2012 wasn’t a huge year for me book wise although while I was compiling this list, I was taken by surprise by how many books I really did enjoy. So it wasn’t a totally dud year for me! It was a year where I actually enjoyed a lot more Paranormals and Urban Fantasy. And in no particular order – here are my best of books of the past year!
First up for me Kristen Callihan was my breakout author of 2012. I adored her first two paranormal historical series – Firelight (Review) and Moonglow (Review) which has elements of fantasy and gothic tones. They felt so refreshing and different and I loved the dark and atmospheric overtones of the Victorian setting which usually isn’t my cup of tea but this series has fast become one of my all time favourites!
This year I read quite a lot of indie and self pubbed books, although the majority of those were pretty much meh but Cry Baby Hollow by Aimee Love was a little gem which reminded me of a mix between Ilona Andrews Edge series, Mercedes Thompson and Sookie Stackhouse. The paranormal elements was very subtle and they don’t appear until the end but I love the take on the werewolf mythos and the humour and the romance was charming and cute and it definitely stood out for me.
There are things we all know about werewolves:
-The only way to become a werewolf is to be bitten by one.
-They only come out on the full moon.
-They can only be killed with a silver bullet.
-They are not real.
But when Aubrey Guinn comes to Eastern Tennessee to help Vina, an aging family friend, werewolves are the furthest things from her mind. She is preoccupied with more mundane concerns, like keeping Vina’s ingrate step-children from putting her in a nursing home, avoiding the advances of her handsome but dim witted neighbor, and keeping her mailbox away from the good old boys baseball bats. It isn’t until Aubrey finds the body of a local boy, gruseomely murdered, that she begins to see that life in the country is anything but slow, and werewolves are far from what Hollywood had led her to expect.
In a year where erotic romance has exploded in popularity – I highly recommend Beyond Shame (Review) by Kit Rocha aka as the team behind Moira Rogers. This book is much more grittier and sexier and was definitely a very sizzling read in a world where Sons of Anarchy meets a post apocalyptic world. And I loved every single word.
Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher (Review) was another stand out read. It had a similar premise to Solaris, where humans are settling and exploring an alien world but are then attached and linked with dead ghostlike clones from people of their pasts. I love how the themes of grief and love was explored and the tone was beautifully conveyed these emotions and this book has remained with me for a long while because it was so memorable and vivid.
I love different and unusual historical settings and when I found out about His Very Own Girl by Carrie Lofty (Review) was set during the 2nd World War which features a paramedic hero and a pilot heroine – I fell into a book lust haze (although I also have to admit, the retro book cover had me at hello) and I was so glad that the premise lived up to its promise because this was a wonderful romance that captures the feel of what a couple went through during that period.
Sirantha Jax has the J-gene, which permits her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. She loves nothing more than that rush, but the star roads have to wait…
Her final mission takes her to La’heng, a planet subjugated during first contact. Since then, the La’hengrin homeworld has been occupied by foreign conquerors.
All that’s about to change.
Now, as part of a grassroots resistance, Jax means to liberate the La’hengrin. But political intrigue and guerrilla warfare are new to her, and this will be the most dangerous game she’s ever played—spies and conspiracies, a war of weapons and hearts, and not everyone is guaranteed to make it out alive…
This was also the year where when of my all time favourite series by Ann Aguirre ended - Endgame which closes the chapter in exploits and adventures of Jax and her ragtag of friends who became her family over the course of the series. It is a fitting and fantastic ending to the series and I loved how the themes of war and its aftermath was explored in great depth and with real pathos and emotions. It was also fun to see how much Jax has grown from the person she was at the beginning at the series and how she changed and she affected those around her. But this is not the last we will see from this universe! Ann has been contracted for another trilogy which will feature spin off characters that appeared in this series with the first book scheduled for 2013!
They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.
Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can’t afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father’s dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.
Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights…
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs is the 3rd full book in the Alpha and Omega series, and this was a bit of a departure from the previous books as it took a more of an official investigative feel as it has serial killers and Government authorities involved in a chain of grisly murders. It is also has a game changing ending which affected the whole Mercyverse. I adored the development of Charles and Anna’s relationship and the repercussions from this book is going to be a delight to see how it affects the Mercy Thompson series and its wider universe because it promises to be epic!
Includes a free bonus: a Kate Daniels novella, “Magic Gifts”
The “New York Times “bestselling Kate Daniels novels have been hailed as “top-notch urban fantasy” (“Monsters and Critics”). Now, Ilona Andrews delves deeper into Kate’s world, and reveals its untold stories…
After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. She tries to put herself back together by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend. When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano–the male alpha of the Clan Bouda, and Andrea’s former lover–die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate. Now she must work with Raphael as her search for the killer leads into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta. And dealing with her feelings for him might have to take a back seat to saving the world…
And finally Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews which is the first full spin off book from the Kate Daniels series. Andrea really carried the book for me and I loved her snarky and no nonsense approach and her rocky relationship Raphael was a joy to read especially with ‘courting’ he does to help win her back which was bloody hysterical – but I have to say, I think in this book there was one character who captured my heart and I really really hope we get a story or even better a book that features Roman, the dark Volhv. And you got to admit, how CAN you not fall in love with a dark mage who likes to wear Eeyore pyjamas whilst fighting against the bad guys!!!!
My other notable mentions of the year is:
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi – YA Post Apocalyptic dystopian which has an interesting world and I really enjoyed the romance as well. (Review)
Easy by Tammara Webber – New Adult books seem to be the next big thing and I read a few this year but for me this was a standout debut and the best of the bunch from this new sub-genre. (Review)
Reflected in You – the second book in the steamy and angst filled erotic romance series by Sylvia Day. This had a bit of a twist in the end that I didn’t see coming and I can say for sure that Gideon Cross goes hard core in this book (pun so intended) in so many ways. Out of all the angsty sexy bazillionaire erotic romance series that are out right now, I think this is the best one! (Review)
White Horse by Alex Adams - an unusual and surreal post apocalyptic which I really enjoyed although it has some harrowing scenes, although I loved the heroines’ determination to be reunited with her lover and I loved the themes of death and rebirth. The prose was also rich and poetic and if you’d like something different with your post apoc books, then I highly rec this one! (Review)
Ooops I forgot to add these two books -
Riveted by Meljean Brook – Which was one of the best books I read in 2012 and I adored how Meljean Brook explored the themes of being an outsider in an imaginative, seductive and vivid steampunk world. I think she gets better and better with each book. (Review)
And Rogue’s Pawn by Jeffe Kennedy – One of the most unusual and memorable fantasy romance books I read. It was surreal, sexy and fun and I loved how BDSM elements was much more psychological and emotional and I loved the Alice in Wonderland feel. I am definitely looking forward to its sequel. (Review)
I will also be giving away a copy to a winner of a choice of any of the books I have highlighted (although a couple of these are only in ebook format at the moment. But the giveway is open to worldwide to anywhere the Book Depository ships to) – all you have to do is comment what was your favourite book of the the past year and what book are you looking forward in 2013 as well as the choice of the book you would like to win! Giveaway midnight on the 8th of January!
Good luck and HAPPY NEW YEAR from everyone at The Book Pushers!!!