Sandy M’s Best and Worst of 2010

Monday, January 17, 2011 13:00
Posted in category Ponderings, Review, Romanceland

Sandys IconI always have such a hard time pulling out the books I really like from a previous year. Yes, there’s too many, but it’s also difficult because sometimes you can’t choose because you can’t compare books in different genres. Though I read mostly historical and paranormal, I also enjoy contemps and romantic suspense a lot. Thus, I poured over my entire 2010 review list, chose those that I really loved, and then the difficulty began in whittling it down. My biggest hurdle is books from a series, if an author released more than one book in the year. Sometimes one of many stood out. Sometimes I couldn’t choose one over the other and sometimes I could. In that case, I’ve cheated and listed all the books I loved in that series.  :)    It’s my list and I can do what I want!

So here they are:

Book Cover10.  The Taming of the Wolf by Lydia Dare

While I’ve so far enjoyed all of the books in this series, it’s the hero, Dashiel, who stole my heart and has ended up my favorite of the series. Lydia Dare has stayed true to her characters and given readers solid, consistent, and intriguing stories. See my TTotW review here.

Book Cover9.   Lessons From a Scarlet Lady by Emma Wildes

As I said in in my review of this book, it’s a breath of fresh air. Emma Wildes writes a terrific couple who I loved to read about. They kept my interest the entire book, and I wanted more of them when I was done reading. I’m a new fan for sure.

Book Cover8.   Broken by Shiloh Walker

It would be surprising to me if a Shiloh Walker book didn’t make my Top 10. She’s become a favorite very quickly and she’s never once disappointed me. Though I also enjoyed Fragile, it was Quinn who caught my interest and I anxiously awaited his story. I love a broken, tortured hero and Quinn fit the bill to a T. Read about him here.

Book Cover7. The Fire Lord’s Lover by Kathryne Kennedy

I became a huge fan of Kathryne Kennedy from the first book of her Relics of Merlin series and was really disappointed when I found she’s not been able to write more it at this point in time. But with her imagination, I shouldn’t have worried at all. Ms. Kennedy has given us another series that is simply awesome. The Fire Lord’s Lover is a perfect start and I can’t wait for more. My review is here.

Book Cover6.  Raising Kane by Lorelei JamesShoulda Been a Cowboy, Cowgirls Don’t Cry & Slow Ride short story

I can never get enough of Lorelei James. Her stories are real, as are her characters. She doesn’t pretty up a book if tragedy is called for, and in doing so she tugs so hard on your heartstrings it ain’t funny. Her cowboys walk the walk and talk the talk. Her love scenes range from intense and raw to fun and lighthearted. You get everything in a Lorelei James book. Every book she released in 2010 is a Top 10, but Raising Kane is my fave. See my RK review here.

Book Cover5.   Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman by Lorraine Heath

Lorraine Heath has been a favorite of mine since I read her Texas trilogy and nothing changed when I read her first Regency. She’s simply and truly wonderful. I loved this entire London’s Greatest Lovers trilogy, but it’s Stephen’s story that I really remember. I had my doubts about him, as I said in my review, but he turned out to be one of those heroes you’ll never, ever forget.

Book Cover4.   Moon Craving by Lucy Monroe

You know those books you wait for? And wait for? Forever, it seems? Moon Craving is one of those for me. I fell in love with Lucy Monroe’s werewolves in her first book, Moon Awakening, in her Children of the Moon series, and I wanted more. But it took a few years for that next one. The wait was worth it, however. Another terrific story for Monroe and paranormal fans. Read my review here.

Book Cover3.   The Darkest Hour by Maya BanksNo Place to Run

I have so fallen in love with the Kelly Family in Maya Banks’ KGI series. Especially those Kelly boys. They’re alpha and yummy and they still obey their parents. And they fall hard when they find their heroines. So, hell, what’s not to love?? Read about those Kelly boys here.

Book Cover2.   Bonds of Justice by Nalini SinghPlay of Passion & Blaze of Memory

Nalini Singh is one of those authors who you’re going to love no matter what she puts on the page. I can’t imagine anyone arguing with that, if they’ve read any of her books. Bonds of Justice takes the No. 1 spot – by a very narrow margin over Play of Passion – for me of her books in 2010 because I sobbed reading this book. I very, very rarely cry when reading. It takes something so very special for me shed a tear while reading, but when it happens, I remember it. So due to my full-out sobbing near the end of BoJ, I’ll never forget Max and Sophia. Read my review about them here.

Now for my No 1. pick, I couldn’t decide between these two books, so they’re co-winners. They win not only for the story, the worlds the authors have created, but also for the beautiful, lyrical, haunting writing these authors possess. It takes an awesome author to be able to keep momentum and creativity and imagination in a series going, to make the next book better than the last. Both of these authors have those things down pat. I never have to hope the next book will disappoint me because it won’t be as good as the first or the one just prior. I know the next book will be even better.

Book Cover1.  Book CoverHaunting Warrior by Erin Quinn & Crown of Crystal Flame by C.L. Wilson

Erin Quinn’s Haunting series is just that, haunting. In storyline. In characters. In writing. Absolutely stunning all the way around. I am breathlessly waiting for the next installment this April. I will have myself locked in my room until that book is finished.

C.L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul series was a treat and a treasure to read. This last installment brought everything together for an absolutely stunning ending that left readers gasping. The way this woman strings words together is just amazing. I’m sad this series is now complete, but readers of the series know that their favorite characters will be featured in future books. That’s worth waiting for.

Notice I used “absolutely stunning” for each of these authors. Wasn’t a mistake. Completely intentional. Cuz it just is.

Because I had a huge list picked out before I cut it down to my Top 10, I do want to give mention to those that just barely missed the cut.  So here are my Honorable Mentions in no particular order :

Drink of Me & Stealing Kathryn by Jacquelyn Frank – An imagination that is just awesome!

Shadows at Midnight by Elizabeth Jennings – I know Ash didn’t care for this one, but it’s on my keeper shelf!

Taming the Highland Bride & The Hellion and the Highlander by Lynsay Sands – I love Lynsay Sands! I need to start reading her vamps…

Legend of the White Wolf, Seduced by the Wolf & Wolf Fever by Terry Spear – Yuuuuuuuuuuumy werewolves!

A Highlander’s Homecoming by Melissa Mayhue – Time travel. Scottish Highlanders. One of the best at both!

Marked & Entwined by Elisabeth Naughton – Zodiac warriors to die for! Also try her Stolen series.

Naked Edge by Pamela Clare – Hawt love scenes! Oh, and a great mystery and thrilling suspense too!

A Kiss to Kill by Nina Bruhns – Oh my! I want more, more, more!

Infamous by Suzanne Brockmann – I love her romances within a romance. And I love this cowboy!

The Chief by Monica McCarty – I love this concept of Highlander Special Ops! Fun, intense, and so romantic!

Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison – Debut author done good. Terrific and dark!

Shut Up & Kiss Me by Christie Craig – Only humorous book on my list. There’s a reason for that. She’s one of the very best!

Destined to Last by Alyssa Johnson – Beautifully written with such engaging characters. Can’t wait to see what she does next!

The Treasure Keeper by Shana Abe – Dragons! ‘Nuff said.

And even I have a few books that didn’t make the grade for me in 2010. Mikey really doesn’t like everything!

Book Cover4.   Mad, Bad and Blonde by Cathie Linz

Waaaaaaaaaay too much snipping and sniping and insulting going on between the hero and heroine for me. It went on and on. And on. And on. And on. And that’s too bad because the first part of the book is good. Right up until the heroine went blonde. See my review here.

3.    Time Storm by Samanta Winston

Sigh. Even the time travel didn’t help this book. We only get to know the characters through their fucking. Pirates and danger and all that goes with it was okay, as was the time travel, but it just wasn’t put together to keep my interest. I remember being glad it’s a short story. My review can be read here.

Book Cover2.   Tomorrow is Another Day novella by Sandra Hill in the Ladies Prefer Rogues anthology

Even the play on Gone with the Wind didn’t save this novella. The characters didn’t work for me either all because of their attitudes. At least the time travel element worked. Guess I should be grateful for that. My review is here.

Book Cover1.   Passionate Pleasures by Bertrice Small

This book is just a mess all the way around. The characters are likable but that’s about it. It felt like Ms. Small just tried too hard to write erotic romance. I think her niche is historicals and she should stick with that. You can read my review here.

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