Welcome to Smugglivus 2009 – Day 26!
Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2009, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2010.
Today’s Guest: KMont, the lovely lady that runs the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance/Speculative Fiction blog Lurv ala Mode! KMont is a Smuggler staple – she always knows what sparkly new titles are coming out, and more often than not, our tastes in books overlap.
Ladies and gents, KMont!
Dudes, I am coming to you live from Smugglivus, Take 2! Boy it’s great to be here, Thea and Ana. Thanks for making room for me in your cargo hold. Perhaps I might take a stroll on the deck later? Oh, I have to finish scrubbing the cargo hold first? Okie dokie then, but do you realize how hard it is working around all yalls dang books? *glares*
I’m just kiddn’, folks. Ana and Thea would never make me scrub the cargo hold. Maybe the captain’s quarters. Wonder if the captain’s at home, I think he winked at me on the way in and he looked verra virile…
Anyway, 2009 was an odd year. I won’t waste yalls time by whining about how little time I had to read, but ya know, I didn’t have much time to read. Less and less as the year went on! I’ll blame the economy. No good reason, but El Nino’s old news, so the economy it is. So yep, less time to read, but still plenty of time to find something worthwhile in all the reading world.
2009 Top Reading Picks (no particular order)
1. Anything For You by Sarah Mayberry
This year I decided to try my hand at hosting a reading Challenge; Year of the Category was born. I’d read one or two category romances back in the day, but it’d been so long that I felt like a newcomer. I ought to have renamed the challenge Year of the Mayberry though, because Anything For You started me on a must-read Mayberrypalooza of pure enjoyment. I’m now officially a fan of this author and I don’t throw that word around lightly in regards to my reading.
2. White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison
I have a feeling I will always love this series. I’ve actually had the bad luck of being pretty disappointed in a few of my most favorite series this year, but Harrison keeps it strong with this seventh book in the Rachel Morgan/Hollows series. God, but I love it, love ‘em all. So much so that for the first time in my reading history, I plan to get the previous initial series books in hardback. Rachel Morgan, gotta love her, plus the rest of Harrison’s awesome cast of characters. It goes without saying, really, that I crave the next book.
3. The Noble Dead Saga, Series 1
I don’t know if there’s anything quite like finding a series one enjoys, then devouring it back-to-back like a reading pig. Barb and J.C. Hendee co-author the Noble Dead books, a fantasy epic about a race of vampires called the Noble Dead and one in particular and his mad quest. It’s so epic in scale I cannot fully make you understand how much fun it was to read it (I suppose that’ why I reviewed them). The books weren’t all perfect reads, and I was a little mad at a series end that leaves one hanging (the saga continues in Series 2 beginning with In Shade and Shadow and a new lead protagonist), but I look forward to continuing the overall arc as good continues to fight against ultimate, world-consuming evil.
4. Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh
Sorry, Lucas Hunter, Mr. Awesome from Slave to Sensation, but Riley and Mercy have usurped you and Sascha as my favorite Psy/Changeling series couple. The dynamics between Mercy and Riley were fantastic, and I don’t only mean between the sheets. Not only did Singh give me another great couple to fall in love with, she also maintained tight control over her worldbuilding and series arc. When it comes to a plain-as-day handbook for this aspect of writing, Singh is a master, showing readers time and again that she is focused and dedicated to what she began back in 2006.
5. Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas
I simply fell in love with this book, which, as plenty of readers know, isn’t exactly easy to do. When it happens, though, when we find that one special book that speaks to us, it is pure magic. We sink into said book with all the bliss of coming home to a perfect read. Not Quite a Husband was such a book for me, and it still ranks very high in my top reads for 2009. I’m not a huge fan of books set in India, for a variety of reasons, but the characters and their problems, their utter nakedness of emotion, spoke to me in a way I’d not been prepared for. I love this book. It reminded me of me so much that it hurt, but it was a welcome and blissful hurt, bittersweet and so very, very Happily Ever After. Believe it or not, I’m getting all teary-eyed just recalling it!
6. On the Edge by Ilona Andrews
It seems the Andrews writing team has reached a point of how can one not have one of their books on a list like this. I love to death their Kate Daniel’s series, and this year’s installment was stellar. On the Edge, though, was equally amazing and I’m a huge fan already of the skill, strength of the characters and the phenomenal worldbuoilding found within. Very much looking forward to Bayou Moon in 2010.
7. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Yep, add yet another reader completely gaga over this book. It made me into a puddle of love for it. Meg, the heroine, is wonderful. She’s flawed, adorably, unrepentantly rebellious and fun as hell. John After, the hero, is as unglued by her as I was. This was one of the best all-time feel good books I’ve ever read. It’s funny, painfully realistic and plain awesome.
2010 Reading Picks
There’s plenty to look forward to in 2010, and I started looking forward in May 2009. There’s the givens: Nalini Singh’s next Psy/Changeling and her 2nd Guild Hunter book, Archangel’s Kiss; Larissa Ione’s next Demonica; Linnea Sinclair’s Rebels and Lovers; even Charlaine Harris’ next Sookie, Dead in the Family, despite my extreme disappointment in Dead and Gone.
Instead, I’m reserving this section for some new-to-me authors:
1. The Reckoners by Doranna Durgin
Ghost hunter Lisa McGarrity can’t understand what’s gotten into the undead recently. Ectoplasm-flinging spirits and ghouls with grudges seem to be coming out of the woodwork, and her small business has been run ragged as she does her best to calm the outraged spirits. When the mysterious and sexy Trevarr appears on her doorstep, Lisa is suspicious. Why is he so interested in her ‘kooky’ hobby? What does he have to gain by visiting paranormal hot spots with her? Whatever he wants, Lisa can’t help being drawn to Trevarr, and as they start working together together to figure out this ghost population explosion, their mutual attraction causes explosions of its own.
2. Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland
I really enjoyed the first one, Mark of the Demon, in 2009 and have to know more.
BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL, MAN AND DEMON, SHE’S ABOUT TO FACE THE ONE THING SHE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SURVIVE.
Welcome to the world of Kara Gillian, a cop with a gift. Not only does she have the power of “othersight” to see what most people can’t even imagine, but she’s become the exclusive summoner of a demon lord. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The fact is, with two troublesome cases on her docket and a handsome FBI agent under her skin, Kara needs the help of sexy, insatiable Lord Rhyzkahl more than he needs her. Because these two victims, linked by suspicious coincidence, haven’t just been murdered. Something has eaten their souls.
It’s a case with roots in the arcane, but whose evil has flowered among the rich, powerful, and corrupt in Beaulac, Louisiana. And as the killings continue, Kara soon realizes how much there’s still to learn about demons, men, and things that kill in the night—and how little time she has to learn it.
3. The Line by Teri Hall
A young adult dystopian title by the looks of the blurb. It’s got a kind of The Village feel to it, which, while not that great a movie, still had a great premise. I feel this book does too, possibly along similar yet hopefully better lines:
An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line.
Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.
Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right?
4. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Edgar Allan Poe was one of the most interesting poets to me as a young adult, and I’ve never been much of a horror anything fan. I’m intrigued by what this book might do with such an inspiration. There’s not a lot of info yet, but the cover is intriguing enough:
In NEVERMORE, cheerleader Isobel falls for Poe-fan Varen–but will she be able to save him from the madness taking hold of his mind?
Lordy, I think this list is long enough, but it doesn’t cover 2009 or 2010 by half. Here’s to 2010 – may yours be full of books and plenty of time to read them!
Next on Smugglivus: Jessica of Racy Romance Reviews