Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
This week’s topic is Books Set in Places I’d Love to Visit, but I remember doing this one a while back, so I decided to switch up my topic for today. In celebration of my beautifully blooming garden, I’m going to show you my most recent 5 star reads.
1. The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
Page Length: 336
Publication Date: Aug. 23, 2022
Publisher: Orbit Books
Synopsis: Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.
Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.
After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.
If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most – Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares – each other?
2. The Belle of Bellgrave Square by Mimi Matthews
Series: Belles of London #2
Page Length: 432
Publication Date: Oct. 11, 2022
Synopsis: A London heiress rides out to the wilds of the English countryside to honor a marriage of convenience with a mysterious and reclusive stranger.
Tall, dark, and dour, the notorious Captain Jasper Blunt was once hailed a military hero, but tales abound of his bastard children and his haunted estate in Yorkshire. What he requires now is a rich wife to ornament his isolated ruin, and he has his sights set on the enchanting Julia Wychwood.
For Julia, an incurable romantic cursed with a crippling social anxiety, navigating a London ballroom is absolute torture. The only time Julia feels any degree of confidence is when she’s on her horse. Unfortunately, a young lady can’t spend the whole of her life in the saddle, so Julia makes an impetuous decision to take her future by the reins—she proposes to Captain Blunt.
In exchange for her dowry and her hand, Jasper must promise to grant her freedom to do as she pleases. To ride—and to read—as much as she likes without masculine interference. He readily agrees to her conditions, with one provision of his own: Julia is forbidden from going into the tower rooms of his estate and snooping around his affairs. But the more she learns of the beastly former hero, the more intrigued she becomes…
3. The Altruist and the Assassin by Sarah M. Cradit
Series: The Book of All Things
Release Date: August 9, 2022
Publisher: Storyville Press
Blurb: Rhiain enjoys a charmed life as the daughter of one of the most powerful men in the realm. Spoiled and vain, she has never met a need or want she couldn’t attain. The dark spots in her memory have been tucked away, with all other unpleasant things.
Then a terrible mistake brings her entire world crashing down around her. Her life shifts in an instant; her fate, uncertain. Her father’s punishment for her is forcing her to train for a life as one of his prized assassins.
But a chance encounter in a familiar tavern will change everything. Everything she knows. Everything she feels. Everything she is.
As Rhiain gets closer to handsome, enigmatic Asterin— a man she doesn’t remember but claims to possess the truth about her dark spots—she begins to accept there is much more to these gaps in her understanding of the past.
Because these memories were taken from her for a reason. And there are those who will do anything to stop her from remembering.
The Altruist and the Assassin is a standalone fated love fantasy romance tale set in the Kingdom of the White Sea universe, with hints of Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty.
4. A Darkness at the Door by Intisar Khanani
Series: The Dauntless Path
Page Length: 486
Publication Date: July 21, 2022
Publisher: Snowy Wings Pub.
Synopsis: Only Rae knows the extent of the corruption at the heart of the kingdom of Menaiya, from the noble lord who betrayed her, to the Circle of Mages whose wards protect the slavers from discovery. Injured and imprisoned on a slave ship, Rae’s options are quickly running out. When a desperate escape attempt goes terribly wrong, she finds herself indebted to a terrifying Fae sorceress.
Now Rae will not rest until she has rescued her fellow prisoners and freed her land from the darkness that has taken hold. To succeed, she’ll need every ally she can find—including Bren, the thief who may have stolen her heart. But Bren is hiding his own bloody secrets, and the curses that encircle Rae have sunk their claws into her mind. With her debts coming due and time running short, all the truths in the world may not be enough to save her kingdom, or herself.
5. A Governess Should Never… Deny a Duke by Emily Windsor
Series: The Governess Chronicles #2
Page Length: 350
Publication Date: July 7, 2022
Synopsis: “So tell me, Miss Beaujeu, why should I employ you as governess?”
A question to rouse fear within the breast of any prospective governess but for Isabelle, a lady with impeccable references and tightly pinned hair, it barely raises a brow. But this rugged Welsh duke of an employer is unlike any other: dubbed Mean, Moody & Mysterious in gossip columns, he’s known to scowl a path through London society. And why have three governesses fled his employ within the last twelvemonths?
“I appoint you as governess. When can you start?”
Rhys Cadogan, the Duke of Aberdare, never procrastinates. And besides, with a house party to be hosted at his coastal estate, the sole purpose of which is to find him a wife, he’s in somewhat of a rush. But this drab-gowned paragon of a governess is unlike any other: lauded in her references, she exudes composure and intelligence, a perfect fit for his troubled niece. So why do Miss Beaujeu’s eyes also flash with a wild silvered gleam?
The Prudent Governess and the Passionate Duke.
One should never judge a duke by his Mean, Moody & Mysterious reputation or a governess by her tightly pinned hair, for beneath both tamed façades lay wildness and shared passions – not to be denied.
With forbidden kisses on stormy nights, a house full of prospective brides, a scandalous rake of an heir, dragon folklore and cinnamon biscuits, the vocation of governess has never been so thrilling…
6. A Crown of Hopes and Sorrows by Nicole Bailey
Series: Apollo Ascending #2
Publication Date: June 22, 2022
Synopsis: Two souls bound together.
But one thing threatens to tear them apart.
While tensions build and fates shift, Hyacinth and Apollo seek Zephyrus.
God of the West Wind.
Well connected among low deities.
And Hyacinth’s previous lover.
Amid political schemes and personal struggles, Apollo and Hyacinth tumble through a world verging on war.
But as jealousy flares and secrets come to light, all their careful planning may burn to ash.
This fast-paced sequel to A Veil of Gods and Kings is full of romance and twists and turns set in a dark, magical world.
7. A Remarkable Rogue by Anna Harrington
Series: Lords of the Armory #5
Page Length: 288
Publication Date: July 26, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Synopsis: Fans of Bridgerton and steamy, mysterious Regency romance will swoon for USA Today bestselling author Anna Harrington’s newest book!
• A deadly organization determined to overthrow the government
• A rebel with a secret she’ll do anything to protect
• The steadfast soldier who’ll defend her at any cost
• Sizzling attraction that could burn them both
Lady Sydney Rowland, Baroness Rowland, has spent a lifetime keeping secrets, one of them being her young son. Now that the husband she despised is dead, she’ll do anything to get her son back and protect him however she can. And that includes risking her life when she’s coerced into working for a revolutionary group determined to overthrow the government.
Captain Nathaniel Reed has heard of Sydney’s involvement with Scepter. Though he quickly learns that Sydney is innocent, he’s determined to keep the secretive widow at arm’s length despite the attraction that burns between them. But when she turns to him for help, nothing will stop him from coming to her aid and showing her exactly what she means to him…
8. Flame and Crystal Thorns by Kay L. Moody
Series: Fae and Crystal Thorns #1
Page Length: 350
Publication Date: May 10, 2022
Publisher: Marten Press
Synopsis: She vowed she’d never return to Faerie…
But vows were made to be broken.
As a human girl, Chloe is perfectly happy being back in the mortal realm where she belongs. She’s even become the town apothecary. When a fae from her past shows up begging her to return to Faerie, she utterly refuses.
But then she finds out an angry group of mortals are using iron to hold an entire castle full of fae hostage. And of course, the hostages include Chloe’s older sister and her sister’s beloved.
Reluctantly, Chloe packs a bag for what is supposed to be a short trip to Faerie.
But the mortals are more powerful than she expected. To fuel them, they have weapons, flames, and revenge. They won’t stop until they control every court in Faerie.
With the help of a new and mysterious magic and a too-handsome-for-his-own-good fae companion, Chloe has to save Faerie before her sister and the other fae are killed.
9. Maggie Moves On by Lucy Score
Page Length: 416
Publication Date: June 21, 2022
Publisher: Forever Pub.
Synopsis: Can these opposites turn up the heat… without burning down the house?
House-flipping sensation and YouTube star Maggie Nichols can’t wait to dig into her next challenge. Arriving in tiny Kinship, Idaho, with only a cot and a coffeemaker, Maggie is prepared to restore a crumbling Victorian mansion in four months or less. She has her to-do lists, her blueprints, and her team. What she doesn’t have is time for sexy, laid-back landscaper Silas Wright.
The man takes flirtation to a whole new level. And he does it shirtless…sometimes pants-less. He and his service school-dropout dog are impressively persistent. But she’s not interested in putting down roots. Not when fans tune in to watch her travel the country turning dilapidated houses into dream homes. A short-term fling on the other hand could fit nicely into her calendar. After all, Maggie remembers what fun is like. Vaguely.
As their summer gets downright steamy, Silas manages to demolish the emotional walls she’s spent years building, sending Maggie into a panic. He’s the wrench in her carefully constructed plans. With the end of the project looming, she has a decision to make. But how can she stay when her entire career is built on moving on?
10. The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews
Page Length: 448
Publication Date: May 3, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Synopsis: Summer begins with MKA, in this delightful summer read about flipping houses, and finding true love.
Hattie Kavanaugh went to work helping clean up restored homes for Kavanaugh & Son Restorations at eighteen; married the boss’s son at twenty; and was only twenty-five when her husband, Hank, was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Broken hearted, but determined to continue the business of their dreams, she takes the life insurance money, buys a small house in a gentrifying neighborhood, flips it, then puts the money into her next project. But that house is a disaster and a money-loser, which rocks her confidence for years to come. Then, Hattie gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: star in a beach house renovation reality show called “The Homewreckers,” cast against a male lead who may be a love interest, or may be the ultimate antagonist. It’s a question of who will flip, and who will flop, and will Hattie ever get her happily-ever-after.
Filled with Mary Kay Andrews’s trademark wit, warmth, junking trips, and house porn, The Homewreckers is a summer beach delight.
Have you read any of these? What are some of your most recent 5 star reads? Comment below!