7 Books I Read and Fell in Love with in 2019

If you’ve read my previous posts of this kind (2016, 2017, 2018), you already know how it goes:

  1. This is a list of books I read in 2019; not all of them came out that year (but most did);
  2. The books are listed in the order in which I’ve reviewed them, not by how much I loved them (I’ve also included their release dates according to Amazon);
  3. I’m sticking to one book per author, but I reserve the right to include in the HONORABLE MENTIONS another work by an author who is present in my FELL IN LOVE WITH section.

That’s it.

Without further ado, here are the seven books I FELL IN LOVE WITH in 2019, followed by five HONORABLE MENTIONS. We start off with

A Body in a Bathhouse (A Mitch O’Reilly Mystery, Book 1*)

A Body In A Bathhouse - A Mitch O'Reilly Mystery, Book 1 by Brad Shreve

*This book can be read as a standalone as each book will be about a new case

Author: Brad Shreve

Themes and genres: Mystery, Contemporary, LGBT, detective, PI

Publication date: March 14, 2019

Date of my review: March 14

Blurb:

Nearly bankrupt, wise-cracking private investigator, Mitch O’Reilly, divides his time accepting any investigation gig that comes his way, while half-heartedly running his Eye Spy Supply shop in a forgotten Los Angeles strip mall.

Two tours in Afghanistan have left Mitch a broken man whose social life amounts to enduring his fun-loving sister, Josie, and hooking up with anonymous men he meets online. That may change when he gets his big break. A beloved comedy scriptwriter is murdered at a bathhouse, and Mitch is hired to prove the innocence of the club custodian. In addition, the flirtatious club manager, Trent Nakos, has Mitch reexamining his belief that there should be no emotional entanglements associated with sex.

While Mitch investigates the bathhouse murder, he learns there’s more to investigate than just a dead body. He must choose between continuing a case that could finally put him on the map or drop the case to protect the one he loves.

Read my review here.

Jude (Lucky, Book 3*)

Jude - Lucky by Garrett Leigh

*This book can be read as a standalone

Author: Garrett Leigh

Themes and genres: Contemporary LGBT Romance, bi, gay, coming out

Publication date: March 24, 2019

Date of my review: April 12

Blurb:

Isha has spent the last year watching his BFF get his happily-ever-after. He’s proud of Dom, but…it hurts to see him so free while Isha’s love life is still on lockdown. Only Isha’s ex-wife knows the secret that he’s kept caged for so long—that he’s queer too, and he’s lonely.

Jude’s too chained to his work to notice what he’s missing by being terminally single, but a new face in the village soon catches his attention. City boy Isha is gorgeous, and when he starts to haunt Jude’s reptile shop as well as the hook-up app on his phone, he’s a welcome distraction from Jude’s business problems.

For a control freak like Isha, letting Jude under his skin is an existential meltdown, but Jude’s not in the market to be anyone’s queer crisis, not when he’s facing troubles of his own. Unlocking their lives could push both men apart forever, but it might be a risk worth taking if sharing is the key to their happy future.

Read my review here.

Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, Book 1)

Skulduggery Pleasant - Skulduggery Pleasant, Book 1 by Derek Landy

Author: Derek Landy

Themes and genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery, magic, humor

Publication date: September 04, 2008 (this is the date for the e-book; I believe the print version came out in 2007)

Date of my review: May 12

Blurb:

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant

Ace Detective

Snappy Dresser

Razor–tongued Wit

Crackerjack Sorcerer

and

Walking, Talking,

Fire-throwing Skeleton

—as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old.

These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.

The end of the world?

Over his dead body.

Read my review here.

This is the oldest book in the post and one of the four on here (honorable mentions included) that were not published in 2019.

Here Comes Trouble (Nothing Special, Book 3)

Here Comes Trouble - Nothing Special, Book 3 by A.E. Via

Author: A.E. Via

Narrator: Aiden Snow

Themes and genres: Contemporary LGBT Romance, crime, gay, bisexual, friends to lovers

Publication date for the book: November 28, 2014

Publication date for the audiobook: July 02, 2019

Date of my review: July 26

Blurb:

Detectives Mark Ruxsberg and Chris Green are very good at their jobs. Being the enforcers for God and Day’s notorious Atlanta PD Narcotics Task Force causes the crazy duo to get into more trouble than they can often get out of. The pair never misses out on an opportunity to drive their lieutenants crazy with their dangerous, reckless, and costly stunts, landing them in the hot seat in front of God…often.

Ruxs and Green love their jobs and they don’t mind the very demanding schedule that leaves them little time for socializing or dating. It’s fine with them, they enjoy hanging out with each other anyway.

However, most of the men in their close circle of friends and colleagues are pairing off and settling down. God has Day, Ro has Johnson, and their Sergeant Syn has Furious.
For the past several years, Ruxs has only sought out the advice and company of one person, his partner and best friend Green, and vice versa. Both of these alpha males are presumed straight, but neither can deny the heat that’s building in their once-“just friends” relationship.

Read my review here.

A little note about Here Comes Trouble: some might consider me including this one cheating as I didn’t read it, but listened to the audio version. However, it’s a book I like and I haven’t listened to enough audiobooks to create a separate list for them, so I’m putting it here.

The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase

The Elements of Eloquence How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase by Mark Forsyth

Author: Mark Forsyth

Themes and genres: Non-fiction, writing guides, advice, tips

Publication date: November 07, 2013

Date of my review: August 12

Blurb:

In an age unhealthily obsessed with substance, this is a book on the importance of pure style.

From classic poetry to pop lyrics and from the King James Bible to advertising slogans, Mark Forsyth explains the secrets that make a phrase – such as ‘Tiger, tiger, burning bright’ or ‘To be or not to be’ – memorable.

In his inimitably entertaining and witty style he takes apart famous lines and shows how you too can write like Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde. Whether you’re aiming for literary immortality or just an unforgettable one-liner, The Elements of Eloquence proves that you don’t need to have anything to say – you simply need to say it well.

Read my review here.

Yes, I’m including a non-fiction book as well. Like with the audiobook: this is a good book and I don’t have enough non-fic reviews to post it in a separate list.

Conspiracy Theory (Hamarsson & Dempsey, Book 1)

Conspiracy Theory - Hamarsson & Dempsey, Book 1 by Elle Keaton

Author: Elle Keaton

Themes and genres: Contemporary LGBT Romance, Mystery, gay, crime, murder, detective, investigation

Publication date: October 04, 2019

Date of my review: October 18

Blurb:

Years of grueling police work have left Niall Hamarsson jaded and disillusioned with life…although it’s likely he’s been that way all along. The last straw lands when the DA refuses to try a case Niall worked for years to bring to justice. Within hours he finds himself heading to the only place he’s ever been able to call home—a place he knows he doesn’t belong.

Mat Dempsey returned to Piedras Island after his father’s death. These days he’s Island County’s sheriff. He’s happy enough, even if moving home from San Francisco effectively forced him back into the closet. Mat’s well-ordered universe collapses when a local’s body is discovered floating in the cold waters of Hidden Harbor’s marina. All hell breaks loose in the community, and accusations fly…all coinciding with Niall Hamarsson’s return.

Niall and Mat have a history, and it’s not one Mat’s proud of. He owes Niall an apology, even if it means getting down on his knees. However, Mat’s first priority is investigating the murder before his community tears itself apart and he may have to ask the aloof Niall Hamarsson for help.

Push apart, pull together, yes or no… The chemistry crackles between them but will the two men be able to put aside their pasts and embrace a future?

Read my review here.

Taming Demons for Beginners – The Guild Codex: Demonized, Book 1

Taming Demons for Beginners - The Guild Codex Demonized, Book 1 by Annette Marie

Author: Annette Marie

Themes and genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy, magic, demons

Publication date: September 13, 2019

Date of my review: November 11

Blurb:

Rule one: Don’t look at the demon.

When I arrived at my uncle’s house, I expected my relatives to be like me—outcast sorcerers who don’t practice magic. I was right about the sorcery, but wrong about everything else.

Rule two: Don’t listen to the demon.

My uncle chose a far deadlier power. He calls creatures of darkness into our world, binds them into service contracts, and sells them to the highest bidder. And I’m supposed to act like I don’t know how illegal and dangerous it is.

Rule three: Don’t talk to the demon.

All I had to do was keep my nose out of it. Pretend I didn’t find the summoning circle in the basement. Pretend I didn’t notice the shadowy being trapped inside it. Pretend I didn’t break the rules.

But I did, and now it’s too late.

Read my review here.

Funny this ended up being the last in the FELL IN LOVE WITH section; if I was listing the books by how much I enjoyed them, it would’ve been in my Top 3.

And now for the HONORABLE MENTIONS, again in order in which I’ve reviewed them.

Cash (Lucky, Book 2*)

cash - lucky, book 2 by garrett leigh

*This book can be read as a standalone

Author: Garrett Leigh

Themes and genres: Contemporary LGBT Romance, gay, bisexual, hunting saboteurs

Publication date: January 22, 2019

Date of my review: January 22

Blurb:

Cash is a car mechanic with a secret. Head down, sleeves up, he hides from the past as much as his shattered heart, until a reluctant stumble into a Tottenham bar ends in the one night stand of his dreams.

Hunt saboteur Rae can’t believe his luck when he wakes up the next morning. Cash is gorgeous, and the hottest hook up he’s ever had. He doesn’t expect to see him again, until a twist of fate lands him on Cash’s doorstep a few months later.

United by a cause that’s broken Cash before, they are drawn together. They have more in common than they ever imagined, but with Cash haunted by the past, and Rae so tangled in the present, it’s not long before love isn’t enough to keep them alive.

Read my review here.

Kiss and Ride (standalone)

kiss and ride by teodora kostova

Author: Teodora Kostova

Themes and genres: Contemporary LGBT Romance, gay

Publication date: December 01, 2016

Date of my review: January 29

Blurb:

What happens when you meet the right guy at the wrong time?

When Vincent Alesi’s estranged father dies, he gets on the first plane from New York city to Rome to be at the memorial service. Even if he has to max out his credit card. Even if he hates the man for leaving him. Even if it’s a day before Christmas.

Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and Vin ends up trusting a complete stranger with all his secrets, even the ones he didn’t know he had.

Luca Romano’s job as a flight attendant takes him all over the world. But a jet-setting lifestyle is not what he wants. His dream of opening his own restaurant is being placed on hold over circumstances beyond his control.

Timing is everything…

When Vin bursts into Luca’s life, both men fall fast and hard. But their lives, their dreams, even the cities they live in couldn’t be more different.

Their few days together in Rome are romantic, emotionally intense, and leave them both wanting more.

Can a fleeting love affair change their lives forever?

Read my review here.

The Slave Palace: Wulf and Locke – Kingdom of Slaves, Book 1*

The Slave Palace Wulf and Locke - Kingdom of Slaves, Book 1 by Wendy Rathbone

*This book can be read as a standalone

Author: Wendy Rathbone

Themes and genres: Gay Romance, Fantasy, pleasure slaves

Publication date: January 24, 2019

Date of my review: February 03

Blurb:

Conquered. Captured. Sold as a pleasure slave.

After being taken as a prisoner of war, Wulf fights his captors and is sold as a One-Night Thrall to be used and abused, then put to death. He is purchased by a high ranking master of the famous Slave Palace. Why Locke buys him, Wulf has no clue, but something about this master is intriguing. Instead of abuse, Wulf is plied with luxuries he has never known by a man who actually seems to respect him.

Jaded. Looking for a challenge.

Eminent Master Locke takes on a bet with his best friend that he can’t train and tame a dangerous One-Night Thrall in ten days. But something about this slave stirs him like no other before. All bets aside, Locke has the urge to keep Wulf, as well as save his life. But Wulf is fierce, unwilling, and his consent papers have been forged. If Wulf doesn’t soon submit to his role as a slave, he will be sent to death as a prisoner of war.

A sweet, slow-burn love story taking place on an alternate contemporary Earth where owning pleasure slaves is legal.

Read my review here.

Kiss Me Again (standalone)

Kiss Me Again by Garrett Leigh

Author: Garrett Leigh

Themes and genres: Contemporary LGBT Romance, gay, bisexual, bipolar, anxiety, depression, trauma

Publication date: June 07, 2019

Date of my review: June 10

Blurb:

Tree surgeon Aidan Drummond is content with his own company. He works alone, and lives alone, and it doesn’t occur to him to want anything else until a life-changing accident lands him in hospital. Then a glimpse of the beautiful boy in the opposite bed changes everything.

Ludo Giordano is trapped on the ward with a bunch of old men. His mind plays tricks on him, keeping him awake. Then late one night, a new face brings a welcome distraction. Their unlikely friendship is addictive. And, like most things in Ludo’s life, temporary.

Back in the real world, Aidan’s monochrome existence is no longer enough. He craves the colour Ludo brought him, and when a chance meeting brings them back together, before long, they’re inseparable again.

But bliss comes with complications. Aidan is on the road to recovery, but Ludo has been unwell his entire life, and that’s not going to change. Aidan can kiss him as much as he likes, but if he can’t help Ludo when he needs him most, they don’t stand a chance.

Read my review here.

Yes, yes: another Garrett Leigh book, but she’s one of my favorite authors, okay? Besides, I reviewe five of her books last year and only three of them made it into this blog post. Mind you, I had a very hard time deciding whether Kiss Me Again or Jude should be in the FELL IN LOVE WITH section.

Vampire Detective MidnightVampire Detective Midnight, Book 1

Vampire Detective Midnight - Vampire Detective Midnight, Book 1 by JC Andrijeski

Author: JC Andrijeski

Themes and genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Mystery, crime, detective, vampire, psychics

Publication date: June 25, 2019

Date of my review: July 01

Blurb:

Vampire with a past and homicide detective, Naoko “Nick” Tanaka just got transferred to the NYPD, where he works as a “Midnight,” or vampire in the employ of the human police. Like all state-registered vamps, he gets his food delivered to his door, lives in government housing, and basically can’t sneeze without the U.S. government knowing about it.

Still, he’s determined to play by the rules. More than anything, he just wants to be left alone, to finish out his immortality in peace… but he’s barely there two weeks when things already start to go sideways.

It starts with a weird case involving inexplicable paintings that predict murders before they happen.

Between his mystery painter, a bunch of dead hybrid-humans, a conspiracy involving the richest families in New York, and a school principal who has an unsettling effect on him, Nick finds he can’t get personally uninvolved with any of it.

Instead, he gets sucked in even deeper, until he’s pretty sure he’ll end up forcibly reprogrammed by his human masters — assuming they don’t just rip his heart out of his chest and be done with it.

VAMPIRE DETECTIVE MIDNIGHT is book #1 of a gritty, romantic new series set in a futuristic, dystopian New York, involving vampires, humans and psychics trying to rebuild their world after a devastating race war that nearly obliterated all of them.

Read my review here.

And that’s it for this list.

Have you read any of these books?

Did you enjoy them?

What were your favorites of 2019?

Share in the comments!

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