Incredible as it may seem, it’s December, which means it’s time for AAR staffers to look back at their reading year and pick out the books they consider to be the best of the year. We’re kicking off this year’s batch of “Best ofs” with Lisa’s list of favourites – look for more lists of 2019 favourites over the coming weeks.


The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

This year was The Year Lisa Felt Seen By Mainstream Romance Publishers, and Cried a Lot over it.  After years and years of dreaming about big sweeping romances between two women, this book delivered, with its story of a mathematician and an astronomer who fall in love.

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

Work For It by Talia Hibbert

This was also the Year I Fell In Love With Talia Hibbert’s Prose.  I had a terribly hard time picking which Hibbert novel I wanted to put on my top ten list; suffice to say you should be reading all of her contemp work.  But Work For It, with its gentle, slow-burn of a love story and its perfect capturing of two men overcoming their fears and pasts with the help of therapy, great friendship, awesome family and true love, takes the emotional cake.  But seriously – read Talia Hibbert, you can’t go wrong with her.

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

The Broken One by Ruth Cardello

A single mom with an adopted daughter falls in love with a man who’s still genuinely grieving his wife and late child in a way that feels real, heartbreaking and hopelessly human.  The romance is fun, too, naturally, but these feel like real people experiencing real emotions, and for that Cardello gets the highest recommendation I can give.

Buy it at: Amazon

Puppy Christmas by Lucy Gilmore

One of the best feel-good romances of the year, and one of the best representations of disability I’ve read in a romance in awhile.  A hearing-impaired girl, her jokey businessman father, and the woman who runs a physicality where service dogs are trained all find one another.

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

Man vs Durian by Jackie Lau

Jackie Lau always packs humor and verve into her romances, and this one – about a man who falls in unexpected love with a prickly heroine and dedicates himself to charming her family after spilling Durian ice cream in her lap – is my favorite among her 2019 releases.  She’s another author who can Do No Wrong At All in my eyes.

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

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie absolutely desserves every acolade it’s been getting in the press lately, from a Channel 4 movie adaption to a Waterstones Book of the Year nomination.  Powerful, truthful, and bringing to light new feelings and truths with every click of the key, it’s perfection and must be experienced.

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

A Beastly Kind of Earl by Mia Vincy
Funny as hell, adorable as hell, and charming as hell, Vincy continues to be a badass and write some of the best romance I’ve ever seen.

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

Dalliances and Devotion by Felicia Grossman

Without a doubt, my absolute favorite heroine of the year was the wonderful, impossible Amalia Truitt.  And her hero’s pretty darn adorable, too.

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

Most Ardently by Susan Mesler Evans

I read a lot of Pride and Prejudice retellings and this, by far, was my favorite of the year, with a wonderful heroine/heroine relationship and great background characters  (and if you want more of the same flavor of awesome, go read Ayesha at Last.)

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

Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

The best inspirational romance I real all year explored an interesting and rarely explored period in American history.  The sweet, faith-laced romance that springs from time served in the Civilian Conservation Corps captivates and inspires.

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


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