Bookish wrap up of 2009

The idea of a wrap up covering a whole year of lusty reading greatly distresses me, and thus I allowed it to loom over me, my fingers felt too intimidated to even attempt typing such a thing. Last month blog posts summing up the year popped up all over the internet, whether it was my 20-something blogger friends, DC blogger neighbors, or everyone out in the book-blogosphere…I wanted to hitch my caboose to that train but didn’t have the gumption to even begin attacking such a monumental task.

So I decided I wouldn’t.

Wouldn’t make such a big deal out of it that is…I don’t keep a fancy spreadsheet (the one I made in 20 minutes for the sources I got my books from the past 6 months notwithstanding), I don’t have any cool bookish stats about publishing dates or sub-genres, and I counted the total number of books I read last year manually by adding them together after running my finger down an MS Word document on my screen. I can’t even begin to think of summing up all the highlights of my blogging life in 2009 in general!

*hyperventilating*

From my finished reading list you may have guessed what some of my favorite books I read last year were, or if you checked out my guest post at The Book Smugglers you may have gotten an even better idea. But I’m going to go ahead and lay it all out simply, in a low-stress way (for me) and hope that y’all get some good recommendations out of it or agree with me on a few!

*attempting relaxing breathing exercises*

Here goes nothin…

I read a total of 156 books in 2009

There was a good sprinkling of new releases but I think the majority were older books; so I’ll separate my best of lists between new and “new-to-me”. 

My top books published in 2009 in NO particular order:

 

Belong to Me, by Maria de los Santos (Contemporary Lit Fic)

A literary fiction book with a happy ending! Quelle surprise! This charming yet emotionally-hard-hitting book explores relationships through family ties, difficult marriages, fatal illnesses, and how hated-new-neighbors can turn into friends.

 

Branded by Fire (#6 in series), by Nalini Singh (Paranormal Romance)

I only just discovered the genius Ms. Singh and this series last year and hoooo boy did I just love this 2009 release! After reading all 7 in the series in a row this one really stuck out to me and is in my top 2 faves of the series, mainly because of the awesome H/H.

 

Not Quite a Husband, by Sherry Thomas (Historical Romance)

Wow, I actually reviewed this one, check out my full thoughts here! *patting self on back* This was a pleasant surprise since I don’t usually enjoy the premise of estranged husbands and wives reconciling.

Revealed, by Kate Noble (Historical Romance)

I love a story with a solid romance foundation but layered with intrigue and cannot *count* how many Napoleonic war spy books I have read, but the freshness of the characters in Revealed made it a top read for me. So often in romance we read about the bluestockings, the on-the-shelf misses, the destitute urchins who get a make-over that I was just dying to read about a pretty, popular, nomal-by-society’s standards heroine when Phillipa Benning came along. A true diamond of the first water sailing her way through the ton she has unexpected depths that make her and her heroe’s love story just that much better.

My Soul to Take (#1 in series), by Rachel Vincent (Paranormal Young Adult)

Wow, another one I reviewed (check it out!) *grins* I write so few, it’s a pleasant surprise to find it now that I’m looking back! I was capitvated by the world building and unique types of supernatural beings, the 2nd book in the series recently came out, I hope to pick it up soon!

Tap & Gown (#4 in series), by Diana Peterfruend (Young Adult)

I actually blogged about the entire series as one, but the last two were my absolute favorites. Maybe because that’s when the real romance came into play for protagonist and Secret Society girl Amy Haskel? Le sigh, I am so predictable. But Tap & Gown (last in the series) was released in 2009, and the 3rd book Rites of Spring (Break) rivaled it for my favorite in the series.

New to me top reads in 2009:

Slave to Sensation (#1 in series), by Nalini Singh (Paranormal Romance, 2006)

Thinking about this book wraps me in warm fuzzy feelings. Although I mentioned the 6th in this series being near and dear to my heart it can’t quite knock Slave to Sensation from it’s pedestal. I mean did you read my review about how it changed my reading life? I made an MS Paint picture about it for cryin out loud!

 

Savannah Blues, by Mary Kay Andrews (Contemporary Lit Fic, 2003)

Why don’t people talk more about this author? She is awesome! I discovered her on accident but am so happy I did! Check out all my thoughts on this book here, but I highly recommend this lit fic/chick lit book. It’s so super fun, will make you RL LOL, and is injected full of Southern charm.

My Lord and Spymaster, Joanna Bourne (Historical Romance, 2008)

I’ve run into (online) many a squeeing Bourne fan, and for good reason. 99% of My Lord and Spymaster was an A+++ for me, but although there was one tiny little thing that didn’t work I greatly respect and admire this debut novel for it’s beautiful language and prose, unique H/H, and heart pounding intrigue and action that barely detracted from the romance storyline. This only slightly edged out Ms. Bourne’s connected second novel Spymaster’s Lady which was maybe 90% an A+ but the happily ever after ending was a little too hard for me to fully buy to get a top spot.

Pleasure for Pleasure (#4 in series), by Eloisa James (Historical Romance, 2006)

I read about 7 books by the esteemed Ms. James this year and had my ups and downs with them, some good, great, or not so good. But Pleasure for Pleasure really struck a chord with me. Luckily you don’t have to read the first 3 books in the Essex Sisters series to enjoy this last one about the youngest Josie in her quest to launch her rounded figure into society, living down ridicule for her very curvy frame and finding her true love who’s been under her nose the whole time!

A Summer to Remember, by Mary Balogh (Historical Romance, 2002)

Yes yes, I know, how could I not have read this one before! Here is my blog post from earlier this year where you can read alllll my thoughts on it. I am a huuuuuge Balogh fan but somehow never picked this one up. I already have a few of her books on the keeper shelf and this new-to-me read will be one more!

– 

And there you have it folks! Some others came close, but when looking back at my list these were the ones that really gave me the warm fuzzies.

Phew, it’s like 1000 lbs have been lifted from my shoulders. *sigh* I have to admit though, that next year I hope to have fancy stats on how many historical vs. paranormal vs. YA vs… books I read, how many new authors I tried, etc. Now that I’m blogging its so fun to keep track of things to better understand my reading habits, likes and dislikes. I have to admit that after a year of book blogging the landscape of my reading has forever changed…for the better mostly. I am absolutely choosing books that I will more regularly enjoy whereas before it was just such a slap-dash guessing game. IF I can find the willpower to keep better notes I’m sure it will only continue to improve.

Belated happy reading for the new year to everyone!

 

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13 Responses

  1. Summer to remember’s on my TBR (and I’m in the middle of writing my review of Slightly Sinful as I write this comment)! I really love Balogh – and I gotta admit that is a gorgeous cover.

    She’s not always great, but she is consistently good, which is more than I can say for a lot of authors I read. I’ve never hated a single one of her books.

  2. animejune: oh i adore the slighty series, not every one of them was awesome, but so many consistently good ones as you said! and the last…ohhh the last one! Wulf is the bestest best of all. *happy sigh*

    to be honest though, her most recent Huxtables sisters series did NOT work for me. really really did not work.

  3. Fantastic list! Did I tell you I work with Marisa de los Santos’s father in law? He gave me one of her books to read. Not the one you read, the other.

  4. Oh my! So much to respond to here. But I’ll contain myself :-)

    I alread told you that Summer to Remember propelled me back into reading romance. This will always be a sentimental favorite and holds up well in a re-read.

    Funny you mention Branded by Fire and Slave to Sensation. I just finished (last night) Blaze of Memory. Another solid read in the series, although it starts a little slow. I’ve been contemplating a re-read of Slave to Sensation. Must do that.

    And I totally agree about Not Quite a Husband and My Lord & Spymaster. Loved them both.

  5. Kati: no way, what a small world! Belong to Me is the second in a loosely connected duet, but i didn’t read the first and still udnerstood what was going on just fine.

    Phyl: i love how books can hold specific memories or be milestones in our reading life! or even real life. Blaze of memory was just ok to me, i think i like the books following changelings better. and even though i only read Slave to Sensation for the first time 6 months ago i actually already want to re-read it!

  6. Thank you so much for including SAVANNAH BLUES in your list of favorite reads. I hope you’ll check out my other books, and catch up with me on my blog at marykayandrews.com. Happy 2010! MKA

  7. MKA: wow thank you so much for visiting and commenting! Weezie and Bebe were so fun, I can’t wait to meet your other characters!

  8. I love reading everyone’s top reads lists. We have some overlap, but you’ve also listed some authors I’ve been meaning to try for a while – Kate Noble, Joanna Bourne, Sherry Thomas. Err yeah, all historical romance – I haven’t been reading this for a while.

    Li

  9. I love hearing what others enjoy- often to see how they diiffer from my opinions. I wasn’t a fan of Belong To Me. I’m not sure why, really, I think maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood when I yet it. Ok, I’ve GOT to find the Singh books. You’ve talked them up so much that I really feel like I’m missing out by not having read these yet!

  10. […] Last but DEFINITELY not least is *tamping my squeeing fangirl side down* Nalini Singh’s July 2010 release Bonds of Justice, 8th in her Psy/Changeling series. Now I have to be totally honest that after reading the first 7 books in the series I noticed a personal proclivity towards the books with at least one Changeling as part of the couple, and the 6th book with TWO changeling’s finding true love? *fanning self* well no WONDER Branded by Fire was one of my top reads in 2009! […]

  11. […] this is the first time I’ve ever kept track of my reading, so I was super excited to write my End of Year post and see that I read 156 books last year! Although I also tracked all the bookstores and libraries […]

  12. […] history with our inner city libraries, I can’t just NOT GO to the library! I mean, I read 156 books last year, there is no way I could afford to buy that many. But I am lucky(?) enough to work in Northern […]

  13. […] the car seat they rested on in the pic above as I zoomed off to the airport! Belong to Me  was one of my top reads in 2009 but I had checked it out from this very library, and I borrowed Can You Keep a Secret from my […]

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