Check it out, this is (my) Sheena’s Top 15 Books And Audiobooks From 2019. If you love fantasy, whimsy, horror and thrillers combined with excellent writing and narrating then this list is for you.

Without any further fluffing, let’s start with my absolute must-read from last year:

1 Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones

Floodtide by Heather Rose JonesPublished by Bella Books

Audiobook No

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

The streets are a perilous place for a young laundry maid dismissed without a character for indecent acts. Roz knew the end of the path for a country girl alone in the city of Rotenek. A desperate escape in the night brings her to the doorstep of Dominique the dressmaker and the hope of a second chance beyond what she could have imagined. Roz’s apprenticeship with the needle, under the patronage of the royal thaumaturgist, wasn’t supposed to include learning magic, but Celeste, the dressmaker’s daughter, draws Roz into the mysterious world of the charm-wives. When floodwaters and fever sweep through the lower city, Celeste’s magical charms could bring hope and healing to the forgotten poor of Rotenek, but only if Roz can claim the help of some unlikely allies.

Set in the magical early 19th century world of Alpennia, Floodtide tells an independent tale that interweaves with the adventures.

Why I love it

Heather wrote a coming of age story that is beautiful, heroic and superbly told. It’s one of those unforgettable books that you won’t want to put down.

Get It On Amazon

(These links are affiliate links. This means we get a small commission if you click and buy using them and it costs you nothing extra)

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 


2 Beggars Flip by Benny Lawrence

Beggars Flip by Benny Lawrence book reviewPublished by Mindancer Press/Bedazzled Ink Publishing

Audiobook No

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

A sequel to Shell Game, Darren–socially awkward, exiled noblewoman turned pirate queen–and Lynn sorta kinda Darren’s slave girl, sorta kinda Darren’s life coach, and altogether the bossiest backseat helmsman that ever set foot on a pirate ship are at it . . . again.

Darren receives a message delivered by her dying brother pleading for her to warn their father about a traitor. Meaning Darren has to return home to Torasan Isle, and to the father who keeps sending assassins after her. Lynn thinks it’s crazy, insane, and obviously certain death for Darren, and is not overly happy about the idea. As usual, Lynn is right and chaos ensues.

Why I love it

Pirates, banter and saving the world, one island at a time. Also, for those who like allegories this will fulfil that desire with a depth that is rare in lesfic.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 


3 The Empress of Xytae by Effie Calvin

The Empress of Xytae by Effie CalvinPublished by NineStar Press

Audiobook No

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

Crown Princess Ioanna of Xytae has kept her truthsayer blessing a secret for twenty years. In any other nation, her powerful magic would be cause for celebration. But Xytae’s patron is the war goddess Reygmadra, and the future empress is expected to be a brutal warrior.

Reserved and peaceful by nature, Ioanna knows the court sees her as a disappointment. She does her best to assuage their worries every day, working quietly beside her mother to keep the empire running while her father is away at war. But when news of the emperor’s untimely death reaches the capital, Ioanna finds herself ousted by her younger sister Netheia, who has the war magic Ioanna lacks.

Princess Vitaliya of Vesolda has come to Xytae to avoid her father’s upcoming wedding, which she sees as an affront to her mother’s memory. Vitaliya has absolutely no interest in politics or power struggles and intends to spend her time attending parties and embarrassing her family. But when she saves Ioanna’s life during Netheia’s coup, the two are forced to flee the capital together.

Despite their circumstances, Vitaliya enjoys travelling with Ioanna and realizes that the future empress’s shy and secretive nature is the result of her unhappy childhood. Ioanna is equally unaccustomed to being in the company of one as earnest and straightforward as Vitaliya, for she has spent her life surrounded by ambitious and cutthroat nobles.

Ioanna cannot allow her sister to continue their father’s legacy, and plots to rally supporters to her side so she can interrupt Netheia’s coronation. Vitaliya knows she ought to leave Xytae before the nation is ripped apart by civil war but finds she is unwilling to abandon Ioanna. But Ioanna’s enemies are always watching…and they’ve realized that Vitaliya is a weakness to be exploited.

Why I love it

The story of not fitting in because you have a bigger purpose in life.

Calvin released two books in 2019 and they both made the list. This one edged out the other by a teeny bit because it speaks to me a wee bit more than the other. But they are both excellent fantasy novels.

As a bonus, this one can be read as a stand alone. Whoop whoop. So, for those who have not picked up any in the series you can start here.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 


4 Princess Of Dorsa by Eliza Andrews

Princess Of Dorsa by Eliza AndrewsPublished by Indie Author

Audiobook Yes, narrated by Elizabeth Saydah

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

The fate of an empire lies in the hands of one untested princess.

Princess Natasia is the eldest child of the Emperor Andreth, ruler of the Four Realms. If she was a boy, she’d be the unquestioned heir to the throne. But as a girl, her main duty in life is to marry someone her father can shape into his successor.

Everything changes when an unknown, would-be assassin nearly takes Tasia’s life. Someone wants to destabilize the Empire – but who? Was the assassin aligned with the power-hungry Western lords, who have always rebelled against the Emperor? Was he hired by the barbarians in the East; who are fighting against the Empire’s subjugation? Or was he a member of the mysterious Cult of Culo?

Unsure of whom he can trust, the Emperor realizes that his daughter might be his best option for an heir. There hasn’t been a female heir to the throne in living memory, but as palace intrigue becomes increasingly dangerous, the reckless, rebellious, and stubborn princess suddenly has to face the responsibility of learning to lead. Will she rise to the occasion? Or will the Empire fall at the hands of one of its many enemies?

For fans of epic fantasy…with an LGBTQ twist.

Why I love it

2019 was so good for fantasy. If you like big worlds, epic battles and kick ass princesses with sexy, stoic bodyguards then this is a great choice. Excellent writing and it’s a long, deliciously narrated story.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 


5 The Road To Madison by Elle Spencer

The Road to Madison by Elle SpencerPublished by Bold Strokes Books

Audiobook Yes, narrated by Lori Prince

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

As the sole heir to her family’s banking empire, a lot is expected of Madison Prescott. Falling in love with her childhood friend Ana Perez was not in the cards. As Madison’s father puts it, “A gay daughter? Married to the maid’s daughter? Running my company? Over my dead body.”

By the time George Prescott dies, it’s been 15 years since Madison and Ana were ripped apart by his lies. They haven’t spoken since, but Madison has spent every minute waiting for this day to come. Unfortunately, it turns out time doesn’t heal all wounds. Why was Madison willing to give up everything in the face of her father’s threats, and why can she never tell Ana the truth about what really separated them?

Caught between a present they can’t trust and a past they can’t forget, Madison and Ana must decide if this is their second chance, or their final heartbreak.

Why I love it

If you want a book that is an excellent dramatic romance with a strong, well-told plot then this is it. Loads of romantic drama and valid reasons why the couple could not be together.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 


6 Queen of Rhodia by Effie Calvin

The Queen Of Rhodia by Effie CalvinPublished by NineStar Press

Audiobook No

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

It has been sixteen months since Princess Esofi arrived in Ieflaria, and eight since her marriage to Crown Princess Adale. The princesses have a peaceful life together, preparing to become co-regents and raising their baby dragon, Carinth.

Their peace is shattered when Esofi’s mother, Queen Gaelle of Rhodia, arrives in Birsgen. She has heard about Carinth and believes that she deserves custody of him due to her greater devotion to Talcia, Goddess of Magic.

Adale and Esofi have no intention of giving up their son, but Gaelle is impossible to reason with—and there’s no telling what lengths she’ll go to in order to get what she wants.

Why I love it

Deep relationship woes between daughters and their mothers. It’s a beautiful, unique and interesting fantasy novel. It’s a story you are not likely to encounter again and I loved every word.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 


7 The Sweetest Thing by Natasha West

Sweetest Thing by Natasha WestPublished by Indie Author

Audiobook No

Check out our full review here

Synopsis

Robyn Vincent bakes. It’s the only thing in her life that feels good, feels like control. Until almost by accident, she ends up as a contestant on one of the biggest cookery shows in the world, ‘Bake It!’ Now she’s wildly out of her comfort zone, baking under the watchful eye of mean judges as well as a national audience. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s also her main competitor, Jodie Jacobs. She’s seriously skilled, cold as ice, and worst of all, sex on a stick.

However, when the competition heats up, so do things between Robyn and Jodie. And not just on the set… But are they a recipe for disaster? Or is the attraction between them the icing on the cake?

Why I love it

This is a light, fluffy romance set against a British baking reality show with two women who could not be more different if they tried. It’s adorable.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 

 


8 The House by Eden Darry

The House by Eden DarryPublished by Bold Strokes Books

Audiobook Yes, narrated by Kira Omans

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

Sadie, Fin, and their two children were a perfectly ordinary family. Even if Fin felt taken for granted sometimes. Even if their introverted son, Liam, had terrible nightmares and knew things he shouldn’t.

But everything changes the night Sadie is viciously assaulted by former client Lance Sherry. Sherry knows where they live, and when the police fail to catch him, Sadie and Fin are forced to run. They think they’ve found the perfect place to start over. The house is everything Fin dreamed of, but as they settle in, Sadie discovers their home may not be what it seems, and daughter Lucy’s imaginary friend might not be imaginary at all. Or even a friend. With Lance Sherry hunting them, the house could be the least of their problems. He’s coming to finish what he started, and he won’t stop until he finds Sadie.

Why I love it

If you love movies like The House On Haunted Hill or The Amityville Horror then this is lesfic just for you. It’s scary, it’s fabulously lesbian and it’s a great read or listen.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 


9 Girl Squad by Kim Hoover

Girl Squad by Kim HooverPublished by Bella Books

Audiobook No

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

A lazy small town summer in 1970s Texas turns treacherous when Cal Long’s mother goes missing. Cal and her best friend Rachel, along with sophisticated new friend Jane, use every trick in their teenage arsenal to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Along the way, Cal is drawn to Jane in ways she’s never felt before while Rachel struggles to understand her best friend’s new attraction. From Amarillo to Palo Duro Canyon to Ft. Worth and back, the girls puzzle through the connections surrounding the mystery of Cal’s mother’s disappearance.

But their shocking discoveries are soon eclipsed by the explosive consequences of Cal’s surrender to her feelings for Jane.

Girl Squad is a story of friendship, of betrayal, of passion, of awakening. And ultimately, a story of transformation.

Why I love it

A mystery with a coming of age twist. A story about growing up in the 70s, about discovering your own truth and about how parents can let us down.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 


10 Wooing The Farmer by Jenny Frame

Wooing The Farmer by Jenny FramePublished by Bold Strokes Books

Audiobook Yes, narrated by Nicola Victoria Vincent

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

Penelope Huntingdon-Stewart, highly successful clean-eating food vlogger and owner of the website Penny’s Kitchen, is looking for a new direction for her brand. At least that’s what she tells herself when she retreats to Axedale to record a new web series and write a cookbook. That sounds so much better than damage control after her only live, on-screen interview ends in an oh-so-public epileptic seizure.

Farmer Sam McQuade is immediately attracted to Penelope, but the ultra femme and high maintenance city girl seems way out of her league. When Penelope struggles to get her health on track, Quade insists on being her knight in shining armor, much to Penelope’s displeasure. Quade is annoyingly good-looking, not to mention kindhearted, and falling for her would be so easy. If only it didn’t force Penelope to face the secrets she’s hidden from everyone. Can love alone bring a complex city girl and a simple rural farmer together? 

An Axedale Village Romance.

Why I love it

Who doesn’t love a sweet story of romance between a small-town farmer and a city girl who comes to the country looking for an escape? A delightful ending to the Axedale series and it can be read as a stand alone novel.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 


11 Crossing The Wide Forever by Missouri Vaun

Crossing The Wide Forever by Missouri VaunPublished by Bold Strokes Books

Audiobook Yes, narrated by AJ Ferraro

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

Cody Walsh leaves Arkansas for California. Lured by stories of opportunity, even for women, Cody disguises herself as a man and prepares for the arduous journey west.

Lillie Ellis leaves New York to accept a post as a schoolteacher on the frontier near a small homestead she just inherited from her uncle. Lillie’s ultimate desire is to become a painter, and she hopes the Kansas frontier will offer her the freedom to follow that dream. In the 19th century, a young woman has few options in the East that don’t revolve around marriage and motherhood. Lillie is interested in neither.

Cody rescues Lillie after a chance encounter in Independence, Missouri. Their destinies and desires become entwined as they face the perils of the untamed West. Despite their differences, they discover that love’s uncharted frontier is not for the weak in spirit or the faint of heart.

Why I love it

This girl meets girl (who is pretending to be a boy) and they get married in a fauxmance sort of way. Ah, but those pesky feelings get all mushy and eventually love conquers all.

This is a gorgeous book and an equally gorgeous audiobook.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 

 


12 Keepers of the Cave by Gerri Hill

Keepers Of The Cave by Gerri HillPublished by Bella Books and Tantor Audio

Audiobook Yes, narrated by Abby Craden

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

While the investigations go on in Dallas and Baton Rouge after the disappearance of a senator’s daughter, FBI agents CJ Johnston and Paige Riley are assigned to the sleepy backwoods of East Texas for a dead-end assignment to infiltrate an all-girls school. 

Random disappearances dating back 50 years and more raise red flags that point to the tiny, isolated community of Hoganville. But CJ and Paige fear there will be little distraction from the memories of the one-night stand they shared six months ago. 

Nevertheless, they integrate themselves into the lives of the teachers and staff, but soon the odd behavior of the townspeople has them convinced something sinister lurks there. Something, perhaps, that even the residents of Hoganville don’t know about.

Why I love it

Add Abby Craden’s voice to an already excellent story and you have an audiobook that is spectacular. I was excited when I got this one and I was not disappointed.

Strange noises, missing girls and two FBI agents who need to pretend to be lovers as a cover. What could go wrong?

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 


13 Weeping Walls by Gerri Hill

Weeping Walls by Gerri HillPublished by Bella Books and Tantor Audio

Audiobook Yes, narrated by Abby Craden

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

An abandoned old house in a small town northeast of Houston is the site of a second murder, eerily similar to a supposed cold case of 14 years earlier. FBI Agents CJ Johnston and Paige Riley are dispatched to find the link between the two homicides.

The team, including Ice and Billy, find the case to be anything but cold. For CJ and Paige, juggling the investigation while trying to keep their love affair a secret proves to be as hard as uncovering long-buried clues.

Why I love it

Paige and CJ are back with a thrilling case of a boy who was found dead in the same place as a cold case from years before. At a house that is creepy and maybe just a little haunted.

A great follow up to the Keepers Of The Cave and an equally good audiobook. These two audiobooks make me a happy listener.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 


14 Goldenseal by Gill McKnight

Goldenseal by Gill McKnightPublished by Bold Strokes Books

Audiobook Yes, narrated by Melissa Sternenberg

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

When Amy Fortune returns to her childhood home, she discovers something sinister in the air – but is former lover Leone Garoul stalking her or protecting her? 

Amy Fortune and Leone Garoul were teenage lovers. Now, years later, Amy returns to Little Dip, the Garoul home valley, to help her aunt finish a botanical project. Except Little Dip is no longer the happy place of Amy’s childhood memories. There’s something sinister in the woods. And why hasn’t Leone moved on? Why does she still dog Amy’s every move? 

As more and more of the Garoul family arrive for a special hunting weekend, parts of the puzzle come together and Amy’s fears escalate as she moves closer to the truth – and the secret that has eluded her since childhood.

Why I love it

Two fantastic leads. A second chance romance and perhaps a little bit more than meets the eye when secrets are revealed about the family Amy practically grew up around and thought she knew.

I adore this series and the audiobook brings new awesomeness to it. I really hope the rest also get adapted.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 


15 Answering The Call by Ali Vali

Answering The Call by Ali ValiPublished by Bold Strokes Books

Audiobook Yes, narrated by Paige McKinney

Check out my full review here

Synopsis

As New Orleans recovers from Hurricane Katrina, Detective Sept Savoie recovers from a gunshot wound with the help of her new love, Keegan Blanchard. 

As the city returns to normal, so does the crime rate. Sept’s first case back on the job is a strangely ritualistic killing, which quickly escalates into serial murder. 

As the bodies start to pile up, the last thing Sept needs is the city’s newest celebrity crime writer, Nicole Voles, poking into the case looking for information for a new best seller, especially when Nicole appears just as interested in Keegan as she is in murder. 

Time is running out and innocent lives are on the line. But with all her focus on finding a killer, the secretive and seductive Nicole Voles may just steal what matters to Sept most.

A Sept Savoie mystery.

Why I love it

The audiobook for this was released on 27 Dec 2018. Since it was so close to 2019 I am including it in my list. If you love a great thriller/mystery/cop series then this is an excellent one and this audiobook is pure awesomeness.

Get It On Amazon

Amazon US, Canada, Germany and Italy

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these recommendations and find at least one brilliant new read or listen as a result.

Sheena is the founder of The Lesbian Review.

She discovered lesbian fiction when she was 19. Radclyffe and Karin Kallmaker soon became favourite authors and she spent a large part of her hard earned income on shipping books from Amazon.com to her home in South Africa.

Over the years she became frustrated with purchasing mediocre lesbian fiction feeling like it was a waste of her money and time. And so she decided to share only the best books and movies with lesbians who are looking for only the best. And so, The Lesbian Review was born