At the end of last year, we ran our fabulous bloggers’ lists of top reads of the year. Those posts were so fun that we’ve decided to continue, asking our bloggers to share the best thing they’ve read each month. It doesn’t have to be a new book, as evidenced below; just something that made the month sparkle just a bit more. So here’s our first installment for January, 2012 (and as a bonus, Rachel Hyland’s year-end best, too):
Family at Stake by Molly O’Keefe
I dug this Harlequin Superromance from 2006 out of my mammoth TBR pile, and it turns out it was my best read of the month. A reunion story featuring a heroine running from her troubled past and a single father hero, at his wit’s end, trying to reach his troubled young daughter. It’s an emotional heart-tugger, and while out of print, it is available digitally.
The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
It is absolutely hysterical and told in a male point on view. Finally, a book that made me LOL for real.
Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane
Those invested in Chess and Terrible’s drama, get ready because it’s time for Chess to deal with just what it means to be in a relationship. Such a brilliant read with the all the characters moving forward. Expect a Fresh Meat on this one close to the release date in March.
Khepera Rising by Nerine Dorman
It is deeply rooted in magic and esoterics, but has the gritty reality of life in 2012. Set in South Africa Dorman really gives you a snapshot of a dark magicians life. Magic is NEVER FREE! Ever!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Even though it was depressing, it made me laugh and it made me cry and it made me look at life differently.
Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Lord Benjamin Archer made a fateful decision one night long ago, one that left him cursed and horribly disfigured. Hiding his face behind a mask, he has come back to London to claim the only thing he desires above all, the hand of the beautiful and spirited, Miranda Ellis. Miranda might not be hiding behind a mask, but she too hides a secret as dangerous and deadly as Lord Archer’s. I didn’t know what to expect when I started this novel, but all I can say is “Wow!” This novel is part-historical, part-paranormal and all romance. As a romance, this book was sexy, sweet and funny. As a paranormal mystery, it kept me guessing until the final reveal. This story kept me enthralled until the very end.
Rachel Hyland (Best of 2011)
1. Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory
What if zombies weren’t all gurning, ravening beasts in search of brains, and were instead victims of an unknown plague that robs them only temporarily of their humanity? What if the fever passes and they then revert to normal… only, mostly amnesiac and, obviously, dead? How would the government treat them? How would individuals see them? What if they had a Messiah, a zombie baby who grew to adulthood in the arms of a loving family and became the standard bearer for Undead Rights – and what if he could never die for their sins? And what, exactly, is the nature of romantic love? Can you feel it, even if you don’t have a functioning nervous or reproductive system; if you produce no hormones and feel no passion? Daryl Gregory may not have all of the answers to these questions, but he certainly has some enchanting theories about these and many more, all of which make this book an absolute instant classic, and one I simply cannot recommend highly enough.
2. Deadline by Mira Grant
Follow up to 2010’s kickass, Hugo-nominated Feed, this second installment of the post-zombie Apocalypse political thriller/family drama/inappropriate interfamilial lovin’ saga known collectively as the Newsflesh Trilogy mixed things up a whole lot and proved how mistaken I was when, reviewing Feed, I claimed that lead characters Georgia and Shawn – adoptive brother and sister – loved each other, but “not in a Jaime/Cersei way.” ’Cause… yeah. Wow. And awesome!
3. Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson
Proving I read something other than zombie fiction this year (I swear, I hardly ever do; World War Z, the P&P ones, and that’s it!), this YA tale of a troubled teen who awakens from a blackout to find herself committed to a psychiatric facility, having confessed to the murder of her high school rival, is nothing short of captivating. There’s romance in here, of course – there’s a visiting South African scholar and some intimate, though withal innocent, “sessions” – and not only does this book provide an intriguing mystery and some fascinating information on a rare, quite beautiful, brain disorder, but it also gives a quite stunningly delightful out-of-left-field explanation for its genesis here. Loved this book!