Hey y’all! Whew what a year…
I hit my reading goal (150), branched out to a few new authors, attended my first Apollycon (can’t wait for 2019!), hit my first 1K on Instagram, and officially become and audio lover! But throughout out it all, I read some pretty amazing books. I wanted to share a new style of wrap up with you guys this year. Sort of like an awards ceremony. Not a top ten and no one better than the other; but stories that stood out to me outside of just the romance aspect. Whether they made me cry, laugh, swoon, or beg for more check out my 2018 Wrap Up Awards!
First some stats!
I read 35,942 pages across 152 books
get more details from my goodreads and check out all of my 2018 reviews/reads! And while you’re there, add me!
On to our winners…
All You Need Is Love
Light-hearted, drama-free romance
A sexy, slow-burning best-friends-to-lovers romance with a guaranteed HEA and no cheating. Dive in, and get ready to melt for Cam! The slow burn never fizzles out; it’s the perfect speed for two friends who discover they could be more. And then they have to discover how they feel about that revelation. For Cam, it’s been a deep desire he’s buried beneath that friendship. For Natalie, there’s more to love than just sex and she’s not sure of the risk of losing friendship of two men she’s known for years. All around heartwarming and entertaining. Filled with sexy, intimate moments and heartfelt relationships all around; you can find out more here!
Secret trysts and stolen kisses abound in this brand new, swoontastic novel from #1 NYT bestselling author Lauren Blakely. Starting off with a steamy fantasy scene between our hero and heroine allowed for a novel size tease the rest of the plot! This novel had a touch of old school romance. With lust and desires dripping off every page, you need to grab this read and begin to raise your expectations when it comes to love! Fond out more here!
A sexy, standalone forbidden romance about a sports star and the woman who’s off limits. There’s something about a forbidden romance that can give readers just the right amount if danger. Neither our heroine or hero want to risk their careers but can’t resist the pull against one another. And while some secret and forbidden romance can leave readers feeling secondhand embarrassment, I couldn’t help but find myself yelling at Jillian and Jones to just BE TOGETHER! Find out more about it here!
Break out the tissues and wine
He didn’t want to be bad. He just didn’t have a choice… We had crazy drama around Trouble & Wild and hilarious wit and sass with Legs & Loser; but with Shay & Stitch…..be prepared to have your heart MANGLED in the BEST POSSIBLE WAY. Not only does Daniels’ manage to tell the story of a broken and defeated man, she does it while painting him in the brightest light possible. I stayed up all night, sacrificing sleep, to finally read this story and I was not one bit disappointed. I cried so many times but with so many happy tears. Prepare to have your heart wrung out here.
An all-new second chance standalone romance by New York Times bestselling author Corinne Michaels and USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow, this story killed me and brought me back to life! After the young romance left her broken-hearted in the worst way she’s sworn off Ian for life. But tragedy strikes when Sabrina and her husband pass away and leave the children to Ian to raise. Prepare to have your heart ripped out of you chest as each of Sabrina’s children have to handle their grief alongside Ian and London. I love that Harlow and Michaels kept their reactions real. There’s no pretty crying or band aids over the wounds in this story, no. Now mix in the romance between Ian and London and this is one powerful read. Find out more here.
A forbidden stand-alone romance in A.L. Jackson’s Confessions of the Heart Series. How can I put in to words the way this book made me feel? Gripping and intense. Sexy and forbidden. Heartbreaking and yet filled with love and warmth that is key to any Jackson story. All of Me takes the darkest parts of two people’s lives and thrusts them in to the light in order to survive. I cringed, I gasped, I needed wine, and I had a happy cry. This book is downright AMAZING. No spoilers here, you’ll have to grab this amazing story for yourself to find out just what darkness dares to creep up on our hero and heroine. Prepare your tissues and buckle down for one hell of a romance! Find out more about Ian’s story here.
a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Anne Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer. A new branch back into the contemporary world, Consumed is not only intrigued and a standout novel, readers won’t be able to predict what will happen and become addicted to finding out the truth. This book is FILLED with twists and turns and new angles you won’t predict. Hooked from page one I had to know what Anne and Danny’s inner thoughts were. Ward does an incredibly job taking brutal, damaged characters and pulling those flaws right into the light, shoving them in to the face of readers and shouting “ACCEPT THEM”. Be consumed by this romance here.
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 romantic comedy. Helena brings back the heavy in the best way with The Good Luck Charm. A young romance ended too soon. A woman with a second broken heart and a man with a second chance. The light-hearted humor and wit that any HH fan knows is definitely present in TGLC. Ethan and Lilah, whether they’re fighting or reminiscing, have the ability to outwit and go head to head with one another. But Hunting takes us back to her original romance feels of heavy story lines. Get lucky here.
Bad (BOY) Romance
Bad boys do it better
From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jay Crownover comes a standalone romance with a hero sure to keep readers up long into the night. Jay frickin Crownover. She continues to blow me away with her ability to create dark and gritty characters that have obvious faults but still endeavor you to feel hope for what may be. Cable and Affton’s story is filled with heartbreak, doubt, and somehow a sliver of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. Crownover has delivered a character with a mysterious past that was painstakingly revealed over time (almost a year for us newsletter subscribers!). And as each peace of Cable’s puzzle finds it place, the picture of a boy becoming a man and finding his way to recovery was shown and hearts everywhere fell for the dark handsome boy. Find out more about Cable here.
An enemies-to-lovers romance where opposites not only attract, they ignite. Trying to think of a way to explain this romance isn’t easy. First of all, JB Salsbury is in her own genre when it comes to romance. They’re dark in a different way, with non-traditional heroes who are tough to love at first. And that can definitely be said with Jesse. Jesse is an ASSHOLE at the beginning of Playing by Heart. I hated him at first, but in the best way. Reading his level of dirty, you just KNOW there’s going to be an epic redemption of his soul. This love story is all a tale of what a person can handle when it comes to self-love before loving anyone else and Salsbury does it ABSOLUTE justice. Find out more here.
The Queen of Paranormal Romance, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter, stuns with SHADOW AND ICE, the first title in her scorching new paranormal romance series Gods of War Series. This story is about love. And sex and violence and power and control but beyond all that LOVE conquering all. A message conveyed in every caress from Vale. In every sacrifice from Knox.Filled with explicit and entertaining fights scenes to rival and blockbuster, this story will have on the edge of your city dying to know how Vale and Knox can overcome every obstacle that threatens to tear them and the world apart. Dive in and find out more here.
Talk about a powerful hero! Evans impresses with her latest alpha and brother to one of our past heroes. Cullen Carmichael is a magnetic and demanding poker player. When Wynn steps into his card game months later, single, Cullen knows its time to up the stakes and risk it all for the feisty redhead. I can’t explain just how much chemistry is between these two characters. The push and pull of Wynn’s ability to give it all to Cullen against his ability to show his hand sends a message about the lengths people will go to find their happy ever after. Filled with tense moments, secrecy, and one hot alpha this is one emotionally packed romance. Find out more here.
Prepare for a story that hits hard, digs deep, and holds tight. Unconscious Hearts is a powerful romance with an alpha hero and a magnetic heroine that you’ll immediately fall for. Covered in leather, dripping with sin, smelling like temptation. Thorn is made for lustful nights and stirs something in Ari she hasn’t felt for a long time. I love that Sloan slowly reveals the truth behind both Thorn and Ari’s past as well as why they initially fight their attractions to one another. There’s no huge history dump as you’re reading; you get discover why these characters are the way they are as if you were slowly learning about them as a friend in their world. I couldn’t put down this dark romance not just for the passion in each page but for how hard it pulls you in and has you begging for what comes next. Find out more here.
One More Chapter
Cliff hangers that left us begging for more
From New York Times bestselling author Meghan March comes a brand new saga of forbidden love and second chances. Heady, rich with passion, and rife with excess, the Sin Trilogy is brimming with drama. With flashes of the past mixed in with the current events of the Riscoffs and the Gables, readers will be in a whirlwind of emotions. Stolen kisses, secrets abound, and a doozy of a twist I GUAR-AN-TEE you won’t see coming, this romance will have you hooked from the start! Prepare yourself for more drama than any reality TV show and some steam scenes more risque than you’ve experienced!! Find more about the series three novels: Book 1, Book 2, Book 3.
She was brainwashed into believing she could save mankind. Now, she’s the one who needs saving. An original plot line, complex characters, and twists and turns to drag you in to the story, the Mercy Series is its own brand of romance and mystery. So unlike any other new adult romance, Ghostgirl pulled me in from the start and never let go. This slow burn was completely satisfying as their feelings developed alongside the story. Pieces of Mercy’s past slowly come out as the puzzle of what truly happened to her begins to form. Filled with moral quandaries and blurring the line between right and wrong, Saint delivers another powerful message about personal faith and fighting for the truth. Dive in to learn more about Milo and Mercy.
How do you put in to words a story that takes years of love, laughter, and pain and wraps them in a package under heartbreak and hope? The amazing duo that is Kennedy Fox saved the most detailed and heavy Bishop for last. Readers who have stuck alongside the series have openly waited for the tricky twin Jackson’s story behind his playboy ways. Now spoiler free here…but be warned that you will want quiet, wine, and something to bring yourself comfort when reading this romance. The supposed climax is right at the beginning and I LOVED getting to read the back and forth up to the pivotal day. KF definitely set the bar high with this tale, I swear they save the end of their series for the high stakes drama and it is WORTH IT! So sit down, stock up, and buckle up for one insane ride here.
The highly anticipated sexy, suspenseful stand-alone second-chance romance from NYT Bestselling Author, A.L. Jackson. Magnetic. Heart stopping. Filled with passion and suspense but brimming with hope. Jackson’s finale to the Fight For Me series is an amazing collaboration of regrets and second-chances. I could not believe how engrossed I became in this story! Ollie and Nikki have an obvious connection that no one can deny. Watching them gravitate towards and away from one another was such heartbreak. No spoilers for the truth about Sydney but I will say to read between the lines and come to your own conclusions as the truth will SHOCK you. I was not prepared at all for the twist ending but I could not have read any faster, turning page after page to see just what would happen. Find out more here.
What has a sexy, bad-ass veteran hero…
A feisty and independent heroine who won’t hesitate to stand up for herself. A forbidden, best friend’s younger sister conflict. And a forced-proximity roommates-to-lovers situation that creates all kinds of sexual tension? The second standalone title in New York Times bestselling author Laura Kaye’s Warrior Fight Club series! There’s a connection with Shay and Billy that sparks the minute the two characters come together. Kaye impresses with her ability to once again combine sexy heroes with rough pasts and even tougher walls to break through. Sexy, with a surprise twist you won’t see coming. add this new romance to your TBR!
Novellas and quick reads
From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author K Bromberg, comes CONTROL, a new novella in her Everyday Heroes Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! I love the 1001 Dark Nights series because it’s more than just a sneak peek into an author’s series, it’s a splash into that author’s voice and style. K Bromberg is stellar at writing drama mixed with sex and romance. Control is a stunning look into her Everyday Heroes series and shows how two lost people can find happiness with each other.
Now don’t judge me….but I’m a Kylie Scott fan that hasn’t finished the Stage Dive series at this moment. GASP SHOCK AWE. Now that that’s out of your system…let me introduce you to a quick and sexyyyyy novella from Scott and 1001 Dark Nights. Whoo lordy say hello to your newest naughty dream. Sam is H-O-T. He’s a rough and gruff silver fox with a smooth tongue for Martha. Filled with sweet and sexy, this novella is a great taste of the Kylie Scott world!
The perfect combination of sweet and sexy, Laura Kaye amazes again with her novella peek into the Raven Riders series. This story was a fun treat vote into existence by Kaye fans. I was hoping for my smooth talking charmer Phoenix to get his story but Caine took me by surprise. It’s the quiet ones that see and hold the most. Filled with more honesty and truth in a smaller format, Kaye delivers the heart-wrenching pain of a characters path while revealing the bright hope of their love filled future. Find out more here.
Who knew audio books were so addicting
Read Me Romance is a FREE podcast hosted by New York Times Bestselling Authors Alexa Riley and Tessa Bailey. Trust me when I say you WANT to be listening. These three slowly reveal an audio book EVERY SINGLE WEEK, with snippets each day. Add in their hilarious banter and it’s like hanging out with your own mobile book club. Get introduced to new authors, feed into your guilty, dirty reads, or like me discover you new found love of audio books and the worlds they open up. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss a single installment!
A standalone romance novel published by Montlake Romance: It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress. The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after. My very first full length audio book and I fell in love! Entranced by their voices, escaping into their worlds. This romance was filled with drama and twists I never saw coming. I loved every minute as Charlotte attempted to learn Reed’s truth. All while Reed harbored a shocking secret that threatened everything! Find out more here.
Be prepared to fall in love with Sara Ney and her captivating new adult romances! Being a well known jock-blocker gets Scarlett noticed for all the wrong reasons; just like that, she’s banned from Jock Row. Week-after-week, she visits Jock Row with her friends and is quarantined to the porch with one Sterling “Rowdy” Wade. As the weeks progress, the two find out how much they have in common and fall madly in love. Hilarious. witty, and filled with flirtatious fun, this audio was so uplifting and Scareltt and Rowdy’s romance is so real and honest. Drama free and filled with happiness!
Dark and Deep
Dark romance filled with deep emotion
It’s passionate and powerful; suspenseful and seductive. Kristen Ashley’s finale of the Honey series is an endless list of beautiful adjectives that add up to an explosive read. Stellan’s eyed the beautifully intriguing Sixx for longer than she could imagine. After waiting years for her to make a move he decides that only another Dom is willing to crack the shell of this mysterious femma fatale. What Stellan hadn’t planned on was not only culling the dominatrix but releasing the submissive inside. In KA’s distinctive voice, I found a new hero within Sixx. In addition to our final Honey couple, KA dives into more worlds of the exotic and risque. Find out more about them here.
How can I describe how amazingly sexy and sweet this book is? I’m new to Laura Kaye’s Blasphemy series but you can bet your sweet butts I went out and bought the the rest of the entire series after I finished this book in the late hours of the night. I couldn’t put it down, couldn’t look away from the sheer power this book holds. Not for the faint of heart, On His Knees is filled with raw sexuality alongside a man coming to grips with the reality of his sexual preferences. Kaye’s depiction is honest and real and truly makes you understand what it means to go through the struggle of discovery. Find out more about this M/M romance here.
Holy Jesus….this was my first “age difference” romance and I am SOLD! Kylie Scott has been killing the standalone game and this did not disappoint. Adele is stuck staying with her father’s friend and business partner, Pete. Bad news? She’s been terribly in love with Pete for years and now that she’s older, she’s not quite sure what their relationship will be like (especially considering how badly it ended 7 years before). When a night of high emotions turns an argument into one steamy night, their worlds change forever. Not only does Pete have to come to terms with his feelings towards Adele, he has to come face to face with a future he never planned for with her. Another real and relatable romance from Scott; find out more here.
A YA novel from USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen. I’m so glad she’s decided to branch out once again and she’s delivered a compelling YA story about love, loss, and the power of music. Rachel’s daydreamed about her rockstar father for years, despite her mother’s protests. Now, her mother’s passed away and left Rachel in his hands just as she’s to turn 18 and experience the world on her own. But the imaginations of a little girl rarely match up to reality. Her dads not all rock god; he’s just a man with imperfections. The Accidentals truly emulates the rag-tag combination of teenage heartbreak and over abundance of emotions. It had me crying, it had my heart breaking, but the power of Rachel’s love of music and her family pulls readers through in the end for a warm ending worthy of any story. Dive in here.
LOVE & LAUGHTER
Cry from laughing instead of heartbreak
I was honestly taken by surprise with how emotional this book made me feel. There’s no terrible past from Jean about her child’s father. There’s no cataclysmic event to force Eric to decide what he wants. This a story about two people (technically three with the baby lol) who fall for each other all out of order. But who are we to judge. You never know what a relationship looks like to the two people in it. And Chaser is the soothing balm after the rough and rich stories of Vaughn and Joe. Scott couldn’t have done a better job on Eric’s story! Find out more here.
an all-new standalone in the USA Today bestselling Rugby Series from Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway. I didn’t want this series to end; I’ve loved it since the moment I started to read it. But Cosway and Reid go out with an amazing story filled with a spunky heroine and a secretive hero. Will, one of our beloved rugby players, is caught amidst a sports scandal as his sexy secret comes to light: he’s a voyeur. But he’s determined to clean up his so called dirty act for the team’s image. In comes the klutzy and foot-in-mouth speaking Josey as his new roommate and pseudo-babysitter. These characters are just plain heartwarming and I found myself laughing hysterically throughout the whole book. A wonderful ending to an amazing series! Find out more here.
OMG Sarina and Tanya deliver another hilarious five-star rom-com! Man Card features sassy, sexy Ash and hilariously metrosexual Braht as our hero and heroine. The two have spent months as “frenemies”; there’s chemistry (and one sexy time in a pantry!) between them but for some reason the attraction leads to an all out turf war as the two realtors love to one up one another. And of course one-upsmanship leads to some hysterical moments for them! Filled with riotous wit and endearingly flubbed sexy-times, Man Card easily slips into a five-star read status. Find out more here.