One thing I do know, there's lots of books I just can't think of right now, that might outdo this list. That's how my mind works these days. Tomorrow or maybe even a week from now, a book will spring to mind and I'll cry out in agony "why didn't I put that book on my list!"
*sigh* It is what it is, I'm afraid.
So. There's no classics on this list; just books that really appealed to me for one reason or another. And here we go. :-)
1. The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
A time travel historical that is really well done. I can remember the first time I read it and how fascinated I was - that's how much it affected me, I remember it! Lol. And now I've bought the first half season of the TV show and it's really bringing the book alive for me.
Gabaldon's descriptions stick in my mind. The way she describes Jamie, down to the red gold hairs on his arms brought an intimacy to the couple that lingers in my mind to this day.
The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon
This omnibus consists of three books: Sheepfarmer's Daughter, Divided Allegiance and Oath of Gold. This is high fantasy and follows the adventures of Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter as she matures into a warrior, finds her magic and becomes a Paladin of Gird who fights for the weak and downtrodden. Absolutely a wonderful story, full of elves and gnomes and dwarves, kings and mages.
This series of books was written twenty plus years ago and fans thought that was that, even though everyone wanted more stories in this world. Lo and behold, never say die: Moon went back to this world a several years ago and wrote six more books: Oath of Fealty, Kings of the North, Echo of Betrayal, Limits of Power, Crown of Renewal, Deeds of Honor. All in Pak's world with new heroes and heroines and wonderful adventures. A must for fantasy fans.
3. The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley
This book created a little buzz at its publication; the hero, to all intents and purposes, has high level autism and this is a study of how he functions in his society as well as a romance story. I love Lord Ian. I love eccentric people and therefore I adore Lord Ian. A really great romance with a hero and heroine worthy of each other.
4. Motorcycle Man by Kristin Ashley
For me, this is the granddaddy of all MC books. It's the first one I read and it's the one I keep rereading. And while the hero might seem to be misogynous, his reasoning for his actions are logical and for the benefit of his woman. I've never been an ultra-feminist; there's lots of things men can do better than me and frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. Tack does it for me. ;-)
5. The Infected Series by Andrea Speed
I don't know what it is about this series. Maybe it's Paris, who isn't even the hero, but has a big effect on the books. Maybe it's the sheer guts shown by the hero, Roan. He fights his condition and he fights for others. This is a M/M book with the bedroom door closed, but the loving relationship between Roan and Paris in the early books really doesn't need sex to define itself. Damn good books.
Choosing five books has been hard for me, there are so many books I love as well as books I remember. I remember an autobiography of David Niven, Bring on the Empty Horses (always loved that title),(wish it was in ebook) and A Canticle for Leibowitz and probably many, many more SF&F that are just a whisper away from the borders of my memory.
Anyway. Happy reading, y'all.