I always love our annual lists here at Joyfully Jay. It gives me a chance to reflect back on some of my favorites that I’ve read over the past year, and I like seeing what everyone else has at the top of their lists too. It’s not easy to pare it down though, as I’ve read—and listened to—a lot of outstanding books this year. So I’m going to separate my best of list into two categories; those I’ve read, and those I’ve listened to. So without further ado, here are my top picks, in no particular order.
The Unlikely Prospect by Lex Chase—I’ve long loved this author’s style, and she really excels here with this book. Sweet, wonderful MCs coupled with a great plot and all tied up in a well written bow.
Worth Series by Lyra Evans—I was into this series from word one, and really enjoyed the way the arc played out over the three books. This author has a fantastic way with words that kept me engaged. And I loved watching Connor and Oliver fall in love and work to stay that way.
Hell Cop by Astrid Amara, Ginn Hale, and Nicole Kimberling—This one was a winner through and through. An interesting twist on the world, magic, and excellent world building. Extra impressive as it was woven through three tales told by three different authors.
On Wings of Thunder by M.D. Grimm—I’ll admit, I was surprised at how much I loved this book. The whole take on Angels and Demons was extraordinary, and the world building was unbelievably good.
Only the Lonely by Lynn Kelling—This author never fails to nail me in the feels, and she takes her work to dark places. But it’s so beautifully written, and I care so much about the MC Evan, that this book absolutely makes my favorites list
Bored, Stroked, and Blueprinted by K.C. Kendricks—cars. Anyone who knows me knows that’s enough for me to love this book. But that alone wouldn’t have made it make my list if it wasn’t well written with two MCs I just adored.
Waking Jamal by Amberly Smith—I was floored by this book, loved the world building and was so invested in the MCs, I couldn’t put the book down. I want more in the world and of these characters.
Song of Song by L.J. LaBarthe—Epic. Space. Opera. This is sci fi at its finest, and I was so enthralled with the whole thing, I was literally on the edge of my seat while reading.
Professional Distance by Silvia Violet and narrated by Greg Boudreaux—The story itself was good, though I found some things I wish were explored more. But Greg Boudreaux takes things to a whole other level for me. His emotions and narration was so spot on that I listened to this one in all one go. Outstanding.
THIRDs Series by Charlie Cochet and narrated by Mark Westfield—I dig this series in written format, and have read them all. But in audio? No contest. Westfield is so phenomenal that it’s one of the only audios I’ve listened to more than once. He’s got the characters down perfectly, packs the right emotional punch, and the effects he adds dial the military aspect up to 11.
In Your Eyes by Cardeno C and narrated by Charlie David—Another one I read first, and loved, and then listened to later. CC’s writing is always great, but add Charlie David into the mix, and it’s a total winner. He captures Samuel and Korban, and their emotions, so perfectly I can’t do it justice.