I was equal parts excited and daunted to put together a “Best of 2018” list for my scifi romance reads. I’m a voracious reader, so there are many titles on my kindle to choose from, not to mention that I write a “Best Bets” column here every month with at least three titles each time. How could I ever winnow the huge number of possibilities down into one snappy list of ten and not leave out too many of my favorite 2018 reads? Because to me “best of” translates into the stories which stayed with me the most vividly, despite how many books I read over the year.
Being creative or sneaky or both, when I checked my initial list, I realized certain authors appear more than once. A light bulb went off! For the purposes of this column, I’m going to talk authors and work more than one title into the list where necessary (and hope my lovely editor doesn’t notice or else forgives me). [She forgives.] These are my personal choices, not meant to be all inclusive, based on tropes I love, so your mileage may vary. Feel free to share your favorite SFR reads of 2018 in the comments!
Top of the list is New York Times and USA Today Best Selling author Nalini Singh and Ocean Light (Psy-Changeling Trinity Book 2). I loved having more details about her ocean-going changelings and the plot was very life and death with high stakes for the hero and heroine, while advancing the overall series arc. The action takes place in a future time, with three races inhabiting the Earth – humans, changelings and the Psy – so I look at the books as falling into scifi romance. [Full review here.]
Appearing on my list with no less than four titles whose stories stuck in my head was USA Today Best Selling author Tiffany Roberts. This husband and wife writing duo can sure weave a tale, whether underwater on an alien world with their Kraken, on Earth or on a deserted planet where death rules. The latter title, Undying (Valos of Sonhadra Book 7), included some genuinely unique scifi plot points I was dazzled by but for this list I’ll point to their standalone title Claimed by An Alien Warrior, which forced me to fall in love with a green, four-armed warrior stuck on Earth, trying to escape his evil government captors and caught up in a Bonnie and Clyde-like situation with a wonderful human heroine.
Buy Undying: Amazon
USA Today Best Selling author Anna Hackett had two titles that really got five stars from me, both books in her Galactic Gladiators series, which is full of fun, adventure and romance. While Guardian (Galactic Gladiators Book 9) had some terrific twists and turns, I’ve actually reread Cyborg (Galactic Gladiators Book 10) a few times now since it released back in April because the situation is pretty poignant and I so want the hero and heroine to make it through and end up happy together…which of course they do!
Buy Cyborg: Amazon
USA Today Best Selling author Cynthia Sax writes sizzling cyborg stories too and Taking Vengeance (Cyborg Sizzle Book 12) is definitely high on my 2018 list…But then there’s her Refuge series, which has twisted tough guy heroes the reader just has to root for, and Dark Strength (Refuge Book 3) featured Balvan, the gigantic gatekeeper, overlooked and underappreciated. Who doesn’t love a bad boy warrior with a carefully guarded soft heart?
Edge of Insanity: The Alliance Book 6 from New York Times and USA Today Best Selling author SE Smith had a great alpha hero rescued by a determined band of women. He had to rethink a lot of his assumptions while helping them get away from the villains (and while falling in love with their no nonsense leader, who had to shift some of her worldview too, to meet him halfway).
Although I always enjoy Ruby Dixon’s books, Barbarian’s Beloved (Ice Planet Barbarians Book 18) really spoke to me because the heroine has anxiety and the challenges of being stranded forever on an alien planet only makes the condition worse. How could it not? I thought author Dixon handled the situation well, with sensitivity and understanding, and the barbarian hero was exemplary in his ability to understand and support the heroine.
Buy it: Amazon
Emmy Chandler’s Prison Planet series is more grim and violent than my usual fare, but also compelling – books where I just couldn’t look away from the page. Champion (Prison Planet Book 3) was especially riveting as the heroine thinks she’s prepared to fight for her life in the prison’s arena, but soon learns she has no idea how awful the situation will be. An unlikely hero comes to stand by her side and then the events accelerate from there. We also get fascinating new details about the interstellar reality show running in the background.
Buy it: Amazon
Michelle Diener does terrific world building for her novels and immerses the reader in a fully realized situation with nifty details. Breakaway (Verdant String Book 1) took me into another such world, where brave men and women are battling greedy corporate overlords on the planet Garmin. Much of the action takes place on a tethered way station reaching from the planet’s surface into the edge of space and the unique setting was an added attraction. I wanted to set foot there myself and search for hidden doors with the heroine.
Edge of Nowhere by Felicia Davin was an intriguing story of a ‘Nowhere Runner’ named Kit, and Emil Singh, the tough security officer he’s hired to transport from point A to point B, in an offer too good to refuse. Such offers are perilous to accept and Kit and Emil’s journey through Nowhere goes wildly off course, which is just the start of the plot complications. I loved this pair and the way the reader gradually gets to know each of them over the course of the book and I was also wildly drawn to certain of the supporting characters.
To end on a light hearted note, Kirk: Stargazer Alien Mail Order Brides #10 (Intergalactic Dating Agency) from USA Today Best Selling author Tasha Black was really fun. Much of the action took place at a fan conference reminiscent of Comic-Con and the heroine is an actress who once played a role on a Star Trek-like series and has been forever imprinted in the public mind as that character, complete with a catch phrase. The book reminded me a bit of the movie ‘Galaxy Quest’, especially since the hero is an alien whose view of Earth comes from watching 1980’s TV broadcasts. There’s much confusion for everyone and I thoroughly enjoyed the situation and the romance.
(Looks at the rest of her list and sighs, scaring the cat.)
I’m only scratching the surface of all the terrific scifi romance published in 2018 but these authors and titles will hopefully give readers a good jumping off point for hours of enjoyable reading while waiting for the 2019 goodies to begin appearing on their e-readers and book shelves.
USA Today Best Selling Author Veronica Scott is a seven-time recipient of the SFR Galaxy Award, and has written a number of science-fiction and fantasy romances. Her latest release is Gabe: A Badari Warrior SciFi Romance. You can find out more about her and her books at veronicascott.wordpress.com