Jan has just sent us her Best of 2019 List, and I’m so thrilled ’cause she’s one of our resident Historical Romance lovers, as well as contemporary goodness, so we get a wide range of awesome romance recommendations. 😀
Jan: I’m currently swinging madly between reading historical romance and contemporary romance. i can’t seem to settle on one genre or the other. Then I think, why settle? Why not just read both? So that’s what I do LOL.
Some days I’m reading about hot, buff guys in hockey pads and then the next day I’m reading about some uber-masculine guy wearing a pink Georgian waistcoat and a wig. Yup. Crazy town.
In fact, there are so many new-to-me books in her Top Ten that I’m excited to check them out ASAP. I love discovering new genres especially if they come highly recommended by our book crew.
But first… just for fun, let’s check out some of Jan’s “life” highlights from 2019. 😉
About her Australian life and the weather (BTW it’s summer in Australia right now!!):
I have a new grandson! That makes two now! Our run of males in this family just keeps on goin’! His name is Hugo and he has black hair and he’s just gorgeous. I’ve had my first cuddle 😀 I’m in love!
I hope you get to Aus sometime. Our beaches and oceans are truly incredible. OK, there are a few sharks too……..
I do quite like watching American football. We have our own version of football called Australian Rules, which is a very different game. Funnily enough, I rarely watch Aussie Rules. But I do watch the odd NFL game. I don’t understand all of the rules LOL, but it’s fun to watch.
It’s a Code Red weather day here – bushfire (wildfire) danger day. The temp is forecast 42 centigrade (that’s 107.6 fahrenheit) GULP! before a wild windy stormy cool change with raised dust. And it’s not even officially summer yet……
Enjoy your holiday weekend those of you lucky enough to get it. In Australia we get one in a few weeks for the Queen’s Birthday. Queen of England. Yup, we get a holiday. Nice. I think her actual birthday is in March or something, but, whatever. We take the holiday in June every year.
I spent the weekend at a little town in the bush where they were celebrating 150 years since German settlers made their home there (including my forebears). They had a German festival on Saturday night with yummy German food. Some guys wore lederhosen with long socks and those little hats with a feather. (surprisingly the younger ones looked pretty hot in their braces and leather shorts!) It was a blast.
A holiday back in April: I’ve been staying in a little cabin right on the banks of the Murray River, a big river here in Australia. We saw kangaroos hopping down to drink, also sulphur-crested white cockatoos – they actually flew right down to the water’s edge and waddled in for a drink! A laughing kookaburra (a kind of large kingfisher whose call sounds like loud laughing) flew right down and stole a piece of cheese my hubs had out ready to use for fishing bait. It just sat there in front of us and ate it. LOL. It was super peaceful and beautiful.
Back in July (their WINTER!!) I just love that!
Just came home from a midwinter holiday at the beach. It was great! We had a couple of sunny days when we could do some beach walking, but when it rained we just stayed in our lovely little unit on the beach with a perfect ocean view. Heaven.
We wanted to see some whales swim past (the humpbacks migrating north up the east coast of Australia for the winter) but we didn’t see any 🙁 One whale apparently had a baby when we were there, at a place about twenty minutes away. but we didn’t see momma or bubba 🙁
We went out for breakfast one morning on our holiday and had “Canadian style” buttermilk pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. Not sure if that’s what’s eaten in Canada, but it was super yum. I could hardly eat for the rest of the day, though cos it was so filling.
Saw quite a few emus and kangaroos on our trip, in their native habitats. Got a great photo of one VERY WET kangaroo on a rainy day.
BTW the weather here has officially hit 42.1 C. Eek! It’s 2.30 in the afternoon and the change isn’t here yet. A few small grass fires in the district but nothing too major (yet) thank goodness. I’m staying in with the air conditioner on!
Misc. Fun stuff about Jan!
About binge-watching: Hubs and I have been sucked into watching the Jack Ryan series on Amazon prime video. It’s REALLY GOOD!! Gripping!! :-0
My problem with watching netflix is that my husband and I often watch tv together but we don’t always have the same taste in shows. I need to find time when I can watch it in peace with no grumpy sighs from my other half.
About her job: I started with some new classes at work today. Fresh faces, all ready to start their new units of work and get a head start on 2020 classes. They’re always so keen at first – before the homework starts to pile on LOL. Then it starts to get old pretty quickly.
About fun Jan’s-life stuff: I’ve decided to do hampers/baskets of goodies for my Christmas present theme this year. I’m gonna have fun buying and making yummy little goodies and bits ‘n’ pieces to put in the baskets for people.
I’m minding two cats for my son while he is overseas for a month. We already have two cats so now we have a houseful. Around meal times there is lots of growling and laser eyes and threatening looks between the four of them. LOL. But otherwise they’re all getting on OK.
My tidying philosophy in a nutshell. —> I *know* 98% of that pile can be thrown out or taken to the thrift shop, but I have to go through the pile first just to check in case there’s anything I want to keep…… and maybe I’ll just do that *tomorrow*. LOL.
Did an accidental celebrity spotting thing yesterday. Sir Bob Geldof is in Australia at the moment, and I drove right past him on my way to choir practice last night. He was sitting on a park bench behind the venue where he was going to speak last night, just checkin’ his phone. But OMG it was him! I NEVER see celebrities.
My latest food fad is dried fruit salad – has got dried apples (yum) pears peaches apricots and sometimes more like dates or banana crisps as well – i buy it mixed already in a bag and it depends which one you buy. I’m also in love with dried mango slices. My doctor recommended dried fruit as a healthier snack. High fibre and keeps you full. Helps stop you craving those cookies and muffins I so love but shouldn’t have too often.
About reading: Over the past couple of years I’ve been rereading a few of the books that I loved when I was younger, and I found some of them very simplistic too. Maybe that’s what (used to) appeal? I like a bit more meat on the bone in what I read now. Oops I didn’t mean that to sound rude. LOL.
Oh yeah, I remember Beautiful Disaster. First book I read about a fight club. I had no idea what I was getting into LOL. But Travis was hot. An unforgettable book boyfriend. I wonder how I’d find it if I reread it now.
Sometimes I just couldn’t be bothered starting a new book so I play around looking at author websites, seeing what’s coming up, checking out GR friends fav bookshelves, reading reviews, downloading samples. It’s fun.
But other times I have a cleanup spree and go through my kindle deleting samples I downloaded AGES AGO and never tried. You know that moment when you look at a kindle sample and ask yourself, what the HECK was I thinking downloading a sample of THAT??????
…so many winners I have got from this blog. And the friendships too. *group hug* I checked, and I’ve only been blogging here since March 2016. Not even 3 years yet. A mere babe. It feels longer though (but in a good way).
And now… her favorites!
Here’s my list. According to my GoodReads lists, I’ve only read two five star (new) books this year. Whaaa?????? Still, i’ve read quite a few 3.5 and 4 star. I’ve also done quite a bit of rereading of old favs.
Here are my top 10 books for 2019:
1. Devil’s Daughter: The Ravenels meet The Wallflowers by Lisa Kleypas <— A beautiful HR about a young widow whose husband had sadly died of a chronic illness, leaving her with two young sons. She meets the hero West Ravenel who is H.O.T. He used to be a player when he was younger, but is now all growed up. Rawr. Lisa Kleypas is my fav HR author.
Jan: A beautifully written HR set in the 1870s with such a gorgeous couple. Sexy, romantic, charming, funny, intense, great secondary characters (including great kids) this book’s got the lot.
…a (rare) 5 star for me. *happy sigh* Oh yeah, it’s called Devil’s Daughter. :blush:
…If any of you remember one of her most loved previous books, Devil In Winter, this one is about Evie and Sebastian’s daughter.
I CAN’T WAIT for her new book, Chasing Cassandra: The Ravenels, due Feb 2020. *happy sigh*
2. Carry the World by Susan Fanetti <— One of her most beautiful books ever. A slow burn romance set in the wild Appalachian mountains in the Great Depression. Those mountain men? Oh yeah…… I LOVED this book.
Maryse: YESSSS!!! I read this one and LOVED it too. Wholeheartedly agree, my friend!
Robyn: I fell in love with Susan Fanetti’s Carry The World.
Jan: Carry The World. It’s still one of my best reads for 2019, and I know I’ll reread it some time.
Marion: Carry the world was very well written and seemly well researched. The connections between the characters were so vivid. Definitely on the best of 2019 list.
3. Hidden Worthiness (The Pagano Brothers Book 2) by Susan Fanetti <— Welp, looking back, it seems as if I’ve been a big Susan Fanetti fan this year, because FOUR of her books made my top 10 list. Wha????? Two more in her terrific mafia series were both really good reads: Hidden Worthiness (Donnie with his scarred face, who falls for a ballerina. Lovely story)
Jan: Hidden Worthiness (Pagano Brothers #2). A rare book I just didn’t want to put down. Just HAD to turn the page to see what happened next for the scarred, reclusive mafia dude and his ballerina. …a darkish romance…
Julie O: Jan, Absolutely loved HIDDEN WORTHINESS also. Read it a couple a months ago.
4. Accidental Evils (The Pagano Brothers Book 3) by Susan Fanetti <— Also in this series, Accidental Evils. Tony and Billy (Billy is a woman). Tony is an enforcer, but Fametti’s beautiful writing allows you to see inside him and root for his redemption.
Jan: …really liked it, even though some of the characters are pretty f*ed up people…
5. Soul’s Fire (The Northwomen Sagas Book 3) by Susan Fanetti <— Also by Fanetti, Soul’s Fire, a terrific HR set in Viking times. Some very confronting scenes, but if you hang in there, it’s a very powerful and beautiful love story of a Viking shield maiden and an English prince. Loved it.
Jan: It’s been around for a while, but I just read it. Cool Viking HR. Beautiful love story with a hot English prince and a kicka$$ Viking shieldmaiden.
6. Necessary Restorations (The Walsh Series Book 3) by Kate Canterbary <— In other news, I did read some non-Fanettis LOL. I discovered the Walshes series by Kate Canterbary. Really liked the whole series. I’ll put Necessary Restorations up there in top ten. This was Sam and Tiel’s story. The series is about a Boston-based group of siblings who have an architecture/ building business.
Jan: I really like this world of the Walsh family of Boston architects, and the ins-and-outs of their complicated love lives.
7. Remnant Population: A Novel by Elizabeth Moon is a bit of an odd one out in my top ten because it’s science fiction and not a romance. Not a new book either, but I only discovered it this year. The heroine is aged about 70. Unusual. But it’s a terrific book, about the wisdom of age, and first contact with unique aliens.
Jan: …it’s quite unique and I really enjoyed it. Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon. The h is in her 70s LOL but it’s REALLY good. Beautiful story about first contact with aliens.
8. Kiwi Rules (New Zealand Ever After Book 1) by Rosalind James is a lovely romance between an American woman visiting New Zealand and an ex-navy SEAL who has an artificial leg due to losing his during active service. I really enjoyed it.
Jan: Kiwi Rules by Rosalind James It’s a good CR and you don’t have to be a New Zealander to enjoy it LOL. …Intriguing setting in New Zealand.
9. Between the Devil and Ian Eversea: Pennyroyal Green Series by Julie Anne Long is a lovely historical romance. An orphaned American heiress and a war vet. (Oops sounds like Kiwi Rules but in England in the 1800s LOL. And he hasn’t lost a leg.) I really enjoyed this one too. It’s part of the Pennyroyal Green series, but I think could be read as a standalone.
Jan: Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long (who has also written some nice CRs btw). Like any series, some of the books are better than others.
But I just read two back-to-back and they were both crackers so I thought I’d share. It Happened One Midnight, and Between The Devil and Ian Eversea. Both really lovely love stories, with interesting characters who aren’t the usual cliche.
I think you could read either of them as standalones if you don’t want to tackle the whole lot (11 books plus a novella – eep!)
10. The Something about Her (The Opposites Attract Series Book 4) by Rachel Higginson <— I have enjoyed this whole series about a group of chefs and their love lives.
Jan: I liked the cover of The Something About Her. It was original and eye-catching. …This one is a nice change IMO.
Leslie M: The Something About Her. It was good…I enjoyed revisiting the gang. …It’s about Ezra’s sister and Vera’s brother.
P.S. Like Jan’s reading style? Find more of here favorites here:
- Reader Favorites – Jan’s 10 Books That Stayed With Her…
- Reader Favorites – Jan’s Favorite Low Angst Romance Books
- Reader Favorites – Jan’s Top 10 Reads of 2017
- Reader Favorites – Jan’s Best Books of 2018 List
➔➔➔ Looking for more of our favorite recommendations? Browse our “Ultimate Favorites Lists” here. Are you in the mood for a certain kind of story? Browse our favorite “genre/trope categories” here and our reader favorites lists too.
➔➔➔ Love Jan’s book taste? Check out more of her favorites lists here: Jan’s Favorites