Bet’cha didn’t know that song was so long and sooooo Scottish. (Click the image to view it full size. Much easier to read! Just a bit too big to fit into this post.)
Is it possible that another year has gone by? It seems like we were just welcoming 2018 into the world not too long ago. Well, now it’s time to say farewell to 2018 and I have to admit that I’m really not sorry to see it go. Too-de-loo! As I look back on the number of books I’ve reviewed this year, I notice that there were fewer. Why is that? Simply put, I didn’t finish as many as I usually do. Yes, I picked them up – and then I put them down. As far as books go, this year has been underwhelming. Here’s hoping next year will sparkle – fingers crossed.
And now for my wrap-up of things book-ie. Much to my surprise and displeasure, one of my favorite review magazines came to a close in May/June of 2018. It was founded by Kathryn Falk and was originally called Romantic Time Reviews. Somewhere along the way it changed its name to Book Reviews. And then one day, it went to all digital and I should have seen the writing on the wall. This year it was announced – out of the blue – that they would no longer be publishing. I miss that magazine. I found numerous authors by reading its pages. I’m sifting through numerous sources, publishing houses, and author sites but I have to do a lot more digging and double-checking these days. I'm sorry this magazine is no longer around.
I started numerous reading projects and author gloms this year. There was the All About Romance Project, the DNF Project (which I seem to have forgotten I was doing, and must be returning to). I also glommed authors Kelly Bowen and Julia Justiss.This year also saw the return of Betina Krahn and Miranda Davis, something which made me very happy. I also did some traveling in my Wayback Machine.
Voices we have lost this year. Although not a romance author, this year we lost Phillip Roth – but thankfully he left a lot of material behind for us to enjoy.
Debut authors who have crossed my radar. Oyinkan Braithwaite, Rena Rossner, Vee Walker, Caryl Bloom, Katrina Carraso, Arif Anwr, Kelli Clare, Tracy Clark, R.F. Kuang, Taylor Bennett, Emma Berquist, Melissa Ostrum, Allison Temple, L. J. Haywood, Gwendolyn Clare, Joy McCullough, Tomi Adeyemi, Lindsey Harrel, Lynn Blackburn, Julia Sonneburn, Angela Surmelis, Melissa Albert, and Richard Lawson.
2018 Outstanding Books. This year we had some slim-pickens. I had to travel in the Wayback Machine to find some of these. I was delighted that some of my old beloved books stood up to the test of time. Anyway, these are the books which made me smile, made me laugh, made me sigh, and brought a tear to my eye in 2018. Thanks to all of you authors who brought these gems to me. In no particular order.
1. Someone to Care by Mary Balogh, 2018
2. Come Back to Me by Josie Litton – AAR Project, year, 2001
3. A Most Unconventional Match by Julia Justiss, 2008 – part of glom
4. The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie, AAR Project, 2005
5. A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen, 2018
6. His Lordship’s Last Wager by Miranda Davis, 2018
7. Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath, 2018
8. A Good Rogue is Hard to Find by Kelly Bowen, part of glom, 2015
9. The Lady in Red by Kelly Bowen, part of glom, 2018
10. Last Night with the Earl by Kelly Bowen, part of glom, 2018
11. The Governess Game by Tessa Dare, 2018
12. His Convenient Marchioness by Elizabeth Rolls, 2017
Now on to my prestigious awards . . .
No More Wire Hangers – Time for the 2018 Mommie Dearest Award.
In order to be nominated for this honor, there must be a horrible family member – age does not matter. Gambling brothers, self-centered sisters, spoiled children, conspiring mothers, oblivious fathers – anyone who may cause boo-hoo moments for either the heroine or hero.
Nominees: From A Most Unconventional Match, by Julia Justiss, we have Hal Waterman's family. The maniac, abusive grandfather from The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie. Everyone but the heroine in Seduced by a Scot by Julia London. The father from An Earl Like You by Caroline Linden.
And the winner is Clarissa from The Wedding Gamble by Julia Justiss. Now, technically Clarissa isn’t a relative of the heroine Sarah. And, Clarissa is a future heroine, but in this book she is a spoiled, temperamental shrew, and she’s horrible to her companion Sarah. Clarissa was a horrible person, and probably tooooo horrible to be given her own book.
2018 Steve Morgan Bonehead Award.
How many times have we groaned because the hero is such a schmuck? He cannot forget his first love, he’s unfaithful, he’s jealous, he's possessive, he's domineering, he's always right, and he uses cold-cream instead for other purposes than what it is used for – if you get my drift.
Nominees: Brandon from Nicole Jordan’s My Fair Lover. Hugh Deveraux from Caroline Linden’s An Earl Like You. And then we have Brandon from Heartless by Anne Stuart. Bonehead heroine! Bonehead heroine! In Cathy Maxwell’s A Match Made in Bed, our heroine Cassandra had a crush on Soren when she was a little girl. And then he broke her little heart and she can never, ever, forgive him. Even when she grows up, she holds a grudge – she hatesssssss him when she’s eleven and she hatesssssss him forever.
And the winner of the 2018 Steve Morgan Bonehead Award is Kerrich, aaarrggghhhh. Rules of Engagement by Christina Dodd shows all of its 18 years of age. For a moment I thought I was in the Wayback Machine and had been transported to Ripped Bodice Days of Yore. This guy has to find an orphan so he can pretend to be nice and Queen Victoria will like him again. He also must find an ugly woman to be his pretend governess, because pretty women just won’t leave him alone – he’s just that wonderful. But the topper moment is when he wanted his ugly-not-really-governess-heroine to be forced to marry him. Sigh, my hero.
Sidekicks, aka Secondary Character, aka Supporting Cast of 2018.
The hero and heroine may carry the book but occasionally there are other characters who draw our attention. Sometimes they are just great supporting characters – their just being there makes the book even better than it is. Their importance to the story cannot go unrecognized, and sometimes they are even rewarded with their own stories.
Here are my nominations for great supporting characters of 2018: Gavin from Seduced by a Scot, by Julia London. Eleanor, Duchess of Worth from Devils of Dover series by Kelly Bowen.Rosamund and Daisy from The Governess Game by Tessa Dare. Eula from Tempting the Laird by Julia London and Georgie and Henry from His Convenient Marchioness by Elizabeth Rolls. Arthur from Betina Krahn’s A Good Day to Marry a Duke.
And the winner is King. Kelly Bowen's The Lady in Red offers a great example of a secondary character who does more than just support. He almost takes over when he appears in the books he’s been in. He’s everything an alpha male should be – mysterious, dark, domineering and sensual. He is a fascinating character and has appeared in two of her series. I hope she gives him his own story soon.
And now for a special moment from 2018, well actually it is from 2005 – I just reread it this year. One of my favorite heroes showed up in The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie. While Gideon may have been irritating, arrogant and obnoxious, he was a wonderful, funny character and I loved him. He made a great hero.
So goodbye 2018. Hopefully, 2019 will bring me some new authors I can turn to for distraction. Keep on writing all you auto-buy authors. And, welcome to the fold all of you debut authors - may you live long and prosper.
Kay is an avid reader of historical romance books, maybe with a little trip into paranormal land and an occasional journey into mystery world.