Can you believe we’re already in the final three months of the year? This year has somehow felt like it’s been 20 million years long and also like, I cannot believe it’s about to be 2020??? That’s not real life. But anyway, I’m writing today to tell you about my top ten of the last quarter. I’m going to be honest. I feel like this has not been the best series of reading months, but there have definitely been some stand outs. I’ve read 67 books in the last three months, 57 of which were new to me books. So this top ten (ish) list is coming from those 57 books. Let’s get to it!
Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
There is truly no contest for my top spot of the last three months. This book was utter perfection. Catalina Baylor stole my heart. Alessandro? I love him. This book begins a new trilogy within the Hidden Legacy series, picking up about three years after the end of Wildfire. Rather than following Nevada and Connor (also loves of my life), we are instead following Catalina and the ridiculously compelling, maybe not actually a shallow playboy, Alessandro? Everything about this first book was brilliant. I still cannot actually make the words to explain to you how excellent this is. All I can say is that if you haven’t tried Hidden Legacy yet, you really, really must.
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I loved this book a whole bunch. It follows Hannah, who is still trying to figure out her life at 29 when she returns to LA, her hometown. Her best friend, Gabby, throws her a welcome back party and she faces the decision of whether or not she should go home with Ethan, her first love. The book then alternates between two timelines that hinge on the choice she makes there, whether to go home with Ethan or to go home with Gabby. I thought this book was so creative and I really loved both storylines even though I wound up having a very strong preference for which man I thought I liked more (and therefore a storyline preference). But Gabby is truly the MVP of the novel. I mean, she is just the best best friend in the fictional world. And I really loved her story too, even if I do want a companion novel following her specifically. This definitely served to make me even more excited to read the rest of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s works.
Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas
Okay, look, this is definitely cheating, but I can’t help it. The first three books of this series captured my attention and my imagination in the most complete way. I am so anxious to have book four in my hands. A Study in Charlotte begins with the fallout of Charlotte’s ruination. It starts so, so slowly and at first I was really not convinced I was going to like this book. But eventually she meets Mrs. Holmes and oh buddy! From then on, I was obsessed. I read the second as an ebook from the library and halfway through the third one I drove to Asheville to get The Hollow of Fear from Barnes & Noble. Just genuinely… I love this whole series. It’s magnificent.
Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep
I decided not to cheat here, since I did prefer Kill the Queen to Protect the Prince, but I’m absolutely loving this series. I was irate when I finished Kill the Queen on my flight back from San Diego and didn’t have Protect the Prince with me to start it. Kill the Queen is about Evie surviving the most horrific massacre of her family and becoming heir to the throne. Or, depending on who you ask, the true Queen. Instead of sticking around, Evie joins a Gladiator Troupe and pretends to be someone else. This book is absolutely fantastic. I loved it so much. There is a romantic storyline and while I like it, I think it’s a YMMV situation because I know some people (like Aarya) don’t actually like the romantic interest. I think he’s a little enigmatic since we don’t get his perspective. That said, I enjoy it, but it’s not the star of the show for me. I’m very much looking forward to book three, which releases next Spring.
Okay, listen, I can’t choose between Gina and Max and the story where Robin and Jules FINALLY get their acts together. I loved both of these so much. Breaking Point is such an interesting book because it’s telling a cohesive story, but pulling from different points in time. Max is a disaster because in the present Gina has been kidnapped and he doesn’t give af about anything else because Gina has been kidnapped. Meanwhile, Gina is a badass and I love her with my whole heart. Oh, and Molly and what’s his face are back in this one. Really, this book was just so, so good. And Force of Nature? Absolutely magnificent. It follows Rick and Annie who have no connection to the Troubleshooters, but then Jules gets involved and they have to involve Robin and !!!!!!!!! All the feelings. Books like these two stand outs are why I love the series even though I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for everyone.
Teach Me by Olivia Dade
Do you ever just feel like you need a hug? That’s what this book felt like for me. It’s about ice princess and high school history teacher, Rose, who finds out her new fancy-pants coworker is getting to teach her honors world history course and she has no say so. She’s very upset about this because Rose is a fantastic teacher and she really cares about her students. Anyway, Mr. Fancy-pants is actually Martin and he’s an angel. Specifically, he’s just a divorced father who uprooted his whole life because he wanted to be close to his daughter for her senior year of high school and his ex had moved to this small town. There is no real denigration of the ex wife though, that’s important to know. Anyway, Martin tries so hard to get Rose to open up to him and to be friends, but Rose is very resistant. She loves his daughter though. Watching the two of them work through things and ultimately come to have feelings and then to act on those feelings?? My heart. This book was delightful.
The Others series by Anne Bishop
This series!! I love it. Meg stumbles into the Courtyard bookstore and decides to apply for the job of Human Liaison, which Simon gives her, in part because she doesn’t smell like prey and he’s intrigued. Simon is a shapeshifter and Meg can tell the future if she cuts herself. Meg transforms the Courtyard just by being herself and it’s honestly such a good series. I loved all the relationships between people and how trust was so carefully negotiated. I really, really enjoyed this series and I’m so glad I read it. Warning: The romantic element is the slowest of slow burns, is never really the main focus, and resolves in such a way that a lot of people felt dissatisfied because it feels like so much build up to get an HFN type ending.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
My love for Talia is extremely strong, I know, but truly I loved this book so much. I am so thankful for Avon and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in advance. Chloe Brown is a fat, Black woman, who suffers from fibromyalgia. She’s also been emotionally wounded in the past so she has really limited her social circle and activities until she’s nearly hit by a car. Then she determines she needs to change her life. Enter Red, a bearded red head, artist hiding out as a building super, and a man who is utterly confounded by Chloe. He seems to catch her in what appear to be her worst moments (but Chloe’s snappishness is truly well earned), but his impression of her turns around when he finds her up in a tree, attempting to rescue a cat. Chloe solicits his help on her “Get a Life” list and adventures ensue. This book has one of the sexiest scenes I’ve ever read in my life and I was literally fanning myself as I read it. Talia is a genius who pours emotions into her books like it’s as easy as breathing. I just… I love her. I can’t wait for the next books in the series.
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
This book really focuses on the romance between Simon and Emily, who get off on the very wrong foot, and that closeness is a part of what makes this book a delight to read. There are still important secondary characters and plot lines (like Emily really needing to figure out what comes next for her), but because the focus of the book is on the Ren Faire, you never feel like Simon and Emily are far apart. This book tackles grief as well, but it’s really written with a deft hand so that it ultimately remains a light and happy book. It’s a delight to read and absolutely a comfort read. I really adored it and am excited to read about what comes next. I have a full review of this book posted, in case you would like more information.
Level Up by Cathy Yardley
My favorite book of September, this book honestly caught me off guard with how much I loved it. It’s a fun romantic comedy between roommates who team up to create a game for a contest. They’re both programmers and I just… Yes. Adam and Tessa have been living together for a while, but both of them stick to their own lives, until Tessa needs a favor. And suddenly, they’re seeing each other in a whole new light. I loved this friends to lovers romance. It is definitely light and rom com-like and it was utterly delightful. I can’t wait to read more in this series.
I would also like to give an honorable mention to my favorite YA contemporary of the last quarter, Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno, which is a delightful read about Rosa Santos trying to save her town and stay away from a very cute sailor because of the curse.
What was your favorite book of the last quarter? Let me know!