Dec 30 2012 12:00pm

Ring in with Romance!: Best of 2012, Day 4

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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!

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 TwoDay Three, and Day FiveClick here to view the Day Four shopping list.


Heather Waters:

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Rowell’s young adult debut impressed me so much, I immediately purchased her adult novel, Attachments (another enjoyable read). Teenage outsiders Eleanor and Park, each dealing with wholly relatable problems, quickly win you over individually and only become more compelling together.Their story is funny, sweet, sad, and heart-melting—sometimes all at once.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
I’d been eagerly awaiting this companion to fantasy novels Graceling and Fire for years, and while the story was not what I’d have expected, as I read I realized it was the only way to go after the events of the previous novels. Bitterblue is much darker in tone than its predecessors, but the story drew me in just as deeply, most definitely with the help of some fantastic supporting characters, including power couple Katsa and Po and new favorite Giddon.

Secondhand Charm by Julie BerryBrittany Melson:

The Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry
The Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry was so brilliantly plotted. Reading it was like going on a journey with the heroine and having everything come full circle at the end. Every character, every adventure had a greater purpose. Fans of Sherwood Smith will love this novel.

Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway
Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway was a great urban fantasy novel about a coroner with magical abilities. Hallaway's one of my favorite authors overall, and I also loved her Vampire Princess novels.

When Lightning Strikes by Brenda Novak
When Lightning Strikes by Brenda Novak was the most heartwarming romance novel I read this year. I loved the sexy movie star hero and the psychological depths of the characters.


The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James, an ugly duckling tale with a double transformation and a twist that moved me to laughter and tears.

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James

A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long, which features a vicar protagonist who is smart, honorable, compassionate, real, and my favorite hero of 2012.

Barefoot in the Rain by Roxanne St. Claire, a straight contemporary that I found not only a compelling story but an important one that touched me when I read it and made me think about its ideas long after I finished it.

Chelsea Mueller:

Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent
I always have a hard time narrowing down my list to the best 10 books of 2012. I've been thinking on it, though, and there's a clear best book. One title that reminded me why I devour book after book. The kind of thing that really is an experience. For me the best book of 2012 was Rachel Vincent's Shadow Bound. It's the second in her Unbound series. It may be the darkest romance novel I've ever read. That's what makes it so powerful. You'll read this book and won't—until the very end—imagine a way it could end in a happily ever after. (It does.) It's one of the gutwrenching, angsty reads that messes with your emotions while you read it, and leaves you remarkably sated at the end. Brilliant writing from end to end.


See the recommendations from Day OneDay Two, Day Three, and Day Five!

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

Heather Waters works for H&H and is a 24/7 fangirl. Tweet her @redline_

Brittany is a freelance writer, aspiring novelist and small business owner who hopes that heaven will be like a bookstore with an endless supply of free books, free coffee and super comfy chairs.

Janga spent decades teaching literature and writing to groups ranging from twelve-year-olds to college students. She is currently a freelance writer, who sometimes writes about romance fiction, and an aspiring writer of contemporary romance, who sometimes thinks of writing an American historical romance. She can be found at her blog Just Janga and tweeting obscure bits about writers as @Janga724.

While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. Her appreciation of Alexander Skarsgard is well documented. Bother her on Twitter — @ChelseaVBC — she likes it.

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1. Janga
I goofed on one of my titles. The Roxanne St. Claire book should be Barefoot in the Rain, the second book in the series rather than Barefoot in the Sand, the first book . I liked the first book, but it's Barefoot in the Rain with the questions it raises about the nature and scope of forgiveness that I found so extraordinary.

I feel foolish for making the error, but since I've spotted several title/author errors on HEA's author favorites, at least I know I'm not alone in my confusion. :)
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