1. Best Book With A Troll, Centaur, and BBW:
Troll-y Yours by Sheri Fredricks
I got this book as a joke. A curvy-girl (BBW) book with a centaur, trolls, and various other quirky characters? Well, surprise, surprise! The book had great world-building details, an engaging romantic storyline, and even some interesting commentary on ethnic discrimination. I liked it!
2. Best Movie With A Hot Tub:
Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)
I'm not sure how I missed this gem in 2010, but I made up for my oversight by heartily enjoying it this year. John Cusack + 1980s music + asinine humor + Crispin Glover with his arm chopped off. It just doesn't get any better than that. I would recommend turning this movie-watching experience into a drinking game. Rules: Drink the whole time.
3. New Favorite Hilarious Over-The-Top Historical Writer Who Also Happens To Be Self-Published:
I read Penelope and Seeking Philbert Woodbead this year, and I was tickled pink with both of them. Wylde's sense of humor is divine--quirky, ridiculous, over-the-top farce. I just adore this type of historical romance novel. She has an utterly unique voice in this genre, and I was charmed.
4. Best Beard of the Year/Best Ginger Beard of the Year/Best Hairy Guy of the Year/you get the idea:
Lucas Parker on my blog
Lucas Parker on my Pinterest board
Lucas Parker on Twitter
Lucas Parker on Facebook
What? I like Lucas Parker. Sue me.
5. Favorite New Discovery:
She writes fabulous comedy, quirky characters, is a brilliant scientist, a devoted knitter, and wears giant potholder dresses on airplanes. What's not to love? This is my author-to-watch for 2014 and beyond. Talented, funny, willing to take chances and be innovative with the self-publishing industry. I adore her. Neanderthal Seeks Human, Penny's debut novel, is one of my favorite romance reads for 2013.
6. Dumbest New Trend In Romance: NA
New Adult? What's next? SCPA (Single Cell Pre-Adult, aka embryonic stage), IPWISA (I Pee When I Sneeze Adult--50-something romance), and possibly DA (Dead Adult, could also be a zombie book).
7. Best Use Of Tai Chi To Defeat Would-Be Villain Award...
....goes to My Sunshine by Catherine Anderson. A deranged lunatic vet tech who exposes her boobies and tries to take out the heroine with a big-ass knife, a brain-damaged character who has severe memory loss but remembers all of her tai chi moves just in the nick of time, and an asinine dog rescue on the highway make this one of the most ridiculous books I read this year. And that's saying something (see CUM 4 BIGFOOT).
8. Best Book With A Cat's POV:
The Girl With The Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir
Right up my alley. Quirky, cute, fun, romantic and even had a suspenseful storyline thrown in for good measure. You know when the cat's POV starts the book, you're in for a treat. And this book is a 5000-star treat. Another favorite romance read from 2013.
9. Favorite New Erotica Writer:
Scarlett likes to torture me on Twitter by discussing non-vanilla, troubling topics (bum sex *cough cough*). Also, she has the most exquisite cuss combinations on the face of the earth. So color me surprised when I discovered that this hard-cussing, highly-opinionated author has major writing chops, excellent character insight, fast-paced humorous dialogue, and sweat-inducing sex scenes. Her writing is a hybrid of literary fiction-style with erotica. It's fantastic. Another author-to-watch for 2014 and beyond.
10. Favorite 2013 Christmas Story:
Starry Night: A Christmas Novel by Debbie Macomber
Huge fat thank-you to Kate at Babbling About Books for recommending this adorable holiday story. I read a lot of stinkers this year, but this one was lovely. It had a grumpy bearded Alaskan writer! Grumpy! Bearded! Alaska! I loved it.
11. Favorite Cocktail:
Strawberry Basil Lemonade (with kick) at the NJRWA conference. Soooooooo good!
12. Best Vanilla Menage:
(and only vanilla menage)...
Commando Cowboys Seduce Their Woman by Paige Cameron
Let's face it. Finding a non-kinky menage story is almost impossible. Nevertheless, I was on a mission. To find a "sweeter" menage with no bum-sex, BDSM, or other sexual practices I needed to Google for clarification. And guess what? I found one! This book was a "caretaker" menage--the two hot studs cooked, cleaned, gave foot massages, and generally serviced their woman in a highly satisfactory manner.
And if you believe that one, I have some land to sell you in Florida.
But it was fun!
13. Most Disturbing Fashion Trend: The Hipster Lumberjack
Skinny jeans + cardigan sweaters + dorky glasses DOES NOT EQUAL lumberjack.
14. Favorite New Indie Book Set In New Orleans With Super Hot Chemistry:
Sweetened With A Kiss by Lexxi Callahan
I loved this book so much I read it twice in one week. Another wonderful debut showing by an indie author. Super smoky hot chemistry between the H/h made for a very sexy story, which was perfectly paired with a steamy New Orleans setting. Looking forward to more from this author.
15. Biggest Sci-Fi Film Disappointment of the Year:
Star Trek Into The Darkness
Hey, I have an idea! Let's make a sci fi film with the most iconic spaceship in the genre, and keep the cast grounded on earth for the majority of the movie? Isn't that a great idea?
Um, no. Actually it's a horrible freakin' idea.
Here's hoping the next Star Trek movie GETS US INTO SPACE!
16. Best Bigfoot Orgy Erotica Series:
Cum 4 Bigfoot by Virginia Wade
(I'm guessing that just by typing the last two sentences, I'm pretty much assuring myself a place in hell. I hope they have nice 2-BR condos there).
There's nothing like reading about pot-smoking, girl-abducting, growling, groaning, tea-drinking, loom-weaving, horny-ass bigfoot dudes to guarantee you'll never go into the woods again.
17. Best Starbucks Hot Beverage/Book Pairing:
I recommend drinking a tasty peppermint mocha while reading Christine DePetrillo's Alaska Heart, a lovely story about an Iditarod-winner in Alaska. Curling up in front of a fake duraflame-enhanced fire would also be a good idea.
18. Dumbest SyFy Movie Ever:
When you get so bored watching sharks fly out of the sky that you start reading catalogues in desperation, you know your made-for-television movie is a bust. Not even Tara Reid could save this one. I loved how the scene would be raining one moment, then sunny the next, then windy the next, then storming the next. I want that editing job!
19. Most Romantic Read of 2013:
The Tenderfoot Bride by Cheryl St. John (2007)
This oldie but goodie Harly was so wonderful I actually bought a print copy after reading the ebook. It's a traditional western romance with a gruff hero, a battered heroine desperate for a new life, and a super-satisfying, slow, simmering romance. I cried at the end. This is what romance is all about. Fabulous novel.
20. BEST BOOK OF 2013:
HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN by Louise Penny
After leaving her readers in quite a state following THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, Louise Penny had a huge challenge with this book. A complicated overlying story arc to be tied up, a heart-wrenching disintegration of a beloved character, a leader fighting seemingly impossible odds. So, what did she do? She wrote a gorgeous, romantic, satisfying book that was pure, utter bliss. Not only did it satisfy the mystery-lover in me, it satisfied the romance-lover, too.
How The Light Gets In is a winner by a long shot. And Gamache, without a doubt, is my "Best Hero of 2013."
Happy Reading To All!