Friday, January 6, 2012

Top 5 books of 2011

Happy Friday, everyone! :D

So, I am pleased to announce that I completed my goal for the Goodreads 2011 challenge! I originally started the year with a goal of 30 books, which I bumped up to 50 when the first few months of the year went so well. Then, in the later months, I floundered a bit. I scaled back, but It's still more than the original goal, so I think that's okay.

So, for some fun, I though I'd list for you guys my Top 5 books of 2011. The best of the best. The cream of the crop. The. . . well, you guys get the idea.

DAUGHT OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor – You know how there's a book that you didn't really know anything about going in and then it all of a sudden blew your mind? Yeah, that was this book. My friend and CP Sarah (Squidink) read it in a day and swore up and down that I needed to read it. I dropped everything and did. And I was not disappointed.

This book is about Angels and Demons, but before you write it off as just another angel book, this one is so different that I almost don't want to call it an angel book, but that's what fist most closely. Laini Taylor not only created a world outside genres, but her writing is so good it's almost painful. It totally deserves the top spot.

SHIPBREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi – This truly deserves the Prinz Award in my mind. Dark and gritty, SHIPBREAKER is about two kids from very different worlds: One who is forced to break down huge oil ships in terrible conditions and who will probably die young in poverty and one who grew up rich but is being chased by those who would use her as political leverage.

It's a story about friendship and hope. It's about trust beyond its limits. And, it's about luck. A lot of luck, actually. The writing and world building in SHIPBREAKER are to die for. It's a great read.

GRACELING by Kristen Cashore – You know that book that isn't in the main stream but every time you hear about it, it's always good things? That's this book. It's one that doesn't get a lot of hype outside of the YA community, nor does everyone like fantasy as this book is. This book was recommended to me because, at the time, I was working on my own fantasy novel and needed some inspiration.

It was so good it nearly made me cry. It's the kind of book that you'll be reading, thinking it's similar to other books you've read, until you forget to bring it when you leave for out of town. And then you go crazy wanting to know what happened. Yeah, that's this book.

THE VESPERTINE by Saundra Mitchell – From the moment that I picked this book up, it grabbed me and didn't let go. An unusual genre in YA, THE VESPERTINE is a historical fiction. Set in old-time Boston, this book had everything I wanted in a historical fiction and none of the things that make me put them aside.

But Saundra is more clever than just that. Not only are there fancy dresses and parties and (gasp) boys who get paid to make up an even amount of people at dinner, there is also a hint of fantasy, a whiff of intrigue, and a bit of mystery. Oh, and to top it off, Nate is a completely swoon-worthy character. I loved him since the first scandalous moment. And to find out what that may be, you'll have to find out by reading. Oh, and also - it inspired fanart.

INVINCIBLE SUMMER by Hannah Moskowitz – This was a book that surprised me when I picked it up. Of course it sounded like a good book, but I seriously underestimated the power this book would have on me. Once I got into it, I couldn't stop myself from reading. I found myself thinking about it at work and staying up until three in the morning to finish it.

Among the credits to Ms. Moskowitz are brilliant and poetic prose, the fantastic idea of telling a story only during summers at one beach house, making characters painfully relatable, and some plot twists that I'm sure you won't see coming. This book made my heart ache – in beauty and sadness.

So that's my list! What do you guys think? Have you read any of these, and, if so, what did you think? Did you guys set and meet your own reading goals? Also, tell me what the best books you read in 2011 were.