My best reads of 2017 were not all published in 2017, but they are the books I read (and in one case, listened to) this year that I enjoyed the most. Here, in no particular order, are my favorites:
White Hot by Ilona Andrews
This is the second book in the (currently) three book Hidden Legacy series. It came out three years after the first book in the series, Burn for Me, and it was worth the wait. I love everything that Ilona Andrews writes, and this book was no exception. This is urban fantasy at its best. This series should be read in order, so start with Burn for Me before you read White Hot. The world building is fantastic, and the secondary characters are as engaging as the main characters.
Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh
This is the third book in the Westcott series, but it could be read as a standalone. The first two books in the series are also good, so you should read them as well, but they do not have to be read before reading this one. Someone to Wed involves my favorite romance trope, the marriage of convenience, this time between an Earl in need of a fortune and a rich recluse. It is a beautiful story, and I enjoyed it very much.
Carolina Man by Virginia Kantra
This is from 2014, but I did not read it until this year, and is the third book in the Dare Island series. Again, you could read this as a standalone, but I enjoyed all five books in this series very much and recommend them all. This involves a secret baby trope, which I don’t usually enjoy, but the writing and characters are so good, I loved it. The romance involves a marine who leaves the military to raise a 10 year old daughter he didn’t know he had, and a lawyer with a personal interest in the case.
Bountiful by Sarina Bowen
Well, after saying I don’t generally like the secret baby trope, here is another one! I really enjoy Sarina Bowen’s books, and this is no exception. It is the fourth book in the True North series, but it can be read as a standalone, but again, you will want to read them all. (The third book in the series, Keepsake, which I read in 2016, was also a 5 star read for me.) This book involves a professional hockey player and a bartender at a small-town bar. It is a very satisfying, emotional read.
Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
This was one of the most highly anticpated books of the year for historical romance fans, and it really delivered. The romance is between, as the book blurb puts it “a cynical rake”, and a heroine who really doesn’t want to get married and would rather focus on the business of producing a board game. She is an unconventional heroine, seems to have some autistic traits, and is adorable. This is the third book in The Ravenals series, but could be read as a standalone. Fans of Klepas’s Wallflowers series will particularly want to read this one, as the hero is the son of the characters from Devil in Winter. I highly recommend it.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (audiobook, author’s preferred edition)
I “read” this as an audiobook, and it was fantastic. It uses multiple voices for the characters, and they are all uniformly wonderful. The plot of this book is hard to describe without giving too much away, and part of the enjoyment is just not knowing what is going to happen next. I went into it just knowing that Neil Gaiman is a great writer, and that this had good reviews. If you enjoy mythology, good writing, and are not squeamish, this is the audiobook for you. I listen to audiobooks when I exercise and walk my dogs – this book kept me exercising longer because I did not want to stop listening!