I read 83 books in 2010, averaging bout 7 books per month. I didn't make my goal of reading 100 books, but I sure read some really fantastic books last year.
As little as three years ago, I read predominantly paranormal romance. Every year since then my reading preferences have become more and more diverse. Last year, I read from ten different genres and sub-genres.
Mystery/Crime fiction.... 24
Young Adult .... 17
Historical Romance..... 15
Contemporary Romance.... 8
Urban Fantasy .... 7
Literary Fiction.... 6
Paranormal Romance .... 2
Children's Fiction.... 2
Mystery/crime fiction dominated my reading last year at a total of 24 books. This dominance was largely due to my challenge to catch up in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, of which I read 14 books. While the In Death series is largely considered a romantic suspense series by romance readers, I have come to recognize it more as a mystery or crime fiction series, a classification with which I believe libraries and bookstores agree. The series is undeniably character driven, focusing on the actions of detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas as she solves homicides in a futuristic New York City and inevitably on her private life with her husband Roarke and their small network of friends and colleagues as well. If you're not reading this series yet, why not challenge yourself to try the first book, Naked In Death, and see what you think? Be sure to check out the In Death Series Reading Challenge hosted here as well.
Now for my favorite books of 2010.
Most Compelling Series:
There are two series of which I picked up and read the first book and I found it so compelling that I couldn't help but devour the subsequent books in the series.
The Lily Bard Mystery books by Charlaine Harris (Mystery)
This series of stories were published some time ago, and I don't recall what prompted me to pick up the first book when I saw it on the shelf while browsing the limited selection of paperbacks at my library. I just know that I was instantly and completely drawn to Lily Bard and her stories. The books are a bit on the dark or bleak side, but the Lily felt so real to me from the very first page. So much so that I actually missed Lily after I finished the last book.
Shakespeare's Landlord (1996)
Shakespeare's Champion (1997)
Shakespeare's Christmas (1998)
Shakespeare's Trollop (2000)
Shakespeare's Counselor (2001)
The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning (Urban Fantasy)
I read the first book in this series, Darkfever, in the summer of 2007, but was inspired to re-read it for a Fever series Read Along hosted by SmexyBooks and FictionVixen blogs in anticipation of the release of the 5th and final book in the series, Shadowfever, which releases January 18, 2011. I'm so glad I decided to give the series a try again, because when I re-read Darkfever, I liked it so much better than the first time I read it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much more, that I wasted no time picking up and reading the next three books, Bloodfever, Faefever and Dreamfever. Now I'm sitting on pins and needles, waiting for Shadowfever. I haven't been in such a state of anticipation for a new book release in a really long time. One more week!
Shadowfever (2011) coming January 18, 2011...
Favorite 'Aren't You Too Old to be Reading That?'*,
a.k.a Young Adult:
*category name courtesy of Lurv a la Mode
I read SO many really fantastic young adult books this year. Every single one was wonderfully written, really engaging and creative, all with characters whom I adored. In fact, nearly every single one I read teeters toward the top of my list of favorite books of 2010. But one stands out as THE Best Young Adult Book of 2010:
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (2010)
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (2010) (contemporary)
Looking for Alaska by John Green (2005) (contemporary)
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater (2009) (urban fantasy)
Beastly by Alex Flinn (2007) (modern fairy-tale)
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (2010 US) (dystopian-fantasy)
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (2009) (magical realism)
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (2010) (paranormal)
I'll stop there... ;)
Worth Every Single Tear:
These two novels made me cry. A lot. But both books also provided a few good laughs and were overall incredibly satisfying reads with genuine, sigh worthy happy endings. Thank God.
The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins (2010)
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (2010)
Smart & Sexy Historical Romances:
One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare (2010)
Proof by Seduction by Courtney Milan (2010)
Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran (2010)
The Devil Wears Plaid by Teresa Medeiros (2010)
Most Heart-Pounding-Edge-of-Your-Seat-Thrilling Read:
Bloodfever No, no, actually Faefever was more exciting.
But omg... Dreamfever!! My blood pressure was totally elevated reading this one. Okay, okay, so I'm going with the whole dang series as the most thrilling read of 2010 for me.
The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning
Surprise Favorite Read:
Except the Queen by Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder (2010)
I first heard of this book from The Book Smugglers who posted a favorable review early in the year. The premise of the story appealed to me, but I don't read a lot of straight fantasy, so my curiosity wasn't piqued enough to seek the book out and read it. But when I saw it come in my library a few weeks later, I figured I had nothing to lose and should give it a try. I am so glad I did, because Except the Queen turned out to be one of my absolute favorite reads of the year. Beautiful writing, wonderfully drawn out characters and a compelling story line. It has even inspired me to read more straight fantasy fiction in 2011. :)
Most Read Author of the Year:
Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb
I read 4 contemporary romances written by Nora Roberts and 14 of her In Death series futuristic crime fiction novels written under the pen name J.D. Robb.
Here's to another year of amazing books in 2011.