This was really not easy selecting my top reads of 2016 as i have been lucky to have read a number of fantastic books this year. I tried to stick to 10 and failed miserably so here are my 14 favourites in no particular order, some i reviewed for the blog and others have been recommended to me by friends and fellow book lovers.
I gave each of these books a 5 star rating, however these are not my only 5 star books of the year there were many others. I would recommend each and every one as must read books so happy reading to you all and thank you for your support of Bookaholics Reading Haven throughout the year and I hope you continue to stick with us through 2017.
El Diablo by M Robinson
5 stars – get ready to meet the devil
I always find it hard to get down in words my love for a book especially when it has totally knocked me on my arse and this time is no exception. El Diablo is an absolute triumph, M Robinson’s writing was flawless, engaging and the range of emotions i experienced along this bumpy ride ranged from wanting to kill Martinez myself to feeling every ounce of Lexi’s despair, hurt and heartbreak. I moved from hating Alejandro one minute to absolutely loving him the next
Alejandro Martinez is as ruthless as they come. Feared and hated by his enemies, he lives his life in constant danger and surrounded by bodyguards. He is many things; deadly, cold hearted and a merciless killer but he wasn’t always like this. The book follows Alejandro as he grows up as the son of a Columbian crime lord . We see his innocence, his hopes for the future, the love for his mother and sister and how this all disappears little by little as his father prepares him to take over his empire and El Diablo is born.
If Martinez is the devil then Lexi is certainly the angel in this story. A hard start in life, she managed to get through her childhood making her a stronger and more determined person. Despite his attempts to show her differently, Lexi always saw the good in him and what was underneath that cold, detached exterior that he wanted everyone to believe was the real Alejandro Martinez. Time after time, he built her up, made her hope, made her believe, only to cruelly and brutally knock her back down leaving her broken and devastated.
However, despite it all they loved each other. The chemistry was there, constantly simmering away until the moments it erupted full of beautifully raw emotion that took your breath away. I routed for them constantly, willing Lexi to pull Alejandro from the darkness that consumed his daily life and into the light again.
Monica is a fantastic story teller, the story gradually builds until you are hanging on every word and i was left holding my breath on more than one occasion with the expectation of what was to come next. The characters are consuming, coming alive as you turn the pages to the point you feel that you are living and breathing there story along with them.
Alejandro Martinez will weave his spell on you and despite moments of hating him, you will fall for this man hook, line and sinker. What more can i say really, other than buy this book and prepare yourself to meet the devil, you won’t be disappointed
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2jF0HkO
Mr President by Katy Evans
5 Stars – Matt Hamilton for President!!!
Where to start this review??? This is such a unique story that i don’t feel saying I loved it, you need to read it is quite enough. Being from the UK, my understanding of US politics is limited and my interest in politics in general is also minimal but this book is a politically powerful triumph which had me captivated from the first page and something you need to experience to fully understand the quality of Katy’s writing
You are literally taken on the campaign trail with this engaging story, immersing you in everything politics. I loved that it pulled me in, kept me hooked and left me at the end hanging on wanting more – if Matt Hamilton was running for office, he would certainly get my vote.
Charlotte Wells, daughter of a US senator, first met the charismatic Matthew “Matt” Hamilton at the age of 11 when he attended a dinner at her parents home with his father, then President of the United States. Little did she know that a letter jokingly offering to help him with his campaign if he ever ran for president would come to fruition when fast forward 10 years, she gets an offer to do just that.
When Charlotte makes the decision to join Matt’s team the attempts to keep things purely professional don’t last long. He is as intrigued by her as she is by him, these two literally gave me goosebumps. The chemistry between them intense, electric and the affair they embark on risky, forbidden and certain to ruin Matt’s chances at the presidency should they be discovered. They are left in a catch 22; Matt needs to focus on his campaign and Charlotte doesn’t want to do anything to prevent him from achieving his ultimate goal but they can’t stay away from each other, the pull too strong.Matt is passionate, focused and driven and not your typical alpha male. There is nothing sleazy about this presidential hope, he oozes charisma and confidence and was genuinely one of the most intriguing characters i have read in quite some time.
I have absolutely loved every book of Katy’s, the quality of her writing and depth of characters is second to none and this was no exception and she has done a phenomenal job with this book. If you are new to Katy’s books then this is a fantastic place to start and for those of us that know and love her work, this will be added in my opinion to one of her best books as we fall in love with Mr President. I cannot wait for book 2 to find out what happens next; will Matt win? will they be found out? the questions are endless and thankfully we shouldn’t have too long to wait.
Amazon ➜ http://amzn.to/2fyeeZ4
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2faus7S
Nook ➜ http://bit.ly/2dNp2hl
iBooks ➜ http://apple.co/2dPYPQr
Kobo ➜ http://bit.ly/2cQp2Rv
Paperback ➜ http://amzn.to/2eZAbw1
Pennies by Pepper Winters
5 Stars – dark, intense and full of intrigue
Yet again, this is the start to another fantastic Pepper Winter’s series. I always find it difficult to review her books because they leave me totally speechless and I never quite know where to start. This book has left me with goosebumps. There were many times that i felt so disturbed i didn’t want to continue but having read all of Pepper’s previous books, I know to expect this and that it will be so worth it, and it was.
Tamsin/Pimlico had lead a life of privilege but taken at the age of 18, was sold to a man that can only be described as sick, disturbed and utterly masochistic who treated her as a slave in every sense of the word. In order to survive, she soon learns to condition her reactions and keep one part of herself back from the monster who thinks of her as nothing more than a toy, a plaything. He may defile and degrade her body but there is no way she will let him have all of her because if she lets him, she may as well be dead.
Elder comes into her life around the 2 year anniversary of her captivity. This man oozes danger, darkness and Pim sees evil in those eyes when he looks at her. Having come from nothing, he has power, respect and is feared by those who use his services but how did he get there? You can tell this man has secrets by the bucket load and likely a body count to match it. He is strangely drawn to Pim, he can’t explain why but he is the only one to show her even a slither of empathy but as he tells her, he is no hero. Will he be the answer to her escape from the hell she lives in but could she in fact be going from one hell to another?
This book was amazing. Pepper’s writing was captivating, descriptive and absolutely addictive. The characters are complex and intriguing with just enough revealed about them and the possible direction of the story to leave you waiting with baited breath for more. This book is dark and certainly not for the feint hearted or for everyone for that matter but I loved it and am eagerly awaiting the next instalment.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2jwHVI5
Sweet Cheeks by K Bromberg
5 Smashing Grudge Cupcake Stars
As always with any of Kristy’s books, i’ve been really looking forward to reading this one. The Driven Series has been phenomenal and is one of my all time favourites but it was great to hear that we were going to get an unrelated standalone and this book certainly did not disappoint. Sweet Cheeks is a sexy, friends to enemy’s, second chance romance that you will be unable to put down.
Hayes and Saylor grew up together. He was her brothers best friend, she had a crush on him from an early age. They were each others first loves and then one day Hayes ups and leaves with no explanation leaving Saylor heartbroken, devastated.
Ten years later, Saylor has walked away from her own wedding and is busy with her new cupcake business when the invite to her ex’s wedding lands on her desk which she unintentionally accepts with a plus one. In walks Hayes, now a huge movie star but when he sets eyes on Saylor again, he realises what he’s missed out on all these years and this is where all the fun starts – it was never going to be smooth with Hayes fame added into the mix.
These two were pure magic together, the chemistry intense and I fell in love with them almost instantly. Hayes is unbelievably hot, totally swoon worthy and the lengths he goes to to win Saylor back made my heart beat fast, gave me butterflies in my stomach and fall completely head over heels for this man. The feelings they had for each other had never died just lay smouldering beneath the surface and Kristy gave us the perfect passion filled story of reignited love that will literally have you hanging on every word.
I finished Sweet Cheeks with a huge smile on my face. In true Kristy style, I did not want it to end. The characters are loveable, the plot engaging, I swooned, I laughed and i cheered them on from behind the pages of the fantastic book. This is a brilliant step away from the Driven series, a heartwarming story that both new and existing Bromberg fans are going to absolutely love
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2g2ULAU
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2eUgNn0
Pretty Stolen Dolls by Ker Dukey & K Webster
5 Stars – Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick …….
OH MY GOODNESS, what the hell have i just read? Ker Dukey and K Webster, you evil geniuses.This book was insane, a complete horror show of darkness that had me almost too scared to carry on at one point but unable to put it down at the same time. How your minds work i will never know but what a fantastic collaboration between these two authors.
From that DEADication, I knew that this was going to be one hell of a rollercoaster. Jade and Macy were kidnapped by the deranged Benny, enticed in by his pretty dolls. After enduring years of torture and abuse, Jade escapes leaving her little sister Macy behind but vowing to come back for her. Years later she is a police detective but the events in her past still haunt her dreams, her sister has never been found and she is constantly wondering what has happened to her and feeling guilt for not finding her.
But now Benny is back. Messing with her mind and bringing her past into her present. I was horrified, mesmerised and completely consumed by this book. I had so many questions, thoughts running through my head – what the hell is going on? how is this going to end? And that ending ………….. with a few twists thrown in there, it started to become clear and i was left with my mouth hanging open, shocked ….. no, no, no that can’t be it ?????
If you love a dark read then you must read this book. It will blow your mind and push your boundaries but you will love love love it. This won’t be for everyone so read the warnings and heed them, there are some triggers and some may find disturbing. But me…. I sometimes feel that i too must have a dark and twisted mind as its hard to find the words to describe how much i absolutely loved this book. Needless to say, i will never look at a doll the same way again.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iHzbyL
A Gift of Time by Beth Flynn
This has literally been one of the best series I have ever read and A Gift of Time was epic in every sense of the word, a fitting conclusion to a truly wonderful trilogy
I’m not sure i have the words to describe my love for this breathtakingly written book that has stirred so many different emotions in me i feel almost dizzy. I’m sat here feeling really emotional and i can only begin to imagine how Beth must have felt writing this book. It was raw, gritty but full of so much beauty weaved in amongst the darkness
I’m so glad that thing have worked out the way they have, I feel a sense of relief, of peace and almost like the sun has broken through the clouds. I think it is going to take something to pull me out of this massive book hangover and if you haven’t read this book or in fact this series, you are seriously missing out as the only fitting word i can find to describe it is immense.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iHxCAU
The Wall of Winnipeg & Me by Marianna Zapata
I ended this book feeling quite emotional, it really snuck up on me and both Mariana and this fantastic book have certainly left an impression that had me going straight to one click more of her work
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me is a real slow burn romance that I have to admit, I started off not being completely sure about but as I turned the pages and got further into this story, the anticipation sucked me in and ended with me in a tail spin of emotion.
I loved loved feisty Vanessa. She took no shit from anyone – perhaps due to her upbringing but this girl despite suffering from terrible self doubt, put herself in financial hell and went to college, got her degree and started building the business she always wanted to. All this and having to deal with a crazy family and The Wall of Winnipeg himself, his demands and the whirlwind that surrounded him !
Aidan “The Wall of Winnipeg” Graves – extremely focused, a man of few words, he likes things the way he likes them and lives a life of complete discipline and routine. His sport and career are everything to him and when the prospect of this being ruined arises he’s turns to Vanessa to help him out of the situation he finds himself in.
If you love the build up and anticipation to a possible relationship then this is the book for you. This is certainly not an insta romance but it will suck you in and will leave you swooning and breathless with the conclusion to this wonderful story. This is my first book by Mariana and it won’t be my last – I loved it
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ihvEpU
Down Shift by K Bromberg
5 Stars that will knock your socks off
WOW! Where do i start? I’ve spent the last 48 hrs trying to decide what to say and how to express how i feel. I’ve read all the Driven books and loved them but this book ….. it absolutely flawed me, its so beautifully written and is hands down Kristy’s best book to date and I LOVED it !!!
If you’ve read the Driven series, you will remember Zander as the silent little boy who found his voice, that we all fell in love with. I’ve been eagerly awaiting his story and right from the prologue, which left me gobsmacked, I knew this was going to be an absolute rollercoaster.
Adopted by Colton and Rylee and following in his dad’s footsteps, he is the new “golden boy” of racing. When a box arrives throwing his life into a spiral, Zander hits out at those closest to him, the pain is unbearable and when things really start to fall apart he escapes to lick his wounds and finds himself in a small seaside town
Getty is running from her past. A controlling father and an abusive husband have made her life miserable, using her as a pawn in their business transactions. Finally reaching her limit, she ends up in a small beachside house, the community adopting her as there own, she is constantly fighting the triggers from her past. So what will she do when she comes home to find a naked man in her house
Getty and Zander are so alike. Troubled pasts have crashed into there present and right from the first moment they meet a standoff begins, both wanting the house to themselves and neither wanting to give it up. I absolutely loved these two. The banter between them was witty with bucket loads of sexual tension which builds the more time they spend together. Zander is cocky, kind and so so sexy but underneath it all is that scared little boy who experienced more than any other small child should ever have to. Getty has been through so much but she is strong, feisty and despite her insecurities she is determined to take back her life, make a new one for herself and live it the way she wants to.
Down Shift is an emotionally charged book. Its heartbreaking, completely gut wrenching on occasion but also of strength, using things from the past to move forward – taking that leap of faith – “Just Jump”. These characters consumed me from the first turn of the page, I laughed with them, I cried with them and the number of times i had to pause just to take in what i had read were many, It was absolutely incredible. I never thought anyone would beat Colton in my eyes but i’m sorry to say that Zander has certainly give him a run for his money. Be prepared for a book hangover but this book is oh so worth it, it will knock your socks off !
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2cgkF2W
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2cg6Ayp
Harley & Rose by Carmen Jenner
5 Stars – Beautiful, devastating but a complete must read that will rip out your heart
Where to start with my review? How do i find the words, describe my feelings for this book? I get emotional when i read, I fall for characters, I live and breathe their lives but this book literally gutted me, ripped out my heart and has left a lasting impression, a foot print on my very soul that will forever remain.
This book is so beautifully written. It is no secret that Carmen is one of my favourite authors, I absolutely love her books and every time that she releases a new one I wonder whether it is possible for me to love it more than the last. What i have come to realise is that each book is different and with each release I lose another little piece of myself to Ms Jenner’s books.
Harley and Rose, best friends since child hood, their lives and families entwined, it was almost inevitable that these two would fall in love. Their love was pure, it was sweet and the type that should and would stand the test of time. But life happened, their paths went in different directions, words were said, mistakes were made but somehow they found their way back, back to each other. This was a once in a lifetime love, something that could only be felt between two soulmates and it was absolutely worth fighting for.
I truly fell in love with Harley and Rose although at times i really wanted to bang their heads together.Rose’s heart has been shredded by Harley’s actions but no matter what he had done, she loved him, she had always loved him, he just needed to understand this and stop pushing her away
This book evoked so many emotions in me.The last 10-15% ripped out my heart, devastated me to the point i couldn’t see through the tears, I sobbed till my eyes were red and puffy and my throat raw and when i thought there were no more tears to come….. er yes there were. This story takes you on a journey of love, passion and heartbreak that needs to be read to be really felt. You will need a box or two of tissues when you read this book but believe me when i say that it is worth every tear that you will shed
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2eauSvM
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2emAKj3
Preppy – The Life & Times of Samuel Clearwater by TM Frazier:
OMG, Preppy’s back TM Frazier you nailed it !!
This book was absolutely fantastic – I’ve really missed Preppy, he was one of my favourite characters ever and to get some insight into his life has put a huge smile on my face.
I loved Dre. She was a great match for Preppy as they were so similar in a lot of ways and I can’t wait to see what happens between them in the coming books
And that ending ….. Oh Ms Frazier, you sure know how to end a book and leave us hanging. The next instalment in this fantastic series cannot come soon enough!!
iBooks → http://goo.gl/a0kBSw
Amazon US→ goo.gl/zwnMSO
Amazon UK→ https://goo.gl/H6N5Qx
LIVE!! Amazon AU→ https://goo.gl/UZu3at
Night Fires by Dawn H Sidebottom
5 Stars – a brilliant book, full of love and tenderness which gave me goosebumps on more than one occasion.
Having read all of Dawn’s books, I was really looking forward to this one and right from the start it instantly had a completely different feel about it then any of her previous. This was a wonderfully written book that had my heart beating fast, sent chills down my spine and gave me goosebumps on more than one occasion.
Set in a small English village by the coast, which from the writing I could instantly picture, this is the story of Alice and Carter both with unimaginable tragedy and loss in their pasts which they have dealt with in different ways. Alice moves into a house in the village by the sea, this is her fresh start, her attempt to start over and here she meets Carter. Haunted by the events in his past, he tries to keep Alice at arms length but they are drawn together by the similarities in their history, they are perfect for each other and despite initially fighting it, the way in which Carter comes to treasure and protect Alice is heart warming
“It’s okay, we don’t have to remember. You don’t have to do anything, Alice. Just sink into me and let me take it all for you.”
The plot line to this book is strong, a real page turner right from the start. There is a slightly chilling undertone running through the story, with a twist at the end but it was ultimately a story of tragedy and loss and two people struggling with their past and trying to live each day at a time. There were many moments of tenderness and romance and I found myself close to tears on more than one occasions but finished this book with as smile. I loved that this was so different to Dawn’s other books and I cannot recommend this wonderful story highly enough and can see this staying on my list of favourites already for 2016
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2jwJFRD
That One Moment by Amy Daws
5 gut wrenching stars – a journey of self discovery and hope.
Speechless, absolutely speechless – This is how I have been left by this emotional rollercoaster of a book that pulled me in right from the start and had me hanging on every last one of Amy’s beautifully written words right to the end.
I was so pleased to be getting Hayden’s story, especially after reading Not the One. I have to say that I am struggling to find the words to express my love for this beautiful man who had been through unimaginable, life changing, tragedy that took him to the brink only to be pulled back at the last minute. The book takes us on an emotional journey full of heartache, despair, anger and immense pain and you cannot help being deeply touched by the struggles Hayden endures just to get through the day, that is until he meets Vi.
I really loved Vi. Having lost her mother when she was just 4, she grew up with a famous football player father and 4 brothers all of which have followed in his footsteps. They smother her and in an attempt to gain some independence and space, she moves out of the family home. Vi has a great personality with plenty of fire and spirit and she has some really humorous moments during the book, quite a few involving her 4 brothers, whose relationship with Vi I really loved and also her mad St Bernard dog.
The chemistry between Hayden & Vi was hot from the start, the connection intense and consuming. Hayden struggles with his feelings for her, scared to let himself become emotionally attached to another person because it may pull him back into the dark place he has struggled so hard to stay out of. Vi having been hurt by every man she has become close to, fears rejection and believes herself unlovable but she never lets that get in the way of her feelings for Hayden, her desire to be with him and do everything she can to make him realise that the past is the past and that there is a future out there for him.
I felt emotional the entire time I was reading this book, choked up by the emotion that Amy evoked through her words which brought me to tears on more then one occasion. There are two particular scenes that I found tipped me over the edge but I won’t say anymore than that as you will need to read this fantastic book yourself to find out what they are. The relationships in the book are fantastic and it was great seeing my favourites characters from the previous books again.
This book had a wonderful blend of heartache, love, hope and a touch of humour, a heartfelt story of coming out of the darkness and into the light that shows you we all have worth, we all deserve love. In my opinion, this is Amy’s best book by far, a really poignant and emotional read that I would highly recommend
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iHyZ2w
Dare Me by Rebecca Shea
5 Stars – A heartbreaking and consuming read, a real page turner
To say I couldn’t put this book down is not an understatement; I started this last night and finished in the early hours. I was hooked into this right from the heartbreaking prologue, totally wrapped up in this story and the emotional rollercoaster that it took me on.
Saige Phillips never backs out of a dare. She hasn’t had the easiest start, moving from Chicago back to the family farm after her parents lost everything. Tragedy struck on her thirteenth birthday and life as she knew it was changed forever, leaving her nights plagued by nightmares and suffering with a type of PTSD. Landing her dream job, she is back in Chicago after 10 years attempting to create a life for her self and one evening out with friends, one dare changes everything
Holt Hamilton, confident, sexy and a successful businessman, he has it all. He is drawn to Saige the minute he sets eyes on her and he gets his chance one night when for a dare she asks him out for a drink. Right from the start you know he is hiding something but will he be able to open up to Saige, show who he really is?
I loved his persistence and vulnerability where Saige was concerned, he never gave up on her, wouldn’t let her push him away. He was certainly not your typical alpha male, bad boy CEO that you see in so many stories which made me love him all the more. Saige was strong beyond belief, still haunted by her past and unable to believe in love but Holt was determined to change this and make her his.
Saige and Holt had amazing chemistry right from the start and I was totally sucked into their story. This was a complete page turner, full of raw emotion and passion that will keep your attention to the very last page. I absolutely loved this book and will certainly be reading other books by this author in the future
Wrong by Jana Aston
What I can’t believe is how long I’ve had this on my kindle and not read it and now that I have I just want to devour the rest of this series – thank god they are all out now which is a bonus !
This book is brilliant – funny, sexy and Luke will have you swooning away – there is certainly nothing wrong about this man
Needless to say I have downloaded Right straight away and will be devouring this as soon as possible
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iHzk5c