Tuesday's Top Ten: Books Edie Read in 2019
It's the very last possible Tuesday in December: New Year's Eve. I beat my goal of 60 books this year by three. That's sixty-three fantastic reads. Let me fangirl-gush over ten (give or take a series) of them, plus an honorable mention. A note about covers: I usually post them, but this year, I'm hoping you'll click the buy links, so maybe seeing the covers is the incentive you needed... (FYI: They're each worth a click!)
*I would be remiss if I didn't include Catherine Dair's adorable Skip and Pip pirate comic, The Secret of the Carrot Medallions. I've been following along online all year, and I was delighted to see the final version of the book.
Edie's Top Ten M/M Romance reads of 2019: (It's a rare year - all of my top reads are M/M Romance!)
10. Straight from the Heart by Sam Burns. A mafia story set in Chicago? Hell yes. This was a fun read about a kid just out of college trying to make it in the real world, his friends, his first job, and the undercover cop assigned to keep him out of trouble. I haven't gotten any further in the series, but not for lack of desire. I will come back to it in 2020.
9. Convincing Arthur by Ava March. This was the first Regency M/M romance I read this year. The angst was real - I felt this one burning in my chest from the moment Arthur showed up on Leopold's doorstep. I'm not a huge fan of angst - I may have flipped quickly through some of those last pages before I was certain there was a happy ending.
8. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuisition. Yes, that one. The one your friends and my friends and everyone else you know told you to read. Spoiler alert: It's fun and funny. The budding romance between Alex and Prince Henry runs the gamut from clueless to sweet and sexy. This is the book we all needed to escape from our current political climate.
7. Top Shelf by Allison Temple. I'm a sucker for bookstore novels (see also Him Improvement by Tanya Chris - both books were excellent, and Tanya already has a place on this list). Martin ran away from his professorship and takes the first job opportunity in the small town where he's living on his brother's couch - cashier at a used book store. Seb is an artist living above the bookstore. His medium is old books that make their way to the top shelves (reserved for books no one wants), which he turns into artwork. At first, it seems these two couldn't possibly like each other. I loved the tension between them and the eventual romance. I don't want to give too much of the plot away, either - if book stores and romantic tension are your thing, you should definitely read Top Shelf!
6. Game Changer by Rachel Reid. I haven't watched a hockey game in years. You don't need to know hockey to love Rachel Reid's hockey series. Game Changer is the story of Scott Hunter, the most popular player on the New York Admirals, and the cute juice cashier at the Straw+Berry who makes him a blueberry drink to spark him out of his recent slump. Kip's a college graduate living with his parents and working a food service job, trying to get ahead but not knowing the next steps to lead him to the museum job of his dreams. Scott's at the top of his hockey game, but his lonely personal life drags him down and makes him want to quit until the new routine (or is it Kip?) reawakens his love for the game. I loved the characters, both so relate-able I swear I know them, and the set-up for book two. You don't need to love hockey to love these books, but you won't be disappointed either way.
5. Mage on the Hill by Angel Martinez. I had to do some shuffling of my list to add this late addition. I pre-ordered this book but didn't get around to reading until last week. I've always hated the term May-December romance, especially when the older character is (gasp!) my age, so instead, let's call it an older/younger romance. Toby is in his twenties and has been to every mage academy in the US, searching for a teacher to discover his channeling ability before his wild magic overtakes him and blasts a mage-shaped hole in the atmosphere. When his last hope starts talking about finding him a nice hospice to die in and lets slip there was a former teacher, Darius, who might have been able to help, Toby does a quick web search and finds Darius's location. Together, Darius and Toby fight against time and the press of wild, unchannelled magic to discover Toby's major arcana before it consumes him. Along the way, Darius discovers he's not as outcast as he believed - his fellow teachers and former students still respect him. He may even be worthy of Toby's love.
4. Manners and Mannerisms by Tanya Chris. I had the chance to beta-read Manners and Mannerisms. I love historical romance, but I've never been a fan of true Regency. I've never made it through a single Jane Austen, for example. Manners and Mannerisms kept me reading. First, I wanted William to figure out his feelings for Reginald, and then I wanted to know how they could possibly be together in a world destined to keep them apart. I also love Tanya's focus on the entire cast of characters. These are not cardboard cutouts in the background - they have their own lives and goals. If you love great characters in historical settings, Manners and Mannerisms is for you!
3. Prince of Death and Prisoner of Shadows by Sam Burns and W.M. Fawkes. I made the mistake of reading book 2 first, but in all honesty, it wasn't a mistake. These don't have to be read in order. Sure, it seemed a little strange for Hera to be locked up and Hermes to be out of sorts with Zeus at the beginning, but the story of Prometheus and Julian was so compelling those questions didn't bother me. I just figured I'd missed something in Mythology 101, not realizing I'd missed an entire book of backstory. Prince of Death was just as much fun and filled in the gaps. Lysandros and Theo may even replace Witch Week as my annual Halloween read. I have yet to read the third and final book in the series, Patron of Mercy, but I'm guessing it could make my list for 2020.
2. Spellbound by Allie Therin. Spellbound is the first in a series of historical urban fantasy, set in 1925, New York City. The magic system feels new and intriguing. The romance between Rory an Arthur starts off as powerful attraction with low trust. I love relationships with socio-economic differences (Arthur is rich, Rory is not). Arthur has to prove he's not a super-dick just because he has money, and Rory has to prove he's not completely overwhelmed by his magical ability. There's also a suspenseful plot to tie it all together, and a wonderful cast of characters you'll want to protect as much as Arthur does.
1. Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke. I highly recommend this three-book series. The fantasy world is intriguing, the detective work reminded me of everything I liked about Merry Gentry (without all the bullshit and with better blow jobs), the character arcs are dynamic and fresh, and while the love story drives the trilogy, the minor characters in each book make me want to go back again and again. This is storytelling at its finest, friends.
I just realized I could have summed this up with, "Read my newsletter," since I've talked about several of these books, sometimes with more detail, in my emails. If you haven't subscribed yet, subscribe here to catch the play-by-play of books read in 2020. Don't forget to pick up the free story of your choice. ^__^
Wishing you all a fun and fantastic journey through books in 2020!