Second annual top ten reads of 2016

I LOVE spreading the word about books I’ve read and enjoyed. I encourage you to do the same–tell people on Facebook, blog about them, or simply comment here.

I’ve excluded books that I played any role in creating–nothing I’ve written, edited, or proofread is on this list.

Keep in mind that some of these titles were published prior to 2016. I just happened to read them this year. In no particular order, here’s m top ten. (drumroll please lol):

dreaming1.  Dreaming with a Broken Heart by Mary J. Williams  This book reminds me of the stylish romance novels I loved years ago with engaging characters set against the glitz of Hollywood. I particularly like the heroine in this one. Ms. Williams does a fantastic job of making Jade both vulnerable and strong as she overcomes being abused and nearly killed by her husband. I’m looking forward to reading more titles in this series.

sanctum2.  From Sanctum with Love by Lexi Blake   I took a break from the Masters and Mercenaries series for a bit but I’m happy I picked it back up. I guess it takes a sadist like Kai Ferguson to bring me back into the fold. This 10th novel in the series seems less formulaic than the last few in the series and I absolutely love the suspension play scene. I always enjoy the generous touches of humor throughout all the titles in the series. BDSM doesn’t have to be deadly serious, thank God.

mistress-files3.  The Mistress Files by Tiffany Reisz   My name is Jordan and I am an Original Sinners series addict. I just can’t get enough of Nora, Soren, and Kingsley. Especially Kingsley. This collection of shorts represents excerpts from Nora’s “case files” while working for Kingsley as a dominatrix. Being visually impaired myself, I’m personally drawn to the story of a husband who’s reluctant to dominate hi wife after she loses her eyesight. Also, I never tire of the wordplay between Nora and Kingsley. Great snarkiness, sizzling sex scenes, and memorable characters.

zane4.  Zane:The Decrees by Elaine Barris   Here’s a snippet of what I said in my review–“What is forever but a curse if you aren’t with me?” This quote from near the end of the book sums up this book perfectly. It encapsulates the eternal bond Zane and London share and demonstrates the often unexpectedly poetic writing of Ms. Barris. That and a good dose of humor makes this a great read. When vampire influence is used to compel London’s uptight, pain-in-the-ass mother to swear like a sailor—priceless!

forever5.  Forever Camden by Kitten K. Jackson    This vampire romance is two stories in one. The beginning of the book chronicles Camden’s human life and love in the early 1900s and his turning before fast-forwarding to his modern day romance with Melanie. Ms. Jackson does an exemplary job of matching tone and vocabulary with the eras. I particularly enjoy the formality of Cam’s relationship with his fiance in 1910, including her surprising dominating nature. I’ve not read the sequel–The Coming Darkness–yet, but it’s on my TBR list for 2017.

divisive        6. Divisive and 7. The Fifth Game by John Tucker   Being a fan of true crime novels and possessing a little too much morbid curiosity, I’m both fascinated and horrified by John Tucker’s anti-hero–Dennis Rask. He’s a man who uses charm and flattery to seduce single mothers and turn family members against each other until his end goal–death and destruction–is achieved. It’s a psychological game for Rask and he’s very, very good at it. Due to John Tucker’s untimely death this year, the Rask trilogy will remain incomplete. However; each book can be read as a s creepy, devilishly twisted standalone.

trouble8.  The Trouble with Dying by Maggie Le Page    I found this book through a Bookbub email blast and it is a delightful read. Faith Carson “wakes” looking down on her comatose body in a hospital bed. Time becomes a factor as she attempts to learn what happened, who is responsible, and how she can possibly save herself while in limbo. You wouldn’t think there would be any humor in a story with this plot, but you’d be wrong. Faith’s long-dead grandmother is also floating up on the ceiling, there to provide moral support and, often, comic relief. This is one of those books that sneaks up on you and pulls you in before you can blink.

 

Following eye surgery, I was unable to read for a few months, so I checked out some titles on Audible. These two, which I think are still free, are awesome.

dispatcher9.  The Dispatcher by John Scalzi, read by Zachary Quinto     The premise of this story is fascinating and thought-provoking. For no apparent reason, 999 times out of 1000, a person killed by the actions of another reappears at home, naked, and in the physical condition as  hours earlier. This phenomenon spawns a licensed government agency of dispatchers stationed at hospital emergency and operating rooms. The patient’s condition goes south during surgery? A dispatcher steps in and effectively gives everyone a do=over. But when a dispatcher goes missing, one of his colleagues becomes part of the investigation. You’ll think about this tale for weeks after listening to it.

lollipops10.  So Long, Lollipops by Sarah Lyons Fleming, read by Julia Whelan    I’m not a fan of zombies. I don’t watch The Walking Dead and the only zombie movie I can remember enjoying was the comedy Shaun of the Dead.  So I”m completely taen by surprise with how much I liked this title. While unexpectedly playing the hero to save a group of survivors, Peter becomes a better person and saves himself. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of a woman narrating a story told from a male character’s POV, but she made it work. The prequel, Until the End of the World, is most definitely on my TBR list.

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