A closet readers take on: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Erotica, YA Fiction & Audiobooks

Saturday, December 31, 2011

TOP BOOKS OF 2011 - Blogger Edition

It’s just about time for the party hats, noise makers, and countdowns to begin. I may not have a big shiny ball or Dick Clark, excuse me, I mean Ryan Seacrest, but I’m having my very own countdown. This has been a great year of book! I watched one of my most beloved series come to a heartbreaking end, as well as picked some new spectacular series as well.

With 2012 just around the corner, I decided to get together with my favorite book bloggers, authors and audiobook narrators to ask them about their favorite books of 2011. This blog is part one of three in my Top Books of 2011 series (Book Bloggers, Authors, & Audibooks).


Name :
Book Blog Address: http://chicklitplus.com
Twitter Address: @chicklitplus

Top Books of 2011

#1 A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess / Chick Lit / A laugh out loud comedy that will have you relating, laughing, and cringing with the main character!

#2 Here, Home, Hope by Kaira Roud / Women’s Fiction / A book that will inspire women to always be their best and work hard at their goals.

#3 Girl in a Spin by Clodagh Murphy / Chick Lit / A novel that will make you think, laugh and cry. An all around total package.

#4 Stay by Allie Larkin / Women’s Fiction / Super cute cover, and a book for animal lovers. I almost bought a dog solely because of this book.

#5 Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank / Women’s Fiction / My first book from one of my new favorite authors. Will pull you in at the first page.

Favorite Book Cover for 2011

The Whole Package by Cynthia Erlangen / Elegant and classy!

Favorite Series of 2011

Mysteries A La Mode by Wendy Lyn Watson / I love her cozy mysteries!


Name: Sophia (Fiction Vixen):
Book Blog Address: http://www.fictionvixen.com
Twitter Address: https://twitter.com/#!/fictionvxn/

Top Books of 2011

#1 Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning / Urban Fantasy / This series is my most favorite UF series of all time and this final book in the series was awesome. Mac and Barrons had an amazing journey.

#2 Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews / Urban Fantasy / Another fabulous UF series that just keeps getting better and better. The Andrew's team write such engaging characters.

#3 Spider's Revenge by Jennifer Estep / Urban Fantasy / I feel like I've waited so long for Gin to get her final revenge and Jennifer Estep did not let Gin down. Amazing action in this one.

#4 Sweet as Sin Inez Kelley / Contemporary Romance / This was an emotionally powerful story. One of my favorite Inez Kelley titles.

#5 Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt / Historical Romance / I adore this series and couldn't wait for Charmin' Mickey's story. He was horrible but I loved him.

Favorite Book Cover for 2011

I don't really go crazy for covers so this is a hard one for me. I really like historical romance covers because I'm a sucker for a pretty dress. But on the other hand I like gritty UF covers too. If I had to pick a favorite cover I'd say the original cover for Enclave by Ann Aguirre, when it was called Razorland

Favorite Series of 2011

The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning hands down.


Name: Mandi
Book Blog: www.smexybooks.com
Twitter Name: @smexybooks

Top Books of 2011

#1 Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning / Urban Fantasy / The fifth and final book of the fever series blew me away. An amazing ending to my favorite urban fantasy series. We finally got answers to this very intense, dark and sexy series. I'm sad it is over, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

#2 Unraveled by Courtney Milan / Historical Romance / I was so looking forward to this book, after we meet the hero in a previous book in this series. Smite exceeded all my expectations. He was so tortured, and the heroine was a perfect match for him. My favorite historical of the year.

#3 Divide and Conquer by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux / Mystery - Romance / This series as a whole is one of my favorite romance series out there. Ty and Zane, both FBI agents are so intense and emotional together. Their books leave me wrecked for days, and I can barely stand the wait for the next one.


Name: Fiktshun
Book Blog Address: http://www.fiktshun.com
Twitter Name: @fiktshun

Top Books of 2011

#1 A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford / YA Paranormal - Urban Fantasy / I am obsessed with this book. I re-read it so many times. I love how dark it is, how twisty-turny. I love that no punches were pulled and nothing was held back. It was dark. Brutal. Awesome.

#2 If I Die by Rachel Vincent / YA Paranormal - Urban Fantasy / It was the ultimate roller-coaster of emotions. My heart was crushed, it was lifted, I lived in torment from beginning to end. It was merciless. It was amazing.

#3 Wildefire by Karsten Knight / YA Paranormal - Urban Fantasy / Another one of my obsessions. I loved how kick-a this book and the MC is. I loved the beautiful writing. And I loved its originality and the knock you into yesterday cliffhanger ending.

#4 Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey / YA Paranormal - Urban Fantasy / The book that made me fall in love with witches. The writing blew my mind. The creativity and imagination that kept me riveted. The promise of so many amazing things to come.

#5 Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi /YA Paranormal - Urban Fantasy -Dystopian /It left me breathless. It broke my heart. It took me weeks to recover. It was beautiful. Fragile. It was everything.

Just have to say that I’m so sad that this is not top 10, because it was painful to cut books I desperately wanted to include. I cheated the system a little by putting two of my top tens reads into the cover and series categories though!

Favorite Book Cover for 2011

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey / (Also one of my top ten reads of the year, but I was only allowed to choose 5.) / The most beautiful cover I’ve seen this year. The first one that pops into my mind. The artwork is stunning. The dress shattering into petals is beautiful. The colors are rich yet subtle and simply beautiful. The cover is totally pet-able.

Favorite Series of 2011

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout from her new Covenant series. / This series is already a favorite of mine. Having only read the first novel and the novella, I’m a fan for life. The heroine is totally fierce. The demons are even fiercer. Deity Island is a place even I want to be. The boys are yummy. And the action doesn’t’t let up.


Names: Julie, Leisha, and Jennifer of A Tale of Many Reviews
Book Blog Address: http://www.ataleofmanyreviews.com
Twitter Address: @Tale_of_Reviews

Top Books of 2011

These are a mix of picks from me, Leisha, and Jennifer. We all review for the blog. They are not in a particular order.

#1 Ashfall by Mike Mullin - Julie / YA Mystery - Suspense
#2 Where She Went by Gayle Foreman - Jennifer / YA Romance
#3 Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard - Julie & Leisha / Contemporary Romance
#4 The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines - Julie / YA Romance
#5 The Rift Walker by Cay & Susan Griffith - Jennifer / Urban Fantasy

Favorite Book Cover for 2011

Destined by Jessie Harrell

Favorite Series of 2011

Elemental Mysteries Series by Elizabeth Hunter - Leisha


Book Blog Address: www.parajunkee.com
Twitter Name: @parajunkee

Top Books of 2011

#1 Enclave (Razorland, #1) by Ann Aguirre / Urban Fantasy / I thought Aguirre blended the dystopian genre with the zombie myth so well and her established writing pattern showed so fantastically in this book. She proved that an adult writer could pen a phenomenal young adult book.

#2 Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning / Urban Fantasy / Shadowfever was the end of an era for me. For years I had been left with cliff hangar after cliff hangar via the evil (j/k!!) Karen Marie Moning. Shadowfever was the conclusion that I desperately wanted and even opened up with more questions. A book that you finish and then you have to page right back to the first page to star again.

#3 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern / Science Fiction & Fantasy / This one was so beautifully written and imagined that if I taught an English class I would assign it immediately. I can't wait to see what will become of this movie but I know it will never compare to the book, there is just no way it can be interpreted to film.

#4 Ashes (Ashes Trilogy, #1) by Lisa J. Bick / YA Fantasy / I was blown away with Bick's writing style and the desperate situation of this apocalypse novel. From page one this book grips you and doesn't let you go - not even after you finish it.

#5 The First Days (As The World Dies: A Zombie Trilogy #1) by Frater, Rhiannon / Science Fiction & Fantasy / I've taken on a new obsession as of late and that one just happens to be zombies. The First Days did more than just feed my obsession it raised the standards that I will measure all other zombie novels. It's a great book.

Favorite Book Cover for 2011

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

Favorite Series of 2011

The Fever series ended for me this year and remains one of my favorite series of all time.


Name: Kelly @ Reading With Martinis
Book Blog Address: http://readingwithmartinis.com
Twitter Address: @MartiniReading

Top Books of 2011

#1 Divergent by Veronica Roth / YA Dystopian / I loved this book because it was made of so much awesome! Fabulous characters, action-packed, I loved the world that Roth created, it was just amazing! I can't wait for the sequel, Insurgent!

#2 The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson / YA Dystopian-Speculative fiction / I had so many people recommend this book to me. I kept putting off reading it, and then it ended up being one of the best books I read this year. Jenna Fox is an amazing character. She grapples with an unfathomable situation and that situation left me breathless! I couldn't put this book down! It is so well-written, so engrossing, I would totally recommend it to everyone!

#3 Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult / Contemporary Fiction / I am a huge Picoult fan and I always enjoy her work. But she managed to completely blow me away with this book! It was such an emotional read for me. I laughed along with the characters, and I cried at the novel's ending. It was absolutely tremendous!

Favorite Book Cover for 2011

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (the one with the girl in the white dress. I have seen several covers for this book).

Favorite Series of 2011

The Hunger Games trilogy


Name: Katie Bartow
Mundie Moms: http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/MundieMoms

Top Books of 2011

#1 Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare / YA-Paranormal / I absolutely LOVE this Victorian London era Shadowhunter world. What Cassie does in Clockwork Prince is brilliant. That's the best way to describe this book. I loved every moment of it, even the parts where she broke my heart into a million pieces and then picked it back up again. Cassie also has a talent for her surprises, and there's a few things that happened in CP that I didn't even see coming. Not to mention she has written the best love triangle ever. I know that sounds fan girly, but the Jem-Tessa-Will love triangle is my all time favorite one. I can not wait for Clockwork Princess.

#2 The Iron Queen by The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa / YA-Paranormal /A broken fey Prince, a hilarious side kick who loves to make jabs at him any time he can and a forbidden romance...... SOLD! I love this series for those reasons alone, and then some. Julie's writing is so addicting, I can't ever seem to get enough of it. Though this series has ended, it will forever be one of my all time favorite fey and YA series. If you haven't yet, go pick it up!

#3 Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi / YA - Romance / Can I just say brilliant!?! I'm completely blown away that this is her debut book! Tahereh's writing is brilliant, flawless and completely captivating. This dystopian is a MUST READ! I don't even know what else to say about this book other than the fact I am totally in love with this story line. There's a fantastic heroine, two well written love interests, though one of them is a little twisted and the love is not reciprocated back, plenty of plot twists, action and that shocking ending that leaves me wishing I had the sequel now. I am really looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

Favorite Book Cover from 2011

This is a hard one, as there were a lot of fabulous covers released this year. I'm going to say that Clockwork Prince was my all time favorite. I love what Simon & Schuster has done with the Infernal Device covers and Clockwork Prince with Jem on the front was their best one yet.

Favorite Series from 2011

This will be no surprised, The Infernal Devices. Again, I love the Victorian Era Shadowhunter world Cassie's created and the entire cast of characters. That's not saying I don't love The Mortal Instrument Series any more, because I do, it's just that the Infernal Devices series is my all time favorite of Cassie's. When you meet Will, Jem and Tessa you'll understand why ;)


First: The Lit Bitch
Book Blog Address: http://www.thelitbitch.com
Twitter Address: @thelitbitch

Top Books of 2011

#1 Outlander by Diana Gabaldon / historic fiction - romance / I loved it's originality, I have not read anything like it. The characters are bewitching and play to each others weaknesses and stregnths beautifully. I loved that the book has something for everyone...action, adventure, fantasy, romance, humor, history....everything! I can't say enough good things about this book and series as a whole. I could easily put every single one of the books on this list but then it wouldn't be much of a variation now would it :).

#2 The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig / historic fiction - romance / It was hilarious! A spy paradoy but yet belivable adventure mixed with some romance. I loved this book, I haven't had a book make me laugh out loud, literatlly till I had tears...in a long time!

#3 Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare / YA - steam punk -fantasy / A nice break from vampire infused romance YA novels! This book balanced adventure, sci-fi/fantasy, and young romance in a steampunk Victorian world. It was AWESOME I was so anxious to read the next book. I loved Will, the dark, brooding gothic hero and who could not love the passionate Jem? It is the first in a trilogy which promises to be a great series!

#4 Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare / YA - steampunk - fantasy / I literally devoured this book in a matter of hours. I was so anxious to find out what happened next in the series that I simply HAD to read this one ASAP! Clockwork Angel left a huge cliff hanger so I was biting my nails till this one came out. The adventure, love triangle, and mysteriousness only thickens as this book progresses....I can't wait to see how everything works out in the next book! Who will Tessa pick is the big question!

#5 Soulless by Gail Carriger / fantasy- sci-fi - steam punk / Who could not love the spunky and witty Alexia Tarabotti? She is a great heroine and reading about her adventures with the paranormal sect living in London was second to none. I read the novel in 1 day, finally someone made Victorian London seem positively ravishing and exciting!

Favorite Book Cover for 2011

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare or Outlander (the first book) by Diana Gabaldon.

Favorite Series of 2011:

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon


Name: Stacey O'Neale
Book Blog Address: http://www.staceyoneale.com & http://www.yafantasyguide.com
Twitter Address: @StaceyONeale

Top Books of 2011

#1 Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare / YA Fantasy / This story is so rich with both it's characters and setting. I am so torn between my love for Will and Jem that I can actually argue a case for both. Seriously, I am in love with this series and will cry when it ends.

#2 Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead / YA Fantasy / I am so late, I know. I have avoided this series for years because most books don't live up to the hype, but THIS ONE DOES. It's so fantastic on every level. I read the first one in two days and requested the rest of the series immediately after. I'm such a junkie now for this series.

#3 City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare / YA Fantasy / Anyone who follows me on twitter knows that I am so nutty for all things shadowhunter. This book is the best in the series thus far. I was literally laughing out loud, and then ten pages later, crying. Not many authors can get me teary-eyed.

#4 Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins / YA Fantasy / I am absolutely in love with her protagonist. I want to be her or at least be her best friend. She cracked me up on nearly every page. I'm reading the second book of the series now.

#5 Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr / YA Fantasy / This was the conclusion to her bestseller series, Wicked Lovely. I thought I had this series all figured out, but Melissa is so creative that she managed to come up with an ending that I didn't expect. All the storylines tied together seamlessly and I was pleased when it was over. I'll miss the characters especially Seth & Niall. I've heard it's being made into a movie and I'm really looking forward to it.

Favorite Book Cover for 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - It's underwater and you can't see their faces but you know it's a boy and a girl. I actually bought it without reading the description which I almost never do. I haven't read it yet, but I've heard it's really good!

Favorite *NEW* Series of 2011

I didn't want to pick from the list I already created so I changed mine to read NEW series of 2011. My favorite NEW series is Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. The first book in the series came out in November and it rocked me from page one. It was unputdownable. I literally carried it with me around the house until I finished it in one day. I cannot wait to see where this story goes!


Name: Stephanie
Book Blog Address: http://www.readinasinglesitting.com
Twitter Address: @readinasitting

Top Books of 2011

#1 Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery / young adult / 2011 was the year in which I discovered Librivox, and I've had a wonderful time catching up on or revisiting many notable classics. Having for some reason skipped by Anne of Green Gables as a child, I decided it was time to make amends, and promptly found myself zipping through the entire series in audiobook format. Warm, loving and full of good humour, Anne is the kind of heroine you'd love as your best friend (so long as she's not cooking dinner for you), and her antics and surprising wisdom are an utter delight--it's no surprise that this series has continued to enchant readers for generations.

#2 Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper / young adult / Award-winning young adult author Mary Hooper has rocketed to the top of my must-read list as a result of her recent novels Fallen Grace and Velvet, both of which are elegant, enchanting novels set in Victorian London. In Fallen Grace, Hooper examines the culture of death and mourning in London in this era, and artfully blends the horror of life in the Big Smoke with small whimsies and Dickensian characters who'll stay with you long after the book is done.

#3 Tantony by Ananda Braxton-Smith / young adult/ Ananda Braxton-Smith's Tantony is proof that a book should not be judged by appearances alone. Set aside largely due to its less than appealing cover, this one languished in my review pile for months before I finally picked it up. All I can say is that I'm glad that I did: the book is utterly exquisite from start to finish. An historical YA, Tantony examines mental illness in a time where neuroatypicality was thought to be the stuff of evil spirits, and it's a deeply moving, heart-wrenching read. Braxton-Smith's prose is lilting and musical, taking its inspiration from the Celtic poets, and her characters complex and painfully real.

#4 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett / middle grade / Hodgson Burnett's famous novel was a favourite during my childhood, and I tortured my parents by watching it over and over. Revisiting it as an adult, however, I found that this novel resonated on so many levels: the focus on emotional renaissance through nature and relationships; the importance of engaging with and dealing with one's demons in order to grow as an individual; and even the fascinating (if admittedly objectionable) depictions of class and race during these times.

#5 Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett / literary / Favel Parrett's debut has received wide critical acclaim since publication, and deservingly so, too. Past the Shallows is a laconic, subtle examination of live in small-town Tasmania, where the ocean looms large and the future prospects of the town's residents are quickly dwindling. The book is told from the viewpoints of two young boys whose family has been torn apart by death and depression, and who look set to follow the same desultory path. It's a magnificent, moving read, and one that you won't be able to put down.

Favorite Book Cover for 2011

I adored this collection of Art Deco-inspired F Scott Fitzgerald covers by Coralie Bickford. Certainly proof that great covers can sell books!

Favorite Series of 2011

I've thoroughly enjoyed Michael Grant's young adult "Gone" series, in which all of the adults in a small Californian town abruptly vanish, leaving their children to fend for themselves. It's part Stephen King, part Lord of the Flies, and it's wonderful gory fun. The books may look action-oriented and slight on the surface, but there's a lot going on thematically in these--politics, economics, and philosophy all get a thorough working out.


Name: Laurie
Book Blog Address: www.dangerousromance.com
Twitter Address: @dangerromance

Top Books of 2011

#1 Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison / Paranormal Romance / I'm usually more of an Urban Fantasy then Paranormal Romance kinda girl. This book was such a wonderful surprise, the writing was witty, sexy, exciting, hilarious and addictive. The couple could not be more different, not only were they not like eachother...they weren't like any other couple out there in PNR. The story of Dragos Culebre and the secret his love interest was hiding, the chase she leads him on...just great stuff. This book spurred more comments at my blog then just about any other, and we kept going back and re-reading our favorite parts over and over. The world Harrison has created is refreshing and creative and there are 3 sequels so far. Which brings me to my 2nd favorite book of the year...

#2 Oracle Moon by Thea Harrison / Paranormal Romance / Books two and three in the series were good, very good. But the recently released book 4, took me back to what I loved so much about book one. Characters we've gotten to know through the other books make appearances, and the love story was incredibly touching, and has great scenes that can go from hilarious to heartbreaking. Harrison's world is filled with so many different interconnected stories I can't wait to read what else she throws at us, but the story of the Oracle and the Djinn will always be one of my favorites.

#3 Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews / Paranormal Romance / Ilona and her husband Gordon write fantastic, nail biting, nerve wracking Urban Fantasy. The sexual chemistry between Kate Daniels and the King of all the shifters, Curran is sizzling hot. No "Moonlighting Curse" here, this book is even better now that they have finally gotten together. If you haven't read any of this series you have to start with book one, and read slowly...Ilona Andrews has started writing another series, it will be a solid two years before another Kate Daniels story comes out, so savor them.

#4 The Bitter Seed of Magic by Suzanne McCleod / Urban Fantasy / I wish I could put my finger on what it is that makes this series so great. Written by a British author and set in London, it is refreshing to read something not set in America, but what shines for me is the great chemistry between the characters and how complex the plots are. Genny is a Spellcracker, she can not only unwork a spell, she can usually tell who crafted it. She is a sympathetic character who through no fault of her own is walking the line between the worlds of the Vampires, The Fae and the Witches. McLeod's spellcracker series also features one of the hottest Vampires I've ever read. Malik gives Eric Northman a run for his money.

#5 The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss / Epic Fantasy / This was the most anticipated book I read this year. I fell head over heels in love with Rothfuss' writing in his debut, "The Name of the Wind" which came out about 4 years ago, and I never thought the sequel would come out. When book two finally came out this year, I was afraid it might disappoint, but it was even better then book one. Rothfuss took the Fantasy Fiction world by storm with book one, and having received so many comparison's to the greatest writers of Fantasy, there was a lot riding on the sequel, but it did not disappoint. No sophomore slump here, brilliant prose, deeply textured and layered plots upon plots, a character that is a hero for the ages. If you love fantasy and haven't read The Name of the Wind, you are in for a wonderful ride, and lucky you...you won't have to wait 4 years for the sequel like I did. However, you will have to wait about two more years to read book 3. That's just how Rothfuss rolls.


I really wanna thank all of the book bloggers who helped me with this post! I really appreciate your help. Check back over next couple days to see your favorite authors Top Books of 2011 and favorite narrators Top Audiobooks of 2011!



The Lit Bitch said...

This is such a great idea! I love seeing what other bloggers are reading throughout the year. I have found a TON of new books to read this new year I'm super excited :) thanks again for sharing :)

Samantha said...

Thanks for having me! What a great list from everyone :)

Stephanie @ Read In a Single Sitting said...

Thanks for having me! I love the variety of books listed here (yay for cozy mysteries and Diana Gabaldon), and it's always great to see what other bloggers have read and loved.