This is not a list of all the good books I read this year, not even all the great books I read this year. This is a list of my personal favorite books I read in 2011.
I have to admit that I have a very healthy TBR pile, and more “best” reads could very well be lurking in there. Some of my favorite authors are not on this list because I did not read a “best ever I loved it sooo much” book from them this year, which is a bummer. Also disappointing me is that I do not have a lot of strong contenders in Romantic Suspense or Contemporary Romance categories – my favorite two categories of romance. It was a strong year for historical and paranormal though, so without further ado here are my top 20 (ish) reads of 2011:
A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare (Review)
This hit every one of my reading buttons just right. From the spinster heroine to the hero struggling to find meaning in his life – tender moments to passion to hilarious scenes. I loved this book!
To Wed a Wild Lord by Sabrina Jeffries (Review)
My first by this author, the courtship and story of this book rocked my socks right off.
Lord & Lady Spy by Shana Galen (Review)
Another new to me author – I loved the “Mr. and Mrs. Smythe” regency spy couple discovering each other, their love, and kicking serious butt.
The entire “un” series earned A grades from me and with every book I was shocked at how much I could love the stories and characters of Courtney Milan. Smite (Unraveled) beats the others soundly, but they are all still amazing enough that they all deserve to be on this list.
Of her four books, this was by far my favorite (though they are all cute!).
I have been waiting for Mickey’s story since book #1 of this series and the scene with Silence in his pirate palace. *shiver* I was not disappointed. This book was fantastic, and I ate up every page just as quickly as I could.
The wild explorer and the super smart heroine heading for spinsterhood… oh my. This author absolutely knocked my socks off! I am currently purchasing her entire backlist this book was so good.
Paranormal / UF :
Mandi’s talk of Barrons made me pick up this series this summer… and I believe start to finish I read them all over about a week. Books 1-4 killed me with cliffhangers, and none read well as a stand-alone for me. This book was everything I could have hoped for in a fifth and final series book. Epic, amazing, Barrons-tastic love.
Dragons and Griffons and fairies oh my! I need to read the rest of this series. I’m falling behind.
In this installment we get romance, action, intrigue, and a whole lot of ass kicking. There’s a reason Kate is a top UF/paranormal heroine in so many people’s minds. She rocks. (and is mated to the beast lord of Atlanta, Hellloooooo Curran…)
Oh hello Dmitri, aren’t you a surprising one? I fully expected to like this book and not much more, as Dmitri has been unlikeable in past books of the Guild Hunter series. However the author shows us the why, and the reason he appears so nasty through Elena’s eyes. In reality, he’s a smoldering smexy vampire who just needs the right woman…
Book 5, and as promised Estep has the big show-down between Mab and Gin. My favorite assassin does not disappoint – as she continues to develop into a character (and series) that tops my list and will make me drop everything to read a new installment.
This series is part romance, part fantasy, and pure awesome. Love how there are interconnecting elements but they each stand on their own and are filled with adventure. If you’re not reading Ilona Andrews yet, you need to!
Introduced to me by Tori, I’m loving this series about a FBI profiler that was pulled into an alternate universe where humans are a minority facing extinction. This book was by far the best – I hope the series keeps its level of awesome!
I’m way behind in the Dresden Files, but I read this book (#7 in series) this summer and was absolutely blown away. It’s by far the best so far, and this series continues to grow darker, more twisted, and made of pure awesome sauce. I love me some Harry Dresden, Chicago Wizard extraordinaire that’s for sure.
The whole series is made of awesome and I recommend them all strongly. However when I thought about the books, this is the one that stood out as the best in my mind. A woman from the north nicknamed “the Beast” paired with “Gwenvyal the handsome”?! Oh yes, it’s so very good. Also very intense as there is a lot going down with other characters…
I don’t read YA, it’s not my thing. But Jennifer Estep is writing a series so awesome, so full of mythology and kick-assery that I can’t help myself. It begs to be read.
While it wouldn’t make my all-time best contemporary romance list, it was by far the best contemporary romance I read in 2011. I love her smart heroines and stories in general. This one did not disappoint.
I love Tara’s over the top Steel Street gang of black ops badasses, and this was an amazing ending to the series. A character back from the dead, a seriously twisted bad guy trying to infiltrate their Denver base of operations, and a whole lot of awesome.
This book releases in early 2012, and it is an amazing conclusion to Cindy’s Black Ops series. This book wasn’t as over the top as previous books, and I loved it for that. In fact, I loved this book so much it prompted me to re-read my other favorites (the first 3 in series).
Some of these books also made my “new to me in 2011” article here at Smexy.
I can’t wait to see what makes other reader’s lists for 2011, and of course find new “must reads” to add to TBR mountain…