Guest Blogger Smugglivus

Smugglivus Presents – Katie (Babbling About Books, and More!)

Day 1 of Smugglivus

Who: Katie(babs), the fantastic force of nature behind multiple blogs and review pages online. Katie is one of the first people to ever make us feel at home to blogging, always coming over to comment and offering us with invaluable advice. Plus, she’s just a damn sweet, cool person.

Though when we met Katie, she was best known for her reviews over at Ramblings on Romance, this year Katie started her very own separate blog, Babbling About Books, and More! Katie reviews all things romance (really, this woman reads a lot) and is constantly providing news about books, movies, and…well, just about anything.

Without further ado, we give you our very first Guest Book Review Blogger, Katie!



2008 was a great year in books. Why not say a big THANK YOU to those authors who worked so very hard in 2008 to give us the best they have to offer. Rather than picking and choosing my favorite books of the year, why not pick those authors who have brought me great joy? I am seriously awestruck by these talented women, not only because they have reached their dreams, but they have the skill and the dedication to keep writing. Even though my opinion is a very small one in the grand scheme of things, they know they have at least one person out there who looks up to them and wishes them even a bigger and better 2009!

The one author I glommed the most this year was Stephenie Meyer. When I heard about her young adult series about a teenage girl who is in love with a vampire, I was more than intrigued. The minute I finished reading Twilight, I had to read every single other book she has ever written. My most anticipated book for 2008 was Breaking Dawn. I wasn’t surprised I had the shakes when I finally got that book in my hands! But there was another book that came out this year by Stephenie that blew me away. The Host is now my second favorite book of all time, behind Stephen King’s The Stand. Not since Stephen King has an author stuck me speechless. I would not be surprised is Stephenie’s books are soon taught in schools. She doesn’t just write silly teenage angsty love stories, but rather, she opens her readers to a world of incredible imagination and hope. 2008 is the year of Stephenie Meyer.

Lisa Kleypas is my all time favorite romance author. 2008 was an incredible year for Lisa Kleypas fans. Not only did she publishe two books and a short story this year, but one of those books, Blue Eyed Devil, which is my number one book of 2008, was a near masterpiece of a read. The way Lisa handles the aftermath of abuse, and the heroine’s chance at love again, spoke to me in volumes. This book hit too close to home in more ways than one. Lisa touches so many people with her books. Her heroes and heroines always overcome the odds, and there is always a promise of a happily ever after. When you finish reading a Kleypas novel, you can’t help but smile and want to hug her book to your chest.

These two women go hand in hand for me. Ann Aguirre and Linnea Sinclair are the reason I have begun to explore other reading genres. Sci-Fi is my least favorite genre to read, but because of these two talented authors, they introduced me to a whole new world. Ann is my favorite debut author of 2008, and Linnea, in my opinion, has made Sci-Fi romance what it should be. I wouldn’t be surprised if these two influence many generation of future authors to come.

Two other wonderful ladies who brought historical romance to an all-new level are Joanna Bourne and Meredith Duran. When it comes to the romance genre, many people have stereotypes, especially historical romance otherwise known as the “bodice ripper”. I say read The Spymaster’s Lady or Duke of Shadows, and that will take away all pre-conceived notions you have. These two authors have breathed life back into the historical romance world.

What can I say about Meljean Brook that hasn’t been already noted? She has to be one of the most hardest working authors I have ever seen. Her books are very complex and rich in their telling. I find myself a bit sad that I will never be up to her level as a writer. She became the main reason I review books, and allowed me to have the courage to communicate with other authors. Her spiritual world of Heaven and Hell, mixed with the fantasy and paranormal leaves you hungry for more. Her words are like poetry, a fine wine that is meant to be savored and not rushed.

When I think of Paranormal Romance, two authors come to mind. Kresley Cole and Nalini Singh have taken the Paranormal Romance genre to new levels. Each of their series are fresh, exciting, and scream sexiness. These two women write the best in vampires, werewolves and shape shifting characters. Their stories are action packed and well rounded. The tension rises from the pages as well as their smoking hot sex scenes. They make sure the reader will be satisfied with the outcome of every single one of their books.

2008 also gave me some new discoveries in my reading preferences. I finally ventured into the world of Gay Romance. This genre has been under the radar and pushed to the side for so long. I am thrilled that Gay Romance is finally breaking through the mainstream, and I honor those publishers and authors who are willing to break taboos and show that a romance, even though traditionally a heterosexual one, can just be as moving and sexy as a homosexual one. I stand up and applaud also those who have expressed their enjoyment with this genre. For the longest time I was so against reading these books because of my own personal bias. I can now say, that is no longer.

Who are your favorite authors for 2008? What new genres have you tried this year that rocked your socks off?



Thanks again Katie for your favorites of the year!

Next on Smugglivus Presents: Holly (with Casee and Ames)

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  • Marg
    December 26, 2008 at 2:34 am

    I too loved The Host when I read it this year! I don’t read sci-fi but I was blown away by this one!

  • Maered
    December 26, 2008 at 5:27 am

    I have to add Meljean Brook in the best paranormal series. Her books just get better and better! Demon Bound was fantastic with unusual but brillient characters.

  • Maered
    December 26, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Sorry, I meant brilliant. *blush*

  • azteclady
    December 26, 2008 at 8:20 am

    *waving* Hi there, katie(babs)!

  • KMont
    December 26, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Ahoy thar, Katiebabs!

    I still have The Host on my shelf, gloomily asking me to read it.

    And I want to read Kleypas’ contemporaries, but they sound SO SAD! I have to be in the right mood for sad. 🙁

    Great post, m’dear! Looking forward to all your blogging contributions in ’09.

  • Katiebabs a.k.a KB
    December 26, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I am so thrilled that the Smuggle girls allowed me to be the first to post!
    Yes, I am indeed a force of nature. 😀

    Marg: The Host shocked me silly. I am so on board for the next book, The Soul!

    Maered: I am anxiously awaiting Michael’s story. I lurves him.

    AL: HUGS!!!! 😀 You know you are one my my all time favorite commentators?

    Kmont: You should see my anticipated book list for 2009! Yes, read The Host!!

  • Tracy
    December 26, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Oh The Host was soooo good. I love Lisa Kleypas’ contemps and of course Nalini. *sigh* All great choices Kate!

  • Janicu
    December 26, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Lovely post! Great authors listed. For me, I say 2008 is the year where I think I’ve fallen in love with space opera romances. Ann Aguirre and Linnea Sinclair are now autobuys.

  • Marg
    December 26, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Katiebabs, do you know when The Soul is due to be released?

  • Katiebabs a.k.a KB
    December 26, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Marg: I heard The Soul will be released in 2009, but no month has been announced. Probably the Fall.

  • Angiegirl
    December 26, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Wow. I didn’t know she had definite plans for a sequel. I loved THE HOST and kind of liked where it ended. A sequel makes me both hopeful and nervous. I don’t want anything bad to happen to the characters I love…

  • Karin
    December 26, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Wow, that was a great list, Katie. Most of those authors are ones I haven’t read before, but I think it’s time that changed.

  • Kris
    December 26, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Great post, Katie. I must try Nalini Singh; I’ve heard so much about her over the last couple of months.

    I discovered m/m romance this year too and it has opened up this whole new world of sub-genres and authors. I’m loving it.

  • orannia
    December 26, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you Katie. Blue-Eyed Devil was definitely my book of the year. Kmont – Lisa Kleypas’ contemporaries are sad in places, but ultimately very uplifting!

    And I can’t wait to delve into Meljean Brook’s series 🙂

    I also discovered m/m romance this year and am so enjoying it. Liks Kris said, it has opened up a whole new world of authors and sub-genres 🙂

  • Debby
    December 26, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Great Post! Ihave to read that book, wher the movie just came out. Has anyone read those?

  • Carolyn Jean
    December 26, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Wonderful post! Thanks for reminding me of Blue Eyed Devil. I have to have it. This is a great list. Right now I’m reading Kresley Cole’s (Dusk) and I can’t believe how fabulous it is!

    WOW! My word verification is binges. Which is appropriate in a sentence with me and cookies over the past few days.

  • Holly
    December 26, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Oh, excellent list. You’re so right on with it.

    I wish I could tell you who my favorites of this year are, but..well, I don’t know if Blogger allows comments that long. LOL

  • Heather
    December 26, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Excellent post, Katie! I second your praise of authors Linnea Sinclair and Ann Aguirre–they have certainly raised the bar for science fiction romance.

    And kudos to you for daring to read outside of your comfort zone. I’m in the middle of an m/m SF romance, my first (!). I’ve been wanting to try it for some time and it’s great. So I can count Ann Somerville’s INTERSTITIAL as one of my great finds for 2008.

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