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Monday, December 30, 2019

The Best of 2019 : Kimberly's Top 10 Contemporary and Historical Romances of the Year

The New Year is just around the corner and we're sharing our favorite books of 2019! Did any of Kimberly's favorite reads make your list?!




Top Ten Contemporary Romances 


1.

39854434Fix Her Up
(Hot & Hammered #1)
by Tessa Bailey 
ebook, 400 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Avon
ISBN0062872842
Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World... whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)
Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)
Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)
Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there's Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her...


2 .

42589324Nothing to Fear
(Final Hour #2)
by Juno Rushdan
Mass Market Paperback, 448 pages
Published August 27th 2019 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN1492661570
The clock is ticking
Fearsome Gray Box operative Gideon Stone is devoted to his work and his team. He's never given reason to doubt his loyalty...until he's tasked with investigating Willow Harper, a beguiling cryptologist suspected of selling deadly bio-agents on the black market.

He knows she's innocent. He knows she's being framed. And he knows that without him, Willow will be dead before sunrise.

Thrust into the crossfire of an insidious international conspiracy, Gideon will do anything to keep Willow safe...even if that means waging war against his own. With time running out, an unlikely bond pushes limits―and forges loyalties. Every move they make counts. And the real traitor is always watching...


3.

34109621. sy475 Don't You Forget About Me
by Mhairi McFarlane 
Kindle Edition, 433 pages
Published January 10th 2019 by HarperCollins (first published October 29th 2018)
ASINB01N3SW6UZ
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to rise again…

The hilarious new heartbreaker from Mhairi McFarlane!

If there’s one thing worse than being fired from the grottiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else.

Reeling from the indignity of a double dumping on the same day, Georgina snatches at the next job that she’s offered – barmaid in a newly opened pub, which just so happens to run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas McCarthy. And whereas Georgina (voted Most Likely to Succeed in her school yearbook) has done nothing but dead-end jobs in the last twelve years, Lucas has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but also has turned into an actual grown-up with a business and a dog along the way.

Meeting Lucas again not only throws Georgina’s rackety present into sharp relief, but also brings a dark secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows the truth about what happened on the last day of school, and why she’s allowed it to chase her all these years… 


4.

41154302Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors
(The Rajes #1)
by Sonali Dev
Paperback, 481 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by William Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN0062839055
Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco...

It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

·       Never trust an outsider
·       Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations
·       And never, ever, defy your family

Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.

Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.

As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with...

A family trying to build home in a new land.
A man who has never felt at home anywhere.
And a choice to be made between the two.


5.

33126303. sy475 Tinderbox
(Flashpoint #1)
by Rachel Grant
Kindle Edition, 302 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Janus Publishing
ASINB01N968D7N
While working on the Horn of Africa, archaeologist Morgan Adler's work and life are threatened, forcing her to make a desperate dash to a nearby US military base to beg for protection. Green Beret Pax Blanchard has orders to intercept Dr. Adler before she reaches the base, and in so doing saves her life, but his responsibilities toward protecting the woman have only just begun.

Morgan and Pax are forced to work together in the scorching desert heat, but it is the fire that ignites between them that threatens to consume them both. He protects her by day, but can he keep his hands off her when the sun goes down? One thing is certain, his job is no longer a matter of following orders, and he will risk everything to keep her safe. 


6.

40613322. sy475 The Maddest Obsession 
(Made Book 2)
by Danielle Lori
Published April 15th 2019
She fears the dark.
He rules it.

Her dresses are too tight, her heels too tall. She laughs too loudly, eats without decorum, and mixes up most sayings in the book. Little do most know it’s just a sparkly disguise, there to hide one panic attack at a time.

Nobody can crack Gianna’s facade . . . no one anyway, until he comes along.

Most see a paragon of morality; a special agent upholding the law. In the New York underworld, others know him as a hustler, a killer, his nature as cold as the heart of ice in his chest. Christian Allister has always followed the life plan he’d envisioned in his youth, beneath the harsh lights of a frigid, damp cell. With a proclivity for order and the number three, he’s never been tempted to veer off course. But perhaps one should never say never . . .

One winter night and their lives intertwine. She hates him—his stone-cold demeanor, his arrogance and too-perceptive eye—but over the years, even as their games consist of insulting each other’s looks and intelligence, she begins to live to play with him.

Nowhere in Christian’s plans had he ever prepared for Gianna. She’s chaos embodied, not his type, and married, but none of that can stop his eyes from following her wherever she goes.

All along, she doesn’t even know that she’s his—his frustration, his fascination.

His maddest obsession. 


7.

42279630. sy475 The Austen Playbook
(London Celebrities #4)
by Lucy Parker
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published April 22nd 2019 by Carina Press
ASINB07J3F86R2
Freddy Carlton knows she should be focusing on her lines for The Austen Playbook, a live-action TV event where viewers choose the outcome of each scene, but her concentration’s been blown. The palatial estate housing the endeavor is now run by the rude (brilliant) critic who’s consistently slammed her performances of late. James “Griff” Ford-Griffin has a penchant for sarcasm, a majestic nose and all the sensitivity of a sledgehammer.

She can’t take her eyes off him.

Griff can hardly focus with a contagious joy fairy flitting about near him, especially when Freddy looks at him like that. His only concern right now should be on shutting down his younger brother’s well-intentioned (disastrous) schemes—or at the very least on the production (not this one) that might save his family home from the banks.

Instead all he can think of is soft skin and vibrant curls.

As he’s reluctantly dragged into her quest to rediscover her passion for the stage and Freddy is drawn into his research on a legendary theater star, the adage about appearances being deceiving proves abundantly true. It’s the unlikely start of something enormous…but a single revelation about the past could derail it all.


8.

26160213. sy475 Stealing Mr. Right
(Penelope Blue #1)
by Tamara Morgan 
Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
ASINB01LXMJZ6T
I'm a wanted jewel thief.
He's FBI.
What's that saying? Keep your friends close...and your husband closer.

Being married to a federal agent certainly has its perks.

1. I just love the way that man looks in a suit.
2. This way I always know what the enemy is up to.

Spending my days lifting jewels and my nights tracking the Bureau should have been a genius plan. But the closer I get to Grant Emerson, the more dangerous this feels. With two million dollars' worth of diamonds on the line, I can't afford to fall for my own husband.

It turns out that the only thing worse than having a mortal enemy is being married to one. Because in our game of theft and seduction, only one of us will come out on top.

Good thing a cat burglar always lands on her feet. 


9.

36544616. sy475 The Takeover Effect
(The Singh Family #1)
by Nisha Sharma 
ebook, 320 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Avon Impulse
ISBN0062854178
Hemdeep Singh knows exactly what he wants. With his intelligence and determination, he has what it takes to build his own legacy away from Bharat, Inc. and the empire his father created. But when his brother calls him home, Hem puts his dreams on hold once again to help save the company he walked away from. That’s when he encounters the devastating Mina Kohli in the Bharat boardroom, and he realizes he’s in for more than he had bargained.

Mina will do whatever it takes to regain control of her mother’s law firm, even if it means agreeing to an arranged marriage. Her newest case assignment is to assist Bharat in the midst of a potential takeover. It could be the key to finally achieving her goal while preventing her marriage to a man she doesn’t love—as long as her explosive attraction to Hem doesn’t get in the way.

As Mina and Hem work to save Bharat, they not only uncover secrets that could threaten the existence of the company, but they also learn that in a winner-takes-all game, love always comes out on top.


10.

39863092. sy475 The Right Swipe
(Modern Love #1)
by Alisha Rai 
Paperback, 387 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Avon
ISBN0062878093
Alisha Rai returns with the first book in her sizzling new Modern Love series, in which two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom.

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

- Nude pics are by invitation only

- If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

- Protect your heart

Only there aren't any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night... and disappears.

Rhi thought she'd buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won't fumble their second chance, but she's wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk… 



Top 10 Historical Romances


1.

43263565. sy475 How to Love a Duke in Ten Days
(Devil You Know #1)
by Kerrigan Byrne 
Mass Market Paperback, 440 pages
Published August 27th 2019 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN125031884X
These men are dark, bold, and brave. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees...

Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS

Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms. 


2.

40374603Lady Derring Takes a Lover
(The Palace of Rogues #1)
by Julie Anne Long 
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published February 26th 2019 by Avon
ASINB0796SN24S
A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpool, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, "Dear Dull Derring," is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It's a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue's Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he's ever known?


3.

13255416. sy475 Indigo
by Beverly Jenkins
Kindle Edition, 308 pages
Published 1996 by NYLA
ASINB006IYGDJ4
As a child Hester Wyatt escaped slavery, but now the dark skinned beauty is a dedicated member of Michigan's Underground railroad, offering other runaways a chance at the freedom she has learned to love. When one of her fellow conductors brings her an injured man to hide, Hester doesn't hesitate even after she is told about the price on his head. The man in question is the great conductor known as the "Black Daniel" a vital member of the north's Underground railroad network, but Hester finds him so rude and arrogant, she begins to question her vow to hide him.

When the injured and beaten Galen Vachon, aka, the Black Daniel awakens in Hester's cellar, he is unprepared for the feisty young conductor providing his care. As a member of one of the wealthiest free Black families in New Orleans, Galen has turned his back on the lavish living he is accustomed to in order to provide freedom to those enslaved in the south. However, as he heals he cannot turn his back on Hester Wyatt. Her innocence fills him like a breath of fresh air and he is determined to make her his, but traitors have to be found, slave catchers have to be routed and Hester's refusal to trust her own heart have to be overcome before she and Galen can find the freedom only love can bring.


4.

3665080Lord Johnnie
by Leslie Turner White
308 pages
Published 1949 by Crown Publishers
In eighteenth-century England, a "lady of quality" could marry a condemned criminal to escape her debts. Lady Leanna married Lord Johnnie in Newgate dungeon. She thought he would go to the gallows at dawn. But no hangman's noose could cheat Johnnie the Rogue of his lawful prize.


5.

36046121. sy475 Listen to the Moon
(Lively St. Lemeston #3)
by Rose Lerner
Kindle Edition, 401 pages
Published August 15th 2017 (first published January 5th 2016)
ASINB074RKSCG4
She’s a maid-of-all-work, and he’s a valet of no play...

John Toogood always prided himself on being the perfect gentleman’s gentleman: skilled, discreet, and professional. But now he finds himself laid off and blacklisted, stuck in tiny Lively St. Lemeston until he can find a new job. Any job.

His instant attraction to his happy-go-lucky maid Sukey Grimes couldn’t come at a worse time. Her manners are provincial, her respect for authority nonexistent, and her outdated cleaning methods...well, the less said about them, the better.

Sukey can tell that John’s impeccably impassive facade hides a lonely man with a gift for laughter—and kissing. But she also knows he’ll leave her sleepy little town behind the moment he gets the chance, and she has no intention of giving him her heart to take with him.

John learns that the town vicar needs a butler—but the job is only for a respectable married man. Against both their better judgments, John and Sukey tie the knot. The ring isn’t on her finger long before Sukey realizes she underestimated just how vexing being married to the boss can be...


6.

39863367It's Getting Scot in Here
(Wild Wicked Highlanders #1)
by Suzanne Enoch
Mass Market Paperback, 342 pages
Published February 26th 2019 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN1250296374
HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER
London socialite Amelia-Rose Baxter is nobody’s fool. Her parents may want her to catch a title, but she will never change who she is for the promise of marriage. Her husband will be a man who can appreciate her sharp mind as well as her body. A sophisticated man who loves life in London. A man who considers her his equal―and won’t try to tame her wild heart...

IN THE HIGHLANDS
Rough, rugged Highlander Niall MacTaggert and his brothers know the rules: the eldest must marry or lose the ancestral estate, period. But Niall’s eldest brother just isn’t interested in the lady his mother selected. Is it because Amelia-Rose is just too. . . Free-spirited? Yes. Brazen? Aye. Surely Niall can find a way to soften up the whip-smart lass and make her the perfect match for his brother for the sake of the family.

JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT HOTTER.
Instead it’s Niall who tempts Amelia-Rose, despite her reservations about barbarian Highlanders. Niall finds the lass nigh irresistible as well, but he won’t make the mistake his father did in marrying an Englishwoman who doesn’t like the Highlands. Does he have what it takes to win her heart? There is only one way to find out...


7.

43521785Bringing Down the Duke
(A League of Extraordinary Women #1)
by Evie Dunmore 
Paperback, 356 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Berkley
ISBN1984805681
A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar's daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women's suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain's politics at the Queen's command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can't deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn't be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn't claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring...or could he?

Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke....


8.

40651624The Rogue to Ruin
(Misadventures in Matchmaking #3)
by Vivienne Lorret 
ebook, 400 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Avon
ISBN0062685538
The Bourne Matrimonial Agency has one rule: Never fall in love with a client, which shouldn't be a problem when one’s faking an engagement to the rogue across the street . . .

Ainsley Bourne needs the family business to succeed. But one obstacle stands in her way—Reed Sterling, the huge, handsome, former prize fighter and owner of the gaming hell across the street. His scandalous customers scare off all her marriage-minded patrons and since the devilish brute has no intention of relocating, she sets out to ruin his unsavory establishment. Yet when a vile suitor from her past reappears, Ainsley hastily claims an attachment to the first man who comes to mind . . . Mr. Sterling, to be exact.

Reed doesn’t know who is more surprised by Miss Bourne’s declaration. She clearly hates him, and he’d never admit their arguments simmer with unrequited attraction. Something about the pleading look in her eyes calls to Reed, and against his better judgment, he quickly plays the part of the besotted fiancΓ©.

Pretending to be in love requires a convincing charade. But with each tantalizing touch and every scandalous kiss, Ainsley starts to wonder if Reed was ever really the enemy at all.


9.

2463564The Prince of Midnight
by Laura Kinsale 
Mass Market Paperback, 521 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Sourcebooks Casablanca (first published 1990)
ISBN1402213972
Intent on revenge, she is seeking only to learn how to kill.

Lady Leigh Strachan has dressed as a boy and crossed all of France in search of her family's killer. Her only wish is to be trained to kill so she can avenge their deaths at the hands of a demented cult leader.

Nobleman and highwayman, he's in hiding now, and desperately lonely.

The reclusive S.T. Maitland, nobleman and highwayman, was once known as the Prince of Midnight. Now he's hiding out in a crumbling castle in France with a tame wolf as his pet. He is deaf in one ear, suffers from vertigo, and is desperately longing for a woman's company. He seems revoltingly sentimental to the stoic Lady Leigh.

But when they're forced onto a quest together, she discovers the dangerous and vital man behind the reputation, and he finds a way to touch her ice-cold heart.


10.

39863355Highland Crown
(Royal Highlander #1)
by May McGoldrick 
Mass Market Paperback, 312 pages
Published April 30th 2019 by St. Martin's Press
ISBN1250314976
Inverness, 1820
Perched on the North Sea, this port town―by turns legendary and mythological―is a place where Highland rebels and English authorities clash in a mortal struggle for survival and dominance. Among the fray is a lovely young widow who possesses rare and special gifts.

WANTED: Isabella Drummond
A true beauty and trained physician, Isabella has inspired longing and mystery―and fury―in a great many men. Hunted by both the British government and Scottish rebels, she came to the Highlands in search of survival. But a dying ship’s captain will steer her fate into even stormier waters. . .and her heart into flames.

FOUND: Cinaed Mackintosh
Cast from his home as a child, Cinaed is a fierce soul whose allegiance is only to himself. . .until Isabella saved his life―and added more risk to her own. Now, the only way Cinaed can keep her safe to seek refuge at Dalmigavie Castle, the Mackintosh family seat. But when the scandalous truth of his past comes out, any chance of Cinaed having a bright future with Isabella is thrown into complete darkness. What will these two ill-fated lovers have to sacrifice to be together…for eternity?




1 comment:

Sue G. said...

I loved Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey! That was such a fun book!