Check It Out Category: Romance

MPPL Staff Favorites 2019

Staff Favorites 2019 cover photo

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!

Picture of JennyFiction: What We Owe
by Golnaz Hashemzadah Bonde
Music: Amidst the Chaos
by Sara Bareilles
Audiobook: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
by Hank Green
Picture of MaryGraphic Novel: New Kid
by Jerry Craft
Fiction: Ninth House
by Leigh Bardugo
Audiobook: On the Come Up
by Angie Thomas
picture of AngelaNonfiction: The Sun Is a Compass
by Caroline Van Hemert
Fiction: The Great Believers
by Rebecca Makkai
Nonfiction: Just Mercy
by Bryan Stevenson

 

Picture of MichaelFiction: The House of Broken Angels
by Luis Alberto Urrea
Movie: The Last Suit
Fiction: The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls
by Anissa Grey
Picture of BrianVideogame: Shadows Die Twice
Fiction: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
by Erika L. Sánchez
Videogame: Hollow Knight
icon for MichelleAudiobook: Recursion
by Blake Crouch
Fiction: The Great Believers
by Rebecca Makkai
Fiction: Daisy Jones & the Six
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

Picture of CaitlinMovie: It: Chapter Two
Book: Angel Mage
by Garth Nix
Music: E-mo-tion
by Carly Rae Jepsen
Audiobook: With the Fire on High
by Elizabeth Acevedo
Nonfiction: Born to Fly
by Steve Sheinken
Graphic Memoir: They Called Us Enemy
by George Takei
Picture of JenniferFiction: Since She Went Away
by David Bell
Fiction: The Girl Who Was Taken
by Charlie Donlea
Nonfiction: The Feather Thief
by Kirk Wallace Johnson

 

icon for DevinFiction: Queen of Air and Darkness
by Cassandra Clare
Nonfiction: The Woman Who Smashed Codes
by Jason Fagone
Poetry: Love Her Wild
by Atticus
Picture of AnneFiction: Beartown
by Fredrik Backman
Fiction: Who Slays the Wicked
by C.S. Harris
Nonfiction: The Pioneers
by David McCullough
by K.A. Holt
Nonfiction: The Undefeated
by Kwame Alexander
Audiobook: The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo

 

Picture of Denise
Audiobook: Get A Life, Chloe Brown
by Talia Hibbert
Audiobook: Internment
by Samira Ahmed
Movie: Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Picture of JanineFiction: The Great Believers
by Rebecca Makkai
Graphic Memoir: Good Talk
by Mira Jacob
Fiction: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
by Stuart Turton
Picture of EvaNonfiction: Life Undercover
by Amaryllis Fox
Fiction: Redemption
by David Baldacci
Fiction: All the Beautiful Girls
by Elizabeth J. Church

 

Picture of BeccaTV: Stranger Things
Graphic Memoir: Kid Gloves
by Lucy Knisley
Fiction: Song for a Whale
by Lynne Kelly
icon for KellyFiction: The Flatshare
by Beth O’Leary
Fiction: Would Like to Meet
by Rachel Winters
Fiction: No Judgments
by Meg Cabot
Audiobook: Daisy Jones & the Six
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Audiobook: The Beastie Boys Book
by Michael Diamond and Adam Horowitz
Fiction: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michelle Richardson

 

picture of CatherineFiction: After the Flood
by Kassandra Montag
Music: Dedicated
by Carly Rae Jepsen
Fiction: Get A Life, Chloe Brown
by Talia Hibbert
Audiobook: The Ten Thousand Doors of January
by Alix E. Harrow
Fiction: A Kind of Freedom
by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
Fiction: Lovely War
by Julie Berry
icon for Anne WNonfiction: Our Women on the Ground
by Zahra Hankir
Nonfiction: Visualizing the Beatles
by John Pring and Rob Thomas
Nonfiction: Zora and Langston: A Story of Friendship and Betrayal
by Yuval Taylor

 

Picture of DonnaAudiobook: Whiskey in a Teacup
by Reese Witherspoon
Fiction: The Giver of Stars
by Jojo Moyes
Fiction: The Paris Orphan
by Natasha Lester
Icon for RebecaFiction: On the Come Up
by Angie Thomas
Fiction: My So-Called Bollywood Life
by Nisha Sharma
Nonfiction: A Dream Called Home
by Reyna Grande
Picture of CathleenFiction: The Memory Police
by Yoko Ogawa
TV: Succession
Poetry: Tsunami vs. the Fukushima 50
by Lee Ann Roripaugh

 

Al staff photoPoetry: 1919:  Poems
by Eve L. Ewing
Fiction: Friday Black: Stories
by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Fiction: The Need
by Helen Phillips
picture of AndreaAudiobook: Nothing To See Here
by Kevin Wilson
Fiction: Fireborne
by Rosaria Munda
Audiobook: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

 


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!

Exciting New Fiction Series to Discover

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:

Black Prism book coverLightbringer Series by Brent Weeks (5 books)

epic fantasy
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.

 

 

Truth or Beard book coverWinston Brothers series by Penny Reid (7 books)

contemporary romance
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?

 

Rosewater book coverWormwood Trilogy by Tade Thompson

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.

 

Sita book coverRam Chandra series by Amish (3 books)

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.

Cathleen’s Pick: It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

Cathleen Staff Pick photoPopping 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)

Fiction: Royals in Love

crown sculpture photoThis 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 book coverOnce 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.
Royal Romance book coverA 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.
The Royal We book cover
The Royal We
by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
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.

 

Marrying Up book coverMarrying Up
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.
Runaway Princess book coverThe 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.
Princess book coverThe Princess
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.

 

Royal Pain book coverA 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.
Royal Wedding book coverRoyal Wedding
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.
Royal Treatment book coverThe 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’s Pick: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

The Wedding Date book coverCathleen 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 book coverAct 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 book coverKiss 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.

 

Duke and I book coverThe 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 book coverYours 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.
Tempest book coverTempest
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.