This past weekend #readRchat, a monthly romance reader focused twitter chat, asked us to name of our Mid-year Favorites. These are mine:
This has been such a good year for books. I know authors have struggled more than ever to write stories with HEAs, but as a reader I need HEAs more than ever. So thank you all for keeping your fingers typing and your pens and pencils sharp.
Rai's Forbidden Hearts series is soapy intersectional romance that is super sexy. It has a fantastic overarching family saga plot that is finally unraveled in Hurts to Love You. My favorite book in the series is undoubtedly, Wrong to Need You but I loved how Rai wrapped up the series and seeded her new one in this one.
I adore Kit Rocha books, so it should be no surprise that Ivan (The 3rd book in their Gideon Rider's series) made my list. This was a cross-class, bodyguard/princess romance. Ivan is the son of a martyred hero, who grew up on the streets when he and his widowed mother lost everything because of his uncles's failed coup. He seeks redemption and wants nothing more than to die protecting the Rios family. That is until he fell in love with the Rios princess, Maricela, who he is assigned to protect.
It has been thrilling to see a Puerto Rican authors getting RITA noms and mainstream attention, so I was excited to read Oliveras's Her Perfect Affair. It didn't disappoint. I really loved Rosa's and Jeremy's story, especially the way she didn't a cave under the pressure and compromise herself into a marriage of convenience. I love the Fernandez sisters and I am looking forward to the third book so much.
I"ll have a review up of the fabulous Duke by Default over at Love in Panels in a couple of weeks.
Favorite books read in 2018 published in prior years:
My favorite books of the first half 2018, written in previous years were Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs and Jo Walton's Tooth & Claw. I had originally skipped reading Fire Touched because my libraries didn't own it in ebook or audio (while they had all the other ones) and Penguin backlist prices are always steep. However I was shamed by all the other Briggs fans for skipping what they consider one of the best books in the series. They were not wrong to shame me. I really loved how Adam, Mercy and the Pack work together and they dynamics of how their pack shifts to make room for Aiden.
Jo Walton totally committed to her concept in Tooth and Claw. It is fantastic and fully, Austen or more accurately Victorian Fiction starring dragons. Not with Dragons, but Dragons. The worldbuilding was fantastic from the cannibalistic Lords getting rich and fat off the flesh of their peasants to the politics of honor and power. As an Austen fan, I adored it.
Favorite New Installment of an Ongoing Series:
Iron and Magic is a book I really enjoyed and definitely didn't know I wanted till I read the excerpt the Andrews had posted on their website. I found Hugh a fascinating villain but I was not one of the ones clamoring for his story. However I am fascinated with Hugh as someone recovering from religious zeal and although I don't know a lot about Elara, I do want to know more about her past and the power she carries.
Ocean Light, I really enjoyed Ocean Light, especially Kaia and her clanmates. I was fascinated by seeing the story of Bowen's background and how he became the Alpha of the humans but it was decidedly a middle, set-up book, were the focus was on clicking things in place for the Trinity vs. Consortium fight that has been brewing for several books.
Favorite Debut Book of 2018:
I focused this year on new-to-me authors but I didn't necessarily start with their debut books. Some of the New-t0-Me authors I have read and enjoyed this year are Therese Beharrie, whose Surprise Baby, Second Chance, I reviewed this month, Mia Hopkins, whose Thirsty was erotic, emotional and fascinating and Ada Harper's whose Conspiracy of Whispers was fantastic. Hoping I fall in love with during the second half of the year with a couple of debut books whose ARCs I am over due to read but are both historical which I haven't been reading much of right now, (sorry Jude Lucens and Eve Pendel).
Favorite Author Discovery:
I adored Peter Darling and I immediately checked my TBR to see if I had bought Austin's other books Coffee Boy and Caroline's Heart. I am saving them for I need something beautiful and moving to read.
Favorite Underrated Book of the Year so Far:
In my review in January I wrote the following:
This story was just fantastic, and then you add the fact that O'Keefe and Lang's stories are included in there too, and I can't believe more people aren't reading these. They are just stellar nuggets of contemporary romance.
Favorite Audiobook :
I was delighted with the narration for this book. It was sly, arch and funny and I really got a great sense of all the characters.
Best Surprise of 2018:
A8/ can’t say I ever go in not expecting to love a book but I was absolutely delighted with how good Katz’s Cybernetic Tea Shop #readrchat really great SFF f/f ace rom. https://t.co/LBfBhagyJl
— Ana Coqui (@anacoqui) July 7, 2018
Ruby Lang recommended this book during #Rombklove and it was just a delight to read. The
worldbuilding was subtle and the story sweet and all about how we make connections.
Favorite Romance Adjacent/Related piece of Pop Culture:
My 14-year is a big fan of the CW and of television in general. She was shocked to discover that I had not been watching Jane the Virgin, especially since she knows I love romance. My only defense is that I watch TV sporadically, binge watching British murder mysteries series when I am burnt out of reading. But I have adored what I have watched of the first season and I look forward to spending time with my daughter as we watch the Villanueva family find their HEAs.
Most Anticipated book of the 2nd half of 2018:
I hope you are all anticipating A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole. I loved what Cole did with Portia ( the difficult best-friend in A Princess in Theory) and the personal journeys she takes Portia and Tavish on. On my TBR for this month is Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner's Free Fall from their fantastic Space Race Era historical romance, Fly Me to the Moon series. I'm also anxiously awaiting the concluding chapter in the Ilona Andrews's Kate Daniels series, Magic Triumphs.
A Year in Review:
2018 has been a fantastic year for romance. I have read so many fantastic books. If you want to see all I have read so far this year, you can read my bookthread on twitter. I am posting a mini-review for each book I read this year. I have loved keeping track of my reading this way.
I also decided that I should drop all that data into spreadsheet and crunch some numbers.
I still overwhelming read M/F, 90% of the books I have read so far this year have been M/F, which shocked me until I read through the list again. I have been reading a lot of backlist UF and Contemporaries featuring m/f couples. Just looking at that stat alone, I am glad I decided to log what I am reading.
31% of the books I read were by AOC, so there is still a lot of room for growth there. The numbers show that I am overwhelmingly reading Contemporary, PNR and Urban Fantasy with a smattering of the other sub-genres. I've only read a handful of Historicals or SFR this year.