Between the zillion books I got during the RWA conference in July and the 200+ books I have on my Kindle, I feel like I had read a whole lot in 2019. I also want to blame bookstagrammers and their beautiful pictures that make me click the purchase button without a second thought.
I guess I shouldn’t complain. I love reading. I love the power of books and how it can transport me to someplace else, living as someone else. I guess that’s why I decided to be a writer too. I wanted to offer that same escape for my readers.
Welp, I’m not sure exactly how many books I had read last year. I know it’s a lot, and many of them were worthy of this list, but I wanted to simplify it to my top favorites and why.
Side note: you’ll notice I tend to like steamier rom-coms.
Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey - I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I loved both of the main characters, their individual character arcs, and the budding, messy relationship between them. Even when they stumbled or backslid, I totally rooted for each of them.
Dangerous Exes by Rachel Van Dyken - Oh boy. The power plays and battle of wills were fun and sexy. Rachel writes in a super engaging way that kept me turning the pages.
Blurred Lines by Lauren Layne - Lauren is the queen of friends-to-lovers romances. Somehow, she finds a way to bring heat and chemistry between the two characters, even though they seem to know everything about the other person. It takes real skill to pull this off, in my opinion.
Ten Days with the Highlander by Hayson Manning - I read this one while I was bedridden thanks to a back injury. Bored out of my mind, I’m so glad I chose this book. As someone who is obsessed with Scotland, I loved getting immersed in the cute village set in the Scottish Highlands. Kinda made me want to quit my life and go live there.
Accidental Tryst by Natasha Boyd - The fact that it was based in Charleston drew me in, but the story was what kept me flipping the pages. Natasha found a way to remind me of all the butterflies and excitement sparked by flirty long distance texting, calls, and emails. It just made the anticipation that much better.
Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood - Okay, this book was ridiculously funny in a cringe-worthy way. Olive always got herself into some unfortunate situation that had me dying. Plus, her unruly band of misfit friends only added to the humor.
The Clause in Christmas by Rachael Bloome - Sometimes, I just need a sweet, clean romance with cute little towns and a strong sense of community (I especially like this around Christmastime). This was Rachael’s debut novel, and I was incredibly impressed. I may have cried happy tears on the plane home from Boston when I read the ending.
I guess I needed to balance out all my love stories with opportunities to grow as a person and writer.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson - I’ve had my sights on this for a while, so when I was standing in The Strand during the RWA conference, I snatched it up. Mark helps you see that not everything needs your attention and energy. And, most times, you’re better off just letting it go. Easier said than done, but this definitely was eye-opening. I’ll reference it often!
Dear Writer, You Need to Quit by Becca Syme - Maybe I really liked this book because it gave me permission to let the pressure go. As a writer, there’s a ton of well-meaning advice offered to lead us to success. Sometimes we (read: I) think we need to take every single piece of advice to heart. Not only does that fast track us to burnout, but some of the advice given might not apply to us at all. Question the premise!
Saves the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody - This book changed the plotting game for me. Sure, I’ve previously used plotting templates and three-act sheets and all that jazz, but this layout helped me see how to make my points more dramatic. Even more important, it gave me such an easy template to write the dreaded logline and elusive synopsis. I feel like those are harder than writing the actual story!
What were some favorite books you read last year? I might complain that I have a never-ending TBR pile, but that won’t stop me from throwing more onto it!
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