Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Favorites

A little hard to believe that it's New Year's Eve already - wasn't Christmas yesterday? Like everyone else, I have my own little list of favorite books from 2011. A lot of my favorites come from series I already enjoy, but there are some new authors/series added to the mix. I also discovered a few series that came out a few years ago, but that I've added to my TBR list, like Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros series, Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax, and Kalayna Price's Grave Witch.

Favorite Kid's Book

You know I love YA and Middle School books. Have read quite a few very good ones, like Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Lost & Found by Shaun Tan, Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, Game of Triumphs by Laura Powell, Ship Breaker by Paolo Baciagalupi and many more, but one book just really stood out for me.

The Boneshaker by Kate Milford

It's a middle school read, but I think that there is something for readers of any age, male and female. This one had a Something Wicked This Way Comes vibe. A small town set at the crossroads, an ominous traveling medicine show, a family legacy, deals with the Devil, and children having to face the fact that sometimes adults don't have all the answers. I'm saving this one for my kids to read when they are a little older. Fantastic book.

Favorite New Series

Started quite a few new series this year, ones where I am counting the days until book 2 comes out. I really enjoyed Enclave by Ann Aguirre, the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne, Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison, Phoenix Rising by Philippa Ballantine & Tee Morris, First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones, Dark Descendant by Jenna Black, to name a few, but my favorite remains

Dead Iron by Devon Monk

A Western-Steampunk-Fantasy that was different from what I've been reading lately. You've got a man cursed by an Indian god, Strange beings that stalk humans, witches, a zombie, and a girl who is more than she seems. It's in 3rd person following a handful of characters (both heroes and villains). I've read some books where this effect leads to too many threads and an inability to connect to the characters, but this book did not have that problem. The different POVs propelled the action along, gave me a greater sense of the scope of the world and the magic system, and let me get to know several characters better than I would have in a 1st person narrative. It was a tight story that still leaves a lot of room for more adventures. The worldbuilding was fantastic and I know we've barely scratched the surface.

Favorite Continuing Series

Most of my favorites came through continuing series. I do love seeing characters progress from the actions in previous books. Since a few of my favorites ended, I've broken this category into Favorite Continuing and Favorite Endings. Notable continuing series reads this year, Fate's Edge by Ilona Andrews, Ganymede by Cherie Priest, Under Witch Aura by Maria Schneider, Heartless by Gail Carriger, and others, but the favorite of the year has to be

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

This is the fifth book in the Kate Daniels series, a series that still for me is at the top of the list for worldbuilding, action, character progression, relationship evolution, and still makes me laugh out loud. A lot of writers can bring the action and the drama, few are able to also bring the funny. There are dark times in this series, but it is also balanced with hope and determination. This is a series I've re-read more than a few times and I still love it. It makes me happy, takes me away from the real world for awhile, and is just plain fun.

Favorite Endings

All good things must come to an end sometime. I've finished quite a few trilogies this year, and am happy to say that most ended on a strong note, like Head Rush by Carolyn Crane and Goliath by Scott Westerfeld, but my favorite has to be

The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin

I have loved every book in Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy. This is not your traditional fantasy saga where a disparate group gathers together and journeys to defeat a big bad. Each novel tells a unique story with a different main character, but the underlying issues that began before book 1 continue to progress throughout the trilogy. Gods, godlings, demons, mortals, all living together in a world out of balance. This book centers on Sieh, the eldest godling, the god of childhood, who finally has to grow up. This is one of those books where I don't feel in any way my words can do it justice. I fell in love with the breathtaking world, have been intrigued by the characters (even if I would never want to meet them), and held my breath wondering what would happen next.

What were some of your favorites?

Hope you all stay safe out there tonight, and looking forward to sharing more awesome reads with you in 2012!

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