Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-me authors of 2016

Whoa, it’s been months since I last did a Top Ten Tuesday!  I happened to scroll down while I was preparing a list of my top new (to me) authors of 2016 and saw that I’d flagged this topic as one I absolutely had to do.  What are the chances that the timing would be so perfect?

So, without further ado, here are ten authors (listed alphabetically) that I read for the first time in 2016 and will, without a doubt, continue to read in the future:

  • Melissa Chambers.  I read Chambers’ The Summer Before Forever and was actually pretty surprised to find a young adult book that really delicately handled a romantic relationship between stepsiblings.  I’m really curious to see what she’ll come up with next.
  • Rebekah Crane.  Of all my Kindle First picks, Crane’s The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland is one of my favorites.  A motley crew of teenagers helping each other overcome their problems at a picturesque summer camp?  That’s just my kind of story.
  • Melanie Harlow.  BookBub often alerts me to free erotica, and nine times out of ten, it’s absolutely awful.  Harlow’s Frenched was a great exception to the rule, and I’ve already got an eye out for more of her work.

  • Aaron Hartzler.  When What We Saw came out earlier last year, my Goodreads feed was flooded with positive reviews.  It took awhile for my library to get it, but it was absolutely worth the wait.  Now I am waiting patiently for more of Hartzler’s work to show up.
  • Hazel Kelly.  Kindle Unlimited is a tricky thing.  There’s an awful lot of books available, and an awful lot of them aren’t very good.  But sometimes, you find a really good author whose books are well-written and don’t just feature the same plot over and over with different characters.  Kelly is one of those authors.
  • Robin Roe.  I haven’t yet reviewed Roe’s A List of Cages, but it hit me hard.  This story of a young boy with an abusive uncle and his friend who struggles to help him ripped my heart out.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
  • Tiffany Truitt.  Seven Ways to Lose Your Heart still stands out as one of the cutest (and also sexiest) books I read this year.  I fell in love with the characters and world created by Truitt.
  • Danika Stone.  If you’re looking for a good book about nerd culture, look no further than Stone’s All the Feels.  I have yet to read another book that so clearly captures the level of obsession I can get with a fictional universe.
  • Siobhan Vivian. I read two of Vivian’s books this year and was pleased with both.  The one I particularly liked was her new release, The Last Boy and Girl in the World.  I am so excited to see what she releases next.
  • Francesca Zappia. Saving the absolute best for last, Zappia’s Made You Up is one of my all-time favorite reads.  I absolutely adored the characters that she created, and I loved that we never quite knew whether what was happening was actually the truth.  I have so much respect for her as an author and I know she’s going to go on to do great things.

Which authors, if any, did you fall in love with this year?

ARC review: Trophy Wife by Noelle Adams

Goodreads   Amazon

Alison Davies isn’t afraid to admit that she married for money. She was young, just eighteen years old, and Arthur provided a sense of security that she couldn’t resist. Now, after eight years as a trophy wife, she’s had enough. Their marriage was never good, but she’s realized that Arthur will never see her as his equal. She’ll always be “young, gorgeous, vulnerable, and completely dependent” on him, and that’s not how she wants to spend the rest of her life. She’s done. Arthur’s sure she’ll come crawling back, but Alison is determined not to let that happen.

She’s completely on her own. With an ironclad prenup protecting Arthur’s interests (not that Alison would want to ask him for help anyway), she needs to find a job… and fast. Arthur was opposed to education, opposed to her working, opposed to her doing really anything other than spending time with pre-approved friends, so Alison really struggles to find a job. Luckily, at least her housing is taken care of with the home she inherited from her grandparents.

Across the street from her new home is Rob West. Although Alison wants to do everything herself, just to prove that she can, Rob has an ever-present need to help. With everything. And though he means well, he really pushes Alison’s buttons and causes her to doubt that she can make it on her own.

But, being that this is a romance, Alison quickly starts developing feelings for Rob. To say that Rob reciprocates would be a bit of an understatement. But Rob is dealing with the fallout from his own previous marriages, and Alison’s not sure she can handle a relationship right now. Can Rob convince Alison that he’s not like Arthur? Can Alison overcome her fear of being another trophy wife and learn to ask for help again?

So, first things first, I really had trouble connecting with these characters.

I thought that Alison was too stubborn, and if she really wanted to find herself before jumping into another relationship, then she shouldn’t have gotten involved with Rob to begin with. I appreciated that Alison was tenacious and determined, but I felt that it often went too far and she contradicted herself all the time. I wasn’t sure why Rob continually put up with her because I surely could not.

As for Rob, I never saw him as a sexy love interest. At first, I thought he was creepy and annoying. I mean, he invites himself into Alison’s house just minutes after meeting her and starts rifling around and rearranging furniture. Sure, he means well, but learn some boundaries! I also thought it was kind of creepy that he moped around about the fact that Alison wasn’t looking for marriage. The guy is supposedly pretty young and he’s already been divorced twice! Maybe stop jumping into marriage so quickly? Rob grew on me a bit at the end, but I never really took his character seriously.

I couldn’t figure out what Rob and Alison saw in each other. They didn’t really have anything in common. They weren’t looking for the same things in life. All I could figure is that their attraction had to just be physical because I couldn’t for the life of me find anything emotional between them. There’s nothing wrong with books about a purely physical attraction. I mean, I read them all the time. But this book tries to paint the relationship between Alison and Rob as something beautiful and perfect and the total opposite of what both characters had in the past… and I didn’t see it.

There’s not a lot to this book aside from the relationship between Alison and Rob. Even things that are brought up outside of it are somehow tangentially related. Some examples:
• Alison wants to start a jewelry business. Rob puts her into contact with people who can help.
• Alison needs a job. Rob tells her who’s hiring.
• Rob’s ex-stepdaughter has problems with a boyfriend. It’s just another way that Rob and Alison can bond.

Everything seems to happen as an excuse to push the characters closer together, which makes the storyline feel forced and unnatural. I thought the book felt rushed, almost like the author didn’t have time to really flesh out her characters and storylines before publishing.

It was a quick, fun enough read, but I can’t rate it higher than three stars.

Thanks to Netgalley and Loveswept for the ARC.