Today’s Guest: Katiebabs, aka KB, of the Romance blog Babbling About Books, and More!. KB puts a Herculean Effort into running her blog – she (and a certain demon sheep) post every day, multiple times a day, about all things romance. As one of the very first bloggers to welcome us and introduce us to the wacky online world of reviews, we’re ever-grateful for KB.
So, ladies and gents, please give it up for the exquisite Katiebabs!
When Ana and Thea asked me to take part in Smugglivus once again, I said sure! Not only are these two Book Smugglers one of the best book blogs in all of bloglandia, but they make me work hard when writing own reviews at my blog, Babbling About Books and More because they write such precise and through provoking opinions about all the books they read.
And how could I refuse them after seeing my blog name in their 2009 Smugglivus poster and having the honor of being the only post on Christmas?
I was told to come up with my top 5 books for 2009 to post here. Actually I am going to do something a bit different and post the top 5, with a spare one, that affected me the most as I read. This is quite a challenge seeing as I read close to 300 books this year alone and picking just 5 (and a spare) may be harder than you think.
Deidre Knight’s Butterfly Tattoo published by Samhain really hit me hard. This is not a traditional type of romance. First of all, doors were closed for Deidre as she tried to sell Butterfly Tattoo to the traditional NY publishing houses. They rejected is based on the story. It’s about Michael who was in a fifteen year relationship with a man. His lover ends up dying, leaving him to raise their daughter all alone. Michael doesn’t think he will ever love again, that is until he meets former actress Rebecca. What is amazing about this book is that Deidre Knight has shown perfectly why falling in love is something very powerful and it doesn’t matter who that person may be. Deidre has changed my own personal beliefs about love and why people feel the way they do. After reading Butterfly Tattoo it makes perfect sense that love is found within a person and not based on their gender.
When I read Meredith Duran’s Written on your Skin published by Pocket I became a bit weepy. The reason was the beauty of Meredith’s words. She writes such poetry about an all consuming love affair where two people, who necessarily don’t care for one another, must join forces and work together to save a life. Written on Your Skin is a beautiful, all encompassing experience. Dark and poignant, this book will have you awestruck because the words that Meredith Duran has written reaches deep into your soul.
Carrie Ryan’s Forest of Hands and Teeth published by Delacorte is the only book in a very long time that gave me nightmares. The last time that happened was when I read The Stand by Stephen King was I was 18. This post-apocalyptic end of days tale with flesh eating zombies gave me such a fright. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a chilling debut by Carrie Ryan. This is a book not for the faint of heart. There is death and destruction, filled with violence and fear, where hope is a distant memory.
Soulless by Gail Carriger published by Orbit is the type of book where you have such a rousing good time as you read. This paranormal steampunk romance brought forth such laughs and an abundance of happiness while I read. That it is a true winner in my eyes. I couldn’t stop smiling for hours after I finished reading. Soulless is one of two books this year I gave an A+ to.
The other book I gave an A+ to and my pick for favorite book this year is Meljean Brook’s Demon Forged published by Berkley. This is in part because I’ve been emotionally invested in Meljean’s Guardian series since the beginning. Why is this book my number one pick for 2009? Demon Forged astounded me in ways no other book did where I was in shock and shaking as I held the pages because I really didn’t know what would happen next. On the surface this book is a continuation of the battle between the angels and their counterparts against evil, but there is more to it. The build up, the romance and the way Meljean wrote a book where she didn’t stick to what’s safe, and took a big chance, where she really didn’t have to with one of her most beloved characters was such a balsy, emotional move and had me cursing her. And cursing an author in this way is a big compliment from me.
Finally the spare I cannot fail to mention is a debut author. Tessa Dare, who writes for Ballantine released a trilogy over the summer, has breathed new life into the historical genre. Where the majority of the historical romance I’ve read has been more fluff than meat, Tessa Dare has shown that with her debut Goddess of the Hunt she has the skill, but it was with A Lady of Persuasion I knew Tessa was a class act all the way.
There is much to look forward to in literature for 2010. There are three authors releasing their debut book in the first part of the year that I must mention who will surely set the publishing world on fire. And I consider myself a bit bias when it comes to these three talented ladies because I’ve known them for awhile:
Sara Lindsey is sure to set the historical genre on fire with Promise me Tonight, to be released in February from Signet. If you are a fan of Julia Quinn, you will not want to miss out on Sara. This is the first book in her Weston family series which features seven siblings all with Shakespearean names. Perhaps she will give Quinn and Stephanie Laurens a run for their money?
For fans of urban fantasy with a twist, keep your eye on Carolyn Crane. Her book, Mind Games, to be released from Spectra in March looks like a combination of action with a kick ass heroine in a quirky setting. You can get a good idea of Carolyn’s personality from her blog The Trillionth Page and the knowledge that this is one intelligent and wonderful woman who is very welcomed indeed.
Also out in March is Lorelie Brown’s Jazz Baby to be released Samhain, set in 1920s New York. When was the last time you read a speakeasy romance? Hurrah for a very different type of romance from the norm.
Many happy holidays, and an awesome new year filled with excellent reading! Perhaps I can hit 400 books read for 2010?
Next on Smugglivus: KMont of Lurv ala Mode