first published in the Brisbane Courier-Mail 19 January 2008
Putting together my best-of list for 2007 was a bit of a surprise. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of strong historicals, and equally surprised at the way paranormal novels kept building from strength to strength. What surprised me most, however, was the number of new and emerging authors on my list. Only Jennifer Crusie and Anne Stuart are well established and they take up one spot. The remaining authors, while some have cult followings, have not achieved significant mainstream success.
10. Hell’s Belles and The Road to Hell – Jackie Kessler. A promising paranormal debut with some of the strongest world building I’ve seen. These books are worth reading for Kessler’s depiction of Hell alone.
9. Warlord – Elizabeth Vaughn. The last in her War series, this book ties up loose ends, but manages to be a charming stand-alone story. With Eastern flavour and a solid cast of characters, this trilogy is one of the finest in romantic fantasy.
8. The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes – Jennifer Cruise, Anne Stuart, Eileen Dryer. A collaborative effort with three sisters, each written by one author, this novel manages to be funny, poignant, and oh-so-enjoyable, bringing together the best of each author into one lovely novel.
7. Fairyville – Emma Holly. An erotic fairy tale with one of the best secondary romances I’ve read, Holly shows why she’s the go-to name in erotic romance.
6. Untouched – Anna Campbell. Though she made her splash debut with the controversial Claiming the Courtesan, Campbell’s sophomore effort really showcases her dark gothic feel and strong literary style. And Matthew, the hero, is to die for.
5. The Serpent Prince – Elizabeth Hoyt. The Raven Prince was the biggest debut of 2006, but I liked this quieter tale better, about two having to really fight for their relationship. The stronger sweeter resolution that results displays Hoyt’s deft characterisation skills.
4. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan. Technically cheating, as it came out late 2006, this YA novel follows the beginning of a relationship over the course of one night in Manhattan. It’s raw, it’s real, and it should be required reading for anyone who reads romance. For anyone who writes romance. Scratch that. For everyone.
3. Passion for the Game – Sylvia Day. Breaking in a new genre of hot historicals, Sylvia Day writes brilliant, sexy, tense stories. Passion will blow you away.
2. And Then He Kissed Her – Laura Lee Guhrke. A fantastic year for historicals, with sleeper favourite Guhrke leading the way, with this lovely, funny, distinctive story, in a new time period, with a new brand of heroine, destined to finally catapult Guhrke to the level she deserves.
1. Demon Angel – Meljean Brook. I can’t rave enough about the depth and breadth of this paranormal novel, both in plot and emotions. If you start this novel in the evening, be prepared to stay up all night. A truly unique, utterly captivating, stellar start to what will surely be a stellar career.