May old friends be forgot? We don't think so! We're celebrating our favorite reads with five days of the Best of 2012. We asked our bloggers for their favorite recommendations of 2012, with one stipulation, they had to be new to them and not necessarily new to 2012. We know we got a few recommendations to add to our to be read piles and it's a great way to feed those readers you hopefully got for Christmas!
Don't miss out on the shopping list for these great recommendations once you finish reading, and check out the recommendations from Day One, Day Two, Day Four, and Day Five too! Click here to view the Day Three shopping list.
Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke
Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke won a RITA award back in 1997 for Best Long Historical and it's easy to see why. A dynamite Irish hero still carrying the scars of his homeland who finds his redemption in a former Southern belle heroine determined to hang on to her family's farm in post-Civil War Louisiana.
Foxfire Bride by Maggie Osborne
The last book she published before she announced her retirement, Foxfire Bride by Maggie Osborne sent the author out on a high note. A splendid road romance featuring well-to-do hero on a mission to save his kidnapped father and a backwoods, unrefined, tracker heroine bent on revenge against the man she feels ruined her life. Marvelous characters all the way around, nobody wrote about the American West quite like Osborne did.
The Space Between Us by Megan Hart
Megan Hart writes emotional messy erotica featuring deeply drawn characters that I immediately become invested in. The Space Between Us takes the popular menage trope and gives it depth. Yes it titillates, but any relationship involving three people is bound to messy, which Hart explores with amazing skill and clarity. It knocked the wind right out of me.
Defy the Eagle by Lynn Bartlett
This romance pits a Roman maiden against a Celtic warrior. Set against the dramatic backdrop of Boudica's first-century revolt, their love is passionate and realistic.
The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner
Isabella of Castile comes alive against a vivid background of political turmoil, unbridled love, and religious fervor.
Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox
Ms. Knox is the breakthrough author of the year, at least to me. And she’s writing category-length Contemporary Romance, so here’s the proof that there’s room for innovation and freshness in the sub-genre, and in Romance in general.
All her books are wonderful, but to me, the best was Ride with Me. It’s a road-trip romance, opposites attract story that features a grumpy hero with a very valid reason to be brooding and dark, and a heroine unwilling to take any crap from him, but in a very understanding way. There’s also hot sauce, philosophy and a masturbation scene (all unrelated scenes, unfortunately). When I say this book is good, I mean it—it’s entertaining, touching and wonderfully written.
Riveted by Meljean Brook
This is my favorite book of the year, and it’s all due to its great portrayal of female relationships. The heroine, Annika, has a wonderful character arc that takes her from shy and a self-perceived cowardice, to courageous and heroic. Riveted is a story about love and friendship in all its iterations, from romantic to sisterly. The story builds slowly and it takes time to introduce and develop the main characters before the action takes over. The world-building is flawless and incredibly compelling, and the sense of adventure is always present even if the story is very character-oriented.
And last but not least, the hero, David, is a breath of fresh air in a year where the genre seemed to be all about overbearing alpha-males.
Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
Ms. Kearsley has one of the most beautiful, evocative voices I have ever read. Her books have the ability to transport me to the wonderful places described in them, but more than that, her characters are fascinating, and the tension escalates until it’s physically impossible for me to let go of the book until I finish it. I read Mariana in May, and the story has remained with me ever since then.
This book is filled with twists and turns, and I feel like the less you know about it, the better. But if you still need more to convince you to try it, we get two different stories, and two unique and compelling romances; one takes place in the present, one in the past. The way they relate is for you to find out, but as different as the two stories are, what they have in common is how romantic and interesting they are. Read it, I’m sure you will enjoy it.
Still Life with Shape-shifter by Sharon Shinn
An incredibly poignant and bittersweet contemporary paranormal story of love, loss and family. Smoothly written and emotionally charged, this story takes us beyond the horror and carnage normally found in paranormal stories and instead focuses on the humanity of those who straddle the line between the human and immortal worlds — and those who love them.
Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Though not a new release, I read this for the first time this year and fell in love with the characters and the story. Dreaming of You is a powerful and emotional love story about two completely different people who meet and discover the missing pieces to their soul.
Find You in the Dark by A. Meredith Walters
Find You in the Dark is a raw, emotional, turbulent, and honest YA that tells the story of loving someone who is bi polar. Love, loss, sorrow, and joy all present in this impossible love story.
Click here for the shopping list and get reading!
Wendy the Super Librarian also blogs at WendyTheSuperLibrarian.blogspot.com. So dig that library card out of your pocket and head for the stacks.
Carly Silver recently graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University, and the Columbia Publishing Course. A lifelong lover of romance novels, she also develops and writes humanities content and curricula for middle and high school academic courses for Shmoop.com.