In December, I always like to blog about my favorite books of the year. Because I do a lot of editing and beta reading, I recognize that can cause bias, so my only rules for this annual post are: 1) I read the book in 2017 and 2) I had nothing to do with the production of the book. With that in mind, let’s get on to the part where I talk about books! I have nine favorites this year! (Click on any of the covers to go to Goodreads to learn more about the book.)
The Art of Mutual Pleasure by K.A. Meridian – This book has the distinction of being my absolute favorite stroke book of possibly all time. Make of that what you will, but, believe me, a truly filthy and yet wonderful stroke book is hard to find. I, uh, have spent a lot of money and time in the endeavor, let me assure you. Ahem. So, yes, this one is delicious and dirty and I will probably read it again and again. Don’t expect a perfectly told love story. That’s not the point of this book, nor should it be, and therefore if you want that, you’ll be disappointed. If you want something that will be a wonderful one-handed read? THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU.
Aqua Follies by Liv Rancourt – A mid-century historical that stuck with me for a long time. I’m not gonna lie to you and say there aren’t a few editing issues in this one, but the book as a whole is worth ignoring every last one of them. I admit I’m a sucker for the forbidden love aspect in historicals of any kind, and reading about a less explored time in terms of gay romance novels (the 1950s) was very enjoyable.
The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker – Not a romance (though it contains romantic elements), but one of my absolute favorite reads of recent years. I absolutely loved this book that, to quote the book jacket, “imagines the story of Ragnvald of Maer, the right hand man of King Harald Fairhair, first king of all Norway, and his sister, Svanhild, as she tries to find freedom in a society where the higher her brother rises, the greater her worth as a political pawn.” I give it all the thumbs up and recommend it highly.
The Julia Grey Mysteries by Deanna Raybourn – If I had to sum up 2017 in terms of my reading, it mainly consisted of these books. What I say next will sound like I’m damning them with faint praise, but let me assure you that if I hadn’t read all the books in the series already, I’d absolutely be picking up the next one immediately, because, well, I need books like this in my life. Now, let me explain: these books are perfect bedtime reading for me. They are engaging enough that I care, the characters are interesting enough that I like spending time with them and look forward to it, but the books aren’t so engaging or so interesting that I can’t easily fall asleep after a chapter or two. Not up all night feverishly turning pages. Not stressing about it through the day or dying to get back to it instead of writing my own books. But a lovely, pleasant, perfect interlude at night that I enjoyed and looked forward to. I read all the books in the series this year and I guess I’ll have to re-read them if I want to return to that pleasant little reading bubble. Or maybe I’ll try out Deanna Raybourn’s new lady detective series and hope I find the same level of magic.
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig – this Young Adult time-travel story ended up really getting under my skin in a good way. I think the fact that we ended up going to Oahu, one of the main locations in the book, later this year definitely added to my enjoyment of the book. Regardless, I loved the concept and the execution, too. The one loophole I thought I’d found, I googled and realized that, nope, she’d plugged it, too. Time travel books are usually full of loopholes. It’s hard, y’all, being a writer! I get it! Anyway, the burgeoning romance in this book made me feel all gooey inside and I can’t wait to read the sequel (which is now out!) to find out what happens next!
Just Playing by Ingela Bohm – I love the way Ingela Bohm writes. I can clearly see every single one of her scenes like they are playing out on a screen in front of my eyes. And the way she twists and evokes feelings–gah, my heart. The cover is sexy, yes, but what’s inside is truly divine. This book, set in the UK in 1975, feels so real that it almost physical hurts. I haven’t read the second book in the series yet, mainly because I know it’s going to hurt so good, too. If you haven’t read Ingela before, I recommend her whole-heartedly. Last year her book Rival Poet was in my top reads of the year.
Tournament of Losers by Megan Derr – There’s just something about the way Megan Derr writes her fantasy novels that feels like pulling on a soft sweater and sipping tea in a comfy chair. I always know I’m going to enjoy them in a deep, comforting, wonderful way. So I tend to save them as rewards for myself. I held this book for well over a year before I deemed myself sufficiently productive enough to be allowed to read it. And it was every bit as enjoyable as I hoped it would be. It hit all the tropes of arranged marriages and a tournament to win the hand of a prince, etc. It was just lovely. Recommended!
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – An excellent Young Adult fantasy book with magic and pain and angst and oh my goodness that cliff hanger ending! The second book is out, though, so you can read it right away if you’d like. As for me, I finished this one and bought the second one, but put it aside for a time when I could handle the darkness again. This isn’t a pretty book, but it sure is a good one. Recommended.
His Royal Secret by Lilah Pace – Oh, yes, delicious sex scenes and some more forbidden love to round out the list. I enjoyed this one and the sequel very much and recommend it as a comfort read to anyone who enjoys some fun gay romance.
And that finishes up my Favorite Books of 2017 list! I hope you had a good reading year, too!
Cross-posted to: https://steemit.com/reading/@leta-blake/leta-blake-s-top-reads-of-2017