MichelleS has been MIA for a few months now (she’s been incredibly busy and possibly overwhelmed), but I’m relieved to know her books kept her company throughout. I love our reading escapes. So despite her harder year, she’s taken some time to send us her favorites of 2019 (and it was specifically requested by a fellow reader) so she’s got a following here!!!
Misha: Just wondering if MichelleS submitted a favorites 2019 list this year? I love her taste in books and look for it each year. Thx.
YAY!!! Yes she did! 😀 But first, let’s take a look at her 2019 comment highlights:
About her life stuff:
MICHELLE S IS ALIVE AND WELL. She was not kidnapped by aliens. Missed you ladies. Family drama.
No more 5 hour long reading sessions. Too much life going on. I fall asleep by 10:30.
Been super busy because I’m putting my house on the market & moving (just ten miles away). Ugh. What a royal pain in the a** this is. Declutter, she said. My clutter is obviously not coming with the house! They stage them now like it’s HGTV. I’m exhausted.
About her tea: I take a bunch of tea bags & steep them for 5 minutes only (or else it gets bitter) in 4 cups of boiling hot water. Then I add ice & cold water to taste. The trick is a quick strong base. …Boil four cups water. Immediately add 2-3 big bags (I use Lipton ice tea blend).., steep 5 minutes. Then add enough ice and cold water to make a 2 quart-ish pitcher. And if you want it sweet, use simple syrup, not sugar direct (it’ll get cloudy).
French Macarons are the “it” thing here in North Dallas area. Shops popping up everywhere. My son’s GF loves them. I like them, too… but that custard sounds way more yummy to me! If I’m going to a French pastry shop, I’m eating a chocolate croissant… not a damn macaroon. Ha!
I love the BelVita cookies. I don’t need a ton, they are filling. Banana is one I like, and blueberry.
1. I have a little crush on Guy Fieri. No clue why. Just do.
2. Watched maybe 10 minutes of the Super Boring Bowl. Saw the Andy Warhol commercial. I don’t get it.
3. My fridge is 14 years old and shiny black like a giant coffin in my kitchen. But new one means new EVERYTHING so they match. Ugh.
My three songs! Left them off… Shape of You (Ed Sheeran), Havana, and Tennessee Whiskey. Listened to them ten thousand times, still not sick of them.
About her reading preferences:
I started “lurking” in 2011. Wow. Just wow!
Lately I’ve been craving exactly that… fantasy and not necessarily romance. I think I’ve overdone it and nothing surprises me anymore, but with a good fantasy… I get all the thrills. The world, the lore, the characters. There’s always a little romance, but it’s not the central theme. So much intrigue & backstabbing. Love it!
…story trumps romance.
I download WAY TOO MANY samples. Ugh. It’s a problem. You guys mention a book, I download the sample. Months later, I have no clue why I did.
I’ve never tried sorting by price! I’m a totally random shopper. I look at Recommendations for me, and you’re mentions. Random.
Brother’s Best Friend trope: I love this trope, maybe because while I never dated my brother’s best friend, I dated my best friend’s brother. Oh the drama!
I can’t do that “thing” with one eyebrow either, but can I tell you that I LOVE it when the guys in books do that? Does that make me crazy? Other crazy details I like – when he tucked her hair behind her ear, when he puts one ankle on his knee, when he puts both elbows on his knees, when he turns a chair around & straddles it, of course the arms crossing as he leans on the wall, and the mother of all hotness is when he puts both hands on the top of a door frame! Fanning myself. In some books, the hero does them all. Macho overload! Ha! I’m an idiot.
I don’t want his POV. No mystery, and usually totally wonky & unauthentic. They end up less macho.
I’m not a book hoarder. If I borrow it, I gotta at least try to read it. If I buy it, same. I don’t have a very big collection of TBRs. What I DO HAVE is a big list of DNFs… that I swear I’ll get to someday. Zombie Apocalypse maybe?
I’m just always searching for 5 star reads, and I just need to settle for 3-4 stars being okay.
And I’m too picky. I notice editing errors, and hate certain writing styles or use of words or phrases. They distract me from the story. And I don’t need everything plus the kitchen sink in a book! Keep it simple. Unless it’s Fantasy or PNR, then give me world building!!! And characters!!! Otherwise, just get on with the damn story already.
Happy New Year from Texas, y’all. I am alive. I have missed all of the wonderful conversations and all of you ladies so much. You have no idea. I am so glad that 2019 is in the past. It has been a really difficult year, but things are now finally calm and steady and i am BACK…. yay!
I am ready for 2020, and to leave 2019 far far behind. It’s why I have been MIA for a bit. I did get in some reading. It was what kept me sane.
Here were my favorites… in no particular order….
1. Best in a series I love (Urban Fantasy): Storm Cursed (A Mercy Thompson Novel Book 11) – Patricia Briggs – I still love Mercedes Thompson. What can I say? This series hasn’t burnt out yet (cough cough, Anita Blake, cough cough).
MichelleS: …miniature zombie goats! Mercy Thompson will undoubtedly land as my favorite read anytime a new one is released. That seriesis still going strong. Adam was extra swoony touchy feely in this one. Wish there would have been a Bran sighting.
2. Second best in a Series (Urban Fantasy) Nevermore (Crossbreed Series Book 6) – Dannika Dark – I love this series, and it just keeps getting better. Dannika Dark has created a totally believable world and I am all in. This is a stand out urban fantasy series for fans of Patricia Briggs.
3. Best in a new Series (Paranormal) Dragon Slayer (Sons of Rome Book 3) – Lauren Gilley. This is a STANDOUT paranormal series. I love this author. She gave us Candyman and Mercy, after all, but her paranormal writing is really amazing. These books just keep getting better. If you are looking for a new paranormal series to LOVE, give this one a shot. Totally original.
MichelleS: …Mixing paranormal with historical figures & it totally works. Great characters & amazing story telling. Set in our world. Just freaking fantastic. …It’s a LOOONG book, just like her others. Happy happy camper here!
4. Best “rock star, lost him got him back” romance: In the In the Unlikely Event – LJ Shen – This was a doozy. You love and hate him. You cheer and cry, and throw the book, and then quickly pick it up so you don’t miss a thing.
5. Second best “rock star romance”: Jersey Six – Jewel E. Ann – oooh – this was a good one! I love a good story that shocks and surprises me. She is another favorite author that did not disappoint.
MichelleS: Jersey Six, by Jewel E Ann. OMG!! It had everything. Romance, suspense, mystery, rock star, everything unraveling slowly… surely will be best of July & on the best of 2019 list FOH SHO! I devoured it. This girl can write. We know this!! Throwing peanuts your way Maryse.
…dark and oftentimes unlikeable, but DANG, I couldn’t put it down. The reveals? Didn’t see one coming at all. Not easy to relate to anyone in the story… but, it had my attention the whole way through… and for that it ranks high up for me.
…You know when you love an author’s style so much you’re not ready to leave it just yet? Yeah, that was me.
6. Best Time Travel Romance: What the Wind Knows – Amy Harmon – This was one was so dang good y’all. It’s a time travel romance and has all the feels. Seriously. You will not be disappointed.
MichelleS: I’ve been busy busy busy. I did finish What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon and LOVED IT. It had that Outlander feel, except only ONE BOOK. Woohoo. …it’s the kind of book you savor…
7. Best of TJ Klune: it’s a TIE!!!!
The Bones Beneath My Skin – TJ Klune – probably my favorite read of 2019. It was completely unforgettable. I could not put this book down. Again, m/m…. and TJ Klune….. but who cares? This story will grab you and keep you engrossed.
Heartsong (Green Creek Book 3) – T.J.Klune – this is book 3 in the series, and I just love love love the Bennetts! I want to join their pack. Great werewolf lore and it’s TJ Klune, so I don’t have to say anymore.
8. Best Contemporary Romance: The Simple Wild: A Novel – K.A. Tucker – I put this one on the list because I remember it! You know how you read some contemporary romance and forget what it was about a few weeks later? Well, this one stuck with me. Great when you want a totally believable romance. Loved the setting too. Made me want to go to Alaska!
9. Best Light Read: Cinderella Boy – Kristina Meister – I adored this one. I still remember everything, which is always a good sign that a book was really a 5 star read. It was another m/m, with humor and a great set of secondary characters. For those who want that “Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda” feel, this is the one.
MichelleS: HAD to come try to convince BEV to read it!!! It’s called Cinderella Boy by K Meister. Reminded me of Simon vs… which is what made me think of Bev. So so good. All the feels. Coming of age m/m, for those who like that genre. Just what I was hoping for from a summer read…
10. Best “what the heck was THAT?” read: Only Trick– Jewel E Ann – I love anything she writes, and this was another favorite. It met my “mind fu#&ery” fix.
11. Best “Forbidden Romance” read: Crossed Lines – Lana Sky – I always like to throw that trope in some time, and this hit the mark. She was so bad that you had to like her. And it’s not nearly as creepy as it sounds!
MichelleS: Stayed up late to finish. It was a doozie. Well written. From her POV, which was jaded and lost and biting. Didn’t predict a thing in this one. Enjoyed the ride. 5 stars for keeping my interest the whole way through. Forbidden romance. Big age gap. Loss & trauma.
Crossed Lines, has a mean girl. It’s her defense mechanism, but it was very authentic. And I never hated her for it.
12. Best historical/paranormal: Gentleman Wolf (Capital Wolves duet Book 1) – Joanna Chambers – this was a stand out for me because of the historical setting. It’s an m/m romance, and it just feels “elegant”, if that makes sense.
So… still the same ole’ same ole’ for me. I haven’t changed much. 4 out of 12 were m/m, and that sounds about right. Some paranormal and fantasy – always need that. Lots of favorite authors… they almost always deliver.
Looking forward to 2020!