Best of 2018

It is that time of year again - time to reflect on all the amazing books I read this past year. It is always difficult to choose only 20 books, but this year I feel like I cheated more than normal and have more series as I don't know how I am supposed to choose just one of some authors books as my favorite! I am not a favorite person in general, I always have a hard time picking a favorite anything (unless there are only 2 things and one of them is not good). 

This year was interesting in that a lot of my favorite reads were non-romance! If you look at past years there might be one or two that aren't romance, but the majority are. It is great as I love the diversity. I am not sure if I read more non-romance books this year or if I just found better ones, but either way I read a lot of great books! 

Now without further ado my list of top 20 reads in 2018 in no particular order:

Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer

This was one of my cheats, but I loved this trilogy. I remember seeing the preview for the Annihilation movie and thinking it looked interesting so I should read the book before watching it. I am so glad I did as I loved both even though what happens in Area X is 100% different. The first two books in the series have very different feels, which was interesting. I am not sure I have read another series where the books have such a different feel even though they are not standalone books, and I really enjoyed how the author ended the series. It could have gone horribly wrong, but instead it was perfect. 

The Morgan Brothers Series (CaptainHero, & Mister Bodyguard) by Lauren Rowe

I love the Morgan Brothers hardcore. Last year I read Ball Peen Hammer which I still cannot believe how much I love that story. I shouldn't. It is not my kind of story, Peen is not my kind of guy at all,  but I loved it. So I read on and every one of these Morgan brothers is incredible. The stories are more than what I expect every time. Heck Mister Bodyguard, the latest one, I shouldn't have loved as much as I did. I don't like rich and/or famous people in my stories, at least not where it is a defining characteristic like it is in that book, and yet I loved it. I have yet to read something from this author that isn't amazing. And now that I am writing this up I really need to go back and read The Club series...I am sure it is just as amazing!

Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel

When I first heard of this book I was intrigued. Pride & Prejudice meets Frankenstein? Sounds just odd enough I might enjoy it. And enjoy it I did. I loved that it wasn't a retelling of either story, but a continuation of those worlds after those books. The events of both have already happened and it follows Mary Bennett, Victor Frankenstein, and Frankenstein's Monster and the interactions between them was wonderful. I especially enjoyed Mary and the Monster's debates. 

This one was super impossible to pick a favorite. I love Penny Reid, but how am I supposed to choose between Marriage of Inconvenience, the last book in the Knitting in the City series, and Dr. Strange Beard and Roscoe?!? How?!? I can't. Both of these books were incredible. Marriage of Inconvenience was amazing and the perfect way to end the series as it made me want to go back and re-read them all again and again. Which I did. I re-read the whole series after reading that book a few times and it is a great way to spend your time. The knitting ladies are everything. And Dan the Man? LOVED him. 

Then we have Dr. Strange Beard and oh. My. Goodness. Roscoe. Roscoe is everything. Love is not a strong enough word for how much I enjoyed reading his story. He is up there with Drew from Beauty & the Mustache, my previous favorite book guy ever. So the fact that he is on the same level as Drew? Well how could I not choose him?

But then I just go back and forth and can't make up my mind. They are both wonderful stories and if you haven't read Penny before you really should. Both these series are incredible. 

I tried to read one of this author's prior works, but couldn't get into it. I am not usually a fan of his writing style where you are not a part of the story you just watch it, but for some reason it works for this story. I was drawn in from the first pages and I never knew where this story would meander. I did not expect a lot of the events and it is a home invasion story that is so much different and interesting than normal. If that is your thing you should definitely give it a read. 

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Why have I not read Tessa Dare prior to this year?? I love old timey romances, but I am a bit particular with them so I don't read a ton of them. But Tessa Dare? She is awesome! Her books are so much fun! I actually read two from this series, but I decided to choose the first one I read just because it got me into her books. I know I still have a ton to read, but that means more fun adventures to have next year! Great heroines, grumbly guys, just lots of old timey fun! Definitely need to read more of her books next year. 

Viral by Piers Platt

I am not the biggest sci-fi reader, but I love Piers Platt's books. I found him a few years ago now and I really enjoy all of his stories. Viral is a bit different than the others I have read as it follows one person on her journey through the story and I couldn't put it down! Plus there is a genderfluid secondary character which I loved!! 

I feel like 2018 was the year of the romances that are so freaking cute I can hardly stand it! First it was the Love, Simon movie (which btw amazing if you haven't seen it!!), then To All the Boys I've Loved Before, and then Geeky Freaky Clueless! Vin and Phineas are so freakin cute together! And fun! And funny! And quirky and odd in the best of ways! This is one of those stories that just makes me so so so happy. I had a huge smile on my face the entire time I was reading it. So much fun!!

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

Good Morning, Midnight was so peaceful. So calm and tranquil which was surprising. I didn't expect that of a story of the end of the world and the people who are stuck away from everyone else when it happens. It was really striking the silences and loneliness that would accompany such an event. It was beautiful in the simplicity. 

Sky's the Limit by Elle Aycart

Just one question - who wouldn't want to read a doomsday prepper romance? I mean seriously. As soon as I saw that is what this was I went out and got a copy to read. Because it sounds just strange enough that I would love it. And it was better than I expected. Not as cheesy, just fun. The townspeople and everything that happens was awesome. I can't wait for more!

Antarctic Tears by Aaron Linsdau

If you would have asked me prior to reading this book if I would want to hike across Antarctica to the South Pole I would have said yes!! Sign me up!! I love the snow and cold and everything! Sounds fun! After reading this book? Not so much. Nevermind. I couldn't do it. I know my strengths and my limits and I would hate every minute of what Linsdau did. Well maybe not every minute, but most. I never considered a lot of the technical details and how you would have to go about making such a trek. And to try and do it solo without seeing anyone else for so long? I couldn't do that. I need people and human interaction. Though it sounds amazing at times, it also sounds like so much work. His story was fascinating. I kept stopping to share with my husband what he was going through. I bet it would be so incredibly beautiful, but way more work and more uncomfortable than I am willing to be. 

The Wish Collector by Mia Sheridan

Every book I read by Mia Sheridan is always on my favorites list. This was the only one I read this year, even though I know she had more new releases. I have them on my Kindle waiting to read, but it hasn't happened yet. The Wish Collector is just as amazing as her other stories. I love the way her characters love. Clara and Jonah and their unconventional meeting was beautiful. It reminded me a bit of Archer's Voice, my first Mia Sheridan read, which is always a great thing. 

Beautiful Victim by Claire C Riley

Claire C Riley has a lot of really amazing books. For some reason when I think of her I think romance, so when I started reading this I was waiting for the romance to kick in...and thinking this is going to be hella creepy if it is a romance! But it isn't. Really the other books I read of hers aren't either. They may have a romantic storyline, but they are more thriller/horror/whatever. I loved that this book was told from the point of view of Ethan, the crazy guy who you would hope to never run into, but who thinks he is a good guy. A nice guy. It was awesome. 

I follow this author on Facebook and she is one of my favorite authors on social media. I love her posts. But I remember reading one about how she doesn't write sweet romances, but I disagree! That Thing Between Eli & Gwen was so sweet! They were adorable and I loved them so much! I especially loved how they fell for each other when they were themselves, when there were no pretenses between them, not trying to be who you think the other person wants you to be. Also that their ex's didn't cause drama with them. They acted like adults and trusted each other. It was wonderful. 

House of Oak series (Divine and Clandestine) by Nichole Van

I often times have issues with the way people write time travel so I don't generally read books that have that as a main plot point. But Nichole Van's stories are so much fun I don't even think about it. If there are issues there with the time travel I don't notice them because I am so wrapped up with the hijinks and shenanigans of the stories! I know I still have more books in the series to read, but they are ones I am saving for when I am having a hard time finding something good to read and need that book that will make me smile the whole way through. That book that is guaranteed to make me happy because that is what these are. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This is another book I picked up because I saw the trailer for the movie and was intrigued. I remember seeing it everywhere a while ago but didn't think it sounded like something I would enjoy. I was wrong. I loved every minute of it. I love the 80's, I loved how the references were woven into the story. Yes, it is a lot, but it makes sense in the context why they are referencing whatever so I didn't mind it. It was fun. And so I expected way too much from the movie which was not good. Really not good. Oh well, at least I have to book to read. 

The House and Wild Seasons series (Dark Wild Night and Wicked Sexy Liar) by Christina Lauren

Why have I waited so long to read Christina Lauren? Seriously why?? I know I still have a ton of their books to read, but oh they are so much fun! I remember meeting them a few years ago in London at my first ever author event and it was the end of the day and we were all a bit punchy and they were so fun and made me laugh so much. So I put them on my to read list as if you are that awesome in person hopefully your books are as well. And it took me until now to start reading them. I have been seriously missing out! But now that I know how amazing they are I really need to catch up. Their books are so much fun! And The House was really different from their other ones - more a horror story that was so cool. I could definitely see that as a movie which would be awesome. 

Player by Staci Hart

I love how Staci Hart writes. I don't think I have read a book by her that I haven't enjoyed. Player was another super fun story that I couldn't put down and never wanted to end. Val was so wonderful and I loved her so much! And she and Sam were magical together. 

This was not the book I was expecting when I started reading. It was so much better. I love recluses in romance books because there is something about guys that are all alone and grumbly and are super sweet underneath all that. It is the beauty and the beast thing. I love it and this one was especially great. 

Jock Rule by Sara Ney

I love Sara Ney, her books are always great, but Jock Rule also has one of the hottest non-sex sexy times I have ever read. Phew! I loved the story, I loved the character, and when I finished reading I read it again. Because I couldn't get enough of it. 

So there we have it. My top 20 reads from 2018. It was a really great year for books and here's hoping 2019 is just as great!


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