Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spotlight List: Faves of 2011 (so far)

Spotlight List is a feature I do where I pick a topic or theme and then list some books that fall into that theme.

Faves of 2011 (so far)

You know how much I love lists, right? Spotlight List is a feature that's pretty much devoted to my list obsession. So when I saw Nomes from Inkcrush is hosting a Fave Reads of 2011 (so far) event, I had to join the fun.

Here are my favorites in one GIGANTIC list. Sorry for all the repeats. Some books are just so good they needed to be mentioned...a lot. Just be thankful I didn't read Harry Potter this year.

Click on the titles to go to my reviews. If I haven't reviewed the book yet (I will!) the links then lead to Goodreads.

Favorite book read so far in 2011

Waterfall and Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren

Hands down, no contest, these are among my most favorite books EVER. They are the type of books that define the Special Shelf.

Most powerful book

Feel like getting punched in the gut? Then crack open this emotional powerhouse. Bring tissues.

Brilliantly funny

Rapunzel, the One With All the Hair by Wendy Mass
Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis 

Do you know what these books taught me? When you're getting strange looks because you're laughing hysterically because of your book, trying to explain the scene never translates well. Don't even bother trying.

Best ache-y, heart-breaking, tear-jerker read

Explaining why you're crying doesn't go over any better than explaining why you're laughing. But at least people offer hugs (and I totally wanted to go around death-grip-hugging all my loved ones after reading Plain Kate).

Most beautiful story

This book is what classic storytelling is all about.

Delicious rainy day comfort read

Waterfall and Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren

I can't think of anything better than curling up with one of these books and kicking butt in historical Italy with the She-Wolves of Siena and their super-swoony men...

 Princess for Hire series by Lindsey Leavitt

...except maybe putting on magical sparkly makeup and pretending to be a princess while floating around in a magical bubble.

Adrenaline-fueled, unputdownable award

Woah! These two were just GOGOGOGOGOGO with the action and super-high stakes. Don't read them if you have deadlines or necessarily early bedtimes.

The beautiful prose award

Plain Kate by Erin Bow

I'm not really the type of reader who looks for beautiful prose. People say things like, "The dialog was clunky" and usually I'm just, "Waah? It was??" because I don't really pay attention to stuff like that unless it's REALLY bad or REALLY great. 

Seriously though, any of Adele's books are filled with gorgeous prose that even *I* take note of (even her emails and guest post are beautifully written). Not only does she write beautifully, but she says so much using the tiniest amount of words.

Erin Bow's writing MADE Plain Kate. That book had its hooks in my heart from page one and it was due 100% to Erin's phenomenal writing. She's just so incredibly evocative.

Most atmospheric and vivid setting

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce 

The settings in these books were so vivid they were practically characters in their own right. I could feel them they were so real. Pick up these books to take a journey to a spooky Gothic fairy tale set on the moors, sweltering India, and an isolated snowy castle.

I-so-want-to-go-there award

Princess for Hire series by Lindsey Leavitt

Princesses, sparkles, floating bubbles, good deeds, Disney-fluff...

Need I say more? The only invitation I want more than a princess subbing invitation is the kind delivered by owls (that also include magic, but, sadly, do not contain sparkles).

Most original and imaginative

Her world-building is top notch. Facade (the princess subbing agency) is so incredibly detailed down the the very last sparkly accessory and princess progress paperwork. Put it up there with Star Trek and Harry Potter when it comes to "Worlds with tiny details you can endlessly geek-out over." 

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the world of Supernaturally. You think you know paranormals? HA! Think again. Bonus points for an inanimate object that I like on the level of actual characters (that would be Tasey).

Best under-appreciated, hidden gem book

Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Plain Kate by Erin Bow 
Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin 

Go. Read. Them. Now.
Seriously, why are these not more well known?

I-had-no-idea-I-would-love-this-so award

Plain Kate by Erin Bow 

Waterfall came to me as an innocent little review book, and honestly I was a little wary about the Christian fiction elements. I was expecting to like it, but I wasn't expecting the OH MY GOSH I LOVE THIS SO MUCH I WANT TO PRINT UP FLIERS AND AIR DROP THEM ACROSS THE WORLD kinda love I have going for it.

After reading The Iron Daughter, I was all ready to continue wishing Meghan would die a horrible death in The Iron Queen, so color me surprised when I not only Special Shelf loved this book but I was actually cheerleading and fist-pumping for Meghan! 

Plain Kate I thought would be ok, but nothing special (kinda like that cover), but I ended up being absolutely blown away. This is the "I want to have a daughter just so I can read her this story" kind of love.

Most haunting story

Where I Want to Be by Adele Griffin

Both lingered with me for a long time after I had read the last page. These are the kind of books where if I see them on a shelf somewhere the emotions I felt when reading the book come flooding back over me again. 


Or perhaps more literally haunting? Yikes, were these spooky!

Outside my comfort zone but gosh how I loved it

I'm a chicken. I don't do "outside my comfort zone" all that often and these are the only two I've read this year so I guess by default they're it. I didn't LOVE either of them, but I did like both a lot more than I was expecting.

Series that I'm loving

There are a ton of series I'm loving, but my feelings for The River of Time series goes above and beyond.

Most memorable voice award

Evie from Supernaturally by Kiersten White

I've helped a few aspiring YA writers edit their drafts and when their "voice" isn't quite hitting the YA mark, Evie is the character I point them toward to see how it's done.

Completely awesome premise award

Say it with me one more time now: 


Would make the best movie

Enclave would be so badass! How cool would it be to see Deuce and Fade kick zombie butt on the big screen? The Princess For Hire series was pretty much born to be a Disney movie. If done right (voice-over narration is a must), The Fourth Stall could be classic.

This totally needs to be made into an animated television series using the styling of the cover artwork. I can already envision the associated product lines.

Want to re-read already

 Waterfall and Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren

When I was small(er) I used to watch Disney's Sleeping Beauty every day...all day. As soon as it was over, I'd rewind the tape and play it again. And again, and again, and again. That's pretty much how I feel about The River of Time (ok, I know there's a really corny joke in there about time travel, rewinding the tape, um, yeah ok nevermind).

Best female POV

Slow burns, bickering, and swoony declarations of love. Ah, perfection!

Who I so want to be best friends with

Evie from Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Our sleepover parties would be MADE OF WIN. You're all invited.

Who I fell completely in love with (new literary crush)

London from Legacy by Cayla Kluver

Luca's blond, brash, funny, alpha, and he wields a sword. SA-WOOON! His courtship with Lia is beyond adorable as he pursues her with puppy dog eyes and comical expressions of devotion.

Hector is cocky and physical. Yum. So much more dynamic than Lucas. He'd better not meet the same fate as the original Hector or I will cry and stamp my feet (yes, I realize the words I'm looking for are "throw a tantrum").

Tucker, well, he called her Carrots! I'd rest my case right there, but there's one more crucial bit of information: He's a cowboy. Let the jaw-dropping and drooling begin.

And London, ah, I don't think I was supposed to swoon over him, but man did I fall hard. Strong, capable, smart, and just oozing manly goodness, London was sarcastic and called it like he saw it regardless of how many buttons he pushed. As fiercely loyal as he is independent, London would fit perfectly in The River of Time series, but if that happened I think that series would explode with awesome-sexy-men overload (though I can't seem to bring myself to thinking that's a bad thing).

Worst (best, most interesting) villain

These villains made me want to alternatively strangle them, pick their brains, explore their history, and hug them. All are much more complex than a standard stock villain.

Best character twist (who you loved then hated or vice versa)

Ash and Meghan from The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

I HATED Meghan in The Iron Daughter and I was totally Team Puck in The Iron King and The Iron Daughter. Enter The Iron Queen and I pulled a total 180 on both of these characters. I'm now solidly Team Ash and totally cheerleading over kick-butt-Iron-Queen Meghan.

Deuce from Enclave by Ann Aguirre

They're called the SHE-WOLVES OF SIENA for crying out loud! If you're still not convinced, Gabi will cut your ears off.

Meghan's dragon-skin armor was totally needed in this book because she spent the majority of her time slicing Iron Fey with her steel sword.

Deuce has trained her whole life to be a huntress. If you ever get turned into a freak, she'll be there to slice you apart with her awesome knives and you'll be so impressed you'll thank her and praise her on her lethal elegance.

Kate from Plain Kate by Erin Bow 

Kate isn't a fierce fighter like these other ladies, but she has a backbone of iron. Her perseverance in the face of adversity and heartache makes her, in her own way, as strong a warrior as the others.
Marcello and Luca from The River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren

Never has kicking butt and killing things looked so, so swoon-worthingly beautiful.

Broke your heart the most


I'm sorry, but Digger is a horrible name for anyone, but especially a female character.

5 fave covers (from books I have read)


What? That looks like 5 to me.

Fave first sentence(s)

"Oh bleep. I was going to die."

Fave book title

Fave reading experience (i.e. created a great reading memory)
The battles, the love, the action, the swooning, and the gushing with other bloggers over this awesome series has made this an incredible reading experience.

Book with the best food in it (made me so crazy-envious-hungry)

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Oh my gosh *drool* Cookies, fudge, cookies, chocolate covered everything, cookies, pie, fresh baked cookies. It took all my self-control not to engage in a baking frenzy that would have left me in a sugar-induced coma and about 50 lbs heavier.

Book with the most sensual weather (made you shiver/sweat)

Most embarrassing book cover

Can't believe you waited this long to read the book
Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt 

Ok, so 2010 isn't really a long time, but I haven't read too many older books this year and the few that I have read I wasn't falling over myself in love with them like I am with these books. 

Whew! Did you make it? Thanks!
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree/disagree with where I stuck them?
Does this list make you want to read any of these books?

Want to see more Spotlight Lists? 
Click HERE to see more of my lists
Click to see some from Splash of Our Worlds


  1. oh my gosh (!) this post O.o it's EPIC (!)

    we share a few faves :) i had SONG OF THE SPARROW as well ~ it's not my usual kind of read but i loved it anyway, was even a bit teary at the end ;)

    and YES to WATERFALL. i t was a lot of fun and i am planning to read CASCADE this weekend (and really absolutely looking forward to it)

    and LOL @ the first sentence of SUPERNATURALLY (!)

  2. Wow! You went totally epic with this list!!

    Oh, Song of the Sparrow is such an awesome book! Not at all the type I usually read but gosh do I love that one.

    And the first sentence of Supernaturally! that's awesome :D

  3. This post is not helping me wait for Supernaturally! I love that first sentence. It already tells me it is going to be awesome.

    And YAY for Waterfall and Cascade. Love Gabi, Marcello, Luca and Lia. And Tucker is one of my all time favourite literary crushes.

  4. Oh, friend. You make me laugh out loud while reading YOUR prose. Thank you for that. And thanks for the overwhelming presence of River of Time on this page--I'm humbled. xoxo

  5. No Way!

    Smalls, when I was younger, I used to watch Sleeping Beauty over and over again, all day, every day. Then I graduated over to Legend, because seriously, UNICORNS, then it was Anne of Green Gables, because seriously, Gilbert Blythe! I'm surprised I didn't break my VCR!

    Yay! Those were the days. :)

    Okay, please tell me why the heck I haven't read the River of Time series yet?! *slaps self*

    I love seeing it in a lot of your categorize. Speaks volumes.

    And I have to totally agree with your most embarrassing book cover. LOL

    I love this post and picked up a lot of recommendations off of it. Thanks!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I agree with the "EPIC" comment! Wow! And, doggone it, now my TBR List has increased exponentially. I can't believe I've never heard of some of these books -- now I'm just plain old drooling for them!

    I'm with you on Bergren's River of Time series -- I read it electronically, but I just ordered the paperbacks, too. This series is absolutely going on my "all time faves" list -- My biggest hope is that we get a "The Next ROT Adventures from Lia's POV" type series someday! I can't imagine saying goodbye to these guys after three books.

    Thanks for such a comprehensive, enticing list! (and, PS: I love your blog design! Fun!)

  8. I did check out Plain Kate, but didn't get a chance to read it. I think I had a lot of other books in the library pile and probably felt in the mood to read my own books at the time. I need to stop letting library books sit neglected until they're due.

  9. I'm loving London so far in Legacy. He's so swoon-worthy. This is a great list. I can't believe 2011 is half over!

  10. *cracks up* You just know how to make my day, Smalls. EVERY TIME I read one of your posts I'm bound to learn something bookish in a comical way. You dazzle me with your blogging awesomeness!

    I love how you took the time to reiterate your love for The River of Time series. As a fellow fan girl, I found myself nodding my head repeatedly like some sort of overzealous, slightly possessed bobble-head, AND acting like a combo of freak cheerleader/breakdancer with all my yaying and overwhelming desire to breakdance (although that last bit would be immensely painful as I have no idea how to go about it). You KNOW how much I adore/delight in/love this series. FULL OF WIN.

    I think someone mentioned here that their TBR increased exponentially, and I'll have to second that. I CANNOT believe that some of these books have escaped my unfailing, instinctual oh-em-gee-I'm-so-going-to-love-that-book radar. Most of these were, like, MADE for me. Especially Plain Kate. I have a tendency to pick out books that will push me to weep. The sad thing is that I have some of these on NetGalley, but I just haven't gotten to them yet. I'll have to rectify that soon, it being summer and all.

  11. Lol! Great list! I have now bumped some of these books up to the top of my reading pile! :D

    Come check out mine if you have the time!

    Amy @ Turn the Page

  12. Nomes, Aw, yes, I loved the end of Song of the Sparrow. I like how she changed the traditional couples around. I hope you enjoy Cascade! I LOVED it (obviously!).

    Alex, Haha, yeah. I wasn't sure where I'd fit the posts in otherwise since I had a bunch already scheduled. Isn't that a great first sentence? It totally sets the tone of the book.

    Nic, only a little while longer to wait! I agree, when I read that first sentence I knew I would like the book.

    Lisa, :) You're so welcome, but thank YOU for writing such an amazing series. There was a void in my reading life I never knew was there until The River of Time filled it.

    Missie, Totally way! My unicorn movie was The Last Unicorn, but totally with you on Anne of Green Gables!! Ah, Gilbert Blythe :) I have no idea why you haven't read The River of Time series, but you seriously need to get on that!

    Serena, :) You can always count on me to increase your TBR! YES!! I would LOVE more River of Time stories from Lia's perspective. Oh my gosh, wow, I'm so excited for that and it doesn't even exist :P Thank you for the compliment on my blog design :)

    Bookish Hobbit, I'm the same way with my library books, except I don't read my own books either :P I'm terrible. :(

    Logan, Isn't London awesome?!!? If I were Alera, I'd totally have daddy make London my husband. Problem solved!

    Asher, Aw, you are the sweetest! I'm totally with you looking like a overzealous, slightly possessed bobble-head freak cheerleader/breakdancer :P And I can't breakdance either. I can't wait for Torrent!!! I hope you love Plain Kate as much as I did. It's sooo sad.

    Turn the page, Hope you like them!

  13. Haha omygosh, I have found another person who loves the River of Time series as much as I do! Twin love! HAha, more people need to read this series cause it is superb, don't cha think? :) Love your blog btw!!! :) Old follower...

  14. You are my new favorite list-maker.
    (I am totally unbiased, of course.)

  15. You are my new favorite list-maker.
    (I am totally unbiased, of course.)

  16. You are my new favorite list-maker.
    (I am totally unbiased, of course.)


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