Hello hello! Judith and Onni here. Well, it was a rough year on us, romantically speaking. We both read a ton of great books only to discover while compiling this list that the majority were published prior to the current year. “Wait, what!–I can’t add Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee to my list?!” I whined to Onni just last night. “Nope, I’m afraid not. Not published in 2012,” she countered. Well, it doesn’t matter any way since we have 6 books we both loved, no! Adored, no! WANT TO FORCE ON YOU SINCE THEY ARE SO GOOD!
So you have it: our top picks of 2012.
It’s such a tough job looking back on a year’s worth of reading and then picking a favourite, but here goes:
1) Gabriel’s Inferno, by Sylvain Reynard
How much do I love this book? Let me count the ways. The arrogant, surly and beautiful Professor Gabriel Emerson is without doubt one of my favourite leading men of 2012. The story is intelligent and sexy and its overall theme that kindness is never wasted and redemption is always possible, made this an unforgettable tale. The love story between Gabriel and Julianne is one I will return to again and again.
2) Wallbanger, by Alice Clayton
A lot of books this year have made me smile and feel good, but none have actually had me laughing out loud in public. Bar this one. The balance was impeccable – a likeable heroine, a sexy and down to earth hero, a cat with tons of attitude and gentle humour that didn’t get too over the top. If you haven’t read it yet, what have you been doing? Get on it!
3) Fifty Shades Series, by E L James
Ok, ok, I know it’s not really the done thing to stand up and admit to liking this series these days, but I did! That’s right – I said it and I’m owning it. So the dialogue wasn’t Shakespeare, but I really fancied Christian Grey and if I’m honest, these books re-ignited my love for the whole romance/smut-tastic genre. Ana was a great heroine too – she didn’t put up with all of Christian’s nonsense and stayed true to herself. This series has also spawned a whole sub-genre: just look at how many stories there are now on the market about rich/broken/bored billionaires!
1. Back to You by Priscilla Glenn
If you follow our sister site, http://www.iloveyafiction.com, you’ll know how much I absolutely love Back to You. It’s the story of Lauren and Michael, past loves meeting again ten years later in the midst of very different circumstances. You fall in love with Michael in the present, you fall in love with Adam, Lauren’s new love, and you fall in love with Lauren and Michael’s past. IMO, this was a breakout book. With phenomenal writing and varying viewpoints that left me wondering if they would ever get back together, it’s sweet, funny, and oh-so-sexy. I can’t praise this one highly enough. Buy it and read it again and again. I bet you can’t read it just one time!
2. Coming Home (Jackson Falls series) by Laurie Breton
True story! Back to You by Priscilla Glenn used to have a different cover. In fact, it was the same cover as Coming Home. Well naturally, one day I was searching for something new to read on Amazon and saw the image of what I assumed was Back to You. I clicked on it, wanting to see what rave reviews it was receiving from readers and ended up so confused as I landed on a completely different story than the one I thought I was getting. Luckily I did though, cause the premise intrigued me and I bought it. This was as amazing as Back to You but in a wholly separate way. It’s very different than my usual romance fare in that it begins in the 70s and works its way through the 80s into the 90s. If you know my romance preferences they’re pretty cut and dry: basically I despise the 70s and 80s and love everything else. But this book romanticized those decades wonderfully, making each of the characters seem fresh and modern in a way I’ve never read. The story is lyrical and gorgeous, detailing the life and love of one woman as she faces challenges over the span of 20 years. What she wants in a man as a teen and what she wants and needs as a grown woman are two different things and this story is just beautiful in its portrayal of the devastating changes of love over time. Plus it’s a series! That means seeing more of these characters. Yes, please!!!
3. On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Before reading this, if you would have told me that I would not only like but become enthralled by a book with pretty much only 2 characters set almost entirely on a desert island, I would have laughed at you. Seriously, I would have laughed so hard because that premise sounds utterly ridiculous. Romance thrives on a strong supporting cast and lots of exotic backdrops. But not this one. Honestly, I dare you to read the first 50 pages and not be hooked. It is so unique, so wholly out of the scope of what I usually read that I was floored by it. It is perhaps one of my favorite books of the year. Two survivors of a plane crash in the Maldives have to learn how to survive while also learning to trust one another in a savage environment. There’s a May-December aspect that you wouldn’t see coming if not for the fact that it’s labelled as romance. There are a lot of difficult to read scenes but also some amazingly poignant moments. This is a book you’ll never be disappointed you in purchasing and all I can say it: BUY IT!
Do you agree with any of our choices? What would you want to see on our list of Top Picks? Let us know!