Favorite Reads of the Decade

2010-2019 really flew by, but had some truly amazing debuts for novels, authors, and now we all have our specific favorites! To see the book’s Goodreads page, please click on the picture. Here are my favorite reads of the decade:

Ain't He Precious? (Sex and Sweet Tea, #1)

The Sex & Sweet Tea Series by Juliette Poe
Ain’t He Precious (Book #1) Published: April 11, 2017

This is the pseudonym of popular romance author Sawyer Bennett. This series has five books and takes place in a little town of Whynot, North Carolina. Learning about all of the characters, who they are, who their siblings are, what’s happening around them and who they become in this books were absolutely astounding and I’d recommend this series to anyone who loves romance!
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Room by Emma Donoghue
Published: August 20, 2010

Obviously, this is a favorite for a lot of people. I loved the story, the writing and just the emotions that Room put me through. This book was made into a movie because of the attention that it received and Brie Larson did such a fantastic job portraying one of the main characters. If you haven’t yet, this is one of my favorite fiction reads and I’d recommend any adult to read it. The story is so moving and emotional.

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The Prenup by Lauren Layne
Published: July 11, 2019

The Prenup was the first Lauren Layne novel that I read. After I read this book, I began reading all of her books. I read I want to say… 6 of them back to back, whether in a series or not. Lauren has a spectacular writing style where you get sucked into the angst and romance that she delivers. Romance lovers, pick up Lauren Layne, you will not regret it!

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Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen
Published: January 1, 2011

Skipping a Beat ripped my heart out of my chest. This book was so powerful and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The synopsis is enough to have you curious, but when you pick it up and read it, the unexpected things that happen make you cry uncontrollably. I love when a book can make me feel emotion like that and Skipping a Beat really gets you.

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No Exit by Taylor Adams
Published: June 25, 2017

When I picked up No Exit, it was after a bookish friend of mine told me that I needed to stop what I was doing and read it. She was very adamant that it wouldn’t take me more than a day to read and I held her to that. When I tell you I read this book in a few hours, I mean it. I couldn’t put it down and it turned out to be one of my favorites in the thriller/mystery category now.

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Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews
Published: June 5, 2012

When I found myself starting to enjoy reading, I was unsure of what genre I’d really get in to. I took a chance with the romance genre and thought that maybe I’d like it, but maybe not because sometimes I think it’s too far fetched. I picked this book up because a woman at the library recommended it to me after looking around for a little while. I wanted something romantic but with a good story. The first few sentences of this book really grabbed me to the point where I needed to know what was going to happen. After reading this, I went on to read most of Mary Kay Andrews’ books because she just has a way with words.

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From Italy with Love Series by Tilly Tennant
Rome is where the Heart is (Book #1) Published: March 9, 2017

If you are a fan of a romantic travel stories, read this series. The first book was adorable and the second book was even better. Tilly Tennant really transports you to Rome and shows the beautiful details about the city. It’s like you can close your eyes and you’re in Rome with the characters. This series hasn’t been read that much according to Goodreads, but I will say that you should really pick this up!

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Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
Published: August 5, 2014

Ugly Love was put in my top five books of all time. I read her book It’s Ends with Us and immediately was hooked. This book made me just speechless. The journey that Colleen Hoover takes us on throughout this novel is absolutely astonishing and you sit there hoping for the ending you want. You sit there and cry and laugh along with the beautifully developed characters and just wait for the best part. Here’s the catch – the whole book is the best part.

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Published: April 14, 2011

This book had a very, very lovable story. I love the premise because it is something I’ve never heard of before. It was extremely creative. I loved the characters especially. The friendships and how they withstand some weird things that go on take the priority in this book. Rainbow Rowell has written quite a bit of adult fiction, but writes young adult as well. I’d recommend Rainbow Rowell and her books to anyone!

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Red, White & Royal Blue
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston
Published: May 14, 2019

Okay, but Red, White & Royal Blue was a debut novel for Casey McQuiston in 2019. Casey  came out of absolutely nowhere with this beauty of a book and won two categories of the Goodreads Best of 2019 Awards! It really was a book that you would’ve never expected. The story was unlike any other young adult LGBTQ+ novel I’ve ever read. It was steamy, angsty, enemies-to-lovers and one of my favorite books not only of the year, but of all time.

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The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: May 17, 2016

The Problem with Forever was extremely emotional. The characters were written perfectly for the story. As an acknowledgement to group homes, these two main characters were portrayed in such a way that made me more curious about what they are like. It had me wondering about what group homes are really like and how they work. I would reread this 100 times over just for the characters.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Published: May 9, 2017

This is one of my favorite books of all time. Eleanor Oliphant’s quirkiness and awkwardness was funny and depressing at the same time. Her story, which you will read about because I don’t want to give any spoilers, was absolutely disturbing, but amazing to read. The struggles that she endures were so heartbreaking, but extremely realistic. Gail Honeyman really did a phenomenal job.

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Simon Snow Series by Rainbow Rowell
Carry On (Book #1) Published: October 6, 2015

Everything about this series is perfect. I didn’t want it to end. At all. When I closed the books, I definitely pouted for a good while. This is a fantasy genre which I never would’ve expected myself to like. I usually don’t even like it, but Carry On really was the exception. It’s pure magic and so was its sequel. The third and final book (as far as we know) in the series, Any Way the Wind Blows, will be out hopefully within the next year.

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published: August 9, 2016

The Hating Game was full of chemistry. Sally Thorne has this specific writing style that really makes you feel their chemistry and how well Lucy and Josh actually work together. Their friendship was angsty, and I am a sucker for some harsh love. Josh and Lucy are one of my favorite book couples of all time. There were so, so many things with this book that made me absolutely swoon.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published: February 28, 2017

Astonishing. Riveting. Shocking. Stunning. Breathtaking.

I took my time with this book because I am a very emotional person. If you are a very emotional person like me, I suggest that you have tissues ready because I’m not sure where there was a chapter where I didn’t at least tear up. I full on ugly cried through a few of them. There were so many different emotions displayed through this novel that I felt like I was losing someone myself. The author did a WONDERFUL job showing the seven stages of grief. Prepare yourself for the reality of this book and give it a read if you haven’t already.

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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Published: May 14, 2019

The Unhoneymooners was my third Christina Lauren book that I have read. After finishing this new release, I can surely say that the dynamic duo of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings is becoming one of my favorite authors. My favorite things in all of the books I’ve read by them is the fact that they write love so well. Do not wait to read this one.

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Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Published: February 6, 2018

Girl, Wash Your Face was the amazing debut novel of Rachel Hollis. This nonfiction was definitely unlike anything I had ever read before. The personal development and self-help in this book was outstanding to say the least. If you’re kind of in a rut or experiencing some doubt, I’d sincerely recommend this book and her other popular novel, Girl, Stop Apologizing.

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Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Published: July 18, 2017

This book definitely shows heartbreak. I resonate with these kind of books because I’ve seen love fall apart and mend back together. This book is so great because it would stand out to a lot of people for the same reason.  I could go on and on about the main character, Arthur Less. This was  wonderful to read. It was comforting because it shows that in the end, it will all work out the way that it is supposed to, not necessarily the way that you want it to.

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Published: May 15, 2018

When I started How to Walk Away, I was sucked right in. The characters were so wonderful to read. I felt like I was included in there and was watching everything unfold right in front of my eyes. I could really feel their pain and heartache and felt the inspiration that they all had to achieve their new goals after such a traumatic event. I was tearing up one second and busting out laughing the next. The writing was spectacular and I read Katherine Center’s newest book right after this one because I wanted to see how amazing both were. Katherine really, really has a way with words.

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Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Published: December 10, 2019

Last but certainly not least. Regretting You was just… I feel almost speechless about it. I started it and from those first few sentences (as always), I was intrigued on how this story was going to turn out. I read and read until I finished it. Within hours. Simply because Colleen Hoover has a way with her words unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The tears that I had, the laughs I had, I felt like I was sharing my own little journey with the characters.

Sex & Sweet Tea Series by Juliette Poe

#1: Ain’t He Precious
Publication Date: April 11th, 2017

“Welcome to Whynot, North Carolina, population 3,872. It has one stoplight, one bar, and the one-and-only Trixie Mancinkus.

Eleven years ago, Trixie graduated Harvard Law, turned down a job offer from one of the most prestigious law firms in Boston, and headed home to Whynot to open her own firm. Not only did she leave behind the big city, but she also left her boyfriend of three years. And just so we’re clear… that would be me.

So what am I doing in Whynot at this very moment? It seems Trixie needs help with a legal case and for some insane reason, she called on me for assistance. I’ve been in town for five minutes, and I’m every bit as out of place as I feel. Trixie is all sweet, southern curves to my tailored suits and high-priced haircuts. It’s a culture clash of north versus south and about the only thing we have in common is our physical attraction to each other.

But I have a new motto since coming to Whynot: When life hands you lemons, all you need is a little sex and sweet tea to make things better.”

Review:

Trixie and Ryland made life choices that left them both without love for eleven years. He stayed in Boston, working at one of the biggest firms there, while Trixie went back home after Harvard. When Trixie needs help on a case, she asks Ry to come help her in her hometown of Whynot, NC. Trixie is exactly where she is supposed to be and Ry sticks out like a sore thumb. After denying their chemistry for so long, it’s bound to happen that things will escalate in the way that they both want it to.

This book was so fun to read. Sawyer Bennett is using a different name to write as Juliette Poe. There were so many memorable and hilarious quotes that could come from this book. One of my favorites was from Ryland: “The people in this town are nuttier than squirrel shit.” There were moments where I laughed out loud.

The chemistry that this book had was unbelievable. I read tons and tons of romance. It’s one of my favorite genres. “Ain’t He Precious” had some of the best chemistry that I have ever read. I love the story of this book too. Two loves from college get away from each other: if it’s meant to be, it will be.

The last thing was the characters. Juliette Poe did a magnificent job describing what it’s like to live in a small town. I live in a town where it’s only two miles long. It’s very true that when you go out into town, you know everyone. When we have family or friends visit, they always say, “Wow, you know everyone, don’t you?”.  Juliette Poe wrote the small town narrative perfectly.

Overall, this was a wonderful book that I would recommend to any romance lover. If you like a little steam, you’ll get that too! The writing style and characters were all phenomenal. Read. This. Book!

The second book of this series: Stubborn As A Mule, is published as of July 20th, 2017. This is a story of Trixie’s brother Lowe, and how he got himself in deep trouble with the law. There’s a historical house that belongs in the Mancinkus family and it was bought from underneath of him by a woman named Melinda. So, what does Lowe do? He vandalizes the house and paints it bright pink. The second book will be about Lowe and Melinda’s journey to fix the house as court ordered by a judge.

Rating: ★★★★★

#2: Stubborn As a Mule
Publication Date: July 20th, 2017

Down in Whynot, NC, there are three things that hold true: 1) life moves just a little bit slower, 2) family means everything, and 3) you don’t mess with history.

When his family decides to sell a home that’s been part of their history for over a century, Lowe Mancinkus is madder than a hornet. To add insult to injury, the woman who purchased it is some fancy pants, city girl looking to fix it up and sell it off. Doesn’t matter that she’s sexy as hell or that just being near her gets his blood racing like never before. That home belongs to his family, or at least it did until she came to town.

Well that just won’t do, now will it?

From the moment that she laid eyes on the historical home in rural North Carolina, Melinda Rothschild knew Mainer House was something special. The perfect escape from life in New York City, Melinda signed the papers and set to work restoring the house to its natural beauty. That is until an angry Lowe showed up on her doorstep one day. With a scowl on his handsome, chiseled face. And a shotgun in his strong, muscular arms.

Is it getting hot in here?

Melinda’s about to get a lesson on life in the south, but Lowe is about to learn a lesson of his own – this city girl doesn’t back down from a fight. ”

Review:

I waited and waited months for this book to come out and let me say, I am NOT disappointed. Stubborn as a Mule starts off with Lowe and Melinda in the court room trying to figure out a punishment for Lowe’s vandalism. The judge has known Lowe and his family for a long time, so when the outsider, Melinda, starts putting up a fight about how much punishment he is actually getting. When the judge finds her to be a nuisance, he summons both of them to work on the house together for 200 hours. When they begin working together, it’s not a surprise that there is chemistry there. Melinda learns the hard way of a town that is so small, running into Lowe’s ex-flings and having to hear all the details. Lowe is falling for Melinda and vice versa. The perfect story yet again.

I should just copy and paste my review of the first in the series. This book was absolutely fantastic. Honestly, it was the perfect sequel. This book had a different premise than the first. The first book was more of a “one that got away” story line, and this one was enemies-to-lovers. It was amazing.

The characters were great. I loved Lowe because even though he acts tough on the outside, he’s sweet and romantic on the inside. I didn’t like Melinda at first. She was just so mean and her attitude was holier-than-thou. However, I loved her by the end. She’s a strong, independent woman that hasn’t been in a relationship in a long time. Again, Melinda learns how it is in a small town. Juliette Poe continues to really bring that home.

Overall, again, a perfect love story about learning how to be patient and kind. Trixie and Ry were mentioned in this book, so it’s important to acknowledge that this series is staying together. I love this series and can’t wait for the next!

As of right now, this series is five books long. The next book is called “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” and it’s about Trixie and Lowe’s sister, Laken, who is the only veterinarian in Whynot. What will happen when a new dog shows up in town with a very cute owner? We’ll find out in September of 2017!

Rating: ★★★★★

#3: Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Publication Date: September 14, 2017

“Things in Whynot, NC have gone to the dogs, and that’s just the way the town’s only veterinarian, Laken Mancinkus, likes it. No matter if she’s up when the rooster crows, or working until the cows come home, Laken never leaves an animal in need. So when a gorgeous Yankee comes begging for help herding some wily goats, Laken is up to the task.

Jake McDaniel is looking for a tax break, and what better way than to take up…farming? This ex-football player turned businessman turned unwitting goat farmer is up to his knees in goat drama. Runaway goats, dehydrated goats, and a baby goat that wants no one other than him, Jake needs more help than he cares to admit. Good thing the sexy veterinarian is right there to coach him on how to be a farmer. The only problem is, Laken’s not looking for anything more than a good time, while Jake is looking for his forever girl.

Will the baby goat, and Laken, be enough to get Jake to stay? Or will he take his tax break and hoof it back to Chicago? One thing is for certain…what happens on the farm doesn’t always stay on the farm.”

Review:

Rating: ★★★★

#4: Pretty as a Peach
Publication Date: March 15, 2018

“Mainer Farms is steeped in family history, but it’s also deep in debt from the effects of the ever-changing farming industry. Not about to let his family’s legacy go under, Colt Mancinkus is willing to do anything he can to save the farm.

Darby Culhane is the new farmer in Whynot, North Carolina, and she’s proving to be quite the forbidden temptation for Colt. Darby isn’t looking for anything but a fresh start, and she’s got it all figured out. Get settled in? Check. Apply for the rural county grant? Check. Confrontation with the steaming mad, smoking hot local farmer? Well, that wasn’t on the agenda.

As pretty as she is sweet, Colt can’t help but be drawn to Darby’s…peaches. No really, she’s a peach farmer. Get that mind out of the gutter, and get on down to the farm to see what happens when circumstances force Colt and Darby to team up. They may just find that the peach trees aren’t the only things in bloom.”

Review:

Rating: ★★★★★

#5: Gimme Some Sugar
Publication Date: To Be Determined

“Larkin Mancinkus prides herself on making the town of Whynot, NC just a little sweeter. As owner of Sweet Cakes Bakery, Larkin gets all the town gossip – the sugar, the spice, and the everything not so nice. So when she finds herself on the tip of everyone’s tongue thanks to an encounter with someone tall, dark, and handsome, she learns the true meaning of ‘if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.’”