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Friday, January 1, 2010

Cindy's Top 2009 Book List

Over the course of 2009 I have read a wide range of book, from children's books to what one could say is "grownup" fantasy series. My total has topped out at a little over 225 books for the year, not including books I haven't finished. My lists are made up of a top "adult" category, and a YA/Middle Grade category, and in no particular order.

Adult Fantasy

1. Horsemen's Gambit by David B Coe

Not much is ever mentioned about Coe, who I feel is a widely under appreciated author. Maybe it's because the series isn't a in your face pull out all the stops, have every character's guts spilled everywhere novel (not that those novels are bad they just appear to be the new "in" thing) that it seems to get overlooked. The trip back to a fantasy setting where the characters and the world are developed in a truly epic form.

2. Dragonseed by James Maxey

I have a soft spot for dragons, give me a book that involves dragons and I'll gobble it up. Dragonseed is the third novel in the Dragon Age series. Something about this series has pulled me in since the beginning, and Maxey does a wonderful job of bringing back some old characters and tying up the plot lines. I really hope to see more novels in this series, in whatever form they might come out in.

3. Edge of the World by Kevin Anderson

When I read and reviewed Edge of the World, I swore up and down this wouldn't make my top list. I was wrong. This book for some reason has been constantly on my mind since I put it down. I want to know what happens to the characters. Not that readers were left in a cliffhanger I just keep thinking about the whole book and what's next. I even found myself reading it a second time just for the fun.

4. Library Of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard

Anyone that's a reader would enjoy this thriller. Although it was a little predictable at times I really enjoyed the way that books and reading could be used as such powerful weapons or tools.

5. The Chronicles of Raven Series:Dawnthief, Noonshade, Nightchild by James Barclay

Although I've been a fan of this series for a number of years, it was brought to the US this year (by Pyr) and so it was the first time that I could share the love of this series with many others! The Raven series is everything that sword and sorcery stands for. Barclay jumps right into action with his books, but actually takes the time to develop characters, the world, and plot lines. Nothing gets overlooked. Which is what makes this series one of my all time favorites!

6. Age of Misrule Series: World's End, Darkest Hour, Always Forever by Mark Chadbourn

Another series that came out in the US this year. The use of English monuments as such a pivotal part of the plot was wonderful. And I fully enjoyed this series that has a twist of old fantasy mixed with a new type of fantasy.

7. Stolen Moon of Londor: The White Shadow Saga by A. P. Stephens

A budding author in his own right, this was a promising start to an independently published author. It was a nicely sized novel, that isn't so large it's being used as a door stopper, and the pacing and fight scenes were wonderfully portrayed. I await to see what he brings to the table with other books. Plus the cover is pretty eye catching too!

8. Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan

I loved Crown Conspiracy and this was just such an added treat to that series.

9. The Silver Skull: Swords of Albion by Mark Chadbourn

The use of old Victorian setting of England and the fast fighting make this an enjoyable read for 2009.

YA/Middle Grade

1. Eyes Like Stars (The Theatre Illuminata: Act 1) by Lisa Mantchev

If I had to pick my all time favorite book for 2009, I would have to say this was it. Covering both categories of Adult and YA. I have easily read this book at least 5 times and really hope that the series gets picked up somewhere along the line. Something about the whole idea of a theatre that comes to life behind the scenes just really attracts me. The plot, characters, and writing make this book a real treat.

2. Purloined Boy (The Weirdling Cycle #1) by Mortimus Clay

This was a surprising gem of a find for myself. It had a nice setting, a uniquish feel to it, and I really enjoyed the characters in it. The use of bogeymen kidnapping children and turning into this huge plot line was really a surprise. I look forward to seeing what Mortimus Clay pulls out of his sleeve for 2010.

3. Farwalker's Quest by Joni Sensel

Although from the outside it may appear as a typical fantasy adventure quest novel, this book has so much more inside. It's filled with a heart warming tale, and characters that readers can just become attached to instantly. Every detail of the book is still fresh in my mind, and I can almost relive every part. Really a great story for both adults and children.

4. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

While not a typical fantasy book, this Chinese folktale like novel won a spot on my top of 2009 list. I don't know if it was the unique use of short stories to form a much larger novel, or the similarities to the Wizard of Oz but either way this was another touching story.

5. Silksinger (Faeries of Dreamdark) by Laini Taylor

I enjoyed the first book in the series, Blackbringer. But Taylor really stepped it up with Silksinger, it was almost as if a completely different author had penned this book. Seeing faeries in this small world setting is what makes me really love this novel and the drawings are amazing!

6. Malice by Chris Wooding

Who can resist a novel that involves children being kidnapped to a mysterious comic book world that has evil lurking around. Such a unique concept with some wonderful writing and even had that suspense that gives you the creeps sometimes!

7. ArchEnemy by Frank Beddor

The last of the Looking Glass Wars series, and it really packed a punch. I wasn't a complete fan after the second novel, something about it turned me away. Frank really turned the series around and wrapped up everything very nicely. ArchEnemy wraps up a very nicely told story.

8. Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow by James Rollins

If Mihir hadn't mentioned this book to me I might have overlooked it completely. Jake Ransom is one of those YA books that has a slightly different approach to the YA novels but yet has an element that is enjoyable for both adults and kids alike!

Miscellaneous Book

1. The Treacherous Teddy by John J Lamb

While it's not a fantasy novel in the sense of fantasy, this is one of those mystery books that I have a soft spot for. For the past 4 years I have eagerly looked forward to the next Teddy Bear Collector Mystery book (as I LOVE teddy bears). This novel took readers back to the quick, heart stopping murder mystery that Lamb came to be known for.

2. Mouse Guard Volumn 2: Winter 1152 by David Petersen

A graphic novel that I feel in love with when I first saw it. The drawings and color usage is just so magical that you are instantly transported to the world of the Mice. This second installment is just as good as the first.

2009 Books that I haven't gotten around to but will:

Fire by Kristen Cashore
Sasha by Joel Shepard
Wolfbreed by S.A. Swann
Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Mirrorscape by Mike Wilks
Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Canticle by Ken Scholes
Pastworld by Ian Beck


Liviu said...

Great list which shows the diversity of books we like and cover here at FBC

Both Edge of the World and Library of Shadows almost made my top lists too; since I decided to put only 10 mainstream novels the last spot was a fierce competition between Wonderful World, Library Shadows and Einstein's Girl and I chose the Calvo novel since it was the most unusual of all

In sff, there were several novels that just missed my cut but would have been top 20 in other years when I read less wonderful novels and Edge of the World was one such, as were the Prospero Lost, Elfland and Shadowmagic on the fantasy side...

Cindy said...

It is a different sort of list ;). I was going to list the series of books that I tried out that weren't published this year that I enjoyed but thought that might be too long!

I really thought Edge wouldn't make it but as I said I keep thinking back to it, so there had to have been something that the details and characters stuck in my head like they did.

I don't know if I want 2010 to be another hard year to pick books out for the list or easy!

Unknown said...

I don't seem to have read any books from your list, but I do have some on my shelves waiting to be read. 225 books in one year is very good. Hope 2010 is just as successful for you. Happy New Year! :)

The Reader said...

Hi Cindy

Nice list, I completely forgot about the "Edge of the world", "Silksinger" & "The Silver skull".

I think 2010 might be another wonderful year, easy or tough I guess we'll find out in another 11 months :)


Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read this post. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more soon.

Jeff Pelletier said...

How do you read 225 books in a year? I read 23 in 2009, and I think that's a decent accomplishment. What's your secret?

Beth F said...

Great list! I don't comment very often, but you definitely are causing my wish list to grow.

Happy new year.

Cindy said...

Jeff: I read a lot of variety of books from bios, to sf, to teen so the change always keeps me reading. I also try and devote at least an hour or two to reading a day as it really relaxes me. I don't watch a lot of tv which helps. Reading for me is a big stress reliever so the fact that I had a lot of stress also helped :)

Like Liviu mentioned I also learned quickly if a book is for me, if not I pass it off but I didn't count it in the 225 :)

Book Chick: My list is a little different. I hope you found something you enjoyed!

Mihir: Silksinger really was so much better then the first book in my opinion! I can't wait for more books from her.

Anon: Thank you :) We have a lot of different topics on here

Beth: Thank you for your comment! Have a great new year!


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