I love to read everyone’s best of lists, though I’m not very great at making my own. I started making a list with categories, but I just couldn’t make that work, so these are just some of my favorites for the year in no particular order. Notice any patterns here? I had strong reactions to most of them and they do tend to have strong, female protagonists.
A Mercy ~ Toni Morrison
Everything typical of a Toni Morrison book but much more accessible than some of her others. After I finished it, I had to go back and read the first chapter all over again because it’s got that kind of ending.
Little Bee ~ Chris Cleave
I had a physical reaction to this book. I was literally shaking at one point. It’s weird that a book that can make you feel so bad, can be so good. To say that this book is thought-provoking doesn’t do it justice.
Daughter of the Forest ~ Juliet Marillier
It was a toss up between this one and Cybelle’s Secret. Juliet Marillier is an amazing writer. The world’s she creates are so rich and Daughter of the Forest was no exception. Sevenwaters felt so real to me. I fell hard for all of the characters and Marillier is such a cruel writer – what she does to them! I guess that’s part of what makes her such a great storyteller.
Halfway to the Grave ~ Jeaniene Frost
I think this book changed my life. Okay, seriously, it put the fun back into reading for me. Did I say I like the strong, female protagonists. I also like totally kick-ass but still sensitive male protagonists, too, even if they are the real fantasy in the fantasy. Bones. Need I say more? One last thing, I used to only read books with vegetarian vampires, because I’m vegetarian 🙂 I had no idea that a vampire could feed from you and not only not kill you, but also make you feel really good. Silly me. Now I know!
Demon Forged ~ Meljean Brook
This could be almost any book in the Guardian series, but I picked this one because of the cover and because Irena totally kicks ass. It’s a little scary actually. I like this series so much, I can’t manage to write a review. I revert to a bumbling idiot whenever I try. I love the world and the characters. When I finished Demon Forged, my jaw had dropped about 10 feet and I needed the next book in the series right then! Still waiting.
Angel’s Blood ~ Nalini Singh
Everyone seems to want to kill Elena. It made me sad. I spent a good deal of the book worrying about how she could possibly stay alive for her sequel. It has a little to do with her being really good at her job (Vampire Hunter) and a lot to do with the fact that she has an insanely strong will, a ton of pride and the amazing ability to blurt out whatever is on her mind. The latter seems to occur most often in front of Raphael, the Archangel of New York, who could snap her into two like a twig. You go girl!
Can I just say that this book also had me fantasizing about beds. Not the people in them, but just the beds. Right now, we just have a mattress on a frame and no one here has been in grad school for about 8 years. Plus, we are all tired and 2 adults and one growing 3 year old just don’t fit in a full size bed, so when someone starts talking about a bed that is big enough to fit 10 people, it’s hard to keep track of the rest of the story.
Luck in the Shadows ~ Lynn Flewelling
Can you say swashbuckling? Don’t be fooled by the cover, there are no mullets in this book!
Silent on the Moor ~ Deanna Raybourn
What a sigh of relief this book was! But, work too, I almost burst into tears after one of the scenes.
Fire ~ Kristin Cashore
I don’t care what you say, this book was written just for me! Seriously, I wish there were books like this when I was actually a YA.
Evolution of Calpurnia Tate ~ Jacqueline Kelly
Lovely cover. I wish I was as cool as Calpurnia at her age or that my grandfather had a super cool library and did experiments in the shed. I’m not so sure I would want that many brothers, though.
The Photographer ~ Emmanuel Guibert
I love it when other people do crazy, insane things that I would never do and then write about them so I can feel like I was adventurous without ever having to get out of bed. It helps if they include amazing photographs, too.
Stitches ~ David Stewart
I still can’t believe that such a wonderful children’s book illustrator could have such a horrible childhood. It makes me think all of that must be behind his spot on expressions his characters make.
Air ~ G. Willow Wilson
A flight-attendant superhero who’s afraid of heights? It sounds like it wouldn’t work, but somehow it works spectacularly. A little bit of magical realism and fantastic illustrations help, too.