Best & Worst of 2009
Since The Hope Chest Reviews is not dedicated to the latest book releases, most of the books on this list were not published in 2009. Instead the list is compiled from the books that were read and reviewed during the 2009 calendar year. If you would like to view our Best & Worst picks for past years, please visit the archive.
Author of the Year - Winner
J. K. Rowling (3 - 5 star keepers in a row)
Author of the Year - Runners-Up (Tie)
Best Overall Romance
Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath (5 stars)
Best Alternate Reality Romance
Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon (4½ stars)
Best Contemporary Romance
Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone (4½ stars)
Best Erotic Romance
Jane and the Sneaky Dom by Hannah Murray (5 stars)
Best Historical Romances (American)
Best Historical Romances (Britain & Other Countries)
Devil Takes a Bride by Gaelen Foley (5 stars)
Best Time Travel Romance
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (5 stars)
Best Romantic Short Stories
A Christmas Carol by Kathleen O'Reilly (5 stars)
Best Young Adult Books
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (5 stars)
Best Non-Fiction Books
Love in Condition Yellow: A Memoir of an Unlikely Marriage by Sophia Raday (5 stars)
Best Children's Books (Fiction)
Best Children's Picture Book
Find the Magic by Lee Cohen, Julia Harnett Harvey (4½ stars)
Most Surprising Winner
Two Suns in the Sky by Miriam Bat-Ami (4½ stars) - This book was a random buy from the library book sale, and did not have a particularly good rating on GoodReads. As such, I hadn't really expected much from it, but it ended up being a wonderful story.
The Indiscretion by Judith Ivory (1½ stars) - This book had all the elements to make it a story that I thought I would enjoy, but I ended up disliking the characters, the plot, and the author's writing style which didn't leave much else.
Tonight or Never by Dara Joy (4½ stars) - The hero and heroine running stark naked through the halls of their manor house had me in stitches, as did all their crazy house guests.
The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere (5 stars) - Occasionally I may get misty-eyed while reading a book, but rarely does one make me really shed tears. This one had me crying buckets even when I was just thinking about it and not reading it.
Best Christmas Stories
The tenderest, most touching romance I read this year that has milder content.
For me, the steamiest romance doesn't necessarily have the most erotic content. Instead it is the book(s) that best combine hot, sexy scenes with a deep emotional connection that really make the pages sizzle.
The books/short stories I had the hardest time finishing.
Most Impressive Debut
These weren't 2009 releases, but they were the debut stories for each of these authors and quite impressive for a first effort.
Best Overall Hero
Zarek of Moesia (Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon)
Best Overall Heroine
Lizzie Carlisle (Devil Takes a Bride by Gaelen Foley)
Most Tortured Heroes
Most Tortured Heroine
Marilee Nelson (Seventh Heaven by Catherine Anderson)
Most Frustrating/Annoying Hero
Sam Cody (The Indiscretion by Judith Ivory) - Prior to meeting the heroine, this guy had left two other brides at the alter on three different occasions which is a most un-endearing quality.
Most Frustrating/Annoying Heroine
Brenda Rafferty (Abide Duet by Elizabeth Murphy/Una McManus) - A professing Christian who nearly drove me to distraction with her wishy-washy, contradictory, and judgmental nature, but I was most frustrated by her constant lack of trust in the hero.
John Sexton (Tonight or Never by Dara Joy) - His nickname is "The Lord of Sex" which pretty much says it all.
Most Perfect Couple
Houston Leigh & Amelia Carson (Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath)
Best Child Characters
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