As is his tradition, Chris Cactus sent out an email reminding people that today is Delurking Day. I hate to disappoint Chris, plus you know, I keep meaning to start writing on a more regular basis again. So, instead of some quickie "hey, it's delurking day" post (which I may or may not have done in the past) I decided to try something different this year and create actual content for your enjoyment. It's a little unorthodox I know, but it might be just crazy enough to work.
So, hi! Please feel free to delurk and leave a comment. Or, just read on for the list of my favorite books of 2010. Most of these books were actually published in 2010, but my criteria for selecting them is simply that I read them in 2010, so there are some older ones that made the list.
The God of the Hive, by Laurie R. King. Have I mentioned Laurie R. King here before? I love her books and this series in particular . The premise is that Sherlock Holmes was younger than he was portrayed in the official Sherlock stories because Watson wanted readers to take him seriously. Around the start of WWI, Sherlock retired to Sussex, where he made the acquaintance of Mary Russell, a young woman just as intelligent and observant as the Great Detective himself. She becomes his apprentice, and eventually his wife. The God of the Hive is the latest in the series and is really more of a continuation of book that proceeded it, The Language of Bees, but wraps the story up quite satisfactorily. If you haven't read any of them, I recommend you start with the first book and make your way through the series until you get to this one. My favorites are A Monstrous Regiment of Women, Justice Hall, The Game and Locked Rooms.
Bring on the Night by Jeri Smith-Ready This is also a book in a series - the third after Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone - but you can read it without reading the first two. The main character, Ciara Griffin, is a former grifter who is trying to go straight and be a normal college student. In the first book she takes an internship at a local radio station, only to discover that the DJs are all vampires. She helps save the station by promoting it as the Vampire station (each vampire plays the music from the decade in which they were turned) and ends up working at the station and dating one of the vampire DJs. I like Jeri Smith-Ready's take on the vampire story. The books are fun, Ciara and her boyfriend Shane are likeable characters and the villains sufficiently villain-y (and yet defeatable). This book does have a somewhat shocking twist that I really did not see coming, and I always see the twists coming. It was cool to be surprised. One bonus: the author includes a playlist with each book and she has excellent taste in music. And the story is set in Maryland, which is always fun for me.
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer This one was not published in 2010. I just discovered it on a list of "books to read while you wait for Mockingjay to be published." The story of what happens when an asteroid hits the moon and knocks it closer to Earth, this book is a huge downer. I'm not kidding! At the same time, I loved it. I seriously could not stop reading it. It's a YA book, told from the point of view of Miranda, a teenager in a small town in Pennsylvania. After the asteroid hits, her world starts to unravel, slowly at first and then with a terrifying speed. It was fascinating to see how Miranda, her friends and her family all react differently to their new reality.
Feed by Mira Grant. I picked this one up on a whim when rambling through Barnes & Noble one day and I'm so glad I did! It's the story of Georgia and Shaun Mason, a couple of bloggers in the world after the zombie apocalypse. Due to the ongoing problems with zombies, blogs have taken on a whole new role in society. Georgia and Shaun are chosen to shadow a presidential candidate on the campaign trail, and the story takes off from there. Together they battle zombies and shadowy conspiracies and traitors in their own ranks, while watching the popularity of their blog soar. The story is well paced and Georgia and Shaun and the other characters felt so real. Mira Grant really knows how to build a vivid world. I'd almost want to be a part of it, except for the zombies. And I don't want to ruin anything, but there is a scene where a fairly important character dies, and I was practically sobbing while I read it. So well done.
At the end of the book there was a page with a note that said "keep an eye out for the next book in the series." And I thought oh yes please, I'd like more of this. Well it turns out that the next book won't be available until spring, so thanks for the confusing note Orbit books. However, looking for it led me to discover that Mira Grant is actually author Seanan McGuire, so I went out and got her first book, Rosemary and Rue. Rosemary and Rue is the story of Toby Daye, a half human, half faery private detective in San Francisco. At the start of the book she's happily married with a little daughter, but then something goes wrong for her on a case and she ends up enchanted and living as a fish in Golden Gate park for 14 years. The story picks up with her trying to put her life back together and avoid all that is faery. But of course, she gets pulled back in after a former friend from her faery days is murdered. The story is very enjoyable and I have a huge crush on Tybalt, the King of the Cats.
Seanan McGuire actually led me to this next book in a roundabout way. I went to pick up her third book An Artificial Night, and while I was there, one of the bookstore clerks handed me Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind and said "Read this, you'll love it." I had seen the book but had been turned off by the description on the back cover, which really does not do a good job of showing you what to expect inside, but I always take the recommendations of book store employees seriously. Well, he was right. The book is great. Kvothe's story, from his years traveling with his parents' theater troupe, to his time alone and a little crazy on the streets, to when he makes it to the university make for a fantastic story that is beautifully told. The sequel comes out in March and I can't wait to read it.
I don't read a ton of romance novels, but there are a few authors I like. Laura Kinsale is not actually one of those authors, but someone, possibly Manda, wrote about her Flowers from the Storm and I was intrigued. The heroine is Maddy, a Quaker woman in 19th century England. Her father is a mathematician, and she meets the Duke of Jerveaux when he co-authors a paper with her father. Months later she stumbles across Jerveaux in an insane asylum. He's had a stroke and they think he is insane. She can tell that he's not though, and takes on the task of helping him to recover. They slowly fall in love, but the whole time Maddy agonizes about being true to her faith and not being seduced away from the values she holds dear. It was nice to read a book that really departed from the traditional romance book formula.
Edited to add: I forgot Sunshine by Robin McKinley! Also not published in 2010, but really very, very good.
If you're wondering what to comment about in honor of delurking day, here's a prompt: What was your favorite book of 2010?