first published in the Brisbane Courier-Mail 6 January 2007
While it’s true that 2006 has been more of a placeholder than a trailblazer year, there have been standout novels that deserve recognition. Below are my top 10 personal picks for the best of the year:
10. JR Ward – Lover Awakened. Angst at its best. Paranormal. Signet Eclipse. The third installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Awakened sees tormented Zsadist find light after years spent in darkness.
9. Karen Chance – Touch the Dark. Brilliant Debut. Urban fantasy. ROC. From the very first sentence, this novel sweeps the reader up into a world of danger and deceit. One of the best urban fantasy novels in years.
8. Nalini Singh – Slave to Sensation. Leaving the competition behind. Paranormal. Berkeley. In this recently oversaturated genre, Singh is a breath of fresh air. No clichés, no old ground, just a great premise, fantastic characters, and a sweet strong love story.
7. Angela Knight – Master of Swords. Arthurian splendour. Paranormal. Berkley. This alternate universe novel uses imaginative and creative world building, and is hot enough to singe your fingers.
6. Denise Rossetti – Gift of the Goddess. Erotically intelligent, intelligently erotic. Fantasy/Erotica. Ellora’s Cave. A fantastic debut from a Brisbane author, with two of the most gorgeous heroes in the history of romance novels.
5. Hope Tarr – Vanquished. Breaking all the rules. Historical. Medallion Press. One of the most surprising historicals of the year, Vanquished follows the story of a suffragette in 19th century London and the man being paid to ruin her. This novel also has my vote for best cover of the year.
4. Susan Carroll – The Silver Rose. Beautiful in every way. Historical. Ballantine books. Set in the 16th century, Carroll’s Dark Queen Trilogy is a must read for any historical lover.
3. Lila Dubois – Forbidden. A rich novel steeped in ritual and magic. Fantasy/Erotica. Liquid Silver. E-books get a bad rap for being ‘wanting’, but Dubois’ novel lays waste to all the critics. Enchanting, engrossing, and utterly enthralling, Forbidden runs an emotional gamut without ever losing its footing.
2. Anne Gracie –The Perfect Rake, The Perfect Waltz, The Perfect Stranger. An absolutely “Perfect” series. European Historical. Berkley. Technically the first two novels are 2005, but The Perfect Rake led to my most prolific glom of the year. Watch for the fourth and final book in the series The Perfect Kiss in January.
1. Shana Abé – The Smoke Thief. A marriage made in heaven. Fantasy/historical hybrid. Bantam. This novel defies categorization, but defines the expression ‘unputdownable’.
Happy New Year!