Romance Club’s Best Books I Read in 2011
Some of these were not published in 2011, but you know what? I DO WHAT I WANT.
The Night Circus: You will not find a more ~*~*~ reading experience. This is an instant Comfort Read. Every page is totally magical and totally wonderful.
Silk is for Seduction: Epic dress porn, Loretta Chase, and a “great ducal phallus.” What more could you want in a romance novel?
Tipping the Velvet: Historical fiction at its best! I loved all the details about life onstage in 19th Century London. Also, I wrote this about Nancy, and it seems worth repeating:
And how much do I love it that Nancy recognizes that she’s a lesbian, and absolutely does not even give two fucks what anybody thinks? Seriously. She knows exactly who she is and she does not apologize to anybody. I don’t know how accurate of a depiction of historic lesbianism this is, really, but given how many straight romance heroines spend half their pages being ashamed of their peen cravings, I was willing to sacrifice historical accuracy for the sake of a woman who was comfortable with her sexuality.
Tempest Rising: This is one of the balls-out funniest books I’ve read all year. Shameless plug: my review of it is also pretty funny. You should read my review and then read the book.
Scoundrel: Obviously we all love Zoe Archer here on the Tumblrs, but I promise that my love of Scoundrel is (mostly) unbiased. There’s adventure and history and fun, but let me just tell you, girl can write the shit out of a sex scene. And that’s why we’re all here, right?
Bonus: Worst Books I Read in 2011
Archangel’s Consort, by Nalini Singh. Girl, bye.
Bonus Bonus: Worst Book with Best Review That I Did Not Write
Crabby’s review of Night Shadow is still one of my favorite things to hit this blog. And Urbana.
Your turn! What were your favorite and least favorite reads this year?
beresbel asked Hey, so I was wondering: Got any stories that are kind of like Ever After? (The movie with Drew Berrymore, which, yes, I am currently watching.) I am just curious, because, damn. Could be a really great book. With, you know, more than kissing.
Ha, I love that movie, even though Drew Barrymore’s accent makes me want to punch a baby.
Anyways, Cinderella stories are plentiful in Romanceland, but my favorite is A Kiss At Midnight by Eloisa James (I typoed at first and said A Kill at Midnight, that sounds like a Bond movie, doesn’t it?).
I know, contain your shock. Me recommending Eloisa James. Stunning. But I love this book, and I even reviewed it for Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Rest assured, they do more than kiss.The slipper fits very well, if you catch my drift. There is hot princely dick. They have sex with each other. If you know what I mean.
My other favorite Cinderella adaptation is a YA book, and is one of my favorite books OF ALL TIME: Ella Enchanted. There is nothing more than kissing in this book, but everybody in the world should read it because it’s so wonderful.
Readers, any more Cinderella stories?
“Linger” by Maggie Stiefvater
The bad news: Linger is a second installment. It reads like one, it feels like one, and, like a lot of second installments, it is not as good as the first one.
Am I saying Linger is bad? No. Maggie Stiefvater is a good writer and has an original, fresh take on the werewolf mythology. But for anyone who loved Sam and Grace in Shiver, Linger is a bit of a let-down.
(A word of caution: anyone who has not read Shiver and intends to do so would be better off stopping here. Crucial plot points will be revealed.)
We left a newly-cured Sam and Grace finally reunited in that snowy slam-dunk of a finale. The new book picks up shortly after their reunion: Sam and Grace are still seeing each other and sneaking around behind her parents’ back. Sam is spending most nights at Grace’s, although nothing particularly lustful seems to be going on (the absence of actual teenage lust being one of the weak points of Linger: everyone seems to be well in control of themselves, including the “bad” guys, but I’ll get to that in a while). Grace, however, seems to be unwell: she is tormented by a fever which, as it is hinted from the start, has a lot to do with her having been bitten by wolves as a child. She is still friends with former mean girl Isabel Culpeper and worried about her friend Olivia, who has turned into a wolf and run away with the pack. Meanwhile, Sam is trying to adjust to his new, fully human life and coming to terms with being the new leader of the pack. There is also a new wolf in town, Cole, who is (or rather, used to be) a rock star and a junkie, not necessarily in that order. Cole is - surprise surprise - rather good-looking, a bad guy and single. So is Isabel. You do the maths.
The first-person narration that worked so well when Sam and Grace were alternating in telling the story does not quite work here, with four narrators (Grace, Sam, Cole and Isabel) taking turns. At times, their voices sound so similar that you have to stop to check who is speaking. Also, Cole’s past as a rock star is a collection of stereotypical rock star behaviours: the cheating, the drug abusing, the being mean to band members, the naming your band in ANNOYING ALL CAPS. All in all, Cole comes across as a junior version of Trent Reznor, which could be a nice counterpoint to Sam’s Conor Oberst if this novel were about music. Which it isn’t, although Stiefvater seems to know her stuff. As for the teenage lust: Grace and Isabel are seventeen, Sam is eighteen, Cole is nineteen and a serious ladies’ man, and halfway through the book there is at least one scene that will make you scream “Oh, come on” out of sheer incredulity.
As I said, Linger is a second installment, therefore it doesn’t actually end (not like Shiver did, at any rate). A lot of subplots are left open, and even the main plot hints at a third book (Forever, scheduled to come out this summer). Which is probably intentional, but still slightly disappointing. Like Stiefvater were trying save her best shots for the grand finale.
All in all, a page-turner: just not the perfectly delicious read that Shiver was.