It’s Michele G’s turn and she’s one of our super-readers and our super-book recommenders and I just LOVE her love of reading. And I love that she always has great tried-and-true recommendations for us. 😀
But first… let’s get to know her better from her 2019 wonderful year highlights:
About Michele’s reading life:
I go back and forth between it and my tablet for reading but it’s not that I don’t like it…I just have the option to do so. It’s kind of a habit for me.
As a sidenote: I thought about the Oasis too but primarily for the waterproof feature so when the Paperwhite came out with that and was soooo much less expensive…and I could read it in the sunshine, it was an easy purchase.
I like being able to read in my pool and in the sun with no issues. I confess that I still read through my Kindle app on a tablet as well – – so basically I’m an indecisive one too as I like to have options 😉
The only time lately that I somewhat like getting the male POV is when they are seeing things totally different from the woman. Otherwise, I don’t want to know what’s in their head at all…it ruins everything. Usually, I’d rather know about the confusion and how they saw things differently AFTER the fact too.
Love love love a good bully book!
About Love After Loss Romance books: This is my catnip!
…a few years back I about drove myself nuts trying to find a book I saw here on Maryse’s site and didn’t add to my list. Now, I add everything to my list if I think I may be interested. Then I have subgroups on there for tracking other stuff…like whether it’s KU or sometimes I already own these silly books …from back in the day when I didn’t track myself very well. But yes…my TBR is WAYYYY out of control.
About her life in 2019:
I totally enjoyed my pool this weekend. Floated and listened to audiobooks and drank a skinny marg (or two…) I listened to The Art of Racing in the Rain because I wanted to either read or listen to it before I see the movie. OMG, so good! I mean, don’t get me wrong, there were tears shed, but not necessarily the ones I anticipated.
As much as I complain about maintaining my pool (and trust me I complain), I spent all of yesterday afternoon in it. Today, I wouldn’t get rid of it if you paid me. I needed to just be. I was having a rough day and I got in a float with music and cocktails and let myself totally veg. It was wonderful…except, I forgot the sunscreen…so I’m a bit red chested today.
My pool is getting closed today (for the season)…boo. So, I floated for a few hours yesterday to get my fix in! Of course, the weather is still in the upper 80’s for the next 3 days but I’m working and my hubby is tired of fishing the neighbor’s leaves out…and we have to eventually close it here in the Midwest anyway …so he won out…but I stretched it to October 1st 🙂
The leaves are turning – yay! The weather today is a bit yucky with the threat of rain and chilly temps. Yesterday was cool, but sunny – – basically a perfect fall day. I took a nice walk and listened to an audiobook – it was awesome!
1. I’m back from my annual 5 day girls trip to Maryse’s neck of the woods…Florida. I’m exhausted and my liver needs a full on detox. Did you all miss me??
2. I had one of the best dinners in quite a while on my trip and finished it with a scrumptious dessert beverage…key lime pie martini…oh.my.goodness! Decadent! …the Key Lime Pie martini was unbelievable…it had a graham cracker crumb rimmed glass…I’m just sayin’…flat out incredible!
3. I’m way behind on my reading. However, I did finish reading Fake Date by Monica Murphy last night – it’s #2 in her Dating series. I think I liked it even more than the first one. It was an enemies to lovers vibe. It was a super fun read…
I’m originally from Asheville…. …I’m a country girl at heart and have to support the hometown boy and his music is fantastic – – gotta go with Luke Combs!
Woo Hoo on your Instant Pot!!! You’ll love it…I use mine but not nearly as much as my air fryer…it gets used constantly!!
I loved Disney when my kiddos were little. Funny thing is they all want to go back even though they are all grown now…sniffle. …You never outgrow Disney!!
My babies are all basically grown now…not that they act it of course (22, 21 and 19 – I’m so old). I remember the summers where we ran from soccer games to baseball games to dance recitals and so on. I never batted an eye because it was just what we did and I loved every minute of it!!
My daughter graduates from college at 5:30 Sunday night. I’m super proud…she’s graduating with honors. When is the honors ceremony? 8:30 Saturday morning. I mean, could they plan this any more inconveniently? :-0 Anyway, she’s totally thrilled. She gets 8 days off and then she starts back to do an Accelerated Nursing Program for 15 months. As the non-science person in the family, I am awed! I think she’s an absolute rockstar!
Michele G’s Best Books of 2019 List
I read over 300 books in 2019. I’m not bragging but it’s really been a struggle to limit my favorites to 10…so I gave up and kept it to “around” 20. Here you go….
Everything You Want Me to Be: A Novel by Mindy Mejia
This book left me totally speechless. It was so much more than just a psych thriller or a mystery. If you look at my GR review, I have this book tagged on so many of my shelves that it’s simply ridiculous. This book really has serious “chops” – – it played on my emotions as I learned more about each character and what they had experienced. Ms. Mejia definitely knows how to tell a story in a way that you become totally invested.
It broke my heart a little at a time…and to quote my review…
“When I read the final heartbreaking lines of the last chapter, I was flat out crying. Yep, it was that good.”
Last Summer: A Novel by Kerry Lonsdale
I read this book in a day because I was absolutely obsessed with figuring out the mystery that was tucked into the storyline. As a warning, I didn’t always like the characters’ actions but that was part of the story and I had to go with it. It was a really creative storyline and I enjoyed it in all of its twisty goodness!
Evvie Drake Starts Over: A Novel by Linda Holmes
“Evvie Drake Starts Over is about life and how it can break you. I know it sounds tragic, but it really isn’t. Because through the brokenness, you also see how to find beauty in everyday things and how to eventually put yourself back together…sometimes with a little help. It’s life and even when it’s messy, it’s still a wonderful gift.” <— This is an excerpt from my review and for me it perfectly sums up this book.
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
“I absolutely loved everything about this book — even the tears that it made me shed.” <— from my review.
Some people compared this book to a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Lord of the Flies. To be honest, it’s pretty spot on as a description. It was a true dystopian gem and yet it also had a social conscience. There were some messages tucked into the storyline that spoke to the way women treat one another and it is sadly true. Instead of lifting one another up, too often women tear one another down.
Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I loved this one so much that I read an early ARC of the book and then later listened to the audio version as well. I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. However, I have to say the audio of this is absolutely stellar! Just so you know, this isn’t a typical love story…it’s actually not really a love story at all…but yet it is…and at the same time, it’s so much more! Love, love, love!
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
“Only the wind knows which truly comes first.”
This book was beautifully written in every sense of the word. It was a heartfelt love story told with 1921 Ireland as its backdrop. Every aspect of this story blended together seamlessly and I absolutely adored it!
How To Love A Duke in Ten Days (Devil You Know Book 1) by Kerrigan Byrne
This book really blew me away! Years ago, I went through a phase where I read historical romances almost exclusively. That said, it’s now very hard to truly impress me with one. Let’s just say, I’m now a huge Kerrigan Byrne fan and plan to read many more of her books! This book had a storyline that pulled me in and didn’t let go until the last page was finished. It was something special!
Contemporary Romance (After Heartbreak):
The Five Stages of Falling in Love by Rachel Higginson
I know this book is a little older, but I just read it this year. It was a PFM one month…and I believe I have Grey to thank. This excerpt from my review sums up my thoughts…
“This was such a beautiful book about survival, hope, resilience and love. On a lighter note, I think we all need a Ben Tyler. I’m just saying that I don’t believe a more perfect man has ever been written in a book before – – he’s the absolute BEST!”
Riders on the Storm: Waiting for the Sun, Part Two by Robin Hill
Frankie and Darian totally have my heart and I was so excited to get the continuation of their story. Again, I’m going to let an excerpt from my review speak for me…
“As much as I loved this story, one should be aware, it is titled Riders on the Storm for a reason…it gets stormy!!! It is not a sweet little story. It is loaded with some intensely emotional and angst-filled moments….”
“….I believe that when an author possesses a talent strong enough to make me feel something completely amazing with just their words, they have an incredible ability….”
“Until heaven stops the rain
And the sun no longer shines
I’m gonna love you…”
Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Ms. Hoover strikes again with a twist in the beginning that I didn’t have time to see coming. This story is about the loved ones left behind after tragically losing someone suddenly. It isn’t just the loss that they have to deal with but all the messiness that was left behind as well. The main characters in this book struggle for a while but when they finally get their footing, it’s wonderful to see. It shows how resilient the human spirit can be even in the face of such heartbreak. Great book!
Just Ten Seconds by Jeannine Colette
Just Ten Seconds is a wonderful, yet heartbreaking story of loss and how you move forward afterward. It has a few other things tucked into the storyline as well that keep you flipping pages. It’s a great story with some memorable characters! To quote my review…
“I absolutely loved everything about this book, even if it did make me cry. Ms. Colette broke me apart with her words, but then kindly wove me back together.”
Cowboy/Rodeo (along with After Heartbreak):
Never Enough (Meet Me in Montana Book 1) by Kelly Elliott
“You’re the light I didn’t even know I was searching for.”
I read an ARC of this book and was hoping it would be a fun read. Holy crap! I absolutely fell in love with this book and its characters! Brock is a widower who has been drowning in his grief. He has a son who he’s basically relied greatly on his parents to help him raise. In comes Lincoln…she and Brock have an instant attraction but of course, he is going to deny it …so she does too. This book really checked all of my boxes and then some. Kelly Elliott is definitely on my new list of “go to authors” and I look forward to reading more by her!
Rapture: A Novel by N.N. Britt
I absolutely loved meeting Hazel and Justice! She is a grieving mother and he is a cocky rockstar with his own issues. Fate brings them together and it’s simply wonderful. Their story isn’t an easy one. They have so many things against them. If you haven’t read this book yet, I have to say “buckle up” and dig in …it’s a great ride!!
Cherry Beats: A Rock Star Romance by Vicki James
I adored this story!! It was a great rockstar romance with it’s own special elements. Presley and Tess (aka Cherry) quickly became one of my new favorite couples. This was the first book of Ms. James that I’ve read but I’ll definitely be reading more!!
These two books are the final two in The Folk of the Air series. I loved them both and they each took a spot in my favorites for 2019. The first in the series, The Cruel Prince, was on my list last year…so basically, this entire series was remarkable! I both read and listened to the audio with these and both were fabulous!
Someday, Someday by Emma Scott
Wow! Emma Scott proved that she can literally write ANYTHING…and write it WELL! This book her first venture in writing M/M. It was truly something special and I loved every page. Silas and Max were fabulous characters who had both been through traumatic experiences in finding their way through their sexuality and ultimately to one another. It was an incredible storyline. In my review, I called it “one of the most powerful storylines I’ve read in a while…” and it absolutely was!!
Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston
I was fortunate enough to land an ARC of this gem after one of my book friends went into full-on rave about how wonderful it was. She wasn’t wrong! This book was a terrific read for me. I’ve always loved books with a royal storyline…so this one fit right into that niche with a few little changes here and there. To write a M/M storyline where the Prince of England and the US President’s son fall in love…this was pure brilliance! (Oh…and they are enemies to start with so I also got the Enemies to Lovers vibe too which I absolutely love!!)
A Really Bad Idea by Jeannine Colette
A Really Bad Idea is the story of two best friends who stumble into the realization that they are in love…all while trying to get pregnant. Yep…it’s a great story…and Dr. Christian Gallagher is at the top of my book boyfriend list!
“Whoever said sex doesn’t change things never went to bed with their best friend.”
Transcend & Epoch by Jewel E. Ann
This was another series I was late to the party on…but wow…they were amazing books! Jewel E. Ann is definitely at her best with this duet. No doubt about it! I don’t quite know how to describe them as they were incredibly unique. It was a combo of after heartbreak, single dad, mystery, romance and so much more. This series is among my all-time faves…
“In another life, she was my forever.”