Thu
Dec 29 2011 4:00pm

H&H Bloggers Pick the Best of 2011: Dolly Sickles, Aliza Mann, and Marquetta Whitmore

Want to know what books your favorite bloggers most enjoyed in 2011? Be sure to check out each post in the Best of 2011 series!

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly HarperDolly Sickles

I read so many things that I sometimes mix up what’s new or not. Here are three of my favorites, in no particular order:

If You Hear Her, by Shiloh Walker. I love Walker’s contemporary romances (I’m not a big paranormal or sci-fi romance reader), and this is a great kickoff for a trio of books that promise to be keepers. If You Hear Her focuses on Lena, a blind chef, and Ezra, a state police officer on leave. The suspense is nail-biting, the romance steamy, and the premise engaging. The only two things that gave me pause were the slow beginning, and the cliffhanger ending. Seriously, I know this is the first in a trilogy, but Ms. Walker … I would’ve liked a little more, well, closure. Thank goodness the next one releases in January!

How to Flirt with A Naked Werewolf, by Molly Harper. So right here in my second paragraph I sort of cancel out my note about not reading much paranormal—but, in my defense, this is only a little bit paranormal. Sexy, surly neighbor Cooper Graham is, well, a werewolf. But not a big scary one. He’s a werewolf that I would like to pet and maybe offer a puppy treat. Our heroine is really robust, having moved from the southeast to Grundy, Alaska for a fresh start. I’ve lived in the south all my life, and I can tell you that if I ever need a “fresh start” it certainly won’t be north to where the snow falls knee-deep to Sasquatch. But I used to love the TV show, Northern Exposure, and this book is the real romance version of that story: Fun, quirky characters, bad attitude boys, and pull your boots up by the straps gals.

Up a Dry Creek by Avery FlynnUp A Dry Creek, by Avery Flynn. In the spring, I was reading faster than my favorite authors were publishing, so I took to the Google machine and searched for a few new authors. I was not disappointed by Avery Flynn’s freshman offering, Up A Dry Creek. The story is told in a sarcastic, witty style; the writing’s got a great fast pace; the characters are compelling and believable; and the romance is steamy. All of those components add up to a great story, and an author who is now on my radar.

Plus, three of my top ten favorite authors put out new books this year that were good, but not part of my “best list.” They are Blood and Fire by Shannon McKenna, An Ideal Man by Julie Garwood, and Prey by Linda Howard.

 

Aliza Mann

Karina Cooper released a new book this year entitled Blood of the Wicked. It is a dark paranormal, and that is likely the element that lured me to the novel, and kept me turning the pages. The raw dialogue and chemistry between her hero and heroine was fresh and exciting.

In Bed with a Highlander by Maya BanksIn Bed With a Highlander by Maya Banks is the first in a trilogy of Highlander books, and while I love the whole series, this one was my favorite.  Banks has a talent for expressing deep, penetrating sensuality. This book is no exception. I literally ended up with foot cramps after reading, from tightly curling my toes in squee! The plot was fresh and intriguing as we followed the capture and survival of heroine, Mairin, through 39 adventure-filled chapters. Sexy historical reads get my vote every time.

Finally, after going back and forth between Lora Leigh and Charlaine Harris, the coin landed on Dead Reckoning by Harris. While I was definitely more intrigued with Leigh’s characters, I think I liked my old favorite Eric, the Viking vampire. He has a quality that I love in heroes: unapologetic masculinity. Even as fans of the series debate over whether to finish the remaining two books of the series, I know that I’ll be there until the sun sets on Eric at least. He keeps me coming back for more.

 

Shadowfever by Karen Marie MoningMarquetta Whitmore

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning—Barrons! He alone makes Shadowfever one of my favorite reads. SF was everything I expected it to be: dark, thrilling, sexy, epic. I finished Shadowfever exhausted, emotional but very satisfied. I suffered from Post Shadowfever Stress Syndrome, or PSSS, because for days, weeks I could not get this book out of my mind.  

Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison—A fresh voice in PNR, Thea Harrison totally took us by storm with her debut PNR novel Dragon Bound. I have a weakness for grouchy heroes, and Dragos was the epitome of grouchy and sexy.

Immortal Rider by Larissa Ione—OMG! This was my mantra while I was reading Immortal Rider. Larissa Ioen can do no wrong in my eyes, but she really outdid herself with this latest installment of the Lords of Deliverance series. So many twists and turns that you didn’t know what was going to happen next. Just when you think things have calmed down, then BAM! I absolutely loved it! This book had everything!

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