2018 – My Favorite Reads

pile of books

Photo by Pixabay

Another year is in the books…literally! Last year I read a total of 109 books. 91 of these were new books; 2 were books I beta-read (they’ll be out this year); 16 were rereads (including my own books for editing/formatting purposes).

As always, the overall winner is the Romance genre (no surprise there). But I added 10 books that weren’t in my normal genre. I’ve picked my TOP 10 for 2018, as well as 20 Honorable Mentions.

My Top 10 Reads

  1. Book of Mormon – I’ve read this a ton of times, but this year I had the most life-changing experience doing it, and came to love my Savior so much more than ever before…so I’m counting it in my Top 10, even though it’s a reread.
  2. The Brothers Maledetti Series Nichole Van – A paranormal romance (slightly), set in Italy. I inhaled all of these books, and became a true fan of Nichole Van. She’s not only a gifted writer, but a magnificent photographer as well. She lives in Scotland right now; I adore her pictures she posts on FB.
  3. dec14gHeart of Red, Blood of BlueRebecca Belliston – A unique, beautiful, and heartwrenching medieval romance. The heroine is a despised albino princess, who feels that the 10 year war between her country and the Blues is all her fault. I loved the undertones of prejudice, hate, bias, mistaken identities, fear, and seeing beneath one’s surface to the treasure beneath. I adored Gisela…and the many characters that intertwine with her life as the tale weaved its way around my heart. A masterfully told story.
  4. z5The Secretive Wife – Jennifer Peel – A celebrity romance (once the secret comes out). This book is the 2nd in her More Than a Wife series, and it was AMAZING! I will definitely reread this one. The characters are fantastic and the story is a roller-coaster ride of swoons, crying hiccups, and all that kind of crazy. Loved it!
  5. A Me and You ThingTaylor Dean – Another roller-coaster romance with a unique, heart-breaking twist that almost shattered me. I love when a book surprises me. I love even more when a story sticks with me long after I finish. This one did that for me.
  6. A Dangerous LegacyElizabeth Camden – A historical forbidden romance set in the early 1900’s in New York. This author always captures my heart and imaginations with her layered characters, detailed historical scenes and events, and heart-tugging romance.
  7. The Smallest PartAmy Harmon – A contemporary heart-wrecker. Seriously, Harmon’s books always MOVE me. I feel almost every emotion under the sun as I read her books. This was no exception. Themes included: suicide, friendship, and enduring love (sigh).
  8. setThe House of Oak SeriesNichole Van – Another series I fell in love with by this author. Book 4 made me laugh so hardch. I want to reread it just for the funny dialogue between the hero and heroine. They were to-die-for hilarious. This book is historical-paranormal. A magic oak transports people through time to 1800’s from modern day. It makes for some fantastic plots and characters. I can’t say enough good about this author. I’ve read everything she put out since I found her…and she never disappoints.
  9. decnew3#StarstruckSariah Wilson – A celebrity Hollywood romance. This author is beyond skilled with creating heart-pounding movie star/girl-next-door type relationships. So funny & completely swoonworthy. Every page.
  10. My Brother’s BrideRachael Anderson – This Regency romance was a fun one. I’ve read tons of Regency that never gives me the swoonworthy moments I crave from contemporary romances. But this one managed to do it. I really, really, loved the characters and writing in this book.

Honorable Mention

  1. Stormlight Series – especially book 2, Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson (fantasy)
  2. Saints – Standard of Truth (181-1846) – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (historical nonfiction)
  3. Seeing Miss Heartstone – Nichole Van (Regency romance)
  4. #Moonstruck – Sariah Wilson (Celebrity)
  5. The Sidelined Wife – Jennifer Peel (contemporary romance)
  6. Narcissistic Tendencies – Jennifer Peel (contemporary romance)
  7. When I’m Gone – Emily Bleeker (contemporary romance)
  8. The Dragons of Alsace Farm – Laurie Lewis (women’s fiction)
  9. The Bone Curse – Carrie Rubin (thriller)
  10. Hawaiian Holiday – Michelle Paige Holmes (holiday second chance romance)
  11. The Shipbuilder’s Wife – Jennifer Moore (historical romance)
  12. Love Remains – Sarah Eden (historical romance)
  13. Violin Words – Taylor Dean (holiday mystery romance)
  14. The Lincoln Hypothesis – Timothy Ballard (historical non-fiction)
  15. My Dearest Enemy – Jennifer Moore (historical romance)
  16. My Sister’s Intended – Rachael Anderson (Regency romance)
  17. Second Chance in Paradise – Jennifer Peel (contemporary second chance romance)
  18. The Songs that Brought Me Back – Mylissa Demeyere (contemporary romance)
  19. Long Journey Home – Sarah Eden (historical romance)
  20. The Promise of Home – Michele Paige Holmes (historical romance)

Below I’ve listed all the books I read this year (* shows those I rated 5 stars on Amazon; bold titles are shown above in the Top 10 or Honorable Mention).

Nonfiction (6)

  • *Saints – Standard of Truth (1815-1846) – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Historical)
  • *The Lincoln Hypothesis – Timothy Ballard (historical)
  • *The Like Switch – Jack Schafer (how-to influence people)
  • The Life of Our Lord by Charles Dickens (historical)
  • Creating Your Forever Family – Rachel Sullivan (inspirational)
  • Million Dollar Outlines – David Farland (writing)

Thriller (2)

  • *The Bone Curse – Carrie Rubin
  • *Slave Queen – H.B. Moore

Fantasy (2)

  • *Words of Radiance #2 – Brandon Sanderson
  • *The Way of Kings #1 – Brandon Sanderson

ROMANCE (81)

Medieval Romance (1)

  • *Heart of Red, Blood of Blue – Rebecca Belliston

Chick Lit (2)

  • *Just a Name by Becky Monson
  • Dating the Prince – Alina Snow

Suspense Romance (2)

  • *Tripwire – Traci Hunter Abramson
  • To Love a Spy – Laura Beers

Young Adult Romance (3)

  • *The Avery Shaw Experiment – Kelly Oram
  • *Perfectly Oblivious – Robin Daniels
  • *The Libby Garrett Intervention – Kelly Oram

Holiday Romance (4)

  • *Hawaiian Holiday – Michelle Paige Holmes
  • *Violin Words – Taylor Dean
  • *A Christmas Carol in Romance – Franky Brown
  • The Christmas Stand-in Date – Rachel John

Paranormal Romance (8)

  • *Lightning Struck #3 – Nichole Van
  • *A Madness Most Discreet #4 – Nichole Van
  • *Lovers and Madmen #0– Nichole Van
  • *Love’s Shadow #2 – Nichole Van
  • *Gladly Beyond #1 – Nichole Van
  • *Lady of Breken Manor – Heather B. Moore
  • Brightest Kind of Darkness – P.T. Michelle
  • Beauty and the Clockwork Beast – Nancy Campbell Allen (steampunk)

Historical Romance (13)

  • *A Dangerous Legacy – Elizabeth Camden
  • *The Shipbuilder’s Wife – Jennifer Moore
  • *Love Remains – Sarah Eden
  • *My Dearest Enemy – Jennifer Moore
  • *Long Journey Home – Sarah Eden
  • *The Promise of Home – Michele Paige Holmes
  • *The Heart of Thornewell – Anita Stansfield
  • *Scarlet – Jen Geigle Johnson
  • *Lady Fallow’s Secrets – S.G. Rogers
  • *Saving Marilee – Annette Larsen
  • Blemish – Jewel Allen
  • The Fox of Cordovia – Linda Weaver Clarke
  • Tailor Made – Annette Lyon

Regency Romance (17)

  • *Refine #4 – Nichole Van
  • *Divine #2 – Nichole Van
  • *Clandestine #3 – Nichole Van\
  • *Intertwine #1 – Nichole Van
  • *Outshine #5 – Nichole Van
  • *My Brother’s Bride – Rachael Anderson
  • *Seeing Miss Heartstone – Nichole Van
  • *My Sister’s Intended – Rachael Anderson
  • *Incognita – Jaima Fixsen
  • *A Highlander’s Hidden Heart – Julie Coulter Bellon
  • *The Husband Mission – Regina Scott
  • * *The Stars Above Northumberland – Anita Stansfield
  • *A Night in Grosvenor Square – several authors
  • *A Grand Tour – collected authors
  • Loving Lieutenant Lancaster – Sarah Eden
  • Tabitha’s Folly – Jen Geigle Johnson
  • Night at the Opera – Stacy Henrie

Contemporary Romance (31)

  • *The Secretive Wife (Celebrity) – Jennifer Peel
  • *A Me and You Thing – Taylor Dean
  • *The Smallest Part – Amy Harmon
  • *#Starstruck – Sariah Wilson (celebrity)
  • *#Moonstruck – Sariah Wilson (Celebrity)
  • *The Sidelined Wife – Jennifer Peel
  • *Narcissistic Tendencies – Jennifer Peel
  • *When I’m Gone – Emily Bleeker
  • * The Dragons of Alsace Farm – Laurie Lewis
  • *Second Chance in Paradise – Jennifer Peel
  • *The Songs that Brought Me Back – Mylissa Demeyere
  • *Beauty IS the Beast – Jenni James (fairy tale retold)
  • *At the Stroke of Midnight – Kate Palmer (fairy tale retold)
  • *Love for Keeps (Sports) – Maria Hoagland
  • *Far From Falling – K.D. Garcia
  • *Torn Canvas #2 – Donna Weaver
  • *The Songs of You and Me – Mylissa Demeyere
  • *Love’s Journey Home – Julie Coulter Bellon
  • *The Practically Romantic Groom – Maria Hoagland
  • Seeking Mr. Perfect – Jennifer Youngblood
  • The Unwanted Assistant – Evangeline Kelly (fairy tale retold)
  • Where I Belong – Heather B. Moore
  • The Combustible Engagement – Maria Hoagland
  • Moot Court – Jennifer Griffith
  • Engaging Mr. Darcy – Rachel John
  • Unforgettable – Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen (mystery)
  • Worth the Risk – Heather B. Moore
  • Hawaiian Masquerade – Rachelle Christensen
  • The Bodyguard’s Fake Marriage – Bree Livingston
  • Write Me Home – Crystal Walton
  • Seeking Mr. Debonair – Cami Checketts

Rereads (16)

  • Book of Mormon (nonfiction)
  • Eyes of Light -Stastny (suspense)
  • Secret Keepers -Stastny (suspense)
  • Game Changer -Stastny (contemporary)
  • Package Deal -Stastny (contemporary)
  • Collateral Hearts -Stastny (contemporary)
  • Between Hope & the Highway -Stastny (contemporary)
  • Pimpernel-Royal Ball -Wilson (suspense)
  • Cheyenne -Peel (contemporary)
  • Unlovable -Guymon (contemporary)
  • Unbelievable -Guymon (contemporary)
  • Unbearable -Guymon (contemporary)
  • How to Get Over your ex in 90 Days -Peel (contemporary)
  • The Songs of You and Me -Demeyere (contemporary)
  • A Me & You Thing -Dean (contemporary)
  • Violin Words (contemporary)

A Me and You Thing

dec14f***Winner for this giveaway is Rebecca Jensen. Congrats. Message me your email and I’ll get this book off to you. This giveaway is now closed***

Had to highlight this amazing book before 2018 closes. Taylor Dean’s newest release, A Me and You Thing, was utterly spectacular. To celebrate it, I’m giving away an ebook to one lucky commenter. It’s THAT good.

BLURB

THE DEEPEST HEARTACHE IS THE ONE YOU DON’T SEE COMING.

Golden couple, Sawyer and Quinn Denali, have an amazing love story. A match in every way, their happiness is evident to all who spend time with them. The arrival of twin baby girls completes their picture-perfect family.

When Quinn has the opportunity to help others on a two-week volunteer trip, she reluctantly leaves her family, knowing a short break from the demands of motherhood will be good for her. She doesn’t expect the trip to change her life forever. But it does. It changes everything.

Struggling from day to day, the young family moves forward, finding happiness . . . and love.

But fate isn’t done mixing things up in their lives. When an unexpected event leaves them all reeling, the unspoken question rings loudly and can’t be ignored: “What happens now?”

A Me and You Thing is a novel that explores the strength of enduring love and friendship.

My Review

Decadent3This heart-tugging romance blew me away. It’s an emotional roller-coaster ride of epic proportions…so prepare yourself. My heart soared up into the heavens, then was dragged into the bitter dregs of hell, like being dragged behind a pickup truck for a mile or so. Ouch! But I got my happy (actually, glorious!) ending, so I loved it. The ending was so much more fulfilling because of what my heart went through to get there. This story is unique and refreshing—not your run-of-the-mill, predictable romance that doesn’t stick with you when you finish. Nope! This one’s made of super glue, and will stick in your heart forevermore.

I loved Saywer and Quinn. I mean…love-loved them! They’re amazing characters. Sawyer—a book boyfriend from your most romantic dreams—and Quinn is the biggest sweetheart ever! I loved their perfect fairy tale romance. And what they had to go through to keep it was intense, heart-wrenching agony at times, but so worth it. This book scared me for a while. When I thought I knew what would happen, I’d start having heart palpitations and say, “No! Don’t do it! Nooooooo!” But the end result was so amazing. All I can think is, “This is the best book EVER!”

Taylor Dean is beyond talented. Read her note at the end to see why she wrote this book. It gave me valuable insight, which I appreciated. This story is intense and shows the whole spectrum of the human heart and what lengths it will go to for love (both good and bad), but it’s so worth the roller-coaster ride. If you want a light, fluffy romance, skip this book. But if you want a fulfilling heart journey of epic greatness, give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

***

So what are you waiting for? Either buy this book ASAP or leave a comment so you can maybe win a copy. Hope you all had a fabulous Christmas…and have a safe New Year’s.

Happy Reading.

Char

 

My Brother’s Bride

 

I am so excited to reveal this newest book by Rachael Anderson today. For the last month, I’ve had some scrumptious reading to keep me super satisfied. This book was amazing… and there’s a rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post. So read on & enter for a chance to win. Here’s the blurb:

Synopsis

Abigail Nash leads a lonely existence. Her mother died giving birth to her, her father’s business dealings took him away more often than not, and her ailing great-aunt, unable to provide much in the way of companionship, was a lack-luster guardian at best. So when her dear friends offered to launch her into London society, it appeared Abby’s life was taking a turn for the better, with suitors and social engagements aplenty. When she marries a proclaimed darling of the ton, it seems she will at last settle into the life of her dreams. Continue reading

Great Reads

If you need ideas of books to read for the holidays, here are six I’ve enjoyed in the past couple months. Also, you can look back at previous posts to see highlights of other books I’ve already featured. There has been a lot of good reading this fall. I hope you have good books to read as well!

The Secretive Wife by Jennifer Peel

z5This might be my new favorite by this author. Seriously, this book had so much emotion and mystery pulling me deeper into Delanie’s life. Delanie is married to Peter, an ex-priest who is the sweetest, purest man on earth. Peter’s mom despises her new daughter-in-law, and makes Delanie’s life most miserable when she unearths her secret (a famous secret). When the news hits the tabloids and national media, Delanie’s and Peter’s blissful marriage is shattered by paparazzi, rabid fans, and nasty haters wanting their 5 minutes of fame in exchange for spreading lies. Delanie’s worst fear—that of losing her husband—is one more secret away from happening.

I inhaled this story. It’s a literary feast. The characters are phenomenal—so deeply layered and complex…and Delanie and Peter are one of my favorite couples ever!!! I can’t recommend this one highly enough. It’s SUPERB! Continue reading

Wager for a Wife

Wager for a Wife BannerThere have been so many good books released in the last month. Merry Christmas to me. 🙂 Here’s one that really tickled my fancy. Wager for a Wife by Karen Tuft. It’s a delightful Regency Romance with a unique twist and superbly done romantic heart-tugging and pulling that I couldn’t help but love. Definitely my favorite I’ve read by this author. Continue reading

The Songs that Brought Me Back

This book’s coming out in a month–December 4th. I just finished beta-reading an early copy, and I really connected with the characters and story. Here’s the blurb:

Have you ever made a mistake? One so monumental you lost everything? I did, and I hate myself for it! All I want to do is close my eyes, and let the darkness consume me. Make it all go away. The end.

Ainsley is drowning in the depth of her despair. One wrong decision left her alone, with only regret as her constant companion. To escape it all, she makes another choice. One she hopes will end everything. Instead, she’s thrown into a whole new world filled with opportunities she doesn’t believe she deserves. Continue reading