Best of 2012: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction/Steampunk, Mystery

Now that 2012 is coming to a close, it’s time to look back at the books published during the year and pick our favorites. It was a difficult task, but we Badass ladies were up to the challenge! During the next 3 days, we’ll share with you the best reads in a varied assortment of genres (we couldn’t fit them all in one day). So sit back, relax and learn why were amazed, humbled, delighted, saddened, freed and inspired by some of the most amazing books published in 2012. 

Best of UF

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire
–Christal: This would be my #1 UF release of the year.  Seanan McGuire has written a richly layered world filled with amazing characters.  Ashes of Honor was incredible: filled with mystery, tragedy, action, romance, magic, and comradery.  I personally think Ms. McGuire is one of the most talented Urban Fantasy writers today.  Fans of Tybalt and Toby will be especially thrilled with this installment!

Blue-Blooded Vamp by Jaye Wells
–Christal: The amazing Sabina Kane series came to an end this year and Blue-Blooded Vamp was a tribute to everything we loved about the series.  Beloved characters made much-needed appearances and Sabina was finally able to settle into her new life fully.  As much as I will miss Team Awesome, I think Jaye Wells ended the series on a perfect note.

Cold Days by Jim Butcher
–Regina:  Jim Butcher is the best kind of author — his books improve and have more depth with each new installment. Yet he is able to maintain the pace, excitement and creativity. I cannot wait for the next book in this series.
**Great audiobook!**James Marsters was back as the narrator for this Dresden Files story and he was sorely missed. His “Dresden” was on point as always and he added depth to all the supporting characters.  As Harry has risen, so has Marsters!

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
–Christal: This book was a game changer, not just for the Alpha & Omega series but for the Mercy Thompson series as well.  Patricia Briggs wasn’t afraid to shake up either of her series and I think readers will be richly rewarded for it.
–D.G: This is among the best books that Patricia Briggs has written. Not only was the action exciting but she brought at the forefront the conflict between supernaturals and humans. It made me think a lot about race relations, tolerance, how people fear what they don’t know and how is never a good idea to let yourself be controlled by your fears.
–AH: As Christal and D.G. said, this was an awesome addition to Patricia Briggs’ series. Anna shines in this book and whoa, what a cliffhanger.
–Regina:  Patricia Briggs’ books get better with every single new book.  She continues to broaden the Mercy Thompson world and deepen her characters.  What I love about her books is nothing is easy or glossed over.  Despite writing about fantasy elements, she writes as if it was the real world.  My one complaint — I am out of Patricia Briggs books and want more!

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison
–AH: The Hollows was my first foray into the UF world and I’m so glad to have discovered Kim Harrison. Rachel has grown and matured and her character gets better and better as the series progresses. The eclectic mix of characters and all of the different UF creatures make this one of my go-to series.
–Christal: I agree with AH, the Hallows is the one of the most ambitious, most richly detailed worlds in UF today.  In this book, Rachel went through some important internal/emotional changes and finally stepped up to her true potential.

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
–Christal: An unexpected and delightful surprise, Daniel O’Malley’s debut novel was an UF force to be reckoned with.  He created a unique and intriguing mythology and infused it with the quirkiest characters around.  Currently billed as a standalone, I would love to see him develop the world of “The Rook” into a series!

Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett
–AH: Why did I wait so long to start this series? I adored this book and I’d love to have a house just like Lon Butler’s home.

Best of Sci-Fi-Steampunk

 Endgame by Ann Aguirre
–Regina:  I am very sad that this series has ended but, Endgame is the perfect conclusion to the Sirantha Jax series.  What a ride.  I can’t wait to see what Ann Aguirre does next.

The Janus Affair by Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris
–Christal:  This is the most amazing, yet believable steampunk world that I have read. Books and Braun make such an incredible team and this book is no exception. I love to see them work together and grow as a pair, both in and out of the office. A third book hasn’t been announced yet, but I am definitely hoping for some kind of announcement soon.

Riveted by Meljean Brook
–AH: No one writes steampunk like Meljean Brook. The third installment of her Iron Seas series was amazing! Annika and David were a sizzling lead couple. Can’t wait for more books in the series!

Best of Mystery

A Bad Day for Mercy by Sophie Littlefield
–Regina:  Sophie Littlefield is all over our favorite list!  The Stella Hardesty series is my favorite by Sophie.  It is funny, really and contains good action.  I love the audio performances for this book.  Don’t let the description of the book turn you off — it is really good stuff.

Blood Bond by Sophie Littlefield
–Christal: A fast-paced mystery and great lead character really made this story stand out from the pack.  Joe Bashir brings a unique perspective to the genre and I can’t wait to see how Sophie Littlefield develops him in future novels.
–Regina:  What an interesting series!  I love the lead, he seemed so real like I could reach out and touch him.  What Sophie does so well is write characters with flaws, characters who are real and allows readers to appreciate them and see them for who they are.

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal
–Christal: I love the World War II setting of this novel and main character Maggie Hope’s pluck.  The change from secretary to MI:6 agent suits her and added a fascinating dimension to this book.  I’m eager to see what kind of situation Maggie finds herself in the next book and how the revelations about her family affect her.

Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams
–Christal: This book was the definition of a “feel good” read and was my favorite cozy mystery of the year.  Ellery Adams created a sweet southern town filled with colorful characters and added just enough magical elements to give it a little twist.  I am eager to read the next book in the series so we can see how Ella Mae develops as a character.

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