Welcome to Smugglivus 2012! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2012, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2013.
Who: The friendly Katiebabs, a romance blogger over at Babbling About Books and More who under the pen name of K. T. Grant, also moonlights as a prolific author of erotic romance. Her novels include Sweet and Sinful, Lovestruck and Burning for You.
Please give it up for KB/KT Grant!
Hello there Smugglivus celebrants! I’m thrilled to be the first official post of 2013 here at the Book Smugglers. This is the 4th year I’ve been asked to partake in the Smugglivus fun. On average I read close to 200 books a year. It’s always a daunting task deciding which books out of the many I’ve read really had an emotional impact for me. It all comes down to three things- The writing, the overall story and the characters. If I can’t connect with any of these, then the book is a dud. 2012 introduced me to 3 new authors and 2 familiar authors who really excelled with their writing and gave the world incredible books I would recommend to anyone.
2012 will be the year when the New Adult genre exploded. There’s one book that’s the catalyst for this genre and what all New Adult books should aspire to be. That book is Easy by Tammara Webber. Not only was Easy one of the most successful self-published novels in 2012, but started a craze that readers, writers and the publishing industry can’t get enough of. Easy was an emotional, eye opening experience because everything that occurs in Easy is so on point from the reactions and emotions showed on these pages. This is a book that screams girl power which is shown amazingly well because of the heroine, Jackie and her girl friends, including those sorority sisters she interacts with. Lucas, who becomes Jackie’s love interest, is what writers and readers should want in any romantic hero. How I wish more Young Adult and New Adult authors would write Lucas type love interests instead of these damaged, psychotic love interests that destroy the heroine’s self-esteem and sucks their personality out of them. If there is one book female readers, especially teens should read, it should be Easy.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was the most discussed book of 2012. Gone Girl is usually not the type of book I read, but every single person who read this book could not stop raving about it. Gone Girl is major water cooler discussion material, and one book everyone and your mother and dog should read. Your mind will run rampant with trying to solve the mystery, and even if you think you have, you won’t. The plot is one big labyrinth of questions with no real answers. You’ll be equally excited and dumbfounded by what has occurred. The twists in this book are not-stop. As you turn each page, you don’t know what you will read next. More than half way through, Gone Girl has a pretty cut and dry way of storytelling, but then Gillian does something that will make your jaw drop, which in turn becomes even more shocking mainly because of the ending. I wanted to shake my fist at the ending because it’s so disturbing and WTF, and yet so well played.
A Private Gentleman is the first book I’ve read by Heidi Cullinan, and it certainly won’t be my last. This historical Gay (M/M) romance hit me hard because of the sensitive subject matter. From the moment I met the introverted, stuttering, opium addicted George Westin, every single one of my emotions were engaged. George tugged at my heart strings in ways I wasn’t expecting. His desire for the male prostitute, Michael Valliant, who loves books as much as he loves his independence, is all consuming. This story has exceeded all my expectations and then some. A Private Gentleman is one of those books that will stay with you long after you finish reading. I urge anyone who enjoys emotional historical romance and/or Gay romance to purchase this one.
Stacia Kane is my crack, second to only J.R. Ward. Her Downside Ghost series is unbelievably gritty, featuring Chess, a drug addicted witch who uses magic against evil ghosts, and her encompassing love for Terrible, a drug mob boss’s top henchman who puts the “f’ in fugly because of Terrible’s appearance and street dialect. Chasing Magic is the 5th book in this series, and the only book this year that brought me close to tears because it was an, uber-intense read. There’s a scene toward the end where Chess and Terrible are going into battle and may not survive. We see the true depth of feelings these two have for one another, and one simple statement from Terrible has cemented my love for him and for this couple forever. Words cannot do this series and Chasing Magic enough justice. Buy it, read it and please rave about it to anyone you can. Hands down, the best reading experience, the best couple and one of the best authors I’ve read this year goes to Stacia Kane.
I always pick one book as my #1 read of the year, but for the first time ever, I have a 3 way tie for best book of the year by the same author. The erotic genre has gotten a big, big push in 2012, and one author who puts all those other authors of erotica and erotic romance to shame is Tiffany Reisz. Tiffany writes the Original Sinners series. Originally I had no desire to read The Siren, the first book in the series. The reason was the subject matter. The main protagonist is Nora, an erotic romance author who also works part time as a dominatrix and enjoys BDSM and kinky sex. The reason is because of her one true love, her soul mate Soren, a man who is not only 15 years her senior but a well respected and admired priest. These two have been in a sexual relationship for almost 2 decades. Soren can only have sex if he inflicts pain, and Nora is his muse. She is his willing victim. But after reading reviews raving about the first book, The Siren, I took a chance. I’m so glad I did. The Siren and the next two books, The Angel and The Prince consumed me to the point I couldn’t read anything else. I cannot count the amount of times I’ve re-read excerpts from each one of these books.
Tiffany Reisz and her Original Sinners series is one of the most “original” and inventive pieces of literature I’ve read in a very long time. The Original Sinners books are not for every audience, and there are some sexual acts that occur that will make you flinch. But if you’re willing to take a chance and keep an open mind, I urge you to read Tiffany Reisz and this series. Her writing is a work of art.
And there you have it! My top picks for 2012. If I had to air one grievance, it would be that there are just not enough hours in the day to read.