Cat Johnson Braves Doll Lil’s Word Association Challenge!

Guests »

Cat Johnson Braves Doll Lil’s Word Association Challenge!

August 7, 2013 – 12:48 am | One Comment

I’m back from vacation and ready to get down and dirty finding new free and amazingly bargained books for you! But first this week I have something special. I convinced super hot and crazy talented …

Read the full story »
Home » Alma Katsu, Authors, Deborah Harkness, Doll Eowyn, Erin Morgenstern, Honorary Dolls, Laini Taylor, New Releases 2011, Reviewers, Stephanie Dray, Year In Review

Favorite Books of 2011 – Steph’s list!

Submitted by on January 2, 2012 – 7:50 am7 Comments

I have been so busy this year I only spent time reading books that I really wanted to read or had been highly recommended by my friends. Consequently, I really didn’t have any books that I read this year that were my least favorite each and every book that I read in 2011 was an outstanding book but I will list my top five for you.

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern sucked me into its world and I found myself longing for the black and white circus long after I had finished the book and I am still pondering the two Magicians and what the deeper meaning may be behind the two. If you want a taste of light magic with underlying themes and a cast of interesting characters then this book is for you.
(Read my review of The Night Circus)

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

2. The Taker by Alma Katsu also tops my list of the best books that I read in 2011. The Taker was such a unique take on love and redemption and the characters are so interesting and multi-faceted. I loved the fact that the characters were all multi-faceted and the twists and turns in this immortal story kept me up quite a few nights pondering their future and whether or not what I perceived to be happening was really happening. The synopsis from The Taker follows. (Read a special 2 doll review)

True love can last an eternity . . . but immortality comes at a price. . . .

On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her . . . despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated.

Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a Puritan settlement. Consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, Lanny will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for all eternity. And now, two centuries later, the key to her healing and her salvation lies with Dr. Luke Findley.
Part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner, The Taker is an unforgettable tale about the power of unrequited love not only to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, and how each of us is responsible for finding our own path to redemption.

3. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. This book takes witches and vampires and mixes in genetics to create a tale that will mesmerize you. I couldn’t put this book down and I can’t wait to find out more about the characters. The synopsis says it all.

When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft.
Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire geneticist.

Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor may have just been released but it is one of my favorite reads for the year by far. Taylor has created a fascinating worl d and I was immediately pulled into the magical realm where angels and demons are real. The first line of this book says it all “Once upon a time an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.” (Read my review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone)

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

5. My fifth favorite book that I read this year was an given to PBD as an ARC and I was the lucky reviewer. Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray. I hadn’t heard of Stephanie Dray before the request to Paperback Dolls and I am so delighted to have found this book. Cleopatra Selene is such a powerful female character and I loved her strength and the development her character undergoes throughout the story. The mixing of myth and historical fiction was captivating.  (Read my review) 

Sorceress. Seductress. Schemer. Cleopatra’s daughter is the one woman with the power to destroy an empire…
Having survived her perilous childhood as a royal captive of Rome, Selene pledged her loyalty to Augustus and swore she would become his very own Cleopatra. Now the young queen faces an uncertain destiny in a foreign land.

The magic of Isis flowing through her veins is what makes her indispensable to the emperor. Against a backdrop of imperial politics and religious persecution, Cleopatra’s daughter beguiles her way to the very precipice of power. She has never forgotten her birthright, but will the price of her mother’s throne be more than she’s willing to pay?”

What about you? What does your list for favorite books of 2011 look like? Did any of my favorites make yours or maybe you have a suggestion for me? Tell me, I would love to hear back from you!

Paperback Dolls is made up of women from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, different tastes and beliefs that were brought together through a love of reading. We like to think of ourselves as a cyber version of "The View" that focuses on books, authors, and reading. We are proof positive that one common love can unite the most opposite of people and form lasting friendships that introduce other ways of life and perspectives to each other.
Paperback Dolls
View all posts by Paperback Dolls
s website