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.