Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre (I know, I know. Picking all time faves. I’m MEAN. But I like knowing people’s definitive faves). Can also break it down into sub-genre if that helps?
The Chief (Highland Guard #1) by Monica McCarty
Synopsis: An elite fighting force unlike the world has ever seen…
Scouring the darkest corners of the Highlands and Western Isles, Robert the Bruce handpicks ten warriors to help him in his quest to free Scotland from English rule. They are the best of the best, chosen for their superior skills in each discipline of warfare. And to lead his secret Highland Guard, Bruce chooses the greatest warrior of all.
The ultimate Highland warlord and a swordsman without equal, Tor MacLeod has no intention of being drawn into Scotland’s war against the English. Dedicated to his clan, the fiercely independent chief answers to no one—especially not to his alluring new bride, bartered to him in a bid to secure his command of the deadliest fighting force the world has ever seen. The treacherous chit who made her way to Tor’s bed may have won his hand, but she will never claim his heart.
Although her husband’s reputation is as fierce as his manner, Christina Fraser believes that something softer hides beneath his brutal shell. But the only warmth she feels is in their bed, in glorious moments of white-hot desire that disappear with the dawn. When Christina’s reckless bid to win her husband’s love goes awry and thrusts them into danger on the eve of war, Tor will face his ultimate battle: to save his wife and to open his heart—before it’s too late.
Why: I love Monica McCarty’s blend of actual history with fiction. I love that at the end of each book she walks you through her research and where her fictional story deviates from actual history. Her passionate plots, strong characters, emotional roller coasters, and the beautiful package that is historic Scotland make for one great read.
Styxx (Dark-Hunter #22) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Synopsis: Just when you thought doomsday was over…
Centuries ago Acheron saved the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.
As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life and future for Acheron’s.
The Atlantean goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany was born to right wrongs. But it was never a task she relished. Until now. She owes Acheron a debt that she vows to repay, no matter what it takes. He will join their fellow gods in hell and nothing is going to stop her.
But things are never what they seem, and Acheron is no longer the last of his line. Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.
Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it’s your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?
Why: This story was gritty and dark at times. I wanted to cry for the abuse Styxx was inflicted with (and Acheron). His story was just beautiful to watch come to its happily ever after. The strong characters and plot make for an entertaining page turner.
Stardust of Yesterday by Lynn Kurland
Synopsis: Inheriting a castle–and a ghost to go with it–Genevieve Buchanan finds herself falling in love with the spectre of Kendrick de Piaget, an arrogant thirteenth-century knight.
Why: This one is on my list simply because it was one of the first romances I read and I have re-read it 3 or 4 times since then. The humor in this one always got me laughing no matter how many times I read it. The story of a ghost who tries to scare the owners of his castle away and how he meets his match in Genevieve was wonderful to watch unfold.
Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Changeling #12) by Nalini Singh
Synopsis: Step into New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh’s explosive and shockingly passionate Psy-Changeling world…
A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred.
A woman whose very existence has been erased.
A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself.
A deadly price that must be paid.
The day of reckoning is here.
From “the alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career—one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead.
Why: The whole series is one of my all-time favorites, but this one stands out because of the main male lead. We get to know Caleb throughout the series and at times you are lead to believe that he might just be the bad guy, but when you get his story, you see what motivates him and why. How he has been on the hunt for a woman who as a girl was the only one to truly see him and accept him.
Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk #1) by Bec McMaster
Synopsis: When Nowhere Is Safe
Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?
Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.
When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.
Why: This series is so much fun and Blade is such an awesome character. He had me laughing and smiling through his whole story. I loved watching Honoria and Blade come together, spar, and fall in love while trying to fight a corrupt Echelon and Monarchy.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Synopsis: When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.
Why: Do I really need to explain why Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorites? Hello, Darcy! Elizabeth and Darcy’s hate/love/long for relationship, their sparring, and lets just not forget some of the most memorable lines in all of literature and scenes (him in his wet shirt finding Elizabeth touring his home), just yum!
Mercury Striking (Scorpius Syndrome #1) by Rebecca Zanetti
Book Review Here.
Synopsis:With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…
Danger has never looked quite so delicious…
Why: This was the first book I have read by this author and it was the first post-apocalyptic/zombies romance. This one was a NetGalley read and a gamble, but it really paid off! I fell in love with the male lead and the plot and the setting and the author’s writing style. I couldn’t read it fast enough. She really knows how to describe a setting that makes it easy to visualize in my head. The dynamic between the two main characters and their love story was just fun to watch unfold. This will definitely be one I re-read over and over again.
Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress #4) by Jeaniene Frost
Synopsis: Her deadly dreams leave her in grave danger
Since half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her undead lover Bones met six years ago, they’ve fought against the rogue undead, battled a vengeful Master vampire, and pledged their devotion with a blood bond. Now it’s time for a vacation. But their hopes for a perfect Paris holiday are dashed when Cat awakes one night in terror. She’s having visions of a vampire named Gregor who’s more powerful than Bones and has ties to her past that even Cat herself didn’t know about.
Gregor believes Cat is his and he won’t stop until he has her. As the battle begins between the vamp who haunts her nightmares and the one who holds her heart, only Cat can break Gregor’s hold over her. She’ll need all the power she can summon in order to bring down the baddest bloodsucker she’s ever faced . . . even if getting that power will result in an early grave.
Why: Out of all of the books in the series, this one has some of the most emotionally tense scenes between Bones and Cat. It was those scenes that made this one stand out as one of my favorites; if an author can pull me in so that my throat gets choked up and I can feel the tears wanting to come, then the author did a great job describing the emotional turmoil between the characters, and this one did that.
Untamed Highlander (Dark Swords #4) by Donna Grant
Synopsis: The Dark Sword series reins in the magic, passion, and fury of Scotland’s legendary warriors—for whom love is always worth fighting for…
DEVIL IN THE FLESH
Druid-born and magic-blessed, Isla is one of the deadliest she-devils ever to serve the forces of darkness. As an immortal Highland warrior, it’s up to Hayden Campbell to destroy her and her kind. But for Hayden, Isla is more than a sworn enemy. She is temptation…
ANGEL IN HIS ARMS
Taking Isla captive, Hayden hopes to avenge his kinsmen who died by Druid magic. But when he looks into Isla’s eyes, he sees the secrets of her past. When he touches her skin, he feels the passion in her soul. And soon Hayden comes to realize that this beautiful, beguiling woman is not his enemy at all—she is his destiny. And, even as the forces of darkness conspire against them, their love will conquer all…
Why: I just have three words for this one, The Beach Scene. The scene where Isla is getting ready to sacrifice herself and she feels like she has no reason to hold on and fight and Hayden shows up on the beach to prove her wrong, man, it left me with my heart bounding. Love anything Donna Grant writes, but this one stands out for me because of Isla and Hayden.
Fantasy Lover (Dark-Hunter #1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Synopsis: Dear Reader,
Being trapped in a bedroom with a woman is a grand thing. Being trapped in hundreds of bedrooms over two thousand years isn’t. And being cursed into a book as a love-slave for eternity can ruin even a Spartan warrior’s day.
As a love-slave, I know everything about women. How to touch them, how to savor them, and most of all, how to pleasure them. But when I was summoned to fulfill Grace Alexander’s sexual fantasies, I found the first woman in history who saw me as a man with a tormented past. She alone bothered to take me out of the bedroom and onto the world. She taught me to love again.
But I was not born to love. I was cursed to walk eternity alone. As a general, I had long ago accepted my sentence. Yet now I have found Grace–the one thing my wounded heart cannot survive without. Sure, love can heal all wounds, but can it break a two-thousand-year-old curse?
Julian of Macedon
Why: Your very own sex slave who is ready at your beck and call, who wouldn’t love that? Well, Grace doesn’t because she doesn’t believe in magic until a birthday joke turns out to reveal a very hot man who is commanded to do her bidding. Now Julian has seen and done it all and feels nothing. All of his masters are the same, selfish and greedy for what they want. Until he meets Grace, who doesn’t want to sleep with him, but rather wants to get to know him. In the process, he finally finds the one thing he would be willing to sacrifice his freedom to protect.