Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Best of 2011

Jane’s Best of 2011 List

Jane’s Best of 2011 List

My best of 2011 List. I even numbered them.  I am happy with how the list turned out.  There is a little of everything.  One book I left off but I probably shouldn’t have was Snapped by Laura Griffin.  It was good enough that I went back and read the entire series.  Ditto with Cindy Gerard‘s BOI series.  The reason that I ultimately left Snapped and the Gerard book off was I ended up liking other books in the backlist more.   Still, if you like romantic suspense, Griffin and Gerard provide great suspense reads.  Griffin is more police procedure and Gerard is more military ops.

  1. Unlocked by Courtney Milan.  This novella was wonderfully written, encapsulating an entire romance within its pages.  It read like an anthem for any girl who had been mocked or teased.
  2. Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook.  Yasmeen and Archimedes Fox played off each other wonderfully.  The fierce minded airship captain and the happy go lucky adventurer set in alternate universe 19th century.  The Iron Seas world is as richly built as any out there.
  3. Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.  I’m not much of a YA reader but this one I gobbled up in a heartbeat. I recommend it to anyone who loves a good coming of age story about a fantastic heroine.
  4. The Disgraced Playboy by Caitlin Crews.  Crews is my fast becoming my favorite contemporary author.  Within the confines of the category romance, Crews is playing around with tropes and challenging stereotypes.  And how can you not love a book where the hero says “I am  my own heroin.”
  5. Silk Is for Seduction by Loretta Chase.  You can tell by this book how much Chase admires her fellow woman.  She praises their ingenuity, their toughness, their ability to survive and matches those strong, capable women with swoon worthy heroes.  Because she can.
  6. Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean.  Maclean gave her heroine a shameful past and the heroine decides to embrace it rather than run from it, causing her to be the center of gossip and scandal.  But in amongst the desire to stand up against the tide, was the need for belonging.  Both relatable traits.
  7. Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison.  Best debut book in romance in 2011 and given Harrison’s prolific writing, we’ll be able to enjoy more of her books for years to come.
  8. Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh.  This was a hotly anticipated book in the Changeling/Psy series featuring a romance that has been in the making for 10 books.  It would have been easy to excuse reader’s disappointment on overbuilt expectations, but I felt like this one delivered by not changing the world building to suit the romance but using the world building to create believable conflict.
  9. Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey.  It’s hard to write a contemporary romance without some mystery thread in it (or so says the shelves upon shelves of contemporaries that have that mystery component) so I have real appreciation for authors that can write a believable and touching conflict based just on two people alone.  Yours to Keep was funny and poignant.
  10. What I Did For A Duke by Julie Anne Long.  Wonderful dialogue, beautiful imagery, and a unique set of characters made this book a winner.

So the Dear Author crew named our best of lists.  What about the readers of Dear Author?  What new authors did you find in 2011. Did the DA crew overlook a spectacular book?  What books did you find to be overhyped, overpraised, and an overall disappointment?

Sarah’s Best of 2011 List

Sarah’s Best of 2011 List

The order here is me going through my reviews in reverse chronological order and listing my A- and B+ reviews (no A reviews — very sad). It was a pleasant surprise, really: I didn’t think I’d read that many good books in 2011. Shows you how memory can be a fickle thing. To keep it to ten, though, I had to cut out 4 books. Especially since I added two B reviews because they’ve stuck in my head more than some of the B+ reviews (that memory thing again).

First, some time travel: Rachel Haimowitz, Master Class and SUBlime. Haven’t reviewed them yet, but I will! Next on my list!
K.A. Mitchell, Bad Boyfriend. Grade: A-
Damon Suede, Hot Head. Grade: B+
A.L. Turner, I Just Play One on TV. Grade: A-
S.A. Reid, Something Different. Grade: B+
Heidi Cullinan, Dance With Me. Grade: B+
L.A. Witt, Out of Focus. Grade: B but how much it’s stuck with me would give it a higher grade.
J.L. Merrow, Camwolf. Grade: A-
Kit Zheng, Deconstruction. Grade: A- (Ooh, I should reread this…)
Anah Crow and Dianne Fox, One Real Thing. Grade: B for Brilliant. I recommended this one just yesterday on Twitter.