Give me a break and ask me an easier question, like which of my three kids is my favourite! Top 5 books?! I don’t even think I could narrow it down to Top 5 authors for goodness sake. I’m going to try and narrow it down to five books that changed my reading world in some way.
1 – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Sadly this isn’t the book I owned as a child, and I’m not sure if it’s even the same cover. However I do know that this is where my love of fantasy was first nurtured. Who needed boring real life when one could consort with rabbits, caterpillars and queens?
2 – Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce
I’m not sure if I actually owned a copy of this book, or if I borrowed it from the Library that frequently that it just felt that way. Just as the previous book drew me into the written fantasy world, this sparked my interest in paranormal/ science fiction type reads.
The first photo is the current cover, but I think I prefer the cover that was on the book when I bought it over 4 years ago. When I first got my kindle I filled it with free books, from Amazon. I had read only a handful of books in the previous 10 years or so. This wasn’t the first of those freebies by a long shot, but it was the most memorable and the one that really sparked my love of romance stories. I quickly bought the rest of the books that were available in the series, along with joining Facebook so that I could stalk the author. Whilst my reading tastes have evolved, in the last few years, I still enjoy this authors work, even if I don’t stalk her quite as voraciously as I once did.
I consider Comfort Food to be a rite of passage read. When I discuss dark reads with friends, this so often is mentioned as the book that drew them into the genre. It’s a game changer and you will never, ever look at chicken noodle soup the same again.
This was the first book I bought from reading a sample on kindle. In fact I was one-clicking it well before I even completed that sample. I also hadn’t read any work by this author at that point – or not any written under this pen name. It turned out the funny, paranormal tinged rom-com I had recently finished was also by her. Cari Silverwood is now an automatic one-click for me, I simply can’t get enough of her work.
Should I admit that, despite growing up in the late 70’s/early 80’s, I have never actually watched The Breakfast Club? This weeks prompt at Devouring Books is to post your Top 5 Coming of Age books. I’m not the biggest fan of YA or NA books though I have read a fair few of them over the years.
I could include Little Women, which was a favourite in those years between not quite a child but not yet a true teenager. Then there are the much missed Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett, with those crazy Wee Free Men. However it’s been more than a while since I read those, so my choices are going to be picked from more recent reads.
Top 5 Coming of Age books
Strictly speaking these aren’t necessarily coming of age, though all the main characters undergo personal growth and development, so I am counting that as the same thing.
These are all books I enjoyed, each one rating between 4 and 5 stars.
In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them. Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people. To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters. Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough. Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.
Her nightmares are more than a warning…On the evening of her father’s funeral, Iris’ nightmare bursts with colors, despite her having been color blind since birth. But when she wakes in the morning, her world turns gray once again. Soon after, she encounters three mysterious strangers who are inexplicably drawn to her. Through secrets and deceit, she fears they are all here for one reason…her. Now, night after night, the nightmares continue into a series of disturbing events where Iris finds herself caught in a vibrant collision of past and present. But when the nightmares start to cross into her physical realm, she must find a way to fight for her life, and for a love she may once have had.
Hailey Hartley has just enrolled in the world’s premier supernatural university. It’s a school she’s never heard of, located in a town called The Middle of Nowhere, and run by a creature that’s not supposed to exist. But at least she got a scholarship… Hailey’s dreams have always been, well…vivid. As in monsters from her nightmares follow her into her waking life vivid. When her big sister goes missing, eighteen-year-old Hailey finds only one place offers her answers–a paranormal university in Alaska. There, she studies the science of the supernatural and must learn to live with a roommate from Hell, survive her otherworldly classes, and hope the only creature who can save her from the evil immortal who took her sister doesn’t decide to kill her himself.
After the death of their parents, seventeen year old Liv Larson and her younger brother are separated by the foster care system. Her grades slip, her friends drift away, and she gives up on her plans for college. The only thing that matters is keeping the promise to get back to her brother. After months of solitude and anti-social behavior, Liv’s best friend Rileydrags her to their high school’s rooftop solar flare party. Despite the beautiful lights dancing in the sky, Liv finds herself captivated by Zander, a mysterious boy with a crooked smile. For a few hours, she allows herself to feel normal again. That is until what should have been a small flare erupts into a massive solar storm. Cut off from the rest of the world with no sign of rescue, fear and paranoia begin to take their toll on the group. Battle lines are drawn and their ranks are divided. Soon, those left behind must embark on a perilous journey to save one of their own…but, something sinister awaits them in the shadows and it’s undeniably connected to Liv. Can she keep her promise to reunite with her brother? What are Liv and her friends willing to do to survive? Will their bravery and determination be enough to save them all from a rogue military unit, a terrifying virus, and the things that go bump in the night? Or was Icarus really the KILLSHOT?
Centuries ago, the Goddess of all Omegas betrayed her mate by falling in love with the infamous Lord of Xibalba. Enslaved for a crime they did not commit… To prevent Omegas from repeating History, the Gods created the Mark. A barbarous, merciless act, maiming an Omega for life, forging an unbreakable bond between an Alpha and his mate. Their quest for freedom just found its beacon of hope Change was coming, centuries-old traditions were finally questioned… before the people of Khelliom lost their King, before the Dragons of the North decided to take control of the Realm, before Kiara, Omega princess from a southern Clan, rumored to be the reincarnation of the Goddess, seeking to reveal the truth behind the greatest lie of all times. Laying down a path, paved with suffering and sorrow Caught up in the brewing war, Kiara must grow stronger if she wants to uncover the deceit of the Alphas around her, and survive the return of the Gods, each coming to claim her for their own.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Whilst I love Second Chance romances, I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of books that I need to GIVE a second chance too. That said, sometimes we have to be in the right frame of mind to really enjoy a book, or indeed to even get into it in the first place. There are a few books that I DNF’d but still have on my kindle specifically for that very reason of wanting to give them another go. In fact I never considered them as DNF’s so much as To Be Finished At A Later Time.
This just felt like it was trying a little too hard to be shocking and edgy and ‘out there’. More forced than an organic part of the story. However I tried reading this just as the world descended into chaos and we were put in lockdown in the UK. So my state of mind at the time played a big part in reading enjoyment. A lot of my friends who share the same reading tastes loved this, so I want to give it another go.
~ Malakai ~ On the outside, we look normal, like an all-American Christian family, but behind the walls of this church basement, we are far from it. My mother says it’s her calling, my father says it’s our blessing, and my sister says it’s fun. I say we’re fucked. I don’t know if what we’re doing is really what God wants us to do, I just know that the more we do it, the more natural it feels. Natural. What we’re doing and the reason behind it is far from natural. In my family, love blends with hate, duty with torment, and blood with water. We are the Courtenay family and this is the story about how it all went wrong.
~ Adriel ~ Her actions shattered my family, leaving it half alive. And I hate her for it. My brother is broken. His torment suffocates him as he claws his way through the aftermath of her decisions. Despite it all, he remains by my side. The life we knew has been gutted, rotting into a million pieces. We have no home, nowhere to go, but I don’t care because we still have each other. He’s the only one that can see beneath my flesh to touch me in my darkest places. Our choices have taken us on a new path. A shimmering sea of blood trails behind us on our search for purpose and reason. No matter what happens, I refuse to let anything or anyone keep us apart. I’ll burn the world to ash before I’ll let him go.
I originally found the plot to be a little eye-rollingly far-fetched. However if I know to expect it in advance, I find it much easier to go with the flow. I’ve been know to read spoilers for books because occasionally I need to be forewarned and therefore forearmed. I went on and enjoyed book 2, so I really do want to see if my mind has changed on this one.
“If he’s gross, I’m bailing.” That’s what I said to my supposed best friend when she asked me to take her place. A blind date, she said. What harm could it do? He was charming. Beautiful. God’s finest creation. He wined me and dined me. Made me do things I’d never before dreamt of in the bedroom. It was perfect. Dangerous. Arousing. But she didn’t tell me the full story. She didn’t tell me about the debt she owed. And now Quinn Cane wants his money’s worth, and he’s going to make me pay whatever way he can. “A debt needs to be paid.” The woman who came to meet me didn’t owe me money. I could tell by her innocent eyes. Still, the debt will be paid either way. She was something to play with and use as I saw fit, but something about Emily Brooks made me want to keep her. So she became my dirty girl. Pure. Innocent. Mine. Then she whispered my damned name and invaded my world, changing its reasoning. She wasn’t meant to break the rules. But she rolled my dice and won.
I was overloaded with arcs when I read this one and I just didn’t “feel” the book. In general I have enjoyed this author’s work and the book has good ratings, so this may well have been a case of it’s me not you and it’s me at the moment but not forever.
Rules. They’re a necessity. They make the world go ‘round and help idiots function in society. Most don’t require much thought and are easy to follow—or so I thought… I didn’t realize, however, that the new group of people I became friends with could have so many. No sleeping with group member’s moms? Easy enough. No shirts at the BBQ? I’m all over that. Do you know how hot it gets in Texas during summertime? No sleeping with others in the group? Now this one… This one is killing me. If you saw Joseph Snow, with those killer abs and cocky smirk, you’d be thinking the exact same thing… rules are meant to be broken.
Pepper Winters writes with such an ornate and poetic feel. Her descriptions transport you to the setting and she immerses you within the character’s emotions. I felt like this was a 5 star read for the first third, then it seemed to fall into a repetitive cycle that was just filling pages. This is another example of when knowing what is coming allows me to move on and enjoy the story, rather than getting caught up in my dissatisfaction.
“Must be slim, able to stand for long periods of time, and be impervious to the cold.” The headline caught my attention. “Hours are negotiable, pay is minimal, clothing absolutely forbidden.” The second line piqued my curiosity. “Able to hold your bladder and tongue, refrain from opinions or suggestions, and be the perfect living canvas.” The third made me scowl. “Other attributes required: non-ticklish, contortionist, and obedient. Must also enjoy being studied while naked in a crowd.” The fourth made me shudder. “Call or email ‘YOUR SKIN, HIS CANVAS’ if interested in applying.” The final made my heart race. I should’ve kept scrolling past the advertisement. I should’ve applied for the boring receptionist job at minimum wage. I should’ve clicked on any other job where I got to keep my clothes on. But I didn’t. I applied. My interview is tomorrow…
Another casualty of arc commitment overextension. I did complete this but in a skimming, rushing to tick a box way, rather than a take time and enjoy it. It’s also the first book in a trilogy that I never completed, so this is on my list more as a “complete the series” than an individual re-read.
I’m obsessed with a woman who’s nothing but trouble. She’s feisty and tempting. And she doesn’t let anything come in the way of her mission. I’ve dealt with my fair share of rule-breakers. So, Delilah isn’t what I need. But I can’t stop dreaming about having her in my arms. She might be hiding a secret. A secret that could destroy me and burn the city to the ground. There’s only one question that remains. Is she worth the destruction that she’s about to cause?
Top 5 is a weekly meme hosted by Devouring Books, where each Saturday you share your Top 5 books on a given theme. The idea is to tag 5 other blogs, but I don’t seem to have much luck with tagging people from WordPress, so if you’re interested in writing your own post then consider yourself tagged!
Kate Canterbary was one of the many authors I discovered soon after I got my first e-reader. She’s one of the few who I still read to this day, a fact made even more impressive by the fact that “just” contemporary romance doesn’t feature very high on my TBR list these days. Preservation was the final book of a wonderfully written, very salty, incredibly steamy and full of feels series based around the Walsh family. It is the story of the youngest brother, Riley, and his special someone. To truly appreciate all that is Riley, from his man-bun to his eclectic dress sense (including a propensity to not do up his flies), his love of all things super-hero and his gift of giving people nicknames, you really need to read the whole series. There was so much hype, so much expectation for his story, that I was worried it would prove to be a disappointing let down. It wasn’t, in fact it was the cherry and icing on a delicious, not-to-be-bested cake of delightful love stories.
Two lonely hearts. Just once, she’d like to be someone’s first choice. She’s strong-willed and spunky, but she’s left picking up the pieces from her ex’s lies and manipulations, and daydreaming about taking a scalpel to his scrotum. Flying under the radar is what he does best. He’s laid-back and loyal, but he wants the most off-limits woman in his world, and nothing will ever make that a reality. An arrangement of mutual benefit. Two months, four dates. Five, if things go well. Five at the most. But possibly six. Definitely no more than six dates. Only the appearance of a romantic relationship is required, and they expect nothing more from their time together. There will be none of those benefits involved. One wild weekend. After waking up in bed together—very naked and even more hungover—the terms and conditions of their arrangement no longer apply. Now they’re faced with something riskier than exposing their fake relationship: letting go of the past and zipping up the future. Some things have to fall apart before they can be put back together.
Cari Silverwood writes in a genre all of her own. Her men range from flat out bad through to good but with devious tendencies. Her heroines are strong and smart but with a craving to submit to the delicious torment their heroes devise. Dry wit and humour are always part of the mix, along with sound world building and entertaining plots. Blade is the story of two people travelling through space an a glorious quest, accompanied by a sentient sword who likes to chat, and can be read as a stand alone.
When irresistible force meets irresistible girl more than sparks will fly – fur, spiky bits, and possibly tentacles. Ledderik is a slightly homicidal cyborg and is ready to lose himself in a virtual world for the rest of his tomorrows, until he saves Thorn from death and gets sucked into the wake of her cataclysmic siren attraction. Maybe life can be fun? Besides, she has such a cute … tail. One small problem, Led no longer owns his body. Thorn has also lost everything in one day. Cross out being a starship captain or her own species, or having friends. Instead she’s been cursed with being a hurricane force sexual magnet. She has questions. Why is she a biohazard on most reputable planets and how can she avoid triggering an extinction event and killing every male nearby? The two of them cross the galaxy, with Led swapping from loaner body to loaner body. He’s the one male who can resist her, and he’s upskilling. Up against the wall? Upside down? With tentacles and DD drilling power? Led is good at what he does. Always. Meet the hot ex-cyborg who no longer looks in the mirror, in case his latest loaner body is ugly. He has one priority – make sure the downstairs department is BIG. Warning. This story may contain robots, cyborgs, dark naughtiness, and species that come equipped with extra wriggly bits.
If you visit here frequently, you’ll be aware that I may feature this author rather a lot. The 1000 Revolutions is one of my favourite series by her, it boths surprises and saddens me to know that it isn’t a good seller. Maybe it has too much romance for those more into sci-fi and isn’t steamy/explicit enough for the romance audience. For those of us who love both genres this is the perfect blend and truly deserves greater recognition to my mind. Caleb Sheppard is full of bad choices, One is a malfunctioning AI, Fran can be trusted just about as far as you can throw her and far too many have a bone to pick with them.
WARNING. Rated: R. Restricted. Contains space battles, killer AI, intergalactic ass-kicking. Read at own risk. She is programmed to kill. He’ll do anything to survive. Ex-con Captain Caleb Shepperd believes being good is overrated. All he wants is to smuggle illegal cargo through the nine systems and live a prosperous (likely short) life on the wrong side of the law. But there’s a problem with that plan. The priceless synthetic stowaway on his ship is a distraction he doesn’t need. Torn between selling her and tossing her out the airlock, Shepperd fails to realize the synth is a killer, and he’s the one locked in her sights. In a world where only one thousand synthetics were built, synthetic number One Thousand and One should not exist. She is no ordinary synth. Memories locked inside her code could bring Shepperd—and the entire nine systems—to its knees. Captain Shepperd and the oppressive corporations are about to learn that you can’t hide from the sins of your past, especially when that past has orders to kill.
Elin Peer is a relationship coach, and that feeds into her romances, which avoid all the cliches and usual tropes of a contemporary romance. What I can rely on is reading a story where characters actually discuss their feelings and share concerns, though they are far from perfect. I also know that I will get a story filled with emotion and genuine feelings.
Am I the only one who purrs inside when I hear a deep male voice with a sexy Scottish accent? Logan MacKay is a complicated man, scarred from a plane crash that left him gloomy and withdrawn. And yet, when we speak on the phone, the confident and flirtatious man he used to be, comes out to play. Of course, he has no idea that ‘Mary’, the stranger he flirts with on the phone, is me. To him, I’m Faith. The too happy cheerleader who brings out his anxiety for beautiful women. It’s not that I want a relationship with him. I just want to help him past his ridiculous belief that all women find him unattractive because of his scars. Damaged people like Logan, are the whole reason I’m studying to be a psychologist. With my eternal optimism, I can fix Logan. I know I can. If only he would stop scowling at me and say yes to my brilliant idea of taking me in as his roommate. I’m broke and need a place to stay, and he needs help with the house chores. What could possibly go wrong?
Cassandra Faye is the paranormal/fantasy alter ego of Jennifer Bene. In Fae we get the same darkness that we have come to expect, but with magic, gods and intrigue. This story held me rapt from the beginning to the end, with a tough as nails heroine and a hero with unexpected warmth and reserve. From the world building, to the plot, pace and characterisation I loved every single moment.
Chosen. Cursed. Enslaved. Fae just wants to live day to day. She doesn’t want to think about a future filled with another two thousand years of servitude. She doesn’t want to think about her past, or the way she failed the goddess she swore to serve forever. And she really doesn’t want to think about the men and women that suffer around her every day while she can’t protect them – no matter how hard she tries. She’s definitely not ready when her entire world is turned upside down and the one person she would never choose to spend a minute with shows up. After millennia of suffering, is it even possible to trust someone? To let herself believe that good still exists? Damned. Cursed. Corrupted. Kiernan doesn’t know what he wants. After centuries of bloodshed, and war, and killing – he’s waking up, and if the things he dreams in his sleep were only nightmares that would be one thing, but they’re all real. The only light in his darkness is a girl inside a glass, and he can’t stop watching her. Her bravery fascinates him, inspires him. Her suffering is what he deserves. Yet some part of him craves more, craves something good. But is there anything that can be done when gods have used you as pawns in their own war? Can good things come out of evil?
This was a childhood favourite read, and I’m fairly sure it’s from a male point of view. I loved anything fantasy/mythological from a young age and this book ticked all my boxes. I remember being incredibly moved when we discovered Hetty’s true identity. A much loved classic.
This is written entirely from Brian, the hero’s, point of view. Whilst a part of me would have liked to have heard the heroine’s voice, I still enjoyed this second-chance romance. It’s a beautiful and heart-warming tale, best of all this book raises money for charity – https://www.anasimons.com/what-truly-matters
This was the very first romance book I ever read that was written solely from a male POV. It took me a little while to ‘get into’ the feel of it, but it was both intriguing and very enjoyable to follow Lucas’ story and I would recommend giving this story a chance.
This is a meme hosted by Devouring Books, and each week they provide a prompt or topic to inspire a book Top 5. This weeks suggestion is “books about plants/flowers (Can be on cover, in title or plot)”, and for once not a single book immediately sprang to mind. Thankfully Goodreads came to my rescue, yet again.
As always I’m featuring books that I’ve read and enjoyed.
White Rabbit (The Kingmaker Saga #1) by London Miller
I’m mentioning the first book in this series, though the theme of flowers, or specifically blue roses, runs throughout the series. They were one of the ways that Uilleam wooed Karina, after his greed and corruption destroys her, they become the chilling calling card of the sinister Belladonna. A romantic suspense series, with a complex plot, two powerful and determined main characters and a love that spans the eons, these books are some of my all time favourite reads. London Miller has a magical way with words and the ability to make you love-hate-love her characters, simultaneously wanting to kill them and hug them at the same time.
As an investigative journalist, Karina Ashworth’s job involves delving into New York’s black market of criminals and mischief where sin is almost too tempting to ignore. When she crosses paths with a man whose smile is a little too cunning—and his power a little too vast—she learns very quickly that dancing with the devil is far more enjoyable than she had ever imagined. But Uilleam Runehart is not at all what he seems, and as a notorious fixer with a thirst for power, he’ll do anything to obtain his title. Ruthless. Sinful. Seductive. How much would you pay to be a king?
The Romeo Effect (Cupids #4) by Lila Monroe
So for my second choice I’ve picked a light and fluffy rom-com with a heroine who owns a florists. Seth is a professional matchmaker who definitely meets his match in April, particularly since she is far more interested in him than she is the guy who is paying Seth to engineer a meeting for him with April. Lila Monroe’s books are always a guaranteed mood lightener and can usually be relied on for giggles alongside a great story.
Seth Harding is a real-life cupid. If you get trapped in an elevator with a handsome stranger, or stranded on a moonlit cruise with the man of your dreams, chances are, it’s not fate bringing the two of you together, it’s Seth somewhere, pulling the strings. At least, that’s what I find out, when someone hires Seth to help win my heart. It would be romantic… if he weren’t all wrong for me. And Mr Right…? Well, he might just be the guy behind the scenes. Suddenly, my faith in soulmates is hitting a major complication. Seth is cynical, and argumentative… and seriously irresistible. Soon, the sparks between us are impossible to ignore. But can this hopeful romantic really find love with a man who engineers happily-ever-afters for a living? And when all the tricks and tests are stripped away, what makes two people truly meant to be?
In the Garden of Discontent by Lily White
This author provides the next two books in my list. At first I thought I was cheating by using a title that suggested flowers rather than included them, but the moment I read the blurb I realised I didn’t need to cheat at all. The garden in question was a bed of flowers that the hero Noah planted and grew over the plot of land where Ensley buried all her dark secrets. The ones you wouldn’t want any child to have. So dark she couldn’t even share them with the boy who loved her. In a truly sweet and loving gesture he planted the flowers to show that even where there has been pain and sorrow, beauty and love can still flourish. The book, in true Lily fashion, puts it’s characters, and the reader, through the wringer. Your emotions are never quite the same after reading her books.
This is a love story. It’s brutal. Heart-wrenching. Dirty, terrifying, and raw. But a love story nonetheless because it is so beautiful. Ensley: Noah Carter was the type of guy that every girl wanted. Gorgeous. Talented. Smart and kind. He was the world that revolved around me even though I didn’t deserve him. But then something went wrong. He snapped maybe, just lost his mind.I found him the night my family died, their blood staining his hands. I put him in prison. I got my revenge. But then years later he found me again… …and stole me away from my life. Noah: You couldn’t know Ensley without wanting to strangle her. She was beautiful, she was wild, she was the girl next door. I grew up with her by my side. I watched her destroy herself while I held on. I protected her when she had been blind to the danger that surrounded her. I let her go once only to find her again. She would see me this time no matter what. DISCLAIMER: This book deals with sensitive subject matter that may be difficult for some readers.
The Vanity of Roses by Lily White
So another Lily White book, and here the Roses in question are actually a family. This was definitely on the lighter end of the Lily scale, more romantic suspense than the usual psychological suspense/romance that she normally torments us with.
Callan Rose. That hadn’t always been his name. When we were children, he was nothing more than a servant boy in my family. He was an amusement to me. A nobody. A weak soul who refused to fight back. It was so easy to take advantage. But then my father died, and I was stolen. The family moved on without me. Until I was penniless with no place to go. I returned to the Rose Estate not knowing Callan was the head of it. He’d honed his body and temper in the underground fighting ring. The scars only made him more beautiful. Now I’m trapped by a seductively dark man who has nothing but vengeance running through his veins. I’d always wanted him to fight back, but you know what they say: Be careful what you wish for.
Delirium (Atom & Evil #1) by Myra Danvers
Totally cheating with this one, but a fantastic book always deserves a mention. The heroine’s name is Iris, which is a flower, so I’m claiming this one. OMG she is one kick-arse heroine and I either want to be her or snog her, I just can’t decide which. Unapologetic and strong, she dominates this story. The world building is pretty phenomenal too.
“We’ll never be done, you and I.” He pushed off her desk. Closed the distance between them with prowling steps, clenched fists, and oh, so much determination. “Too much unfinished business to ever call it over.” He stopped a few steps away from uncomfortably close. Braced his palm on the wall behind her head, forearm brushing the side of her throat. “’Sides”—he licked his lips, glanced down her shirt—“we never got our hate fuck, baby girl.” Iris knows he’ll come. He’ll come lookin’ for what she stole, what she refused to give up when everything went to hell. Won’t find it, of course. There’s nothing left but a pipe full o’the good stuff and the dregs of the past that refuse to die.
Do you have 5 books you loved that have a flower theme somewhere in them? If so do share, leave a comment and let me know!
I wasn’t confident that I would be able to find five books for this weeks prompt over at Devouring Books. I almost cheated by including books from a series or duet that have the same title and ‘Book x’ afterwards. However it turns out I’ve read LOADS of books with a number in the title, and have quite a few more on my TBR list.
I prefer to feature books that I have read, something with which I have more than just a passing acquaintanceship. I have to pay homage to Goodreads search by keyword function on my “Read” list, what an absolute blessing and saving grace that is.
Sometimes your life is split by a single decision. I’ve spent every day of the last seven years regretting mine: he left, and I didn’t follow. A thousand letters went unanswered, my words like petals in the wind, spinning away into nothing, taking me with them. But now he’s back. I barely recognize the man he’s become, but I can still see a glimmer of the boy who asked me to be his forever, the boy I walked away from when I was young and afraid. Maybe if he’d come home under better circumstances, he could speak to me without anger in his voice. Maybe if I’d said yes all those years ago, he’d look at me without the weight of rejection in his eyes. Maybe if things were different, we would have had a chance. One regretted decision sent him away. One painful journey brought him back to me. I only wish I could keep him. *A contemporary romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion*
Andrew’s wife died in his arms. Overwhelming grief destroyed him, and led to the crime he committed during his breakdown. After three years in prison, he emerges with nothing and desperately needing to start a new life. Moving into a boarding house, the last thing he expects to find is love. Maddy’s a whirlwind, taking over his life before he knows it. When he nearly loses her too, he realises he can’t move forward without her. The second book in the Friends series is about redemption, and how love can be found in the most unexpected places.
This is not your average love story… Every man who meets Rainey wants her. Having lived a life of sex, drugs and manipulation, she is a temptation with far too many secrets. When psychologist, Justin Redding, is assigned to Rainey’s case, he has no way of knowing the tale of debauchery he will encounter. On a twisted path of love, loss and murder, Rainey leads Justin through the events of her life. Death follows Rainey… Justin fights to discover her secrets… But will he discover the secret of THE FIVE in time to resist Rainey’s ultimate seduction? ***DISCLAIMER: This book deals with sensitive subject matters that may be upsetting for some readers.
I’ve always been the person that does whatever someone tells me I can’t. Can’t graduate with a four-point-oh? Check. Can’t win a modeling contract without trying? Did it. Check. Can’t make it in the pro football league? Triple check with an MVP Award on top. When my best friend told me to stay away from his little sister, Layla, it didn’t sound like a challenge. Then again, I’d never seen her before. He obviously wasn’t thinking about who he was talking to if he believed I could ignore her. I obviously wasn’t thinking of him at all when I fell in love with her either. Fact of the matter is: I not only fell harder than a quarterback sack on a Sunday night game, but I did us one better. Kind of like that MVP award, only not so shiny. Sort of like my Player of the Year title, except the only thing I’m walking away with is an ex-best friend and a woman that hates my guts. It’s okay. Just tell me I can’t win her back. I’m Branch “Lucky” Best and today’s my lucky day.
I know, I’m cheating just a little bit with this last one but having just finished reading the penultimate book I had to include this amazing series.
She is programmed to kill. He’ll do anything to survive. Ex-con Captain Caleb Shepperd believes being good is overrated. All he wants is to smuggle illegal cargo through the nine systems and live a prosperous (likely short) life on the wrong side of the law. But there’s a problem with that plan. The priceless synthetic stowaway on his ship is a distraction he doesn’t need. Torn between selling her and tossing her out the airlock, Shepperd fails to realize the synth is a killer, and he’s the one locked in her sights. In a world where only one thousand synthetics were built, synthetic number One Thousand and One should not exist. She is no ordinary synth. Memories locked inside her code could bring Shepperd—and the entire nine systems—to its knees. Captain Shepperd and the oppressive corporations are about to learn that you can’t hide from the sins of your past, especially when that past has orders to kill.
This is a meme hosted by Devouring Books, I’ve made my own topic up this week as time zone differences mean that I’m having to write and schedule the post before May’s topics have been posted.
Since it’s the start of a new month the obvious choice is to highlight 5 books that I will be reading this month, most of which will be new releases!
1. Clockwork Stalker by Cari Silverwood
What if the storybook hero becomes the villain? She is my arch enemy’s niece. I am an arrogant, controlling bastard, an excellent detective, and women are turning up dead and bound, with strange marks on their bodies. This is the least appropriate time for me to fall in lust with the enemy. Obsession is the sign of a man who is losing control. Be punctual for this appointment, Miss Moriarty. I have things I need to do. Filthy, perverted things. Note: This is a standalone Dark Romance.
2. Treachery by Lily White
Ninth Circle. Treachery. Also known as Tanner Caine. He is a temptation with cold, dark eyes. A man with a seductive smirk and a body built for pure sin. The linchpin of a group of wealthy bad boys known as the Inferno. A dark presence that repels as much as he attracts, Tanner is the poisoned apple I want to bite even when I know it will destroy me. Our story started in college, but I ran from him so far I believed I was safe. I should have known he’d find me eventually. I should have known that nobody escapes. He has me in his sights again with an offer I can’t pass up. I know better than to make a deal with the Devil. Not unless I’m willing to pay his sensual price…
3. Winter’s Arrow by Lexi C Foss
True love is a myth. A trick. A way to subdue the heroine and take everything from her. I should know. My “true love” conspired with my stepmother to have me killed and stole my throne. But they failed. I’ve been in hiding and refining my vengeance. I’m no longer the damsel they mistook me for once upon a time. I’m coming for them. And my kingdom, too. Who needs dwarves when you have wolves? Who needs blades when you have arrows? My name used to be Snow. Now they call me Winter. And I will destroy them all. A Dark Snow White Retelling.
4. The Break-Up Artist by Lila Monroe
I’m an expert in break-ups. From the slow fade, to extreme ghosting, to, ‘but you never said I couldn’t send pics of my junk to your step-sister on Instagram’ – I’ve seen it all… and built a mini-empire along the way. My blog, the Break-Up Artist, uses my past heartache to help people move on – and avoid weeping on the floor at 3am consuming their body weight in spray cheese and Oreos. Ahem. Now, I have a new job that could mean the big-time: helping a famous Hollywood it-couple navigate their tricky break-up. Except not everyone wants them Splitsville. The movie studio needs to keep them together to promote their big movie, and they’ve sent someone to make sure I fail in my first VIP gig. Wes Baxter. Also known as my ex. Also ALSO known as, the guy who broke my heart so thoroughly, I had to turn myself into a self-help guru just to get over him. I’m determined to follow my own advice (no drooling over Wes’s perfect abs, or remembering how he rocked my world) but being trapped together at a luxe country retreat isn’t helping things… And neither is Wes’s early-morning naked swim habit. Soon, love is in the air, the sparks between us are hotter than ever, and I’m seriously questioning my ‘no backsies’ policy. Wes swears he’s changed. He wants to try again, and he’s got an annoyingly sexy way of convincing me. But can second chances really work? Or has the Break-Up Artist finally met her match?
5. Ballistic by Aria Michaels
It’s been three days since Solar Storm Icarus silenced the world…three days since the GRS virus wiped out most of humanity and started changing the few who remained. Liv and the others made it through the initial wave, but they’ve lost a lot along the way and the journey to Salvation is far from over. A rogue military organization has taken hold of the area and they possess a weapon that could change everything. When Liv finds out her brother and the other refugees are being held captive at Camp Seco, she will risk everything to get him back. As the group embarks upon a dangerous rescue mission, a rival band of survivors threatens their safety and a new storm gathers overhead. The virus has spread and the infected are being drawn together. What’s worse, the beast that lurks inside of Liv is growing stronger and more difficult to control. But Liv has a promise to keep–and her little brother is running out of time. Will Liv be able to harness her strength to save her brother and the hundreds of other innocents beyond the walls of Camp Seco, or will she let the monster out and put them all at risk?
Devouring Books books hold a weekly Saturday meme based on your top 5 of a category. Pop over to their site and see what it’s all about! This week’s task is to feature 5 books under 300 pages, which should actually be fairly easy for me as I read a lot of indie published work, which tends to be shorter. As most of those are ebooks it does mean I’ll have to rely on the page count accuracy of Goodreads and Amazon – so wish me luck on that one!
Oh and thank goodness I have a “better than 5 stars” shelf on Goodreads too! 😂
1. Delirium (Atom and Evil #1) by Myra Danvers
“We’ll never be done, you and I.” He pushed off her desk. Closed the distance between them with prowling steps, clenched fists, and oh, so much determination. “Too much unfinished business to ever call it over.” He stopped a few steps away from uncomfortably close. Braced his palm on the wall behind her head, forearm brushing the side of her throat. “’Sides”—he licked his lips, glanced down her shirt—“we never got our hate fuck, baby girl.”
Iris knows he’ll come. He’ll come lookin’ for what she stole, what she refused to give up when everything went to hell. Won’t find it, of course. There’s nothing left but a pipe full o’the good stuff and the dregs of the past that refuse to die.
I’m anxiously but patiently waiting for book 2 in this series. When it does come out I’ll need to do a re-read of this one, which won’t be a hard-ship because this gritty, adventure filled, sci-fi, sort-of-romance was easily one of my top reads of 2019.
2. Silenced by Leddy Harper
As a young child, Killian Foster survives the unimaginable. Silenced and scarred, he keeps to himself, spending his time with his notebook in the woods behind his aunt’s house. Until Rylee Anderson…
When Rylee spots Killian hopping over a fence next door, she follows him, unprepared for the boy she’d find—or the relationship that would unfold over the next seven years. Or the silence that would follow.
Fighting between the hate of his past and the promise of his future, Killian must make choices—ones that would affect more than himself. Choices that would test the lines of right and wrong. Decisions that could break the bond of the only love Killian knew.
Hate or love. Revenge or forgiveness. Silence or his voice.
I read this back in 2017, and whilst that might not sound all that long ago it was one heck of a lot of books ago. Somewhere in the very, very high hundreds ago. Yet I still remember the impact this book had on my. I would have included The Boy and His Ribbonby Pepper Winters for the same reason, sadly that book IS over 300 pages, so I had to leave it out this time.
3. Bass-Ackwards by Eris Adderly
Bill Marshall might as well have been the Devil. Christina Lee Dodd needs Friday off work. Needs. She’s up to her eyeballs in problems. One of those problems is her boss, Bill Marshall. And Bill Marshall is an a**hole. The offer he makes is textbook inappropriate. An HR nightmare. But is it wrong for her to accept? Is it wrong for her to like it? Bass-Ackwards is a filthy wrong-way romance where two human beings make more mistakes than you can shake a stick at.
Bill Marshall really is an a**hole. But a somehow loveable a**hole that you end up backing for the win. So much so that I quite envied Christina.
4. Acquired Possession by Cari Silverwood
The night Emery is taken she is reading emails in bed. Aerthe, another world, the world of the Swathe, the moving cities of the Mekkers. Blind on arrival and naked. No one touches her until the Mekkers decide humans aren’t people, and therefore can be bought and traded. The journey through the portal alters humans, shines them all pretty. Humans glimmer. Emery’s bright hair and nails will forever mark her as alien. Her freedom is gone. Though her sight returns, she becomes a possession of House Oren. But someone else wants to own her. The House Master, Mako, a man who uses whips and canes like most people use a knife – daily, with efficiency and casualness. She vows to never give in. Banned from marrying. Banned from having playing too intimately with the house possessions, Mako holds himself back. He mustn’t. Shouldn’t. His job is to punish, to control, to keep the House in order. But when Emery runs and takes with her a most dangerous war machine, one not seen since the Last Days of the War… Mako is the man they turn to. To chase her down. To bring her back, lamed, dead, or mostly alive. Warning: This is a dark kinky story. If you don’t understand where dark stories can go, this might not be for you.
I really, really love this author’s work, and this series holds a special place in my heart. It’s a mix of old-school sci-fi, Terry Pratchett humour and dirty, filthy kink. Don’t judge it til you’ve tried it!
5. Unconventional by Isabel Love
Happily ever after—what a joke! I tried that once and ended up divorced. Now, I only want one thing from men. Charlie Nelson is good at giving me that one thing. Really, really good. So good, in fact, I discovered a new side of myself. I never knew I liked to watch until I saw his talented hands touching someone else. I never knew I liked to be watched until I felt his searing gaze on me. Maybe happily ever after isn’t always a white picket fence, wedding bells, and 2.5 kids. Maybe it’s something a bit more…unconventional.
This story really was Unconventional, it also pummelled my emotions into the ground. Then stomped on them for good measure. Thankfully it had a great HEA ending to put me back together again.