Amber’s Top 10 Books of 2019

Posted January 3, 2020 by Amber in Year in Review / 0 Comments

by Brittainy C. Cherry, Casey McQuiston, Colleen Hoover, David Yoon, Elle Kennedy, Kennedy Ryan, L.J. Shen, Mariana Zapata, Sarina Bowen, Taylor Jenkins Reid


2019 has come and gone in the blink of an eye…or so it sometimes seems.  But I managed to read some wonderfully awesome books throughout the year.  And 2020 is looking like it will be filled with great reads as well.

I wrapped up 2019 with having read 109 books in the Goodreads reading challenge.  I highly recommend you all set a reading goal and Goodreads is a great platform to track your progress along with your friends.  I’ve included a link to my Goodreads Year in Books.  Here are my top 10 titles of 2019 – in no particular order.  – Amber

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Now I actually listened to this one…I’m a devote lover of audiobooks as well.  And let me tell you that the audiobook recording is fantastic.  Each character is represented by a different and unique voice.  Totally makes the experience that much more!

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ‘n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.


Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This one is just too perfect that I actually read it twice…ok I listened to the audiobook the 2nd time around.  Now this is a Gay Romance, so if it’s not your cup of tea, that’s understandable.  But it’s not graphic in anyway and it’s just a beautiful love story.

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.


Maybe Now by Colleen Hoover

Colleen gave her fans a treat with the 2nd book in what became her Maybe series.  Maybe Someday by Colleen is perhaps my favorite book of hers so a chance to reconnect with these characters was quite a joy!

What is more important? Friendship, loyalty or love?
Colleen Hoover and Griffin Peterson collaborate once again to bring fans of Maybe Someday back into the musical world of Ridge and Sydney.
And Maggie.
And Warren and Bridgette.

This is a follow-up to the NYT bestselling novel, Maybe Someday. It should be read after Maybe Someday and the novella spinoff, Maybe Not in the series.

Frankly In Love by David Yoon

This is a YA title that I surprisingly loved.  And I loved the humor throughout the story…even the title is a play on the main character’s name.  Again, this was an audiobook and the narration was great.  I’m looking forward to the 2nd book in this series.

High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.


Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

This writing duo can do no wrong (in my opinion).  I love them both equally and when the two get together to co-write, it is always a favorite.  And just as the title suggests, this one was a secret.  The two kept this one under wraps until they made their announcement…with the book releasing almost immediately afterwards.  Again, this one is a Gay Romance…you’ve been warned.

LobsterShorts, 21
Jock. Secretly a science geek. Hot AF.

LobsterShorts: So. Here goes. For her birthday, my girlfriend wants…a threesome.

SinnerThree: Then you’ve come to the right hookup app.

LobsterShorts: Have you done this sort of thing before? With another guy?

SinnerThree: All the time. I’m an equal opportunity player. You?

LobsterShorts: [crickets!]

SinnerThree, 21
Finance major. Secretly a male dancer. Hot AF.

SinnerThree: Well, I’m down if you are. My life is kind of a mess right now. School, work, family stress. Oh, and I live next door to the most annoying dude in the world. I need the distraction. Are you sure you want this?

LobsterShorts: I might want it a little more than I’m willing to admit.

SinnerThree: Hey, nothing wrong with pushing your boundaries…

LobsterShorts: Tell that to my control-freak father. Anyway. What if this threesome is awkward?

SinnerThree: Then it’s awkward. It’s not like we’ll ever have to see each other again. Right? Just promise you won’t fall in love with me.

LobsterShorts: Now wouldn’t that be life-changing…


Eleanor & Grey by Brittainy C. Cherry

This one is an emotional roller-coaster of a love story.  And along with it, the reader is introduced to the best friends – they they have their own story which is also a top 2019 read.  Brittainy is a great writer and her story lines and character development is one of the best.  If you haven’t read anything by this author, you can’t go wrong with anything she’s released.

Greyson East left his mark on me.

As the young girl who first fell for him, I didn’t know much about life. I did know about his smiles, though, and his laughs, and the strange way my stomach flipped when he was near.

Life was perfect…until it wasn’t, and when we were forced to go our separate ways, I held on to our memories, let go of my first crush, and wished for the day I’d find him again.

When my wish came true, it was nothing like I imagined.

I couldn’t have known when I took the nanny position that it would be his children I looked after, that my new boss would be that boy I used to know, that boy who was now a man—a cold, lonely, detached man.

The smile and laugh I had loved so much were gone, now distant memories. Every part of him was covered in a fresh pain.

When he realized who I was, he made me promise to do my job and my job only.
He made me promise not to try to get to know him, not to recall the memories I’d treasured all this time.

But, sometimes, I saw the boy I’d once known in his stormy eyes. I saw the Greyson who smiled and laughed, who had stolen a young girl’s heart, and there was no doubt in my mind that this boy was worth fighting for.

I was given a second chance with the one who’d left his mark on me. All I hoped was that somehow I’d leave a mark on his soul, too.

Hoops Series by Kennedy Ryan

I couldn’t separate one title from this series. They are each equally well written and an interesting storyline with interconnecting characters.  I suggest you start this one from the beginning…they are well worth the time investment.


Broken Knight by L.J. Shen

There is just something about this book…perhaps it is the beautiful cover that grabbed my attention, I don’t quite know.  This is actually the 2nd book in Leigh’s All Saints High series (Pretty Reckless is also quite enjoyable) and All Saints High is a spin-off of her incredibly popular Sinners of Saint series.

Not all love stories are written the same way. Ours had torn chapters, missing paragraphs, and a bittersweet ending.

Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.

Underneath the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves (yet pities) is a girl who knows exactly what, and who, she wants—namely, the boy from the treehouse who taught her how to curse in sign language.
Who taught her how to laugh.
To live.
To love.
Knight Cole is everyone’s favorite football hero.

This daredevil hell-raiser could knock you up with his gaze alone, but he only has eyes for the girl across the street: Luna.

But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore.
When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he’s forced to realize not all knights are heroes.

Sometimes, the greatest love stories flourish in tragedy.


Kulti by Mariana Zapata

I continued on with my love of Mariana Zapata’s stories.  If you’re in the mood for a slow burn…and I mean very slow burn, then Mariana is your girl!  Personally, I have found that I have certain authors that I prefer to listen to their titles rather than read them and this is true for Mariana Zapata.  I think because her books are quite long and very detailed, that they are naturally a great title to listen to. 

“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.

It didn’t take a week for 27-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon – why she’d ever had his posters on her wall or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.


Superfan by Sarina Bowen

As I’ve mentioned numerous times throughout my history with Girls with Books, I love Sarina Bowen.  And her Brooklyn Bruisers series in particular.  This year Sarina released 2 titles in the Bruisers atmosphere…well, one specifically in the series and one a spin-off with character tie-ins with the series.  Both of which were favorites of mine.  And her upcoming 2020 continuation of the True North series, Heartland is one of my most anticipated titles.

Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing girl in the world. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.

While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.

Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.







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