I’m coming at you pretty late with this one! I’m… sorry? It was hard!! Anyway, apologies and mistakes aside… 2019 was really quite a good reading year for me! I discovered some really great authors and books and have already reread several of them! Oops 😊
The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic
You may know this as All for the Game (aftg) series. Neil and Andrew … they are beyond words. Their connection isn’t even strictly classified as “romance,” although it so is. Please, if you’re in the market for New Adult sports romance – with all the content warnings – then this is for you. If you’re looking for a sweet romance, I’d recommend checking out any number of other romances. Because this one skips sweet and goes straight for the jugular. There’s no other series like it. It’s free on Kindle – give it a whirl. I’ve really never read a book like this 🥰 (Goodreads | Amazon)
Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan
Love Lessons was one of my favorite reads of 2019 and would have been the favorite if it hadn’t been slightly overshadowed by The Foxhole Court and Top Secret. I didn’t plan to love MM Romance so much this year, but I just discovered some really great ones. This one looks really dumb from the cover, doesn’t it? I’m not a fan of the cover, because it severely understates what’s between the pages. BUT it features an MM romance between two college roommates – a junior, stuck rooming with a freshman; and a freshman, forced to host an unexpected roommate in his single dorm.
Walter, the junior, was so much fun! He was charismatic, such a player, and yet had such a lovely heart. Kelly, the freshman, was adorable. He’s coming into college wide-eyed and with expectations in the sky, finally able to come out of the college in a lovely way. But college isn’t what he expects, especially with his allergies, and he definitely didn’t count on Walter being there every step of the way. They may be best friends (friends-to-lovers romance + roommates!), but their care and sincerity for each other leaned more towards a marriage couple, and neither realized it. AHHH so good!! Such a slow-burn romance, and a great emotional read! (Goodreads | Amazon)
The Hardest Fall by Ella Maise
This is another amazing KU book that caught me by surprise. This college romance features a second-chance romance between unexpected roommates. Both characters, Zoe and Dylan, were sweet and precious to me, and I loved how unique they were! These aren’t copy-and-paste characters, and I loved their friends-to-lovers storyline. They truly were buddies and *tears up* god it’s so good! Ella Maise is another favorite author after this one. (My Review)
Ocean Light by Nalini Singh
Nalini Singh is one of my favorite authors ever, just go to any one of my reviews to hear me cry out my love. Her world-building, plus her amazingly dynamic side characters and stunning writing style makes her books a win every time in my book. Her books all have the small-town, small-but-very-involved-community-with-large-and-loving-hearts feel that I adore. It was, simply put, a very sweet and innocent and fresh enemies-to-lovers romance. It was perfection. Plus this gave us a great look at the underwater changeling’s life! We hadn’t really gotten to see them before, and it was a great glimpse. Now… more?? (Goodreads | Amazon)
Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
You all know that Burn for Me is one of my absolute favorite books ever! Well, this is the fourth book in that series, except now that narration transfers from Nevada to her younger sister, Catalina. I was really nervous going into this one, but of course, I loved it! Catalina’s magic is pretty interesting, and her romance with national sensation/spy Alessandro is even MORE interesting! Thank god for Ilona Andrews ✨ (Goodreads | Amazon)
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews is another one of my favorites, and this is a sister-series that transfers narration to Hugh, once Kate’s adversary. Again, I was very nervous about this one, but I actually really liked it! The hate-to-love marriage of convenience in this one FUELED me and the Magic world just had me absolutely captivated. Typical Ilona Andrews, but I was still blown away. This was only the first book in this romance, so I have a feeling a typical IA slow-burn is in store. (Goodreads | Amazon)
Lonely Hearts by Neal Shusterman
This book was such a surprise for me! It was much darker than its predecessor, Love Lessons, as it dealt heavily in drugs and disability, amongst other things. It was a very sweet, sexy-hot college read but also had an unexpected emotional depth. The characters in this one really went through it, although in two very different ways. I might even have liked this one a bit more than Love Lessons, just because of the difficulty of the issues and the juxtaposition of despair and light-hearted friendship that permeated the pages.
It’s New Adult at its best, really. I really can’t recommend this enough – it’s a book of struggle, but it was beautiful and fun and really quite sexy. Elijah and Baz’s story was incredible – hate-to-love (although nothing quite so strong), roommates, friends-to-lovers, it has it all. I’m certainly rereading this very soon. (Goodreads | Amazon)
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Scythe was such a surprise to me!! I picked it up because of the 2019 Book Junkie Readathon in order to fulfill a challenge, but ended up becoming utterly captivated with Mr. Shusterman’s writing style. It was action-packed but effortlessly paced with a thought-provoking narrative. He had such a clever spin on the tired dystopian novel, where two teenagers ~rage against the system~ and fight so hard for something they don’t personally want for themselves, but something they know will improve society. It’s not a selfish fight, and I loved it.
Rowan and Citra had a very genuine connection – most of it competitive, which is my bread and butter. They were clever, scheming cinnamon rolls at the end. It was twisty and kinda shadowy in places, but it made me think, and I rooted for the characters, even though they weren’t 100% “good.” (My Review)
Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Top Secret was probably one of my favorite finds of 2019! I stayed up (accidentally!) until 4am to finish this beauty, it had me so captivated! It wasn’t until I hit the Acknowledgements page that I figured out why my eyes hurt and felt so gritty. It’s a MM College Romance, featuring an enemies-to-lovers and (somehow) friends-to-lovers epistolary romance between neighbors. Now that’s basically every single trope I like, except it’s done in such a clever way, that you’re not reading it and checking those boxes as you go. It flows so naturally and beautifully and just keeps you compelled by the story and the characters. Cannot recommend this Kindle Unlimited read enough (My Review)
The Boy Who Steals Houses by CG Drews
The main character is the most awkward cinnamon-roll of a boy ever and his devotion to his brother was amazing to witness. It was a cute summery boy-meets-girl story, with some friends-to-lovers thrown in, but it also had a seedy side that was Sam’s life. That shit went places. Damn. It was the perfect Cait story: heartbreaking, delicious and wacky <3 (Amazon | Goodreads)
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What were your favorite books you read this year? What are you currently reading? Do you have any recommendations for books to read this year, that will hopefully make it on this list later? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!