>> Thursday, January 11, 2007
Phew, finally, we've got to the end of this mammoth look back at 2006. Today, my top 10 picks of 2006, only taking into account those books actually published during that year. Considering that, as I've mentioned, new books account for only about a fifth of my reading, it was surprising to see I had a wealth of choices!
More or less ordered by my enjoyment of them, here are the titles (and a couple of honourable mentions, which I couldn't resist including):
Slave to Sensation, by Nalini Singh
This book really blew me away. I'd read a series title by this author and it had been nice enough, but nothing that could prepare me for how incredibly awesome, how fresh, smooth, sexy and just plain absorbing STS would be. This is a paranormal I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to people who usually hate that subgenre.
Lord Perfect, by Loretta Chase
Almost as good as my all-time favourite, Lord of Scoundrels. Read this witty and sexy character-driven romance to see the way the to-die-for straightlaced hero, Lord Benedict Carsington, is completely undone by his unexpected fascination with Bathsheba Wingate.
Lover Awakened, by J.R. Ward
Ward's are books I shouldn't enjoy this much, but I do. I feel emotionally manipulated when I read them, and totally see the author's hand, so to speak, but strangely enough, the manipulation works just fine anyway. Her books suck me in, and I love every minute. Even the heroes' silly names cease to matter.
Two Little Lies, by Liz Carlyle
Lies, secret babies, misunderstandings... and I loved this? Why, yes, I did indeed. I'll offer this book as proof that a talented author can make even the most clichéd, groan-worthy plot seem fresh again. Loved the heroine, too!
The Silver Rose, by Susan Carroll
The end to Carroll's Faire Isle trilogy is just as good as the wonderful first two installments. I loved the romance between this damaged former witch-hunter and the woman whose life he destroyed by betraying her time and again. A fascinating paranormal plot adds a magical flavour.
Angels Fall, by Nora Roberts
A big, and yet deeply focused story about a young woman recovering from the devastating psychological consequences of a mass shooting. There's a strong romance here, and one that I loved very much, but this was very much Reece's story, and it was amazing.
Circle trilogy, by Nora Roberts (Morrigan's Cross, Dance of the Gods and Valley of Silence - all included in one spot because it reads like a long book in three volumes)
I loved the big, epic feel of this good vs. evil story, and the down-to-earth character interaction at its core.
Memory in Death, by J.D. Robb
I thought this series had gone firmly into "comfort" territory, but MID brought back the intensity and sparkle of earlier books. There's plenty of tension between our main characters here, and I loved exploring an entirely new aspect of Eve's personality and past.
The Raven Prince, by Elizabeth Hoyt
A debut which doesn't feel like a debut. Hoyt writes like a seasoned veteran, and her characters are fresh and interesting. A sexy plot that works surprisingly well, a nicely-done setting and a very funny touch combine with these characters to put this author into my to-watch list.
Sexy/Dangerous, by Beverly Jenkins
Heroine Max Blake really made this book for me. She's kickass strong in the best way possible: tough and confident, smart and no-nonsense, but also perfectly human and feminine. Extra points for the truly adorable dogs!
(this section seems to include a lot of books verging on erotica, now that I look at it again)
Simply Love, by Mary Balogh
Two damaged characters, well on their way to recovery from their tragic pasts, find love and together take the last steps to healing. A very romantic story, sweet without being mawkish.
Off World, by Stephanie Vaughan
Maybe this year I've read technically better books than Off World, but if I did, I didn't enjoy them as much as I did this sexy gay futuristic. Vaughan has a way of writing romance and love scenes that reminds me of Suzanne Brockmann (a huge compliment, coming from me!)
Prince of Ice, by Emma Holly
A cross between her erotica, her historicals and her paranormals, POI offers an erotic story with a remarkable sweet and innocent feel.
The Assignment, by Evangeline Anderson
Like many of this list, another book that was a guilty pleasure. Not because it's so sex-driven (though it is), but because the suggestive situations are so patently preposterous and cheesy. And again, I loved this Miami Vice-ish story about two supposedly hetero cops falling for each other, anyway.