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Top Reads of 2019

2019 was a great year of romance reading! And for me personally, romance events. My local Barnes and Noble had a bunch of romance signings. I also went to Apollycon in March, Bookcon in June, RWA 2019 in July, and NJRW Put Your Heart in Book in November. As 2019 draws to a close, I started to go through all the books I read during the year. I picked my favorite books from a bunch of different categories and then chose some honorable mentions. Not all these books were released this year but I did read them all for the first time in 2019.

I also have a list of my top reviews that I wrote this year. Comparing the two, it’s obvious that my goal for next year needs to be writing more reviews for my favorite books of the year. I clearly don’t do that enough!

I hope everyone had a great reading year and have a bunch of new books and authors to look forward to in 2020!

Top Reads of 2019

Contemporary Romance:

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hilbert

Get a Life, Chloe Brown: A Novel (The Brown Sisters Book 1) by [Hibbert, Talia]

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?Enjoy a drunken night out.

Ride a motorcycle.

Go camping.

Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.

Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.

And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Honorable Mention:

The King Maker and Rebel King by Kennedy Ryan

Beneath These Shadows by Meghan March

Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Moonlighter by Sarina Bowen

The Best of Me by Jessica Prince

Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Through His Eyes by Nikki Ash

Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Sink or Swim by Tessa Bailey

Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

Sinful Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

The Chai Factor by Farah Heron

Until December by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Broken Course by Aly Martinez

Paranormal Romance:

Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh

archangel's war nalini singh

Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly passionate Guild Hunter world, where human-turned-angel Elena Deveraux, consort to Archangel Raphael, faces a new challenge that threatens the balance of the world.

Wings of silver. Wings of blue. Mortal heart. Broken dreams. Shatter. Shatter. Shatter. A sundering. A grave. I see the end. I see. . . .

The world is in chaos as the power surge of the Cascade rises to a devastating crescendo. In furiously resisting its attempts to turn Elena into a vessel for Raphael’s power, Elena and her archangel are irrevocably changed. . .far beyond the prophecy of a cursed Ancient.

At the same time, violent and eerie events around the world threaten to wipe out entire populations. And in the Archangel Lijuan’s former territory, an unnatural fog weaves through the land, leaving only a bone-chilling silence in its wake. Soon it becomes clear that even the archangels are not immune to this deadly evil. This time, even the combined power of the Cadre may not be enough. . . .

This war could end them all.

Honorable Mention:

Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh

War by Laura Thalassa

In a Badger Way by Shelly Laurenston

Historical Romance:

Heart and Hand by Rebel Carter

Heart and Hand (Gold Sky #1)

Can a Mail Order bride find love with two husbands?

 It doesn’t take long for Julie Baptiste to realize she yearns for more than the non-stop engagements and niceties dictated by New York high society. So, she decides to do something bold and answers an advertisement for a mail-order bride in Gold Sky, Montana.

Ex-Union soldiers Forrest Wickes and William Barnes have been inseparable since the War. They share everything, including the desire to find a wife. A woman who is willing to marry them both and provide the isolated town with a much needed teacher.

When Julie arrives in Montana the three of them must figure out how to navigate the boundaries of their new lives. Can Forrest and Will come together to provide what Julie needs and protect the heart of the woman who’s made her way intimately into theirs?

And how will a debutante-turned-teacher manage frontier life with two husbands?


Honorable Mention:

My Lord, Lady, and Gentleman by Nicola Davidson

Brazen and the Beast by Sarah Maclean

Indigo by Beverly Jenkins

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

Blame It on the Duke by Lenora Bell

The Bewildered Bride by Vanessa Riley

An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole

Erotic Romance:

Learn My Lesson by Katee Robert

Learn My Lesson (Wicked Villains Book 2) by [Robert, Katee]

A single night with Megaera and I’m willing to do anything to save her from Hades, the man holding her captive, victim to his every whim.

A bargain with the devil himself seems a small price to pay in order for Megaera to go free… Until I learn that she’s exactly where she wants to be.

She’s Queen to Hades’s King.

And I’m the fool that walked right into their trap.

The same fool who desires them both as much as I hate them. I can’t resist Megaera’s touch—or stop from being drawn to Hades’s dark desires. By the time I realize just how deep a game he’s playing, it may be too late…

Honorable Mention:

Wicked Queen by Geneva Lee

A Lesson in Thorns by Sierra Simone

Desperate Measures by Katee Robert

Exquisite Redemption by Ann Mayburn

Renewed by Harper Miller

Sci-fi Romance:

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik

Polaris Rising: A Novel (The Consortium Rebellion Book 1) by [Mihalik, Jessie]

A space princess on the run and a notorious outlaw soldier become unlikely allies in this imaginative, sexy space opera adventure—the first in an exciting science fiction trilogy.

In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.

Ada eluded her father’s forces for two years, but now her luck has run out. To ensure she cannot escape again, the fiery princess is thrown into a prison cell with Marcus Loch. Known as the Devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is rumored to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion, and the Consortium wants his head.

When the ship returning them to Earth is attacked by a battle cruiser from rival House Rockhurst, Ada realizes that if her jilted fiancé captures her, she’ll become a political prisoner and a liability to her House. Her only hope is to strike a deal with the dangerous fugitive: a fortune if he helps her escape.

But when you make a deal with an irresistibly attractive Devil, you may lose more than you bargained for . . .

Honorable Mention:

The Queen’s Advantage by Jessie Mihalik

Born of Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The Queen of All That Dies by Laura Thalassa

Willa’s Beast by Ruby Dixon

Barbarian Alien by Ruby Dixon

Young Adult:

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

I Wanna Be Where You Are by [Forest, Kristina]

A debut young adult rom-com about an African American ballerina who finds love on the road to an audition.

“In a world where it’s easy to lose faith in love, I Wanna Be Where You Are is a brilliant burst of light. A dazzling debut.” — Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out

When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast—two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.

Filled with roadside hijinks, heart-stirring romance, and a few broken rules, Kristina Forest’s I Wanna Be Where You Are is a YA debut perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon

Honorable Mention:

American Royals by Katharine McGee

Roar by Cora Carmack

Historical Fiction:

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe - US Edition

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

Honorable Mention:

The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas

The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas

Historical Non-Fiction:

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by [Jones, Dan]

The first Plantagenet kings inherited a blood-soaked realm from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic narrative history of courage, treachery, ambition, and deception, Dan Jones resurrects the unruly royal dynasty that preceded the Tudors. They produced England’s best and worst kings: Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice a queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; their son Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and his conniving brother King John, who was forced to grant his people new rights under the Magna Carta, the basis for our own bill of rights. Combining the latest academic research with a gift for storytelling, Jones vividly recreates the great battles of Bannockburn, Crécy, and Sluys and reveals how the maligned kings Edward II and Richard II met their downfalls. This is the era of chivalry and the Black Death, the Knights Templar, the founding of parliament, and the Hundred Years’ War, when England’s national identity was forged by the sword.

Honorable Mention:

Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking by Deborah Cadbury

Women Warriors: An Unexpected History by Pamela D. Toler

Top Reviews of 2019

New to Me in 2019 Authors:

  • Ruby Dixon
  • Teagan Brooks
  • Katee Robert
  • Christine Michelle
  • Dan Jones
  • Kennedy Ryan
  • Fiona Cole
  • Jessica Prince
  • Abby Jimenez
  • Mona Shroff
  • Meghan March
  • Lani Lynn Vale
  • Elizabeth O’Roark
  • J. Daniels
  • Avery Flynn
  • Mariana Zapata
  • Rebel Carter
  • Zara Raheem
  • Mia Sheridan
  • Devney Perry
  • Penny Dee
  • Laramie Briscoe
  • Sherry Thomas
  • Nikki Ash
  • Lenora Bell
  • Farah Heron
  • Vanessa Riley
  • Olivia Waite
  • Uzma Jalaluddin
  • Kerry Winfrey
  • Aly Martinez
  • Madeline Sheehan
  • Tara Sivec
  • Katharine McGee
  • Tamara Lush
  • Stacy Reid
  • Samantha Towle
  • Kristina Forest
  • Jessie Mihalik

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