Monday, January 2, 2012

favorite books of 2011

i made a goal to read 75 books for 2011. with a full time job, that wasn't an easy task, but of course it was accomplished. add 5 more to the list because i over did it.  yup. 80 books. call me an over achiever. because i read A LOT i wanted to share my top ten for those who are always asking me if i've read anything good recently. because yes. yes i have. granted i don't always read the most compelling, life changing novels, but you can definitely count on me for a good YA.

10. On the Island - Tracey Garvis Graves
technically i don't think this is a YA. but the story immediately pulls you in with the first paragraph.
"I was thirty years old when the seaplane T.J. Callahan and I were traveling on crash-landed into the Indian Ocean. T.J was sixteen, and three months into remission for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The pilot's name was Mick, but he died before we hit the water."
there wasn't a dull moment in the book and the romance that is slowly created isn't as strange as you would imagine it to be. i finished it a couple weeks ago and i'm still thinking about it.
9.  Unearthly - Cynthia Hand
this story takes place in idaho, which was fun for me. it pulled me back to jackson hole and the palisades, but that was not why i loved the story.
clara is part angel and has a reoccurring vision of an alluring stranger in a forest fire. there's a love triangle and just when you think you have it figured out and you've picked your side it throws you and then leaves you with a little cliffhanger at the end.
the sequel, hallowed, comes out this month and i'm dying to read it.

8. Between the Lines Series - Tammara Weber
if you have a kindle or nook or some sort of e-reader you need to pick up this contemporary romance series.
emma just got her first big break in the next hollywood teen hit movie where she costars with a heartthrob and falls for another. it's a fun light chick-lit. i can't tell you what it reminds me of because then it will completely give away the sweetest part of the novel.
the third book just came out and i haven't gotten the chance to read it yet, but i know i won't be disappointed. i mean, how can you for $2.99?
7. Flat-out Love - Jessica Park
with my e-reader i've become more of a fan of self-published authors. they don't get nearly the credit they deserve. their books might be cheap and unknown, but totally worth the read.
when julie's off-campus housing turns out to be a scam, she moves in with her mom's old friend's family for the semester. but something seriously off about the family and she's determined to figure out why. it's quirky, witty and not what i had expected from the description of the book. you fall in love with all of the characters and their flaws and social awkwardness. i finished the book in a day. i simply couldn't put it down.
6. Finnickin of the Rock - Melina Marchetta
the description of this book didn't initially pull me in, but after raving review after raving review of every different book blog i keep up with and then the fact that i got it on sale...i had to know what everyone was talking about and i only wish i had read it sooner.
a curse binds Finnickin's kingdom after the royal family was brutally murdered and seized by an imposter. those inside are held captive and those on the outside can't penetrate the barrier.
there's romance and action and bravery and loyalty and all those uplifting elements you find in stories of fantasy.
5. Illusions - Aprilynne Pike
if you know me you know my new found weakness for a good faery book. illusions is the third book in the wings series. i love aprilynne's take on faeries. they aren't evil malicious destruction craving faeries. their wings are actually flowers and they live with rainbows and butterflies. haha. yes. this novel isn't dark and that's one of my favorite things about it. the first book wasn't even my favorite, but with every novel you fall more in love with tamani and that's what keeps pulling me back. yes his name is tamani. what kind of name is that? yeah. i thought the same thing, but don't you worry. his name will grow on you too. the fourth and final comes out in may and yup you best be believin' i can't wait for that one either!
 4. Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
stephanie is one of my new favorite authors. the characters of anna and the french kiss are relate-able and so charming. the story takes place in paris and makes you feel as though your right there living it up with anna. its filled with romanitcalness(yup. google it.) and etienne, though everyone but anna calls him st. claire. anna calls him by his first name and i would too will a french name like etienne(eti-yen). mmm. this book makes me giddy. pick it up. i promise you'll love it too.
3. Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi
i don't even know where to start on this one. deep breath. okay.
juliette has a touch that is lethal. it's been 264 days since she's touched anyone. the last time she did she was locked up for murder. and now the reestablishment has decided to give her a cellmate. to punish her? to punish him?
so many questions! i had them all.
i love juliette. she's fiesty and quite frankly a little crazy. i mean wouldn't you be too if you could never touch anyone and everyone was disgusted by you and never showed you any love? she's so different from any YA heroine i've ever read about. the authors writing style might annoy you a tad, but i enjoyed that it was different. it was refreshing.
2. Divergent - Veronica Roth
i blogged about this one a few months back and picked it up not long after that. this is one of the dystopian novels you have to read. like the hunger games. i've already read it twice. once myself and once to ryan and i'd read it again.
tris lives in a society divided up into 5 factions. candor(the honest), abnegation(the selfless), amity(the peaceful), eruodite(the intelligent), and dauntless(the brave). when you turn sixteen you must choose a faction to devote your life to. tris's family is apart of one faction while tris feels she belongs to another. she feels torn, but ultimately makes the right decision for herself.
with non-stop heart-pounding action, conflict and of course some romance(because what's a YA without love?) it definitely deserves it's #2 slot.
1. Where She Went - Gayle Foreman
yes, i've blogged about this book before and yes, it's worth the re-blog.
this is the companion to if i stay and the title says it all.
if i stay started out with a car accident that took the life of mia's family. somehow she survived the wreck, but barely. she now lies in a hospital bed weighing the option should i stay or go?
where she went is from mia's boyfriend adam's perspective. complicated emo rock star adam. my heart ached for him.
i loved the second more than the first because rarely to we get to see the raw emotion of a male character. it's an emotionally powerful book about grief, hope and love.

because i read so many books this year i've just got to add some honorable mentions:
Beautiful Disaster - Jamie McGuire
It was one of those trainwreck novels. you shouldn't want to keep reading, but every page draws you deeper and deeper into abbey and travis's relationship. maybe it more like crackcocaine. because you keep thinking to yourself "why am i still reading this?" but you keep on reading it. and i'd read again and again and again. i'd even have this novel in my top ten if it weren't for the language and the tad bit of smut.
travis is your typical sexy tough bad boy with possessive qualities and you should hate abbey for not having a stronger back bone but all you want is for them to finally get to be with one another. don't tell nobody i recommended this book to you. it wasn't me.
Fireflight - Sophie Jordan
if you want a fun new kind of fantasy novel, read this one.
jacinda is a draki. a what? a dragon. but her best defense mechanism is that she can transform into a human. when she flies out during daylight hours, forbidden in her tribe, she and her family are forced to flee and jacinda winds up falling for a human who's family hunts her kind. ultimately i really liked and have added the sequel to my ever-growing "to-read" pile.
Blood Red Road - Moira Young
the cover. the writing style. and the constant praise. hook, line and sinker.
saba has lived her whole life at silverlake, but when her twin brother lugh is captured, she'll do anything to find him and get him back.
though not oozing with romance, it pulls at the heartstrings attached to family members and the lengths you'd go the protect them. i loved her relationship with her brother and the connection she has to him. it's an adventure from start to finish. she fights to survive. she falls in love. and definitely left me wanting more by the end of the book. the sequel comes out sometime this year and i'll definitely be picking it up.

if you want to see all the books i read last year you can click on my goodreads reading challenge 2011 on my left sidebar.

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