…okay so it’s more a round-up of the books that stood out for me this year as I’ve read almost 400 and (while that’s a load down on the last two years) I was lucky to not have many ones I failed to connect with.
Sooo, in no particular order at all, honestly, there isn’t an order, it’s the ones which sprung into my head and stayed there, I give you My Best Books of 2019 (and quite a few bonus festive entries at the end).
Lily Morton’s The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings blew me away. Totally different from one of my favourite authors, a paranormal romance in the beautiful surrounds of the City of York.
Tal Bauer’s Soul On Fire was stunning. Especially considering the background to the book, which was written in a month and based on reader suggestions for all aspects of the narrative.
Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott’s Ignite saw one of my favourite pairs of authors taking another step in the Unbreakable Bonds universe and giving me my fave MM book boyfriend Rowan Ward creating more Mayhem with boyfriend Noah.
Tibby Armstrong’s Taste The Dark I was gutted when Random House cancelled Tibby’s Boston After Dark series, so the news she was going to self-publish book two in the trilogy was wonderful. The book itself lived up to all expectations. Now I really, really need Nyx and Isander please Tibby 😁 ♥
Allie Therin’s Spellbound a new author for me and a wonderful debut historical novel set in an alternative 20s Prohibition Era New York.
I could have gone for a number of Layla Rayne books but I picked Prince Of Killers for the brilliant opener to what turned out to be a fabulous assassin/Government agent enemies to lovers romantic suspense.
RJ Scott’s Single, book one in her new series focusing on single dads was an absolute triumph for me and catapulted its warmth and its compelling characters to the top of my list of favourites from her.
Spicy, steamy, beautifully and unashamedly erotic, I absolutely loved Roe Horvat’s Adam Only.
Jackie Keswick’s step into fantasy land resulted in a triumphant Healing Glass, one of my absolute favourite reads of all of 2019 with its well written and detailed world building .
Perennial favourite Lucy Lennox broke my heart (and then fixed it again) when she finally wrote Doc and Grandpa’s romance in Wilde Heart. I’d been waiting for this since we first met this bunch of amazing characters, and it didn’t disappoint.
Cara Dee challenged trope expectations with If We Could Go Back and smashed through the “no cheating” rules with a stunningly emotional tale of a romance long in the building.
Charlie Adhara hit her third 5* rating from me for her Big Bad Wolf series with book three, Thrown To The Wolves, which saw Cooper and Park’s relationship strengthen as they investigated more whodunits.
Easily the most brilliantly named book on my list, Lyn Gala’s Earth Fathers Are Weird was an original, fabulously executed Sci-Fi mPreg alien romance and I utterly adored it.
Davidson King provided an epic closure to her fabulous Haven Hart Universe with Poe’s tale and Raven’s Hart was a perfect way to sign off on this romantic suspense saga.
Kat and Agnes Merikan brought their insanely brilliant paranormal motorbike club series to an end with In The Arms Of The Beast, which saw the Kings of Hell MC battling demonic entities in this jaw-dropping wft-ery of everything!
Elin Gregory soothed my historical romance loving heart with book two of The Carstairs Affairs, Midnight Flit in which Miles and Briers are dropped into Europe at the start of the madness leading up to the Second World War in the early 1930s.
My favourite cover model turned up again on Christina Lee’s Redeem (and yes, I will use his picture again exactly for that reason!) with a redemption arc romance which pleased every bit of my aching heart.
With Prince of Death (co-written with W.M. Fawkes) Sam Burns cemented her place as one of my absolute favourite paranormal/urban fantasy authors. I could have picked any of the trilogy but the opener set the scene for what was to come perfectly.
And, speaking of urban fantasy, next up is the bloody brilliance that was Hailey Turner’s All Souls Near & Nigh. Book two in what I believe will be a six (or more) book series, this one took the reader on an epic ride into South America with the Aztec Gods – Quetzalcoatl and Tepoztēcatl, the Mexican/Catholic death cult Goddess/saint Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte, as well as the Native American trickster God Coyote or Altse Hashke.
Epic fighting was on the cards in my next pick, Rachel Reid’s Heated Rivalry, an insanely hot enemies to lovers ice hockey sports romance featuring an All American dreamboat and his Russian rival in the arena.
Back to the urban fantasy/paranormal for this second instalment in MA Grant’s excellent series The Darkest Court. The Marked Prince played around with the Seelie/Unseelie Courts and Irish mythology for a superb slow burning but compelling tale.
Beth Bolden made me cry with Terrible Things, the first in her rock band series and a beautiful reconciliation, second chances romance which is well-worth a read. It doesn’t follow the usual tropes.
And Con Riley also had the tears flowing with the divine After Ben, first in her Seattle Stories series, which is being re-published. It remains one of my favourite books dealing with moving on after the death of a long-term partner.
Next up. Garrett Leigh went paranormal and OMG it was EPIC. Like seriously good, a new interpretation of shifters and werewolf society and full of the usual Britishness which typifies her work. Grab your copy of Fated Hearts if you’ve not read it yet.
And while we’re on with the werewolves, Annabelle Jacobs turned to them once again for her latest series, absolutely different from the Regent’s Park Pack series which is one of my all-time favourite shifter works. Escape was daringly different, menacing and not entirely unlike the political shitstorm occuring in the UK right this minute.
Joanna Chambers also gave me werewolves, but with a glorious historical twist and a bit of a cliffhanger in the first of her duology Gentleman Wolf. Set in 18th Century Scotland, it’s an epic tale of mystery, heartache, adventure, and suspense with a seriously nasty villain and a stunning cast of characters.
Merlin and Lancelot reincarnated (which bizarrely is also the plot of one of the books I’m writing atm!) take the stage in Victoria Sue’s Twelfth Night, which plays not only on Shakespeare’s title but with Arthurian mythology to craft a thrilling urban fantasy.
My last recommendation before I get to the Festive Recommendations is Kasia Bacon’s ridiculously brilliant in less than 28 pages Rago. A dragon shifter fated mates snippet set in her excellent Order Universe.
This is by no means my only exceptional reads of the year. I could also add about another 50 books but then we’d be having to scroll down for days.
I could include Aimee Nicole Walker’s Wicked Games, which might be my favourite book of hers so far full stop (although I’m massively falling for Locke and Key in her latest series so who knows!)
I could also include Nicholas Bella, Lane Hayes, Felice Stevens, Keira Andrews, Rick R Reed, K.c. Wells, V.L. Locey (both individually and with RJ Scott), I want to put Annabeth Albert on here (she’s on my Christmas recommendations I’ve nicked from RJ – keep reading) along with Eli Easton.
Sneaking on would also be E.J. Russell’s fab Supernatural Selection series, May Archer, Eden Finley, Neve Wilder, Nora Phoenix, and K.M. Neuhold. I’d go on but then I’d forget someone and I’d be annoyed and worried I’d upset them.
So just clicky here and read all my reviews for all the amazing authors who’ve delighted me with books during 2019.
And let me just say a huge thank you to all the authors who’ve entrusted me with their ARCs to beta, proof or review during 2019.
It’s been a pleasure and a privilege. Now, onto the first month of the new year!
Festive Romance Recommendations
I think I may just totally cheat here and point readers to RJ Scott’s most excellent Facebook post on her favourites 😁
You can find that here: https://www.facebook.com/author.rjscott/posts/2578736988876034