Kaetrin’s Best of 2019 List
This year I decided to do my best of list a little early. I don’t have any new releases on my list until next year so I felt it was safe.
I had a fantastic reading year; I met my Goodreads challenge with more than a month to spare and I met some personal goals about increasing the diversity of my review pool and my reading (and listening) generally. Best of all, I read some great books. Here, in no particular order, are my top 10 for 2019.
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik – I could easily have chosen Aurora Blazing for this list as well but I decided to go with the first book which caught my interest and kept me engrossed the whole way through. Book two had a slower start but ended up being just as enjoyable. I am loving sci-fi romance this year.
Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet – One of my first reads for the year, Nightchaser rocked my socks off. I loved the action-adventure and completely bought into the romance. I am desperate DESPERATE to read Starbreaker to see what’s next for Tess and Shade and the rest of the crew.
The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai – I’m realising there’s a common theme peppered throughout my Top 10; a prickly heroine and a cinnamon roll hero. Apparently it’s my new favourite thing. As I get older I have less patience for BS and more appreciation for women who call it out. Rhiannon doesn’t take any crap and I loved her for it.
The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller – I reviewed this book at my own blog recently. It’s a gothic/ghost story/gilded age romance with an adorable cinnamon roll hero.
Alva Webster is a rather notorious widow. She returns to New York from Europe and buys an old house, planning to fix it up and write a book about interior design, using the renovation to illustrate her techniques. Unfortunately however, Liefdehius seems to have a ghost and the workmen refuse to complete the renovations until it’s gone. Enter Samuel Moore, inventor and part-time ghost hunter who became deeply smitten with Alva on sight.
The humour worked for me entirely and I loved Alva’s determined bravery and her mix of resilience and fragility.
She had tasted of strength and passion, of meticulously banked fire and fury, and when he remembered holding her all he wanted to do was find out what would happen if she decided she trusted him enough to release it.
Sam was the perfect hero for her.
Sam’s family were hilarious and delightful as well. There are more books planned in the series and I can hardly wait.
Note, content warnings for domestic violence. My full review is here.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – Khai and Esme were so sweet together. Yes, there were some improbable things right at the end and a little too much hand-waving about it, but very little can detract from this:
In a split second, she redefined perfection for him. His standards aligned to her exact proportions and measurements. No one else would ever live up to her.
And there was hilarious sex education from Khai’s relatives.
A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole – This book features another woman who stands up for herself. She is a bit softer about it than Rhiannon from The Right Swipe but no less effective.
“If you take a moment to think before saying offensive things to a woman, and then don’t say them, you’ll have nothing to apologize for and she won’t have to make you feel better about it.”
Johan was great but this book was all about Nya for me.
Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert – Oh look. Another prickly heroine paired with a cinnamon roll hero. I don’t feel remotely bad about it. I think this is my 2019 mood.
I am more and more appreciative of a male lead who thinks consent is important and respects his love interest.
Red grabbed the armchair he kept in the corner of the room and shoved it closer to the bed. Chloe sank gracefully into its tattered, tartan depths. She crossed her legs, which probably made her skirt ride up a little bit, but Red wouldn’t know, because he absolutely was not looking. He had firmly instructed his eyes to focus only on her ears (which, while cute, weren’t especially arousing) or her nose (ditto) or the wall behind her. So far, things were going okay-ish.
Teach Me by Olivia Dade – This is another one I reviewed at my own blog. It also features a delightful cinnamon roll hero paired with prickly, defensive heroine.
Martin and Rose are both teachers. When Martin joins the faculty at Rose’s school, she is displaced from some of her beloved classes and even her classroom because the school superintendent is a jerk. Martin is not at all at fault however and Rose recognises that even as she does not intend to become friends with him. But Martin is so likeable and they have so much in common, Rose just can’t help falling in love with him. *heart eyes*
I loved Rose and Martin separately and together. I loved Martin’s vulnerability and kindness and Rose’s resilience and passion. Both of them, in different ways, were fierce champions for the students they teach. I liked the way Martin’s ex-wife was not evil, the relationship Martin had with his daughter and the one which developed between she and Rose. I loved Rose’s comfort in her body and Martin’s adoration of it. I also loved the importance of consent and personal autonomy showcased in the book. First and foremost however, it is a charming romance, earthy and sexy and sweet.
My full review is here.
Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas – Janine reviewed this book here at DA and I reviewed the audiobook at AudioGals and posted some extra thoughts here at my own blog. West Ravenel has rocketed into the Top 5 of my All Time Favourite Heroes. This book also brought about one of the most fun book discussions I had all year – Janine and I had an epic email thread where we both waxed rhapsodic about all things West. Sebastian Challon who I say? #TeamWest
Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews – Perhaps my most anticipated book for 2019, Sapphire Flames lived up to its promise. I liked it better than Burn for Me, largely because I liked Alessandro more (Rogan grew on me of course but he had a bit of work to do after his initial presentation). Action-packed and full of snappy banter and snarky humour this book ticked almost every box for me. Now I just need the HEA…
Happy holidays everyone, however you celebrate, and here’s to many wonderful books in 2020.
~ Kaetrin ~