In no particular order- and I'm considering series "one" story.
1. When True Night Falls & Crown of Shadows- CS Friedman
This was on my wishlist for awhile. Paul (Legolas) had recommended the trilogy to me. What I got was the best, and zomg sexiest , antihero I've ever had the opportunity to meet. Celia doesn't ask easy questions, and the answers you get aren't always necessarily what you want to hear. If you like books with a distinct line between good and evil, this isn't the book for you.
2. Stories of Your Life and Others- Ted Chiang
Anastasia gave this book to me as a wedding gift last year. This is a short story collection with some intense, deep ideas to explore. Short stories aren't normally my style, but Chiang manages to keep me mesmerized. A few of the stories were utterly mind-blowing.
3. The Sparrow- Mary Doria Russell
This book almost gets an honorary spot on my list. It was hyped really big, and I think it could have used a bit more editing, but overall it was damn good. Russell spends a lot of time introducing you to the characters, but it's not wasted time, because you really feel like you know these people. Fans of relationship and character based stories will enjoy it.
4. Melusine, The Virtu, and the Mirador- Sarah Monette
The first two were given to me as a gift from Kristen (Fastia). Monette is so easy to read. Her characters are very flawed and very real. Her fantasy world is imaginitive without stretching the bounds of credibility. It's a unique story about two brothers finding each other and discovering the relationship they've been missing their whole lives. The best part is that Melusine was her debut novel. She's one of the faces to watch closely in the future.
5. Gabriel's Ghost and Shades of Dark- Linnea Sinclair
Anastasia also sent me Gabriel's Ghost as a wedding gift. Wrapping romance in space opera, Linnea leads you into the lives of her vivid protagonists. Trying to stop an interstellar nightmare, Sully and Chaz have to work through their own problems in their relationship- and it's not an easy task. Very readable, great sex, and some adrenaline pumping action thrown in as well.
6. A Companion to Wolves- Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear
I'm going to say right now that this book is not for everyone. It's the story of a group of men bonded to wolves who protect their people from the things in the night. But with the bonding comes a price. Though not everyone would want to read about this particular price, I thought it was a great story about the inner conflict a young man faces in finding the closest bond possible.
7. The Last Hawk- Catherine Asaro
Catherine constantly amazes me with her blend of hard science fiction and depth of character development. If you haven't noticed, that's usually what it takes to impress me. This is the story of Kelric, stranded on a world ruled by females, struggling on a planet that is slowly killing him. But on his journey, he finds new and unexpected things to live for- and discovers a new way of thinking that just might bring him the edge he needs to find his way home.
8. The Hero of Ages- Brandon Sanderson
I thought the ending of Sanderson's trilogy was fantastic. Having read both Elantris and the Mistborn trilogy, I think he'll do a great job finishing Robert Jordan's series. You finally discover those things you were wondering about before- the Lord Ruler's conflicts, the reasons behind the dying world. And the sacrifice made to save the world is sharp and bittersweet, but also very fitting and well worth the read to find out the answers.
9. The Ghosts of Blood and Innocence- Storm Constantine
Ah, so you finally want to know the answers about the Wraeththu histories? What happened to Lileem? What is the secret behind Kamagrian and Wraeththu? What happened to that special pearl the Tigrons and Tigrina made? You finally get closure for all these questions. And Pell and Cal make a bigger appearance than they have since the original trilogy. While I don't think anything could touch the brilliance of the original for me, Ghosts is a satisfactory end to something that I really wish would never end.
10. China Mountain Zhang- Maureen F. McHugh
A surprise delight! McHugh's debut goes in the section labeled "serious lit that I actually like." And anybody who knows me knows that those books are few and far between. Following the story of a young man in post- socialist revolution America, McHugh manages to show Zhang's life in 3D, giving you a view of both him and the people connected to him and the way they all fit together to create a community. I consider this one a must read and a future classic.