So, I read a lot this year. Like, more than I’ve ever read in a year. I wanted to do a post about my top reads of the year (and I still might) but then I had an even better idea…I asked some of my trusted advisers to to tell me their faves! Yes, I got some of the same answers from multiple people and sure, some of their faves are my faves too. BUT asking lots of people makes for a much more well-rounded list. So get your clicking fingers ready and apologize to your bank account later because your TBR is about to get a whole lot bigger!
Mazey is more than a friend, she is a soul sister. We bonded over our inappropriate reactions to most situations and the fact that we’re both hilarious and use humor as a defence mechanism. An aspiring author AND dentist, (we get it-you’re smart) Mazey is a slut for romance novels–especially of the historical genre and any and all that feature a virgin hero.
- Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren: This book nearly lit my kindle on fire, holy hell. It is super steamy while never feeling gratuitous or over the top. Ansel is my official Book Boyfriend. The whole story is incredibly emotional and intense while still having the classic CLo sense of humor.
- Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas: Probably my favorite historical romance of all time. I read it TWICE this year it’s so good. Sebastean and Evie are honestly such an amazing couple and it has so much snark and wit just… chef’s kiss This book is also a slow burn and it had me DYING by the end.
- The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: I’m not sure there is anything I can say about this that hasn’t already been said. It’s like reading a masterclass in rom-coms.
- The Ravenel Series by Lisa Kleypas: I particularly love books two and four (Marrying Winterborne and Hello Stranger). LK is such an incredible author, creating so much dry humor and a wide range of heroes that it almost feels impossible to choose a favorite. I think the best part of this series is that the heroines are never overshadowed by the swoony heroes, and they all show strength and grace that I love in my books.
- Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald: This book WRECKED me. I think it toes the line closer to women’s fiction than romance, but i’ve seen it classified as both. The prose is really clean and sharp, but somehow packs a huge emotional punch. I stayed up until 4am reading this one and was absolutely SOBBING at certain points.
I feel like Kate is my spiritual bookstagram guru. She’s been around for a minute, reads such a wide variety of books, and I swear she must read in her sleep because girlfriend is a MACHINE. If Kate says to read a book, you can guarantee it’s worth your time, so listen up and do what she says!
- Good Talk by Mira Jacob: A new to me genre of Graphic Memoir and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was blown away by it. Powerful, emotional–laughed, cried, felt all the things.
- The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller: A romance that somehow manages to make me think of Ghostbusters, HGTV, and Jimmy Stewart, while making me laugh and fall in love. Must read!
- That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert: Many met Talia from Get a Life, Chloe Brown. I strongly urge visiting this one from her back list if you like romance. Rae is attending a conference her ex husband will be at with his new wife and doesn’t want to show up alone so she asks her friend if he will pretend to be her boyfriend. Fake relationship trope FOREVER!!!
- The One I Love to Hate by Amanda Weaver: The Bold Type meets You’ve Got Mail in this fun romance. Jess is working her dream job at a small newspaper. An online media company moves in across the street, led by Alex who she has known and hated since college.
- Teach Me by Olivia Dade: Rose has been teaching AP History at the same school for over 20 years. Martin is the new teacher at the school. No insta-love here– I loved the way it developed over time. The characters are great, the feminism is great, the portrayal of real people working real jobs is great–just read this book!
Quinn was one of the first friends I made in the Bookstagram world. We bonded over our love for The Office, but our friendship runs much deeper than that. She’s a teen librarian, gives great YA recs, loves a good enemies to lovers trope, and celebrates diversity and inclusivity in all things. She is giving us a treat and sharing her top 5 Graphic Novels of the year!
- Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell: This graphic novel is not only beautifully drawn, using a minimalist color palette, but everyone will find something to identify with in this one. We’ve all experienced first love, as well as toxic relationships and friendships, so this book about growing up and growing apart is so beautiful and relatable, no matter your age.
- Good Talk by Mira Jacob: This was recommended to me by Kate over at @kate_reads_ and it is so appropriate for the society we live in today. Through basic illustrations, Mira highlights the difficult conversations she’s had to have with family, friends, and strangers (and now her child) as a child of immigrants and a woman of color in America. This is a necessary and thought-provoking read!
- Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe: This is another graphic novel memoir, and it was absolutely breathtaking. As someone who is unfamiliar with what it means to be nonbinary, this is an illuminating book about Maia’s journey to discover eir [this is the pronoun that is preferred btw, not a typo-just a heads up] identity. This is easily one of the best graphic novels that have come out this year.
- Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable & Ellen T. Crenshaw: I picked this one up after seeing the author speak at this year’s C2E2, and it did not disappoint. Not only is this a thoughtful story of what it means to discover your identity and “come out”, but it also addresses something I don’t often see in LGBTQIAP+ stories: faith. As a former Catholic, this story hit me in the heart and hasn’t let go.
- Crowded, Vol. 1 by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, & Ted Brandt: Okay, this one is very much not like the others, but I read it over three months ago and I’m still thinking about it. From the characters to the near future outlandish plot, this is a lovable fast-paced LGBTQIAP+ adventure and I cannot WAIT for the next volume (seriously though guys, please publish the next one already for my sanity!!!)
Kayla is one of my absolute favorite bookstagrammers and also someone I would love to party with. We would just get smashing drunk and geek out about books and ABBA and Harry Potter socks. I love the way she keeps her reviews simple, short, and sweet, but I also love watching her stories to see all of her fun adventures!
- The Au Pair by Emma Rous: This was the first book I read this year, and I still catch myself thinking about it. I love mysteries/thrillers, and family sagas, and this book perfectly wed the two. The plot was so unique, and the pacing was great. Stayed up past my bedtime many nights reading this one.
- Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: My most anticipated read of 2019, and it lived up to the hype for me. I LOVE music, and messy drama, so this was right up my alley. The writing format was so different, but made for a fun read. May or may not have begged Penguin for a Daisy Jones t-shirt on Instagram because I loved it so much (I didn’t get it.)
- Lovely War by Julie Berry: This was my first ever book club book and I loved it! Cried on public transit after a few margaritas while finishing it up. This is a WWI story narrated by the Greek gods of love, war, and music. I thought it was weird at first, but it works! It’s a love story, a music story, and a war story – and it’s based on true events.
- The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin: I love a messy family drama (makes me feel better about my own crazy fam lol) and this one didn’t disappoint. This is a love story, but it’s about the bond between siblings. The characters each have distinct personalities that made them so real, it was easy to compare them to people in my own life.
- Caraval Series by Stephanie Garber: Cheating a bit here and throwing in a series. On the surface, Caraval is about a magical traveling circus. As the series goes on, there are games, mysteries, and love. At its core, it’s really a story about the bond between two sisters. My sister and I could not relate more to Scarlett and Tella. It felt like the author placed us into a fantasy series. We were actually reading different books in the series at the same time, so it made the experience more fun.
I love Steph because she reads such a wide variety of books. We bonded over our love of romance but I love to see all the different stuff she reads. She is hilarious and thoughtful and has a gif for literally ANY situation. Seriously. Try her.
- The Kiss Thief by LJ Shen: I had to include my first 5 star read of 2019. This enemies to lovers story had me glued to the pages dying to know how it would end. And can we talk about the sexual tension? *fans self*
- Worth It by Linda Kage: I binged this series but this book stood out for me. The struggles this couple faces weren’t easy but the ending melted my romance loving heart.
- Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: A badass heroine trying to save the world with the help of her swoon-worthy ex? Sign me up! This book blew me away and I can’t recommend the audiobook enough.
- The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves: This book stole my heart. No, I take that back. The heroine stole my heart. This unconventional love story needs to be on everyone’s radar.
- Wait For It by Mariana Zapata: Do you ever read a book where you literally love everything about it and wouldn’t change a thing? This is that book for me. It’s slow burn perfection.
So these first five ladies have given you more than enough recs to last you well into the new year, BUT I’ve got more coming. Stay tuned for part 2!