Hey everyone, K. Aten is in the house sharing my Top 10 Think Feel Discuss Novels of 2018! You can just call me Kelly, Spec Fic Chick, or Cotton (thanks to Andi Marquette and Jove Bell). I spend my free time as a writer, a reader and a rapper—um, not a rapper, sorry. I’m not going to spit some sick beats for you today. Instead I’d like to share my top 10 reads of 2018.

A little something about my review methodology:

I currently read and review for TLR, focusing primarily on the speculative fiction genres (sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, steampunk, urban fantasy, etc). To answer the question of what makes a book my favorite? As both a reader AND a writer, I’m all about books that cause a strong reaction. My author motto is this: “Some books end the silence, others begin it”. My tags are #Think, #Feel, #Discuss. And my favorite books will elicit a strong response from me in usually two or more of the three categories. Sometimes it earns only one tag but still gets a favorite stamp, however it has to be REALLY good at that tag.

Now, on with the show!

Compass Rose by Anna Burke1 Compass Rose by Anna Burke

Published by Bywater Books

#Think  #Feel  #Discuss

For the perfect combination of action, attraction, romance, adventure, and world building

Amazon Blurb

In the year 2513, the only thing higher than the seas is what’s at stake for those who sail them.

Rose was born facing due north, with an inherent perception of cardinal points flowing through her veins. Her uncanny sense of direction earns her a coveted place among the Archipelago Fleet elite, but it also attracts the attention of Admiral Comita, who sends her on a secret mission deep into pirate territory. Accompanied by a ragtag crew of mercenaries and under the command of Miranda, a captain as bloodthirsty as she is alluring, Rose discovers the hard way that even the best sense of direction won’t be enough to keep her alive if she can’t learn to navigate something far more dangerous than the turbulent seas. Aboard the mercenary ship, Man o’ War, Rose learns quickly that trusting the wrong person can get you killed—and Miranda’s crew have no intention of making things easy for her—especially Miranda’s trusted first mate, Orca, who is as stubborn as she is brutal.

TLR Review

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Trafalgar & Boone and the Children of the Burnt Empire by Geonn Cannon2 Trafalgar & Boone and the Children of the Burnt Empire  by Geonn Cannon

Published by Supposed Crimes

#Think  #Feel  #Discuss

The perfect blend of steampunk, mystery, adventure, diversity, and sexuality

Amazon Blurb

Dorothy Boone, still blaming herself for a devastating loss on their last adventure, and Miss Trafalgar are offered a new mission from the Royal Geographical Society: an expedition to find the source of a mythical river has gone missing in the Amazon rainforest, and their patrons want them found. It seems like the perfect low-threat endeavor to get the duo back to normalcy, so Dorothy and Trafalgar accept. Accompanied by Cora Hyde, who is also recovering from a loss, the duo sets out for the jungle.
Their safe undertaking soon turns perilous when they run afoul of a previously unknown tribe known as the Burnt Empire. Dorothy and Trafalgar are separated in the scuffle and taken in by two groups with similar goals but differing tactics. The groups only agree on one point: the very existence of the Burnt Empire could lead to untold destruction.

TLR Review

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3 Curved Horizon by Taylor Brooke

Published by Interlude Press

#Think  #Feel  #Discuss

Beautiful prose and a heartfelt story

Amazon Blurb

In the sequel to Fortitude Smashed, navigating the ins and outs of love is hard enough as strangers, but now Daisy and Chelsea must find a way to transform their friendship into something more. Meanwhile, Shannon and Aiden’s year-long relationship is put to the test when a horrific accident puts Shannon’s life at risk.

TLR Review

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Survival Instincts by May Dawney4 Survival Instincts by May Dawney

Published by Ylva Publishing

#Think  #Discuss

Gritty realism while maintaining a HEA

Amazon Blurb

Civilization ended long before Lynn Tanner was born. Wild animals roam the streets, but mankind is still the biggest threat to a woman alone in the ruins of a world reclaimed by nature. Lynn survives by sleeping with one eye open at all times and trusting no one but her dog.

TLR Review

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5 Outcaste by Fletcher DeLancey

Published by Heartsome Publishing

#Think  #Feel

For the highly developed characters and packing so much emotion into one novel

Amazon Blurb

Rahel Sayana is desperate to escape the life her parents have planned for her. She runs away to the dangerous port city of Whitesun and becomes an outcaste: a person of no caste and few rights.

From backbreaking labor on the docks to fighting off bullies, Rahel learns the lessons that propel her to the life of her dreams. Happiness does not last. A planetary threat pulls her into the biggest battle in Alsean history, then into a treacherous game of power.

The loss of both her honor and caste sends her reeling, but Rahel has always made her own fate. She gambles everything on one final chance.

Will giving up her hopes lead to the highest honor of all?

TLR Review

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6 Lucky 7 by Rae D Magdon

Published by Desert Palm Press

#Think  #Discuss

Pure heart-pounding action and diversity of characters

Amazon Blurb

Elena Nevares is on the run. She’s a jacker, someone who connects to virtual reality with their brain, and everyone else on her crew was murdered during a mission gone wrong. Sasha Young is planning a rescue. She’s a handler, a team leader whose crew has been scattered by an evil corporation: Axys Generations. Together, they must find the rest of Sasha’s crew: Cherry, the engineer and explosives expert; Rami, the master of disguise; Doc, the wunderkind Medical Officer; and Rock, the mechanically modified muscle. But Axys Generations has bigger plans than taking down Sasha’s crew. Elena, Sasha, and the rest of the Lucky 7 must go on their most dangerous mission yet—not for credits or tech, but to save the world.

TLR Review

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7 Demon in the Machine by Lise MacTague

Published by Bella Books

#Think  #Discuss

For story immersion as well as the wonderful visual and plot detail

Amazon Blurb

At the height of Britain’s Industrial Revolution, steam power and magic join forces to create wonders the world has never seen. But those wonders have a dark side—one that will soon force a reckoning few could have anticipated.

Half-demon Briar is content with her structured life as an archivist, a far cry from the chaos of her background and upbringing. Briar’s simple and predictable existence is rocked when she discovers something sinister powers one of the grand, new inventions of her era.

Isabella Castel, the only daughter of Viscount Sherard, is far from the brainless socialite she pretends to be. Isabella is everything Briar is not: passionate, creative and impulsive, but with secrets to rival even Briar’s own. Two more unlikely partners should not exist, yet if the women cannot find a way to work together, they will lose far more than their reputations.

Can a half-demon and a debutante work past their secrets before all hell breaks loose?

TLR Review

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In Development by Rachel Spangler8 In Development by Rachel Spangler

Published by Brisk Press

#Feel  #Discuss

For giving me my favorite celebrity romance plot with all the feels

Amazon Blurb

From a young age, Cobie Galloway made a career of playing the girl-next-door on the silver screen. Only, she’s not a teenager anymore. Ready to challenge herself artistically and earn the part she’s always dreamed of, she’s forced to face the realization that in order to win the roles afforded to edgier actresses, she might first have to audition by playing someone edgier in her day-to-day life.

Pop star Lila Wilder built a multimedia empire by always having her finger on the pulse of what’s hot. However, as she struggles to produce her next smash hit record, she’s finding it hard to keep her name in the public eye, and a string of tumultuous relationships with Hollywood boy-toys no longer captivates anyone’s attention.

Both women tentatively agree to a headline-grabbing fauxmance, with two simple rules: Always stick to the script, and never forget that on the stage of public perception, nothing is real. Can two women find love in a world of carefully crafted illusions, or will a successful charade mean the potential for something more gets left on the cutting-room floor?

TLR Review

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Breaking Character by Lee Winter9 Breaking Character by Lee Winter

#Feel  #Discuss

Another celeb fauxmance, with serious character development and a love of Shakespeare

Amazon Blurb

Life has become a farcical mess for icy British A-lister Elizabeth Thornton. America’s most-hated villain stars in a top-rated TV medical drama that she hates. Now, she’s been romantically linked to her perky, new co-star, Summer, due to the young woman’s clumsiness. As a closeted actress, that’s the last thing Elizabeth needs. If she could just get her dream movie role, life would be so much better. The only problem is that the eccentric French film-maker offering it insists on meeting her “girlfriend”, Summer, first. Summer Hayes is devastated when her co-star shuns her for accidentally sparking rumors they’re lovers. Now the so-called British Bitch has the audacity to ask Summer to pretend to be her girlfriend to get her a role? Elizabeth doesn’t even like Summer! Oh, how she’d love to tell her no. And Summer definitely would if it wasn’t for the fact she’s maybe a tiny bit in love with the impossible woman. A lesbian celebrity romance about gaining love, losing masks, and trying to stick to the script.

TLR Review coming soon

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Kennel Club by Geonn Cannon10 Kennel Club by Geonn Cannon

#Feel  #Discuss

Urban fantasy with suspense, action, and love between two women that doesn’t falter

Amazon Blurb

The wolf has been caged.

Ariadne Willow has been framed for murder. Upon her arrival at the police station, she’s given a choice: accept GG&M’s offer in exchange for her freedom, or risk going up against GG&M in court. Ari refuses and is sent to prison to await trial. Dale teams up with Ari’s mom and, along with Milo Duncan’s British pack, begins looking for ways to either prove Ari’s innocence or take down Cecily Parrish once and for all.

Time is not on their side. In addition to the usual dangers of prison, Ari only has four weeks before the wolf forces her to transform, exposing her as a canidae.

With the clock ticking on her secret and a seemingly all-powerful enemy who holds all the cards, the odds against Ari and Dale have never been higher. This time, if they can’t find a way to turn the tables, the underdogs might be out of the game for good.

TLR Review

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