While looking through last year's list of 98 books and 2 novellas (I'm such a dork to keep saying it that way), I decided to jot down a few that stood out to me. These would be my favorite reads of 2010, in no particular order (click the titles to go to my full reviews):
Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. This was the first book I read for the year. I gave it 5 stars at the time and, sure enough, 97 books later it is still one of my favorite reads of the year. The story is bittersweet but the emotional investment I had with the characters (even when I didn't like their choices) made it great.
The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I read all three of the books in this series during the year. I thought the first book was the best of the three, but as a whole the series was suspenseful and terrifying, providing a chilling look at a dystopian world that entertains itself (and controls the masses) by forcing teens to battle each other to the death.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. I enjoyed reading this author's first book, Garden Spells, a couple of years ago, and I enjoyed this title even more. The elements of magical realism brought a charming sparkle to the story, which is populated by characters I could really care about.
Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers. One of my favorite Christian fiction reads of the year, the realistic characters won me over. Nothing is sugar-coated or easy in this book, and it portrays a set of family relationships that just breaks your heart.
Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman. This book's gothic setting and story-within-a-story kept me turning the pages. I loved the mystery and suspense of it all, even if some of the twists felt a tad unrealistic by the end.
Stay by Allie Larkin. This was the funniest book I read in 2010. A single girl trying to get over her best friend marrying the man she loves buys a highly-trained German Shepherd over the internet while in an alcohol-induced stupor. When a rather large dog arrives instead of the small puppy she expects, hilarity ensues. It's definitely a plus that the local vet is dreamy and sweet. Fun, fun read.
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Another work of historical fiction that knocked my socks off. Set around the time of the Japanese invasion, it portrays a pair of sisters who survive the nightmare and escape to America and an unknown future. I am looking forward to the sequel to this one.
The Fiddler's Gun by A.S. Peterson. You can't go wrong with soldiers, pirates, revolution, and a tomboy modeled on the Georgia War Woman. This was an action-packed novel with introspection to boot. Can't wait to read the sequel, Fiddler's Green!
The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman. So not my typical read, but I thought it was one of the coolest books of 2010. The steampunk-fantasy (half-made) world that Gilman transports the reader to is fabulous. Another book with a sequel in the works that I can't wait to get my hands on!
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin. Seriously, I can't believe I hadn't read this before 2010. It would have been right up my alley when I was a kid, and even in my first reading of it I felt nostalgic.
Mirrored Image by Alice K. Arenz. Romantic suspense so full of twists and turns that you hardly know what will happen next. This book made me want to delve deeper into this sub-genre.
The Heroine's Bookshelf by Erin Blakemore. A book all about the love of novel heroines--how can a book-lover like me not love it?? I added so many new books to my wishlist and TBR just from this book alone that it deserves to be considered one of the most influential books I read in 2010.
A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin. Christian historical fiction set on the US homefront during World War II, with characters you care about and realistic problems. Wonderful reading. Lynn Austin is an author I want to read more of.
StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce. One of my last reads of the year, this wonderfully imaginative YA Fantasy is the first book in a planned series. I was surprised by the wonderfully believable world-building (especially the politics!) in a world that has magical elements.
So those were my top reads of 2010. I have no idea how I will be able to make a list like this next year when all of the books I've read so far this year have been fabulous. I'm looking forward to sharing them with you next month!