Friday, December 11, 2015

Penelope's Top 20 List for 2015




It's that time again!

*drum roll* *electric guitar* *harp music*

TIME FOR PENELOPE'S TOP 20 LIST! 


 1. Hottest Purple Alien On A Romance Cover: CHARLOTTE AND THE ALIEN AMBASSADOR


Purple biceps never looked so good!


2. Worst New Trend In Romance: It's a tie! Between STEPBROTHER books and MILF books.
An actual title...MY NEIGHBOR IS A HOT MILF. *sob*



3. Worst New Trend In Men's Hair: The MAN BUN.

Some buns are good... 

On a ballerina



Hot Cross Buns



These are good buns!



And some are bad. Just say no to man buns!
No. Leonardo, just...no.


4. Most Inspirational Moment of the Year: ATTENDING CHIHULY GARDEN AND GLASS IN SEATTLE

It's overwhelming. And stunning. And awe-inspiring. If you get a chance to visit this museum, do it!







5. Favorite New-To-Me Author: LYNN RAYE HARRIS

I read HOT AND BOTHERED this year, and I absolutely loved it. It had a protective and possessive hero (my favorite), a strong heroine, a suspenseful plot that moved along at a nice pace, and a super satisfying HEA. Fabulous!



6. Most Embarrassing Author Mistake by Penelope: ACCIDENTALLY JOINING A "SWEET" RATED G ROMANCE GROUP AND SLINKING AWAY WITH MY TAIL BETWEEN MY LEGS

Yeah. I joined a "sweet" group, not realizing it was REALLY sweet, and not just...yeah, this is sweet. Oops. Vanilla Penny was the BAD girl for a change.

And I liked it!


7. Most Melodramatic Harly Comic With Flowing Hair and Starbursts: UNTAMED ITALIAN BLACKMAILED INNOCENT

I'll bet you didn't know that Harlequin comics exist. Well now you do. I was intrigued, so I decided to give one a go. It showcased flowing hair, melodramatic moments, and plenty of starbursts. Was it as satisfying as reading a real HP? No. But it did make me giggle.


My hair might be pink, but it looks fabulous!


 Pointy broad shoulders = Mr. Meanie!


I'm so young and innocent. PLEASE DON'T HURT ME, MR. MEANIE! 
Oops. Too late.


8. Favorite First Scene in a Romance Novel/Most Lush and Romantic Setting in a Romance Novel/Sexiest French Hero: ONCE UPON A ROSE by Laura Florand.

You gotta love Laura Florand. Her heroes are French and sexy. Her settings are lush and descriptive. And the first scene of this book--which has the drunken hero carrying around a perfect stranger at his 30th birthday party, thinking she is his "gift"--is one of the most hilarious scenes ever! Gorgeous book. Je t'adore!


9. The "Where Have You Been All My Life?" Award goes to...TOM HIDDLESTON

I went to see Crimson Peak with Lexxi Callahan and Laura K. Curtis. Stuff happened in the movie...yeah yeah yeah. Stuff TOM TOM TOM and some more stuff TOM! And then...TOM!

I may have developed a wee bit of a TOM HIDDLESTON PROBLEM!*

*See my Pinterest board titled "Uh oh, I think I've developed a Tom Hiddleston problem."


10. Best Mystery With A Talking Dog: DOG ON IT by Spencer Quinn

You all know I have a weakness for books with talking animals. Like cats. And dogs. And sometimes werebears. Stuff like that. Well, this book is ADORABLE! It's quirky, clever, fun, and well-written. The dog narrator hits just the right spot. (That spot when you scratch behind your ear. You know the one).


11.  Favorite Novella: THE HEADMASTER by Tiffany Reisz


Since Tiffany typically writes subject matter that is off-limits for Vanilla Penny, I had never read any of her books until this one. Well...color me surprised. The writing was amazing, the suspense was excellent, and the unexpected twist at the end was perfection. Loved this novella--creepy and entertaining. Just the way I like it.


12.  Favorite New Shoes That Make Me Look Like I Work In A Nursing Home: NEW BALANCE MULE SNEAKERS

Yeah. I know. I look like a dork. BUT HOLY CARUMBA! These shoes make me feel like I'm walking on air. Plus...MULES!


13. Most Romantic and Gorgeous Plus Size Dress on Project Runway: Design by Ashely Nell Tipton

I love watching television that showcases creativity. Not only did this winner of Project Runway create stunning and romantic designs, but they are for PLUS-SIZE GALS! Oh yeah! *fist pump* Also, the flower head-pieces are to die for. *swoon*


Design by Ashley Nell Tipton. Photo by Thomas Concordia, Getty Images.


14. Best New Kitchen Gadget: THE SPIRALIZER

In an effort to reduce carb consumption, I've discovered the wonder that is known as "The Spiralizer"!!! Now I have zucchini, cucumbers, and more in funky spaghetti-like spirals. Delicious, simple, and brilliant. It's my new favorite culinary contraption.


15. Funniest Author Talk Of The Year: GRAEME SIMSION

It's not often that an author perfectly matches his book.  In this case, Simsion surpassed expectations. I thought The Rosie Project was a bloody brilliant bit of goods. And the author, who spoke this year at the Wellesley Booksmith, was absolutely hilarious. He was charming, funny, and his story from rags-to-riches (or more like engineer-to-fiction writer) was inspirational. What a great evening.



16. Favorite Boy Band With A Member Named Harry: ONE DIRECTION

It's not my fault. My 13-year-old daughter got me hooked on these catchy songs, and now I listen to them every day. My work-out mix includes Best Song Ever, Drag Me Down, and Kiss You. And yes, I realize that Harry may have made an unfortunate hair decision about the man bun, and I refuse to talk about that.


17. Most Romantic Film I Watched This Year: 50 FIRST DATES


I wasn't looking for anything special, but I found it anyway. While channel-surfing, I accidentally stumbled onto this Adam Sandler movie--yes, you heard me correctly, this charming film is an ADAM SANDLER MOVIE--and I fell in love. The first words that come to mind when describing a typical Adam Sandler film are not "touching" "adorable" "sweet" and/or "romantic." But this movie is absolutely lovely--with a perfect cast, quirky premise, and unbelievably romantic ending.

HEA 4-EVER!

18. Most Appealing Scottish Food That Won't Induce Long-Term Trauma: CULLEN SKINK


In an effort to research Scottish food for A TASTE OF HEAVEN, I forced my writing group to dine at The Haven (a Scottish establishment). We tasted haggis and neeps, hot mulled wine, deep fried Mars bars, and Scotch Deviled egg. But my favorite part of the meal was Cullen Skink...a rich, creamy chowder that was absolutely delicious.

And to be honest, the haggis wasn't that bad either. *wink* I earned this badge...

 


19.  Best Trio Of Books With Irresistible Sicilians And The Women They Love: IRRESISTIBLE SICILIAN SERIES by Michelle Smart.

Books include...
1.) What A Sicilian Husband Wants
2.) The Sicilian's Unexpected Duty
3.) Taming the Notorious Sicilian

I have a confession to make. I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Harlequin Presents. 2015 will forever be known as...

THE YEAR OF HARLEQUIN PRESENTS

I'm not kidding. I don't want to even think about how much money I spent on these suckers. Also, I re-read them EVERY week. They are comfort food for my soul...alpha males, sweet heroines, angst resolved with The Big Grovel, and of course lots of sexy times. These books are absolute gems.

Anyhoo, I have so many favorites it's hard to just pick a few. This trio was so much fun. Sexy, emotional, highly satisfying endings. I think TAMING THE NOTORIOUS SICILIAN is my favorite. Quirky heroine and SEX-AY hero. Schwing!



20. Best Romance Novels of 2015: A BOATLOAD OF HARLEQUIN PRESENTS

I have so many favorites this year, I'm just going to list all my 5-star reads. I highly recommend ALL of these...

THE PERFECT CAZORLA WIFE by Michelle Smart
THE ITALIAN'S DEAL FOR I DO by Jennifer Hayward
A REPUTATION FOR REVENGE by Jennie Lucas
ANTONIDES' FORBIDDEN WIFE by Anne McAllister
IN CHRISTOFIDES' KEEPING by Abby Green
BRIDE IN A GILDED CAGE by Abby Green
THE MAGNATE'S MANIFESTO by Jennifer Hayward
THE LEGEND OF DE MARCO by Abby Green
FONSECA'S FURY by Abby Green
FORGIVEN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN by Abby Green

It looks like Abby Green is my new favorite author. And two of her books are in 2nd and 1st place for the year...

The runner up is---DRUM ROLL--- Forgiven But Not Forgotten!

AND THE DIAMOND TIARA GOES TO...


Gorgeous writing, super romantic, incredible sexual chemistry, fabulous heroine, very sexy love scenes. The scene where they dance the tango and the hero RIPS her dress so she can dance with him? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  I LOVED THIS BOOK!


So, there you have it. Some of my favorite and not-so-favorite things for the year. If you got a shout-out in this post, please feel free to use the following badge...




HAPPY READING TO ALL!

Penny

One more thing...

Don't forget that next Friday is...

Penny Watson's Great Big Holiday Give-Away!


Over 20 authors offering books, gifts, gift cards, 
jewelry, freebies, and more!

JOIN US!

7 comments:

Julia Barrett said...

I look forward to this list every year, you sexy MILF, you!

Nicola O. said...

I love this post so much I might try to do one of my own. It's fun to go a little bit beyond books sometimes!

Thanks for sharing all this good stuff. I've been thinking about the spiralizer!

Penelope said...

Julia...Am I really a MILF? Woo hoo!

Penelope said...

Hi Nicola! You should. It's fun!

GABY said...

what a fun list! The shoes...I admit I would use them if they are confortable hahaha

Penelope said...

Hi Gaby! The shoes are soooooo comfortable. And they come in different colors!

extraordinary ordinary whimsy said...

Man buns are the worst. The only thing worst than the man bun? Glittered beards. Blech!

I want to try that soup.

That dress!!!! *insert heart eyes*

Tom is such a cutie!

I have a vegetti and LOVE it. Zucchini spaghetti is my favorite.