Wow, we’re in May already! We’re over 1/3 into 2017.

For many romance readers and writers, this time of year means the Romantic Times Convention. I hope a good few of you are lucky enough to be at the fabulous event this week!

(I couldn’t make it this year, but I wish all the readers, writers, and the terrific RT team a great event. It’s always awesome fun and I expect this year will be extra-special in Atlanta.)

Almost all of my blogger check-in partners are there—Scandie and SOS Aloha are hosting parties, and Lynn Wall is participating in the librarian track, as usual. PJ Ausdenmore of The Romance Dish is attending a college graduation this weekend so she had to skip this year. Nevertheless, I thought that this would be a great time to check in with them and see what favorite books they’ve read so far in 2017.

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Scandie's (www.scandaliciousbookreviews.com ) pick for best of the year so far?

“It’s an easy one for me, hands down will most likely be the best book of 2017 for me, I loved it so much.”

The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

“Time travel books, when done correctly are a bit like second chance romance on steroids. When a good man tells you he will love you until you die, pay attention to him and believe his heart is true. Reisz does a phenomenal job transporting us back in time to reconnect with true love. The quick, witty banter and strong heroine's voice are there, just as you'd expect in a book by Tiffany Reisz but, BUT, by far, this is the most romantic book she's ever crafted. I was swept away with the story. All of the crazy loopholes were tied up, explanations read as entirely plausible, the imagery is stunning and the pacing and characterizations were completely spot on. If you are new to Tiffany Reisz, this is an excellent place to start. Reisz will make you believe in a forever kind of love.”

5.4 Along Came Love Librarian Lynn Wall loved Along Came Love by Tracey Livesay

“What do you do if you are in San Francisco at your sister’s wedding? You get drunk, sleep with the groom’s best friend, runaway, and disappear. That's how we meet India Shaw in Tracey Livesay's Along Came Love (Avon Impulse). India has a very complicated past and a fierce need for independence. Unfortunately right now she is alone, pregnant, and broke.  She returns to San Francisco and as a result of making a series of bad decisions, winds up in even more trouble—at which point she has to contact Mike Black, the man she had a fling with after the wedding. Mike is willing to help India, but on his own terms. His strong feelings for her following their time together surprised him, and learning he is the father of her child has him in shock. India's plans for the future make this story of little different than I expected, while Mike and India’s past misconceptions cause tension they have work through. Has love come along for them? Will they become a family or will they go their separate ways?”

(This title came out in late 2016, but it’s also currently $1.99 in electronic form.)

According to PJ (www.theromancedish.com), “This year is off to a great start with some terrific books in a variety of sub-genres.” Here are a few of her favorites so far:

His Cowboy Heart by Jennifer Ryan concludes the Kendrick brothers’ Montana Men trilogy with a deeply emotional, western contemporary romance that features a strong family dynamic, well-woven suspense, a second-chance love, and one of the best, and most realistic, depictions of PTSD that I’ve read in romance fiction. Ryan’s stories never fail to engage my emotions and her characters always find their way into my heart. Rancher Ford Kendrick and his high school sweetheart, wounded soldier Jamie, have earned their spot among my keepers. 

5.4 MarryinHasteMarry in Haste by Anne Gracie utilizes one of my favorite romance tropes, the marriage of convenience, to perfection in this first book of her Marriage of Convenience historical romance series. Featuring a career soldier who reluctantly accepts the title – and responsibilities – he never expected, a school teacher guarding a scandalous secret, and a secondary cast that lights up the page, this book is an absolute delight. Gracie’s vibrantly drawn characters, witty banter, gradual relationship development, and sigh-worthy conclusion make Marry in Haste a keeper, but it’s the personal growth of the hero from a soldier who wants nothing more than to hand off his responsibilities and return to the continent to a man who happily, and lovingly, embraces them all that captured my heart.

“I can always count on Tracy Brogan’s books to make me laugh, smile, and sigh. I began reading My Kind of You around 10:00 PM one evening and at 2:30 AM, I was still awake, reading, and laughing so loud and hard I was sure I was going to wake up the people in the condo next door. This first book in Brogan’s new Trillium Bay series takes readers to a fictitious island off the coast of Michigan (think Mackinac Island) for a funny, heartwarming, can’t-stop-reading, romance between a former wild child returning home to regroup and mend fences with her family, and a big-city man temporarily visiting the island with family issues of his own. Expect quirky characters, laugh-out-loud humor, forgiveness, redemption, and a whole lot of love.”

SOS Aloha (sosaloha.blogspot.com) is crazy busy at RT (2 panels and 2 parties, including a Beach Blanket Bingo party with Kim Rocha of Book Obsessed Chicks which sounds so fun I wish I could be there even more!) and hasn’t read too many books yet this year, so instead I thought it would be fun to have her rec some #TBT beach-themed reads.

“Everyone knows I love Hawaii ... so my favorite ‘beach’ reads are:

“Willa Blair's Sweetie Pie - novella with Scottish baker meets Haole (white) surfer on the Big Island of Hawaii.

5.4 Mai Tai “Ophelia London's Making Waves - journalist meets surfer on Oahu.

“Jill Marie Landis' Tiki Goddess mystery series - Set on Kauai, it is pure mayhem as a California divorcee tries to help her aging uncle keep his North Shore legendary bar, the Tiki Goddess, in the black while keeping the Hula Maidens (aging dancers) from interfering with police investigations.” (Book #1 is Mai Tai One On.)

So there you have it, some great reading recommendations from some fave reading friends. Enjoy your week, and if you’re at RT, have a great time, and I hope to see you next year! 

#HappyReading #LoveRomance #WishICouldBeAtRT