I like a deep read. No matter what the genre, I love a book that hits me in the feels, makes me change perspective or says something really important. This list is not exhaustive by the way. I just thought I’d spotlight a few of my favorites this year.
I’m gonna start with recent reads and work back randomly.
Freakn’ Out is a truly moving PNR. Book seven in a series that can be read standalone, this romance details in very good measure the experience of a returning, disabled vet, and the issues that arise from traumatic injury. It’s a book that happens totally in the aftermath, and really does the job and lays down both entertainment and a window into another’s experience in the time of war.
One and Done is a standalone with a very damaged hero in need of rescue. It’s an exploration of family, the tragedy of loss, and broken childhood. It’s a redemption story all the way, and the one that has stuck with me longest from Cynthia’s catalog.
Rannigan is like no one you’ll ever meet, and this one has the feels warning. You’ll never see the plot twist coming, I promise. I’ve never been so inspired and simultaneously destroyed by a romance novel. You’re gonna wanna read all of them. The complexity of each story builds from the others.
Declerck is another I read pretty religiously, but of all her titles I’ve read this year, Bound to you, sticks in the memory. It melds space opera and adventure for non-stop action, but it explores the subjects of life after death and the nature of love with a very sharp scalpel. The author has a gift for elegant prose and a flare for the dramatic.
Removed is heavy-ish reading. It’s more of a political thriller in flavor, but Pajonas is a devotee of all things Japan. She weaves Japanese culture into the future of Earth’s survivors in a very realistic way. There is no suspension of disbelief. This plot could happen in exactly this way, and her characters delve deep. Well worth any amount of time to savor the intrigue you find here.
A contemporary, I know. Will wonders never cease? Kilgore is a go to SFR novelist for me, but I stumbled onto this one. The MC is autistic, but the book doesn’t dissect her autism. It lets you experience the world in her skin. It also paints a beautiful picture of loving beyond differences. A beautifully written romance, indeed.