Friday, December 21, 2007

The Best of the Best - HONORABLE MENTION(s)

I had no idea what torture it would be to pick three books to name as my 'favorite' books of the year. I really thought it would be simple, for some crazy reason. When I first proposed the idea to Chari-dee, it sounded like a really easy way to have a contest, give away a bunch of books, and get you guys to tell us what your favorite books were. Oh, for it to have been as easy as it sounded!

Of course, Chari-dee and I decided to set some guidelines, to make things a bit more fair. Our Best of the Best could only be books that came out this year, and we had to have reviewed them. Now you'll notice that one of my Top Picks actually came out last year, as did one of Chari-Dee's. Technically, we didn't follow our own guidelines. However, we'd both like to point out that the books in question were reviewed by us THIS year. So. There.

Why, then, are we doing a short-sweet of Honorable Mentions? Because we can. And, because we try, really we do, to follow our guidelines when we can. And because, well frankly, sticking to only three books is hard. So today, we bring you the books that woulda-coulda-shoulda made our BEST OF THE BEST list. And we'll even explain why they didn't.

dee's HMs...

Succubus Blues, by Richelle Mead

(You can read Chari-dee's review here.)

Here's a secret - I really don't like paranormal books. At. All. Witches? Don't like 'em. Vampires? Can't stand 'em. Magic and curses and spells? Think they're pretty silly, for the most part. Why on earth is this book on my list of HONORABLE MENTIONS for The BEST OF THE BEST? Are you kidding me? It's freakin' amazing!!

Chari-dee told me about it earlier this year and I thought, "Yep, she's lost it. She's picking a paranormal book, about a succubus in Seattle no less, as her FAB book this month? She's lost her mind this time!" Then she sent me a copy of the book. It took me two months to finally decide to read it, and that was only because she kept asking me if I'd read it already.

When you finally read a book that you are totally convinced you will NOT like, then have to stop yourself from kicking your own silly butt for not reading it sooner, you know the book is good. It was a strange blend of romance and redemption, blood and humor, with just a tad of twisted religion thrown in for good measure. And here's another secret - I gave it to my husband and he totally enjoyed it as well! (For the record, he's not into paranormals or romances, but he couldn't put it down, and is actually looking forward to the next one!!)

Why it didn't make my official list - There is NOTHING wrong with this book, and so many things RIGHT with this book, that if I could have picked FOUR books, it would have been on the list. As it is though, it gets my HM nod, and stands alone as the only paranormal ever to reach my Keeper Shelf.


Conversations With The Fat Girl, by Liza Palmer

(You can read dee's dish here.)

Do you ever just pick up a book and start reading, not really expecting anything more than a few hours of occupied time, and get so totally blown away that you can't stop thinking about the book for months? That's what happened when I finished reading this book.

I stumbled onto the book in Dallas at RWA Nationals. I brought it home, along with over 100 other books. It was one of those "Yeah, this looks interesting, and the author was really nice. And pretty. So I bought it," books. I had a few (dozen) of those, since I just can't pass up new/one book authors, ever. It has something to do with my own personal nightmare of sitting there and having not one single person stop to buy my book. I ended up with a lot of books that were decent, a few that were ok, not too many that were actually fairly good.

And then there was this one.

If I had to pick one book to give to friends about stepping out on faith and reaching for your dreams, this would be the book. If someone asked me for a book recommendation for someone battling weight issues, or overcoming self-doubt, or tackling their own fears, I would hand them this book. If any of my four beautiful girls ever question how I feel about them, or think that I love another one of them more because of the way they look or act or anything, I will pass this book on to them.

Frankly, it is one of the best books I've read in years. It is beautiful, even when dealing with ugly stereo-types. It is funny, even when stating sad truths. It is poignant and strong, smart and frank, solid and uplifting. In short, it's practically perfect. You'll be missing more than pink pastry boxes of happiness if you miss this Conversation!

Why it didn't make my official list - The reason, the ONLY reason, it isn't on my list is that it was actually published in 2005. And while this is our blog, even we can't stretch the boundaries of time to make this wonderful book eligible for 2007. However, keep your eyes open for Ms. Palmer's newest release, SEEING ME NAKED. Don't be surprised if we talk about it here really soon!


Chari-Dee's HM's:

(You can see dee's original dish here, and an interview with Kristan here )

I heart Kristan Higgins. I haven't exactly tried to keep it silent either. If you'll remember she was my last years Number 1 pick. Higgans has a way of crafting such lovable, real, honest characters - a way to craft stories that have you in the shoes of the heroine and unable to put the book down until the journey is over. COTD was no different. I laughed out loud, I blushed with embarrassment, I cried (yes, honestly cried), and I closed the book sad it was over but so much happier because of the reading of it.

I said it last year, and I'll say it again, sometimes, a girl just needs a feel-good read, and Higgans is a master at the feel good.

Why it didn't make my official list: I don't have a clear cut reason behind this one, other than to say I could only choose three. This book had it all, and I love it, and it's on my keeper shelf right next to Fools Rush In, and most likely, every book Higgans puts out. I can only hope she enjoys a LONG career, as I don't ever want to have a year without a new Higgans!


Crazy In Love by Lani Diane Rich

(You can see my original dish here.)

Seriously, have you ever read a book by Lani Diane Rich? If so, then you're not at all questioning why I've chosen this one to hang out with my Top Picks of the Year. Rich is FABulous.

Crazy is a book filled with laughs and love. You can't read a Rich novel and not laugh, I dare you to try, because you can't. And that's why I couldn't let this book be overlooked when thinking of my favorites of the year. I read this baby in less than 3 hours! Not because it's uber short, either, it's honestly just that good.

But, not only is Crazy an excellent Romance, Flynn Daly grows and learns in it as well. This book really was like a combination of Lani's work, Romance and Women's Fiction, rolled into one great big laugh 'til you cry, and smile when you're done book of happiness.

Why it didn't make my official list: ARGH!! No clue again. There just isn't room in the Top 3 for all of my favorites, and when I took a look at my list I tried to as diverse in the books I chose for my Top 3 as possible, so this one gets an HM nod, because I had to sing it's praises too.

Take Care


T.C. said...

You guys are so clear on why they didn't make the official list, I tell ya. LOL :D I'm teasing. I love that you guys have such a fondness for all these books! They're like automatic recommendations to me! This blog rocks.

RachaelfromNJ said...

I've been dying to try Richelle Mead's books!!!

Marg said...

Nope! None of these either!

I live in hope that maybe I have read your no.1 books!

dee said...

tc - *grin*, yeah, I know, right. We're so clear, we could be crystal. :) And we think YOU rock too. Thanks for reading!!

Rachael - You can't go wrong with Richelle's book. Trust me. And if you don't believe me, just ask Chari-Dee!!

marg - how did you miss these great reads, sweetie??? Now I'm worried about posting my #1 picks! :)