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I looked back on the fiction books I read this past year and decided to rate the ones I thought were my top ten. Two thoughts occurred to me: (1) I didn’t read that much for pleasure because I read a lot for the three graduate classes I took earlier this year and (2) I didn’t enjoy a lot of the books I did read for pleasure. Anyway, here’s my list (after much soul searching). What does your list look like?

10) Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews: I read the entire series this year and I’m lumping into one as though it were one big book. Urban fantasy is normally not my thing. I don’t like the first person narrative, I don’t like the lack of emphasis on the romance, and I also don’t like that the same couplefeatures in multiple books. While these books got a little slow for me (from time to time, I’d skip whole pages), overall I really enjoyed these books and would recommend them to folks looking for a good UF series.

9) The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst: I have no rational reason for really enjoying this book. It’s incredibly simple in premise: fake marriage; lots of real sex until both decide they’re in love. I do love a good “marriage of convenience” plot (even in contemporary) and this one is straight up a fake marriage book. The writing is easy and breezy; it’s a fun and quick read. I bought this book when it was a Kindle-only book and $3. It was also the only one in the series. Now, it’s $6 on Kindle and $13 in paperback (and part of a 3 book series). I don’t know if I would have liked it as much if I’d spent $13 on it, but for $3 it was a fun and hot read.

8) Matthew (Circle Eight) by Emma Lang: This book was HOT and it was nice to read a historical that was set in the United States, as opposed to the tons of stuff out there set in England. (How many more books can one read about the Ton and parties during the season? I am so burned out on regency England romances.) This book was fun to read, the two characters had amazing chemistry, and I thought she fleshed the story out really well. I love a good marriage of convenience plot, so I ate the book up.

7) Lothaire by Kresley Cole: I really looked forward to this book. It was brilliant, by any books standards, but not amazing by Cole’s standards. I thought the main love story was a bit like watching Stockholm Syndrome play out. Lothaire was fairly abusive and I thought the heroine fell for him much too easily. However, it was immensely readable and the IAD universe was fleshed out quite a bit. The romance was hot as hell and I enjoyed reading it. Will I read it again? Maybe not… but it WAS one of the best written books I read this year.

6) I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella: It wasn’t as good as “Can You Keep a Secret?” (which is on my top ten romance novels of all time list), but it was still pretty good. It had a likable heroine and an excellent premise. It was a bit wobbly in character development, but I’m willing to overlook for a silly, engaging read like this one.

5) Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews: This is a short and sweet novella, but I really loved it. It was a futuristic sci-fi type book where the writers quickly built the world for you and then let you dive right into the romance. The love story was hot and sweet, while also giving you great character development. (There’s a pretty interesting action sequence, too.) I would definitely recommend to anyone who wants a nice, futuristic book.

4) Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordian: It was a great book series (could not put the books down!) and also there is a focus on the love story between Percy/Annabeth as well as Jason/Piper. The love story between Percy/Annabeth is one of the most well done I’ve seen. In fact, I think some romance novelists could take some tips on how to write a strong heroine and how to write a hero that can handle that.

3) Lethal Rider by Larissa Ione: A lot of people had problems with this one because it featured a heroine that had, essentially, roofied the hero and made him get her pregnant. I saw that a lot of readers couldn’t get past that. For some reason, I could and I loved the heat and chemistry between the two leads. I liked them both the most out of all the Four Horsemen in this series. It’s probably one of my favorite Ione books now.

2) Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole: I loved this book and will definitely do a re-read soon. The hero was very hot in a geeky way (my favorite kind) and the heroine was very smart, with her own interests and hobbies outside of needing to get laid. A lot folks have had problems with her being in love with another guy, but I didn’t have a problem with that. She had good reasons. And the tub scene? HOT.

1) Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer: My favorite book of the year was a young adult book that featured great romantic moments, but that wasn’t the focus of the book. The only bad thing I have to say about this book is that it is Book 1 of a four book series that will take 4 years to complete. (Damn you, young adult authors, and your inability to release multiple books in one year!!!) This was an amazing read and I cannot wait to read more of this series. It was imaginative and intense, with an immensely likable and relatable heroine.

Honorable Mention: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton. Apparently, this started as a Twilight fic. (What is IT with Twilight fics that have nothing to do with the original source material they're writing about?) Anyway, it's incredibly funny and I'm enjoying it. I'm not finished with it, yet, but it looks like it might go into my Top Ten list before 2012 is out. 

Date: 2012-12-21 08:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quoth-the-ravyn.livejournal.com
Books to read! yes!

Have you Marissa Meyer's other take on Cinderella? A friends recommended it to me YEARS ago and its so fabulous. I can track down the title if you haven't. (It was original posted as free fiction and its just that good.)

Date: 2012-12-22 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sanalayla.livejournal.com
I have not! I'd love to read it. She is a great, addictive writer. As a fanfiction author who aspires to be able to write original fiction, I find myself utterly in awe of her.

Will reading this mess up my "Cinder" mojo, though? Should I wait?

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