Top Ten Reads of 2011 and an End of Year Giveaway!

Posted December 17, 2011 by Kara in Giveaway / 18 Comments

It’s time for the big end of year giveaway I have had planned since I started this blog!  I’m really excited because I put a lot of thought and planning into it.

First, I had to pick my top 10 books of 2011. Now these aren’t books necessarily published in 2011, they are just books that I READ in 2011. One of them hasn’t even been published yet.

I’m going to count down my favorites for you, and the reasons why, and then at the end there will be a big giveaway. There will be three winners, each winner with the option to pick any book from my countdown list. In the case of one of the books, it will have to be a preorder.

And the best news? This giveaway is International! Books will be shipped from Amazon; in the case of an International winner, then I will be ordering from The Book Depository.

Are you excited to find out which books I picked? Just want to skip ahead to the giveaway? That’s okay too. I won’t stop you. Let’s get started with the countdown!

Coming in at #10 is Enclave by Ann Aguirre. I picked Enclave because it was the book that really turned me into a zombie fan. The freaks (zombies) in Ann Aguirre’s story are perhaps some of the scariest zombies I have ever had the pleasure of reading about in a book. Another great thing about it? The atmosphere. The world-building. It’s all there.

See my review of Enclave.

Buy Enclave from Amazon here: Enclave.

At #9 is Exiled by M.R. Merrick. I’ve read a lot of great indie and self-published novels this past year, but this one was definitely my favorite. My favorite thing about this book were the characters. The characterizations are just fabulous and I found myself really getting attached to them. They all had unique voices and a ton of individuality. Other things I really enjoyed about Exiled? The story itself and the pacing. There is never a dull moment here. Definitely a great pick for reluctant readers.

See my review of Exiled.

Buy Exiled from Amazon here: Exiled.

#8 is one of my favorite non YA reads this year: Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman. It’s hard to explain everything I loved about this book. It was quirky, pathetic, hilarious, and sad all rolled into one. I was hoping that it would get a lot of love from critics and well-known websites. It did get some, but unfortunately it didn’t get as much love as I was hoping. So I’m offering it up for giveaway because I loved it and because I want more people to be aware of how great a book it was.

See my review of Domestic Violets.

Buy Domestic Violets from Amazon here: Domestic Violets.

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout is the perfect book for the #7 spot. I debated putting it higher, but there were a few I liked more. Simply put, this was easily one of the most suspenseful reads of 2011. There was never a dull moment and this was one of those books they call unputdownable. I wasn’t sure about reading this one either, mythology isn’t really my thing. See I hold this view that the Greek myths are weird enough on their own. No need to twist them even more. But there was no need to worry, because this book changed my opinion on that. Great characters, fantastic plot, a really entertaining writing style, and fabulous world-building make this one of my favorites of 2011.

See my review of Half-Blood.

Buy Half-Blood from Amazon here: Half-Blood.

It’s hard to describe why I loved #6 (The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings) so much. Just know that I did and if you trust my opinion at all, you should read it. It’s quirky, fun, heartbreaking, and everything about this novel screams real life. I think it is best explained by reading my review. I feel that I captured the emotions I was feeling extremely well. Oh, and also? Gorgeous writing style. That gives this book bonus points right off the bat. 
See my review of The Descendants.

Buy The Descendants from Amazon here: The Descendants.

The Enemy by Charlie Higson (#5), was one of my earlier reads of the year. Even though I read it long ago it still is almost as memorable as if I read it yesterday. This book was probably my second encounter with members of the undead army, and possibly the scariest. This book is up so high on the list because it is one of the scariest pieces of literature I have picked up this year. It is written extremely well, and the author is not afraid to make you really, really uncomfortable. To me this book straddles the line between what is acceptable and unacceptable in YA. It is violent, graphic, and shows adults as the bad guys. It is a daring book and a great pick for reluctant readers because of the suspense. But be warned. It may keep you up at night.

See my review of The Enemy.

Buy The Enemy from Amazon here: The Enemy.

I chose Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel for the #4 spot because it was so unique and so original that it absolutely blew me away. It isn’t a perfect read by any means, but what it does do is combine so many existing genres into one heck of a special book. There is dystopia, zombies, and steampunk, and it is all set in the future. The characters are amazing. The story is fabulous. If it has one flaw, it is that I feel the book was a bit wordy in places which made the pacing feel a little bit scattered. It is hard to ever imagine a romance between a human and a zombie, and you wouldn’t think that something like that would work, but here it does. I really loved this book.

See my review of Dearly, Departed.

Buy Dearly, Departed from Amazon here: Dearly, Departed.

Now we are into the top three. I chose The Printmaker’s Daughter by Katherine Govier for the #3 spot because it was one of the richest, most enjoyable pieces of literature that I have ever allowed my brain to absorb. The story is epic, sweeping, and heartbreaking. The research and time that was spent writing and developing this novel blows my mind. The characters are flawed, the setting and imagery, terrific. I seriously loved this book. I would reread it over and over if I could. I could not find one flaw in it. It’s no secret that I enjoy Asian literature more than most people. But this novel is one of the best in the genre. And if you have any interest, you should read it.

See my review of The Printmaker’s Daughter.

Buy The Printmaker’s Daughter from Amazon here: The Printmaker’s Daughter.

#2 is Death Watch by Ari Berk. I’ve raved about this book everywhere I possibly could, including the author’s Facebook page. I often talk about how important setting the scene is for me in a novel. World-building. Imagery. Atmosphere. This book has it in spades. And then there are the characters. And the story. Everything was mind-blowing. This book was a feast for my eyes. For a word nerd, this is the ultimate read. Its originality sets it apart from anything else in YA. But be warned. This book clocks in at almost 500 pages. It is not a short read. So if you are looking for a quick fix and a speedy payoff, this is NOT the book for you. 

See my review of Death Watch.

Buy Death Watch from Amazon here: Death Watch.

So there’s the book cover. Wanderlove is my #1 book of the year. Strangely enough, it’s the only book on this list that hasn’t actually been published yet. But it is available for pre-order. As such, I haven’t even published my review yet. So you’ll just have to take my word for it. This is the one book of 2012 that you must read. If you only read one, this is it. I fell in love with everything about this novel. The voice of the main character is impeccable. The characters feel so damn real; I really felt that they were going to jump off the page and appear in my living room. I think it’s been years since I read a novel where the characters were this well fleshed out. The story was beautiful. If you love traveling, dream of traveling, or just have a strong desire to escape, this is the book for you. You will fall in love with Bria and Rowan as you feel their story unfold. 

Pre-order Wanderlove from Amazon here: Wanderlove.

Now it’s time for the giveaway!


1. Giveaway is International. US orders ship from Amazon. International orders ship from The Book Depository. If they do not ship to you, you cannot enter. πŸ™

2. There will be 3 winners. Each winner will be able to pick one book from my top ten list. In the case of Wanderlove, it will be a pre-order.

3. A few extra entries may be earned. But I’m going to try to keep this as simple as possible. For me AND for you.

4. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

18 responses to “Top Ten Reads of 2011 and an End of Year Giveaway!

  1. I think most of these books are on my to-read list. Definitely a great round up of favorites and it makes me excited to read them!!

    Thanks for the opportunity for a giveaway.

  2. Great list! I had the hardest time choosing just ONE among them. When I thought I’d made up my mind it changed again. Gah! The pressure of one choice from a great list of titles. Most of which are in my wish-list. Thanks for this generous opportunity.

    DeAnna Schultz

  3. I loved Domestic Violets too. I almost didn’t read it because the cover just didn’t catch my eye the first few times I saw it. Then I was given the chance to receive a copy for a book club and was pleasantly surprised with the book. It was hilarious! Thank you for the opportunity to win another book from your list. There are a few I’d love to get my hands on πŸ™‚

    Happy Holidays!

  4. i was so going to do the whole ‘quick scroll down, theres a giveaway!’ thing (who can blame me sometimes you just see do you want a free book and the answer to that is always simple) B

    But your books werent the same as other people best of 2011 books they were different some of which i havent heard of but most of which ones i have now added to my goodreads to read list so even if i dont win this book thankyou really for having a differnt book tastes that i can now take for my own (: (totally not in a copy cat kind of a way more a ‘i like your taste im going to check them out too’ way)

    Anyway thankyou for the great giveaway.. fingers crossed (:

    BTW GREAT blog

  5. Wow what a great selection! I really like the description to your first choice book, and I can’t wait to read your review! Thanks for the giveaway!

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