Oh y’all, this list is so hard to compile and I could have split it into Best Contemporary; Best Historical; Best Misc. but I didn’t want to exhaust you too much. That said, I am going to provide the best of each subgenre in my opinion beginning with Best Contemporary because that’s what my actual top two favorites are. They’re tied for first, honestly, of all the books I read this year. So, let’s dive in!
1. Hold Me by Courtney Milan
Are you tired of me talking about this book yet? Too bad, because my physical copy is supposed to show up today, but it hasn’t arrived quite yet. Fingers crossed it does soon because I’m desperate to have it in my hands. I’m probably going to wind up re-reading it this year even though I didn’t include it in my list of re-reads this year. Anyway, Hold Me is to me, Courtney Milan at her best. While many people love Trade Me more, I genuinely believe that Courtney Milan has never crafted better or more real characters than Maria and Jay. This is not to take away from her skill, at all, because Milan is one of my absolute favorite authors. But the characterization in this book and the combined enemies to lover and friends to lovers aspect of this book just got me. It’s like she wrote it thinking, how can I make Jenica the happiest? (She didn’t, obviously.) Anyway, love this book, if you haven’t read it, highly recommend picking it up! (Do read Trade Me first though.)
2. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
Oh look, another book I’m sure none of you are surprised to see on my list. I adored everything about this book. It has the perfect amount of angst, reads more like hate to love than second chance (to me), and Livvy’s mental health coping strategies have literally changed my life. I cried too many times reading this book, but I just loved it so much. I knew while reading it that there was no way it was leaving me any time soon–and it definitely has not. I will treasure this book always. I’m so excited for the third book to come out in this series (but also, omg, Alisha Rai is releasing the sequel to A Gentleman in the Streets sometime this year and ya girl is PUMPED).
3. American King by Sierra Simone
This is the final book in a trilogy that is so angsty and involves the President of the United States, a college professor, and the Vice President of the United States and a love triangle that turns into a polyamorous relationship. It is so full of angst and will rip your heart out continuously, but at least the trilogy is complete now so you don’t have to wait like I did for American Prince and American King. I really enjoyed this series though and think the covers are stunning. But for real, if m/m and m/f/m relationships make you uncomfortable, this is not the book for you. If you’re into characters, angst, and BDSM elements, these books are perfect for you.
4. Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid
Even though I’m less obsessed with Penny Reid than I was upon completing Beauty and the Mustache, I still adore this book and think it’s funny and clever. I just adore Ashley as a heroine and character and was thought watching her fall for Drew was incredible. Plus, the Winston brothers and female friendship? Yes. There is not really a better combination.
Moving on, just barely to my favorites in New Adult Romance.
1. How Not to Fallduology by Emily Foster
Okay, it’s worth noting that this duology destroyed me and then put me back together so if you want a very well done angsty romance, these two books are for you. Basically, this college senior has a huge crush on her TA and they talk about the fact that they are interested in one another one night, but they don’t actually act on anything until she graduates!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, every single one of those exclamation points were for handling the power dynamic in a way I appreciate. But also, these books are genuinely so good. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, Sarah MacLean thinks so too.
2. Rookie Moveby Sarina Bowen/Sarina Bowen
The /Sarina Bowen is to say that picking just one of the numerous books by her I read last year was really difficult and most of them fall into the New Adult category. This one though just really got me. I love Georgia and I absolutely adore Leo. This book was so well done for so many reasons. When Leo stands up for Georgia in the middle of his first press conference, I screamed. I still remember that. This book is so good, I really want to re-read it right now.
Now we jump to dystopian romance, which I didn’t even know existed…
1. Storm Gathering by Rebecca Zanetti
I’m in love with the Scorpius Syndrome series so I would definitely recommend you pick it up if you haven’t already, but Moe’s story was hands down my favorite of the series so far. I am unbelievably excited for the next book in the series to be in my hands because so good! This series takes place in the U.S. after some virus killed basically everyone and those that survived have been changed by the virus. This book series is so good and getting to see what’s happening with all of our other couples has been delightful.
2. Beyond Series by Kit Rocha
Y’all, I’m so in love with this series. I read the first three books in it in 2017 and I just finished the fourth one. These are extremely steamy and explicit and I love them. I’m not going to say too much here because I know I’ve wrapped them up several times in the past two months, so… Y’all know I love Noelle and I adore Lex. While the third was not my favorite, I did enjoy it. Book Four though, y’all. Yes.
And now we move on to the final subgenre… Historical Romance!
1. Because of Miss Bridgertonby Julie Quinn
I fell head over heels for Billie and her love story with George. This historical romance started a new series for Quinn and I’m so excited for the third book in the series (the second was not my favorite). I really love Quinn’s writing and I think she does dialogue so well!
2. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Y’all, I’m in love with this book and Alyssa Cole at this point. This historical romance taught me something I didn’t know about the Civil War, made me fall in love with Elle and Malcolm and I just adore the series. I can’t wait for the third one, which I believe is due out in October!
3. The Duchess Dealby Tessa Dare
Batman. Seamstress. Scarred duke. “Nevertheless she persisted.” Everything about this book was wonderful to me. If you’ve read Tessa Dare, you know what to expect. She writes dialogue so well and her secondary characters are always so wonderful and that was certainly true this time. I am also very excited for book two in the Girl Meets Duke series.
4. Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
I talked about my love for this book in my Mid-Year Wrap Up so I don’t feel bad about my quick little wrap up here. I absolutely loved Penelope and Gabriel, but also, getting to see Evie and St. Vincent was my favorite. Also, I just really fell in love with Kleypas’s writing this year. I read so many of her books, but I think this series might be my favorite. I’ve already pre-ordered Hello Stranger, the next book in this series.
Okay, I’ve got to be done now. I’ve told you so many. Honorable mentions though go to Seraphina from Sarah MacLean’s The Day of the Duchess and Kelly Bowen’s Duke of My Heart. What were your favorite romance novels of 2017? Let me know!