Can you believe it’s already the end of 2019? I swear we were just passing into summer when, BOOM, snow hits the ground, and I’m forced to go outside in my ten-year-old stained Uggs to keep warm. I blame it on all the fantastic romance reads I escaped into this year. Of course, I couldn’t list them all (seeing as how I haven’t been updating Goodreads, I might not even remember everything I read this year), but I can tell you the five I’ve got in this post are at the top of my all-time favorite romances, and may even warrant re-reads in the future.
In my “How Reading Outside My Genre Changed the Way I Write” post, I 100% admit I was burnt out on reading strictly romantic suspense, so my list for this year includes some of those reads that have helped my dive deeper into emotion, literally helped me cry after months of emotional block (not kidding), and all around reminded me there is an entire world of romance novels out there I haven’t read.
One of my goals this year when it came to reading was straying away from my go-to authors to find something new, and I wasn’t disappointed when it came to adding a ton of new books to my TBR pile. So let’s get to it. Here are my five favorite reads from 2019.
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One Night with Gael
Up until this year, I’d only picked up Harlequin Presents reads from Maisey Yates (she’s kind of a hero of mine), but when my local library had a huge sale on the previous year’s category titles, I bought as many as I could. I’ve slowly been working my way through them on the weekends, but I wanted to savor every last page I could with One Night with Gael by Maya Blake.
She’s one of the brand new authors I’m currently distressing my bank account over, and I sincerely cannot get over her prose. Not only does she delve so deeply into her characters, but I feel as though I’m right in their shoes with the amount of stimulation she describes assaulting their senses, the choices they have to make, and the emotional torture she puts them through. Compared to the first book in the series, A Deal with Alejandro, this read solidified Maya as one of my new favorite authors.
Before We Were Strangers
This was my very first read of Brenda Novak’s. I know, I’m way behind the times, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to pick up one of her books, but better late than never, right? Seriously, I’ve been so stuck in reading from my go-to authors, it took setting a goal this year to read outside of them.
Before We Were Strangers is a fast-paced romantic suspense, but I really appreciated the time the author spent in justifying each character’s motives, emotional state, and real-life trauma. I felt their choices, even the bad ones, were true-to-life and relatable. Revealing secret truths about what seems like a happy, normal family in a small-town at each and every turn throughout the book, Brenda made it really hard for me to put the book down. On top of that, she’s an expert in layering mystery with romance, and has jumped to the top of my go-to author list.
I actually have read a few of Rachel Grant’s books before, but Concrete Evidence blew me away with the amount of careful research that Rachel puts into every single one of her books, how the mystery and suspense toyed with the hero and heroine, and the crazy amount of banter between the characters. I’m not a huge fan of reading about politics in my romance (I like to escape the real world when I read), but the author pulls it off so well by humanizing even the most heinous antagonists in this book.
A must read for romantic suspense fans.
A Princess in Theory
Another contemporary romance read I absolutely never saw myself picking up until I received a paperback copy for free at the Romance Writers of America conference this year. I was so close to giving A Princess in Theory away to contest winners or leaving the stack of books I’d gotten at the hotel, but I’m so glad I kept this one for myself.
The heroine is as real as they get, struggling to make ends meet, overworked, under-appreciated, and not looking for a man to complete her life. She’s intelligent, maybe a bit too patient with a-holes, but by far one of my favorite characters I’ve read. I’ll be honest, I kept reading this book because of the heroine. She’s so well-written, funny, and the exact right amount of suspicious and guarded considering her circumstances. Hats off to Alyssa Cole on this one!
Former military hero determined to isolate himself and the K-9 dedicated to protecting him and the heroine? My heart practically melted as I read K-9 Defense from Elizabeth Heiter. While the heroine is 100% my kind of Intrigue heroine (intelligent, brash, determined, and full of guilt), it was the hero who stole my attention in this one.
He’s isolated himself in Alaska because he doesn’t know how to even start healing from the trauma he’s experienced, but you can bet your next book buy the heroine and his K-9 protect will do anything to help with that. It’s so romantic, suspenseful, and binge-worthy. Highly recommend!
That’s it for this years best romance books of 2019, and yes, I know not all of them were released this year, but I just got to them. Give me a break! What five romance reads would top your favorite list from this year?