2019 Besties

 

Before we get much further into 2020, I want to be sure to recognize the best of my read/listens from 2019! I think it’s important to note that nearly all of my BESTIES this year were audiobooks. Several were listen/read combos, but nearly all of them had an audiobook component. 2019 was a WILD year for me and my family and there just wasn’t enough time for reading. But, I’m so thankful that audiobooks allowed me to enjoy wonderful romances all year long.

Of course that means I’ve been HORRIBLE about writing reviews, but you can always see what I’ve been listening too/reading on Goodreads! With that, I present to you BFF K’s 2019 Besties!

 

#1 – Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This story is so exception, you almost forget it is a work of fiction. I laughed and I cried and I just wished it were real! I can’t wait to see it all come to life in an upcoming series produced by Reese Witherspoon on Amazon Prime!

#2 – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

(Not released in 2019, but read/listened in 2019!) I was late to this party, but so relieved I didn’t miss out. The Hate U Give was my most personally recommended book of the year. I made tons of my friends read it and still can’t get over how incredible it was. Like both of the other books in the Besties Top 3 this year, I think THuG is better as an audio than a book. The narrator brought the book to life in a way that I would NEVER have been able to in my head! (On the Come Up is fantastic too!)

#3 – Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec and Andi Arndt

This book is LMAO funny! And it’s written by two of my favorites in the book world. Plus, Andi Arndt narrating her own words in the delightful Minnesotan accent is just perfection!

#4 – The Last Wingman by Daisy Prescott

There’s not much you can say about the end of a beloved series. But, Daisy Prescott did the Wingmen proud and delivered a wonderful conclusion for the Whidbey crew and I enjoyed every minute of it! And, I think she’s pretty much the bees knees! 🐝💛🖤

#5 – Smartypants Romance Launch #1

The idea of Smartypants Romance was so exciting, but I was almost overwhelmed by all of the different opportunities. I’m so grateful that I was able to attend the Smartypants Romance launch party at Book Bonanza 2019. Hearing the authors talk about their books and how each fit into Penny Reid’s world was amazing! I walked away learning about so many knew-to-me authors and getting so excited about all of the new stories. Launch #1 of Smartypants Romance was an absolute highlight of my book year! I can’t wait to read them all and then to read all of Launch #2 and beyond.

My favorites so far include: Stud Muffin by Jiffy Kate, Happy Trail by Daisy Prescott, Love in Due Time by L.B. Dunbar, My Bare Lady by Piper Sheldon, Weight Expectations by M.E. Carter and Baking Me Crazy by Karla Sorensen!

#6 – 44 Chapters About 4 Men by BB Easton

(Not released in 2019, but read/listened to in 2019!) I think the first thing to say is that I am just really really sorry that I waited so long to read this book. I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to sit in a Rom-Com authors panel at 2019 Book Bonanza. BB Easton made me LOL and I immediately downloaded the audiobook for 44 Chapters and I’m so thankful. It is absolutely fantastic and everyone should read it!

#7 – Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This book is sweet and fun; it’s clever and interesting and a joy to read. It made me wish that it was a real life story. It’s political and royal and MM perfection – a MUST read!

#8 – Beard with Me by Penny Reid

This story broke my heart. It was beautiful and touching. The individual sacrifices of the hero and heroine were as inspiring as they were stupid. This set up Beard Necessities perfectly and because it was such a crucial part of the series, I’ve placed this story in my Besties!

#9 – The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Clever, romantic, unique and touching. Helen Hoang delivers another exceptionally unique and thought-provoking story wrapped inside a lovely romance!

#10 – Gypsy King by Devney Perry

Ahhh! An incredible start to a gritty new series. It ended with more questions than answers and made me breathless for the next book in the series. That’s exceptional!

 

I hope that everyone had an incredible reading year! Cheers to 2019 and bring on all the books in 2020!

2016 Besties

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This is always one of the most challenging posts of the entire year! How to narrow down an entire year of great reads into just one post featuring the best of the besties? We’ll do our best (see what we did there?) to highlight our favorite reads from 2016. Be sure to scroll to the bottom and enter our 2016 Besties, Rafflecopter Giveaway!

BFF K’s 2016 Besties

I just couldn’t narrow the list any further, so I present the Top 16 in 2016!

#1 – Maybe In Another Life & One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

                 

Unique, smart, emotional, fantastic!

#2 – The Lost Codex by Heather Lyons

A wonderful end to one of my most favorite series of all time!

#3 – A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner

Kandi Steiner blew me away, an absolute page-turner!

#4 – The Royals Series by Erin Watt


Paper Princess     Broken Prince     Twisted Palace

My guilty pleasure of 2016 – way crazy and crazy good!

#5 – Beard Science by Penny Reid

Anyone who can turn a quirky, odd-ball character named Cletus into a love interest deserves to be on this list!

#6 – The Year of Meghan March

In 2016, I read or listened to nearly every book that Meghan March has written and I LOVE them all! She is a go-to, always one-click author for me now. She writes great stories, steamy scenes, strong heroines and the best alpha males EVER! If you want to check out my reviews, just enter Meghan March in the search tab on the right side of this page.

#7 – Endurance by Georgia Cates

I loved this book so much, the entire Sin series too! In addition to Endurance, Georgia Cates also brought us the Lovibond Series in 2016!

#8 – Franco by Kim Holden

My final book boyfriend of 2016 and he was worth the wait!

#9 – Better Love by Daisy Prescott

This silver fox was everything! I LOVE this book and this entire series!

#10 – Whiskey & Honey by Andrea Johnston

#TeamBiper #TeamAndreaJohnston #SmartGirlsWriteRomance

#11 – First & Goal: Queen of the League by Laura Chapman

LOL-funny and one of my most fun reads of the year.

#12 – Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

I loved this world and these characters. Royally Matched is one of my most anticipated reads for 2017!

#13 – A Place in the Sun by R.S. Grey

This book will make you want to travel to Italy and eat Gelato with Gianluca.

#14 – Moonshot & Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre

              

Moonshot introduced me to Alessandra Torre and her terrific writing style. And, I adored the audio for Hollywood Dirt. GREAT books!

#15 – Managed by Kristen Callihan

Witty dialogue and great characters, just an all ’round great read!

#16 – Reilly O’Brien & Co. Series by Jenna Sutton

I read every book in this series in 2016 and I can’t wait for more in 2017. Good stories and great characters!

BFF A’s 2016 Besties

#1 – It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

 

#2 – F*uck Love by Tarryn Fisher

 

#3 – So Much More by Kim Holden

 

#4 – Franco by Kim Holden

 

#5 – Cunning, Deception, Entrapment (Infidelity Series books 2, 3 and 4)  by Aleatha Romig

 

#6 – Into the Light and Away from the Dark (The Light Series) by Aleatha Romig

              

 

#7 – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

#8 – Whiskey and Honey by Andrea Johnston

#9 – Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

#10 – The Angels’ Share by J.R. Ward

#11 – Too Late by Colleen Hoover


All of the images above are buy links for Amazon.com. And, you can click on many of the headings to find our reviews. We are so grateful to all of you for joining us on our incredible book journey in 2016! We’re looking forward to all that’s in store for 2017!

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2016 Besties Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review – One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid


From the author of Maybe in Another Life—named a People Magazine pick—comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

 

BFF K’s Review of One True Loves

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I’ve found it hard to write a traditional review for this book. My thoughts and emotions are so raw and jumbled that I can’t do the more standard assessment. But, there are a few things that I know I want to say about One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid:

1. This book is extraordinary. I can’t even find the words adequate to explain the emotions and feelings I experienced through this book.

2. I HATE love triangles. There is typically something essentially disturbing to me about the tension involved in a love triangle. I seldom understand how a person is so evenly (or unevenly) torn between two different people. BUT….this book is one of the rare exceptions to that rule. This is a love triangle where no one is at fault, no one is to blame and the emotions are absolutely gut wrenching. Even thinking about it now my heart feels like it’s going to crack in two.

3. There is something about Taylor Jenkins Reid as an author that gives me the unique experience of immersing myself in another person’s journey. But, it’s beyond someone else’s story, I feel the emotions so intimately it is as if the story is happening to me. Or, I can clearly see how it could easily happen to me.  I have spent days, hours, minutes thinking about this story in relation to my own life. I think about how much I desperately love my husband and how wonderful he is. I weep over the thought that something could happen to him and he would be taken from me forever. The grief is absolutely palpable as Emma describes the thoughts and emotions of her complete desolation. I want to think I would be brave enough and love myself enough that I could eventually pull out of that hole to find love again. But, how does one do that? How does it change you? Who do you become once you survive, because you’re never again whole and certainly not the same. Then, what becomes of everyone when the miracle happens? Does it really seem all that miraculous?

4. Taylor Jenkins Reid is the master of the analogy! She tells stories and describes emotions with analogies that make the feelings or the settings so crystal clear. You immediately understand and pinpoint the emotion or the situation and you marvel at why you’ve never seen similar situations through that lens before.

5. This is a book about grief. The way that Reid writes about Emma’s grief gives the reader a physical and visceral reaction to the words and the emotions.

6. This is a book about finding life after loss. Emma must climb out of her grief for Jesse and find a way to continue to live.

7. This is a book about creating a life that brings you happiness and fulfillment even if it isn’t the life you once imagined or even created for yourself.

8. This is a book about change. Changing how you see the world, who you are, what you want, and what makes you happy.

9. This is a book about love. Romantic love. Family love. Love of home. Love of place. Love of self.

10. This is a book about hope.

Emma’s journey and her loves for both Jesse and Sam will leave their mark in your head and your heart. One True Loves will absolutely join Maybe In Another Life on my list of 2016’s Best Reads and it will be one that I recommend to anyone and everyone.

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The audio of this title is exceptional as well! I highly recommend a listen!

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An Advance Copy of this book was received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The audio version was purchased by the reviewer.

 

About the Author

Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author, essayist, and TV writer from Acton, Massachusetts. Her debut novel, Forever, Interrupted, has been optioned with Dakota Johnson attached to star. Her second book, After I Do, was called a “must read” by Kirkus. Her most recent novel, Maybe In Another Life has been featured in People, Cosmo, Bustle, Good Housekeeping, PopSugar, USA Today and more.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and their dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @tjenkinsreid.

Review – Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

BFF K’s Review

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This is why I LOVE book signings! I had seen other bloggers talking about Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid and I thought it sounded interesting. I had seen it was a People Mag recommendation, but I wasn’t sure if I had time to read it. When I found out that the author would be attending Austin Book Fest, I made sure to put this book in my queue to read and I am so, so, so glad that I did!

Apparently there is a theory of physics that says for every decision we make in this universe a version of ourselves makes a different decision in another universe and our futures play out very differently. Maybe in Another Life introduces us to Hannah Martin. She’s been living a nomadic and unsettled life. She returns to LA where she grew up and spent her childhood. During her first night back at a gathering of friends, she is faced with a choice. Stay and spend time with her first love/high school boyfriend or go home with her best friend, Gabby. The rest of the book plays out those two choices in alternating chapters.

Maybe in Another Life is fascinating and engaging and absolutely delightful. The characters are complex and authentic. One of the ways I gauge a book is the impact has on me. Do I immediately want to shout about it to everyone I see? Do the characters or the premise stay with me long after the story ends? In this case, the answer to all of those questions is YES, YES, YES!

Jenkins Reid has written an absolutely fabulous tale of searching for your destiny and future. The ultimate conclusion is that you can decide to create your own happiness in whatever circumstances you choose. I can’t recommend this book strongly enough, it has a firm place on my “must read” list for anyone who asks!

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(I know there are TWO ‘happily ever afters’ that is intentional!)

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AND , the audio of this title is exceptional as well! I highly recommend a listen!

About the Author

Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author, essayist, and TV writer from Acton, Massachusetts. Her debut novel, Forever, Interrupted, has been optioned with Dakota Johnson attached to star. Her second book, After I Do, was called a “must read” by Kirkus. Her most recent novel, Maybe In Another Life has been featured in People, Cosmo, Bustle, Good Housekeeping, PopSugar, USA Today and more.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and their dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @tjenkinsreid.