With just over a week left until the end of 2011, it’s time to start doing my “Top Ten” lists for the year. I used to just write these down in my journal, but now I actually have readers that I can share them with! Yay for me!! I love that I don’t have to just talk to myself anymore, I think that’s one of the coolest things about blogging.
I’ve reviewed a lot of books over the last year, and so many of them were totally spectacular. It was really hard to pare down the list to just ten favorites, but since this isn’t a Top 50 list (that would be a tad overwhelming, wouldn’t it?), I forced myself to really think about which ones were my absolute, hands-down “must-recommend” books of 2011. Without further ado, here they are.
Experiments in Terror Series by Karina Halle
I can’t possibly pick just one of these books, so they’re all on my top ten list as a single entry. These are the only books that I can say without a doubt are my absolute favorites of the entire year. Start with Darkhouse and work your way through the first three books, then wait in anticipation with me for the release of Lying Season. Karina is one of the sharpest, wittiest, and edgiest writers in the paranormal mystery genre today.
Between the Land and the Sea by Derrolyn Anderson
I loved all three books in Anderson’s “Marina’s Tales” series, but the first one was definitely my favorite. Marina is a spirited, fun teenage girl who finds out that her mother was a mermaid, and Marina has inherited some very amazing talents from her. “Marina’s Tales” is full of vividly rich characters that you’ll fall in love with, and appropriate for anyone from the teen years up.
One Salt Sea (October Daye) by Seanan McGuire
The October Daye Series is definitely among my favorite faerie tales, and One Salt Sea was one of the best in the series. The fifth installment was an emotional one for October, as it basically ripped her heart out twice. But it answered a lot of questions and left other parts of her life open for more exploration.
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
While most of my favorites this year were of a paranormal nature, Saving June had nothing to do with witches, vampires, faeries, or anything else out of this world. It was an extremely moving story about a young girl who goes on a journey to give her dead sister the send-off she deserved, and along the way discovers a lot about herself and her lost sister. It’s the ultimate road trip book, complete with an awesome soundtrack.
Homer by Mark Raab
Homer isn’t exactly a paranormal book either, although it does involve a little magic in the form of a talking dog. I absolutely love talking animals, and I read this entire relatively short book during Hurricane Irene. It kept me entertained with its heartwarming tale about how a talking dog helps a man get past the death of his wife and find new love.
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
This book sat on my wishlist for months before I finally got around to it, but once I finished it I immediately wanted to read more about the adorably sweet, somewhat naive, yet totally kick-butt Evie. Supernaturally, the second book in the series, also belongs on this list. I cannot wait for White to deliver more on Evie’s story.
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Books about starcrossed lovers can go either way- they can be really spectacular or really depressing. Angelini went the spectacular route and crafted a beautiful story with rich mythology that is anything but depressing. I hope she’s working hard on the second book, because I can’t wait much longer to find out what happens between Helen and Lucas.
To Kill A Warlock by H.P. Mallory
Dulcie O’Neill is one of the coolest faeries around, second only to my favorite October Daye. She’s an investigator/steamy romance writer, and she doesn’t take crap from anyone. All of the characters in Mallory’s books are fully realized, so no one fades into the background only to be forgotten two pages later, which is why she’s one of my favorite discoveries of the year.
Luck of the Devil by Patricia Elmer
Faith Bettincourt has the most dysfunctional family ever to grace the pages of fiction, yet somehow they are a perfect fit. Elmer made the devil one of the most charming fathers out there, so imagine what she can do with the rest of her characters. Luck of the Devil was hilarious, making it the perfect “stress-relief” book.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I didn’t review this one on Pretty Opinionated because I was really late to the game in reading it, but it was definitely one of my favorites of the year. In fact, it got me into the whole dystopian genre that I was rebelling against for some reason. I think this is definitely one that will be appearing on high school reading lists in the future, and with good reason. It’s an important commentary on society, love, and violence.