Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Everyone is talking about their favorite books of the year and I've definitely got a few of my own.  Some people have separate lists for indie and traditionally published, but since I don't really care either way, you're getting this list Kate style and in the order that I read them.

So, let's start off with my favorite series of the year.  I couldn't pick one, so there are two, and mind you, these are FINISHED series.

The first is an indie that has now been reissued by St. Martin's press.  Gone are the days where you can pick it up for $.99-$2.99, I'm afraid.  It's the Trylle Trilogy, by Amanda Hocking.  I admit, the first book didn't get more than a "like" from me.  It was rough and I didn't really like the main character.  But by the end of the series, I was completely won over to the characters, the story and Amanda herself.

My other favorite series of the year, The Fable Haven Series.  I loved the first book, though the characters came off as immature.  By the fifth and final books, the characters had grown up, along with the story.  I cannot say enough about how high a quality these books are in the world of juvenile fiction.  I plan on buying the entire series for my boys to read, because I know they'll love it and for once, I approve of the entire content!

Let's move on to books:  There are a scant few of these, but I found several new favorite authors as the year progressed.  Thanks to goodreads, and all of my favorite book reviewers, I read a treasure trove of good books.

1)  I don't ask for much from a book, but it's got to keep me reading!  This book delivered in spades, and I was up all night, riveted by this story of a normal American family caught up in a devastating race for survival. The ending was abrupt, but satisfying and I was pretty impressed with my first taste of Blake Crouch.
2)  This book was recommended by my cousin, and I was once again reminded how FANTASTIC juvenile fiction can be at its best.  Poetic, tragic, and ultimately morally satisfying, I recommend this to parents of kids who enjoy a thrill and some mild horror.

3)  This book is a shining example of steam punk as it should be.  The characters are amazing, the world is built to the nth degree and I could NOT STOP READING it.  I wasn't a fan of the Uglies series, but Westerfeld really won me over with the quality of this book.

4) This book is going at the top of my all time fantasy loves.  It's a book to BUY and KEEP and LOVE for me.  The writing style is not for everyone, but I was transported.

5)  This book was so amazing that I didn't even notice it was the hated first person present tense until page 85, so you know I liked it!  There was a point with some flashback stuff that could have been corny, but actually ended up being delightful.  This is an author I will read again for sure.

6)  It is a big deal for me to like a werewolf book.  They are a WAY overdone character type, and yet, Red proves the rule that you can make ANYTHING seem new again, if you do it well.  I ate up this book in one gulp.  It is perfectly timed, impeccably written, and has very little in the way of YA annoyances.  Like Mary Poppins, it is practically perfect in every way.

7)  No, I didn't forget one of my other favorite indies of the year.  I was hoping to make the Angel's Edge series one of my favorites of the year, but alas, I didn't get to read the third (and final?) book, so I picked my favorite to highlight, Darkness in the Blood.  Both of these books were excellent, but I found myself enjoying the more polished writing style of Darkness better.  

8)  I had a hard time with this book at first, being an American, but after some help from my Aussie friends, I was completely bowled over by the writing style, the beautiful way the story came together and well, the fact that I cried my eyes out made this book a nice end of the year surprise.

9)  From the first page to the last, Laini Taylor was an unparalleled artist, weaving words and metaphors together in a unique prose I found delicious and irresistible.  I couldn't get over these short stories and wished for more in the end.  She will be a new favorite author for me, I can tell.

My final favorite of the year isn't really a book, it's more of a novella or short novel.  It's worth noting, however, so that's why I include it.  It was one of my more successful beta reads, for sure.  I can't wait to read the next.

I hope your reading endeavors were as successful as mine this year.

Happy Reading!

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