Even as AAR staffers have been looking back at their favourite books from 2019, we’ve taken time out to look ahead to the books we’re most looking to reading in January 2020. We’re a diverse bunch with eclectic tastes and hopefully there’s something here for everyone – don’t forget to drop by and tell us which books you’re most eager to read this month in the comments.

Here’s hoping that it’s going to be a great year of reading for all of us!

A Fake Girlfriend for Chinese New Year by Jackie Lau (7 Jan)

Love Jackie Lau’s alternate-holidays series. – Caroline

The first story in the Holidays with the Wongs series, A Match Made for Thanksgiving, was such a delight that it made my best of the year list. I’ve no doubt that this one will also be an enjoyable and fun read! – Maria Rose

Buy it at Amazon

Tough Guy by Rachel Reid (13 Jan)

I adored Heated Rivalry, the previous book in the author’s Game Changer series, and, quite honestly, am going to be picking this up without really knowing all that much about it! – Caz

No one does hockey romance like Reid! – Lisa

Buy it at Amazon

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey (14 Jan)

I hugely enjoyed the first book in the Hot and Hammered series, Fix Her Up. This is a high school sweethearts/marriage-in-trouble story about FHU side characters Rosie and Dominic. – Charlotte

I like troubled relationship stories, because their narrative arcs are so different from those of first-time courtships. I liked Rosie and her drive to own her own business in Fix Her Up, and I want to see how Bailey works things out for this couple – Caroline

Bailey’s been all over the place for me, but Fix Her Up was fun – I’m excited to see how things go with this one! – Lisa

I am a huge fan of Fix Her Up, book one in Tessa Bailey’s Hot and Hammered series and have committed to reading all forthcoming Hot and Hammered novels. My fangirl obsession with Bailey aside, I am particularly eager to read rom-com Love Her or Lose Her because the novel features a married couple that struggles to rekindle their troubled relationship. While I enjoy stories of new couples falling in love, I am awe-inspired by existing couples who learn to fall in love with each other again. – Liz

I’ve been a fan of Tessa Bailey for several years (ever since her Line of Duty series) and really enjoyed the first Hot and Hammered novel, so I’m excited to read this marriage in trouble trope romance! – Maria Rose

Buy it at Amazon

So Close by Serena Bell (23 Jan)

Serena Bell has distinguished herself as an excellent contemporary romance writer and I’m looking forward to her latest – Lisa

Serena Bell is another auto-read author for me and I love the sound of this new romance from her – a beachfront town innkeeper and the disillusioned businessman who clash over property plans and fall inconveniently in love. – Maria Rose

Buy it at Amazon

The Lord I Left by Scarlett Peckham (27 Jan)

After her sensual The Duke I Tempted and The Earl I Ruined introduced a world of sexually dominant heroines, I’m interested to see this next book, about an evangelical reformer hero and a heroine who is learning to wield a whip. – Caroline

Three cheers for Scarlett Peckham’s wonderful historicals! – Lisa

Buy it at Amazon
The Wild One by Ruth Cardello (28 Jan)

We DIKed the first billionaire book in this series, The Broken One, for its strong emotional core. Hopefully the sequel will be as good! – Caroline

Ruth Cardello stole my heart with The Broken One; I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next brother – Lisa

Buy it at Amazon

Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday (28 Jan)

Holiday’s excellent first foray into a more women’s fiction-y version of contemporary romance sees a city-dwelling girl returning to her small, seaside hometown to figure out how to sell her grandmother’s kitschy resort – and fall back in love with her high school boyfriend, the town sheriff – Lisa

Jenny Holiday is another author who has consistently impressed me with her characters and plots; she’s appeared on my ‘best of’ list three times in the past six years. I’m excited to start this new series by her. – Maria Rose

Buy it at Amazon

Headliners by Lucy Parker (28 Jan)

Lucy Parker’s West End series has been a consistently great contemp perfomer. Now she’s branching into morning television, with an enemies-to-lovers story starring supporting characters who, at least for me, stole the show in The Austen Playbook. – Caroline

Lucy Parker is one of my few go-tos when it comes to contemporary romance, and I’m really looking forward to this fifth book in her London Celebrities series. The sparks flying between rival TV hosts Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport were palpable in their appearances in The Austen Playbook – I love a good enemies-to-lovers romance, and this promises to be a terrific one! – Caz

Excited to see where Parker takes this one – Lisa

Lucy Parker encapsulates just what I want in contemporary romances – witty banter, likable characters, swoonworthy moments and real emotional substance. She’s also great at the enemies to lovers trope so this one is sure to be a treat. – Maria Rose

Buy it at Amazon

We’re also looking forward to…


Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin (7 Jan)

In this YA fantasy, Coin is part of a class of citizens called The Nameless. Like the other Nameless, she is homeless and forced to steal to survive. But when the dying king utters her name, the snarky Coin is forced to become the new ruler. Will she survive the dangers of the palace? Will she be able to win support? And … how did the king know her name?

Buy it at Amazon

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore (14 Jan)

This YA fantasy is inspired by both Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Red Shoes” and an actual “dancing fever” that happened in Strasbourg in 1518. Women were struck by an ailment that forced them to dance, some dancing until they died. Witchcraft and the Romani were both blamed. In the present, Rosella Oliva is cursed by a pair of red shoes that force her to dance uncontrollably. The main characters are a Romani girl and a trans boy.

Buy it at Amazon

Blood Countess by Lana Popović (28 Jan)

A Hungarian village in the late 1500s. Talk about unusual settings! In this YA horror novel, Anna Darvulia is a chambermaid for the notorious serial killer Countess Elizabeth Báthory. Drawn to her mistress, Anna becomes her companion and eventually her lover, and over time,  realizes her mistress has a very dark side. The Countess is a horrible and fascinating figure, so she seems perfect for a dark (and gory) YA historical.

Buy it at Amazon

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (28 Jan)

In 2000, naive teenager Vanessa had an affair with a much older teacher at her boarding school. In 2017, the teacher was outed as an abuser – but not by Vanessa. The intertwined story deals with both past and present as Vanessa comes to terms with what really happened to her, and how it affected her life. This is more literary psychological suspense than domestic thriller, but I really look forward to a book that might show the other side of Lolita – reminding us that the girl is the victim rather than the seductress.

Buy it at Amazon


A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen (14 Jan)

A dystopia for grown-ups, in which four people (a former pop star, an event planner, a father and his daughter) join up against a resurgence of the pandemic that shattered their world. We gave Mike Chen a good review for his 2019 début.

Buy it at Amazon


When Death Frees the Devil by L.J. Hayward (17 Jan)

L.J. Hayward’s Death and the Devil series is one of my current obsessions and I can’t wait to get stuck into this final (so far) full-length book in the series about enigmatic assassin Ethan  Blade and former SAS officer Jack Reardon, who were thrown together in order to survive a trek across the Australian desert – and evade the bad guys – and built up a strong and unlikely friendship along the way.  The sparks flew between these two at their first meeting and haven’t stopped; this final book promises a showdown of epic proportions as Ethan and Jack are forced to confront their most dangerous enemy yet.

Buy it at Amazon

Police Brutality by Gregory Ashe (31 Jan)

This second book in the Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords promises to be another dark, twisty, rollercoaster-ride of a mystery as detective-turned-PI Emery Hazard is engaged to investigate death threats against a former colleague and tensions between the local right-wing militia and a new antifa group start to boil over.  And as if that’s not enough, the mysterious Keeper of Bees is still at large… Gregory Ashe crafts incredibly intricate and compelling mysteries and it sounds as though this one is going to be a real nail-biter!

Buy it at Amazon


Scot Under the Covers by Suzanne Enoch (28 Jan)

Ignore the gooftacular title and dig into this tale about a heroine who’s forced to marry thanks to her brother waging her hand on his gambling debts. Aden MacTaggert needs an English miss to satisfy the will of his father. Sparks will hopefully fly. – Lisa

Buy it at Amazon

The Forgotten Duke by Sophie Barnes (28 Jan)

I really love this series, and I’m excited to see what happens with Carlton’s story! – Lisa

Buy it at Amazon

Maria Rose

Jeremiah by Jayci Ellis (6 Jan)

I haven’t read this author before so I’m looking forward to trying someone new! The plot of this interracial LGBTQ romance with a paramedic and a secretary who meet in an elevator caught my attention and I hope it’s as good as it sounds.

Buy it at Amazon

Whiteout by Adriana Anders (28 Jan)

Plus one to the author for choosing Antarctica as her setting! This romantic suspense novel sounds very exciting with an attack on a research station leaving a couple on the run, in danger from the hunter and the elements.

Buy it at Amazon


You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley (7 Jan)

I’m intrigued by the idea of exploring our possible past lives, so You Were There Too looks to be right up my alley. It’s the first book I’ll have read by this author, but early reviews are favorable and I’m excited.

Buy it at Amazon

Big Lies In a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain (14 Jan)

I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of Big Lies In a Small Town, the latest duel-timeline novel from Diane Chamberlain. It’s the story of an artist in 1940 who was chosen to paint a mural on the wall of a North Carolina post office and of the woman almost seventy years later who is desperate to learn the truth about the picture’s origins. It’s filled with intrigue, warmth, and a ton of heart, and I can’t wait for all of you to read it and fall in love the way I did.

Buy it at Amazon

The Phantom Queen by Yasmine Galenorn (27 Jan)

The Whisper Hollow series was put on indefinite hiatus in 2016 when the author began to self-publish, and I was really bummed. Now though, she’s gotten the rights back and is choosing to continue the series. It’s a dark urban fantasy about a spirit shaman who must help the dead cross over to the other side and save the world from an all-consuming evil. The Phantom Queen is book three, and I’m super excited to reacquaint myself with these characters and this world, both of which I love.

Buy it at Amazon

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner (28 Jan)

I’ve been reading the D.D. Warren series for the past ten years or so, and a new installment is always something to celebrate. This one sees D.D. teaming up with the volatile Flora Dane and the super smart and resourceful Kimberly Quincy to unlock the frightening secrets of Flora’s past.

Buy it at Amazon

Cartier’s Hope by M.J. Rose (28 Jan)

This historical mystery, set in Gilded Age New York, piqued my interest when I first read the synopsis several months ago. It’s the story of a female journalist desperate to break out of the professional box the world has confined her to. When she hears that the legendary Hope Diamond has arrived in the city, she knows it’s just the thing she needs to prove herself to those who would continue to oppress her. I love this period in history, so this is one book I’ll be grabbing as soon as it’s available.

Buy it at Amazon

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Queer romance, romantic suspense and historicals - romance, mysteries, fiction -  are my genres of choice these days, and when I haven't got my nose in a book, I’ve got my ears in one.  I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and am rarely to be found without my earbuds in.