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The Best of 2019 – Maggie’s List

2019 was my year of the B romance novel. Book after book it was a case of “I love everything about this story except. . . .” or “This novel was almost a DIK but. . . .” Fortunately, there were just enough exceptions to that list that I could come up with ten truly fantastic romances that I think almost anyone will love.

Disclaimer: I often feel like I have to apologize for including YA novels in my list but the truth is, the first romances I read (Harlequin Presents, 1970s editions) had teen heroines. Most of the girls who starred in those books were eighteen, just getting started in their careers and were experiencing adult love for the first time ever. I still adore stories which combine just starting out in life with experiencing true love. Three of them made my top ten list.

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Young Jack falls for Kate hard, she loves him back and all is bliss until the day she dies – and he involuntarily travels back in time to relive their romance. Over and over. This utterly charming, witty tale about true love captures perfectly the experience of finding your soul mate and realizing that’s only the beginning of the journey.

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

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

This book wasn’t even on my radar but then I read Lisa’s review and was intrigued enough to seek it out. I’m so glad I did! This funny, poignant quiet love story between shy, quirkie Birdie and Daniel, a young man who is also a bit quirky, is charming, and utterly delightful. I was so,so delighted with this look at imperfect people finding a near perfect love.

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

House of Salt and Sorrow Erin A. Craig This is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale. I loved the dark, spooky edge to the story and the strong, resourceful heroine Annaleigh. I especially appreciated how the author was able to combine her fantasy novel with a gothic narrative to arrive at something unique, chilling and yet still fairytale romantic.

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

I’ve always read a lot of Contemporary Romance and the last few years have seen some absolutely amazing books published in that genre. Here are my faves for 2019:

Fumbled and Blitzed  by Alexa Martin

Single-mom Poppy Patterson from Fumbled, is my kind of heroine. She’s strong, resilient, loving and smart. She’s built a great life for herself and her son and is proud of all she’s accomplished. Her second chance romance with pro-footballer TK Moore is fun, flirty and totally touching. Because I loved her so much, it’s no surprise that I also adored her friend Brynn’s romance with sexy, brainy football star Maxwell in Blitzed.

Buy Fumbled at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes and Noble/Kobo

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

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill Abbi WaxmanThis is the perfect romance novel for book lovers. Nina is an utterly delightful heroine, Tom a terrific hero and I adored how Nina’s life is shaken up in the best way possible and all kinds of wonderful, terrific people become a part of it. This book has all the charm in the world.

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

I fell in love with reading by perusing fantasy and science fiction novels. I still love that genre but now I prefer it mixed with a heavy dose of romance.These books represent the best of both worlds, being both excellent science fiction and luscious love stories.

Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh

Technically, this is the third book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series but I loved it because it read like the 16th book in the Psy- Changeling series. We are back among the wolves of Snow Dancer as one of their lieutenants Alexei rescues the beautiful, mysterious empath Memory from a horrific imprisonment. The two work together to keep her from the dangerous clutches of the psychopath obsessed with her and fall in love along the way. Memory is the best kind of feisty heroine and Alexei is a fantastic Singh-style changeling hero.

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

Sweep of the Blade Ilona Andrews This is the swashbuckling conclusion to the romance of Arland and Maude, which began in One Fell Sweep, book three of the Innkeeper Chronicles. I adore the writing style of this authorial duo and the creative, imaginative, amazing universes they place their stories in. Arland and Maude were a fantastic, perfect for each other couple and I am anxiously awaiting the next novel set in this world. George’s love story? Or maybe Klaus’? I don’t care, I’ll take whatever they give me.

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

Dark Matters by Michelle Diener

The very best science fiction romance of the space opera variety  I have read is the Class 5 series by Ms. Diener. This is the (unexpected) fourth book in the series and I hope (beg, plead) will not be the last. In this story we meet Lucy, who has been hidden by members of the Tecran military in a secret facility on their home world and Commander Dray Helvan, one of the envoys from the United Council who are on Tecra to dismantle its military from the top down.Their meeting brings a galaxy to the brink of war – and results in a love worth crossing the universe for.

Buy it at: Amazon

I read my first Inspirational romance in 2009 as part of the AAR Reading Challenge that takes place on our message boards. Here are my favorites from this year:

More Than Words Can Say Karen Witemeyer Fans of Karen Witemeyer know that she excels at writing sweet, subtly sexy Western romances which are full of charm and joy. Her genuine, heartwarming stories never fail to bring a smile to my face and this book is no exception. A tale about a young woman taking on the misogyny rampant in a small town, this story has heart and humor to spare.

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

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden

There is no sweeter joy than finding an author who consistently publishes great romance, and for me, one such author is Elizabeth Camden. I love the way I never know what to expect from her books – mystery, adventure, heartwarming family stories, or journeys of self-discovery – and yet I know exactly what to expect from her books – excellent prose, rich history, and sweet, intellectual romance. Annabelle and Gray fall in love amidst  the battle for honest food labeling and their romance is a unique, amazing journey through history.

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

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