Monday, December 26, 2011

My Top Ten Books of 2011

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Today's topic is Top Ten Books I've Read in 2011

George RR Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series - I am obsessed. I started reading this at the beginning of the year along with my husband. I was taking it really slow, because I knew that there were only 5 (so far). I didn't want it to end so I prolonged it as much as possible. I'm still reading the fifth book, Dance with Dragons. This is an epic fantasy series set in The Seven Kingdoms. There are dragons, shapeshifters, knights, kings, queens, and the sexiest dwarf ever. George is supposedly writing 2 more, but since he is a notoriously slow writer, it may be a long wait.

Sarah Addison Allen's The Girl Who Chased the Moon and  The Peach Keeper - I love Sarah's writing style. She makes the South seem like this luscious magical place. All of her characters seem like they could be your best friends, but they all have some little bit of magic about them. In The Girl Who Chased the Moon, Emily returns to her mom's hometown to find that the wallpaper in her mother's bedroom changes to suit her mood and there seem to be ghosts floating around the backyard. In The Peach Keeper, two girls who were never friends in high school find themselves becoming entwined when a dead body is discovered at an old mansion with ties to both of their families.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua - Many people were disgusted by the author's honest portrayal of how she is raising her daughters. I found it interested and refreshing. Obviously, there are some things that I would never do, such as tell my daughters that I'm going to burn their teddy bears if the don't play the piano perfectly. But there is absolutely no question that Amy loves her daughters fiercely, and only wants the best for and from them. 

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran - When I read this book, I became obsessed. I was obsessed with the character Cleopatra Selene and author Michelle Moran. I went out and found every book I could find with Cleopatra Selene in it, and then found every book Michelle had written up until that point. I ever pre-ordered her Madama Tussaud book. This book focuses on Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of Mark Antony and the more famous Cleopatra. The book follows her from her young life in Egypt, to her life in Rome, to her life in Mauritania. The writing is so beautiful and vivid.

The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran - This book follows her book Nefertiti. The main character Nefertari is Nefertiti's niece. Her royal family has fallen out favor and they are branded as heretics and traitors. As such she is mainly left to roam freely, until finally the Pharoah's aunt takes her under her wing. She is then educated and raised to be just one of Pharoah's many wives. I loved how strong Nefertari was as a character. She didn't just bow and scrape and do what she was told. She was able to think for herself. I recommend all of Michelle Moran's books.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett - If a character in a book can make you so mad that you throw the book across the room, the book is obviously well-written. This story, set just before the Civil Rights movement, will make you hate all white people as racist morons. Except Skeeter, she was cool. The story concerns black maids to uppity white women who are either racist pieces of crap, complete psychos, or complete morons. As mad as this book made me, it was still one of my favorites from 2011.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (I got them in HC for Christmas, wahooo!!) - I resisted reading this until after the third book came out. I just didn't think it would suit me. Boy was I wrong. I love this trilogy. Each book was amazing, there wasn't a lull in the action at all. Set in Panem, which is North America in the future, the book concerns Katniss, who seems like your average girl. When she is selected to represent her country at the Hunger Games, her whole word falls apart. Katniss becomes the unwilling emblem of a rebellion against Panem. Such a great trilogy. Definitely recommend it for YA and action and sci-fi fans.

 The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells - I read all of Wells' Divine Secrets books, so I knew I would love her writing when I picked this one up. I absolutely fell in love with the main character Calla Lily and her hometown of LaLuna, Louisianna. The book starts off when she is young and finds her first love Tuck. Then she grows up and Tuck moves away to go to college and never comes home, breaking poor Calla Lily's heart. Calla Lily moves to New Orleans to get away and learns more about herself and her heart. The writing is luscious and beautiful and makes the South come alive.

Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray - After I read Cleopatra's Daughter, I wanted to read every book there was about Cleopatra Selene. Unfortunately, there aren't many. Luckily, I did find this one by Stephanie Dray. This book takes a different approach to Selene's story. In this one, she possessed magical powers that she can't control, courtesy of the goddess Isis. These powers both intrigue and terrify Octavian, who in these books is just plain evil. I usually don't like magic in my historical fiction, but Stephanie does it perfectly. It really is believable and not at all, over the top. There is a sequel, Song of the Nile, which Stephanie actually let me read and review for this blog. :)

Shiver, Linger, Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls Series) by Maggie Steifvater - I am reluctant to read paranormal YA because I feel like most of it is Twilight rip-offs. However, the cover of Linger intrigued me for a long time. The wolf sort of just standing in the forest looking out looked really interesting. When the nookbook was on sale I caved and bought it. I am so glad I did. I ended up reading all 3 back to back. I loved Sam and Grace, the main characters. This was so much better than Twilight. There are werewolves, but they're just regular people who happen to turn into wolves. They aren't cursed or magical, it is all rather scientific. The love between Grace and Sam, although it happens fast, is actually quite believable. Definitely a must-read for any YA fans, even if like me, you don't like paranormal YA.

Up tomorrow, top ten book covers of 2011!
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  1. Great list. I've heard of some and will check on the others. :O)

  2. Great picks! I need to do my list.

  3. I LOVE The Help and I've been curous about The Girl Who Chased the Moon -- glad to hear you loved it so much! :D

    My Top Ten

  4. I loved the Hunger Games and Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I have the Game of Thorns series on my TBR list! I loved The Help the movie but haven't read the book yet. Great picks!
    My Top 10 of 2011


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