Best Paranormal Fantasy Releases of 2009
1. Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison
Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
In the Blood by Adrian Phoenix (released 12/30/08 but I'm counting it as '09)
Blood Blade by Marcus Pelegrimas
7. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
8. Demon Inside by Stacia Kane
9. Darkness Calls by Marjorie Liu
10. ReVamped by J.F. Lewis
11. Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead
12. Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
13. Vampire a Go-Go by Victor Gischler
Whether you're new to romance -- itching to try it -- or a long-time fan, you'll want to check out this Dynamic Duos list: Pairs of best books - and an, ahem, threesome -- of my fave great reads, debuts and a couple just-for-funs from '09. If you're not a Heart to Heart regular, please join us every day at H2H, where we talk all things romance fiction in a decidedly fun, smart and, yeah, often sexy way.
What romances are on your Best of 2009 list? What fun categories would you add? -- Michelle Buonfiglio (H2H)
Seduced by Shadows -- Jessa Slade
Knight of Desire -- Margaret Mallory
A Mermaid's Ransom -- Joey W. Hill
Kiss of a Demon King -- Kresley Cole
One Reckless Summer -- Toni Blake
Hot Pursuit -- Suzanne Brockmann
Sexiest Non-Erotic Romance Love Scene
Start Me Up -- Victoria Dahl
Hunt Her Down -- Roxanne St. Claire
A Hint of Wicked -- Jennifer Haymore
Highland Rebel -- Judith James
The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie -- Jennifer Ashley
Historical -- Erotic
Addicted -- Charlotte Featherstone
Gorgeous as Sin -- Susan Johnson
Pleasure and Purpose -- Megan Hart
The Things That Make Me Give In -- Charlotte Stein
Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady -- Diane Gaston
The Desert King's Pregnant Bride -- Annie West
The Bridegroom -- Linda Lael Miller
The Lone Texan -- Jodi Thomas
Captured -- Beverly Jenkins
Surrender of a Siren -- Tessa Dare
I don't lie about my age -- I couldn't if I wanted to, because my kids are more than happy to tell anyone who asks. I'm 57, okay? I know that's older than a lot of you, but I'm really not in Miss Marple's generation. In mystery, there isn't a lot of middle ground: the detective/heroine is either old as dirt or practically in diapers -- comparatively speaking.
Woman my age might look old, but we don't feel that way. We still live exciting, productive lives -- it's just rare to read about women of my general age group in books.
Thank God for Hank Phillippi Ryan, Boston TV instigative reporter-slash-mystery author. How Hank juggles her two jobs I'll never understand, especially since she seems to be everywhere -- book signings, mystery conferences, romance writers conventions. Hank and I are roughly the same age and, while she is considerably more glamorous (and slim -- did I mention how sleek and fashionable she is?), we both work hard and still manage to enjoy life.
Enter Charlie McNally, an investigative reporter for a TV station not unlike the one Hank works for, researching stories that are written with a deft hand and a definite touch of inside knowledge. While Charlie isn't Hank's alter ego, the similarities give authenticity to Charlie's voice. Each book is features a fascinating look into a mystery-related investigation, while revealing a little more about Charlie's life.
I've read the first three books in this series: PRIME TIME, FACE TIME and AIR TIME, and I'm looking forward to Hank's upcoming release, DRIVE TIME. I'm not alone in praising this series -- just search Hank's name or any of the titles to see all the rave reviews she's getting.
Now, before you start pointing out all the other fifty-ish heroines out there, let me just stress that this is the first I can remember that I really related to. Life doesn't end when the nest empties or when hot flashes begin. I, for one, am having more fun now than when I was a teenager. Hank's books are a reminder that turning fifty doesn't instantly put you in slippers and a rocking chair, or make you transform into your prim and proper grandmother.
Kick off your stilettos and pour yourself a glass of wine. Grab one of Hank's books and watch Charlie McNally kick some ass!
Many of these authors had new books come out in 2009, but some of these series have been around for decades.
I'd have a hard time (make that impossible) putting together a top ten list, but here are some I follow and recommend:
Although I have read a lot of books this year, I have to say that this one is the clear winner for me. This wasn't just the best book I read in 2009, it is one of the best books I have ever read! With "The Art of Racing in the Rain," Stein attempts the difficult task of defining human life and all it's complexities; and does so in quite a clever way. Brilliant, insightful, inspirational, and profoundly touching, this story is an absolute must read (whether or not you are an animal lover.)
The Children's Book (lovely, lush prose and period detail)
Wolf Hall (a novel that humanizes a historical figure)
Drood (opium-soaked Wilkie Collins narrates this supernatural thriller)
The Girl Who Played with Fire (you won't be able to wait for the final installment in the trilogy)
The Best American Essays 2009 (a great collection of short pieces)
Under This Unbroken Sky (a beautiful novel designed to break your heart)
The Big Rewind (fans of the AV Club will alternately cringe and laugh throughout Rabin's memoir)
Mistress of the Monarchy (Weir once again gives voice to a shadowy figure in British royal history)
Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float (for Facebook and literature junkies everywhere)
Beowulf on the Beach (upgrade your beach reading tote bag)
and my favorite contemporary author will debut his new series after Christmas - I can't wait!!
Shades of Grey by the fabulous author of the Thursday Next sequels, Jasper Fforde.
Our Classics Book Club had the opportunity this year to read along with the PBS series, Masterpiece Classics. We read the novels, then watched the film adaptations featured on PBS and were treated to several guests sent to visit our club by PBS. The guests were involved with the making of the films--people such as screenwriters! We like to compare films to books all the time in Classics, and as readers normally have it, we have issues with several films. The PBS adaptations were no exception. One of the films we watched, however, seemed to "pass" our rigorous readerly discussion of honoring the original classic novel while recreating the story in film. That title was the new adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
EnJOY, & Happy Holidays!
I'm a huge fan of Craig Ferguson -- as an actor, as a talk show host and as an author. "Saving Grace" is a brilliant movie, "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson" is totally out of control, and thus suits me perfectly. He even has puppets -- what else could you want?
Some may have trouble relating the late night goof with the hot accent with the thoughtful author of BETWEEN THE BRIDGE AND THE RIVER. And as much as he can make you laugh, if you want to be moved almost to tears, go to YouTube and search Craig Ferguson's monologues on why he became an American citizen.
When I bought his autobiography, AMERICAN ON PURPOSE, my husband and I were preparing for a trip to Chicago. To help pass the time on the long drive, I read this book out loud. Even though I can't do a Scottish accent to save my life, the book held our interest for hours.
Ferguson's life has been a bungee jump of extreme highs and nearly deadly lows, and it is a little surprising to discover that the raunchy comedian is an eloquent, devastatingly honest author of no small talent. Don't miss this book.
I've read a lot of books in the last year, mostly in Urban Fantasy and Young Adult (keeps me young ) Here are my top 2 for each of those categories. Happy reading in 2010!
Patricia Briggs is the kind of author who puts her heart and soul into writing. It is so easy to love the characters in all her books.
Such a breath of fresh air after Broken (the last book starring Clay and Elena)
I don't think it matters how old you are The Hunger Games trilogy is a must read!
Very interesting love story..I read it in less than a day.
When I heard this book
The Confessions of Edward Day described as "Highsmithy" I ran to check it out. Indeed it is suspenseful and revolves around a very Highsmithy plot in which two young man experience a psychological repulsion for each other that almost reads as attraction. And a strange accident links them together for life, till death does them part. The added delish element of the book is that the two young men are theater actors and so the novel is set in 1970s New York City. I cannot believe this was my introduction to Valerie Martin, a true writer's writer. After reading this page-turner (with depth) in a few days I went on to check out the rest of her canon: "Mary Reilly" (nothing like the movie, thankfully), "The Unfinished Novel and Other Stories", and am now up to "Love." Though I have been thrilled as well by her other books, it is Edward Day that haunts and excites me every time I think about it ...which is quite often.
The most lucid, practical, straightforward & yet profound & Insightful explanation and solution to sexual addiction & Fixation.
Book title (kind of long):
"Open to Bliss
Sage Hope's 1st Gift to Humanity
The Definitive & Complete
Solution Manual to Sexaul Attraction & Addiction"
published May, 9, 2009
This story is spellbinding. I couldn't put it down and the ending just "blew me away!" It's a well-plotted, intricate mystery about a missing inmate from a facility for the criminally insane. Shutter Island houses this facility, and there is no way off the island except by a well-guarded ferry. So, where did this person go? Added to this mystery, is the fact that the roster shows 67 inmates, yet this missing person would change the census to 68. Is there really a missing inmate or not? The chief psychiatrist insists there is 67 inmates, but he seems to be a secretive, sinister individual. Who is lying and who is not? That is for the main character, a federal marshall, to discover! Add to this mix a pending hurricane and you will be in for the ride of your life! This book delivers! The movie will be out February 2010 - can't wait.
I received this Novel from the author and I just loved it. What a thrilling book this was to read. I will be bringing author's on my show this year and Michael W. McKay will be on top of the list. As one reviewer wrote who read this book stated: "Move over Steven King, There is a new writer in town".
And I have to agree, Mr.. McKay has the talent not only to tell a great story, but it will stay inside of your head for days, and that is a talent in itself. Wow, I was amazed with this story and Mr. Mckay being a self publisher, I want to hear what else he has on his plate.Great Job!!!
This is a superb collection of contemporary classical pieces by a world-class orchestra, led by a conductor who has already made a name for herself as an interpreter of modern music. The album opens with Scottish composer James MacMillan's powerful Confession of Isobel Gowdie: composed in 1990, this work focuses on the martyrdom in 1662 of a Scottish woman accused of witchcraft, amid the long period of hysterical persecutions following the Scottish Reformation. Mournful string passages predominate at first, gradually yielding to fierce attacks by the brasses, winds, and percussion as the music addresses the barbaric execution of the condemned woman -- ultimately, expressions of grief and anger alternate until the piece ends on a long, anguished cry of foreboding from the entire orchestra. Following this emotionally searing experience, Alsop shifts the mood with a genial interpretation of Thomas Adès's Chamber Symphony (written when the London-born composer was still an undergraduate), emphasizing the sinuous, jazzy inflections of the work in a way that her mentor, Leonard Bernstein, would certainly have enjoyed. Concluding the disc is Jennifer Higdon's Percussion Concerto (2005), another example of this young American composer's ability to create innovative, distinctive music that is also highly accessible. Featuring a bravura performance by soloist Colin Currie, the concerto plumbs the full range of the percussionist's art, offering everything from thunderous drumming to the most delicate tintinnabulations. All in all, this is a don't-miss disc for fans of contemporary classical music -- it could even appeal to those whose tastes run to more traditional fare.
There are all kinds of garden-related books, and I'm sure I could come up with a top 25 for every category. But one book is a stand-out this year: Amy Stewart's WICKED PLANTS. It was featured at B&N's Garden Book Club and I interviewed Amy Stewart about it at Garden Variety. You'd think I'd be tired of it by now, but no -- it continues to fascinate me. Even my husband, the antithesis of a gardener, is intrigued by it.
I've recommended to mystery-loving friends and friends who like books that are a little quirky. WICKED PLANTS is informative -- if you're looking for ways to kill someone or make them suffer. The anecdotes are fascinating, as well as historically accurate.
If you're looking for a gift for someone who has everything else already, consider WICKED PLANTS. But don't give it to your enemies, and you may want to think carefully before giving it to your spouse. It's sort of a primer on poisons -- so handle it with care.
The premise of The Good Rat is Breslin's vivid reportorial account of the high-profile trial of a pair of decorated NYPD detectives accused of committing murders for the Mob. But in vintage Breslin fashion, he branches off into a number of fascinating byways, offering juicy tidbits of Mob history and vivid recollections of the days when journalists and criminals rubbed shoulders in now-defunct saloons like Pep McGuire's in Queens. Breslin's affection for the disreputable characters and milieus he once new, as well as his fascination with the once-dedicated cops turned hit men and the complicated character -- businessman/Mob fixer Burt Kaplan -- who agreed to testify against them, makes this book irresistible. "I'll just read this next little bit," I kept saying, as the hours went by and the rest of my life remained on hold. If you're a longtime Breslin fan or just hunger for a window into the "real" New York that rarely gets any play in the media, don't miss this one.
I saw two movies at the cinema this year that I loved so much I'm getting copies as gifts. You don't have to be young to love "Up," just young at heart. And even a kitchen-klutz like me can get a thrill watching "Julie and Julia."
Spooner is my favorite book of 2009. Period. A thinly veiled autobiography, the story follows the follies and foibles of Warren Spooner and his superhero of a step-father, Calmer Ottosson.
Dexter, who won the National Book Award for his novel Paris Trout, is one of our greatest writers and he's got the scars to prove it. Literally. While working as a reporter he was jumped by a bevy of thugs who didn't like a piece he wrote. They left him with no teeth and a broken back. This brutal episode is in the book pretty much exactly as it happened. Coupled with this epic low are scenes that will make you belly laugh. In fact, I had to stop reading the book on my commuter train as people began to stare at the giggling simpleton in aisle three.
Imagine John Irving's best work, sans the bear and the incest, and you'll get an idea on just how good Spooner really is.