If I had to choose a few words to describe my reading choices for 2019 I would say ‘genre swapping, exploratory, entertaining, and emotional’. I really tried to get off the safe path I felt I was striding down and tried to explore some genre’s that I’ve enjoyed in the past but didn’t necessarily read that frequently. Don’t get me wrong, I still read my favorite authors and had my go to’s that I knew would bring me pleasure, but I tried to get outside my little reading box. Just a smidge. So, in looking at all the books I read in 2019, not just the books I reviewed, I found it was really hard to choose a top 10. Instead I’m going to rank them by the emotions they made me feel.
THE UGLY CRIER
What I say about the book now: All I can remember is trying to read this book at night while my husband was sleeping and blowing my nose over and over again. It was sooo emotional and so good!
What I said then: “Take my word for it. Get this novel. Don’t read the synopsis, just pick it up and take yourself on a journey. It will be heart breaking and yes, you’ll ugly cry, but it will also remind you what love is all about. That’s why we read romance novels, right?”
Click this link to purchase!* Full Tilt (Volume 1)
IN LOVE…WITH A BAD GUY?
What I say about the book now: I think it’s very apropos that I started this book on Valentine’s Day. I was curious because Hugh D’Ambray was the ultimate bad guy in Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series and they were going to turn him into a hero? I loved Hugh so much by the end of this book, he was such a bad ass alpha, yet had a very tiny gooey center that made me melt.
What I said then: “Hugh has always been a rough bastard, and he does not change in this novel. He’s still a bad ass. However, Ilona Andrews has made him human and that humanity gives him a new emotion, regret. Once you start to regret things your heart and mind are open to other new emotions. Now, don’t get me wrong, Hugh is still one bad hombre, but he’s now a bad hombre with a conscience.”
Click this link to purchase!* Iron and Magic: (The Iron Covenant Book 1) (Volume 1)
What I say about the books now: This series takes place in London on the West End stage. I loved the setting and the characters were flawed, fun, and touched my heart. I had never heard of Lucy Parker but she’s now one of my go to author’s for a lighthearted sure to be good romance.
What I said then:
ACT LIKE IT- “This could easily have played out like a cheesy Hallmark Channel romance movie, and I’m not really sure why it didn’t strike that chord with me. Maybe it was their fun dialog, the villain to root against in Lainie’s previous boyfriend (who is also a star in their play), or Richard’s lone wolf persona. I do really like that Alpha male attitude!”
PRETTY FACE- “Growing up in Southern California, I love the London West End playhouse setting and the fact that these are also slow burn romances. The build up from enemies to friends to lovers has you gripping your book until your fingers hurt, the tension only unwinding when the characters deliver their HEA. Yeah, Lucy Parker is a new favorite and I will be recommending this book and series to everyone I know. Consider yourself recommended. :)”
Click these links to purchase!* Act Like It (London Celebrities) and Pretty Face (London Celebrities Book 2)
I DID NOT DNF… BUT MAN, I WANTED TO!
What I say about the book now: I think I’ve wiped it from my memory, but I do remember thinking it was all gloom and doom. There wasn’t anything light in this novel at all. I need a little light to lead me out of the gloom!
What I said then: “I am a huge fan of urban fantasy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. and I went into this with my eyes wide open, hoping for the best. If there had been a few more kernels of light or humor I think my feelings would have been different. I will say that I do believe every book has it’s reader and I just wasn’t a good fit for The Ghost Hunter’s Daughter.”
Click this link to purchase!* The Ghost Hunter’s Daughter
DREAMING OF BEING A ROCK STAR
What I say about the book now: Every little girl wants to grow up to be a rock star and whereas I never wanted to do all of the drugs et. al. this book took me back to that childhood fantasy. I listened to the audiobook and it was fabulously voiced by a huge cast. One of my top 10 books for sure this year.
What I said then: “If you loved the movie Almost Famous, I think you will enjoy Daisy Jones and the Six. Listening to it was like listening to an ensemble cast from a movie. I can’t name all of the narrators, but believe me when I say they did a hell of a job and I can’t imagine not listening to it again and again.”
Click this link to purchase!* Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel
I LAUGHED TIL I CRIED
What I say about the books now: Sometimes you just can’t pick one! I hadn’t read a book by Christina Lauren in a few years and I’ll say I was very pleasantly surprised. I remember loving the main character because she was flawed and outrageous. This book was a lot of fun to read. Rock Bottom Girl was a complete surprise. I only picked it up because of the soccer ball on the cover. I laughed through this whole book! It was also fun, irreverent and gave me great joy. Two of my favorite books of the year because I laughed so much.
What I said then:
The Unhoneymooners- “If you are looking for a fast, fun, vacation bound book then you must give The Unhoneymooners a try out. If your own vacation is lacking that sizzle and spark -this novel will fire you right up! Plus give you a good laugh as well.”
Rock Bottom Girl- “Marley was the type of heroine who doesn’t believe in herself but at the same time manages to rise to every occasion albeit sometimes accidentally. Her hijinks had me laughing out loud and reaching for the tissues. Not because I was crying from the emotion but because I was laughing so hard my eyes were streaming.”
Click this link to purchase!* The Unhoneymooners and Rock Bottom Girl: A Small Town Romantic Comedy
FINDING MY INNER DETECTIVE
What I am saying about the books now: One of the genre’s that I found myself turning to this year, in audiobooks, were historical mysteries. I re-discovered the Sebastian St. Cyr series, which the above book is the first. I’ve listened to 7 of them this year and love the narration by Davina Porter, but also the great mysteries and depth of characters portrayed in these novels. I have not been reviewing them, except this first one but recommend them to anyone who loves that genre. They are really, really good.
What I said then: “I love historical mysteries and What Angels Fear was an excellent one. The pacing wasn’t slow as some are and the story held a lot of action sequences that moved the plot along quickly. Sometimes while listening to a novel I get frustrated and wish to speed it along, but this was a novel that I relished and enjoyed as the author C. S. Harris and the narrator, Davina Porter, portrayed it.”
Click this link to purchase!* By C.S. Harris – What Angels Fear: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Book 1 (9.3.2006)
What I say about the book now: I loved the Urban Fantasy/Gothic Horror feel to this novel. The plot was totally unique and I’m interested to see where she goes with this series.
What I said then: “Set in current time, but with elements of the magical and supernatural, Ninth House is unlike other novels in that it merges the real with fantasy so seamlessly.”
Click this link to purchase!* Ninth House (Alex Stern)
It’s not a Top 10 but if a book enlists an emotion, even if it’s dislike, it deserves to be noted! If you have read any of these books I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Happy New Year and happy reading!
*Amazon Associate- if you purchase a book through any of the above links I’ll receive a small stipend.