We haven’t hit the end of 2018 yet, but it’s already been a fantastic year here in Romancelandia. The past eight months have been packed with a vast array of very satisfying happily-ever-afters. Whether you like your romance heroes with sharp fangs or sharp suits, living in outer space or in a different realm, there’s been plenty to keep romance readers swooning like a highbred Victorian lady seeing a fine pair of manly calves. These are the best romance books of 2018 (so far).
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews features a familiar character to the author’s fans, Hugh D’Ambray, the Warlord of the Big Bad from the Kate Daniels series. Hugh is currently a drunk, sleeping in his own filth after his life is turned upside down. But when he finds out that his former nemesis is killing off all his friends, he realizes if he doesn’t stop him he really will have lost everything. Iron and Magic won’t give you just a romance, it also introduces you to a newly imagined world, where magic and technology are in a constant battle with one another. Where mystical creatures stand a chance of wandering out onto the streets and causing havoc. And where a former ruthless but charismatic warlord can perhaps redeem himself and get a little lovin’.
Ilona Andrews is my favorite author, it’s like the husband and wife writing team have a direct line to my consciousness and tailor-make all their books just for me.
Dearest Ivie by J.R. Ward
It can’t be a Best Of list without J.R. Ward cropping up in some capacity and with an unusual three releases in her Black Dagger Brotherhood world this year I am spoiled for choice. The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a group of elite vampire warriors led by the king of the vampire race. Their duty is to protect the race from their mortal enemies, the Lessening Society. The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a long series and as it continues the story gets more intricate and interesting and the characters now feel like friends and family.
My favorite of Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood releases this year was actually the novella Dearest Ivie which introduces a new duo to this series. Dearest Ivie harkened back to the beginning of this series when the book focused almost exclusively on the romance. Ward has a poetic way with words and seems to delight in using them like missiles to tear apart my heart and leave me a blubbering mess. I’m not ashamed to say that I shed a few – okay a lot – of tears reading this book. So be warned, bring tissues and a good supply of chocolate before beginning this book.
Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
From hunting in the dark alleys of modern New York City to the back streets and ballrooms of 19th century London, England, Lisa Kleypas is the queen of historical romance. I know I wasn’t the only one to dance a little jig when she returned to the genre in 2015 with the Ravenels series. In Hello Stranger, the fourth in the Ravenels series, we watch the romance unfold between Dr. Garrett Gibson, a female physician and Mr. Ethan Ransom, a former Scotland Yard detective. Ethan and Garrett are well-matched; she gives him the inspiration he needs to grab hold of life and he gives her the confidence to take a chance on love.
The Billionaire’s Wake-up-call Girl by Annika Martin
Lizzie is in a bit of a pickle. She’s somehow managed to become her boss’s wake-up-call girl. The problem is she intensely dislikes her gorgeous, frustrating and exacting boss so when she makes the wake-up call… the insults just flow. However, she’s lucky on two counts: one, he doesn’t know it’s her; two, he seems to like it. A lot. Annika Martin has a talent for making me laugh, her books are the perfect combination of funny, quirky and sexy – The Billionaire’s Wake-up-call Girl is a great example of this. The quirky storyline and the witty adversarial banter that could turn into scorching hot dirty talk had my eyes glued to this book and left me wanting more when I reached the final page.
Saving Askara: A Sci-Fi Romance by J.M. Link
Victoria has always wanted to meet and interact with aliens and although she is working onboard a spaceship, it doesn’t seem like she will ever get the opportunity. However, when a large spacecraft approaches, Victoria is tasked with looking after the crew and trying to forge a relationship with the notoriously prickly, unsociable and intense Askara.
Alien sci-fi romances are a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine. The more alien the alien is, the happier I am; extra limbs, yup, scales, hell yeah, tentacles, sign me right up. But it isn’t always about how different someone looks, I enjoy reading about the massive culture clash and how the two protagonists overcome such major differences. In Saving Askara there are no extra limbs or tentacles, although Askara is distinctly not human. Instead, Victoria and Aderus come from vastly different societies and I loved seeing them slowly come to understand and respect one another. The romance aspect blossoms from there and will be continued in the second book in this duet which is out later this year.
Through a Dark Glass by Barb Hendee
When Megan’s sister dies she must replace her in a marriage bargain set up by her father. When the three brothers arrive, Megan has to choose which one to marry. It’s serendipitous when a mirror appears that will show her the consequences of choosing each of the brothers. She will be shown the life she will have with each brother and then she must make her choice. Once she has chosen, her memory of the mirror and all she has viewed will disappear. So, which brother will it be?
I’m not a big young adult reader, however, I was immediately intrigued by this book. We traveled with Megan as she lived with each of her choices. Did she want love, power, money, respect? Each separate timeline added its own poignancy. I highly recommend this book, after all why have one happily-ever-after when you could have three?