Friday, December 18, 2009

Favorite Novels of 2009

To finish out my lists this week, I chose my five favorite novel length reads that I reviewed for this blog. There's an oddity to be found in this group this year. Three of the five titles are in a genre that I really don't buy a lot of, and in fact, would say it's a genre I don't really like. But a lot of my favorites this year are breaking my usual rules. Novels were no different.

4th Runner Up
The Commander's Desire by Jennette Green

Beauty and the Beast meets Medieval Times. I lost time in a family excursion because I got so sucked into this story of a battle-scarred Commander and the woman who's been promised as his bride. The setting was more original than most historicals, the hero wonderful, and the heroine, once she got over crying so much about her predicament, sympathetic.

3rd Runner Up
A Hearing Heart by Bonnie Dee

Look at that. Another historical. Wanna guess what the genre that took me by surprise this year was? Where my love for the previous book was about the alpha male, a big part of my affection for this gentle, tender romance is for its beta hero. Jim's deafness is never glamorized or used for melodramatic effect. It simply adds another layer to an already complex character, and provides direction for the sweet storyline. My favorite of all this author's work.

2nd Runner Up
Hold the Dark by Frank Tuttle

Considering Frank Tuttle was my favorite author last year, it shouldn't be a surprise that the latest Markhat book made my list. He went short novel length for this one, which gave him the luxury of introducing aspects of his world he didn't have the chance before. His rich, immersive writing puts him at a level above the vast majority of writers I've found via e-publishing, and his creation a must read for anyone who enjoys solid fantasy writing.

1st Runner Up
Scythe by MK Mancos

The best romances are the well-rounded ones, where I love the two protagonists (regardless of gender) equally, where I'm entertained both because of humor and emotion, where I'm as drawn into action as I am the quieter moments. This satisfies all of those. It was a fast-paced, original escapade that had me smiling throughout the whole thing, and when it was over, wishing for more. A lot more. I'd read this author under a different pseudonym before, and while I'd enjoyed her, this moved her to my list of authors to trust. Believe me. That's not a long list.

And my favorite novel of 2009 is...
Whistling in the Dark by Tamara Allen

The final historical of the bunch, and one of the highest all-around scoring stories I've reviewed here. The author created a world in this novel that stole me away, yanking me out of the present and depositing me lovingly in her carefully constructed, early 20th century New York. Her characters were warm and multi-faceted, the romance and friendship between them textured and - most importantly - real. There isn't a weak characterization in the bunch, and when it's combined with talented writing, skill that sucks you in and perfectly matches the mood of the moment, it's impossible not to consider this an absolutely outstanding read.

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Dear Book Utopia Mom,
Thank you. :) ::hugs!!!::
Between you and Elisa, you two made my whole year. I am thrilled as can be that you liked Whistling that much.