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2019 has come and gone, and what a year it was! Some of my favourite lesfic reads came out last year, so I’m thrilled to share my top 10 F/F books of 2019 with you.

It was hard to choose only 10, since I loved so many, but I’m especially excited because this is the first time in the history of me doing TLR lists that I’m including books from mainstream publishers. That’s right, baby — our stories about women loving other women are going mainstream, and the books from our favourite lesfic publishers and indie authors are getting better and better!

 


Thorn by Anna Burke1. Thorn by Anna Burke

Published by Bywater Books

Audiobook Narrated by Annette Romano

Check out my full review here.

This book is a lesbian retelling of Beauty and the Beast

What it’s about

On a cold day deep in the heart of winter, Rowan’s father returns from an ill-fated hunting trip bearing a single, white rose. The rose is followed by the Huntress, a figure out of legend. Tall, cruel, and achingly beautiful, she brings Rowan back with her to a mountain fastness populated solely by the creatures of the hunt. Rowan, who once scorned the villagers for their superstitions, now finds herself at the heart of a curse with roots as deep as the mountains, ruled by an old magic that is as insidious as the touch of the winter rose. Torn between her family loyalties, her guilty relief at escaping her betrothal to the charming but arrogant Avery Lockland, and her complicated feelings for the Huntress, Rowan must find a way to break the curse before it destroys everything she loves. There is only one problem—if she can find a way to lift the curse, she will have to return to the life she left behind. And the only thing more unbearable than endless winter is facing a lifetime of springs without the Huntress.

Why I love it

The worldbuilding is incredible and the writing is so gorgeous that I kept highlighting passage after passage while I was reading it. I cannot recommend Thorn enough. (Fun fact: it was also the first book I read in 2019.)

Get It On Amazon

 


2. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max GladstoneThis Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Published by Gallery / Saga Press

Audiobook Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller 

Check out our full review here

This book is a futuristic, spy vs spy, epistolary novel

What it’s about

In the ashes of a dying world, Red finds a letter marked “Burn before reading. Signed, Blue.”

So begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents in a war that stretches through the vast reaches of time and space.

Red belongs to the Agency, a post-singularity technotopia. Blue belongs to Garden, a single vast consciousness embedded in all organic matter. Their pasts are bloody and their futures mutually exclusive. They have nothing in common—save that they’re the best, and they’re alone.

Now what began as a battlefield boast grows into a dangerous game, one both Red and Blue are determined to win. Because winning’s what you do in war. Isn’t it?

Why I love it

This story is so layered and clever that it stuck with me long after I first experienced it. I listened to it first and loved it so much that I bought the ebook so I could read it again at my own pace and be able to flip back and forth between sections.

Get It On Amazon

 


Beautiful Dreamer by Melissa Brayden3. Beautiful Dreamer by Melissa Brayden

Published by Bold Strokes Books

Audiobook Narrated by Melissa Sternenberg

Check out my full review here

This book is an adorable smalltown romance

What it’s about

Who says you can’t go home again?

Philadelphia real estate broker Devyn Winters is at the peak of her career, closing multimillion-dollar deals and relishing it. She’s pretty much blocked out her formative years in Dreamer’s Bay, where the most exciting thing to happen was the twice a year bake sale. Unfortunately, a distress call hauls her back home and away from the life she’s constructed. Now the question is just how long until she can leave again? And when did boring Elizabeth Draper get so beautiful?

Elizabeth Draper loves people, free time, and a good cup of coffee in the warm sunlight. In the quaint town of Dreamer’s Bay, she’s the only employee of On the Spot, an odd jobs company. She remembers Devyn Winters as shallow in high school, but now everything about Devyn makes her lose focus. Though her brain knows Devyn is only home temporarily, her heart didn’t seem to get the memo.

Why I love it

I loved a lot of things about this book, but Beautiful Dreamer stands out for me because Elizabeth Draper is my favourite character of 2019. I love that she’s self-possessed and is open about liking herself, but is never arrogant because she has so much warmth and vulnerability.

Get It On Amazon

 


Galileo by Ann McMan4. Galileo by Ann McMan

Published by Bywater Books

Audiobook Narrated by Christine Williams

Check out our full review here

This book is a political thriller that doesn’t pull any punches

What it’s about

Tim Donovan is a Catholic priest with a guilty conscience―though not in the way you’d guess. And Katherine Donne is a Parisian socialite who long ago kicked her self-respect to the curb―for good and for ill. And much closer, we have a group of men whose fortunes, graying temples and positions in life are distinguished and enviable. But their morals? Anything but. And that’s where Evan Reed comes in. Evan (short for Evangeline) is a highly principled political operative with an imperfect past, tasked with uncovering compromising material on a rotten judge up for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court before he can be rushed through confirmation.

Evan knows it won’t be simple to find damaging information against the judge because he’s been vetted many times before. When Evan pulls the string after an interview with a cryptic madman, she finds herself struggling to solve a puzzle that gets more complex by the hour. And where crime, money, conscience, and greed come together, danger is sure to lurk. In this sequel to Dust, Ann McMan takes the reader on an intense journey into a world that lies just beneath the thin veneer of civilization―a world teeming with power struggles and warped desires, and a subculture of promises made, kept, and broken.

As Evan pushes further into peril, her personal life sparks into flame with the increasing presence of the ravishing Julia Donne, a book publisher with a progressive bent and troubling questions about her late father.

Why I love it

Galileo covers some seriously tough subject matter, but it’s balanced by Evan, Julia, Tim, and Stevie’s wit and warmth. Thrillers aren’t my typical read, but I’m glad I picked up this one, since the writing is also top-notch, crisp and without a single spare word.

Get It On Amazon

 


Mrs. Martin's Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan5. Mrs Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan

Published by Indie Author

Available in Audio No

Check out my full review here

This book is a historical romance with elderly women terrorizing a truly terrible man

What it’s about

Mrs. Bertrice Martin—a widow, some seventy-three years young—has kept her youthful-ish appearance with the most powerful of home remedies: daily doses of spite, regular baths in man-tears, and refusing to give so much as a single damn about her Terrible Nephew.

Then proper, correct Miss Violetta Beauchamps, a sprightly young thing of nine and sixty, crashes into her life. The Terrible Nephew is living in her rooming house, and Violetta wants him gone.

Mrs. Martin isn’t about to start giving damns, not even for someone as intriguing as Miss Violetta. But she hatches another plan—to make her nephew sorry, to make Miss Violetta smile, and to have the finest adventure of all time.

If she makes Terrible Men angry and wins the hand of a lovely lady in the process? Those are just added bonuses.

Why I love it

If you’re tired of men being awful and getting away with it, you need to pick up this book IMMEDIATELY because it is a seriously cathartic read. I laughed until I cried in a few spots, and I was also occasionally blown away by the quieter, more intimate moments between Bertrice and Violetta.

Get It On Amazon

 


Anyone but You by Chelsea M Cameron6. Anyone but You by Chelsea M. Cameron

Published by Indie Author

Audiobook Narrated by Lori Prince

Check out my full review here

This book is an enemies-to-lovers romance between a yoga studio owner and a crossfit studio owner

What it’s about

Things are going great for Sutton Kay, or at least they were. Her yoga studio is doing well, she’s living with her best friend, and she just got two kittens named Mocha and Cappuccino. Sure, she doesn’t have a girlfriend, but her life is full and busy.

Then her building is sold and the new landlord turns out to be the woman putting in a gym downstairs who doesn’t seem to understand the concepts “courtesy” and “don’t be rude to your tenants.” Sutton can’t get a read on Tuesday Grímsdóttir, but she can appreciate her muscles. Seriously, Tuesday is ripped. Not that that has anything to do with anything since she’s too surly to have a conversation with, and won’t stop pissing Sutton off.

Sutton’s life gets interesting after she dares Tuesday to make it through one yoga class, and then Tuesday gives Sutton the same dare. Soon enough they’re spending time working out together and when the sweat starts flowing, the sparks start flying. How is it possible to be so attracted to a person you can barely stand?

But when someone from Tuesday’s past shows up and Sutton sees a whole new side of Tuesday, will she change her mind about her grumpy landlord? Can she?

Why I love it

I’m a big fan of Chelsea Cameron’s angst-free romances and Anyone But You was no exception. This book is hella cute, and the antagonism between Sutton and Tuesday is especially adorable as they get to know each other, making it the perfect pick-me-up for a terrible week.

Get It On Amazon

 


The Lady's Guide To Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite7. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

Published by Avon Impulse

Audiobook In The Production Process

Check out my full review here

This book is a swoonworthy historical romance with scientists

What it’s about

As Lucy Muchelney watches her ex-lover’s sham of a wedding, she wishes herself anywhere else. It isn’t until she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth, looking for someone to translate a groundbreaking French astronomy text, that she knows where to go. Showing up at the Countess’ London home, she hoped to find a challenge, not a woman who takes her breath away.

Catherine St Day looks forward to a quiet widowhood once her late husband’s scientific legacy is fulfilled. She expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the young woman who turns up at her door, begging to be allowed to do the work, and she agrees to let Lucy stay. But as Catherine finds herself longing for Lucy, everything she believes about herself and her life is tested.

While Lucy spends her days interpreting the complicated French text, she spends her nights falling in love with the alluring Catherine. But sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them. Can Lucy and Catherine find the strength to stay together or are they doomed to be star-crossed lovers?

Why I love it

This book is so beautifully written that, much like with Thorn, I kept highlighting passages at a ridiculous rate. I never thought someone could make embroidery or astronomy compelling to me, but Waite sure did. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics also brings those sweet, sweet “fight the patriarchy” vibes and it’s so satisfying to read.

Get It On Amazon

 


Sunsets and Shades by Erica Lee8. Sunsets and Shades by Erica Lee

Published by Indie Author

Audiobook Narrated by Jessica Renfro

Check out my full review here

This book is an opposites attract, enemies-to-lovers romance

What it’s about

Kinsley Scott is a lesbian romance author who doesn’t actually believe in love. While her alter ego, Laurel Lake, loves happy endings and epic love stories, Kinsley has a more cynical view of the world.

Grace Harper is a hopeless romantic hanging on every word of the lesbian romance novels she reads. She believes her happy ending is right around the corner if she can just move on from the ex who cheated on her. When Grace’s childhood best friend, Leah, suggests that she comes to Philly to get space from her ex, it seems like the perfect opportunity to start over, especially since Leah’s roommate is none other than Laurel Lake – Grace’s favorite romance author.

Grace quickly learns that people aren’t always how they appear online and is disappointed to find that Kinsley Scott is nothing like Laurel Lake. She’s rude and vulgar and, unfortunately, irresistibly sexy. There is also much more to her than meets the eye, and as the two grow closer, her tough exterior is quickly stripped away, revealing much more than Grace ever bargained for.

Why I love it

Kinsley is such an unapologetic, yet lovable, jerk and I couldn’t get enough of her. This is another low-angst read that hit me in all the right spots. I’ll definitely be reading it again.

Get It On Amazon


Once Ghosted Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole9. Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole

Published by Avon Impulse

Audiobook Narrated by Karen Chilton

Check out my full review here

This book is a lovely second chance romance with an amazing cover

What it’s about

While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy—so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.

When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.

Why I love it

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy tells two stories in parallel: how Likotsi and Fab find their second chance and how they first got together. Even better? It tells both stories superbly. I also want to give a shoutout to this book for having my favourite cover of 2019, because these models are adorable and perfectly represent our two heroines.

Get It On Amazon


Reinventing Lindsey by Maggie Brown10. Reinventing Lindsey by Maggie Brown

Published by Bella Books

Available in Audio No

Check out my full review here

This book is a quirky romance between a matchmaker and a scientist

What it’s about

Studying the past hasn’t prepared Daisy Parker—anthropologist-turned-matchmaker—for her latest client. Finding Lindsey Jamieson-Ford a life partner isn’t exactly a simple exercise. Not only hasn’t Lindsey dated for years, the prickly reclusive scientist relates better with her robots than with people.

Lindsey has no idea what matchmaking involves when she hires Daisy. She’s never met anyone quite like the bubbly matchmaker and doesn’t know how she’s going to survive the infuriating woman. Now her life has lurched onto a roller coaster that just won’t damn well stop.

Guiding Lindsey through the courtship process is a challenge. Before the reticent scientist can move forward, Daisy has to teach her to leave the past behind. But another problem soon enters into the mix…How can Daisy stay detached when her body seems to be answering Lindsey’s mating call?

Why I love it

The characters don’t seem at all suited for each other at first glance, so I was really impressed by how the relationship builds so naturally between them. I’ve also never seen a premise like this one before and I had a whole lot of fun while reading it. In fact, I might just be due for a reread…

Get It On Amazon


BUT WAIT! Of course there’s more, because no Tara Scott list is complete without a bonus book! Here’s the best book I read in 2019 that wasn’t published this year.

Finding Aurora by Rebecca LanghamBONUS BOOK: Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham

Published by NineStar Press

Available in Audio No

Check out my full review here

This book is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty

What it’s about

Aurora Rose slumbers in the city of Oldpass, a cursed kingdom once allied with Grimvein. The victim of a malicious spell, she is powerless to control her own fate. At least, that’s how the story goes.

Now, as Grimvein faces attack, Prince Amir has been tasked with the life-threatening rescue of Aurora, his parents hopeful he will marry the princess and secure safety for their kingdom. Talia, the strongest spellcaster in the known lands, protects and guides the prince in his quest to save a woman that threatens to change their lives forever.

In finding Aurora, the pair will realise the truth about themselves and each other, coming to understand just what—and who—they really want in life.

Why I love it

If you like gentle fairy tale retellings, this is the book for you! The premise may not make it sound like it, but I promise this is an f/f book. It’s also delightfully queer, rather than specifically lesbian, because it includes bisexual and asexual representation.

Get It On Amazon

 

Tara Scott lives in Calgary, Canada with her family. If you don't find her with her Kindle in her hand, she's probably busy talking about what she's currently reading.