Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: 7 Books I've Recently Enjoyed That Aren't My Norm

Hey, everyone!

It's time for The Broke and The Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday! This week's topic is 10 books you've recently (past year or so) enjoyed that weren't your normal genre/were out of your comfort zone. Fun topic!

I tend to stick to romance almost exclusively, mostly contemporary or paranormal, with a splash of urban fantasy and maybe a tad bit of mystery or suspense. Looking further into that, I tend to stick to female POV or dual POV, and books written within the last 5-10 years or so, and they have happy endings.

..... Wow, that sounds kinda pathetic, haha! Good thing there's plenty to choose from within those parameters. ;)

That said, I do sometimes step outside my comfort zones. In no particular order, these are my top books outside of my comfort zone! It's an early work day today, so I didn't get in the full 10. Damn.

7. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma 
She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. 
He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. 
So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. 
Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending. 

My god, this book destroyed me. Forbidden is without a doubt the saddest, most heartbreaking book I've ever read. It was intense, gorgeously written, enthralling and gut wrenching. 
The topic of incest is uncomfortable (to put it very lightly), and I was hesitant to pick up this book, despite its glowing reviews.
Despite my misgivings, I was blown away by this...love story. That's what it was, even though the topic wouldn't make me think that. I was expected to be repulsed by their relationship, but I wasn't. At all. I was rooting for them by the end of the novel, and that's another thing to push me so far out of my comfort zone it wasn't even funny. 
It doesn't have a happy ending, but I am very glad to have read it. Gorgeous 5 star read. 

6. The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle
If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in? 

In this captivating thriller, an Amish settlement is the last safe haven in a world plagued by an unspeakable horror…

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world. Something is out there...and it is making a killing.

Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: No one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elder’s rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him?

I don't tend to read much horror, because I'm a wuss and don't enjoy sleeping with the lights on (it's a sad truth), but this book was great!
Gritty, freaky as hell, unique and engaging, and had just enough romance to keep me happy. The Amish setting was interesting, too!

5. Legend by Marie Lu
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
I'm not a big young adult fan, and I'm not a big dystopian fan. The Legend trilogy was a wild ride of an exception! 
While the ending of the last book annoyed me, I really enjoyed this series. It's so fast paced, engaging, with great characters and a lovely romance. 

4. The Awakening of Ivy Leavold
Yorkshire, 1879

I am alone...

When Ivy Leavold is left destitute by her brother’s death, she is taken in by her cousin’s brooding, tortured widower—Julian Markham. Handsome and possessive, it’s not long before Ivy falls for him. But Mr. Markham has dark secrets, secrets that may put Ivy in danger...

I am afraid...

As Ivy unravels the mystery surrounding her cousin’s death, she falls deeper and deeper in love with Julian, who opens her body and her mind to his indomitable will. But even as he draws pleasure and desire from her night after night, Ivy can’t shake the feeling that their passionate affair may end in violence…

And I'm completely his.


The Awakening of Ivy Leavold is the first book in the Markham Hall Trilogy.

If there's one genre I don't read, it's historical. I just don't like it. I'm also not huge on the kinda-sorta BDSM relationship thing. I will gladly put that aside for this Markham Hall series. 
Y'all know I'm a slut for smut, and this is some good shit right here. By the same author as Priest, this book was incredibly sexy, addictive, and just...delicious. Even the non-porn scenes were well written and enjoyable.

3. Lawless by T.M. Frazier 
Thia is prim and proper.
Bear is leather and lawless.
It will never work between them.
It's a lie they almost believe...

It is necessary to first read King and Tyrant to fully enjoy Lawless.

I don't like motorcycle club stories. They're like the male version of sorority girls, just with guns. I don't like total dick men. I don't like insta-love. I don't like over the top drama.
But this? I don't know how Frazier does this, but she makes that all so enjoyable.  

2. Donners of The Dead by Karina Halle
***A Standalone Horror Romance***

A note about this book: Donners of the Dead is set in 1851 – couples were often thrust into marriage together with short courtships, racism was widespread and not overly frowned upon, and women had little to no rights. What wouldn't fly in today's day and age was unfortunately the norm back then - it is worth keeping that in mind when reading this book.

Jake McGraw was unlike anyone I’d ever known. He was brash, rude, unapologetic and arrogant; chauvinistic, close-minded, and terribly stubborn. He was built like a tree, tall with a hard chest and wide shoulders and hands that looked like they could wrestle a bear. He was a cigar-chomping, scruffy-faced, beast of a man. I was pretty sure I hated him. And I know he hated me. But among the flesh-eating monsters in these snow-capped mountains, he was the only thing keeping me alive 

The year is 1851 and pioneers in search of California gold are still afraid to travel on the same route as the tragic Donner party did years before. When the last wagon train to go into the Sierra Nevada mountains fails to arrive at their destination, Eve Smith, an 18-year old half-native girl with immense tracking skills is brought along with the search party, headed by an enigmatic former Texas Ranger, Jake McGraw.

What they find deep in the dangerous snow-covered terrain is a terrifying consequence of cannibalism, giving new meaning to the term “monster.” While the search party is slowly picked off, one by one, Eve must learn to trust Jake, who harbors more than a few secrets of his own, in order to survive and prevent the monstrosities from reaching civilization.

***This is NOT New Adult***

Horror and historical and zombies and beards, these are a few of my least favorite things!
If this was written by anyone else, I'd've passed it over. Since Karina Halle is my favorite author though, I picked it up on vacation in May. And I blew through it in a day. 4.5 star, really fucking creepy favorite!

1. Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway
Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love..

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn't have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she's around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn't know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

Drag queen romance...there's three words I never saw strung together before. This book was weird, not going to lie, but strangely enjoyable!


  1. Lots of different ones here! I'm not a fan of MC books, either, but one of them made my list today! I have to be in the right mood for them. I didn't think about books that have HEA (I pretty much only read those, too), and the POV's. That would've probably made my list more exciting. Lol.

  2. Ooh, I loved The Hallowed Ones and Donners of the Dead (Halle is one of my all time favorite authors!).

  3. How have I not heard about Forbidden. That sounds like a really intense book. Totally added it to my wishlist!

  4. A historical horror romance? Can't say I've ever heard that genre before and it makes me curious despite the fact that horror is so not my genre. Maybe the romance could make me overlook it though:) And I've heard AMAZING things about Forbidden! I need to make time for that one some day soon.

  5. I want to read those books by Frazier. MC books are kind of my guilty pleasure. Lol.

  6. Drag queen romance? Count me in! :D I also need to read Forbidden.

  7. I didn't realize Karina Halle wrote a horror. ALL her books sound good. I also have Forbidden on my shelves and I need to read it soon!!

  8. I've heard great things about Forbidden, but !!!! The subject definitely makes me wary. I can't imagine liking a book about a brother-sister romantic relationship... and yet that's always what everyone who ended up loving it thought before they read it as well!! I'll definitely have to put it on my "maybe" list.

  9. I loved the Hallowed Ones. Lawless is on my wishlist!