Sunday, January 1, 2012

Favorite Books of 2011

Okay, I know it is March and this post should really have been something I did in January.  Forgive me, I'm a slacker.  But that is not going to prevent me from posting this because these books are so amazing, as are the authors, and I just can't pass up the opportunity to pimp them out.

In 2011 I read a total of 66 books.  This is an impressive number for me since the previous year I only read 15.  It is amazing what the purchase of a Kindle will do to your reading obsession!  And what I also love about my Kindle is that it has opened up a whole new world to me with the option of reading books by independently published authors.  Out of those 66 books, I have chosen 8 to feature in this post, many of which fall into the indie author classification.

So here are the books, according to my personal opinion, that rocked my world in 2011.  Please note that although I read them in 2011, they were not all published in 2011.  (These appear in no particular order.)

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Genre: Contemporary Romance (please note, this book is not YA as many people have mistakenly believed.)

I downloaded this book on my Kindle at the recommendation of a friend.  Then I let it sit on my Kindle for about six months because...well, I don't really have a good excuse.  And I am really sorry that I let it sit as this book didn't deserve it.  When I did finally read it, I didn't put it down until it was finished.  Everything in my life was neglected the Sunday that I read this.  It is a good thing for my husband, he picked up the slack and made sure the kids were fed so that child services didn't need to come knocking.

A real-life Travis Maddox (one of the book's main characters) would have me appalled and discusted, mostly in his actions toward the women he slept with. But there is something in the way that Jaime McGuire wrote this character that opened up a soft spot in my heart for him. Don't get me wrong, there were many times in the course of the book that I felt he needed a good slap upside the head, but as I got to know him better, I got to see the caring man that he is, albeit maybe a little possesive.

The roller coaster of emotions I experienced throughout this book is unbelievable! I smiled, I laughed, I cried - right along with the characters. It truly touched me.

Seriously. Read this book. You won't be disappointed - until it is over anyway, then you will want to read it all over again because nothing else will compare.  The Kindle book can be purchased at Amazon for only $2.99.  Such a great book for such a small price!

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

Genre: Erotic Romance

This book is HOT!  I am not sure what I completely expected going into this book, but I definitely didn't expect where it took me. My emotions ran rampant through the entire book, happiness, fear, giddiness, sadness and more. 

I was totally engrossed in the not-so-normal relationship between the sexy, rich, successful, and tantalizing Christian Grey and the normal, innocent Ana. The ups and downs of their relationship kept me on the edge of my seat and I received an introductory education on the BDSM lifestyle. *Blush* Ana's inner dialog with her conscious and her inner goddess, was humorous and one of the reasons I love the book so much.

This book has gotten a lot of press lately with appearances on The Today Show and Good Morning America.  It has also been at the #1 spot on the NY Times Best Sellers List and the Amazon Best Sellers list. 

Fifty Shades of Grey can be purchased here on Amazon.  While you are at it, you will want to also pick up Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed because you won't be able to stop.  The books are very addictive!

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Genre: YA Romance

I "Flat-Out" fell in love with this book. I don't think I have read a sweeter love story (sorry, I know that is corny, but it's true.)  Jessica Park is amazing!

This book has it all - romance, dysfunctional family, mystery, and a warm, feel-good ending.  There is a twist in the story that some are able to figure out sooner than other, but from the words of the author "It's not what you know--or when you see--that matters. It's about a journey."

This book is a steal for only $3.49 at Amazon.

Eternal Eden by Nicole Williams

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book. Once again, I had to force myself to put my Kindle down while reading this just so I could feed my kids, go to work, sleep, etc. (you know, normal responsibilities that wouldn't get me fired or have child services knocking on my door.)

Although there is no man on earth, Mortal or Immortal, that is as perfect as William is portrayed in the story, I thoroughly enjoyed the romance between him and Bryn. The way that Nicole Williams wrote this story triggered so much emotion that I found myself laughing and crying with the characters.

This book is currently FREE on Amazon.  And the story continues in Fallen Eden and United Eden where Nicole does a wonderful job of wrapping up the story and giving you a perfect happily ever after.

Love Unscripted by Tina Reber

Genre: Contemporary Romance

This book made me laugh, it made me cry and it gave me real life, honest to God goosebumps. I fell in love with Ryan and at one point it even made me hate Ryan.

I am not a big huge follower of celebrities, but after reading this book I will never think of celebrities the same, especially as I wait in line at the grocery store and see all the tabloid magazines.  Getting a glimpse at a possibility of how life is for them will make you think twice.

Get this Kindle book for only $3.99 at Amazon!

Heart on a Chain by Cindy C. Bennett

Genre: Young Adult

This book is a very heartwrenching story about a teenage girl who is not only getting bullied at school but is also dealing with physical abuse at home.  What is unique about this book is that, while the abuse and bullying is a big part of the story, it is not the main plot.  Rather the main focus is the inner conflict Kate has in dealing with these problems and how she finds that she cannot trust anyone because of it, even when someone reaches out and sincerely wants to help her.

The Kindle book can be puchased for only $3.94 on Amazon.

Significance by Shelly Crane

Genre: YA Paranormal

I am a sucker for YA Paranormal books, and this one grabbed my attention fast and held it.

Shelly Crane is amazing and her Significance series is my favorite of all her books.  They had me hooked from the very start.  The books are YA Paranormal but they don't include vampires or zombies.  Rather this is a story of a regular girl high school girl who is dealing with bad grades, a depressed and dad, a non existant mother, and a boyfriend that just dumped her. 

However, her whole life changes with just a touch from Caleb, who she fast learns is her significant, and life as she knows if will never be the same.

Grab the Kindle book for only $2.99 at Amazon.

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Genre: Fantasy

This book is dark, sexy, and full of paranormal oddities.  I loved it!!  Quite frankly I loved the whole series.

Darkfever is the first book in a set of five about heroine Makyla Lane.  Mac has a normal life, until her sister is murdered in Dublin and a single phone message left on Mac's phone right before her death is the only clue to her murderer.  Mac decides she is going to take this infomation and personally track down her sister murderer herself.  What she doesn't realize is just how deep she will have to go and the information that she will find out about herself and who she really is.

Just a warning, each book ends in a cliffhanger, so you will need to be prepared to read through the whole series or you will go crazy wondering what is going to happen.

Get the Kindle book here on Amazon.