The Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan: It's no shocker that Courtney Milan is tops on my list — she was at the top of last year's list too. She gave us some fabulous reading in 2012, with two novellas and one full-length book in her new Victorian series. The Governess Affair was my favorite novella of the year (my review here) until I read A Kiss for Midwinter last week. And then I read it again the following day. And I may read it again tomorrow. My review for that and the first full book, The Duchess War, are coming soon but do yourself a favor and read them now. These books also win the award for best covers of the year — each is absolutely stunning.
Paris in Love by Eloisa James: I absolutely adored Eloisa James' memoir about the year she and her family lived in Paris. Told in short vignettes that are heavy on sensory details, the book is alternately funny and bittersweet, but it's also a real-life romance between James and her adopted city. Her vivid portrayal of Paris and its people is both easy to read (I read it in a few hours) and easy to lose yourself in. On a similar note, I loved two novels of the Parisian food scene — Laura Florand's The Chocolate Thief (my review here) and The Chocolate Kiss (review coming soon) are lovely, decadent portrayals of French sweets.
Other Books of Note:
Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry: 2012 will also be known as The Year I Finally Read Sarah Mayberry. I chose Mayberry's foray into self-publishing first, then I promptly went and read every Harlequin Superromance she'd ever written, and I haven't regretted a moment of that.
About Last Night by Ruthie Knox: This steamy contemporary about a buttoned-up London businessman who falls for a former bad girl from Chicago was everything that a standalone romance should be. Also worth reading is Ride With Me, Knox's debut work, which was published in February.
About That Night by Julie James: How can you not love a hot computer geek nicknamed The Twitter Terrorist? James continues her Chicago-based FBI/US Attorney series with this funny, fun, steamy read.
A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant: This unconventional historical romance polarized many readers of the genre, and I'm one of those who loved it. Grant's heroine, Martha, is one of the least likely romantic heroines I've encountered but that makes her move toward love all that more poignant.
Personal note: Though I've been reading just as much as usual, I've been having trouble writing reviews of late. My admiration goes out to the authors who work so hard to write every day and produce the books we love so much — I'm struggling just to produce a good paragraph these days. I apologize for the infrequent reviews and resolve to be better in 2013.
Thank you for taking the time to read these reviews, and cheers and best wishes to you all for a magical 2013 full of happiness and good books!