My Favourite Books of 2022

At the start of every year, I love to look back at all the books I’ve read over the previous 12 months and wax lyrical about the ones I loved most. So, without further ado, here are my favourite books of 2022.

Note: I read these for the first time last year, but they may have been published in an earlier year.

You and Me by Tal Bauer
This book was my introduction to Tal Bauer’s writing and it was un-freaking-believable! Luke is a man at rock bottom. His wife died a year ago, with divorce papers in her purse. He’s estranged from his teen-aged son. He believes he’s failed as a husband, as a father, as a functioning human. He wants to make things right, but he has no idea where to start. Enter Landon, the world’s most perfect single-dad. When Landon invites Luke to help out behind the scenes on their sons’ football team, Luke takes a terrified breath and accepts. As they spend time together, and similarities start to overcome differences, the two men become friends. Over time, Luke learns to come alive again. He starts to rebuild a genuine connection with his son. He remembers how to laugh and have fun. And it’s here, in the many places between failure and perfection, that he discovers friendship can turn into something more.

Bad Wrong Things by C.P. Harris
C.P. Harris’ author tagline is “Possessive, steamy, messy love.” This book is all those things, but to the nth degree. It is definitely not for everyone. It is wild and reckless. It is brilliantly written. It’s also toxic and mean and will emotionally pummel you into next week. I loved it. Even when it was too much, and when I got squeamish, and when I thought these two men couldn’t possibly ever be good for each other, and even when there was nothing ‘romantic’ about it… I couldn’t stop reading. Dive in if you dare, but heed the trigger warnings!

A Taste of Ink by Daniel May
I don’t even know where to start with this series. It’s way more out of control than anything I’ve ever read previously. It involves taboos I definitely never thought I would read. It took seven novellas to get from one end of the story to the other (although they’ve now been condensed down to three). Oh yeah, and it’s the only thing I read twice this year. I devoured it whole both times. Zee, Trinket, and Mini were complex and interesting characters, each with their own unique set of emotional strengths and weaknesses. The three of them managed to fit together in ways I never would have thought possible back in book one. Which is, of course, entirely the point. Told exclusively from Trinket’s point of view.

The Sheltering Tree by J.R. Lawrie
This book came in at 1st place on the Best Books of 2021 for the lovely Larissa over at Love Bytes Book Reviews. My book, The Harder We Fall, came in at 2nd place. So, of course, I had to read this book! And, honestly, it was absolutely amazing. I loved reading a book with more mature main characters (40s and 50s). Alastair Harding is the first gay chief of the London Metropolitan Police, and he’s paid a high price to be there. Jay Fieldhouse runs a charity, but is secretly in the Witness Protection Program. When they are seated side by side at an awards dinner, sparks fly and the lives of both men are changed forever. This book was sweetness itself, but with plenty of steam and a little danger on the side.

The Underdog by Briar Prescott
Briar Prescott is the best. Her books are such a breath of real, genuine fresh air. Once upon a time, Anders told his younger brother and sister a little white lie about wanting to complete a triathlon one day. The problem? They believed him. They’ve even entered him into one and hired a personal trainer to get him across the finish line. Wells is supremely unimpressed about being tricked into becoming that personal trainer. Still struggling to come to terms with the devastating hand life has recently dealt him, Wells is determined to get fired as quickly as possible so he can go back to being miserable in peace. But Anders knows this means a lot to his siblings. And as much as he hates exercise, he hates the idea of letting them down even more. Wells can be as mean as he likes, Anders isn’t going anywhere. This book is pure sunshine wrapped in a disgruntled package. Loved it so much!

First Impressions by Jay Hogan
This was a pleasant surprise for me. I’d never read a Jay Hogan book before and wasn’t sure what to expect. First Impressions had me hooked from the first chapter. Michael is a doctor rebuilding his life in New Zealand after messing up his old life in a major way. Josh is the super serious, single-dad, ‘my dog is scarier than your dog’ K9 cop who doesn’t like Michael. No, really. Josh really doesn’t like Michael, no matter how sexy he is. *wink* I was really impressed with the development of the characters in this enemies-to-lovers romance, particularly Michael who changed many of his worldviews throughout the course of the story. And Josh, what a dreamboat. *sigh*

Beautiful and Terrible Things by Riley Hart
Riley Hart has this way of yanking your heart out, tossing it around for a while, and then tucking it back into your chest all safe and sound. That’s exactly what she did with Beautiful and Terrible Things. Gage and Joey meet as children and fall in love as teenagers, but are then torn apart by one violent, irrevocable moment. When they manage to find each other again, years later, both are still struggling to rebuild their lives. The connect between them is as strong as ever, but there is a lot of healing to be done before they can be free to embrace the future. I’ll forever be a fan of Riley’s books, and this is among her best.

Without You by Marley Valentine
This one is all angst and heartbreak. Totally my jam. Deacon always knew he didn’t fit in with the rest of his family. He was the outsider, playing second fiddle to his brother, Rhett. Julian, Rhett’s boyfriend, fits in just fine. The two men have little to do with each other until after Rhett dies of an illness. Deacon and Julian are left trying to find their way in a world forever changed. They finally begin to spend time together, which both opens old wounds and sparks new understandings. Their journey from vague animosity, to wary friendship, to devoted love is handled with sensitivity and skill by my fellow Aussie, Marley Valentine.

It was really hard to get the list down to only eight. There were a few more books I would have loved to include *cough* on board by jay hogan *cough* but only so many covers fit well on an Instagram post so… here we are. 🙂

I hope you found something new to read in this list, and I’d love to know what your top books of 2022 were. Because my TBR list can never be too long.

My Favourite Books of 2020

Every January, I like to take a look back at the books I read for the first time in the previous year and pick my favourites. I’ve had the pleasure of reading some wonderful books over the past 12 months, so picking a handful has been tough, but here they are:

My Favourite Books of 2020 (in no particular order) are:

The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish

Roan Parrish is one of my favourite authors of all time and this book is an excellent example of why. The slow-burn story of Alex and Corbin was truly magical (yeah, there were some lovely hints of everyday magic in this book). I loved watch Corbin come out of his shell. Definitely the kind of book I’ll re-read more than once.

Project Hero by Briar Prescott

This was my first Briar Prescott book and I loved every moment of it. Low angst and high on feels. As as reader, I adored Andy’s quirky nature and Law’s steady persistence. As a writer, I wanted to go back and pull apart the structure of the book because the storyline felt so on point.

The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings by Lily Morton

Lily Morton was another new-to-me author this year. I was drawn to Blue by the amazing front cover. The book was another slow-burn (apparently I was all about the slow-burn romances this year). Set in England, I enjoyed getting to know the city of York as much as I enjoyed the ghost story we were treated to throughout. I don’t generally read much horror, but this book had just the right amount of scare for me.

Rock by Anyta Sunday

Slow-burns don’t come any slower than this. Cooper and Jace first meet as kids when their parents get married and they find themselves in a blended family. Enemies become friends and as the years pass it all becomes something more. This book was incredibly well done and while I’m not big on step-brother romances in general, I enjoyed this one from beginning to end. This book does contain taboo elements so take note before diving in to this one.

Liam Davis and the Raven by Anyta Sunday

Soooooo good. After reading Rock, I knew I had to have more Anyta Sunday in my life. Liam Davis and the Raven was brilliant. A little bit of mystery and a slightly obsessive hero who has no clue that his new roommate has a crush on him. All good fun.

Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

Forced proximity is one of my favourite tropes and there’s nothing quite like college housing to force togetherness between reluctant parties. This one will give you a serious book hangover and a desperate desire to give Reese a big hug (but not too tight).

The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

Cat Sebastian can do no wrong. Seriously, I’ve read most of her books now and I’ve loved every one. I’m a big fan of grumpy heroes and Lawrence Browne delivered his grumpiness with a side order of ‘madness’. Conman, Georgie Turner, was his perfect counterpart. Watching Georgie fall in love with his ‘mark’ was delightful.

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

It’s the book everyone has read. Right? There’s a reason for that. How can anyone resist watching the First Son of the USA falling head over heels in love with a Prince of England. Alex and Henry were perfect for each other in every way. And then there’s that one line that has shown up on everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs. “History, huh? Bet we could make some.”

That’s it for my favourite books of 2020. I hope you enjoyed the list and that you’ve found something new-to-you to read in 2021.

My Favourite Books of 2019

Hello and welcome to 2020! I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing holiday period and have started the new year off with a bang! This month, I’ve taken some time to look back over all the books I bought in 2019 (they weren’t necessarily published in 2019) to bring you a list of my favourites. I spent the entire year with rainbows in my eyes, so I hope you enjoy your MM romances, because this list is full to the brim!

My Favourite Book of 2019: Want Me by Neve Wilder

This US-based college romance is HOT! Really freaking HOT! The best part is, the characters are also 100% lovable and the plot, while taking a backseat to all that HEAT, is solid. If you read this book, it’s important to note it was originally written as a serial sent out to Neve’s newsletter subscribers. When it was complete, she released the whole thing as a novel, but kept the episodic structure intact. Hence, a higher than normal portion of the text is devoted to sex scenes (did I mention they’re HOT?) and a lesser portion is devoted to plot. Be okay with that. Enjoy the book for what it is. And then go back and enjoy it again! 🙂

Other Books I Loved (in no particular order):

The Made Marian Series (by Lucy Lennox)
The first book in the Made Marian series, Borrowing Blue, made it onto my list of favourite books for 2018. This year I want to add Taming Teddy, Jumping Jude and Grounding Griffin to the list. This is just an amazing series. Lighthearted, and packed with all the best romance tropes. So much fun to be had! My ultimate fav so far is Jumping Jude, because I absolutely cannot resist a rock star. There’s still a bunch of books in the series I haven’t managed to get to yet. Maybe they’ll be on my favourites list for 2020!

Unspoken Vow (Steele Brothers, Book 2) by Eden Finley
After reading the first book in the Steele Brothers series, Unwritten Law, myself and few thousand other people sat with our hands over our mouths and tried not to yell at Eden to WRITE FASTER. Everyone wanted to see Law’s twin brother, Anders, get the happily every after he so deserved, and desperately needed. Eden came through with a book that is extremely well-written, funny, sexy, and heart-warming. Anders and Brody are loving, flawed characters who struggle towards their HEA in fits and starts, but always with hope and compassion.

Wake Up Married Serial by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths
This is another story written as a serial and I loved every one of the six episodes. Will and Patrick wake up together in a hotel room in Vegas. They don’t remember meeting, they don’t remember getting absolutely plastered, and they certainly don’t remember GETTING MARRIED! Can these two total opposites (a genius neurosurgeon who will happily argue with you over whether or not you have the right to the last cookie in the cafe window, and the son a staunchly catholic mafia boss who would just as happily put a hit out on anyone who even mentions the word ‘divorce’) get past their crazy start and actually fall in love? Despite dealing with some serious issues, Wake Up Married was full of fun and sexy times. I would have followed Will and Patrick pretty much anywhere. Note: Don’t let the not-so-great cover scare you away.

Of Sunlight and Stardust by Christina Lee and Riley Hart
This book was a Finalist in the 2019 Lambda Literary Awards for Gay Romance, and for good reason. This book is amazing! It tells the story of Tanner, a man grieving the loss of his beloved wife, and Cole, a man who is struggling to survive after his recent release from prison. The love story is slow and tentative, with an incredible depth of emotion. I loved the threads of fate that weaved in and out of the story, bringing the past into the present. Christina Lee and Riley Hart are both powerful storytellers in their own right. When they come together, magic happens!

The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles
I love a good historical novel, and when you throw some magic into the mix, I’m all the happier. This book left me tickled pink. 🙂 Lucien has recently inherited the title of Lord Crane after the mysterious deaths of his father and brother. Now he’s facing the same threats that took their lives, and he needs magical help – fast. Stephen, a magician, steps in to lend a hand despite having good reason to hate Lord Crane, no matter which man bears the name. Magic and mayhem ensue. Good times! Plus, check out that gorgeous cover!

A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian
I’ve never read a Cat Sebastian book I didn’t love, and this historical is no exception. Hartley Sedgwick has recently fallen out of favour with London’s elite, and has become something of a recluse. Sam Fox runs a reputable pub in a poorer part of London and takes pride in giving the locals a safe place for a pint. When protecting a friend leads to Sam break into Hartley’s house to steal a painting, he ends up with more than he bargained for.

Little Harbour (Scandinavian Comfort, Book 1) and 717 Miles by Sophia Soames
Eeeeeeasy reeeeeading. A Sophia Soames book is where you go when you want to relax and enjoy – Norwegian-style. Low on angst and high on cuddles, these books are full of humour, affection, the laughter of a houseful of children (Little Harbour), and much baking (717 Miles).

I hope you enjoyed reading through the list and that you found something to add to your To Be Read list. If so, I’d love to know which one. What are your favourite books of 2019?

My Favourite Books of 2018

I hope you’ve had a wonderful start to 2019. It certainly is going quickly. This month I thought I’d take a look back at the romances I read/re-read last year and pick some of my favourites. I discovered I’ve been reading WAY too many MM romances, due to the fact that’s what I was writing all of last year. I hope you enjoy the list. Perhaps you’ll find your next read in here somewhere!

#1 Favourite Book of 2018

Riven by Roan Parrish (MM Rock Star Romance)
I picked this one up because I was writing a MM rock star romance of my own. Theo and Caleb’s story kept me captivated from start to finish. The way Roan describes music throughout was a total revelation. I will never get over how much I love this book.

MF Books
Lead by Kylie Scott – This was a re-read. Jimmy and Lena are fabulous and funny. Loved it!

Troublemaker by Deborah Bladon – Everything you could want from a friends to lovers romance.

Lord of Lies by Amy Sandas – The third book in Amy’s Fallen Ladies series, this book was full of adventure and intrigue.

It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastion – Even historicals have MM goodness, and when a sea captain falls for the local vicar cravats start to fly!

MM Books
Twist of Fate series by Lucy Lennox and Sloane Kennedy – I enjoyed Book 1, but it was Books 2 and 3 that made me fall in love.

Fake Boyfriend series by Eden Finley – These are must-reads. They had me laughing out loud and awwing with happiness. I’ve just bought Book 3 (it was released a few days ago) and I intend to enjoy every sizzling page.

Mr Frosty Pants by Leta Blake – A Christmas story that will be a great read any time of the year. I laughed, cried, and raged against the injustice. I will come back to this one next December and do it all over again.

Borrowing Blue by Lucy Lennox – An instalove romance that will have you convinced. This is the first book in a series. When I discovered there are SEVEN more books I gave a heavy sigh, because now I have to read ALL OF THEM (I have no choice in this).

Bonds of Blood series by Daniel de Lorne – Not traditional romances, but full of MM romance, vampires and magic. The Bonds of Blood will have you up all night. I’ve also just bought the last book in this series (released last month). It’s in competition with the new Fake Boyfriend book for my next read. Warning: Contains some graphic violence, but not a lot of it.

A little less steamy
Something Like Summer (and the companion novel Something Like Winter) – Ben and Tim belong together. It’s going to take them years (seriously, YEARS) to get there. This on again/off again romance will have you ready to go to battle with anyone who gets in the way (I’m looking at you Jace!).

Embers and Echoes by Daniel de Lorne – Another de Lorne book, but this time a traditional (sweet) romance with more hunky firefighters and (almost) no violence.

I hope you saw something in the list that caught your fancy. If so, I’d love to know which one. What were your favourite books of 2018?

Best Screen Kisses (According to Me!)

Who doesn’t love a great screen kiss? The kind that makes your heart beat faster and a dreamy smile appear on your face. I know I do. This month, to keep me warm in the great grey depths of winter (yes, it’s cold in my part of the world and I’m definitely feeling it), I decided to share my top four picks for Best Screen Kisses of All Time. I’ve provided a link to YouTube for each, so you can enjoy these romance moments at their best – dreamy smiles are optional. 🙂

Number 4: Watts and Keith in Some Kind of Wonderful
As an almost teenager, I adored this movie. My sisters and I were hopelessly in love with Eric Stoltz and we replayed this scene so many times I’m pretty sure we wore out the tape (it was a VCR copy, a fact which makes me feel old). In this story, Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Keith (Eric Stoltz) are best friends. Keith manages to score a date with one of the most beautiful girls in school, Amanda. In the lead-up to the date, Watts decides to help Keith ‘prepare’ for his big date.
Watch it Now

Number 3: Karen and Matt in Daredevil
Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) has had a crush on Matt Murdock (a.k.a. Daredevil, a superhero who manages to take down the bad guys despite being blind since childhood – played by Charlie Cox) almost from the moment she met him. He took a while to get his act together, but by season two of this Netflix TV series, he was ready to seduce his lady love. Rain never looked so good.
Watch it Now

Number 2: Hannah and Tom in Made of Honor
Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) and Tom (Patrick Dempsey) are best friends. Of course, Tom realises he’s in love with Hannah just in time for her to get engaged to someone else. As preparations for the wedding gear up, Tom (who is now the ‘Maid’ of Honor) is desperate to win Hannah’s heart before it’s too late. In this scene, Hannah is enjoying an old tradition of giving kisses for coins, when she gets a little more than she bargained for from her best friend.
Watch it Now

My Number 1 Best Screen Kiss: Gray and Fritz in Catch and Release
Gray (Jennifer Garner) is devastated when her fiance, Grady, dies in an accident just days before their wedding. As she starts to rebuild her life, she finds comfort in spending time with Grady’s friends, including playboy photographer, Fritz (Timothy Olyphant). Throughout the story, Gray finds that Grady was keeping secrets from her and she begins to question how well she knew her fiance. When she discovers that Fritz has lied about the extent of Grady’s misdeeds to spare her feelings, she’s pretty pissed off about it. Note: This kiss is so good it’s been watched on YouTube nearly 11 million times (a few too many of those may have been me).
Watch it Now

I hope you enjoyed the list. If you have a favourite screen kiss of your own, I’d love to know what it is!