• Best Contemporary Romance Novels

    The Selection by Kiera Cass

    Prepare to be swept into a world of breathless fairy-tale romance, swoonworthy characters, glittering gowns, and fierce intrigue…

    For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, live in a palace, and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her, and competing for a crown she doesn’t want.

    Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

    The inspiration behind the story:

    “The inspiration behind The Selection was thinking about the what ifs of other stories, mainly Esther and Cinderella. I wondered if Esther happened to like the boy next door before she got shipped off to a palace to become the wife of a king. What if she had to slowly let that love die? And Cinderella never asked for a prince, she asked for a night off. What if that person and that job were way too much for her? For some reason, those two things meshed in my head, and I knew I wanted to write about a girl who was poor and would catch the attention of a prince, but she wouldn’t want him because she was already in love.”

    Kiera Cass

  • Best Contemporary Romance Novels

    Second Chance on the Corner of Main Street by Meg Easton

    He shattered her heart when he raced out of town 12 years ago. Can she forgive him now that he’s back?

    Fun-loving Whitney Brennan has been running the presses at the Nestled Hollow Gazette while running from love. She’s part of every town gathering, but is terrified of making any real or deep connection with anyone because she knows that if she does, they’ll end up leaving like her mother did. Like the man who taught her everything about the paper did. Like her high school best-friend-turned-boyfriend did on graduation night.

    Eli Treanor skipped out of Nestled Hollow twelve years ago and created a new life and a thriving team-building business he thoroughly enjoys in Sacramento. When his parents beg him to come back and run the family outdoor rentals business while his dad has surgery, Eli isn’t happy about returning to the town that didn’t love him, the dad he could never please, and the girl he left behind all those years ago.

    When Whitney and Eli are paired together to create the decorations for the Main Street Fall Market, many of their old feelings resurface. But it also opens past wounds. Can Whitney and Eli overcome the fears that are stopping them from giving their love the second chance it deserves?

    Review by Award-Winning author of the Safe Harbor series:

    “Second Chance on the Corner of Main is a delightful tale of missed opportunity made right. In spite of their hurtful parting years ago, Eli and Whitney’s love sparkles on the page and makes this sweet romance totally sigh-worthy.”

    Donna K. Weaver

  • Best Contemporary Romance Novels

    Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

    Can you love someone you can never touch?

    Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

    The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

    Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment. What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

    The author’s inspiration for the book:

    Five Feet Apart is truly the product of so many people’s hard work, motivated by the desire to raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis.  From the screenplay by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, to Justin Baldoni’s work as a director, to Claire Wineland’s incredible contributions and spirit, to my writing of the book adaptation, all of it was done with that intention.”

    Rachael Lippincott

  • Best Contemporary Romance Novels

    Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods

    For the Sweet Magnolias, friendship lasts a lifetime…

    Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity and have the best friends a woman could ask for, but her life is overturned when her husband leaves her for a younger woman. With her three children heartbroken from the change, Maddie has a lot to contend with. On top of it all, after years outside the workforce, she must dust off her business skills to take charge of her best friends’ newest project—planning the town’s only fitness spa for women.

    When her son’s developing anger issues begin to affect his passion for baseball, Maddie knows she must step in to help. She didn’t expect to develop feelings for her son’s coach, the handsome Cal Maddox, and to learn he has feelings for her, too. But gossip travels quickly in a small town, and Maddie and Cal’s relationship may threaten both their reputations and careers. Then again, he could be the one man in all of South Carolina who can help her find serenity after all.

    The author on writing dialogue:

    “dialogue has always been the easiest part of writing for me. I think that’s because of my background in journalism in general, and as a television critic specifically. As a journalist — in an era before we recorded every interview — I had to train myself to listen closely to the way people phrased things so I could quote their comments accurately. And over the years I heard a LOT of television dialogue.”

    Sherryl Woods

  • Best Christian Romance Books,  Best Clean and Wholesome Romance,  Best Contemporary Romance Novels

    Heart of Clay by Shanna Hatfield

    It’s never too late to give love a second chance. . . even for a hard-working cowboy.

    Callan Matthews awakens one day to the realization her husband has taken a nose dive off the pedestal where he’s resided since the moment they met. As Clay unwittingly tugs at the last few threads keeping her from completely unraveling, she has to choose between walking away or running back into his arms.

    Easygoing cowboy Clay Matthews works hard and plays even harder. He’s the last person to wade into emotional turmoil, but he’s up to his neck in it trying to decipher his wife’s suddenly frosty feelings toward him.  When tragedy strikes and a life-altering secret is revealed, this tender, sometimes humorous sweet romance embraces the beauty of letting go of the past and daring to fall in love all over again.

    The author on writing Heart of Clay:

    “I began writing my first book, Heart of Clay, in February 2010. I’d been toying with the idea of the story for a while and I finally decided to sit down and see if I could write it!  The idea was one of a realistic couple struggling to hang on to their marriage instead of letting it go.”

    Shanna Hatfield

  • Best Contemporary Romance Novels

    Plain Jayne by Laura Drewry

    Twenty-five years was a long time to be stuck in the Friend Zone.

    For the last dozen of those years, Jayne has lived half way across the country, and even though she and Nick have stayed in contact, she hasn’t actually seen him since he kicked her out of his wife’s funeral almost four years ago.

    Does she still have feelings for Nick? Possibly. . .maybe. . .okay, yes, but the Jayne who left town all those years ago is not the same Jayne who’s moving back. This Jayne is smarter, more experienced, and determined to build herself a better life, the kind of life she wants and deserves. She’s a grown-ass woman with a plan for crying out loud, and she’s not about to let these feelings for Nick slow her down another second. But from the second she hits town, she knows it’s only a matter of time before this freight train of disaster derails in spectacular fashion, and when it does, she’s not only going to lose her best friend, but the only family she’s ever known.

    The author’s inspiration for writing this book:

    “I’ve always enjoyed books set in small towns, and once Jayne presented herself to me, I knew her story had to take place in one, and what better thing to do in a small town than to own a bookstore? As for the best-friends theme, I’ve always loved those type of stories, so when Nick presented himself as her protector, it only made sense that these two would be best friends.”

    Laura Drewry

  • Best Contemporary Romance Novels

    When You Got a Good Thing by Kait Nolan

    She thought she could never go home again. He can never know the truth about why she really left. 

    Kennedy Reynolds has spent the past decade traveling the world as a free spirit. She never looks back at the past, the place, or the love she left behind—until her adopted mother’s unexpected death forces her home to Eden’s Ridge, Tennessee.

    Deputy Xander Kincaid has never forgotten his first love. He’s spent ten long years waiting for the chance to make up for one bone-headed mistake that sent her running. Now that she’s finally home, he wants to give her so much more than just an apology.

    Kennedy finds an unexpected ally in Xander, as she struggles to mend fences with her sisters and to care for the foster child her mother left behind. Falling back into his arms is beyond tempting, but accepting his support is dangerous. Will Kennedy be able to bury the past and carve out her place in the Ridge, or will her secret destroy her second chance?

    The author on this series:

    “The Misfit Inn quartet is intended to highlight everything that I love about living in the small town South–all the quirks, foibles, and dreams that provide a fabulous backdrop to contemporary romances about stubborn, independent women and the men who love them.”

    Kait Nolan

  • Best Contemporary Romance Novels

    Bayside Desires by Melissa Foster

    Fall in love at Bayside, where sandy beaches, good friends, and true love come together in the sweet small towns of Cape Cod.

    As the co-owner of Bayside Resorts, Rick Savage has a fabulous job working with his best friends and brother, and a thriving business in Washington, DC, which he’ll be returning to at the end of the summer. Spending time with his family is great, but being back on Cape Cod has unearthed painful memories. When sweet, smart, and overly cautious Desiree Cleary moves in next door, Rick is drawn to the sexy preschool teacher, and she just might prove to be the perfect distraction.

    Running an art gallery was not in preschool teacher Desiree Cleary’s plans, but after being tricked into coming to her impetuous, unreliable mother’s aid, she’s stuck spending the summer with the badass half sister she barely knows and a misbehaving dog. If that’s not frustrating enough, she can’t escape the sparks igniting with her strikingly handsome and pushy neighbor, Rick, who makes all her warning bells go off.

    Passion ignites as Desiree and Rick spend long summer nights sharing heartfelt confessions and steamy kisses. For the first time in years Rick is enjoying life again instead of hiding behind mounds of work miles away from his family. Desiree has touched him in a way that makes him want to slow down. Only slowing down means dealing with his demons, and he isn’t sure who he’ll be when he comes out the other side.

    A few words on writing:

    The easiest part of writing—and the part that I find the most exciting—is the meeting and creating of the characters, and figuring out the storyline. It never fails to amaze me how much joy writing brings to my life. I look forward to finding out what happens next with my stories, probably just as much as my readers do. 

    Melissa Fostre

  • Best Contemporary Romance Novels

    A Promise to Keep by Susan Gable

    Loving her wasn’t what he’d promised…

    Hayden Hawkins made a deathbed promise to his brother Ian: Hayden would watch over Ian’s son Nick, and the boy’s mother, Ronni. Despite Hayden’s initial feelings for Ronni, everything changed when she captured—then broke—Ian’s heart. Hayden’s avoided her since.

    Now Nick’s in trouble and needs Hayden’s guidance. It’s time to keep his promise. But getting close to Ronni stirs up old emotions, not all of them good. Then there’s the new chemistry they’re both feeling.

    The last thing Ronni needs is to get involved with former Marine Hayden, notoriously known as the love ‘em and leave ‘em member of the Hawkins family. Not that he’d want her anyway. Her own husband hadn’t wanted her…the cheating husband she’d intended to divorce before an IED in the Middle East blew up her entire life, trapping her in a prison of the vows he’d broken. Hayden can’t help but feel for her. She’s not the woman he thought she was. She deserves happiness. But neither of them can see how that’s possible.

    A few words on the power of books and writing:

    Books have always been one of my favorite places to seek refuge when life gets painful. I can do that by reading…or writing. And that may be the best way to make lemonade (or, you know, books) out of lemons.

    Susan Gable

  • Best Clean and Wholesome Romance,  Best Contemporary Romance Novels

    Full Circle by Mona Ingram

    Single and pregnant, Bella is given a choice. Give up her child for adoption or leave town.

    The choice was never in doubt. Bella moves across the country, settling in Santa Monica. Determined to make a life for herself and her child, she and her new friend Sophia sell children’s clothing at the Venice Beach market. 

    When their creative designs are featured on television, their business takes off and they accept an offer from Rafael Vargas to expand their business. Bella fights her attraction to the handsome entrepreneur, but deep in her heart all she really wants is love.

    Mona Ingram on Full Circle‘s Rafael:

    The other hero who gets my heart started is Rafael, in Full Circle.
    Rafa is (of course) handsome, but he’s driven to succeed in business while being restrained in his personal life. I could go for him in a big way.

    Mona Ingram