Top 5… Books with Morally Grey Characters

Top 5 Books With Morally Grey Characters

Top 5 is a weekly meme hosted by Devouring Books – do visit them as a thank you for running it! It’s a great way to find even more gems to add to your TBR mountain.

There are three simple rules –

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post on Devouring Books.
  • Tag 5 people.

Morally grey characters are my favourite type of antihero (or heroine), narrowing the list down to just 5 will be a tough call! A dark romance isn’t dark without at least one character with questionable ethics. And if there’s one think I love it’s a romance that is wrong in all the right ways.

1 – Ryke, Branded Possession by Cari Silverwood

If this was a contemporary romance, based on Earth with Ryke as a human, I would consider him morally depraved and somewhat evil. He carries an air of menace and dark about him, exploiting the attraction between Gio and himself in order to manipulate her. However, since this is based in another universe I really liked him instead. In all probability I would run screaming in the opposite direction if I met Ryke, but my word he did some hot things to Gio!

Title – Branded Possession (Machinery of Desire #3)
Author – Cari Silverwood
Genre – Erotic Science Fiction Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39668394-branded-possession

Humans are precious on Aerthe.
Except for Gio.

Gio has killed. Now she is to be broken by Ryke, the King’s Own Lawgiver, a hooded, scarred man who exterminates people as if they were insects underfoot.
She will pay for her sins with her body, spill her secrets, and sob out her misery on Ryke’s spears.
The man has his ways. Though he reserves special treatment for his females, no one has ever escaped being broken. Clinging to hope, Gio prays she can still save her people.
But is there more to Ryke than torturer extraordinaire? Does a heart hide beneath the cold exterior?

Deep in the Underdeck of the royal landship, Ryke and his new toy, Gio, will wrestle with secrets from his past and maybe, just maybe, discover a way for his despicable people to salvage what’s left of themselves and find peace on Aerthe.
Inspired by the Gor series by John Norman

2. Sophia, Bedroom Hymns by Morgan Reeves

Sophia is the victim of a despicable crime but throughout it all she strives to be anything but a victim. The world she was dragged into made her behave well outside the bounds of the law and societal norms but my word she is one of my favourite bass-ass heroine. She is ‘da bomb’, with an steel core forged from the trials of both her childhood and her ‘training’ to be a slave.

Title – Bedroom Hymns
Author – Morgan Reeves
Genre – Erotic Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36110296-bedroom-hymns

They took me, broke me, remade me in their image. I am branded by their twisted ambitions; martyred by their greed. They ground me down until I was everything they wanted and more, and at the end I thanked them for it.
Jackson. Dominic. Cole.
They forced me to love them, and then they cast me aside like yesterday’s trash. But they taught me to be the best. So that’s exactly what they’ll get. Because in the end… Revenge is sweeter than love.
And they’ll never see me coming.

3. Synek AND Iris, Syn by London Miller

Syn is one of the most violent, crazy and messed-up of heroes, but at the same time you just can’t resist him. I totally bought into his character and loved him. I felt the background on how Iris had become a bounty hunter was a little vague, but I still really liked her, she was a strong, independent and no-nonsense woman. Syn and Iris worked so well as a couple. They had enough in common to understand each other, whilst being different enough that together they formed a perfect whole.

Title – Syn (Den of Mercenaries #6)
Author – London Miller
Genre – Organised Crime/Romantic Suspense
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38100623-syn

ONE NIGHT WAS ALL HE WANTED …
Synek ‘Syn’ Jøsson has never been anything more than a jaded, broken man trying not to lose himself in his darker urges, but sometimes, the need to do something reckless proves too strong.

ONE NIGHT WAS ALL SHE NEEDED …
Every job brings Iris Adler one step closer to the vengeance she swore against the men that murdered her father, so when she‘s tasked with finding a man that’s as terrifying as he is tempting, she refuses to back down.
ONE NIGHT WAS MORE THAN THEY BARGAINED FOR …
Two broken people searching for a way out of the darkness.
One impossible relationship they never saw coming.
Nothing proves more complicated than love in all the wrong places. 

4. Toby, Fools Paradise by Lilliana Anderson

Toby is the oldest brother in a family of career criminals. It’s the life the brothers were born into and they have never had a choice about it. I had been a little in love with Toby since we first saw his hidden heartache in Fool Me Twice, Book #1 of the series. In each successive book we’ve caught glimpses of a man who constantly puts his family before his own happiness. So this book was going to go one of two ways……… I was going to be broken in the best possible way, or I was going to be hugely disappointed. Thankfully I loved it.

Title – Fool’s Paradise (Cartwright Brothers #5)
Author – Lilliana Anderson
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42248462-fool-s-paradise

My job had a very specific goal: I found people who didn’t want to be found and delivered them to whoever employed me. After that, well, I tried not to think about what happened while I spent my money on things that made me happy. Resorts, men…I lived life by the seat of my pants because I never knew where I’d be the next week, or who I’d be looking for.
When the head of a lesser-known criminal family hired me to find her son, I wasn’t sure what I was walking into. I had his photo, so I knew the man was hot with a capital H. But I expected the usual agitated scumbag I normally went after. Not some guy running a fishing charter and looking like he didn’t have a care in the world.

I might have been curious. I might have gotten a little too close. I might have done a lot of things I shouldn’t have. Things that could get me killed this time. But hey, life wasn’t always about making the right choices. It was about making good ones.
And Toby Cartwright was a great choice.

5. Christian, Redemption by Nicolina Martin

Christian is all things bad, yet somehow through his unrelenting misery and pain, the author gives us a glimpse of who he could be. She allows us to begin to forgive the monster who made the wrong choice and begin to love the man who will do anything for those he loves. He isn’t a good or nice man, he is violent and threatening and comes very close to murdering the heroine.

Title – Redemption (Russo Saga #4)
Author – Nicolina Martin
Genre – Dark Romantic Suspense/ Mafia Romance
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49220632-redemption

Redemption: Part one in the Savage duet.
Killing her wasn’t supposed to be complicated.
Drug Kerry Jackson and get rid of her, that was his simple task, but he screwed up everything. Unable to resist the enticing young woman, Christian seduced her and fell hard. Then it all went to hell. She beat him at his own game and disappeared without a trace. No one crossed a Russo and got away with it.
Night after night, their steamy encounters melted her will and twisted her mind. Then Christian Russo turned out to be her worst enemy. He robbed Kerry of her innocence, stole her trust, and made her life a living nightmare.

A second encounter would be fatal. For one of them. And Kerry was determined that it wasn’t going to be her.

MELODY (Beautiful Book #3) by Lilliana Anderson

4.5 STARS


A heart-achingly, angsty great read.

Well, just wow. This book sure puts it’s characters through the ringer and it dragged me through too. I’d not even felt in the right frame of mind to read a ‘straight contemporary’ romance. So colour my surprised when within a couple of chapters I wasn’t wanting to put this one down. This is one emotion filled stand alone read.

Whilst I guessed Theo’s secret fairly early on, there are also plenty of clues and hints made before it is revealed and the ‘surprise’ element isn’t necessary anyway. Personally I prefer knowing in advance because I love that feeling I get waiting for the big ‘Ta-da’ moment. I also appreciated that it wasn’t dragged out a ridiculous length of time in the book. I’ve read much poorer quality stories where the ‘big secret’ is the entire plot and you spend the whole book waiting for the reveal – I find those stories to be rather pointless.
(Indeed, plot-less might be a more accurate description.)

Whilst technically this is a love triangle, there is absolutely no cheating or sharing (I’m aware many readers have an intense dislike of either) and the situation only becomes sexual once a choice has been made. So in many ways this could be classed as slow-burn but there are enough scenes of sexual chemistry and tension to keep things interesting. 

The book is written 1st person, from all three main characters view point, allowing you to really get a feel for them. Neither guy is easy to like from his actions alone, but when you are ‘inside their head’, so to speak, you see the motivation and reasons behind it. This allowed me to connect with them on a much more emotional and personal level. I definitely had a preference for one of the brothers and admit to checking out who was the hero of the next book – yes I was one of those people who used to read the last few pages of a paperback once I got into a story.

The sign of a good book for me is not admitting it’s too late into the night to still be reading. This book definitely ticked that box. So I’m only too happy to recommend this wonderful, full of feels, contemporary romance.


****Included at the back is the story of Katrina and David’s wedding. They are the couple from book #1. This story also contains spoilers for book #2. ****


AMAZON US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RQZYYFM

AMAZON UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RQZYYFM

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46008177-melody

Synopsis

Marcus and Theo Bailey. 

Matiari frontman and drummer. Brothers. They’re on the cusp of rock star success. Then I show up…

We have history. 
Sordid history.
One of them hates me. The other claims to love me. 
Neither are allowed to touch me.
Band rules.
But working this close to them, the lines love and hate, business and pleasure are easily blurred. Now I have the power to fulfil their dreams or create their nightmare.
All it will take is a kiss…

Naomi enters the love triangle of the century when she falls for brothers she can’t have. She’ll be forced to choose love or fame in Melody: Beautiful Series, three.  Containing new and extended scenes from A Beautiful Melody and Commitment in one breathtaking novel.

STRUGGLE (BEAUTIFUL BOOK 1) by Lilliana Anderson

4 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

This book was formally A Beautiful Struggle and the novella Too Close. Consequently this makes it a fairly long read, but it is well worth spending the time on, as it’s also a rather wonderful story.

Overall I had a very positive experience reading this and on reflection would say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I liked the initial scene setting, world building and getting to know the main players. However I’m going to be brutally honest and say that there was a part of this book that dragged for me. From about 35%-45% I just wasn’t quite feeling it, the pace felt slow and the story line a little repetitive. Then **POW** it really kicked up a gear and I found the Lilliana Anderson I know and love. I found the emotional turmoil, the heartache, the feelings that I had only caught passing moments of, until that point.

This is ‘sort of’ a love triangle, with Katrina torn between her BFF David and her work colleague Elliot. David is the one who she has loved for a very long time but who has already said no to any chance of a relationship. The one man who has always been there for her and can be relied upon, too special to risk losing. Elliot is the hot guy in the office, the one all the girls lust after, but work have a no relationships rule. Is a relationship worth risking their jobs for?

There are times when neither guy deserves Katrina, at one point I even felt as though she should give Connor a chance. They both have baggage that ends up hurting Katrina, leaving the question of who will get their act together first and give her the HEA she deserves?

Since this is an update and re-release of both A Beautiful Struggle and Too Close, I already know who the hero of Book #2 Forever is. Which gave me a heads up of what to expect in this, without actually giving away any spoilers for how this plot would play out. Now in some ways I thought she forgave her ‘forever’ guy a little too easily BUT the heart wants what the heart wants. (view spoiler in my GR review)

The entire story is from Katrina’s point of view, though the author writes with such emotion and passion, that it was very easy to understand how other characters are feeling too. I loved how my feelings towards ALL the main characters altered over the course of the book. There were times I liked them and other times I loathed them, but never did I not care about them – a sure sign of excellent writing.

Katrina very much felt like the young adult she was, sometimes she was naive or foolish, sometimes just down right careless but always believable and real. I sometimes forgot David was the same age, he occasionally felt older, however when I did remind myself of the facts it made his behaviour so much more understandable. Whilst a little older, Elliott was still somewhere between boy and man, evidenced by his lack of backbone where his father was involved. I have to say, normally NA isn’t my thing, the fact that I enjoyed this is further evidence of how good I find this author’s writing.

I loved how the Too Close gave us a deeper understanding of David. It also altered my perception of Struggle, though I’m still undecided on whether I would have preferred to read it first or not. I do recommend reading this book for NA fans, those who love a good emotional contemporary romance and fans of the author. It’s a cracking good read.

“Are you dating him?”
 
I’ve been best friends with David since the beginning of high school, and that question has been asked about us a lot. It’s like people can’t fathom how a super hot, charismatic guy can be just friends with an overly tall, boyish-figured girl. Wait. I think they probably can, because the next question is always a hopeful, “He’s single?”

David is always single. But, he’s never wanting. 

Girls throw themselves at his feet like he’s some kind of rockstar. But not me. No. I’m just his friend; a fact he likes to remind me of at every opportunity. 

And I’m OK with that—I think—because he’s right. Our friendship is too important. And honestly, I don’t want to be one of David’s girls. I see the way he uses them to meet his needs then casts them aside when his interest wanes. I’m not about that life. I want something more. 

Something I don’t think David is capable of giving me. 

That’s not to say I’m immune to his charms. I’ve never been immune. 

delight in the way his eyes twinkle when he smiles at me. 

relish in the way his voice ripples beneath my skin when we share a secret moment. 

And I love the way his fingers feel against my skin when we touch… 

Love. 

Yes, I’ve always loved David. Problem is, David has never loved me. Not the way I want him to, anyway. 

So, what’s a girl to do? Pine and hope for something that will never come? Or suck it up and move on? 

I’m choosing to accept my reality and move on, a choice made easier when I start a new job and the hot AF junior solicitor shows an interest in me despite our office’s ‘No Dating’ policy. 

David should be happy for me. Elliot is the first guy I’ve felt a deep attraction to in years. Despite the secrecy needed, he seems like the perfect distraction from my troubles, the perfect solution to heal my heart. He even likes David and doesn’t make an issue about my best friend being a guy. 

But David isn’t happy. In fact, he’s downright angry over my new relationship. He says he’s worried I’ll get hurt again. But I don’t know, it feels bigger than that. It feels like I’m losing my best friend. Even though I’m playing by his rules. 

What am I supposed to do? While I’m torn with indecision, the choice could be made for me. And this time, I might lose everything… 


Katrina struggles with following her heart or following her mind in this gripping romantic drama featuring new and extended scenes from books A Beautiful Struggle and Too Close, republished as Struggle: Beautiful Series, one.

GOODREADS / AMAZON US / AMAZON UK

LOVE IS A BEACH – Lilliana Anderson

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Our defining moment is a sunburnt kiss.

Darcy, Love is a Beach
They’re going to sell them at the hospital fete as coin purses


**swoon** … just … **swoon**!

Gosh just where do I start with this one? Love is a Beach is quite a story, both in length and plot. It’s too long to really be able to read in one sitting, though the way it held my attention and captured my heart I both wish I could have consumed it in one go, and yet never finished it either. Whilst not a second-chance romance, it is a story of getting a second chance at love, happiness and family. And, whilst ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’, a promise to wait however long it takes is never given lightly.

As he presses a sweet, tender kiss to my lips, my tears fall harder as I wonder if we can survive this when this already feels like dying. It’s one thing to say you’ll wait for someone. 

It’s another to actually do it. My father didn’t stick around. My husband didn’t stick around or even fight for us. And Leo? He could have any woman he wants, why wait an indefinite amount of time for me?

Darcy, Love is a Beach


Not only is this Darcy and Leo’s story, but it is Nana, Archer, Abigail and Niall’s story too. You can’t help but fall in love with these wonderful, troubled and very special people. We all need a Nana in our lives, and if Archer is partly based on her own son, the, Lilliana Anderson has one of the cutest and most wonderful 8 year old boys on the planet. I think Archer could bring world peace and solve all the planets problems if he ever put his mind to it.

“I do hate him. Dad’s aren’t meant to steal, Abby. It’s come-on sense.”


“Don’t you mean ‘common-sense’, dear?” Nana asks.


“No. It’s like when someone does something really dumb and everyone shouts, ‘come on’ at them because they should have known better. 
Come-on sense.”

Archer and Nana, Love is a Beach


The chemistry between Darcy and Leo could be felt, it smoulders from the page and has you rooting for this couple from the off. Leo is a unicorn of a man and I’m so jealous of Darcy finding such a wonderful, yet also very believable, guy to love her. I don’t CARE that he’s fictional, I totally fell for him too. Darcy is so hugely giving and forgiving that you can’t even dislike her. You’re actually pleased that someone as wonderful and special as Leo enters her life, because quite frankly she deserves it.

We just …. click. And I’m at the age where you don’t pass that kind of thing up. You wait. Even if it means the only action you get is with Mrs Palmer and her five daughters for a while

Leo, Love is a Beach


Whilst the author wrote this as a rom-com for me it transcends that genre, or at the very least is the bar by which all other books are judged. It’s more smiley-giggly-fun than snort-through-the-nose laugh out loud BUT that was what I loved about it. Some books do make you howl and chuckle in public, but very often they are also a little too cheesy with fairly 2 dimensional characters. Here the humour is much more observational than slapstick. It’s in the zest for life of the characters, the embarrassing moments we all encounter and that’s what makes it work so well.

..but when the orgasmic shudders subside and reality sets in, it turns out I’m just a forty-year-old woman sitting on top of her Nan’s next-door neighbour, holding her tits up about her neck and looking foolish…..
“I should go.” I frown, and release my tits. They bounce twice, well, it’s not a bounce exactly, more a double tug as gravity taken them back to where it’s dragged them over the years.

Darcy, Love is a Beach


Darcy and Leo find each other quickly and yet also take a long time to find their path too. Yet at no point did the book ever feel as though it was dragging it’s feet. Never did a passage feel like unnecessary filler. Quite simply this couple had one heck of a story to tell, a story of one step forward and two steps back, at times, a story of choosing the right path. A story of two betrayed souls finding the strength to take risks and do what makes them happy, rather than what is safe.

We all sit there, drinking slippery nipples..

“You keep smiling and telling us everything is good, But your eyes are really, really sad.”
“I see.” I take a big, sobering breath, struggling not to let my sad eyes leak sad tears.

Archer and Darcy, Love is a Beach


This is a must read book. It’s sexy and sweet, painful but passionate, hopeless but hopeful. It has two amazing, believable and very human main characters in Leo and Darcy plus a host of supporting characters that range from the sublime to the ridiculous. I can guarantee that not only will you enjoy every single minute of the book but you too will then be recommending it to family and friends.

And finally I feel it’s only right and proper to leave the last few words to Nana and Darcy.

I wonder how Nana and her Bayside Biddies are doing.

“As long as their maypole works and they give as good as they get I’m a happy lady.”
Does anyone else have an eighty-something grandmother who talks this openly about her sex life? No? So, it’s just me then.



Blurb

A word to the wise: when the man of your dreams appears, don’t wear the exact same dress as your nana…

The day Darcy learned the news of her husband’s remission she expected a celebration, or at least a nice piece of cake. Instead, she’s served with divorce papers. Oh, and the knowledge they’re bankrupt. 

With her twenty year union over and two children to support on her own, she moves in with her eccentric grandmother, hoping to find peace and quiet in the seaside town of Bayside. 

What she isn’t expecting to find is a set of saggy old man balls upon arrival. 

Needing to bleach her eyes, calm her screaming teen daughter and stop her eight year old son from filming the chaos to upload, Darcy is already reconsidering the sanity in her decision. Turns out, Nana is quite the player in the retirement circle. 

She also fancies herself a bit of a matchmaker.

Deciding local football legend, Leo Murphy will provide the ultimate distraction for Darcy, Nana enlists the help of her trouble-loving great-grandson with somewhat disastrous results. Leo doesn’t know what hit him. Literally. 

With a great smile and a body to die for, it isn’t hard to convince Darcy to give Leo a chance. It also helps that he has a lot of patience for one particularly rambunctious young boy and can’t run too fast on his busted knee—a captive audience is easily swayed, after all. 

But with a teenager in the midst of a meltdown, a heart cracked and bruised, and a son who keeps her on her toes, even a chance could prove too much for Darcy. Luckily Leo isn’t the kind of man who gives up easily.

Buy Links
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MKQMPKG
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07MKQMPKG/