Reader Favorites – R. Renee’s Top 10 Favorite Books for 2017!

by Maryse on December 18, 2017 · 25 comments

in Book Recommendations

It’s R’s turn, and she’s created a fun “category” list for us that I’m totally getting a kick out of. I LOVE THIS! Plus, there are SO MANY new-to-me books on here, and R. and I have very similar tastes in our authors and love stories.

So many new ones just made my TBR list. Eeeeeeeeep!! How did I miss these??? Well, as long as we have ‘em now.

Here are some funny “R. Renee” highlights for 2017!

Some of her favorite words:

“I love the word “whilst” and borrow it often! That and boot. My car doesn’t have a trunk, it has a boot.”

She’s finalizing a book… and… getting distracted. ;) Gah this made me giggle:

“FWP: I have a super huge deadline that I’m already missing and I just spent 30 minutes stalking pictures of Diego Boneta. #lackofsleep”

She loves cooking like I do, and went crazy for one of my favorite Pot Roast recipes (Mississippi Pot Road – oh how I am craving that again!!)

“Maryseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee that roast just changed my life, my marriage, and my world view.”

And also… she has a marinade for us: “My go-to marinade for chicken breasts uses ranch dressing packets. Two packets, 4 TBS oil, 2 TBS red wine vinegar for 4 breasts. Yumm and easy.” <— I AM SO TRYING THIS!!!!!

She’s a HUGE football fan. I can attest to this first hand, when I see her have her tantrums on Facebook, flipping tables and such (meme-wise). ;) LOL!!

“I got up at the crack of dawn to watch the Browns game on the patio and it was FREEZING! We had to start a fire. Now it’s in the 70s and I’m burning up!”

P.S. Wanna know more about R. Renee? Check out her TOP 2016 post (with quite the intro into who she is!!)

She says:

“Below is my 2017 “faves.” I did something different last year for my newsletter and I thought it would be fun for the blog instead of the usual top ten. It’s my 2017 Graduating Class.”

Here are my picks for the Graduating Class of 2017!

BEST ALL AROUND: Forever Right Now by Emma Scott. I love everything about this book from the author to the cover to the single dad trope. I read it twice, and both times, I was reduced to a sobbing, blubbering mess.

It’s a beautiful story that pulled at my heartstrings—more than any other Emma Scott book. Sweet, swoony, angsty, and impossible to put down. These two—make that three—pulled me through the ringer and left me smiling on the other side.

MOST UNIQUE: Ghosted by J.M. Darhower. CLEVER. Second person flashbacks? I didn’t think I was going to like those, but they quickly became one of my favorite things about the book. My other favorite thing? Maddie, but more on her in a minute.

UNSUNG HERO: The Pebble Jar by H.A. Robinson. This one sat in my TBR forever, and I picked it up out of the blue and began flipping through it. I didn’t put it down until I was done, and then I cried buckets of tears and sent scathing* emails to the author. This book is not getting the attention it deserves.
*See also:




BIGGEST HEARTBREAKER: Mists of The Serengeti by Leylah Attar. This book hurt me physically. Good lord, it hurts right now just thinking about it. One of the most painfully beautiful books I’ve ever read. I kept having to put it down because I couldn’t read and cry at the same time. And I’m not talking normal tears. Nope. These were big, fat, gut-wrenching sobs that rattled my bones.

BEST DRESSED: Sweetest Heartbreak (Sweetness Book 1) by Heather Bentley. LOVE. THIS. COVER. And it’s even more striking in person. It totally depicts the feel of the book for me, which BTW, is a solid five stars.

CLASS CLOWN: Free Hostage by S. Ann Cole. Cole is a natural when it comes to compelling, heartwarming, laugh-out-loud love stories that keep you on the edge of your seat. And her heroines have heart. On the rare occasion I wasn’t laughing with Timber, I was crying for her.

BIGGEST FLIRT: Desiring Lacey: Volume 1 (Fantasies Unmasked) by Erica Lynn. Erica is known to bring the steam, and DL doesn’t disappoint. It’s got a little Eyes Wide Shut thing happening that I love, which continues throughout the series. I don’t typically get into erotic romance because the romance is usually lacking. Not the case here. Erica’s books are the best of both worlds.

MOST LIKELY TO WIN AN OSCAR: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’m slightly obsessed with TJR. I wait all year for her books to come out like kids wait for Santa. I stay up late on release night and read until dawn. I drop everything else. Everything. But not this time. I knew this wasn’t going to be her usual gut-wrenchy romance, so I decided to skip it. I made it three long months before I caved and read it simply for the writing. Yes, I paid $12 to read a book I didn’t think I’d like. That’s how much I love her writing. I didn’t even care what the story was about at that point. I just needed a fix. To my surprise, I loved it. And it WOULD make a killer movie. That being said, I miss her, and I hope she goes back to her soul-crushing roots.

CUTEST COUPLE: Stef and Jav from A Charm of Finches (Venery Book 2) by Suanne Laqueur. I didn’t *love* Jav in An Exaltation of Larks. I was #teamalex and #teamval all the way. But I fell hard for Stef in Finches, and he brings out the best in Jav. These two are swoony, romantic goodness. I’m reading them right now in Tales from Cushman Row and can’t get enough.

BEST SIDEKICK: Maddie from Ghosted by J.M. Darhower. OMG this kid STOLE this book and my heart. Do you remember that scene in Hope Floats where the little girl chases her dad’s car down the road? That’s who Maddie reminds me of. She made me LOL and CRY. Get that girl the breads and the chickens! Gah! I can’t even. *dies*

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: Goodnight, Nic by Marley Jacobs. I’m always looking for first person, present tense books, and when I found out this one was by a debut author, I jumped on it.

Jacobs has a unique voice and her sense of humor is on par with mine—dry and maybe just a little inappropriate. I laughed and cried simultaneously. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: The Dark of the Moon by E.S. Bell. What the ever-loving heck? I don’t do fantasy, especially hardcore Sword and Sorcery Fantasy (I don’t even know what that is). But Bell happens to be a second pen name for my favorite romance writer and that makes it a must read. As with Seven Husbands, I expected to love the writing, but I didn’t expect to love the book. To be honest, I didn’t even expect to like it. But by the halfway mark, I was hooked. I got so swept up in Lunos, I didn’t want to leave. I’d be there right now if said author would quit wasting time doing stupid stuff like sleeping/eating/spending time with her family, and give me book two. DOTM gave me one of the biggest book hangovers I’ve had in years. YEARS. Six stars and one of my top ten faves of all time.


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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

R. Renee December 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM

Thanks Maryse! And somebody remind me…what did FWP stand for?

R. Renee December 18, 2017 at 3:24 PM

Never mind! Duh!

Maryse December 18, 2017 at 3:25 PM


That fantastic day we were whining about nothing… ;)

bev December 18, 2017 at 3:44 PM

This is great, R. Very clever.
No surprise that I have read none of them, lol.
So would you say that you like to cry?

R. Renee December 18, 2017 at 3:50 PM

All signs point to yes! :lol:

I still think you’d like The Pebble Jar. It gutted me, but it doesn’t do that to everyone. Just like Goodnight, Nic didn’t bring me to tears, but has a lot of readers.

Jan December 18, 2017 at 5:30 PM

Thank you R! I like the way you kinda divided it up into categories. And the Oscar for….. goes to…….

Love your list. Some I’ve read and loved, others are new to me.

*pops across to amazon to check out new to me books*

MichelleS December 18, 2017 at 5:31 PM

With a review like that of Dark of the Moon, it’s a must add to my TBR. I love love love fantasy!

Still need to get to Javi’s story. I fell for him in Larks, so Finches is on my short TBR list.

Great list – several books to check out that are new to me.

R. Renee December 18, 2017 at 5:54 PM

Yes MichelleS! I LOVED DOTM. I was totally captivated. And I meant to say Goodnight, Nic didn’t “gut me.” It did make me teary though!

Leslie M December 18, 2017 at 7:06 PM

Nice list! A couple of my faves on there.

I need to read Sweetest Heartbreak and the Seven Husbands. Even though its more Hollywood memoir-ish than romance, it interests me. Also, Free Hostage looks interesting.

MichelleS December 18, 2017 at 7:42 PM

I can only find Dark of the Moon as an actual book. No eBook? Is that true? Boo.

Who is Nic?

R. Renee December 18, 2017 at 7:59 PM

I’ll ask about DOTM. Goodnight, Nic is a debut by Marley Jacobs. I saw someone on here reading it but I can’t remember who! Nay or Lisa maybe?

Cheryl December 18, 2017 at 10:03 PM

R. loved your take on the fav list. I have read most of them. Funny, I have had the same thoughts about Seven Husbands; guess I need to move it up on my tbr. Sweetest Heartbreak says it is book 1. Is it a standalone?

R. Renee December 18, 2017 at 10:05 PM

Yes Sweetest Heartbreak is a standalone. And Seven Husbands was crazy good!

Tessa December 19, 2017 at 1:13 AM

I’ve only read two books on there, and they were both five stars for me. Ghosted… *swoons* but yes. Dark of the Moon should be noticed more. I have noticed that fantasy romance is harder for people to try than regular fantasy or romance. Probably because it’s still rather new? I don’t know. Oh, and you were thinking High fantasy. :) It’s that. Michelle, when it’s available, read it.

The rest… with the crying… kind of scares me. :P Except Free hostage. I’m all for funny.

Rochelle Koch December 19, 2017 at 11:47 AM

FWP – Friend with Privileges
Fresh Wet Paint
French Waffle Party
and I can go on.

R. Renee December 19, 2017 at 1:16 PM

First World Problems, but it took me a minute to remember!

R. Renee December 19, 2017 at 1:23 PM

MichelleS DOTM is being cleaned up. I’ll let you know when it’s available.

Robyn December 19, 2017 at 8:42 PM

R, what a great list! I’ve read a few like Ghosted (I couldn’t get into it), Mists of the Serengeti was a fave of mine too and LOVED A Charm of Finches. Stef and Jav…swoon!

I got Forever Right Now, The Pebble Jar (that looked to good to pass up),Sweetest Heartbreak and Free Hostage. Still on the fence about DOTM. I don’t know if fantasy on the high seas is up my alley. I might need more convincing! LOL

R. Renee December 19, 2017 at 9:05 PM

I think the first flashback in Ghosted had me scratching my head *at first* but then that became my fave part and I loved it.

DOTM is pure fantasy. There is a touch of romance, but it is definitely not a central theme. The e-book isn’t available right now, but it’s coming back soon.

Nay December 20, 2017 at 5:58 AM

Great list, Robin! I’m checking out the books I missed now!!

Grey December 20, 2017 at 7:00 PM

Oh… *tosses glitter* loves this list. Not really much of a surprise here that I have read almost all of these. *giggle* and agree on all fronts. The ones I haven’t read yet, need a quick shuffle up to the top of Mt. TBR.

Great list, my friend! Thank you for your great insight and humor. And thanks as always, Maryse!

Maryse December 20, 2017 at 7:01 PM

*twirls in the glitter*

My pleasure, Grey!!!! Thank YOU GUYS for being here with me!!! :D

Jean December 28, 2017 at 11:44 AM

R, I totally appreciate your recommendations! I’ve read 5 from your list and really want to read Seven Husbands (especially after I read your review on GR and it’s the only TJR I haven’t read yet)!

I have Dark of the Moon and keep going past it! Moving it up on my list!

Amy January 7, 2018 at 12:06 AM

HA! Very clever way of listing your faves, R. ;)

Loved your list. I read Mists of Serengeti and Ghosted (totally agree about the second person flashbacks), and I have Pebble Jar, Sweetest Heartbreak (how could I EVER resist that cover?!?), and Seven Husbands patiently waiting to be read in my library.

Great list! :D

R. Renee January 7, 2018 at 11:52 AM

Thanks Amy!!

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