Guest Post & Giveaway- 2011 Favorites by Maja from The Nocturnal Library

December 19, 2011 § 114 Comments


One of the things that I have truly enjoyed about this feature is the amazing guest posts by some of my favorite book bloggers, Goodreads reviewers, and authors. Today’s guest post is by Maja from The Nocturnal Library, another of my favorite reviewers! This blogger/reviewer’s incredibly insightful reviews are responsible for a very large percentage of my 2011 book purchases and my 2012 wishlist! I was ecstatic that she agreed to share with The Happy Booker readers a list of her favorite reads from this year! Welcome to The Happy Booker Maja!

Make sure you check out Maja and Lisa’s awesome reviews at The Nocturnal Library!!

Maja’s 2011 Favorites

When Donna approached me about writing this post, I was really flattered, of course, but also a little frightened. 2011 was a really good year for me, full of amazing new releases, and some old ones I just discovered. To choose my favorites among them seemed like a really big responsibility at the time, but I ended up enjoying the process more than I ever thought I would. I did my best to make them as different as possible. I included one romance, only one dystopia (Phew! That was a tough choice.), one YA fantasy, one adult zombie novel, one YA contemporary, and some other books I simply couldn’t leave out. So without further ado, here are the choices I’ve made:

THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater: Maggie Stiefvater just never fails to amaze me. I am a huge fan of The Wolves of Mercy Falls, but I feel like she did an even better job with her latest novel. This story about the capaill uisce, bloodthirsty water horses on a small, fictional island Tisby, offers everything that Stiefvater does best: it is highly descriptive, heavily atmospheric and emotionally challenging. I admit that this story requires a certain amount of patience, which is why I’ve read many complaints about the pacing, but I truly enjoyed reading about the small island issues and mentality. If I were forced to choose my favorite 2011 release (and, thankfully, I’m not), The Scorpio Races would probably be it.

BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys educated me about the horrors Lithuanian people endured during Stalin’s reign of terror. Masterfully told, the story gives voice to those who had none for the longest time, and probably still don’t. Of the 300 books I’ve read this year, Between Shades of Gray is the one I’m most grateful for, and the one I’m least likely to ever forget. Please read this book, and please have your children read it. I promise you won’t regret it.

FLAT-OUT LOVE by Jessica Park: The most important shelf on my Goodreads page is my ‘books that changed me’ shelf. I think very hard about the books I put there because I feel that they represent who I am and what I stand for. I never expected to add a self-published romance novel, but Flat-Out Love deserved its spot. Park’s novel is sweet and funny at times, heartbreaking at others, but altogether amazing and entirely unforgettable. As a dedicated reader, I don’t think I’ve ever connected to a story quite that much, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

DEADLINE by Mira Grant:
I could probably write my own novel about all the things I love in The Newsflesh trilogy. To be perfectly honest, I was terrified of reading Deadline. In my eyes, Seanan McGuire achieved perfection with the heartwrenching Feed and I never thought she could do it twice in a row. As it happens, I was wrong. Never before have I been so genuinely afraid of what an author might do. Grant made me care for her characters, and then she planted the fear for them deep in my bones. At this point, I have no idea what to expect. To dismiss these books because they are labeled as zombie fiction would be a horrible mistake. They are, in fact, so much more.

BROOKLYN, BURNING by Steve Brezenoff: What is it about books that deal with gender identity and sexual orientation issues that makes people run the other way? That’s exactly the kind of thing young adult literature should be about! After the amazing Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford, Steve Brezenoff approached the subject many authors wouldn’t dare touch, and he did it in an honest but subtle way. I’m sorry this book didn’t get more attention, but that can still change. It’s a story for anyone who’s ever struggled with the feeling of not belonging.

ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre: Aguirre is definitely one of my favorite urban fantasy authors, but I must say that I’m thrilled with how she writes young adult dystopian fiction. The story is strong, the characters are very much alive, and the writing is close to perfect. Aguirre did extensive research and built a world I can easily believe. Enclave is the first book in her Razorland series – hurry up and read it before the release of Outpost. Of all the 2011 dystopias, it is by far my favorite.

Other than the books I’ve already mentioned, here are a few more I just had to recommend to you guys:

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson is a richly-but-unpretentiously written story about a girl with synesthesia, accused of murder and placed in a mental institution. Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris is a completely ridiculous, yet incredibly entertaining story about a school full of zombies. In As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott, Ava suffers from a complete memory loss. The novel is beautifully written and highly unusual. Jessica Martinez’s debut novel, Virtuosity, tells a story about a very talented and severely damaged Grammy Award winning violin soloist.

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson is, as I called it in my review, deliciously shallow and extremely fun. I just adore stories about people with superpowers. A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan is a science fiction novel about a girl suddenly awoken after spending more than 60 years in a stasis tube. Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey offers a new take on zombies and I thoroughly enjoyed Garvey’s beautiful writing.

I hope each of you will find at least something that sounds interesting here. It’s been such a great year. I can’t wait to start all over again. Happy reading, lovelies, and happy holidays!

Thanks so much Maja for stopping by The Happy Booker and sharing your list of 2011 favorites!!

Do you have any of her favorite books on your wishlist? Two lucky readers will have a chance to win one of Maja’s 2011 favorites!!


This giveaway is INT. Book choices must be available at the Book Depository (INT) or (US)
Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a comment about which of Maja’s favorites you’d like to read!
Giveaway ends at Midnight on January 1, winners will be announced on January 2.
I will email the winners at the end of the giveaway to find out which book they will choose. Winners will have 48 hours to respond.
Extra entries for being a GFC follower of The Nocturnal Library and tweeting the giveaway! 

Good Luck!

/*{literal}{/literal}*/a Rafflecopter giveawayYou need javascript enabled to see this giveaway.


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