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Topic: 2010 Best of the Year

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Subject: 2010 Best of the Year
Date Posted: 12/17/2010 5:03 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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It's about time for our "Best of" lists.... I was looking over the list of books I've read this year and some of my favorites were horror and fantasy. I think the very best books I read this year were George R.R. Martins' "Song of Ice and Fire" series. I adored each book and can't wait for the last one.

What were your favorite reads this year? I'm working on my list. ;-)

Date Posted: 12/17/2010 11:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Okay, here's my "Best of" lists in all the genres I've read this year.

Historical Fiction:

  • The Road to Avalon by Joan Wolf
  • The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  • The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
  • The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell
  • The Last Report on the Miracles at Little Big Horse by Louise Erdrich
  • City of Light by Lauren Belfer
  • Outlaw by Angus Donald

Historical Romance:

  • This Other Eden by Marilyn Harris
  • The Rain Maiden by Jill Harris


  • Black Dog by Stephen Booth
  • Raven by Ann Cleeves
  • The River of Darkness by Rennie Airth


Contemporary Fiction:

  • The Missing by Tim Gautreaux
  • The Clarinet Polka by Keith Maillard
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen


  • The Lost City of Z by David Grann
  • Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls


  • Song of Fire and Ice Series by George R.R. Martin
  • The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald

There was even some horror I thought was absolutely fantastic this year:

  • Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  • Haunted by chuck Palahniuk


Last Edited on: 12/17/10 11:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/18/2010 8:13 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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Many of my best reads this year, ironically, were not HF.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (F, family relationships)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Some might call this HF, but it's more thriller.)

Addict in the Family by Beverly Conyers (non-fiction, addiction and recovery)

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner (clearly HF)

Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling (fantasy, steampunk)

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (historical fantasy)

Beautiful Boy by David Sheff (non-fiction, addiction, family relationships)

Date Posted: 12/18/2010 9:11 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
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I hate making these lists -- so many good books I'm leaving out. Here's my first stab but I reserve the right to make changes!
Best HF:
Outlander - Gabaldon
As Meat Loves Salt - McCann
The Missing - Gautreaux
The Well and the Mine - Phillips
Zemindar - Fitzgerald
The Physician - Gordon
The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion - Chadwick
The Winthrop Woman - Seton
The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North, Sword Song, The Burning Land - Cornwell
Best HF Mystery:
Mistress of the Art of Death - Franklin
The Queen's Man, Cruel As the Grave, Dragon's Lair, Prince of Darkness - Penman
River of Darkness - Airth
Best Classic:
The Woman in White - Collins
The Scarlet Pimpernel - Orczy
Rebecca - du Maurier
Best Non-fiction:
Under the Banner of Heaven - Krakauer
The Tender Bar - Moehringer
The Lost King of France - Cadbury
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Skloot
Best Contemporary Fiction:
Winter's Bone - Woodrell
The Highest Tide - Lynch
The Things They Carried - O'Brien
Best Audios:
The Black Tower - Bayard
The Portrait - Pears
Bloody Jack - Meyer
A Girl Named Zippy - Kimmel

Last Edited on: 1/3/11 10:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 12/18/2010 9:34 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Deb, I'm so glad you loved "The Missing" as much as I did! He is really an author to watch now and has won a spot on my very short "Must Pre-Order" list. I'm busily getting his backlist together because I need MORE! I also love another book on your list, "Rebecca". I read it for the first time in high school and I bet I've read it at least 5 more times since then. In fact, I still have the original hardcover that my Grandmother gave me as a birthday gift back then! It's been years now since I read it last; maybe it's time to go back to Manderley.....


Genie, a lot of my best reads were not H/F either. I'm glad I looked through my books read list though because I realized that I didn't read nearly as much non-fiction books this year as I normally do. Since I have so much N/F here, I really need to make an effort to do better this coming year. My favorite N/F is history about explorers and since I've already read most of them, I realized I'm trying to hoard the rest of the unread ones. If anyone knows of non-fiction about explorers or explorations, please always feel free to let me know or add them to my book lists. - http://www.paperbackswap.com/Want-Exploring/list/315/

Genie, I'm glad to see you loved the Lynn Flewelling book. I picked up 3 books of hers at the thrift store because books 1-3 of the trilogy were sitting right there.  I got them even though I'd never heard of her or the books, so I'm glad to see you enjoyed it. I don't think I have the same book though....Nope, I have the books in the Tamir Triad trilogy. Have you read any of this series? I hope it's as good as the one you read!


I kind of wish I hadn't started this thread now...my wishlist is going to be growing!

Date Posted: 12/18/2010 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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My favorite H/F of the year:

Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell (I'm not quite finished with it, but I'm sure it will make the list!)
The Last Queen by CW Gortner
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander
The King Raven Trilogy by Stephen Lawhead

My favorite Christian Fiction of the year:

Healing Waters by Nancy Rue
Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist
Under a Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark
Anathema by Colleen Coble

Best Audiobooks

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by  Rebecca Wells

Last Edited on: 12/19/10 9:23 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/18/2010 10:05 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,586
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Like you, Deb, this is hard for me to do. Since I don't bother finishing books that I don't like, almost every one that I DO read seems like it would fit on one of these lists:

Best HF (including HF mysteries):

Time and Chance by SKP (actually, the entire trilogy).

The Vizard Mask by Diana Norman.

The Assassin in the Greenwood by P C Doherty.

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti.

Heartstone by C J Sansom.

What Remains of Heaven by C S Harris.

The Proud Villeins by Valerie Anand.

Outlaw and Holy Warrior by Angus Donald.

River of Darkness by Rennie Airth.


Best NF:

The Lost King of France by Deborah Cadbury

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman.

The Sinking of the Eastland by Jay Bonansinga


Best Mysteries:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.

One Last Breath by Stephen Booth.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson.

Blood Brother by JA Kerley

Death in the Trufflewood by Pierre Magnan.

The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill.

The Calling and The Taken by Inger Ash Wolfe.

Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie.

Date Posted: 12/18/2010 10:06 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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 I'm glad to see you loved the Lynn Flewelling book.

I very much enjoy her Nightrunner series. I've read the first 3. I haven't tried her other series, though. It doesn't sound like something I'd like.

Date Posted: 12/18/2010 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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When reading my list I noticed a trend, and it is all Jeanne fault.  I went a little off the rails for mysteries not that I am complaining.

Historical Fiction

Into the Wilderness series, by Sara Donati

To Defy A King,  Elizabeth Chadwick

Outlaw, Angus Donald

Veil of Lies, Serpent in the Thorns and Demons Parchment  by Jeri Westerson

Unquiet Bones, by Melvin Starr

Seawitch by Helen Hollick

Straight up Mysteries

The" Silent In" Series (Lady Julia Grey)  By Deanna Raybourn

The Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson

The Barker and Llewelyn Series, by Will Thomas


Broken Wing, and Libertines Kiss  Judith James

The Stud Club by Tessa Dare  (loved the humor)

Runaway Brides Series, by Celeste Bradley  (again the humor)

Married By Morning Hathaway's #4 by Lisa Kleypas.


Game of Thrones George R.R. Martin

His Majesty's Dragon, Naomi Novik.

ETA.. I missed one  Castles In the Air non fiction by Judy Corbett

Last Edited on: 12/18/10 12:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/18/2010 11:10 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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When reading my list I noticed a trend, and it is all Jeanne fault.  I went a little off the rails for mysteries not that I am complaining.


That's funny, Letty, because I noticed the same trend in my year's worth of reading. And, yes, it is all the fault of Jeanne! I'm not complaining either though because I sure have enjoyed these books! It was like having a brand new, completely fresh year of reading. :-)

Date Posted: 12/18/2010 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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I'm glad to see you loved the Lynn Flewelling book.

I very much enjoy her Nightrunner series. I've read the first 3. I haven't tried her other series, though. It doesn't sound like something I'd like.


Oh, shoot. It looks like I'm going to have to hunt down the first book in the Nightrunner series. Darn... :-D

I am really desperately trying to find something to compare to the George R.R. Martin books I loved so much, but I don't think that is going to happen. Write the last book already, Mr. Martin; write the damn book!!!!!!!!!!! Whew, sorry about that. I want that last book!

Date Posted: 12/18/2010 11:15 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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I was just coming on to post a "Studs and Duds of 2010" thread!  Guess I'll post my studs here and start a new thread for the duds (if there isn't one already).  My best books for 2011 were all HF, because that's all I read, people!! I sadly have only read like 30 books this year.  I was aiming for 50!  Will try again next year. I have too many hobbies and that pesky full-time job, not to mention the needy family (they like to have home cooked meals, a clean house, clean clothes - they're so demanding!).  crying

Aztec, Gary Jennings - Actually this is one of my all-time favorite books, so it's a stud of a lifetime for me!

The Journeyer, Gary Jennings - not quite as good as Aztec but very, very good.

Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager, Diana Gabaldon -  So glad I finally deflowered myself with this series! 

The Historian, Anna Kostova - for some reason, I really enjoyed this book even if it was a slow mover at times.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Schaffer & Annie Barrows - such a wonderful book!

The Burning Land, Bernard Cornwell - aaaahhh, Uhtred.  Yum.

The Winter King, Enemy of God and Excalibur, Bernard Cornwell - fabulous series!

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See - beautiful book.

The Sunne In Splendor, Sharon Kay Penman - what can I say?  It's Penman.

The Greatest Knight, Elizabeth Chadwick - it's Chadwick, LOL!  I will admit to liking Penman's books just a titch better.

How Far to Bethlehem, Norah Lofts.  I really, really loved this interesting book.

There were some others I enjoyed very much, but these were my very favorites!

Last Edited on: 12/30/10 1:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/18/2010 11:25 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,586
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Well, it looks like I am guilty!! I just can't help it though b/c there are so many good ones out there, especially the HF mysteries!! Well, there are lots of non- HF ones I've found that I really like too! Sometimes I just have to break away from reading HF about the same characters only written by different authors.  ( I have to say that I think it was Cathy who recommended The Proud Villeins to me and that was a good book and it didn't focus on any royalty, so it was about different characters - it wasn't a mystery though!)


Date Posted: 12/18/2010 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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I agree, Valli. It was fun to explore this sub-genre. 

Date Posted: 12/18/2010 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Shelley, a "Dud" thread is a great idea! Git 'er done for us! I saw that ding-dong on TV last night and now I can't quit saying "git 'er done", only I have to do it in a weird voice while squinting my eyes. Somebody make it go away!

We had the exact opposite reactions with Gary Jennings. I loved "The Journeyer" more than "Aztec", but that isn't at all surprising because of my love for books about explorers. Both were very good though! I almost added Aztec to my list but decided against it because it isn't my favorite Jenning book and I read Journeyer the year before. Still, both books belong on a "best of" list; that's for sure!

I loved "The Historian" too! I've begged several friends here at home to read it, friends who usually enjoy both H/F and vampire novels, but most of them hated it. This seems to be one of those books that people either really love or really hate with no in between feelings. I'm in the really love camp.


Jeanne, you are definitely guilty, but Letty and I sure enjoyed it!

Last Edited on: 12/18/10 12:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/18/2010 12:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
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My favoarites this year were:

The Forgotton Garden (not totally HF) and A Dog's Purpose (definitely not HF).  That's all I can remember right now.  I'll have to look at list and update later.  I'm rapidly reaching the age where I could read the same 3 or 4 books over and over and not remember I'd read them before.


Date Posted: 12/18/2010 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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I think I have my list, but the year isn't over yet for me cool

Date Posted: 12/18/2010 1:11 PM ET
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Looking back over my list, at this point I have read/listened to 132 books this year!  It's easy to pick out the ones I was "less than thrilled" about...but the favorites, this is hard!  The real stars, I guess:

Historical Fiction (Including mysteries)

The Queen's Man, Cruel as the Grave, Dragon's Lair, Prince of Darkness by SKP (Has it only been a year that I've known Justin?  It seems much longer...)

Faded Coat of Blue, by Owen Parry (Abel Jones series; books 1 and 6 were my favorites)

The King Must Die, and The Bull from the Sea, by Mary Renault

Mistress of the Art of Death, by Arianna Franklin (Of the four in the series, book 2 was my least favorite)

Until the Sun Falls, by Cecelia Holland

Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield

Best Audio books

The Millennium trilogy, by Stieg Larsson -- Simon Vance.  'Nuff said.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag, by Alan Bradley

Just After Sunset, by Stephen King

Ford County, by John Grisham (Grisham is not the best reader, sadly, but I was pleasantly surprised by this collection of short stories)

In the Woods, by Tana French

Best YA novels

City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare  (MUCH better than Twilight)

Black Juice, Red Spikes, White Time, by Margo Lanagan (Collections of short stories...fantastic!)

Nefertiti, Heretic Queen, Cleopatra's Daughter, by Michelle Moran (I think these are more suited to YA, and as such, would really create some interest in ancient history for girls who haven't tried this before)

Golden, by Cameron Dokey

Best Re-Read of the Year:  Dracula, by Bram Stoker


Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 12/18/2010 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
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Lots that I liked this year


  • Love Knot by Elizabeth Chadwick
  • A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick
  • Birth of a Nation by Conn Iggulden
  • Last Queen by CW Gortner
  • Washington's Lady by Nancy Mosher
  • Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
  • Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom


  • Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larson
  • Mistress of the Art of Death all 4 books in the series by Arianna Franklin
  • What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris
  • Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Arruda
  • Murder in Marais by Cara Black
  • Predators by Terri Blackwell
  • Coronor's Lunch by Colin Cotterill
  • Fatal Fixer Upper by Jennie Bentley

Young Adult

  • Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
  • Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
  • Firelight by Sophie Jordan
  • Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCallaogh
  • Hunger Game Suzanne Collins


There are lots won't go into all of them my top series as tend read through a series

  • Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward
  • Chicago Land Vampires by Chloe Neill
  • Were cat series by Rachel Vincent
  • Silverborne by Patricia Brigs
  • many more



  • Elvis and the Dearly Departed all 3 books in series by Peggy Webb

Last Edited on: 12/19/10 11:32 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/18/2010 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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I had lots of favorites this year due in part to all of the challenges:

Best H/F was a tie between A Murderous Procession by Ariana Franklin and Revenge of the Rose by Nicole Galland

Best Fiction no matter how you categorize it was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Best Mystery/Thriller was Roman Blood by Steven Saylor with The Queen's Man by Sharon Kay Penman a very close second

Best Fantasy was A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin


Date Posted: 12/18/2010 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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The very best book I read  this year was Stoker's Dracula. The best of the rest, my 5 star reads of the year were:


Born of the Sun by Joan Wolf 5/5
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova 4.5/5 
Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati 5/5
The Sunne in Splendourby Sharon Kay Penman 5/5
The Falcons of Montabard by Elizabeth Chadwick 5/5

The Steel Waveby Jeff Shaara 5/5
The Edge of Light by Joan Wolf 5/5

Fortune's Favorites by Colleen McCullough 5/5
 A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick 5/5
Dawn on a Distant Shore by Sarah Donati 5/5
The Time of Singing by Elizabeth Chadwick 5/5


 Draculaby Bram Stoker 5/5
Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey 5/5

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier 4.5/5


Roselyndeby Roberta Gellis 5/5
Alinore by Roberta Gellis 5/5


The Road Winds On by Francena H. Arnold 5/5


The Game of Thrones by George RR Martin 5/5


Last Edited on: 12/18/10 9:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/19/2010 9:26 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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Vicky, I noted Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag on your Best Audio list.  I listened to Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie on audio this year and loved it.  I thought the reader truly captured the personality of Flavia.  I have the print version of Hangman's Bag on my TBR for this year and I think just hearing that voice in my head will make it all the more better.

Date Posted: 12/19/2010 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
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My favorites:


  • The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander
  • The Jester by James Patterson
  • The Coffee Trader by David Liss (not done yet, but love it!)


  • I am Nujood by Nujood Ali (probably my favorite book overall)
  • Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog by Lisa Scottoline (laughed until I cried)
  • Under and Alone by Bill Queen

Mystery (Way too many, but I will list a few)

  • PI Judy Collins series by Lori Armstrong (Blood Ties, Hallowed Ground, Shallow Grave; Snow Blind)
  • Nowhere to Run by CJ Box
  • 61 Hours by Lee Child
  • Kate Burkholder series by Linda Castillo (Sworn to Silence, Pray for Silence)


  • Hunger Game series by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay)
  • The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
  • Demon Princess by Michelle Rowan

Contemporary Fiction

  • Department of Lost & Found by Allison Winn Scotch (I haven't read a book of her's that I didn't like)



Date Posted: 12/19/2010 11:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
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Books I Recommend:

The Saxon Chronicles - Bernard Cornwell

Stitches - David Small

Stones From the River - Hegi

This Body of Death - Elizabeth George

Blood and Thunder - Hampton Sides

Sharon Kay Penman's Medieval Mystery Series

Shackleton's Forgotten Expedition, The Voyage of the Nimrod by Beau Riffenburgh

Sword at Sunset - Sutcliff

The Cold Dish and Death Without Company  - Craig Johnson

The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley


Date Posted: 12/19/2010 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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My favorites (several overlap with other genres):

Historical fiction:

The Scarlet  Lion

The Greatest Knight

Mornings in Jenin

The Eagle and the Raven

The Shadow of the Wind

Company of Liars


Wolf Hall

First Man in Rome

Year of Wonders

Losing Julia

The Book Thief

City of Shadows


The Moonstone (also romance, mystery and HF)

Tristan and Iseult (also romance and HF)

The Stranger


The Carpet Makers



Naamah's Kiss

Sabried (also YA)

Anne Bishiop's Black Jewels series

George R. R. Martin's Fire and Ice series (also HF)


Hunger Games (also fantasy)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Last Edited on: 12/21/10 8:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 10