I can't believe that 2011 is only days away and in a reflective mood I'd like to share with you my top 20 novel picks for 2010.
My top choice for 2010 has to be The Passage, it was the most intense most original post apocalyptic novel I've ever read, also the best "un"Vampire, Vampire novel. I couldn't put it down, lost sleep over it and when the 784 pages were read the only thing on my mind was, why there wasn't more of it. If you haven't read it, do. Unlike Cormac McCarthy's The Road you'll find that there is still humanity in humans and hope for a uncertain future.
The next 19 choices are in no order of preference, but all great reads in any number of geres
I stumbled upon Jennifer Estep by accident and boy am I glad I did.
Gin is one of the most unlikely of heroines being an assassin and all, but she's genuine and funny and scary all at the same time. So if you're into Urban Fantasy, and by the book store shelves who isn't and you haven't given this series a try. Do. Spider's Bite is the first of the series and they are all worth your time.
Erin Hart is one of my go-to authors and I love her series featuring Nora Gavin and Cormac Maquire. This is the third in the series most of which is set in the bogs of Ireland, but this one will bring you to the US also.
Kristin Hannah is one of those authors who's novels always speak to your heart and this one is no different. It's an amazing family drama featuring the women and you will laugh and cry with them.
Sarah Blake I met through the First Look program at B&N.com where B&N picks out pre-published novels and a large group of contributors read and discuss the novel. The Postmistress takes place pre-WWII in a picturesque small town in Massachusetts but it could be any small town in anywhere America. It's poignant and heartbreaking and heart warming. It stars an up and coming reporter Frankie Bard as she covers war torn Europe and the innumerable and unnamed faces it affects. It is a novel that you have to read.
Joseph Monninger was also introduced to me through First Look where we discussed this his debut novel. It's an amazing love story that will break your heart to read but in the reading you will learn to love the characters, the places and his unique storytelling ability.
What would a top 20 be without a Stieg Larsson novel but even with all the hype this series is all it's cracked up to be and in my opinion the third and final is the masterpiece. Maybe because it's taken my totally American mind two previous novels to get all the names right and all the streets and places straight in my head. But what ever the reason it's all that and more.
One of my favorite web-sites is AuthorBuzz where I have been introduced to so many wonderful new authors and has left my To Be Read Pile enormous. Julie Compton as I soon found out was a native St. Louisan just like me who now lives in Florida and this is her second novel. It's a must read tale about just how far we'd go for someone we love, the limits we put on ourselves and if and how those limits can effect us and those around us. I loved this novel so much I featured it at Fiction General Discussion the book club at B&N.com that I moderate. But don't take my word for it, read it and find out for yourself.
Ms. Zoe Klein I also found through AuthorBuzz and was also a feature on my book club in 2010. The author is a practicing Jewish Rabbi in California who authored this amazing fictional tale about a Christian archeologist working in Israel, it's a love story, a political statement and a contemporary piece of literary fiction all in one. And it should be a must read for everyone, all religions, all nationalities. And maybe if we did, we'd learn something important about humanity.
Dori Ostermiller was introduced to me by Mira publishing who I review for. And I'm so glad I did. This is Dori's debut novel although she's been writing for years. It's sort of biographical and sort of fictional and a family drama that exceeded all my expectations. In fact this novel will be featured on my B&N book club in January of 2011, so if you're looking for something to do to in boring old January, join us for the fun and conversation. Dori will be joining us too.
Antoinette van Heugten was also introduced to me through Mira publishing and her debut novel is about the love of a mother for her son, a son with Autism who's accused of a heinous crime. Antoinette has the unique experience of knowing Autism first hand as she's the mother of two Autistic children. Join the B&N.com book club in February as we discuss this truly amazing novel.
Declan Hughes is one of my favorite Irish authors who's Ed Loy series is one of my favorite crime dramas. Ed is a little like an Irish Harry Bosch and this novel is the best so far in the series.
What list would be complete without a JR Ward and especially one of her bold and beautiful stars of her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This is the story of John Matthew and Xhexania and leaves off right after Lover Avenged ends. If you've been living under a rock, get out and read this amazing series, a new way to look at vampires.
Mary Sharratt was also an AuthorBuzz introduction an her novel was an incredible story based on the 1612 witch trial in Pendle England which is where she just happens to hang her hat. You get an up close and personal look at Reformation England and what happens to those who keep the old faith. Mary and her novel were our guest on the book club in October of course, when else is better to be discussing witches and sorcery. Those of you who love historical fiction, fiction based on real happenings or just a great piece of literary historical fiction will love this.
Laura Griffin, another author introduced to me by AuthorBuzz and her Tracers series. This novel is the love story of Mia Voss and Rick Santos, two very deserving people who go through hades to get their Happy Ever After. A very good romantic suspense series so give it a try.
Ken Scholes I met through the sibling of B&N's first look, sneak peek and so the entire Psalms of Isaak series which is the best Science Fiction/Fantasy series out there in my opinion. It's a love story, an apocalyptic tale, and an epic adventure. A must read for all lovers of this genre and any genre for that matter.
J T Ellison was introduced to me by Mira also and her latest in her Taylor Jackson romantic suspense with the emphasis on suspense series. It's a great read and takes place on Samhain, involves a number of murders of teens. It's intense and you will have bitten your nails to the quick when you're done. But it's so worth the read. A great series and a great protagonist.
Claire Delacroix is an author that I have followed for years, starting with her historical romance most of which I can still remember all of the characters and a voracious reader like me that's a feat.
This is her perception of fallen angels and what a perception it is. These bad boys aren't what you'd expect, but they're what you hope for. It's a futuristic, post apocalyptic, romance series and in my opinion it tops the charts.
Claire's real name is Deborah Cooke and she also has a series about shape-shifting dragons known as the PYR, who are sworn to protect the earth and her treasures including humans. These larger(really larger) than life heros are worth your read. And on a sub-note Deborah also has a new YA series coming out that's based on the PYR and their new spiritual leader the Wyvren who is the only female dragon.
We can't have a best list without my favorite heros who happen to be half brothers, Harry Bosch and Mikey Haller. And this novel will go down as one of Michael Connelly's best. We have our very irreverent Defense Attorney Mickey switching sides of the tables as he agrees to prosecute a case. I know, who'd a thunk.
So if you're looking for some good reading in 2011 and your not ready to embark on new releases, why not give some of the 2010's out there a try and why not start with these. My top 20.
Happy New Year everyone and may 2011 be fantastic.