7 Books I Read and Fell in Love with in 2018 (Plus 3 Honorable Mentions)

2019 is upon us, but 2018 is not forgotten. And more specifically: the books I read are not (entirely) forgotten.

7 books i read and fell in love with in 2018 (plus 3 honorable mentions)

Today I’m going to share with you the ones that left the biggest impression on me: my favorites and some honorable mentions. There are a couple of rules to my lists though:

  1. These are books that I’ve read in 2018, but didn’t necessarily come out that year (most did though).
  2. Only one book per author per list, however, I will include one of the authors in both lists. If you follow my reviews, I’m sure you can guess which author will be present in both places, although I’ve reviewed so many of her books (seven, actually) this year, that you might not be able to guess which two titles are going to be featured into this post.

And now, in the order in which I’ve posted my reviews, starting with the oldest one…

My Favorite Reads of 2018:

  1. Prey by Wendy Rathbone (standalone)

Prey by Wendy Rathbone

Themes & Genres: LGBT, Sci-Fi, Gay Romance, abduction, slavery, abuse, aliens

WARNING: Mature Content

Blurb:

When the rescued slaves were first brought on board my ship, I saw only the one. The one they called Arcana. And though I realized the others had all suffered similar fates – fearsome torture and erotic conditioning that had estranged them from whoever they had once been – I focused on the one who met my eyes with what could only be interpreted as a defiantly seductive lure, while the others held their gazes downward, at their feet, at the floor, at the past which had shaped them and undoubtedly doomed them to any sort of normal life.

Not so with Arcana. That one had no shame in whatever had happened to him. In that one blinding moment when we saw one another for the first time, I knew he was as brash as he was beautiful, and I knew without any doubt that he had chosen me – though for what dark agenda, I could not have said.

My heart went cold and silent in my chest. My throat was dry. My breathing faltered and I was forever changed.

Date of my review: February 18

Read my review here.

  1. MisfitsUrban Soul, Book 1 by Garrett Leigh

Misfits - Urban Soul, Book 1 by Garrett Leigh

Note: This book can be read as a standalone

Themes & Genres: LGBT Fiction, Contemporary Romance, polyamorous

WARNING: Mature Content

Blurb:

Restaurant owner Tom Fearnes has loved his partner Cass for as long as he can remember, but their work often keeps them apart. When he meets a striking young man named Jake on the vibrant streets of Camden Town, their heady first encounter takes an unexpected turn.

Jake Thompson can hardly believe his luck when he wakes up in Tom’s bed. Tom is gorgeous, kind, and . . . taken. Tom’s explanation of his open relationship leaves Jake cold, but Tom is too tempting, and when hard times force Jake to accept Tom’s helping hand, he finds himself between two men who’ve lost their way.

Cass Pearson is a troubled soul. He loves Tom with all he has, but some days it feels like he hasn’t much to give. Jake seems like the perfect solution. Cass risks everything to push Jake and Tom together, but Jake resists, wary, until the darkness of Cass’s past comes to call. Then Jake finds himself the last man standing, and it’s time to dig deep and shine a light for the men he’s grown to love.

Date of my review: February 23

Read my review here.

  1. Ten Mile Bottom by Teodora Kostova (standalone)

Ten Mile Bottom by Teodora Kostova

Themes & Genres: LGBT, Contemporary Romance, addiction

WARNING: Mature Content

Blurb:

Hitting rock bottom is just the beginning…

I’m a son, a brother, a friend.

A writer.

An addict.

Dead.

Cardiac arrest isn’t enough to keep me dead, though. The doctors brought me back, but for what?

At twenty four I’ve already achieved what most people do in a life time. I’m a successful author, own a flat in the heart of London and drive my dream sports car.

Or at least that’s what people see.

Once the spotlight fades, I’m left alone with my overactive mind, alcohol and drugs the only way to quiet down the noise.

Until an overdose nearly kills me and drags everyone I love down with me.

With the help of my best friend, I leave London and its toxic influence behind, moving to a small town in the outskirts of Cambridge to try and put my life back together again.

If only it were that easy.

Date of my review: April 22

Read my review here.

  1. Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch (standalone)

Salt Magic Skin Magic by Lee Welch

Themes & Genres: LGBT, M/M, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, magic, folklore

WARNING: Mature Content

Blurb:

Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray.

When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed.

To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?

Date of my review: August 06

Read my review here.

  1. Boy Shattered by Eli Easton (standalone)

Boy Shattered by Eli Easton

Themes & Genres: LGBT Literature, Contemporary Romance, trauma

WARNING: Mature Content

Blurb:

Brian

You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.

I had everything. I was school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new, someone true. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?

Landon

Will you kiss me?

When I came across Brian Marshall, the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I witnessed that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the boy of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.

Date of my review: October 16

Read my review here.

  1. Pleasure with Business by Jex Lane (standalone short story, set in the Beautiful Monsters universe)

Pleasure with Business by Jex Lane

Themes & Genres: LGBT, Contemporary Adult Fiction, gay, vampire, incubus, enemies to lovers

WARNING: Mature Content

Blurb:

Vampire lord Loth is a fearsome warrior who invokes terror in those who stand against him…and incubus Drusen wants a taste. He aches for it. The problem? The two species have been at war for thousands of years, and approaching a vampire like Loth means certain death. But the taste of him might be worth dying for…

Date of my review: November 02

Read my review here. The post also contains a link to where you can legally DOWNLOAD THIS SHORT STORY FOR FREE.

  1. Rough Trade – Woodbury Boys, Book 3 by Sidney Bell

Rough Trade - Woodbury Boys, Book 3 by Sidney Bell

Note: This book can be read as a standalone

Themes & Genres: Contemporary Romance, LGBT Fiction, Suspense, crime, abuse, angst, prostitution, gay

WARNING: Mature Content

Blurb:

Quick-witted hustler Ghost is no stranger to living dangerously; survival has always been the name of the game.

He’s just always gone it alone.

Now he’s got the wrong people breathing down his neck, and the only way out demands placing his trust in the unlikeliest of heroes: Duncan Rook, a gruff cop whose ethics are as solid as his body.

Cozying up to a criminal is hardly what Duncan’s reputation on the force needs—especially when that criminal is temptation personified. Ghost is Duncan’s polar opposite, and the last person he expected to fall for.

So then why does every imaginable scenario for taking down their common enemy end with Ghost in his arms?

Date of my review: December 05

Read my review and a sneak peek from the book here.

And that’s it for the favorites. Misfits came out in (I believe) 2015, but I’m pretty sure all others were published last year. The first book in the next list is also an older one, but was republished in 2018, which is when I read it…

Honorable mentions of 2018:

  1. And If I Fall* by Robin Reardon (standalone)

And if I Fall by Robin Reardon

(*previously published under the title The Revelations of Jude Connor)

Themes & Genres: Gay Fiction, Psychological, religion, coming of age

Blurb:

Jude Connor’s rural Idaho hometown is a place of strong values and high expectations. For those who fit into the local church’s narrow confines, there’s support and fellowship. For those who don’t, there’s ostracism in this life and damnation in the next.

Jude wants desperately to be saved – to believe with the fervor of the charismatic Reverend Amos King, whose sermons are filled with brimstone and righteousness. But every time Jude thinks he’s found the right path, there’s a fork in the road, and Truth seems to be in a different direction.

As much as Jude craves the certainty the church offers, he finds himself at odds with it. Without intentionally rebelling, he befriends Pearl Thornton, considered an unrepentant heathen; he craves the support of Gregory Hart, whose church standing is questionable; and the feelings he has for his friend Tim Olsen make him fear for his own soul. But then Reverend King offers Jude sanctuary, special guidance, and a path into the Light.

Will Reverend King be able to help Jude preserve his place in heaven? Or will the reverend’s own demons cause hell to swallow them both? The answer lies in Jude’s willingness to follow his own path–even if it leads him far from everything he’s known.

Date of my review: February 11

Read my review here.

  1. AddictThe Cassie Tam Files, Book 1 by Matt Doyle

Addict - The Cassie Tam Files, Book 1 by Matt Doyle

Note: This book can be read as a standalone as each novel follows a different case

Themes & Genres: LGBT, Sci-Fi, Mystery, crime, detectives, lesbian

Blurb:

New Hopeland was built to be the centre of the technological age, but like everywhere else, it has its dark side. Assassins, drug dealers and crooked businessmen form a vital part of the city’s make-up, and sometimes, the police are in too deep themselves to be effective. But hey, there are always other options…

For P.I. Cassie Tam, business has been slow. So, when she’s hired to investigate the death of a local VR addict named Eddie Redwood, she thinks it’ll be easy money. All she has to do is prove to the deceased’s sister Lori that the local P.D. were right to call it an accidental overdose. The more she digs though, the more things don’t seem to sit right, and soon, Cassie finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation. But that’s just the start of her problems.

When the case forces Cassie to make contact with her drug dealing ex-girlfriend, Charlie Goldman, she’s left with a whole lot of long buried personal issues to deal with. Then there’s her client. Lori Redwood is a Tech Shifter, someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal. Cassie isn’t one to judge, but the Tech Shifting community has always left her a bit nervous. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person that she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with Charlie. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the police wanting her to back off the case.

Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.

Date of my review: May 12

Read my review here.

  1. Lucky – Lucky, Book 1 by Garrett Leigh

Lucky by Garrett Leigh

Themes & Genres: LGBT, MM, Contemporary Romance, gay, pan, football/soccer

WARNING: Mature Content

Blurb:

Dominic Ramos is a Premiership football player with a secret. There are no trophies for being gay in his game. Locked into his rep as the meanest defender on the pitch, keeping his secret is soul-crushing, but love has no place in his sport, even if his soft heart craves it.

Lucky Coleman is on his knees when he meets a man with more money than sense. It’s a Grindr hook-up for cash, not a love match, but dreaming of his desperate, kind eyes earns a place amongst his numerous bad habits.

Meeting once was risky, twice pushes Dom’s courage to the limit. Losing Lucky seems inevitable, but his tight grip on his image counts for nothing when Lucky starts to fall.

Catching him could cost Dom everything, but if he can set his heart free, getting Lucky long term might be a risk worth taking.

Date of my review: September 18

Read my review here.

Note: I’ll be reviewing the second book in the series – Cash, this January 22.

And yeah, yeah, Garrett Leigh was in both lists; are you really surprised?

Out of the nine books of hers I’ve reviewed throughout the past couple of years, all have a 5/5 rating, except for one with a 4/5 rating.

Anyway. These are ten books that stick in my brain. Have you read any of them?

What did you think?

Which were your favorite reads of 2018?

Share in the comments!

PS: I’ve interviewed some of these authors on my blog. In case you are interested in that:

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