Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Year In Reading 2007: The Gems

I'm a firm believer in getting to the good stuff first, so here is a list of the best books I read in 2007. Let's start out with the gems shall we?

The Gems:

Dirty and Broken by Megan Hart - Easily my biggest discovery of 2007. It's not even a close contest. Hart single handily restored my faith that the Harlequin Spice line could actually work (prior that it was an extremely bumpy experiment) and she is easily the most mature, thoughtful, and intelligent voice writing erotic fiction today. Emma Holly opened the door, Hart kicked it off it's hinges and broke a few windows while she was at it.

Heartsick by Chelsea Cain - A suspense novel with an clever hook, deeply flawed characters, and a serial killer that has screwed with more minds than Hannibal Lecter. Heartsick gets my Page Turner Of The Year award and I firmly believe this author is The Next Big Thing.

The Best Of The Rest or Honorable Mentions:

Strip Poker and Beg Me by Lisa Lawrence - Who would have thought I'd discover two great erotica writers in the same year? Strip Poker isn't perfect (Beg Me is the more solid effort), but Lisa Lawrence has created a firecracker series character in Teresa Knight. Strong, capable, kick ass and smart, I'm totally gay for Teresa.

A Reason to Believe by Maureen McKade - I originally graded this a B, and over time I've come to realize that it's a much more remarkable book than that (I'm thinking an A-). McKade took a huge risk with this novel, writing a heroine who isn't always likable, with plenty of personal demons, and takes to drinking whiskey in secret. It's gutsy, downright ballsy, and she deserves major props (as does Berkley) for giving romance readers more than just the same old tired, played-out crap. For my money McKade is the successor to Maggie Osborne's abandoned throne.

Games Of Command by Linnea Sinclair - This one was a slow starter for me (all that science fiction mumbo jumbo!) and the secondary romance didn't do a darn thing for me - but oh, what a hero! This is the textbook on why I love Beta heroes.

Count To Ten by Karen Rose - Rose writes some of the strongest romantic suspense out there, featuring capable heroines who always seem to find their perfect hero along the way. Grisly body counts and page turning suspense round out the fun. I predict she makes the jump to hard cover within the next couple of years. She's that good.

Outside Of Genre Fiction:

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran - A remarkable historical fiction debut about the life of the Egyptian queen told from the point of view of her younger sister. This book has everything - love, betrayal, intrigue, and death. Like a soap opera set in Ancient Egypt, it's that compulsively readable. A must read for lovers of historical fiction.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry - Sure the ending kinda ticked me off, but that didn't keep me from loving McMurtry's now classic saga about a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. Fantastic characters and high running emotions make this one glorious epic. It also surpassed Leon Uris' excellent Trinity as the longest book I've ever read (but just barely).

Next up? My final post on reading in 2007; the books I'd sooner forget about. Stay tuned.


Megan Hart said...

me? Mature!?!


Thank you, Wendy. Very, very much.


Lori said...

Couldn't agree more with your thoughts on McKade and Karen Rose. And I have promised everyone I know to read the 3 Megan Hart books. I guess that's my reading goal this year, since I'm the only person I know that hasn't read them yet. *sigh* no time...

Lori said...

LOL - I just read that on The Goddess Blogs that Karen Rose's first hardcover is being released in May 08 - Scream for Me. Dang - that was fast!

Wendy said...

Lori: I read and liked Nothing To Fear, but Count To Ten was a bit like a coming out party. No surprise, at least to me, that's she's making that jump to hc. I think she has huge crossover potential.

Megan: You're welcome! Thank you for the great books this year!