As we’re nearing the end of the year, I can’t help but look back over what I’ve read. I’ve fallen head over heels in love with using Goodreads, not just because it lets me keep a To-Read list all in one place, but also because I can keep track of what I’m reading. This year was filled with great books–both indie and traditionally published and I figure I’ll share my Top Ten for 2011.
1. Forged in Fire by Trish McCallan
This one is totally stealing my number one spot this year. I spotted this one thanks to Edie Ramer’s blog a little before it was published and put it on my To-Read list. Navy SEALs weren’t really my thing and I tend to prefer my paranormal romances with a lot more paranormal…but I’m a sucker for alpha male heroes. And the moment I read the first chapter I was hooked. Hooked I say! I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in this series as well as anything else Trish McCallan puts out. Amazing how one good book can put an author on your auto-buy list.
2. Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
Though, I’d count the first four in this series in my favorites if I could, I wasn’t going to hog up my top ten list on just one author… but the first four in this series are amazing. Start with Dark Lover, the Black Dagger Brotherhood book one. I’m not normally big on vampires but I love what Ward has done with them. They seem to switch more to urban fantasy (or at least lose a lot of the romantic elements) after book four, which is a bummer though. I love urban fantasy as well, but I fell in love with these books because of the romantic elements.
3. Hide’n Go Seek by Dale Mayer
I don’t even remember how I stumbled across this one. To be honest I think I was browsing the Kindle Top 100 for Romantic Suspense looking for indie authors to support and found this one. It’s book two in a series, but I admit…I was a horrible reader and grabbed this one first. She had me hooked with Search and Rescue dog team. I loved this book and am going to do some back pedaling so I can read the first one.
4. Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione
For someone who writes a lot of paranormal romance, I actually don’t read much in the genre…at least not until this year. Many of the big name traditionally published authors in this genre just don’t hit it for me. It wasn’t until I started poking around the ePublishers this year that I really found some that I enjoyed…and oddly enough, I ended up finding some authors from the big six that I liked in the genre as well. Larissa Ione being one of my new favorites, especially with her Lords of Deliverance series. I can’t wait to read the remaining three books in this spin on the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
5. Dead People by Edie Ramer
This was such a fun read. I was on the lookout for ghost romances, stumbled across this one and fell in love. Neither of the main characters are ghosts (which is what I was lucking for), but it still packed a punch. I read the whole book in one sitting while waiting at the airport to pick up my brother. I can’t wait for the next book in this series, and anything else put out by Edie Ramer.
6. Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
This one was a bit of a gem I stumbled on by accident. I’d been hearing a lot of good things about Stiefvater’s books, but she seems to favor writing in first person, alternating between the main characters. Which is great…for people who can read it. I’m one of those awful readers who gets sucked into a story and doesn’t notice when one chapter passes, meaning I miss that vital information that lets me know which, “I,” I’m in. However, I picked this one up in audio book because I love the mythology around water horses and just had to try it. I might have skipped this in the end, except on top of it being in audio format, it was thankfully read by two different readers – a guy for Sean and a woman for Puck. I loved this story. For those that have the same issue as I do when it comes to reading first-alt books, pick it up in audio. It’s worth it.
7. Enclave by Ann Aguirre
I’ve been a huge Ann Aguirre fan since Grimspace. I picked up Enclave, her new Young Adult book on a whim, not really sure what to expect. I like dystopians, but young adult as a genre is hit or miss for me. I loved the characters in this book. Deuce was so realistic and slow romance built between her and Fade…my heart melts. I cannot wait for the next book. Interestingly enough, this trumped Ann’s other release (under the penname Ellen Connor) Nightfall for me. Deuce and Fade hit a spot in my heart that had me devouring this book.
8. Kithra by Dani Worth
I’m trying to remember where I first caught wind of Kithra and Dani Worth and to be honest, I’m not really sure. However, I love a good science fiction romance, especially when it’s a menage (this is m/m/f, if you’re curious). The characters in this novella are wonderfully complex, tortured souls with lots of back story and hang ups. I was riveted right up to the end. I finished it in a night, hopped online and browsed for excerpts and tidbits on the next one in this series.
9. A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang
Surprisingly I didn’t read as much urban fantasy this year as I normally do, but wow, this one was a hilarious read. From Phin the Pervert Mini Unicorn, to WoW talking bad guys, I was hooked! And at the risk of sounding repetitive, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!
10. The Hunt by Allison Brennan
I said before, I hadn’t really been a big paranormal romance reader. I’ll say the same for most romantic suspense. I tend to be a sucker for contemporaries, historicals, and urban fantasy (with the occasional epic fantasy thrown in). So this year I’ve started branching out and my first foray into non-paranormal romantic suspense was The Hunt by Allison Brennan. It took a little getting used to, for me to fall back into head-hopping but Brennan’s a talented writer and she lures you right in. The plot was very moving and I found myself riveted as they closed in on the killer.