Looking back on my reads of 2006, I cock my head to one side, then the other…walk away from the computer and play Dora The Explorer Dominoes. Come back with a new plan of attack. Abort before Word opens. Wander off to replace Bertie’s batteries. Remember the book I was reading when G replayed the Thomas The Tank Engine movie continuously one afternoon. Decide to just list my faves, publish date be damned.
Not sure, but I’m tripping over the idea that a Best of 2006 list should be comprised of books published in 2006. But if I try that, I’ll have one or two published this year worth mentioning. Sorry state of affairs.
So, I’m just going with my top whatever reads of the past year (won’t know the number til I’m done).
1. Black Ice by Anne Stuart
Took me a year to catch up with everyone else on this title and author. I managed to get in 6 more titles from her before the year was out (still working through her backlist). Its sequel, Cold As Ice, will also make this “top reads of 06” list (going month by month right now).
2. To The Brink by Cindy Gerard
Happened on Cindy Gerard by accident—purchasing this book when the one I originally sought didn’t sound or look as good by comparison. So glad I did. This series has been very entertaining. This too led me to read from the author’s backlist. Gerard accounted for 7 of my books read last year.
3. Dreaming Of You by Lisa Kleypas
This was not the first Kleypas book I’d read. Lori introduced me to Kleypas, starting with Worth Any Price last year. Kleypas is another author I liked immediately. And glommed. That is how I found my way to Derek’s story. Only thing I can say is…believe the hype. I read the Wallflower series this year as well. Enjoyed it immensely, but don’t believe any will make this list.
Two honorable mentions. Squeezing these in as they appear. Remember, I’m going month by month. Midnight Man by Lisa Marie Rice and Naked Truth by Amy J. Fetzer. Both strong reads and new (this year) to me authors.
4. Crazy Cool by Tara Janzen
This is another series I find ridiculously entertaining. I’ve read them all right up through Crazy Sweet, but this one—Superman’s story—was head and shoulders above the rest. Janzen created a keeper in this character. Ask any Crazy series reader about him and you’ll hear it in their voice. Superman stands out.
Sidebar: The Crazy series from Tara Janzen and the Black Dagger Brotherhood series from JR Ward appealed to my funny bone in much the same way. Male adolescence. Janzen and Ward capture it in sight, sound and smell. Perfectly. Suzanne Brockmann’s Into The Storm, released this year, featured a younger set of SEALS and the same brand of humor. Don’t know why it strikes me as so funny, but it does. And I love to indulge myself.
5. Passion by Lisa Valdez
Another of 2005’s raves that finally made it to my reading pile in 2006. It was as good as its press. Really beautiful read.
6. Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu
Again. Another of 2005’s raves I got around to reading in 2006. A powerful read that changed my mind about paranormal romance. And a voice so unique it renewed my appreciation for the written word. This one makes my Top 3 overall.
7. The Wrong Hostage by Elizabeth Lowell
I think of Lowell as having multiple writing personalities. I tried glomming her once and it was horrible. Inconsistent doesn’t begin to cover it. This title, published this year, was from the personality I liked best. And its hard hero stands out to me as I look back over every book I read that month. He appealed to me and I remember him as well as I did the day I set the book down.
8. The Protector by Gennita Low
Someone in this blogging community recommended Low last year. So I dutifully started with the first in her series—The Protector. Loved it. Devoured the remaining books in this series and count Low as one of the best agent/spy storytellers around. Like Gerard, Low is an author who delivers the kind of story I like (call it another indulgence). Both write so well that I would follow them down another path should they choose a different premise or genre.
Sidebar: I also read Angels Fall by Nora Roberts in this month. Reminds me here that both Robb titles released in 2006, as well as her standalone (Angels Fall) rank in my best reads of 2006 list. They fall into a “goes without saying” category though.
9. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
I read this one while my husband raced in national dirtbike enduro. And I came dangerously close to putting my toddler on a leash and staking him out next to our Lab. It was so utterly captivating I lost all of my peripheral attention capabilities. Magic Study was equally mesmerizing and both fill one slot in my Top 3 of 2006.
10. Lord Of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Another of those 2005 raves that made my reading list in 2006. And another case where the book matched its hype. I didn’t waste any time getting to her subsequent titles. All good.
11. The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand
The final entry on my Top 3 list. Erin recommended this one and I will be forever grateful. Hilderbrand has a voice I can’t ignore. This one was all romance (for me anyway), but her remaining titles (all hands down women’s fiction) hold equal appeal. It’s her voice. Just wonderful.
Two more honorable mentions:
Lover Awakened by JR Ward - I read all of Ward’s books this year, but this one—Zsadist’s story—stood out. I’m not sure if that was because Zsadist is the character that appealed most to me from the start. Could be. I’m not feeling any sense of urgency for the next installment in this series. Hopefully it will continue to entertain if nothing else.
Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase - Read this one in my glom of Chase. And liked it most for its humor. The hero cracked me up throughout. And when he berates the heroine for not telling him that he was in love with her (he had to learn that from her brother), I couldn’t stop laughing.
12. Cold As Ice by Anne Stuart
This book stole my breath. Not so for many, many others I know. But it worked for me in a big way. Peter is no Bastien, but he Wowed me in his own right.
Last honorable mention:
The Music Of The Night by Lydia Joyce - Flaming comments from the author aside, this book was provocative and rich. A beautiful and raw read.
So…ended up with twelve best of titles. A fave for each month. Fair enough.
And the top three:
Poison Study and Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand
Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu
As soon as I post this, I’ll start rethinking it.