Lou’s Top Reads of 2011

For me, 2011 has been pretty quiet in terms of finding books that have been keepers. Since I stopped reading Paranormal and Urban Fantasy books, my reading habits are now much smaller and finding fantastic books that stand out has become quite difficult. There have been some releases that I’ve put in my top reads of this year, but only a few that I gave top marks for. I’m hoping that next year will be a much better year, and there are some new releases that I’m pretty excited for.

Here are my top 2011 reads, none in particular order, and some I haven’t reviewed on the blog:

1. Saving June by Hannah Harrington. I graded this a A, and my review is here

When Harper Scott’s older sister, June, takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split up her sister’s ashes, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the urn and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going—California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession…and an unknown connection to June. So when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs. Except…Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down—again.

*blurb taken from Goodreads* Amazon Book | Kindle eBook

2. Serendipity by Carly Phillips.

Faith Harrington was the classic girl of privilege–until her father was convicted of running a Ponzi scheme and then her marriage crashed and burned.

Now Faith is back in her hometown, hoping for a fresh start. But her father’s betrayal has rocked Serendipity – and not everyone is ready to welcome her with open arms. Then she runs into her teenage crush — the dark, brooding Ethan Barron. Ethan, no stranger to scandal himself, never imagined he’d own the mansion on the hill, much less ever again come face to face with Faith–the princess he once kissed senseless. The chance meeting reignites the electric charge between them.

Still, when Ethan hires her to redecorate what was once her childhood home, Faith is sure that getting involved with the town’s notorious bad boy will only lead to trouble. But her heart has other ideas. And so do the townspeople of Serendipity.

*blurb taken from author’s official website* Amazon Book | Kindle eBook

3. Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean. I give this an A+ grade, and review is here.

She lives for passion

Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society’s rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London’s most practiced gossips…and precisely the kind of woman the Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.

He swears by reputation.

Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening–risking everything he holds dear–he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety.

She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.

*blurb taken from author’s official website* Amazon Book | Kindle eBook

4. Unveiled by Courtney Milan. I gave this an A grade, and review is here.

Ash Turner has waited a lifetime to seek revenge on the man who ruined his family, and now the time for justice has arrived. At Parford Manor, he intends to take his place as the rightful heir to the dukedom, and settle an old score with the current duke once and for all. But when he arrives, he finds himself drawn to a tempting beauty who has the power to undo all his dreams of vengeance.…

AND HER DEAREST LOVE

Lady Margaret knows she should despise the man who’s stolen her fortune and her father’s legacy—the man she’s been ordered to spy on in the guise of a nurse. Yet the more she learns about the new duke, the less she can resist his smouldering appeal. Soon Margaret and Ash find themselves torn between old loyalties—and the tantalising promise of passion…

*blurb taken from Goodreads* Amazon Book | Kindle eBook

5. Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh.

Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness. Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness.

Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would’ve been his mate long ago. But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf.

Then Sienna changes the rules and suddenly, there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet. Yet as they strip away each other’s secrets in a storm of raw emotion, they must also ready themselves for a far more vicious fight…

A deadly enemy is out to destroy SnowDancer, striking at everything they hold dear, but it is Sienna’s darkest secret that may yet savage the pack that is her home…and the alpha who is its heartbeat…

*blurb taken from author’s official website* Amazon Book | Kindle eBook

6. Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep. I graded this a B+ and review is here

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why — especially since I should have been the one who died …

*blurb taken from Goodreads* Amazon Book | Kindle eBook

7.Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I graded this a B, and the review is here.

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket—a gifted inventor—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

*blurb taken from author’s official website* Amazon Book | Kindle eBook

8. A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare.

Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men. It is a haven for those who live there.

Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn’t belong here. So far as he can tell, there’s nothing in this place but spinsters…and sheep. But he has no choice, he has orders to gather a militia. It’s a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch—a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram’s makeshift army.

Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle…but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?

*blurb taken from author’s official website* Amazon Book | Kindle eBook

9. In Total Surrender by Anne Mallory. I gave this a B grade, and the review is here.

From the first glimpse he knew he must have her-even if only for a single night…

Powerful, ruthless, seductive-the lord of London’s underworld-Roman Merrick gets anything he wants…and he burns for Charlotte Chatsworth, a polished jewel in the glittering ton. So he engages her debt-ridden gambler father in a game of chance, wagering ten thousand pounds against one night with the man’s exquisite daughter. And Roman Merrick never loses.

But one night is never enough…

Charlotte is devastated to learn that her reprobate father has lost her in a card game to the most dangerous man she’s ever met. With the threat of ruin behind every corner, Charlotte embarks upon a perilous path with the man she can not forget. But in truth, it’s Roman who has everything to lose-for a game undertaken for pleasure alone soon has him gambling his heart. And love and passion unleashed could bring his great, dark empire tumbling down…

*blurb taken from author’s official website* Amazon Book | Kindle eBook

10. Addicted to You by Bethany Kane.

Irish film director Rill Pierce fled to the tiny, backwoods town of Vulture ‘s Canyon, seeking sanctuary and solitude after a devastating tragedy. Once, his raw sex appeal and sultry Irish accent made women across the globe swoon. Now, he’s barely recognizable…

But Katie Hughes, his best friend’s sister, is not the type of woman to give up on a man like Rill. She blazes into Vulture’s Canyon determined to save him from himself. Instead, she finds herself unleashing years of pent-up passion. In a storm of hunger and need, Katie and Rill forget themselves and the world. But will Rill’s insatiable attraction to Katie heal his pain—or will it just feed the darkness within him?

*blurb taken from author’s official website* Amazon Book | Kindle eBook

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