Okay, so I'm probably about to alienate a few people. But...hey! We don't all have the same taste. And what works for me might not work for another reader. And by the same token, what works for another reader might not necessarily work for me. So, here they are. Thirteen books I've read this year that made an impression, some because they wowed me; some because they left dents in my wall where I threw 'em.
1. The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe: A major winner! So much so that I intend her sequel, The Dream Thief, to be my first TBR in the New Year. If you haven't read it, do so. Rich in history and sensuality, this book breathed new life into my interest in both historicals and paranormals.
2. You've Been Warned by James Patterson: Okay, so now you've been warned! This is a morality play gone bizarre and I have to wonder if Mr. Patterson even read it before signing his name to it as co-author. The heroine is unsympathetic, the plot line is muddled and unrealistic, and I'm amazed I kept going 'til I reached the end, hoping for some kind of reasonable conclusion. Skip it.
3. Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips: SEP's back in a big way with this chuckle-fest! I loved Dean Robillard in Match Me if You Can, and he's now found his own match in the ornery, feisty, and all too human Blue. A perfect follow up to the Chicago Stars stories.
4. Weekend Warriors by Fern Michaels: Where do I begin with the faults I found in this book? Take a great plot (a group of women screwed by the justice system banding together to get their revenge), add stupid characters and poor research. Mix well. What makes this train wreck worse is that it's part of a series. And optimistic sucker that I am, I will probably check out the second in the series, just to see if it gets better. Wish me luck.
5. Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay: Need I remind you of my love for this quirky serial killer with a razor wit and a few sharp cutting instruments? The second book in the series left me gasping almost as often as the season finale on Showtime did. And strangely, the two stories are entirely different!
6. The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner: I really wanted to like this group of short stories about women dealing with life and love after tragedy. But, I found these tales unfinished and disjointed, with heroines who were like bad imitations of Cinderella. Pass.
7. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore: I waited a year to read this book. Mainly because I made the mistake of letting my daughter read it first. After she devoured it on a trip to Hilton Head last year, she lost it somewhere in the Black Hole she calls a bedroom. Definitely worth the wait. A dark romp in the land of Death somewhere in San Francisco.
8. True Evil by Greg Iles: My first book by this author, but definitely not my last. The ending went on a little too long, but the plot (murder by natural causes) was intriguing and kept me hooked all the way through.
9. High Noon by Nora Roberts: I always said I loved J.D. Robb books more than Nora Roberts books because Nora doesn't write kick-ass heroines like J.D.'s Eve Dallas. Well, Phoebe MacNamara comes close enough. Loved it, loved it, loved it.
10. Just Like Heaven by Barbara Bretton: I might have liked this book...if I'd been warned in advance that the hero was a recovering alcoholic reverend. Unfortunately, the back blurb only mentioned a guy in a Grateful Dead t-shirt. (Imagine my surprise!) Since I wasn't prepared for gospel with my romance, it just left a bad taste in my mouth. Sorry.
11. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie: My fourth and final attempt to read a Crusie book. I don't know. Maybe it's me. I mean, it must be me. I love her as a public speaker, but just cannot get into her writing. Problem is, I don't like her characters. They do things I wouldn't do, say things I wouldn't say (and no one I know would do or say) so I find it hard to connect with them. And if I don't like the characters, I can't like the book.
12. Born in Death by J.D. Robb: At last! Mavis and Leonardo have their baby. Complete with everyone's favorite cop and her uber-studly hero in the delivery room for the blessed event. Sigh!
13. Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison: Another story I really wanted to like. But, for me, the characters weren't sympathetic (one who's in major debt but still buys expensive designer shoes, another who attempts to shoplift expensive designer shoes when her husband denies her credit card...) and a too-pat ending left me empty.
There you have it. Please don't throw tomatoes if you disagree. The reason there are so many books in a store is so that we can all find our favorites! What stuck with you this year?