This is your yearly one-click trap. Sorry, but not sorry. 😉
Every year it’s the same thing.
Readers, bloggers release statements about how productive/fulfilling —or not— their reading year was, publish favorite lists triggering the reading community’s one-click finger.
Here’s my contribution to your bank account demise with over 20 very favorite books read throughout the year 2018.
Ever since I started this social media/blogging thing, I’ve only had amazing reading years. This year for example, it may seem I’ve had less 5 stars reads (I’m showcasing most of them below) but I I’ve had four times the amount of 4 stars reads, really goods books, new to me authors, books I really liked and ended rating 3 stars because of my nitpicking ways… Still, I enjoyed each of these books tremendously, they all contributed to a fulfilling year as a reader. With over 200 books read and an average of 3.8 star rating, I’d say this year has been good to me, yet again.
I wish I could list them all here and give every author a shout out, but it would defeat the purpose of publishing a list of “favorites”.
Thank you authors for giving us readers the mean to escape, to entertain ourselves and to bond over your amazing stories. Thank you bookish community—readers, bloggers, friends and authors, for the never ending book chatter, the great and bad recommendations and friendship.
Here’s to 2019 and more books. Good, okay and bad.
Continue to read for details on each book!
Book synopsis behind the cover. Just hover on, the book cover will “flip” allowing you to scroll down and read.
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
In all seriousness, this book is not quite a romance, not really women’s fiction, but somehow all the elements made for an amazing and heartfelt read. Playful banter, dry humor, english lit references and a delicious slow burn truly struck a chord for this romance driven reader! Some reviews may hint at some similarities with Moyes’ “Me Before You”,—I STRONGLY DISAGREE— don’t let this hinder your judgment, My Oxford Year was an engaging, beautiful, poignant story and deserves your attention!
It’s not lust; lust you could understand. It’s appreciation. It comes with a nearly imperceptible smile when he looks at you and he thins you can’t see him. It’s the appreciation that separates him from all the other boys you’ve been with. It’s the appreciation that makes him a man.
One Day In December by Josie Silver
This book was one wonderful treat that will do nicely if you’re looking for something to curl up to come the winter nights. Pure delight.
I feel like I should entice some of you with what is like catnip to me : slow burn, friends to lovers, missed opportunies, love unrequited and an over the top HEA… How does that sound? Pretty amazing right?
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Do I even need to say more?
Alright, I thought the Kiss Quotient would be a whole lot sweet, a little awkward, and plenty swoony but I had not expected the angst, the feels and the STEAM! Holy hot level of steam, that was some hot sex! Yes, it shouldn’t have been a surprise for a book about an heroine seeking help from an escort, but considering the her propensity to tackle everything in life as a task, it’s safe to say she definitely overcome her issues! This book is just glorious in every way, its fun, emotional and hot. Perfect romance book.
Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis
A soft hearted heroine in a prickly bear disguise, a single dad setting a precedent for all single dads in romance before, an obnoxious and crazy italian family, the slow burn, the banter and playful dialogues… That’s the Jill Shalvis effect for you. MUST READ.
Josh And Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Friends to Lovers, an insufferable slow burn, an heroine so completely over the top, eccentric, quirky but oh-so-charming and a hero which is her total opposite, reserved, realist, stoical even! ‘Josh and Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating’ was adorable and a pure delight. I just adored this book, it kept a grin on my face all throughout and ranks in my TOP 3 favorite Christina Lauren’s and is possibly the best opposite attracts romance ever written!
My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina Lauren
A refreshing take on yet another friends to lovers story. This one is miles apart from Josh and Hazel though. Friends to lovers, online dating, cat-fishing, high quality banter and engaging dialogues. My Favorite Half Night Stand was an exciting and sexy read that surprised me by the rush of emotions near the end. I simply adored it.
The Governess Game by Tessa Dare
Truth, I haven’t found a Tessa Dare book I didn’t enjoy. She writes such funny, lovely and sexy romances, modern historicals, perfect if you’re a contemporary romance reader curious about historical romance.
This time her heroine is an Alexandra, she’s stubborn, a nerd and a book lover trying to reform a rake. It felt like reading my own adventures, yes I was totally projecting. The Governess Game was highly entertaining and plenty endearing thanks to the two little girls stealing the show.
Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen
There is just something so heartwarming about this whole series, even when the premise doesn’t necessarily speaks to me from the get go, I always—ALWAYS— end up swooning my heart out. This one was no exception.
An all winning romance series for me.
Sarina Bowen writes, I feel. Easy.
Runaway Girl by Tessa Bailey
A runaway bride awfully prim and proper meets the most rugged and unpolished alpha male…
Hey, I know some of you don’t need any more to work their one-click but for the sake of the ladies and gents in the back…
I can say without hesitation the heroine Tessa Bailey delivered here is my favorite, by far.
Inner voice true to characters, supporting characters terribly endearing (Birdie!), banter done with taste and punch and a delicious slow burn burning the pages. HOT!
And of course, Tessa doesn”t disappoint, earning once and again her Queen of Dirty Talk title.
Player by Staci Hart
A pretend relationship with its lot of unrequited love, sharp banter, the chemistry between the heroine and the hero is —EVERYTHING—, secondary characters you only wish they’d have their own book already…
To put it simply, this book is the prescription of happy feels you’ve been looking for.
Accidental Tryst by Natasha Boyd
Texting and emailing DONE RIGHT. In a romance.
Two strangers swap phones at the airport : ensues flirty texts and witty come-backs.
This meet-cute lured me in, I stayed for the banter and chemistry between Trystan and Emmy. Absolutely delicious, this romantic comedy had plenty of steam, humor and lovely romance!
Deal Maker by Lily Morton
#AllTheFeels for this single dad meet cocky smart male model. It’s just the perfect brand of funny, sweet and sexy.
I nearly devoured this M/M romance in one day, SO good!
Imagine one second a Jason Momoa doppelganger, single dad, celebrity actor and book lover, falling for his imposed witty new PA in the most excruciating slow burns…
No but seriously. READ. THE. BOOK.
Team Phison by Chace Verity
Long distance/online romance are my favorite thing EVER. And you guys, this little book made me grin the whole time, I loved everything about it! The age gap, the nerding over video games, the best friends to lovers, the tip-toeing around new feelings, the insecurities and fears of not being enough, of not pleasing enough coming with a new relationship… SIGH, Phil and Tyson were cute and perfect together, as friends and lovers. Loved this M/M romance! My friend Mirjana (bookstagram: @dtr_downtoread) made me read and she never steers me wrong when it come to M/M recs. This one is #HappyFeels only!
Moonglow by Kristen Callihan
What happens when one gets trapped in a carriage with a *beast* of a Lord? HOLY SMOKES!!!
THIS BOOK! I’m loving every second of it, the historical setting mixed with paranormal and the best kind of slow burn romance!
The world building, the mystery, the bantering foreplay between the MCs, the chase, and some thrilling erotic scenes. Kristen Callihan made me a very happy reader!
Beneath The Scars by Cherise Sinclair
When I need all the feels of a romance and the spice, Cherise Sinclair is my go to choice. Her “Masters Of The Shadowlands” series is the perfect mix of sweet romance and BDSM kinks and the perfect gateway for romance readers curious about BDSM erotica. (Book 1 is actually #FREE on AMZ ☞ Club Shadowlands )
This is book #13 in the series, single mom meets next door neighbor, he’s a biker and Master at Shadowlands. Josie will soon have to reassess her preconceived ideas while she takes her first steps at Shadowlands. I love this one, it was super sweet and the HEA so satisfying!
Hooked On You by Kate Meader
A troubled, bearded, brooding scot, hockey player, single dad thrown against a vibrant heroine/nanny hiding insecurities behind a tough armor. Banter heaven and burning slow burn, Hooked On You is the best you can read if you’re partial to hockey romances, single dads in romance. DO IT. you know you want to.
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Yes, this was 2018 and it was my first Julia Quinn to date… AND I LOVED IT!
(I’m sure I was probably the last person on earth finally reading this)
A regency romance with its lot of deceit and manipulations, where the heroine is truly and endearingly clueless about sex!
Phenomenal banter and so much verbal foreplay, I actually died a little when Elizabeth and Zander toppled over.
This Rockstar romance was a definite slow burner, steering away from the usual clichés by focusing in depth on two mature adults dealing with reminders of sins from the past and insecurities issues.
A great balance of humor, heartwarming romance, intense feelings and portraying of a rock legend.
I didn’t want this book to end, ever!
The Great 2018 Binge
Colorado High Country by Pamela Clare
Let’s start with the fact I adore this author’s work. Her I-Team series and historicals are truly amazing. Nevertheless, I read book 1(FREE) of Colorado High Country a couple years back and couldn’t get into it. It actually made me disregard the rest of the series until this year.
Then earlier this past year,
Zoe York someone suggested I try book 2, and HOLY SMOKES. Not only I loved Slow Burn (enemies to lovers trope and HE’s a firefighter) but I ended devoring the whole series in less than 3 days. ADDICTED. IN LOVE. HAPPY READER.
Lovers of small town romances, I highly recommend this one, brave and caring heroes, loyal and strong heroines and plenty of chemistry to tide you over until the perfect HEA the author offers to her romance readers.
Oh and guess what? A 7th book just released a week ago : https://amzn.to/2ApWcBo
Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
I’ve been meaning to read this series FOREVEEER. Not even counting how many book friends have been raving about Cat and Bones through the past years. For some obscure reasons, I’ve done my best to ignore all the rave and all the buzz until now. MY MISTAKE.
This series is addicting AF. I started book one and couldn’t stop reading until my blood lust was well over satisfied. All 7 books in a row, suspensful, action packed, plenty gory (hey what do you expect vampires books to be about? Shimmering teenagers?), sexy (hot as hell. really. I’d even say filthy hot.) and hilarious. If you’re in the mood for some very good paranormal
erotica romance, grab this series! (the spin-off series about Vlad is amazing too! HERE )
The Boss series by Abigail Barnett
Am I ever in the mood to read BDSM? Hardly. Mainly because SO many books out there are riding the Fifty shades effect, branding their content BDSM but lacking anything good beside some spanking scenes.
Yes I love me some erotica, kink and everything nice, but you know what I need to make it worth my while? A STORY. Developed characters, multidimensional even. Emotions. Chemistry. ROMANCE. ALL THE FEELS.
Yes, BDSM novels including these elements exist. The Boss series is proof enough.
Neil and Sophie’s relationship was #GOALS. I couldn’t get enough of the exquisite humor between them, the playfulness infused in their D/s scenes.
The Boss series is an epic erotic romance portraying with great realism the multiple facets of a D/s relationship, I’m urging you to give it a try, book 1 is currently FREE on AMAZON. I ended reading all 7 books in 3 days.
First Wives series by Catherine Bybee
After reading 3 ‘First Wives’ books in a row (when I find something good, I splurge on it: #GreedyReader), I was thrilled to have found myself a new “Happy Place” author. I have a few already sharing this personal category… Jill Shalvis, Sarah Morgan, Kristen Ashley—to only name a few. My happy place books are those fulfilling my romance reader heart, the books I know I will happily reread whenever in a book slump or just for the sheer pleasure of it.
I simply adored this series, think a pack of wealthy women sharing a secret and going on a cruise to perfect their bond, only danger lurks in the dark and troubles seem to follow them. Friendship +Romance + Mystery!
Book 1 : anal, work driven, over protective lawyer of the group, Lori falls for the PI in disguise… Reed’s deception was easy to forgive though, he’s such a dreamy guy.
Book 2 : The reserved and shell shock widow of the group, Trina Petrov falls for famous and charming country singer, Thomas Wade. Danger follows and both will have to dodge deadly threats.
Book 3 : Reformed man-eater after her attack a year ago, Avery is doing her damndest to stay away from nice and caring Liam… She’s got revenge on her mind and she isn’t inclined to share her goals with anyone, friends or new acquaintances. Liam is thankfully a very persistent and caring man.
Book 4 : To be released March 2019!
EVERYTHING Lorraine Heath
With over 20 Lorraine Heath books read this year alone, I guess you could say I’ve have somewhat developed some sort of an addiction. I’ve recently started reading historicals and hers are ALWAYS working for me. I’m not really sure why. She has a formula going and it just works for me. I’m loving the romance, the angst, the hate to love you tropes, the marriage of convenience, the reformed rakes, the empowered wallflowers… and of course the steam. Lorraine Heath books aredefinitely on the steamy side and I’m loving everything in them.
The following were all 5 stars reads, some series are connected but I believe you can read the books in any order you want.
Favorite books read in 2018 by Camille, a.k.a “The Angry Reader“.
We share a common taste for awesome books and blunt reviews. Check out her blog at The Angry Reader where the motto is “Painfully Honest Book Reviews“!
2018 was a gratifying reading year for me. I found some new to me authors, finished up the SEP read-through, cozied up to a new reading buddy and got a book-related tattoo! Here’s my efforts to take an organized look back at the roughly 250 books that I read this year!
Welp. This was the year I finally read the A Court Of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas. It was an emotional read that pretty much took over my life for a few weeks. All I did was read these books and find unsuspecting victims to force into book-related convos with me. I even joined secret FB groups where I could obsess over the books with other like-minded readers. I don’t think that another series of books has so seriously taken over my heart and mind. I had a good time, but I’m thankful it’s over. See my review here.
I prolly read about 50 ARCs this year. Most of them ranged from godawful to okay. But two of them made me thankful that I signed up for Netgalley. Alexa Martin’s Intercepted and Shelly Laurenston’s Hot and Badgered were both light and funny and romantic and everything good in the world of non-soul-wrecking-romance. I’ve signed up for ARCs from both of these dynamic authors for 2019, and I cannot wait.
SEP ( Susan Elisabeth Phillips)
This year I wound up the SEP-splosion. I am in love with the woman. I think she’s amongst the most genius, talented human beings on the planet. Each unique book that brings me down to the pits of despair (with humor and light) and then up to the pinnacles of the romance mountaintop. I adore her heroines, and I wanna kiss her heroes little faces. This year in particular I loved Bobby Tom Denton. I gave his book 4 stars, but months later Bobby Tom remains the stick against which all heroes are measured. And he’s just so awful (and wonderful) no one has come close. I also enjoyed literally everything about Call Me Irresistible. I alternated between laughing my ass off or getting enraged while I read this one. And it is probably my favorite SEP of all time.
One of my favorite romance genres – I had a good year with historical in 2018. The best historical I read this year was The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran. It was heartbreaking in all the best ways, well-written and completely consuming. It was my first book by this author, but I am overjoyed to have her in my repertoire because I’ll be reading a lot more by her. I also loved loved loved Eloisa James’ Too Wilde series. I thought it was the perfect combination of heart and humor. It wasn’t a series that took a lot out of me, but it was a series that gave a lot back. I suspect it’s going to have a ton of books in it because of the set-up, and I am thrilled at the prospect.
Somewhat in keeping with the historical but also sporting a total old school vibe – Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen OConnell is one of the most moving books I’ve read. Ever. It had passion and social issues and kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire read.
Late in the year I hit the historical romance jackpot. So this list wouldn’t be complete without Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran (all of Meredith Duran), The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt (i bought 20 books of hers off of eBay when I finished this one), and The Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase – which was probably the most conprehensive old school historical romance I’ve ever read.
I read a lot of athlete romances this year because I love them. (TBH – I sometimes violently loathe them. Holy smokes this is a genre of romance that can be absolutely butchered by bad authors). I found two series that I ate up with a spoon – and ironically they couldn’t be more different. Kennedy Ryan’s Hoops series brought me to my knees. The angst and suffering in the first book was enough to have me in the fetal position rethinking all my book decisions. Such a delicious bad feeling. The second book in the series was sweeter but also compelling. And then there’s Sara Ney’s Jock Hard series – which had absolutely no angst and was like reading a hug. (I read Ney’s How to Date A Douchebag on December 29, 2017. I’m not sure if it made the 2017 Best Of list so I’m giving it a shout out now bc it’s one of my favorite romances ever.) These athlete romances are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but they stood out for their readability and relatability.
Kristen Callihan’s The Hot Shot totally snuck up on me this year. Someone asked in passing if I’d read it, and when I saw that I hadn’t it I grabbed it to kill some time. I wasn’t expecting to love it like I did. Surprises are the best! I think Callihan is an insanely talented writer, and she’s a must-read for me now.
This Random Series
I have no idea how I ended up reading the first book in this series about a hitman with OCD. But once I started I was obsessed. Camilla Monk’s Spotless Series wasn’t particularly romantic. And then suddenly it was. I inhaled the entire series grinning like a dork the whole time. This is my 2018 rare jewel for sure.
The First Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders was hands-down my favorite non-romance this year. Creepy as hell with the best writing and SO MANY SANDWICHES. I think I read 3 or 4 books in this series – and they’re not an easy read. But they are a welcome, smart diversion from the wide world of romance when my heart and brain just need a break.
I read a few “feminist” romances this year. And it’s a genre that I plan on exploring hardcore in 2019. Finding a sexy book that empowers woman is akin to finding a diamond on the side of the road. I celebrate pretty heartily when it happens. This year —after waiting forever for it to become available in the US — I read Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar. Edgy and Riot Girrrrrrl and a perfectly reflection of everything I was from 1995-1998. This thoroughly enjoyable book deserves respect and recognition.
And just this week I found Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn. I will be devouring the rest of this series as soon as I can finish typing up these notes. Filled with affirmation and realism and ownership and sexy times —this is my favorite romance of 2018. It appealed to everything in me.
Best of 2018
As mentioned above—Beginner’s Luck was my favorite romance of 2018. However, my favorite book(s) of 2018 weren’t romance at all.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne were everything that books should be. Brilliantly written. Compelling. Infuriating. Soothing. Like a good relationship – they challenged me and made me a better person and reader. And then tenderly held me in their arms as they crushed my soul. StD is a YA fantasy and THIF is a coming of age epic set in Ireland. They have nothing in common beyond being two of the best books that I have ever read. I’m a better person because they came into my life.
Here’s to 2019, readers!