Best of 2012: Fantasy and Romance (Paranormal, Contemporary, Historical)

best of 2012 fantasy

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
–Regina:  I have never read a book like Alif the Unseen before.  The fantasy and the cultural elements were so new to me and really done.  If you haven’t read it, you should give it a try.

All Spell Breaks Loose by Lisa Shearin
–Christal: All Spell Breaks Loose ends the Raine Benares series and Lisa Shearin took her characters out on a spectacular note.  Raine, Mychael, and Tam were wonderful as always and the story moved with Ms. Shearin’s trademark wit and verve.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
–D.G.:  If I can describe this book in two words, they would be Darkness and Hope. This is the best portrayal of war I’ve been in YA because even though it’s fantasy, it’s very real. This is not sanitized violence like in video games; there is blood, hurt and revulsion. But there’s also the beginning of something new and wonderful.
–Regina: D.G. I agree completely.  I loved with Ms. Taylor did in this book.  Despite writing about such a painful and ugly topic, Days of Blood and Starlight (as the title implies) is still incredibly beautiful.  I appreciate that she showed the ugly side of war and that rarely is the path toward allegiance black and white.  There is gray, and lots of ambiguity.
**Great Audiobook!** The narration for this book is so amazing.  I cannot wait to listen to it again.  I could close my eyes and imagine the world Ms. Taylor was painting.

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
–Regina:  Tears, anxiety and joy — and more tears.  That describes my emotional path in reading this book.  Quintana of Charyn proves to be the same arduous emotional journey.  But anything Marchetta writes makes it so worth it.  I was not a fan of the first in this series.  So if you were lukewarm about #1, do not worry — #2 is amazing.

best of 2012 paranormal

 Mr. Real by Carolyn Crane
–AH: What a cool take on the paranormal. What if you could save images onto your computer desktop and poof! they magically appear on your front doorstep the next day? What if you could do the same with that really hot hottie you’ve been eyeing? Oh, the possibilities are endless, the results amusing, and this is one of the most original books I’ve read in a while.
–Regina: Oh. My. God.  Where does Carolyn Crane come up with her ideas? This story is amazing, sexy and fun.  I cannot wait for the sequel.

Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
Vlad was hot hot hot!  He and Leila made for an intriguing couple and the story was even more exciting than the last Night Huntress book.  Vlad and Leila could be giving Cat and Bones a run for their money!

Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews
As the last book in the series, Ilona Andrews made sure to go out with a bang.  This book had everything: action, romance, redemption, and utterly adorable kids.  You can never go wrong with an Andrews book.

best of 2012 contemporary romance
Easy by Tammara Webber
–Christal: This book was so sweet, not to mention a representation of a great couple.  Both characters were realistic and treated everyone around them with respect.  Ms. Webber tackled the topic of rape with dignity and created a novel full of supportive female characters.  Sadly, that is not something you see enough in fiction today.
–Regina: I absolutely loved this book.  It was emotionally moving, ground in reality and yet still sexy and romantic.  I could not put it down.

Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz
–Christal:This book was an unbelievably beautiful and heartbreaking romance.  You still don’t see too many same-sex couples in YA literature and I applaud Ms. Moskowitz for writing this story.  Her book is so incredibly touching that you don’t even notice the gender of the characters though.  All you can do is hang on for the ride and share how deeply they care for one another.  Oh, and cry, you’ll probably shed a tear or two during this one.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
–AH: I’m not really a contemporary romance lover, but Pushing the Limits kept my attention throughout. I loved that both the protagonists were damaged and I loved how they matured through the book. Well done and highly recommended.

best of 2012 historical fiction-romance

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

–AH: There’s a lot to be said about a book that stays with you, days even weeks after you read it. Code Name Verity is the story of two young women, one a spy and the other a female RAF pilot. The book is ingeniously written and the story is captivating. Have a box of tissues ready and pay attention to the small details in the book.
–Regina: I definitely liked this book and read it quickly over a few days.  The storyline and character focus were so unique.

Defiant by Pamela Clare
–Regina: I feel like I waited years for this book.  It sound cliche but the wait was worth it and perhaps made this book even sweeter.  Ms. Clare adds just enough historical facts to give this story depth.  I loved it and was emotionally moved by it.

The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel
–D.G.: The Sleeping Night is one of those books that takes you hostage and doesn’t let you go. It was powerful and real in such a way that I was trembling with terror as I read it because I was so afraid for this couple. The book almost felt like literary fiction because it didn’t have the certainty that everything would be alright. Instead it portrayed a love story on the road to tragedy.  A really great book I recommend to anybody who is not afraid of truth in their romance.

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