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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top Ten Paranormal Romance Novels of 2015

     Here are my nominations for the top 10 paranormal romance novels of the year. I have to admit that I cheated a bit by including three novels in a single entry for Lori Handeland's SISTERS OF THE CRAFT TRILOGY because the novels were all published within a two-month period in 2015. So...three cheers for Handeland for not making us wait a year between each novel! 

     First on my "Best" list is my favorite romance novel of the year: Hunted Warrior, Lindsey Piper's final novel in THE DRAGON KINGS trilogy. If you haven't been reading this terrific series, please give it a look, but start back at the beginning so that you'll get the entire intriguing story. The remaining books on my list are arranged alphabetically, by author. 

         To read my full review of each book on this list, click on the PINK-LINK SERIES TITLE in each entry below. All of my review posts for series books are ongoing and all-inclusive. That means that each series post contains a reading-order list of all the novels, stories, and novellas; an overview of the world-building; and reviews (or sometimes, summaries) of all of the books/stories published in that series to date, with the newest review at the top of the post. 

     If you are an urban fantasy fan, click HERE to take a look at my list of Top 10 Urban Fantasy Novels for 2015.

                        ****     *****     ******     ******     *****     ****         

 OF 2015
Lindsey Piper: Haunted Warrior—Third and final novel in THE DRAGON KINGS TRILOGY
From my review: "Piper has outdone herself on this final episode of the Dragon Kings story. The starring lovers are multi-faceted and interesting as they attempt to deal with the tragedies of their pasts and their contradictory views of the future. The plot twists and turns as they search for magical artifacts that will be instrumental in defeating the enemies of the Dragon Kings...Piper has crafted an elegantly calibrated conclusion to her series by weaving together elements that she introduced (but never fully explicated) in earlier books along with new revelations. Now, everything becomes clear, and it is obvious that Piper had this all planned out from the very beginning. This is a great finale, and I was enthralled from the very first page." 

Jennifer Ashley: Mate Bond—Seventh novel in the SHIFTERS UNBOUND SERIES
From my review: "This book is a fresh and inventive addition to the series with its mature lovers, engrossing plot line, and interesting secondary characters, many of whom are not at all what they seem (and wait until you find out the true identity of one of them!)...If you're a fan of the series, you'll enjoy this different approach, and if you're new to the series, you could read this as a stand-alone…The romantic situation is so engrossing and the action moves along at such a fast pace that you just keep turning the pages, anxious to see what happens next.

Kresley Cole: Sweet Ruin—Fifteenth novel in the IMMORTALS AFTER DARK SERIES
From my review: "Cole does an excellent job in developing these characters, so their eventual...HEA is quite believable and very entertaining…Jo is Cole’s strongest, smartest, most delightfully captivating heroine ever. Jo will NEVER have a girly TSTL moment, and she is NEVER blindly submissive to anyone, not even to Rune (especially not to Rune). Cole takes her time with the couple’s burgeoning romance, creating a perfectly crafted relationship that includes lots of sly humor, natural-sounding dialogue, heartbreaking emotion, and passionate love-making. For me, this is one of the best books in the series so far. Sweet a terrific novel with a fast-paced, engrossing plot and a wonderful pair of lead lovers. Don’t miss this one."

Lori Handeland: SISTERS OF THE CRAFT TRILOGY (set in Handeland's NIGHTCREATURE world) 
         1  In the Air Tonight
         2  Heat of the Moment
         3  Smoke on the Water
From my review of In the Air Tonight: "Handeland has always been a good story teller, and in this novel she has created an interesting premise; a likable pair of lovers; a spooky, action-filled plot; and a series story arc that promises a family reunion that will include both dead and living relatives." 

Molly Harper: The Single Undead Moms ClubFourth novel in the HALF-MOON HOLLOW SERIES (NICE-GIRLS SERIES spin-off) 
From my review: "This is a typical book for this series, with a feisty heroine, a virile hero, and plenty of snarky dialogue and silly slapstick situations. Although the plots are always light as a feather, I do enjoy reading this series for its crazy antics and sarcastic give and take. If you've been reading the series regularly, you'll recognize all of the supporting characters—or as Harper calls them, 'my League of Adorable Weirdos'—and fall right back into the wild and crazy world of the Hollow."

Thea Harrison: Midnight’s Kiss—Novel 8 in THE ELDER RACES SERIES
From my review: "As usual, Harrison tells a great story, with lots of erotic passion, dramatic danger, heart-rending angst, and a tender HEA to bring the story to an end. Julian and Melly are sympathetic characters, even though—at first—Melly comes across as a bit shallow and over-girly. Fortunately, she soon shows her true colors, as her courage and her ability to Macgyver herself out of difficult situations become the key to their escape from the tunnels." 

Alexandra Ivy: When Darkness Ends—12th and final novel in the terrific GUARDIANS OF ETERNITY SERIES
From my review: "This is a great story with a nicely balanced lead couple (Cyn and Fallon), a love story on the side (Magnus and Tonia), and our favorite alpha vamps: Styxx, Viper, and Dante. There is plenty of sardonic, good-old-vamp-boy bantering among the men and lots of feisty female vs. alpha male bickering within the two love relationships….In the Epilogue, the vamp boys drink some expensive brandy and sit back to discuss the strangeness of finally achieving peace in their world…The book ends with the men's final toast, which sums up the series quite nicely: 'To mates who don't take shit…And to brothers who stand by one another even when facing Armageddon…To friends…For eternity.'"

Nalini Singh: Aarchangel’s Enigma—Eighth novel in GUILD HUNTER SERIES 
From my review: "This is yet another of Singh's great stories, with a well-devised plot, suspense-filled action, charismatic lovers, several important sub-plots, and a slam-bang showdown that resolves the main plot. The sub-plots, primarily the ones involving Raphael and Illium, will certainly be further developed in future books. Whenever I read one of Singh's books, it is always a can't-put-it-down experience. (I lose a lot of sleep because there's no way I can make myself stop reading just because it is 2:00 a.m.) As the effects of the Cascade roll through the Angel world, more trouble is definitely on the way, and I can't wait to see how Singh plans to play it all out." 

Hester Young: The Gates of Evangeline—First novel in the CHARLIE CATES TRILOGY 
This one isn't a typical paranormal romance. I'd classify it as a romantic paranormal thriller. From my review: "Young gives us a haunting, sometimes heartbreaking, tale in which her smart and adventurous heroine follows her dreams as she introduces us to to a wealth of quirky characters and ferrets out chilling answers to dark questions that have been kept secret for thirty long years….This is a terrific debut novel from an up-and-coming author. Its mix of eerie Gothic and ghostly elements, amateur sleuth and whodunit tropes, moral and religious issues, murder, and betrayal will grab you by the throat from the very beginning and take you on a wild ride through the bayous." This promising series is just beginning, so give it a look.

Rebecca Zanetti: Wicked Edge—Second novel in THE REALM ENFORCERS SERIES
From my review: "Daire and Cee Cee are delightful lead characters...Their verbal sparring is fun, and Cee Cee's ability to drug Daire multiple times, blow up his apartment, and keep her secrets from him make for a wild and wonderful romantic ride. Their bedroom scenes are frequent and graphic with neither of them holding back on their emotions. I enjoyed this book much more than the first one, mainly due to the engaging lead characters and the wild plot." 

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