My Top 10 Favorite Historical Romances

I carry paperbacks wherever I go, in my purse and in my car and I have been known to carry a paperback in my coat or sweater pocket. Yes, I love to read paperbacks and especially historical romances. Oh, how I love a good romance with a happy ending for all! These are my top 10 historical paperback romances for 2010 (of course, I have read other hardcover historical romances in 2010 but I’m limiting my top ten list to just paperbacks). For an entertaining, pure escapism read to warm you up on a cold winter’s night, these books won’t disappoint:

How I Met My Countess
by Elizabeth Boyle

Aching for Always
by Gwyn Cready

In Bed with the Duke
by Christina Dodd

A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior
by Suzanne Enoch

Wicked Intentions
by Elizabeth Hoyt

A Kiss at Midnight
by Eloisa James

Love in the Afternoon
by Lisa Kleypas

The Year of Living Scandalously
by Julia London

How to Beguile a Beauty
by Kasey Michaels

The Wicked Wyckerly
by Patricia Rice


As always…Happy Reading!           ~Donna

A Teen Librarian’s Favorite Adult Reads

I couldn’t end the week without mentioning just a couple more favorites. As the Teen Librarian the majority of the books I read are young adult books, which I love, but occasionally I need a break from the lives of teenagers. Here are a few of the non-YA books that I really enjoyed this year:

1. Faithful Place by Tana French is the third novel by this Irish mystery writer. I enjoyed the family history, the Irish slang, and the vivid descriptions of the Dublin neighborhood where the story takes place.

2. The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz is the fourth book featuring the quirky and hilarious family of private investigators, aka, the Spellmans. Anyone looking for a laugh-out-loud series will want to start at the beginning with The Spellman Files.

3. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley is the first book in a charming mystery series featuring the hilarious and precocious Flavia de Luce, who has become one of my favorite characters.

4. The 13th Hour by Richard Doestch is a fast-paced thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat.

5. Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth is the first book in The President’s Vampire series. This book is an action-packed political thriller with a unique paranormal twist.

6. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen is a magical and enchanting story about two different women finding their place in a quirky town full of misfits. I did not want this story to end.

In order to make this an official  Top Ten of 2010 I’ll finish off the list with a few more young adult novels. Here are a few YA books that I think will appeal to both teens and adults.

7. The Cardturner by Louis Sachar is a touching and at times hilarious book about a teenaged boy, his blind old great-uncle, and the game of bridge. With a hint of romance and magical realism, this book is a real gem.

8. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare is the first book in a prequel series to her Mortal Instruments series. This new series explores the world of Shadowhunters in Victorian England. All you adult fans of Twilight will want to read everything by Ms. Clare.

9. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer is the first book in the series starring Mary “Jacky” Faber, orphan, ship’s boy, pirate, fine lady, soldier, sailor, spy and all-around adventurer. This is one of my all time favorite series and I highly recommend checking out the audio versions of these books.

10. Lies by Michael Grant is the third book in the riveting Gone series. It’s been 7 months since all of the adults in Perdido Beach disappeared and those left behind are desperate to escape. Stephen King fans will not want to miss this fast-paced and creepy series.

This list has a little bit of everything-action, mystery, humor, and even vampires (but not the swoon-worthy sparkly kind) so you are bound to find something that you like!


Top Ten for 2010

My Top Ten Reads in 2010

Basically, I prefer to read thriller-suspense and crime fiction, and this list is weighted that way, but I’ve also thrown in a couple titles in other genres, too, because, Hey, I’m a librarian and will read almost anything—what can I say? So, in no particular order, here are my top ten choices for 2010:

The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch—After Nick Quinn’s wife is murdered, he is approached by a strange man who offers him the ability to re-live the last 12 hours and prevent his wife’s murder. But Nick quickly learns that when you attempt to change the past, you also must deal with unintended consequences.  I loved this book because of its original concept—it starts with chapter 12 and works backward to the first chapter.

The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd –When a radical terrorist group successfully gets away with millions in ransom money, Steve Vail, former FBI agent and current bricklayer, is asked to track them down because he doesn’t have to follow bureaucratic rules.  The fast-pacing and Vail’s hero factor take this thriller to the next level.

Faithful Place by Tana French—Dublin detective Frank Mackey returns to his childhood home after being away for twenty years when his first love’s suitcase is found in abandoned home.  On the night of their elopement so many years ago, Rosie never showed up and Frank thought he had been dumped. Now he must investigate her death as well as deal with former friends and family. Although this is the third book with Frank as a character, it can be read alone. The complex family relationships and haunting story will stick with you for a long time.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett—This is the story of three black maids and their relationships with their families, the families they serve, and each other is set in 1960’s Alabama during the onset of the Civil Rights Movement. I actually listened to this one and would highly recommend the audio version with its rich, multi-voice format.



The Burying Place by Brian Freeman—Detective Jonathan Stride is asked to help locate a missing baby in rural Minnesota when a young female officer lost on patrol stumbles upon a serial killer’s victim barely alive. Although it is the fifth book in a series, it can stand alone. The flawed characters, multiple plot twists and unrelenting action make this a book you won’t want to put down.



I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman—When Elizabeth Benedict was 15-years-old, she was held captive by a serial killer, and was the only one he didn’t kill. Now a married adult with a new name and family, the last thing “Eliza” expects is to have Walter Bowman find her and request her presence on death row before his execution. I’m a big fan of Lippman’s standalone psychological suspense and, WOW!! This one is her best yet. Don’t even start this book unless you have the time to read it in one sitting.

The Edge by Jeffrey Deaver—An avid game-theory expert, secret agent Corte is assigned to protect a DC police officer and his family while staying one step ahead of the man hired to kill them. As usual, Deaver keeps you on the edge of your seat. Just when you think you have things figured out, you realize that he’s tricked you with a red herring clue and you’re really several steps behind.  This is a truly amazing read.

Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko—Subtitled “thousands of simple food swaps that can save you 10,20, 30 pounds—or more!” this book shows you in full color what TO eat and what NOT TO eat. Really, how simple can it be? Enough said.

 There by Hangs a Tail: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer QuinnWhen a countess and her show dog are kidnapped, Chet and Bernie are hired to find them. Chet is a police-trained K-9 German Shepherd who failed his final exam when he chased a cat and Bernie owns a detective agency. The story, told through Chet’s eyes, is filled with kibble-sized tidbits of what dogs really think of humans. I’m really a cat person, but I LOVE these books!



The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley—On her second caper, teen sleuth Flavia de Luce sets out to investigate the suspicious death of famous puppeteer Rupert Porson with astonishing results. Clever writing, hijinks galore and a feisty main character make this series get better and better.


Ten…is a magic number…

and I have to say, I am glad I was able to read more great books than that this year! I made it one of my resolutions for the year to read more books and below are some of my favorites. Now if only I could get that treadmill dusted off!! Oh well, there’s always 2011!

 The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley

Heidegger’s Glasses by Thaisa Frank

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Emma by Jane Austen

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Innocent by Scott Turow

— Maureen

Top Ten Teen Titles of 2010

As I sat and stared at the blank screen trying to figure out how to start this list (how do I choose from so many great books?!?) I decided to take a peek at last years list. I found it interesting that many of my favorites from last year are back on my list this year. Thank you guys for being such busy authors! So, here it is, in no particular order, my favorites from 2010:

1. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan is the first book in a Percy Jackson spin-off series. Old characters mix with new, Greek gods share the stage with Roman gods and a new prophecy is revealed. Mr. Riordan must not sleep because he also published another book this year, The Red Pyramid, featuring the gods of ancient Egypt.

2. Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter is the fourth action-packed book starring Cammie Morgan and the girls from the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a top-secret spy school. Ms.Carter is another author who must not sleep because she also had a second book published this year, Heist Society which is hopefully the start of a new series!

3. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver offers a unique glimpse into the mind of a mean girl as Samantha King is forced to relive the last day of her life until she gets it right.

4. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantasky is smart and witty vampire romance. I freely admit that I am a sucker for a vampire romance, and this one does not disappoint.

5. White Cat by Holly Black is a dark and dangerous alternate reality story starring Cassel, the black sheep of his magical family. Gritty and suspenseful, this The Sopranos supernatural-style.

6. Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan is the second book set in the post-apocalypse future when the human race is threatened by the undead. Plenty of awesome zombie action here!

7. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson is a touching look at loss and grief, but quirky characters, humor, and a touch of romance prevent the story from being depressing. Instead, it becomes a celebration of healing, hope, and life.

8. The Dark Deeps: The Hunchback Assignments 2 by Arthur Slade is the second book in a new steampunk series starring Modo, a shape-shifting, hunchbacked spy in Victorian England.

9. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles is a romance about a pair of star-crossed lovers that is hot and steamy,  yet dark and gritty.

10. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins is full of magic, mystery, murder, romance, and snarky teen angst. Pure fun from start to finish with a cliffhanger ending will leave readers eager for more.

Phew, I made it to the end of this difficult to compile top ten list! I hope you find something here that you enjoy.


Finest Fiction/Nonfiction in 2010

God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours by Regina Brett

Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat  by David Dosa

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Thereby Hangs A Tail: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn

To Fetch a Thief: A Chet and Bernie by Spencer Quinn

Stay a Little Longer by Dorothy Garlock

The Red Thread by Ann Hood

In the Company of Others: A Father Tim Novel by Jan Karon

Blue Orchard  by Jackson Taylor

The Girl Who Chased the Moon  by Sarah Addison Allen

— Emma

Almost Reads, not Almost Rans: Top 10 Books I Started this Year and Never Finished (but really want to)

As we all know, life can get pretty busy and stressful. This past year has been especially so for me and let’s just say if I had a better prescription for Valium, I would’ve been keeping the pharmacist busy.  So when I sat down to list my top books of the year, I realized I had begun many but finished few.  Due to no fault of the author – many I started were very good (or seemed to be starting out well) –  I just didn’t finish them for various reasons. Can anyone guess what one of my New Year’s resolutions is going to be?

Hunting and Gathering by Anna Galvada  – good writing about damaged people with threads of hope woven in, that will hopefully be tied together when I do finish it.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – and it’s a trilogy, ack!

Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin – opened up a world so unknown to me.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave – one of the best opening chapters I’ve read in a while.

Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay – why no one has optioned this for a movie, I don’t understand…of course the ending could stink.

Timothy, or, Notes of an Abject Reptile by Verlyn Klinkenborg – come on, with a title like that…

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer – a part of WWII I’ve not read about before.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender – magical realism and food? Win-win.

 The last two are mysteries from authors I always enjoy that I haven’t yet deluded myself into thinking I’ll make the time:

Stranger in Mayfair by Charles Finch and Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indriaasen

Enjoy – but don’t tell me about any of the endings!


Teeeeeeeeeeeeerrific 10 of 2010

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman – In this debut novel twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is left to care for her mentally ill mother while her father escapes through his job as a traveling salesman. When CeeCee’s mother dies CeeCee is rescued by her Great Aunt Tootie and whisked away to Savannah, Georgia where the rest of her life begins.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson – Widower Major Ernest Pettigrew of Edgecombe St. Mary, England is living a quiet yet proper life six years after the loss of his wife. On the day the Major finds out that his brother Bertie has died, his chance encounter with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a widowed Pakistani shopkeeper, sets the stage for this delightful story.

Fragile Beasts by Tawni O’Dell – From the bullfighting ring in Spain in the 1950’s to a coal mining town in Pennsylvania in the 2000s, this novel brings two fractured families together in an unlikely story of personal hardship and redemption.

Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff – A chance encounter leads to a passionate love affair between upper class Lily Davis Woodward and Italian immigrant Jake Russo.

The Red Thread by Ann Hood – Following the freak accident that kills her baby daughter, Maya Lange starts an adoption agency that brings together Chinese baby girls with American families.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult – Eighteen-year-old Jacob Hunt has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. He is highly intelligent but socially inept. His mother, Emma, spends most of her time as an advocate for Jacob. As a result, Theo, her youngest son, gets less attention. As the reader you will get to know and love this family, especially Jacob.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins is the third and final book in the  fabulous, young adult  Hunger Games trilogy. It is a worthy conclusion. (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay)

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi – In the futuristic Gulf Coast area of America, Nailer, a teenaged boy leads a day-to-day existence stripping copper from old, grounded oil tankers. After a hurricane Nailer discovers a wrecked clipper ship full of valuables and a beautiful young girl, which may lead Nailer to a better life. (young adult adventure)

The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard – The Planks and the Dickersons are two families that are as different as night and day. They are united by the fact that their daughters were born on July 4th of the same year in the same hospital. This connection develops into an annual, uncomfortable tradition of the Planks visiting the Dickersons. The story ends with a stunning revelation that explains all that has gone before.

Nemesis  by Philip Roth – is the story of the polio epidemic as it invades Weequahic, New Jersey in the stifling hot summer of 1944 and how it affects both the healthy and the stricken throughout their lives. Memorable.


Top 10 of 2010

These are some of the books I loved in 2010 and why:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen for making me see that with too much freedom comes too much responsibility

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman for showing how passionate (read crazy) people can be about literature that moves them

Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide by Jon Stewart for HeheheheHahahaHAAHAAHAAHAA

Write Like Hemingway: Writing Lessons You Can Learn from the Master by R. Andrew Wilson for pointing out the nuances of the writer’s greatness

Solar by Ian McEwan for showing the possible dark side of success

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon for being a literary page-turner

The Road by Cormac McCarthy—wow

Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross for not talking about Bay Village, Ohio in the fifties in the obvious way

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey for making me want to move to Maui and become a tow surfer—and I can’t swim

Little Richard: The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll by David Kirby for the memories, especially for…”Tutti Frutti aw rootey, Tutti Frutti aw rootey, Tutti Frutti aw rootey, A-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-lop-bam boom!”


Top Ten of ‘Ten’

 It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Oh wait! First I must decide on my favorites from this year. This is actually harder than it sounds. I read and loved many books so far this year, it is so hard to choose only ten. I am certain that there are one or two titles that I have forgotten about or (gasp!) haven’t uncovered yet. Also, I have a to-be-read pile at home that I will admit is not getting any smaller. (You try working in a library and not going home with a title or two every day! I dare you!)

Enough disclaimers? I can’t promise this is my final list, but what I can promise that I loved all of the following:

The Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn — Book 4 in the Lady Julia Grey series is a perfect blending of romance and mystery set against a Victorian era backdrop.

The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton — Looking for thrills? This novel is unputdownable psychological suspense.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan — Literary fiction that follows lives of punk music scene-sters from the 1970s and beyond.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins — The Hunger Games trilogy, all wrapped up with book 3, provides a satisfying end to a fabulous series.

Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom — Unforgettable reading about love, loss, and, regret in a collection of interconnected short stories.

The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst — Literary fiction with a murder mystery and family drama at its core.

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow — A beautifully rendered exploration of race and identity wrapped in an unforgettable coming-of-age story.

Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch — Literary suspense abounds when one brother is found dead and another is accused of his murder.

Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich — This married couple in Erdrich’s latest  have decided to end their union. Or have they?These two expertly drawn characters treat one another so badly, it’s impossible to look away and makes for compelling reading.  

Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz –This fourth entry in the Spellman series is the best yet. Funny, mad-cap, crime solving mixes with goofy family hijinx and a cute love story too, this novel has it all!

Hope there is something in this list that you might enjoy, too! Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!