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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Top 18 books of 2010


It's the end of the year, time to look back on the best books of 2010. This list is not the best books I've read this year, but the best book I've read this year that were also published in 2010. Clicking on the numbered titles will take you to my review of that book. Clicking on the book images will take you to Amazon's page for that book.

1. Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, Book 4) by Ilona Andrews 

This is my favorite series, so it's probably no big surprise that book four of this series comes in at my favorite book of the year.  The books available now are shown below. The next book is Magic Slays and will be available in May.

2. Blood Cross (Jane Yellowrock, Book 2) by Faith Hunter

This is a new series for me, and I've fallen in love with Jane Yellowrock. I've already read and reviewed an ARC of book three, and if it were released in 2010 it would certainly be on this list as well.  The books in this series are:

3. Frost Moon (Skindancer series Book 1) by Anthony Francis

Another debut series for me, and I've been watching for the second book to be released but so far all I've seen are teasers from the author. I can't wait for book two, because book one knocked my socks off.

4.  Spider's Bite: An Elemental Assassin Book by Jennifer Estep
5.  Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin Book 2) by Jennifer Estep
6.  Venom (Elemental Assassin, Book 3) by Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep released three books in her new Elemental Assassin series this year, and all three were incredible. I couldn't decide which to rate highest, so I've just got them all listed in order. Gin Blanco is a likable kick-ass heroine, and she's got a supporting cast that work great as well. The books in this series are shown below, with Tangled scheduled for release in April.

7. Changes (Dresden Files, Book 12) by Jim Butcher

There have been a few books in this series that didn't work for me. A few books of "same thing, different book". But Changes was in a class by itself. Looking through the list, I'm surprised I've put it at number seven, because when I read it I felt for sure it would be one of the top three books of the year. But there have been some really good books this year, so it's all the way back at seven. I'm not going to show all twelve book in this series, if you haven't read the series and want to start, the first book is Storm Front.

8.  Vicious Grace (Book 3 of The Black Sun's Daughter) by M.L.N. Hanover

Another new series for me this year, and another series with a completely new twist on the Urban Fantasy genre. The fourth book, Killing Rites, is due to come out in the fall. The books available now are shown below.

9.  Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson, Book 5) by Patricia Briggs

I loved Silver Borne.  The books in this series keep getting better and better.  In a really good series we see character growth, so it's a lot of fun to watch Mercy grow as a person. She actually (gasp) learns from her mistakes instead of making the same mistakes over and over again. The books available now are shown below, and River Marked will be out March 1.

10.  Play of Passion (Psy-Changelings, Book 9) by Nalini Singh

I adore Nalini Singh, and I love her Psy-Changelings. This series is more of a Paranormal Romance, which isn't usually my thing... but the series is written so well, and the metaphysics and world building are so original, that it's one of my favorite series. I can't wait for Kiss of Snow to release in May, and I expect it will be one of my top three or four favorite books of 2011. I'm not going to show all nine books in this series, but if you haven't read this series and would like to start then you really should read them in order. The first book is Slave to Sensation.

11.  An Artificial Night (October Daye Book 3) by Seanan McGuire

Another new series for me this year. I thought the first book was really good, I didn't care too much for the second book, and the third book blew me away. The books available now are shown below and the fourth book, Late Eclipses, is due out March 1.

12. Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter Book 2) by Nalini Singh

I'm still on the fence about whether I'm going to love this series or not. However, the second book took place in The Forbidden City in Beijing, and having spent the better part of the day there a few times, and since the main character gets to stay in The Forbidden City... sleep in a room, attend balls there, etc. -- I loved the fantasy of it. The book itself was a really good book, even without my love for the location, and the series certainly has promise. I think the first two books have set us up for the series, and the next book should give a better idea of where things are going from here.  The books available now are shown below, and the next book is Archangel's Consort.

13. Roadkill (Cal Leandros, Book 5) by Rob Thurman

This is not one of my favorite series. In fact, I've got the series listed as an 8 of 10. But Roadkill? Oh. My. Goodness. This is the best book, by far, of the series. I laughed, I cried. And there were philosophical points that I read and re-read and allowed to soak into my psyche. Oh, and there was a plot, and an adventure or two (or three) along the way.

14.  Kitty Goes to War (Kitty Norville, Book 8) by Carrie Vaughn

This is another of my favorite series, Carrie Vaughn continues to amaze me by pulling out plots and twists that keep this series like a breath of fresh air. Each book heads off in a unique direction, each is a surprise. I thought I knew what Kitty Goes to War was going to be about. I was so very, very, wrong. It was much different, and was a very good book. I won't list all of the books in this series, but I highly recommend it, and if you want to start at the beginning the first book is Kitty and the Midnight Hour.  And yes, the series is about a werewolf named Kitty. The name came first, before she was turned against her will. The titles are cute, but the books are quite serious. The next book will be titled Kitty's Big Trouble and is due out in June.

15. Magic at the Gate (Allie Beckstrom Book 5) by Devon Monk

The Allie Beckstrom series just keeps getting better and better. I had trouble getting through the first book, but did because so many people said the series is really good once you get past the first book. And? They were soooo right. There is a good bit of worldbuilding, and a lot of rules to this world, but it's the characters and the storylines and the plots that make this series. The books available now are shown below, the next book will be titled Magic on the Hunt and is due out in April.

16.  Shadow Blade (Shadowchasers book 1) by Seressia Glass

Another debut series by a debut author, I gave the first book in this series a 10 of 10, but the second book received a 9 of 10. The third book, Shadow Fall is due out in June and will be the litmus test for whether I stick with the series or not.

17.  Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman

The only book in today's list that isn't an Urban Fantasy. Ms. Gilman's first visit to China was a dozen years before my first visit to China, and she really made the sights, sounds, smells, and culture of China come alive in a way that is very difficult to do. Undress me in the Temple of Heaven is more than a travel memoir, it's one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction books.

18.  Tempest Rising (Jane True, bk 1) by Nicole Peeler

Yet another new series for me this year, the Jane True series is a quirky urban fantasy with a bit of a new twist on the genre. Sort of.  I described the first few books as fun and lighthearted. I've already read an ARC of Tempest's Legacy (due out next week) and the lighthearted part goes away.  It's still quirky and fun, but things get a lot deeper and a lot more emotional in the third book. I have a feeling that Tempest's Legacy will be a lot higher in the 2011 listing next year.