Francesca’s Best of 2018 + 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

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It’s that time of year where you look back and reflect on what you’ve read. What have you loved? Which characters have stuck with you? What authors have you discovered? This year has been full of some fantastic books but we couldn’t squeeze all of our recommendations in! But we have picked our creme de la creme of what we’ve read this year to share with you.

Hey guys I’m doing something a little different than Suzanne and my video will actually feature my favorite book of each month of 2018 instead of following the usual categories below.  You can still see my thoughts and faves in our traditional best of list below, though.  Hope you enjoy it!

 

I’m struggling here because I have 3 books that I loved and adored and I don’t know how to choose between them!!!  HELLO STRANGER by Lisa Kleypas was, as usual, amazing because LK is Queen.  I found the heroine incredibly interesting and different and the storyline was full of passion, it just had a life of its own.  Then there was NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA by Chanel Cleeton.  This one blew me away in a surprising way.  I’ve read and enjoyed this author before and I knew she could write some good emotion, but I was not expecting this book to hit my feels the way it did.  It’s romantic and tragic at the same time and I was able to connect with it profoundly.  But I think I have to give the spot to ALL YOUR PERFECTS by Colleen Hoover.  I have this struggle with CH’s books because some I really enjoy, others I can take them or leave them, and then there are some that I just don’t care for.  I think when she writes serious topics in an adult setting, she excels for me.  And that’s what this one was.  All Your Perfects made me think, made me question, made me cry, made me reflect, made me yearn.  This was a beautiful book, very real and heartbreaking but with an uplifting ending.  It also has one of my favorite heroes of the year even though he does something I would normally not forgive.  It’s a book I’ll be thinking about for a long time and one of my favorites by her.

[new-release title=”All Your Perfects” author=”Colleen Hoover”]

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At first I thought my obvious choice was to talk about Donna Grant.  I’ve been wanting to read her for YEARS and this year I finally read one of her books and I was so pleasantly surprised because it brought back everything I love to read in PNR.  The book was MIDNIGHT’S MASTER by the way.  But I think I need to give it to a different new to me author.  I read this as an ARC so I can’t say it’s a new to me book as it was a new release, but I’d never heard of this author and I seriously want to rectify that and go read more of her stuff.  A FERRY OF BONES AND GOLD is a great, action packed urban fantasy with a m/m love interest.  It has every paranormal element you could want, a great storyline, believable action, a realistic setting and a romance with plenty of sparks and chemistry that doesn’t take away the focus during the danger of what they’re doing.  I really enjoyed this one and can’t wait for the next installment, as well as diving into some of Ms. Turner’s backlist which I plan on doing in the new year.

[new-release title=”A Ferry of Bones and Gold” author=”Hailey Turner”]

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I’m a big fan of the Midnight Breed series by Lara Adrian and I was ecstatic to see that there was a spin off about the Hunters.  These are the vamps that were kept as slaves and used by the bad guy throughout the series as his personal weapons.  There’s a lot they’ve had to go through and I couldn’t have been happier to see them get their HEAs and finding some peace with the things they’ve done.  There were two books released in this new series this year and I enjoyed both of them.  They have a feel like the original series but without the background storyline so they are also perfect to read as standalones and get a taste of this authors’ writing.  I can’t wait for more.

[new-release title=”Born of Darkness” author=”Lara Adrian”]

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Being a stand out heroine for me is all about being memorable and there were few heroines this year as memorable as Queen Lenora.  One of the first quotes I highlighted from this book was actually my feeling about Queen Lenora after finishing this book.

“Kings are crowned.  But queens… queens rise.”

I was wrapped up in the story of this sweet 19 year old that grew up with a life full of expectations and responsibilities and without a lot of love and attention.  How she was groomed to take on a role that came much too soon and the weight of what having that responsibility on her shoulders would cost her.  I loved seeing her overcome those obstacles and find true love at the same time.  She’s tough and resilient,  certainly a heroine you can admire.

[new-release title=”Royally Yours” author=”Emma Chase”]

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I was close to giving this, like Angela, to Graham from ALL YOUR PERFECTS because I loved him!  Or Ian from SHADES OF WICKED because… well, he’s IAN!  But, I decided to dig a little deeper and find someone different.  And what better fit for me than a bearded, recluse, grumpy hero!  I loved and adored Jonah from THE SIMPLE WILD from the very beginning.  He’s an Alaskan pilot with a surly attitude.  I have a soft spot for this type of hero and I was swooning hard for Jonah, not gonna lie.  He’s total book boyfriend material and going into my dungeon.

[new-release title=”The Simple Wild” author=”K.A. Tucker”]

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I’m going with one I haven’t read because I’m sadly behind on this series and I need to kick my butt into gear in 2019 and get back to reading these.  But there’s really no comparison in covers to the artwork of any Patricia Briggs book.  The artist, Dan dos Santos, just keeps outdoing himself with every cover and this is one of my favorites.  It’s intricate and dark, yet soft and beautiful at the same time.

[new-release title=”Burn Bright” author=”Patricia Briggs”]

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I’ve been a fan of this series and I’m always itching to get my hands on the next installment (although I think this book was the last of the series?).  So when I finally cracked this open I had my usual expectations that I would really enjoy it.  I still rated this 3 Stars which means I still enjoyed it but it wasn’t memorable.  Even now, I can tell you things about the first three books where it pertains to the characters or scenes and for this one, which I read this year, I can’t give you ANY details.  It was cute but boring and forgettable and that’s not what I expect from a book by this author duo!  I didn’t care for the heroine at all and I also didn’t like that the kink in this book (voyeurism) was treated as this disease.  While I still found it a decent read, it definitely didn’t live up to my expectations.  Suzanne had a much different opinion than me on this one and you can read our joint review here on the blog.

[new-release title=”The Varlet and the Voyeur” author=”Penny Reid”]

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This was another hard one because I don’t know if there are any “couples” that I obsessed over this year.  So I dug a little deeper into my read pile and there was one more hero that made me swooning and made my book boyfriend list that I haven’t talked about.  Also, I found the second chance romance to be so adorable I even forgave them some of the miscommunication and hardheadedness.  Ruby is hardly a perfect character, she’s bound to do something you don’t agree with or that annoys you probably more than once.  But she also felt very real.  Scared of the unknown but a fighter who had to develop a tough skin exterior at a young age and never learned how to let people in.  And on the other side of that is Levi Cole.  If I could pick more favorite heroes, he would make that short list.  He’s adorable and you’ll be swooning for sure.  Ruby didn’t stand a chance and their romance is full of chemistry.  It was just meant to be.

[new-release title=”Trailer Park Heart” author=”Rachel Higginson”]

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I have to admit my reading of erotic books goes down every year and my go to author switched to writing contemporary romance for a bit so the books aren’t as hot and often don’t make my best sex scene list because they’re … forgettable.  So this was a little hard to choose for.  But when I was browsing my books I couldn’t pass up talking about Ian and Veritas because …. well… they basically destroyed the floor of the apartment/town house they were in while having sex, so that was pretty epic.  While there aren’t a ton of sexy scenes in this book, the ones that are there are perfectly in tone with the intensity of the story and the characters and will only make you want Ian more. 😉

[new-release title=”Shades of Wicked” author=”Jeaniene Frost”]

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I updated my digital reading tracker this year to something a little fancier and it was a quick glance to see what authors I read the most this year.  That’s how I decided to pick my author of the year.  I had a feeling it would be Sarina Bowen and it WAS!  I read 2 books by her in 3 different series plus 1 standalone for a total of 7 books by this author in 2018.  And I really enjoyed all of them and would highly recommend.  That’s not something that usually happens and I think Sarina Bowen has managed to prove that she can make me enjoy even the simplest of stories because she makes them real and romantic but with a side helping of emotion.  I can always count on one of her books to pull me out of a reading slump and make me smile or swoon about her heroes.  I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring from her.

About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty contemporary romance from Vermont's Green Mountains. (Her ancestors began logging and farming Vermont during the 18th century. These were rugged, outdoor types without benefit of a laptop or a good latte. It boggles the mind.)

Sarina enjoys skiing, skating and good food. She lives in Windsor County, Vermont, with her family, eight chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

Author on GoodReads   Read our reviews  Get on Amazon

 What are your favorites?

 

Day 9 Prize Pack

SIGNED copy of EGOMANIAC by Vi Keeland
ALL IN by Melanie Jayne
MIKE’S WAY BACK by Amy Gregory
ARC copy of WIRED by Julie Garwood
DARK GHOST by Christine Feehan
ARC copy of GOING DARK by Monica McCarty
THE WAY TO LONDON by Alix Rickloff
KITTY SAVES THE WORLD by Carrie Vaughn
THE SCOTTISH DUKE by Karen Ranney

 

Don’t forget you can enter a giveaway on Instagram – here
and tomorrow we will be posting a giveaway on our Facebook Page!

One winner will receive the bundle of books above
Open internationally, sponsored by Under the Covers
Winners for all 12 Days of Christmas prizes
will be selected December 26, 2018

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John Smith

“Leave a comment on our post and tell us your favorite hero / book boyfriend of 2018.” My favorite hero was Xavier Rodriguez in the “Hell Divers” series–that fellow has gritty determination!

Dawn M. Roberto

Favorite hero/book boyfriend had to have been Roark from the In Death series. The two books this year in the series cements my adoration over him and his relationship with Eve.

Chris Bails

That’s tough. Favorite book boyfriend would be Darren from Pucked Love and Padraig from March Wind by Marie Carr And favorite hero would be Matt from Eggnog makes her Easy by Erin Nicholas cause he’s a soldier.

Trix

Love Sarina, and A FERRY OF BONES AND GOLD sounds like one I need! Heroes, hmmm…maybe Michael from THE KISS QUOTIENT?

Betul

Reyes and Curran!

Misty S.

I haven’t hear of most of the books you mentioned. I bought All Your Perfects right after it was released but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

bn100

don’t have one

Elizabeth

Curran

Nina T

Wesley from A Pound of Flesh by Sophie Jackson. The book is actually from 2015 but I’ve read it this year.

Timitra

Great list Francesca

Diane Sadler

Loved Elena in the new Nalini Singh Archangel’s Prophecy.

Tina R

My favorite hero is Roarke in J.D. Robb’s In Death series.

Jennifer Beyer

I loved Charles in Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs. He has come a long since the first book in the series!

Edye

Theo from divergent 🙂

Kathy Valentine

Awesome recommendations Francesca picked! My fave’s were Shades of wicked The darkest warrior,Hello Stranger,The Thief and Consumed,Born of darkness!! I have a lot of your other books on my tbr gr list!! shared on all my socials!!???

Sophia Rose

Not surprised to see Ian’s book on your list. I still need to wrap up Vlad’s series and then I am on that one. You have me convinced that I need The Simple Wild and Trailer Park Hearts. Enjoyed getting your lists, Francesca!

BookLady

My favorite hero for 2018 is Roarke from the In Death series by J.D. Robb.

nancy jones

Czar and Blythe in Bound Together.

Carissa

Im also going with Jonah from The Simple Wild. Gah! I love everything about this book

Melissa Pereira

Thanks for the chance to win
!

Kim

The hero from The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran was very good.

Lover Of Romance

Love your lists of your top favorite read!!! I just love anything that Emma Chase or Jeaniene Frost writes. Hope you have a Merry Christmas!!!

Artemis Giote

Jax Blackwood from Fall by Kristen Callihan!

Jolanda

Trick Hardy from Wild Hunger by Suzanne Wright

Janie McGaugh

I have several favorites heroes/book boyfriends for the year: Bowen from Ocean Light by Nalini Singh, Ulrik from Torched by Donna Grant, Oberon from Lionheart by Thea Harrison, & Curran in Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews.

lea

Logan from Tattered by Devney Perry <3

Irma

Pestilence from Pestilence by Laura Thalassa.

Maria Theresa Santos

My fave is Maximoff from Damaged Like Us by Krista and Becca Ritchie

Laura Lovejoy- Brunk

My favorite book boyfriend this year ? My naughty boy finally got his own book….Ian ! I’ve always loved Ian’s naughty humor and i could always see through all his craziness to see a man who was loyal and loved his friends fiercely ! Jeaninie did an amazing job with this long awaited book and the last chapter, no spoilers, leaves a cliffhanger that was so awesome. Cant wait till the next book!!

Suzana T.

I have too many one of them are: Kace from Cynthia Eden’s Don’t Trust a Killer; Ian Jacobs from All of Me by AL Jackson or Austin form Further To Fall by Catherine Cowles

Nancy

I can’t think of any or don’t have one.

Amy R

I want to read A Ferry of Bones and Gold by Hailey Turner
My favorite hero from the books I read is Linus from The Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy Book by Hailey Edwards.