Want to know what books your favorite bloggers most enjoyed in 2011? Be sure to check out each post in the Best of 2011 series!
Spellcast by Barbara Ashford
I knew I would enjoy Spellcast based on resounding recommendations from my book blog peeps I trust most, but still wasn’t expecting to adore it as much as I did. One word to sum up this book: Charming. I didn’t know exactly how much it would affect me when I first started it, but was quickly enchanted. Could not put it down. Upon finishing at 2 AM the next morning, I was verklempt - choked with emotion - for at least a day after.
Black Heart Loa by Adrian Phoenix
The thing that stands out the most in Black Heart Loa for me are the women and their incredible strength and their relationships with one another. They are so strong, so confident, have such a sense of right and wrong, and you genuinely care about them even if they are coming from very different perspectives. Add to that the hugely imaginative and dark Cajun world of hoodoos and magic Adrian Phoenix has created and this is a true gem. Oh, and one smokinn hoottttt love affair.
Aftermath by Ann Aguirre
This latest Sirantha Jax installment made me feel deeply, made me hold my breathe, left me speechless. It grabbed my chest, closed around my lungs and heart and didn’t let go. The lavish world-building and profound relationship development between all the characters continue to be top-notch. Aftermath is about wandering the road less traveled; doing things to help others outside of yourself; and most importantly…embracing the many shapes love can be given and accepted in.
An Unlikely Countess, Jo Beverley: I enjoy all of Beverley’s work, but this was a particularly fun one, as it had two of my favorite themes; marriage between two characters who barely know each other, and a couple shoved out of their depth, yet trying to make the best of things, together.
Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton: I’ve long loved Beaton’s comics, which she posts online; they’re hilarious critiques of history, genre literature, and cultural icons. This is a print collection of them. Be sure to check out her version of the Brontë sisters! Particularly “Dude Watchin’ with the Brontës.”
Within the Flames, Marjorie M. Liu: yes, it’s yet another Dirk & Steele novel.Yes, I am totally addicted. This one featured Eddie! Eddie finally got his own book! *happy sigh*
1) Real Men Will by Victoria Dahl—Last in the Donovan Brothers Brewery trilogy, and in my eyes the best. I have a weakness for uptight men loosened up by unconventional woman, but the incredibly talented Dahl even turns this popular trope on its head! I read an opinion somewhere that Dahl has a knack for showing how one’s insecurities can hold you back in life and in love, and it is so true. By the end of this book, I was disappointed that the world inhabited by the Donovan siblings and their fascinating brewery had concluded because I wanted more.
2) Pale Demon by Kim Harrison—Harrison promised a road trip with Rachel & Co and her sometime nemesis/sometime ally Trent Kalamack, and she more than delivered a ride full of humor and terror (if those are two elements one can experience simultaneously). As I’ve dropped so many long-running urban fantasy series, The Hollows is amazing in that each installment gets better and better.
3) The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin—Goodwin takes a somewhat familiar story (the marriage of Consuelo Vanderbilt to the Duke of Marlborough) and makes it fresh and entertaining. Goodwin doesn’t shy away from the conflicts of the Gilded Age, particularly as it pertains to Cora Cash’s African-American maid, Bertha, who finds love and a measure of freedom in England. There is romance in the book, but the strength lies in the charismatic Cora and her journey to self-discovery.