It’s been a long year, y’all, but thankfully there were a lot of great books to read. Here are my favourites.

The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling

I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed this, because I’m not really a fan of supernatural stories. But this rom-com was happy and sexy and charming, and full of addictive characters who kept the engaging plot moving swiftly. It reminded me a bit of Harry Potter, wherein the world of Graves Glen, Georgia is normalized with magic. There’s no great rift between the human and supernatural worlds; rather, they coexist effortlessly. Vivi Jones is one of the top witches in town and it’s her business to make everybody else’s business hers. Rhys Penhallow is the descendant of the witch family that imbued Graves Glen with its power source, and when the power begins to wane, he swoops in to save the day. Grand feats of witchcraft and wizardry ensue. I loved everything about it.

Buy it at Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

Butt-Dialing the Billionaire by Annika Martin

I love Annika Martin’s Billionaires of Manhattan series, despite the illogical nature of a group of eccentric friends bagging a group of grumpy billionaires. For her world, I can suspend my disbelief because Martin has the most amazing sense of humor. This seventh installment brings us back around to the grumpy-sunshine trope, with a foul-mouthed heroine (YAY!) and a bitchy billionaire who inherits his family’s fortune and business empire. He goes undercover to discover which employee mocked him on a company-wide call, and the process of elimination is like literary crack.

Buy it at: Amazon or your local bookshop

Duet by Julie Kriss

I stumbled across Julie Kriss a couple years ago through Kindle Unlimited and have never been so happy to pay for books I’ve already read for free. She’s a definite auto-buy for me now, and I find her books cathartic enough to read over and over again. When I’m in between books and waiting for my hair color to set, I start re-reading Bad Billionaires. And then binge read it later that evening before turning out the lights. I love her lexicon and narrative voice, both of which are only outdone by her character development and addictive plots. I grew up in the 1980s heavy metal, hair band era, and camped out for dozens of concerts … yet I don’t typically like books about rock stars. They’re usually dirtbag cheaters who can’t keep it in their pants and are whiny little boys. But Kriss has crafted a smart, mature series about adult rock stars who have lived that life and been through the wringer, and came out the other side. The men in the Road Kings lived to see another day, to tell another story, to reflect on a career they’d (reluctantly) like to resurrect but smarter this time around. The women who love them are strong enough to be stand alone against a horde of fans, maintain their own identities, and love the men who pluck their heartstrings. The first book in the series, Duet, starts with the lead singer, because everybody knows that that’s who everybody listens to.

Buy it at: Amazon

Dance with the Devil by Kit Rocha

When I reviewed this one back in August, I knew then that it would be one of my favorites this year. Here’s another clever story in the Mercenary Librarians series where the world building is seamless and pulls you in from the first page. I can’t say it any better than “I like that the brain and the brawn isn’t exclusive to gender, and both Dani and Rafe are equally intelligent and physically formidable.”

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

You Can Run/You Can Hide by Rebecca Zanetti

I love to read just about anything, but romance is my go-to genre. I love contemporaries and rom coms, but romantic suspense is my jam. Rebecca Zanetti is one of the best romantic suspense authors producing today, and she is prolific! She has forays into paranormal and mysteries, but her suspense keeps my heart beating. Her Sin Brothers and Scorpius Syndrome series reset my expectations on the genre. This year, she started a new thriller series based on an FBI profiler named Laurel Snow. It is spectacular. The characters – ALL of them – are flawed and vulnerable and strong and persistent. The lengthy cast of secondary characters don’t distract from the story, which is refreshing for this reader who doesn’t typically like a long list of secondaries. But the two main characters, Laurel and Huck Rivers, are believable and relatable in their cautionary approach to one another. Their chemistry is undeniable, yet their hearts are guarded. This book tells a violent tale that helps Laurel and Huck, and the reader by extension, remember how crucial it is to LIVE. To survive the things that go bump in the night, both literally and figuratively. Love ain’t for the faint of heart, and it certainly isn’t for people who aren’t brave enough to take a leap of faith.

Buy You Can Run at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

Buy You Can Hide at: Amazon, Audible or your local bookshop

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