Book Reviews

2019 Top 10 Books of the Year

Yeah, so January is almost over, but it took me a bit to catch up on the books I was most looking forward to that came out in 2019. There are still books from 2019 that I haven’t read, but what’s left I don’t believe would make the list. Maybe I’m wrong, I’ll find out in ten years if I ever catch up on my to-read list.

  1. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell – Great LGBT fantasy with wonderful characters.
  2. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – Love Helen Hoang, this book was a great romance with an autistic hero and a mixed race heroine.
  3. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite – Holy shit I never knew astronomy could be so hot. Same sex historical romance that was just beautiful.
  4. A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole – This is a book in the Reluctant Royals series and like all the others I devoured it. So freaking good.
  5. Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh – Book 18 in the Psy-Changling series and somehow this series just continues to deliver amazing stories. I loved this empath wolf story and all the development that was done in the universe.
  6. Well Met by Jen DeLuca – I never expected a book to make me want to attend a Ren Fair but this one did. Cute romance with wenches in corsets.
  7. Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews – I love Ilona Andrews, there will always be a book from them on my list (I hope)
  8. Paper Girls Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson– Final volume in this series and it was a wonderful wrap up to the story. I love the art in this series and the fact that it’s a mostly female cast.
  9. Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity by Felicia Day – This book was so positive and uplifting. Even though I haven’t finished it yet I had to include it on my list.
  10. Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore – I’m loving these historical romances that infuse a lot of modern day ideals. I don’t care if it bends historical accuracy, the books are fiction after all, I just want more.

 

Honorable Mentions

  1. Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon – This book was ridiculously hot. Like holy cow fanning my face as it turns beet red.
  2. Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews – Maud is a kickass mom that is so smart and capable and I have a weakness for characters like that.
  3. Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks – Great art, super sweet story, lovely characters.

A Prince of Paper

A Prince on Paper

A Prince of Paper (Reluctant Royals #3) By: Alyssa Cole

Plot:

The Reluctant Royals series returns with a good girl searching for the life that’s not too big, and not too small, and the bad boy prince who might be just right for her…

Nya Jerami fled Thesolo for the glitz and glamour of NYC but discovered that her Prince Charming only exists in her virtual dating games. When Nya returns home for a royal wedding, she accidentally finds herself up close and personal—in bed—with the real-life celebrity prince who she loves to hate.

For Johan von Braustein, the red-headed step-prince of Liechtienbourg, acting as paparazzi bait is a ruse that protects his brother—the heir to the throne—and his own heart. When a royal referendum threatens his brother’s future, a fake engagement is the perfect way to keep the cameras on him.

Nya and Johan both have good reasons to avoid love, but as desires are laid bare behind palace doors, they must decide if their fake romance will lead to a happily-ever-after.

Review:

Johan has lived the last decade of his life trying to make the life of his younger sibling better. He wanted to make sure they didn’t suffer the same way that he had done, but by doing that he sacrificed a lot of his own happiness and smothered them in the process.

Nya is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants. She wants love, but struggles with all the abuse her father subjected her too. She’s grown stronger, but doubts herself in some things.

These two are beautiful together. I cried through a lot of this book, especially the ending. I loved seeing Nya stand up for herself. My heart broke for all the pain that Johan was in and I only wanted to hit him upside the head once. They were perfect for each other and I’m very glad that Cole didn’t make the video game into a huge hurdle, they were adults and acted like it. Loved!

5/5

Blessed by Malakai

Blessed by Malakai

Blessed by Malakai (To Marry a Madden #1) By: Sherelle Green

Plot:

Every man has his weakness. For prominent painter and sculptor Malakai Madden, that weakness has always been women. Now, he’s finally ready to settle down and shower one woman with his love. There’s just one major problem. Overnight, he’s gained thousands of Twitter followers after his obsessive ex decides to leak some private information. To make matters worse, a well-known media source retweets them! Suddenly, every woman wants a piece of Malakai. And when the #BlessedByMalakai hashtag starts trending, he’s dodging women left and right, and blocking his crotch like he’s secret service securing the president. If he’s ever going to get his life back and find his future wife, he needs to solve this problem and he needs to solve it fast!

Image consultant Avery Nightingale can’t believe she’s landed a meeting with a huge potential client. She knows all about the #BlessedByMalakai hashtag and she’s ready to pitch her ideas. However, when she meets the man behind the Twitter legend, she’s rendered speechless and Mr. Make You Moan is not impressed. He agrees to hire her on one condition. Avery must promise not to feed into the social media craze as others have failed to accomplish before her. She agrees. After all, it’s just one rule, right?

Review:

Malakai loves sex with women, a lot. So he’s spent a fair amount of time perfecting his technique and he’s really good at it. Since it’s surprisingly not common to go the extra mile in this area he stands out. When an ex finds out, from his own mouth, he’s ready to settle down she posts a dick pic she’s taken without his permission to Twitter and shit blows up.

I couldn’t help but feel bad for what happened to him but because of a time skip you didn’t really deal with much of his emotions on the violation. The woman who did it ended up having a restraining order brought against her, but Malakai had to deal with women going crazy and his world being turned upside down.

Enter Avery a Tennessee woman recently moved to NYC to start up her PR company. She has followed Malakai’s art career since they were both teenagers, though, not in a creepy way. Honestly, it just skirted the line there for me, but only because of all that he’d already had to deal with.

The attraction is instant, they try and keep things professional, mostly succeed, until he gives her, her first sex stimulated orgasm. That revelation actually surprised me, especially when it’s later revealed that Avery’s ex-fiancé cheated on her with her sister. She’s moved past it and is happy her sister has found love, but how could you say that knowing that your sister is probably not having orgasms? It was just kind of weird and that side of things never addressed or commented on.

They’re both amazing well-adjusted people for having gone through some fairly unique experiences, definitely way more forgiving than I could have been. Malakai and Avery were much more serious than the characters in Single AF, and I kind of missed the crazy lol. I’m curious to see what Green has in store for the other brothers though.

3/5

Single AF

Single AF

Single AF (Social Experiment #1) By: Sherelle Green

Plot:

SINGLE: Unmarried or not involved in a stable relationship.

MEEKA
The pure term ‘being single’ makes me want to gag every time I hear it. To me, the worst part is the fact that you’re constantly reminded of your status. Like, do you really think I can forget I’m single? I’ve dated more Mr. Wrong’s than I can count, and now, the network that I work for wants me to share my messed up dating history with the world. To make matters more humiliating, my arch nemesis — aka Mr. Missed Opportunity — has a front row seat to my walking, talking mistakes.

TONE
To say working with Meeka on this assignment is bound to go badly, would be an understatement. We’ve never gotten along, and I have a good reason for staying clear. Everything about her screams … extra! So, of course when our network needs me to assist her with her project, I’m intrigued to hear what her exes have to say about their past relationship. Maybe I’ll get some insight into her character or validate my assumptions. Or unbeknownst to me, I might just find myself connecting with this loud, crazy woman more than I ever thought I would. They say don’t mix business with pleasure. Funny, I never liked that rule.

Review:

This book is worth reading for the first chapter alone. It’s freaking hilarious! I actually found it because Alyssa Cole tweeted about the first sentence and that sold me.

Meeka was…honestly people kept calling her crazy but she was not at all. She was a planner and a dreamer and I related to her a lot. She was maybe a bit too eager at times, but I loved her. Her ratchet rhymes had me laughing so hard.

Tone was HOT. Incredibly attractive inside and out and a worthy match to Meeka. I loved that he was willing to fight for her, not just take on an evil ex, but when she learned something that he should have told her earlier he wasn’t just going to let their new relationship drop. He was also willing to give her space to process and was just all around perfect. It was wonderful especially after seeing the losers she’d dated. She deserved to find a prince.

My only real complaint with the book was that it moved really fast and I wished the ex-boyfriends had been fleshed out more and there’d been more of them. It was over way too fast, but I’ve already got another book by Green purchased and ready on my kindle, so at least I’ve got that to look forward too.

4.5/5

Of Blood and Bone

Of Blood and Bone

Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of the One #2) By: Nora Roberts

Plot:

They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.

Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.

In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.

Review:

So, I wasn’t a fan of the last book, but it properly set my expectations so I knew what I was getting into with the second. Of Blood and Bone is still much darker than I’m used to with Nora Roberts, but there is a lot more light too.

Fallon is young, just 12 when it starts out, but her true training begins shortly after her 13th birthday. For two years she is taught and excels, and passes test after test, until she’s done. The entire book is getting to know her, her strengths and weaknesses. The world has already been created, and the setting feels mostly built, this book was about introducing us to The One.

She loves her family, she’s smart and analytical, but she doesn’t ignore her emotions. I liked that, I liked that going cold and logical wasn’t her goal, and while she could be passionate she wasn’t always hot-headed.

The side characters from the previous book weren’t ignored, we got glimpses into their lives. A lot has happened for them since we left, and thankfully, most of it was good. People are thriving. The world is different, but there is still a lot of darkness and unrest and basically anarchy in most places. It’s not a pretty place, but there are bubbles where it isn’t bad, yet.

If this was any other Nora Roberts book I would assume that Deacon is Fallon’s fated love, and it really does look like that will happen, but I can’t say I’m much of a fan of his. He’s fine, but their relationship is imbalanced. They’re both powerful, magically, though Fallen is definitely stronger. My problem is that he is a year older than Fallon and already has quite a bit of experience with sex. She doesn’t, which is fine, but I don’t want her to be this virginal prize for him. I’m not a fan of that trope.

We’ll see what happens. The book ends with a minor battle. Some people die, but no one you’re really attached too, but it means something to the characters. Deacon says some thoughtless things, but they seem to make up, and he goes off because he can’t be near her. Fallon is left with her family and to raise an army.

I am more excited for the next book than I am for this, but I’m also cautious because I’m afraid of what Roberts will do. We’ll see.

3.5/5