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!
The Secret Mistress (Delacorte Press) by Mary Balogh. Just because I’ve read everything she’s written and own 99.9% of her books doesn’t mean Balogh gets a free pass from me. I was so nervous that a prequel to More than a Mistress would be a dud, but it was marvelous. Angie, Tresham’s sister, and Edward, Angie’s restrained suitor, made a wonderful couple. Their story illuminated the stories that come after it in the historical fiction Mistress trilogy but it was perfect and sweet on its own. Balogh doesn’t disappoint—another keeper.
The Lady’s Secret (Carina Press) by Joanna Chambers. A sensual and intimate delight of a story. Georgy masquerades as a deft and competent gentleman’s gentleman and her employer—as is to be expected—finds out that he is a she. Their dance of removing the barriers between them is unforgettable. Not so much a chick-in-pants romp, but a glorious examination of identities and roles, all on a canvas of steam and scent and private dressing rooms. Quite a debut!
The Realm of You (Harmony Road Press) by Tara Buckley. A BDSM novella that straddles the Atlantic and takes you deep into the heart of a woman’s marriage and desires and discontents. I can only compare it, favourably, to Carrie’s Story by Molly Weatherfield (aka Pam Rosenthal). Yes, it’s frank and surprising and it takes you into a realm that’s very different from even the hottest novels out there. But at its heart is the story of a woman at the crossroads and it’s her intellectual and emotional honesty that make this lush work stand out. Another delightful debut!
1. Body of Sin by Eve Silver. I may have really enjoyed the first three Otherkin books, but I’m still swooning over Body of Sin. In the fourth Otherkin novel (which can work as a standalone), we get a hero and heroine with a past, Egyptian mythology and self-sacrifice in the name of love. It’s heartwarming, harrowing, and toe-curling. Must-read.
2. Blood Rights by Kristen Painter. I love fresh world-building, and Kristen Painter delivers that and more in the first book in her House of Comarre series. Sexual tension is suffocating in this one—including sparring between hero and heroine—and plenty of cravings for both kisses and blood. Oh, and expect a villain you’ll love to hate.
3. The Taker by Alma Katsu. Books that leave my insides all twisted always end up on my favorites list. Not sure what that says about me, but if you want to get sucked into an emotional whirlwind, read The Taker. You’ll simultaneously pity, hate and love the characters and you’ll keep screaming no when the heroine makes bad choices. She knows they’re bad in retrospect, but her options were limited. This is the only book I’ve ever compared to Interview with a Vampire... even though it has no vampires.
Jaded and Jeweled - Anya Bast (Oh come on - they’re so connected etc and same world and it’s just the two of them that they can count as one! ... Really! :X) I loved [this book] because it reminded me of the fantasy books I read as a kid - between the time I read children’s books and classics. It really reminded me of why I loved the setting, and the time of “before.” Also, the characters were incredibly well rounded, and it was hot.
Lord Ruin - Carolyn Jewel I read this book like eight times this year. There’s just something about it. I love when the alpha perfect hero is absolutely brought to his knees by love. And Anne, the heroine is so sensible and steady and it’s fantastic.
Waking Up with the Duke - Lorraine Heath => the entire premise, story, characters, everything was incredible. Especially since it’s something you’d be certain would not work for a historical romances - and that readers would never accept it.
O_o I guess it’s been a massive historical year for me. Although I did discover Helen Brooks and Miranda Lee, who write Harlequin Presents and are both incredibly fabulous. I spent nearly two months burning through as much as their back lists as I could.
So whatever. I can’t count. Isn’t that the joke - why lawyers become lawyers because we can’t do math?