Monday, January 9, 2012

2011 All Star Team

Hello, my wonderful writing friends!! Its raining, its pouring, the old man is snoring, and I'm writing a blog post to keep my mind off wandering back to my bed to snuggle under the covers. 

Seriously, rain? You're SO not a motivator. Moving on...

So if you're like me--and I'm assuming, you are, lovely writers, like me--you're constantly bombarded by people asking you what books they should read. Writers love books. Writers love to read. Hence, we got books to recommend! (Which, I love by the way... I love it when people ask me what to read... I LOVE sharing the LOVE!!) 


If you're like me... when put on the spot, you often forget that oh-so-fabulous list of oh-so-fabulous books to read. On a particularly bad day, your response might be nothing more than: "Errr... yeah, Harry Potter was AWESOME!" 

Don't feel bad. I do it too. 

So THIS year, in order to avoid any embarrassing mind slips, I decided to write down all the books I've read! (Yay!) That way, when some awesome individual asks "Hey Jules, what should I read?" I can say "Oh, funny you should ask, since I have this handy dandy list here." 

Yeah, I'm ahead of the curve. 

Anyway, if you look under my Book Worm tabby thingy, you can see all 69 books I read this year. [And as a total side note, I count double reads as two reads. I know, I'm probably treading all over someone else's carefully thought-out logic on why reading the same book twice should only count as reading it ONCE.... BUT.... I don't like limiting my book count just cause I have a particular book I loved so much I wanted to read it twice. The point is to read, right? So they count. (All complaints will be forwarded to my secretary... when I get one...)] I diligently kept this reading list so peeps like my sis (who is a book addict in constant need of a new "fix"--we've tried finding a cure, promise) and people like... some other friends I have... (who hardly ever read and only sometimes want a good book), can refer to the list and find a good book. 

And since I'm a good friend and all that [pats self on back], and since I've gone through all the trouble of actually keeping this awesome list, I decided to give you my 2011 All Star Team... the list of books I just couldn't get enough of (in no particular order):

Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins

SUCH an adorable story. Perkins has a strong voice and kept me laughing--yes actually laughing out loud--through the entire book. I loved her snark and sarcasm. And her love story in Paris sparkled! Oh Entienne, *swoon*!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor

This story was so unique. Its hard to find a fantasy book these days that doesn't reek of Lord of the Rings, but Taylor nailed it. A slow start, but soon you'll find yourself so engulfed in the world of Chimera and Angels you--literally--won't be able to put it down.

Funny side note, this girl knows also Stephanie Perkins.... (I'm a nerd, I actually read the acknowledgments!) Sign me up for that critique group!!

Divergent, Veronica Roth

If I had to--like, if someone put a gun to my head and actually forced me to choose--a favorite book of the year, this might be the first book that popped out of my mouth by default. Veronica Roth's dystopian thriller in run-down Chicago was AMAZING. I loved EVERYTHING about this book (especially Four... I heart tall skinny guys! Woot, woot!) Step aside, Hunger Games, you've got yourself a SERIOUS competitor.

Gaia's Secret, Barbara Kloss 

I did a whole post on this just recently, which you should totally check out for details. Barb is one of my awesome blogging buddies who recently published her first novel, Gaia's Secret. This book was so much fun to read! I loved the story, the magic, the strong female character (oh Daria!) and the smoldering hot guy (even though I kind of wanted to punch him in the face at the end... just saying')

The House at Riverton, Kate Morton

I get made fun of by my critiquing buddies (ahemLAUREN) cause I don't say "T's" very well. Saying Kate Morton with both "T's" enunciated is a bit much for my Idaho accent (where we drop the "T" sound)... but despite my friends' merciless mocking, this book is amazing! I love how it switches time periods back and forth... and I absolutely ached at the end, the love story is heart wrenching. I lost sleep over it, wishing things could have turned out differently, but knowing that it was the best possible ending Morton could have devised!

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Um, yeah... somehow I missed reading this in high school English. Is the AP reading list different than the regular one? At any rate, this was my first time through Jane Eyre, and I adored it. I shan't waste time telling you about it... since likely, all of you actually read it in high school English (unlike me). But I fell in love! Next up, Withering Heights!

The Power of Six, Pittacus Lore

I actually read I Am Number Four this year too... but it didn't make the top ten. I my opinion, The Power of Six, knocked the socks off the first book. In this book, we get to see all the other characters and their various secret powers emerge, as the other Lorian kids band together to fight the Mogs! Action packed and told from many different points of views, this book was a page turner. Fingers crossed it makes it to the big screen!

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern 

I absolutely got lost in the beauty and mystery of this book. Its like the Prestige meets Water for Elephants. So magical but incredibly life like. I'm sorry, but no crappy carnival circus will EVER be good enough after reading this book!

The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson

This book was the first to introduce me to the power of a first line: Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love. After that? I was hooked. Another one of those books that switches time periods, characters and points of view throughout, but one that all comes together at the end to complete a beautiful story of love and healing. And, if my memory serves correctly, I do believe this book pulled a whopping' 1.5 million for an advance. Um, pick me, please!

The Body Finder, Kimberly Derting

This book is deliciously creepy! Its about a girl who can sense dead bodies, and how she gets tangled up in a case involving a small town serial killer. Eeek! Goosebumps all the way!! Did I mention my favorite TV show is Criminal Minds? Oh yeah. I also loved the characters... Jay is so honest and sweet, and his relationship with the main character, Violet is beautiful and simple. I loved how real it all felt. A fantastic read. 

Note: Even though I counted books I've already read, as well as repeat reads, this list includes only the NEW books I read this year (yes, its true, I'd never read Jane Eyre!) Which is why some obvious favs like Water for Elephants and Harry Potter were left off the list. Also, I only included PUBLISHED books (yes, ePub too!) which is why some of the books by my lovely writer friends were left off. 


Rob said...

Hahahaha. I'm the first to leave a comment....You and your blogging buddies can take that one to the bank!

Also, being the "hubbs" I can testify that Julie has enjoyed every one of the aforementioned books.

Oh and about Jane Eyre...It was on my list to read in High School...and I sort of read it :) (Thanks Naomi [sister who read about 2x as many books as Julie in her prime before she had 3 kids who all have special needs]).

Annalisa Crawford said...

Hi Julie - thanks for the follow!

Some of those books are now on my to-read list, they look great - especially The Gargoyle and The Body Finder!

Christa said...

All great choices...I read a pretty sexy Gargoyle book this year too. It's called Stone Cold Seduction. Who knew Gargoyles could pull this off?

M.S Tucker said...

If you really liked Kimberly Derling's "The Body Finder" you'll love her newest called "The Pledge".

And if you DIDN'T put the Night Circus up there, you and I were gonna have some words!!!

I'm thinking that I'll post a top ten books for 2011. I've got to get back into my blogging swing, like, really bad! LOL

Heather said...

What a cool idea! And excellent choices!

C D Meetens said...

Thanks for the recommendations. Interesting mix. I loved "Anna", but couldn't get into "The House at Riverton". As for "Jane Eyre", I fell in love with it before High School - just as well as it wasn't part of our syllabus either. I definitely want to read "The Night Circus".

Sylvi said...

LOVE you too sis!! Proud to say that I am a book addict (: It's the best thing to be addicted to....well except Diet Coke, of coarse

Julie said...

Rob: oh dear one... how many times must I tell you that getting Naomi to give you a cliff notes summary does NOT count as reading a book?

Annalisa: both are EXCELLENT!! I hope you like!

Christa: Haha! Seriously? Who knew!!

Mandi: YAY!! I'm SO looking forward to reading that one... its definitely on the victim list. And I'm glad you say its good... I was wondering if it'd be as stellar as The Body Finder series. Glad to have a good report!!

P.s. Are you kidding? I read the Night Circus twice in like as many weeks... yeah. Its on the list!

Heather: Thanks!!

CD: I love reading in all genres... gives me a good mix of what's out there ( : Plus, why limit yourself when you can read 'em all, right?!

I agree that sometimes Kate Morton starts out slow. But for some reason that mystery and intrigue just pulls me in. And--OH!--the end of that book is just heart-wrenchingly good! You might have to give it another go sometime ( ;

Julie said...

Sylvi: HAHAHAHA!! Oh good, I was wondering if you'd catch my reference to your addiction!! Yay! ( :

And now that you have my top ten, you can go forth and READ!!! I had to cut a LOT of books I liked, though (it was painful), so if you need more recommends, I'm happy to give!

Pooh said...

I went on a huge Tudor/Elizabethan England kick over the summer and read a whole bunch of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, etc. Like, about 25 books worth. Great stuff.

Two of my most absolute faves of the year, though, were A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (Paranormal, romance, history - right up your alley.) and The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (intertwined stories of three Jewish women at Masada before and during the seige/fall). Ah-freakin'-mazing, both.

Sari Webb said...

Your top 4 books - BRILLIANT. I loved them all, too. I haven't read any of the others but I will have to add them to my TBR list.

Great idea by the way, I might have to have a hard think about my top 10.

Jessica Salyer said...

sounds like some good books. Thanks for the suggestions. I missed being your 100th by 1. Drat. lol :)

Johanna Garth said...

Hi Julie! Good to meet you! 69 books makes for quite a year!!

M.S Tucker said...

She left the book's ending open to writing a second, but I was satisfied with the way The Pledge ended too. So it's tough to say.

But I also meant to say, I was surprised Condie's book Matched didn't make your list!! I thought you went banana's for it!?

Maggie said...

You didn't read Jane Eyre in high school? Glad I'm not the only one ... Actually, I just read that one this last year too! :)

Julie said...

Chrysta: I'm on in! Adding them to my victim list pronto! And I think I went through the same kick a few years ago... I pretty much read every Phillipa Gregory book out there! Haha ( : They're pretty good!

Sari: Yay! Glad I picked good ( : And happy to give good ideas too! I'll be checkin' your blog for the top 2012 next year!

Jessica: Curses! And its funny, cause I only got my 100th follower JUST before you joined... drat! I guess I'll take you anyway ( ;

Johanna: Thanks! I'm a bit of an addict... hahaha!

Mandi: Matched and The Maze Runner were like numbers 11 and 12 that got cut... I ALMOST extended my list (cause, you know... why not break the rules like that, eh?) but then decided no. They got cut in favor of books like Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Night Circus... BOTH of which I read AFTER Matched.

Alas... the top ten is NOT big enough for all my favs... maybe a top twenty next year?... Bahahahahah!

Maggs: HA! Yes!!! I'm not the only one!! I knew there had to be another abnormality out there ( : Heehee. So did you end up liking it? Doesn't really seem to be your type of book... but then, you never know!

M.S Tucker said...

Rules were made to be broken in some circumstances! So go on with your bad little self and write 12 books... HECK! MAKE IT 13!!! Nothing annoys some more than when you end a list with an ODD number!!! Muahahahahaaaaa!

I feel bad for the books released earlier in the year. Somehow the awesomeness or excitement wears off towards the end of December until they're sadly forgotten. :( At least that's the way it is with me. So I went back in my list and made Runner's Up... LOL

Julie said...

Mandi: Hmmmm.... I like this "Runner Up"/"Honorable Mention" idea.... its settled I'll probably have to do it!

I tried to be fair to all books involved. I'm an equal rights for books activist (haha!) and didn't want to discriminate against one just because I read it near the beginning ( : Turns out, though, some of the books on my list actually came near the start of 2011, so hopefully that means my "afterglow" didn't wear off TOO much!!

Honorable mentions comin' up!!!!

RaShelle Workman said...

Loved THE GARGOYLE. Yes, that first line rocks. Also enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I really want to read THE BODY FINDER. Thanks!

Julie said...

RaShelle: I know, the Gargoyle rocked!! Loved it. And you should definitely check out the Body Finder... its fabulous! Happy reading!

Shallee said...

Those are some great recommendations! I've read a few of them, but the others sound intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

And I TOTALLY know that blank, "what was that book I just finished that I loved..." thought when someone asks for recommendations. I should follow your example and make a handy list!

Anonymous said...

ha...totally feel you with the Kate Morton. My last name is Little, and for the life of me I can't say anything but Liddle.