This year I challenged myself to read 90 books and I exceeded my goal by 6. This year was a year of fantastic books and total flops. I will actually do a separate post on the awful (and by awful I mean mind numbing, want to erase memory from ever reading certain books). But these are not those books, these are the books I was really impressed with, my go to recommendations when people ask me for a good book to read.My ultimate favorite this year was These Is My Words. This book is FANTASTIC! I actually read this in the first week of 2011 and was so thoroughly impressed by it. My mother in law had actually told me about this book years ago and when I finally got around to researching it and seeing if it would be something I'd be interested in I found how beloved this book is. People LOVE this book. If you don't think historical fiction is your thing and you write off this book, you'll be missing out on one of the best books I've ever read, and that's saying something. There is something so magical in this book that just works. Please, take my word for it, this book is fantastic. Who knows, you might even be receiving this as a gift this year! Ok, I love Stephanie Perkins and her books. I fell in love with Anna and the French Kiss and read her second novel entitled Lola and the Boy Next Door. These books are realistic fiction with a love story. But they are more than that. The characters are well developed and three dimensional. Perkins knows how to write a leading man that would make any girl swoon, but not because he's perfect but because he's real and he's what every girl wants. Perkins whisked me away and let me sample a world that is not mine but I wholeheartedly would love to have lived. She has another book coming out in 2012 and I just can't wait to get my hands on it. I will say these books are fairly clean so they're pretty suitable for teen girls (older teen girls). I think about this book often, especially of the leading man. This is a sequel to "If I Stay" which is fantastic too. But I felt that this book was better and more heart-wrenching. Forman knows how to write a flawed but incredibly lovable leading man. It was so interesting to read what had happened since the last book, to see where the characters had gone and where they were headed. I think I read this in about a day, I just couldn't get enough of her writing. You do need to read "If I Stay" first to understand the complicated past the main characters have, but be prepared you will probably cry. Who doesn't love a good Zombie book? I think this is the year of the zombies in my life. I read quite a few zombie books as well as some zombie shows (man, who else just LOVES The Walking Dead?). I received this book as a Christmas gift last year from a fellow zombie lover and couldn't put it down. It's just enough gore, action, back story and heart to make you love it. I actually received the prequel this year for Christmas, so back to the zombies I go. I had to add this one. As some know I work part time at Deseret Book. With that job I read a lot of the books we receive, so that I can confidently recommend books. There are some books I come across that are ok, some that are downright awful and some that are so remarkable that I can't contain my enthusiasm for them (Increase in Learning by Elder Bednar is one of those books, go pick it up!). "Letters in the Jade Dragon Box" stood out to me as one of the best fiction books we carry. I loved every minute I spent in this book. The writing is exquisite, the story line is enthralling and the imagery is beautiful. I was transported to 1970's Hong Kong rich with history, food and a beautiful story. This book doesn't have too much of the church in it but it does have incredible heart.
Here are some notable titles that didn't quite make the list but were quite great: Divergent by Veronica Roth (umm... Number 4, you are dreamy), The False Princess by Eilise O'Neal, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
So did you read anything this year that you can't stop gushing about?