In my book world, 2016 has been varied and eye opening. I’ve tried to read as many books as possible, mainly from Indie, or up-and-coming authors. So much talent is out there. Ordinary people with extraordinary stories to tell. In no particular order, here are my picks of 2016. If you are not on this list, forgive me. I could have written about you all if I’d had the time.
The Aurora Stone, by G.S Tucker
An Elvish girl with changeable eyes will lose her family through the void. Three companions she will travel with. They will be identified by their gems. To get back what was lost, the Aurora stone must return to its home. In no more than a year and four days must this quest be completed, or the realms will be pulled into the void and lost.” An ancient prophecy, a special gift and an epic adventure awaited Evangeline of Hermoria. On her 18th birthday Eve’s whole world is turned upside down. Learning of her long lost twin brother and the prophecy, she alone must fulfill. Eve sets out on the adventure of a lifetime. Battles are fought and friendships made, as Eve journeys through the realms of Orea. All the while a great evil is on her tail. Its aim? To stop the prophecy coming to pass at any cost! Will Eve fulfill the prophecy and save all of Orea from the void? Will she ever find her twin brother? One thing Eve knows for sure, she will fight to the death and beyond to save her friends, and all that she holds dear. After all darkness cannot survive where there is light.
I came across this book at the end of the summer. The cover is what drew me in, thinking how eye-catching it was. It’s a lovely tale, of good versus evil. Of discovery and adventure. I’m not a fantasy fan per-se, but was drawn into Tucker’s world with ease. The characters are very easy to connect with. Some are bizarre, most are flawed, but you’ll find yourself becoming part of their quest. And what a quest it is! I have since read her next W.I.P and am impressed how she can switch genres with ease, painting a darker picture that will highlight her diversity. A promising talent, wife, mother, and good friend. I will be on the lookout for more from this talented writer in 2017. Go Gem!
Father Of Lies, by Sarah E England
A Darkly Disturbing Occult Horror Novel Ruby is the most violently disturbed patient ever admitted to Drummersgate Asylum, high on the bleak moors of northern England. After two years with no improvement in her condition, Dr. Jack McGowan eventually decides to hypnotise her. With terrifying consequences. A horrific dark force is now unleashed on the entire medical team, as each in turn attempts to unlock Ruby’s shocking and sinister past. Who is this girl? And how did she manage to survive such evil? Set in a desolate ex-mining village, where secrets are tightly kept and incomers hounded out, their questions soon lead to a haunted mill…the heart of darkness…and The Father of Lies. Sleep tight!
I’d noticed Sarah’s books hovering around social media, being drawn into the promise of a good English horror story. And boy did she deliver. Disturbing, chilling, and dank, England paints a world straight out of Hammer House Of Horror. Father Of Lies is not just scares and jumps. It’s a complex story, weaving back and forth over a series of decades, offering the reader sprinkles of mystery and darkness. When the horror hits, it really hits. There is no sugar coating it. It’s spine tingling and foul, plunging you into an isolated world, just out of reach of civilisation. The characters all seem to be hooked into the plots malaise, powerless to avoid the evil that seeps through the pages. I am to continue the journey very soon, with Tanners Dell. I cannot wait. Thank you Sarah. England’s horror queen.
Stupid Cupid, by Sharon Karaa
Annabelle Pearson was in love. For three years, she’d worshipped the sexy but aloof Nicholas Nattrass from afar, wistfully dreaming of a time when he’d love her back, or at the very least notice she existed. All that was about to change, however, when she starts seeing things that she shouldn’t, things that couldn’t possibly exist, like the Grim Reaper and the Tooth Fairy, for example. The last straw comes when she spots Cupid, about to shoot his arrow at her beloved, and in a desperate bid to save her dream, she wallops him one with her handbag.
Dealing Cupid an almost fatal blow means someone has to take his place, and that someone is her! Will she complete her mission and save Cupid’s life? And will she manage to win the love of Nicholas Nattrass, or would the esteemed “Doctor Love” have her committed to an insane asylum?
This book was a real treat. Completely different from others I had read in 2015/2016. It is a paranormal romance. The plot seems fairly regular. Hopeless girl moons over Mr Untouchable. She is the office calamity, regularly making a fool of herself whenever he appears. Throw in fairies and dark forces and the plot seems to fly off on a tangent. Karaa does this so well, never missing a beat with a great story and wonderful characters. But what sets this book apart from other romances, is the humour. It’s funny. Hell, it’s hilarious in places. The talent this girl has for comedy, whether slapstick or observational, Karaa entertains with skill. She could easily write her own sit-com, and I’d be tuning in. A great book, that almost had wee coming out of me. TMI.
Montana Sky, by Kelly Miles
Lauren must leave everything she’s ever known behind, not that it’s much of a life. After losing her parents in a horrific accident, she has no one, not even her husband to comfort her. He is the reason she’s running after all. Mark is a cop, hell bent on abusing Lauren and torturing her. She knows if he finds her he will kill her this time. She narrowly escaped her last “fall” down the stairs. Finding the courage to leave him, she finds herself in a small town in Montana though she has no plans of staying. It’s too dangerous. She has reserved herself to living life on the run until she meets him. Luke Randolph.
Luke is adjusting to life alone on the ranch. Sure he has his Mama, but after losing his father and his fiancé he’s done with love for good. He doesn’t need the distraction of a beautiful woman. He has plenty of money and good friends and family. Love isn’t worth the pain and the loss is unbearable. It had been seven years and he still hadn’t been able to move on. That’s when he meets her. Lauren Raines. The auburn haired, green-eyed woman has him spellbound and he can’t look away. He sees the fear and the pain she tries to hide. He sees right through it because it’s the same fear and pain he’d seen in his Mama’s eyes time and time again when his alcoholic father would beat on her.
Can Luke convince Lauren to stay or will outside forces and unforeseen circumstances tear them apart? will their love be enough or will she continue to run?
This book, is the first in a trilogy. I read it early in 2016 after reading book two, Back To Me. The author pours all her emotions into this book. I know parts of this book are a mirror image of parts of her life. Reading it was an emotional journey for me, as I’ve gotten to know Kelly well over the last year. A dedicated wife and mother, battling life threatening conditions, she let’s go with this book, giving it her all. The story is dark in places, revealing accounts of abuse and violence to a young woman, trying to make her way in the world. The third book in the trilogy, Blake’s Hope, is due out in 2017. I urge you to read Kelly’s work. Share in her story, that is, at times, harrowing.
EVO Nation, by KJ Chapman
The government tortures her, her own kind use her, and she is learning the true meaning of ulterior motives. Teddie Leason has been dragged into the festering underbelly of the secretive world of EVO; a world about to be blown wide apart.
EVO are the next link in evolution, but with that title come the dangers of capture, torture, and experimentation. And with that threat come the need to survive, and a breed of EVO who are set to not only thrive, but rule.
Teddie has the fate of the EVO and Non-EVO world resting on her shoulders, and now, the reclusive teenager who couldn’t get upset without her unruly ability causing destruction, has to somehow embrace her gift to save her new friends and her new love.
Will the actions of one man fuel a suppressed, supremacist cult’s desire for war and vengeance, or will Teddie be strong enough to stop him? Should she stop him?
This book’s blurb instantly prickled my attention. The story is not fluffy and chirpy. It tells of a secret, post apocalyptic world, where gifted humans’ are experimented on. They are kept in a caged underground world, their gifts nullified to the point of chronic apathy. It’s beautiful, yet bleak. Thought provoking and engaging. If a world like this is ever to exist, I want to be as far away from it as possible. I am currently reading one of Chapman’s other books, Thrown To The Blue. She can switch genres with ease, adept at fantasy as well as dark thrillers. And on top of her writing prowess, she is also a fabulous blogger and reviewer. A huge talent, that will continue to EVOlve into 2017.
Almana, by Julayn Adams
In the aftermath of World War III, the world has become a dangerous place. The ruthless dictator, Equis, and his army, Armageddon, are quickly taking over major metropolitan areas on the west coast of the United States. The end of humanity is imminent. Their one hope lies in the hands of a seventeen-year-old girl, Alexa. When Almana volunteers to leave Heaven to guide Alexa, she never thought that her own destiny would include falling in love with a human. Now, cursed to remain on Earth forever, Almana finds that her task is much more than she bargained for.
From the far corner of the world comes a book about the end of the world. Almana, an angel, sent to Earth to save humanity, was a real find. A very original concept, expertly crafted and told. Adams, an American by birth, drops the reader into the west coast of the United States, after a world war has ravaged it. I loved the feel of the book. Elements of Lord Of The Flies, with a setting like Planet Of The Apes, it was diverse and very reflective. Not just one of the best book of 2016. It was one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Thank you Julayn Adams. Keep it up.
Awakening, by Brianna West
Izzy is on the fast track to nowhere. Being ordinary really blew sometimes. That’s until she meets Lucas–a man that’s unlike anyone she’s ever met. Mostly because he isn’t actually a man. He is a supernatural creature that proclaims to police the Light and Dark in order to protect humans.
And Izzy–well–she isn’t the human she thought she was. She is actually a supernatural being as well. And now Lucas is going to do everything in his power to find out what she is and protect her from the Dark lurking around the corner.
Awakening follows Izzy as she navigates this new world of demons, vampires, angels, and many other supernatural creatures. Recruited by the Promiscus Guardians and partnering with the most brooding and devilishly handsome man she’s every met, Lucas, Izzy is suddenly knee-deep up crap creek. Discover the secret behind her power and why it’s such a commodity in her Awakening.
Brianna is a mate of mine, all the way from California. But at the time I read her book, we were merely author acquaintances. I loved this book. I loved her humour and vigour for the unreal and wacky. Her main character, Izzy is a real hoot. Beautiful, yet lacking in confidence. Prone to donut consumption and drooling over hot men, she was a joy to accompany. West has a real knack of making you laugh. Her storytelling is precise, yet free spirited. Her female observations will appeal to all women who may have felt that way at some point. But don’t feel sorry for Izzy. She is very powerful, gradually realising that the hot vampires, demons and warlocks are not flocking to her merely for her stunning looks. They need her, in a constant raging battle of light versus dark. A great book, with action, laughs, and some steamy love scenes.
Well done my friend. All the best for 2017.
The Horse List, by Anna Lores
Recently divorced from an abusive husband still intent to control her, Ava Black has two weeks before she moves back to her conservative hometown.
Encouraged by her best friend, she resurrects the wish list she started as a young girl when her number one desire was her very own horse. Over the years, The Horse List had become a mature list of her most erotic fantasies and a symbol of her rebirth as an independent woman. She can complete some of the items alone, but not everything. She needs an experienced partner with resources and the connections to places she’s only dreamed of going.
Could the handsome and wealthy artist Eric North be the partner she seeks? Will her drive to complete the list be enough to overcome her fear of him discovering the scars left from years of abuse? Will Eric protect her from her ex-husband, or will she go home to start over and give up her one chance to complete The Horse List?
Reader Alert! Ava explores the depths of her passion and embarks on a personal journey to fulfill the naughty fantasies of her personal Horse List. For most of the list, one partner is required, but for one special evening, she’ll need a third.
Blood Of The Sixth, by K.R Rowe
In the quaint Southern town of Port Bella Rosa, something sinister lurks beneath the cobblestones. When hunger stirs a centuries-old evil, a demon awakens, releasing its hunters in search of prey. Jackals swarm from the mist, seeking out quarry, sating their master with offerings of human flesh. Allie Kent catches a glimpse of the first victim: a corpse with its organs, muscle and bone all consumed, leaving nothing more than skin behind. While police work to solve the unexplained murder, more bodies are found mutilated. Finally convinced the killer isn’t human, Detective Phillip Chambers is desperate to shield Allie from harm. But something haunts Allie: shadows spill through her darkened window; nightmares invade her sleep while visions confuse her waking thoughts. With Phillip her only protection, Allie struggles to keep her independence in check while treading a thin line between reality and insanity. But is the evil dwelling beneath the stones her only true threat—or will the demons in Allie’s head have the strength to destroy them both.
Terrifying and beautifully written, Rowe pulls off a chilling tale of demonic chaos. The author’s descriptive narrative is second to none. The painting of her words is both vivid and shocking, with some truly grisly set pieces. The setting is colourful, yet dark with a real New Orleans feel about the book. A real great horror story, one that should be on your TBR list for 2017.
The Sister, by Louise Jensen
Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear that there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.
When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.
But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?
This book creeps up on you, covering you in a cold dread that you are powerless to stop. Well written, with the pages turning darker as the book gathers pace. Any hope seems to be snuffed out by a series of nasty plot twists, that leaves you in a cold sweat. Great characters that you really connect with. Even the darker characters envelope you, enticing you into their world. A really great book, with a hydrogen bombshell waiting to be dropped at the end. Thrilling and fabulous. I loved it.
What happens to a serial killer when he loses his memory?
When the thrill of the kill loses its impact Carl resorts to drastic measures resulting in a catastrophic event.
He attacks without a plan and it all goes horribly wrong.
Carl’s life disintegrates as the two separate halves of him try to splice themselves back together. As they merge into one he becomes desperate to hold on to Susie, the only anchor to his sanity.
His nightmares terrify him and more importantly a part of him loves the feeling of power.
As Detective Guyer gets closer to finding the serial killer, Carl tries desperately to hold on to the man he wants to be.
Will the monster within him win or will the man he wants to be save his soul?
This book will take you to hell and back. Welcome to the mind of a killer. Please read with the light on.
Last, but by no means least is the Lovely Rita Ames. I read this book early in 2016. It was a real show stopper. Brutal and dark, with some truly nasty moments. What I loved about this book is how normal it appeared. The characters could live next door to you. They could pop round for a cup of tea, only to brutally murder someone the next day. The setting is Middle England, with the story being told in the first person, flitting between Susie, Carl, and Ben. I won’t give out any spoilers, you need to read this book to fully appreciate Ames’s talents. I’ve since gotten to know her, reading other short stories and future works. Creative and diverse, she is a fabulous writer and good friend. Just don’t let her photo fool you. There lurks darkness and danger under the fluffy exterior. Aside from writing, she too is a fantastic blogger. I urge you to check out all things Amesworld.
Other notable books I’ve read in 2016 are:
Hidden Truths, by Brittney Sahin – link
Comorbid, by Lorelei Logsdon – link
Pieces Like Pottery, by Dan Buri – link
The Ticket, by Heather Grace Stewart – link
Dream Angel, by Jane West – link
Back To Me, by Kelly Miles – link
A great year in books, by writers who really have invested their time and passion into brining us fabulous, diverse stories. I am eager to continue my reading quest in 2017. I think my year is already full of potentially great reads.
Merry Christmas folks.