Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Year That Was 2011: The Best Of Everything Else

Now that I've corralled the best reading I did in category romance last year, it's time to talk about everything else.  This also marks my last post on the subject of rehashing 2011.  It's time to look forward, and kick my reading butt in gear if I have any hopes of cracking 100 books read in 2012.  So, what were some of the gems that I read last year that weren't category romance?  Here they are!

Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran (historical fiction, Crown, 2011)
  • My other A read of the year.  Compelling, riveting, historical fiction detailing the life of Madame Tussaud (of wax museum fame) before she was a madame and living in Paris on the eve of the French Revolution.  Loved it!
You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin (YA crime, Little Brown, 2011)
  • Pulpy crime noir set in a suburban high school.  Not a book for everybody (Lil' Sis DNF'ed it!), but if you love crime noir, and can deal with a mother-lode of slang, this is a really clever read.
Fourth and Goal by Jami Davenport (digital erotic romance, LooseID, 2011)
  • An erotic romance with some lovely character depth.  Also, a sports-themed romance (professional American football) that didn't make me want to drive my fist through a wall.  Can't wait for the next book in the series.
Portrait of Seduction by Carrie Lofty (digital historical romance, Carina, 2011)
  • A fantastic star-crossed lovers story with a happy ending!  Beautiful period detail, compelling conflict, and achingly romantic.
Flawless by Carrie Lofty (historical romance, Pocket, 2011)
  • A wastrel hero who grows up and a heroine who learns to stop running scared.  All while set against the back-drop of Victorian South Africa.  Seriously, someone needs to lock Lofty in an attic and tell her to keep churning out historical romances.  They're really magical.
Fall From Grace by Wayne Arthurson (mystery/suspense, Forge, 2011)
  • Thought-provoking suspense with a seriously eff'ed up hero and a great sense of place (Canada!).  The ending warped my fragile little mind, but I couldn't stop thinking about it for days afterward.  A winning debut.
The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen (mystery/suspense, Ballantine, 2011)
  • Gerritsen has been on a roll for me with her last several Rizzoli/Isles books.  This one has a great mystery set in Boston's Chinatown and it's a "Jane book."  Yippee!
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston (historical fiction, Ecco, 2011)
  • A picture book for grown-ups.  Tells the story of Frances "Frankie" Pratt through her scrapbook.  Yeah, it's a gimmick - but it's a clever gimmick.  If you're a social history junkie, look no further.
All Fall Down by Megan Hart (general fiction, Mira, 2011)
  • I love the way Hart takes "ordinary people" and puts them in extraordinary circumstances.  Heroine wakes up one morning to discover her husband had a child by his first wife.  A child who is now 20, with three kids of her own, and oh - just escaped from a cult that committed mass suicide.
Princess Forever by Meg Cabot (YA, HarperTeen, 2009)
  • The final chapter in the author's popular Princess Diaries series.  I'm putting this one on the list mostly because it's a series that ended - and it ended beautifully.  The author gives her fans what they want, and wraps it up in such a way to make me believe that an 18-year-old girl is going to live happily-ever-after.
This is probably the most variety I've ever had in a Best Of list before.  Part of this is thanks to work.  Two of these, including the lone A read?  Yeah, I picked up to prepare for a "book talk" I did at a local senior center.

I hope you enjoyed looking back with me on my reading year in 2011.  It's always fun for me to go back and reminisce on some of the great stuff I read over the course of the year.  And hopefully you were able to cull a couple of suggestions from this trip down memory lane.


Victoria Janssen said...

Here's hoping you find even more great reads in 2012. So you can tell me about them and I can read them. *ahem*

nath said...

LOL, you're finishing rehashing 2011... I haven't even started!! ^_^;

It's a great list of books :) I really need to read Ms Lofty's previous releases. I really enjoyed Flawless. Thanks Wendy!

Marguerite Kaye said...

I wrote a mental post-it to order Madame Tussaud after your original review, then it must have fallen off my mental fridge door! Have just ordered it now, before I forget again. Thank you for reminding me.

Wendy said...

Victoria: I need to kick my butt in gear! So far I've read a whopping one book in January.

Nath: Well, I misspoke. I do still need to do my month in review for December :)

Marguerite: Having your mental post-it note fall off your mental fridge might have been a good thing! At least here in the US, the trade paperback version is now out :)

Jami Davenport said...

Wendi, Thanks for including me on your Best of Everything Else list. I'm very thrilled to be included in such good company.

Lil Sis said...

Actually I did finish but it was a complete skim. I wanted to get to the end just to solve the mystery. Had it not been for the mystery I would have dropped it for sure!

Carrie Lofty said...

I *am* locked in a closet!!


Wendy said...

Jami: Tyler's story, Tyler's story, Tyler's story....hint, hint, hint.

Lil' Sis: I know, it was seriously heavy on the slang. Mileage varies on that - depending on the reader.

Carrie: Good! Don't come out of there until you have at least 3 more historicals done! LOL!