How do I adjust a list 20+ books down to the Top Ten? Categorise them 😉
I started with series and then went with authors. Still over, I ended up including four authors as honourable mentions so in effect this is my top 10 + 6 #NailedIt! The sneaky two I’ve added at the end were the last books I read in 2016 and they both begged to be included – shhhh 😉 The list is in alphabetical order because to make it to this list the stories have either stayed with me, evoked a book buzz or simply took me on the best metaphorical roller-coaster ride a reader could ask for. Ranking them beyond this is impossible.
Will my favourites be your favourites? You’ll find I’ve selected an eclectic collection of books among my picks. What you should know is I am drawn to edgy, suspenseful stories that have a love interest (not always romance) that usually include dark elements. Basically, I like story-lines that delve into sociology, have bad-ass alpha men and sassy, strong-willed women. Not all the stories below are dark or suspenseful, sometimes I need to switch genres. The one book I considered sweet in this list would be The Wall of Winnipeg and Me. The darkest by far would be the Pretty Stolen Dolls Series. Peruse at your leisure. Each book mentioned is hyperlinked to my review should I tempt you with my musings!
Lily’s Top Ten…Or So
(In no Certain Order)
One Day Soon by A. Meredith Walters
One Day Soon was Yoss and Imogen’s story of survival and their appreciation of the basics in life. A story about the people society rejects and how they live with what they have. This is a tear jerker so have the kleenex ready and, most importantly, go into it blindly.
Chicago War and Filthy Marcellos were some of the series I read and loved throughout 2016. BK writes Mafia/Bratva romantic suspences that have an edge I crave. Whether they are trying to loosen the shackles of the life they were born into or reach for the top job, they all capture the essence (fictionally speaking) of La Cosa Nostra.
Savage Things by Callie Heart
Savage Things was a book in keeping with the brilliant Blood and Roses series that blew me away in 2015. It includes Zeth Mayer and Sloane Romero in a super steamy addition to the Chaos and Ruin Series where at first they appear to be living easy. It doesn’t last long and as usual, the drama brings out the best in them both. There is never anything such as too much Zeth!Pretty fPretty S
Pretty Stolen Dolls by Ker Dukey and K Webster
Pretty Stolen Dolls was one of the darkest stories I enjoyed reading. It takes you on a terrifying journey where a tortured twisted person creates a world in which his captives find themselves apart of his own hellish life. What he doesn’t count on is not everyone can be controlled, contained or broken. Special mention to Whispers and The Roars by K Webster. This is a story you need to know no more than it is dark and that the plot will stand out as being out of the ordinary.
LM writes brilliant dark, witty characters of varying backgrounds, making each of her books an exciting new adventure. Some of the stories have connecting characters and each series is a collection of stories that continue to build on a background plot that connect brilliantly.
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata: took me by surprise. It had a sporting theme to it, which is not usually a lure for me in a book. I mainly listened to the audio version of this story which is a tough test in my opinion. What you accept reading can sound absurd when you listen to it. It’s a slow-burn romance between two stubborn characters. They learn to accept what is important in life for each of them and along the way realise that they can best do that in the company of the other. Loved every minute of this story!
Time and Space by Rachel Robinson:
Crazy Good was one of my favourite books in 2015 and you need to read that and a book or two in between before you start. The men have a common connection: they’re SEALS, serving or retired. Meaning the guys and their women live life to the fullest. This is a story about dealing with loss and learning to move beyond the pain. It involves a romantic triangle that evolves into a moving and challenging story.
The Complete Irreparable Boxed Set by Sam Mariano
This began with a dark scenario that set the basis for a much lighter story. The plot had links to MC/Biker and Mafia backgrounds but it was predominantly the complicated relationship between Ethan and Willow that held centre stage. A steamy story with entertaining banter to lighten the heavier moments.
All That is Lost Between Us by Sara Foster
A taboo story that started off innocently and ended up shattering beyond the epicentre of the drama. This story crosses over generations in both family and the community at large. The setting for story fascinated me to the extent I googled to check it out. It was every bit as beautiful as the author had led me to believe!
All The Rage by T.M. Frazier
ATR is a spin off from the King series. What I liked about this book was the heroine had the lead role. She was every bit as vulnerable as she was strong. A badass who retained her femininity. This book depicts the story of a teenager who is able to grow and find her rightful place in an environment where only the quickest survive. This didn’t have the feel of an average NA suspenseful romance, circumstance placed her way beyond a typical 19 year old.
The only reason CD Reiss doesn’t appear in my top ten, is the books I read were released in 2015. Then I recalled Part 1 of The Marriage Games, released in 2016 and a book I loved. Damn, alas this stays here as I need to read Part 2 before I can justify any adjustments to the list above! CD Reiss writes steamy, erotic stories where the characters validate the smouldering scenes being included. BDSM is a common feature in the books I read of hers this year (with the exception of Shuttergirl) but the lingering memory is of the characters rather than their lifestyles.
Her books always blow me away! TLC was a solid 4.5 Star read. Basically, it is Mercy’s appearance’s in her MC books that I look forward to and her exceptional writing. The Lean Dogs MC is a biker series where the toughest of tough become the most lovable guys when they fall in love. Now, that kind of story is always going to win me over, as long as they keep their kahunas intact LOL.
The Confessions by Tiffany Reisz
One of my favourite novellas I read this year, but to appreciate it you must begin with The Siren, which introduces you to the forbidden, taboo world of Søren, Elenor and, Kingsley. It will open up a world of kink, witty banter and an author who will expand your vocabulary with her entertaining writing!
Strength & Courage Series by Susan Fanetti
I caught up with this series this year. Each book wowed me as it featured on relationships and the hardships life can throw at you. An MC Biker Series from an author who doesn’t sugar coat but always delivers heartfelt stories!
Empire by Lili St Germain
Empire is the conclusion to The Cartel Series. I am sneaking this book in because of Dornan Ross. He is a character who made my blood run cold with his heartless behaviour in The Gypsy Brothers Series. Then I read about his early years in this series and while he has not redeemed himself in my eyes (because nothing could condone his actions) I now feel pity and empathy for the catalyst that ignited his rage. At the end of the day, he was still a villain and a victim himself. For a book to evoke any change in feelings towards such a character is just short of a miracle in my opinion!
Whispers and The Roars by K Webster
Now technically, according to my listing methodology, I could have included this in the Top 10 books, but as it was written solely by K Webster I have placed it here. This is a book I can say little about apart from it is a dark, heartwarming story of unconditional love. The precipice of the plot is not disclosed until almost half way into the story. It’s not a plot base you read a lot about and when you read a lot of dark romance finding something outside of the norm is gold. While the plot is I thought slowly became predictable, there were a lot of twists along the way I didn’t see coming.
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- Losing It All by Kati Wilde - August 10, 2020
- Healing of the Wolf by Cherise Sinclair - July 3, 2020
- Ancient Protector by Katie Reus - June 29, 2020
- Lone Star by Lauren Gilley - June 5, 2020
- Prodigal Son by Lauren Gilley - May 20, 2020
- When He’s Dark by Suzanne Wright - May 4, 2020
- Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh - February 24, 2020
- Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews - January 17, 2020