Does anyone else look back and ruminate on the books they have read over the previous year? January is the perfect time for reflection. I like to take a gander at what I’ve been reading over the last 12 months; what series I’ve continued to read, what genres I’ve been read and what new authors I have tried. I’ve been reading for a long time and yet I never get bored with it. For me the key keeping this reading journey fun and full of surprises is trying new things, whether it be tropes, genres, series or authors. It keeps things fresh, along the way you can stumble but you can also find some real treasures.
So, when I looked back at 2018 I had a really pleasant surprise about the number of new (to me) authors I had tumbled across. Over the course of the year they had ingrained their way so deeply into my reading life I felt sure I must have been reading them for years.
It all started with The Wall of Winnipeg and Me in January of 2018. For the next week I was hooked on Mariana Zapata. I read her entire back list. Her slow burn, and mostly sports, romances had me starting the year in reading bliss. I love these books, the way Zapata builds a rock solid foundation between the characters from which a romance grows; it gets me every time. If you haven’t given her a try, I highly recommend it. She even got me to love a rock star romance Rhythm, Chord and Malykhin and let me tell you, I normally avoid that trope like the plague!
I’m always being told that paranormal romance is dying. Pshht I say to you. Not when authors like Maria Vale are bringing out series like The Legend of All Wolves. Admittedly it is paranormal romance with a really gritty edge, but that twist of darkness is what got me falling in love. If you like the Others series by Anne Bishop but, like me, wish that there was a stronger romance storyline then this is the perfect series. It has an original perspective on what it is to be a werewolf, instead of thinking of themselves as humans who can change into wolves, they are wolves that can turn into humans. It’s a small shift in thought but it makes a massive difference to the feel of the story.
If 2018 was anything to me, it was the year of the sci fi alien romance. There are a few authors responsible for this, one of which is Tiffany Roberts. She made me fall head over heels for her kraken heroes – think human top half, cephalopod bottom half – from there the universe was mine to conquer. And I conquered hard! The number of sci fi alien romances I have read has increased exponentially. I loved every (sometimes weird) page of it!
I love a pick it for me challenge, when someone looks at their books, looks at you books and then picks a new book for you to read. That’s exactly how I discovered Jennifer Estep. Kill the Queen was picked for me and I devoured it. It is the start of an action-packed fantasy series and had me wondering why I had never tried this author before. Now 2019 is here I fully intend to read the next book in the series and take a dive into Jennifer Estep’s back list.
Contemporary romance isn’t something I read a huge amount of. But, how could I resist trying a book called Butterface? I love it when the hero or heroine is somehow outside the normal expectations, maybe they have a few extra curves, maybe they’re on the autism spectrum or have a disability. With Butterface Flynn wrote a book where the heroine doesn’t reach societal expectations of beauty aka she’s ugly. I was hooked, it was a great romance! It was quickly followed by Muffin Top which had an extra curvy heroine. I loved that as well. Now I am chomping at the bit for the next book in this series!
Kindle Unlimited has brought me many fantastic books, but my favourite of 2018 was Helen Harper’s the Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic series. It contained just my kind of gal; she liked TV, food and a nice comfy sofa! She also happened to be a powerful and innovative witch, which is why she kept getting dragged into some dangerous business. This was a light-hearted urban fantasy with a strong romance thread. Perfect for when you want something funny and a bit romantic, with the added extras of sassy cats and a bit of murder, mayhem and magic! I am definitely going to be grabbing more Harper in 2019.
Lastly, we have Julie Kagawa an author I have been dying to read for years. Literally years. I don’t know why, but I have never managed to pick one of her books up. Until 2018 when I read Shadow of the Fox the first in the series of the same name. It’s a young adult fantasy set in feudal Japan where our young heroine is half human and half kitsune. It’s a traditional quest type story. The heroine must find a certain object to defeat the oncoming evil. The storyline is tried and true and I loved the setting. You see plenty of Greek mythology around, but rarely much about Eastern myths. Now that I have opened the flood gates, I plan to read the next book in this series when it’s released and then finally get to her Iron Fey series!
It’s going to be a fantastic 2019 I now have lots of new authors to explore further and I can’t wait to see who I discover in the upcoming year! It’s going to be crazy, but I love every page of it!