The goal of the 2012 Amazon Best Books of 2011 Reading Challenge (hosted by Wickedly Delicious Tales), was to read 5 books (Novice Level) from the Best Books of 2011 list chosen by the editors of Amazon.com.
1. The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides. I slogged through the first 65 pages with it's slow, tortuous pace and too many references to books I hadn't read, didn't care to read and had never heard of - but after that, the frequency of the references decreased (although there was still a LOT), the pace picked up and I started to enjoy the drama. The characters were flawed, relatable (to a point) and deftly developed and the plot was interesting - severe depression, and how it affects loved ones. Who can't relate to loving someone you KNOW is all wrong for you?! (Amazon| Goodreads)
2. The Lover's Dictionary, David Levithan. I thought this book was okay - but totally forgettable. Some of the anecdotes were cute & funny - many were not. Half-way through I was over it; I kept reading, not out out of interest, but just so I could finish - I just didn't care about the "dumpee" nor the "dumper" or the stories of their lives. (Amazon| Goodreads)
3. Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Laini Taylor. This was a 5-star book all the way. Loved the story - the plot, the depth of the characters, the setting, the vivid imagery of Prague, the romance ... overall, this is a beautiful story that's brilliantly written. (Amazon| Goodreads)
4. The Night Strangers, Chris Bohjalian. The 1st part of the book is suspenseful, leaving me walking on an emotional tightrope with the characters. But in the middle, it felt like the books was rambling on and on, going over the same thing again and again. Thankfully, Bohjalian gets back on track and the pace picked up towards the end for the climax ... but then there was the "afterward", which left me open-mouthed and yelling - oh hell NO! (Amazon| Goodreads)
5. Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor. One of my favorite things about this book is how different it is from many of the other YA paranormal novels I've read - the setting is Nigeria, Sunny, one of the main characters, is albino, there is an underworld of magical society complete with unique customs, and there is a mixture of languages involved - English, Igbo, Efik, Yoruba, English, French, Arabic and Hausa. (Amazon| Goodreads)
6. Among Others, Jo Walton. When I read Fantasy novels, I want them HEAVY on the fantasy. I want those elements to be the main focus - and it wasn't really for this book. Instead, this was more a coming-of-age story with some fantasy elements, plus, it was just too HEAVY on the references to other science fiction & fantasy novels. (Amazon| Goodreads)
Not all of these books would have made my "Best Of" list. Would any of these make yours?