Wow.. 2018 is done… This has been such an amazing year, while I did struggle with my reading and my blog writing, and I literally did nothing in relation to my goal of having a finished draft of a YA Christian Fantasy done by 2020, I got my first real job and it’s had such an incredible impact on my life. It’s not just that I now have money (though that is great); I have a reason to get up each day, I’m trying and learning new things almost daily, my anxiety and ADHD have both improved tremendously, my overall mental health – which was bordering on depression looking back – has improved now that I have a reason to get up, shower and leave the house daily. So while my reading, writing and blog did take a backseat this year, I was able to focus on my new job and improving my mental health. I don’t even have my psychology appointments booked now, I just call-up (well, email, phone calls still make me anxious) for appointments as needed! In 2019 I plan on focusing on my bookstagram, I’m not going to pressure myself into writing for my blog when I don’t have the inspiration so this will be the perfect opportunity to switch focus. I will still be posting my monthly wrap-ups and cover reveals/release blitz here, but my hauls, subscription box unboxings/reviews and book tags will all be over on my bookstagram (@bookie_becca). I’ll still post other things on my blog when the inspiration strikes, but I’m not going to pressure myself. I’m going to work on having a schedule and posting a few times a week, even daily. It’ll also give me an opportunity to work on my book photography skills and maybe be organised enough to enter rep searches for some of the companies I love.
Now let’s talk about this wrap-up and my reading year… I started out with a reading goal of, I think, 200 books. By June I had bumped that down to 100. It was looking like I wasn’t even going to reach that goal but then I started picking up a bit more, now I can safely say that I’m out of my reading funk (I recommend smut and Urban Fantasy to break a slump/hangover) and I’ve not only reached my reading goal but surpassed it! In 2019 I’m setting my reading goal at 150.
Let’s get into my 2018 Wrap Up! I have decided to include more than one book for some months, just because they are my favourites and I’m still thinking about them months later plus it’s my wrap up, I make the rules.
by Emma Hart
★ ★ ★ ★
If anyone asks, I knew better than to flash my boobs for Mardi Gras beads.
I still don’t know why I did it.
Maybe it was the dare from my two best friends.
Maybe it was the guys on the balcony saying they’d throw Fireball shots with the beads.
Or maybe it was the quiet guy in the corner of that same balcony with piercing gray eyes, wavy dark hair, and a smile so tempting I wanted to climb up there and lick it off his face.
Maybe it was because I never thought I’d see them again.
Not that it matters. Not today.
Because the hotel I manage was finally bought—and the guy who walks in and introduces himself as my new boss is Mr. Tall, Dark, and Silent.
There are many upsides to being single.
Your new boss knowing what your boobs look like?
Not one of them.
I would’ve liked to see more after they made their relationship official. But given this appears to be a companion series I’m sure we’ll see more of Mellie and Jake together. I loved the characters and how Mellie was when she was around Jake. I loved their banter. And I just love a good hot mess. 😉 I think I highlighted more scenes and snippets in this book than ever before. I think I’m going to go back and re-read Mixed-Up, Being Brooke, Catching Carley, Miss Fix-It and Miss Mechanic and go highlight crazy. Like I did with The Upside to Being Single.
by Emma Hart
★ ★ ★ ★
Once upon a time, I loved him.
He broke me and he didn’t even know it.
I ran from him.
He didn’t chase me.
He never needed to, because he knew I’d come back.
He was right.
Death brought me home to him.
Drop dead gorgeous and filthy-mouthed with a smile that turns saints to sinners.
A casanova to his core.
My ex-best friend.
And the bad boy whose reputation precedes him—the same reputation I’m tasked with turning to gold… Or so they think.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, after all…
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
by Natasha Madison
★ ★ ★ ★
Finding my teammate in bed with my wife made the decision I had been fighting with for years easier.
It’s time to move on.
A fresh start and a new NHL team in a big city. Most importantly, it’s my son Jack’s best shot.
It would be both of our best shots.
After a bad childhood, I made sure I would succeed.
The problem is I die a little with each patient I lose. It’s part of my career at Hudson Children’s Oncology Hospital, but it doesn’t make the sting of loss any easier.
Seeking anything other than a life saved isn’t on my agenda until a NHL player walks into my hospital with his son.
We’re officially off script the moment we meet.
If this love is anything, it’s unscripted.
by Kerri Maniscalco
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?
Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.
But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.
I adored this sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper, I cannot wait to get my hands on Escaping from Houdini! And I love literally everything about Audry Rose and Thomas’ romance, it’s perfect and I love the propriety of the time and how they skirt the line with their modern thinking! I can’t wait to see their relationship in the next instalment!
by Mindee Arnett
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.
The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.
With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.
I loved this book, I read it over a longer period than normal (a crashed laptop and a requirement of recovering whatever files I could took precedence) but I think it deserves a re-read for a full review. My only issue (at this moment) is I just didn’t like reading a fantasy novel where a character had a normal name. It bugged me. Which I am aware is weird, but it’s an honest opinion. I pre-ordered it and entered my receipt in for the pre-order incentive so I have the short story Trial by Two to read, but I know I’ll enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed Onyx and Ivory and I look forward to reading the sequel.
by Adrienne Young
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
by Karina Halle
★ ★ ★ ★
At first glance I probably seem like any good-looking guy in their late twenties. I have an obscene amount of confidence, a tattooed body sculpted by the Nordic gods, and I love the ladies as much as they love me.
If I’m not BASE jumping or car racing, I’m chasing other devious thrills with the woman of the week. And that’s fine if you’re the average single guy.
But I’m not the average single guy.
I’m Crown Prince Magnus of Norway and my latest scandal just landed my entire royal family in hot water.
Now the only way the monarchy can save face is for me to smarten up – publicly. If I don’t, I’ll no longer be heir apparent to the throne. So it’s either I abdicate my future role as King or…
I get married.
To a blue-blooded stranger.
Enter Princess Isabella of the tiny country of Liechtenstein.
Quiet, intelligent, and uniquely beautiful, Ella doesn’t like this arrangement any more than I do and she’s not afraid to show it. She says I’m a womanizer, that I don’t take anything seriously, that my ego should be taken down a few pegs, and I think she aims to make me miserable for the rest of my life.
But even as our arranged marriage becomes a war of wit and words, I’m determined to break through Ella’s prim and proper façade to find the wild, sexual and risk-taking woman underneath. I want to uncover the Queen inside her.
The only question is – will she let me?
by Heather M. Orgeron
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Boomerangers [boo-muh-rang-ers] noun, informal: an adult that moves back home to live with a parent after a period of independence.
I love sex. I love the power, the intimacy, the euphoria it brings. Too bad I’m not having any . . . You’d think as New Orleans’ most renowned sex therapist that I’d be swimming in single men. In a way, I am . . . except for the fact that one is in diapers and the other two are drowning in preteen hormones. As a single mother of three, my days are devoted to my clients and my kids, and my nights are spent with Fabio, my trusty vibrator. When my world begins to unravel, I have no choice but to move back home. And when my high school sweetheart comes waltzing back into my life, comedy and chaos ensue.
What can I say? I never said I could pick ’em, but you can bet your ass I know how to fix ’em.
As soon as the ink dried on my divorce papers, I made myself a solemn vow: I was done with relationships. Moving home to take over my father’s firm was the plan, until Spencer decided to return, along with three souvenirs from the life she’s lived without me.
I’ve been in love with the girl next door for nearly all of my life; the rest was spent trying to forget her. I’d give almost anything for a second chance with her, but I have no time for distractions—especially the kind that involve diapers, bottles, and eighteen-year commitments.
The problem is, she’s already got me by the balls . . . and I’m beginning to feel the noose tightening around my heart.
I was in a bit of a reading slump because all I was wanting to read is Four Day Fling by Emma Hart – which comes out in a few days – and all the books I was picking up simply weren’t that book and so I usually ended up putting them down – so I asked in Emma’s Facebook author group for some rom-com recommendations and the lovely Stacy Garcia recommended Bookerangers and I am so thankful, I haven’t laughed this much while reading, or simply laughed this much, in a really long time and it was AMAZING I loved the entire story! I thought I wouldn’t love it because I don’t usually go for books with protagonists that much older than myself (I’m 21 and Spencer is 33) but I loved it, literally up there now with my favourite romances list! So thank you Stacy for the epic recommendation, I think it was exactly what I needed!
by Emma Hart
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Imagine this. You’re ready to leave after a one-night stand, and you’re figuring out how to—shock horror—leave your number and ask him to be your fake boyfriend for your sister’s wedding this weekend. When he wakes up. Well, that happened to me. And over coffee and omelets, I found myself a date.
Which was how I ended up arriving at the wedding with a guy I knew nothing about. I didn’t know his last name, or how we met, or how long we’d been dating. I didn’t know where he grew up, what he’d majored in in college, or how many siblings he had. I sure as hell didn’t know he was Adam Winters, hotshot hockey player—and not only my father’s favorite player, but my little nephew’s freakin’ idol. Which means I’m in trouble. Big, big trouble. My mother is suspicious, my sister is bridezilla on crack, and my grandpa will tell anyone who’ll listen about his time in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Four days. I have to keep this up for four days, and then Adam and I can return to our regular lives, where we don’t have sex whenever we’re alone and my family aren’t interrogating him over his intentions with me.
At least, that’s the plan. And we all know what happens to those.
Emma Hart can do no wrong – another amazing romantic comedy that had me laughing and smiling the whole way through!
by Lindsey Duga
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Princess Ivy has one goal—end the war against the Forces of Darkness.
Ivy’s magic is more powerful than any other Royal’s, but she needs a battle partner who can help her harness it. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword should make them an unstoppable pair—if only they could agree on…well, just about anything.
But Ivy’s magic can only fully unlock with Zach’s help, and he’s not exactly cooperating.
Zach believes Ivy’s magic is dangerous. Ivy believes they’ll never win the war without it. Two warriors, one goal, and the fate of their world on the line. But the more they argue, the more they fall for each other. And only one of them can be right…
Loved this! Read it while on holiday and it was amazing!
by Annie Sullivan
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.
Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.
Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?
I really loved this! Pirates, mythology, a cast of excellent characters and an epic adventure plot! SPOILERS AHEAD: I’m also glad the curse wasn’t resolved at the end; all too often the story is tied up in neat strings with everything turning out perfectly, but that’s not realistic, even for a fantasy story.
So I loved that, that what she was wasn’t instantly ‘healed’ from the curse just to tie the ending up neatly with a bow.
by Laura Thalassa
★ ★ ★ ★
Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.
Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want… at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.
But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more.
For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken.
If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.
If you love A Court of Mist and Fury then I highly recommend Rhapsodic.
by Ilona Andrews
★ ★ ★ ★
Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.
Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.
Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.
What is it about a tough alpha male? Gah, swoon.
by Anne Bishop
★ ★ ★ ★
As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.
Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.
Apparently, I read this in 2014, but I remember nothing but Meg and what she is.
However, my rating of four stars stands true 4 years later.
by Elizabeth Vaughan
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
SHE MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN HER PEOPLE AND HER FREEDOM…
Xylara is the Daughter of the Warrior King, Xyron. With her father dead and her incompetent half-brother on the throne, the kingdom is in danger of falling to the warring Firelanders.
Before she was old enough for a marriage-of-alliance, Xylara was trained as a healer. She can’t usurp her brother or negotiate a peace–but she can heal the brave ones injured in battle.
But not only her countrymen are wounded, and Xylara’s conscience won’t let Firelander warriors die when she can do something to save them. She learns their language and their customs and tries to make them as comfortable as possible, despite their prisoner-of-war status.
She never expects that these deeds, done in good faith, would lead to the handsome and mysterious Firelander Warlord demanding her in exchange for a cease-fire. Xylara knows must trade the life she has always known for the well-being of her people, and so she becomes…
by C.M Owens
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
When you live in a place where “turbo speed” internet is a slight step above dial-up, men carry on nine-year beard-growing challenges out of stubborn pride, and your brothers do things like nail all your panties to the outside of your cabin just for funsies, you tend to be a little crazy. You can call it a “locational” hazard, if you will.
That’s Tomahawk for you.
We rank people based on just how crazy they are. And the four craziest families in town are called the Wild Ones.
I’m on the bottom tier of those, so technically I’m not as crazy as the other Wild Ones. In fact, if it wasn’t for my brothers and their endless antics, I wouldn’t be considered a Wild One at all. Ahem. Sure. We’ll go with that.
Anyway, I have a best friend who endures it all with me. Benson Nolans is my one, constant favorite person.
Without him, I’d probably go really crazy, and not the fun kind. It’d be ridiculous, after three years of a flawless friendship, to mess that all up by falling for him.
I mean, even if we did get a little too close one night, it’d be reckless endangerment. Even if we did suddenly feel the chemistry that’s always been there and stop toeing the line, it’d be a foolish risk to take.
It’d be stupid to start hoping a really fun, but completely irrational, night with zero inhibitions might accidentally happen.
I could honestly read a book for every single Wild One – I love this town dynamic and just the whole cast of characters.
by Sunniva Dee
★ ★ ★ ★
There were three things I, Kitty Hoskins, didn’t know when I moved into the all-girls, non-sorority house Blossom Field Avenue #246:
1) The house opposite ours, #247, is home to the gorgeous jerks of the Iota Fraternity.
2) Lucian Spencer Anderson lives in #247 and is possibly the hottest stripper-slash-social-science student you’ll ever meet.
3) #246 (The Blossoms) and #247 (The Dudes) have the longest standing, most ruthless prank war in the history of rivalries. The only thing the two houses agree on is that they live and breathe for the next battle.
Funny then that the real challenge is the one I never saw coming: an alliance with Lucian Spencer Anderson. When a cold winter threatens the stray cats of Deepsilver, our mutual love for animals forces us to team up. Bad, right? Well, it gets worse: we’re going to need the cooperation of our two houses to pull this thing off.
by Shaye Marlow
★ ★ ★ ★
Helly is a volatile blonde with a passion for fishing, a grudging tolerance for the fishermen she guides, and a part-time job putting her sexual fantasies in writing. She lives a quiet life in the Alaskan bush, alone on her little lake with only a spooky dog and her gun collection for company.
But then Gary, the most obnoxious man Helly’s ever met, roars into her life. The mysterious helicopter pilot moves into the cabin across the lake with a vengeance. And fire. And karaoke. He’s a despicably early riser with a penchant for public indecency, a talent for trespassing… and he’s handsome as the devil, with abs she’d like to lick.
Helly quickly realizes her little lake isn’t big enough for the two of them. After an initial attempt at being reasonable, and responsible, and mature, she gives up—and gives as good as she gets. What follows is a feud of eardrum-battering intensity; a no-holds-barred water fight to the tune of a screaming chainsaw, with her panties caught in the crossfire.
Just when Helly thinks things couldn’t possibly get any worse, her crazy brothers crash the party. In an unforgiving land where even the wildlife is out for blood, can the pair survive long enough for Gary to capture Helly’s heart, along with her wrists? Or will Gary’s past be the final blow, after Helly loses her boat, her dignity, and what’s left of her ammo?
A big thanks to Lisa Banks from C.M. Owens Book Club on Facebook for recommending this book to me! I loved it, and I so didn’t see that ending (before the epilogue) coming! If you liked C.M Owens The Wild Ones series, then I’m sure you’ll love this. It’s over the top, it’s got crazy siblings and the smutometer is through the roof!!
Best Series of the Year:
by Kerri Maniscalco
by Ilona Andrews
by Anne Bishop
Best Book Subscription Service of the Year:
Best Book Box of the Year:
Illumicrate : Starfall Edition
Favourite Company/Product of the Year:
Ink & Wonder Woodmarks
Goodreads : Becca Winter
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Referral: The Bookish Box
Referral: Romance Reveal