Reader Favorites – Ashley’s Best Books of 2018 List

by Maryse on January 13, 2019 · 12 comments

in Book Recommendations

For now I’ll call her “Ashley D” (as we have TWO active Ashley’s on the blog) and this is our very first “Ashley D’s favorites” list from her. I just LOVE how she formatted it!! I giggled as I scrolled through her categories, ’cause it’s exactly what we need when we’re in the mood for something in particular. ;)

Ashley has been with us since March 2017, is one of our big “audiobook” readers,

“…I listen to audiobooks while I’m working and it’s amazing. I’m just being told a story all day long. I usually listen to them at a higher speed so that I can get through a whole book in my workday, it does take some getting used to – and you have to make sure the narrator is someone who you can listen to all day – but it’s worth it. The audible app on my phone is one of the best and most used thing ever. …I deliver mail and listen while I’m walking…

…I usually go through at least 5 a week. (And yes, I always have to listen to a sample if I haven’t listened to the narrator before because narration can sometimes make or break a book!)…”

LOVES the same authors we do, but I’ve learned a bunch of new-to-mes because of her, too!

Here are a few fun Ashley-facts (let’s get to know her even better!!):

About reading: I’ve always been a big reader… I was the kid who would go to the library and rent 10 books to read on vacation. I got older and busier and hardly had any time for ‘fun reading.’ Then one summer I decided to cut out tv almost completely (to an hour per week) and to primarily read…and it was amazing. I still hardly watch any tv and I don’t really miss it. I do hit double digits for books but I also listen to a ton of audiobooks. And I do sometimes stay up past my bedtime to read…but then everyone tells me I look tired.

About spoilers: I hate spoilers. I especially hate it when the description of a book gives away too many spoilers. A few of the audiobooks I have listened to have been spoiled for me by the description, I’ll say ‘oooh this sounds good!’ but then it’ll be 6 hours into the book when part of the description comes into play and to top it off it’s one of the plot twists of the book! And I’m always saying to myself this was part of the official blurb/description…why?!?! You’re ruining your own book!

About dogs: I wish my boyfriend’s kids weren’t allergic otherwise I would have gotten one years ago. BUT since I deliver mail I get to pet all of the dogs in the neighborhood. (Except the mean ones – fun fact: I was bitten in the face by a mean dog last week, he just jumped right up a bunch of times – there was a lot of screaming and a lot of blood. I’m okay, but I’m pretty sure there is going to be a scar or two through my eyebrow.)

About Colleen Hoover: I have had the hugest girl crush on Colleen Hoover since I read Maybe Someday. The way she incorporated music right into the book that you could actually listen to while you read the lyrics was incredible! I ended up buying the songs so I could just listen to them while I was working. It remains one of my favorite reads…and I didn’t think it could possibly get any better until I listened to the audiobook. Whole new level. (Zachary Webber everyone.)

…Maybe Someday is one of my go-to reads! I’ve read/listened to it at least 6 times.

About “couple nicknames”: When my boyfriend and I first started dating almost 10 years ago he once called me ‘babe’ and I looked at him and said, ‘you just took points off my IQ.’ That was before I read romance books! Now I wouldn’t mind it, but it really bothered me for some reason then! So his nicknames for me are Cute and Stuff. (Because apparently Stuff can be an all encompassing nickname; short stuff, cute stuff, sexy stuff, smart stuff, weird stuff…).

About favorite audiobooks:  …done a lot of re-listens; ALL of Mariana Zapatas books, K.A. Tucker’s Burying Water Series, Jana Aston’s books, and a bunch by Penelope Ward.

Three Things:

1. I’m on vacation and I was up until 4 in the morning reading The Bride series by S. Doyle. They were SO good! If you’re in a slump it’s basically 5 novellas all on KU about a girl who’s almost 17 and marries the foreman/her best friend on her ranch after her father dies so she doesn’t go into foster care. It’s funny, touching and really well written – I didn’t know if I would like it but it completely sucked me in! It’s a slow burn which are my favorite type.

2. I mowed the lawn today so that I felt as though I actually got something accomplished.

3. I ate leftover egg rolls for breakfast. No shame in my game.

I love the lists here. I love that when I’m in the mood for a specific kind of book Maryse has a list for it…if not she’ll make one!

And now… time for Ashley’s Best Books of 2018!!

Here is my list of favorite books of the year (I’m sure I’ve forgotten some along the way and I’m going to curse myself later!) but I made it pretty self explanatory. If I talked about each one there would be far too many exclamation points to handle so I just made a list.

Book of the Year: 

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

Ashley: I LOVED this book! In fact it put me in kind of a slump where nothing else is living up to it right now. I love forbidden romance and Penelope Douglas does it so well. And yes, there were some great quotes in it!

Ashley: This weekend I reread Birthday Girl….it’s just so good. It’s my top read so far this year.

Best Audiobook:

Getting Schooled by Emma Chase

Ashley: Getting Schooled by Emma Chase. He is a high school coach/teacher and she is the drama/theater teacher. It is amazing! It is one of my top books of the year so far!

Book I Wish I Would Have Read Sooner:

On the Island: A Novel by Tracey Garvis Graves


1. I stayed up WAY past my bedtime last night reading but I HAD to finish my book because…
3. I love books. *happy sigh*

Best Destination Books:

Books that Made me Laugh:

Ashley: …read Arrogant Devil which is the perfect bully book. It’s funny and I loved the heroine and it has a sassy grandma (WHO doesn’t like a sassy grandma! They steal all the scenes they’re in!)

Books that Made Me Cry:

Ashley: …it was beyond amazing! I still can’t get it out of my head. So so so so good!

Ashley: I JUST finished Transcend and … oh. my. goodness! I’m going to be at work all day tomorrow thinking about it and waiting until I can read Epoch. This is one of those books where you don’t realized you’ve stopped breathing. It just grabs you and pulls you right in. I couldn’t put it down! THIS is why I love books.

Ashley: I’m not much of a duet person and I’m glad I waited to read them together because those were intense! I’m still thinking about them! The writing was beautiful and you just felt so torn through it. That epilogue. Ahh. I said it before … THIS is why I love books.

Ashley: I read Unbreak My Heart because it kept popping up on the blog and OH BOY that was amazing.
Ashley: I completely agree with ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING by Mariana Zapata and Colleen Hoover

Books that Made My Heart Happy:

Ashley: (but basically everything by her).
Ashley: (I only just listened to it! I loved it!)

Angst Done Right:

Best Action Books:

Best ‘Well, That Was a Surprise’ Books:

Ashley: …I’ve been telling other people about how much I ended up enjoying it. …The Bride Series was just so much better done on all levels.
Ashley: I just finished Comatose by Catherine Black and it was amazing! I got it on sale on amazon and thought ‘I’ll try it.’ Sometimes those are the best finds!

Dirty Indulgent Books (aka I’m going to tilt my iPad so you cannot see what I’m reading):

And finally…Author I fell in love with…

Devney Perry. (Seriously, I loved all of her books. I devoured them this year. Good times.)

YAY!!! I love how you categorized you favorites, Ashley! In the mood for a certain thing, and your list becomes the ultimate TBR list!! :D

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Janie January 13, 2019 at 5:38 PM

On the Island is going to be my next read, after I finish Confess by Colleen Hoover, which I’m liking!!
I totally agree with Ashley about Devney Perry. I’ve read a couple of hers and loved them all. I will make it my mission to read all the ones I haven’t gotten to yet!

Cheryl January 13, 2019 at 6:00 PM

Ashley, how scary with the dog that bit you. I’ve read the majority of the books you have and loved the ones’s that made you laugh too!!

Jenn January 13, 2019 at 6:13 PM

wow I have only read The Trascend Duet and Heartbreak Warfare-some I have on my TBR and adding the ones I don’t. Great list! Thanks for sharing!

Cheryl January 13, 2019 at 6:53 PM

Ashley, did you read The Bombshell Effect prior to The Ex Effect?

Jan January 13, 2019 at 7:28 PM

Whoah. Lots of books here I haven’t read. Thanks for sharing, Ashley.

Robyn January 13, 2019 at 7:43 PM

Thanks you for a great list! I’m going to have to read some of these.
I’m glad to see you read Unbreak My Heart. It is my most favorite books of all time. I have read it so many times. Just thinking about it gives me butterflies. GAH!
Also, Calia Read is such a wonderful author. You have to read the rest of her books. You will love them!

Leslie M January 13, 2019 at 8:40 PM

This is an amazing list! I have a read a few, but its giving me lots for the TBR.

bev January 13, 2019 at 9:58 PM

That is scary about the dog.
But love your category listings. On The Island was so good. I like a MoC trope and a slow burn so I will have to check out The Bride Series.

Ashley January 13, 2019 at 10:59 PM

Cheryl, no I didn’t read The Bombshell Effect before The Ex Effect – I didn’t even realize there was a book prior to it until I started reading and it read like there could be a story before it and I looked it up and found out about The Bombshell Effect. I read it RIGHT after! It was really really good too. I felt like they had the vibe of the Tapping the Billionaire books by Max Monroe.

The dog bite was scary, but it was a sneak attack so all of a sudden there was a dog in my face and I was fully covered covered since it’s winter… I had a black eye for a week. And there will be a couple scars on my eyebrow – currently though it’s lumpy and weird looking (but where it got me under my eye and on my chin are mostly faded already and it’s been a little over a month).

And Maryse did an amazing job putting this together! I sent a list and she filled in a bunch of comments I had made on the books, some I had even forgotten about!

Tasha J January 14, 2019 at 7:59 AM

A ton of new to me’s on here. I’ve only read Transcend and Epoch, but I love the way you categorized them. Makes picking and choosing what I’m in the mood for super easy! :)

JulieO January 14, 2019 at 4:23 PM

About allergies….all I can say are allergy shots. My daughter took them for a year and a half and she was allergic to allergic to everything including cats and dogs. Because of a wonderful allergist she was able to play soccer and softball and we had and she has animals all over her
house. Check into it.

Steph N January 15, 2019 at 8:48 AM

1-I love books too! :)
2-I have never once listened to an audiobook!
3-Wondering if my list is going to shared?

Thanks for sharing! I definitely clicked on a few titles up there!

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