Here we are again! Where Did This Year Go?! A lot has happened in my personal and professional life that kept me from reading as many books as I would have liked. As well, there are books from some of my favorite authors that I didn’t get a chance to read. I purchased them, so hopefully, 2019 will allow me some free time to read them. Nonetheless, 2018 was a spectacular reading year.
Below is a list of some of my favorites in Fiction, Series/Duet, and Audio. Hope you had a great year and that your 2019 proves as good, or better! **CHEERS**
TOP 14 FAVORITE ROMANCE OF 2018
❝ You’re going to be difficult to walk away from, aren’t you?❞ he asks, his voice resigned.
My heart thuds. ❝ I hope so.❞
#1 Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Absolutely stunning! NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA was a tragic, breathtaking portrayal of love and heartache, happiness and despair, struggle and courage.
When an author can make me forget my surroundings and transport me to the world they’ve created, I know their story will be one I think about for some time to come. NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA, was more than memorable. Not only a top favorite of the year, but Cleeton crafted one of my favorites of all time!
After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity–and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution…
Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest–until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…
Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.
Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.
❝I did warn you about falling in love with one of those sky cowboys, didn’t I?❞
#2 The Simple Wild by KA Tucker
My tears cried tears, my heart exploded, and my laughter rang loud. The Simple Wild was anything but simple.
I was so caught up in this story that when the end came, I felt an indescribable sadness. The story was consuming. The characters felt real. The writing was impeccable. This is my favorite K.A. Tucker book to date!
THE SIMPLE WILD is a beautiful slow-burn romance about family, forgiveness, and second chances.
City girl Calla Fletcher attempts to reconnect with her estranged father in rural Alaska, and unwittingly finds herself torn between her desire to return to the bustle of Toronto and a budding relationship with a rugged pilot in this masterful new romance from acclaimed author K.A. Tucker.
Calla Fletcher wasn’t even 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 Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she 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 rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep 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. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected 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.
❝If you only shine light on your flaws, all your perfects will dim.❞
#3 All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
ALL YOUR PERFECTS is a beautiful, tragic and passionate love story about two flawed people who fate brought together at the perfect time.
The past and present telling built the intensity of the story and the relationship of Quinn and Graham. It lent to the passion and emotionality of this devastating and painful story!
This is my top favorite from Mrs. Hoover! (It’s going to be hard to beat this one!)
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us—whose writing is “emotionally wrenching and utterly original” (Sarah Shepard, New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars series)—delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.
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?
❝Michael was mint chocolate chip for her. She could try other flavors, but he’d always be her favorite.❞
#4 The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
An original, inspiring, transparent and enlightening read! The fact that this is a debut by Helen Hoang blows my mind! It is seriously good! The writing, plot line, and character development were superb. I loved every word.
A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…
❝He’s slow and careful, he’s sweet and gentle. He’s the boy I fell in love with as a girl, grown into a man I don’t think I ever fell out of love with, between then and now.❞
#5 The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting
I loved this second chance romance, these characters, and their story. Ethan was vulnerable, yet strong and sexy. Lilah was fiercely determined and incredibly compassionate. Together they were passionate and loving, they were soulmates.
Irresistibly steamy, funny and heartwarming, with a plot twist I didn’t expect, THE GOOD LUCK CHARM, charmed the pants right off of me!
Is it love, or is she just his good luck charm?
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting absolutely delights with this witty and fun standalone contemporary romance.
Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career, or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.
Ethan Kane wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.
Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let him in, though, she finds out their reunion has nothing to do with her and everything to do with his game. But Ethan’s already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he’ll do anything to keep from losing her again.
❝I’m so glad I got stuck in that elevator with you.” she said. “Me, too.❞
#6 The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
I found it fantastic that this couple actually talked about their feelings. They discussed their hurts, their fears, and their worries. And they genuinely loved each other. The kind of love that hurts when you aren’t with the other person. When you stare across the room and ache to touch them, kind of love. Neither fears nor distance would keep them apart and I loved their struggles and their fights and their “I can’t keep my hands off of you” moments.
Charming, sexy and funny, THE WEDDING DATE delivered a swoon-worthy romance!
A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.
On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…
After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…
They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…
❝In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.❞
#7 The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon
Did you read ‘The Law of Moses’? Do you remember the Dr. that worked with Moses in the hospital? This is his story, Dr. Noah (and it has a similar feel to that of ‘The Law of Moses’). Amy Harmon takes us on his journey. Along the way, we meet Mercedes and Cora. They would become his closest friends. We experience their tragedies, happiness, failures, and successes. I laughed and cried so many tears for them.
Compelling, passionate and heart-wrenching, Amy Harmon crafted a provocative, thought-provoking tale about first loves, second chances, and pure, unconditional love.
“In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
It was a big lie. The biggest lie she’d ever told. It reverberated through her head as she said it, ringing eerily, and the girl behind her eyes—the girl who knew the truth—screamed, and her scream echoed along with the lie.
“Are you in love with Noah, Mercedes?” Cora asked. “I mean . . . I know you love him. You’ve been friends forever. We all have. But are you in love with him?”
If it had been anyone else—anyone—Mercedes would have stuck out her chest, folded her skinny arms, and let her feelings be known. She would have claimed him. But it was Cora. Brave, beautiful, broken Cora, and Cora loved Noah too.
So Mercedes lied.
And with that lie, she lost him. With that lie, she sealed her fate.
She was the best friend, the bridesmaid, the godmother, the glue. She was there for the good times and the bad, the ups and the downs, the biggest moments and the smallest parts. And she was there when it all came crashing down.
This is the tale of the girl who didn’t get the guy.
❝I think you are a survivor,❞ she said fiercely. ❝And I think you mine. And I will not let you throw yourself away on that bastard. You are mine and I am keeping you.❞
#8 The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran
Historical romance is inherently romantic by the nature of its language. But it takes a true craftsman to convey real emotion. Meredith Duran does a phenomenal job with this. As well, she brilliantly crafts multi-dimensional characters. Her heroes are a little alpha, a little vulnerable and always romantic.
This second chance romance held angst and despair that squeezed my heart. But there was beauty in its tragedy. THE SINS OF LORD LOCKWOOD is darker than the other books from Duran that I have read, and it is brilliantly executed!
Steamy romance sizzles between a resurrected earl and his repentant bride in USA TODAY bestselling author Meredith Duran’s latest historical romance.
BACK FROM THE DEAD, AN EARL SEEKS VENGEANCE…
Liam Devaliant, Lord Lockwood, was born into a charmed life. Charismatic, powerful, and wild, he had the world at his feet—and one woman as his aim. His wedding to Anna was meant to be his greatest triumph. Instead, in a single moment, a wicked conspiracy robbed him of his future and freedom.
…BUT WILL HIS LONG-LOST COUNTESS PAY THE PRICE?
Four years later, Liam has returned from death with plans for revenge. Standing in his way, though, is his long-absent bride. Once, he adored Anna’s courage. Now it seems like a curse, for Anna refuses to fear or forget him. If she can’t win back Liam’s love, then she means at least to save his soul…no matter the cost.
❝I swear my mouth and my brain are siblings who hate each other and give each other wedgies in the form of mortifying moments like this.❞
#9 Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
You guys, Hazel is the best! She’s a fun, (and hilarious) carefree woman who loves herself and life. She isn’t willing to change who she is for anyone, including or especially a man. I love that these authors celebrated her eccentric behavior. Characters like Hazel are usually the “weird best friend” that no one wants to spend much time with or no one understands except the best friend. They aren’t main characters.
Josh was sexy, funny and charming. His quiet reserve was the perfect balance to the wild, quirky and funny Hazel. He was at times reticent and guarded, but when he loved, he loved without reservations. He was all in.
I can’t recommend this book enough! It was quirky, charming, sexy, funny, and so well written! Not only were there laugh-out-loud moments, but there were also moments that made me pause, and had my chin quivering. Seriously, if you’re looking for a feel good, laugh-out-loud book, grab ‘Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren’!
These Royals will ruin you.
Easton Royal has it all: looks, money, intelligence. His goal in life is to have as much fun as possible. He never thinks about the consequences because he doesn’t have to.
Until Hartley Wright appears, shaking up his easy life. She’s the one girl who’s said no, despite being attracted to him. Easton can’t figure her out and that makes her all the more irresistible.
Hartley doesn’t want him. She says he needs to grow up.
She might be right.
Rivals. Rules. Regrets. For the first time in Easton’s life, wearing a Royal crown isn’t enough. He’s about to learn that the higher you start, the harder you fall.
❝Saddle up, cowgirl. Do It. And yes—it’s a legit thing that some men love cougars. And that’s what you are, right? The horny divorcee out for the prowl for the young stud, ready to educate him and…❞
#10 Boy Toy by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby
Tears. I cried tears! Not just from the hilarious moments, but from the touching ones, too! My heart broke for Liam, he is so good and he deserves good! It was hard because I understood Sadie’s fears, and “mom guilt”, and wanting to do right by everyone, all the while putting her needs, and happiness aside.
I love this duo. Bowen and Eby write as one brain, their collaboration is seamless and deceptively simple, and their stories are hilariously funny, yet tender-hearted. I am a fan for life, and pray they never stop!
When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.
I was the awkward musician, and she was the high school queen.
The only things we had in common were our music and our loneliness.
Something in her eyes told me her smile wasn’t always the truth.
Something in her voice gave me a hope I always wished to find.
And in a flash, she was gone.
Years later, she was standing in front of me on a street in New Orleans.
She was different, but so was I. Life made us colder. Harder. Isolated.
Even though we were different, the broken pieces of me recognized the sadness in her.
Now she was back, and I wouldn’t make the mistake of letting her go again.
When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.
When we met again, I became her darkest storm.
❝Just because I don’t wish to discuss putting junk in my poop-shoot doesn’t mean I’m a prude.❞
#11 Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid
I’m not sure what I thought we would get with ‘Marriage of Inconvenience’, but it wasn’t this. ‘Marriage of Inconvenience’, was multi-layered goodness, iced with a dollop of humanity and sprinkled with hilarity!
Dan is definitely one of my top favorite male character’s created by Penny Reid! He was alpha, sensitive, vulnerable, understanding, caring, loving, generous, patient … I could keep going. He loves her for who she is, all her oddities, all her insecurities and holds her close, wraps her up in his arms and shows her she is worthy of love. He too, has family issues, namely his brother — whom we met before. Yeah, he’s back raining his crazy down on Kat. But Dan is there. He’s always there. And he wants Kat and will have her, anyway he can! ♥
Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Seller
There are three things you need to know about Kat Tanner (aka Kathleen Tyson. . . and yes, she is *that* Kathleen Tyson): 1) She’s determined to make good decisions, 2) She must get married ASAP, and 3) She knows how to knit.
Being a billionaire heiress isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it sucks. Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately; it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy.
Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes: single, romantically indifferent to her, completely trustworthy. Sure, she might have a wee little crush on Dan the Security Man, but with clear rules, expectations, and a legally binding contract, Kat is certain she can make it through this debacle with her sanity—and heart—all in one piece.
Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent—or as trustworthy—as she thought?
❝But love is messy, unpredictable, and occasionally loud.❞
#12 Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen
One reason I love this series so much, is the strong family dynamic present in each book. It’s refreshing. There isn’t a character I don’t want to know more about. But I REALLY want grandpa’s story!! He is hilarious!!! I want to know his past and how he ended up where he is today.
SPEAKEASY is a sexy, heart-warming tale of a passionate one-night stand that turns from forbidden love to acceptance, trust and a change of heart!
Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…
Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.
Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.
I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.
It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.
Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…
❝As for what I want … I want you, Callie. For as long as you’re here, for as long as you’ll let me have you. I want all of you.❞
#13 Getting Schooled by Emma Chase
The sexual tension was delicious! The chemistry between these two was so hot I had fears I would spontaneously combust during their sex scenes. I loved both of these characters so much. Callie was inspiring with her independent, self-assured personality. I loved it when she questioned Garrett and his feelings for her, rather than carrying on for pages wondering how he felt! With his cocksure ways and tender, kind heart, Garrett was the good – bad boy, women dream of!
Head of the class…
Garrett Daniels has this whole life thing figured out.
The cocky, charismatic former high school star quarterback is an idolized football coach and “cool” teacher in the hometown where he’s not just a golden boy—he’s platinum. He has good friends, a great house on the lake, and the best damn sidekick a man could ask for: Snoopy, the albino beagle.
Then…Callie Carpenter comes home.
And knocks him right on his tight end zone.
Back to school…
Callie has a pretty sweet life herself…on the other side of the country. But circumstances—that she’d prefer to never speak of again—have brought her back home, helping out her parents and substitute teaching at her old high school.
Now she’s facing bickering, raging hormones, constant gossip, awkward weirdness, and drama galore…and that’s just the teachers.
Just like old times…
When Garrett offers to show his former high school sweetheart the secrets of his winning teacher ways, Callie jumps at the chance—and then has to stop herself from jumping him.
Good friends are all they can ever be.
Or…these teachers just might end up getting schooled—hard—by love.
❝Pure, primal male pride pulses through my veins. And I want to have her–conquer her–claim her and keep her.❞
#14 Royally Yours by Emma Chase
Gah! This book! It’s everything! Tender, sexy, emotional, funny … So. Dang. Good! Emma Chase never fails to entertain me! She is one hell of a storyteller!
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.
TOP FAVORITE SERIES OR DUET OF 2018
THE CRACKS DUET by LH Cosway
TOP FAVORITE AUDIO OF 2018
Want MORE favorites? Check out which books my fellow blogger friends loved in 2018!
DIRTY GIRL ROMANCE | THE BOOKISH SWEET TOOTH | READ MORE SLEEP LESS | BOOK BABES UNITE | I LOVE BOOK LOVE ROMANCE BOOK BLOG | RACHEL READS RAVENOUSLY | SMOKIN’ HOT BOOK BLOG | ALBA AND HER SECRETS
We have a few in common, I came this close to adding a few more of yours as well. Great minds think alike! Terrific list, my friend! ♥️
Eliza, thank you, I loved your list, too! <3
I’ve read 5 of those. Great choices! <3
Thank you! which ones have you read, Amy?
Let’s see I read:
Next Year in Havana
The Kiss Quotient
The Smallest Part
Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating