Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spotlight List: The Giant List of 2011 Recommendations (1)

I made a really big list

I'm a list maker, as is probably pretty obvious by this feature. So of course I HAD to make an end-of-the-year list recapping all of the books I read in 2011. But how to do it? I spent WAY too long agonizing over this question.

Should I do something like I did at the mid-point of 2011? I thought about it, but then I realized I basically repeated the same list with only a few new additions. I also looked at The Perpetual Page-Turner's End of the Year Book Survey, but after I finished the list, there were really only a small handful of books featured (like, um, Waterfall...about fifty times).

So, after careful consideration, lots of weighing, and a ton of comparing, I decided to make a list of every single book I read in 2011 and organize them by categories according to how much I liked and recommend them. A tad obsessive? Me? Never.

It's like a snapshot of reviews, but you can click on the titles to go to my full reviews.

I broke this up into seven posts (plus a guest post) that will go up throughout the day. Settle in, this is going to be a long one!

Biggest Disappointments

Let's get the bad and sad out of the way first.

These are the books that I was SO looking forward to...and they totally let me down. These are my 1 and 2 star books. The books that make a little part of me rage (or at least pout) whenever I see them mentioned.

If you loved them, GREAT! This way if we ever find ourselves in a room together with only one copy, you can totally have it. Whew, book tug of war averted!

The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges (review to come)
Historical fantasy with a MC I didn't like and who wasn't realistic to her time. I spent much of the book wondering which Grand Duchess was in the room and trying to navigate the hazy paranormal rules.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
DEPRESSING! Really. This one is for sophisticated readers who want HARD CORE Hans Christian Andersen with all the sad and gory details. Me? I'll take the Disney version, please!

Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Too many narratives made this a disjointed mess with little depth.

Love Story by Jennifer Echols
I would have liked it a lot more if there was 1) More kissing and sexual tension, 2) More horse races, 3) Likable characters, or 4) If everyone died horribly in the end.

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
Oh beautiful cover, how cruelly you have misled me! I drooled for months over the idea of this book, only to be disappointed by anachronisms galore and a MC I wanted to mummify and lock in a sarcophagus.

Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach
Even the impressive twist at the end couldn't save this been-there-done-that love story. The MC had a gigantic chip on her shoulder and the romantic lead had less personality than Disney's Prince Charming.

The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker (review to come)
The MC would never in a million years get an invite to my sleepover party and the mystery bored me. 

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King
Rapists, dog abusers, idiots, drug addicts, and pedophiles round out a tale that should have been about rollicking pirate adventures but was really about a pile of every imaginable way.

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Girl tries to pass a bunch of incredibly easy-peasy tests to become a Greek God (ya know, I've shared my clothes hundreds of times, and never once was I asked to be a god. I'm feeling majorly gypped). I think the real test is whether or not she'll be able to stomach such a wimpy Hades. I'd totally fail--give me alpha men!


All Just Glass by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
I waited ten years for this?!

Dark Mirror by M. J. Putney
Can an entire book be a Mary Sue?

The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston
What is with all the "Surprise! Rapists are here!" in books this year? Double bonus: bestiality! Who doesn't want a good dose of that? The MC was so bad though, that I was actually rooting for the villain to kill everyone in the end.

Which books were the biggest disappointments for you in 2011? Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

But wait! What did I think about all those other 2011 reads? Follow along to find out and weigh in on your own 2011 reads!
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Guest post!


  1. I love your (hilarious) summaries, Small!

    "If you loved them, GREAT! This way if we ever find ourselves in a room together with only one copy, you can totally have it. Whew, book tug of war averted!" >>> LOLLLLLLL, good thinking! :D

    Also, now you've got me wondering...does Love Story feature ANY horse races? *is curious* *tries to picture it* *fails*

    Really interested to hear your thoughts on The Liar Society - I haven't reviewed it but I did read it and had some issues with the MC too.

  2. *cracks up* I read some of these and totally agree. Others, I'm shocked and disappointed!

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  3. This is an awesome idea, Small! I was actually thinking of doing a breakdown of my reads into different categories too. I have a couple of these on my tbr pile but now I'm thinking about lowering them on my tbr pile.

  4. Oh no a few of these books are on my TBR and now I'm worried o.o - Wrapped, Breadcrumbs, The Gathering Storm oh dear.

    Books that seriously disappointed me this year were Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick, Pulse of Power by Anne Elizabeth, The Vampire Academy Graphic Novel, The Mephisto Covenant (DNF), Triz and Izzie (I didn't even finish the first chapter so I might pick it up again)

  5. *hugs to self* one person who also didn't like The Goddess Test!

    Actually, I think I skipped plenty of these thanks to you!

    Totally agree on Gathering Storm.

  6. What a brilliant post! I lol'ed most of the way through it. I personally enjoyed Breadcrumbs, but I'm just morbid like that, I like my fairy tales a little on the darker side. I'm like you though, when a main character annoys me that much, I'll read the book just to cheer for the villain!
    On this list, I've only read Breadcrumbs but I have quite a few on my to read list, I was particularly excited to read The Dust of 100 Dogs, sucks that it was such a disappointment for you! I hope I like it a little better but from what you say, it doesn't sound promising :-(
    I have a few on my "disappointment" list too that many other people loved. (Like "Daughter of Smoke and Bone") So, I totally get what you mean, not everything is for everyone :-)

  7. Love these lists. I have something similar that I'm starting on Monday. Too bad you were disappointed with the Gathering Storm. I'm just starting it now. Maybe it will go better for me.

  8. I love how true you stand to your opinions! And i just removed like 3 books from my TBR! Thank god for this post!

  9. Just read through your whole big list and it's brilliant Smalls! You crack me up :)

  10. LAMO! I've been looking forward to reading The Gathering Storm. ugh! I'll have to check it out for myself to see. I have Wrapped, The Liar Society and Breadcrumbs on my tbr shelf. Too bad they didn't live up to your expectations. Your comments about Wrapped put me in stitches.

  11. Out of these, I've only read Dark Mirror, but I completely agree. Not very often does magic steer me wrong, but that one was such a disappointment.


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