Time and Taste? 2019 Books

Happy_New_Year_2020Another reading year gone and it was a strange one: an intense reading summer, testament to the plethora of reviews I managed to write, and a dry autumn with barely any reading done. Nevertheless, I read some good romance among others genres and I’m going to herein name the ones I think might withstand the test of time and taste. With this first post of 2020, I wish you all the health, happiness, prosperity, and love the world can bring. Without further ado, here are the titles that resonate with me still. I’ve written about all of them, so you’re welcome to check out my reviews to see why I liked them. With apologies that I can’t manage more commentary than that, but 2019 was the year I was tired. I’m hoping to have more blogging energy for 2020! 

Category Romance

Dani Collins’s The Maid’s Spanish Secret

Virginia Heath’s The Determined Lord Hadleigh

Sherri Shackelford’s No Safe Place

Contemporary Romance

Sonali Dev’s Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

Jenny Holiday’s Three Little Words

Lorelei James’s I Want You Back

Roni Loren’s The One You Fight For

Lucy Parker’s The Austen Playbook

Historical Fiction

Clarissa Harwood’s Bear No Malice

Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network (see my Sedaris post)

Historical Romance

Mary Balogh’s Someone To Honour

Alyssa Cole’s An Unconditional Freedom

Michelle Griep’s The Noble Guardian

Historical Murder Mystery

Jennifer Ashley’s Death In Kew Gardens

Mariah Fredericks’s Death Of A New American

C. S. Harris’s Why Kill the Innocent

Contemporary Murder Mystery

Elly Griffiths’s The Stranger Diaries


Benjamin Dreyer’s Dreyer’s English

David Sedaris’s Calypso

33 thoughts on “Time and Taste? 2019 Books

  1. 2019 was the year I was tired.

    Oh yes, that is the perfect description of what 2019 has done to so many of us. Happy New Year, MissB, I hope 2020 brings us all rest and rejuvenation through better days. Thank you for reviewing and writing through it all.


    1. Sunita!! I thought you were on your travels. Thank you for coming back and posting great pics, books, thoughts, and all great-Sunita-I’ve-missed-you Things.

      Wishing you and yours peace, love, harmony, great reads, meals, oodles of wonderful wool!!! (I’m attempting my first two-colour knit … so far, so good.) I loved that poncho you made, WANT … may try it next.

      Let’s hope 2020 sees us all, yes, rejuvenated, renewed, and joyful!


      1. I can do patterns and lace but I am afraid of two colors. Single-color knitting keeps me happy and productive, but I love seeing other peoples’ more complicated work. And Happy New Year to your wonderful mother, as well. I can’t believe I forgot!


      2. I made the same poncho after I saw Sunita’s and I have worn it continuously since I finished it. I think you would look great in it too!


        1. Thank you!!! I have some hats to finish for friends, MamaB, and moi and then I think I’ll get me some wool and try the poncho. I have a freezing cold work office too, so it’ll come in handy no matter the season.


  2. Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to your 2020 reviews. I am in the middle of the Jennifer Ashley mystery you mentioned, and it’s good, but then I started reading a historical mystery series by Victoria Thompson, the first one is Murder on Astor Place. They are so addictive, that I’ve been reading them back-to-back, and I’m now on #4. Have you read any?


    1. Yes, I have the first three, in paperback, sitting on the physical TBR shelf. I’ll move them up, after I finish Griffiths’s Ruth Galloway, AND Spencer-Fleming. SF FINALLY has a new book out this year.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh good, I hope you like them as much as I do. Like the Ashley series, there is a super competent widowed heroine(a midwife instead of a cook), and a very slow burn romance with a grumpy Irish cop.


            1. Yes, but historical midwives are not the same thing at all as a contemporary medical category. And speaking of historical midwife heroines, I just remembered Mary Jo Putney’s “Never Less Than a Lady”. Content warning for some horrific spousal abuse and violence, though.


  3. I don’t really do best of lists, but if I did then Dani Collins, Jenny Holiday and Lucy Parker would all be on it. 2019 has been a pretty dreadful year in many respects, but there have been some excellent books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope the dreadfulness is general rather than personal? And if the latter, I hope and pray everything goes beautifully for 2020. It’s been a pretty dreadful year chez Bateses too. But we’re here and we’re muddling along and our house is safe and I still have a job, so hey, things are looking UP!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, it wasn’t a great year for me personally: health issues, plus my boss’s sabbatical has made work a lot more stressful than usual. However, my health is almost entirely back to normal and his sabbatical ends in February, so I am optimistic about 2020. The general dreadfulness, however, I am less optimistic about!


        1. I’m sorry you weren’t doing well health-wise, but it sounds like you have things under control and feeling better for it. I’m heartened to hear this! General dreadfulness, ugh, let’s hope for peace at last and people coming to their senses and calming the heck down. I hope you get to also have a wonderful holiday at some point in 2020, sounds well-deserved if you’re carrying the work ship. Onwards to a better 2020!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I have good holiday plans for the summer! A painting trip to Devon, then some time in South Wales house-sitting for friends.


    1. Kindred spirits! It’s be lovely to swap books, book-talk, and tea!

      Oh, you are going to LOVE Austen Playbook. I’m looking forward to reading Headliners, but the Austen context of Playbook is soooooo good and the HEA, whoa. Enjoy!


  4. Miss Bates
    It was great to be able to chat about books with you this past year. Especially as you introduced me to a few new authors such as Mariah Fredericks. So I thought that I would point out that Ms Fredericks has the third Jane Prescott book, “Death of an American Beauty”, coming out in April..
    You may be amused to know that I spent December 2019 re-reading all of CS Harris’s Sebastian St Cyr books rather than Christmas stories.
    Re: Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight series mentioned above, with our widowed mid-wife and grumpy Irish cop–I’ve read them all and consider the characters old friends. The new one coming out in April is #23(!!!), so it has had some ups and downs over the years. But I’ve never regretted the time spent reading the books.
    I’m looking forward to future book chats with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Miss Barb!

      It is always great to chat with you too. As a matter of fact, you’ve been on my grateful mind today because I just started reading Montclair’s The Right Sort Of Man! I think you recced it for me, no??!!

      I have all the St. Cyrs lined up for a massive comfort reread this summer. I’ve turned several friends on to them and it’s been a great coffee-klatch book-talk opportunity. Wish you were closer so you could join us.

      I have the first three of the Thompson books and am moving them up ye olde TBR … now to find them on the heaving shelves.

      Thank you, my friend, for being the book-calm and kindred sensibility in MissB’s world.

      I am really looking forward to that Fredericks myself, glad you’re looking to it too!!!

      Have a wonderful year, full of great books, health, fun, and whatever your heart desires!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, ‘The Right Sort of Man” was one of my personal ‘best books’ of 2019. I probably did recommend it to you–I was pushing it on all of my book friends, I loved it so much.
        Thank you for the kind words–2019 was not a good year for me and mine. Fingers crossed that 2020 is personally better.
        May your year flow smoothly and happily for you (and your mother, too!).


        1. Yes, yes, you did and, as always, it’s wonderful. I read late last night and then woke up this morning to read it too. Pesky day job will get in the way of a long, continuous read, but it’s coming with me on my lunch hours!

          I’m sorry to hear there were troubles. I hope 2020 is a much better year, I will send up prayers.


  5. Happy New Year to you, my friend. Καλη Χρονια full of good health, love and lots of quiet reading time.

    Our only overlap for 2019, Miss B, is David Sedaris. Calypso is one of my favourite 2019 reads, but unlike you, though I did laugh, I also bawled at his unfolding discussion of his sister Tiffany. Like you, I see his under-the-radar Greekness permeating his writing. And like you, I have “also guffawed through telling a story, only to realize my audience is staring at me, agape and with horrified, rounded eyes. Crap, I think and pretend to be nicer than I am” but might have finally trained myself out of it (damn!). I have tickets to see Sedaris in 10 days. I listened to Calypso on audiobook and I find such deep satisfaction in seeing him do live readings.


    1. And a happy, healthy, book-filled new year to you!!!! And many years on your feast-day too! Watching the news on the Oz bush-wilf-fires, you’re on my mind and in my prayers daily.

      You’re going to see Sedaris!!!! I’m so excited for you. Might we see a blog post??? Just sayin’ …

      Sadly, I don’t think I’ve trained myself out of it. I still horrify the englezi … 😉


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