Julia’s 12 Best Books of 2012
It’s a lot of fun looking back over the year and revisiting my favorite books, and it will be no surprise to know that Abigail and I overlapped in a few places. Sophie Littlefield’s HORIZON, Ilona Andrews’s GUNMETAL MAGIC, Karen Marie Moning’s ICED, Kresley Cole’s POISON PRINCESS, and Maggie Stiefvater’s THE RAVEN BOYS all could have made it on my list as well, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to nod towards Abigail’s post and then fill out my list with twelve additional books that I loved this year.
ARCHANGEL’S STORM by Nalini Singh
Though I didn’t get a chance to review ARCHANGEL’S STORM for the blog, it has a 5bat rating on my personal shelf. This entire series is one that I find myself coming back to again and again. The relationships between characters are beautifully written and everytime I revisit a story I find myself noticing new details about Singh’s incredible mythology. I adored that the heroine in this book isn’t automatically great at everything, or that Jason isn’t magically cured of his reticent personality, but they both still find happiness. This world and it’s characters just keep getting more and more wonderful.
THE BRIDES OF ROLLROCK ISLAND by Margo Lanagan
My tastes tend toward the funny and romantic, which makes it all the more memorable when book breaks my heart and makes me love it. I often describe urban fantasy novels as “dark” when there’s violence and pain, loss and mourning. THE BRIDES OF ROLLROCK ISLAND is wrapped in gossamer strands of darkness so pervasive, so heartbreaking and real, I need a new word to evoke the pain of these characters. Read my full review
DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor
So much of my enjoyment of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE was tied up in the mystery of Karou’s life, the elegant unfolding of exotic magic and history, that I was worried DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT would not be able to compete. Oh, how beautifully Laini Taylor calmed my fears. DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT is just as magical, compelling, and heartbreaking as it’s predecessor, a satisfying book in it’s own right while ratcheting up my appetite for book three. This entire series is beautiful in a way that so few books achieve. Read my full review
FAIR GAME by Patricia Briggs
While Abigail has taken a little while to warm up to Anna and Charles, from their first appearance as a short story in ON THE PROWL I have loved their story. Anna’s Omega status adds a new twist to werewolf pack structure, and no one writes a realistic relationship like Patricia Briggs. These days I find myself re-reading the Alpha & Omega books more than Mercy Thompson, but this entire world is one of my favorites.
LIES BENEATH by Anne Greenwood Brown
It’s a tricky business positioning a main character as “the bad guy”, but when it’s done right it can be one of my favorite tropes. Despite the hero’s murderous family and ill-intent, LIES BENEATH won me over as deeply and as surely as Calder seduced his way into Lily Hancock’s life. Brown’s world building is utterly magical, I never expected that she could intertwine mermaids with the modern world, but in LIES BENEATH she does just that without sacrificing one iota of their cold, inhuman mythology. Read my full review
MOONGLOW by Kristen Callihan
Given the events at the end of FIRELIGHT, I had assumed book two would continue to explore the magic and changes of Miranda Ellis. The change of focus to Ian and Daisy was a surprise that I soon grew to appreciate. From the opening chapter with Ian’s little “bedroom failure”, I knew I was going to love MOONGLOW. Once again, Callihan has found the perfect mix of history, romance, and magic to keep me captivated the whole way through. Read my full review
ORACLE’S MOON by Thea Harrison
Thea Harrison had two books in 2012 that could have made this list, but ORACLE’S MOON edged out LORD’S FALL by one bat. Harrison blends romance with a robust mythology that few, if any, paranormal romance series can match, and this book is another incredible example of that skill. DRAGON BOUND is one of my go to re-read favorites and I’ve been through this entire series on my than one occasion. There are few series that match my excitement for any new offering Harrison produces, knowing how much I adore her mix of romance, magic, and characterization. Read my full review
RIVETED by Meljean Brook
I was both hopeful and trepidatious approaching RIVETED, the third book in the fantastic Iron Seas series. With an unknown hero and heroine, I was concerned that meeting these brand new characters would make or break my enjoyment of the book. Not only were Annika and David interesting and winning, I had forgotten that the Iron Seas series is more than the sum of its characters. Every chance I get to revisit this world, I fall in love a little bit more. Read my full review
STEEL’S EDGE by Ilona Andrews
The best part about a new Ilona Andrews book is how it reminds me to go back and re-read all of their prior books as I wait for release day. This was my first experience reading an “end of series” for Andrews, and I have to say I did not like the feeling at all. I don’t think these authors know how to write a supporting character without making me fall in love. Charlotte and Richard may get their happily ever after in STEEL’S EDGE, but what about George and Jack and Lark? If someone could please clone Ilona and Gordon so I could have more Kate Daniels, more Edge, more Alphas, and more Innkeepers, that would be super. Kthxbye. Read Abigail’s full review
THREE PARTS DEAD by Max Gladstone
THE GIRL WITH A DRAGON TATTOO meets THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS, THREE PARTS DEAD is the perfect mixture of character, mystery, and world building. While THREE PARTS DEAD is a completely satisfying stand alone novel, but Gladstone has built both a world and characters that deserve further exploration. I’ll be eagerly awaiting whatever he chooses to write next. Read my full review
TIGER LILY by Jodi Lynn Anderson
I finished TIGER LILY with a gasp a goosebumps, head over heels in love with the characters and world that Anderson created. I was hesitant to start it, Tiger Lily was always a character that fired my imagination, but even my childhood daydreams couldn’t quite fit her happily ever after into the myth. In TIGER LILY, Jodi Lynn Anderson has given me the Peter Pan story I’ve always dreamed of, gorgeously written, intimate, and inspired. Read my full review
UNSPOKEN by Sarah Rees Brennan
Just a few paragraphs into UNSPOKEN and I knew I was reading something special. UNSPOKEN was the perfect confluence of humor, romance, and mystery for me. Kami’s conversational playfulness and wit were instantly charming, and the complicated relationship between her and Jared was both enthralling and hilarious. I am a sucker for a bad boy, and a bad boy with a sense of humor is purely irresistible. Read my full review
Which titles are on your Best of 2012 list?