Reviewer E.L.F.'s Favorite Romances of 2012

Wednesday, January 2

The past few years I've featured my favorite romances that I read in the previous year.  It's one of my favorite posts to look back on to see how my reading tastes change annually.  A lot of blogs and sites like to list them as "The Best of...", but I don't like to phrase it that way.  I like "Favorites" better because the selection process is somewhat subjective to individual reading tastes.

This year instead of just sharing the books that I've loved, I thought I would also ask some of the Seductive Reviewers if they'd like to share some of their favorite reads as well.  I can't wait to share all of them with you!  What I've found interesting while looking over their lists is that they've all read A LOT of books, and only a few books are listed more than once.  They are so diverse and I love that!

Over the next few days I will be featuring a different list from each reviewer, then I'll share mine with you on Tuesday 1/8 to put an end to 2012.  I hope you enjoy them, and you never know, maybe you'll find a few good reads that you might have missed or overlooked to add to your TBR :)


Here's how the favorites were selected:
  • A book had to receive a 4.5 star or above rating to be eligible for "Favorites" consideration, then they were separated 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 each of us throughout the other words were memorable (the story was special in some way).  
  • You may also notice that not all of the subgenres of romance are represented for each person's 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", or isn't a subgenre that was enjoyed by that reviewer.
  • End result, these are the books that we would highly recommend even if it was a book that you normally wouldn't be drawn to. Long story short...We LOVED LOVED LOVED these romances and thank our lucky stars that we read them this past year!
  • Also good to note, not all of the books that made the list were published in 2012, some were published prior to that, but all were read by each person in 2012. 

Contemporary Romance:
  • Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts
  • The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne
I am an unabashed Nora Roberts/JD Robb fan and I think she is such a remarkably prolific but not a cookie-cutter romance writer.  Each of her books has similar elements yet presents a unique tale and I always sigh at the beautiful imagery and intense passion she conveys.  Hester Browne’s book was a lot of fun for me to read...despite its very British flavor...which has references that are unfamiliar to someone who has very little international experience.  The excesses and fairy-tale quality of the story contrasted with the earthy (literally) experiences of the heroine was very entertaining for me.


Romantic Suspense:
  • Scorched by Laura Griffen
  • Reunited by Shiloh Walker (also a paranormal romance)
Both of these books combined the thrill and rollercoaster ride of suspense even as one roots for the strong characters being depicted.  I love very strong heroines and both of these authors definitely know how to craft charismatic women who work with the men in their lives but don’t wait around to be rescued!


Fantasy Romance:
  • Spellcrossed by Barbara Ashford
  • Charmed by His Love by Janet Chapman
  • Bridge of Dreams by Anne Bishop
The combination of romance and imagination is wonderful in all of these books which are all part of series.  The Chapman series actually interconnect multiple titles and I haven’t read all of them but the ones I have read combine fantasy with very real child care concerns as there seem to be quite a few youngsters wandering around.  Combine that with a person who communicates with mountains themselves...a fun read.  Ashford’s book combines the ambience of musical theater with a mystical experience that is delightful to experience, even if one has no experience with theater production. 

Anne Bishop’s book was mind boggling in a good way.  The worlds that she creates are always impressive and I loved her Black Jewels series but this particular title was so different but enthralling.  It is also part of a series but I thought this was the best one thus far.


Paranormal Romance:
  • The Silvered by Tanya Huff
  • Mortal Ties by Eileen Wilks
  • All Seeing Eye, Doubletake by Rob Thurman
  • Natural Evil by Thea Harrison
I am a big paranormal fan but sometimes I wonder if the genre is saturated...then I read novels by these fantastic authors and I am relieved that they are gifting us with these mesmerizing titles.  Each of these authors writes about otherworldly beings who battle sometimes unimaginable foes yet they have the capability to love as hard as they fight.


Erotic Romance:
  • Reflected in You by Sylvia Day
  • Frankendom by Robin Rotham
  • Exposed to You by Beth Kery
  • Cowboy Bad Boys by Randi Alexander
  • Billionaire Bad Boy's Club by Emma Holly
  • Nobody's Perfect by Kallypso Masters
  • Tart by Lauren Dane
  • Never Enough by Lauren Dane
Wow!  There were some impressive erotica reads this year.  Some definitely push the edge in terms of kink (a lot of BDSM is popular in erotica this year) and atypical relationships but all definitely have a strong flavor of romance. 

I adore the Brown Siblings series and am fascinated by Lauren Dane’s exploration of unconventional living arrangements such as the triads that she depicts.  These are very spicy books as well but I love the intense romance that characterizes them.

Note:  The Holly book starts with a M/M relationship that is a wonderful description of two young men who turn to each other after dealing with horrific home circumstances and follows them as they find a woman whom they both can love.  The Masters book may not be to everyone’s taste as it explores repercussions of sexual abuse and the Rotham book is a pretty dark read but mesmerizing.


Historical Romance:
  • Twas the Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries
  • The Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens
  • Ruined by Moonlight by Emma Wildes
  • A Lady's Pleasure by Robin Schone
  • Miss Isabella Thaws a Frosty Lord by Larissa Lyons
All of these were beautiful period romances that conjure up the intriguing facets of life in old England and highlight what happens when men and women step outside of their traditional roles and follow their hearts.  I was delighted to discover Ms Schone’s works which explores a sensual side of period society and combines eroticism and beautiful language.  I was also very impressed by Ms Lyons’ emphasis on a heroine with a handicap and her ability to weave a beautiful romance with humor and emotionalism in a style that is reminiscent of Jane Austen to me.  I have long been a big fan of Ms Laurens and always enjoy her romances, but this was even more interesting to me because it added in a mystery.  It seems that either one really likes this or one can’t stand it so each person obviously sees something different.


Military Romance:
  • The Night is Mine by M.L. Buchman
  • A SEAL at Heart by Anne Elizabeth
  • Until There Was You by Jessica Scott
  • Because of You by Jessica Scott
All of these reads provided poignant examples of the stresses and sacrifices of those who serve.  Unfortunately, given the nature of the genre, most of the endings are HFN (i.e. Happy for Now)  


My Favorite Romance Read of 2012:

It’s really tough for me to choose my very favorite book for the year but I think I would have to choose Tanya Huff’s “The Silvered”.  

It was a departure from the typical shifter tale and there actually is a very gently unfolding primary romance along with the tortuous tangential romances that are alluded to.  I thought it was a great introduction to a intriguing world that is harsh and violent with a disturbing view of the dangers of discrimination through ignorance. 

I wish all of you a 2013 filled with fascinating and satisfying books and thanks to Seductive Musings for such a great blog which showcases so many wonderful titles!

*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.


Mary Kirkland January 2, 2013 at 12:48 AM  

Great list of books. I've read a few of those but not all of them.

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