My Top 15 Reads of 2016

I am so blown away by the awesome books I read in 2016 and narrowing them down was not an easy task. I surpassed my goal of 90 reads and finished the year with 102 books under my belt. The books I’m sharing today are my very favorites from from the year. They made me laugh and cry, get hot and bothered (I read romance, what can I say?!), I might have yelled at my Kindle, held me breath, and shed a tear or two. They all stuck with me one way or another, leaving me with a serious book hangover. These books are under my skin, I can’t say enough good things about them and I highly recommend them. All must reads!



Top 15 Reads of 2016 | About That Story


Top 15 Reads of 2016



These first two books are 6 STARS ALL THE WAY! I don’t hand those out to often but when I do, it’s because they’ve touched me deeply and oh boy did they! I think with both I walked around the house aimlessly, not sure what to do with myself next.


Beard Science by Penny Reid

Beard Science (Winston Brothers #3) by Penny Reid

Amazon | My Review


This was above and beyond, a 6 star read for me!!!! I don’t think I can say enough positive things to explain just how deeply I loved this book and how much it moved me. Book hangover for days!!! ​The first line in my notes at 14% is "I can't take my eyes off the page. I feel overcome. I don't know how else to explain it." That feeling stuck with me through the entire book. It was so brilliantly written. To me it was perfection. I don't know how Penny Reid does it but I'm so thankful that she does.





Listen to Me by Kristen Proby

Listen to Me (Fusion #1) by Kristen Proby

Amazon | My Review


6 stars! This was incredible! Perfection. Loved the story and characters so much. It was entertaining, witty, and sexy. Right from that very first chapter, I was all in, thinking it just doesn't get better than this. But it did! Every single moment of it I was 100% invested and I completely caught up in everything. I just kept thinking to myself, this, THIS is awesome. It was my first Kristen Proby book and I feel like I need to apologize to her for being late to the game because seriously, I have been missing out.






I read a few NEW TO ME AUTHORS this year and I swear once I was done with the books, I felt like I’d been living under a rock and seriously missing out.


Off the Clock by Roni Loren

Off the Clock (Pleasure Principle #1) by Roni Loren

Amazon | My Review


This was so fantastic! There was this perfect balance of passion and emotion and seriously epic hotness. How I can go from squirming to crying to laughing and having my heart feel full in a short amount of time I'll never know but it happened. I know I'm getting gushy but it was pretty amazing. It’s a story full of passion, love, and hope. Fantastic read!







For Letter Word by J. Daniels

Four Letter Word (Dirty Deeds#1) by J. Daniels

Amazon | My Review


This was so amazing. Such a full, rich story with detailed characters full off passion and emotion. I was so mesmerized by the story and everything that was happening, I honestly feel blown away. You have to experience it for yourself. It's just one of those reads with unforgettable characters, fantastic drama, passion, heat, and emotion that you have to immerse yourself in.







I love a SWOONWORTHY HERO. Not that most male leads don’t get their swoon on every once in a while but Nicolas and Reese completely melted me and top the charts.


Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Royally Screwed (Royally #1) by Emma Chase

Amazon | My Review


I don't think I could have loved this story anymore, it was fantastic! So entertaining and heartwarming with the best characters! Emma Chase makes her characters relatable and real, even under the craziest of circumstances. I loved all their moments, from silly to sexy to vulnerable to emotional, she covered it all and I couldn't get enough. I can’t wait to dive into the next book in the series.






The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon

The Billionaire Bachelor (Billionaire Bad Boys #1) by Jessica Lemmon

Amazon | My Review


This was so, so awesome! Loved every single second. It was everything I want in a story. I couldn't get enough! And Reese? Oh my! He melts my heart. There as so many great characters introduced. I am so excited to read the rest of this series. The perfect blend of entertaining and sexy with just the right amount of emotion mixed in, a definite must read!








It’s something special when you’re SAYING GOODBYE TO A SERIES. I read each and everyone like I never wanted them to end but I couldn’t wait for everyone to have their happily ever after's. The Series listed below are personal favorites of mine, all spectacular. I will miss them so much, it’s like all the characters have become family.


Appealed by Emma Chase

Appealed (Legal Briefs #3) by Emma Chase

Amazon | My Review


I always find it amazing how Emma Chase tells a story... once I start reading I am completely lost to it. How it's always fresh and engaging, sexy and fun. There are these great characters that I want to be friends with and hang out with. She's truly a fantastic storyteller. Appealed was everything I could have ever wanted, then right at the end, it was more. It was pretty damn perfect.







Sidebarred by Emma Chase

Sidebarred (Legal Briefs #3.5) by Emma Chase

Amazon | My Review


I love this series so much. With the end of Appealed I didn't think it could get any better (because I thought that was fantastic). I was so wrong, this was the perfect ending. The minute I picked this story up, I got choked up and pretty much stayed that way even though it was fun, entertaining, and fresh. I thought Sidebarred was just perfect! From beginning to end, I was smiling and laughing and got teary eyed.






Beautiful by Christina Lauren

Beautiful (Beautiful Bastard #5) by Christina Lauren

Amazon | My Review


I loved, loved, loved Jensen and Pippa’s story so much and I was so excited while reading it. Right from the start I was hooked and couldn't get enough. This story was filled with so much humor and wit, on more than one occasion I burst out laughing. This was hilariously awesome! I loved and adored this story, from start to finish, all the characters and the epilogues, but all I could do when I finished was sit and smile with tears in my eyes (and down my cheeks!) and say thank you to the wonderful writing duo of Christina Lauren.





Wicked Heart by Leisa Rayven

Wicked Heart (Starcrossed #3) by Leisa Rayven

Amazon | My Review


This was amazing! I was so tied up in everything. Angst filled and sexy and really entertaining. I absolutely adored this! Leisa Rayven is so talented. It's like her stories break me a little because they evoke so much emotion out of me but then she builds me back up and I just feel full and happy from this amazing story I got to read. There was so much depth and emotion. Drama and heat. Lightness and fun. This story has it all. Perfect!






Sparking the Fire by Kate Meader

Sparking the Fire (Hot in Chicago #3) by Kate Meader

Amazon | My Review


I absolutely loved this story! Molly and Wyatt were such great characters. I adore The Hot in Chicago series so much and since the beginning I've wanted to know about the quiet and gruff man that is Wyatt fox. I loved every single second of it. Excellent story and great conclusion for the series. I tried not to read this fast but I couldn't help it, it was just so, so good and I couldn't put it down. I love the Dempsey’s so much and I’m going to miss them.








There are stories that really fill my soul, I find them HEARTBREAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL. Stories filled with ups and downs and a lot of redemption and love. And let’s face it, they normally make me cry (like, a lot!). This year two such books top my list.


Steadfast by Sarina Bowen

Steadfast (True North #2) by Sarina Bowen

Amazon | My Review


I absolutely loved every single second of this. It was a beautiful and emotional story with very real characters dealing with hard situations. It was so touching, heartwarming, and full of hope, I couldn't stop reading. An excellent piece of work! Sarina Bowen really created a full picture, elaborate and detailed. Really just a remarkable read. Hope and love. That pretty much covers it all!







An Ounce of Hope by Sophie Jackson

An Ounce of Hope (A Pound of Flesh #2) by Sophie Jackson

Amazon | My Review


Such a beautiful story! Hope, redemption, healing. It was so wonderful. There was this perfectly paced, incredible build throughout that had me drawn in, I couldn't stop reading. I swear sometimes I even held my breath because there was so much emotion and intensity. Just incredible! All the details came to light at just the right time, giving me just what I needed, when I need it. I cannot say enough positive things.







Have you ever been CONSUMED BY A SERIES? Nothing in your home gets cleaned and everyone eats fish sticks and mac or Totinos for days because you are so lost in the book world? That’s what these two did for me. (Not even kidding about the food by the way, lol!). I’m sharing the first book in each series since that’s what hooked me, but honestly, it was the entire series I was lost too. Just a heads up, both of these series need to be read in order.


First Touch by Laurelin Paige

First Touch (First and Last #1) by Laurelin Paige

Amazon | My Review


Last Kiss (First and Last #2) - Amazon | My Review


Wow! I don't even know what to say or how to describe all the emotions this story elicited from me. It was crazy, very intense, and sexual charged. I could not stop reading because I was completely fascinated by the story being laid out. I felt like I was holding on for dear life while I absorbed in all that was happening because there was so much going on. It blew me away! It could be so volatile but somehow sweet. I was so captivated by it, I HAD to know. Just a solid, fantastic read.



Paper Princess[4]

Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt

Amazon | My Review


Broken Prince (#2) - Amazon | My Review

Twisted Palace (#3) - Amazon | My Review


Holy craziness Batman! This was diabolically awesome! Such a wickedly entertaining read! Ever person who told me it was addicting was right. I freaking inhaled this! The world of The Royals that the author has created is beyond fascinating. The drama (oh the drama!), the tension, and the angst were all fantastic. The Royals have totally ruined me. 20% into this book I texted my husband and apologized in advanced how much everything was about to get ignored. I read all three in a rom and it was blissfully epic. I honestly need a better word than consumed. “Unputadownable.” That can totally be a word.



I’m trying to be good and stick with a Top 15 but it’s so hard, there are some books you JUST CAN’T LET GO… otherwise known as Honorable Mentions. These books stuck with me and hold a special place in my heart. Because they were awesome and deserve a shout out, I’m sharing 5 more.


At Peace by Kristen Ashley

At Peace (The `Burg #2) by Kristen Ashley

Amazon | My Review


Amazing story! I was consumed and could not put it down, time just slipped away as I was lost in this world. Excellent read!






Dirtiest Secret by J. Kenner

Dirtiest Secret (S.I.N. #1) by J. Kenner

Amazon | My Review


Holy wow! This was awesomely intense, passionate, and erotic. I don't even know what to say or how to explain what I'm feeling but I pretty much inhaled it. Fantastic story I couldn't put down. Loved it! (This is part of a trilogy that needs to be read in order.)





The Trouble With Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

The Trouble with Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay #2) by Jill Shalvis 

Amazon | My Review


Witty and entertaining is just what I needed and I totally got it! This story was absolutely charming and put me I a ridiculously good mood, I loved every single second!







Nico by Sarah Castille

Nico (Ruin & Revenge #1) by Sarah Castille

Amazon | My Review


Wow. Wow. Wow. This was so freaking awesome. I loved the elaborate and intense world that was created, I was completely lost to it. Excellent read.







For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne

Amazon | My Review


Excellent characters. Awesome story. Great build. Lots of humor. Great mix of emotion. A nice amount of hotness. A little drama. This story checked every box that I could hope for in an fantastic read. :-)








I love what I do. Truly. Reading, reviewing, blogging, sharing, and connecting with other readers. I love the friendships and bonds that I have formed during my time as a book blogger and the connections I have made. Besides being lost in an excellent story, that’s one of my favorite things, being able to talk books with others that truly get it. Blogging isn’t an easy task because it can be time consuming and sometimes seem like a job, but in the end it’s worth it because of those connections. I wouldn’t have it any other way!


I am looking forward to what 2017 brings. I’ve already got a whole slew of books lined up on my TBR. It should be a pretty fantastic year. More Winston Brothers, a new book by Christina Lauren, the second book in the Pleasure Principle series by Roni Loren, meeting Henry in Royally Matched, and a new series from Kate Meader… and so much more! So, I’m excited needless to say. Bring it on!


Tell me dear reader, what books made your Top Reads of 2016 and what books are you looking forward to this year? Hook a book lover up!


Thank you being here. For every comment, like on Facebook, follow on Twitter, and most importantly, the book talk. You all are awesome and I appreciate you so much!


Happy Reading,




 Gretchen at About That Story

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