I listed my favorite reads of 2009 here, but I want to also highlight a few books and authors.
Favorite new author: This is a three-way tie between Julie James, Tessa Dare, and Leslie Parrish. I read all of each of their offerings, and wasn’t disappointed in anything. Seriously looking forward to the next book from all three.
Most controversial: Last year, I chose a Brockmann, and she gets the pick again this year. Dark of Night didn’t pair Decker with Sophia as so many were hoping. Nope, Deck got himself a feisty heroine with… a personality. (Sorry, Sophia, but you’ve gone downhill since your terrific introduction.) Many were outraged, but I was thrilled. Plus, I got to see that little bit of submission in the bedroom that Decker has going on. Very hot *g*. And I did my first buddy review with JenniferB. Finally. It only took us 4 years *g*.
Most disappointing read: This one is a tie. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. I never did review this one (JenniferB did here), but I found it a disappointing read. I think that so much was made of the portrayal of Asperger’s that when I read it, I was unimpressed. Given that my husband works with students with emotional disturbance, and Asperger’s is the diagnosis of the decade, I hear a lot about how people with Asperger’s interact. This just didn’t quite fit with my hubby’s experience (much to his annoyance, I kept asking him if certain passages fit as I was reading it), and that threw me. Not to say that it’s not an accurate portrayal; it just didn’t work all that well for me. Overall, it was a fairly good book. It just failed to live up to the hype for me.
Then there was Broken Wing. Hyped to the hilt by KristieJ, I wanted to love it. I really did. Parts of it were outstanding, but the overall impression it left me with was just meh.
Worst ending: Fall Into Me. I loved every last little thing about this book until literally the very last page. If it wasn’t in my ereader at the time, I’d have thrown it against the wall. I absolutely love the Hearts of the South series (it earned my best series award last year), and the ending of this book just pissed me off.
Most redeemed character: Tick from the Hearts of the South series. Winfree had started to make him such an asshole, that some of us in blogland gave him the nickname "Tick the Dick." I blogged about it here. However, with Uncovered, Winfree finally brought some resolution to his character’s disturbing dickishness.
Best Series: In Death. Nuff said. I’m up to book 9 so far and kicking myself for not reading it sooner.
Most fascinating read: Rage Against the Meshugenah. This was an in-depth exploration of men’s depression written by an amazingly funny, self-deprecating, honest man. A serious topic, for sure, but Evans’ handling of it made me laugh and cry, and root for him all the way.
Most beautiful cover art: Once again, I have to give it to Winfree’s Hearts of the South series. Not that great covers are an indication of a good read, but it sure helps on the shelf! Winfree released two books in this series in 2009, and both carried on the amazingly gorgeous cover art that all the predecessors had (ok, with the exception of His Ordinary Life – I have no idea why this one has a different theme than the rest of the series, but oh well. Almost all the covers for this series were done by Anne Cain at Samhain. Just beautiful.