My favorite reads of 2019


I’ve read some wonderful books this year and a couple not so good ones. I still have a couple more to go to reach my goal for the year (shhhh, don’t tell Goodreads). Thinking on my favorite reads of the year, there are three that standout. What a joy it is for all three books to be by not only indie authors, they are also by women and women of color at that! Below are my three favorite reads of 2019, in no particular order.

How to Tame Your Tikbalang by Alma Ananas-Carpio

This is a sexy fantasy read. It touches on folklore native to the Philippine culture, which I knew nothing about prior to reading this book. And that’s okay, you don’t have to. If reading sex scenes make you uncomfortable, this is not the book for you. I, however, write sex scenes myself, so this was right up my alley.

The story follows Tala Bienvenido as she fulfills the destiny of becoming a Babaylan, a destiny set forth by her ancestor who failed to do it herself generations prior. In order for Tala to become a Babaylan, she must first tame a Tikbalang, which is a half warrior, half horse monster that can transform into a full human form or a full horse form when necessary.

Now this Tikbalang does not want to be tamed, even though he has an undeniable attraction to Tala. He hates the thought of being tamed and attached to anyone so much that he complains about it to his father, the King of Tikbalangs. Here’s the thing, as the oldest of the King’s sons, he has to find and be willingly tamed by a Babaylan in order claim his birthright as the next King. It is also the only way he can become immortal. So he starts out fighting his destiny until his envious younger brother put him and Tala in a position where they have no choice but to fulfill heir destinies. This journey isn’t an easy one. In fact, there are other dangers the young couple faces. The plus of the journey is that all the rituals revolve around sex and boy do they have a lot of it! The sex scenes are written beautifully. I mean, they got me all hot and bothered y’all.

I do know (and I hope Alma doesn’t mind me saying this) there will be more books in this series. I’m very much looking forward to them.

We are Immeasurable by B. L. McGrew

This book sent me on an emotional rollercoaster more than any book I’ve ever read. I have never laughed, smiled, cheered, and cried over a book so much in my life.

This story follows Mazie, a blind teenager after she transfers from a school for the blind to a public school. Mazie is fiercely independent and as such, stubborn as hell. She immediately rejects the help of anyone, including that of a classmate when it’s forced upon her by their instructor. Barnaby, the student called on to help her get to the library, is more than willing to help because he has a crush on Mazie.

Mazie naturally is hesitant to open up to anyone, except her big sister. Barnaby, bless his heart, is determined to break through her shell and goes about it in a way that Mazie finds annoying and endearing at the same time. Their young love blossoms into something…magical. It teaches them both a lot about themselves and the world, especially Mazie.

I won’t give away the story, but I will say the ending is a tear-jerker. I needed a moment to pull myself together after reading this one. You can’t help but fall in love with these characters and this story.

Soul Tracing: Taboo by Ifraah Samatar & Irsha Akbar

This book. This book. This book. I was hooked from the very beginning. I was not expecting that ending! Frankly, I wasn’t expecting a lot of stuff that happened in this story but, I enjoyed every minute of reading it.

This story follows Yasmin Khan, who is attending University and living in her strict Muslim household. Her father, the community Imam is only entertaining the idea of Yasmin going to University as something to do until he finds a husband for her. I was utterly disgusted with who he chose. His desire for Yasmin is to be a dutiful Muslim wife. Yasmin (I love this name), however, has other ideas for her life and desires for the type of freedom her Muslim friend Noor has.

Dean, who also attends University, has all the freedom in the world, being a white male who was adopted into a very wealthy family. He’s a bit spoiled in many ways and doesn’t take many things seriously, that is until his chance meeting with a devout Muslim girl. He’s determined to break through her physical (get your mind out of the gutter, she wears a burka) and religious shells, initially for his own selfish reasons, but it turns into much, much more.

The twists and turns in this story are mind blowing – especially the one at the end. I literally screamed. I needed time to recoup from this ending too.

BRAVO to the four ladies who created these three amazing stories. For some reason, the link function is not working at the moment. I will go back and add the links next titles of each of them if you would like to take a read, which I HIGHLY recommend.