Unfortunately, I’ve discovered I’m just not able to keep up with this page—but I’ll leave some of my past favorites in place, just in case!
JB's PAST FAVs!
Best Recent Romantic Suspense I’ve read: Dana Marton's Silent Threat is fast-paced and well-written, and everything you could want in a romantic suspense--but it was the well-drawn characters that really stole my heart! Already purchased Book 2 in this series and can’t wait to read!
Best Contemporary Romance Series: I've always loved Roxanne St. Claire 's books and her fabulous writing! Add in the fact that Sit…Stay…Beg has dogs and rescues and the people that love them front and center—and I'm a goner! Checked all my boxes and then some! First in the series, and I’m totally in!
Best Contemporary Romance (plus it’s Diverse! Yay!): Suleikha Snyder’s writing is both top-notch and hysterical, and Tikka Chance on Me is fast-paced, hot, and awesome. The ethnic and food-centric bits make this doubly enjoyable as it feels very fresh and very real. Highly recommend for anybody who prefers quality behind their romance! I absolutely LOVED this!
Smartest, Most Unique Suspense: AJ Scudiere’s The Hunted is a wild, full-throttle ride from the first page! It's also fascinating, terrifying, and smart: a family and neighborhood has to fight to remain top of the food chain because climate change has caused mutations—scarily realistic in AJ Scudiere's mind! You will root for these characters big time!
ARCHIVED FAVs—In other words, they were so good, I can’t bear to take them off the list!
ROMANCE AND SUSPENSE
Best Contemporary Romance of 2018: Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient. Absolutely adored this. Asian American escort is hired by an autistic woman to help her overcome her challenges with men. So so so GOOD. Romance PERFECTION. LOVED. And the narrator was spot on, too.
Most Deserving 2017 RITA Win: Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra! This is seriously one of my all-time favorite contemporary romances. Was so thrilled to see that it won a RITA! That's a HUGE deal in romance, and Kantra deserves it!
Best Romantic Suspense, especially if you like a good red herring: Carey Baldwin's Stolen. Seriously: if you want to be constantly second guessing who've you've pegged as the villain, this is the book you should read next! More suspense than romance.
Best Contemporary Romance Series: THE WILDER BOOKS by Savannah Kade! Have read all the books in this series! This is emotional, grab you, sexy (but reasonable) contemporary romance. Not a bit of fluff. It feels SO REAL--which makes the hard won happy ending truly believable. No fluff romance here. (PS: Yours truly designed the covers--aren't they lovely?)
Best (and most grisly) Thriller: Karin Slaughter's PRETTY GIRLS. Really sticks with you. It's probably the most grisly book I've read (I actually had to take a break in the middle it was so disturbing), but everything about this book is so well done. Slaughter is a master! And this is rare: I also can't say enough about the great narration!
IDEAL FOR BOOKCLUBS
Still my fav historical fiction: I loved Kate Manning's MY NOTORIOUS LIFE. The writing is top notch. The characters, especially Axie Muldoon are so rich, deep, and deftly drawn. As is the setting, late 1800's New York City. Absolutely like stepping into the past. Historical fiction at its best.
A favorite 2018 Bookclub pick: Fredrick Backman's A Man Called Ove. Poignant and beautiful story of love and loss, joy and heartbreak, living and dying. Both moving and uplifting—one of the best books I've read!
Loved this Outstanding Historical Fiction: Characters from multiple generations are fictional, but Lisa Wingate's Before We Were Yours is based on the true life scandal of Georgia Tann in Memphis who kidnapped the children of poor families and sold them to the wealthy. Beautifully written and oftentimes heartbreaking, but also an easy, fast-paced read that's ultimately uplifting in the end. The heart never forgets!
Best Book Club Read from 2017: THE GIRLS by Emma Kline. Fascinating look into the mindset of teen girls--especially the lost ones, and realistic and even harsh look at the time period (late 1960's). Most of book club was surprised how much they enjoyed this! Excellent writing, by a young but talented author!
Women’s Fiction Fav: Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret. First book I've read by Moriarty (I’ve been seriously missing out apparently!) and just loved her voice, her deep-dive into each character, and the close look at the way our lives, loves, families, and tragedies intertwine through the years.,