It’s been a good reviewing year for me, mathematically speaking: six recommending grades and four As. Here are the four Desert Isle Keepers I read this year that got me waxing poetic. While they all have something in common—I liked them!—every one has a special quality that I highlighted by giving them each my own “Best of” award in a different category.


Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea

Best Sense of Humor DIK. The romance is quiet in this women’s fiction/romance crossover about a primate keeper at a zoo and a famous nature TV personality, but the laughter is definitely not.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop


How to Fake it in Hollywood by Ava Wilder

Best Love Story DIK. True love conquers all, and this début fake-dating contemporary conquered me with its romantic story between a hero and heroine who I wanted to read more about, despite some unevenness in the narrative.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop


The Impossible Us by Sarah Lotz

Most Inventive DIK. I swooned over this genre-chameleon of a novel that blends romance with alternate universe science fiction and creates a fabulously complex and fun love story.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop


Hook, Line and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

Most Steamy DIK. Tessa Bailey is a dazzling consistent deliverer of contemporary romances that are as explicitly emotional as they are explicitly sexual.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop


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Part-time cowgirl, part-time city girl. Always working on converting all my friends into romance readers ("Charlotte, that was the raunchiest thing I have ever read!").