- Court Duel by Sherwood Smith. I love this story; I love the world Sherwood has created, I love the characters, I love Mel and how she's trying to do what's right and what she should while also trying to find her way. I love Danric and everyone else and I really, really, want more about these characters. (YA)
- Bloom by Elizabeth Scott. Another book whose main character I absolutely loved. Lauren doesn't live her life so much as she just goes with the flow. It isn't until a guy she knew when she was kid comes back into her life that Lauren realizes how much she's been missing in her life. And that's when things start to get sticky and Lauren realizes that going after what she wants and what makes her happy could be the hardest thing she does. (YA)
- Inda by Sherwood Smith. Hee. Another book by Smith, but with totally different characters. Almost a different world, but not really. Inda is set centuries before Court Duel. Full of families, royal strife, betrayals, war, pirates, and one boy's honor, it was an amazing story and I was thrilled to find out that there were three more parts. The fourth (and last) book in this series should be out in 2009 and I can't wait. (YA)
- The Spymaster's Lady by Johanna Bourne is amazing. Yes, I know it's a romance novel. Yes, I know it's a historical romance novel. Yes, I know that the cover has a shirtless man on the front and that that has nothing to do with the plot. I don't care. This is one gripping, intelligent, funny, and twisty story and I love it. I've read it four times now, and each time I'm picking up something that I glossed over or missed the first time around. There are clues about the characters that I didn't get until after I'd finished the novel. Such a great book. (HR)
- The Host by Stephanie Meyer. OK, say what you will about the Twilight series (yes, I have all the books; yes, I enjoyed the books; no, I haven't seen the movie although I will once my roommate finishes the first book), The Host was awesome and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to read it. The whole aliens thing turned me off (because, haha, I don't really like space soap operas/aliens/funny green men who want to eat my brain books) and it wasn't until I was moving this summer that I picked this up. And promptly spent the whole night reading it. I was engaged, I was cheering, I was so angry for Wanda that I could have spit, and I almost cried several different times. I really, really hope that Meyer continues this series. (SF)
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Go forth and read it now. It's a cross between a post-apocalyptic world meets The Girl Who Owned a City plus The Lottery with violence and bravery and honor and survival at all costs thrown in (ala Kate, from Magic Burns) and it was so, so good. I've heard rumors that this was the first book in a three-part series and I really hope that's true. (YA)
- Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Taylor was abandoned at age seven by her mother at the 7-11 on Jellicoe Road and she's spent her whole life since alternately trying to find her mother and to forget her. Her final year at the foster home she lives in, the closest thing she has to a mother (Hannah) vanishes, people from her past show back up, secrets that Taylor has forgotten return, and Taylor realizes that the life she's living has been lived before by people she's never met, but has read about in Hannah's unfinished novel. (And yeah, did my summary confuse you too? Try Amazon's; it's much better.) (YA)
(Other books that I really enjoyed reading this year: Cast in Shadow (SFF), Magic Burns (UF), Black Ice (F/R), The Fox: also by S. Smith (YA), Black Ships (YA), Perfect You: also by E. Scott (YA), The King's Shield: also by S. Smith (YA), Good Omens (F), The Rites of Spring(Break) (F), Steelflower (SFF), and The Graveyard Book (SFF))
Two things of note.
- My theme of the year: YA. No, seriously. YA this year rocked.
- I really need my niece to be at least eight years older already.