Monday, 30 December 2019

My Favourite Reads of 2019 | #FiveStarReviews

Season's Greetings, everyone! This time of year is usually action-packed for most regardless of whether you celebrate any of the many holidays in the season. So, thanks for stopping by my blog today. I officially began doing reading challenges two years ago (2017). I started small, because at some point, life and laziness happened and my reading habit took a hit. The reading challenge on Goodreads helped me keep up with reading since I had a tangible goal.

After three years of doing this, I've managed to exceed my target! Twice I'm thrilled to say, I've read over 37 books this year (not including beta reads). I know, this number is nowhere near what some of you ├╝ber readers have clocked, but this is huge for me. I've actually had to update my target a couple of times just because I've read more than I'd expected.

The highlight of my reading year was the discovery of Kennedy Ryan when I read Hook Shot. Less than halfway through the book, I knew it would be my favourite read of the year and the author would make it to my auto-buy authors. It came as no surprise when, later in the year, her book, Long Shot, won a RITA award, though I hadn't read the book at the time. I've since read that and three other books by her (four, if you count anthologies).

Anyway, so for the first time, I feel like I've read enough books to write this post. This is a compilation of my absolute favourite reads of 2019 (in the order I read them):

His Defiant Princess by Nana Prah

Princess Amira Saene has always done the right thing when it came to her beloved Kingdom of Bagumi. Yet her unorthodox online relationship with a man across the sea has derailed her from cultural norms. After a year of communicating, the man she’s developed feelings for comes to visit.
Jake Pettersen never thought he’d meet the woman of his dreams, much less online. Flying thousands of miles to West Africa to meet her verifies that the feelings he’s developed are real. Too bad her family doesn’t think he’s worthy of her.

When Jake learns that Amira has been betrothed, he must decide whether to fight for her or accept the loss for the sake of her homeland. Is their happiness worth the devastation of her country?




A Princess In Theory by Alyssa Cole
From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

Selected as one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018!



Hook Shot by Kennedy Ryan
A deeply emotional standalone romance set in the worlds of professional basketball and high fashion.
Divorced. Single dad. Traded to a losing squad.
Cheated on, betrayed, exposed.
My perfect life blew up in my face and I'm still picking up the pieces.
The last thing I need is her.
A wildflower. A storm. A woman I can't resist.
Lotus DuPree is a kick to my gut and a wrench in my plans
from the moment our eyes meet.
I promised myself I wouldn't trust a woman again,
but I've never wanted anyone the way I want Lo.
She's not the plan I made, but she's the risk I have to take.

A warrior. A baller. The one they call Gladiator.
Kenan Ross charged into my life smelling all good, looking even better and snatching my breath from the moment we met.
The last thing I need is him.
I’m working on me. Facing my pain and conquering my demons.
I've seen what trusting a man gets you.
I. Don't. Have. Time. For. This.
But he just keeps coming for me.
Keeps knocking down my defenses and stealing my excuses
one by one.
He never gives up, and now...I'm not sure I want him to.



Imposter Alert by Uduak Akpabio
Two women meet on a bus heading for Lagos – one to continue her poor-paying job as a prostitute, and the other to visit a long-distance boyfriend. Both women discover that they share an uncanny resemblance and become fast friends. But before the end of that day, there will be a fatal crash. One woman will die and the other – following a case of mistaken identity – will impersonate her.

Gently navigating the chasm between the lives of the oblivious rich and desperately poor, Impostor Alert! is a finely wrought tale about grief, forgiveness, and redemption.



Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
A FORBIDDEN LOVE SET IN THE EXPLOSIVE WORLD OF THE NBA...
Think you know what it's like being a baller's girl?
You don't.
My fairy tale is upside down.
A happily never after.
I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud.
I was a fool, and his love - fool's gold.
Now there's a new player in the game, August West.
One of the NBA's brightest stars.
Fine. Forbidden.
He wants me. I want him.
But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won't let me go 

***Contains domestic/sexual abuse not involving the hero. Read reviews for guidance.



His Captive Princess by Kiru Taye
Isha Saene has perfected the act of balancing her life—a celebrated corporate negotiator spearheading an international trade deal that could catapult her country to one of the fastest growing mid-sized economies in Africa, and a loyal First Princess of Bagumi Kingdom set to seal ties with a neighbouring nation through marriage.

Until one careless moment knocks her carefully choreographed life into chaos.

Zain Bassong has always fought for the underdog—a patriot dedicated to fighting against the oppression of his people by the country's elite. He believes the pen is mightier than the sword and chooses the diplomatic route, no matter how many times he is arrested by the repressive regime.

Until devastating news triggers a chain reaction.

Isha and Zain are thrown together and their lives change. For better or worse? They will have to figure that out before it’s too late.



A Passionate love by Delaney Diamond
Simone Brooks and Cameron Bennett should not be together. She’s a wealthy socialite looking for a suitable husband. A man with the right pedigree and an economic status that matches her own. He’s part owner of the hottest nightclub in Atlanta with his siblings. Someone who loves cooking, the outdoors, and women, not necessarily in that order.

After one night together, their sizzling chemistry makes it difficult to stay away. Then comes the hard part—navigating their differences to salvage a relationship that, while it may be imperfect, overflows with love and passion.

[This book was previously part of The Bennett Triplets series.]




The Kingmaker and The Rebel King (Duet) by Kennedy Ryan

The Kingmaker
Power. Passion. Betrayal.

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition.

In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it.

My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I'm determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and will do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied.

And neither will I.

THE KINGMAKER is the epic and powerful first installment in the All The King’s Men Duet by USA Today bestselling and RITA® Award winning author, Kennedy Ryan.

(NB: The Kingmaker is Part 1 of a Duet. However, at the time of writing this post, I'm still reading the concluding part, The Rebel King, but it is at least a 4.5 already so definitely worth an honourable mention)

There were also a few books I reviewed at 4.5 stars, which deserve to be on this list:

I hope you take a moment to check out some (or all of these books). What were your favourite books read in 2019?

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