The Year in Books...


This has been a particularly (in my opinion at least) fantastic year for books. Some of my favorite authors put out some new work, reminding me as always how talented they are. I’ve also discovered some great new favorites as well.

Here’s my annual list of the best – in no particular order. Side note…not all of these books were published THIS year...just some that I’ve only now discovered.

“All Your Perfects” (best book of the year), by Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover has completely outdone herself with this one. Beautifully woven between past & present, she doesn’t shy away from the hardship of marriage or the truth about how you have to work to your marriage great. Her story is true and raw and painful and beautiful. I truly didn’t think she could do better than “It Begins With Us”, but I’m so happy I was wrong. She is in a word….brilliant.

Side note: I’ve just started her new book, “Verity” and although different than her usual books, it DOES NOT disappoint. She really is amazing.

“Ghostgirl” by JB Salsbury

As with Colleen Hoover, I always believe that JB Salsbury can’t possibly get any better. But she does. This book was far different than her others, which I completely admired. She takes chances and runs with them. This 1st book in the Mercy series I devoured in one day. Next up is “Saint”, which will round out this 2-book series by one of my all-time favorite authors.

Update: I have “Saint” all cued up and ready to read on vacation.

“Because You’re Mine” by Claire Contreras

I discovered Claire’s work by following her on Twitter. This is the second book of hers that I’ve completely enjoyed. Her writing style is fluid, easy and deep and her characters are rich and complicated. I can’t wait for her next book!

Side note: The cover for this book is scrumptious!

“Call Me by Your Name”, by Andre Aciman

I admit, I watched the movie before reading the book. I loved it, although there are certainly parts that would make even this ol’ gal blush (the peach scene, for instance). Nonetheless, the book stunned me. I have even put post-it notes on some of the pages because a particular line blew me away, and I NEVER do that. Aciman’s perfectly woven words still leave me breathless.

“Into The Wild” by Jon Krakauer

I know…I know….I’m a little late on this one. And just like the one above, I watched the movie first (and only just this year). Such a heartbreaking story of courage and loss. But unlike those who condemn “Alex Supertramp” for being impulsive and reckless, I found him to be brave. He wasn’t waiting around for life to happen. He took that life and made it his own. Yes, he made mistakes…..but haven’t we all?

I’ll most likely watch the movie again. And after my hubby finishes reading the book, I may give that another go too. If you haven’t read this one, you should.

Update: I’ve watched the movie again….and the unread book is still sitting on the hubby’s nightstand (*rolls eyes*).

“Of Sunlight and Stardust” (Best MM romance of the year) by Christina Lee & Riley Hart

This book gets the romance award of the year. It’s a beautifully told story of present and past, with two main characters who are layered and complicated and completely endearing in every single way. It was that rare book that made my chest ache at times, brought tears to my eyes, and had me reading the last few pages in slow-motion as to delay the end. By far, one of my favorite books of all times, written by one of my favorite writing duos (they also write individually and that work is excellent as well). If you want a story that you’ll feel long after you’ve read the last page, this is the one you want. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

“Boy Shattered” by Eli Easton

This book was raw, painful, and exquisite. It is by far a close runner-up for my MM romance of the year. The two main characters come together in friendship after a school shooting (told in very graphic detail), and slowly that friendship grows into something more. It’s tame by most MM standards (in regard to the sex), but I assume that’s because the characters are high schoolers. What shines in this book is the emotion and the pain you can feel that leaps off the page and grabs you by the throat. I found myself crying…laughing…and even at times yelling at the close-minded father. Get out and grab this one.

If you like M/M romance as I do, check out books from these great authors:

Annabeth Albert

Sloane Kennedy

Lucy Lennox

Eden Finley - various

I discovered Eden Finley’s books by chance….a blog post, I believe. I enjoy the way she writes and the depth of her characters. And since I have quite the obsession lately with M/M romance, she fed that need all too easily.

Ella Frank continues to put out great work, and her 3-part series (which contains characters from the “Try” series, a particular favorite of mine) certainly did not disappoint. “Confessions: Robbie”, was the first in the series, followed by Julien and Priest’s stories, and the 4th book that rounded out this series “The Princess, The Prick & The Priest”. If you like strong male characters (that just so happen to like one another), Ella is your girl.

Update: I just re-read the “Try” series….again. I really do love Tate and Logan…..

Thank you to all the wonderful authors who continue to put out great work. You inspire me and push me to do better in my own writing.

Here's to 2019 and more incredible books to read!

-AJ

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