In 2011 I read 117 books. Or actually, I should say, I completed exactly 110 books, and didn’t finish seven of ’em. Wanna know how I came up with this list? Most of these are the books that I have read, and/or have re-read this year that continue to “live” in my Kindle vs. being “archived” and deleted out of my main virtual library.
You see, even though archiving my e-books doesn’t delete them from my account, and I can retrieve them at any time, I can’t bear to part with these. I need to see them every day, as I scroll though my unread books (just seeing them gives me butterflies). I need to open them up every once in awhile, and re-read my favorite highlighted parts, when I’m reminiscing or when I’m bored but don’t have the time to start a brand new book. And sometimes, I just need to re-read them altogether.
I know… some of these you’ve already seen in some of my past lists (yep – that’s how good they are, so on this main list, they will remain), but I’ve read a bunch more that so need to be listed…
So here they are. These books are “too good to archive”. I tried to order these by favorites, but it’s almost impossible. If they’re on this list, it’s because they affected me tremendously in some way. Either I obsessed about the hero, and/or couldn’t put it down or I dreamt about the book, or it simply had a moment that shocked me and made me gasp. No matter what, the books on this list made me feel. And I connected to them, wholeheartedly.
Update: I sorta cheated. The list started out as my top “twenty” but there are now 25 books on the list 😉 Hey! What can I say? I had a great book year! Many of the ones that aren’t on this list were still really good, and 4 stars for me… Yep. A great book year!
Many of them are tied in the same spot:
Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James – Prepare yourselves. This one (and book #2) might just ruin you for all other books. I’m not making this up. It’s the problem most presented to me in the emails I get on a regular basis from other readers. No other book can touch this one now for them. You’ll have no choice but to become obsessed with Christian Grey. It can’t be helped. And the funny thing about it, is that had I not told you this, many of you would have bypassed it altogether due to the “alternative romance” content held within. Even the most vanilla of us can’t resist it (even if some of us try to keep that fact a secret). Don’t pass this one by. But before you get to it, maybe you should read a bunch of my other favorites, and save this one for last. Just sayin’.
Fifty Shades Darker: Book Two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James. Book #2 in the “Grey” trilogy. This one’s even better than #1. ‘Nuff said. (whoops!! Other than that warning I gave you above: “… maybe you should read a bunch of my other favorites, and save this one for last. Just sayin’.”
Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens. A rock star, and a sordid love triangle. But that’s not all. This author pushes the boundaries. Every moment, every emotion is wonderfully detailed, and every emotion is experienced by the reader. She doesn’t just tell the story. She makes us love it. This one’s not quite politically correct, but boy oh boy does it make the reader react. In a good way. In a bad way. But then there’s Kellan. And that’s all there needs to be. *heart*. Her second book
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire – I know… I know. This one has been on every one of my lists this year, and pretty much always around the top of ’em. I know. Why should I change now? The book still rocks my world. There’s no other way around it. In fact, I sent a copy to my mom, and she told me she stayed up all night to read it, dreamt about it, and couldn’t stop thinking about it the following day. I wasn’t sure how much she’d connect with them considering the whole “college life” thing, but she did. See? No other way around it… Plus. There’s more to come! You’ll be seeing more of Jamie on my future lists for sure.
On the Island: A Novel by Tracey Garvis-Graves – this was the last book I read in 2011. And WHAT A WAY to end my reading year. I ended it in a whirlwind of danger, frightening events and circumstances, and deep bonding. *sigh* A perfect story. You’ll shiver in fear, you’ll worry, you’ll laugh, you’ll fret, you’ll cheer. You’ll sigh with a heart brimming full of emotion and love. You’ll cry. Oh you will cry. My only complaint. I wish there was more. I miss them terribly. A re-read for sure!
Effortless (Thoughtless) (book #2) is a half step down from Thoughtless for me, in intensity. But it is SO needed for the reader’s need for resolution. Kellan, and crew are back, and Kellan is now officially on his way to becoming a huge rock star. Considering his past issues with Keira, how will his future bode? Mmmm hmmm. I’m not saying a word. 😉
Shadowfever: A MacKayla Lane Novel by Karen Marie Moning – an amazing ending to a saga that had us gaga (ew! I hate that word, but it worked too perfectly here) over Barrons… and some of us, V’Lane 😉 —> Me. I’m a V’lane girl! *shrug* Can’t help it. But I adored Barrons too, I promise!! And guess what. We found out that in fact, this isn’t the end! Karen announced that after her spin-off trilogy, there will be more in the MacKayla Lane world to follow, featuring Mac and Barrons. Whaaaaat? Some of you didn’t know? Bet you’re freakin’ now!
Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley – I cheered when I found this book. Right off the bat. I knew. I found another one. Another Alpha male that was going to make us swoooooon and our hearts palpate, and our dreams full of Tate. Tate. Tate. Tate. Gorgeous tattooed, bad-boy alpha with tons of rude ‘tude. On a Harley. In leather. He says some pretty mean things at first which immediately put me in growl-mode, and it just kept getting better (or worse, depending on how you look at it) but in an “I-hate-him-but can’t resist-him” kind of way. And that’s the most fun way to be, when reading, isn’t it? Make us work for it. And this author sure did. BTW, I’m gonna only put up a few from this author on this list, but honestly, almost every book I’ve read from her, so far, is right about at the same level as this one. (and she’s written many!)
Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn –> I just re-read this one over the Christmas weekend. Just as amazing the second time around. And Brian is still one of my #1’s without a doubt. I was wondering if maybe I was just “extra” romance-y feeling when I first read it and fell for him so hard, but nope. Brian just brings it. Maybe Ghost’ll bring it, too? *fingers crossed*
How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo – okay so officially this book is older, but I found and read it in 2011 and it totally counts. This is one of my favorite books of all-time, and I will NEVER forget it. Well, I’ll never forget any of the books on this list, but this one, in particular traumatized me and scarred me for life. In a bad way. And in a good way too. I LOVE THIS BOOK!
Mystery Man (Daydream Series) by Kristen Ashley – Another infuriating Alpha-male love affair where the the relationship with the hero is simply, mind-boggling. He loves me, he loves me not… and that whole thing. But things sure spur him into action when two other super-hot alphas (a bad boy biker and a detective) take an interest in the heroine. HIS woman. Oh yeah? Since when? Hawk took me on quite an emotional ride, with his game-playing turned serious, turned “I-dunno-what-I-want” heartbreak. Grrrrrrrr!! As in the world of Wilma Flinstone “ooooooooh THAT MAN!!!!!” Did I just date myself? Y’all still know who the Flintstones are (were), right? 😉
Lady Luck (Colorado Mountain Series) by Kristen Ashley – Ty will make you swoon, and then break your heart. A few times. For both. The premise is absolutely crazy, and yet, it works. The author let’s us live their crazy story, and you absolutely forget you’re not in it with them. It is fast-paced, fun and absolutely furious. And then… there’s a beach scene. Do you like to cry, when reading? *grin* I adored this book.
Where She Went (If I Stay) by Gayle Forman – Ohhhh the plight of yet another tortured rock star. And this character had every right to his desperate angry tormented ways. EVERY reason. And as we live out a few days during the pinnacle of his huge rock-stardom, we re-live his agony over his loss of the only thing that mattered to him. Rock stardom was his dream, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, living it with a broken heart. Sure, the reason for his destruction is also what helped catapult him to rock stardom, but he just can’t get past it. And this is the book that brings us (and him) face to face with his heartbreaker. (to get the whole sad story, check out book #1 first: If I Stay)
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park – The first book that I tried and LOVED that really didn’t have anything in it that I normally “searched” for when looking for a new book to read. No bite-y creatures, no tattooed bad-boys, no rock stars. But it was amazing. A little mystery, a little romance, family issues and bonding, a Christmas moment that stole my heart. Yearning… and then a twist that took my breath away! An unforgettable 2011 read for sure! Oh Jesssssicaaaaa… perhaps there is a part 2, to this story? Hrmmm *hint hint*
Love Unscripted by Tina Reber – a fairytale that could totally happen. It could. It’s what every girl who’s ever had a crush on a famous actor has wished for at one time in her life, I’m sure. And Taryn get’s it. Unfortunately, she get’s all the insecurities that go along with dating such an A-lister and the fun is not just in the romance, but in the potential heartache and drama that follow. I didn’t see it coming…
At Peace (The ‘Burg Series) by Kristen Ashley. Another AMAZING read that had me clutching my heart at times, and completely connecting to the heroine. I understood her from start to finish. I felt her crush on Joe, her hesitation because of his bad-boy history, her acceptance of him into her life because he was so obviously into her. And then I felt it when he ripped her heart out. Kristen’s Alphas are always equal mix of hot, irresistible and infuriating, but as the story plays out, you always *get him* too. LOVED this one!
The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred – this one is simply a HUGE story. From childhood to adulthood, the two main characters will capture your heart and never let it go. Regardless of whether you are reading about them as children or older, the beauty in their friendship is so pure that you’ll love every moment of it. Until, that is, something terrible happens to separate these two soul-mates. And yet, you won’t be able to put it down. Which is the whole reason we read these epic stories, isn’t it? It can’t always be pretty and perfect. In fact, I prefer when it gets messy. Prepare to be devastated.
Finding Home by Bonnie Dee and Lauren Baker – this one had me in a sort of reading “tailspin”. I loved it, and yet, I seriously struggled with the age issues of the two main characters. Regardless. The story is amazing, and if you read it, you won’t be able to forget it. Impossible. It could have been a five star for me, if only… *shrug*
I’m going to definitely “tie” the next three:
Defying the Odds (Battered Hearts) by Kele Moon – this one scratched almost every one of my UFC famous guy needs. I LOVE ’em hulking, brooding and easily winning in the strong-guy department. What? Please! We all love that! Don’t we? LOL! Well I do, and this one had it. Plus he was the ULTIMATE of the ultimate. Plus!! This ultimate fighting champion/hero did NOT play games. I love some game plain’ in books like the next guy, but sometimes its refreshing to get plain ol’ hard-core intensity, and this guy had it in spades.
Backstage Pass (Sinners on Tour) by Olivia Cunning. Brian. Another wonderful Brian. And a HUGELY famous rock star, to boot! And he LOVES to fall in love. As I told me friend Tina: “… it was Brian that we all fell for. For such :”sexy” book she really nailed him nicely in the “swooning” department (at least for me).
Sweet as Sin by Inez Kelley – more bad boy/famous guy stuff. Resisting getting serious with the one that he can’t stop thinking about, because, you guessed it. He’s got a past that torments him, and he needs to deal. Still though, this one played me perfectly, and I’d love to find more like it.
Falling Star (Earth Scents) by Olivia Brynn – another book that satisfied my “regular-girl-meets-famous-rock-star” needs. This one too, played out beautifully as the clueless girl (she doesn’t recognize him) falls in deep. And the closer they get, the more nervous he is when he realizes she needs to know the truth about him. It’s getting serious, but will she accept a relationship with him, and all that comes with him? His “reveal” had me gasping. LOVED this book!!
Hearts In Darkness by Laura Kaye – this was a short story but packed quite an intense punch in such a small package. An original storyline, something that could totally happen, too (yes it could!!)… and a gorgeous tattooed and pierced bad boy as the hero. Who could ask for anything more? Steamy. SUPER steamy!! But there’s so much more to the potential romance then just the physical attraction. The emotional connection is there in full force. I wish there was more.
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper – Simply… adorable. Steamy, and the romance was intense. I couldn’t put it down, and I felt their passion every step of the way). The feeling was just *right* in this. Similar “paranormal” issues as in other paranormal books, but the writing in this one had me connecting full-on.
Please Don’t Stop The Music – A rock star book that took my breath away at one point. A book with so much angst, but this one has a reason for it. Oh sure, they all do, but really. This one DOES!! Ex-Rock star (who was hugely famous just a couple of years ago) running his quiet little guitar shop in England. Avoiding the masses, living almost reclusively, yet still being recognized, still visited by fans. He struggles with who he was and who he is now. BIG time. But in walks someone that he connects to on a level that he hasn’t connected on in ages. Considering both are running away from their pasts, the book takes a few dark turns as their friendship develops. There’s a reason for why he left his rock-stardom behind, and the fun is in discovering the secret. But she has a secret, too.
Well, there are my top twenty but I’d love to get yours!! Tell me what your absolute favorites of the year were (top 5, 10, 20…). Comment, Facebook or email me your lists! I’m all ears (or eyes… since, you know… they’re books.) Tee hee!
P.S. I have re-ordered these 3 or 4 times now, and it’s still not right. I’m still second guessing my placement. *shakes head* The whole first half can practically be considered (in my opinion) tied at 1st place. So there. 😉
I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!!
Check out my other “favorites” lists: