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My Top 5 Romance Reads (so far) of 2018

We’ve already made it half way through 2018.  Can you believe it?  Where does the time even go?  I’ve had all these goals this year, many of which have been thwarted by various craziness like GDPR and #cockygate.  My goal to release 5 books this year is definitely behind schedule, with Big Man Blue being my first book of 2018, releasing at the end of April, and now my second, Two Man Red, coming out in just two short weeks on July 12!

What I have managed to stay semi on target with, though, is my 2018 reading goal.  According to GoodReads, I’m only one book behind schedule, which I’d say is pretty good, right?

So here’s a list of my Top 5 Romance Reads (so far) of 2018.

1. The Protector: Men of the North Book 1 by Elin Peer

the protector

When I read the blurb for this book … women rule the world and outnumber men 14 to 1, except for a group of strong, burly men who live in the North who refuse to be ruled by women… well, needless to say, I had to read this.  And I’ll tell you how much I liked this book.  I listened to it TWICE.  I nominated it for my monthly book club to read for the month of May, so I did another listen-through of the audio, and it was even better the second time.

I immediately followed this one up with Books 2 and 3, also awesome reads, and I eagerly await Book 4 to be released in audio ASAP! (Please?)

2. Rebel Heir and Rebel Heart by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

rebel heir - vi keeland penelope ward

As much as I thought this was going to be a book with a royal type character, Rush was far from royal, but he was super swoon-worthy and as bad-boy as they come.  Rush was that one guy that every girl next door has had her heart just completely massacred and shattered into complete and utter devastation by in her early and formative young adult years.  (Is that just me?)

And of course, Book 1 ends off on a cliffhanger, so you can’t read one without reading the other, but I swear, I was listening to this audio book every spare moment I could find.  It was that good.  But with wonder team Keeland and Ward, who would expect anything less?

3. Appion by Elodie Colt

appion - elodie coltThis story will surprise you because it’s going to come out of nowhere and snag you on a new one-click author you’ll never want to miss another book from, who you’ve probably never heard of. This book happens to be a prequel that leads into this author’s Jaylior Series, and if you haven’t read this PNR/UF gem, you’re going to be sorry you waited so long once you do.  The action, the steam, the conflict, all I can say is, try this little starter book out, and just see if you don’t need to devour the rest of the series.  Because this is just a tiny little taste of what’s waiting!

4. Most Likely to Score by Lauren Blakely

most likely to score - lauren blakelyI mean, come on.  If you don’t already know this book is going to be awesome just by the author name at the bottom of that book cover, then you must be hiding under a rock somewhere or something.  Lauren Blakely books are always an automatic one-click for me, and while I have a few still in queue to read that I haven’t gotten a chance to devour yet, this one was definitely a fun, flirty, super sexy rom-com with the teasing and torture you’re bound to get in typical Blakely fashion.  Will they?  Won’t they?  And the fact that the heroine in this book was a diverse ethnicity made it that much more lovable for me.  Bonus points for that!

5. Dirty Exes by Rachel Van Dyken

dirty exes - rachel van dykenIs it too early to say this book was kind of awesome?  This book happens to be this month’s pick for my Romance Book Club, and I finished it just this past week.  How fun is this book?  It definitely surprised me, in that it had me starting out thinking it was going to go one way, but ended up going in a completely different but infinitely better way.  And can I just say, that the entire book I spent thinking Colin probably looks like my secret man crush, Mr. Brock O’Hurn?  With the long, brown hair that he keeps in the man bun?  Yeah … Definitely a fun read, and the chemistry between Blaire and Colin was just so fun and kind of heart melting.  Yep, that’s right.  I said heart melting!

If you read and liked The Matchmaker’s Playbook by this same author, then you’ll probably like this book.  It has the same kind of feel to it with Blaire running her own business similar to Ian’s in Matchmaker.  Oh yeah, and Blaire happens to be Ian’s sister. 🙂

What’s Next?

Want to know what I’m reading next?  You can always follow me on GoodReads to see, or you can join my Romance Book Club, and keep up with our romance read of the month.

I am looking forward to a few books coming out soon or just recently released, and those include:

Perfect Vision - LM Halloran Reckless Love - J Saman

What about you?

Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned above?  What have your favorite reads been so far this year?  Which romance reads are you looking forward to reading that you haven’t gotten to sink your teeth into yet?  Be sure to let me know in the comments!

 

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#BookReview – Rebel Heir by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

rebel heir - vi keeland penelope ward
Rebel Heir
by Vi Keeland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!

Darn it if I didn’t love this book. In classic Vi Keeland/Penelope Ward style, it draws you in and keeps you turning those pages, eager and anxious to know what happens next.

Rush is this uber sexy, James Dean style bad boy, and you know you’re relating this guy to that one guy in your early twenties who ripped your heart out and stomped it into a million pieces. Now you get to relive that story, only you’re the girl you wished you had been at the time – the one he wanted to change for.

Oh yes, Gia is very relatable, down to earth and telling it like it is.

And I cant’ help but wonder if Gia’s thoughts about writing might give us a tiny glimpse into the world that is Keeland and Ward???

At any rate, yes, there is a cliffhanger ending on this yummy book, but don’t worry – Book 2 (Rebel Heart) is ready and waiting to be devoured the moment you read the last word of this five-star story.

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#BookReview – The Protector: Men of the North Book 1 by Elin Peer

“I can’t wait to meet the women who would inspire two such magnificent warriors to do something this stupid.”
the protector
The Protector
by Elin Peer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow… where do I even begin?

This book was fantastic. I’ve had it on my TBR list for quite some time, and it took me a while to finally take the plunge, but when it was released recently in Audio, I snapped it up and devoured it in every spare (and possibly not-so-spare) moment I had.

This book is based on a futuristic, almost post-apocalyptic type society (which I seem to really like, judging from how much I also loved In Blood We Trust by Elodie Colt). In this book, Parts of the world that are still inhabitable include the Motherlands, and then the Northlands. In the Motherlands, women outnumber men 14 to 1, but women are no longer attracted to the men who are there, for reasons I’ll let you read for yourself.

Then there’s the Nmen, the Men of the North, where men outnumber women 100,000 to 1. These men are virile, strong, and masculine – everything that men from the Motherlands are not, and the people of the Motherlands have been taught to fear them because of their crude and violent natures. The borders between the two lands are guarded, and no one is allowed to cross them without approval that is not easy to come by.

Now, enter the romance. Historian and Archaeologist, Christina Sanders, volunteers to be sent to the Northlands to excavate for books to preserve history. What she finds there is Alexander Boulder who’s charged by Khan Aurelius, their ruler, to protect her. They clash on so many levels, but the chemistry between them is magnanimous and explosive.

There were so many parts in this book where these two argued over how things ought to be, each with their own, opposing opinions of what was right or proper, and I found myself saying… neither of them are wrong… and how fitting that is in the society we live in now where it seems everyone has such a strong opinion about every stupid little thing.

I loved this book. If 5 stars is the limit, I’d give it a 6, especially with the two who narrated the audio. They could not have done a better job. This is one of those books I can see myself re-reading when I’m in a funk and can’t find anything that speaks to me.

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#BookReview – Mack Daddy by Penelope Ward

mack daddy
Mack Daddy
by Penelope Ward

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I read Mack Daddy by Penelope Ward as an Audio Book via the Romance Unlimited program in Audible. It’s the first book I’ve read by Penelope Ward that wasn’t co-written with another author, and I have to say, I like her style. The story moved along at a good pace and kept me interested throughout.

There were several mortifying moments in this book, from our heroine, “Franky Jane,” farting really loud in the bathroom and being overheard, to clogging the toilet with a floating tampon… well, it was all fun and games until they paid some stranger who worked at the laundromat to let them go up to his dated apartment and do it on his bed. What the ever loving eff??? Eww.

Aside from being totally grossed out by that particular scene, I found myself pretty emotionally invested in this story and the characters. Mackenzie, aka Mack Daddy, has a longstanding history with Francesca from being roommates in college. The way the story jumped from present to past was interesting and really brought the characters and the story to life.

I found myself almost torn in some scenes because Franky, in the present, was involved in a 2 year relationship with a really great guy before Mack came back into the picture. Victor was good, attractive, protective, noble, and worthy. While I rooted for Franky and Mack to find their way to each other, the scenes with Victor had me thinking… would it be so bad for her to just stay with Victor?

This was definitely a slow burn. It wasn’t until near the end of the book that the couple finally gets together, only for everything to immediately fall apart and leave them questioning will it ever be the right time for the two of them, as much as they obviously care about each other? But there was enough attraction and near-misses along the way to make it satisfying.

I can definitely recommend this book. It was well written and kept me interested through the whole thing, and I’ll definitely be looking for more from Penelope Ward.  I noticed a lot of other comments/reviews on GR that didn’t love this book, but from what I could gather, it was because this was not really a New Adult book, it was a more mature book with themes that older readers, like myself, would love (children with mental health issues, self sacrifice for the sake of your children, pining for the one who got away and taking a shot at a second chance romance now that you’re older and have some life experience under your belts, etc.)

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#BookReview – The Room Mate by Kendall Ryan

“Don’t look back.  If Cinderella had gone back for her shoe, she wouldn’t be a princess today.”

the Room Mate - Kendall Ryan
The Room Mate
by Kendall Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another take on the best friend’s brother romance, which I am growing to love. This was a well-written book with lots of back and forth, lots of hair pulling, what the heck are you people thinking, open your eyes stupid, suspense.

The characters were all likable. They had distinct personalities and histories, which made them more dimensional and realistic, right on down to the little dog named Enchilada. It was a refreshing twist on why the best friend didn’t want the heroine dating her brother.

There was a lot of chemistry between the two main characters, Paige and Cannon. When they got down and dirty, it was explosive. He was a younger guy, but more experienced than her in the bedroom, and the little details the author wrote in really brought the scenes to life.

There was a point where I found myself getting anxious for the twists to stop coming and get on with the HEA. It really was one thing after another getting in between these two, if not their own internal conflicts then all kinds of external things being thrown at them. It definitely made the epilogue a lot more satisfying when it finally got there.

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