Guest Reviewers’ Top Books for 2009

Many of the books on the site in 2009 were reviewed by the Guest Reviewers so I asked them to come up with their lists of top books for this year. In alphabetical order here are the books rated by Christian, Erastes, Jenre, Kassa, Kris, Leslie, Lynn, Maddy, Val and Victor J. Banis:

Christian’s Top 3 Books for 2009

  1. False Colors by Alex Beecroft
  2. Lessons in Desire by Charlie Cochrane
  3. The Witch’s Boy by Alex Beecroft

Erastes’s Top 4 Books for 2009

  1. An Improper Holiday by K.A. Mitchell
  2. Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
  3. The Green Manby M. King
  4. The Golden Horse by M. King

Jenre’s Top 10 Books for 2009

Kassa’s Top 5 Books for 2009

  1. Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley
  2. The Morning Star by M. Chandler
  3. Taming Groomzilla by EN Holland
  4. Geography of a Murder by P.A. Brown
  5. Second Thoughts by Steve Berman

Kris’s Top 5 Books of 2009

  1. Hero by Perry Moore
  2. Vintage by Steve Berman
  3. Angel Land by Victor J Banis
  4. A Face Without A Heart by Rick Reed
  5. The Archer’s Heart by Astrid Amara

Leslie’s Top 3 Lists for 2009


  1. The Rest of Our Lives by Dan Stone
  2. Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg
  3. The Lonely War by Alan Chin


  1. The Golden Age of Gay Fiction edited by Drewey Wayne Gunn
  2. American Hunks edited by David L. Chapman and Brett Josef Grubisic
  3. (tie) The Meaning of Matthew by Judy Shepard
    (tie) A Report From Winter by Wayne Courtois

Aunt Lynn’s Top 10 Books for 2009
Making a list for 2009 was a challenge for me because, first, there were so many good books released — and ones I had the honor to offer an opinion — but also because I consumed and reviewed a high number of great series books this past year that must be taken into consideration. As such, and perhaps a bit differently than the other reviewers, here is my list:

  1. Snowball in Hell by Josh Lanyon (as part of his Collected Novellas, Volume I)
  2. Dreaming of You by Ethan Day
  3. Lee Rowan’s Articles of War series (Ransom, Touch, Trilogy No. 109: Sail Away, Winds of Change, Eye of the Storm)
  4. Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows Mysteries series (Lessons in Discovery, Lessons in Power, Lessons in Temptation)*
  5. Richard Stevenson’s long-running Donald Strachey Mystery series, particularly and most notably the latest installment The 38 Million Dollar Smile**
  6. Sticks and Stones by Jamie Craig
  7. The Phoenix by Ruth Sims
  8. Admit One by Jenna Hilary Sinclair
  9. by Neil Plakcy
  10. Warrior’s Cross by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban

* Note: I did not review the first two books (Lessons in Love and Lessons in Desire) in this wonderful series, though I would consider them as part of the package

** Note: I did not review Book One of this series, Death Trick, but again, the whole package is definitely worth the read.

Maddy Cain

The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren

Val Kovalin’s Top 6 Books for 2009

  1. Border Roads by Sarah Black
  2. Glad Hands by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks
  3. Uneven by Anah Crow
  4. A Dangerous Man by Anne Brooke
  5. Shell Shocked by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks
  6. The Curse of the Pharoah’s Manicurists by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks

Victor J. Banis

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx


  • Great lists! God, so many great books. Here’s my list. Also in no particular order.
    Steve Kluger – Almost Like Being In Love (It was published 5 years ago, but I read it this year, after your review. It’s a MUST on the list. Great, great book!)
    Josh Lanyon – Adrien English 05 – The Dark Tide (Any of his books published this year – Out of the Blue, Strange Fortune or The Dickens with Love, for example – can be on this list. But, the last of AE books has a special place in my reading universe and heart, so The Dark Tide it is. ^^)
    Z.A. Maxfield – Notturno (I love this book so much. In fact, I think this was the first gay romance book that made me write the response at the author’s blog. I wrote to the authors before, but never the authors of gay romance. Donte is love. Can’t wait for sequel.)
    Catt Ford & Sean Kennedy – Dash & Dingo (You said it all in your review. I had so much fun with this book. Well done.)
    Lynn Lorenz – Edward Unconditionally (Funny, cute, Edward & his dog had my heart in the first 10 pages.
    Victor J. Banis – Deadly Series (Hey, it’s Victor, do I need to say more? Heh. Tom and Stanley make one of my favorite couples in gay romance. If they would move next door to me, Stanley and I could annoy Tom together. XD)
    James Buchanan – Hard Fall (Love, love, love this book. I love Buchanan’s Taking the Odds series and Nicky and Brandon, but Hard Fall was something else. I loved all the characters, but Joe has special place in my heart. The way he kept his fate and his love in spite of bigotry around him was amazing. We need more heroes like Joe.)
    Charlie Cochrane – Cambridge Fellows Series (The way Jonty and Orlando grow from book to book is amazing. The humor is amazing, the setting, the emotions – everything. I can’t wait to read more.)
    Alan Chin – The Lonely War (I cried through the last 150 pages of this book. Andrew stole my heart – with his courage, goodness, resourcefulness, strength. I still think about this book and I’m sure it will stay with me for a long, long time. I asked Alan to write a lighter book next time though. XD)
    Zero at the Bone – Jane Seville (Action-packed book, two great characters, can’t wait for sequel. I wasn’t miffed by the epilogue like some people. I guess I am one of those people who always want more, more, more about the characters.)
    The following books (and some I certainly forgot) could have been on the list just as easily, because I’m changing my mind every 5 minutes. XD These are all great books I enjoyed very much. So, Honourable Mentions:

    Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks – Shell Shocked
    Ethan Day – Dreaming of You
    James Buchanan – Personal Demons
    Jenna Hilary Sinclair – Admit One
    Shades of Grey – Brooke McKinley
    Jordan Castillo Price – Camp Hell
    If I remember more, I’ll just add them here. And I bet I will, the moment I hit Submit Comment button. *g*

  • Ooh, so lovely to be on these lists twice for different books – thanks for that! Also great to see Admit One (which I loved) and Zero at the Bone (which I also loved) up there! And of course Alex’s False Colors is fabulous too :)


  • I knew these lists were going to be great! I actually have read most book recommended, but there are a few I need to get my hands on! Thanks to all you guys for taking the time to compile your lists…as I said in an earlier post my list has about 100 on it, cause I am extremely indecisive and have a hard time narrowing any kind of “best of” or “favorites” down to a mere 5 or 10…and now my list grows again *winks*….off I go to the e-book store and book store to get myself a little (or a BIG) present(s) yay!

  • That’s pretty amazing that all those people have nearly all different books, which is also very cool. Means that there is something out there for everyone no matter what genre or style you prefer. Lots of those I agree with and many I’m unfamiliar with. Lots to explore. I could never narrow it down to 5 or 10. Too difficult.
    Great job guys. Hope you enjoy the 2010 books as much. (Which I’m sure we all will.)

    • Tam
      The deal was that we could only rate those books we reviewed, which is why everyone’s list is different. Mine will be totally different as well when I publish it tomorrow.

  • My list of best reads for 2009 are in no particular order:
    Carol Gray: A red tainted silence
    Madelein Urban/Abigail Roux: The one that got away (1&2)
    Victor J. Banis: Longhorns
    Catt Ford: A strong hand
    ZAM: Drawn together
    Jane Seville: Zero to the Bone
    Lex Valentine: Fire Season
    Evangeline Anderson: Broken Boundaries
    Lynn Lorenz: Edward Unconditionally
    Josh Lanyon: Dark Tide
    Of course there are some more, but these spring to mind immediately when making a list

  • Yes, Tam, Wave asked us to select only books we had reviewed here at the site, which is why I kept my list short (I’ve only been reviewing here since September).

    This is my complete and total top 10 list, which I’ve posted in a few places, so I will share here, too:

    1. Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger
    2. False Colors by Alex Beecroft
    3. Blessed Isle by Alex Beecroft (included in the Hidden Conflict anthology)
    4. Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg
    5. Raising Jake by Charlie Carillo
    6. The Rest of Our Lives by Dan Stone
    7. Paper Moon by Marion Husband
    8. The Boy I Love by Marion Husband
    9. Transgressions by Erastes
    10. The Lonely War by Alan Chin (tie)
    10. Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (tie)

    no. 5, Raising Jake is not a m/m story, it is a coming of age story for a son and his father. I really enjoyed the dynamic between the two main characters and would highly recommend it.
    nos. 7 and 8 are historical fiction (WWI and WWII) with lots of characters–a homosexual theme is important in both but they are not exclusively m/m stories. I’d highly recommend both. Erastes reviewed no. 8 at Speak Its Name and I reviewed no. 7 (the sequel, which I liked a tiny bit better). I think everyone is familiar with all the others.

    I should probably add a stipulation that I read all these books on my Kindle. I didn’t include the paper books I read.


    • Leslie
      I am also limiting myself to those books that I reviewed on the site – there are many others that I read which I didn’t review, but like everyone else I’m not including them in my official list.


      This way the readers have an incredible list of great books from which to choose if they want to buy any of those on the list, rather than have almost identical lists of books.

  • So thrilled that my novel Admit One is mentioned by Aunt Lynn! Thanks so much for that.

    Have to mention that the link from my title doesn’t go to the review but to an entirely different book mentioned, The Phoenix. Please, any chance that could be fixed? The link to the Admit One review by Aunt Lynn (I so appreciated the detail she went into) is here: Thanks for the help in fixing this.

    I especially loved False Colors, The Bones of Summer, and Zero at the Bone from these lists. Lots of great reading here!

    • Winn
      You’ll have to get out your notepaper and pen again later today when another list will makes its appearance. 😀 Just give that credit card a workout!!

  • Thanks to all the reviewers for their lists because it’s always a delight to find new books and new authors, as well as to find friends and familiar favorites listed among other peoples’ favorites! Sharing books is such a cool thing.

    And big thanks to Aunt Lynn, who listed my book The Phoenix! And also big thanks to Victor, who kind of jumped the gun by a few months (g), but who listed Counterpoint.

    What a great way to end the year.

  • Lots of great books there! I read and loved many of them there. I am rubbish in prioritising favourites, but the following are definitely on my top 10 list:

    The Dark Tide – Josh Lanyon
    Out of the Blue – Josh Lanyon
    Strange Fortune – Josh Lanyon
    Shades of Gray – Brooke McKinley
    Admit One – Jenna Hilary Sinclair
    LA Boneyard – PA Brown
    Zero at the Bone – Jane Seville
    Whistling in the Dark – Tamara Allen
    Regularly Scheduled Life – KA Mitchell – Neil Plakcy
    Lovers and Other Strangers – Josh Lanyon

    • Hey Eve
      You have some of my faves on your list. You have to check out my list which will be posted later today. I still haven’t read Regularly scheduled Life – too angsty. 😀

  • What wonderful lists! I’m thrilled to find a couple of my titles on them. Thanks to everyone who listed their favorite books, I found some I haven’t read yet and they all look so enticing.

    I’m also thrilled to see Steve Kluger on so many of them, I am a HUGE fan of his, and loved “Almost Like Being in Love” and his other novel, “My Most Excellent Year,” to BITS. “The Last Days of Summer,” and “Changing Pitches,” are high on my TBR pile, somewhere in my terribly messy stack of things I’m planning to read soon.

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