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Jane’s 2010 Best of the Year List

My list, in no particular order:

  • Katrakis' Last Mistress by Caitlin Crews Review by Jane I loved the angst in this book, the somewhat imperfect hea and the dialogue.
  • The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook – Review by Janine and Shuzluva. I’ve always felt that Meljean Brook was a great writer but, in the past, her worldbuilding was almost too complicated for me. I still struggle to figure out the deal worked out by Lilith in Brooks’ first Guardian book, even after Brook has tried to explain it more than once in the comments around the web. In the Iron Duke, however, there was an effortless blend of romance and science; world and characterization. We readers talk about wanting diversity in the genre, not only in topic and setting, but also racial makeup. Iron Duke was a book, for me, that was all about race. Because what is racial prejudice but bias toward people based on what they look like instead of who they are. That was Mina’s biggest problem. Very few people saw her for who she was but what she looked like. It was the very crux of the conflict. But being seen and judged on external characteristics is a universal problem and not limited to race and I think that is one reason so many people have responded to this book.
  • What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss (review by Jane). I feel like Bliss was my find of the year. What the Librarian Did
  • Naked Edge by Pamela Clare   (review by Jane).   There is no question that there are flaws in this book but I felt the emotion of the story overrode any prose or plotting issues.   The loving, almost reverential treatment of the Navajo belief system and Kat, the heroine’s, unwavering belief in herself and the hero.   A great reformed rake story.
  • Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh (review by Jane).   I don’t review many Singh books anymore now that Shuzluva has joined us and Janine has fallen in love with Singh’s writing but I still love her books and look forward to them tremendously.   This is the last Singh review I wrote and I don’t think I expressed how great I think this series is.   I love the dark edge to it, the deep immersion into the angelic culture, and the hunts.   Archangel’s Consort is not going to disappoint any fans.
  • Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase (review by Jayne).   I remember reading this and emailing Robin telling her that this book was some kind of perfection.   I had read about Olivia and Peregrine as children and Chase’s incarnation of the adult versions matched my vision of them perfectly.   They had grown up and retained their personality and, more interestingly, they loved each other but couldn’t figure out a way to be with one another despite their longstanding friendship.
  • And Falling, Fly by Skylar White (review by Jane).   This was such a clever and interesting paranormal.   Is vampirism simply the imaginings of a mentally disturbed group of people or is it real?   The whole book straddles the line between the occult and the paranormal.   It’s like an Alice in Wonderland story for adults.   For a paranormal romance, I thought this was a very fresh take on the genre.
  • Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl (review by Jane).   I didn’t pick this book just because the heroine’s name is Jane.   I picked it because it’s a book that still resonates with me, all these months later.   Jane is a bad girl trying to live down her bad girl past by rejecting the one good thing in her life – the apparent bad boy.   There are a number of things wrong with the story such as the class messaging and the over the top villain but it was such a brave book to write, in part, because it challenges the preconceived notions of the acceptable heroine.
  • Willing Victim by Cara McKenna (review by Jane). Despite the B- grade, this was the most memorable erotic romance that I read and was published in 2010. It really crystalized the issue of consent as a reader, a theory proposed by Robin as it relates toward sexual force in romance but a theory that can be applied at all levels of reading. This is gritty erotic romance and it’s not a book for everyone but powerful and different.

As I reflect over the past year, I realized that 2010 was the year of the category romance for me. I read more category books which meant I read more contemporaries than any other genre.   My historical romance genre reading suffered the most.   I keep looking for good erotic romances and found a few really good ones and a bushelful of terrible ones.   I’m wondering if erotic romance is one of the hardest subgenres to really write well.   I also think that I prefer books with a lot of emotion and emotion in the storyline will cover a lot of sins for me.

I’m pretty excited about 2011.   There are some awesome books awaiting us such as Singh’s book about Hawk and Sienna and a new author by the name of Thea Harrison who is publishing a paranormal in May about a dragon and a mystery wyr set in New York.   It reminded me a lot of the Angel series by Singh.   I’ve high hopes for Karina Bliss and Sarah Mayberry as well as seeing more U.S. releases by Caitlin Crews.   The fall brings us another Meljean Brook Iron Seas story and winter will see the publication of the Agony/Ecstasy novella collection edited by myself.   Thanks to everyone for being a part of the Dear Author community.   It’s been a great year and I can’t wait to see you all on the other side.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

17 Comments

  1. SonomaLass
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 13:15:19

    I agree with many of your favorites, Jane. 2010 was a great reading year for me, and Dear Author had a lot to do with that. Thanks for providing such an interesting and informative place for readers!

  2. Vi
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 13:21:50

    Thank you for helping me re-discover the joys of reading categories.

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  4. Jen X
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 14:09:35

    The Iron Duke, Naked Edge & Lead Me On are on my top 2010 list also, thanks to DA!

  5. Statch
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 15:14:09

    Jane, thanks so much for all that you and the other DA bloggers do! I read DA almost every day, and rely on it as a major source of ebook, publishing and romance news. I know it must take a lot of time, and I’m very grateful that you’re all willing to invest that time in keeping the rest of us informed.

  6. JoannaV
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 16:08:38

    @Statch: I totally agree and thanks to all the contributors to DA.

  7. Amy Kathryn
    Dec 31, 2010 @ 16:22:49

    Delurking to add my thanks to you all….love the reviews, the opinion pieces, and the midday links.

  8. Kim in Hawaii
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 01:19:56

    Pamele Clare is my favorite “new author” for 201. I met her the night before RomCon kicked off, giving me the opportunity to learn about her alter ego as a investigative journalist. Knowing a little about her has helped me enjoy reading her books that much more.

    Mahalo to the DA crew for sharing your passion for romance, news, and free speech with other readers.

    Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

  9. Frannie
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 08:13:36

    I love this site! It’s intelligent, informative and passionate about romance — the books, the authors, the industry and the readers. Thanks to all who put it together. Many of Jane’s picks were favourites of mine as well, and I’m always delighted to be introduced to new (to me) writers by Jane and her colleagues. Here’s to another year of great reading and HEAs for us all.

  10. Barbara
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 11:01:08

    You’ve been hell on my TBR pile all year, THANK YOU! It’s scary how much I’ve come to know whose tastes match mine most closely this past year.

    I just bought the Bliss book you recommended and preordered the next (comes out Tuesday). Surprise, surprise, I’ve read or have most of the others on the list. :)

  11. Estara
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 15:41:47

    A Healthy New Year to you and yours, Jane, and all the ladies here at Dear Author (and John, too!)

  12. Bonnie
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 20:17:48

    First of all, Happy New Year to Jane and all the bloggers here at Dear Author.

    I may be in the wrong spot here, but I have to say that I haven’t liked or agreed with most, if any, of your reviews that were given here.

    I’m guessing that it is primarily due to the fact that I absolutely HATE historicals. And I don’t want to read M/M romance either. Sorry, I just don’t. WTF is wrong with a good meaty, hot, sexy contemporary romance?

    Why is everybody so bent on historicals? God, I hate them. It’s all the same shit over and over again.

    Whew… that feels better. :D

  13. Statch
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 22:10:37

    I couldn’t get the recommendation for the Caitlin Crews book out of my head, so I finally broke down and bought Katrakis’s Last Mistress. It was excellent, of course. Loved the angst, the characters, the dialog. I found two more by her at Fictionwise (40% off sale now!). This blog is so bad for my TBR list.

    I guess I’m eventually going to have to break down and get The Iron Duke too. Darn it.

  14. liz talley
    Jan 01, 2011 @ 22:17:56

    Liked a lot on your list. Really glad that you’ve been reading and recommending category which often seems like the red-headed stepchild of romance. :)

    I, too, have not read as many historicals as I usually do. Don’t know that I’ve got tired of them or if there seemed more contemporaries that caught my eye. There are a few on your list I’ve not read, but many I have. I’m excited about 2011. Can’t wait to read the DA lists next year.

    Thanks for the reviews and points of interest.

    Liz

  15. Christine Rimmer
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 15:36:59

    I think I really must read The Iron Duke. Way too many recs to NOT read this one. Great list, Jane.

  16. MaryK
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 16:40:02

    a new author by the name of Thea Harrison who is publishing a paranormal in May about a dragon and a mystery wyr set in New York. It reminded me a lot of the Angel series by Singh

    Ohhh, yum! I’m rereading Angels 1 and 2 in preparation for 3 and loving the series all over again. I’ll definitely check out the Harrison book!

  17. stephanie
    Jan 21, 2011 @ 19:30:23

    i read the iron duke i thought it was just o nothing out of this world.

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