How do you know it’s the holiday time? By all the tourists who have flocked to my lovely city? By the fact that stores along Madison Avenue seem to be piping out the smell of gingerbread and pine needles? (Seriously, if you live in New York, walk by the Sony building on Madison--there’s Christmas Smell coming from the windows, it’s a little disconcerting.) By the Menorahs starting to show up in store fronts? Nope. It’s by all of the bazillions of “Best Books of 2009” lists!

Here’s just a smattering:

Salon’s Best Non-Fiction

The New Yorker’s Review Favorites


So, obviously, it’s time for: Tessa’s Top Picks of 2009*

*The Fine Print: This list is in no particular order and is completely arbitrary and subject to change. It is based solely on my current mood which is, I’ll admit, a little cranky right now. If you ask me again in a week, it might be completely different.

Not all of these books were necessarily published in 2009. I’m often a little behind the times, ask anyone. And, yes, many of these will be HarperCollins titles--it’s not actually out of company loyalty but the fact that I am quite lazy and getting Avon Romances does not require me to leave my desk. Also, Avon rocks.

MERRY, MERRY GHOST by Carolyn Hart
This is one of the best mysteries I have read all year. It infused me with so much Yuletide Cheer. Which is especially funny since I read an early copy in July.

MASTERED BY LOVE by Stephanie Laurens
I’ve already blogged about my extreme love for this book.

These romances are so much fun and prove that you don’t have to have a “typical” hero to have a super hot and incredibly deep love story.

BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan
I actually read this book cover to cover which may have been a bad idea… I had a lot of trouble reading romance novels for the next couple of weeks without having the Smart Bitch’s voices in my head.

THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett
Please go out and buy this book. It is incredible. A new modern classic...

Another one that’s going to go on my new classics list. It’s so lovely and French.

DON'T TEMPT ME by Loretta Chase
I love how Loretta Chase is able to turn romance on its ear with her strong and incredibly interesting heroines. I just loved Zoe!

The Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries by C. S. Harris
I just discovered this series and have devoured four of them in the last week and a half. Anyone who enjoys historical mysteries should go out and pick one up! (Special thanks to Helen Breitwieser who turned me on to them.)

All of the books that I edited! Obviously.

Speaking of favorite things: I have 15 copies of an old favorite--Judith Ivory’s BLACK SILK. The first 15 people to leave a comment with their favorite (or least favorite!) book of the year get a copy! Think of it as my Chanukah, Christmas, Solstice, Kwanza present to you.


Blogger J.K. Coi said:

I loved Anna Campbell's book this year, and I finally read the Time Traveler's Wife and Kelley Armstrong's Bitten which I also loved. Tessa Dare's debut trilogy was amazing, and I also liked Sherry Thomas' Not Quite a Husband

2:38 PM  

Anonymous Veronica said:

I have read the Twilight Saga over and over again since June 09. I am a grandmother, so I hardly fit into the target audience for this series. But, the love story is so intense that it has reminded me of the dreams I had when I was a young girl about love...the kind that is so powerful that it will last an eternity, and the kind that you would die for if necessary.

2:49 PM  

Blogger Kimberly said:

I loved Jeaniene Frost's "Destined for an Early Grave." Can't wait for First Drop of Crimson.

2:49 PM  

Blogger Emily said:

I really liked Soulless by Gail Carriger. It was a really fun read, and I'm looking forward to the sequel. Tessa Dare's Goddess of the Hunt is a close second.

2:57 PM  

Blogger jedisakora said:

My least favorite book of the year would have to be the Twilight series. I read the whole series and can't figure out who they appeal to people. I found myself hating every single one of the characters in the book and had so many problem's with it's underlaying messages. The movies ruined things even more for me since i now can't look at Cedric straight in HP and GOF without making twilight jokes.

My favorite book i read this year would have to be a tie between the "Star Trek" movie novel adaptation (more Spock/Ahora in it ^^) & The Care and Taming of a Rouge by Suzanne Enoch. I literally zipped through both books and completely adored them. ^^

Melissa or or

2:58 PM  

Blogger AnimeJune said:

My favourite of 2009 would have to be Tessa Dare's "Goddess of the Hunt," closely tied with Julie James' "Practice Makes Perfect".

3:05 PM  

Blogger AnimeJune said:

I should have added Not Quite a Husband! I loved Not Quite a Husband!

3:06 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

AnimeJune, I just finished "Not Quite a Husband". It was excellent!

My favorite book this year was a tossup between Julia Quinn's "What Happens in London", and "The Madness of Sir Ian McKenzie". What an outstanding book.

I can't wait to see what treasures the New Year will bring to all of us!

3:11 PM  

Blogger April said:

My fave is Elizabeth Hoyt's The Legend Of The Four Soldiers
She is one of my very favorite authors.
My runner up would have to go to Lynsay Sands Argenuea series.

3:35 PM  

Anonymous Manda said:

For historicals, here's another vote for Tessa Dare's trilogy. Also adored Eloisa James' A DUKE OF HER OWN.

For Contemporaries, Toni Blake's ONE RECKLESS SUMMER was amazing.

And in Romantic Suspense, Leslie Parrish's Black Cats trilogy: FADE TO BLACK, PITCH BLACK, BLACK AT HEART.

3:39 PM  

Anonymous Tessa said:

You are all right, Tessa Dare should definitely have been on the list! ESPECIALLY since her second book involves both a governess AND a boat. Two of my absolute favorite things. If you want a copy of BLACK SILK, send me an email at with your address and I'll ship it along.

4:01 PM  

Blogger jedisakora said:

I keep hearing about Tessa Dare and "Not Quite a Husband". I'm going to have to look those up and add than to my "to buy" list. ^^

4:09 PM  

Blogger ErinT said:

My FAVORITE book of 2009 was "One Reckless Summer" by Toni Blake! I love big sexy, emotional books! I have recommended it to lots of other romance genre lovers!

4:12 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Without question my favorite book of 2009 is Destined For an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost. I was taken in by Cat and Bones from the first few chapters of her first book, and it has been a rollar coaster ride since then. DFAEG is so compelling, it is almost painful. Yet, I have read it over and over. No one can portray love and it's ups and downs like Jeaniene Frost. I am a wreck waiting for the next book!

4:24 PM  

Blogger Booklover1335 said:

My favorite this year was Deeper by Megan Hart. Gonna check out these other favs on the list that I have not already read

4:26 PM  

Blogger ColleenFL said:

My favorite book of the year was Destined For An Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost. I love Cat and Bones.

4:51 PM  

Blogger Jane said:

My favorite book of the year is Lori Brighton's "Wild Heart."

5:14 PM  

Anonymous Diana L Smith said:

I adored The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank.

5:38 PM  

Anonymous Big D said:

My favorite contemporary was One Reckless Summer by Toni Blake. It is a very heartwarming book and has a lot of twists.

5:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

My favorite book of the year was Destined For An Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost. I can't wait for First Drop of Crimson to come out!

5:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Definitely without a doutbt Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost. You don't know a sexy,romantic hero until you know Bones. Cat absolutely rocks as the female heroine too. No question.

6:23 PM  

Blogger Pam P said:

Love the St. Cyr Mysteries, too, Tessa, Loretta Chase, Sherry Thomas, Elizabeth Hoyt; Mastered by Love was very good and just starting on her latest.

Some of my top reads for 2009: Written on Your Skin and Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran; Scandal by Caroln Jewel, A Scotsman in Love by Karen Ranney.

7:00 PM  

Anonymous Amber said:

A couple of my favorites that come to mind are definitely Tessa Dare's new series, and Eloisa James' "This Duchess of Mine" and "A Duke of Her Own". I hated to see this series of Eloisa's end. I can only hope that she will write a book about their children, especially Toby.


9:00 PM  

Blogger Bella said:

I read and loved Mary Balogh's "At Last Comes Love" from her Huxtable series! I'm new to romance genre, but am happy I began with this series. I read it in order but Maggie's story, book 3 is my fave :)

9:30 PM  

Blogger Jamie Lynn said:

Loved Loved Loved Tessa Dare's debut trilogy! I just finished Kathryn Smith's When Seducing a Duke and that is pretty high up on my list. Plus you can't go wrong with Eloisa James and Julia Quinn.

Oh and must throw in some hot vampires with JR Ward's Lover Avenged. I love he BLack Dagger Brotherhood series!

There were so many good books this year!

11:11 PM  

Blogger ESI said:

Um, this is really fun and now my TBR pile is going to grow by a lot. Since we've covered most of my fave romances, I'm going to give a plug to The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. Amazing stories, writing, characters. I'm simultaneously on pins and needles waiting for book three and dreading it, as sadly Stieg passed away before any of his books were published and book three will be the last.

4:04 PM  

Anonymous Janey said:

One of my best discoveries of 2009 is a website publishing short story audiobooks. They have a section dedicated to romance: 'Stories of love and longing'. They're great to listen to on the way to work, and even my kids enjoy listening to them in the car!

5:46 AM  

Blogger jedisakora said:

Just out of curiosity when are the winners of the 15 books going to be posted?

11:58 AM  

Anonymous Tessa said:

Oh! I didn't think to post the winners! The first 15 people who commented should send me an email with their addresses at
So that would be:
JK Coi
Booklover 1335
Diana L Smith

9:56 AM  

Blogger jedisakora said:

Thanks so much Tessa ^^ I've sent my address.


7:17 PM  

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