Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: Reading In Review

I took some time off this year but still ended up reading a good amount of books. I think my initial goal was to read 50 books, somehow that jumped to 70 (extremely wishful thinking). I ended up reading about 40 and and reviewing 31 of those. Not bad.

My top 10 reads for this year, in no particular order, are:

*2009 Release

1. Hugh and Bess by Susan Higginbotham* (Historcal Fiction)
2. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (Women's Fiction)
3. The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis (Historical Fiction)
4. The Sharing Knife (Passage) by Lois McMaster Bujold (Fantasy Romance)
5. Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas* (Contemporary Romance)
6. The King Making by Helen Hollick* (Historical Fiction)
7. Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh* (Urban Fantasy)
8. The Tailor's Daughter by Janice Graham (Historical Fiction)
9. The Gathering Blue by Lois Lowery (Young Adult)
10. Highland Rebel by Judith James* (Historical Romance)

A good mix of genres, but no mysteries made it in the top 10. Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn and Heartsick by Chelsea Cain came close though.

The total list of books I reviewed in 2009:

1: Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh (Grade C+) Paranormal Romance
2: Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas (Grade A) Contemporary Romance
3: Sea Fever by Virginia Kantra (Crade C-) Paranormal Romance
4: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (Grade B-) Young Adult
5: Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas* Contemporary Romance
6: The McKettrick Way by Linda Lael Miller (Grade C+) Contemporary Romance
7: HeartSick by Chelsea Cain (Grade B-) Mystery
8: The Bride Finder by Susan Carroll (Grade A+) Paranormal Romance
9: Hot Mail by Janice Maynard (Grade B)* Erotic Romance
10: The KingMaking by Helen Hollick (Grade A+) Historical Fiction
11: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Grade B+) Young Adult
12: Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh (Grade A-)* Urban Fantasy
13: Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night by Kresley Cole (Grade A) Paranormal Romance
14: Sea Lord by Virginia Kantra (Grade B)* Paranormal Romance
15: The Sharing Knife by Lois McMaster Bujold (Grade A) Fantasy Romance
16: Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready (Grade B+) Urban Fantasy
17: The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis (Grade A) Historical Fiction
18: Garden Spells by Sara Addison Allen (Grade A) Women's Fiction
19: Ain't She Sweet? By Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Grade B) Contemporary Romance
20: To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt (Grade B)* Historical Romance
21: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier (Grade A) Historical Fiction, Suspense
22: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley (Grade B) Historical Romance
23: Dhamphir by Barb & J. C. Hendee (Grade A-) Fantasy
24: Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas (Grade B) Contemporary Romance
25: Once Bitten by Kaylana Price (Grade C)* Urban Fantasy
26: Love at First Flight by Marie Force (Grade B)* Contemporary Romance
27: Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn (Grade B-)* Mystery, Historical
28: Hugh and Bess by Susan Higginbotham (Grade A)* Historical Fiction
29: Highland Rebel by Judith James (Grade A)* Historical Romance
30: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews (Grade B) Urban Fantasy
31: When a Stranger Loves Me by Julianne MacLean (Grade C) Historical Romance

My goal for next year is to not set one. Going into 2009, I couldn't have predicted that I'd end up taking close to four months off, so to keep myself from not reaching a specific goal for whatever unforeseen reasons, I'm not making myself any promises.

My hopes for the 2010 reading year are to read a good amount of 2010 releases, to increase the amount of YA that I read, and to make a sizeable dent in my tbr pile. If I accomplish any of those things I'll be happy.

So, how did you make out this year? Did you meet your reading goal, exceed it? Did you have any standout reads or authors? Share!


  1. I love your list! I have quite a few of those books in my TBR pile or my TBB list (still). Garden Spell, Hugh & Bess & The Sharing Knife are books I definitely want to read & I have Raybourn's books slotted for 2010!

    I didn't set a # as a reading goal for myself. I really wanted to give UF a chance this year & I reached that goal. Plus, I wanted to read more contemp/romance & Sci-Fi/Romance, and I reached those as well. I made it easy on myself. My three favorite authors this year were: Linnea Sinclair, Ilona Andrews & China Mieville. :)

  2. You're back Brie!!! Wooohooo!! LOL :)

    This is a great list, with many good books in them :) I'm glad :)

    If you want to read YA, I recommend the Thief series by Megan Turner Whalen :) Excellent series!! :D

    Did you ever get to read Twisted by Jodi Thomas?

    I'm not making any resolutions this year or setting goals. I'll just read LOL :)

    Really happy to see you around again :D

    Happy New Year!

  3. Hi Hils! Thanks! I really hope you enjoy those books as much as I did. I absolutely love the Sharing Knife series, it is one of my favorites to date.

    I learned my lesson from setting # goals on books. It's great that you did meet the reading challenges you set for yourself! Great picks for favorite authors. I'm sure if I'd read the whole Kate Daniels series to date, Ilona Andrews would be on my list! I also love Linnea Sinclair but didn't read any of her releases this year. China Mieville, I'll have to give his books a go. I've heard nothing but good things about his writing.

    Happy New Year!

    Nath! It feels good, being back. Hopefully, I can keep up a steady reading and updating pace next year.

    I actually have the first book in the Thief series somewhere around here. I started it around the time my reading slump began and haven't gotten around to finishing it yet. I'll be going back to it in the new year.

    I haven't read Twisted Creek yet, but it's high up on my list of books that I need to read soon.

    No resolutions or goals is a great idea!

    Happy New Year!

  4. Hey Brie! Missed you!

    You’ve got some great books on the list. Garden Spells is on my tbr pile along with the Bujold.

    My reading goal for next year is to get the tbr pile down. It’s just gotten out of hand so I’m joining challenges that will help with that.

    New favorite authors for the year are Rob Thurman, Robyn Carr, Karen Rose, Jill Shalvis, Sarah Mayberry, Linnea Sinclair, Suzanne Collins and I’m sure there’s more. LOL It’s turned out to be a very good reading year.

    Happy New Year!

  5. Brie, good to see you back. :) I'm so pleased to see Garden Spells making your Top 10 list. I love this story, so much so I buy the books to give away to friends. :)

    I definitely exceeded my reading goal and it feels so great! :D I discovered Juliet Marillier and Jeaniene Frost and they are the standout (and autobuy) authors for me in 2009. :)

    Here's to more great books to read in 2010 and that we won't miss any one of them. :D

  6. Hi Jace, Welcome back to you, too!

    Garden Spells was really a highlight read for me last year. I absolutely loved it.

    Glad to hear that you exceeded your goal this year. I havr Juliet Marilier in the TBR, and I've been meaning to pick up Jeaniene Frost's series. I'll have to do that now.

    Happy New Year!

  7. Hi Brie! I'm so happy to see you posting! :)

    What a great list. I like that it's made up of such a diverse mix of genres. I actually branched out and read a lot of different kinds of books in 2009, so I'm happy about that. I think I read 61 books in 2008, so I just wanted to try to read more in 2009, which I did at 78 books read. I'm joining a 100+ book challenge, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I'm just going to read more and hope to get close.

    I need to check out Hugh and Bess. You're the second blogger I've come across who placed it on your top reads list this year. Angels' Blood is also one of my favorites for 2009 and I must say that Garden Spells was such a delightful read. I'm not sure if it will make my top 10 list, but it is definitely close! I'll have to go back and make my own top list soon, too.

    Here's to many more great reads in 2010!

  8. Hi Christine, That's a really good amount of books read. I hope that you make it to the 100+ goal you have for this year.

    Yes, do check out Hugh and Bess if you get the chance. Great book. Glad you liked Garden Spells, too.

    Happy New Year!

  9. That is a lot of reading. Your goals reminds me of Jimmy Buffett, "I made a resolution, I never make another one."
    I understand. LOL
    Johnny Ray

  10. Brie! So lovely to have you back. :)

    Love your list. I'll join the crowd and say how much I enjoyed GARDEN SPELLS. In fact, I just finished her 2nd book, THE SUGAR QUEEN, and wow. Such a sweet read.

    Here's to 2010! Can't wait to hear what you think of Marillier, the 3rd Kate Daniels, and The Thief series. Make sure to get into the 2nd one before pronouncing a verdict. ;)

  11. I just finished her 2nd book, THE SUGAR QUEEN, and wow. Such a sweet read.

    LOL! Pun intended?

    THE SUGAR QUEEN is on my library loot list! I'm looking forward to it. :)

  12. @Sir John, that's the best kind of resolution.

    Hi Angie, glad to hear that Sugar Queen was also good. I've been meaning to check it out from the library, I'll have to get on that.

    Here's to many great books this year!

    @Christine LOL! Pun intended?

    Just caught that!

  13. Leslie, Don't know how I missed your comment!

    I really hope you enjoy Garden Spells as much as everyone else seems to have.

    I absolutely love Bujold's Sharing Knife series. It is just so lovely. If you get around to it, I hope you love it too.

    Great authors on your list. Many of them are currently on my shelves, I just haven't given them a go yet. I look forward to doing that soon.

    Happy New Year!

  14. Hey Brie, Welcome Back!

    I generally don't set reading goals for myself, but this year I joined a group Goodreads called 144 Books in 2010. I should be able to make that many, but if I don't I'm not going to worry about it.

  15. Brie you read some really great books in 2009.

    LOL I love that your goal for 2010 is to not set a goal. A girl after my own heart. :)