I read approximately 150 books in 2019 and for the most part had a very enjoyable reading year. Looking back over my favorites I think this is the first time that I’ve had so many historical romances on my best of list and so few contemporary. Maybe it’s because I just wasn’t in the mood for contemporary, I have no idea.
You can’t go wrong with any of these historical romances.
Any Old Diamonds is the first book in the Lilywhite Boys series and just like every other KJ Charles book I’ve read amazingly written and absolutely gorgeous. Jewelry heist with hot D/s loving for the win. My review. (honorable mention for both Proper English and The Rat Catcher’s Daughter, which I also thoroughly enjoyed.)
Ms. Bev’s Rebel, the first book in the Women Who Dare series, tells the story of Valinda Lacey and Drake LeVeq. Set in New Orleans after emancipation between a woman from the North who comes teach and the architect who she falls in love with. From my review:
You guys, Drake is absolutely swoon worthy. Him and his capable gazebo, tree house building hands and pirate thoughts and helpful, kind heart, and sexy bedroom eyes… * happy sigh* Valinda is a strong woman who is also uncertain of her future and beginning to love both New Orleans and the LeVeq family. Watching them come together and find their HEA was lovely
One Fine Duke was a fun book right from the first chapter. It was a fun, fast read with a lovely slow burn romance and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I spent reading. Lenora Bell has been on my auto-buy list since her first release and she just gets better and better, I think this is my favorite book of hers to date. My review.
Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne Long is the second book in The Palace of Rogues series and it was so, so good. Angelique and Lucien are breathtakingly gorgeous. I loved them from their snarky beginnings to their sensual, loving HEA. I actually said this in my review:
Honestly, the banter between Angelique and Lucien is unparalleled. Devious flirting, sly sarcasm and all the witty back and forth my heart could take
You can’t get any better of an opening scene than the one in Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean. I mean the heroine kissing and then kicking her future love interest out of a carriage is quite a way to begin a love story. I loved it. Quote from my review:
I loved this book. In every way. From the first word until the last had I heart eyes and a big ole smile on my face. My kindle copy has seven million highlights because Hattie and Whit had the most wonderful back and forth banter and I didn’t want to forget a single word. Even the secondary characters are amazing. I think Nora, Hattie’s sister of the heart, ride or die BFF, is one of my most favorite characters ever.
How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne opens up her new Devil You Know series. As with any Kerrigan Byrne book there are deep, complicated themes and this book talks about sexual assault and it’s aftermath. Quote from my review:
I spent a good amount of time while reading kind of clutching my chest wondering how Alexandra’s rape and subsequent anxiety and fear would be dealt with, but was so relieved when it was addressed with sensitivity and a gentle understanding. The main protagonists have quite a sensual, passionate relationship and I feel like the author built that relationship beautifully.
I mean of course I have a Nalini Singh and an Ilona Andrews on my favorites list. LOL.
Archangel’s War was amazing and I can’t wait to see what this author has in store for this series next. Please let it be Bluebell and Sparkle admitting their love for each other. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease. My full review.
Sapphire Flames was just as fabulous as I expected it to be. I adored getting to know Catalina better and enjoyed her POV in this world. I am on the edge of my seat in anticipation for the next book in this series. My full review.
Jenn Burke’s Graveyard Shift is the 3rd, and last, book in her Not Dead Yet series, and it was the absolute perfect way to wrap Wes and Hudson’s story up and send them on their HEA. My review.
Captive of the Horde King was a huge surprise and I told everyone I could think of to read it. A sci/fi barbarian romance that hit all the right notes for me and has me jonesing for book two, which releases later this month. From my review:
The love scenes are hot, and what makes them even hotter is that consent is a big factor between the H/H. I also enjoyed seeing the blossoming of Luna’s sexuality and getting advice from her friends on how to seduce her barbarian husband.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January is probably the most gorgeously written book I read this year. From my review:
The Ten Thousand Doors of January is not a fast paced, quick read, but it is filled to the brim with imagination, whimsy, and the fantastical. It went to places I didn’t expect and following along with January as she learned about herself and her abilities was at times dark and chilling, but full of delight and satisfaction by the end.
Read my full review here.
Black Sky Morning is the third book in the Mind & Machine series which, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough attention. It’s m/m sci/fi romance with action, adventure, humor, and sexy times. I discovered this series my chance on KU and fell in love.
I wanted to read Red, White, and Royal Blue as soon as I read the blurb and saw the cover. This book was HYPED UP, and thankfully for me, it lived up to expectations. The only thing I would really caution is that this couple is outed without consent and that might be a trigger for some people.
Red, White, & Royal Blue made me laugh, and get a little angry, but ultimately sigh in happiness. Alex and Henry are lovely and their relationship was such a wonderful slow burn romance that I was tempted to read ahead at times because I couldn’t wait to see how it all played out. I might have also had a little bit of anxiety about how Henry’s family would react to his coming out.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang is the second book by this author and follows The Kiss Quotient (which I also enjoyed.) This is a very different book from the TKQ, but very well done. This couple made me sad so many times and there was one scene that I almost had a heart attack with NO, NO, NO, DON’T DO THAT. But I really did enjoy and look forward to the next release by this author. My full review.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren is probably my favorite by this author since Beautiful Player. I love a good enemies to lovers romance (that doesn’t have too much meanness between the two main protags), mix in the forced proximity and fake relationship tropes and I’m yours. My full review.
More about my reading year:
I read all 14 available books in the Sebastian St. Cyr historical mystery series this year. This series is FANTASTIC and I highly recommend. These books are so tightly paced and well researched that you can’t help but read in one sitting. (I have the ARC of the next release, Who Speaks for the Damned, which releases in April, and I can hardly keep myself from reading it right now.)
My favorite novella of the year is definitely Night of the Scoundrel by Kelly Bowen. I had no idea who these characters were going in (although I had read the rest of the series), but I didn’t even care. King and Adeline were both anti-heroes in a way and they made the story interesting right from the first scene. I couldn’t read fast enough. My review.
Vicious and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab- I made it a point to read as much as I could off of my TBR list. I can not BELIEVE I waited so long to read this series. Book one is full of anti-hero goodness with characters who you know you shouldn’t be rooting for, but you root for them anyway. Book two surpassed book one in awesomeness and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. This series is amazing and I highly recommend.
So I read ahead into my 2020 reading list and all I can tell you is everyone who enjoys fantasy romance will want to pre-order A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane because it is so freaking good that I can’t stop thinking about it.
So that’s it! My faves for 2019! I can’t wait for y’all to tell me about yours.
What a great list, Angela! I’ve read some of these, and I’ve added a couple of titles to my list.