Reader Favorites – Leslie M’s Best Books of 2017

by Maryse on January 1, 2018 · 22 comments

in Book Recommendations

It’s Leslie M’s “Best of 2017″ List and she’s one of our super-picky book-buddies. We’re often shocked at what she didn’t love (that we did), so you can bet I’m excited about what SHE DID love.

But first!! Wanna get to know Leslie M a little better? ;)

About book covers:

“Honestly, a good cover will attract me to a book I normally wouldn’t even try.”

About having internet “book-buds” (and why it’s so important!):

“I almost never have RL peeps who read my type books or share my enthusiasm for books. Once, some of my cousins read This Man series and when I started squeeing over it, they looked at me like I had 10 heads. Whateves to them. Only my book buds “get” squeeing!!”

About envisioning the characters:

“I can’t stand when I don’t have clear picture of mc’s in my head. I LOVE when authors post their inspiration and I will stalk their social media for pics. Oh and if book has a movie, I always picture the actors.”

And Leslie’s fun Christmas-quiz answers ;)

Christmas 20 questions:

Fake tree or real tree? Real in other people’s houses (I like the smell and they are beautiful) but fake in my house. Real trees are messy, expensive and I am petrified of fire.

Fat tree or thin tree? I always had thin tree due to lack of space but we bought new fat one last year and made room. (Its cool as its covered with “snow”)

Multicolor lights or white lights? My tree has white but I like both.

Candy canes or ribbon candy? Candy canes!!

A hula hoop or a plane that loops the loop? Hula hoop

B.B. gun or leg lamp? Ugh! I hate this movie.

Best dancer Snoopy or anyone else? Hmmm, all the peanuts can bust a move when Schroeder plays piano.

Should Frosty have been named Oatmeal? No way. (But I love that part in show)

If a bell rings does an angel get his wings? Duh, of course!

Is that you Santa Clause? Yes, that was the actual Santa Clause in Miracle on 34th Street. I loooooooved that movie when I was little. So magical!


“2017 was a great reading year! My list may be a bit boring compared to everyone else’s since my tastes are limited to CR. However, I did make fun categories!”

Best End of Series/Sib Series – Some Kind of Perfect (Calloway Sisters) by Becca & Krista Ritchie <— I loved all 10 books in this series of flawed but loveable characters! Perfect conclusion that made me cry as I didn’t want to say goodbye.

Leslie M: Some Kind of Perfect by Becca & Krista Ritchie. What can I say about this series besides a-freaking-mazing?!? This was extended epilogue and end to series of 10 books. I am so in love with these flawed and beautiful characters that it actually hurt reading last book and saying goodbye.

Most Unputdownable/Best Preztel Tummy Inducing – The Ground Rules series by Roya Carmen <— I have never read about couple swapping and this was crazy, sexy, intense, emotional and I could not put it down!!! Also made me cry. (that ending!)

Leslie M: The Ground Rules series was unputdownable for me. One of those where I was kicking myself for waiting so long to read it. I think a lot of people’s disappointment with 3rd book is what held me off, but I was happy with the ending. …WOW! Total angst-fest and I had a few panick attacks, but it was unputdownable. 4.5 ****

Best Herione/Made Me Cry Like a Baby – Forever Right Now by Emma Scott <—I typically read romance for the swoony H but THIS also had an h I adored. Darlene wormed her way into my heart and every emotion punched me in the gut. I bawled sad tears, tears of pride, then happy tears.

Leslie M: …Those characters were so real and gave me all the feels. I don’t remember having that strong of a reaction since I read It Ends With Us. …actually my fave of the year

Best Broken H & h Who Heal Each Other – The Butterfly Project by Emma Scott <— Beautiful story with h who blames herself for her sisters death and ex-con who can’t get past his crime. (Darlene from Forever Right Now is side character in this one)

Leslie M: The theme of book (two broken people come together to heal each other) isn’t anything new, but the way story was told, their backgrounds, etc. was interesting and captivated me.

Best Pet Name/Hottest – Real Good Man & Real Good Love Duet by Meghan March

Leslie M: Sexy, dirty talking, mechanic from Kentucky, “Logan” meets sassy, city girl “Banner” over accidental text. This was super hot with no sex scene skimming!  He calls her “Bruce” and despite smutty cover, it had a great story.

Best Forbidden/Travel/Jerky H – Heat Wave by Karina Halle <— The h loses her job and has no choice but to relocate to Hawaii to work for her dead sisters husband. He is Australian and jerky and yummy. Not only did I swoon but I felt like I was in paradise.

Leslie M: You know how we say we love certain things but “only in books”? I just read Heat Wave by Karina Halle (h is in love with her dead sisters widower) and I loved it!!! The premise “sounds” icky but I realized I must love the “forbidden-ness” of it because I’ve enjoyed other books with this trope.

Best Why Didn’t I Read This Sooner – Tristan & Danika series by R.K. Lilley <— SERIOUSLY???? What is wrong with me?! Nothing to say since every other romance reader on the planet already knows the awesomeness of this.

Leslie M: …book #2 hooked me. What a train wreck this was!! (but in a good way) I don’t always go for this much angst, but I fell hard for Tristan.

I am not good with pairing songs with books either. But….I am one of those people that bawl when I hear an emotional song that triggers a memory. Even if its a fictional book memory. THIS song is perfect for Tristan & Danika. (Or any heart wrenching romance book break up) I can’t listen to this without sobbing. In fact, I couldn’t finish video while searching for it on YouTube just now.

Best Rockstar/Grandmotherly Advice – Forget & Blur by N.A. Alcorn

Leslie M: The h loses her beloved grandmother who wills her a trip to Paris along with a bucket list. (the letter from the grandmother??? *sobs*) During the trip she meets and falls for local musician.  Emotional, angsty and major swoonage.

Best Celebrity H/Cutest Kid Ever/Flashbacks - Ghosted by J.M. Darhower

Leslie M: I love celeb H/regular h stories. Throw in an adorable kid, flashbacks via journal that will gut you, 2nd chance romance and you have this emotional masterpiece. (Ok, so I teared up writing this)  “Never make someone else the main character in your own story”  *sniffles*  THIS IS A MUST READ.

Best Athlete/Slow Burn – Until It Fades: A Novel by K.A. Tucker <— THIS IS HOW SLOWN BURN IS DONE PEOPLE! This is not boring or too long or drawn out. I love this single mom meets famous hockey player story with a twist.

Leslie M: I looooooved Until it Fades. I don’t usually like slow-burnish types, but this one was not at all boring or long winded…perfectly paced and fabulous and swoony.

Best Worst Cover/Hot for Teacher/Made Me Laugh & Cry – Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland <— I hate the cover. It’s tacky and makes book look like silly story. I am glad I took chance reading this. It gave me all the feels. Laughs, tears and swoons.

Leslie M: I finished Beautiful Mistake and I loved it. 4.5 **** Maryse, it is dual POV..not sure how you feel about that? But it’s mostly the h. 41 chapters total and like 11 of them are the H.

This was my cup of CR tea. It had “feels” but def not a marmy/ugly cry. I laughed, teared up, was “titillated” *snort* by the sexy times, swooned and didn’t skim or eyeroll once! It was perfect mix of funny, heartwarming & sexy for me. :)

Best YA/Bev Rec/Feel Good About Your Body No Matter Your Size – Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy <— THIS is what YA should be! Teenagers acting like teenagers. Although I am not a fan of this genre, I fell in love with story of positive body image. Thanks Bev! I would have passed over this if not for your rec.

Leslie M: Dumplin’ was not only a good audio, it was a good story. It was perfect YA for me. Not OTT annoying drama, but realistic situations and characters you can relate to no matter how old you are. My only complaint, I wanted more. I needed an epilogue. It would have been 5 star if it had one.

Best Politician – Off the Record series by K.A. Linde <— Sexy & forbidden political romance with a dash of love triangle.

Best Mind F@#$/This Family is Cray Cray- Infidelity series by Aleatha Romig <— Despite the name, this is not about cheating. For those who hated Tony from Consequences, this H is NOT abusive. This is one wild ride of suspense, crazy family drama and surprises. Addicting and fascinating story.

Leslie M: Infidelity Series by Aleatha Romig
1. It was hard to put down and exciting.
2. One of the twists was jaw dropping
3. Fun BR with my ho bag sistah Ela. ;)

…Shocking stuff in anything Aleatha Romig writes.

Wanna know more of Leslie’s favorites?


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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

MichelleS January 1, 2018 at 3:47 PM

I’ve read five on this list – Heat Wave, Dumplin, Tristan & Danika series, Ground Rules, and Ghosted! The Butterfly Project has been on my TBR for such a long time. I downloaded a sample, but haven’t even gotten around to reading that. Some of these sound awfully familiar – I wonder if I read them and forgot? LOL! Great list!

Cheryl January 1, 2018 at 4:06 PM

Great list Leslie. I’ve read 8 of them. Happy New Year!! :)

Tessa January 1, 2018 at 4:14 PM

I’ve only read four, but they are amongst the best of the best. When Everyone BR TandD, Amy said All of Me by John Legend reminded her of it, but yours is the dark side of that series. I adore that song. :)

bev January 1, 2018 at 4:24 PM

Awesome list. I like how you made the categories. It is not boring at all, you just know what you like.

I mean look you were a swinger that fell in love with your sister’s husband until you found a break up song then went to Paris until you were Ghosted by a Beautiful Mistake and came back home to sounds of Dolly Parton and managed to keep it all Of the Record.

I have read one of these, lol. But do have 2 or so in my tbr. Really have to get to Ghosted and Until it Fades.
Love the interactive list!

Can I add a little Dolly in the comments? I’ve always loved this cover.

Ashley January 1, 2018 at 4:40 PM

I devoured The Ground Rules Series. I loved Heat Wave, Real a Good Man and Forever Right Now – all ones I would gladly read again. Until it Fades and Beautiful Mistake are on my tbr piles as well as Ghosted and The Butterfly Project.

One of the books I read this year that I wondered why I didn’t read sooner was Waking Olivia by Elizabeth O’Roark (the next one Drowning Erin was good too) it was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it. Also one that surprised me was Shooter by Dahlia West, I just discovered it and have already listened to it twice.

Grey January 1, 2018 at 4:47 PM

Leslie!!! Wow, I think you just passed Jean as far as person I have the most books in common with. If we added up all those books in series…. I think I’ve read 17 out of your 26!

Fantastic list! I love the way you broke it down and explained your choices to us, you and R. are inspired!!! Thank you so much for your list…and your contributions to the ever-growing Mt. TBR, LOL!

And Maryse, this should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway; You’re the best! Thank you!!

Leslie M January 1, 2018 at 5:04 PM

Michelle, OMG! Do you not keep track of read books on GR or a spreadsheet? *gasps in absolute horror* I would die (literally drop dead) if GR crashed.

Tessa, that song makes me weepy. Reminds me of every heart wrenching breakup in romance land. :(

Bev, thanks for always making me laugh!

Grey & Cheryl, I am not surprised we have a lot in common as most of these are pretty popular ones. I love being able to gush with you all!!! :)

Ashley, I am gonna check your recs, thanks.

Leslie M January 1, 2018 at 5:06 PM

It goes without saying…Maryse is in fact THE BEST. xoxo

Leslie M January 1, 2018 at 5:08 PM

Btw…I revised my star rating since I posted some of those original comments and almost everything up there is stars!!

Maryse January 1, 2018 at 5:46 PM

bev… for sure BOTH of those are for you. I promise. :)

(Ghosted & Until it Fades)

Maryse January 1, 2018 at 5:48 PM

Your’s is next Grey!!! :D

Leslie M January 1, 2018 at 5:59 PM

Yes, yes…lets convince bev to read Ghosted & Until it Fades!!!

steph January 1, 2018 at 6:05 PM

I’ve read about half your list so I put the other half on TBR :)

Ashley January 1, 2018 at 6:11 PM

Leslie, I would be beside myself if GR crashed!! I would most likely cry hysterically and you wouldn’t be able to differentiate any of the words coming out of my mouth – if that’s what you would call them. I used to write my reads down in a notebook and now I just use GR.

Leslie M January 1, 2018 at 6:59 PM

Yay Steph!

Ashley, I added Waking Olivia…totally sounds up my alley.

Ashley January 1, 2018 at 7:56 PM

It’s so good! Now I want to reread it!

Jean January 2, 2018 at 12:09 AM

Love this list Leslie! I’ve read 6 and definitely want to read Beautiful Mistake, Heat Wave and Until It Fades!

I’m in the minority with you in that I loved how Ground Rules ended!

I think you, Grey, Cheryl and I have very similar tastes!

Jan January 2, 2018 at 4:07 AM

Great list Leslie. I liked The Butterfly Project too. Need to check out some of your others like Beautiful mistake and Until It Fades. Thanks for sharing :)

JulieO January 2, 2018 at 7:38 AM

Great list
Until it fades, Forever right now, Ghosted, but I truly loved the Ground Rules series and especially the ending. I thought it was perfect. Also someone mentioned Shooter by Dahlia West and that whole series was great also. The other day and I am sorry but I can’t remember who posted this but she had just read Bad Dad and really liked it, so I started it that night and am loving it too. Good writing and am caught up in the story and it is a stupid name for the book!!

Jean January 2, 2018 at 12:05 PM

JulioO, thanks for the feedback on Bad Dad. I saw that post too and downloaded it. I really want to read it now!

Amy January 7, 2018 at 12:55 AM

YES!! Ghosted and Until It Fades…CONFETTI TIME!!!

The Ground Rules…damn that 5-star book that STILL stirs up the worst emotions in me every time I think about it and even at the most random times, like when I’m driving on the freeway. Then road rage kicks in and lord help the poor souls in my lane. :?

Nay January 7, 2018 at 10:17 AM

Love your list, Leslie! It’s totally NOT boring and your categories are great! I SO agree about the horrible cover for Beautiful Mistake. I saw it and never even read what the book was about.

I also LOVED the Ground Rules and Tristan and Danika series!

A few of these books I either saw and forgot or haven’t heard of. Will definitely be adding Real Good duet to my tbr and moving up Heat Wave, Betrayal, Until it Fades, and every Emma Scott book that I haven’t read yet–thanks!

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