The reviewers at Fiction Vixen will be posting the favorite reads from 2011 this week. Our picks are not necessarily books published in 2011, but books we read in 2011.
We have come to the end of 2011 and now it’s time to reflect on what we’ve read. Skimming through the books that I have read this year has made me realize how many good authors and series I’ve discovered in 2011. I tend to be a glommer, so it always feels like longer to me given the volume of books I’ve read by certain authors. Picking favorites is never easy, but I found that these books stuck out in my mind. Here are my favorite books of 2011 (in no particular order).
Nearly a Lady by Alissa Johnson – I completely fell in love with this book. The writing was cheerful and fun and the characters were absolutely delightful. I loved watching the friendship between Winnefred and Gideon slowly deepen into love. By the time they came together at the I end I couldn’t image them not getting together. Lovely! My review for this is here and I posted a Tempting Teaser for it as well.
“Did you expect me to believe that?” he asked in a dangerously soft voice.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Oh, you do.” He took a step toward her. “You most certainly do.”
She began to back up without thinking, and he moved forward in return. Slowly, steadily he stalked her across the room.
“Do you think me a jester, Winnefred?”
“A fool to poke fun at because I’ve made you laugh a time or two?”
“Harmless then, because I kissed you in the moonlight and let you go?”
“Is it the limp? The cane?” In a move so fast it took her breath away, he swept forward and pinned her to the wall. “Did you think I couldn’t catch you?”
One Night is Never Enough by Anne Mallory – I finished reading this book and immediately wished that I hadn’t, just so I could discover it all over again. The story had killer sexual tension and a captivating romance between Charlotte and Roman. The tension and the emotion breathed off the pages and sucked me in. I wish I could find books that I liked this much every day! You can read the review for this book here.
There it was again, that hitch in her voice after he touched her.
The sound made him want to do things to her. Dirty, animalistic things. To bruise her lips with his, muss her perfectly coiffed hair while scraping her on the sheets, blotch her skin with feral color as she lost track of her own name–head tilted back, eyes glazed, unintelligible sounds emerging.
Crazy Hot and Crazy Cool by Tara Janzen – I’m combining these two books into one recommendation because the exact same things I loved about one, I loved about the other. They were so much fun! If you’re in the mood for a fast paced, action filled, sexy second-chance-romance, then I recommend you run, not walk, to the store to get these. Reading these books felt like I had jumped onto a wild ride. Once the action starts it just doesn’t stop! You can read my review of Crazy Hot here and Crazy Cool here.
Follow My Lead by Kate Noble – I really loved this book. The author has an informal, friendly way of telling a story with fun characters and clever turns of phrase. The friendly asides told to the reader, and the almost madcap nature of the situations Jason and Winn found themselves in, had me utterly charmed. I smiled through most of the book and sighed happily through the rest. You can my review of this book here.
She giggled–Winn Crane giggled! Like the coquettish child she hadn’t known how to be, and for the briefest of moments, Jason was completely certain his heart had stopped beating. Just a second, frozen still the world around them lost, and the only thing that occupied it was Winn’s happy, girlish laugh.
So. This is trouble, he thought, his body slowly catching up to the rest of life. Slowly drifting down into someone’s laugh, until you realize you’re stuck.
The Devilish Montague by Patricia Rice – I was completely gone for both of the main characters. They were both so interesting and just plain likable. There was no angst or regretful moping in this Marriage of Convenience storyline. It was just two practical people developing a friendship and slowly falling in love. You can read my review here and my Tempting Teaser here.
“How do you do that? How do you take everything I say and turn it around so that you seem sweet and appealing, when I know you are simply skewering me?”
Unseen by Rachel Caine – I am a big fan of this series and absolutely loved seeing the action heat up in this book. Things are building toward the big climax of the series and life is starting to get tough for Cassiel. She continues to reevaluate her old Djinn beliefs and struggle with her humanity. The bonds that she has built throughout the series are tested here and not all of them survive. This book does not stand on its own very well, but the series is great, so you can always backtrack and catch up. You can read my review of this book here.
Everything’s fine,” I said. “I bought Isabel a pet.”
There was an interestingly long silence, and finally he said, “Is it poisonous?”
“Not that I’m aware of.”
“That’s…surprising, somehow, from you. All right. You can explain it all to me later.”
A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch – This book was great. The heroine and hero engaged in a battle of wills throughout the book, constantly trying to manipulate each other. This wouldn’t have been quite as fun if it were in less capable hands, since power struggles can occasionally become uncomfortable, but the author pulls it off beautifully. Diane and Oliver knew exactly what the other person was doing and were evenly matched in their determination and cunning. The heroine was a change of pace for Enoch, but I loved her! You can read my review of this book here.
”It’s not about what I owe you, Diane. It’s about what you’re worth to me now.”
Silk Is For Seduction by Loretta Chase – I loved the different direction that the author took the heroine! She was a dressmaker and was realistically devoted to her business. She was capable and determined and coolly flummoxed the hero at every turn. I loved them together! You can read my review here and my Tempting Teaser here.
“Surprise?” she said. “There’s an understatement. Have you taken leave of your senses?”
“I was worried about you,” he said. “When you left Paris so suddenly, I thought a catastrophe had occurred. Or a murder. Have you murdered anybody, by the way? Not that I would dream of criticizing, but—“
“I left Paris to get away from you,” she said.
“Well, that didn’t work.”
Blood Challenge by Eileen Wilks – Oh, how I love this series. I haven’t loved every book, but the series as a whole is great. I don’t know why it doesn’t get more attention than it does! Not only were Rule and Lily excellent here, but we also got to see Benedict get his own romance. I absolutely loved what we saw of him and his Chosen. The end left me gaping and eager for the next book. I hope there’s more Benedict to come! You can read my review for this book here.
“Why did you want me flustered or annoyed?”
His mouth turned wry. “The same reason I would have pulled your hair a few decades ago. Or turned cartwheels, or lifted something impressively heavy.”
“You wanted my attention.” Delighted, she propped her chin on one hand, elbow on the table, so she could look straight at him. “Okay. You’ve got it.”
He hesitated. “I think I’m flustered.”