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Heavenly Bodies

Happy New Year, everyone!  I wish you all good health and good reads for the coming year.  I've seen a number of "best of 2011" lists circulating on the web this week (if you're interested, click here for a collection of lists), but today, on the cusp of the New Year, I'm more interested in looking forward than looking back.  I don't know about you, but I'm already anticipating a lot of great books and new series slated for 2012.  What new genre trends would YOU like to see in the coming year?

Here's my big prediction: I think paranormal romance is due for a major shake-up.  Shapeshifters are still going strong, but the vampire craze is on the way out.  They're not quite dead yet (if you'll excuse the pun), but it's beginning to feel like all the possible changes have been rung on tall, dark, and toothsome heroes.  Zombies were fun, but they don't really cut it as romantic leads.  (Sure, they'll give you their hearts-- literally-- but then they want to eat your brains, and that makes a "happily ever after" kind of hard.)  I'm certainly ready for something new.

Earlier this year, one of my colleagues suggested angels would be the next big thing, and I'm starting to think she's right.  There have been an increasing number of angel books coming out in the last few months-- fallen angels, particularly (we do love our bad boys, don't we?)-- and more are due in January and February.  I think it's time to investigate this trend a little more thoroughly.

Ready?  Top up your glass of champagne, and let's go check out some heavenly bodies.  (And don't worry-- if your tastes run more the other way, I've included a list of demon lovers, too!)

Angels of Romance

Bedeviled Angel by Annette Blair (Pbk-Romance Blair)
Assassin's Heart by Monica Burns (Pbk-Romance Burns)
Burning Alive by Shannon K. Butcher (Pbk-Romance Butcher)
Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day (Pbk-Romance Day)
Raziel by Kristina Douglas (Pbk-Romance Douglas)
Angel of Darkness by Cynthia Eden (Pbk-Romance Eden)
Angel Light by Andrew M. Greeley (Fiction Greeley)
Avenger's Angel by Heather Killough-Walden (Pbk-Romance Killough-Walden)
Highborn by Yvonne Navarro (Pbk-Fantasy Navarro)
Sins of the Angels by Linda Poitevin (Pbk-Romance Poitevin)
A Little Ray of Sunshine by Lani Diane Rich (Fiction Rich)
Archangel by Sharon Shinn (SF Shinn)
The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter (Pbk-Romance Showalter)
Angels of Darkness by Nalini Singh, ed. (Express Fantasy Angels)
Vampire Mine by Kerrelyn Sparks (Pbk-Romance Sparks)
Covet by J. R. Ward (Pbk-Romance Ward)

Demon Lovers:

Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong (Horror Armstrong)
The Darkest Touch by Jaci Burton (Pbk-Romance Burton)
Kiss & Hell by Dakota Cassidy (Pbk-Romance Cassidy)
Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole (Pbk-Romance Cole)
The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark (Express Fantasy Dark)
Mysteria Lane by MaryJanice Davidson, et al. (Pbk-Romance Mysteria)
Hotter than Hell by Martin H. Greenberg and Kim Harrison, eds. (Pbk-Romance Hotter)
The Demon's Daughter by Emma Holly (Horror Holly)
Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione (Pbk-Romance Ione)
Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones (Express Fantasy Jones)
Truth or Demon by Kathy Love (Pbk-Romance Love)
Devil May Care by Sheri McInnis (Fiction McInnis)
Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead (Pbk-Romance Mead)
The Demon in Me by Michelle Rowen (Pbk-Romance Rowen)
Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland (Fantasy Rowland)
Demons Are a Girl's Best Friend by Linda Wisdom (Pbk-Romance Wisdom)

Best of 2011 Lists:

Before you check out any other "best of" lists, I'd advise checking out the fantastic guide to romance that came out this year from Sarah Wendell (of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books fame), Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels (Express 809.385 WENDE).  If you're new to the romance genre or just want to try a category you haven't explored yet, you can't go wrong with one of her recommendations.  For a few good "Best Romances of 2011" lists, try these:

Paranormal Romance
USA Today: Happy Ever After: Romance Authors Choose Their Favorite Books of 2011
USA Today: Happy Ever After: More Romance Authors...
RT Book Reviews Readers' Choice 2011
LJ Best Books 2011: Romance
Best Romance Stories 2011


Now back to the angels!

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