I read 251 books by choice (things that I didn’t have to read for work / dissertation) in 2010. The list is here. I thought it would be easy to pick out my favorites, and it really hasn’t been. This list is very strange, eclectic really, and most of these have made my previous lists in one form or another. So, this list probably could have been skipped. However, it was on my to-do list, so here it is! 🙂 (in no particular order . . . )
Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking
I blogged this book when I read it (here), and I have it on my Urban Fantasy list. I mention it here, though, because I can’t reiterate enough that it was the book that hooked me on Urban Fantasy!
Product Description: All the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party … and to feed. Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining — and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized. A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead … or undead.
Blood Sins & Blood Ties by Kay Hooper
Hooper made my top Paranormal Writer’s list for her series featuring Bishop and his elite FBI agents who are known for the “super”natural skills in solving crimes and finding / hunting criminals. I read the two most recent in the series last year (2010), and they were two of my favorites all year. I really hope she does more in this series, though I haven’t seen any previews / teasers. To read about this series, visit the author’s website at http://www.kayhooper.com/books/bishoptimeline.html.
The Kitchen Witch (and others) by Annette Blair
Blair made my Witchy Chick list, and anyone who has read my blog knows I read all of her books last year. The Accidental Witch series is one of the best.
Product Description: Set in Old Salem around the Halloween season, this charming romantic comedy features a wacky, if good-hearted, self-proclaimed witch and her upstairs neighbor, a reformed bad boy trying to be a responsible father to his adorable four-year-old son, Shane. Needing a reliable baby sitter, Logan Kilgarven agrees to an exchange: he will find a job for Melody at the local TV station, where he is a producer, and she will be on call to baby sit Shane as needed. Melody, however, spurns his offer of a secretarial position, countering with a bid for a cooking show. The catch Melody can’t cook. At all. But with a combination of sex appeal and well-developed marketing skills, she sells the station owner on the concept, and several spicy encounters in elevators and on counters and desktops are the inevitable result. With both of them fighting their feelings, and several matchmakers as well as one marplot stirring the cauldron, Blair has crafted a fun and sexy romp.
Juliet Blackwell’s Secondhand Spirits
I blogged this book here. There have only been two in this series so far, but I really liked this one because it introduced a different model of “witch” in this kind of series.
Product Description: In the old days –the burning times– there was a distinction made between sorcerers and witches. It was said that a sorcerer learned magic through training, while a witch was born with innate talents and connections to the spirit world. The latter was true in my case, to an extreme degree. I hadn’t chosen this path, it had chosen me. It wasn’t easy growing up as a (super)natural witch in a small Texas town: The other children, the teachers, even my own mother was afraid of me
Devon Monk’s Magic to the Bone
I blogged this book here, I chose this one because it was really only my second Urban Fantasy series, and it kept me interested. I also chose this one because it offers a different view of magic than the current model is in that magic is something everyone could use if s/he was ready to pass the price (or pay someone to pay the price). I think that model and idea changes in the most recent books in the series but it is what appealed to me first.
The product description from the author’s website reads, “Using magic meant it used you back. Forget the fairy tale hocus-pocus, wave a wand and bling-o sparkles and pixie dust crap. Magic, like booze, sex, and drugs, gave as good as it got.” Everything has a cost. And every act of magic exacts a price from its user–maybe a two-day migraine, or losing the memory of your first kiss. But some people want to use magic without paying, and they offload the cost onto an innocent. When that happens, it falls to a Hound to identify the spell’s caster–and Allison Beckstrom’s the best there is.
Daughter of a prominent Portland businessman, Allie would rather moonlight as a Hound than accept the family fortune–and the many strings that come with it. But when she discovers a little boy dying from a magical offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into the high-stakes world of corporate espionage and black magic.
Now, Allie’s out for the truth–and the forces she finds herself calling on will overturn everything she knows, change her in ways she could never imagine…and make her capable of things that powerful people will do anything to control.
The Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series (all five) by Rick Riordan
I wrote about this series briefly when I read the first book in Riordan’s new series here. I can’t recommend this series enough. And, The Lost Hero suggests that the new series will be just as good. What appeals to me about these are that they are fun and have endearing characters, but we also learn a lot about Greek mythology (and Roman in the new series) without realizing we are even doing so. That’s the best kind of learning. To read about these series, visit the author’s site at http://www.rickriordan.com/home.aspx.
Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle
This one is the first in a newer series and was recommended to by my BFF who picked up the second one and liked it a bunch. I put this on the list because I haven’t blogged it yet, and it is quirky enough to be different than other cozy series, and it appeals both to me as a book lover and as a free spirit trapped in a suburban life (okay that was melodramatic!).
Product Description: The streets of San Francisco would be lined with hardcovers if rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright had her way. And her mentor wouldn’t be lying in a pool of his own blood on the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration. With his final breath he leaves Brooklyn a cryptic message, and gives her a priceless—and supposedly cursed—copy of Goethe’s Faust for safekeeping. Brooklyn suddenly finds herself accused of murder and theft, thanks to the humorless—but attractive—British security officer who finds her kneeling over the body. Now she has to read the clues left behind by her mentor if she is going to restore justice…
Iris Johansen’s Eight Days to Live
I blogged this one here. It was supposed to be the newest (at the time) in the Eve Duncan series but was instead about related characters. It really appealed to me as a mystery, and I found the paranormal elements (small thought they were) tantalizing. I think Johansen could move this series completely into the realm of paranormal suspense and it would work well.
The product description reads:
Eve Duncan and her adopted daughter, Jane Macguire, are pitted against the members of a secretive cult who have targeted Jane and have decided that she will be their ultimate sacrifice. In eight days they will come for her. In eight days, what Jane fears the most will become a reality. In eight days, she will die. It all begins with a painting that Jane, an artist, displays in her Parisian gallery. The painting is called “Guilt” and Jane has no idea how or why she painted the portrait of the chilling face. But the members of a cult that dates back to the time of Christ believe that Jane’s blasphemy means she must die. But first. she will lead them to an ancient treasure whose value is beyond price. This elusive treasure, and Jane’s death, are all that they need for their power to come to ultimate fruition. With Eve’s help, can Jane escape before the clock stops ticking?
Wicked by Any Other Name by Linda Wisdom
This is the third book in the Hex series. It is my favorite of the series so far. The main character, Stasi, is one of the 13 witches expelled from witching school. Stasi’s story is one of loyalty, gaining self-confidence, and love. That love, though, is not just for the male lead but for her friends, her witchiness, her community, and the hot wizard who is hired to sue her. In fact, her entire business is focused around helping others make love matches through her lingerie shop. She has never focused on her love before until a strange lawyer, who happens to be a wizard, walks in with hearts dancing over his head. This wizard is smart, loyal, and protective, despite the notion that wizards and witches aren’t supposed to mix. He is the perfect match for Stasi, standing beside her to fight the evil threatening her town. It’s fun, fairly fast paced, and a smart light-hearted romance.
Product Description: Feisty witch Stasi Romanov was one of 13 classmates at the Witches Academy who was expelled seven hundred years ago for bad behavior. Stasi has since then settled down a bit, owning a lingerie boutique while dabbling in a brisk side business of love charms. Sparks fly, however, when one of those charms goes awry, and Stasi finds herself in a preternatural lawsuit matching wits with devastatingly handsome wizard attorney Trevor Barnes. Then mysterious magic from an unknown enemy threatens to turn Stasi’s quiet town into a modern day Salem, and Stasi’s witchy friends from long ago gather for the fight. They need Trevor’s powerful help. But every witch knows you can’t trust a wizard, and soon Stasi is fighting for her life and her heart.
Happily Ever After by Nora Roberts
This was the fourth in the Bride Quartet series. Sometimes I just need a little romance, and Roberts always comes through. I liked this entire series, but book 4 brings it all together!
Product Description: As the public face of Vows wedding planning company, Parker Brown has an uncanny knack for fulfilling every bride’s vision. She just can’t see where her own life is headed. Mechanic Malcolm Kavanaugh loves figuring out how things work, and Parker is no exception. Both know that moving from minor flirtation to major hook-up is a serious step. Parker’s business risks have always paid off, but now she’ll have to take the chance of a lifetime with her heart…
See you Monday for my Final List! Happy Reading.