When it comes to romance, my criteria for greatness – or “best-ness” – is whether the story lingers with me. There are scenes or quotes that are so romantic and/or sexy that I can’t shake them and they’ll make me shiver happily when I recall them standing on a street corner waiting for a light to change, and make me think “oh, gracious, that’s life goals right there.” The books on this list are ones that lingered with me in 2019.


Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

This was my pick for Best Romance of 2019. I’ve already read it twice and I’m contemplating a third round before the new year!  Georgie Castle has always loved Travis Ford, her brother’s best friend. You know it’s true love, because even though he’s permanently injured and sidelined forever from the major-league baseball he dominated, she still thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread. This is Deep-End-of-The-Pool romance – it’s so hot that you could put it in an emergency kit in place of a space heater – so don’t give it to any romance newbies who get uncomfortable in a PG-13 movie!

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

Aerosmith once sang about how they “Don’t Want To Miss a Thing”. When I read a Sally Thorne novel, I don’t want to miss a sentence. I think she’s the best wordsmith currently writing romance. I’m not even a fan of the heroine of 99 Percent Mine, Darcy Barrett, but the writing is so superb that it compels me to put it on this list. Darcy, a globe-trotting former photographer who is not TSTL but instead willfully refuses to make any good decisions to (literally) save her own life, reunites with Tom Valeska, her childhood friend, when he comes to renovate her dead grandmother’s house.

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

I love a good romance inspired by the British royal family (The Royal We is a personal favorite). This book was one of my first m/m romance reads, and I ripped through it at racehorse speed. The son of the US president falls in love with the grandson of the Queen. It’s got opposites-attract and enemies-to-lovers tropes, and a romantic heart inside of it (no worries here that it’s going to serve you a HFN because of some nonsense about the heroes being too young or too modern to be tied down by great love).

Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo