Book Reviews Miscellaneous

Half-Year Mark: Ana and Thea’s Favorite Reads of 2009 (so far)

As we hit (and passed) the half year mark AND our 18 month blog-o-versary (yay us!) , we decided to take a look at what we read so far this year and list our current favourites (Note: this is a work in progress, subject to be revised when the year ends) .

The verdict? 2009 has been a most awesome year for reading.

So here it goes: Ana and Thea’s Most Excellent (Half-Year Mark) Reads of 2009.

Ana’s List:

I kick start my list with the best of the best. Two fantasy books that knocked my socks-off and are hands down, two of the best books I read, ever. Unfortunately, they will not make my top 10 of 2009 because they were published some years ago but they do get Hors Concours Status. They are Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Mariellier and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

Both books have amazing stories and amazing protagonists : the former is a take on The Six Swans fairytale and the second a Hero’s Quest and Coming of Age story that is equal parts epic fantasy and the satire of an epic fantasy. Abso-frickin’-lutely brilliant. Another thing that both have in common? The beautiful writing, to the point where reading these books felt like Reading Beauty (tm Kris) (thank you, Kris!) . I was so touched by The Name of The Wind that now I consider my reading and reviewing to be dated Pre-Patrick Rothfuss and Post-Patrick Rothfuss.

Now that I got Hors Concours out of the way, what else rocked my world?

Favourites of 2009 (so far) – (Published, read and reviewed in 2009) (in no particular order)

    1.Scandal by Carolyn Jewel , 9, Historical Romance
    2.Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh, 10, Paranormal Romance
    3.Revealed by Kate Noble, 9, Historical Romance
    4.Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr, 9 YA
    5.The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, 8, YA
    6.Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev, YA
    7.Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh, 9, Paranormal Romance
    8. What Happens in London by Julia Quinn, 8, Historical Romance
    9. Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran, 8, Historical Romance
    10. Don’t Tempt Me by Loretta Chase, 8, Historical Romance
    11. Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James, 8, Contemporary Romance
    12. The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns by Elizabeth Leiknes, 8 , Fiction
    13. Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre, 7, UF

Total of Books reviewed in 2009 so far: 58

Reviews By genre:

Romance: 26
Graphic Novel/Manga: 6
Fantasy: 8
Urban Fantasy: 8
YA: 6
Horror: 2
Sci-fi: 1
Fiction: 1

Reviews By rating:

10 Rated Books: 4
9 Rated Books: 4
8 Rated Books: 15
7 Rated Books: 16
6 Rated Books: 10
5 Rated Books: 4
4 Rated Books: 2
3 Rated Books: 0
2 Rated Books: 1
1 Rated Books:1
DNF: 1

Thea’s List:

I have to concur with Ana – thus far, 2009 has been a pretty good year for reading. (And hey, I’m always happy to see that my reading suggestions *cough*Sevenwaters*cough* make Ana happy)

Here’s my rundown, a little different than Ana’s as I’ve split my books into two lists: Honorable Mentions for 2009, and Favorites for 2009. I should also note that the books on this list are ONLY those which I have reviewed here on The Book Smugglers. I’m kinda a cheater in that I don’t always review the books I read (most notably for graphic novels/comics and some older books), so technically this is my “Books Reviewed in 2009” list. With that in mind, here we go!

Favorites of 2009 (so far):

  1. Namaah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey, 9, Fantasy
  2. Slights by Kaaron Warren, 9, Horror
  3. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, 9, YA (SF)
  4. The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett, 9, Fantasy (Classic)
  5. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews, 9, UF
  6. Drood by Dan Simmons, 8, Mystery (Classic, Historical)
  7. Goth by Otsuichi, 9, Horror (Lightbook)
  8. Flood by Stephen Baxter, 8, SF (Apocalypse)
  9. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs, 8, UF
  10. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman, 8, YA (Fantasy)
  11. Fragile Eternity* by Melissa Marr, 9, YA (Fantasy)
  12. Hunger by Michael Grant, 8, YA (Horror)

Honorable Mentions 2009:

  1. Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey, 8, Fantasy (UF)
  2. Jasmyn by Alex Bell, 8, Fantasy
  3. Angels’ Blood* by Nalini Singh, 8, Romance (Paranormal)
  4. In Her Name* by Michael Hicks, 8, Science Fiction (Fantasy)
  5. Generation Dead by Daniel Waters, 8, YA (Horror)
  6. Gone by Michael Grant, 8, YA (Horror)
  7. Zombie Haiku* by Ryan Mecum, 7, Horror (Comedy)
  8. Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund, 7, Literary Fiction (Contemporary)

Total Books Reviewed in 2009: 58

Reviews By Genre:
Fantasy: 11
Horror: 6
Literary Fiction: 2
Mystery: 3
Romance: 3
Science Fiction: 3
Speculative Fiction: 2
Thriller: 1
Urban Fantasy: 10
Young Adult: 17

  • Fantasy: 7
  • Horror: 3
  • SF (Speculative/Science Fiction): 5
  • Urban Fantasy: 2

Reviews by Rating:
10 Rated Books: 0
9 Rated Books: 7
8 Rated Books: 20
7 Rated Books: 18
6 Rated Books: 10
5 Rated Books: 2
4 Rated Books: 1
3 Rated Books: 0
2 Rated Books: 0
1 Rated Books: 0
DNF: 1

Interesting Trends and Analysis:

Thea: I remarked to Ana in an email that before we’d taken the time to compile a database of all the books we had reviewed this year, I had no concept of how much romance Ana read! Even the UF/Fantasy titles have a romantic bend, which I suppose is rather dense of me (considering we are a Romance and Speculative Fiction reviewing blog). Still, it took me by surprise! Also interesting was how many Young Adult novels I have read this year! Of the staggering 17 YA titles I have read, all of them fall under the speculative fiction umbrella. Craziness! Urban Fantasy has taken a pretty significant decline in books I’ve read this year, with traditional fantasy and horror gaining a larger share. Verrrrry interesting.

Ana: I find it so interesting that this is how you see it Thea – I was surprised to see how little romance I read so far this year especially compared to last year! If you add the number of other genres , they surpass my romance reading. So, first interesting trend is that I am reading less romance and expanding to other genres. I had NO IDEA I had read 8 UF and I honestly thought I had read more YA. Verrrrrrry interesting indeed. I am curious to see how the rest of the year goes.

So there you have it! Our midway mark, best of 2009. What books are we missing out on? Which titles are your favorites for the year so far?

You Might Also Like


  • Mandi
    July 4, 2009 at 5:12 am

    I agree with so much on your lists! 🙂

    The only ones I would add are:

    Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie – Jennifer Ashley
    Passions Unleashed – Larissa Ione
    As Shadows Fade – Colleen Gleason

  • katiebabs
    July 4, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Ana, your top 10 has some books that I will have in my top 10! We are soul book mates and such.

    Thea, Forest of Hands and Teeth still gives me the willies.

    I love how both your lists are so different.

  • Karen Mahoney
    July 4, 2009 at 7:18 am

    This is such a great post, and very interesting to see the shift in your reading. Both of you, I mean. Especially Thea reading more YA & Ana reading more urban fantasy/other genres.

    Great work! I honestly would be lost without your blog, I love it so much. I know I don’t always comment, but I always ALWAYS read. 🙂


  • Anonymous
    July 4, 2009 at 9:28 am

    “Total Books Reviewed in 2009: 58”

    That’s amazing. I haven’t even read 58 books this year.

    I love the mix of genres that you review. It’s easier to branch out of your favorite genre when you have a guide.

  • MaryK
    July 4, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Oops. Didn’t mean to be anonymous. I’m on another computer and forgot the ID fields aren’t automatically filled out.

  • Ana
    July 4, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Mandi, you know: I read only good things about Madness of Ian Mckenzie , I have had the ARC for months but I just can’t bring myself to read it. My partner is a teacher and he had quite a few students with Asperger Syndrome and just can’t believe in romantic hero with the syndrome.

    KB – *highfive*

    Kaz, dude. We love you! :mrgreen:

    MK Have you seen how many books KB above has read and reviewed? More than 120. now, THAT’s Crazy. 😆

  • Diana Peterfreund
    July 4, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Give Ian Mackenzie a go, Ana. He’s — obviously — not a typical romantic hero by any means, but what I was surprised by was, seeing him in action, how he mapped so well to the tons of romantic heroes I’d read over the years who were insensitive and obsessive and steamrollery WITHOUT a diagnosis to fall back on. 😉 I found I could much more easily accept it when I was told upfront that this guy had mental issues — not “oh, this is sexy rightness in all men.”

    Not that he’s diagnosed. Nor that it’s particularly Aspie in places. Don’t expect it to map.

  • edifanob
    July 4, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Incredible! you reviewed 58 books.I read “only” 31.
    But this is much more than I read last year until end of June.
    So far I have only one top read and several number two reads.
    My top read is the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. I read all three books in a row and I have been blown away!

  • Doug Knipe [SciFiGuy]
    July 4, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    What a great mix of books. I haven’t had even a moment to figure out what my favourites are so far this year but for sure it includes some of the titles on both of your lists.

  • Li
    July 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I need to read more obviously.

    I’ve two books from Ana’s favourites sitting in my TBR pile, may dig them out now!

    And I saw Jasmyn in the library today and was racking my brains trying to figure out why it sounded familiar and if I should borrow it! I passed, but now may have to head back to borrow it 🙂

  • Julie James
    July 4, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Hi girls!

    Ana, thanks so much for including Practice Makes Perfect in your list! I’m so honored!

    I also have to say how much I’m in agreement with you on Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh. This was the first paranormal romance I’d read, and I was just blown away by the world she created.

    Thanks again!

  • Tiah
    July 4, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you guys so much for all these amazing recommendations!

  • Sharon E. Dreyer
    July 4, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Wow! Fifty-eight books! I’m so far behind it’s not even funny! Glad I found your blog and will visit it again. Check out my first and recently released novel, Long Journey to Rneadal. This exciting tale is a romantic action adventure in space and is more about the characters than the technology.

  • Kris
    July 4, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    You girls are seriously killing me. You really are. *sigh*

    Thanks for the tm shout out, Ana. Don’t forget – Books are an acceptable form of copyright payment. :mrgreen:

  • orannia
    July 4, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Congrats on the 18-month blog-o-versary 🙂

    Great lists! There are so many on there that I have yet to read…I have lots of look forward too! I’m currently in the middle of Branded By Fire…it was so hard to put it down 🙂

  • Christine
    July 9, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Great lists! Nalini Singh’s Angels’ Blood is definitely at the top of my 2009 favorites as well. Although I haven’t read nearly as many total books as you two have! You’re both reading machines! Katiebabs’ reading speed is just unbeatable! I don’t know how she does it!

    Two books from your lists that have made it to my wish list thanks to you guys are Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind, Noble’s Revealed, and Carey’s Santa Olivia (love that cover, too!).

    Thanks for the recs! 😀

Leave a Reply