Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Lori's Best of 2009

Well, I read about 200 books more than I reviewed. Wow. I don’t have stats for you, cause I just can’t be bothered, but I average about 4-5 books a week, so I’m guessing I read somewhere in the neighborhood of 225-250 books this year. Just knowing my preferences, I’d guess the majority were either historical or romantic suspense.

What were my favorites? In no particular order…

Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James: James also makes my list of 2 new to me favorite authors. While I really loved Just the Sexiest Man Alive, I absolutely loveloved Practice Makes Perfect. Such a great hero, and James writes fabulous, witty, intelligent banter, even if the characters are sometimes completely juvenile. Heh. Wishing now I’d gotten around to reviewing them both.

Rapture in Death by JD Robb: Thanks to Christine, I finally broke down and began reading the In Death books. While I’ve loved them all, Rapture in Death has to be my favorite. It’s the first time we really see Roarke truly vulnerable, and Eve shows tremendous growth when she has to be the strong, supportive one. I’m currently on book 9. I blame Christine.

Relentless by Lauren Dane: OMG – such a touching (and hot) romance against incredible world-building. There was not a page of this book that I didn’t adore.

One Week as Lovers by Victoria Dahl: Everyone is putting her contemps on their “Best of” lists, but I much preferred her historicals. This one made me say Wow when I read it.

Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare: Dare gets the tie vote with Julie James as my favorite new (and new to me) author. While her trilogy was fabulous, it was this first one that really made me sit up and take notice. Fantastic hero, heroine, and story. And I’ll never look at an armoire the same way again ☺
Gray, the hero of book 2 made it a tough choice, though…

Rage Against the Meshugenah by Danny Evans: This non-fiction, self-deprecating, hysterical look at depression was absolutely wonderful. Of course, I went into it expecting great things. Evans’ blog is fantastic, and he grew up with two of my good friends, in my city. I recommend it to anyone who needs a good look at depression, or anyone who wants a funny read.

Fade to Black by Leslie Parrish: The perfect mix of romance and suspense, IMO. Grisly enough to keep my interest, and romantic enough to satisfy.Parrish reminds me very much of Karen Rose (before she turned super-grisly *g*). The first book by Blaze author Leslie Kelly's alter ego. Parrish goes into the auto-buy favorite author category as well.

A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore: While I abhor love triangle stories, somehow this one managed to worm its way into my heart. I felt so bad for all the characters, and really wanted everyone to be happy in the end (darn, no three-way marriage *g*). If it wasn’t for the conclusion of the villain story, this would have been absolutely perfect.

Mercy Street by Mariah Stewart: This was Stewart’s return to wonderful romantic suspense. Her recent books have been heavy on the suspense/thriller and too light on the romance. While I love me a good grisly thriller (Lisa Jackson, anyone?), somehow, Stewart’s books do better for me with romance added to the mix. The next two in the series were great as well, but this one realy stood out for me.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: Another non-romance to make my best reads this year. Holy cow – amazingly powerful! Simply a must-read for those who want to understand how Afghanistan got to be the place it is today. The follow-up, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was equally as riveting.

Dark of Night by Suzanne Brockmann: While some were outraged by the pairing of Decker and Tracy, I loved it. Not being a Sophia fan, I thought Tracy a much better match for Deck. Plus, this book gave JenniferB and me the chance to do our first buddy review together!

Honorable mention to Coming Undone (although it doesn’t release till January 2010, I got an ARC – thanks, Lauren!): All I’m saying is go buy this one now! It’s coming out this week. I’m a huge Lauren Dane ho.

Honorable mention to The Education of Madeline by Beth Williamson: I first read this in ebook format years ago. Williamson got a contract with Brava and re-released this and wrote two more. Absolutely wonderful western historical romance author.

Honorable mention to
Instant Gratification by Jill Shalvis: Shalvis always delivers smart, sexy contemporaries with humor, sensitive but strong heroes and heroines and a delightful afternoon of reading. This one was no exception – from the juvenile antics of the brothers to the sparkling banter, to the tender love, Shalvis had me at hello.

I think this is the first year that I've had two non-romances on my "best of" list.  I'm happy to see a good mix of contemporary, romantic suspense, and historicals. I'm sure that I read far more historicals this year than anything else (although I probably read about 30 Harlequins), but I'm really pleased that I obviously enjoyed romance across the genre, and outside of it, too.


  1. Great list Lori! A few I read and enjoyed and some I've got on the tbr pile. My reaction to Dark of Night was similar to yours. I was meh about Sophia and happy with Decker and Tracy together. I think I'm one of the few that liked Tracy even before DoN. :)

  2. This was a great list, Lori :D Again, I'm glad that you're enjoying the In Death series :) LOL, I think at the end of the year, many will be blaming Christine :P

    Lauren Dane is on my to try list for this year :)

  3. You're so good to me! Thank you doll and yeah, a great many of your faves are on my favorite list too.

    I LOVE Beth Williamson so I was so happy to see The Education of Madeline. I am so looking forward to more from her this year.

  4. Must. Read. The. Beth. Williamson. Series. I picked up the first two at RWA dagnabit (Ooooh, the Librarian Goody Room, how I lurve thee).

  5. Great list!

    Wow about Kite Runner. I started that book but didn't read too much of it. Couldn't handle it.

    I lived in Kuwait for 3 years over 25 years ago. (Don't know if you knew that) I went to an American School but it was populated with many different nationalities. I came to know the whole Arab/Islamic culture very well and it was through the eyes of a teenage girl. Most of my friends were Arab/Islamic. Some girls/women were more free than others. I will never forget my best friend, Dina Mohammed. She was Egyptian and she was promised to marry her first cousin. She didn't like him, hated him in fact. I often told her she had a choice and she could get say no. She said she couldn't. When I left Kuwait at 15 1/2 years old I wanted to keep in touch with Dina but she said no she couldn't her father wouldn't let her. I still think of her often. I hope she is happy.

    I left there (Kuwait) being so grateful I was born American. We have many, many problems but our girls can make their own decisions about our own lives.

    I am grateful for my time there. I got to know so many wonderful people.

  6. Leslie: the sad thing was that Sophia was so great in the first book she appeared in. Dunno what happened to turn her so BORING.

    Nath: I think I'll be messing with Christine all year, LOL!

    Wendy: You should start with her DoH series or the Malloy series. True hard westerns. Talk to me about it this weekend or shoot me an email...

    Nikki: I did remember you spent a few years over there. If you had a hard time with Kite Runner, don't go anywhere near A Thousand Splendid Suns! It's more depressing, and it's about the subjection of women. Ugh. But an excellent book nonetheless.

    And oh darn! I realize I meant to put Daring Time by Beth Kery somewhere on my list. I loved that and Wicked Burn. Shoot!

  7. Oh wow. An In Death book made it to your top reads of 2009 and it's all my fault! I'm so happy I could cry. Well, not really, but seriously. That's so cool. :)

    Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare is possibly my #1 favorite read of 2009. *sigh* So good.

  8. LOLOL! I'm a fast reader, what can I say? Right now, I'm just waiting for the next one to come into my library (had to order it through the county cause, of course, my library doesn't have it).

    And I absolutely loved GOTH. If I'd done a favorite hero post, Jeremy and Gray would have both made the list, I think. (poor Toby, LOL)

  9. Yes! I would have to agree with you about Jeremy and Gray. And I would have to add to my prior comment and say that GOTH is #1 and SOAS is right on its heals. What beautiful, beautiful writing. And yeah... poor Toby. LOL. Truthfully, Bella didn't impress me the way Lucy and Sophia did. I connected with Lucy and Sophia in so many ways. I liked Bella, but she didn't capture me like Lucy and Sophia did.

    I can't wait for Tessa Dare's next trilogy!

    Something tells me you're gonna be done with the In Death series by the summer. ;p

  10. I think it took Bella too long to get over her self-righteousness, and by that time, I didn't care for her enough.


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