‘Tis the time of year to be thankful, and I’m super grateful for ALL the books I’ve read, good or bad. Whether they’ve taught me lessons, let me escape for a while, infused joy, disgusted me, or whatever else, they’ve all made my life better in one way or another. I could list hundred of books here, but managed to narrow it down to ten (kicking and screaming) that I’m the most thankful for. What about you?

Title: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Basic Plot: 1940s British nurse accidentally goes back in time to 1740s Scotland, falls in love with hottest man ever, tries to stop the massacre at Culloden, and goes through all kinds of adventures.

Rating: 5

Steam: Low to Medium

Themes/Tropes: Deep and Lasting love, War, Family, Fighting for country and beliefs, Time Travel, Sacrifice, Forced Marriage

Wine Pairing: Red blend for Red Jamie.

Reason I’m Thankful: Too many reasons to list—Jamie Fraser, incredible storytelling, so original, legendary moments, so much depth in the characters. And Jamie Fraser again.

Title: The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie

Author: Jennifer Ashley

Basic Plot: Rich Scottish lord rumored to be mad finds soulmate in independent woman who loves his idiosyncrasies but isn’t going to take his sh**.

Rating: 4.5

Steam: Medium

Themes/Tropes: Opposites Attract, Wealthy Scottish Family, Mental Health

Wine Pairing: Parisian Favorites, for time spent in Paris

Reason I’m Thankful: Introduced me to the wild MacKenzie family and the MacKenzies & McBrides series, full of one-of-a-kind characters and the best kind of drama.

Title: Jane Eyre

Author: Charlotte Brontë

Basic Plot: Young woman/orphan who’s had it rough gets a governess job for a troubled older man’s ward, falls in love, still goes through a lot of weird and dark stuff.

Rating: 5

Steam: None

Themes/Tropes: Classic, Age Gap, Opposites, Dark

Wine Pairing: Dark Romantic wines

Reason I’m Thankful: Old romance + darkness and depth that pushed some boundaries of the time period.

Title: And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie

Basic Plot: Ten people with misdeeds in their pasts get invited to an isolated island where they’re murdered one by one.

Rating: 4.5

Themes/Tropes: Murder Mystery, Creepy, Paying for Sins, Vengeance, Judgment

Wine Pairing: Creepy wines

Reason I’m Thankful: Still one of my favorite mysteries; introduced me to creepy murder mysteries as a kid.

Title: Bridgerton series

Author: Julia Quinn

Basic Plot: Eight rich and privileged siblings in Regency England seek love and navigate the social hierarchy.

Rating: 4

Steam: Medium to High

Themes/Tropes: Rakes, Scandal, Opposites Attract, Enemies to Lovers, Class Differences, Widows, Friends to Lovers (all the tropes)

Wine Pairing: Champagne

Reason I’m Thankful: Introduced me to romance novels

Title: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Author: Yuval Noah Harari

Basic Plot: Non-fiction exploration of humanity over the last 70,000 years, including our role in the world, how we came to be where we are, major innovations and events, and connections between past and present.  

Rating: 4.5

Themes: History, Biology, Human Impact on the World

Reason I’m Thankful: I learned so much in one book, but also came away with questions and more to explore.

Title: Ravenels series

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Basic Plot: The series begins with an unexpected heir to the earldom taking charge in Cold-Hearted Rake, and follows family members and friends through their love stories.

Rating: 4.5

Steam: Medium to High

Themes/Tropes: Like Bridgerton, all the tropes, but these books have a touch more edge.

Wine Pairing: Claret

Reason I’m Thankful: The first true romance series I got into and loved.

Title: A Taste of Italian Sunshine

Author: Leonie Mack

Basic Plot: Introvert city girl and wine buyer travels to Prosecco country and meets seemingly laid-back farm boy during the harvest.

Rating: 5

Steam: Low

Themes/Tropes: Italian countryside, City girl and country boy, Opposites Attract, Proximity

Wine Pairing: Prosecco

Reason I’m Thankful: My first Leonie Mack book, and I was hooked! I’ve read them all now and can’t wait for the next one.

Title: We Could Be So Good

Author: Cat Sebastian

Basic Plot: In 1950s NYC, Nick and Andy try to navigate their relationship without losing their families, jobs, or freedom.

Rating: 5

Steam: Medium

Themes/Tropes: Forbidden Love, Gay Love in the 1950s, Opposites Attract, Family, Friendship

Wine Pairing: NYC drinks from the ‘50s

Reason I’m Thankful: A beautiful portrayal of love, and a sobering reminder of what love can cost in a society that fears it.

Title: The Simple Wild (and sequels)

Author: K.A. Tucker

Basic Plot: City girl Calla goes to rural Alaska to see her cancer-stricken estranged father, meets hot pilot, navigates complex feelings for her father and her newfound love.

Rating: 5

Steam: Medium

Themes/Tropes: Family Relationships, Opposites Attract, Enemies to Lovers, Rural/Small Town

Wine Pairing: Alaskan Beer

Reason I’m Thankful: The book just really hit me on all cylinders and brought out so much feeling; characters were so perfectly written and relationships felt so meaningful.