Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Favorite Novellas of 2008

Next on the list for my favorites are novellas. Something odd happened when I went through all my favorite novellas this year. 4 of my top 5 picks all come from the same e-publisher. I certainly didn't plan it that way, but that's the way they fell out. There's something to be said about consistent quality, that's for sure.

4th Runner Up
Dante's Inferno by Evie Byrne

When it came to erotic romance this year, this one stands out from the crowd. Both leads are engaging, the period detail divine, and their erotic encounters sizzling. This one was fun from start to finish, and it still gives me a smile when I think of it.

3rd Runner Up
The Dark Horse by Josh Lanyon

Though Lanyon is best known for his Adrien English stories, he also has numerous novellas that are worth attention. The Dark Horse is my favorite of the bunch. It succeeds both as suspense and romance, and it does so with Lanyon's usual flair. Sean Fairchild as a protagonist and hero provides the perfect mechanism to wind this tale tighter and tighter, making it wholly satisfying.

2nd Runner Up
Interstitial by Ann Somerville

A lot of authors try to write cinematically, but not many succeed. Somerville's Interstitial is one of the best examples of tight, visual storytelling I reviewed this year. Every detail counts. Her characters are smart and real, and never get in the way of the unrelenting action. It's just too bad I can't tune in weekly for more.

1st Runner Up
Like a Thief in the Night by Bettie Sharpe

One of the freshest voices of the year is Bettie Sharpe's. She followed her brilliant debut at Bam's blog with this novella at Samhain, and it proved that her talent wasn't a fluke. There is a dark edge to her writing, sharpened to razor precision, that sucks you in and refuses to let go. Her heroine in this is as vivid as they come, and the chemistry with the hero is over the top.

And my favorite novella of 2008 is...
Dead Man's Rain by Frank Tuttle

There are not enough good things I can say about Frank Tuttle and his Markhat books. They're not long, but they are rich in detail and humor, immersing the reader into his fantasy world so effortlessly, you don't even realize what he's done. I love 1st person stories when they're this well done. You get to fall in love with the main character, not because of his strengths, but in spite of his weaknesses. Encompassed in such dynamic prose, Markhat stands out even more. There's a reason this and its sequel have the highest overall scores I've given so far. They're that good.


Joely Skye said...

I just wanted to let you know I'm enjoying your best of lists and look forward to more. Bettie Sharpe's is one book I definitely mean to read.

Angela James said...

Wow, Samhain authors seem to have hit for you on this list. Thank you so much for including our books!

Book Utopia Mom said...

Joely, I think you're going to love it. She's got a fantastic voice.

Angela, I think it's a testament to the consistent quality that Samhain produces. I always feel like I can trust Samhain books. :)

Ann Somerville said...

thank you, not just for the nod, but for your hard work in maintaining such a quality review site. You're a jewel!

williammaltese said...

While this has nothing to do with your latest post, rather with your post for HARD-WORKING MEN, I thought I would answer your question as regards the possible affectation of my using my own name (creepy?!) in my short story TOW-BLOW for the anthology. Nope, I don't do it all of the time. And sorry, if you let the one story turn you off to all the other stuff I've done, because I'm sure somewhere in there, say in BEYOND MACHU, or TUSKS, or SNAKES, there just might be something you'd find of interest. And, by the way, I'm a fan of Victor's, too. --William Maltese (the creepy author)

Book Utopia Mom said...

Ann - Thanks so much for the compliment, and Interstitial more than deserves it. :)

William - Thank you for the clarification. I appreciate that you took the time to let me know it was unique to that particular story.

Josh Lanyon said...

Thanks so much for picking DOPK as one of your favorite reads this year.

I don't have much opportunity to check out the blog circuit any more, but I always enjoy your careful and well-thought out reviews. They're a pleasure!

bettie said...

Thanks for picking Like a Thief and, as Ann said, thank you for all the time and effort that you put into running this review site. With my reading time limited by school, almost every book purchase I've made this year has been as a result of online reviews. I really liked Dante's Inferno* but I haven't read the other three novellas on your list, so thanks for more great rec's, too!

*I know Evie Byrne, which theoretically could make me biased, but what it really adds up to is: I've read two of her other novels, and they were both fab. Just wait and see. :)