Reader Favorites – R. Renee’s Best Books of 2018 List

by Maryse on December 17, 2018 · 40 comments

in Book Recommendations

R is back at it again with her cool, funky “Yearbook-like” format for her favorites. I just LOVE her! I found and included some of her own quotes and funny reactions that she left in the comments here. ;) Oh and and!!!! Her very own book – Waiting for the Sun -  just made one of our 2018 favorites lists (Jean’s), too!!

P.S. I must say I’m absolutely in LOVE with this list. So many new-to-me books that sound right up my intense alley (and a few that were my favorites of the year on here too. My book-tastes are definitely inline with R’s. YAY ME! YAY US!

Ready? ;)

“These are my picks for the GRADUATING CLASS of 2018! (And they’re all 2018 releases, with one itty bitty exception…)”

MOST UNIQUE: To Where You Are (The Protectors of Light Series Book 1) by H.A. Robinson and K.A. Hobbs is a shoo-in for this category, but I can’t tell you why because…spoiler. You’ll just have to take my word for it! While romance is a heavy theme, this story is about healing and friendship, one that will give you all the uplifting, sole soothing feels.

BIGGEST DRAMA QUEEN: Fifty Shades of Greg by Greg Archer. Love him or hate him, Greg tells it like it is—or at least how he *thinks* it is. I rolled my eyes, I cheered him on, I laughed my butt off, and I cringed—both for him and because of him. And in the end, my heart broke for him because Greg is more than the jerk he presents himself to be; he is a real dude with real hopes and dreams who makes real mistakes…and who should probably stay off Tinder.

R. Renee: It’s a real life account of this guy’s dating life and it’s super unapologetic! He’s the kind of guy you love to hate, but he’s really growing on some of us!! I’ve actually cackled. CACKLED!

R. Renee: I finished Fifty Shades of Greg late last night and I loved it! Aside from Bring Down the Stars (which I think I picked for June, July, and now August) it’s my favorite for the month. The buddy-read was exciting to say the least. Lots of heated opinions and mixed reviews. I think everyone from here who participated loved it though! You guys check it out if you’re in the mood for something different! But read the blurb. Greg can be an a$$hat! But he is also a misunderstood romantic who will pull at your heartstrings if you give him the chance.

UNSUNG HERO: Too Good Girl by Eleanor Lloyd-Jones is not a sweet fairytale romance. It’s dark and gritty, and the fearless, unapologetic writing might even make you uncomfortable—but in the best possible way. More people need to read this book!

R. Renee: OMG I’M LOVING IT!!! It’s a little dark and gritty and man, can she write dark and gritty! I’m reading an ARC but it releases on the 14th. Soooo good!

BIGGEST HEARTBREAKER: Heartbreak Warfare by Heather M. Orgeron and Kate Stewart. I have so many conflicting emotions about this book, I still haven’t been able to review it. But what I can say for certain is that it made me an emotional wreck. While the previous book had fearless, unapologetic writing, this one has a fearless, unapologetic plot. One that requires a box of tissues and a fifth of vodka. Good luck.

R. Renee: I declare Heartbreak Warfare NSFL AT ALL. Maryse, drop everything and read it. Amy, it’s probably not for you.

BEST DRESSED: What’s Left of Tomorrow by Jeannine Allison. Jeannine gave me a sneak peak of this cover over a month ago, and I loved it so much I harassed her about revealing it so I could include it on this list.

I’ve never been a big fan of black and white covers or couples on covers, but with the dramatic multi-colored font and shadowing, it totally works! The book doesn’t release until spring, and I haven’t read it yet, but I will—based on the cover alone.

BIGGEST FLIRT: Beyond the Truth (A Beyond Surrender Romance Book 2) by Nicky F. Grant is clever, daring, and the sex scenes are off the charts hotttt. It gave me The Unrequited, and to some extent, New Camelot Trilogy feels, and I don’t say that lightly. Gavin and Jolene are deeply flawed but endearing, and so well written, I think Grant could have made them axe murdering, puppy smuggling, bank robbers and I would have found a way to forgive them.

R. Renee:  I loved it harddddd! Her first book was erotic romance and I loved it too for the love triangle, but this one is explicit contemporary romance and much more my thing. It gave me The Unrequited feels!

MOST LIKELY TO WIN AN OSCAR: The Simple Wild: A Novel by K.A. Tucker. Between the setting, the people, and the dreamy Alaskan bush pilot yeti—I had one recurring thought throughout this book, and that was, man, this would make a fantastic movie.

Tucker is another new to me author and I’m quickly inhaling her backlist. Until It Fades: A Novel was fantastic as well.

CLASS CLOWN: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren. I was hooked from the very first page, and Hazel kept me in stitches the whole way through. I’ve never been much into romcoms, but I’m starting to think I was reading the wrong ones. Or maybe I’m just obsessed with Christina Lauren.

I read three of their books in 2018 (including Love and Other Words and Roomies) and I five-starred them all. Definitely a one-click writing duo for me now.

CUTEST COUPLE: Serena and Kholton from Tell Me You Love Me: A Novel by S. Ann Cole. Both are driven and focused, though their goals differ drastically. They’re also impossibly stubborn, and their #LOL antics are what makes this book so compulsively readable. But priorities have a way of changing, and when theirs do, you’re left with an #HEA that’s #DreamyPerfection.

BEST SIDEKICK: Angie from In Harmony by Emma Scott. This chick had zero competition. I guessed in February that no one would come close to beating her, and I was right. With her quirky tees and sage advice, Angie is BFF perfection. And…she has a cameo in another book on this list!

R. Renee: …In Harmony hands down. It will take a masterpiece to top it for the year.

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: Beneath Your Beautiful (The Beautiful Series Book 1) by Emery Rose and Ride by Harper Dallas. I went back and forth and forth and back and finally decided on a tie! Both of these debuts are swoony and angsty with broken, brooding heroes and strong, spunky firecracker heroines. And the covers are stunning!

R. Renee: I just finished Kandace’s rec, Ride by Harper Dallas, and I second it! Great debut! You know I’m not a fan of naked torso covers, but aside from that, this one is a bit misleading. It’s about a broody mega-star broken snowboarder, not a hoodie-wearing vampire biker…

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Cards of Love: The Devil by Ashley Jade. WTF??? I picked up this book solely because I needed something quick…and wow! What a crazy ride! It’s kinda MF, kinda MM (more MM than MF), with some MFM scenes. Confused yet? Me too. And I suppose I’ll stay that way until Jade releases the follow up, The Devil’s Advocate.

BEST ALL AROUND: The Beautiful Hearts (duet) by Emma Scott could fit in several of these categories, which makes it perfect for this one. It’s unique, it’s heartbreaking, the covers are gorgeous, the sex scenes will fog up your windows, and it would make the best movie or *gasp* TV series!! And it has one heck of a swoon-worthy couple…I just can’t say which one it is!

Like her taste in books? Check out more of her favorites lists:

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley December 17, 2018 at 1:50 PM

Half of these are new to me! Yay! New reading list. ❤️

Teri December 17, 2018 at 2:31 PM

Woo Hoo! Some new to me too and I’ve snagged 2 so far. I love these “Best Book” lists :-)

Tasha J December 17, 2018 at 4:15 PM

Oh, I love how you’ve written this, R.! The only one I’ve read on this list is Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and I really enjoyed it. I really want to read 50 Shades of Greg, sounds like my kind of guy. ;) And I STILL have yet to read Emma Scott. Though, I own a couple of hers.

R. Renee December 17, 2018 at 4:19 PM

Tasha!! That last confession is just craziness! :-O

Tasha J December 17, 2018 at 6:27 PM

I know, I know! I want to. I should add it to my list of must reads for 2019.

MichelleS December 17, 2018 at 7:52 PM

Oh man! I haven’t read ANY of these. But that beat all around is calling to me. Love these lists. So many good reads in one place to pick from.

Maryse December 17, 2018 at 8:18 PM

Teri, do you have one??

Also… keep sending me your lists. I’ll post every single one!! :D

Leslie M December 17, 2018 at 8:27 PM

Great list! Bring Down the Stars and In Harmony are my faves too. And…I am reading Josh & Hazel now.

R. Renee December 17, 2018 at 10:58 PM

MichelleS Yes!! Answer the call!

Leslie, how are you liking J&H? I saw you weren’t crazy about Roomies, but I think the audio took that one over the top with the fantastic narrator. A friend just gifted me Half-Night Stand so I’m about to BR that one with her! Can’t wait!

bev December 17, 2018 at 11:42 PM

I like how you categorized the books.
Some new to me books and some new to me authors.
Josh and Hazel were so fun. I have a few other books by that duo and need to finally read them .

R. Renee December 17, 2018 at 11:45 PM

Thanks bev! I’m so hooked on them right now. I love their new stuff, though my friend who gifted me Half-Night Stand said I would not like Hating You Dating You so I’m skipping that one (for now anyway). But I am planning to hit the Beautiful Bastard series finally even though I’m not a big alpha fan.

Tessa December 18, 2018 at 12:08 AM

How have I not read a single one? Emma Scott is one where I need a push then feel stupid for needing a push. Really stupid. Push me to read Bringing Down the Stars, k?

R. Renee December 18, 2018 at 12:12 AM

Tessa I think BDTS or Rush would be good pics for you. More of an alpha-y H!

Leslie M December 18, 2018 at 8:08 AM

BDTS is a book for anyone with eyeballs. ;) Seriously, if you like emotional/angsty/beautiful stories…it’s a must read!

Christina Lauren-ish type books are very hit or miss for me. :( I have read soooooooo many in that genre that I am often bored. I’m only at beginning of Josh & Hazel (part where they first meet up again) but Hazel is hilarious & it’s piqued my interest. Of course it’s an audio so that helps too.

Jan December 18, 2018 at 5:05 PM

…for anyone with eyeballs….. LOL Leslie.

Thanks for sharing, Robyn. These lists are great. I like the way you’ve set this out. I’m curious about 50 Shades of Greg – have seen lots of positive reviews. It looks really different.

I liked Josh and Hazel too. What a cute couple. But Leslie I’m a bit like you. I find Christina Lauren a bit hit-or-miss lately.

I’m tempted by The Simple Wild. I haven’t read any KA Tucker.

Leslie M December 18, 2018 at 8:32 PM

K.A. Tucker is good!

Until it Fades, The Simple Wild, Ten Tiny Breathes…

R. Renee December 18, 2018 at 8:35 PM

I couldn’t make it through Ten. I think because I read it after the other two and her writing and style are so different to me now. But I like her enough to try her upcoming YA and I don’t like YA!

Jan December 18, 2018 at 8:36 PM

I’m crying at my exploding tbr, but I might have to try a Tucker.

R. Renee December 18, 2018 at 8:39 PM

I loved TSW more and Leslie liked UIF more, Jan. TSW doesn’t have as much romance, but it’s just a fantastic story all together. It’s probably a little more women’s fiction in the way that Taylor Jenkins Reid sometimes is.

Jan December 18, 2018 at 11:28 PM

OK thanks R. I might try TSW or UIF.

Stephanie December 19, 2018 at 1:06 PM

What a great list!!! Thanks for sharing.

Maryse December 20, 2018 at 11:19 AM

Agreed Leslie M… she’s one of my absolute favorites. I love her voice.

Ashley December 25, 2018 at 10:18 AM

Unbreakable by Emma Scott is still one of my top reads of all time. I’ve reread it a bunch of times.

R. Renee December 25, 2018 at 10:27 AM

Ashley, Unbreakable is going to be re-released early next year with a new cover and edit in conjunction with the upcoming audiobook. Cory is one of my all time faves and anyone who hasn’t met him yet is missing out! I’m reading it right now!

Nay December 27, 2018 at 5:56 AM

Great list, Robin! If I ever get around to doing mine, a couple of these are on it as well.

Steph N December 30, 2018 at 8:30 AM

I’m reading Devil now!

Your list could be my list, but it’s not…hee hee. Seriously though, if I haven’t read it, it is now either on my kindle or on the wait list at the library.
Thanks for sharing!!

Steph N December 30, 2018 at 8:34 AM

SO many are KU too!

R. Renee December 30, 2018 at 11:35 AM

I didn’t even realize that but yes, most of these are KU! The ones that aren’t I got from my library. And Devil… whoa!

Jenn December 31, 2018 at 4:38 PM

Wow R I love how you organized your list- jealous I didn’t think of it

Jenn December 31, 2018 at 4:39 PM

And…. I thought I was the only one that read Ride by Harper Dallas-glad you loved it too

R. Renee December 31, 2018 at 4:47 PM

Thanks Jenn. I do a top ten for my newsletter too which is different. This one is more fun though!

Kandace told me to read Ride, so it’s pretty special for many reasons. ♥

Cheryl January 5, 2019 at 10:52 PM

Clever list R! I read and Loved Ride based on your recommendation. I also loved Tell Me You Love Me. Another one I forgot to add to my fav list.

R. Renee January 5, 2019 at 10:55 PM

Thanks Cheryl! It’s a fun list to put together!

Amy January 13, 2019 at 9:16 PM

Cute, R!

I really need to get to Simple Wild, considering how much I LOVED her other books. Her writing makes it so easy to just slip right into the story. And Too Good Girl! THAT one is high on my list.

Gah, Heartbreak Warfare! Again!! *sigh* I hate feeling like I’m missing out but knowing what it will do to me. It’s like high school all over again with seeing people I know enjoying drugs yet knowing what the outcome will be. Errrr…bad analogy. *snort*

R. Renee January 13, 2019 at 9:19 PM

Simple Wild is hands down my fave by her so far! Read it ASAP!! And Too Good Girl is fantastic and doesn’t hold back!

Teri January 14, 2019 at 1:58 PM

Too Good Girl! ZOWWIE, it’s been about 3 weeks since reading this gem and I’m just now able to write a little review. Talk about emotional and heart-crushing. What a great book!

R. Renee January 14, 2019 at 3:01 PM

I’m so glad you liked it Teri!

Eleanor Lloyd-Jones January 15, 2019 at 8:53 AM

Thank you so much for the Too Good Girl love!! I’m absolutely thrilled that people are enjoying it!

R. Renee January 15, 2019 at 9:35 AM

Loved it!! Congrats!

Stephanie January 17, 2019 at 5:43 PM

Thanks for the list. I just finished two books off the list – Fifty Shades of Greg & To Where You Are, and both have been my favorite reads of 2019 so far. Going to get started on The Devil soon.

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