There are books that I felt were exceptional this year and books that I thought were good. A best of list, though, should be about exceptional books. Some of my picks are controversial and I expect to hear about it in the comments!
One I put on the list and took off three times, ultimately deciding it didn’t belong (Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay). In the end, I was unable to identify 10 best books of the year as so many of them would have tied for the 9 and 10 spot (like Sarah Mayberry’s Suddenly You or Karina Bliss’ Bring Him Home). I didn’t put Kristen Ashley on the list because while I read more of her books than any other authors’ books in 2012 and I probably lost about three weeks of my life compulsively reading through her backlist, they needed more editing to rise to a “best of” on my list.
I feel good about my list of eight books. They presented something different and fresh for the genre. They challenged me and I think about these titles long after the book is done. Many of them I’ve re-read in 2012 at least once and can envision re-reading for many years to come.
- Riveted by Meljean Brook (Review here) – What Brook does with disability and otherness in her stories is unmatched. Further, every book contains a new couple, unrecognizable from previous couples.
- A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant (Review here) – This was a genre bender, in my opinion. A stunning debut that I’ll revisit for years to come.
- Easy by Tammara Webber (Review here) – One of the two self published books on my 2012 list, I think Webber will be a standard bearer of the New Adult sub genre. She writes girl positive stories and tackles difficult issues.
- Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (Review here) – When I was done, my heart ached for the two protagonists.
Heat by R. Lee Smith (Review here) – This book took me places that were uncomfortable and unsavory. I could not stop reading. The world building was tremendous.Not published in 2012.
- Hearts of Darkness by Kira Brady. (Review here) – In a year of paranormals that mostly failed for me, this layered post apocalyptic steampunk story gave me meaty worldbuilding and a rich romance.
- Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas (Review here) – Thomas’ trilogy was a challenge for me. I responded negatively to the first one and felt discontent with the last, but this book took me through the angst wringer and left me a heap of worn out emotion.
- Can’t Buy Me Love by Molly O’Keefe (Review here) – Tara was such a great and different and challenging heroine.