Friday, January 4, 2019

2018 Recap: Deanna's Top 10 reads

Happy New Year 2018

Hello and Happy New Year!!

It's that time of the year again? How did the year whiz by so fast? For me, it was because I went back into full-time corporate work and holy moly! The pace has been hectic.

How has your year been?

I've had lots of excellent reads this year though admittedly most of my reads were from the first half of 2018 and my reading slowed right down after June started. Still, some excellent books were read.

Here are my top 10 for 2018 (and a couple extra). Not in any particular order ....

Darkest Heart by Juliette Cross

Darkest Heart (Dominion #2) by Juliette Cross
Dommie's story was a much anticipated book for me and I'm certain many other fans of  Ms Cross's Vessel Trilogy. Dommiel was a bad dude in the trilogy but my, how Ms Cross redeemed him in this one. It doesn't hurt either that he's sexy as all heck. This book was intense, deep, and passionate. I wanted to drown in the words Ms Cross wrote.

Unraveled by Lauren Dane

Whisky Sharp: Unraveled by Lauren Dane
It had been a long time since I'd read Ms Dane when I picked up Unraveled. I really didn't know what to expect but certainly did not dive head first into a book that was so poetic and so lyrical, I felt like I was reading a song. There's a rhythm to the pacing of this story that makes you feel like it should be sung and a melody accompanying it instead of simply being read. That makes it seem so mundane.

Judgment Road by Christine Feehan

Judgment Road by Christine Feehan

This is my first book by Ms Feehan and I must say, it took my breath away. It was raw, intense, and exciting. I felt like I wanted to sink into this group of men and all they stood for. When I finally surfaced from this book, I wondered what rock I had been living under. Her uber alpha heroes and strong heroines were exactly the sort of characters I loved to read about. You gotta read this if only for the chest-thumping alpha hero in Reaper. Hot as heck. Scary as eff. Damaged as all get out. Holy hell!!

The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick

The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick
I pretty much love everything Ms Quick writes in all her pen name incarnations and this one is no exception. What I loved about this book was the hero, Jake, because Jake apparently had sensitive nerves and had retreated to Burning Cove for some rest and relaxation to recover his nerves. What a load of hogwash! Jake is intense, touch, and oh so sexy. There isn't a single iota of sensitive nerves in him but man, I had a giggle each time someone mentioned his nerves. Jakes was a total treat to read.

Lionheart by Thea Harrison

Lionheart (Moonshadow #3) by Thea Harrison
When I read the blurb for Lionheart I wasn't certain if I would love it but I know it would be an enjoyable read because Ms Harrison is a stellar writer. So I was not expecting when I dove in that I would be swept away by the breathtaking intensity of emotion that Ms Harrison wove into her words. I did not expect to love Oberon but I did. I adored him even at his worst and was completely besotted with him at this best. And Kathryn was the perfect counterpart to Oberon's strength and magic. This is a magical book. If you haven't read it, you need to.

The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton

The Love Coupon (Stubborn Hearts #2) by Aisnlie Paton
Ms Paton always surprises me with her writing. I never quite know what to expect but whatever she writes I've loved. This book was fun, sexy, and emotional. I knew I would love buttoned up Tom and I did. I wasn't sure if I'd like Flick and her antics, but I grew to love her as I understood her. I love Ms Paton's writing. She's the only author I read who has a very unusual, almost poetic cadence to her writing. It's like reading to a beat of something playing in the back of your mind.

Not Of This World by Tracy St John

Not Of This World (Warriors of Risnar #1) by Tracy St John
When I read this book, Ms St John was a new-to-me author. I was drawn to it because of the fact that it sounded interesting and I love sci-fi romance. What I got was something filled with charm, humor, and sensuality. The world building was excellent and the way Ms St John highlighted the differences between a human woman and an alien male, and how they learned to understand and communicate with each other was very well done.

Stand & Deliver by Rhenna Morgan

Stand & Deliver (Men of Haven #5) by Rhenna Morgan
I adore the men in this series. I unashamedly admit to the fact that I read the books because of them. I really couldn't give a stuff about the women and as long as they don't annoy me, I consider it a bonus. But the men .... oh my, the men. And Beckett. Becket is all the things I love in a man, not just a in a romance hero, but in a man. He's utter perfection even with his flaws or perhaps because of his flaws. If you haven't read this series, you need to. The men ... sigh ...

Smoke & Mirrors by Julie Rowe

Smoke & Mirrors (Outbreak Task Force #2) by Julie Rowe

The thing about reading one of Ms Rowe's books is you need to be ready for the non-stop adrenalin ride. The action doesn't let up. It's go-go-go from the first word that will have you gasping for breath even as you refuse to the the book down and race to the end because you need to know what happens next. Ms Rowe writes great characters too. People you can identify with and root for. In this, Kini and Smoke can't seem to catch a break as death and disaster erupt around them but it's a romance and you know the good guys always win.

Charmed by Them by Serena Akeroyd Healed By Them by Serena Akeroyd  Sawyer by Serena Akeroyd  Andrei by Serena Akeroyd

Quintessence series by Serena Akeroyd
Ms Akeroyd is my super duper special author surprise find this year. She posted in a group about the now extremly popular Quintessence series before the books were released and me being the fuss-bucket I am commented and started asking all sorts of questions about it to determine if I'd read the books. Well, Ms Akeroyd to her credit answered all my questions and the books turned out to be brilliant. Ms Akeroyd's writing is engaging and absorbing, her characters have depth, and she makes you feel for them. The Quintessence series is so popular that she's now writing a sequel. It's THAT good. You need to read it.

And I couldn't quite decide on ten, so I've landed on twelve books because these two were excellent too.

Deadly Alliance by Maddie Wade and India Kells

Deadly Alliance by Maddie Wade and India Kells
Generally, I'm not a fan of collabs. I find then tend to be of questionable quality, inconsistent, and jumpy, but Ms Wade was one of the authors in this collab and I'd heard good things about Ms Kells, so I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did. This story read seamlessly and it stuck with me long after I had finished it. I could tell the difference between the writing of the two authors but I think only because I'm so familiar with Ms Wade's style. Ms Kells brings an edginess and tension to the story which is balanced by all the heart and soul you get from Ms Wade's writing. It's definitely worth a read.

Chains of Command by Lily Harlem

Chains of Command by Lily Harlem
Ms Harlem is hands down my favorite erotic romance writer. If I want to read something uber sexy, Ms Harlem is my go-to and she never disappoints. Her books sizzle and will melt my Kindle. When I first read her book, Scored, I got dibs on the hero Lewis. And she does it again with Seb from this book. OMG! Seb is EXACTLY the kind of hero I love and he's the sort of man I'd want to bring home to meet my parents if he were real. Totally called dibs on Seb too and as I said to someone in her reader group recently, if you want him, you're going to have to pry him out of my cold, dead hands. Back off ladies, he's mine!!

Note: not all books were published in 2018 but they were all READ in 2018, although, I do think this year, they were all published in 2018 too. I'm not sure though, I haven't checked.

So that's from me for my favorite reads of 2018. What were yours?

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  1. Goodreads reveals mostly sci-fi and/or futuristic and dystopian themes
    1. Several new to me authors.
    Anna Hackett. I binge read the galactic gladiators and hell squad series. Shout out to Imperator, Cyborg and Guardian. I want my own symbiont!
    Pearl Foxx's Cyborg series was different and enjoyable, but way too many typos
    Juliette Cross. Just love her lush writing. The vampire world series was a different twist using fairy tales as the base, and I am loving her Dragon World

    2. Lgbtq
    KJ Charles never fails to disappoint. Her writing is fabulous. Henchman of Zenda and Band Sinister were stand out to me. Never been a Georgette Heyer fan but the Band Sinister retelling was excellent
    Jordan L Hawk. Wrap up of Spectr2.Love Caleb/Gray. And penultimate Widdershins.
    Lee Welch. Salt magic skin magic was a superb debut

    3. Series
    Veronica Scott and her Badari Warriors continue to excite. Mateer is so honourable. I love her descriptions of the cubs and the way they behave. The brave little cub, Yonn, in Timtur is so protective whilst sweet. The writing just pulls you in. And I'm not a children fan!
    Cara Bristol completed her Cyborgs with Hunted by the Cyborg, although I'm hoping for more! I loved this, and her new series too.
    Cynthia Sax and her dark gritty universe with special mention to Taking Vengeance. Loved Astrid

    4. Others
    Sara Paretsky has always been an auto buy for me, along with Allison Brennan. I love her Lucy Kincaid series.
    Nora Roberts', another auto buy, new series, Chronicles of the One, is different but still retains her trademarks of family and friends etc
    Barbara Erskine is the queen of creepy. Ghost Tree was brilliant. For Scandinavian noir, Yrsa Sigurdadöttir is a must read
    Christine Feehan is also an auto buy but sometimes I think an extra edit is required. Too much repetition of the same scene from different POV's. And over long sex scenes. I also enjoyed the new series starter Judgement Road. Also the latest "Game" book Covert Game. And I'm glad the Carpathian series has moved to the US
    Wonder what 2019 will throw at me

    1. Gill, awesome recap. I love a few of the authors you've mentioned. Juliette Cross - yes, very lush. Have you read her Vessel series? You need to! Anna Hackett - always a good go-to read. Cara Bristol - one of my fav sci-fic authors. Cynthia Sax - she's been on my to-read list for ages. I should get to her soon. Have an awesome new year!

  2. Fabulous list Deanna and I must say I too loved Ainslie Paton's The Love Coupon fabulous story

    have Fun


    1. Yes, Ainslie Paton's Stubborn Hearts series is great. Such a lovely surprise read.