Dec 27 2012 2:00pm

Ring in with Romance!: Best of 2012, Day 1

A Lady Awakened by Cecilia GrantMay 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 reads 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!

Don't miss out on the shopping list for these great recommendations once you finish reading and check out the recommendations from Day TwoDay Three, Day Four, and Day Five too! Click here to view the shopping list for Day One!


Megan Frampton:

A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant
This appeared to be a totally artificial set-up—woman has one month to conceive a child following her husband’s death so the child, not the evil nephew, will inherit the estate. And it is, but it’s also got two rich, deeply flawed, difficult-to-love characters in the hero and heroine. I was blown away by Grant’s textured language and the resonance of historical details.

Feed by Mira Grant
With very rare exceptions, I do not cry over books. This one I think holds the record for longest cry-fest. It’s a wonderful twist-filled book set in a post-Zombie world and the characters—again, always the characters—are nuanced and extremely knowable.

Can’t Buy Me Love by Molly O’Keefe
Coming from a literary fiction background, I am quite comfortable with difficult characters (see the Grant, above). So when a traditionally structured romance has two very difficult characters as their leads, I am hooked. This book was so good I didn’t want it to end, and yet I rushed to finish it so I could have a satisfying HEA (which I got). 2012 seems to be the Year of the Contemporary, and this book, for me, epitomizes why contemps can be so compelling.

Victoria Janssen:

Midnight Riot by Ben AaronovitchMidnight Riot and Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
The first in one of the best urban fantasy series I've ever read.  The wry, satirical humor of the narrator, Peter Grant, perfectly balances out the weird and horrific magical incidents that he investigates. The magical worldbuilding is terrifically inventive, and the secondary characters are amazing, too.  The whole series cries out to be made into a radio play; I need to see if there are audiobook versions!

The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson
A young adult fantasy novel that turns a lot of the current post-apocalyptic story trends on their heads with its spiky-tempered, imperfect heroine and its fascinating mix of mythologies.

Every Day by David Levithan
A young adult fantasy novel unlike any other I've read, in which the essentially nameless and genderless narrator wakes up in a different body each day; the trouble begins when the narrator falls in love.

Jena Briars:

Game of Thrones by George R. R. MartinGame of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
This got me HOOKED to the Fire & Ice Saga.  It just feels so much richer than the HBO series, and the absolute best part is the Imp, Tyrion Lannister!

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
This novella packs a punch!  For a smaller page count, the character development and the drama is still extremely rich.  It might not be “light-hearted” and I even teared up at a few parts, but it's so delectable!

Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James
My first Eloisa James.  Almost “Shakespearean” and so historically-accurate, reading this made me feel so smart, and I could swear that even my cat sitting next to me felt more smug with approval!  After reading the first chapter out loud to my boyfriend, he said, “Damn, that's on a whole new level - that's almost like your Downton Abbey show you love to watch...”

Lucy Dosch:

Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly HarperThe Jane Jameson Series by Molly Harper
Molly Harper’s Jane Jameson/Nice Girls series tops my list this year.  It is like I Love Lucy with fangs.  This series focuses on Jane Jameson, local librarian who is turned into a vampire after being the victim of a drive-by-shooting when a drunk hunter mistakes her for a six-point buck.  The most recent release features Jane accepting the proposal of her boyfriend and sire Gabriel and the insanity of putting together a southern vampire wedding.

The Elder Races series by Thea Harrison
I spent the summer catching up with Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series, just in time for the release of Lord’s Fall. Not only is her storytelling captivating and her characters wonderful, but this year’s release focused once again on the main characters of the series, Dragos and Pia, who were the H/H of Book #1.  I loved the idea of having another book which once again focused on beloved characters.

The Immortal Guardians series by Dianne Duvall
Earlier this year I found Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians series and was so excited about this Fall’s release, Phantom Shadows, which focused on the character most fascinating to me, Bastian Newcombe.  The Immortal Guardians work to keep humans safe from vampires who are losing their minds to the virus that infects them. Bastrian was turned and told that he was a vampire and he worked for centuries to protect his fellow vampires from the evil Immortal Guardians who viciously attack them.  He has since learned the truth and has joined the Guardians (much to his fellow Guardian’s upset), but his heart of gold and his “Like me or don’t.  I don’t F’ing care” attitude makes him one of my favorite characters.

See the recommendations from Day TwoDay Three, Day Four, and Day Five!

Click here for the Day One shopping list and get reading!

Megan Frampton is the Community Manager for the HeroesandHeartbreakers site. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and son.

Victoria Janssen is the author of three novels and numerous short stories. Her World War One-set Spice Brief is titled “Under Her Uniform” and is a tie-in to her novel The Moonlight Mistress. Follow her on Twitter: @victoriajanssen or find out more at

Jena Briars is a California girl living in D.C., feeding her brain one romance novel at a time...When she's not busy at work, or being distracted (sometimes ambushed) by her cat, she reviews romances on her website Throughout the Pages.

Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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1. Miss_D
I was sick and busy with work the past few weeks so I wasn't able to contribute in time so I was hoping to add a few shout outs:

Sienna Mynx's BATTAGLIA series is amazing. Italy, mob war and a several different love stories going on. Something for everyone. It begins with DESTINO. Love it so far (part 2 is out and part 3 will be released in February) and it's doing awesomely with Amazon readers too:

For the paranormal fans, I very much enjoyed Zena Wynn's CLAIMING SHAYLA. Her "True Mates" series is interesting and remarkable diverse. Definitely good stuff:

Cameron Dane is my go-to for M/M romances, so my list would be incomplete without mentioned her engrossing & heartfelt read, "A Younger Man":

Latrivia Nelson's SAVING ANYA is the concluding book to the Medlov Crime Family Series & is great. I could barely put it down and it was incredibly satisfying:

There were some others that I've mentioned in monthly recs but these were ones that stayed on my mind that I wanted to share.
2. Robyn26
I read "A Lady Awakened" and thought it was just ok. It never made my top list though. There are some other books on your list I haven't read, so I have added them to my pile of books to read next year! There is a book being released in March that I am dying to get my hands on. It is called, "Stelladaur: Finding Tir Na Nog" by author S. L. Whyte.
Reilly, a teenager with extraordinary abilities, lives in an idyllic island town in the Pacific Northwest. After his sixteenth birthday, everything changes! Unforeseen events threaten his confidence, his peace—even his life—and he needs answers. His friend Eilam, an old guru from another time and place (who most people call crazy) guides him to find a magical heirloom—a Stelladaur. With this treasure, Reilly travels through invisible portals to different dimensions where he learns how to help others discover their own hidden powers. The Stelladaur can give him what he wants most, but when a beautiful girl captures his attention, he questions his deepest desires.
There is a great video clip on the website. I can't wait to read it!
3. ChelseaMueller
I really love that Feed made your top 3 list, Megan. This pleases me.
Janis Clark
4. maliamartin
Best girlfriends romance - Nora Roberts Inn Boonsboro Trilogy. Strong women with great friendships, three hot brothers and great writing. Guaranteed great reads.
5. DianeN
While I preferred Cecilia Grant's second book, A gentleman undone, to A lady awakened, there's no question that she had a stellar debut in 2012. I'm hoping she'll continue to offer unconventional pairings and a bit of darkness in her future romances. My new to me author glom for the year was Lecia Cornwall, and in YA my 2 favorite reads were Robin Lafevers's Grave mercy and Marissa Meyer's Cinder. I also ended the year on a high note with Anne Calhoun's erotic holiday novella Breath on embers.
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