Caitlin’s Favorites of 2018

by Caitlin

I read some really wonderful romances (and some romances that I did not love quite so much) in 2018. Some of them were novels that came out this year, while sometimes I caught up on an author’s backlog (Jennifer Ashley and Elizabeth Hoyt come to mind for that).

There were also a few books that got some much-deserved heat this year – like Cat Sebastian’s Unmasked by the Marquess and Talia Hibbert’s A Girl Like Her – but both of those authors made my list for different books they published this year.

For my money, the most underrated romance this year was Meredith Duran’s The Sins of Lord Lockwood. Duran’s books are all incredible, but I’m especially floored this came and went without the pomp and circumstance it deserved. A sort of retelling of Count of Monte Cristo with a heroine who needs an heir (as opposed to the hero who needs it) and a historical romance where the heroine inherits her own lands and is genuinely powerful in her own right, Lockwood was an angsty masterpiece. Lord Liam Lockwood is brooding and a little broken and very sexy when the book starts and a sweet little puppy dog during the flashbacks. He is the best of both worlds. Lady Anna Lockwood is a role model with close female friendships and the weight of the world on her shoulders. I would recommend this book to literally anyone.

The other historical on my Best Of list is A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian. Sebastian crafts a beautiful story between two men who are attracted to each other despite some serious obstacles. Sam is a black man running a bar who doesn’t want much trouble. Hartley is a rich gentleman who was given his house by an older man who took advantage of him, his youth, and his vulnerability when the man died. Hartley is a sociable person who has been ostracized and wants revenge. Sam – a gentle giant, and therefore my favorite kind of hero – is drawn to him, and watching them find their way to each other despite some very serious obstacles is a joy to read.

I’m sure this will be on a ton of Best Of lists this year, but I adored Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon. Another gentle giant, Rafe is easy to fall in love with. Strong, masculine, but great with children and clean up? Yes please! And Dr. Sloan Copeland is a lovely heroine. Strong, capable, and easy to root for.

Talia Hibbert’s The Princess Trap was my entry into Hibbert’s work, and it was a hell of an introduction. I think in the week after I read it, I devoured everything else she’d ever written. (I admit to missing the old cover, because I think he encapsulated my vision of Ruben a bit more, but the new cover is solid as well.) Prince Ruben is respectful and kind and sweet and six-foot four – oh, and he loves giving oral. He is the bisexual Dom of my dreams. Cherry is funny, smart, and caring. I wanted to be her best friend.

The last entry on this list is new to me this year. Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series is the first time I’ve ever read her, and my only regret was not having read her sooner. I’m still not sure which book I prefer – A Princess in Theory or A Duke by Default – so I’m going to put both of them on the list. A Princess in Theory is Coming to America meets The Princess Diaries, only somehow better. And A Duke by Default stars Portia Hobbs, whose struggles with ADHD hit almost too close to home. 

Honorable Mentions:

-The Duke I Tempted by Scarlett Peckham (strong writing, strong characters, a romance between two people who have felt like they were “wrong” their entire lives)

An Earl Like You by Caroline Linden (Linden does an incredible job with the “wallflower who finds her confidence and blossoms” trope)

Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid (I had been waiting for this entry into her Knitting in the City series forever and it did not disappoint)

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