Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018 Favorite Audiobooks #favorites #read

It's that time of year again when I share my favorite reads. I'm splitting them up into three categories. 

Ha! That's my way of getting around the 'Top 10' thing. I guess I don't really need to find a way around if I didn't want to, but there should be a cap otherwise I would be talking all day about books. In some ways, that isn't a bad thing. But since I have obligations waiting for me, I need to rein in my enthusiasm. 

I already posted about the poly romance. If you missed it, click on the list above to go to the posting. Today is about audiobooks. I have bought a ton of them this past year. It is an easy way to read a book while I'm doing something else, usually crocheting or painting miniatures. They aren't in any particular order.

This year I sampled a lot of a poly category called Reverse Harem. This is where there is one woman and more than three love interests. No love triangles here. I found a ton that just weren't for me but the ones I liked, I really, really liked. Academy of Assassins by Stacey Brutger is a slow burn fantasy/urban fantasy. The writing is tight and the relationship (friendship right now) was well executed. The plot was also excellent. Because this a slow burn, there won't be smexy times for a book or two. I haven't read the second book yet, though I have already purchased it. I'm saving it for my winter vacation when I can gorge on reading/listening. This is definitely one that I would recommend to poly fans. 

Years ago, a friend of mine kept recommending this series to me and I simply wasn't interested. Some of my reluctance came from being tired of the Kate Daniels series, and I wasn't sure I wanted to get into another series that would eventually lose my interest. Bayou Moon is the second book in The Edge series. The first book was pretty good but I loved this one of the three that are out. (I actually couldn't complete the 3rd book, but that is how the cookie crumbles sometimes.) Each book in this series follows different heroines. The Edge is the land bordering this world and fairy. Those who live on this border are people with some kind of magic, but they don't fit into either world. Thinking back on this, I'm can't recall if this can be read as a standalone. The first book in the series, On The Edge, is worth reading if you wanted to start at the beginning. 

The Dance with the Devil series is one of my all time favorite urban fantasies. I reread this series (or listen to) at least once a year. It is one of my go-to series, much like many of Megan Derr's books. Dance Only For Me is book 4. Each book follows different characters but sometimes there are crossovers or mentions of characters from other books. Jackie's character made my heart ache but I knew that something better would come along for him. Excellent series!

This Cover. The cover is what made me look at the book closer even though it is not typically something that I would pick up and read. I have seen Elusion labeled as a 'dark' fantasy/romance. One, it is a slow burn romance.  Two, this does have dark elements that may have triggers for some readers. This is about the light and dark fey. They live in an aftermath of a war where the light fey won and they are real ba$tards about it. Iza is dark fey, stolen from her family at a young age and fostered with a light fey family who were monsters. She killed them at the age of 12 and was put in a prison where she grew up. There is mention of physical atrocities but no on page rape or dub-con, though there are sadistic rulers, even that is glossed over to a point. For me, this is not intense in the 'make you cry' way, but in the violence, 'I will kick you butt' ways. Iza says she is not Snow White but the creature who eats Snow White and the dwarves--quite literally. How Iza deals with those years of imprisonment, survives, and prevails is what makes the book. She protects innocents and rewards loyalty which is shown more in the second book but you see the kernels of it in the first. Her dark humor startled more than one laugh out of me. I would definitely recommend them but would stress that it does have dark elements that is not for everybody.

When I picked up Exhale, I wasn't sure what to expect. The cover originally made me think that it was a horror or a dark non-con story. It wasn't until I got to the end of the story that I understood what the image means. It was recommended to me, and I like shifter stories so I gave it a go. It has an intense alpha/omega plot without mpreg. The plot was different than what I have encountered before. This is another slow burn romance though they do have sex first. And I have to admit that I waffled about whether I could like Nicolae. I did come to like him well enough after I understood him.  You don't usually find shifters stories this intense and if that appeals, I would recommend this book. 

One thing about Ruby Dixon series is that you don't necessarily have to start with the first book in the series if you don't want to. Last year (I think), I listened to a sample of the first book in the Fireblood Dragon series, and it sounded my too angsty for me at the time. Through my library, I put myself on the wait list, thinking that by the time it came to me I would be in a better place. Instead of the first book, the third one, Fire in his Embrace came. I gave it a go and LOVED it. Not lost at all. I loved Emma. I had trouble working because I wanted to listen to more. After I finished, I went back and listened to the first two books, and I have to say I couldn't finish the first book. Not because of the angst but Claudia and I didn't get along. The second book was better but not as good as this one. I would recommend skipping those two and just starting here. Great herione, sexy dragon, awesome plot, and the narration was also awesome.

So earlier I was talking about this author losing me after time. But this series just kept getting better and better! I binge listened and came out with a book hangover that took a couple of weeks to cure. The Innkeeper Chronicles is an urban fantasy/sci-fi series. The romance is slow burn. The plot of each book kept getting better. This is a series that I will listen to again and again. I love all the characters in these books, and if they decided to write about them, I would read those too. I hope there are more to come, and soon. LOL! Highly recommended!

Jeffiner Estep is one of my favorite authors. I love her urban fantasy Spider series. When this showed up on the library acquired list I put myself on the waiting list. Kill the Queen is a fantasy world with political intrigue, assassinations, women gladiators (hell yeah!), and a tale about a survivor who finds true friends and family. It's an excellent read with action and a slow burn romance. I cannot wait for the next one in the series. 

I love Cari Z's work and she usually ends up on my favorites list. Off the Beaten Path is no different. It is the story about a man whose daughter shifts in class and she is taken away from him. He's determined to be with her, despite the dangers. The shifters in this world are basically government prisoners. If you'd like something a little less intense than Exhale, give this a go. I would love to read more in this world if Cari ever came back to it. 

The Flaw in All Magic was an unexpected find. This is a fantasy world with a little bit of steampunk, but not, if you know what I mean. Tane was faking his way through mage college when he got caught and was expelled. Now he now runs a business--sorta shady/illegal in the magic department--that finds things or people, solving puzzles. When there is a murder at the college, he thinks its the prime opportunity to redeem himself. His eventually partner, Kadka, who is half-orc. She was THE BEST sidekick. She probably made the book for me, making me laugh, and bringing something to the story that Tane couldn't. This is not a romance, though Tane is still crushing on an old girlfriend. 

This is another book that I wouldn't have looked at twice, but the Cover. The cover is so awesome that I picked it up. Reign: Strands of Starfire is a space opera with fantasy elements. I wouldn't call this a strict romance, though there are elements and it is slow burn. I would call it a love story that ends with a HEA. The next book in the series is about a different couple. This is a story that starts at the beginning of Nalini and Kai lives and follows them as they grow. How they connect, the way they are aware of each other, the events that make them grow and changes who they are there. It's an excellent story.

Ever since I read Tanya Huff's military sci-fi Confederation series I have been sampling her other books. This year, The Enchantment Emporium has made my favorite list. It's an urban fantasy fallowing a Canadian family who has an earthy magic. The Gale women are interesting and funny. I had not expected to like Alysha as much as I did. This world is pretty awesome and I ended up buying the other two books in the series immediately after finishing. (And I'm still hording them like a dragon because good reads are so hard to find sometimes.) Plus there are dragons that are creepy and dangerous and not love interests. Great book. And while I'm talking about Tanya Huff, the 3rd book in her Peacekeeper series released and I loved it too. It is a spinoff from the Confederation series with all the characters that I love to read about again, and again. I will be so sad if she is finished with that series. 

The Others series by Anne Bishop was another series recommended to me this year and I gorged myself on it. It Is Fantastic. This is an alternate world that mixes today's society with paranormal peoples. Though humans basically rent land from the Others and will be thrown out if they don't follow the rules. This spotlights human arrogance and reasoning to a T. The paranormals aren't portrayed as they usually are, lending a dangerous aura that the author doesn't let you forget about. The series is about how two very different people clash because they don't quite understand each other. Meg is the person that makes the paranormals realizes that not all humans are greedy, smelly, or waist of space. 
There is a spinoff series, The World of the Others, that delves into some of the wild places that are mentioned in the main series. I wasn't sure that I was going to like it as much because I LOVE Meg. But I was surprised again at how much I adored the characters. And holy cow, Vicki made me laugh. Both series are excellent.

And those are my favorite audiobooks of 2018! I hope you found something that intrigues you. Do you have any favorites you would recommend?

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

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