For the last few years I’ve written a post on my top 12 books of the year, and my top 12 series’ of the year. This time I’m going to do thinks a little differently and talk about my top 3 reads in various categories/genres/tropes.
First category is Contemporary Romance.
This is a genre I’ve found myself reading less and less of, at least in terms of ‘straight’ contemporary. My first, and greatest, love in reading was the sci-fi/fantasy genre with authors such as Anne McCaffrey, Julian May, Katherine Kerr, Andre Norton and David Eddings being amongst my favourites. Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams will forever hold a special place in my heart, and prominence on my book shelf. Of late I have found myself drawn back to the genre, but preferring those books which also combine it with a good love story.
However I have read some excellent contemporary romances this year, and actually struggled to narrow the group down to a top 3! Colour me surprised because I didn’t actually expect to find even that number to include.
1. Bass-Akwards by Eris Adderly.
This is one seriously under-recognised author. Her writing is superb and I just wished she was more well known, Eris thoroughly deserves it.
It’s the story of a seriously messed up pair, who are dysfunctional to the extreme yet who somehow come together to create something wonderful. It’s one of those “so wrong, it’s right” stories and I loved every minute of it.
My full review can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/04/09/bass-akwards-eris-adderly/ – for what, to me, is a must read book.
2. Crazy on You by Amelia Wilde.
This is part of a series of books on the Bliss brothers, and oh what bliss they do bring. I really enjoyed the whole series, but Charlie and Leta just had that something extra special about them.
It’s a second chance romance, which has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I’m just a sucker for folks getting their much needed HEA and this story just ticked all my boxes.
The full review can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/05/31/crazy-on-you-bliss-brothers-4-by-amelia-wilde/. This is a book that will give you plenty of feels.
3. Rogue Wave by Gwyn McNamee.
This is part of an ongoing series, which really needs to be read in order to fully enjoy and understand the back story. Each book features one couple, Cutter, the hero in this one, is a complete alpha-hole but in the best way possible. He’s constantly brought down to size by the bad-ass heroine that is Valentina.
The book is full of twists, turns and steam. Find the full review here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/08/22/rogue-wave/.
I did have a fourth book, Rebel’s Redemption by Lexi C Foss, that I also need to mention. It is A-MAZ-ING and it’s only because I’m going to be featuring this author in other categories that I didn’t feature the book more widely here.
Next are my favourite 3 books containing BDSM. This was a category that I DID struggle with deciding on, I could easily have included many more books. In fact I’m featuring a series as one of my choices.
1. Special Agent BDSM series by C.P. Mandara.
There are 6 books in the series, the final one was released a few days ago and I am currently reading (and loving) it. The first book, Sparks, is free. It is more erotic, less dark than the subsequent books, which take us into a dark, underground world full of danger and kink.
These have been amongst my most favourite reads of the year in any genre/trope. The author writes with a subtle humour and her characters are always strong. In fact along with Cari Silverwood, she has written some of my favourite heroines.
Sparks review link – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/09/03/special-agent-bdsm-1/
Smoke review link – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/09/04/special-agent-bdsm-2/
Flames review link – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/09/05/special-agent-bdsm-3/
Fire review link – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/09/06/special-agent-bdsm-4/
Embers review link – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/12/21/embers/
Ashes – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3104159478
2. Twisted Fates by Kitty Thomas.
Let’s face it, Kitty Thomas is the QUEEN of the dark romance. If you haven’t read Comfort Food I can only say – “Why?”. It’s not an easy read but it is amazing, as is Twisted Fates which is part of the interlinked Pleasure House series and may be read as a stand alone story.
Whilst it’s a morally dubious story, it doesn’t contain non-consent and the dubious consent isn’t all that dubious either. On paper we should hate the hero, and in real life I’d want to see him locked away from society for a very long time. However Kitty persuades us that not only is Lyndsay perfect for Shannon, but she made me love him too.
My review can be found here – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2654606.Kitty_Thomas – heaven only knows why I haven’t shared it on the blog yet. It must have been a busy arc period!
3. Black Light: Scandalized by Livia Grant.
Technically the Black Light books can be read stand alone, though part of this story builds on a short story by the same author in the Celebrity Roulette anthology. The book features two separate couples, mainly focusing on two new characters, Shane and Nalani, but also concluding Piper and Nolan’s story that began in Switched.
This book should have a trigger warning – there is a very violent and detailed rape scene. It wasn’t added just for the shock factor and the aftermath was handled well, in my opinion.
My review can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/10/30/a-journey-into-the-world-of-black-light/.
1. The Savage Duet by Nicolina Martin.
The link will take you to all 5 books of the Russo Saga. It’s a series of interlinked books, all of which I can highly recommend, but the duet of Absolution and Redemption are definitely my favourites. T
he story takes you to hell and back, along with the anti-hero and heroine. There were times. whilst reading Absolution, where i had to take an “feelings break” in order to recharge my emotional batteries.
My reviews for this duet can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/08/08/redemption/ – and here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/08/24/book-review-absolution/
2. The Kingmaker Saga #2, 3 & 4 by London Miller.
Book #1, White Rabbit: The Rise, was listed amongst my favourite reads of 2018. The series has gone from strength to strength this year, with the release of 3 further books and the imminent release of book #5, Dark Horse.
White Rabbit: The Fall, Black Swan and Red Herring continue the story of Belladonna and The Kingmaker, otherwise known as Karina and Uilleam. And oh what a twisty, cat-and-mouse, game-of-chess, power-play story it is. London Miller has an amazing talent for weaving a complex tale where a seemingly random array of threads pull together at the last minute to form an intricately detailed tapestry.
My links can be found here – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2722883777?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 , here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/05/27/black-swan-the-kingmaker-saga-3-by-london-miller/ – and here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/08/17/red-herring/.
3. Beauty (Part 1 & Part 2) by Kirsty Dallas.
Part of the Blaire’s World collection, and based on Anita Gray’s books of the same name, this is a dark and delicious duet. It delves into the underbelly of society, a world of pain, cruelty and evil and it doesn’t pull it’s punches.
One could argue that this belongs in the “Dark” catagory, below, but it’s my post so it’s my rules.
My reviews can be found here – https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2705398076?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 and here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/05/19/beau2y-part-1-by-kirsty-dallas/.
Again, I need to mention a Lexi C Foss book, this time it is the amazing Scarlet Mark. Part of the Cavalieri Della Morte series, it was the book that brought the author to my attention. When I discovered this was her first foray into Romantic Suspense I was gobsmacked to say the least. I tell you, she hit this one out of the ball park, and then some.
I’m going to finish today’s post with my top 3 Dark Reads of the year, and will be back tomorrow with 4 other categories of goodness to share. I think this was the hardest group to pare down to just 3 books, but I did it eventually!
1. The Five by Lily White.
No list is complete without a Lily White book, she is an expert at knowing how to mess with your mind. She’s had some personal struggles this year, so has been very quite for the last few months, but we are expecting a new release soon and I, for one, can’t wait to read more by this wonderful author.
The Five is typical Lily White, and was a very popular Book of the Month over in the Dark Erotica group on Goodreads. It’s not your typical romance and is very psychological, testing your morals, pushing your boundaries and challenging your judgemental side. It was a book that seemed to have a marmite effect, dividing readers into loved it or hated it. I was most definitely in the former camp and highly recommend it.
My review can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/03/20/the-five-by-lily-white/.
2. Crazy Broken Love by Jennifer Bene.
This story started life as Cocoon in the ‘Just Breathe‘ anthology, but has since been extended and improved, even though I didn’t feel that was possible as I thought the original was already perfect.
This is not as dark a piece of work as we are used to from Ms Bene. It does contain strong elements of dub-con, hence including it in this group. Crazy Broken Love spoke to me deeply and left me questioning my own prejudices, however unintentional they are.
My review of this amazing story can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/11/16/a-truly-crazy-story/.
3. Dark Necessities Prequel series by Felicity Brandon.
For some reason the link only takes you to the first two books of the trilogy. Book #3, Forbidden, can be found here. The trilogy of books are NOT stand alone and must be read in order, they feature Ethan and Lily, the parents of Conor, who is the anti-hero of the original Dark Necessities trilogy.
Despite not liking Ethan for most of the story, my love for Lily (and her love of Ethan) made this one gripping must-read series for me. It’s dark and Ethan is not a good man, not a good man at all. But he does love Lily and that was his saving grace for this reader.
My review of the books can be found here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/05/07/flawed-by-felicity-brandon/ – here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/06/26/fallen-dark-necessities-prequel-by-felicity-brandon/ – and here – https://louisesbookbuzz.home.blog/2019/08/10/forbidden/.