My Favorite Romances of 2011

Friday, February 17

Well, here it is.  My list of favorite romance reads from 2011, and it's only February 2012 :)  Most "best of" lists came out at the end of December/beginning of January and I really meant to get this posted sooner, but life intervened :)  Anyways, here it is...better late than never, right?  I can't wait to see what you think.

Here's how I selected my favorites:
  • I started with looking at all of the books that I read that I ranked with a 4.5 star or above rating, then I separated them out by sub-genre (historical, contemporary...).  
  • Not all of the books that received a 4.5 or above rating made the favorites list.  The stories that made the final lists are ones that "stuck" with me throughout the year...in other words were memorable (when sometimes I have a hard time remembering specifics about a book I finished a week ago, means that the story was special in some way for me).  
  • You may also notice that not all of the subgenres that I read are represented in this favorites list....that's because the books in those categories didn't score a high enough star rating to qualify for the status of "favorite".
  • End result, these are the books that I would highly recommend even if it was a book that you normally wouldn't be drawn to.  If I didn't own a copy of a book that made the "favorites", then they would be on my buy list.  Long story short...I LOVED LOVED LOVED these romances!  
  • Also good to note, not all of the books that made the list were published in 2011, some were published prior to that, but all were read by me in 2011.

Let's start with Contemporary Romances/Romantic Suspense, in no particular order: 
Honorable Mention: The entire I-Team series by Pamela Clare

As you can tell I had a major romance addiction to Pamela Clare's brand of romance.  And here's a hint for the 2012...she'll make that one too (Surrender will definitely make the list).

Here are my favorite Historical Romances from 2011...

It should come as no surprise that this list is the longest out of all of them.  I was going to try and make each list have the same number or recommendations, but then decided against that.  The ones that made the list were just too good to leave off to make the numbers even, and I couldn't narrow it down any further :)  Again, in no real particular order:
There are a few new names to the historical category this year.  I found Julie Anne Long, and wonder why it took me so "long" to find her, LOL.  Pun not intended, but funny nonetheless :) 

I also have a few favorites that made the list again, including Sarah MacLean and Elizabeth Hoyt. Seriously these ladies rock the regency (or in any period really)! Maya Banks made my list of favorites last year too, but in the erotic romance category.  I enjoyed all of the books in Ms. Banks' Highland series, but Seduction of a Highland Lass is something special.  And, I have been a fan of Tessa Dare's since her debut a few years back, but I think her Spindle Cove series is my favorite of all of the books she has written so far. 

I've read Carolyn Jewel before, but only her paranormal romances.  I thought they were good, but as I've said before paranormal is really just not my thing.  But Lord Ruin came highly recommended by two virtual friends that I chat with at RRT on Friday's (Limecello & CaffeyCathie) so I decided to give it a try.  I can't thank them enough for turning me on to her historical romances.  I really loved Lord Ruin and will definitely be seeking out her newest one, Not Wicked Enough, released just this month.

And no matter what name Mia Marlowe uses (Emily Bryan, Diane Groe...) or who she writes with (Connie Mason) she continues to woo me with her words.  I can't wait for the next book in her Touch of Seduction series, Touch of a Rogue, which comes out February 28th.

 

Last year I read only a handful of paranormal romances, so to make a list of favorites to recommend in this category is a bit ridiculous really.  There are many other bloggers who know the subgenre of PNR/Urban Fantasy romance much much better than I do, because frankly I know very little, and they may or may not agree with my recommendation, but I seriously loved The Goblin King by Shona Husk (4.5 stars).  I loved the world building, I loved the characters and I thought it was different, unique, and emotionally captivating.  And while I don't expect to ready many paranormal romances in 2012, I most certainly will be looking for the next book in her Shadowlands series, Kiss of the Goblin Prince, which comes out in May 2012.

 

Now let's get to my favorite Erotic Romances, again in no particular order:
These ladies bring the heat, but they also tell a damn good story!  Next to historical romances, erotic romances are some of my favorites books to read.  Combine the two and I would be/am in booklover heaven :)  Seriously though, every single one of these books has a fantastic romance that just so happens to contain some hot lovin'...and I like it, a lot :)

There are some repeats in this list too, and I should say that I was a Beta reader for Rising, Freestyle, though that had no bearing whatsoever in my love for this story.  I think it is my favorite of all of the books Ms. Arend has written so far.  Cherise Sinclair continues to be a powerhouse when it comes to Erotic Romance with BDSM.  And Lorelei James, she is my absolute favorite erotic romance writer...hands down.


I don't think you can go wrong with any of the books that made my favorites list, but there is one book that, even though it didn't score a perfect 5.0, was my most favorite of 2011 (and just so you know, it has nothing to do with the cover...really).

I read it early in the year, within the first couple of months, but it stayed with me and had one of my favorite heroines from 2011 too.  It's kind of funny because I always say that heroes make or break a romance for me....but over the past two years it's actually been the heroine that played a major part in selecting my favorite book .  For the heroine to be the "villain" in a previous story, but to then turn her around and make us cheer for her to get her own happy ending...that is some good story telling!  It was everything that I love about a great romance.

So without further ado, my overall favorite from 2011 was....Changing the Game by Jaci Burton!  I knew when I first read it that it would be a favorite...I just didn't know it would be THE favorite. LOVED, LOVED LOVED it!


 

OK, there it is.  My favorites of 2011.  What were some of yours?  Agree, disagree?  I showed you mine, now you show me yours :)




Like numbers? Here are some stats about what I read in 2011:
  • Total books read: 116  comprised of :
    • Historical:  56 (48%) 
    • Erotic:  27 (23%) 
    • contemporary: 26 (23%) 
    • paranormal:  7 (6%) 
  • Ratings overview : 
    • 4.5 stars or higher: 20 (17%) 
    • 4.0-4.49 stars: 42 (36%) 
    • 3.00-3.99 stars: 46 (40%) 
    • 1-2.99  stars: 8 (7%)
  • Authors that made the list 2 years in a row?  
    • 6  are repeats, 
    • 7 are new to the favorites list.  
  • I tried 23 new to me authors this past year, but what is most interesting is:
    • that 6 of the 18 authors that made my favorites list were new to me.  
    • That's 33%, which I think is HUGE considering I had no idea what to expect from them, though some came highly recommended which is why I decided to read them anyways...so maybe it shouldn't come as such a big surprise.  
  • 12 of the books that made the list were ones that I had agreed to review, the other 7 were just books that I was intrigued by. 
  • 80 of the 116 books I read in 2011 (69%) were print the other 31% were in the form of digital books. 


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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.

15 Comments:

Lexi February 17, 2012 at 1:38 AM  

Wow, a lot of new authors for you. Well done for 2011, dont you love looking at the numbers and seeing how many books you read?
Hmmm..a good list of historicals. A few I have to add to my TBR list!

Tin February 17, 2012 at 2:02 AM  

Great list --

I've read and similarly loved 10 of the 12 titles on your Historical Romance List. Still waiting for my copy of Julie Anne Long's book and I've never tried Mia Marlowe.

I think I will give Marlowe's book a try. Would you recommend that I start with TOuch of a Thief? ^_^

Na February 17, 2012 at 2:35 AM  

I haven't read Everybody Loves a Hero but I've read other books by Marie Force and enjoyed them. I choose my favorites a bit like you - it doesn't have to have a perfect rating but has to have resonted with me.

Carol L. February 17, 2012 at 4:58 AM  

You have some great titles listed. Historical romance is always my favorite. Especially when a Highlander is involved. :)
I too loved the Goblin King. It pulled out all kinds of emotions. I'm looking forward to the second in the series. One of the books sitting in my never ending pile of TRB was A Courtesan's Guide To Getting Your Man by Celeste Bradley ans Susan Donovan. I decided to read it and I think you'd really enjoy it. The "Sir" character will certainly stay wit you :) I really enjoyed reading this book.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Booklover1335 February 17, 2012 at 7:46 AM  

Lexi,

Yeah, I guess I tend to try out new authors pretty regularly...it's the lure of the possibility of a new discovery I think :)

Goodreads really helped me keep track of the numbers this year and it was interesting to look back on. And please let me know what you think of the historical romances that you are adding to your TBR once you've had a chance to read them!

Booklover1335 February 17, 2012 at 7:49 AM  

Hi Tin!

There were a lot of great historical romances last year weren't there? And you are in for a real treat with the Julie Anne Long books...either of them but especially What I Did for a Duke!

Touch of a Thief by Mia Marlowe was really good so I don't think you can go wrong. If you love a good highlander romance I highly recommend Sins of the Highlander by Mia Marlowe and Connie Mason. It might be easier to find on the bookshelves and is not a trade sized ppb and would be a great book to try this author out on.

Either way I'd love to know what you think if you read one of them.

Booklover1335 February 17, 2012 at 7:54 AM  

Na,

Everybody Loves a Hero was the first book I had ever read by Marie Force and I loved it so much that I went on a Force reading binge and really enjoyed the others that I read too...not quite as much, but still excellent. I really loved the hero in this one as well as the insecurities of the heroine that sabotage the relationship instead of some other outside influence.

I've not read any of her "Fatal" books or her self published books, but I should really get on that :)

Resonate, is such a great word to describe the feeling of a great read!

Booklover1335 February 17, 2012 at 7:57 AM  

Hey Carol,

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who loved The Goblin King!

And if you haven't read Sins of the Highlander by Mia Marlowe and Connie Mason it is a MUST read since you love highlanders as much as I do ;)

I'm also off to check out A Courtesan's Guide...that one is ringing a bell, but I love Susan Donovan's contemporaries. Thanks for the recommend!

The_Book_Queen February 17, 2012 at 11:17 AM  

:) Great lists--many are either on my TBR or on my wish list, so I look forward to reading them even more after seeing how highly you recommend them!

I also enjoyed reading your stats--It's always interesting to see it broken down, how many books read, what ratings they were given, etc. I keep a detailed list every year, though I rarely post it for others to see--I think because I've not found many that are interested. lol.

Enjoy,
TBQ

Booklover1335 February 17, 2012 at 2:13 PM  

TBQ,

You have a lot to look forward to my friend :)

As far as the stats, I didn't really think anyone would be interested in them except for me, but I wanted to include them in the end of year recap so I will have a place to refer back to next year (that I can easily remember :)

Artemis February 17, 2012 at 5:31 PM  

I always look forward to your stats and of your favorite list for 2011 I've read all of three. (Blog "must" reading tends to get in the way.) But, but, I do have the majority of them on The Wish List, The PBS List, or The TBR Mountain.

Your wonderful blog gets me in trouble every time. I discover another author or a book or three I missed! If that were the least of my problems. LOL!!!

I read just about even historical/paranormal. Which put me way behind in my series reading. Playing catch-up now. With so many excellent books being released, I'm just having to pass. So hard. Hold me back....

Tin February 17, 2012 at 11:37 PM  

Hi, Booklover1335 --

I went ahead and got Mia Marlowe on Kindle (still on sale) --

I actually started JAL from How the Marquess... and am working my way back -- depending on which of her Pennyroyal titles I find. I've read I Kissed An Earl and enjoyed that one.

I still have Perils and I'm waiting for Book Depository to deliver the rest of the series for me. ^_^

Really excited to read Marlowe. Thanks for the recommendation!

Patricia,  February 18, 2012 at 12:32 PM  

My very favorite Everybody Loves a Hero got 5 stars from me. Love Marie Forces books.

DD,  February 18, 2012 at 5:20 PM  

Booklover:
I've read all of the Marie Force "Fatal" series so far and love them. Also, as I've told you, I'm on a Judith McNaught kick. I just finished 'Someone to Watch over Me' and I Loooooooooooooooovvvvvved it.
Command and to Collar was super as well.
I really liked Changing the Game. I don't remember loving it, but I may go in for a re-read now. That cover is worth giving it another shot.

Sheree February 19, 2012 at 8:28 PM  

Hm, how many of those books have Paul Marron on the cover? LOL.

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