Monday, December 26, 2011

Top Ten in 2011

Posted by Katie Garvin at 2:40 PM
I did this last year, and thought it'd be fun to do it again. For me, this year I read a lot of books that made it onto my favorites bookshelf. And lots of other books that really left an impression with me that didn't. So, instead of listing my top ten favorites, per se, I listed the top 10 books I read in 2011 that made an impression on me. That make sense? After listing the book, I'll explain my reasons.

(And just because the other 5-star reviewed books--or those on my favorites shelf--idn't make it onto this list doesn't mean they weren't just as good. I'm serious when I say there were some AWESOME books published this year! The ones below just left a wee bit bigger impression on me then others. :-)

If any of y'all want to join, feel free to list your top ten favorites in the comment section. Or if you posted it on your blog, leave me the link so I can check it out!

Okay, lets get started! Starting from the top, as the number one...

Top 10 in 2011

River of Time series - Lisa Bergren

Okay, I know this is THREE books, and not just one...but to me, they are all clumped together as one book. Waterfall, Cascade, and Torrent all came out this year, and they were the most-looked-for-release. As soon as I read Waterfall, I knew I was going to LOVE the rest. And I did. Totally and completely! Why did it leave such a HUGE impression on me? Because it mixed so many of the things I love -- suspense, action, medieval, romance, sword-fighting, timetravel, and close sisters -- into one awesome series! This series will forever and always remain an all-time favorite!

~*~
The Bishop - Steven James

Where to begin with this one?? Well...to put it simply, I was blown away with this one. As y'all know by now, I am crazy about thriller/suspense novels. Really crazy. I'm, like, a suspense-aholic. So while The Bishop is a 500+ page book, I read it all in one day. I could NOT put it down! Impossible!! This book is not for the faint of heart, to be sure, and even I got grossed or creeped out in places. But what made the biggest impression on me was how real James kept it. He doesn't hid the gritty details of hunting down deranged, twisted serial killers. And even the more down-to-earth things like a father and step-daughters relationship, questions about God, and what happens after death. It all just had such a strong, gritty ring of reality...that it felt like I could flip on the news channel and hear about Patrick Bowers adventures to stop the sadistic killers.

~*~
Wolfsbane - Ronie Kendig

This book was my first try in the Military Suspense genre, and it still remains my favorite of all the MS I have read. The writing is crisp, bold, and takes you right into the scene. And the adventures that this secret, special ops team, Nightshade, gets into...is totally awesome!!! Just the thing for this thriller lover! If you read this series, I am sure you will fall in love with each member of the Nightshade team, just as I did. They are a one-of-a-kind group of heroic men! The reason it left such an impact with me was because of Dani's story in all this. Her struggle to overcome the weeks of rape and torture, and her determination to see them brought to justice, made for an intense, and memorable, read. Unforgettable!

The Doctor's Lady - Jody Hedlund

This book is my top favorite historical of the year. And the reason why is probably because of the edge of suspense and intensity that is woven into the historical. Yes, you heard me, suspense! This book is labeled as a Historical Fiction, so I wasn't expecting the adventure and suspense that filled nearly every page. But was completely delighted! And I just loved the way Jody handled Eli and Priscilla's 'business partners' relationship and showed how they slowly began to grow to love each other. It was beautiful! Stunningly beautiful. The book had just the right amount of two things I love -- suspense and history -- that I found it impossible to stop reading and finished the book in almost one sitting. Yes, I really loved this book! ;-)

~*~
Deliver Me from Evil - Kathi Macias

This one. Wow, what a heavy read. It was, in a word, heart-wrenching. Deliver Me from Evil told such a sad, but all too true, story--young girls forced to be prostitutes. The use of sex slaves is very real here in America, and this book really brings it to the forefront of your mind. I almost labeled this book as a "favorite" of mine...but after much thought, I didn't. This book was just so...different. I felt it would almost be a sin to call this book a favorite when it tells the story of so many young girls that are, right now, enduring a living hell. For those who have read this book by Macias, I'm sure you will agree with me that this book made a big impression on you. I dare you to read this and not be filled with a desire to help these girls. But be warned -- Deliver Me from Evil is not for the faint of heart.

~*~
Don't Look Back - Lynette Eason

I just finished rereading this book, and enjoyed it all over again. Kinda like Steven James' books, in that Jamie has a serial killer stalking her, this book grabbed me from page one and didn't let go. What about the book left such a big impression with me? Because of Jamie and her road to recovery after she escaped her serial killer so many years ago. Her journey was anything but easy, but I so loved seeing how she kept God as her rock of strength and trusted Him with blind faith, knowing that He did all things well and would be with her always. Even when she finds herself in the familiar surroundings of her killers lair once again. I just loved the strength she portrayed. An intense read, to be sure!

 ~*~

I think what left such a huge impression, for me, with this book is that it's the first Love Finds You book that was more than a "fluff read", as I call them. In Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, White's character's have amazing depth and each of them go through hard trails, learn some gritty lessons, and come out changed. If you haven't been able to read any of White's books...you are really missing out! And I highly recommend you start with this one. The writing is bold and vivid, and there's even a threat of humor woven in, making me chuckle several times. But, even with all these great things about the book, my all-time favorite aspect of the book was Wiley. I LOVE seeing a strong brother-character in books. Watching how Wiley looked after Lark so protectively and loved her so devotedly....*sigh*...it's what ever girl wishes for in a brother! (And something I got in my two protective brothers!)

 ~*~
A Tailor-Made Bride - Karen Witemeyer


I read this on my kindle, but after finishing it had to get the book. It's just that good! As I read this debut book, I was really blown away by Witemeyer's talent. The writing was splendid! The plot and everything that takes place well thought out and seamlessly woven together. And not only that, but what left the biggest impression on me was the lesson the characters learn. Especially J.T. when he read Proverbs 31. That was one of my favorite parts! I loved the way that Witemeyer showed how a woman can be beautifully adorned without being immodest or vain. Great lessons!


~*~
Warring Spirits - April Gardner

I had the very special honors of reading this book pre-publication, and completely enjoyed the sweeping adventure that Gardner writes in Warring Spirits. The history is rich, the descriptions vivid, and the trails the characters endure heart wrenching at moments. Almost instantly, you are sympathetic toward Milly, a slave who has such light skin, she can be mistaken as a white...except for her kinky hair that gives her away. And for those who read the first book in this series, you will love seeing Phillip again and reading his story of redemption after all he's been through. And we even see Adela and Totka again! Loved that! What left the biggest impact on me was that Gardner kept things so...realistic. For example, there is one time when the hero, sadly, doesn't make it to the heroine on time. And, while my heart ached for Milly, I loved that she did it this way because, in real life, we can't always make it "just in the nick of time". But even if this is the case, God is always there and helps sustain us through everything we have to endure. :-) Great job, April!!

~*~
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

I waffled for a while on whether or not I should add this one to my list. I have a kinda mixed love/hate relationship with this series, if that makes any sense. But, since that thinking was more aimed to the rest of the series, and not the first book, The Hunger Games (which I totally enjoyed), here it is, bringing in the tail end of my top-ten books for this year. :-) What left such a big impression on me was the unique plot that had plenty of action and suspense. What's the plot? It has a gladiator-type of setting and the main character, is teenager Katniss who must go into an arena with 23 other teens and fight to the death. Only one person, the victor, leaves the arena alive. Talk about a neat story plot, eh?! I didn't like how the book ended -- with her at odds with Peeta -- but I am holding out for a happy ending for these two. We shall see, I suppose! :-)


There you have it! My top ten books that left the biggest impression on me in 2011. This year brought out a lot of awesome books, and (trust me!) picking out just 10 of my favorites was HARD! And something tells me that next year it will only be harder. ;-)

What are yours? List them below, or if you posted them in a blogpost, leave the link!

23 comments:

Casey said...

I JUST did my Top 10 list and it'll post on Friday. It is so hard!!! But a great list, Katie. :)

Katie McCurdy said...

Casey - Haha, I know, it is SO hard to pick only ten! I'll be looking for your post on Friday. Other people's Top Tens are always so much fun to read. :-)

Christianfictionaddiction said...

I love your list! I didn't post my top ten as a blog post per se but as a separate page on my blog a couple of months ago. But I like your idea and I think I'll make a post out of it like you did, and update it with a few changes.

By the way, you have a great blog and I love being a follower. Merry Christmas!

Jeremy

Lisa Tawn Bergren said...

So honored by your continued praise and support, Katie. Thank you! You're a She-Wolf among book bloggers...

April W Gardner said...

Katie!! I'm SO honored that Warring made it to your Top Ten. What an encouragement you've been to me today! God always knows when we need a little boost and just how to give it to us. Thank you!
Oh, and I'm sitting here with pen and paper writing down the names of most of these books on your list. If you like them, I know I will too! Going to add them to the TBR pile I'm creating on Goodreads (finally getting into Goodreads--I know, it's about time!!) I was captivated with Lisa Bergren's excerpt on Clash of the Titles and have been wanting to read her books ever since! Well, 2012 is the year I read all those books I've been meaning to get around too. Lisa's are on the top! thanks for all the great suggestions!

Karen Witemeyer said...

What awesome company to be included amongst! Thanks, Katie, for being such an ambassador for Christian fiction.

Katie McCurdy said...

Jeremy - I found your page of favorite books from this year. Looks like a great list! I've only read one book, The Queen, but have Paradise Valley sitting in my TBR pile. I look forward to reading it!

Thanks for following!

Lisa - You are very welcome! Anything I can do to cheer/encourage/support you as you write Tributary!! ;-)

Hmm, a She-Wolf Blogger? Sounds pretty awesome to me! Haha!

Katie McCurdy said...

April - Well, Warring Spirits earned it! I was so honored to be able to read it early, and then to discover just how much I liked it...it was awesome!

Glad to spread the word about other great authors. Yes, Lisa Bergren's books are a must! Love, love, love 'em!!!

Karen - You are very welcome! I was so excited when I was finally able to snag some time to pick up my kindle and read your debut. And then, of course, as I said, I had to buy the book! ;-) Right now Head in the Clouds is only a few books away from the top of my TBR stack...and I can't wait! :-)

Oh, and your next book coming out, Short-Straw Bride,, looks SOOOOO good! Can't wait to read that one!!!!!

Jody Hedlund said...

Thank you so much for including me in your list, Katie! I'm honored that you thought so highly of my book! :-)

Julie said...

My top 11(for 2011 ;) will be posted on my blog(http://myonlyvice.blogspot.com) and on a blog that I co-post(http://edifyingandedgy.blogspot.com)on Saturday. We have one matching top 10, but I'll wait until Saturday for you to see what it is ;0

Julie@ My Only Vice

Christina B said...

Hi Katie!

I just recently stumbled across your blog and am enjoying your posts. You seem to love books as much as I do! :)

I've read The Doctor's Lady as well as A Tailor Made Bride and both were fantastic. I've also heard a lot of good things about the River of Time series so hopefully those will make it into my stack before too long. So many books, so little time...

Anyhow, hopefully I'll catch you again soon. God bless! :)

Rissi said...

Tailor-Made Bride was a really sweet read. I am looking forward to reading Karen's last couple novels. It was one of those books that just made its reader happy. =) My mom loved Lynette Eason and Ronnie Kendig's suspense novels, too. YIKES! I still haven't read them! That should be a priority this winter.

Merry [belated] Christmas, Katie! I hope you and your family had a beautiful holiday season - happy 2012!

Charity U said...

Oooo, you know I want to read the other River of Time series books. :)

And then "Wolfsbane" and "The Doctor's Lady" are both on my to-read list. And so are that LFY and the Witemeyer, which I'd love to read. Both of them. :)

Good list! Despite that I'd only read one off the whole thing...wow.

Katie McCurdy said...

Jody - You are very welcome! The Doctor's Lady just captured me so completely! Well done!

Julie - Oh fun! I'll be sure to stop by and check them out! I have a pretty good idea which book we both labeled as our top ten! *wink*

Christina - Well, welcome to LoaW, Christina! So glad you found me! Yes, I LOVE books. A LOT! :-) Be sure to check around, as I hold book giveaways often. Hope you win one! ;-)

Weren't they just awesome? Jody and Karen sure did an amazing job with them! Oh, you need to get your hands on Waterfall this year. It was awesome!!

Haha, I know how you feel! If only sleep wasn't so necessary for me...I'd read all night long! :-)

Katie McCurdy said...

Rissi - Same here! I have both Head in the Clouds and To Win Her Heart sitting in my TBR pile...just tempting me! I can't wait until I am able to read them. :-)

Oh my word, girl, you haven't read Lynette and Ronie's books?? Those two writers are awesome when it comes to romantic suspense and military suspense. I hope you get a chance to read them soon!

Thank you! I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas, too! And a happy new year! :-)

Charity - Haha, yes, I do! They didn't end up in your Christmas presents? Darn it!

Ohh, when you are able to get your hands on those 4 books...you are in for some awesome reading! All come to you HIGHLY recommended...by me! :-D Hope your doing well!!

Melanie said...

Hi Katie,

Here's my top ten books I read in 2011 (it was really hard to pick just ten). :)

http://christianbookshelfreviews.blogspot.com/2011/12/top-ten-tuesday-top-ten-favorite-books.html

Katie McCurdy said...

Melanie - Thanks for stopping by. And leaving your list! I just hopped over and checked it out. You picked some great books!!

Ronie Kendig said...

THANK YOU, Katie! I've tried to post several times while away but it wouldn't work. THANK YOU so much. You've blessed me to put Wolfsbane on your Top Ten! Woot! You made my month!

Katie McCurdy said...

Ronie - You are VERY welcome! Wolfsbane was the first book I read by you, and it just blew me away! Now I am the proud owner of all your books (Firethorn is on the way!), and will treasure them always. :-D

Katie Ganshert said...

From one Katie to another - what a GREAT list! I loved reading your list and Casey's. What a fun thing to do for authors and readers!

Katie McCurdy said...

Katie - Haha, thanks! Well, after all the work the author goes through to bring their stories to us...it's the least we can do for them! :-)

Keep up the awesome work, y'all!!

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Hahaha so glad that Hunger Games made your list! ;-)

XOXO~ Renee C.

Katie McCurdy said...

Renee - Yup, it sure did. Thanks for the recommendation! Because of you, I'm stoked about the movie coming out. Can't wait!!

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