Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Favorite Books of 2011

This just in: I'm a reader. I love to read, I read all the time, and sometimes I even review books on Daemon's Books! I have piles of books all over my house both that I've purchased for myself and some that I get from publishers to review. While this is an AMAZING perk to my job, it also requires me to invest in a new bookshelf.

Since I do read so much, I come across the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly. I primarily like to stick to horror or fantasy novels, however I will (literally) ready anything that is put in front of me. 2011 was a great year for books, and I honestly cannot thank Daemon's Books enough for the opportunity to read things that I would never pick up on my own. There is one thing that I've learned is that "never judge a book by it's cover" is actually very true! And now - my favorite books of 2011.

Pages: 384

Let's talk about how at the fourth page of Ready Player One I declared it my favorite book of all time. This novel bumped Atlas Shrugged (which held the number one spot for years) within two page turns. More on why I don't know if it was entirely fair in another blog post. Let's talk about Ready Player One. If you are a child of the 80s, like the 80s, or even have one fond memory of the 80s, you need to read this book.

Ernest Cline is a fanboy, and he takes his love of pop culture, video games, and the 80s and rolls them into one amazing, fantastic, perfect, spectacular novel. I loved it because I'm a complete geek and obsessed with pop culture, BUT everyone needs to read this book.

It takes place in the not so distant future of 2044, and society has basically collapsed. To escape, people from all over play in a virtual world called the Oasis. The creator of the Oasis, James Halliday kicks the bucket, leaving millions of dollars behind. There's a twist, though - Halliday left several "keys" around the Oasis for players to find. Whoever cracks the code gets his millions.

It's a freaking video game mixed with 80s movies but in book form!! I could not ask for anything better in a novel. With references to Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Joust, and tons of other geeky things, I almost cried from disappointment when I finished Ready Player One. Instead, I just stared it over.

Pages: 352
Buy Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Like Lydia says in Beetlejuice "I, myself, am strange and unusual..." so Miss Peregine's Home for Peculiar Children jumped out at me from the start. The title and the artwork drew me in and I LOVED the way the creepy, unsettling pictures actually played a big part of the story.

Jacob, a sixteen year old, is set on an adventure to a remote island after the death of his grandfather. The old man used to tell Jacob stories of an old orphanage with children that were able to communicate telepathically, hold fire in the their hands, and walk without touching the ground. Jacob only thought these were stories, but when he arrives on the island, he discovers that not only could the home for peculiar children be an actual place - the residence of the home may never have left!

It was dark, it was creepy, and it gave off a very Tim Burton-seque feel. The images (I'd forgotten how great it is to read a book with pictures) didn't distract like I thought they would - they actually just heightened the, well, peculiar feel of the novel. I loved it - but it was right up my alley.

Pages: 320

Generally I'm not a fan of fiction mixing with my history, especially when it has to do with the Salem witch trials. However, Deliverance from Evil didn't stray too much from the events that happened back in 1692. The main story focuses on a fictional character that is accused of practicing witchcraft, and follows his journey through prison and beyond.

I'm (slightly) obsessed with the witch trials, so this book was right up my alley. I loved that Frances Hill used actual victims of that time as characters in the novel. It was fun knowing the history, being able to pick out the real people and follow their journey through the pages of the book.

Again, I am totally biased when it comes to this part of history, so the book could have been horrible and I probably would have liked it. Thankfully it wasn't, and also wasn't completely inaccurate, and didn't make the characters into a mockery.

 Pages: 464
Don't Breathe A Word

What did I learn from Don't Breathe a Word? If someone ever asks you if you want to be queen of the fairies? NEVER, under any circumstances, agree to it!

Don't Breathe a Word was scary. And I don't scare easily, especially when it comes to books (except when I read The Exorcist and I literally could not sleep for a few days). The concept of the novel is simple - Sam lost his sister when she was eight. One day Lisa says that she's going to go visit the king of the fairies and she never returns.

Cut to 15 years later when Lisa (or is it?!) returns and crazy stuff starts to happen that actually solidifies her claims of being abducted by fairies. And then even stranger things start to happen, and poor Sam. It just seems like the entire world is out to get him.

Honestly? Don't Breath a Word was one of the best books I've ever read. I immediately recommended it to everyone I've ever known. While the premise sounds a little strange, just trust me on this one - you will NOT be disappointed. 

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