Here are the best romance books from some fabulous authors that I absolutely adore this year. As you all know, I am a reader and romance reads are un-apologetically my favorite. Perusing my Goodreads account, it shows that I racked up 88 books in 2019! Beat my 75 book challenge for the year. There are probably a few more as I sometimes forget to update the account with the paperback books that I buy. In any event, in no particular order, here are my faves for Best Romance Books from some Fabulous Authors of 2019.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Meghan March is absolutely a most fabulous Goddess author! I will pre-order anything she puts out without even reading the reviews! She has been a busy girl this year. Black Sheep and White Knight is a duo book series.
Unlikely hero is Cannon Freeman — the “clean” son of a mafia boss. Drew Carson (AKA Memphis/AKA — you will have to read it to believe it) is an investigative journalist looking to take down the mob to avenge her father’s death. I know typical mafia story with lots of shooting, etc. But the love story is what hooks you! Meghan has a way to get you to love some of the bad guys when the right good girl comes along.
Memphis is undercover as a waitress in Cannon’s club — hoping to take him and his family down. Only one problem — she gets caught up in love with her target — Cannon. Meghan writes the most fascinating, strong, female leads in her stories and they completely swoon those gorgeous intense men! No exception here.
The story is thrilling and absolutely no way can you put the book down! I binged both books over the weekend. Dom’s birthday party is a little scary and I had several “aha” moments that tied lots of other Meghan March hero/heroines to our Cannon/Memphis duet. If you have read her other series — all types of past couples show up, too!
Honorable Mention : Meghan March also had another thrilling 3 book series out at the beginning of the year — Deal with the Devil, Luck of the Devil and Heart of the Devil. This series has some international intrigue, high-stakes gambling, a strong-willed assertive heroine and a gorgeous shipping magnate. Oh, I just loved that series too! You can’t go wrong with any of Ms. March’s tomes!
Genre: Romance, Romantic Comedy
Hands down the most funny romance book I have read this year — technically it was published in 2018 — but you have to read it! I just adore Christina Lauren (the author duo of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings) so I jump on everything they put out. I had this on my TBR (“to be read” list in the Goodreads world) for a while — and kind of ignored it just because it sounded kind of kooky. Boy was I pleasantly surprised!
Hazel is super zany and clutzy and eccentric and just genuinely a beautiful soul. Her friend Josh is smart and normal and even-keeled. They bungle thru several double blind dates (setting each other up, of course) before they fall for each other. As with most of Christina Lauren’s books, I totally laughed out loud all thru the book. This is sweet, hilarious and so romantic. Trust me, it is a wonderful weekend read.
Honorable mention : The Unhoneymooners was another fabulous Christina Lauren read this year, too. This is a “sworn enemies to lovers” troupe that does not disappoint. After her sister’s wedding ends up in a pukey food poisoning disaster — both Olive (Maid of Honor) and Ethan (Best Man) are the only two standing. Off to Maui they go incognito as the Bride and Groom. Hilariousness and unlikely romance ensues. You will laugh out loud and swoon for the crazy happenstance run-ins with an ex and a soon to be boss on the island. This book is on almost everyone’s best romance books for 2019 deservedly so!
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Shayla Black was another busy Goddess Author this year. I have been a huge fan forever — her Wicked Lovers Series helped hook me on romance novels and that was published in 2007! She had three of the More than Words series come out this year and they were all fabulous!
More than Crave You was a sweet romance between Evan cook, a tech entrepreneur and widower and Nia, his sassy, smart assistant. He tasks her with finding him a new wife. They work thru several potential “wife-material” strangers and he keeps coming back to Nia. Lots of twists and turns gets them together in Hawaii (this is where Evan’s other siblings/characters in the More than Words series live). This is a standalone but more fun if you have all the scoop from the beginning books.
More than Tempt You carries on with another sibling — Bethany. This one starts out with a little sadness and Clint Holmes is after Bethany for revenge. In fact, several people are out for Bethany for the same revenge and that plays out throughout the book. Clint falls for Bethany without disclosing his original reason for seeking her out. This book has more intrigue and lots of ups and downs for the couple. In the end the HEA (happily ever after) is so sweet — like happy tears sweet!
More than Pleasure You is my favorite of the three! Stephen (Nia’s half-brother) is in Hawaii for a business deal/vacation/trying to connect with his newly found sister. Skye is a free-spirit and caretaker of the house Stephen is renting. AND in need of a fake boyfriend for an Ex’s wedding. Stephen offers to help her out and falls for her along the way. This is a novella and I thought would be wrapping up the series — but NO — Ms. Black has more up her sleeve for next year in this series. Can’t wait!
Honorable mention goes to At the Pleasure of the President which Ms. Black wrote with Lexi Blake. This does wrap up The Perfect Gentleman series with a BANG. That series has five books in it an is another huge sizzling hit if you want to binge read all the books over your holiday season. SO GOOD!
Genre: Paranormal Romance
JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is stellar! She has woven a fascinating Vampire Dynasty steeped in drama, intrigue, romance and even some vicious fun humor. I got to meet this wonderful author at her Readers on the River event in Louisville. She was an absolute doll and thru her various events gave away teasers, tidbits and spoilers for upcoming books!
The Savior is a bit dark — which is consistent with all of the 16 books in this series. It revolves around the redemption of the only brother expelled from the brotherhood due to “insanity”. Ward has mentioned him on and off thru the series. The ex-Brother Murhder returns on a mission to find the female that was left behind on a rescue that went bad — which led to his rumored insanity.
Sarah is a scientist at that facility and uncovers some shady stuff and eventually hooks up with Murhder and a few other BDB brothers to get to the bottom of the “shadiness”. As with Ward’s other books — there are several story lines going on concurrently and mix and mingle with this main couple. The eventual romance is one of the sweetest of the series.
Blood Truth continues the spin off Black Dagger Legacy series. Boone is a trainee fighting along side the Brothers. Someone is targeting females and Boone is called on to help find the suspect. His father dies at a controversial party and that death ends up being pivotal for Boone and ultimately plays into the ending. Helaine’s sister was one of the targeted females and she has sworn to find the killer. She and Boone end up working together then fall for each other. This is definitely a thrilling love story and JR Ward throws in some zinger lines along the way. In fact, Vishous has the best line ever!
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
These books were my biggest surprise this year! I chatted with Ms. Paige at the JR Ward’s Readers on the River in the fall. I have read her Fixed Series that have led up to these first two books of her Slay Quartet. The heroine of this series is Celia and she was the “villain” all thru that Fixed series. I told Ms. Paige that I couldn’t believe that I actually LIKED Celia in this book — but I couldn’t stand the new hero — Edward! She laughed, of course, and said she gets that a lot.
The cliffhanger is a doozy in the first book — lucky you get to read both books at the same time! The next in the series is Ruin and it starts out shaky — just how are we possibly going to like these two people together? Needless to say Ms. Paige works it out for us with the HEA and you just fall in love with that devil Edward in the first book!
These are pretty emotional books and will leave you worn out. BUT the ending is soooo good! I can barely tell you anything without spoilers. There is a marriage, a kidnapping, mind games, intrigue and romance. Just trust me — especially if you have read the Fixed on You series — you will love this story and these tragic characters. Which is Laurelin Paige‘s specialty. I have absolutely no idea what to expect in the next books — but I am sure they will be wonderful!
Genre: Romance, Romantic Comedy
These are the first two installments of Avery Flynn’s Ice Knights series. Ms. Flynn is another hilarious Goddess author! All of her books are light-hearted, funny, sexy romances. She is a hoot to meet in person as well — totally lights up the room!
Caleb is a pro-hockey player caught up in a PR nightmare for the team from a viral video gone wrong. Zara is an adorable, zany artist who works too much (painting miniatures — hah!) They meet thru a dating app encouraged by the team management and their parents. AND their dating “experience” will be televised to repair his rep as well. She is doing it for her dad — who is a struggling actor (he is quite funny when on their TV spots). Trying to keep it to the required 5 dates, they both fall for each other before that last date. This is where we meet some of his teammates setting up the next books.
Awk-Weird sets up our quirky heroine Tess and the “Thor look-alike” hockey star Cole in an unintended pregnancy from a wedding rehearsal hookup. Or as Tess designates it — “weddinged”. Our adorable factoid spewing Tess has an apartment mishap that sends her shacking up with the baby daddy Cole who is NOT used to having his home invaded. Which includes her naughty kitten Kahn as another roomie spoil for Cole’s pristine home.
Tess has a fabulous girlfriend squad that offers support when all the angst begins, and she falls in love with the guy. Cole’s teammates contribute all kinds of bromance advice to push him out of his routine and comfort zone. Always with hilarious shenanigans. The balance of drama and romance is Ms. Flynn’s romcom storytelling talent.
Honorable Mention: Avery Flynn‘s Hartigan’s series is a great series to read before you start the Ice Knights duo above. Butterface, Muffin Top and Tomboy are all the heroines that make up Tess’s girlfriend squad. Each lady has a body “issue” they deal with and all end up falling for some hotties! Ms. Flynn has the most fun with her characters and all their quirks and the ladies are always strong and passionate about who they love. A great series to binge read for sure — you will be laughing all the way thru each book.
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
Anyone who has read Sierra Simone’s American Queen/New Camelot series, knows that her stories are angsty, seductive and emotionally charged. A Lessons in Thorns is another success in entrancing her audience! This is the first book of this series and believe me if you start it you will be hooked.
Poe is the main heroine in this first tome. She is a librarian tasked with cataloging a private library at her former flame’s family mansion in Thornchapel, England. Auden is our tortured owner and destined to marry Poe by decree of his late father. Add to the mix a host of other characters (St. Sebastian, Delphine, Rebecca and Beckett) from different backgrounds and all from this same small town. As the story progresses, they find out some of their parents secret rituals from years past. A Lesson in Thorns is definitely a steamy book, not for the light and fluffy romance reading lady — and a cliffhanger to boot.
The next book Feast of Sparks continues the enchantment with the primary focus on St. Sebastian’s internal turmoil. This story revolves around six friends revisiting the secrets of their parents — which includes the murder of Poe’s mother. With another crazy twist at the end leaving you struggling to wait for the next installment. Ms. Simone has such beautiful, intellectual prose. You will read it again just to listen to her in-depth internal dialog of the characters and the wonderful descriptions of the setting in the English countryside.
Honorable Mention: Sierra’s Misadventures in Blue. This is a romantic stand-alone, thought-provoking, sexy “age-gap” tome. Cat is our mid-thirties, strong and successful detective heroine in a suburban police department. Dubbed the “Ice Queen” – she’s OK with that as it was brought about thru her lost fiancée’s tragedy that is no business of anyone else. Jace is the “Hot Cop” who is fresh off a stint in the military and looking to settle down in his hometown. He is a pretty mature twenty-something and has an instant appreciation for exploring a more permanent relationship with Cat. Some major detective drama with a fabulous HEA tackle the “cougar/young stud” dynamic in a fabulous read.
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Jana Aston is a one-click author for me! Good Girl was released in 2018 but I waited to read both together — much more fun! Lydia is our “Good Girl” and is super quirky, awkward, nerdy with a fabulous out-going best friend Payton (our fun girl in the next book Good Time). Payton gets Lydia to kiss a hottie in Las Vegas (Rhys) who turns out to be her hot boss. OK — so this ends up being a “virgin auction” — but wait til you get to that scene — she donates her money to the Girl Scouts!! Soooo much hilariousness ensues throughout the book! You will want to start sewing pajama pants for sure 😉 Typical Jana Aston — I am always laughing out loud! If you are in for a fun ride — start with Jana’s Wrong series. (FYI –first book is on Kindle Unlimited for free).
Next is Good Time, which has the same timeline as Good Girl so you will recognize several events. I actually like Good Time just a smidge more because the heroine Payton is outrageous! Her guy is Vince who is the owner of the respectable Las Vegas Strip Club — who she ends up married to on the first night they meet in Vegas. I was smiling thru the whole book and you will too!
Honorable Mention: The Reindeer Falls Collection — Christmas novellas.
Another fabulous, fun, binge read for the holiday. My review (here) on Goodreads. So much fun and free for you Kindle Unlimited peeps. Anything Jana Aston puts out is super hilarious and easy to read!
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
Goodreads snippet best describes this book: “On the day of Lia’s university graduation party, her parents—wealthy art collectors with friends in high places—gift her a beautiful wine cup, a rare artifact decorated with roses. It’s a stunning gift, and one that August Bowman, a friend of her parents and a guest at Lia’s party, also has his eye on. The cup, August tells her, is known as the Rose kylix, and it’s no ordinary cup. It was used in the temple ceremonies of Eros, Greek god of erotic love, and has the power to bring the most intimate sexual fantasies to life.”
This is a wild ride for sure — all the interweaving of famous “couples” of Greek mythology is fascinating. I actually purchased “Bulfinch’s Illustrated Mythology” just to get all the background scoop on those couples based on Ms. Reisz’s recommendation. That picture book is enchanting as well!
The Chateau is the eighth book in Tiffany Reisz‘s Original Sinners series. If you are a fan of Nora, Soren and Kingsley — you will not want to miss it. This is a background story for Kingsley and his time in the French military. An assignment brings him to the Chateau to retrieve the wayward nephew of his boss.
Once Kingsley infiltrates the chateau, he falls under the influence of the Madame of the “all female power sex cult”. Thru various mind-games, she offers him a choice of giving up the most important person he has ever loved OR the one thing he has always wanted. This is a pretty big emotional rollercoaster ride — but absolutely worth it!
Honorable Mention: Winter Tales is an Original Sinners Christmas Anthology. December Wine is a new novella that gives background on Nora’s first meeting with Nico (Kingsley’s long lost son). Every time we get some Nora & Nico — you always want more! If you adore Zach (Nora’s editor) this novella will be a fun read as well.
This special holiday-themed collection also includes the novellas Poinsetta, The Christmas Truce, and The Scent of Winter (all previously available only as ebooks). A bonus short story starring Søren rounds out the Winter Tales anthology. And that little bonus tidbit lays out a teaser for Tiffany’s next book The Priest due out in April, 2020! Can’t wait!
Genre: Romance, Romantic Comedy
I ran across The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting and I just loved it. This was my first read from Ms. Hunting and I will be on her list for more. Lilah is a nurse and bumps into her Ex while checking in on his parents. Ethan is now a professional hockey player who was just transferred to the team back home. You guessed it, she becomes his “good luck charm” at getting back to his hockey glory days. If you love romantic comedies, do not miss this second-chance troupe! Hunting weaves in some funny with the romance so well — glad I found her!
Meet Cute is another “second-chance” romance from Ms. Hunting. Dax Hughes is a former teen hearthrob from a TV show that Kailyn is super fangirl for! She literally runs into him while at college and they become unlikely friends, which ends in a perceived betrayal. Eight years later, he ends up in her office after his parents passed away leaving him his 13 year old sister to guardian. Kailyn is in charge of his little sister’s inheritance so she needs to keep in contact with Dax and his sister. Ethics and betrayal play into this relationship on both sides but it ends with a lovely HEA! Helena’s writing is captivating and you immediately fall in love with Dax, Kailyn and Emme (little sis). I read the book in one sitting!
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Jill Shalvis is another new author to me this year and such a lovely new give-away for you ladies! I met Ms. Shalvis in Louisville this year and she signed these beautiful books!
I just had to read her latest — The Lemon Sisters to get to know her writing style. This is book four in the Wildstone Series and Oh I just loved this story and now need to go back and read all the books in the series!
Brooke Lemon agrees to trade places with her “perfect” sister Mindy to help her refresh Mindy’s now frazzled life. She moves home (with her sister’s kids in tow) after seven years and she runs into her past — Garrett. While Brooke tries to repair her past with Garrett, we also see the relationship with Mindy and her husband Linc. I love that this story is told from all points of view — that way you know what each character is thinking. This is a super sweet, sexy and romantic tome. Jill is now on my fave author list for sure!
Enter (here) for the Jill Shalvis signed book giveaway from Mid-Life Goddess!
Well there you go for 2019! Most of these books have hit many “Best of” lists and some you have never heard of but should definitely put them in your TBR. My selection is based more on the authors I love then on reviews or lists. These authors are all so fabulous, you can not go wrong on any of their books. Thanks for reading and remember ladies : Midlife is only a Crisis if you Are!
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