2018 Favorite Reads – Sheri

“Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon…” Wait? What?! It’s over?? Where did this year go? This wraps up my sixth-year book blogging and I can’t believe how fast time flies by. One of my favorite end of the year traditions is taking a moment to celebrate the books that made the biggest impression on me during the past twelve months. The direction and flow of my reading may change slightly but looking back I realize how blessed I am. I find great joy and comfort slipping into the wonders of my kindle and I couldn’t do that without all of the courageous authors that continue to gift us with their stories. I believe in creating your own bit of happiness and carving out book time with my favorite, or perhaps new, author is one of the ways that I find sunshine. So to all the authors out there…thank you. Thank you for coming into my life, bringing light, and making me…happy.

In no particular order,
Here are my most treasured books from this past year…..

“Vanilla Clouds” by Roe Horvat – Last year I had a striking moment of ‘love at first page’ and I am still hopelessly in love with Horvat’s stories. Roe continues to slay me with their clever gift of saturating the pages with fierce emotions. This particular tale is like a drop of ambrosia and dipped in pure ecstasy. It is delicious and divine. If you haven’t experienced the unique style of Horvat yet, I urge you to do so. This is a heavenly place to start.  AMAZON

 

“Slide” by Garrett Leigh – I had another sublime year with Garrett Leigh. I attempted to pace myself for adequate savoring time but it was a futile endeavor. Once my journey with Pete and Ash began, I couldn’t stop. If you are in the mood for a powerful and potent story that is sure to knock you down but will lift you to places you’ve only dreamed of…Slide is everything you need. You may want to plan ahead and grab the entire series, trust me on this one. AMAZON

 

“Galaxies and Oceans” by N.R. Walker – Walker continues to secure her place on my auto-buy list. This story begins with an electrifying bite and I was hooked from the first page. Aubrey and Patrick demonstrate the healing powers of love. Their love is deeply passionate, fierce and firm, and beautifully brave. If you’re looking for swoon, eager for sexy, and wish to be captivated by a love story mapped by the stars, follow the light here. AMAZON

 

“The Story of Us” by Barbara Elsborg – This story rocked my world. But isn’t just a story…it’s an experience. This experience isn’t just moving…it’s a string of explosions. These explosions transfer from the pages…and directly hit your heart. I was overwhelmed with a tsunami of feels. Zed and Caspian will forever hold a place in my heart. This heartwrenching tale isn’t for everyone but if you’re feeling bold, prepare for turmoil and trust, hurt and healing, and limitless love. AMAZON

“Point of Contact” by Melanie Hansen – This powerful and stunning story wrung me out. Hansen has the profound ability to obliterate my heart and then slowly piece it back together again. One man brings two together and then leaves them. Trevor witnessed Riley’s first breath and Jesse witnessed his last, and this connection soothes two broken men unlike anything else. If you love your books with turbulence and a torrential downpour of emotions, this is for you. AMAZON

 

“Shattered Glass” by Dani Alexander – I am totally late to the party on this one. I would love to extend the invitation if you haven’t fallen into the rabbit hole…yet. Trust me, it’s a place you want to be. I adored both Austin and Peter. This sassy story is an elaborate journey of twists and turns. Alexander delivers a complete package of bellyaching laughs, eye leaking sniffles, foot stomping tantrums, and spontaneously combusting passion. The sequel should be coming next year and I can hardly wait! AMAZON

 

“A Chosen Man” by Jaime Reese – This series owns me. Every single time…each new couple…takes me far past my expectations. There really is no comparison. I hope they continue talking to Jaime for many more books to come because I’m without a doubt addicted. I LOVE them. This time around we have Wall and Dylan. They are very different men in a very difficult and dangerous situation…but you can’t stop love. Trust, tenacity and tender hope spark a fire between them. Their story is brimming with adrenaline, attitude, and an abundance of love.  AMAZON

“If I Should Stumble” by Claire Davis & Al Stewart – This fabulous penning duo blows me away with their words. Kaz is a refugee in the UK and he instantly stole my heart. I liked Zach but I loved that he was everything that Kaz needed. Kaz has suffered and he has suffered greatly. But now he has love, strength, and light to chase away the demons. Their story is phenomenal and Davis and Stewart marvel me with their eloquence. This is the third book of Tork and Adam and if you’re not yet acquainted, I highly suggest you do so. Then make your way to Kaz and Zack and please give them both my love.  AMAZON

“Deal Maker” by Lily Morton -I’m head over heels in love with Morton’s charming stories. I can’t get enough! Jude and Asa are larger than life. This is the second book in the series and it’s just as spectacular as the first. The writing, the humor, the flow, the balance…it’s all spot on. This story is rich in comedy, feels, and passion. It has absolutely everything I consider necessary to compose a stellar read.  AMAZON

“Bitten By the Alpha” by Annabelle Jacobs – This is a remarkable series that I simply can’t get enough of. I felt like I won the lottery when I found out Cam and Gareth were going to have their own book. Jacobs not only excels with her incredible realm but surpasses all other shifter series in my opinion. The man, the wolf, the shift…she covers it all with a masterful hand. Cam accepts his fate and allows himself to love again. It is glorious! If wolves call to you, The Regent Park pack outdoes, outruns, and outshines every other shifter series I’ve read. Seriously, you need them. AMAZON

And there you go! This completes my best of 2018 with an honor’s list of: “A Springful of Winters” By Dawn Sister, “Lucky” by Garrett Leigh, “Shades” by Jaime Reese, “Private Charter” by N.R. Walker, “Someday It Will Be” by S.A. McAuley, “Just like Heaven” by Suki Fleet, “A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat” by Roe Horvat and “A Christmas Angel” by Eli Easton. I’ve found my solid circle with a few new faces and they continue to rock my world.

2018 was gone in a flash. I am grateful for the countless blessings bestowed upon me, my family, and friends. Cheers to a new and bright year! And yet again…I hope the new year brings you lots of laughter, love, and books that will…. shake any funk.

Hugs,

sheri

“A Soldier’s Wish” by NR Walker

about

The year is 1969…

Gary Fairchild is proud to be a hippie college student, and he protests the Vietnam War because he believes in love and peace. To him, it isn’t just a counterculture movement—it’s a way of life. When tickets to the Aquarium Exposition—3 Days of Peace & Music, or Woodstock, as it was better known, go on sale, there’s no way he isn’t going.

Richard Ronsman is a sheltered farm boy who lives in the shadow of his overbearing father. He’s hidden his darkest secret to earn his father’s love, but nothing is ever good enough—not even volunteering for the Vietnam War. And with just a few days left before he’s deployed, a striking hippie invites him to join them at a music festival.

Three days of music, drugs, rain, mud, and love forged a bond between these two very different men that would shape the rest of their lives. They share dreams and fears, and when Richard is shipped off to war, they share letters and love. For Richard’s first Christmas home, he is gifted a special angel ornament that just might make a soldier’s wish come true.
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“Private Charter” by N.R. Walker

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Stuart Jenner’s job is high stress, high stakes, and everything he’s strived for. So why, when the apex of his career is within reach, does he stumble? At his doctor’s insistence, he books a privately chartered yacht to sail around the Whitsundays for two weeks of sun, surf, and sex. When his friend-with-benefits bails on him at the last minute, Stuart decides to go alone.

Foster Knight left the rat race behind six years ago, bought a yacht, and now calls the Great Barrier Reef his home. Sailing tourists around tropical waters is all in a day’s work, and he’s never been happier. When his next client arrives alone, the two-week charter will be the most private job he’s ever had.

Foster can see how stressed and exhausted Stuart is, and he promises him extensive rest and relaxation. Stuart slowly realises his original plan for two weeks of sun, surf, and sex might not be lost yet. Confined to a yacht, isolated by aqua-coloured oceans and the sweltering sun, Stuart and Foster are about to find out just how hot the tropics can get.

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“Galaxies and Oceans” by N.R. Walker

about

Seizing his one chance to escape, Ethan Hosking leaves his violent ex-boyfriend, leaves his entire life, and walks into the path of a raging bushfire. Desperate to start over, a new man named Aubrey Hobbs walks out of the fire-ravaged forest, alive and alone. With no ID and no money, nothing but his grandfather’s telescope, he goes where the Southern Cross leads him.

Patrick Carney is the resident lighthouse keeper in Hadley Cove, a small town on the remote Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia. After the tragic death of his lover four years ago, he lives a solitary life; just him, a tabby cat, the Indian and Southern Oceans, and a whole lot of loneliness. He’s content with his life until a stranger shows up in town and turns Patrick’s head.

Patrick never expected to be interested in anyone else.

Aubrey never expected to be happy.

Between Aubrey’s love of the stars and Patrick’s love of the ocean, these two fragile hearts must navigate new waters. If they can weather the storm of their pasts, they could very well have a love that eclipses everything.

 

review

New beginnings. Rebirth. Revival. That’s what I think of when I think of Aubrey and Patrick. And when I think of them together, my heart races and my face softens. Their love is deeply passionate, fierce and firm, and beautifully brave. Walker is one of my favorite authors for good reason, but this story completely blew me away. The pain is quick and sharp; from the very first page I was hooked and anxious. However, she counterbalances the hurt with an abundance of love. Aubrey is a survivor of domestic abuse. He escaped his tormentor….but at a hefty price. A violent bushfire created an opportunity he couldn’t resist. Faking his death, he fled south leaving his entire existence behind him. Six months later he finds himself at Hadley Cove and at the mercy of a few dozen strangers hoping they might give him a chance. One might argue there’s nothing random about him crossing paths with Patrick, the resident lighthouse keeper. Or could even go as far as saying their intentional connection was set by the stars. *sigh* I’m not sure if there’s anything more romantic than the universe playing a role in bringing two soul mates together.

Like

Neither men are looking for love when Aubrey arrives in the teeny seaside town (which I adored!). Aubrey is simply trying to carry on despite the many hardships he’s faced. Orphaned as a young child, his grandfather raised him. However, a cruel twist of fate took his only family from him before he hit adulthood. Striving to follow his dreams he made it to college only to have that derailed from completion by his controlling boyfriend. Control turned into abuse and he was caught in the endless cycle of domestic violence. To say life has been unfair would be an understatement. On the other hand, Patrick found his happiness and blissfully relished in the joy of true love. Until his partner was lost at sea. Four years have passed, but the fracture through his heart has yet to close. He succumbs to his grief and sorrow. Although he has barely begun his fourth decade, he’s resolved to his solitude. Well, that was until the new man in town with a bright pair of eyes with a magnetic pull caught his attention. How’s that old saying go?? “Just because you weren’t expecting it, doesn’t mean it’s not everything you’ve been waiting for.” Yeah…that.

love

It’s easy to fall for both Aubrey and Patrick. They are extremely lovable. Aubrey was reborn with a new outlook on life. I am in awe of his strength and courage. He literally climbed out of the ashes and reclaimed a new life. He doesn’t trust easily, which is to be expected. But even he can’t deny there is just…something about the sexy keeper of the lighthouse that makes him feel safe. It’s as if his heart and soul see peace and comfort within Patrick. They form a fragile friendship that burns into a deeper bond. I was captivated by their fall. Patrick hasn’t completed his mourning and he’s overwhelmed with guilt. He wasn’t supposed to feel this way again. But with the help of Aubrey he realizes that grief changes and love is everlasting. He can still honor his love for Scott and give his heart to Aubrey. Because love can be infinite and eternal. Some things can’t be stopped or controlled; the tides will forever rage and the stars will burn through the darkness for all time. A beautiful lighthouse sets the perfect backdrop. Walker doesn’t skimp on the tender moments. This story is filled with healing and solace. There’s passionate picnics, sweet stargazing, and affection that will melt your heart.  Sprinkle in some heat and an intriguing secondary cast and I was stunned into an immediate reread. That is a rare occurrence and I cherish the powerful books that leave me breathless. This is a remarkable tale that is worthy of your attention.

beware

Domestic Abuse. It’s not on page but that doesn’t diminish the sharp pain. I ached and raged on behalf of Audrey. Then we have, an age gap. Patrick is fourteen years older than Aubrey but numbers mean little in the face of love. Additionally there is the loss of a loved one. Patrick’s ex, Scott, suffered a tragic death but true love never ends. Patrick discovered he can still hold fast to his love for Scott and also give his heart to Aubrey. Sometimes we aren’t meant to find pure love only once. And I’m so grateful Walker blessed Patrick with his second chance at happily ever after.

bookisforIf you’re looking for swoon, eager for sexy, and wish to be captivated by a love story mapped by the stars, follow the light here.

 

bookinfo

TITLE: Galaxies and Oceans
AUTHOR: N.R. Walker
PUBLISHER: Blueheart Press
LENGTH: 313 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 23, 2018
BUY LINKS: Amazon

“Evolved” by N.R. Walker

about

In 2068, androids are an integrated part of human life. Big Brother no longer just watches from the shadows. It’s in every household.

Lloyd Salter has OCD issues with noise, mess, and he’s uncomfortable with human interaction. When his ex claimed the only thing perfect enough to live up to his standards was an android, Lloyd dismissed it. But two years later, after much self-assessment, Lloyd thinks he may have been right.

SATinc is the largest manufacturer of androids in Australia, including the Fully Compatible Units known as an A-Class 10. Their latest design is the Synthetic Human Android UNit, otherwise known as SHAUN.

Shaun is compatible with Lloyd’s every need; the perfect fit on an intellectual and physical basis. But Lloyd soon realises Shaun’s not like other A-Class androids. He learns. He adapts. Sure that SATinc is aware Shaun functions outside of his programmed parameters, Lloyd must find a way to keep Shaun safe.

No one can know how special Shaun is. No one can know he’s evolved.

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“Finders Keepers” by N.R. Walker

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Needing a change of scene, Griffin Burke moves from Brisbane to Coolum Beach to start a new job. The beautiful white sand, aqua-coloured ocean, blue skies, and summer breezes are everything he longs for. What he finds is a mud-covered dog, lost and hungry, with a nametag and a phone number.

Dane Hughes is stuck in Surfers Paradise at a week-long work conference when he gets a phone call from his distraught mother. His dog, his fur baby, Wicket, has run away. Unable to leave and feeling helpless and miserable, he gets a text from a guy. “I think I found your dog…”

Griffin and Dane start talking, and Griffin agrees to look after Wicket until Dane can collect him. With a few days left before his new job starts, Griffin takes Wicket on some coastal adventures and sends Dane photos of their fun, and so the start of something new and kind of wonderful begins.

Griffin might have moved to Coolum in search of a new life, but what he finds is so much more. What he gets to keep just might take some four-legged help.

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“On Davis Row” by N.R. Walker

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Nearing the end of a suspended jail sentence should unlock a brighter future for CJ Davis, only the chip on his shoulder is as hard to shift as his bad reputation. Born into a family of career criminals who live down Davis Road, an address the cops have dubbed Davis Row, his name alone is like a rap sheet that makes optimism impossible.

Brand-new parole officer Noah Huxley is determined to see the good in men like CJ. After all, he knows firsthand that bad things can happen to good people. His colleagues mock his doe-eyed optimism, but Noah soon sees CJ’s bad attitude and bravado are weapons he uses to keep people at a distance.

Both men know one simple mistake can change a life forever. At first glance, they might seem to be polar opposites. Yet underneath, they’re not that different at all.

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“Imagines” by N.R. Walker

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Jack Brighton and Lawson Gale have been together for six months and are very much in love. Lawson’s work ensuring the survival of the Tillman Copper is as demanding as ever, and Jack’s work with the regeneration of the bushfire-ravaged national park is just as hectic.

When Jack suggests they take a short trip, Lawson agrees. But then he is offered a two-week research position in tropical Queensland to help determine why the Ulysses butterfly is on the decline. Figuring they could combine work and pleasure, Jack and Lawson go on their first vacation together.

Working alongside renowned professor Piers Bonfils isn’t easy. But personal and professional differences aside, Lawson is offered a more permanent role in Queensland. Torn between his new life in Tasmania with Jack and a dying species of butterfly he feels compelled to save, Lawson has to decide where his fate lies.

But fate changes the rules. On a research expedition into the depths of the rainforest, suddenly it’s not only the butterflies’ existence that hangs in the balance.

A butterfly’s life cycle never changes. From larvae to imago, their course is plotted by design. Jack and Lawson need to determine where they stand, if they live through it. Because the only thing more incredible than one imago is two.

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“Imago” by N.R. Walker

about

Nerdy, introverted genius lepidopterist, Lawson Gale, is an expert on butterflies. He finds himself in a small town in Tasmania on a quest from an old professor to find an elusive species that may or may not even exist.

Local Parks and Wildlife officer, Jack Brighton, is an ordinary guy who loves his life in the sleepy town of Scottsdale. Along with his Border collie dog, Rosemary, his job, and good friends, he has enough to keep from being lonely.

But then he meets Lawson, and he knows he’s met someone special. There’s more to catching butterflies, Jack realises. Sometimes the most elusive creatures wear bowties, and sometimes they can’t be caught at all.

Lawson soon learns there are butterflies he can’t learn about it in books. They exist only in a touch, in a kiss, in a smile. He just has to let go first, so these butterflies can fly.

Imago is the story of finding love, bowties, and butterflies.

 

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“Spencer Cohen, Book 1” by NR Walker

about

Spencer Cohen is the guy who gets answers to relationship questions. Playing the role of the new lover, his job is to make his client’s ex realise one of two things: he doesn’t want to break up or he really does. Either way, his client gets answers.

The ex would either apologize and beg, or turn and walk. But in the end, Spencer’s client won. If he wanted his ex back and got him, it was great. If the guy walked away, then as hard it was for the client, he knew it was over. Regardless of the outcome, Spencer’s work was done.

Andrew Landon’s ex left him without so much as an explanation. But his sister can’t stand to see him miserable, so, much to Andrew’s dismay, they hire Spencer to be Andrew’s new boyfriend to get the ex back.

For Spencer, it is never personal. Merely a business transaction. No emotions, no strings, no complications.

Yeah right.

Even a blind man could see how this would end.

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