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My Top Ten Picks – 2009

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At the end of 2008, I had a hard time narrowing my list down to something less than half the list, so I never got around to actually doing one. At some point, I may re-visit the issue, but not today.

I had a slightly different problem in 2009. I haven’t finished scratching out my thoughts on six books. This, however, will not prevent me from making a list. I already know which books were my favorite among them.

In 2009, I read multiple books by the same author. In most cases, the books were from the same series. If I liked both equally, I counted both as one. There are fourteen books and one short story that received a 5-Star rating from me. Only two of those did not make the list.

So…on the the list:

10. The Man Behind the Cop (Janice Kay Johnson) — To quote myself: “This is definitely Bruce’s book. He’s a great character, even when he’s stubbornly clinging to the belief that he’ll morph into his father if he got too angry or pissed off. Fortunately, Karin is a grounded, quiet person. Normally. The scene where she gets into his face about his issues is my favorite. It didn’t surprise me when this book was nominated for a RITA.”

09.  Bedded for Diamonds (Kelly Hunter) — I read two books by Ms. Hunter, both featuring Bennett siblings (the other book is The Maverick’s Greek Island Mistress). Ms. Hunter’s books are humorous and her characters are likable, people you can relate to. I liked this book better than Maverick. Both Tristan and Pete (hero of Maverick) are wounded souls, but I liked Tristan’s story more than Pete’s. I was happy to learn that Ms. Hunter will be releasing books about the other two Bennett brothers. Both will be this year in the UK, through Mills & Boon.

08. Dark Crusade (Lori Devoti) — I’ve been hooked on Ms. Devoti’s Unbound series from the first. This one takes place entirely in a mythological place and definitely has a “Dorothy in Oz” feel to it. And a dragon.

07. Kiss of Fury (Deborah Cooke) — This is the second Dragonfire book. I also read the third book, Kiss of Fate. The reason I like Fury more than Fate is Donavon and Alex. I liked Donavon from the first moment we meet him in the prologue of Kiss of Fire, and Alex is perfect for him. Had I gotten around to reading Winter Kiss (book 4), I imagine that it would have been tougher to call. Delaney and Ginger, just from the sneak peek, grabbed me.

06.  Lie to Me (Starr Ambrose) — To quote myself: “One of the things I liked was that, absurd as it was for Ellie to break into the Banner’s house in the first place, Ellie never came across as a too-stupid-to-live heroine. She may be completely clueless about computers and can’t keep a job — even her cousin fired her from his hardware store because she talked people out of buying things. But Ellie can think on her feet and has a way with people that makes her likable, whether she’s chatting with the gathered Payton and Westfield relatives or talking to clients with her “business associate”, Rocky.” I have her next book in my TBR.

05.   For the Love of Pete (Julia Harper) — Like Lie to Me, if Zoey had crossed the line into the “too stupid” zone, I wouldn’t have liked the book as much as I did. The author writes historicals as Elizabeth Hoyt, however, I hope she continues to write contemporaries as well.

04.  Ravenous (Sharon Ashwood) — To quote myself:  “I really loved this book. I liked the author’s style and I loved the characters. Holly is just your average girl next door (almost) — the woman on the cover can’t possibly be her. Alessandro is strong, but not over-the-top alpha. I’m looking forward to the next book.” Had I been more pro-active with reading lately, the second book would also be on this list. I’ve read a bit of the sneak peek for the third book and I’m looking forward to that one also.

03. Jessica Andersen’s The Final Prophecy — Dawnkeepers (Book 2) and Skykeepers (Book 3) — Of the two, I liked Skykeepers more. Michael was a mystery and Sasha was a new character. Looking forward to the next book.

02. Line of Scrimmage (Marie Force) — I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. Football isn’t my thing. Fortunately, it’s in the background (the season is over when the book starts). It’s a “second chance” book, and when it starts out, it seems all the blame for the breakup lies with the guy, Ryan. But as you get to know them and learn about them, it becomes clear that Susannah wasn’t entirely fault-free and Ryan is a good guy.

01. Ilona Andrews — Magic Strikes and “Magic Mourns” (Must Love Hellhounds) from the Kate Daniels series; On the Edge — There is no way I could pick just one. The Kate Daniel series just gets better and better. The fourth book is due out in May and is a turning point for the characters and the series. The short story was a real treat. There will be another short story, this one about Kate and Saiman’s first meeting. As for On the Edge, it was the first full-length book I read entirely on my Sony Reader. And though I didn’t enjoy the experience of reading it on the Reader, I really loved the book. A follow-up is due later this year.

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