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My Top 5 Favorite Books of 2016

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I didn’t have time to read as many books in 2016 as I did in 2015. I read 106 books this year and marked 46 as favorites compared to 190 read and 68 favorites in 2015. So even though I read less books in total, I read a lot of really great ones. 

1. Hopeless Vows by Rachael Duncan– It was a modern take on an arranged marriage that was supposed to lead to my happily ever after. The rules were simple: 1. Marry a complete stranger chosen for you by professionals. 2. Live together as man and wife for eight weeks while cameras record your every move. 3. Make a decision to stay together or get a divorce. Call me crazy, but I had complete faith in the process, until I saw who was waiting for me at the end of the aisle. Austin James has never met me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know him. With no other choice, I say my vows and pray I can make it through the next eight weeks. Then I’ll leave. What connects us is my best kept secret, and I’ll protect it at all costs even if that means walking away from the only person I’ve ever cared about.

I loved this book. I’m a sucker for the arranged marriage storyline anyway and this one was really good. It had some twists and turns and drama that I wasn’t expecting. I really really hope the author writes a sequel! 

2. Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn– What do you do when your soul mate marries your best friend? If you’re Kate Evans, you keep your friend Rachel, bond with her kids, and bury your feelings for her husband. The fact that Shane’s in the military and away for long periods helps-but when tragedy strikes, everything changes. After Rachel, pregnant with her fourth child, dies in a car accident and the baby miraculously survives, Kate upends her entire life to share parenting duties. Then on the first anniversary of Rachel’s death, Kate and Shane take comfort in each other in a night that they both soon regret. Shane’s been angry for a year, and now he feels guilty too – for sleeping with his wife’s best friend and liking it . . . liking her. Kate’s ability to read him like a book may have once sent Shane running, but their lives are forever entwined and they are growing closer. Now with Shane deployed for seven months, Kate is on her own and struggling with being a single parent. Shane is loving and supportive from thousands of miles away, but his homecoming brings a betrayal Kate never saw coming. So Kate’s only choice is to fight for the future she deserves – with or without Shane.

This one was a tearjerker. It made me feel all the feels and I felt totally emotionally spent by the end of the book. Sometimes I just need to read a book that makes me want to cry. This one fit the bill!

3. Rescuing Rayne by Susan Stoker– As a flight attendant, Rayne Jackson is used to cancellations, but she never dreamed her latest would lead to a whirlwind tour of London with a handsome stranger…or a life-altering night in his bed. One evening is all the enigmatic man can give her, and Rayne greedily takes it, despite suspecting it will never be enough. Heading home after another extreme mission, Keane “Ghost” Bryson hadn’t planned to seduce someone during his layover, but Rayne is too sweet to resist. Being a Delta Force member means lying to protect his identity, which is unfortunate, considering Rayne seems made for Ghost, right down to the tattoo on her back. For the first time in his life, regret fills him as he slips away the following morning. Both are shocked when, months later, they meet again—under the worst possible circumstances. Seems fate has given them a second chance…if they can survive the terrorist situation they’re in. If Rayne can forgive Ghost his lies. And if Ghost can trust Rayne to be strong enough to endure the secrets and uncertainty that come with loving a Delta Force soldier.

I love military romance books with lots of action and Susan Stoker is great at giving me those! Her books always come with swoon worthy heroes, smart heroines, and thrilling action. What could be better?

4. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid– In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure. On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever. Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness. That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves. Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly? Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

Oh man, this book. I cannot even imagine being in the situation of the heroine. What do you do? How do you make that choice? This book was great and really dug deep into the emotions. 

5. Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson– Evie Blackwell loves her life as an Illinois State Police Detective . . . mostly. She’s very skilled at investigations and has steadily moved up through the ranks. She would like to find Mr. Right, but she has a hard time imagining how marriage could work, considering the demands of her job. Gabriel Thane is a lifetime resident of Carin County and now its sheriff, a job he loves. Gabe is committed to upholding the law and cares deeply for the residents he’s sworn to protect. He too would like to find a lifetime companion, a marriage like his parents have. . . . When Evie arrives in Carin, Illinois, it’s to help launch a new task force dedicated to reexamining unsolved crimes across the state. Spearheading this trial run, Evie will work with the sheriff’s department on a couple of its most troubling missing-persons cases. As she reexamines old evidence to pull out a few tenuous new leads, she unearths a surprising connection . . . possibly to a third cold case. Evie’s determined to solve the cases before she leaves Carin County, and Sheriff Thane, along with his family, will be key to those answers.

I love Dee Henderson and this book was no exception. This is the first in a new series and it was great. I cannot wait to see where this series goes in the future. I think it might end up being a new favorite!

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