Reader Favorites – Nay’s Best Books of 2018 List

by Maryse on January 6, 2019 · 12 comments

in Book Recommendations

<— If there was anything more apropos to Nay’s reading style, this would say it all. ;)  GAH!! I love your forbiddeny nature, my friend. You are right up my guilty pleasure alley!

Ready for temptation? ;)

Hey, Maryse! Here’s my 2018 faves list in no particular order. Thanks so much!

Waiting for the Sun: Waiting for the Sun, Part One by Robin Hill — This was on my list last year, but I was literally reading it between 2017 and 2018, and since I loved it so much, I’m including it again. It was EVERYTHING I want in a contemporary romance, and I couldn’t have loved it more!

Frankie and Darian became a part of me and I felt every happiness, every yearning, and every heartache. That’s truly something special–something that only happens for me with a very few books. From the first page, I was enchanted by the story, the writing, the characters, the wit, the charm, the romance–by ALL of it! And as I read each chapter, I wanted it to go on and on. You’d never know this is Robin Hill’s debut novel, and I can’t wait for Riders on the Storm!

Ghosted by J.M. Darhower — Heartwarming yet deliciously angsty, Ghosted is a second-chance romance at its best with a refreshingly unique plot that affected me deep in my soul! It’s about both romantic and familial love and how a man who’s made a lifetime of mistakes tries to redeem himself. It gives new meaning to a little girl’s dad being her hero, and even though I read this back in 2/2018, I still get tears in my eyes just thinking about it!

Nay: Ghosted was awesome! And it’s about a superhero!!

Fifty Shades of Greg by Greg Archer — I almost bypassed this because it’s non-fiction, but I’m so glad I didn’t! In this book, Greg Archer gives the reader an uncensored, self-deprecating, and hilarious account of his encounters with fifty women over a period of seven years in Italy. It’s one guy putting himself out there in a HUGE way and doing so with wit and candor in order to give the reader some insight into what goes on in the mind of a man trying to steer his way through a variety of relationships. Such a refreshing read—I loved it and I couldn’t put it down!

Nay: I totally agree with Robin. I still have a bit left, but I’m LOVing Fifty Shades of Greg. And like Robin said, make sure you read the blurb–he gives PLENTY of honest, fair warning about what you’re about to embark upon. I really wish I’d known an unjaded Greg back when I was in the dating world.

Execution: A Forbidden Gymnastics Romance (Off Balance Book 2) by Lucia Franco – Execution is the second book in a taboo age gap series dealing with a coach and his student. It has so much angst that I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for what the hero, Kova, might do or say next and hanging on his every Russian word, loving the fact that he doesn’t use contractions! Throughout the entire book, I could feel his pain, his turmoil, his passion, his love for the sport and his love for his student, and I didn’t want it to end!

If you enjoy taboo age gap or coach/student romances, you HAVE to read this series!

Nay: I finished Execution and LOVED — SOOOO worth the wait!! Angst and super-forbidden romance in spades with a majorly sexy, broody, commanding Russian to boot, and Kova’s all MINE!! Now I’m not so upset that I was late to the ‘Will’ party. lol

… inhaled both of them and was craving more. Kova is EVERYTHING!

…I’ll say it again–I LOVED Balance and Execution!!! I was *that* girl when I was younger, so it’s very easy for me to put myself in her place. I never dated a guy that much older, but I wanted to–badly–and someone I knew did, and it was so dangerous and sexy!!

All Your Perfects: A Novel by Colleen Hoover – This is one of those books where once you start, you don’t want to stop, even when it’s three in the morning and you know you have to be up by five. The subject matter is tough–heartbreaking and tragic, but like with a car wreck, you just can’t look away.

I basked in the wonderful, heart-wrenching angst while bawling my eyes out for a good 40% of the book. I was completely engrossed in the story line, and of all of CoHo’s books, this is definitely one of my favorites.

Nay: I’m almost at the end of All Your Perfects–I just love starting a Monday bawling my eyes out! lol LURVing this book!!!

The Idea of You: A Novel by Robinne Lee – If there’s going to be an age gap in my reading, I usually prefer that the hero be older, but younger singing sensation Hayes Campbell was such a charming, sexy, captivatingly mature character that his age didn’t matter—I was smitten from the beginning.

This was SO well written, especially for a debut novel, and now I’m seriously craving a sequel, which, in my opinion, is absolutely NECESSARY! I can’t find where Ms. Lee has another book in the works, but it would be a complete waste of talent if she doesn’t! And I just found that this is being made into a feature film!

Nay: Another age gap forbidden that I finished yesterday is The Idea of You by Robinne Lee. AWESOME book (she’s 39 and he’s 20 and ‘boy band’ star, but don’t let the word ‘boy’ fool you because he’s FAR from boyish).

For the Love of Luca: A Standalone Romance (Chicago Syndicate Book 8) by Soraya Naomi — I’ve followed this series from the start through editing, and although I’ve loved all of them, Soraya Naomi REALLY outdid herself with this one.

Fallon and Luca are the original couple of this mafia romance series, and with the difficulties they face in this book, Luca simply blows my angst-loving mind! Like all of Soraya’s novels, it’s creative and has her signature twist, but Fallon’s tenacity and drive to fight for her family and Luca’s journey to the dark side in spite of his marriage and children made this impossible for me to put down!

Lessons In Corruption (The Fallen Men Series Book 1) and Welcome to the Dark Side (The Fallen Men Book 2) by Giana Darling – I raved about this series after I read these books, but a warning—they are taboo. So taboo that one part of the second one started to creep into the red alert area of my brain a bit before the fantastic love story eclipsed it for me.

Then the great writing, complex characters, and sexy dialogue (I adore a dirty-talking alpha biker who’s in love) kept me glued to the pages. I’ve mentioned before that these books have more of a Kristen Ashley feel to them than anything else I’ve read; however, Giana Darling still makes the writing her own. This is one of those series that I hope to see much more from!

Nay: HIGHLY recommend LESSONS IN CORRUPTION & WELCOME TO THE DARK SIDE by Giana Darling–very forbidden and taboo. Lessons in Corruption is age gap (he’s younger) AND student/teacher, and Welcome to the Dark Side is a huge age gap (she’s younger).

…if you enjoy reading about bikers, teacher/student, then I highly recommend these, especially if you love Tack Allen. BUT the second one has a huge age difference (bigger than the one in the first one), so if that bothers you, I’d read some reviews.

We All Fall Down (Of Love and Madness Book 2) by Karen Cimms – The Of Love and Madness series is the epic life story of rock star Billy McDonald and the effect that the choices he makes throughout his life have on his loved ones. Karen Cimms doesn’t pull any punches with her gritty, realistic writing about the joy and the misery that this man and his family encounter based on how much he lets the temptations of being on the road pull him under.

If I were to give an award for the book with the most consistent, raw angst, We All Fall Down would win—hands down—and I couldn’t recommend it (and the entire series) more!

Nay: Another I loved is Karen Cimms’ Of Love and Madness series. Some of the most wonderfully angsty books I’ve ever read, but those also handle some pretty heavy stuff, so if you have triggers, I’d check the reviews. …Ohhhh the angst!

The Beautiful Hearts Duet by Emma Scott – I went into this duet expecting an angsty love-triangle romance, but I ended up getting so much EXTRA. This isn’t simply a story about people who fall in love. It’s a multi-layered lesson about life and how various types of love form us, carry us through the most difficult times, and help us grow. And, conversely, it’s about how if any of those loves are damaged, it can turn everything on its head and work to break us down, make us feel abandoned, and stymie our growth.

In my opinion, these are more than merely ‘great books’. This duet is impactful and inspirational. It’s STIRRING. As it progressed, I was in an almost constant state of heightened emotions that’s left a lasting impression on me. With all that it is, I don’t see how it couldn’t be termed the crowning glory of anything Emma Scott has written thus far.

Nay: This book is layers and layers of FABULOUS. I just finished it last night but it’s still affecting me this morning, so I added it as well. Everyone needs to read this powerful duet. Definitely will by on my favorites of the year list!

Cold Cole Heart by K. Webster — When I started Cold Cole Heart, I thought I was going to be reading a dark and sexy thriller, yet what I got was so much beyond that! This is a book that’ll make you wonder about your personal convictions when you question why you’re feeling things you shouldn’t, and the best part is that it’ll surprise you. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the game changed and I was left thinking, “What just happened?”

With K. Webster’s brilliant writing, as the story progresses, the intricate scheme of a madman unwinds, going in a direction that I never would have expected while other acts of madness are playing out their own story. It’s a psych-thriller that’s smart and captivating and has a twist I never saw coming!

No Tomorrow by Carian Cole — Wow! When I finished No Tomorrow, I took a deep breath… then I bawled my eyes out. Not because the book ended in a happy or sad way, but because I had been on an emotional roller coaster that I wasn’t ready to get off of–I wasn’t ready to leave these characters who affected me so profoundly, and I definitely wasn’t ready to exit their story. If you love angst, if you love emotion, if you love your characters severely flawed yet well developed and impactful, I highly recommend you read this!

Nay: …with No Tomorrow, you *should* be a little scared (in the most wonderful way!) I know there have been mixed reviews, but that book just GOT to me–A LOT. It reminded me too much of some things in my life, I think (not the homelessness or the mental stuff, but the ‘feel’ of their relationship). I want everyone to be as destroyed by it (again, in the most wonderful way!) as I was. I especially thought the last third of the book was amazing!

…I love No Tomorrow! Major angst!

Yet another I can consider my latest TBR list. The ones that I read on here that she loved, I agree with… and then there are the ones that I haven’t read… MINE!!!!

Like Nay’s book-style? Check out her other favorites:

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn January 6, 2019 at 6:04 PM

Love love your list ❤️ Definitely need to read the “The Idea of You” thanks for posting and I hope you are on the mend!

Michele G January 6, 2019 at 6:44 PM

Nay! I love your list! I definitely need to read Lessons in Corruption!

Sharon F. January 6, 2019 at 7:19 PM

Loved your list! I’ve read some of the same books and your summary is spot on! Nice I’ve got to get out of my reading slump and read some of these new books.

R. Renee January 6, 2019 at 7:39 PM

Thank you so much Nay! ♥♥♥

And you my interest piqued with the Off Balance books! I love taboo teacher/student!

R. Renee January 6, 2019 at 8:06 PM

*have. Words. I can’t with them make.

Jan January 6, 2019 at 8:11 PM

Thank you for sharing Nay. Your list is a little too daaarrrrkkk for moi. But I’ve read a couple of them. And I want to try fifty shades of greg. that looks really different.

Leslie M January 6, 2019 at 9:44 PM

I’m afraid of the dark ones too Jan!

Nay, you have lots of awesome-sauce going on up there! Waiting for the Sun, Ghosted, All Your Perfects and Bring Down the Stars (I cry every single time I read someone’s review of this).

When I’m in a non-fic mood I will try 50 Shades of Greg book and the gymnastics one is intriguing.

MichelleS January 7, 2019 at 6:35 PM

Now that’s my kind of list. Loved so many of these. A few new to me up there too. Yay!! Love the dark stuff.

bev January 7, 2019 at 9:12 PM

Hello darkness my old friend….

Have you always read the dark ones Nay?

I haven’t read these, but I like seeing all our different shelves.

Cheryl January 7, 2019 at 10:08 PM

Whoa that is definitely a lot of darkness and taboo. Scary!! Lol. The gymnastics one’s intrigue me too, but are there 5 in that series??

Nay January 8, 2019 at 9:31 AM

Thanks, everyone!

I missed that my list was up! It looks like I’m seeing the most interest in the Off Balance books. They are gymnast and coach, and remember, they ARE taboo. When I read books like that, I have to leave my mom mind and enter my teenage state of mind (since I often dated older guys and had crushes on men in their 20s or 30s when I was a teenager, that’s not difficult for me to do). If you can do that, OMG, these are smokin’ hot! And there’s the major angst because of SO many rules being broken within such an awesome story line. Grey and Robyn also have the series on their favorites list.

Cheryl–Yes, 5 books are planned for the Off Balance series (it was originally 4, but she added one last month.) She’s currently writing book #3, and we’re patiently waiting for a release date!

bev–Before I ever read romance, I was reading mystery/suspense/horror, so for a young person, that was definitely dark. I guess that now it’s just evolved into a different type of dark. This year I plan to read more thrillers that don’t necessarily include romance (or not as the focal point, anyway.) I love Blake Crouch and J.A. Konrath’s darker books.

Michele–you need to give Lessons in Corruption a try!

Tessa January 8, 2019 at 4:48 PM

Oh boy. These look insane. I tried to read the For Love, and everyone tells me the first book is the least favorite, but I keep failing. I gotta look into the rest, though. And yeah, some truly interesting books I want to try.

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