Dec 31 2013 4:30pm

Team H&H Recommends: Best of 2013

No Good Duke Goes UnPunished by Sarah MacLeanLast week we asked our bloggers to give you their top picks for 2013 and now it's Team H&H's turn! Our resident shipper, Heather Waters, gives you her favorite couples; Megan Frampton shows that she is truly a reader of all genres with her top 10; and Jennifer Proffitt gives her top 10 books and moments that made her squee. See if these books made it on to your list!

Heather Waters (redline_)

Mara/Temple in No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean – Given their dark history (understatement of the year), Temple and Mara as a couple makes zero sense on paper. But of course the heart wants what the heart wants, and watching these two extremely damaged characters go to hell and back for each other is much more enjoyable than you’d think, and extremely rewarding.

Cath/Levi in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell  – The author of Eleanor and Park once again perfectly captures the wonder of first love; I found myself rooting for Cath and Levi just as hard as I did for Park and Eleanor. Plus, as someone who grew up with fandom, fellow fangirl Cath was easy to relate to. In fact, she’s one of the most refreshingly real heroines I’ve encountered.

Oliver/Felicity (Olicity!) in Arrow  – Thanks in large part to one Felicity Smoak and the simmering attraction building between her and leading man Oliver, Arrow has been on fire in its sophomore season. (The incredible fight scenes, characters you can’t help but get invested in, and raised stakes don’t hurt either.) The show I gave up early in the year has somehow become the one I’m dying to watch each week.

Laurel/Sky in Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira  — Heartbreaking in the best possible way, this book made me cry. Boy, did it make me cry. And yet this beautifully written novel also left me with hope. Laurel’s relationship with Sky is only part of her journey, but I gotta say they hooked me good.

Will/Lydia in A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant – A prostitute and a broke soldier are definitely not your average historical romance hero and heroine, and yet Cecilia Grant, as she does, not only makes it work, but makes it sing. Even knowing the outcome, I found myself sweating Will and Lydia’s seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Still, the payoff was worth all the angst (theirs and mine), and oh my god but were the sex scenes hot. Scorching, more accurately.

A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia GrantTana/Gavriel in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black – Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in. I hadn’t read a vampire book in quite a while when an ARC of this book came across my desk, but I decided to give it a shot and never looked back. Tana is seriously kickass and 100% in control of her own destiny 100% of the time. She falls for Gavriel and he for her, but they both maintain their agency. That is HOT. While I’m glad their story is self-contained, I do have my fingers crossed that Black revisits the Coldtown ‘verse again some day.

Veronica/Logan (LoVe!) in Veronica Mars: The Movie (2014) – The news that Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and series star Kristen Bell were launching a Kickstarter to fund a movie came as a huge shock, but I was immediately on board and have been following the production since. You could say it made my year, the mere THOUGHT of new Logan/Veronica footage. But the reality? The reality has been even better, and now that my rewatch of the series is over, I am counting down to the movie’s release.

Sybella/the Beast in Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers –Book 2 in the His Fair Assassin trilogy, Dark Triumph is every bit as compelling as Book 1, Grave Mercy, the YA fantasy I fell for last year. Assassins, medieval France, political plots, some romance… honestly, it’s like Sybella and her Beast’s story was written just for me. Loved it and will be among the first in line for the final book.

Phil/Elizabeth in FX’s The Americans  – Russian spy partners masquerading as an American couple, Phil and Elizabeth Jennings are a unique pairing to say the least. Theirs is a love story in reverse: although they’ve been “married” for years and have two children together, they are only now falling in love. I don’t want to miss a thing, so you can bet I’ll be tuning in for Season 2 of The Americans in February.

Audrey/Zach in Her Favorite Rival by Sarah Mayberry  – I discovered Sarah Mayberry in 2012 and, since gorging on everything I could get my hands on, have eagerly awaited each of her new releases. Her books have a way of sucking me in, and Her Favorite Rival was no exception—the enemies-to-lovers trope was used to great effect, and Audrey and Zach easily won me over.   

Honorable mentions: (Yes, yes, I cheated. Sue me. How can I choose?!) Cesare/Lucrezia in The Borgias (dirty bad wrong, but also insanely hot—it’s confusing, OK?), April/Jackson in Grey’s Anatomy (let’s just say a wedding interruption led to an attack of the feeeeeels), and Juliette/Avery in Nashville (Juliette’s revelation and subsequent confession at the worst possible time was quite the treat).

Megan Frampton:

Written in Red by Anne BishopWritten in Red by Anne Bishop—This book made for one of the worst book hangovers I’ve ever had. Fantastic world-building, great characters, amazing plot.

Cold Days by Jim Butcher—Butcher’s Dresden Files series just keeps getting better and better, and Cold Days is another tour de force in Harry’s ever-evolving world.

Uncommon Passion by Anne Calhoun—Heartwrenching, gut satisfyingly sexy, and unexpected.

Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt—Artemis and Maximus were two very distinct, well-drawn characters, and they were made better by being together.

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare—Such a delicious and yet substantive book! I loved the premise, and Dare’s writing sparkles.

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean—This book runs an emotional gamut, with seemingly insurmountable circumstances getting surmounted after all.

After Hours by Cara McKenna—Oh, my. So hot, such wonderful characters, dirty talking, and a satisfyingly deep relationship.

Beyond Pain by Kit Rocha—Dirty, dystopian, and DAMN.

The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith—The best elements of fantasy and romance smushed together in an epic saga.

Run to You by Charlotte Stein—Where the hero and heroine both discover sex can be fun (from two completely different starting points). Awesome.


Jennifer Proffitt:

Down London Road by Samantha YoungAnd the Miss Ranaway with the Rake by Elizabeth Boyle
The stoic Lord Henry probably wouldn't have found love if it wasn't for his meddling nephew sticking his nose in and placing an advertisement for a man seeking a woman for correspondence. This book combines love from afar and enemies to lovers all in one glorious romp.

Down London Road by Samantha Young
I loved this book. It's the book that made New Adult click for me. Throw in a hot bartender, some melt-your-eyeballs sex, and a less-than-perfect family dynamic and you have the perfect formula for a great New Adult book—and I can't wait for the next in this series!

Losing It by Cora Carmack

Okay, for a while I wasn't interested in reading this book because the hero ends up being the heroine's teacher. But in Carmack's first entry in the Losing It series, she not only makes work, she makes me root for it!

MacRieve by Kresley Cole

To see I'm a big Immortals After Dark fan is a serious understatement. Kresley Cole promised this would be one of her hottest books yet, and she totally delivered. I absolutely fell in love with this book and it cemented the idea that I'm going to have to find a Lykae to settle down with soon!

After Hours by Cara McKenna

Kelly Robak. He likes to be bossy and you like it too.

Beyond Shame by Kit RochaBeyond Shame by Kit Rocha

Many people have put other books in this series on their top picks list, but for me, I always have to go with my first love. Beyond Shame introduced us to the dystopic erotic world of the O'Kanes.

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Like Beyond Shame, this was my entre into Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling world. I loved it, and so because it was my introduction, it's been my favorite book so far. However, based on the earlier lists, I'm guessing once I get to Heart of Obsidian that will be my new favorite.

Tom Hiddleston's Snake Hips and Dance Moves

Okay, these two aren't strictly romance related, but it certainly got eveyone in the community talking, and I'm sure inspired a few romance heroes.

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean

This book has now gotten on to all three top 10 lists so it must be good—and it is. It has so much angst, so much history and wonderful, delicious moments between our hero and heroine. I loved it!


Heather Waters is the H&H site manager and a 24/7 fangirl. Tweet her @redline_

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

Jennifer Proffitt is a Midwest transplant to New York City. She spends most of her time reading and writing about romance, but you can follow her other adventures on Twitter @JennProffitt. She works for Heroes and Heartbreakers and Criminal Element.

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