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.
by Colleen Hoover
Released: July 17th 2018
Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.
All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?
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.
by Hailey Turner
Released: September 9 2018
Series: Soulbound #1
When the gods come calling, you don’t get to say no.
Patrick Collins is three years into a career as a special agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency when the gods come calling to collect a soul debt he owes them. An immortal has gone missing in New York City and bodies are showing up in the wake of demon-led ritual killings that Patrick recognizes all too easily from his nightmares.
Unable to walk away, Patrick finds himself once again facing off against mercenary magic users belonging to the Dominion Sect. Standing his ground alone has never been a winning option in Patrick’s experience, but it’s been years since he’s had a partner he could trust.
Looking for allies in all the wrong places, Patrick discovers the Dominion Sect’s next target is the same werewolf the Fates themselves have thrown into his path. Patrick has been inexplicably attracted to the man from their first meeting, but desire has no place in war. That doesn’t stop Patrick from wanting what he shouldn’t have. Jonothon de Vere is gorgeous, dangerous, and nothing but trouble—to the case, to the fight against every hell, and ultimately, to Patrick’s heart and soul.
In the end, all debts must be paid, and Patrick can only do what he does best—cheat death.
A Ferry of Bones & Gold is a 115k word m/m urban fantasy with a gay romantic subplot and a HFN ending.
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.
by Lara Adrian
Released: March 27 2018
Series: Hunter Legacy #1
New York Times bestselling author Lara Adrian introduces the first novel in the Hunter Legacy series, thrilling new vampire romances set in the darkly seductive Midnight Breed paranormal story world.
As a former assassin in the Hunter program, Asher is one of a small group of Gen One Breed vampires who survived the horrors of a madman’s laboratory and the cruelty of the training that made him one of the most lethal beings in existence. Now, twenty years after his escape from those hellish origins, Ash is a loner whose heart is as cold as his skills are lethal. But when a beautiful, secretive young woman on the run from dangerous enemies crosses his path in the middle of a dark night in the desert outside Las Vegas, Ash is drawn into a deadly game where trust can be an illusion and love may be the sharpest weapon of all.
Book 1 in a brand-new Midnight Breed spin-off series!
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.
by Emma Chase
Released: October 31 2018
Series: Royally #4
Published by LLC
New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase returns with a sweet and sexy standalone in the Royally Series.
Princess Lenora Celeste Beatrice Arabella Pembrook had an unusual childhood. She was raised to be a Queen—the first Queen of Wessco.
It’s a big deal.
When she’s crowned at just nineteen, the beautiful young monarch is prepared to rule. She’s charming, clever, confident and cunning.
What she isn’t… is married.
It’s her advising council’s first priority. It’s what Parliament is demanding, and what her people want.
Lenora has no desire to tie herself to a man—particularly one who only wants her for her crown. But compromises must be made and royals must do their duty.
Even Queens. Especially them.
Years ago, Edward Langdon Richard Dorian Rourke, walked away from his title and country. Now he’s an adventurer—climbing mountains, exploring jungles, going wherever he wants, when he wants—until family devotion brings him home.
And a sacred promise keeps him there.
To Edward, the haughty, guarded little Queen is intriguing, infuriating…and utterly captivating. Wanting her just might drive him mad—or become his greatest adventure.
Within the cold, stone walls of the royal palace—mistrust threatens, wills clash, and an undeniable, passionate love will change the future of the monarchy forever.
Every dynasty has a beginning. Every legend starts with a story.
This is theirs.
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.
by K.A. Tucker
Released: August 7, 2018
Published by Atria Books
City girl Calla Fletcher attempts to reconnect with her estranged father, and unwittingly finds herself torn between her desire to return to the bustle of Toronto and a budding relationship with a rugged Alaskan pilot in this masterful new romance from acclaimed author K.A. Tucker.
Calla Fletcher was two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.
She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this new subarctic environment, Jonah—the quiet, brooding, and proud Alaskan pilot who keeps her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.
Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. As time passes, she unexpectedly finds herself forming a bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago.
It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.
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.
by Patricia Briggs
Released: March 6th 2018
They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.
With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…
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.
Released: June 14, 2018
Series: Rugby #4
Published by Self Published
He kept his salacious secret for years. But soon, everyone is going to be reading about it in their morning paper…
THE VARLET (and the VOYEUR)
William Moore is a long way from home. A farm boy from Oklahoma, he’s now the most well-respected member of the Irish rugby team. But appearances are often deceptive, and Will isn’t the clean-cut, all-American good-guy everyone imagines him to be. He’s got a secret, one that will tarnish his reputation forever.
THE VOYEUR (and the VARLET)
Joesy Kavanagh is a self-proclaimed mess, but she’s finally get her shi…uh, act together. She’s set her sights on becoming a veterinarian, but there’s one teeny tiny road bump. Her living arrangements are coming to an abrupt end, leaving Joesy homeless and in need of a job to pay her way through college.
What he needs is a companion to keep him on the right path.
What she needs is an apartment with free rent.
Will is convinced Joesy will make the perfect companion, since she’s brutally honest and basically ‘just one of the guys.’ Joesy is convinced she can ensure Will doesn’t succumb to his voyeuristic proclivities by keeping a scrupulous eye on him.
Except, what happens when the varlet is tempted by the voyeur, and vice-versa?!
Perchance something very, very volatile. And vexing.
The Varlet and the Voyeur is a full-length romantic comedy novel, can be read as a standalone, and is the 4th(and last) book in the USA TODAY bestselling Rugby Series.
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.
by Rachel Higginson
Released: October 23 2018
Trailer park born and raised. It’s my legacy. That’s how my mama lived. And that’s how her mama lived. It’s the life I was born into and it’s the life I swore I would leave the second I was old enough to make it out.
Only legacies have a funny way of sneaking up on you. An innocent decision the night of high school graduation led to a series of complications in my plans to escape.
Seven years later, I’ve resigned myself to this small town and the roots I’m tied to. Nothing could make me leave. And nothing could make me spill the secrets that keep me here.
Until he walks back into town with a chip on his shoulder and a stupid hunch nobody else in town has been smart enough to follow.
Levi Cole is my opposite. Born on the right side of the tracks with family money to spare, he’s the kind of black sheep that can afford to be rebellious—because his family will always pay for his mistakes. He’s also the only living heir to Cole Family Farms, after his brother Logan was killed in duty seven years ago.
He sees something in my life that he thinks he has a right to. But he’s wrong. And obnoxious. And he needs to take his stubborn good looks and that intense way he looks at me and go back to wherever it was he came from.
I know better than to trust men like him. I was born and raised in a trailer park, I know nothing good happens to girls like me—girls with trailer park lives and trailer park hearts. Especially from gorgeous, kind, pigheaded men like him.
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. 😉
by Jeaniene Frost
Released: October 30, 2018
Series: Night Rebel #1
Published by Avon
In this thrilling new Night Rebel series set in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress world, sexy and ruthless vampire Ian finally meets his match!
The Rule Breaker
Master vampire Ian is unrepentant, shameless…and every shade of wicked. He’s made one too many enemies in his two centuries of existence, including Dagon, a demon who now lays claim to his soul. Ian’s only chance to escape Dagon is to join forces with a Law Guardian, but he’s never been able to abide by the rules for long.
The Law Maker
Veritas’ normal role is police, judge and jury to reprobates like Ian. But she has her own ax to grind with Dagon, so if she can use Ian as bait…well, all’s fair in law and war. As they scour supernatural hotspots to perfect their trap, Veritas soon realizes Ian’s devil-may-care, roguish image hides something much more powerful. And Ian discovers that Veritas has shocking secrets of her own. As they’re drawn to each other with a passion as intense as their peril, either love or justice will prevail. But each will have devastating consequences…
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.
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
One winner will receive the bundle of books above
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I get easily distracted by pictures of sexy guys and have tons of book boyfriends.I keep all my alpha males chained to my basement and guard them fiercely.*Back off bitches*I like to see Jason Momoa as a lot of those boyfriends, because ….. mmmmmmm JASON.MOMOA!
I’m a part time graphic designer (yes, everything you see on UTC has been done by me), run my husband's business from home and on a good day I’m a self appointed superwoman (she who can do it all).I love blogging with my girls and I couldn’t do it any other way!My first love is everything paranormal, but in the past few years I’ve re-learned to love contemporary romance.Every once in a while I like to mix things up with a historical romance, a steampunk or an LGBT book.Because I need variety to avoid book slumps.I don’t always need an HEA although I prefer one, and I love authors that can rip my heart out and make me ugly cry.