Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year! Some of my favorite reads from 2012

I wish all of you a safe and fun celebration of the New Year!

It occurs to me that my favorites of 2012 list was requested and shared with two different blogs but perhaps I should put it on my own blog as well, lol.  It has a few changes from the ones I submitted elsewhere because, as usual, I am continuing to read and adding new titles to my favorites all of the time!   Naturally, there is overlap because some of the titles can be listed under several genres.

Young adult


Michele Sagara:  Cast in Peril, Silence
Jeri Smith-Ready:  Shine (the previous two titles in the series are very good and necessary to truly appreciate this one)
Jennifer Estep:  Crimson Frost

I love the intensity of young adult books, the wonder of first love, and the mystical worlds that they seem to adapt to effortlessly.  I enjoy a bit of angst (although I was REALLY irritated by a certain vampire series which was dragged down by what I thought was excessive angst!) and the intense passion displayed by these people on the cusp of adulthood.  


Honorable Mention goes to Stacey Kade:  The Ghost and the Goth and Queen of the Dead which was a delightful series contrasting the “popular’ girl...who is a ghost...and the misfit guy who can see her.




Nora Roberts:  Perfect Hope (Inn Boonsboro trilogy)
Hester Browne:  The Runaway Princess
Lauren Dane:  Never Enough, Tart  (warning, both are spicy but very romantic to me)

I am an unabashed Nora Roberts/JD Robb fan and I think she is such a remarkably prolific but not a cookie-cutter romance writer.  Each of her books has similar elements yet presents a unique tale and I always sigh at the beautiful imagery and intense passion she conveys.  Hester Browne’s book was a lot of fun for me to read...despite its very British flavor...which has references that are unfamiliar to someone who has very little international experience.  The excesses and fairy-tale quality of the story contrasted with the earthy (literally) experiences of the heroine was very entertaining for me.
I adore the Brown Siblings series and am fascinated by Lauren Dane’s exploration of unconventional living arrangements such as the triads that she depicts.  These are very spicy books as well but I love the intense romance that characterizes them.

Romantic suspense:


Laura Griffin:  Scorched
Shiloh Walker:  Reunited  (paranormal)...being released Feb. 2013

Both of these books combined the thrill and rollercoaster ride of suspense even as one roots for the strong characters being depicted.  I love very strong heroines and both of these authors definitely know how to craft charismatic women who work with the men in their lives but don’t wait around to be rescued!




JD Robb (Nora Roberts):  Delusion in Death, Celebrity in Death
The love between Eve Dallas and Roarke outshines the gory cases she works on and it is a delight to watch Eve’s interpersonal relationships flower and to see Peabody become a warrior in her own right.  The sprinklings of humor help keep the horror at bay while I identify with Eve’s puzzlement at some of the arcane rituals she is expected to deal with, including conversations with an increasingly coherent baby, lol.




Barbara Ashford:  Spellcrossed (and prequel Spellcast)
Janet Chapman:  Charmed by his Love
Anne Bishop:  Bridge of Dreams
Brent Weeks:  The Blinding Knife (I am still reading this as this goes live but it is just as enthralling...and frustrating...a read as the first in the series, The Black Prism)

The combination of romance and imagination is wonderful in all of these books which are all part of series.  The Chapman series actually interconnect multiple titles and I haven’t read all of them but the ones I have read combine fantasy with very real child care concerns as there seem to be quite a few youngsters wandering around.  Combine that with a person who communicates with mountains themselves...a fun read.  Ashford’s book combines the ambience of musical theater with a mystical experience that is delightful to experience, even if one has no experience with theater production.  

Anne Bishop’s book was mind boggling in a good way.  The worlds that she creates are always impressive and I loved her Black Jewels series but this particular title was so different but enthralling.  It is also part of a series but I thought this was the best one thus far.



Tanya Huff:  The Silvered
Eileen Wilks:  Mortal Ties
Rob Thurman:  All Seeing Eye, Doubletake
Thea Harrison: Natural Evil (but I love most of these tales)
I am a big paranormal fan but sometimes I wonder if the genre is saturated...then I read novels by these fantastic authors and I am relieved that they are gifting us with these mesmerizing titles.  Each of these authors writes about otherworldly beings who battle sometimes unimaginable foes yet they have the capability to love as hard as they fight.

Science Fiction



Jean Johnson:  A Soldier's Duty, An Officer's Duty
C.J. Cherryh:  Intruder
Both of these authors have created richly textured worlds peopled with intriguing aliens and dealing with complex political machinations.  Johnson’s tales pose the question of fate vs independent action and Cherryh creates an alien society which yet becomes very familiar.  Both make the reader think while providing exciting action tales.

Historical Romance:


Sabrina Jeffries:  Twas the Night After Christmas
Stephanie Laurens:  The Lady Risks All
Emma Wildes:  Ruined by Moonlight
Robin Schone:  A Lady’s Pleasure
Larissa Lyons:  Miss Isabella Thaws a Frosty Lord

All of these were beautiful period romances that conjure up the intriguing facets of life in old England and highlight what happens when men and women step outside of their traditional roles and follow their hearts.  I was delighted to discover Ms Schone’s works which explores a sensual side of period society and combines eroticism and beautiful language.  I was also very impressed by Ms Lyons’ emphasis on a heroine with a handicap and her ability to weave a beautiful romance with humor and emotionalism in a style that is reminiscent of Jane Austen to me.  I have long been a big fan of Ms Laurens and always enjoy her romances, but this was even more interesting to me because it added in a mystery.  It seems that either one really likes this or one can’t stand it so each person obviously sees something different.

Military Romance:

M.L. Buchman:  The Night is Mine
Anne Elizabeth:  A SEAL at Heart
Jessica Scott:  Until There Was You, Because of You

All of these reads provided poignant examples of the stresses and sacrifices of those who serve. Unfortunately, given the nature of the genre, most of the endings are HFN (i.e. Happy for Now)  



Sylvia Day:  Reflected in You
Robin Rotham:  Frankendom
Beth Kery: Exposed to You
Randi Alexander:  Cowboy Bad Boys
Emma Holly:  Billionaire Bad Boy's Club
Kallypso Masters:  Nobody’s Perfect (read the free prequel Masters at Arms first for proper background)
Lauren Dane:  Tart, Never Enough (also in the straight Romance category)
Cheyenne McCray:  Fencing You In

Wow!  There were some impressive erotica reads this year.  Some definitely push the edge in terms of kink (a lot of BDSM is popular in erotica this year) and atypical relationships but all definitely have a strong flavor of romance.  
Note:  The Holly book starts with a M/M relationship that is a wonderful description of two young men who turn to each other after dealing with horrific home circumstances and follows them as they find a woman whom they both can love.  The Masters book may not be to everyone’s taste as it explores repercussions of sexual abuse and the Rotham book is a pretty dark read but mesmerizing.

M/M GBLT Romance

Emma Holly:  Billionaire Bad Boy’s Club

I haven’t read a lot of specifically M/M romances although I have read a fair number of menage stories that have M/M/F scenarios.  This was the one I was most impressed by but many of my aforementioned erotica titles have menage situations which have M/M scenarios.

It’s really tough for me to choose my very favorite book for the year but I think I would have to choose Tanya Huff’s “The Silvered”.  It was a departure from the typical shifter tale and there actually is a very gently unfolding primary romance along with the tortuous tangential romances that are alluded to.  I thought it was a great introduction to a intriguing world that is harsh and violent with a disturbing view of the dangers of discrimination through ignorance.  

So, this is a sample of what went onto my 'keepers shelf' this year.  It's no wonder that I have no room in my house...and a few of these were e-books which I want to get the print copies of one of these days.  Yes, I didn't name this blog falsely...but I don't mind admitting that I am an addict...and there are quite a few worse things to be obsessive about!  What are some of your keeper titles?