I started reviewing books on this blog back in July, and over the last six months it's been my pleasure to read countless fantastic creations by new and up-coming authors. Now, with January 1st only two days away and no more reviews to post before the new year, I'd like to present my year-end best-of list.
These are the top fifteen rated books I've gone through this year, in ascending order. All the writers I've had the pleasure of reading did a fantastic job, but these, to me, are the cream of the crop, the best of the best.
So here we go...
#15 - Roman Hell by Mark Mellon (4.5) - A fascinating journey into history, where witchcraft and elder gods rule the roost of ancient Rome.
#14 - Down the Drain by Daniel Pyle (4.5) - A short and creepy exploration into what it means to be molested by a bath tub.
#13 - 33 A.D. by David McAfee (4.5) - Vampires in Jerusalem, fighting the onset of Christianity? Yes, please. Best vampire book in years.
#12 - The Weight of Blood by David Dalglish (4.5) - The rest of this list is a little Dalglish-heavy, and with good reason. TWoB is an introduction to Harruq and Qurrah, the half-orc brothers who've captured my attention. Not as good as the rest, but still a fantastic beginning to a violent and emotional series.
#11 - Powerless: The Synthesis by Jason Letts (4.5) - Innocent and full of self-discovery, this first book in Letts' series tugs at the heartstrings and really makes you care.
#10 - The Venom of Vipers by K.C. May (4.6) - An exploration into what it means to be human that goes well beyond the mundane and plays upon the fear that our legacy as a people might not be all it's cracked up to be.
#9 - The Death of Promises by David Dalglish (4.7) - This is where the half-orc series jumps in scope. It becomes larger than life, epic even, and the fun to be had inside its pages is plenty.
#8 - The Shadows of Grace by David Dalglish (4.7) - The penultimate book in the series, which brings the storyline (almost) full circle.
#7 - Pale Boundaries by Scott Cleveland (4.8) - A science fiction adventure that presents an alternate look at society and the treachery that may lay behind many social and ecological restrictions.
#6 - Firefly Island by Daniel Arenson (4.8) - Innocent and dark at the same time, this fantasy adventure snatches you up by the heartstrings and lets you know just how much the choices we make in life matter.
#5 - Hollowland by Amanda Hocking (4.8) - A fantastic journey into the zombie apocalypse genre from a female perspective. Violent, bloody, and full of heart, it's what horror should be.
#4 - Cameo and the Highwayman by Dawn McCullough-White (4.8) - Tortured women, tortured men, and an underlying theme of the damage we do to each other make this one hell of a great book.
#3 - Have Gun, Will Play by Camille LaGuire (4.9) - The most surprising addition to my favorites list, a western mystery that sucks you in from the first page, makes you laugh, cringe, and thump your head on the wall, then spits you out on the other side feeling like you've just read something great.
#2 - A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish (5.0) - The author takes a departure from his series to give us a story of intrigue and mob culture under the guise of a far-away fantasy realm.
#1 - The Cost of Betrayal by David Dalglish (5.0)
This is a perfect book. It's gritty and emotional, with one of the best, most heart-wrenching endings I've ever read. As I said in the review, this is one of the greatest books I've read in all my life, and the easy choice for best of 2010.
Note: This list is only for novels, but I'd also like to mention Lessons by Michael Crane, a collection of ultra-short horror stories, and Shock Totem Magazine Issue 2, as they are very strong, as well.
All the books I've read this year I've enjoyed immensely, and remember, as I said, these are only the best of the best. If you want to see more, simply look through the listing of reviews. You're sure to find something worthwhile. I guarantee it.
I hope everyone has a happy and productive 2011! I know I sure as hell will.