– 2019 –
Mumbo Gumbo Murder by Laura Childs
I really don’t know how to express how much I enjoyed MUMBO GUMBO MURDER but it’s definitely one of my favorite books of the year! Packed with intrigue and mystery, this book has so amazing things in it. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who likes bright characters and mysterious settings because it truly is different from the other Cozy Mystery series I’ve read. In fact, out of all of Childs’s series, this one just might be my favorite.
Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
It was a great introduction to the series. Robb introduced the characters and slightly futuristic world really well. She didn’t bog the book down with too many details and instead just dove straight in with the story and fleshing out her characters. It also didn’t feel too dated. I don’t know if this was because of the future setting or just the genius of J.D. Robb. So, although some of the technological details felt like they were the imaginations of a mind in the 90s, the more important aspects like character and story didn’t. It left me intrigued, addicted to the characters and desperate for more making it an excellent first book.
ROMANTIC SUSPENSE | SCI FI | COP | BILLIONAIRE
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
From the moment I started POLARIS RISING I knew this would be a winner for me. There is something about the main protagonist, Ada, that I was immediately drawn to. Strength. Basically, by the end of this book, I really loved Ada and she’s one of my favorite heroines I’ve read so far this year. Kickass with a heart of gold.
I think the author has done a really nice job at blending romance and a solid plot. At the same time, this book needed a lot of world building and she’s also done this extremely well without dumping a bunch of information and making this book suffer from First Book Syndrome. It had everything I needed to feel as if I was immersed into this world, I could see it come alive just as well as if I was watching this on a screen. Which by the way, this could totally be made into a movie and I would be there for it!
SCI FI | SPACE OPERA | ROYALTY | EX-CON
Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
I loved this switch in perspectives it opens a whole new world to us readers that Andrews built magnificently as we get more involved in House politics. But, that didn’t mean that there was no action in this book. The world of the magical elite is a dangerous and violent place and this book was a fast paced and exciting read. But for me, what always draws me back to an Ilona Andrews book, apart from the great world building and interesting plot lines, is the characters.
URBAN FANTASY | MAGIC
A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
Sarah Morgan has a talent for writing gripping and compelling family dynamics, characters and emotions that feel relatable and in the end stories that leave you with a content feeling. A WEDDING IN DECEMBER delivered exactly that. It’s a heartwarming story about 3 women, a mother and her two daughter. Their mom of the verge of divorce, the youngest getting married and the older sister trying to save her younger sister from making a rash decision by marrying and ruining her life. All this against the beautiful snowy backdrop of Aspen.
A WEDDING IN DECEMBER is a great story to read during the holidays but also a perfect winter read. Fun in the snow and the stress of a quick wedding. In the end it left me with a smile on my face and seeing everything resolved the way it should be.
WOMEN’S FICTION | HOLIDAY
Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh
This was one of those times when I was happy to see an update on Elena and Raphael again. I truly believe that their romance continues to develop and bloom even though we’ve technically seen many happily ever afters for them already. Raphael has quickly become one of my favorite heroes of this year with his devoted love for Elena. I mean, he literally gives his heart to her. How much more could you ask from an archangel? I’m giving this book five stars, which for me is a big deal now.
Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane
Don’t You Forget About Me did a great job of mixing Georgina’s journey of self-discover with a big dose of humour. The pain of seeing Lucas again brings in sharp relief her life of serially underachieving. But rather then being depressing, Georgina’s voice smooths the edges with her brilliant sense of humour. This is also a book set in the UK and is a great example of British humour. So, if you ever want a taste of the dry self-depreciating wit that often marks British comedy, this is the perfect book.
WOMEN’S FICTION | FUNNY | CHILDHOOD CRUSH
The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox
While it may be a little less creepy than the previous book by her, it still packs all the gothic atmosphere and a great romance as well. The pacing of this book starts slow but there’s a simple way this story weaves into you and keeps you turning the pages. At some point, I just couldn’t put it down. Now the mystery wasn’t all that I was expecting and while I didn’t have it figured out it also wasn’t extremely shocking.
If you are in the mood for a light mystery but atmospheric read, then look no further. This author, and this book, should be on your list. And they’re perfect to keep a romance reader happy.
HISTORICAL FICTION | GOTHIC ROMANCE
Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean
I went into this book with some sky high expectations. One, because I already love Sarah Maclean and her books and I especially loved the first book in this series. Two, it has a curvy heroine and there’s nothing I love more than a curvy heroine. Three, did I mention it was written by Sarah Maclean and I adore her and her books? Reading Brazen and the Beast just reinforces my aforementioned points. I loved it.
If you want a strong heroine, a broody, grumpy hero (and who doesn’t want that!?) and a fast paced and interesting plot then this is the book you have been craving. It was a fantastic read, so if you haven’t started this series yet you need to bump it up your TBR.
HISTORICAL ROMANCE | CLASS DIFFERENCES | CURVY HEROINE
Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep
This book picks up where the last book finishes, so I think it’s important to read this series in order. Estep packs a lot of action in her books, but with her simplistic writing style, I feel like it’s very easy for readers to get lost in her world.
As I mentioned, this series is meant to be a Fantasy and it definitely has those components compared to her other books. However, I do think that this book does have a strong Urban Fantasy feel to it. This makes sense because Estep’s strongest genre is UF.
Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb
As soon as I picked up MEET ME IN MONACO I was swept up into another world and I didn’t want to let go. I read this in almost one sitting. It was addictive from beginning to end. If you enjoy reading about different types of professions I think you’ll also be as fascinated as me with Sophie’s job. I loved seeing the process of creating a perfume. The different notes and steps that go into finding the perfect balance. It was really fascinating!
This is a perfect poolside read. Intrigue, royalty, celebrities and romance. The writing was smooth and flawless and it’s left me wanting to read more from this duo for sure.
HISTORICAL FICTION | ROYALTY
The Book Supremacy by Kate Carlisle
My Topshelf Read this month is a special one because it’s my first 5-star read of the year! Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but it honestly is! I haven’t encountered a book that had completely won me over except this one. With its spy theme, romance, and amazing mystery, this book really blew me off my feet! I had such a great time reading it and I think you will too, especially if you’re a fan of James Bond!
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
I knew going into this book that the subject matter would be a heart breaker. And I was also really excited to try out this debut and hopefully find a new author to follow. You probably know by now that I like to read books that touch on real issues and I was curious about how this would be handled in this book. I am here to tell you that THE FRIEND ZONE should definitely be on your summer reading plans. Don’t worry, you’ll get a happy ending! And if I’m being honest, I didn’t shed any tears like I was expecting. But that didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment of this book. I was swept off my feet by the romance and the chemistry between the main characters. I feel in love with them BOTH individually. But the heroine stole the show for me. I found her incredibly relatable and I was cheering for her to get an HEA.
CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE | FERTILITY ISSUES | FRIENDS TO LOVERS
Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh
If you read just one book in June, make sure it is Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh. Once again Singh pens a beautiful romance set in her Psy Changeling world. For this installment we are back with the SnowDancer pack and the very dominant and beautiful SnowDancer Lieutenant Alexei. If I am honest…I don’t remember Alexei that well from previous books, but after reading Wolf Rain I know I’ll never forget him. Memory, our heroine, is an E-Psy who has been kept prisoner by another Psy for most of her life and gains her freedom when Alexei stumbles upon her prison. As usual with Nalini Singh this was an emotional and powerful love story that demonstrates exactly why you will often see her referred to as Queen Nalini.
PARANORMAL ROMANCE | SHIFTERS
Smooth Moves by Marie Harte
Around this time of the year, I find myself always looking for a good Contemporary Romance to read. Luckily, Marie Harte has a new series called Movin’ On that has all the humor and heart that I love in my books. With veteran heroes and heady dose of sexiness, this book will definitely sweep you off your feet and make you fall in love!Around this time of the year, I find myself always looking for a good Contemporary Romance to read. Luckily, Marie Harte has a new series called Movin’ On that has all the humor and heart that I love in my books. With veteran heroes and heady dose of sexiness, this book will definitely sweep you off your feet and make you fall in love!
CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE | MILITARY HERO | HUMOR | SEXY
Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of both of these authors. But when they collaborate, magic happens. Their previous m/m romances brought us one of my favorite m/m couples and when I saw there was a new book coming out for them in the same genre I might’ve squealed. There was also a lot for this book to live up to. Let me just say this. TOP SECRET is completely different from HIM but it’s just as addictive and endearing. You can’t help but fall in love with these very different characters. I was 100% swept up into how cute the romance was, how lovable both characters were, how their relationship progressed…. and lets face it, how sexy as hell it was. This is yet another winner by this duo.
M/M ROMANCE | NEW ADULT | NEIGHBORS/ROOMMATES
Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
I try not to go in to any book with pre-conceived expectations, be they good or bad. Mostly I fail pretty spectacularly at this, especially when it comes to series that I love. So, it’s safe to say I went into Storm Cursed with extremely high expectations. I’ve read so many excellent books in the Mercy Thompson series that it didn’t cross my mind that I wouldn’t love this one. And I did. Patricia Briggs is a fantastic writer. Her characters and the relationship between them evolve throughout the series, and not just her main characters, everyone in the Mercy-verse has a degree of development. Next, there’s the world, with each book our understanding grows and deepens as Briggs expertly furnishes us with more information. Finally, there is the story itself. It’s always an exciting and fast paced ride making these books hard to put down. Basically Patricia Briggs is a genius and if you aren’t reading her yet…why not?
Gimme Some Sugar by Molly Harper
After binging on the previous books in the series, I couldn’t help getting excited for Gimme Some Sugar. The characters in this series are quirky, funny, and so easy to relate to. They say things that you wouldn’t typically say in RL, but I’m sure they are things you would only say in your head. Just like the previous books, Gimme Some Sugar is filled with Southern charm, light humor, and small town love. If you like, rom-com small town reads, this book is worth a try.
CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE | SMALL TOWN
Death of a Wedding Cake Baker by Lee Hollis
I’m so excited for you guys to read this book! DEATH OF A WEDDING CAKE BAKER comes from one of my favorite Cozy Mystery authors! Lee Hollis does a fantastic job of creating a wedding themed novel. Now, I’m actually not a huge fan of wedding books, but this one worked because I really liked the conflict in it. Hayley’s friend is finally getting married, but there’s a lot of tension between the bride, her mother, and her cousin who is the one baking her wedding cake. Alongside this, Hollis does a great job of including some fun moments, so it really is a fun book all around. I hope you all enjoy it!
When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. I fell in love with this family and this world last year after reading NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA and I couldn’t wait to dig into this companion novel. You don’t have to read NYIH to read this one but why wouldn’t you read both they are both amazing! But back to Beatriz’s story. If you liked THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO you will enjoy this story. Beatriz is such an interesting and fierce woman. I admired her strength and determination to follow her passion. The romance swept me off my feet and it took me on a rollercoaster ride. And at the end, I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. Except that I wanted to stay there and read more.
HISTORICAL FICTION | FAVORITE HEROINE | TEARJERKER
Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Well, colour me surprised. If I am honest, I picked up Serious Moonlight because I loved the cover, it’s so cute. However, I was berating myself for letting my id take control and grab the ARC. I don’t like contemporary YA. Too many teenagers with too many feelings, my eyes can’t handle all the rolling. But, what do you know? I loved it. I admit, it took me about 10% to get into it, but once I was past that I raced through. I loved it. I liked both the main couple and the quirky set of secondary characters that made this story such a delight. I liked the mystery that wove the narrative and characters together. It was a great read and I’ll definitely be looking at Bennett’s other YA contemporary books and maybe take another chance.
Broken Bone China by Laura Childs
I’m really happy about this book for many reasons. Laura Childs is one of my favorite Cozy Mystery authors and this is also a series that I have been catching up on. I’m nearly caught up, so it’s really perfect timing that the new book is out! It’s a great mystery filled with intrigue and charm. I’m sure that if you enjoy your mysteries with a little bit of a lighter touch then you will also enjoy this one!
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
This is a story that is guaranteed to sweep you off your feet, transport you to a different place and make you fall in love. With the place, the time, the people, the man. Everything about this book was beautiful, and that includes the writing because Amy Harmon is a master at making you feel. One of my favorite reads!
HISTORICAL FICTION | TIME TRAVEL | MAGICAL REALISM | BETA HERO
Wild Country by Anne Bishop
I love Anne Bishop’s world of the Others and so I was excited to read her latest instalment Wild Country. In this book we get to see some familiar faces from previous books in the series as the terre indigene and some select humans work together to rebuild the town of Bennett. This book had Bishop’s typical slow pacing, allowing us to get into all the characters lives whilst at the same time steadily building up the tension…you know something big and terrible is going to happen, you don’t know when. This books had humour, action and a great story, I can’t wait to read more.
Lost Souls by Chelsea Mueller
Chelsea Mueller’s third installment of Soul Charmer comes out at the end of February and I can tell you that this installment is the best one yet. Callie Delgado’s story continues as she takes over this “soul collecting” business and this time she has to go against another mob who wants the business for himself. Yep, this story just a got a little more exciting. If you like urban fantasy with a bit of soul, this series might be for you.
Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas
Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas is one of my most anticipated reads of 2019. Not only because Kleypas is one of my favourite authors, but because I have been dying to learn more about the hero since he first appeared in Cold-Hearted Rake. West Ravenel has had quite the character arc in this series and we see it come into glorious fruition in Devil’s Daughter. I guarantee he will be your next book boyfriend. Phoebe our heroine in the daughter of familiar figures if you are a Kleypas fan – Sebastian and Evie from Devil in Winter – and I loved seeing this glimpse into the life of a previous hero and heroine I have adored. She was also a fantastic heroine in her own right. A widow with two young sons, I really loved her strength and her humour. I predict Phoebe and West will be one of my favourite couples of 2019.
HISTORICAL ROMANCE | SINGLE PARENT | FARMER