Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bayou Book Junkie's Favorite Books of 2016 ~ Heather's Top 13 Favorites + Giveaway

Bayou Book Junkie's Favorite Books of 2016 ~ Heather's Top 13 Favorites + Giveaway

I have been a reader all my life.  My mom told me many stories of me sitting in front of all my stuffed animals reading them stories.  I enjoyed many different books as a child, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being a particular favorite.  As a teenager, I was a big fan of Dean R. Koontz and Stephen King (anyone who knows me would be shocked by them because I hate horror now and am a big chicken!), making sure to get up at 5 am every day before school so I would have time to read.  Funny story, one morning I was the only one in my house up and reading my Stephen King book, sitting in a kitchen chair with it leaned back on two legs, my feet propped on my desk.  Get the picture.  Something scary happened in the book, at the same time my mom knocked on my bedroom door.  And backwards I went!  There’s a reason your mom always says don’t lean that chair back on two legs :)  My taste gradually changed and I moved on to JD Robb, who became a favorite!  I discovered Shayla Black, Lorelei James, Maya Banks and continued to read in that genre.

But, in the summer of 2015, a book blog on Facebook made the recommendation of Crossroads by Riley Hart.  I had read plenty of MFM books, but never MM and immediately one clicked.  And that folks, completely changed my reading habits.  I begin reading everything I could by Riley, and then Felice Stevens.  And, I joined MM groups and started getting more recommendations!  Over a year later and there are still so many books and authors I haven’t gotten a chance to read, but thanks to BBJ, publishers and authors, I’ve been able to read a lot more! When I was asked to be a reviewer for BBJ, I was more nervous than excited.   I didn’t leave a lot of reviews for those early books I read.  Don’t get me wrong, I always gave them a star rating on Amazon and Goodreads, but I never wrote a review because I just didn’t know what to say.  And, though I feel that way a lot of times writing my reviews for BBJ still, it’s not quite as bad!

And then one day, someone said, hey we should do our top 10 favorite books for the year.  I always, always, always avoid picking favorites!  There are just too many options and too many favorites to ever choose from one.  So, I thought I would outsmart the system and only pick my top 10 from books reviewed for the blog, not the ones I read outside the blog.  And, yeah… they outsmarted me ;-)  So far in 2016 I’ve read 405 books and I thought, how could I ever narrow this list down to 10, seems like that’s cruel punishment.  So, I’ve decided to make my list from the books that were published in 2016 only.  I’ve also created two categories, one for the series I’ve read this year and one for individual books.  And just a warning to my fellow BBJ ladies, next year may have to have a list of top audible reads :)   Also, one additional note, I have two books that I’ve been working to get read this year because I was sure they were going to end up in my list but I’ve just started one today and I’m sure will be starting the other tonight, so a little late to make my list, I have two honorable mentions:  Switched by NR Walker and Too Close by R. Phoenix.

These lists are in order by author’s first name, because I’m not picking favorites among them!

‘Til Death Do Us Part by Addison Albright

5 Stars

Considering the subject matter of this book, it's pretty low in angst which I enjoy. There's a HEA, also something required for my reading. 

I'd highly recommend this book and intend to check out other works by this author.

The Secrets in My Scowl by A.E. Via

5 Stars

I absolutely loved this book! Both Jacob and Wylde were beautiful characters, perfectly imperfect! Jacob is a broken man who is healed so wonderfully!

Noble Intentions by Andrew Grey

5 ++++++ Stars

I loved both Robert and Daniel's characters. They were good guys with big hearts, and aren't afraid of hard work. Though neither realize it, they're both looking for that connection they find in each other and family. The story is written from both characters' POV, and at one point Robert referred to an object in a way that only someone from England would and I realized what a spectacular job the author did of providing distinct voices for each character. 

Once I started reading this book, I was drawn into it and hated to put it down! It's such a beautiful story with a great ending. This will be one I read over and over! I highly recommend you read Robert and Daniel's story, I'm sure you'll fall in love with them too!

A Matchless Man by Ariel Tachna (Audible Edition)

Overall: 5 stars
Narrator: 5 stars
Story: 5 stars

This story is narrated by John Solo and I thought he did a great job. His storytelling was well paced and there weren't a lot of blank air space. He did a great job with all the various characters, though I wasn't a fan of the voice used for Navashen's mother. I didn't always realize it was her speaking until I was told. But, otherwise, fantastic job!

A Matchless Man is Book 2 in the Lexington Lovers series, but can be listened to on its own. I really enjoyed this audio, and plan to get Book 1 and Book 2 so I can read them. I really hope there is more to come from the various guys I met in this book. I highly recommend the audio of this book and even though I haven't read it (yet), I would imagine I'll feel the exact same way about the book!

  Son of Money by Brandon Witt

5 Stars


This was the first book by this author that I have read and a friend gifted it to me because of her love of it. I now understand her love, this book is terrific! And this will not be the last time I read this author!

This book had a little soap opera going for and I kept thinking, please no more hits for Randall! But I was enthralled, trying to get to that moment when Randall gets some redemption. Noah was amazing! I loved how he supported Randall through everything. 

 Mapping the Forest by Brandon Witt

5++++ Stars!

I absolutely loved this book! Once I started it, I couldn't stop reading and stayed up too late to finish it. Then I was sad I had finished and considered just rereading it over again so I didn't have to let it go! There was a little instalove with these guys, but totally believable in my opinion, plus, trust me, this does not go immediately to an instalove relationship. These two men have to work for it, Gabe has to have patience, empathy and acceptance and Luis has to accept loving someone else. And there was no angst about being gay. These are two adult men who have lived a life, not teenagers. They are out, their families know they're gay and they have no need to stuff themselves back into a closet. Honestly, it's not something that common in reading gay romance, so when I'm treated to it in such a beautiful story, I want to acknowledge and appreciate it! I highly, highly, highly recommend that you put down what you're reading to read this book or at least read it next. 

David, Renewed by Diana Copland

 5+ stars!

Diana Copland is a new to me author and I will definitely make sure I read other books of hers! I absolutely loved, loved, loved this book and really want more! David's character was written brilliantly! The author allowed him to be the hurt, cheated on character without making him whiny or bitter. He learns from his relationship with his ex and learns to accept himself as he is and to stand up for himself. David came from an amazing family, which is not typical of MM books and he has a great best friend. Jackson is thoughtful, strong, handy and a very caring man. After all, he gave up his life and successful career to move back to a conservative area to take care of his mom. Jackson has a great group of friends, who are in various aspects of the construction business. The character development of all these people was so well done, even the jerk of an ex.

I loved that with the drama of the ex and some family issues, there was no relationship drama. All the chaos on the outside of their circle just made them stronger together. I really felt the issues with the ex were handled well and not just there to fill some drama quotient. It felt real, as did the reactions to it. David and Jackson's relationship was not an overnight, instalove. There was build up to their first date and their first night together (like 69% of the book) but I think that just further enhanced their story. And, there was no off the page sex when their relationship finally reached that point. It was on the page and it was HOT! 

I really, really, really, sincerely, hope this is made into a series and we can see the supporting character friends get HEA's! I loved this book so much that it will be one that I read over and over again. I highly recommend you read this book, you won't be sorry!

 The Arrangement by Felice Stevens

5 Stars

I am a huge fan of Felice Stevens' men and writing and this book does not disappoint! I devoured Carter and Reed's story in one day, I couldn't put it down. 

With Carter and Reed, we got two imperfect men but when combined they created a perfect family.

 Don’t Ask by Jerry Cole

5 Stars

Wonderful Story

This was the first time I read this author, so I went in with no expectations and what a great surprise! I loved this book! It was well written & I really loved Angel, Ryan & Finn plus the other characters. I will definitely be reading more books by this author!

Krane by Nicole Colville

 5++++++ Stars

There's a lot that needs to be said about this book, but I think the most important thing, is this book was a freaking scorching ten-alarm fire hot! Seriously, I can't even think of enough words to describe how hot this book is. The sex scenes between Krane and Bailey were burning up the pages from the instant they met and only became hotter! And seriously, Loch Krane Monster is something to be appreciated!

I love Krane and Bailey and their story! This book will be one that I read many times!

Weight of the World by Riley Hart & Devon McCormack

5 Sars

Riley and Devon are freaking brilliant!!! This book is a beautiful, heartbreaking story of death, grief, anger, healing and love. 

Zack and Tommy find a love that is only possible because of Rob. Rob is such a big part of this story and I did not expect that. I cried several times in the first half of the book. BUT, the last 40% may have included sobbing and me having to pause to clear my vision. 

BUT don't go into this thinking it's only a grief stricken, depressing story that's going to require chocolate and ice cream. Don't get me wrong, those items won't hurt! This book is tragic and sad but it also has laughter, sigh inducing love, smoking hot sex, and beautifully broken men finding healing, life and love. 

I can't recommend this book enough!

Never Too Late by Sloan Johnson

5 Stars

Love this premise and execution!

Why is this the first book I've read of Sloan's?! As soon as I'd read the preview for this, I had to preorder and I am so glad I did! I loved this book! I read this book quickly, I was so engrossed I didn't want to pause for any reason. I'd love a follow up story about Matt & Justin! This is a must read book!!

 Cookies by Teodora Kostova

5 Stars

A beautiful, terrific story of love

Stop what you're doing and read this book! I loved, loved, floved this book. I adored Amir and Jay and their love. I would love to read more about the men introduced through the center. This is a book I will read again! Amir was a man that had to put his life back together and he did it well. The portrayal of Amir and the others is exactly what I would expect from those who have survived war.

Heather's Top 13 Series Read in 2016

Curl Up and Dye Mysteries by Aimee Nicole Walker

Fated Hearts by Aimee Nicole Walker

Firsts and Forever by Alexa Land

Souls of Chicago by Annabella Michaels

Scoring Chances by Avon Gale

Zero Hour by Cate Ashwood

Custos Securities by Luna David

Spencer Cohen by NR Walker

Crossroads by Riley Hart

Montana by RJ Scott

Homeruns by Sloan Johnson

The Protectors by Sloane Kennedy

All Cocks by TM Smith

Heather is giving away 2 books from her Top 13 list (individual books) to 2 lucky commenters. Please leave a comment with your choice and your e-mail to enter. 

Good luck!!!


  1. My choice would be The Arrangement by Felice Stevens and Never too Late by Sloan Johnson. Thanks for the chance.
    Happy New Year.
    tankie44 at gmail dot com

  2. So many great books. If I was lucky enough to win, I would chose Krane by Nicole Colville.

  3. I think Krane would be mu choice or Weight of the World.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  4. Don't Ask and Krane would be my choices :)


  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Love the lists! ❤ Thank you for the opportunity and Happy New Year! (The only problem I have with the lists ... I am going to be broke ... Hahaha)
    My email

  7. Great list!!! Loved reading about your favorites. I would pick AE Via. somehow i have not read it yet lol . Thanks for chance . Oorjanie at yahoo dot com

  8. i loved every one of these books this year
    jmarinich33 at aol dot com

  9. A great list of books I'd love to read "Weight Of The World" by Riley Hart & Devon McCormack and "Cookies" by Teodora Kostova


  10. Such good picks...uh...I'll say Weight of the World by Riley Hart & Devon McCormack and The Arrangement by Felice Stevens.

    Thank you for the giveaway chance. Happy New Year!
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  11. Thanks for sharing your great list! I would choose David Renewed.

    Happy New Year!


  12. I would love to read David Renewed

  13. Happy New Year. I've added quite a few new books :) Brandon Witt's Mapping the Forest is tops on my wishlist.