I just did a Top Ten Tuesday post about the best books I read in 2018, so I thought I might as well follow it up with the worst books I read last year. Overall, 2018 was not a bad reading year! There were some really, really awful books, though, and here they are. (In no particular order.)
Lone Wolf Lawman by Delores Fossen
A Texas Ranger must protect the daughter of a serial killer from becoming his next victim…
Breaking into the home of the woman who shared his bed three months ago isn’t Weston Cade’s usual MO. But the Texas Ranger is on a personal vendetta to catch a killer, and Addie Crockett is the man’s biological daughter. The beautiful rancher also happens to be carrying Wes’s child…
Addie can’t remember her birth father, but she’ll never forget the lover who took her to bed — and then disappeared. Now she has to trust Wes with her life. And the life of their unborn baby. As desire reignites, Addie quickly discovers that with this lawman by her side, she just might escape the target on her back.
A romantic suspense novel in which the crime isn’t even solved at the end? No thanks.
Distrust by T.L. Smith
She was a ghost, in heels.
She was there, then she wasn’t.
She would play with my emotions like a well-played guitar.
Then she would disappear. Making me want to strangle her.
Maybe she wasn’t a ghost, maybe she was the giver of sin. Because we sinned every time we touched, every time she was near.
Her lips were shaped like a heart, deceiving you at every word.
Her body was created straight from my fantasies, one I craved to bend to my will.
Her heart, well, who the hell knew. She kept that shit locked tight.
And I couldn’t find the key.
This was one of the first really snarky reviews I posted on WordPress and just thinking about this book still makes me cringe. It was just so, so bad.
Torn Hearts by Claire Contreras
I met a boy once.
He made my heart go into a frenzy every time he looked at me, and my knees go weak whenever he touched me. Our love was so beautiful, that even its demise was bittersweet.
I met a girl once.
Her world, full of possibilities, made me feel like even I had a chance at being someone. She believed in me. She loved me. We were so secure, that even our breaking point seemed hazy.
Until we reached it.
I don’t know whether to be impressed or just angry that an author was able to include so many of my romance novel pet peeves in a 45-page novella.
Axl by Riley Rollins
He’ll crush his enemies to protect me, but will he break my heart?
When that rebel biker hunk Axl Archer thundered into my life, he kidnapped my heart with one kiss. Then the bastard Reapers put a hit on me, forcing Axl to bring me into his club—and his bed.
Now we’re on the run, where death and treachery lurk everywhere. He’s dangerous, and his existence threatens everything I love. I shouldn’t want him, but the harder I shove him away, the deeper he slips inside me.
She knocks me out like f*ckin’ morphine. A good girl like Holly is a drug for a broken man like me. But I can’t get that little spitfire outta my mind, so when she needs a bodyguard, I’m there. Until the brutal, bloodsoaked end—unless my love ruins her first.
They don’t know it yet, but the f*ckers coming after her are already dead. I’m gonna make her mine, and no man will ever touch her again. I’m gonna make her drip with desire and then satisfy her, inch by inch. She’s gonna beg for my baby, and nothin’s gonna stop me from putting it inside her.
Even if it means going up against my own club.
I almost DNFed this on page 2 when Axl’s misogyny started showing. I almost DNFed it again around page 25 when Holly walks in on Axl getting a blowjob from another woman and then promptly gives him another one. There was just so much absolute nonsense in this book.
Troll by Emma Clark
TROLL First 3 Books is an erotic short of 15,400 words (ebook is 50 pages; paperback is 100 pages). Includes graphic sexual content.
Note: No new material has been added. This bundled edition contains the first 3 books of the Troll series.
Twenty-one-year-old Kyla Adkins frequents the Internet in search of her soul mate.
While online, she meets hot and devilishly handsome Justin Brogan. Dangerous, arrogant and quite psychotic, Justin hacks into Kyla’s computer and soon he controls everything, including her heart and her life.
The TROLL series by thrilling smut author Emma Clark
Oh dear. When I think of bad books of 2018, this is the first one that comes to mind. It was entertaining but completely awful and it still haunts my mind sometimes.
How to Breathe Underwater by Vicky Skinner
Kate’s father has been pressuring her to be perfect for her whole life, pushing her to be the best swimmer she can be. But when Kate finds her dad cheating on her mom, Kate’s perfect world comes crashing down, and Kate is forced to leave home and the swim team she’s been a part of her whole life.
Now in a new home, new school, and faced with the prospect of starting over, Kate isn’t so sure that swimming is what she wants anymore. But when she decides to quit, her whole world seems to fall apart. But when Kate gets to know Michael, the cute boy that lives across the hall, she starts to think that starting over might not be so bad. There’s only one problem: Michael has a girlfriend.
As the pressures of love, family, and success press down on her, can Kate keep her head above water?
Dumb characters, a cheating storyline, and a creepily large age difference between teenagers… this is a nope from me.
Before I Knew by Jamie Beck
Author Jamie Beck returns with an engrossing series about family, friendship, and starting over. In this first Cabot novel, a legacy of secrets tests old friends seeking a second chance at life and love.
On the second anniversary of her husband’s suicide, Colby Cabot-Baxter is ready to let go of her grief and the mistakes made during her turbulent marriage. Her fresh start comes in the form of A CertainTea, the restaurant she’s set to open along Lake Sandy, Oregon, with help from her family. But when her executive chef quits just weeks before the grand opening, Colby is pressured to hire old family friend Alec Morgan. His award-winning reputation could generate buzz, but their friendship has withered since her husband’s reckless dare cost Alec’s brother his life.
Distracted by guilty secrets concerning the tragedy that changed his and Colby’s lives, Alec self-destructed and lost his famed restaurant. With his career in tatters, he’s determined to use this opportunity to redeem his reputation and to help the woman he’s loved from afar find happiness again.
But secrets have a way of coming out. When Alec’s do, they might destroy the new life he and Colby have rebuilt together.
This book features grown adult characters who act like petulant children, and on top of that, it’s marketed as a romance but is really about suicide and grief and guilt. No thanks.
The Billionaire’s Secret Love by Ivy Layne
I tried to say no. I did more than try, I flat out turned him down. Repeatedly. But Tate Winters doesn’t take no for an answer. He’s smart, hot, and he knows how to get to me. Before I can stop myself, I’m falling for him. But Tate doesn’t know my secrets. He doesn’t understand that we can’t be together, no matter how much we both want it.
I like things easy, at least when it comes to women. I’m Tate Winters – I’ve never had to work for a female in my life. Emily is worth the effort, I know she is. She’s beautiful, brilliant, and real. The only woman I’ve ever known who can match me. She keeps running from me, but I won’t let her get away. Emily Winslow is mine. I just have to prove it to her.
The Billionaire’s Secret Love is a standalone romance with a happy ending. It’s the second book in the Scandals of the Bad Boy Billionaires series, and reveals more about the notorious men of the Winters family. You can read it on its own, everything you need to know from the first book is explained, but you might want to read the others once you get a taste of the Winters men.
I should have known from that terrible cover that this book would be awful, but I decided to read it anyway. It features a rapey love interest, random tense changes, and some plot points that are completely forgotten amid all of the “stupendous” sex that the characters have.
Smut by Karina Halle
What happens when the kink between the pages leads to heat between the sheets?
All Blake Crawford wants is to pass his creative writing course, get his university degree, and take over his dad’s ailing family business. What Amanda Newland wants is to graduate at the top of her class, as well as finally finish her novel and prove to her family that writing is a respectful career.
What Blake and Amanda don’t want is to be paired up with each other for their final project, but that’s exactly what they both get when they’re forced to collaborate on a writing piece. Since Amanda thinks Blake is a pushy asshole (with a panty-melting smirk and British accent) and Blake thinks Amanda has a stick up her ass (though it’s a brilliant ass), they fight tooth and nail until they discover they write well together. They also may find each other really attractive, but that’s neither here nor there.
When their writing project turns out to be a success, the two of them decide to start up a secret partnership using a pen name, infiltrating the self-publishing market in the lucrative genre of erotica. Naturally, with so much heat and passion between the pages, it’s not long before their dirty words become a dirty reality. Sure, they still fight a lot, but at least there’s make-up sex now.
But even as they start to fall hard for each other, will their burgeoning relationship survive if their scandalous secret is exposed? Or are happily-ever-afters just a work of fiction?
Oh, it’s a romance between an entitled rich girl and a British playboy, awesome. Also, the author doesn’t seem to know that a fuckboy is not a boy that you’re fucking and I just… can’t.
Burn the Fairy Tales by Adeline Whitmore
Kill the prince. Give the princess a sword. Send her into battle. Watch her win. This poetry book is a work of feminist self-empowerment for women and of understanding for men. It deals with love, loss, self discovery, self love, grief, and inspiration.
I appreciated the sentiment of this one, but it was mostly just sentences with line breaks. You can’t just write sentences and insert random line breaks and call it poetry.
Have you read any of these books? What were the worst or most disappointing books you read in 2018? Let’s talk in the comments!