Maria’s 2012 Favorites

“Top Five” Books/Series of 2012

It’s that time of the year again – time to count down my very favorite books of the 2012!  These are the books that made me laugh and cry, hope and worry, ache and sigh…the books that made me FEEL!  That’s the main requirement for getting on this list – they are not all examples of flawless writing (though a few are!), they may never be required reading in schools (gosh, I hope not – LOL), they are not even all happy endings (*gasp*) – but they kept me turning the pages LONG into the night, made me forget about the laundry, the dishes, and sometimes even the kids (just KIDDING!!!), and they made me FEEL something…or LOTS of things!  Links to my full reviews are below the short summaries here.

5.  Colorado Mountain Series – Kristen Ashley

This is one of those series that snuck up on me.  I knew I couldn’t put it down, and I really enjoyed it, but until about book 3 I don’t think I realized just how much I LOVED it!  I was put off a bit by editing issues in the first 2 books – I have this nasty inner editor who won’t shut up when I’m reading, constantly pointing out errors and generally driving me nuts, which makes it hard to really get lost in a book!  Also, after reading only Young Adult books for quite some time I was a bit taken aback by the “adult” content in these books.  But by book 3 the writing seemed much more polished, and I was more used to the “adult” content, and I suddenly realized – I really, really LOVE these books!  The mystery aspect makes them much more fun to me than just a straight-up romance, and the small town feel is pitch-perfect!  With so many side characters the books could have felt “crowded”, but they don’t – they feel like a small town full of (mostly) good, hard working, friendly, loyal, down to earth people!  I love them ALL!!  And the heroes….*sigh*…these are some rough, tough, crass, and gruff ALPHA males – you do not want to be on their bad side!!  They say the wrong things, they are controlling and over-protective, they spout off when angry and can be very hurtful…BUT when a woman works her way into one of their hearts…oh, the love…the passion…the soft spots they find are just overwhelming…watching these big, bad, scary men turn into cuddly teddy bears with the women and children in their lives was priceless!  Love this series!  LOVE it!!  Now the disclaimers: this is NOT for teens, or for those of you who can’t deal with lots of swearing, some violence, and s-e-x.  These are adult romance novels…just sayin’.

The Gamble
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Sweet Dreams 
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Lady Luck
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 Breathe 
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4. Pandemonium – Lauren Oliver, Insurgent – Veronica Roth, and City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare.

 These are all grouped together because they are sequels to books that were on my top reads of 2011 list – and they are all just as good as their previous books!!  I couldn’t put them down, thought about them for days afterward, and went total fan-girl on my review for each of them!!  Just be sure if you are going to read these you read their predecessors  first!!  (Pandemonium and Insurgent are both book 2 of a trilogy, and City of Lost Souls is book 5 of 6)

Pandemonium actually deserves to be higher on this list (but I only had so much room!) – her writing is just perfection…her words are so powerful, breath-taking, heart-wrenching, beautiful, beautiful words…her writing amazes me!!

Pandemonium 
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Insurgent
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City of Lost Souls
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3. Flat-Out Love – Jessica Park

Ahhh – Flat-Out Love – you deserve to be higher on this list!!  I HEART you soooooo much!!!!!!  I read this book in one day, (and it was laundry day!!!) because I COULD NOT put it down, then I turned around and “skimmed” my favorite parts (basically re-read it) the next day!  The joy in this one is in the mystery, the quirky family dynamics, the great dialogue…it’s just wonderful!!  I SO badly needed this one after reading The Opportunist – Julie, Matt, Finn, and Celeste fixed my broken heart – perhaps that is why they hold such a special place in it – forever!!

Flat-Out Love
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2. Slammed and Point of Retreat – Colleen Hoover

I can’t even see the covers of these books, or hear someone say their names without grinning, and squealing (though, thankfully, I am able to keep the squeals internal most of the time now!), and bouncing a little bit!  I just abso-freaking LOVE these books!!!  Slammed was the first book in a couple of years to get a 10/10 from me – and I went total fan-girl in my review!!  The emotions are strong, and so REAL…if you need a good cry, and a good laugh, this book is for you!!  For those of you who haven’t read it yet please, PLEASE go get it!!  Don’t go online and read reviews – there are too many spoilers out there!  Just trust me – if you like YA romance at all you HAVE to read this book!!!!  Oh, and the sequel is pretty darn good too!!  🙂

Slammed
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Point of Retreat 
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1. The Opportunist and Dirty Red -Tarryn Fisher

Tarryn Fisher is an evil genius!!  I don’t know any other author who can make me fall in love with characters who are so utterly unlikable!!  Her stories grab you from the opening sentence and keep you twisted up in their tumultuous, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking depths through the very last page!  I completely checked out of life to read each of these books (Kids need to eat?  What kids??) and was a complete emotional basket-case when each one was done (with The Opportunist I was sobbing in my bathroom after sending the kids outside to play so they wouldn’t see/hear me, and with Dirty Red I was jumping around my kitchen talking a mile a minute to my husband who was standing there staring at me as though I had lost my ever-loving mind)!!  This story will stay with you.  For me, that’s a good thing.

The Opportunist – 
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Dirty Red 
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