Favorite Reads of 2010 (Still Verbose)

FIRST, don’t forget that the first installment of my First Sunday Short Fiction blog party is THIS Sunday, January 2nd. I have my story all ready to go, and can’t wait to share it with y’all. I also hope many others will join me! Details can be found here.

And NOW, It’ s time once again for me to delight you all (*snort*) with my top ten favorite books of 2010. It was a strange year for reading; there were quite a few books that weren’t as awesome as I had hoped. BUT!!! There were also some very pleasant surprises, and THEY are what I am here to talk to you about. I will go in order from my least most favorite to my most most favorite, so if you’re in a hurry, feel free to skip to number one. Otherwise, get yourself a tasty beverage, and maybe a little snack–you’re gonna be here for a while.

10: The Reckoningby Kelley Armstrong wrapped up her Darkest Powers trilogy. There weren’t many surprises in this book, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Armstrong gave me just the ending I wanted, which you all know is important to me. But I can’t tell you WHY without spoiling it for you if you haven’t read it yet. Read the series if you like who-is-the-bad-guy, who-can-we-trust, how-do-we-keep-from-blowing-ourselves-up-with-our-crazy-superpowers stories.

9: Jealousyby Lili St. Crow. This was the third book in her Strange Angels series, all of which I devoured in a feverish haze. In retrospect I can’t quite figure out WHAT it is about these books that makes me unable to put one down after I pick it up. The writing is very sensory–tastes, smells, and of course plenty of bruises and wrenched muscles and bullet wounds, because that’s how life is when you’re a teenage half-vampire and a not-quite-full werewolf running from sinister forces. Read the series if you like non-stop adrenaline and unfulfilled desire, with a lot of “what the H*** is going ON here?” thrown in for good measure. Also? Supernatural owls and boys who smell like apple pie. What’s not to love about that?

8: Sisters Redby Jackson Pearce. I love me some fairy tale revisitation. Sisters Red was a most excellent take on Little Red Riding hood, with Little Red herself all grown up and turned in to a bad-a** werewolf hunter with serious scars and an even more serious chip on her shoulder. Also, she has a little sister with a big heart and a lot of guilt. Read this if you like new twists on old tales, emotionally unavailable tough girls who have more to learn than they want to admit, and true love conquers all. Also? RED RIDING HOOD WITH WEREWOLVES. Someone  had to do it, right?

7. The Vampire Academyseries, books 1-5, by Rachelle Mead. These novels were possibly my biggest surprise of the year. I picked them up because the Drama Princess wanted to read them, and I really loved them. They are VERY teenager-ish, but they’re excellent examples of teenager-ish. The books avoided becoming formulaic, which I seriously admire, and they surprised me frequently, which doesn’t happen often. I ADORE the protagonist, Rose Hathaway, though she is often so impulsive I want to smack her. But learning to control her impulses and make choices is part of what she is learning in the story, along with how to know when it’s a good idea to hold back and when it’s a good idea to leap. And this is one of the few sets of books I’ve read where I really can’t choose between the two possible love interests. I really like them both, a lot, for very different reasons, and can see how it might end up being a dilemma for her to choose in book 5, which is OUT but which I have yet to get my hands on to read. I’m DYING here people, DYING. Read the series if you love YA fiction, vampires, strong, brave but deeply flawed heroines, and teenagers who have sex and don’t feel guilty about it later.

6. White Catby Holly Black was another big surprise for me. This book honestly blew me away.  I don’t want to tell you ANYTHING about the characters or the story because it’s best to just dive in to it and let it carry you off. Clever, unexpectedly touching in places, beautifully written, and full of surprises. I’m anxious for the sequel which comes out next year. Read it if you like your fantasy with a good dose of criminal behavior, unpredictable protagonists and crazy surprising plot twists.

5. The Replacementby Brenna Yovanoff. I loved this book so, so much. I think Yovanoff’s fairies are some of the best I’ve found in urban fantasy, and her setting and atmosphere were gorgeously realized. Also, the tenderness between siblings and friends rang true for me, and the protagonist’s struggle to be civilized when he believed himself to be something twisted stirred my sympathies. Read this one if you love eerie moods, beautiful nightmares and startling sweetness.

4. Sunshineby Robin McKinley is the best vampire book you’ve never read. I am not kidding people–this book is brilliant, and wonderful, and disturbing, and amazing. I have to confess this wasn’t the first time I read the book. BUT, it had been years since I read it, and it was better than I remembered, so I had to put it on the list. Also I had to read it twice in a row before returning it to the library. Sunshine is a serious departure from McKinley’s usual sort of lyrical stories set in alternate realities with girls in dresses and cloaks who ride horses a lot. But McKinley can do no wrong, in my opinion, and I wish she’d write a helluva lot more urban fantasy so she can show everyone else how it’s done. McKinley’s vampires aren’t sexy and almost human; they are truly, disconcertingly other, and rarely sympathetic. Even the “good” vampire in this novel is sort of scary and morally ambiguous. The protagonist didn’t do so well in school and considers herself a total bitch. She fights with her mother all the time, she has trouble letting anyone get close, and she really doesn’t express her emotions very well. But she is fiercely loyal to the people she loves, brave even when she’s scared out of her wits, and somehow completely lovable. Read this if–oh hell, just read this. Then thank me by sending presents. (Just kidding about the presents. Mostly.)

3. The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. I already discussed the series in detail here , so I won’t repeat myself. Read the series if you like your urban fantasy with slighty wacky heroines, smart-ass demons and wise-cracking pixies. Also, hot bisexual vampires.

2. Southern Vampires Seriesby Charlaine Harris (a.k.a. The Sookie Stackhouse books). I resisted reading these novels for a long, long time. Why? No idea. I would be mad at myself, except my negligence allowed me to read ALL TEN of the novels that have been published in the series in one go. And ooooooh, let me tell you, these novels were candy. I read them straight through with hardly a break, and then I read them again. I will probably read them all again before the next volume comes out next year. I love Sookie. I love Eric the Vampire Sherriff. I love Pam, the only vampire Sookie knows who has a sense of humor. I love so very many things about these novels. Read them if you like quirky southern females, hot vampire nookie, and a whole lot of silliness.

1. And oh Sarah Rees Brennan, won’t you be my BFF and let me read The Demon’s Surrenderbefore it comes out in June? I loved The Demon’s Lexicon, as you all know. I loved The Demon’s Covenanteven MORE. People . . . I can’t even . . . there are no words. I love the relationships in these books. I love the dialogue. I love the crazy things the characters do out of love and anger and loneliness and . . . I just love them. And have I mentioned I love them? Yes, I love them. I also love that Mae, the point of view character of this book, kisses all the boys. Okay, not Jamie, because that would be icky, but there’s not much better than a good snogging, and the snogging in The Demon’s Covenant is VERY good snogging. And while the excitement and danger is thrilling, what really got me about this book was the way people surprise each other–in both disappointing ways, and in better-than-expected ways. Read it if you like your urban fantasy with a lot of love, teen angst, humor, and surprises. Or if you just like to read awesome things. Because y’all, this book was awesome.

So there you have it, what I loved in 2010.  What did YOU love? I am always looking for something good to read.

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5 thoughts on “Favorite Reads of 2010 (Still Verbose)

  1. Adored this post, Michelle!
    I put “Sunshine” on hold and cannot wait to read it.
    Next, tell me the truth- were you jumping up/down on the couch when you were professing ur love for “Demon’s Lexicon?”

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