The end of the year is an irresistible time to reflect on all the fabulous art each of us read, watched, played, and listened to in 2019, and many of our staff wanted to celebrate those high points together. Narrowing down to only three favorites each has not been easy, but this grand finale has given us lots to debate — and we hope it offers the same to you!
Want more? Take a look at what staff chose in 2018 and 2017 as their favorites.
If you’re interested in personalized reading, watching, and/or listening suggestions… Ask!
If you are looking for a new story world to explore and love the guarantee of multiple volumes ready-and-waiting, try one of these recent additions to the MPPL fiction collections:
for fans of George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss
*recent New York Times bestseller*
Start with The Black Prism
When Gavin Guile–high priest and emperor, the most powerful man in the world known to all as the Prism–discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.
for fans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson
*Goodreads Choice finalist*
Start with Truth or Beard
Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain. But when she realizes that Duane is interested in her, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?
science fiction; Afrofuturism
for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and James S.A. Corey
Start with Rosewater
Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless – people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers. Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again — but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.
historical fantasy; mythological fiction
for fans of Saladin Ahmed and G. Willow Wilson
Start with Scion of Ikshvaku
3400 BCE. India. A terrible war has taken its toll. The demon King of Lanka, Raavan, does not impose his rule on the defeated. He, instead, imposes his trade. The Sapt Sindhu people descend into poverty. They cry for a leader to lead them out of the morass. Little do they appreciate that a leader, a tortured and ostracized prince, is among them.
Popping the question to her boyfriend of ten years was part of Delia’s plan; seeing his panicked text to another woman that same night was…not. It’s Not Me, It’s You is a darkly comic journey of self-discovery through misadventure. Witty, sometimes wacky, but also pointedly real, Mhairi McFarlane’s story is one to cheer.
Have you taken up this summer’s challenge of Reading Takes You Everywhere? Enjoy this book for any one of the following categories:
A. Read a book written by a new-to-you author.
C. Read a book set in a different country. (England)
G. Read a romance. (of sorts)
This is the week that Royal Wedding Mania reaches fever pitch, and that may have sparked your appetite for stories of romance between the ‘common’ and the crowned! If you are looking for noble attraction, whether spontaneous, arranged, or under false pretense, try one of these contemporary tales that range from the sweet to the spicy:
Once Upon a Prince
by Rachel Hauck
When a jilted girlfriend meets a reluctant crown prince, they discover the power of God’s love to heal hearts and change a nation.
A Royal Romance
by Jenny Frame
Beaa, the director of a hospice charity, must spend six months working with Queen Georgina, Britain’s first openly gay British monarch, and immediately sparks fly.
An American exchange student at Oxford falls in love with the heir to the British throne, but a life of constant public scrutiny may be more than she can bear.
by Wendy holden
In this “right royal romantic comedy,” three women look for love, and one of them may have found a real prince in disguise.
The Runaway Princess
by Hester Browne
London gardener Amy Wilde falls for a stranger she meets at a friend’s party and is astonished to learn he is a prince, a situation that leads to a scandalous engagement and Amy’s doubts about whether she will enjoy life as a royal.
by Lori Wick
Born to a simple life, Shelby agrees to an arranged marriage with the widowed Prince Nikolai but struggles to overcome the emotional distance the prince keeps between them.
A Royal Pain
by Megan Mulry
While despairing of her romantic prospects in the wake of a bad breakup, Bronte Talbott engages in what she believes will be a rebound fling with a man who is subsequently revealed to have royal ties.
by Meg Cabot
Princess Mia and her Prince Charming plan their fairy tale wedding – but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.
The Royal Treatment
by MaryJanice Davidson
Set in an alternate reality in which Alaska is its own country, Christina is hired by the King to become the wife of his unruly son in a business arrangement that leads to chaos, passion, and eventually true love.
Cathleen of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory:
It may be a meet-cute you’ve seen before, but when Drew and Alexa are stuck in an elevator together, their connection is made with such charm that it becomes entirely fresh.
Drew is a pediatrician on his way to the wedding of his ex and his best friend, so when he finds himself dateless, it isn’t…ideal. When he meets Alexa, the mayor’s chief-of-staff, in the stalled elevator, he’s struck by how smart and funny she is — not to mention quite attractive – so he impulsively invites her to be his plus-one. He’s surprised to hear himself ask, but even more surprised when she agrees! So begins a wedding weekend built on a lie, but the chemistry is undeniable.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory is told in alternating points of view with winning banter and a bit of narrative wink. The warmth and fun with which Drew and Alexa navigate falling for one another is completely charming, and when those inevitable obstacles emerge, you can’t help but hold your breath for the happily-ever-after ending they deserve.
For more entertaining stories of relationships that begin in pretense and become real…
Act Like It
by Lucy Parker
A London actor with an image problem is paired with a charity-minded ingénue for a publicity-driven romance that takes them both off guard.
Kiss an Angel
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Presented with the choice between jail and marrying a stranger, flighty Daisy Devereaux becomes the newest member of a traveling circus beside a husband who is determined to change her uptown ways.
The Duke and I
by Julia Quinn
The Duke of Hastings will stop at nothing to keep the matchmakers at bay, even if it means pretending to be engaged to the lovely Miss Bridgerton, but strong feelings on both sides soon complicate the plan.
Yours to Keep
by Shannon Stacey
In preparation for her grandmother’s visit, Emma recruits a recently returned army vet to be her fake fiancé, but when their pretend relationship turns into something real, they must make some difficult decisions.
by Beverly Jenkins
When the first meeting of a spirited mail-order bride and a young widowed doctor results in a gunshot wound, the planned marriage of convenience seems to hold promise of more sparks than either expected.