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


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)

Favorites Books for 2017

book-1760998_1280This year I read 129 books.

I’ve posted my Favorites with links to check out on my new author blog–Char’s Succulent Thoughts. It took forever to categorize books & then choose my favorites from each genre. (A work of love…you’re welcome. Ha ha) You can see ALL my books in that post on my Goodreads Year in Review link (It’s a pretty cool visual–Thanks Goodreads!)

New Website Look & Blog

618be8f5fb7e7a0d849a06d4d0d6a247If you click on my website in the menu bar above, you’ll see I’ve changed up the look of my website, and added a new blog to it.

Char’s Succulent Thoughts will be more of my author arena to post about book updates, giveaways, & random thoughts.

Joy in the Moments will lean more to book reviewing. At least, that’s what I’m thinking at the moment. We’ll see how things pan out, right?

Package Deal available for Pre-Order

Package Deal-Final (2)Last little tidbit to ring in the New Year is….

Package Deal will release January 10th.

I’m super excited for you to read this second book in the Ruled Out Romances. It was a blast to write, and I really, really love Hudson & Spring in this story. Spring really is an angel. Little Emma’s adorable and annoying (like any good toddler should be). Don’t you love her shoes on the cover?

I hope you’ll enjoy this. If you’re interested in being an early reader in exchange for leaving a review on Amazon, shoot me an email from the contact page and we’ll talk (Ebook only).

Have a Happy New Year!

I’ll talk to you next year.





Reading Year in Review (2016)

dsc04045It’s a new year. Whew! 2016 was rough for me and my family, but reading-wise, it was wonderful. Thank goodness for books! They save my sanity. I read 108 books last year. That’s down from 2015, but still nothing to spit at. My favorite genre is romance, so the majority of my books fell somewhere in that category. But I did branch out and read a few different genres, and some of those turned out to be my favorites. Here is a breakdown of how many books I read in each genre. At the end, I’ve listed my top picks and links to find them. There are a few FREEBIES, so grab them if you’re interested. 

Continue reading

2015 Reading Summary

DSC07240-BReading is a huge part of my life. That, along with writing, is where a good portion of my time goes. As I looked over my Goodreads stats for 2015, I smiled as book images and memories came to mind. There are so many good books to read. I wish I had time to read even more than I did. There’s just a smorgasbord for my senses.

Year in Review

I read 117 books last year. That wasn’t as high as 2014, but I didn’t think it was half bad. Now before you feel bad about your reading compared to mine, I will admit that I’m a skimmer. That’s how I get Continue reading

Bounty of Books

At this time of year when we focus on all that we’re grateful for, I want to feature a few books I’ve read over the past months that have been winners.

I’m very thankful for books–for authors who write them, for being able to write my own and get those crazy imaginings out of my head, and for the ability to read. I love reading (if you can’t tell from my Goodreads log)…and these stories all rated the highest score from me. Continue reading