1. Defiant by Kris Kennedy
2. Sea Change by Darlene Marshall
3. Follow My Lead by Kate Noble
* Honorable mention to The Other Guy’s Bride by Connie Brockway
1. Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase
2. When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
3. Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke
*Honorable mention goes to Mary Balogh whose books I've devoured in 2011, most noticeably The Ideal Wife and More than a Mistress :)
Nath: LOL, in comparison to you Ames, my Top 3 is not very surprising. Many well-known authors in there... and all Avon releases :) For some reasons, I really like Avon historicals, even if I complain they're a bit bland at times... Going to have to try to read more from other publishers. I I have Follow My Lead in my TBR pile, going to have to get to it soon :)
Ames: I enjoy historicals too - but I was for sure tired of the same old same old Regency so I looked to other time periods. And with Sea Change, I LOVE cross-dressing heroines. That book worked for me on so many levels. And even Follow My Lead, that one was very different from the ballroom setting, and like Defiant, it had a road trip feel to it.
1. A Lot Like Love by Julie James
2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
3. And One Last Thing... by Molly Harper
1. The Comforts of Home by Jodi Thomas
2. Wild Man Creek by Robyn Carr
3. Playing Dirty by Susan Andersen
*Honorable mention goes to Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D'Alessandro and A Lot like Love by Julie James.
Nath: And One Last Thing... made it into my Top 3 last year... under fiction LOL. But yeah, definitively a good choice there :) It was a tough choice for the third position and it was a debate between A Lot Like Love and Playing Dirty. I really enjoyed A Lot Like Love and actually graded it better... but I think given the choice, I'm more likely to pick up Playing Dirty to re-read and so that's why I went with it :)
Ames: I didn't read that much contemporary romance in 2011. Or I did, but it was mostly M/M. LOL I struggled with putting Attachments under this category, but at the heart of it, it is a love story. And a damn good one.
1. The Admiral’s Penniless Bride by Carla Kelly
2. Beau Crusoe by Carla Kelly
1. The Man She Loves to Hate by Kelly Hunter
2. Juggling Briefcase & Baby by Jessica Hart
3. Stand-In Wife by Karina Bliss/Always a Bridesmaid by Nina Harrington.
Nath: All right, this is really a case of "don't judge by the cover" for The Man She Loves to Hate... It was a great read! Hopefully, I'll be able to review it soon. As for third place, I couldn't make up my mind between Stand-In Wife and Always a Bridesmaid. I liked Stand-In Wife because of the family relationships - the kids were really cute :) As for Always a Bridesmaid, it was the H/H characters that I enjoyed... but the romance in both was so-so.
Ames: I only had 2 entries because I didn't read a lot of great categories. The majority fell in the B or C gradient but the two I listed above definitely stuck out for me.
1. In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming
2. Don’t Look Back by Josh Lanyon
3. Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
1. You Belong to Me by Karen Rose
2. Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
3. Absolutely, Positively by Heather Webber
Nath: Second Grave on the Left and Absolutely, Positively were really fun reads and a mix of genres, but at the core, they're both mysteries :) Good for me, because my initial Top 3 - when I didn't include mystery - was really sad ^_^;
Ames: I read four romantic suspenses in 2011 and DNF'd two of them. All my top picks were mysteries. Mind you, I didn't read any Karen Rose in 2011...something I need to remedy in 2012.
Nath: Tsk, tsk. Definitively something you'll have to remedy... Especially since if I'm correct, you have quite a few of hers in your TBR pile!
1. Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
2. Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh
3. Change of Heart by Mary Calmes
1. Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh
2. Demon Marked by Meljean Brook
3. Demon Kissed by Patti O'Shea
Nath: I was really burned out on paranormal romance in 2011. I've only read 7 and you can imagine how much they didn't work for me if Demon Kissed is in my Top 3. I love Ms O'Shea, that's no secret... but Demon Kissed is a novella for god's sake! That's just tell you how burned out I am on the genre ^_^;
Ames: I'm burnt out on paranormals as well. I stayed away except when I was forced (Dragon Bound, and Holly forced me lol). Kiss of Snow, Monroe made me read when I was visiting her in July. Change of Heart was my own pick and that was from a handful of paranormal M/Ms I bought. The majority of which I haven't read really.
1. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin
2. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
3. Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
*Honorable mention to Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale
1. Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
2. Blackout by Rob Thurman
3. Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughan
4. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
*Actually, everything I've read from Ms Andrews and related to the Kate Daniels series have been gold to me this year. Magic Dreams, Magic Gifts and the Curran POV volumes. All excellent! Ms Andrews definitively deserves the top position this year :)
Nath: I debated for the Patricia Briggs. River Marked was good, but in the end, it didn't make the cut... although if I added a fifth position...
Ames: I was supposed to buddy review The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms but that didn't quite work out. Read it though people! And I haven't read River Marked yet. As much as I clamor for the latest release in my favorite series, I really take my time reading them. Because I LOVE the Georgina Kincaid Succubus series by Richelle Mead but I didn't read the last book in that series yet. I'm contrary that way.
Nath: LOL, you don't really take your time reading them Ames. They languish in your TBR pile for a long time, but once you pick them up, you zip through it! LOL
1. Pegasus by Robin McKinley
2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
3. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
*Honorable Mention to Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally and Paradise by Jill S. Alexander
1. The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
2. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
3. Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski
*Honorable Mention to Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally, Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt and Forgotten by Cat Patrick.
Nath: LOL, seems like we both enjoyed Catching Jordan :) I guess it's because it's refreshing. I'm determined to read Pegasus this year as it's in my TBR pile... and I've been eyeing Paradise for a long time. I think I'm going to wait till it's released in paperback :)
Ames: I love that Jordan is a real tomboy in Catching Jordan. Definitely different. I need to read Rick Riordan in 2012.
Nath: Yes, you do!!
1. The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
2. Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
3. The Countess and the King by Susan Holloway Scott
*Honorable mention to Junction X by Erastes.
1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Nath: LOL, see I put Attachments here :) While I agree with you that there's a romance at the core of the story... the book isn't shelved in the romance section, so fiction it is with me :) Plus, I couldn't leave this category empty :) I just don't read enough fiction... Hmmm, could I put Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts?
Ames: My top fiction reads were historicals. Not bad. I need to read more of that as well in 2012. I gotta shake things up a bit! LOL I also had Kate Quinn's sophomore effort in my tbr pile, the prequel to Mistress of Rome (which I listed as a top read in 2010) that I was really looking forward to but didn't read it. I need to work on that weird habit of mine!
1. Out of Focus by LA Witt
2. One Real Thing by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox
3. Paris A to Z by Marie Sexton
*Honorable mentions to Prove It by Chris Owen
1. Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell
2. Gobsmacked by L.B. Gregg
3. A Note in the Margin by Isabelle Rowan
Ames: You know I really loved a book if I didn't review it. LOL Out of Focus I read close to the end of December and it just squeaked in under the wire. But yeah, I really get a writing block for those books I just want to gush about. Just take my word for it, they're listed here, I loved them, so go read them. :P
Nath: I told you, just tell us why you liked it so much :) Characters, the plot, the hot sex? LOL. You know what? I kept complaining in 2011 that I didn't review a lot and true, my numbers are down... However, putting this post together, I'm really surprised that the books I really enjoyed this year, most of them I have reviewed :) Yay!
And there you have it, our top reads for 2011 :) What do think? Ames and I were discussing while making these lists and the consensus was that 2011 was a mediocre year ^_^; I don't mean to take anything away from any of the books listed in this post. They were definitively great reads! However, looking back at 2011 as a whole, Ames and I both read a lot of books - 200 and over. You'd think there'd be a lot more books that would have stood out... but not really. Especially for historical and contemporary romances and romantic suspense. Ah well, to a better 2012! :)