This will be the last of these posts, because we’ve finally reached 2019. I may start yearly book recs posts next year if you’re interested, but this is it for now. When you see the list, you’ll notice that last year was very difficult for me and I needed shorter books and lots of feel-good stories.
And last, but not least, here are the best books/series I discovered during my fifth year as a Romance reader:
- Red, White and Royal Blue: Another fun read, this time a New Adult novel that probably you all know and love by now. In case you don’t because you’ve been living under a rock, it answers the question of what would happen if, in an alternate universe, the son of the President of the USA fell in love with the Prince of Wales. It may not be very realistic, but it’s enjoyable and it made me happy, which is what matters most at this moment.
- Briarley: A Beauty and the Beast retelling. The main character is a parson and a veteran from the First World War. He gets lost in the British countryside and ends up in a cursed mansion. When he’s about to run away, he sees the perfect roses by the gate and picks one for his daughter. Briarley Hall’s dragonish master accuses him of theft, and in the end the parson decides to stay and help him and his servants break the 100-years curse by getting a dog.
- Team Phison: If you like Contemporary, you’ll love this series about a tender couple who meet while playing videogames and fall in love little by little, as they learn to face their insecurities and the age gap between them. Any of the two books has a deeply satisfying ending and I loved the couple’s found family, so give it a try if you need something soft and cheerful.
- Salt Magic, Skin Magic: John Blake is an industrial magician who can befriend and listen to inanimate objects. He’s investigating a young and dissipated nobleman, looking for proof that he’s using magic for nefarious purposes. Fortunately (for John’s heart, at least), it turns out the attractive nobleman is the one under a mysterious spell that prevents him from leaving his father’s estate. But does the spell come from the fairies, curses, a hedgehog?
- In Other Lands: A hilarious YA novel that mixes our world with the Borderlands, where mermaids, elves and unicorns live. The characters are very fun to read and show a very well-developed growth through the years. I especially enjoyed the matriarchal society of elves; its depiction always made me laugh out loud and startle people around me.
- Unfit to Print: Somehow related to the KJ Charles books I read during my third year (there’s a book written by one of the MCs). New and diverse characters. One of the MCs is a lawyer, the other sells pornography. They’re forced to work together to solve a murder and a disappearance, hoping they’re not too late to save the second boy who has gone missing. The main obstacle is not the case, however, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.
- Abroad: Very interesting New Adult duology about a Russian Jewish immigrant who discovers his sexuality while he’s studying abroad in London. The story uses other three POVs (the others are his black boyfriend and his bisexual best friend) to treat serious topics like immigration, racism, homophobia and mental health.
- Smoke Signals: Very fun story about a dragon who is a game hoarder and the customer support employee who has to install all of his platform’s videogames because the dragon has just learned there are digital games he didn’t know about and needs to own all of them as soon as possible. It’s short, so I don’t wanna spoil it, but I assure you it’s fun.
- No Rulebook for Flirting: A novelette set in Spain, with a trans MC and lots of board games. Low conflict and a very happy ending that was exactly what I needed. Very recommended for those who want a short romance with banter, flirting and a comforting resolution.
- Signs of Love: Very interesting idea, using zodiac signs as a basis for creating the characters and exploring different tropes with each couple. The result is a fun New Adult series that appeals to all kinds of readers. You’ll find very sweet characters with cute and light-hearted love stories that are easy to read and will make you laugh.
- Regency Imposters: A new series by Cat Sebastian. Don’t judge a book by its cover, because this series is also brimming with queer characters. As always, very good anxiety representation and wonderful deep characters with the most exciting and sweetest love stories in this Historical Romance series where things (and people) are never what they seem.
- Dark is the Night: Probably the darkest series I read last year, so please feel free to ask about CWs if you want. Apparently it’s YA, but I didn’t realize when I read it, so I’d say it’s a Paranormal Romance set in a haunted boarding school with very real and very dangerous ghosts, as well as other darker mysteries. Very likable MCs and very despicable villains.
Because isolation, depression and anxiety are now affecting all of us, I thought it would be a good moment to share my favourite reads from last year. When I was having a hard time and feeling guilty for not being able to read the way I used to, these books helped me feel better. You’ll notice I enjoyed shorter reads, mainly with light and fun romances, plus many of them are YA or NA. I hope everyone can find a book that will make them feel better, be it from this list or elsewhere.
Take care and stay healthy!