Rae's Fav Reads of 2009

Looking back at 2009, I came across some great reads. I got to know a few new authors and their works and there were some great debuts as well.

Here is my 2009 list of fave reads. Some haven't quite been published this year but most of them have just to keep it consistent. Feel free to click on my Goodreads link for the full review. Do check out some these books and authors if you haven't already!

Life's Breath by Nancy Wald

This was my first favorite of 2009. A fantasy romance with wonderful world building delightful humor and an awesome romance. I loved the world that Ms. Wald created here and much of what this made this enjoyable makes fantasy romance a definite favorite in my genres to read.

Rae's Goodreads review

The Vampire's Quest by Vivi Anna

The Valorian Chronicles is one of my favorite paranormal romances. I was surprised this series came out Harlequin, much less it's category paranormal romance line, because the story has more bite than the usual romances. With a mix of intrique, suspense and a nice balance of the mystery elements, world building and romance, I know I can always go to this series for a satisfying read. This may be the last in the Chronicles and I'm sad to see it go. I was looking forward to a European spin-off of Necropolis and hoped to see more. Hopefully there will be more offerings because I'll be waiting!

Rae's Goodreads Review

Starstruck Hunter by Michelle Lauren

There are not enough good, meaty romances with a sci-fi bent. I was so happy to come across Ms. Lauren's debut with cool techie gadgets a nice background and personable characters.

Some of the love and sex scenes seemed a bit TMI and out of place for the futuristic suspense tone in the rest of the book but I was happy to be able to skip them and enjoy much of the story. I loved the multicultural aspect of the story mixed with future technology and a hint of urban fantasy mythos. Hopefully Ms. Lauren will create more stories of this kind for the future!

Rae's Goodreads Review

The Admiral's Bride by Suzanne Brockmann

Although this wasn't published in 2009 and is a re-release, I have to put this on my list because it's a definite favorite of mine. It's one of my favorite romance subgenres (May-December romance) mixed with romantic suspense and Brockmann's awesome style. This was the first book I read by the author and I wont' be looking back anytime soon. I read more in this series and was continually hooked with each book. I hope to find more gems like this. 2009 is the year I got hooked on Brockmann and Stuart (Anne) thanks to some recs from my fellow bookworms. :-)

Rae's Goodreads Review

Letters to My Mother by Rebecca Heath

This is one of those gems you just happen to come across hidden in the dust. While googling for more May-December reads one day, I came across this free online novel posted by the author at her site. Wow! It's a lovely book that is based on true events and offers up love story that transcends anything I've read in the romance genre. It's realistic but still romantic and identifiable as a coming of age story in the 1950s. I finished the book wishing I could continue on with the lead characters' story and I found myself re-reading it shortly thereafter. This was originally published last year but this is definitely on my Best of 2009 list for favorite reads.

Rae's Goodreads Review

Walking on the Edge by Nolwynn Ardennes

I got a sneak peek ARC of this book and being a romantic suspense junkie that I am, this was right up my alley. This story took me by complete surprise. It stretched the conventions of the romance genre with a somewhat cold hero that reminded me of Stuart's heroes and dangerous heroine who couldn't quite remember who she was. I loved unraveling the story here set in Marseilles and I notice the author has a tendency to bring such a rich culture to her book settings. I'm sure this will be on my 2010 list as I re-read it again when it comes out but for now, this is a definitely favorite read of mine for this year.

Rae's Goodreads Review

Activity Partner by Nitonni Chianni

Wow! Talk about a wonderful debut. Ever since I finished this book, I've been looking for more like it. It's no secret that I love interracial romances with this mix of couple but sadly most of the books I come across read too much like late night cable fetish fantasies than actual romance stories. A shame because this genre can really go places.

Ms. Chianni is an awesome storyteller and although this story is a bit meatier than usual romance fair, she takes her time in unraveling the story and letting the characters get to know each other while the readers get to know the characters. Don't be turned off by the fact that there are kids here. It's a wonderful, cute and charming story with likable characters you'll love to get know. I can't wait to see what else Ms. Chianni has for her next release!

Rae's Goodreads Review

Blood Tears by Raven Dane

In a world of hyper-sexualized moody bad boy vampires who look like Calvin Klein models, this book was my antidote for some meatier storytelling. Blood Tears clocks in at around 600 odd pages and I loved it! A few instances could be cut down but it's a minor quibble in an overall enjoyable read. It's a historical through and through with aspects of culture throughout the centuries. Dane's vampires aren't moody nor do they have an identity crisis. They are beasts through and through but they are also complex creatures who want to continue to survive against those who hunt and fear them. There's a potential romance here towards the end but I can't say where it goes as I have yet to pick up the second book (believe me, I will definitely be grabbing it). I really enjoyed this story written in such a rich, descriptive fashion. There are two more books available to round out this trilogy and I look forward to diving back into the world the book has created.

Rae's Goodreads Review

Honorable Mentions read in 2009 but published earlier

Arjun by Fionn Jameson
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Outlander Books 1-2 by Diana Gabaldon
Sherrilyn Kenyon's League Series
The Stories of Ray Bradbury
Black Ice by Anne Stuart
The Admiral's Bride by Suzanne Brockmann
Pushing 30 by Whitney Gaskell
The Dresden Files Books 1-5 by Jim Butcher
Appleseed Manga Books 1-2 by Masamune Shirow
Worth Her Wait by Layne Blacque

Still in the TBR pile from '09:

Libyrinth by Pearl North
Cosmic Rendezvous by Robyn Amos
Starjacked by Karin Shah
Earthman's Bride by Icy Snow Blackstone
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
The Call of Zulina by Kay Marshall Strom
Passing Strange by Martha A. Sandweiss
The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games Book 2) by Suzanne Collins
(and a few more)


Rebecca Heath said...

Dear Rae,

I read your blog entry for Dec. 31 and once again wish to thank you for your kind words about my novel, Letters To My Mother.

A few months ago, on an author’s site, I learned about an automated manuscript editor called AutoCrit. I tried the free analysis of a few sample
paragraphs of Letters, liked the product and, after subscribing, submitted an entire chapter of Letters to AutoCrit’s scrutiny. I was horrified at the results – overused words, repeated words, clich├ęs – in short, every sort of writing error imaginable, and it’s not as though I hadn’t read the text over myself hundreds of times, looking for exactly the same kinds of problems.

My first reaction was to despair that I couldn’t get in touch with all the people who’d read the book and ask them to erase the file from their hard drives or, if they’d printed the story, to use the paper for lining bird cages. My second reaction was to start editing.

Many cups of coffee later, I’m just about finished with the task and am writing to let you know there’s a “new and improved” version of Letters now on my blog, Letters To My Mother; the two pdf versions of the story are not up-to-date yet, but will be within a week, and I hope to put the book on Smashwords shortly so that it will be available in numerous electronic formats.

I wish you a joyous new year and many hours of happy reading.

Sincerely, Rebecca Heath

Rae Lori said...

Thank you so much for stopping by, Rebecca! And thanks for the update about the new Letters. The story and characters were so strong that I personally didn't notice any glaring errors but I (and other readers I'm sure) appreciate the updated versions. :-)

Hope you had a wonderful end of 2009 and a wonderful 2010!