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Top Ten Romance Novels Of 2016

I run Pretty Little Book Blog and read a lot! My 2016 Goodreads counter shows 265 books and 58,106 pages read. I wish sleep was optional for humans so I could read more. Problem one: as a book blogger, I get slammed with requests and can’t always keep up. Problem two: seeing the lovely covers, I get grabby hands and buy more than I can read. In 2016 I read some amazing books in all genres, especially fantasy and romance. These novels were not picked for their popularity, but on complexity of plot, the character arcs, and my personal top loves. These are the novels you sink into, fall in love with the characters who linger long after the last page has been turned. My top fave Indie Romance (all sub genres) reads of this year:

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1. Coast: by Jay McLean

“Love is relentless. Even when that love turns to hate, turns to loathing, turns to pain. Love should heal you. But it can also break you. Believe me, I know. I'm Becca Owens, a broken girl. And he's Josh Warden, the boy who broke me.” This is a New Adult book and part of the More Than Series.

There are some stories that stick with you long after the last page is turned, and the queen of these kind of stories is Jay McLean. Her books dominate my top list. Lucky me! My fiance got me print copies of all her books for Valentine’s day! Becca and Josh are my second favorite couple in all of Jay’s books. Dylan and Riley are my top faves from the More Than Series.

The Coast starts when Becca sees Josh outside his bus at an event and so begins this beautiful story of life, loss and waiting. You will read this feeling free with the wind in your face and hope in your heart. As Becca grows and becomes stronger, I have never felt prouder of a fictional character. I wanted to bake her a cake with, “You an inspiration,” written on it.

Full Review: https://prettylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/review-coast-by-jay-mclean

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/zofd7yp

2. Juniper Smoke: by Sadia Ash

“Don't you think, Juniper, everything comes to its natural end? Friendship ends, lovers fall out of love, marriages break, people die, cities fall, stars implode and even this planet will crumble one day. Nothing lasts forever.” Juniper Smoke is a Contemporary Romance.

I have made no secret of the fact that I absolutely love this nerdy romance! It has been five months since it dropped and so many readers still have a book hangover. When I one-clicked, I got sucked into the massive story and read till my battery died. The story is smart, edgy and relatable. Juniper and Kyle and the side characters are all so life-like, I felt I was meeting people I had known for years. Ash goes against the grain of most romance novel tropes, but it works. She actually takes time to build the H & H relationship, the psychological profiles and backstories. Somewhere in my review I said and meant, “Sadia’s level of talent is tops of the romance game right now.”

Juniper Smoke is a romantic drama about Juniper Mills and Kyle Paxton who are as different as Red & Blue America. He is a San Francisco inventor of micro-cameras and she a Michigan museum curator of Celtic art. She looks to history for answers and he looks to the future for solutions. In finding each other, they struggle to find themselves. With diverse intelligent, witty, complex characters, Juniper Smoke has fun twists, mystical elements, dark secrets and edgy drama. Must read!

Full Review: https://prettylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/book-tour-and-review-juniper-smoke-by-sadia-ash/

One click here: https://www.amazon.com/Juniper-Smoke-Part-I-II-ebook/dp/B01I49JJ46

3. Veiled: by Karina Halle

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“Ada just wanted a normal life. He had other plans for her. Would you go through Hell for the one you love?” Veiled is a Paranormal Romance.

Veiled is a spinoff of Karina Halle's wildly popular EIT series featuring Perry's younger sister Ada. In true Karina Halle fashion, the story is never simple and there are some major twists and turns. Halle's mad plot skills are showcased in this story as well as the entire EIT series, which I loved. My order: drop what you are doing and schedule a binge read of the entire series!

Ada Palomino has grown up in a house of horrors, surrounded by a family, plagued by ghosts and demons and things that go bump in the night. When she meets the deeply mysterious, Jay, Ada begins to become more aware of her abilities and the dangerous entities after her. Throughout the story the tension and between Jay and Ada is off the charts! Their snarky banter and his alpha male I-must-protect-you-thing is pretty adorable and yes, I definitely needed some adorable in the midst of all the holy guacamole.


Full Review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1726294881

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/j5mlkc4

4. The Silent Waters: by Brittany C. Cherry

“I was ten years old when I lost my voice. A piece of me was stolen away, and the only person who could truly hear my silence was Brooks Griffin. He was the light during my dark days, the promise of tomorrow, until tragedy found him.” The Silent Waters is the book 3 in the Elements Series but a standalone Contemporary Romance.

I always love Cherry’s books and this stunning beauty is no exception. Brooks and Maggie have known each other since childhood. Tragedy strikes and through the years things blossom and change for both. The novel has a timeless quality to it as Brooks and Maggie mature and we see them chase their dreams in different ways. Like water in a pond, the ripples of change affect everybody. The relationship between Maggie's parents changes and her relationship with her siblings morphs and becomes something amazing. There are some massive changes on the horizon looming for Brooks and Maggie, but the only thing that matters is--will they be the change or will they be changed irrevocably by the ripples of their lives.

Full Review: https://prettylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/review-the-silent-waters-by-brittainy-c-cherry

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/zhv47us

5. Happily Ever Ninja: by Penny Reid

“When all's said and done, can Greg handle this new version of his wife? Or can the couple find a way forward without either being forced to step back into the shadows?” This is the 5th book in the Knitting in the City Series and is a Romantic Comedy.

I was a tad apprehensive to start this series as the entire indie book world was talking about them. The hype always make me a little nervous. I think, "Well are they really so good that everybody loves them...or is everybody jumping on the bandwagon because it's the new IT book and the cool thing to be seen reading?" So with trepidation, I dove in. In my opinion, the unvarnished truth, is the hype is so well deserved. With these characters Penny gives us this zany and comical yet completely realistic look at relationships and with Happily Ever Ninja and we get the best book in the series yet!

Full Review: https://prettylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/review-happily-ever-ninja-knitting-in-the-city-5-by-penny-reid/

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/jostlpl

6. Weightless: by Kandi Steiner

“I had trusted him, I had loved him, and even though my body had changed that summer, he’d made sure to help me hold on to who I was inside, regardless of how the exterior altered. But then everything changed.” This is a New Adult standalone book.

Natalie graduates from high school and is dumped by her boyfriend. This forces her to change her life and that is when her story begins. This novel has weight and grit to it and just shows another layer of Steiner’s talent as a writer. Before this, she was my sunshiny go-to author. But now, she’s rocking this gritty, romantic suspense vibe that I’m really digging too. I love it when an author can keep you on your toes by constantly evolving their craft. Trust me, you will be hearing the name Kandi Steiner for many, many years in the future and in many different genres.

Full Review: https://prettylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/review-weightless-by-kandi-steiner

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/zkcm68h

7. Paper Cranes: by Nicole Hite

“I was never a risk taker or chanced anything to fate. That’s until I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. All of my hopes, dreams, and aspirations fell by the wayside. I was dying. What else did I have to look forward to? Definitely not love. That’s until Lee Daniels came tapping at my window.”

This story is hands down my top read of the year! I don’t understand why it's not getting shouted from the rooftops. In a market clogged with these stories, where someone is terminally ill and finds love, there is usually this foreboding cloud that hangs over the entire story. In Paper Cranes, there are rough moments (it would be a disservice if everything was sunshine and light) but there is just this feeling of hope and positivity that draws you in.

Kat and Lee have this incredible road to romance and Nicole wrote these characters so well that you feel like you know them right from the beginning. You laugh and cry with them but most of all, you experience life with them. I loved all of Kat’s bucket list wishes and getting to go along on that adventure made this story stand out in my mind, like torches on dark nights.


Full Review: https://prettylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/19/my-top-read-of-the-year-review-paper-cranes-by-nicole-hite

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/zc2cqej

8. Wasted Words: by Staci Hart

A Romantic comedy inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma.

This book resonates with me so much! I have obsessed over every single book Staci writes and from the very first peek into this book I knew that Cam was going to be my book bestie soul sister character. As a fellow sort of nerdy girl I saw a lot of myself--I even have a dog named Spock--so to say we are both quirky is an understatement. As we progress through the pages, we find so much more to love in Cam and the plot thickens like pea soup.

Tyler Knight always looks on the bright side. His career-ending injury turned into a job as a sports agent. A horrible breakup led him to Cam, his quirky, smart roommate who is far more beautiful than she realizes. She’s made it perfectly clear she’s not interested in him — not like that at least — but if she ever changes her mind, he won’t hesitate. Because he doesn’t see the lines she’s drawn between them, as much as she insists that they’re there. Deep down he knows that despite their differences, they’re a match well made.

Full Review: https://prettylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/review-wasted-words-by-staci-hart

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/gtnaamp

9. Where Lightning Strikes: by A.L. Jackson

"For the last four years, Tamar King has hidden herself in an isolated world she created. She was safe. No one could touch her. Until Lyrik West walked through her door. He’s the lead guitarist for Sunder and everything she can never have. The dark and beautiful rock star becomes everything she craves.” This is a Bleeding Stars series book 3 and a New Adult Romance that can be read as a standalone.

I have always really enjoyed A.L’s stories. They are my little spot of pure escapism. With the previous two books in the Bleeding Stars series, we have alpha males and the strong women who are perfect partners for their crazy lives. The book has drama and...mmmm delicious angst, on crack. I think, I am an angst addict. The dramatic tension gets ratcheted up ten more levels to an incredible crescendo with Where Lightning Strikes. Like the crack of a summer thunderstorm, this book just conjures up raining emotions, uncertainty, and tension in the air as two forces of nature finally come together after the storm.

Full Review: https://prettylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/book-tour-and-review-where-lighting-strikes-bleeding-stars-3-by-a-l-jackson

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/j2dwy4w

10. Into The Tomorrows: by Whitney Barbetti

“Moving to Colorado to be with Colin, my high school sweetheart, was the perfect way to start over and rekindle what had begun to fizzle. I wanted that spark to ignite, to burn in passion and desire. Instead, I found myself falling for Jude, my boyfriend's roommate. He’s the only person who understands my soul, who can breach the walls I’ve built. But I can't have him. Because I'm Trista Kohl, and my destiny is sorrow.” Into The Tomorrows, is a New Adult book.

Like the wind whipping the trees, making branches bend to its will, the reader is at Whitney’s mercy here. This is such an unbelievable journey. All the characters have something they are running from, or not being truthful about. I was on edge of my seat and did not guess what was coming up with moments that were harbingers of something serious. By the ending, I was lured into a false sense of security, when the entire story crumbled down and I experienced all of those emotions that Trista was experiencing. It was like wave upon wave of the feels and I was just bobbing around holding onto my Kindle for dear life.

Full Review: https://prettylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/16/review-into-the-tomorrows-bleeding-hearts-1-by-whitney-barbetti

Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/zegf87p

If you made it to the end, you are a true reader. No more penning folks, back to the reading cave for me. Stay tuned for more Buzzfeed lists from me when I raise my head from the pages of my preciouses. If you don't get a chance to read all of them, I would highly recommend Juniper Smoke, Coast and Paper Cranes. Happy Reading! Happy Holidays and wish you all a wonderful New Year! PS. In the comments, let me know what your fave romance read of 2016 was?

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