Wow, this year has been bustling and moving at a fast clip! I have read over 250 books this year, and that's not counting all of the re-reading I do on a regular basis. :)
While the world has been chaotic and society has been going through a lot of change, I have been using books as my escape from reality. I love when a book can transport me somewhere else, and even if it has a lot of emotional elements that bring up hard-to-deal-with subjects, I still enjoy it. Reading is all about the experience. So, without further ado, here are my top book picks for this year, in order of when they were added to my list!
When the Stars Come Out - Laura Trentham
"If he was a textbook, she would name him The Anatomy of the Perfect Male or if she was in a philosophical mind-set, Dwelling on Jackson. Her mind tended to dwell on him in her waking and sleeping hours. Not that he saw her as anything but an employee. In fact, sometimes she wasn't sure he saw her at all. Like now. Even though they were three feet apart under the same hood, he ignored her."
I loved this hard-won romance so much! I read it in January and immediately started the year off right. It's an employee/boss type of romance, but it ends up being so much more than that. The hero is shy, the heroine is hiding something, and there is magic in the air! Definitely a must-read for people who love contemporary romance with a dash of mystery.
With Love In Sight - Christina Britton
"The truth of the matter was, he needed her. She grounded him as nothing else had in ten long years. He was settled and calm with her, who he should have been instead of who he was. If she was strong enough to brave the old tabbies of the ton to keep their friendship, then so was he."
This was one of those books where I absolutely fell in love with the hero from the start! One of the best heroes ever written, Caleb is kind and gentle with the heroine, and they form a friendship initially. From friends to lovers, they grow individually and as a couple. Caleb helps Imogen see herself as more than a plain spinster, and Imogen helps Caleb realize that forgiving yourself is a powerful thing.
Save Me - Cecy Robson
"'You told me to save you,' I remind yet again. 'Your family walked in. You lost your mind and you begged me to save you. No offense, Allie, but the least you can do is say thank you.'
'I was talking to God,' she whimpers.
I stretch out my arms. 'Well, it looks like God sent me instead.'"
A hilarious romantic comedy that constantly had me wheezing with laughter! Chapter 6, that's all I have to say about the level of comedy. You must at least read through that chapter, to understand. Allie is a nice girl in a bind and Seamus is a bad boy with a soft heart - a match made in heaven, since God obviously sent Seamus to the rescue! It was a slow burn, starting out as friendship and then becoming a swoon-worthy romance of the year.
More Than Words - Mia Sheridan
**Sadly no quote - got this as a paperback and I didn't mark my favorite passages - my bad!**
Beginning as childhood friends and then finding each other again as adults, the couple in this book ran me through all the emotions! It's a raw, feeling-inducing romance that will leave yelling and crying and smiling within the span of a few hours. A contemporary story of redemption is exactly what the doctor ordered this year. And Mia Sheridan's other books will leave you equally spellbound!
Mirage - Somaiya Daud
"'What a dark, pathetic creature you are.' she said at last.
Despite my wounds, I smiled. 'Do you look in a mirror, Your Highness?'"
The worldbuilding in this fantasy romance was unbelievable! I already knew this would be a favorite of mine within a few chapters, because I couldn't tear my eyes from the pages. A slave girl and a prince find love despite overwhelming odds, and while it does end with the promise of another book, you'll be wishing it never ended at all. Beautiful, tragic, and heartwarming - read it!
Christmas on Mistletoe Lane - Annie Rains
"Mitch was having a hard time listening to Mr. Garrison. Partly because he was too distracted by little Katie Russo all grown up. She was gorgeous, yeah, but also feisty enough to threaten a six-foot-one former marine with a poker stick."
I read this in the summertime, and it was exactly the pick-me-up I needed! A heroine returning to her grandparents' home and sharing it with a gruff former marine with a chip on his shoulder - what could go wrong? Although there was a lot of angst and drama, I loved the humor woven into the story, and the cast of characters will leave you with a big smile on your face. Fantastic debut novel from this author - she is one to watch!
The Viscount's Promise - Christina Britton
"'You are mad,' she whispered.
He shrugged away her words. 'Perhaps. But you have to admit, my method is working.'
She searched his face, at an utter loss. 'But why?'
His expression sobered. 'Because you deserve more in life than to be the forgotten sister in the corner.'"
No, you aren't seeing double - this author made it on this year's list TWICE! She brings characters to life in new and exciting ways each time, and I found myself loving this couple just as much as the first. Would-be childhood sweethearts, torn apart by tragedy, and back together again by fate. It truly was an emotional journey between two characters who didn't feel they would ever be loved, and it was magical watching them discover feelings for each other.
**All books provided free by publishers and these are my honest opinions.**