a kid was just damn adorable. And Brian. Brian drove me crazy with his self-destruction. But he made me want to cry with what he needed to be a good man. Such a simple thing! Roger and Brian had a few missteps, but their love was beautiful. The ending was a little bittersweet, but I still super-duper loved it.
9) All Note Long by Annabeth Albert
I discovered Annabeth Albert thanks to her story in the 2015 Goodreads M/M Romance Don’t Read in the Closet event. And I’m so glad I did! Her stories are perfect in having characters who make me want to wrap them up in a blankie and feed them cookies and hot cocoa. Michelin Moses, the accidentally outed country music star, was that character for me. And Lucky was just so damn cute with his goals, personal acceptance, and ability to help Michelin while still needing love himself. I’m not sure if this is the last in the Perfect Harmony series. If if is, it's the perfect end cap.
10) For Real by Alexis Hall
First things first. This was a good, meaty, long book. And I love a good, meaty, long book. And I loved the story. A nineteen-year old, trying to learn who he is, and an older man rediscovering himself. It was a wonderful book, with beautiful language and emotions. And as far as the sexy times go, I’ll quote Aaliyah here – “Age ain’t nothing but a number, throwing down ain’t nothing but a thang.” Whew!
*Honorary All Time Favorite Re-Read: Johnnie by Cardeno C.
We all have them. The books that we pull up when we need to settle down and read something we know we’ll love. Our security blanket books. I have a few, but Johnnie by Cardeno C is one of my favorites. I adore Johnnie. He was so sad, yet selfless. And Hugh was wonderful in how he took care of his pride. But as he got to know Johnnie and realized there was a real bond between them, he didn’t fight it. He studied it and then went with it. And their building relationship was beautiful. And hot. Ugh, I love them together so much!
And that's my Top Ten(ish) M/M Romance Reads of 2016. A fine list. But now I need to get started on my 2017 reading list. Especially since I've set a goal of reading 50 books. So if you have any reads you'd like to rec, especially those with POC MCs and/or in the fantasy sub-genre, I'd love to hear them!
Comment below with your favorite books, and in return, I might help you get started on your 2017 reading list! One commentor will be randomly selected to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble. Just think of all the lovely e-books you can buy from your TBR!
Your comment must be entered on this blog post to count. One comment entry per person. Leave your email in your comment or check the "Notify me of new comments to this post by email" box on your comment so that I can contact you if you're the winner. Contest ends January 11th and winner announced January 12th. Prize will be sent as an electronic gift card to your email. Good luck!
Thanks for reading!
Follow me around the internet! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads
View my titles on Amazon
My rambling and not at all edited thoughts on romance novels, writing, and pop culture.