Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best of 2010 {in Books}

Better late than never, here is my annual reading stats and my list of favorite books that I read 2010. Note that while many of my favorites were published in 2010, some were published in late 2009 or even earlier.

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
Fantasy.... 1
Steampunk.... 1

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!

Darkfever (2006)
Bloodfever (2007)
Faefever (2008)
Dreamfever (2009)

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)

Honorable Mentions:
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.

Cheers! :)


  1. Great list!

    I'm right there with you on the Fever series, except I didn't have any trouble loving it the first time around. I recent re-read them all in preparation of the Shadowfever's release. I also feel like I need to read the last book one more time cause I read them so fast.

    I can't wait for Tuesday!

  2. Fascinating to see how your genre preferences have changes and expanded :) I should really get around to trying the Fever series.

    Oh, and word of warning :) GoodReads is hazardous for your TBR list *grin*

  3. Hi Jess!
    Like I said in my post, I am SO glad I decided to jump in on the Read Along and re-read DARKFEVER. I don't know why it didn't click with me so much the first time I read it back in 2007. I suspect it was largely due to the fact that UF was kind of new to me and I was perhaps expecting a HEA? I also recall thinking Mac was kind of ditzy and shallow... but in my recent reread, I actually liked that she was naive and just doing that typical "20something-living it up trying to figure out what you want to do with your life" thing. Her love and bond with her sister drove her to DO something important. And in the end, that's what really is making her "find herself." Anyway, I'm so glad I read this series now... and only a few more days to SHADOWFEVER. I can barely stand it after that cliffhanger in DREAMFEVER!

  4. orannia, it is pretty interesting how my genre preferences have shifted. I'm enjoying reading books from all over the place, but romance will always be my favorite.

    GoodReads is hazardous for your TBR list *grin*

    Oh, I figured that out REALLY fast! LOL! :)

  5. I'm so happy to see you're a Lily Bard fan! I think everyone's so distracted by Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books that they forget she used to write mainstream mysteries before! If you haven't read them already I also recommend Harris's Aurora Teagarden series. The books aren't as bleak but I love the characters just as much.

  6. Hi Dana!
    The Lily Bard books really called to me. I can't even pinpoint exactly what it is about them... especially since they're a bit more bleak than what I usually read, but Lily is amazing. Probably one of my favorite all time heroines.

    I will definitely give the Aurora Teagarden books a go. I bet I'll like them too. And maybe someday I'll even read the Sookie books! LOL! ;)

  7. Looks like you had a great reading year, which makes me happy :)

    Hmmm.... I may try the Lily Bard series. I do love me some mysteries.

  8. Hi Lori! :)
    Do let me know if you decide to try the Lily Bard books. They're relatively short, so you should be able to breeze through them pretty quickly and your library probably has them, too. I can definitely see myself going back to re-read them at some point.

  9. LOL, it's definitively not too late for this post, Christine. Mine is not even started ^_^;

    Well considering how much you do, 83 is an excellent number!! :)

    I think the problem with paranormal romance is that there was over-saturation. Too much of it was released with similar plots/storylines. That's why people burned out so much on them.

    Did you review Except the Queen?

    And LOL, not surprised that La Nora was your most read author. She's so productive!!

  10. You go girl! I love the fact that you have read so many genres. I have been reading too many lusty romance novels lately, and will be expanding my horizons this year with some new genres!

  11. Your reading touches on more of a dark flavor than mine *g*. I second the Aurora Teagarden series by Harris. I think you did a great job managing to read so many books last year and in so many different genres!
    Hope you're having a good week!

  12. Great list! I just added a few to my to-buy list :) Goodreads isn't the only place to pile them on :)

  13. Fantastic set of favorites for 2010, I love you you explained why you loved each and every one of them. I really love Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series and I've been wanting to pick up her other books since I love those so much so it looks like I need to make them a priority!

    Have you read the Sookie Stackhouse books??

  14. Oh, I missed Lily so much when the Shakespeare series was over! It makes me happy you fell in love with it as well. :)

  15. I really liked how you broke it all down. I wanted to read the Lily Bard series but haven't gotten to it. I started her other early series, the Aurora Teagarden series? Those were okay.

    Great recap my dear!

  16. Hmmm. I've always avoided the fever books, maybe I should rethink? Wonder if my tiny library has them. Also, that Except the Queen has a lovely cover. I read more Nora Roberts than anyone else this year- I think 9. I could go count, but eh.

  17. Great list!! You know, All I ever Wanted made me cry to!
    I'll be sure to stop by often! I likez your blog!


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